I have something very cool that I want to share with you all. HobbyLink Japan was nice enough to send me a sample of Alter's Alvis & Lavie from Last Exile. I literally got up and danced around for a while because I was so psyched I would be receiving these as a sample to review.
Over the years, I have owned and photographed more than 15 Alter figures. Every Alter figure is a wonderful piece of art, but there are lots of things that make this one very special. However, if you want to find out what makes these three sculptures by Alter so worthy, you'll have to hit the jump to read my full review!
Figure Name: 1/8-Scale Alvis & Lavie from Last Exile Figure Maker: Alter Retail Price: ¥8800 Available at:HobbyLink Japan
Remember the 2003 anime Last Exile? Well, maybe that was a while back, but let me assure you it was a wonderful show, one of my favorites. The show takes place in a rather unique steampunk fantasy sort of world. It waxes and wanes on the subjects of war and politics. It explores life subjects like death and romance and will sometimes embark on a good random adventure.
The main characters in this show are drawn to be noticeably younger than everyone else in the world. It’s fun to see the perspective of the younger characters that are thrown into all of this mess. The main character, Clause, is just 15 years old and is the male lead of the show. It is still a mystery to me as to why he was not included in this figurine set. However, of the two young girls included Lavie is 15 years old and Alvis is merely 11 years old. Both are extremely cute as you will soon see.
Here is the box that Alvis and Lavie came in. It is a very small, measuring 20cm by 17cm by 16cm; despite this, it is pretty hefty for a little figurine box, weighing just over one pound. The box itself reminds me of Clause and Lavie's vanship, which is an airplane of sorts. Not just the color but the little holes on either side make take me back to the when Clause had lightened the vanship by drilling out holes in some of the metal of the frame to make it weigh less to be faster.
The inside of the box is orange-colored, which brings out Alvis and Lavie's skin tones. For those of you who do not like to unpack your figures, this little window does a great job of showing off these two girls.
There are four major things inside of the packaging: the two girls, the bench, and a large black base. The packaging is extremely protective of its contents. Every major item has its own layer of plastic separating them from everything else.
The base is a large piano black square with a basic Last Exile logo on it. It extremely shiny and if you keep it clean it is reflective, too! The base is simple without any mounting points on it. At firs,t I was subtracting points for this in my own mind until I realized how much more versatile this style of base makes for displaying these figures. Also, while simple, this style of black base adds a classy look to how this collectible is displayed
Remember when I said that this set has three figurines in it? Well this bench that is included is very detailed, surprisingly so in fact that I consider it to be a impressive collectible by itself. It is shiny and has a armored silver metallic look to it. From the looks of it, the bench was constructed from parts that one would make a vanship out of. The wing has a traditional teardrop shape and overall it looks spectacular. I am glad that Alter gave a nod to the beautiful airships from the show in their figurine.
Here, you can even see the wheels that would be part of a vanship's landing gear. The rod supporting the bench in the back is made entirely out of metal by the way. This is the most sturdy collectible bench that I own and I think it is made entirely out of hard ABS plastic with metal supports.
Here they are at last, Alvis and Lavie sitting on their vanship bench. They are both cuties and sculpted with very different body sizes, as Alvis is quite a bit smaller and younger than Lavie. Each have their points and accessories which we will look at in more depth later, but for now, let's explore what they both have in common with one another.
Both girls are sculpted in a sitting posture. If you look closely, you can see that they have flat bottoms, which allow them to be placed about anywhere. Later in the review, you will see them posed sitting on other 1/8-scale things that Alter has made.
At first, I thought these girls had absolutely no visible seams, but if you look closely at the correct angle, you can see them. Right behind Lavie's goggles and just behind Alvis's bangs, there is a tiny seam. Alter did a fabulous job at covering these up though and making them difficult to notice.
Both girls have very cute boots and their reflection on the surface of the base only reinforce how cute they are. Alvis's boots have bright orange trim and orange tightening straps. Lavie's boots are less colorful, and they have a clasp to fasten them.
Let's take a closer look at Lavie. She has large grey eyes. Those eyes and silver goggles almost make me think of those older styles black and white photos for a moment, then the orange of her hair and eyelashes pops in and creates a nice effect.
Her dress is neat. I like the braided look along the straps and the natural looking folds along her chest and hip. However, her red tie looks a little unnaturally tacked on; it would look better if it were made of thinner plastic.
From this side we get to see lots of Lavie's details. First, we get a better look at her playfully stuck out tongue. I like how silly her "Biii" expression is. I don't have any other characters with their tongue sticking out and can't help but to find myself grinning when I look at her. Also, if you look at her left hand you can see one of Alter's trademarks. Every fingernail is sculpted and painted. This is attention to detail is part of what makes every Alter figure worth buying.
Lavie's goggles are a key accessory. They look very realistic and in particular, the silver trim is especially pretty. It's interesting to note that her bowl-cut style hair covers up the strap to her goggles. If you look closely, you can see how her hair is moved out to make room for the goggles strap.
You have to look at Lavie from her backside to fully appreciate all of her details. There are lots of little things such as the wrinkles that Alter thought to add to her clothing. Also in the back are a row of buttons that. Do I really need to describe what buttons are for? It's cool they are there is what I am saying.
Also from this angle, you can see some of the back side of the vanship bench, which has tons of supports that look like they came from one of the airships. One of the cool things about this model is you can see something new from any angle.
Alvis has large bright blue eyes with a very different, more rounded eyelash style than Lavie which helps to show her young age. Her outfit choice is unusual, I don't remember her ever wearing this particular set of cloths in the anime but it is a very good choice none the less. Her green dress with white and magenta floral prints works well with her pale blond hair.
The bunny ears with the little puffs on the side are just adorable. The ears themselves are not removable, by the way, and are made of a semi transparent plastic. I never remember Alvis wearing bunny ears but this is one creative license I can easily forgive Alter for taking.
I can't talk about Alvis without talking about the goat that she is so cutely hugging in her arms. Alter did a good job of making it look like the stuffed animal with it's floppy ears, bells and all. However, I do think they could have done a better job if the hooves were painted a matte black instead of a shiny black. Still, seeing the goat still reminds me of the signature "Baaah" noise it made when jostled in the show.
From this side, you can see how Alvis' hair is tied back into a puff to form into two ponytails. I always like a good pair of twin tails and hers are no exception to this rule. Each tail is sculpted a little differently. I like how one of them ends in a little curly shape.
Because these girls are not really keyed to be anchored to any one spot, they can be placed anywhere. For example, they can fit perfectly on Alter's Menma's clubhouse base; the girls' color scheme works great with it.
Menma doesn't seem to mind sitting on Alvis and Lavie's bench either. Actually, if you like Menma pictured above, you should order her over at HLJ.
I had a little too much fun here. But you can see how entertaining it can be to have a 11-year-old girl in the collection to pose with the more grown ladies.
I'm hoping that these pictures will give you a better idea about how petite Alvis and Lavie are. Alter's Ritsu looks like a giant next to these two girls.
It's fun to exchange collectible chairs between these characters. Despite the fact that her feet are dangling in the air, Lavie looks quite at home on Ritsu's stool.
If we had an award that we could hand out to say that a figurine was really amazing and a must own item, I would have no question in my mind that Alter's Alvis and Lavie would win that award three times over because of how impressive the overall look is. The look is super classy. It's rare and refreshing to see figures made with younger looking characters, so it shows that the sculptor really had to go the extra mile to make sure that their body sculpts and clothing sculpts worked right with the animation style. There is less material to use as a reference point for these girls. Often times, we see figurines such as Good Smile Company's Millhiore F Biscotti (which is of a 16-year-old girl) looking young but still undeniably buxon, as she should be because that is part of her animated design.
When this figurine was first released, I had passed on pre-ordering this set because it did not include Clause. I thought it could have been done better, which was a mistake. I did not know how well-crafted and good-looking the models were in person. I wish I had purchased them earlier, but then I would not have the pleasure of looking back now and laughing at myself for underestimating such a nice collectible by my favorite company, Alter.
I had so much fun writing this review. I hope that you enjoyed reading it and chuckled once or twice along the way. I would not have been able to bring it to you without the kindly provided sample by HobbyLink Japan. Thank you again, HLJ!