Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Review: Royal Guard, Medicom VCD

I'm going to try to post photos and a review of each and every item in my collection. Since I already have a large number of collectibles, I'm going to try to do this for each new items as it arrives, and then as time permits go back and do things I've had for a while. Hopefully this will help me purchase fewer items at a time, and spread them out longer. Fat chance of that, I know. In case anyone cares, I'm patterning my reviews after Michael Crawford's Review of the Week which I enjoy reading (when there are items that interest me). I likely won't be as in-depth as he is, at least not most of the time. On items I have the really interest me, who knows how long I'll blather on about them. I won't necessarily label each section, but in general I'll try to at least touch on each of the following sections: Packaging, Sculpt, Articulation, Paint, Accessories, Collector Value, and possibly a summary/overall score. Okay, enough introductory stuff, on to the review.

Medicom VCD Super Deformed Imperial Royal Guard

Medicom is a Japanese company that makes some interesting toys, in several different licenses. They have two lines that are imported by Sideshow Toys. A 12" line Real Action Heroes wherein they've done such things as Star Wars figures (among which are some of the greatest looking 12" figures like Boba Fett, Jango Fett, Sandtrooper), Marvel figures such as Spiderman and Venom, and one I would really love to get my hands on - Spawn. However these figures generally run $150 and so are out of my price range. Sideshow also imports some VCD (Vinyl Collectible Doll) figures, which are also available in the same licenses as the RAH (and probably others that I don't know/care about). These retail around $60, and some can be found as low as $40 + shipping on eBay (and when I find the Spawn VCD for that price I'm buying it). Anyway, one characteristic of the VCD figures is that most of them Super Deformed, which means their heads, hands and feet are exaggerated in size, not unlike the Hasbro's (Star Wars)Galactic Heroes or Marvel Super Hero Squad), only several times bigger. These are approximately 8" in height, a would be excellent toys for kids, if they weren't so pricey. So far with the exception of two figures, all of the (Star Wars) ones that I am aware of are Imperial or otherwise Dark Side type figures. The two exceptions are Republic Clones (which turn into Imperial Troopers). To be brutally honest, if you don't have an unhealthy obsession with Royal Guards like I do, you may not be as pleased with this particular VCD. For the price you pay you're not really geting much; the only notable features (psuedo-posable cloth robe, force pike) are also the only features. Still, it's a Royal Guard, so of course, I like it and I'm glad I bought it.


Packaging is very non-important to me, as I open all of my stuff. Still, I can appreciate nice packaging. Of the 6 Star Wars VCD figures I own, only 1 of them has a box that isn't very pleasing to look at (it's the ESB Boba Fett). The box is usually made to resemble the character's helmet with clear plastic windows where the "eyes" and other highlights of the helmet are. The Royal Guard's box is no exception, and I think it looks great - though the Stormtrooper box is probably my favorite. Opening the box reveals the figure in a plastic tray with a plastic cover, additionally, weapons and gloves are often bagged—I presume to protect the paint from rubbing on the cover—though this is not the case with the Guard.


To the untrained eye the Royal Guard costume is fairly simple and straightforward. To the trained eye, it's still fairly simple and straightforward (insofar as I consider myself somewhat trained in the look of a Royal Guard). Red robes, with either opening in front of the right arm (as in Return of the Jedi), or an opening in front of each arm (as in Revenge of the Sith). There are a few other slight differences, but chances are if you cared, you'd already know what they are. Anyway, the helmet sculpt appears pretty accurate to me, and not too incredibly deformed. The arms are very simple and the rest of the body is even more so - it has no legs, just a solid body that looks covered with robes (salt shaker these are often called). The sleeves and body have some creases to give the impression of being covered by a robe (a solid plastic robe). I've always loved the Royal Guard helmet, and this one looks great. This figure is almost unique in that it has a soft goods robe (the Vader VCD also has a cloth cape), two separate pieces, a front and a back. You can't really tell from any of my pictures, but the robe is lined on the inside with a burgundy material which helps it look more authentic. The sides and bottom of both pieces of the robe have thin wires in them to assist in getting just the right look—if you don't like the flow of the robe, you can kind of change it. It's a nice addition, in my opinion.


The VCDs aren't big on articulation. Most have a cut neck joint, cut shoulders, wrists, and ankles. The design of the helmet doesn't really allow for turning your head (trust me, no head-turning in that helmet). Since the guard doesn't have legs, he's much less articulate than the other VCDs I have—having only wrists and shoulders—but he makes up for it by being the coolest character.


Similar to the articulation there's not much here. Black visor, and silver force pike with black grips. The lines are all very straight, there's no slop at all, it all looks great.


The Guard comes with their signature Force Pike. It's a very nice piece, and very accurate in appearance, as far as I can tell (Revenge of the Sith style). It's a cool pointy stick, but there's not really much else to say about it.

Collector Value

If you like the Royal Guard character than you should get this one. If you're a completionist, you're going to buy this whether I tell you to or not. If you're picky about what you buy, you should probably think this one over a few times before spending $50 or $60 on it—I'm not saying you won't be pleased with it, just make sure you will be before dropping that much money on it. I like it, and I'm glad I purchased one. I wouldn't have minded paying less, but through Sideshow's rewards program I earned points which will give me some small token amount off a future purchase. Sideshow only imported a small number, so you're likely to have to go to eBay to get one, although there are some great online retailers that may have them in-stock. My personal favorite is Razor's Edge Collectibles, with Dark Shadow Collectibles and North Side Collectibles following fairly close behind. Other retailers that I have little or no experience with, but are known to be reliable include Most Wanted Collectibles, CCG Armory, Things from Another World, and many others that I can't think of right now.
On to (possibly) more exciting things—more pictures!
The Royal Guard battling it out with the Shadow Stormtrooper (or Blackhole Stormtrooper) VCD. Just like in the comics! And to try to convey a sense of scale, the VCD Guard posed next to some of my other Royal Guard items: Hasbro 3 3/4" figures, Galactic Heroes, Kubrick Royal Guard, Gentle Giant Royal Guard Statue (which I'll probably review next, unless I review something else next), and a full-size Royal Guard helmet.

1 comment:

Marissa said...

Good review. Very well planned out and descriptive. I look forward to reading more.