While some time has passed since the death of actor Alan Rickman, the sadness and somberness of his passing still seems as fresh as ever. But much like with any A-List star who leaves their mortal coil too soon, their body of work becomes that much more appreciable and cements their ever lasting legacy. Alan Rickman is no exception; a big bucket of win, this guy was. Large body of work both on-screen and off in which to bow one’s head in respect and adulation. He will, of course, be remembered for his most famous roles – the maniacal terrorist Hans Gruber from Die Hard, the spoon-heart eating villainous Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, the literally dickless angel in Kevin Smith’s Dogma, and the hilariously bitter Dr. Lazarus in Galaxy Quest. Above all, and without question, though, Rickman will likely be most immortalized for his role as the complex, hostile, skillful, and perhaps bravest Wizard of all time – Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.
In celebration of the Master of Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and fiercely loyal wizard, comes a 1/6th scale collectible figurine from Star Ace. Nerd Bastards was fortunate to receive a product sample for review. Follow along with us as we raise our wands to Alan Rickman and this spellbindingly life-like figure.
Who, honestly, ever gets excited about a box? You buy a collectible for the collectible, not the box, right? Well, a collectible’s packaging is more important that anyone ever gives it credit for; it adds to the overall presentation. If done right, a good looking box makes you feel like you got something special. With this box, special is exactly what you get. Without a doubt, this is an absolutely gorgeous box.
Said box features a glossy black slip cover with some dramatic cover art depicting a headshot of Snape – looking as serious as ever – with the character’s potions room in the background. The characters name “Severus Snape” stands out in bold Harry Potter-type lettering on lower left. The whole thing is quite striking; it might as well be its own movie poster.
Sliding off the slip cover reveals and open window box showcasing the figure. Much like other Star Ace collectibles, the figure is and its accessories are housed in plastic trays. No need to invoke a Crucio curse on anyone, there are no twist ties or annoying tape to have to deal with – you can release the figure and its contents from its lattice and not worry about damaging the box. Resale value, anyone?
Pulling the plastic trays out reveals additional graphics/art on inside of the box – a black and white 3-quarter shot of Severus mid-wand blast. It just goes to show how much Star Ace cares about presentation by putting imagery on part of the box that is hardly ever ever seen.
Snape, the character, could always be seen with what the kids call these days “resting b*tch face” (RBF) – looking in a constant irritated and moody state. The dark hair, hooked nose, and pale/greasy skin never helped alleviate his intimidating presence. The face/head of this mean and awfully judgy looking wizard is captured relatively well in this 1/6th scale figure. It looks as close to life as a figure of Snape can be without actually looking like the actor who played him. Clarifying that latter statement: Star Ace have done spot-on sculpts before – see TriWizard Harry and Deluxe Hermione – but this time, it would seem they may have not gotten the likeness rights and modeled a face inspired by the character yet looks different enough to not resemble to actor too closely. But clearly, they do have the rights, ’cause the guys mug is on the box. There is just something a little… off about the face. It’s too plump/squarish. And the eyes… one could say they look little dead but, you know, poor phrasing.
Perhaps, maybe, it is the hair that’s taking away from from what are otherwise some remarkably precise facial details. That hair is too big, and it definitely contributes to the overall bloated-ness of the entire head. Regardless, the sculpt is identifiable and expressive enough. To give credit where credit is due, they got Snape’s jowls, hooked nose, dimpled chin, and permanently transfixed eyebrow frown down pretty accurately . You can almost picture him about to snidely shout “50 points from Gryffindor!”
The figure stands shy of 12 inches and has 30 points of articulation. That’s all well and good. Scale and function wise, being able to get full range of motion for various poses is always a good thing. But this is Snape we’re talking about, one of his driving forces/pleasures is to just stand there looking as intimidating as possible. Being able to pose the figure is various Yoga-type poses (can you imagine Snape in Downward-facing Wizard?) is great but not really in this character’s, well, character. This really isn’t a complaint, far from it, just a musing observation. He could be a staction (stationary/action) figure and it’d he’d be just as satisfying. Joking aside, the buck (the body of the figure) and all its points of articulation allows for battle-action stances, as well as some precise posing for Snape in his natural habitat – potion making.
Truly, though, what really brings this figure to life is its wardrobe.
Snape is wearing his black professor’s robes and traditional dark coat and pants; this outfit couldn’t be more authentic. The whole attire is 100% hand-tailored and accurate to-screen. The material even looks like it was cut from the same cloth that touched the graces of Alan Rickman. Speaking of which, this figure will give you a new found appreciation for how difficult it must have been to be walking around in those robes; quite the serious tripping hazard. It’s hard to gauge on film, but as seen on the figure, the robe drapes past his legs and splits at the end; long and bellowing. Adding the effect, the robe is steam pressed, with folds and ruffles in the same sections as its life size counterpart. The robe even features very thin wires at the bottom train edge and sleeve edges, allowing some basic positioning of the cloth. Finishing out the ensemble are matte black button down the neck and sleeves of the jacket.
What would this Master of Potions be without some actual potions equipment to accompany him?
Of course, there’s a second set of hands, but only one set, and only right hands. He comes wearing a “relaxed pose” set, and there are two extra rights: one to grip the wand (and thinner accessories), and one to grip the larger bottle or burner handle.
Potion-wise, there is one square bottle (poly juice?), as well as three small test tubes. These are painted to appear as though they have various colored liquids inside. There is a test tube rack as well, to which you can display the potions. It has a nice weathered/rusted look.
To mix up his potions, Snape has a pot with a clear plastic stirring rod. There’s also a stand for the pot, as well as a burner to place beneath. This burner has a sculpted translucent flame, but alas, no light-up function.
Snape must have his wand of course, and he does. It fits neatly in the tighter gripping hand as well. To finish things up, he has a potions book which he can also hold quite easily.
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM (The Not So Good Stuff)
Some gripes have already been noted in regards to the face, which again, could have been better – on a related note, the face photographs really well; all the details really come through when you have a good camera and some semi-decent lighting. In person, though, you might find the face to resemble that of a flesh-colored watermelon. Other issues to take some slight umbrage with are the delicate hand pegs and fragile wand. Hand pegs, much like other figures in the series, are too short/stumpy, leading to some frustration when trying to swap out the various hand grips. And with the wand, if you’re not careful placing it in the wand-hand you’ll snap and break it. Thankfully, the wand-grip hand has enough spacing in its grasp to make this less likely to occur.
The only other lamentation, and it’s kind of a big one, is that Star Ace should have included a table in scale so that you properly display Snape’s potions equipment. Figures like this, that come with a variety of accessories that are specifically intended to be interacted with on a table or work bench and to not have one, kind of makes the accessories a pointless inclusion. Very irksome when you go to the manufacturer’s (or reseller’s) website to see the figure behind a table with various shots of him working with his equipment and not have that be something that comes with the purchase. No table means no display for those accessories, unless you want to lay them by his feet, but who wants that? If you can’t properly display them, then the accessories just get thrown right back in the box.
It’s not often than a collectible can make you cry, but this is one of those times. If there is one biggest thing that can be said Snape, it’s his endearing loyalty. For the entire film series, it was assumed Snape was as rotten as they come – having killed Dumbledore and done other dastardly deeds – but in the very end, his true loyalties were revealed. His whole life was in service to Lily Potter (Harry Potter’s deceased Mom), his true and only love. He committed himself to watching over her legacy; the son she had with another man. He played a dangerous game conspiring with Voldermort, but the whole time his loyalties were with Dumbledore and the protection of Harry. When thinking about the character, all those feelings come swirling up. Add in the fact that the actor who played the role has too come to pass… man, the emotions. Seeing this figure, particularly one that is so life-like, it’s hard to not get caught up in those – as the kids say these days – “feels” surrounding the character and the actor who played him. Star Ace likely didn’t set out to make a “In Memoriam” type collectible, but turns out they did just that. This figurine, in all it’s super detailed glory, perfectly honors the character and the late Alan Rickman.
When all your other figures are collecting dust, you’ll look upon Snape and ask “after all this time?” and if it could talk, it would say “always.”
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