Once upon a time, a merry band of figure bloggers played a little game called The Exiled Realms of Arborea (TERA for short). The game played like a mix of Monster Hunter and God of War, which sets itself apart from most MMORPGs. It also has the trashiest designs for female characters I’ve ever seen in the video game, and I loved it for that. Seriously, when half of the game’s population is strutting around in skin-tight leather, skimpy dresses or thongs, it was easy to see why TERA appealed to me. As the intrepid Elin mystic “Babycakes”, I had loads of fun with our little guild (tastefully named “Night Shift Nurses”) for many dozens of hours.

But as time went on, the game became repetitive in more ways than one. Quests seldom went beyond the “kill X boars” or “harvest X items” model, boss mechanics were recycled, and the game even opted to reuse low-level armour models in the late stages of the game where progression was slow enough already. It also didn’t help that the mystic is the least damaging class in the game and all attempts to solo with my mystic felt like pulling teeth. The game started to feel like work to me, and without much in the way of end-game content to look forward to, I had to put it on hold indefinitely. I’m fairly confident that the game will eventually be free-to-play since it already has a pretty whorish cash shop, and when that time comes I’ll probably try it again.

Babycakes, leader of the Night Shift Nurses

But if nothing else, the game was pretty. Having played games on minimum settings all my life, I was far from a graphics whore, but when faced with the dazzling sights of TERA, I just had to drop a couple hundred bucks on a new CPU purely for the sake of playing the game on high settings. It was hard not to be mesmerized by the game’s graphics, which was pretty much like pouring sweet honey right into my eye sockets. Being the figure collector that I am, I wanted a piece of TERA in my display cabinet, and there was one garage kit from Cerberus Project. Of course, I can’t paint anything to save my own life, but that was where E2046 came in.

To put it bluntly, E2046 is a bootleg figure business. They take original garage kits sold by the artists, make new molds from those, and make recast resin garage kits, some of which (like their Gathering line) are pre-painted. As luck would have it, Cerberus Project’s Elin was amongst the selection of pre-painted garage kit figures being offered. Still a little unsure, I asked Ash if he thinks the garage kit would eventually get a PVC release, and when he said the chances were “piss nill”, that was the end of that. The figure even depicts the mystic class, which just so happened to be my main character! I had to get it.

Of course, little did I know that Yamato would eventually announce a PVC version of the same garage kit at summer WonFes 2012 — THANKS ASH!

Before I get to the usual stuff, let me know you how the packaging works. Unlike your usual PVC figures, the Gathering Elin came in pieces, each wrapped with plastic and tucked inside Styrofoam housing. This is to compensate for the fact that resin figures aren’t as resilient as PVC. Assembling the figure is a breeze and all the parts fit snugly together. The only exception to this is the chest and torso divide, which is just slightly loose, but if you make sure to push the piece all the way in and don’t screw around with it (i.e. jiggle it around while you take review photos), it wouldn’t be an issue.

Whenever TERA is brought up, some people always seem to get their balls in a twist over the Elin, a race of nature spirits who just so happens to look child-like animal girls with thunder thighs. Some love them, some hate them, and both sides of the argument get pretty tiresome and embarrassing. I don’t get caught up in that jazz because I know exactly what I like. The Elin is an impossible mix child and adult features, giving them the best of both worlds. They’re both cute and sexy, and Cerberus Project’s sculpt captures those points amazingly well. The large head and oversized flower-like irises give the character that innocent appearance, while the toned midriff and large bare thighs gives the figure that sex appeal that seems to make some stiff sods uneasy.

Well, I can safely tell you that unease the last thing I’d feel when looking at the Elin. I have my own theory on why I like them so much, and it has everything to do with DEM THIGHS. By slapping a grown woman’s hips and thighs onto an otherwise child-like design, the attention is drawn squarely onto the Elin’s legs. Bluehole Studios (TERA‘s developer) knew this perfectly well, and it shows in the Elin armour models. Likewise, the sculptor French Doll was able to exploit this trait, thus both the pose and sculpt seem to be shaped for the sole  purpose of showing off the Elin’s lower half. I mean, just look at the sculpt on that butt — you can tell that a lot of love and attention has been poured into the wrinkles of those skin-hugging black panties. It’s a dynamic action pose that has the Elin sticking out her bum and showing off her legs while teetering on top of a tiny pair of high heels — what’s not to love?

In terms of quality control, the guys at E2046 have done a decent job. There are some seam lines to be found on the Elin’s hair, and the paint is slightly clumpy and uneven on a few of spots on the hair and tail upon close inspection, but nothing that breaks the presentation of the figure as a whole. I will say that paint work and shape of the hair and tail are sub-par when compared to most PVC figures, and I suspect that has to do with the fact that the figure is made from a re-cast garage kit. But on the bright side, this is about as bad as quality control gets on this figure, which really isn’t too bad, all things considered.

The dress on the Elin Mystic is gorgeous. The colour gradients transition from dark green in the centre to purple near the edges flawlessly, and the fine ornaments and hems on the dress and cuffs were painted with great precision, right down to the her little high-heeled slippers.

Sadly, there is a mistake in the way E2046 paints these Elin figures. There are two “windows” on the chest area of the dress that were painted in the dress’s colours. The same mistake can be found in another review and even on the sample pictured on the E2046 website. I’m not overly bothered by the omission of those two windows, as the Elin doesn’t exactly have anything to show off underneath, but I’m  still nevertheless puzzled by how this mistake could’ve gone unnoticed.

The Elin’s skin is adorned with those all-important pink tones that I wish Kotobukiya figures had more of, most notably on the midriff and face of the figure. There are no mould lines to be found on the Elin’s legs, which I am really grateful for, as you know how much I like those legs.

The Elin mystic is depicted swinging her scepter in a rather energetic manner. I have no idea what spell she could be casing, given the anemic nature of ALL of the mystic’s skills, but it certainly looks cool. The scepter is handsomely detailed, though I wish I could say the same about the lighting effect part coming out of the end. It looks white, it looks like thick fluid, and it certainly does not look like lightning…actually on second thought, I am completely okay with this. If for  some reason you don’t like the sight of blue-tinted semen coming out of the Elin’s stick, then you can opt to remove the effect part altogether, though that’ll leave a sizeable hole at the tip.

By the way, the Elin is huge.  Even though the original garage kit is supposedly 1/6 scale, at 28cm (11 inches) tall, this figure is closer to 1/5 scale. As such, the figure is pretty heavy, yet it is connected to its base solely though a single metal peg beneath her left foot. Since the figure is so top-heavy, the figures is slightly unstable and is shaking slightly next to the keyboard as I type up this review. This makes me slightly nervous and I wonder if anything will happen to the figure in the long run, but nothing bad has happened over the couple of weeks that I’ve had her, and I hope it will remain that way.

Final Say

So, what did we learn today? Well, we’ve learned that Ashlotte is not to be trusted, and bootlegs can be pretty damn good.  Though it’s certainly no Alter or Max Factory, the  overall quality is no slouch when compared to many legit PVC companies, and for the price of around ¥10,500, you can do worse. I admit that the figure is on pricey side, but not to an unreasonable degree, so all in all, I’m pretty happy with the purchase.

I won’t dwell on the ethics of E2046 as a business. Needless to say, it’s not savory, since the people behind the character and figure won’t be seeing a penny of what I paid to E2046. But when push comes to shove, when you don’t have the talent or the means to paint a garage kit that doesn’t have a PVC release, E2046 is a viable and affordable solution, and I’ll just leave it at that. I am curious, though: would you ever buy anything from E2046?

Would I recommend this figure to most people? Nah, not when Yamato is making a PVC version of the same figure with a more secure base and (presumably) without the chest window snafu. And although I am very pleased with the quality of the Gathering Elin Mystic, I have a feeling that Yamato will outdo it. Do I regret purchasing this little bootleg wonder? Nah. I’m glad to have tried out E2046 and to see their handiwork first-hand. Besides, given Yamato’s shitty history with delays *COUGHHeatBladeCOUGH*, who knows when their Elin will ultimately come out?

P.S: when the Yamato version comes out, you can bet that I’ll be a total hipster and say “I’ve had the figure before it went mainstream!” ;P

The Good

  • French Doll’s sculpt captures the charms of the Elin perfectly
  • Superb detail and execution on the clothing, weapon, and skin

The Bad

  • Hair and tail are slightly rough around the edges
  • Omissions of windows on the front of the dress

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed these photos. I’d like to say that I busted my ass shooting them, but in reality all it took was a blue floodlight blub, some Christmas lights, some coloured stones, and 6 bundles of flowers from the local dollar store. I guess this is what it feels like to actually put effort into indoor figure photos! This will take…getting used to, but I guess there’s no turning back now! Here’s hoping I’ll have at least one idea for the next figure I shoot.