Saturday, March 4, 2017

Figuring Out Phicen (Part 2): The Phicen M33 Male Body

Welcome to the second of three posts about the fabulous Super Flexible Phicen bodies!  I started this series with the intention of simply finding a head for a pale female Phicen body.  However, my choice of body (the S01A--which you can read about in Part 1) was far too similar to the only other Phicen body I own (the S01--which you can read about here).

So, in an effort to learn something new about Phicen, I went a little overboard and purchased a male body and two of the newest female bodies.  Today I'll take a quick look at the male body I chose, the M33:

Phicen M33 male body with an Eleven head (left), Phicen S01A female body with a Dreamer head (right).
The M33 is not the newest Phicen body available.  There have actually been five male bodies so far: the original (M30), the 2.0 (M31), the Asian skin tone (M32), the body in this review (M33) and the newest 3.0 body (M34).  I usually try to get the newest version of an action figure, but in this case the M34 was too intensely muscular for my taste.  He'd make a good superhero.

I find it interesting that while the action figure world is male-dominated (meaning that there are far more male action figures than female ones) the presence of a male body in the Phicen lineup seems special and unique.  This male body actually is unique, though, because of Phicen's seamless design approach.

The body cost me $74.99 from BigBadToyStore.  It comes in a cardboard box that's very similar to the S01A box:


There's a picture of a male figure on the front instead of a female, though, and there aren't as many options listed at the top of the box.  

While the female bodies come in several different skin tone and bust size combinations, the male bodies only come in a suntan skin tone.


This box makes it very clear that there's no head included.

The M33 body comes with three pairs of hands, two leg extenders (to make the body taller), underwear, ankle and wrist bands, and a package of male genitalia:

A package of packages.
There are three different "male secret part" options, all of which are too realistic to share on this blog.  The body will go Ken-style for the duration of the review.

He looks frustrated with my editing choice...but that's life.
I'm also not going to use the wrist or ankle bands in this review.  These are small bands of stretchy black fabric that cover the wrist and ankle joints.  I find this kind of thing a hassle to put on and take off, and I actually want to show you the joints.

Here are the extras that I will use:

Leg extenders, extra hands, underwear.
After having just reviewed the S01A female body, it was striking to me how heavy and solid this body felt the first time I lifted it out of the packaging.  The limbs, in particular, are significantly thicker than the female limbs.

Phicen M33 male body.
The physique of this body is certainly muscular, but it's a very attractive mold.  I especially like the back:

Phicen M33 male body.
The whole body is coated in a fine white power that keeps it from being too sticky.

I like the style of the boxer briefs that come with this body...although they tend to be spotted with the white body powder.  The briefs are made out of stretchy black fabric and have a simple applied white waistband:

review

The briefs were given tiny little hemmed edges, but the edges were glued in place--not sewn--and the glue didn't stick.  So now all of the edges look unfinished.

I tried to tuck them under for most of the pictures, like this:


But you might notice a few pictures with ragged edges, like this:


The body comes wearing fisted hands, but I wanted to swap those out for a more relaxed pose.  The hands are easy to pull off the stainless steel skeleton:


Here are all of the different hand options:


There's a pair of fisted hands, a pair of gripping hands, and a pair of relaxed hands:


All of the hands are flecked with some skin texturing that looks strange up-close:


These spots are hard to see at normal magnification.  


Because I have nothing for the hands to grip, I chose the relaxed hand shape for each side of the body:


The first thing I did with this body was find it a head.  Finding a head for a male Phicen body is a lot simpler than finding a head for a female body.  The male body was designed with a suntan skin tone specifically because most male action figures have a suntan skin tone.

I was still concerned about getting the head to fit onto the body, though, and because I know very little about purchasing heads for actions figures, I chose my heads by using the technologically advanced method of typing "Phicen male head" into the eBay search window.  There were plenty of options, and I purchased my favorite two.

The first head was listed as "unbranded" and came from China.  The auction referred to it as A-04.  It came packaged in a simple zip bag with no identifying marks:


The head came with a neck, too, which would allow it to be used on a different style of body:


The head is meant to be Chris Redfield from Resident Evil (I love those video games--especially Resident Evil 5).  I think he's made by MCToys, but it's really hard to figure out the manufacturer on some of these heads.

1:6 Chris Redfield head, $24.99

The neck region of this head is really odd-looking.  The jaw and the hairline meet together in a very abrupt angle right under the ear:


The head has some light freckling and a molded and shaded beard area:


The eyes on this head are very small, and it's hard to tell what color they are in person.  I had to use strategic lighting and a zoom lens to figure out that they're a dark teal blue:


Like the female heads, this head has a neck connector that can be removed:


However, this neck connector did not easily fit onto the Phicen body:


Furthermore, the skin tone match is not very good:

What?  I think I look fine!
I probably could have softened the neck connector and gotten this head into place, but the color match isn't great and--as much as I like Chris Redfield--I don't like the overall appearance of this head, especially in profile.

You're not even going to try??
So (sorry Chris) I set this head aside and moved on.

I was eager to try the second head I bought.  This head is by Eleven and cost $29.89.  It came nicely-packaged in a white box:


The box opens with a magnetic latch and is fully-padded on the inside:


It's Paul Rudd!


Having just watched Ant Man (and caught Mr. Rudd's cameo on Parks and Recreation), this head was very appealing to me.  I love the expression:


The Paul Rudd head comes with a different kind of neck adapter (which I did not need to use).

The quality of this head is great, and he has a ton of personality.  When he's in the room--with a body or without--it's hard not to talk to him.  It's become typical for my family to greet this head with an affectionate, fake-exasperated sigh, "Oh, Paul Rudd."

He's very engaging:

1:6 Paul Rudd head by Eleven.
Not only does Paul have a wry, lopsided smile, but his whole head mold is realistically asymmetrical:


The neckline of this head is much more natural than it was on the Chris Redfield head, too:


The only part of the mold that looks strange is the back of the head.  This region has thick clumps of hair that look more like a flower than a cowlick:


The facial features are great, though.  Paul has finely-freckled skin and molded stubble that's very realistically shaded:

review


His eyes are deep green and even have minuscule iris lines:


Here's a slightly better shot:


Paul has a removable neck connector inside his head:


This piece looks a lot like Chris' ill-fitting connector:

Eleven neck connector, MCToys neck connector.
Paul's neck connector does not fit inside the Chris Redfield head, though, which I found interesting.

Let's see if Paul's neck connector fits onto the Phicen body!

Gratuitous muscle shot.
It does!


The skin tone and size look pretty great, too!

Phicen M33 body with Paul Rudd head by Eleven.
The head is actually a better match for this body than the hands are:



I have to say, I love this combination.

Oh, Paul Rudd.
I didn't actually intend to do a full review of the Phicen male body when I first purchased it (it was meant to be more of a prop for the female bodies), but let me at least walk you through some of the basic posing possibilities...because this figure is incredible.

The head can rotate around the ball joint at the top of the body:


But there's also a ball joint near the shoulders that allows the whole neck to bend in any direction:

For better or for worse.

The shoulders have ball joints that allow the arms to move forwards and backwards or up and down.  This action is not as obvious in the male body as it was in the female body--only because the skin-like covering on the arms is so much thicker with the male design.


The arms can lift straight up and rotate round--limited only by the constraints of the thick skin.


The arms look really long to me when Paul is waving:


But they look great when he's flexing his muscles.


I think the skin bends and creases in a very realistic way most of the time:


For example, look at the little crease just under the shoulder--and the little wrinkles at the elbow:


Sometimes the skin does not behave in a realistic way, though.  For instance, when I tried this dramatic pose on Paul...


Look at what happened to his right arm:

Plastic Man!
Somehow the whole sleeve of skin got twisted around.  Paul had to sit down and figure out what was going on.

Don't sit like that, Paul Rudd.
After a lot of twisting and manipulating, the skin was finally back in the correct position:


Notice in the picture, above, that there's no sign of the metal armature poking through at Paul's elbow.  The skin is significantly thicker on this body than it was on the S01A body, making the entire design feel more durable and high-quality.

However, I have to amend my statement a little after posing this body for the entire review.  While Paul's elbow skin is definitely thicker than it is on the female body, I can still feel the metal armature poking out whenever the elbow is bent.

Paul's arm articulation is excellent, and he can even touch his head and face (although he should probably keep those hands away from his face because of the poor color match):


There's a joint inside the torso that allows Paul to do trunk twists:


The skin makes this position look very realistic from the back...but not so much from the front:


The torso joint also allows Paul to bend forwards and backwards at the waist:


Bending forward causes his washboard abs to fold pretty naturally:

Is he about to punch something on the ground, though??
There's asymmetry in the skin of Paul's body in this region.  Notice how his belly puckers much more on the right side than it does on the left: 


It looks like the skin is stuck on something inside the figure.


Paul can also bend to the side and touch his toes:


Which looks quite realistic:


Paul has ball-jointed hips and knees that give his legs an incredible range of motion.  He can do full splits in either direction:



And in fact his legs can bend beyond what is required for splits:



The skin covering on his legs even has little veins molded into it:


The knees can flex well past 90 degrees--again, only inhibited by the constraints of the thick skin:


Paul looks very relaxed in this position:

Oh, Paul.
In theory, Paul's leg articulation will allow him to sit on the ground in a number of different positions, but for some reason I was unable to find a pose that looked natural:

Um...no.
Better?
The feet attach to the armature with a ball-and-socket connection.  There's an obvious gap in this region, which is probably why the body comes with ankle covers:



The feet do not match the body very well.  The speckled paint on the feet is also more subtle than what we saw on the hands.  The mold of the feet is nice, though, with highly detailed toes:


One of the things that makes this body so fun to pose is that it's very solid and can balance on its own in a huge variety of positions.  I took a few minutes to play with the articulation and snap a few more photos of what Paul can do.

He can run:

See Paul run!
He can do a bridge:


He can do this...

Surfing?  Skateboarding? ...Dancing?
He can protect himself from alien invaders:


Or do more mundane things like crunches:

Not mundane when Paul does them, though.
He can recite Shakespeare...


...which looks even better from the back:


Or he can just lounge around and look muscular and coy:

Oh, Paul.
I even tried a Thinker-style pose, which might be my favorite:


The Phicen body with a head is slightly shorter than a Ken doll:

Texas A&M Ken, Phicen M33 with Paul Rudd head.
But the body is significantly bulkier and about five times as heavy:

Texas A&M Ken, Phicen M33 with Paul Rudd head.
There are a lot of differences in the proportions of these two dolls, but the contrast in neck length really stands out to me.

Paul has the option of snapping on some leg extenders:

Phicen M33 leg extenders.
These are hard to get on (I had to put them in boiling water for a minute) and they make the ankle joints look even more bizarre:




But with the extenders, Paul is about the same height as Ken:

Texas A&M Ken, Phicen M33 with leg extenders.
Texas A&M Ken, Phicen M33 with leg extenders.
With the leg extenders on, Paul is a little taller than a Disney Store male figure.  Here he is with Kit from Disney's Cinderella and the Prince live action set:

Kit looks nervous...
Maybe he should be?
Without the extenders, Kit is taller than Paul:

But still scared of him.
As an aside: I had a really hard time getting the leg extenders off.  I had to soak Paul's legs in boiling water for several minutes, and then I used pliers to pull the extenders off.  I broke one of the extenders in the process.  I don't care too much about this since I prefer the shorter version of Paul, but it was still frustrating.

Neither Ken nor Kit's clothes fit Paul.  Kit's larger outfit had a better chance of working, but the pants can't get past Paul's muscular thighs...


And the sleeves of the jacket can't accommodate the biceps.

I'm too sexy for this shirt.
Kit's absurdly large boots do fit...

Paul in Boots.
...but when I tried to removed the boots, Paul's feet popped off and got stuck inside.  I eventually had to rip the vinyl of the boots to get the feet out.  Sigh.

Since I purchased the Phicen body primarily to act as a prop for the Phicen females, let's take a look at Paul with Nora:

Phicen M33 and S01A bodies.
Nora looked pale on her own, but next to Paul she looks like a radioactive ghost.  

There are some other glaring differences between these two as well.  First of all, Paul's weight and balance is so amazing, Nora seems fragile and floppy next to him.  Her arms, in particular, are stick-thin and featureless when compared to Paul's well-sculpted muscles.

In fact Paul's balance is so good, he can stand on his own while holding Nora:

Toy Box Philosopher


Toy Box Philosopher

I thought Nora was pretty realistic when I was looking at her in comparison to the other female heads, but Paul's dark coloring and facial shading make her look much more like a doll:


I did grow accustomed to looking at these two together, though.  They're pretty cute:

Toy Box Philosopher

I like that they're about the same height...


...unless Paul is wearing the leg extenders, in which case he's quite a bit taller:

It would help if she didn't have gummy feet.
Looking at Nora in this elegant Super Duck dress, I really wish I had some clothes for Paul to wear!


Bottom line?  I like the M33 male Phicen body significantly more than I like the female S01A body.  There's really no contest.  The male body is heavy, durable, well-balanced, realistic...and has the same incredible jointing and flexibility that distinguish the female body.  Furthermore, Eleven's charismatic Paul Rudd head sculpt brings the M33 body to life in a way that none of the female heads were able to do.  It's like the head was made for this particular body.  Overall, this combination of head and body make an outstanding action figure--easily my new favorite doll in the genre.

After handling the M33 body, my wish was for a female Phicen body that could match the male body in terms of balance (the ability to stand on its own), durability (thicker skin coverings) and realism (better skin tone and shading).  In the next--and last--installment of Figuring out Phicen, I'll look at the 6th generation Phicen female bodies and see how many of these wishes come true.

Phicen M33 body with Eleven's Paul Rudd head, Phicen S01A body with Dreamer's Asian head...
a.k.a. Paul and Nora.

34 comments:

  1. Wow, they look perfect together! What do you think of the first EAH Comic Con doll, Cerise Wolf? And have you seen the bottoms of Project MC2 shoes? They are crazy!
    -Genya

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  2. Woah! He's incredible! Amazing review as always! A male Phicen body wasn't on my wishlist, but now it is! I simply have to see if they make a Chris Evans Captain America head!

    Will you be finding some clothes for poor Paul? And, if so, will you be showing those off in the next review?

    Side note, it seems that your particular Paul Rudd face-sculpt was modeled after this particular headshot of him. The expression is exact!:
    https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQxJ_ep7nZ2Do_SH5tv-GfSIBqmpO5zJT3gahin356sL0s1l9cuSPGgJYI

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they do make a Chris Evans Captain America head from more than one manufacturer, including Hot Toys.

      Delete
  3. Hello friend when a foot gets stuck in a boot, do not cut it, put the boot in hot water to soften and then fold it until the skin comes out, I step with lammily a foot that was caught in a ken. Let's see if you can understand me so use the google translator because I do not know enough English to comment.

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  4. Thanks for a great review, Emily. Looking at these I can also see they'd be great models for artists.
    I hope you find him some clothes and footwear.

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  5. "There are three different "male secret part" options, all of which are too realistic to share on this blog."

    *runs to google*

    Oh wow. WOW. Um...wow. I'm somewhat impressed, actually.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, curiosity got the better of me, too. I don't see at all why any doll needs to go that realistic. I doubt anyone will be displaying them in that state of undress, anyway, and this body definitely crosses a line from "artistic" to "creepy". At least that...feature...is optional.

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    2. You know those times when you can apply the "curiosity killed the cat"?
      I think I lost some life back there.

      Delete
    3. Dmitry, there are people who pose dolls in explicit poses for various, uh, reasons. I'm actually now surprised that the female bodies don't have labia.

      I'm far more amused than I should be right now.

      Delete
    4. There is a Phicen female body that does have that level of detail, actually. It came up when I went on Google to see exactly what was in that male parts bag. Obviously if plastic genitalia bothers you then it's not a good idea to go looking...

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    5. I wasn't going to look it up, but now.......

      Delete
  6. OMG, did you noice how the shape of some of those hands, and the upward-erect genitalia could be posed to, uh... Holy cow.

    "Because I have nothing for the hands to grip"

    I can't say it, but I'y dying inside from this laughter I'm holding in. Some days I'm 12 years old. :D

    The first head mold looks so strange on the body that it look photoshopped. The second looks so realistic that it's hard to look away. I want one of these now!

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  7. Because the shading of the head is so much more realistic compared the body, every single picture makes it looks like Paul's face has been photoshopped on. XD

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    Replies
    1. I thought it was when I saw the first pic. :D

      Delete
  8. I too love Mr. Rudd back from the "Clueless" and "Friends" days. The body is too ripped for my taste but I like the head and it's a good match for the body. It's a pity you ruined the boots. I thought it was common knowledge that dolls with ankle joints must always wear socks with all shoes except sandals. Fishnet socks are easy to make and have basically no bulk. They don't have to come out of the top of the boot to serve the purpose.
    Anyway, it was an interesting review. I can't wait for the last part. By the way, if you dig military fashion, I'm pretty sure the <2$ Chinese uniforms fit bulky men like this one. I got one for my Ken because I liked the trousers, but the jacket, as I expected, is way too loose. They are surprisingly realistic and well made with tiny snaps and real pleated pockets with flaps.

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  9. Hi again Emily. I found this site that shows the steel armature inside your Phicen and thought you might like to see it.

    http://figurehobbyclub.tw/forum/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=16469

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  10. 'It's become typical for my family to greet this head with an affectionate, fake-exasperated sigh, "Oh, Paul Rudd."'

    I love your family, oh my god.

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  11. "Because I have nothing for the hands to grip"
    Yeah, about that...it seems one of the extra parts is a perfect erm..."grip" for those hands. Don't get me wrong, the guy looks handsome, except maybe when he sits on the floor monkey style, but come on. Do we reaaaally need those extra three parts? Or at least the one that's looking lovingly at the moon?

    Anyways. I don't think I'll get any of these anytime soon, but at least, if I ever get one, I know how to handle her/him thanks to you. As always, great review!

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    Replies
    1. LOL! I'm not the only one who thought this. Now I don't feel so pervy for mentioning it above. :D

      Delete
    2. Is okay. We didn't make those extra parts. Also, ebay must be a party when people want to sell those.

      Delete
  12. Dangit woman, I take offence to your skin tone shaming! I am abusively pale and I'll have you know I'm well aware of how absurdly glowing I am in nearly any level of light! I once even provided light to see in a black out ;D
    Lol It's the only thing I think of when you mention a doll being "too pale" XD I assure you there are some, like myself, that enjoy seeing a doll that isn't tanned all the time forever.
    As for the dolls themselves I really like the idea of armature and the super cool flexibility but in the end I find their realism a bit odd and needless since you either leave them naked to see the detail or just cover it all up in clothes anyway? Maybe I just don't get the deal with action figures XD
    I adore the Paul Rudd face though, he's got so much character!

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    Replies
    1. I have the same thing(super pale skin)! I usually prefer tan dolls though because the pale ones look less realistic. I've never 'met' anyone else that glows in the dark too ;)
      -Genya

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    2. I'm waiting for the day that a doll is as pale as I am, but doesn't look fake. When I take selfies, I usually put them through an editing program to make colors more vibrant so I don't look so pale. My only real gripe is that foundation doesn't some in a shade pale enough, and yes, I've gone to Sephora and Ulta and challenged them to color-match me. World. Over.

      Delete
    3. I also have quite pale skin, and if I'm under any color that's not white, I turn into that color! :D
      I mean, who doesn't want to see someone with sickly green skin?

      Delete
  13. "A package of packages."

    I snorted. ��

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  14. Another very thorough review! I though I commented on the previous Phicen post, but I don't see it there. Anyway, I own 6 of the male Phicen bodies. I have the M30, M31 (3), M32 and M34. I do not own an M33, but do have one on order. I have been able to find clothing to fit all of them except for M34 because of his extreme muscularity. I do really like these bodies albeit they are quite expensive. The realism of their bodies is just too hard to pass on completely, but much of my male action figures have the COOModel Tall bodies. This body is much more reasonably priced and is a very nice body. Since they also have an African skintone, it offers some versatility. I also like the World Box bodies that have recently been announced and have 2 of those on preorder. World Box also has African and Caucasian skintones. None of the Phicen male bodies can wear Ken pants, but there are a few shirts from Ken that they can wear. I have a variety of jeans and dress pants made for action figures that can be worn on the Phicen bodies except for M34. I may have to make him some pants!

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  15. "Oh Paul Rudd"

    Lol! I think his head is a perfect match for the body. In an odd way, he and Nora are very striking together, especially when he was holding her bridal style! I told myself when you did your very first Phicen review that I would not buy one! All the flaws made it easier not to, but Paul and Nora look so gorgeous I'm going to have to hide my credit card!

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  16. Wow, Paul's new body makes Nora's look almost shabby by comparison. Noodle arms, gummy feet... the only thing Nora has over Paul is clothing and rooted hair!

    I wonder if the older (80s) style Ken shirts/pants would fit Paul? They're quite a bit bigger than the modern stuff.

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  17. Wow! Never thought I'd want one of these, but dang, I want a Paul!

    Granted, I don't know what I'd do with him, as he matches absolutely nothing in my collection (I collect very unrealistic and doll-like dolls, so this hyper-realistic doll is the polar opposite of my usual aesthetic), but he is such a cool toy. He looks impressively alive and has such personality. And he's very handsome too, of course.

    Thanks for the review! I always enjoy your thoroughness and sense of humor - and the pictures of Paul trying to fit into the other doll's clothes made me laugh. Perhaps he needs to steal clothes from a Gaston doll, to accommodate his huge muscles?

    When I was a lad
    I ate four dozen eggs
    Ev'ry morning to help me get large
    And now that I'm grown
    I eat five dozen eggs
    So I'm roughly the size of a barge!

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  18. Oh my god. I fell in love with Paul. He is so charismatic! Thank you for the review!.

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  19. Great review! Have you heard of the Fashion Victims line? They're a subset of the Living Dead Dolls, and I believe they have a similar armature, if you're interested

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  20. WOW this is a great male body, and he looks good with your female. I'm really looking forward to seeing the third installment!

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  21. The phicen bodies are so nicely made but I always wish the shade range was a lot better and your link back to the cinderella review just reminded me a) how much I want disney to redo their male bodies b) work on their head scaling and c) how for $70 these 2 packs really should have wrist, elbow and knee articulation. If the playline counterparts can do it for cheaper then they definitely can.

    Any plans to do the BatB dolls? I don't see it for it for a variety of reasons but some of the dolls are at least interesting to look at.

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.