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 Post subject: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:57 pm 
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JC Podcaster

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 am
Location: Clifton, NJ
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A brand new company has entered the action figure manufacturing arena: I Am Elemental!

This company was started by a pair of mothers from the New York City area that were unhappy with the female action figures found on the pegs all across America. They felt that the female figures were too hyper sexualized and suggestive, presenting an unhealthy image for little girls. They set out to create female action figures that would sport a more demure, realistic female form and would promote a more positive outlook for today's little girls.

Thus was born I Am Elemental.



Today I will be taking a look at 3 of the 7 characters available in Series I.

Packaging:

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The figures come packaged in sturdy foil packages that need to be torn open at the dotted line or cut with scissors. The packages are emblazoned with bright, vibrant, colorful graphics depicting the available characters on the front and a character listing on the back with a mark identifying which character is inside the bag so you can get multiple figures without worry of getting unwanted duplicates.

Once the bag is opened, you will find one multi-jointed action figure, 2 accessories, 2 trading cards depicting the enclosed character (1 to give a friend), a double sided poster featuring the entire line and the Elements Of Power table (think the Periodic Table of Elements but customized to fit the toy line) and a fabric carry bag with the line logo screen printed on the front.

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The package does a great job of keeping the interior contents in decent shape, none of the trading cards or posters were bent up or dinged in any way which was a nice surprise.


The Figures:

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These figures are fantastic!

The materials are top notch, equal or in some cases better than those used by Hasbro, Mattel or any other major manufacturer. The plastic used is sturdier than a lot of Marvel Universe figures in recent years (and worlds better than the recent 50th Anniversary G.I. Joe line), there is little risk of tearing or cracking the limbs or joints.

The figures' hands are a bit on the small side making the holding of certain types of accessories difficult (the line's accessories fit just fine though), but this is not a deal breaker at all and is actually appropriate as women on average tend to have smaller hands than men and the hands are proportionate to the rest of the figures' anatomy.

The only real suggestion for improvement I can see would be the addition of holes in the feet to allow the use of stands to make it easier to stand the figures in action poses (2 of the figures are a bit back heavy due to the large cape and wings they come with).


Articulation:

I Am Elemental figures sport multiple points of articulation.

Breakdown:
ball joint head
ball hinge shoulders
ball hinge elbows
ball joint hips
ball hinge knees

All of the joints have great ranges of motion.

The elbows get about 95 degrees, which is better than most Star Wars or Joe figures.

The hips allow the figures' legs to go directly in front of her body so that they can sit without having their legs splayed out to the sides, much more ladylike than most female action figures sit, while still allowing the legs to spread out far enough to ride motorcycles or beasts so that little girls can play out any kind of adventure they can dream up.

There are a couple of joints I would like to have seen, such as wrist swivels (to allow for some more dynamic accessory posing) or ankles (to make standing a bit easier), I think that the articulation is appropriate for the line and is equal to or
superior to most standard figures currently on the market. I can see why these particular joints were omitted as the wrists and ankles are fairly slim and you could risk peg breakage at this size.


Paint:

The figures are brightly and vibrantly painted. Their basic bodysuits are metallic silver and each character has color coordinated boots, gloves and undershirts. The accessories even sport paint apps, something you do not always see in basic action figure lines.

The paint is clean and neatly applied, with very little color bleed or overspray. These figures look every bit as good, if not better than most figures you can find on the pegs at Walmart.

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The most impressive paint related bit I have to mention is that on the characters' shield accessories, the graphics are expertly applied tampos, not paper labels as most manufacturers would have done.


Scale:

These figures stand about 4" tall, making them compatible with many action figures in our existing collections.

Here is a scale comparison shot using some of the more popular 3 3/4" and 4" lines available today:

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(L-R: "Star Wars" Black Series Mara Jade, "I Am Elemental" Persistence, "The Avengers" movie Black Widow, "G.I. Joe: Rise Of Cobra" Scarlet, "Doctor Who" Amy Pond)


Final Impressions:

These figures, aside from their value as is, are going to be quite the resource for customizers. This line will provide great female fodder in a completely new body type. The figures' bodies are athletic and healthy toned and not built like adult film stars so they can be used to create all different types of characters. The figures' bodysuits are more or less smooth with very few raised bits or recessed detail lines allowing to be used as great bases for all kinds of outfits with some paint and green stuff for sculpting new details.

As an added bonus to Star Wars customizers, the skin tones on the characters Enthusiasm and Persistence match almost perfectly to the skin tones of the Zeltrons from the old Marvel run and Dark Horse Comics' "Legacy" series!

I personally want to pick up a half dozen or so for future projects, especially the Honesty character for those beautiful wings.


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BONUS!

I had the opportunity to meet the I Am Elemental crew at the Javits Center this weekend for the 2015 International Toy Fair! We discussed everything from the creation of the line to it's immediate future.

I was able to talk about the technical aspects of the line with the line's designer and the digital sculptor. We discussed all of the points I addressed above, and the pros and cons of everything we discussed helped to shape my review.

I also got to take the very first pics of the first prototype of the next release in the line, a super articulated 6" character that represents the combined powers of the 7 already released characters.

Here is that prototype:

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This figure is downright INCREDIBLE! It has MORE articulation that a Marvel Legends figure and there is a slot on the left thigh that the shield accessory can snap into for storage.

The prototype has the following articulation:
ball joint head
ball hinge shoulders
bicep swivels
double hinged elbows
ball hinge wrists
ball jointed mid torso
ball jointed waist
ball jointed hips
upper thigh swivels
double hinged knees
ball hinged ankles

The prototype also had 4 accessories:
helmet
breastplate
shield
sword

The most interesting bit about the prototype was the concept behind it: instead of being a separate line, the 6" figure was meant to augment the play pattern of the 4" line. The 6" characters in the line are to be gestalt characters made up of the 7 figures in each Series.

I spoke with the team from I Am Elemental about this concept. I asked if the 7 characters were supposed to physically combine to "become" the larger character or if it was more of a "Captain Planet" deal (a "by our powers combined" type of thing) and they said it would be up to the individuals playing with them to decide that (the designer said he personally saw it as more of the 6" being on a higher plane of existence than the 4" characters and being almost "godlike" in power which is also a cool concept).

The line also has another Series of seven 4" figures and their corresponding 6" gestalt character coming in the near future.



My Nieces' Impressions:

I let 2 of my nieces do some play testing with the 3 figures I got. My nieces are 10 and 14. Both of them were absolutely amazed with the characters' colors, designs and hairstyles. They loved the fact that there was no real established backstory so that way they could explore the characters, their relationships to one another and their powers in any way they imagined.

They were also moved by the fact that the characters' skin colors are so wild and bright, they said that the characters could be of any ethnicity before they turned into their super hero forms. This was important to them as people of color, since most toy lines tend to be Caucasian dominated. They liked the fact that girls from any race or national origin could buy these figures and not feel left out.

They loved the figures and each got to keep one of the figures to start their collections. The third figure will go to my third niece whenever I see her next, I bet she will love it as much as her cousins did.

I have a feeling I will be buying a lot of these figures in the coming year as birthdays roll around :)


Conclusion:

Although I Am Elemental is new to the action figure world, their product is excellent, far better than most first time manufacturers.

Get a figure (or several figures) and see for yourself.

I Am Elemental figures can be found at comic stores and specialty retailers across the country or ordered directly from the manufacturers via their website: http://www.iamelemental.com

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 Post subject: Re: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 am
Location: Considered deviant by bigots, zealots, and prudes.
Awesome review.

Given the existing colors, I could squeak a few armored Tieflings, Mephits, or a Delilah Blue out of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:12 pm 
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HATES Mattel

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 am
I dig the motive behind this line and their overall look, but the lack of torso-ticulation means no purchase from me. The addition of fundamental POAs to the 6" figure is a dick move, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:24 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 am
Cute. They look like quality figures.

A nice bonus : They remind me of "Lucky Girl" from the Ben 10 franchise.


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 Post subject: Re: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:58 am
Location: Montreal, Canada
Funny how a small company uses good solid plastic when the big ones cheap out and use the rubbery stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 am
As the father of a daughter, I applaud the effort to make a line of action figures with more realistic proportions for girls. I don't know why it has to be so heavy handed about "THIS CHARACTER IS (this virtue)!" I'd prefer characters to concepts. That said, they look cool (no torso articulation is disappointing, though).

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 Post subject: Re: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 am
Not bad. The skin color is a little intense for my tastes, and the smaller figures have a sort of generic look to them, but I have to say that the figures seem well designed, well painted, and well articulated. Which is more than can be said about a lot of other stuff from more prominent companies.


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 Post subject: Re: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 am
I had meant to get in on the kickstarter for these but somehow lost track of time and forgot. ive been waiting for them to come out since.

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 Post subject: Re: Review: I Am Elemental Series I
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:40 am
While I support the idea of a line of heroic line for girls, I'm going to bet that the majority of contributors to the Kickstarter were male action figure geeks like us.

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