As promised, I'm continuing to do a review of all my Bowens as a way to recharge my excitement in the hobby and as a way to give back to Bowen for designing these amazing pieces and give back to statue marvels for giving this hobby a true home.
Reviews created so far, in order their order of creation, and their links are as follows:
If you can't wait for a certain statue to be reviewed and want to bump it to the top of the list, click my statue display link below, find a statue you want reviewed (new ones are posted further along in the thread) and send me a PM.
Box art will be included on newly shipped statues from this date forward, but older statue boxes are in my attic. They will be updated when I have time.
I will always try to point out something I would like improved or something that wasn't well done about a piece, in efforts to stay truly objective. This can be from a tiny flaw that you would never notice to an all over bad sculpt (haven't had any of the later thus far).
Lastly, a soda can will be used in each review for scale. I'm not going to post next to other statues, as they aren't part of the review, and other's might not have the statue I would scale the subject statue next too, thus giving them no real idea of the scale any how.
Without further adieu, I give you:
Phoenix (Disclaimer, I took these pics quickly, not my best work.)
I've read every single issue of Uncanny X-Men. Chris Claremont is the person who made me love comics and anyone who hasn't read his legendary, more than a decade long, run on Uncanny X-Men should definitely do so. It has always been an anchor of what I believe comic writing should try to aspire to be. While reading the entire series, from beginning to end, a couple years ago, a few characters would pop up in the series that were so amazing that I would have to track down the Bowen piece. Phoenix is one of those characters. My instant memories of her are when she is truly discovering her powers. In one issue for example she twirls around in three panels changing the clothes she's wearing as a way of showing off her amazing power. This is something I always remember. No other Phoenix has lived up to Jean Grey as Phoenix and no era of Jean Grey was as good as when she was Phoenix. This of course is all my humble opinion. I also loved the costume as it was so simple.
Anyway, I had to pick her up after reading her. The hype on this statue is legit. Onto the review.
Produced by Bowen Designs and sculpted by Mark Newman, Phoenix stands at just over 11 inches. This is number 499 out of 4000. She was released during Bowen Designs Marvel Phase I in 2001. (Someone asked that I review an older statue.)
Since the top is always a good place to start, onto the head. Her eyes are white out as she is obviously summoning the power of the Phoenix in the pose. She does look better from far away rather than close up. When getting real close to the face, the teeth just don't look real as it is simply a white wall, and they are set a little too far back from the lips. Other than that, the face is sculpted really well. The detail in the eyebrows is apparent and the nostrils seem to actually go decently far up, giving the face a solid look of realism. What is impressive about the sculpt of the face, is the muscles around the mouth, cheeks, and chin are sculpted to complement the open mouth. Mr. Newman is truly a talent.
The hair is some of the best I've seen on a sculpt. A lot of time and detail went into it and the paint scheme for the red hair is perfectly done. There are light traces of yellow that help make it a more natural hair color aswell, rather than just painting it red. This is a big deal to me because lately, on present pieces, when the painters have to add a second color to the hair, it doesn't seem to blend as well as this sculpt's does; you can see the separate paint color as simply being placed on top of the original color, instead of artistically blending them (I felt this happened a little in the Shanna Statue).
The over all paint scheme is well executed. Everywhere it matters the lines are clean. There was one place I found, but I'll get to that later. In addition to a spectacular paint job, the weight of the statue is genuine. For such a slender piece, she does carry a decent weight.
The hands on this sculpt are one of my favorites among Bowen sculpts. This is probably because they play such a large role in this sculpt. They are stretched out, creating a dramatic effect as she rises from the water. The elongated arms and fingers demonstrate that she is slender and petite yet harnessing an unbelievable amount of power. Tiny crease lines are shown in the wrist, where her costume would crinkle due to the bent wrist.
The elbows are also given this tiny detail as well. What is impressive about this, is that these arms are about the diameter of a pen. Especially on the first pic below, where it isn't just the elbows getting the attention, but the forearm itself really does show the muscles. Not being a sculptor myself, I would imagine muscle sculpting for a arm the diameter of a pen would be harder than say a Thor or Hulk.
Before Dazzler showed up, this was the favorite of my father's, because of the chest. Without getting graphic, cheesy or perverted about it, I'll just say that Mr. Newman knows how to sculpt a beautiful female body from head to toe. Her proportions all over, not just the chest, but the stomach, legs, rear, and back as well, are all what I imagine many on this forum would consider to be perfection in real life.
As the stomach and chest show perfection in the above photo, the rear and lower back show equal attention and well sculpted detail in the photo's below. Phoenix does lean about two inches in front of the water, but she appears to be up right when looking straight on, because she is arching her back. As such, the lower back is riddled with creases and muscle tension where the arch takes place.
The rear doesn't have too much detail, but that's a good thing and it is well shaped. There is a little detail just below the rear, where it meets the legs near the crotch; there are some crease lines there as well.
There is a slight indent line where the boots meet the leg, so it isn't a simple paint application, but does help with the illusion that the boots are separate from the costume and she isn't simply wearing a leotard. You can also see, in the picture below, the detail that went into the sash and how well it flows off her body.
Giving more attention to the sash, you can see that the Phoenix symbol is used as a clasp/broach for the sash. I always loved the use of the sash on this costume and appreciate the attention to detail that was given to it. The top of the two pieces are connected in the sculpt, but do separate into two pieces half way down, right where the pic cuts off.
The separate pieces of the sash and the incredible attention to detail in her knees can be seen in the below pic of the base. The base is made of resin, which means it does have a see through element to it. This helps the blue light shine through on the pic that is on Bowen Designs website. The closer to the base, the darker the resin and the farther from the base the lighter the resin; so light in fact that the top is clear with no blue tint. The front, sides and back are sculpted as giant gushes of water as Phoenix has sprung from the depths.
Phoenix doesn't really have feet. She does have a heal, which is also given detail (impressive since you never see it as the feet are jammed into the base). She doesn't really have feet, because half way down the foot, it becomes a little block like. This is because there are no pegs to keep her in the base; she is the peg. No worries, she is very secure and in fact this makes assembling and disassembling very easy. Two of her legs also rest slightly on two of the gushes of water, helping her support. The pic below is me holding her out of the base, you'll see further below that this is not how it looks on its own.
Now the gripes. The first thing I noticed when I received her a couple years ago, was that the base isn't perfectly symmetrical. The water of course shouldn't be, but I'm referring to the two discs. The base is a black disc, with a blue resin disc on top of it. The two discs have a slight dip in them so they don't have a flat surface on the top. It's a minor dip I know, but a dip none-the-less.
Outside of the water, this is also one of the most boring bases I've seen. That sounds weird I know. The water dynamic makes it an amazing base, it's the dullness around the water. Why not have the flat part sculpted with ripples, or instead of flat, a cone shape to the base with gushing water to give her height? The other issue with the base is the resin, right where the flat surface meets the gushing water, is a little roughed up. Visually it is invisible and not an issue, but it does make it harder to clean the dust out of it.
To be clear, the gripes above are so minor and admittedly ridiculous. When simply viewing the statue, it comes off as a truly exceptional piece. But I promised to be objective and point out every detail, good or bad, so you the reader can feel it's an honest review; using it as a bases to go out in search of the piece or not. I'm not one of the forum members that believes Bowen Designs can do no wrong, giving advice, tidbits, and explaining how every complaint a collector has is actually wrong and Bowen is perfect.
So, finally onto the final issue with the piece. I have owned this piece for two years and did not see this issue until I was doing this review. In fact, I didn't see it during the original photo session, but accidentally spotted it while I was putting her back on the shelf. The small, nearly invisible and almost silly to mention smudge, is where the hair lays upon the arm. This is the case in a few places. The paint of the glove and suit gets onto the hair. Also keep in mind, that these are individually painted, so this could just be mine.
Overall, an amazing sculpt and a necessity for any X fan. The good news is that even though this piece is more than a decade old (weird right?) you shouldn't have a problem tracking one down at a reasonable price. There are 4000 after all. At any given time, there are usually about five on ebay. However, lately they have seemed a bit more expensive. I think I bought mine for about $180. I also recommend poking around on Statue Marvels. Unless I can't wait or it is a very rare piece, I only buy my statues from members here or direct from Bowen. (If I was an international, I would buy from Statue Marvels). Better deals, better service, and you make some friends.
Enjoy the rest.
Last edited by sash501; August 10th, 2012 at 03:58:50 PM..
I think you didn't mention that she is a tad bit small, even for that phase.
I'm a HUGE Phoenix fan, but I sold this sculpt quickly after buying it. Newmans sculpts is just not my cuppa.
If I thought she wasn't the proper scale, I would have definitely said something; there is one statue in my collection that will definitely get called out for that when it gets it's review. I did give her height at a little over 11 inches, but I believe she is to scale. You might have accidentally purchased the mini statue that was also offered.