My first grail doll, sort of: Saber Lily (Doll Profile #5)

When I started in the doll hobby, I told myself a couple of things. First, spending over $1000 on a doll was crazy (and I’d never do it). Second, I really liked Saber and I probably wouldn’t ever be able to get one. Then in the Fall of 2010, Volks announced a new Saber model, this time based on her design from the Fate/Unlimited Codes fighting game. Her US retail price: $1045. Oh boy. I guess you all can figure out what happened next.

Yup. I had to get myself a Saber Lily. After all, it’s close enough to the $1000 limit I’d set for myself (if you round down). Right…? Right…?!?!?! RIGHT?!?!?!!?!?!

Continue reading “My first grail doll, sort of: Saber Lily (Doll Profile #5)”

FATEd encounter: Matou Sakura & the first doll meet (Doll Profile #4)

When I first started in the doll hobby, I had very little knowledge of how to actually get dolls from Volks. Up until now, the two dolls I had purchased new came from Volks USA. Rin was from a lottery entry while Haruka was made up of off-the-shelf parts. I had no idea that Volks Japan also ran a lottery and sold dolls to the international marketplace. When Sakura was announced, I decided I would branch out and try to get her from Volks Japan!

Continue reading “FATEd encounter: Matou Sakura & the first doll meet (Doll Profile #4)”

Taking stock of my collection

After seeing Radiant’s write up on his collection, I felt inspired to do something I’d been putting off for a little while. It’d been awhile since I actually took stock of what was in my collection and collected it all in one place (read: never). For the most part, my figures are organized by series, character, and type. There are a couple shelves that I can only label as “miscellaneous” since they have figures that don’t really fit in with any others.

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Gift of Saber

When I pulled into the driveway today, I noticed a box sitting on my front porch. Upon closer examination, the box was from HLJ, meaning my new Saber figure was finally here! As a newcomer to the figure arena, Gift has a lot of stiff competition from companies like GSC, Max Factory, and Kotobukiya. Fortunately, it appears that they are up to the challenge, delivering one of the most detailed Saber figures to date.

This has only been my second order from HLJ, with the majority of my online orders being filled by Play Asia. The packaging was designed to make her trip from Japan a comfortable one.

IMG_1701Saber sits comfortably in her box

It actually took quite a bit of effort to get the product package out of the box. It turns out the box was shrink wrapped to a piece of cardboard prior to going in. This made for a tight fit and ensured the inner packaging didn’t rattle around during transport.

IMG_1702 The cat inspects the packaging solution

I took a break for dinner, but it seems that Figma Saber decided not to wait for me to open the box up…

IMG_1704Does my face really look like that? IMG_1706 Helloooo in there…
IMG_1708Let’s do this! IMG_1711 This should be good enough…

The strangest thing struck me about the inside packaging. The twist tie holding Saber to the plastic shell actually went all the way through both pieces. I actually had to remove it before the clamshell would open. I’ve never seen that before in any of the figures I own! The other thing that struck me as interesting was the display base. It’s actually a mirrored surface, which allows for light to reflect up and give the semitransparent dress some illumination. Another nice touch from Gift. I’ve never felt inclined to polish a display base, so this is another first.

IMG_1716I can read through it!

IMG_1719 Saber out of the box. Aint she purty?


IMG_1721The two Sabers side by side

Enough random pictures for now, time to talk about the figure itself. Gift took a couple of artistic licenses when designing the figure. For the most part, the results came out really well. The detail on the armor is stunning, as is the flowing dress underneath. She even got an enlarged gauntlet on her left arm (presumably for defense purposes). The engraving on the sword is a bit strange though, looking more like a series of scribbles instead of actual writing. I was always under the impression that Excalibur said something there, but perhaps I was mistaken.

Now I get to perhaps the most controversial part of this figure: the heads. Gift decided to do two different heads for Saber, an “Anime style” an a “realistic style.” Most fans can’t really decide which figure to leave on the figure, as the decision comes down to which one they disliked less. I’m afraid I’m in this predicament as well, though there are features I like of each. I find myself preferring the hair of the realistic head and the face of the Anime head. Of the two, however, I think I’m more inclined to keep the realistic head.

IMG_1761 Realistic style IMG_1763 Anime style

I have, however, come up with a perfect solution. Don’t use the included heads at all. I present Shrunken Head Saber!

IMG_1766 Figma head, 1/8 scale body!

Somehow, that doesn’t look quite right. I guess I’ll stick with the realistic head after all… But enough text, time to close out with some more photos.

IMG_1724 Saber surveys the snowy landscape

IMG_1736 What are you looking at?

IMG_1757Sword close up