Monday, August 13, 2012

Star Sapphire review

First of all, I must start off with some deeply appreciative kudos to Carol of Dreamcastle Dolls, for a package that was the single bright spot in an otherwise really bad day. I got my Star Sapphire Character Figure, in spite of the best efforts of one of my infamous communications glitches.

So, Kudos to Carol of Dreamcastle Dolls!

Now, as most of you reading this blog know, I am a HOPELESS Tonner-holic, so naturally, there is going to be some gushing. I am a longtime comic book enthusiast (let's be honest - GEEK!) and though I have not collected comics for several years, I do try to keep up with the characters, since I seem to be the Encyclopedia Geektanica for my brothers when we go see superhero movies.

The modern Star Sapphire costume, which this Character Figure wears, is quite a bit more... erm... SAUCY than the one I remember from back in the day when I still collected comics. Here is a shot of a Green Lantern cover from sometime in the early to mid 1960s - a bit before my time, because I remember comics going for around fifty cents when I was a kid.

Image and characters property of DC Comics
Here is Star Sapphire now:

Image and character  property of DC Comics

YIKES! It must be tough to be either a superheroine or a supervillainess these days, because a costume like this does NOT forgive even modest cellulite. Another problem is that one sneeze, deep breath, or wrong move, and you have a "wardrobe malfunction" that makes Janet Jackson's notorious Superbowl oopsie look like nothing.

Now, a full shot of Tonner's Star Sapphire:

One of the first things you'll notice is that Tonner spared the purchasers of the Star Sapphire Character Figure some very awkward "peekaboob" moments by adding netting at the front. It would seem the choice was either this netting, or just painting the costume on the Character Figure itself, which probably would have ruined the charm of the Character Figure. Apologies for the blurred picture, I still need to work out my lighting situation here at my new place.

Full shot, back of costume, hair pushed aside:

As you can see, there is a nice zipper in the back, with a pull that to me, looks like Seattle's Space Needle. I am making it a point to be very careful, because I am the not so proud owner of ten magical thumbs. The boots zip up in the back (yay!) since I just cannot face lace up boots or corsets at this scale.

Closeup of the boots from the front:

Boots from the side:

Face with the mask, and upper costume detail:

The mask is made of the same pleather as the outfit, and does not seem to want to "sit" properly on her face. While I know the mask had to match the costume, I wish there had been another way to make this mask work better. Another problem I have with it is that it is sewn to the Character Figure's head at the temples, and removing it without destroying it was really tricky, especially given my ten thumbs. The collar is either satin or taffeta, and has a wire trim, to help it keep its upright posture and shape. Another disadvantage to someone wearing the costume, because it seems that it would limit her peripheral vision.

Face without the mask:

I really like the HG (Hawkgirl) sculpt, and I am sorry I missed Hawkgirl when she came out, but that particular Character Figure sold out lightning fast. Now that I have Star Sapphire, I can see why, she is quite lovely!
Hand in glove:

When the first DC Stars Character Figures came out, there were complaints from doll collectors, asking for flesh toned hands for redressing the Character Figures as fashion dolls. Not all of the outfits doll collectors had matched with the gloves, which were meant to match their superheroine costumes. Tonner listened, and delivered by sending along flesh toned hands for switching out the costume "gloves." Thank you Mr. Tonner!

The mask:

Luckily, I was able to remove it in one piece, but I wish there was an alternative, so accessories such as masks could be added and removed more easily, and without collector anxiety of ruining an important piece of a Character Figure's outfit. This must have been an extra tricky accessory to make.

Belt Detail:

Star Sapphire's famous logo is printed around about the area of her belt, and there is a clear bead substituting for the jewel seen on her costume in the comics.

Posing limitations:

The main problem I have with the pleather of the costume is that it is not very flexible, meaning that posing is not very easy to do. Again, my fear is that my ten thumbs might damage the costume, and though I am not keeping her as Star Sapphire, I do consider the costume an important part of my investment in the Character Figure.

Overall - well, I am a Tonner-holic, so I buy my dolls and Character Figures from Tonner like a little kid who has saved up her allowance for the privilege. I love the sculpts and the attention to detail Robert Tonner is justly famous for. In this case, I am refraining from too much comment on the costume's authenticity, because I don't follow the comics, and to be honest, I don't much for the costume design of the modern Star Sapphire, which is a problem on the part of DC Comics, and not Tonner Doll.

The Star Sapphire Character Figure is a real beauty, with long, curly rooted raven saran hair - raven haired dolls are a weakness of mine - and she has the Bloom skin tone. Her eyes are a vibrant lavender, with mauve lips. She has a determined expression, which of course is in keeping with her position as a super powered being. What is really nice is that her body is the new superheroine sculpt, with a larger bosom, curvier hips and muscular upper arms, which really completes the look of a superheroine. I will post pictures later, showing Star Sapphire next to a regular Tonner doll, to illustrate the differences.

All in all, I was very satisfied with my purchase, though I wish there were an alternative to the pleather for the costume. It limits the posing, and there are a couple of tiny spots where the coloring of the pleather seems to be rubbing off. I also wish there were an alternative to the styling products for the hair, because while it does keep the curls in order, it has the "crunchy" feel to it which I really don't care for.

Green Lantern seems to like her look.


  1. Not really a Tonner fan but this girl looks fierce and beautiful! Maybe you can recreate her costume from a better material.

    1. Hi Ada, yes, she is pretty fierce! I think you have a great idea, to recreate her costume. Alas, the "ten magical thumbs" is NO exaggeration. I will have to find someone with REAL talent to remake the costume. But I think I will get a replica of her 60s era costume, too.

  2. Ten thumbs? LOL. I think I have those, too!

    Fantastic review, Blue. I love your photos, also. I think Star Sapphire has a simply amazing face. She really does look as terrific IRL as the promos. Thanks so much!

  3. I'm a costume designer and I've won awards for my superhero stuff, too.

    If I were to make the current Star Sapphire costume for a human being to wear, the whole "open" front would be done in illusion mesh. There's simply no way to do that any other way, if for no other reason than that the collar won't do what it's supposed to do as a separate piece.

    You're not kidding about the peek-a-boob issue with something like that, and even if I were to build in solid foundations and wire the edges, I'd never get that thing to work on someone who breathes or walks or moves without the Illusion. It actually reminds me of some of the figure skating costumes I've been seeing for the past several years, and the way they handle that is with illusion mesh.

    Looks like that was exactly Tonner's thought, too.
    I'd have made her outfit out of something like nylon spandex, though, rather than the pleather. Pleather boots, yes. Spandex bodysuit, and a molded plastic or resin mask.

    Oh, and if you're interested in recreating her earlier costume, let me know.

  4. I wish the made original outfit. Can we have Liberty Belle next?

  5. I Totally Agree with you about the mask, I totally trashed one when I removed it, and your right it just won't sit right on her face. Thanks for the info about the Hawk Girl head although I have Hawk I guess I never put 2 and 2 together. I know you and other people refer to her costume as pleather but as a fashion designer, I have to say I think and feel like it is really a type of processed paper. I know you think I am crazy but really the more I touch it, the more I think its paper.
    I really liked your review! I think its fair. I feel like there are a few more problems with this doll but maybe I am just overly picky...Let me know when your dolls arms start to crack at the shoulder...every doll I have with the new body has cracks at the arm hole, shoulder and something is wrong with the right legs. Always I enjoyed reading your post.
    Thanks Blue


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