Sunday, October 22, 2017

LARA CROFT and the Temple of Osiris - Gaming Heads Tomb Raider Statue

It's been an incredibly long wait, but the new Gaming Heads Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Tomb Raider statue is a real beauty! I originally pre-ordered this in 2015, cancelled that pre-order, re-pre-ordered from a different site, and then subsequently cancelled that pre-order as well. When I saw that the statue was finally released, two years later, and was largely sold-out, I had instant "cancellation remorse" and tried to find a place that was still taking orders. Luckily, my go-to site got a re-stock and I jumped on it. Ten days later, the most expensive collectible I have ever bought made it to my which point I promptly dropped the giant box down the stairs! I'm thrilled to report that neither the statue nor its box were damaged in any way, and this statue looks amazing on my shelf...
Advertised as a 1/4 scale statue, this version of Lara is in scale with the previous Gaming Heads "Survivor" statue release (though that one stands significantly taller because of the difference in poses of the two pieces). The pictures tell the story better than I possibly could. The pose is dynamic and seemingly gravity-defying (she's held very securely in place via a peg in each foot). She looks amazing from nearly every angle, though with her chin tilted downward and her arms stretched out before her, getting a good look at her face can be a little tricky.

The sculpt is terrific, with lots of different textures giving the viewer plenty to take in and enjoy. Starting at the base and working our way up, Lara comes on a thick circular disc base measuring 11" across and 2" high. There's a "hieroglyphics" themed rock section sandwiched between 2 frames of dark brown. The glyphs are carved nicely and are not repetitive, while the material is mottled with darker spots, giving it a "sandy" look. The top of the base is designed to look like the floor of a tomb of some sort. A medium sized rock protrudes from the ground to Lara's right, and she appears to be leaping from the outcropping beneath her boots. An ancient column juts from the sand behind her right leg. The column has some hieroglyphs, as well, and golden scroll work. Darker airbrush sprays give the ground an added layer of depth. It's a beautiful and quite substantial base, which accomplishes both the tasks of holding the statue securely, as well as framing it as a moment in time quite well. There are small raised pads underneath, as well as the necessary information and edition size. My one issue with the base is the same as it is with the overall statue, and it's a difficult one to articulate: the sculpt is gorgeous and is nicely detailed, while at the same time appearing slightly "soft". What I mean is that there a plenty of details, and they are sculpted in, but they are not sharply delineated. So, for instance, the places where the rocks protrude from the sand should be sharp and clear, rather than looking like they are all connected, with a bit of paint to set them apart. I feel like this is the case with the entire statue. Where the shorts meet her thighs, or where her holster straps wrap, all look like one part of the same piece, rather than as separate items layered on a person. It's a very small nit, and really doesn't detract from the overall look of the statue, but it is noticeable on close inspection.

The sculpt and paintwork on the figure itself are simply gorgeous. The boots are amazing, with four or five different greys and browns chosen carefully to highlight different sections of the boots. The tiny buckles are done in gloss black, while the rest is matte. That's the level of care that was put into these! There's a speckling of dirt or mud around the soles. The thick socks underneath add another layer of texture and of color. Her skin is absent of texture, and is completely smooth. It's got a nice coloration to it, with some additional airbrushing to add some depth. The holsters have a very subtle leathery texture to them, but them the cargo shorts have none, with just the wrinkles to give them some realism. The top is a beautiful color, with a ribbed texture (that, again, could have been just a touch sharper), and the highlighting paintwork here is great.

Lara's arms are tipped at slightly different angles, which looks both realistic and eye-catching. There's an ever-so-subtle hint of her triceps muscles, but I feel like the dimples at her elbow aren't anatomically accurate. The dual pistols are, quite honestly, disappointing, and are the weakest aspect of the statue for me. They are painted fine, with a mostly silver slide and black overlays, but there's nearly a complete lack of detail: the slides are entirely smooth, with a couple of protrusions to represent the hammer, sights and such. Even the barrels are not bored out. Mezco does better with firearms in a 1:12 scale for 1/5 the price.

And then, there's the head. It pops into place securely with a very strong magnet at the base of the neck. The fit is so perfect that it's nearly impossible to tell it's a separate piece once it's in place. The hair actually has some of the sharpest detail of the entire statue, with strands sculpted in throughout. I like the way the ponytail is sweeping to the side, adding to the illusion of motion, but the bangs don't look quite right to me. They are very long, and seem too thick in relation to the rest of the hair. The face is beautiful, with sharp paint applications to the eyes and lips. The eyes themselves have a light gloss applied to give them a wet look, and there are very fine lashes applied below. The brows are stern, and there's a bit of mascara above the eyes. The forehead is slightly pinched between the eyebrows, giving her a determined expression. I do find the reddish spray around the eyes, at the high cheekbones, and lower forehead, to be too strong. Lara comes off looking like she hasn't had enough sleep. That said, it's still a terrific sculpt and really completes the statue nicely.

Statues are intended as art. To me, that means something that causes a viewer joy and amazement, along with the potential for new discoveries, each time they view it. Personally, I think that's a tall order, and would wager that the majority of collectibles fall short of that standard. Gaming Heads' Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris statue is a beautiful addition to any Tomb Raider collection. There's plenty of detail to warrant return visits on the shelf. The pose is striking, the sculpt is excellent, and the paintwork is impeccable. There are a few flaws, as would be expected with any mass-produced item, but the overall look shows care and professionalism. I like the final product more than their earlier "Survivor" statue, as I feel it comes closer in final form to the prototype than that statue did, and I like the face sculpt more on this one, as well. Together, they make a striking pair! I hope to see Gaming Heads continue their work on the Tomb Raider license, and pray we don't have to wait another 3 years to see it!

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