Regardless of distractions, I do read every comment on the blog, and I have to say: you guys are hysterical. The banter about Paul and his "bits and pieces" from the last review made my entire week. Aria, your thread made me laugh out loud more than once. I'll admit to having the same fixation on finally seeing the Phicen secret parts. And Alina_Mau: my apologies to you and our other day-glow pale sisters for all of the skin tone shaming. In my defense, I don't even know what a tan is. There's pale and then there's burned...right?
I'm afraid there will be even more skin tone discrimination in this review, though, because--spoilers--a Phicen suntan body found its way into my house and totally stole the show:
|Phicen 6th Generation S17B Super Flexible body (suntan) with Kimi's Amanda Seyfried head.|
After I discovered how similar the S01A female body is to the S01 body, I went nuts and purchased both of Phicen's 6th generation female bodies--hoping to see something different. These new bodies are advertised as having slightly different proportions and more realistic skin tones than the previous models.
They come in boxes that look exactly like the older boxes, though:
The first body I'll show you is the pale mid-bust version, S16A:
In fact, both of the 6th generation bodies have the smaller bust size. I definitely prefer this shape.
Unlike the S01A body, the S16A comes with extra hands, extra feet and a bikini swimsuit:
Here's everything out of the box:
The bikini is basically a few pieces of string with little strips of fabric sewn in:
I didn't even bother to try and tie this onto the body. Those strings are a hassle and the strips of fabric aren't going to cover very much, anyway.
The body comes wearing flat plastic feet, and there's an extra pair of fashion feet included in the box:
There are also four extra hands:
One of the left hands is in a pointing position, and I think the pointing finger looks odd. The crooked fingertip makes me think of a witch:
|You and your little dog, too!|
These hands are the same as the hands that came with the S01 body, but there's no fingernail polish on the newer hands. I'm happy about this change.
Here's the S16A body next to the S01A:
|Phicen S16A body (left) and S01A body (right).|
The new body is definitely more slender through the waist, but I can't see much of a difference in the skin tones. The S16A is every bit as pale as the older body...perhaps even more pale, if that's possible. It's also slightly more pink than yellow (?), but I have to say that I can't see any of these color subtleties in person. Both bodies have the same strange shading on their bellies and knees, that's for sure.
In profile, it's also clear that the S16A has a higher, more rounded bottom:
|Phicen S16A body (left) and S01A body (right).|
Overall, I'd say the body comes across as being more toned--athletic, perhaps. I like how the S16A body has shorter arms. This makes the arms look more muscular and less noodly.
The two bodies look quite different from the back:
|Phicen S16A body (left) and S01A body (right).|
The best thing about the new body, though? It can balance on its own! The flat plastic feet are an enormous improvement over the gummy feet of the S01A.
I assumed that Nora's pale Dreamer head would fit just as well on the new body as it did on the S01A...
|The new body is holding Nora up with that one hand.|
However, while the skin tone match is still great, this head does not fit the S16A body as well as it fits the S01A:
The heads looks large to me, and it also sits too low on the neck.
It's a good thing that Nora already has a body.
Astrid's DSToys head is still not a great color match for the pale skin tone...although the size of this head is about perfect for the body:
|DSToys head on Phicen S16A body.|
Maybe the new S16A body will belong to Kiley, my Super Duck head?
|Super Duck head on Phicen S16A body.|
I'm not crazy about Kiley's face or overall quality, though, and the head doesn't align very naturally with the neck.
|This picture makes me uncomfortable.|
Perhaps my search for a Phicen pale head will continue after this series ends...which is funny because that's exactly how it began.
I also purchased the S17B body, which is the suntan version of the S16A:
I wish I understood Phicen's labeling system better. I've learned that the "S" indicates a stainless steel armature. The number (16, 17) identifies the skin tone...but the "A" and "B?" I have no idea what those mean. As far as I know there's no difference between these two bodies other than their skin tone.
Like the S16A, the S17B comes with extra hands, extra feet...and a stringy black bikini.
Here are the two bodies together:
|Phicen S17B (left) and S16A (right) bodies.|
There's a pretty clear difference in skin tone:
|Phicen S17B (left) and S16A (right) bodies.|
The S17B has a greyish cast to it in my opinion, especially when it's paired with certain heads.
I bought the S17B specifically for the Emma Watson head that you might remember from Part 1. I figured Emma's head wouldn't match the pale S01A body, but I wanted this head for a different reason: both the Disney Store and Hasbro have come out with live action Beauty and the Beast Belle dolls, but I can't say that I'm blown away by either option (at least not at this point--I still need to de-box and review them). So, I wanted the Emma Watson head as an alternative...preferably with a matching body.
Unfortunately the S17B is not that body:
Emma's yellow-toned head makes the S17B looks especially grey:
Although the coloring of the body is definitely more realistic than the coloring of the head.
So, I either have to abort this particular mission or find Emma another body. Bummer.
The S17B is a decent match for the Astrid head, though, which was a nice surprise:
It's certainly not a perfect match (the head is yellower than the body) but it's pretty convincing in person.
I'd still give this head a 2 on the Headless Horseman test:
Let's just say that out of my leftover heads from Part 1, Astrid's head is the best match for this body:
Remember that one of my loose ends with this review series was that I'd failed to purchase heads from two well-known action figure companies: Kumik and Kimi. I also wanted to see how similar the Kumik Avril Lavigne head was to my Astrid.
So, I purchased Kumik's Avril Lavigne head and an Amanda Seyfried head from Kimi.
Let's look at the Kumik head first. I bought it from Bubbly_Bubble (my new favorite head source) for $33.50. It arrived in a colorful cardboard box:
The head was protected by a hollowed foam block:
I was surprised to see the head come out of the packaging in two pieces. The hair and the face are not connected:
There's some putty included, too, which is presumably to attach the hair to the face. This reminds me a lot of BJDs.
I was also surprised to see the color of this face. The skin tone is almost the same color as the golden blonde hair:
|Kumik Avril Lavigne head.|
The back of the head is uneven and messy-looking:
There's a crosshatch pattern on one side of the head (but not the other) and the whole shape is very crudely-sculpted:
The face is attractive, but the painting is nowhere near as nice as it is on some of the other heads I've looked at:
The eyebrows do not have any hair detail and the eyes themselves have some wobbly lines and missing patches of paint. My head even has a hair painted into one eye:
The edges of the mouth paint are also ragged:
The back of the head is made out of flexible vinyl. The hair is stitched into the scalp--and it looks very dense:
Indeed, the rooting pattern is quite nice for a head of this size, and the hair fiber feels soft and smooth.
I pinned the hair back so that you could see how the hair fits onto the front of the head:
On the right side, the hair fits pretty well, with a gap towards the neck and another gap at the top of the head:
The gap at the top of the head is caused by the fact that the left side of the hair does not fit into the front of the head very well at all. If you look at the head, you can see that the groove behind the ear is much shallower on the left side:
Which means that the hair piece doesn't fit all of the way into the groove:
This design leaves a huge gap along the seam...and another big gap at the back of the head:
The vinyl on the hair piece is soft enough that it can be cut, though, so I trimmed the edges in order to get a slightly better fit--just enough so that the head would stay together for a few pictures.
Here's Avril's head all put together:
|Kumik Avril Lavigne head.|
Her eyes are wonky, with the left eye gazing up and off to the side:
This is not an unattractive face, but the color is just ridiculously golden. It's like she's been bronzed.
I think this is the same mold as my Astrid head, but the coloring makes the two characters look very different!
|Kumik Avril Lavigne head (left), DSToys head (right).|
First of all, the paint quality and level of detail is vastly superior on Astrid's head. Also, Astrid's skin tone is much more realistic.
But when the heads are side-by-side, it's pretty clear that they have the same underlying features:
The nose and chin are especially distinct:
Also, Avril has the same weird bulging eye that Astrid has:
And they have the same ear mold:
I knew that there was no way that the Avril head was going to match any of the Phicen bodies I own...but I attached it to my S17B (suntan) body anyway:
She looks like some kind of gilded ant-woman alien.
Not only are the skin tones fundamentally different, but the head doesn't even fit onto the neck very well.
The hair doesn't help the situation:
There's pretty much nothing about this head that I like. So let's move along.
Here's the Kimi head:
This head is also from Bubbly_Bubble. It cost $39.50. It came in a very nice blue heavyweight cardboard box with a white label.
Again, the head itself was protected by a hollowed piece of foam:
I think this head is really beautiful...much like the actress it's modeled after:
|Kimi Amanda Seyfried head.|
It's not a perfect replica of Ms. Seyfried (in fact, I kept mis-remembering and thinking I'd bought the similar Evan Rachel Wood head...), but I can definitely see the resemblance.
Here's Amanda with her hair brushed:
Her face and hair fit nicely together, with a narrow, even seam:
Amanda's hair feels synthetic--a lot like Nora's hair. She also has a large bald patch at the back of her head:
The hair feels nice and thick, though. I just wish this head had the hair quality of the Avril Lavigne head.
I pulled the hair back so that we could get a clearer look at the face:
The head has large eyes (a distinguishing feature of Ms. Seyfried) but the eyes are quite dark:
Amanda Seyfried has very pale green eyes, and these eyes are mostly back with a hint of pale green in the middle:
The paint quality is nice, though. The eyebrows have fine detail and the iris paint is crisp and clean. The eyelashes are too thick for the scale of the head, but they look ok:
The mouth paint is not quite as good. I like the color of the lips, but there's some messy-looking shadowing...and a hair painted into the mouth:
Amanda's neck connector looked familiar, so I assumed it would fit onto the Phicen body:
I tried the neck connector on the pale S16A body first. It fits over the stainless steel ball, but it's very loose and flops around a lot:
It also causes the head to sit up very high on the neck:
|Kimi head on Phicen S16A body.|
I was disappointed by this fit. Not only does the head flop around and sit up too high, but the skin tone match is bad:
However...I tried the head on the suntan S17B body, and it's a near-perfect match!
|Kimi head on Phicen S17B body.|
I'd give it a 1 on the Headless Horseman test:
|Doesn't get much better than that.|
This head matches the S17B body even better than Astrid's head:
In fact, the comparison makes Astrid look quite yellow.
Despite the excellent skin tone match, the Amanda head still doesn't physically fit on the Phicen body very well. I don't really understand the cause for this ill-fit. It looks for all the world like Amanda's head should fit as well (if not better) than the Astrid head. See how nicely the neck connector is tucked up inside Amanda's head?
However, this neck connector leaves a gap between the head and neck...and causes the head to easily flop forwards or backwards:
Amanda's head with her own neck connector.
If I swap Amanda's neck connector into Astrid's head, the fit and floppiness are even worse:
Astrid's head with Amanda's neck connector.
Astrid's neck connector works pretty well on Amanda's head...or at least the floppiness is gone. The head still sits a tad too high on the neck, though:
Amanda's head with Astrid's neck connector.
And, in fact, the fit is better than it is with Astrid. Astrid's head has a larger gap above the neck:
Astrid's head with her own neck connector.
But for some reason (probably because Astrid's head is smaller overall) the head doesn't look as high on the neck from the front.
There's clearly an issue with the neck connector that came with Amanda's head. It might be a fixable problem, but I haven't figured it out yet.
In any case, Amanda looks ok with Astrid's neck connector from some angles...
But from other angles the ill-fitting head is glaring:
I think Amanda's head actually looks best when it's set onto the Phicen body without any neck connector at all. It doesn't stay in place like this, though:
|Amanda's head with no neck connector!|
I was able to balance the head in place without the neck connector so that I could take a few pictures for you:
I think that this is a great head/body combination. I'll have to work on a way of connecting the head.
Even though Amanda's head is a better match for the Phicen S17B body than Astrid's head...
...I really love the Astrid head. She has fabulous red hair (which hides any neck connection problems) and a delightfully moody face:
For now, Astrid is the proud owner of the S17B body.
And what about that S17B body? Well, it's really fun to pose. I prefer using the flat feet for Astrid because they allow her to balance so well, but in some poses the flat feet look clumsy:
And the fashion feet offer a more elegant alternative:
I was hoping that the fashion feet would fit into the Super Duck shoes that came with this black dress...
But, alas, they're way too small.
Until I can find some good shoes for the fashion feet, they're not much use to me. I mean, Astrid can stand up on her own using the fashion feet...but it looks awkward and her balance is poor.
Once I decided on a head for the S17B body, I wanted to pose it with the irresistible Paul Rudd (from Part 2 of this series). I had hoped to find some clothing in my house that would fit him, but the best I could do was this trench coat from Hot Toys' Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike:
The coat makes Paul look a little sketchy, if you ask me. Like a flasher or something.
If Captain Underpants wasn't already a thing...it would be after that picture.
So, alas, Paul was forced to pose with Astrid in his underwear:
|She doesn't mind.|
I love that both of these bodies are so sturdy and well-balanced.
In fact, Astrid is so sturdy that she can balance on her own while holding Paul...and he's really heavy!
I had a blast posing this pair. Not only can they both balance well on their own, but they can support each other in poses that would otherwise be impossible:
|Oh, Paul Rudd.|
After a few photos with the black dress, I changed Astrid back into her blue swimsuit. I like this outfit for her because it shows off her body's movement and shape more effectively:
After playing around for a while, I can say that the S17B body feels much more durable than the S01A. It's partly just because the body is so sturdy on its feet, but it's also little things like the thickness of the skin covering.
For example, there's no protrusion of armature at Astrid's elbows:
In fact, of all the bodies I've looked at (including the M33 male body) this one has the best elbows:
|No sign of an armature.|
With Astrid in her bikini and Paul in his underwear (let's call it a swimsuit) I can imagine these two hanging out at the beach together:
Astrid definitely looks pale next to Paul, but her skin tone is more realistic than the ultra-pale Nora:
Astrid wanted to take Paul to a wide-open area of the beach so that she could show off some of her balancing tricks.
She found the perfect spot, but Paul had to carry her through the cold tidal water...
Once they found some open sand, Astrid performed a few of her best dance moves:
...and again on tiptoe!
This was her grand finale...with no photo tricks whatsoever:
All of this dancing tired Astrid out completely.
I adore these two...
...and they seem to adore each other.
Paul still has occasional trouble with his arms, though. As he was trying to put his arm around Astrid, the skin covering got twisted and I lost track of where the joint was:
But he eventually got things sorted out for some nice beach cuddling:
Bottom line? Well, it's been a long journey, but I can finally say that I have found--for me--a near-perfect pair of Phicen bodies. All of the flaws that I noticed in the S01 and S01A female bodies seem to be absent in the 6th generation S16A and S17B versions. The skin feels durable and thick, the balance is amazingly good, and of course--like all Phicen products--the bodies look gorgeous and pose like a dream. The skin covering still attracts lint like crazy, of course, but this seems like a small price to pay for the stunning realism. As far as the skin coloring goes, I guess I'm ever-so-slightly disappointed. First of all, I wish that the pale S16A body had been given a more distinct color. I find it impossible to distinguish the S16A's coloring from the ultra-pale S01A. Also, the suntan S17B body can look a little grey in certain light conditions. However, the S17B is still my overwhelming favorite of the two options. The suntan color is quite pale, but it looks more realistic than the S16A. Although I have a limited data set, the suntan body also seems easier to match with a head. I'm certainly happy with how Astrid's head looks on this body, and Amanda's head will be a near-perfect fit...assuming I can find a good way to attach it. As an added bonus, the suntan color looks fine next to Paul's darker skin.
I'm delighted that these new bodies come with interchangeable hands and feet. I find the extremities easy to swap and fun to play with. The only negative thing about the hands and feet is that their coloring does not match the soft parts of the body very well. This doesn't bother me in the slightest when I'm playing with the dolls, but I do find it distracting in photographs.
As much as I've always admired what Phicen is doing with their Super Flexible bodies, I've felt hesitant about whole-heartedly recommending them. The quality and durability issues I had with my S01 (Leila) were really discouraging. The S01A purchase was also a let-down because of how similar that body is to the S01. I guess it still remains to be seen how Phicen's newest bodies will stand the test of time, but I've been manipulating, dressing, hand-swapping, head-swapping, and posing them for quite a while now, and they show no signs of damage. More than that, though, they are just really, really fun to have. My only remaining reservation about recommending the S17B and M33 bodies is that it might be difficult and costly to find them worthy heads. The head hunt process requires a significant financial investment beyond the initial ~$70 cost of the body. However, if the quest for a head sounds like a fun, affordable challenge for you, or if you've already identified a good match, then I can safely say, go for it! If you're anything like me, this isn't a purchase that you're likely to regret.
|Phicen M33 body with Paul Rudd head (left), Phicen S17B body with DSToys head (right).|