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ECW Series 2
by Artemis

Shelly Martinez, aka 'Ariel'... oh the hell with it, who cares? She's a wrestler who's dressed up like a Halloween vampire. If you actually give a damn who any of these figures are, you probably already know more about their careers than I can tell you after a half-hearted Wikipedia browse.

There's a reason I'm reviewing this girl right after Sensational Sherri - I don't just pair these reviews up randomly, you know. It's not just the sound of their names that Shelly and Sherri have in common; only the head and skirt set them apart sculpturally. Still, great action figures, like the devil, are all in the details, and Ariel - as I guess we should call her, since she's in character as a vamp-bimbo or whatever - is much more impressive than her classic-era companion.

The whole colour balance of her is far more striking, with the black of her skirt, boots and gloves bringing out the healthy glow of her skin, and the equal colour weighting of her arms and legs bringing attention to the centre of her body, where we find the corset. This piece may not be up there in technical terms with collector-quality work - the black stripes are a bit vague at the edges, and the fine black pattern over the coloured panels is simple - but I have to say, for one of these WWE figures, the corset looks pretty damned good.

The skirt fits beneath it quite well - surprising, given how it's the same corset and the same body as Sensational Sherri, and she looks fine without a skirt. The semi-gloss finish and shallow sculpt are good enough to pass muster, though nothing special, but the skirt's real value is how it and the boots frame Ariel's thighs and knees, making her legs looks curvy and powerful. The soft studs aren't quite as effective as those on the corset - the skirt has two, one outward, one inward, mounted on a lip to seal up the skirt at the left side, and it can be tricky to get them closed, especially the higher one. Fortunately the difference between properly closed and near-enough closed isn't so great.

Ariel is blessed with the best head I've seen on one of these wrestling figures, thanks largely to her character. Since Ms. Martinez went to the effort of popping in some fake teeth and contact lenses as Ariel, the sculptor here had a clear target to aim towards, so the Ariel figure dodges the goofy grins and so forth that plague so many of her cohorts. Instead she's snarling, baring her fangs, and while it's true that she looks a bit silly doing so... well, she's dressed up as a vampire, they all look silly doing that. Nothing on the face is out of place or flawed, so the overall impression is attractive and fun. The hair is well sculpted, sitting nicely around her shoulders with just enough gloss to show off its detail by catching the light, and the metallic aqua highlights, while painted without any particular finesse, wind up looking quite striking.

Paintwise there's not much to say that hasn't been said - her face and corset are the stand-out points, though the "Queen of Hearts" tattoo (her character was originally a tarot reader) on her right bicep is nice and clear, and adds a cute little point of interest to a figure that's otherwise all about broad impression. Stripped of her outfit she's got the standard briefs and half-cup bra, painted to match her boots and gloves - revealing the full extent of her thighs, along with a well-toned stomach, certainly doesn't hurt her, but the heavy presence of black on her limbs and hair make the body seem a bit bare without the extra clothes.

Besides the corset and skirt, if you want to count those as accessories, Ariel gets a microphone, one of the big chunky kind used in the ring. It's plain black, with a textured head and square logo block beneath, and can be fitted roughly into her right hand, though the handle is a bit too thick to really suit the grip. What with the push-out bicep and the single peg elbow, the only way to get the mic near her mouth is to angle her wrist as far inwards as it'll go, which looks a bit strange - still, it's a decent accessory, and what with her being all "in costume," it suits her to have something geared towards playing to the crowd rather than actually fighting.

Articulation is typical for a wrestling figure - balljointed neck and shoulders, pin elbows, peg/hinge wrists, swivel waist, peg hips, pin knees, pin ankles. The skirt hampers her thighs if you move the peg hips too far, and of course her hair limits the range of the neck joint. Like Sherri (whose mold she shares), the largest problem with her is the early contact of the right bicep with the torso - her vampire persona lends itself to having her arms raised a bit, as if about to pounce, but it's still not an ideal situation.

So that's Ariel. And Sherri, too, I guess. The corset girls - they're versatile and fun, rugged enough to survive a cage match re-enactment, and you're not going to be clearing out your wallet to afford them. Sherri was decent enough, but Ariel really shines, and is worth consideration based on her looks alone.


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