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Velvet Batrass - Shining Ark - Alphamax - REVIEW 11Velvet Batrass - Shining Ark - Alphamax - REVIEW 11

HappyakrzHappyakrz26 days agoReview
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Happy Friday, figure-fans!
I hope that you’re all staying warm and safe in your respective hometowns. Here in the western portion of Michigan, we’re getting an early dumping of snow (lake-effect from Lake Michigan), but it’s not all that bad temperature-wise. And it’s all the cozier spending my evenings wandering through the upcoming releases on AmiAmi – November and December should be fun months awaiting the UPS man! :)

Back Story
There’s not much to tell about the purchase of this figure, other than the fact that an ad popped up that was about two-thirds of the market price, and after a couple of messages back and forth with the seller, I decided to go ahead and make the purchase.

This was a figure that was on my most-wanted list, though I have to admit that it wasn’t near the top. I like the “cheeky” attitude and pose of the character, but know nothing about Shining Ark, so that’s probably going to be a google/youtube search in the near future.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_04_72.jpg

Alphamax
Velvet Batrass - 1/8 – Shining Ark -- ITEM #161261
Sculptor: 2% -- ENTRY #10639
Vendor: private MFC seller ($64 in September of 2019)


The Box
The box for this figure is considerably larger than I expected – it being a seated figure, I was imagining something more “low-profile” in stature, but I was pleasantly surprised with the presentation, packaging, and care for the character within.

I’m honestly not sure how a leopard print fits with the Shining Ark story or the character of Velvet Batrass, but the pink and burgundy pattern on the box is subtle and pleasing to the eye as a background to photos and drawings of the character on all sides of the box. There are also large cutout windows on the front, sides, and top which allow a great view of the figure while still sealed on the shelf.

My copy of this figure was discounted slightly due to the wear that is shown on the box in the pictures below, but as you’ll see, it didn’t affect the figure within at all.

The blister packaging and part separation were fantastic, if not a little overly generous – again, the size of this figure doesn’t seem to warrant such a large box and attention to protection, but who am I to complain.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_box_1_72.jpg
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The Figure
The base for this figure is quite large, but beautiful in its detail and simulation of a ship’s wooden floor decking. A trio of pegs are available to hold the figure and accessories in place.

To be honest, this base is so large that I am currently not using it in my display case – there just isn’t enough room to position the other figures around it. In the future, if this figure ends up sharing a shelf with fewer companions, I will definitely go back to using it, as I really like the overall look and effect it gives with the pirate figure.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_parts_01_72.jpg
http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_parts_02_72.jpg

The treasure chest upon which Velvet is supposed to sit is a two-piece prop that, when assembled, looks great, connects solidly to the base (if in use), and gives Velvet a stable resting place (as long as you get the balance between her bum and her right hand just right).

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_parts_03_72.jpg
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Velvet’s tricorn hat is a really nice addition to the figure, and I’m pleased that the designers were thoughtful enough to include it as an accessory that didn’t necessarily have to be worn at all times. It fits well on the figure’s hair, and it makes use of internal magnets within the figure’s head to keep this accessory in place.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_parts_07_72.jpg
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Velvet’s skirt is a small but beautifully sculpted piece of wardrobe with amazing detail in the belt and flow of windswept fabric.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_parts_09_72.jpg
http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_parts_10_72.jpg

And Velvet’s body comes in two halves – by separating these, you can easily assemble the skirt to the figure. The right foot has a companion hole for one of the pegs in the base.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_parts_11_72.jpg
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Reviewer's Notes
Overall Sculpt
As a large part of what drew me to this figure was its fantastic feminine figure and pose, let’s start by looking at the figure configured without the skirt and tricorn hat. The pose still works well, though the left hand floating above her mid-riff is a little awkward, but I think it’s pretty obvious that the figure isn’t meant to be displayed without the skirt – the seam between her knickers and her upper hip isn’t sculpted in a way that indicates a tight waistband – it’s more evident of a hidden assembly point that will be masked by the eventual skirt to be worn.

What this view DOES offer us, however, is an undisturbed view of Velvet’s upper thigh to buttocks to waist area, and the sculptor has managed to present a difficult pose in really beautiful way.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_01_72.jpg
http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_03_72.jpg

This view allows the seam between upper and lower body halves to be less imposing, and the figure’s resting pose on right cheek only is even more evident.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_02_72.jpg

With the addition of the skirt, the figure becomes a little more flirtatious, and I really like how the “flair” of the fabric is used to accentuate the curve of her bum.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_05_72.jpg
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Velvet’s boots are not only a nice addition from an aesthetic point of view, but they’re also a masterful touch in way of sculpting to a realistic anatomical representation of joints – the tilted ankle of the right foot is outstanding and adds just that tiny bit of extra feminine curve to the lovely leg line.

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http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_09_72.jpg

From the trim of the boots, to the similar trim at the top of her thigh-high stockings, to the small rose attached to the g-string at her hip, the details in this figure are cute, clever, and well done.

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The only part of the figure that is a negative for me is the sculpt of the right hand (in relation to the treasure chest upon which the figure sits). If this figure is placed on the edge of a shelf or level surface without her treasure chest, then I believe that the flat-hand-sculpt makes sense – but as she comes with a specific prop, I feel like they should have at least attempted to curve the hand/fingers to match the arch of the chest’s lid. Seeing her fingers floating unnaturally in mid-air is a disappointment every time I spot them.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_07_72.jpg
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Velvet’s bikini top is a fun play on the spinnaker sail motif – complete with the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones. I was also pleased with the attention to detail at her back where the top was laced between her shoulder blades.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_06_72.jpg
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Velvet’s hair is a nice sculpt – not too plain, but also not as intricate as it could have been. This is a figure that I think a slight virtual breeze could have done wonders for – her hair just looks a bit dead in comparison with the other figures on my shelf. I DO like the waves/large curls in the hair and the fact that she has well-defined bangs.

The seam at the top of the head is really tight and as well-hidden as it can be for this type of display.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_21_72.jpg
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Painting
Overall, the painting on the figure is clean, precise, and well done. My only complaint would be that the majority of colors used are so tame that the only real pop of color comes from the roses on her tricorn hat and hip – not exactly where I’d want my eye to travel first if I was the designer.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_16_72.jpg
http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_19_72.jpg

Skin tone is nice and even throughout the figure. I hate to nit-pick, but I feel like this would have been a perfect opportunity to throw some dark nail polish on her fingertips, adding both definition and flair to the character, but perhaps that just wasn’t in the budget.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_11_72.jpg

Velvet’s hair is colored somewhere between a really dirty blonde and a light greyish brown. Here, too, I’m not sure about why the selection was made as other colors might have made her pop a little more, but it’s a nice subtle tone that doesn’t necessarily detract from the figure.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_18_72.jpg

Velvet has a lovely face with just a hint of color at her lips. Her bright blue eyes are quite nice, but tend to always reside in the shadow of her bangs.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_23_72.jpg

And of course, the treasure chest itself is a wonderful display of aged wood and brass-work – the lines are clean and the antiquing is wonderfully presented.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_display_22_72.jpg

Overall Presentation
For what I consider to be a mid-level figure, I am really pleased with how she looks sitting on the shelf. I DO wish that I had space presently to showcase her on her base, but sitting on her chest directly on the glass shelf is not bad at all. For a seated figure, she has every bit as much sass and sensuality as her standing-pose counterparts, and with that “cheeky” flirt, she’s very playful and feminine.

Though her theme (pirates) might not be easy to match to other figures in regards to displaying her, I think she fits in well enough with other confident warrior-like female figures. There’s quite a bit of confidence in her pose, and that really comes through when viewing her from a distance on the shelf. She’s almost daring you to come speak with her in the dark back corner of the pub on the wharf.

Comparisons
This isn’t an easy figure to work with when it comes to similarities, so I focused on those that offer the most compatibility in character or design.

The first comparison is Yui and her coffee cup – Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse - Takamura Yui - Skytube - 1/6 - Off Style ver. (Alphamax) -- ITEM #128855

What I like about these two figures sitting side-by-side is that they’re roughly the same size even though their scale is quite different (Velvet at 1/8 and Yui at 1/6). I like that they both have their own style of “persuasion” without it being overt, and their color palette is quite nicely complimentary.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_comp_1_72.jpg

The second comparison is with one of my favorite “laid back” figures -- Fate/Grand Order - Scáthach - 1/7 - Heyagi Mode (Alter) -- ITEM #464672

Again, the pose and attitude of the characters is so filled with quiet confidence, that I’m quite attracted to their display without the need for any blatant sensuality or nudity. They both appear comfortable in their mystique, and their muted tones offer a view based more on shape and substance than on the dazzle of accessories.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_comp_2_72.jpg

The third comparison is with one of my newest figures -- Gekijouban Sword Art Online : -Ordinal Scale- - Yuuki Asuna - 1/7 - Natsufuku (Chara-Ani, Toy's Works) -- ITEM #464805

I chose this pairing because I feel like it presents two very different mindsets on the display of a character (that I see frequently in this market). Velvet shows a much more mature, yet reserved approach to drawing attention to herself, while Asune (being just a high schooler) is displayed with more of the typical teenage excitement and enthusiasm that might draw the attention of a similarly aged boy. There is vitality in both presentations, and I like them both for different reasons, but I until this photo, I hadn’t taken the time to study the two approaches side-by-side.

http://www.happyakrz.com/anime/velvet_pirate/velvet_pirate_comp_3_72.jpg

Lessons Learned
This was really the first figure that I purchased on a whim, and while I had the cash and really liked the figure, it wasn’t at the top of my list, and therefore I felt a little “gratuitous” in the purchase. On hindsight, I’m very glad that I did reach out to the seller, because Velvet makes a great addition to my display, and there are many features about her that I really like.

I would recommend to beginning collectors to not be quite so stingy with your purchases from time to time. Perhaps throw caution to the wind and let the fates bring to your door what the wind will carry. Perhaps you’ll find yourself enjoying a treasure that you hadn’t truly noticed before.

As always, please feel free to reach out with questions or comments! I love hearing from you all!

Until next time!
549 hits • 0 like6 comments

Scores8/10

Sculpting
Painting
Posing
Base
Packaging
Enjoyment

Comments6

1pt
galablue (25 days ago) #70376439i always love that you review figures i haven't really ever seen. it's always fun spotting someone new!
i think the wood grain in the base and the chest is amazing, typically wood grain looks pretty mediocre to me. however, i kind of wish they'd done away with the black around the base and JUST had it be wood, as if she was sitting on the deck of a ship or something. the black really pulls you out of the reality.
my favorite part of this figure has to be her socks, or stockings. i just absolutely love how they frame her thighs!
thanks again for the in depth review!


I agree with you regarding her stockings! The one thing I didn't mention is that the stockings aren't just an off-white color ... they're actually a little "pearly" in tone .. there's a definite iridescent glimmer to the paint and it makes her stockings really stand out against the matte tone of her legs.

She's such an indirectly sexy character, and it's somewhat refreshing to see her be flirtatious like this -- as opposed to the ultra-overt, pelvic-thrusting style that seems to be popular as a sub-category of "flirty".
23 days ago
0pt
victorviper (25 days ago) #70377859Thanks for this review, as it's always nice to see reviews of older figures and reviews of Tony Taka figures.
It seems to me that right around the time this figure was released, Alphamax figures saw a significant increase in detail and quality.


This is an interesting aspect to figures that I've read a little bit about in the last couple of months, but because of my "new-ness" to the world of anime/manga figures, I don't have a strong knowledge of the history. It makes sense that each manufacturer has probably gone through a learning/growing process in the development of their products. I've read that some brands were really quite poor in quality until a specific artist, sculptor, or character theme came along and invigorated their audience with a high-end offering. It makes me curious to research what brands are considered the strongest, not because of their sales numbers necessarily, but because of the quality of work or superiority of the artists behind the development of the products.

Perhaps I'll offer a poll in my next review to learn what brand/manufacturer you all hold in your highest esteem.

I'm also curious to find out whether most sculptors are considered freelance, or if they sign contracts with specific brands for so many figures -- kind of like actors signing with studios for a number of films.
23 days ago
1pt
Thanks for this review, as it's always nice to see reviews of older figures and reviews of Tony Taka figures.

It seems to me that right around the time this figure was released, Alphamax figures saw a significant increase in detail and quality.
25 days ago
2pt
I'm quite impressed that the treasure box is an actual box @.@ Then again, it would be very useful to store her skirt and hat in the box without misplacing it.

My favorite is her leg (the way its crossed is very attractive) and hair sculpt )your photography really captures how pretty nice it is). I feel like the hat is pointless since it hides her hair but it adds to the pirate theme.
25 days ago
1pt
i always love that you review figures i haven't really ever seen. it's always fun spotting someone new!

i think the wood grain in the base and the chest is amazing, typically wood grain looks pretty mediocre to me. however, i kind of wish they'd done away with the black around the base and JUST had it be wood, as if she was sitting on the deck of a ship or something. the black really pulls you out of the reality.

my favorite part of this figure has to be her socks, or stockings. i just absolutely love how they frame her thighs!

thanks again for the in depth review!
25 days ago
1pt
Really interesting review... Have you compare with another figure of the actual same scale (1/8)?
25 days ago