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Buffy PALz
by yo go re

Many, many companies offer exclusives at the summer conventions. Well, let's make that clear: many companies each offer an exclusive at the cons; only a few offer more than one, and even fewer offer exclusives from more than one of their lines.

Palisades always has a fine selection of exclusive figures: one "tour" figure that they take to every con, and several show-specific offerings. By the time the convention season is over, a dedicated fan could have quite the varied collection, based just on following Palisades around. At Wizard World Philadelphia, they offered an exclusive Spike PALz.

Aren't I pretty? Over six seasons on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, viewers watched as the character of Spike transformed from one of the "Big Bads" into a classic (if not tragic) hero in the show's final episode. And along the way, he affirmed his status as one of the most popular characters in the Buffyverse...

Now, while a lot of the promotional art fails to show it, the Spike in Series 2 of the Buffy PALz does indeed include his signature accessory: his long black coat. He's also got enough accessories and extra parts to build a second figure, but it's all for nothing without that coat. Everybody loves the coat. So it makes sense that Palisades would be sure to include it with their exclusive.

The PALz body is 2 1/2" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles - the 14 usual spots we like to see on a block figure. Palisades has (mostly) overcome the joint problems that plagued the early PALz prototypes. The figure's hair is a separate piece, and it really captures Spike's slicked-back bleach job perfectly. His face, simply painted on the plain block of his face, looks great; Palisades did a great job re-creating James Marsters' sunken girlcheeks. Considering how few details there are, it's suprising how much like the actor they can make a flat cylinder look.

Game on Taking a cue from Medicom's Kubricks, the PALz feature two faces printed on opposite sides of their heads: with the hair in place, the second face is hidden, allowing you to choose the expression you want your toy to have. Spike has the human face, of course, but he can also vamp out: turn his head around and you'll reveal a face that has a few more wrinkles painted on the brow and a mouth open to reveal tiny, painted fangs. Due to the limited size of the head, Spike's open mouth looks to be too high on his head. The human eyes are blue, while the vamp eyes are gold - a tiny detail that would have been easy to miss.

Though they got that detail, Palisades did miss one: Spike's missing the trademark scar on his left eyebrow; neither face has it. Mind you, that's something that will only matter to the truly die-hard Spike fans - average fans won't care.

It's the paint job that makes this figure different from the mass-market version: while that version has black pants and his familiar red shirt under his jacket, this version is gray - gray pants and gray lining in his jacket (which might represent a gray shirt under there). It's a minor, minor change, but it signifies Spike's change from being evil to simply being a jerk.

Bloody hell! These things can cause cancer?! Spike only has one accessory, Morleys - they're safer. but it's a clever one: we all know that William the Bloody loves his fags, so Palisades gave him a pack of Morley cigarettes, the fake brand invented for Palisades' other PALz property, the X-Files. Yes, that's the brand he smoked on the show, but it's awfully convenient that Palisades already had the license, isn't it? Spike can hold the pack in either hand.

Exclusive Spike doesn't have a whole lot to set him apart from his mass-market brother - a paint app here, an accessory there - but put them next to each other and the difference is clear. He's not without his problems, but they're nothing that should keep you away.

As an exclusive, this Spike is pretty bland - what would you have done to make him stand out? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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