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Aayla Secura

Star Wars busts
by Artemis

Most everyone knows the story, but in case you don't, Aayla Secura was a last-minute addition to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Rubbish Romance - so last-minute that they didn't even bother doing a full casting for her. George just meandered down one day, evidently having been reading some Star Wars comics, and told the team to get an Aayla up and running, so they grabbed the nearest production assistant, painted her blue, stole half her clothes, and stuck a couple of tentacles to her head. Either that's a slight exaggeration of the truth, with regard to how random the choice of PA was, or Industrial Light and Magic has got a technical department that'd make Who Wants To Be A Supermodel? look mundane.

Like her fellow Jedi, Aayla Secura became a general during the Clone Wars. During the Outer Rim Sieges, she was stationed on the colorful world of Felucia. As General Secura approached the opposing Separatist forces, Chancellor Palpatine activated Order 66, and contacted Aayla's clone officer, Commander Bly, via hologram. The executive command identified the Jedi as traitors to the Republic. Bly loyally carried out the order, raising his blaster rifle against his Jedi general.

Aayla Secura - or Aaylas'ecura, properly speaking - was a much-adored character. Not because of her appearances in the Star Wars comics - although I'm sure she had a loyal following there, not least the author of her first story, who got so attached to her that he changed his mind on whether she'd be killed off by the end of her first issue - or anything to do with the Clone Wars cartoon, or any other EU nonsense. No, see, in every science-fiction franchise, although there's invariably a human (or human-appearance) hottie about the place, there's a segment of the fanbase that really wants to make out with the hot alien babe. In Star Trek it was Vina, the famous "Orion Slave Girl" (well, in one scene she was), in Space: 1999 it was Maya, the Psychon shapeshifter, and in Farscape there was Chiana, and Zhaan, and Sikozu, Jool, Natira, Ahkna, M'Lee... god I miss Farscape. It's only natural, after all, that once you've gotten over the ingrained human fear of the "other" and started seeing aliens as people too, you start wondering what a girl could do with those lekku.

So as I was saying, Aayla was much-loved (especially in fanfic, have no doubt), so it's probably just as well that her ruthless execution was preceded by the first hour and a half or so of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Dialogue, which by then had had the same effect on the audience as an elephant tranquilliser, thus turning potential fan outcry into "Lucky b!%#&, she doesn't have to watch the rest of this..."

Anyway, enough prequel-bashing. For now. Have no illusions that I'll stop indefinitely. Aayla, as befitting her popularity as the thinking-xenophile's bit of crumpet, has been immortalized in merchandise form here and there, with a couple of action figures, a repaint of the "Jedi starfighter" toy to serve as her personal ship, and no doubt some customised inflatable dolls. If you think no one would dare, switch off SafeSearch in Google and type in "Area 51 Love Doll." And now (finished Googling? Good. Oh, you ordered one? Two? Oh, right, you're thinking of the twins from Phantom Menace. Well, knock yourself out) she has a bust, and a very nice one it is. You're expecting that to be a joke, aren't you? Well, have it as you will; Gentle Giant have released their Aayla Secura mini-bust, and while it's not as bouncy as the one you were thinking of, it comes from a company with a reputation for quality (albeit also for the occasional weird misstep).

In the vein of modern mini-busts - which have left their head-and-shoulders origin far behind, and now consist of just about as much of the subject as they can legally get away with without being called "statues" - Aayla is depicted from the hips up, although if the Women of the DC Universe line are your point of reference for mini-busts, you'll be surprised at how mini she isn't. To the top of her lightsaber hilt she's 7¾" tall - to the top of her head, about 6½" - so she has the height advantage over most full-body action figures, let alone other mini-busts you might find around the comic shop. She's arching her back wildly, to get her hands far enough back to point the saber straight down without hitting her lekku, and entirely coincidentally giving anyone in front of her a fine view of her bare abdomen and bountiful cleavage; with her legs absent there's not a great deal of obvious motion in her body language, but the sway of her lekku show her to be spinning, probably about to deliver an overhead slash to whoever she's glaring balefully at.

Amy Allen certainly wasn't hard done by being costumed in a one-armed sports bra and tight pants, but I don't think it's unfair to the lady to point out that Gentle Giant have taken certain liberties with Aayla's physique. Her stomach is toned and barely curved, her waistline is supremely slim, especially front-to-back, while her hips are the envy of erotic dancers everywhere and her boobs have their own small gravity fields - they don't make production assistants like this, not even at ILM. Aayla's arms are true to form, swift rather than powerful, with a bit of muscle but not so much as to call attention to itself.

Her costume is very faithful to its on-screen appearance, give or take a little tweaking for added sexiness. Her top has the proper lop-sided design, with a crocodile-skin-like texture on the basic garment and an added layer with a vaguely elephant-skin look to it strapped across her left side - one might assume for added protection, if she wasn't half-naked overall. Her pants are visible only as a belt and hints of their tan/brown colour as her hips merge into the black base, but her rear loincloth is there in its entirety, since she's sticking her bum out which lifts it up above the level of the base; the front cloth is just a top edge fixed to the belt. There's lots of fine sculpted detail, with all the costume elements apart from the pants having their own textures, including seams in the proper places, thick stitching on the sides of her belt, and a little lightsaber clasp with what looks like a push-button release.

More impressively - and key to the overall realism of the sculpt - where the costume isn't skintight right to the edge, there is a visible gap between the fabric and Aayla's body - cleavage, beneath the shoulders where her pose stretches the straps tight, in the small of her back where it's bunched loose, beneath the lower edge of her top, at the front of her belt in the slight hollows of her inner hips, and at the back showing off a bit of butt. The paintwork in these areas is quite difficult, and accomplished fairly well - you have to look closely to see where the two parts of the sculpt meet up within the depressions.

Her face is a good likeness - perhaps a little exaggerated, but not much more than is appropriate for this scale. The colour makes comparison with photos a touch iffy - most of the publicity photos of Allen as Aayla are taken from Episode II, with the harshly-lit Geonosis arena as a background, but this bust has a skin colour much closer to how she appeared in Episode III on Felucia, where the richer light deepened her skin tone, making her look more aqua than sky blue. The darker skin in turn changes how her facial features appear, just a bit - highlights and shadows are more diversified than under the stark Geonosian sun, which adds a bit to the effect of exaggeration, especially around her chin, leading into her lower lip. Her lipstick - metallic lavendar (!) - doesn't have any painted line between her lips, but the bright reflections from the lips themselves help hide that. Her eyes are narrowed in concentration, and in addition to the usual paint apps, they have a pink tinge running around their lower rims, duplicating how the makeup they put on Amy couldn't actually go into her eyelids, leaving a slight bit of her natural skin tone showing through bordering her eyes. Neat work there.

Her headdress is quite prominent - depending on the scene and/or photo being used for reference, it varies between straight up and slanted backwards, possibly just because it settled back as they were filming her takes. The mini-bust goes for the upright look, with the attached prosthetics on top also positioned up on top of her head rather than slicked back. On the headdress, unfortunately, the paint apps aren't quite as precise in their borders as elsewhere - you can see telltale skin-tone edges of the straps catching the light, especially the two visible from the front, and also on the sides of the face, mostly around the chin. Her lekku (if you're curious, yes, they are an erogenous zone) have faint patterns painted on them up high, a kind of scale-cross-leopard design, which peters out about half-way, leaving the tips pure blue.

The base, incidentally, is plain black as you can see - on the underside it has four "foot" pads to keep the whole thing from sliding about on polished surfaces, as well as the mini-bust's identifying information and serial number; mine's 1574 out of 4250.

I don't suppose you can call the lightsaber an accessory, since it's built into her - the hilt, at least. It's painted silver, with either very careful black used to pick out the sculpted details, a little wavy on close inspection, but good enough to pass a casual glance. The blade is separate - so I guess, if you wanted to, you could have Aayla wielding an unlit saber, though why she would is anyone's guess - and consists of a transparent blue rod with a rounded end, mounted on a metal rod within it to attach to the hilt. This inner rod is of course visible through the clear plastic, though since it only extends about half an inch, her head hides it if you're looking at the whole thing from the front. There's no "flare" like the action figures have on their sabers, just smooth blade all the way to the tip, as it should be, and while it can't glow like the real thing, the colour and transparency are both well-judged to look good regardless.

There's no articulation, obviously - well, I guess the saber blade swivels, but that's as pointless as Jar Jar Binks - so that about wraps it up for Aayla's bust. If you're accustomed to the smaller Marvel or DC products, both the size and the price tag of this one will be a jolt. Personally, I can't find it in myself to recommend buying these unless you're either rich, or just getting your favourites - but if you do, there's not a great deal to fault this one.


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