Vibrant Spring Ayesha

Uhuhuhu I have returned to dump some photos!

But let’s have a little life update! After a full year of trying business, I switched my college major back into art. Art still makes me unsure sometimes, but frankly, I was miserable in business. I still think that I would have done well could I have gotten to the creative type classes, but business was very frustrating because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do well, and perhaps more importantly, I couldn’t make myself care about anything. I have at least always been a good student, but this past year was just…bad. Failing an intermediate accounting midterm threw me off the edge, and I decided to essentially go crawling back to the art department. It was a hard decision to face because I had told myself for so long that leaving art was the right thing to do. But as soon as I resigned myself to returning to art…I felt better. A LOT BETTER. Better than I had felt in a long long time. Focusing on business classes meant I had to give up a lot of things I usually did(like this blog) which is fine and understandable, but I soon came to realize that practicing creative things is more a part of me than I had realized. Through that year, I never stopped looking at and admiring art because that’s what I’ve always done, but it started to make me very sad. I still wanted artistic fulfillment, but had resigned myself to not having it. Now, I’m not saying that choosing one thing means you can’t have the other or that people of one mind can’t be of another. But for me PERSONALLY, it was not a good thing.

SO I have returned to the creative side of things, and now that I see it is more important to me than I had realized, I am taking it more seriously! Previously, I didn’t think of myself as an artist because I am not good at drawing and painting. And while that still frustrates me, I’ve begun to immerse myself in the kind of art I am good at! This includes crafting which my passion for was reignited through cosplay. I’ve also begun doing things like making felt dolls and paper art. It’s been very fun and fulfilling! Figures have taken a back seat for a long time because I have not been financially able to support this hobby. I do miss it though, and I now have the incentive to give it more attention, so I’m not making any promises about coming back to this blog in full force, but just wanted to talk about what’s changed with me. And thank you to anyone who has stuck around after a year of intermittent silence.

Also, I am much more active on other sites! My Instagram tipsy_scales is for all of my crafts and photos and such. I’m also on twitter as Tipsy_Scales which still has updates on what I make, but also a fair bit of retweeting fan art. My tumblr Yam1Usag1 updates my figure photos only and is about as active as this blog.

Ahaha now that that’s all out of the way, let’s move on to the photos!

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Cordelia Portraits

Cordelia is another figure I got months ago, photographed, and have not mentioned since. I’m rather indifferent towards Cordelia as a character, but I’m a huge fan of Fire Emblem Awakening, and how Tharja’s figure looked, so I went ahead and got her. I have some photos for a proper review, but in the mean time here are some portrait shots. I did full body ones, but ended up not liking any of them.

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Ok, a lot of these are technically landscapes, but what I mean is they’re upper body shots. Idk I just didn’t want “Cordelia Body Shots” as a post title.

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Review: 1/7 Caster Plain Clothes ver. by Flare

*My first intro was deleted somehow, so this review is a tad brief as I don’t have it in me to rewrite all that*

Today we’ll be looking at Flare’s 1/7 Caster from Fate Extra CCC. Caster is not only my first figure by Flare, but one of my favorite characters!

I like many characters, but there’s a precious few that I rate above the rest and prioritize finding merch of simply because they appeal to me very much personally. Caster is one of those(I have a list of the others on my MFC profile if anyone is curious *sweats*), but when the bondage-riffic designs from CCC began to get figures, I was able to easily pass on them. However in addition to the black leather and strap-fits, cuter casual outfits were also introduced, and I preordered Flare’s casual Caster right away.

Flare is affiliated with Alter, but to be honest, I do not know the exact reason for their existence. Offshoot companies like Orange Rouge or Altair are often created to serve a specific niche(in these cases, male figures), but I do not know if Flare is one like this, or if they simply utilize the same resources as Alter. Regardless, their quality is often on par.

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Postcard Giveaway!

That’s right! It’s time for Never Outgrew Toys’ first ever giveaway!
So what’s the occasion? This spring marked the second year anniversary of the blog, and although I made plans for a giveaway, I was not able to sort out the details in time. So this giveaway is partially a belated anniversary celebration, but also because I’ve always wanted to give something away to show my appreciation for the lovely people who read the blog!

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there! Ordering post cards has inspired me to finally take the leap and begin offering prints! I do not intend to keep a shop with prints stocked, but will instead do everything on an order by basis. You pick the photo, I print it! The full details will be announced along with the winners of the giveaway, so let’s go ahead and check out the prizes~

There are four post cards to win, and to appeal to many readers, I’ve included one of each “type”. We have figma, nendoroid, scaled figure, and doll!
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Each is standard postcard size, printed on thick glossy paper, and features photos chosen for beauty.
This is my first time having any of my figure photos printed, so seeing them makes me very happy!

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Winter Wonderfestival 2014 Personal Highlights

With that monstrous figma post behind us, Never Outgrew Toys is done with Wonderfestival, right? Wrong! Wonderfestival is never over because it lives on in our hearts and the deepest nightmares of our wallets!
Figmas will always be my true love, but with a few other figures under my belt, my eye can’t help but wander, and there are several figures that I’d at least like to bring attention to. That’s what this post is for! Here I will be featuring and discussing the non figma items that caught my eye whether they be future candidates for my collection or not. I’d love to hear your opinions too!

Here we go!

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Character: Sinon
Series: Sword Art Online

You may or may not have heard, but SAO has a confirmed second season for 2014 thus reigniting my passionate love hate relationship. And to celebrate, we finally have a scaled Kirito…just kidding, it’s Sinon! Sinon is a new character from the show which hasn’t aired yet, but she already has scaled announcements from Pulchra and Aquamarine. I do want my Kirito, but can’t blame anyone for hopping on the train early.
Until the inevitable figma, Sinon is not on my list.

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Review: Nessa 1/8 by Goodsmile Company

A review that I began in the summer and simply never finished. I figured that before proceeding with others, I should really finish this one, so say hello to a review of my first scaled figure ever: Nessa by Goodsmile Company who is from the anime Fractale.

In the future, mankind has achieved a life of ultimate prosperity and comfort through the Fractale system. Maintained by a temple, Fractale is a network of satellites that is capable of creating realistic illusions and generating doppels which are holographic robots that do everything from work in place of humans to acting as avatars and allowing people to be anywhere without actually going anywhere. This has allowed for humans to be free from burdensome responsibilities and live for their own gain. Clain is a young boy who lives alone but is occasionally visited by his parent’s doppels and finds 21st century technology fascinating. One day Clain’s carefree life is interrupted by a meeting with a priestess named Phryne who has escaped from the temple. Before leaving, Phryne leaves him with a brooch which contains a doppel named Nessa. Nessa’s appearance is that of a ten year old girl and she possesses boundless curiosity. After discovering Nessa, Clain embarks on a journey to return her to Phryne, but ends up discovering the dark secrets of Fractale along the way.

I mentioned in my nendoroid Kirito review that I often have a craving for anime that explores the human psyche. Fractale presented a very interesting world in which to do so and clearly intended to from the start. This is evidenced by the Fractale system which manufactures a life that is seemingly perfect but is actually void of interaction and has brewed a very self-centered generation of people. Watching the first episode, I was especially intrigued by a conversation between Clain and his parents. When Clain asks them why they do not live with him if they love him, his father responds that families are doing each other a favor by living apart because they are not tying each other down. Hearing this, I was thrilled that this would be the type of anime to deal with the setbacks of a civilization hopelessly dependent on technology, and could not wait for Clain to discover with or without his parents what it is that truly makes life wonderful.

But as is often the case when I get hyped up about an anime(which is why I try not to do it now), Fractale did not live up to the grand future I had envisioned for it. Instead the anime merely danced around the core conflicts, and incorporated an unusual amount of slice of life elements which are not satisfying in a supposedly epic fantasy. Clain also ended up joining a group opposed to Fractale which resulted in his spending most of the anime in agricultural areas rather than the visually stunning cities of Fractale. All in all, Fractale was a good idea, but the plot elements were not explored well enough to make it feel complete.
A side note: the paragraph above also summarizes my feelings on Kyokai no Kanata.

As I mentioned earlier, Nessa was my first scaled figure, and it takes a lot to convince someone to buy a type of figure that they’ve never owned before. I had seen the unpainted prototype figure before, but it was not until reading the painted prototype review by Mikatan(this was a long time ago!) that I truly realized the beauty of the figure. I spent the rest of the day at school thinking about Nessa, and soon preordered her. Even now, I use that feeling I got when I first ordered Nessa to judge how much I want a scale.

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Nessa comes in a classically designed white box that bears purple and black accents.
Nessa herself is of course safely packaged in a plastic blister, which is not pictured.

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Review: 1/8 Caster EXTRA by Phat Company

It’s review time! Today, instead of reviewing a brand new figure, I’ll be stepping back to look at one of the older figures in my collection. So let’s get things started with Phat Company’s 1/8 Caster EXTRA!

Caster EXTRA comes from Typemoon’s spinoff game Fate/Extra which is a dungeon style RPG for the PSP that has visual novel aspects. The game derives it’s basic concept from the Fate series(Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero, Fate/Hollow Axtaria, etc.) but adds a digital twist. Following the basic Servant and Master Holy Grail War scenario of it’s predecessors, Fate/Extra identifies itself as a spinoff by featuring many characters from other Typemoon franchises who are given new roles but are essentially the same (Rin Tohsaka for instance appears as an opposing master). Although these cameos are fun for old fans, they leave the game with comparatively few original characters for newer fans to enjoy without the feeling that they’re missing out. Thankfully of the new characters who make their debut, several are quite memorable! One of these is Caster. Being both the “weakest” servant and a brand new character, Caster is clearly the underdog of the playable servants, but her spunk and vulpine characteristics make her hard to forget.

Caster was the reason I purchased Fate/Extra. Although the game’s initial release escaped my radar(which caused me to miss out on some awesome merchandise >_<), it’s North American release sparked my curiosity. Around the time of this release came the announcement for Phat Company’s Caster. With a traditional Japanese inspired costume, a fluffy tail, and an energetic pose, Caster immediately drew my attention while reminding me of two of my favorite figures: Goodsmile Company’s Nessa(who I own) and Max Factory’s Kureha Touka(who is one of my grails). But preordering scaled figures has always been a splurge for me, and although I ordered Caster at first, I eventually cancelled her due to financial concerns. I thought I could live without her, but when pictures of the final product began to surface, I realized the mistake I had made. Thankfully a user on MFC soon appeared who no longer wanted their order, and I seized the opportunity once again to make Caster a part of my collection.

My experience obtaining Caster was fun to look back on, not just because of how happy I am to finally have the figure, but because this happened over a year ago. My Caster is from the original January 2012 release(as opposed to the September 2012 rerelease) and considering that she’s been on display for over a year, this review will cover both the figure and how it’s fared over time.

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Caster and her box are very blue(my favorite color!) which makes her pink hair really pop. The box has windows on the top, sides, and front which enables you to see Caster better while she’s inside. I like the decorative effect the scalloped edges of the box adds.

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The cardboard backing (only visible when the plastic blister is removed) has the moon and a 10101010 pattern which is a throwback to the game itself.

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I love the giant picture of Caster on the back! It’s vibrant and really captures the spirit of the figure. You know just what you’re getting!

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The figure itself is in three pieces. To display her, all you have to do is attach her foot to the stand and plug the mirror into her sleeve. I’ll show where these pieces connect later in the review.

Caster is listed as 1/8 scale which is a reasonable scale for her. She stands around 9.5 in/24 cm tall from the bottom of her base to the tip of her ear once assembled. If like me, numbers mean nothing to you, here she is next to a mug and figma Yui Hirasawa
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Now let’s take a 360 tour of Caster!
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Caster has a peppy personality which is wonderfully communicated through her pose.

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Her face bears a beaming smile as she joyously balances on one leg.

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Meanwhile her exquisite blue kimono flutters about her and her hand forms the shape of a fox.

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Being a member of the Caster class, Caster of course has a magic oriented background. Her costume incorporates aspects from traditional Japanese wear and details like the gold trim and tassels introduce an air of mysticism.

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I like that the floating mirror was also included as it further cements her magical context and really compliments her design.

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Caster’s big orange tail stands out well against all the blue too!

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But you can’t learn all about a figure from afar. Details are important, so let’s inspect Caster a little more closely!

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A lovely fox smile! Caster’s hair is a salmon pink and her bangs are sculpted dynamically. It’s not quite visible in this picture, but my Caster’s right bang has some paint missing. Also notice her moe fang, deep gold eyes, and giant fox ears!

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Caster’s head is fine, but it could stand to be better. Especially in the field of shading. She has light shading at the edges of her hair and top of the head, but it’s quite minimal.

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Here you can see ridges sculpted into the back of her head to suggest that her hair is pulled back. There are also some seam lines on her bangs. The ear fur is painted a matte white.
Also, she has a pair of human ears. H-how does that work?

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The tips of her pigtails are shaded a noticeable dark pink. Here you can also see her bow which is purple and has blue transparent ends. Light shines through the bow very nicely and the transparency is just enough that it’s not distracting.

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Most obvious here is Caster’s cleavage which is shaded lightly. Caste is usually depicted as being rather voluptuous(especially in Fate/Extra CCC), but here her chest appears quite modest. Come to think of it, Caster is my only scaled figure with cleavage!
Also notice the nice lines painted on her top. And unlike the white of the fur in her ears, these are painted with a pearly paint!

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Here you can better see her arms and armpits.
Caster is rather thin, but her arms seem a bit too thin for a lady of her size. The presence of such a deep crevice in her armpit is strange as well. I tested it on myself and such a crevice would only be visible if she were extremely tense.

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Her back is smooth and has a decent amount of detail. The edges of the sleeves are painted with a metallic gold.

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Another thing I like about the sleeves is that they are separate pieces. Rather than having the arms stop awkwardly, they actually continue into the sleeve.

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The sleeves are also layered and billow nicely.

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Another angle of the dynamic sleeves. I wonder how those would stay on in real life. The elastic on my Pureneemo Caster’s sleeves is starting to stretch out!

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Looking at the sleeves brings us to Caster’s mirror which is made with a real mirror! The mirror is her main weapon in the game and has a cool design!

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In case you didn’t believe me about it being a real mirror, say hello to my camera! Of course this does mean the mirror is susceptible to getting fingerprints and dust on it, so cleaning it every once in a while(glass cleaner works fine) isn’t a bad idea.

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On the back we see a lovely circular design. It’s a shame that part isn’t usually visible.

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Moving down gives us a better look at the metallic paint and details.

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And moving up shows us the point of connection between the mirror and Caster’s sleeve.

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Removing the mirror reveals a peg on Caster’s sleeve. This corresponds to a hole in the top of the mirror. The connection points are unnoticeable while Caster is on display and both pieces fit together snugly.
Over time, there has been gold rub off on the sleeve, but it’s minor and the peg is rarely seen anyway.

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Moving back up to Caster’s body, we have her black obi and shiny gold obijime.

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On Caster’s back is the beginning of her dangling obi and tail.

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The obi is black with gold designs

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The design adorns both sides of the obi and was applied via decal.

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And who could forget Caster’s tail? This fluffy wonder has two shades of orange and a pearly white base. It looks bushy and even curls at the tip!

Swinging back around to the front, we have Caster’s skirt
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Having only a front and back, the skirt more resembles a loin cloth, but it is sculpted quite well and even has a small tassel at the bottom.

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On the side is a larger tassel and a peek at Caster’s shimapan. That’s right, Caster is wearing blue striped underwear! I initially did not like this because it is inaccurate for Caster’s time period, but after seeing the designs in CCC, eh I don’t mind the shimapan anymore…

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I don’t know what that kimono is made out of that it clings so tightly, but ok. Nice detail I suppose 😄

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Yet another pearly white tassel.

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Her socks are deep purple thigh highs. There’s some shading where the socks end along with some sculpted wrinkles.
The purple line on her straight leg is not a seam line. It is part of the design.

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Her shoe is dangling a bit which is a very cute detail although there is a small gap between the shoe and her foot. Thankfully this are is not very visible when she’s on display.
Also, how tight are those socks? I can see her toes through them! O_O

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The other foot is attached to the base.
The foot plugs in to two plastic pegs and rests on a raised area. Although leaning figures are pretty much a thing of the past, the structural integrity of one legged figures is always a concern. After a year of display, Caster’s ankle shows no sign of bending. But over time it seems that the raised portion on the base has moved back a little bit. If anything were to lean on this figure, it would be the base. But this lean is only slight and I see no signs of cracking or damage. It’s barely an issue.

Last is the base which is a blue transparent square. Although it may seem out of place with the figure, I actually think it reflects the aquatic theme of Fate/Extra quite well since the game’s dungeons are composed of bright squares.

Caster is a display piece, but that doesn’t mean she should live her life on my dusty nightstand. Let’s take her out for some pictures!

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As much as I love Caster, she’s not the most photogenic figure I own. In the year I’ve owned her, I’ve yet to take a really really good picture of her.

Final Words
There are some figures that you buy because you like the character and others you buy because they’re so gosh darn beautiful it doesn’t matter who they are. Caster is the former. Although she is well made and an excellent representation of Caster, this figure is nothing to write home about. I would not buy her as an example of the best figure ever made. I bought Caster because I love the character and that’s what matters. So if you like this figure for any reason, go ahead and get it, you won’t be disappointed! I don’t think buying her is settling for something inferior either. She’s cute, a good size, puts a smile on my face, and I wouldn’t dream of selling her.