Iron Studios X-Men Vs. Sentinel Battle Diorama Series – Mystique Review

In The Beginning

We’ve arrived at the final flashback review for the Iron Studios X-Men Vs. Sentinel Battle Diorama Series. The 1/10th scale statue line has been quite well-received since its inception. It did, unfortunately, suffer a long pause due to the worldwide pandemic and its effects on production and shipping. Now that the line is beginning to see releases again, we’re taking a look back at the first three installments of the series. We’ve covered the good guys with both Professor X and Cable, but now its time to check in with the bad guys. Today we’re taking a look at one of the leaders of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mystique!

Background

While Raven Darkholme, a.k.a. Mystique is known most famously for being an X-Men foe, the character actually first appeared as a villain in the Ms. Marvel comic book series in 1978. Created by the same men that reinvented the X-Men just few years earlier, writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum, Mystique wouldn’t take her long-standing role as the new leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants until 1981’s iconic storyline, Days of Future Past. A mutant shapeshifter, Mystique has been revealed to be almost as long-lived as Wolverine. She was also the step-mother of X-Man, Rogue, and the biological mother of yet another X-Man, Nightcrawler. While Raven has often been shown at odds with the X-Men and their spinoff teams, the character has at times found herself on the same side as the heroes, even joining their ranks.

Packaging

The box art for Mystique continues the minimalist theme that Iron Studios has employed for their X-Men line of 1/10th scale statues. Everything we’ve previously seen with the Cable and Professor X releases is here, from the iconic red and black “X” to the comic-inspired X-Men logo to the statue’s promotional photos. Mystique box color is, of course, dark blue for obvious reasons. It should probably be noted that Mystique’s packaging is much slimmer compared to the two earlier releases since the statue is a lot smaller.

Sculpting

Mystique is probably my least favorite in respect to the sculpting. Now, don’t get me wrong. The detail work is strong, as is the portrait. The sly smirk on the character’s face, the creases on her boots and skirt and the tiny skulls on her belt all combine into a solid figure. There’s just something about the pose that reads as awkward to me, though I’m not able to put my finger on it. Your mileage may vary.

The bottom skirt pieces of her outfit are made of a softer material, minimizing any chance of mistakenly snapping them off. Her skull-filled belt is made of the same soft material, I believe, and is glued down to one side of her waist. It doesn’t fall as flat as I’d like on the other side, against her lower back, causing an odd “floating” effect, but overall it looks fine. 

Paint

There’s not much to Mystique’s color palette, but what is here works well. The dark, deep blue of her skin looks good, though it muddies the details of her face a bit too much for my liking. The white of her outfit does stand out as a result of her darker skin tone, which makes for a nice contrast on the shelf. There’s some uneven paint application with her portrait that irks me, such as her uneven lipstick and some minor slop around the eyes and golden skull forehead piece. If I weren’t photographing her with a macro lens for this review I’m not sure I would have even noticed, but it is there.  

Base

I tend to rave over the bases of these X-Men Vs. Sentinel Battle Diorama statues and, well, I’m going to do it again! Despite my lukewarm feelings towards the figure, I am a huge fan of this base. Once again, this is the interior of the Xavier Institute. Just as with the previous one which belonged to Professor X, this looks to be from inside Xavier’s office.

There’s an identical rug to the one found on that release, which is a nice way to hint at the configuration of these proximity pieces. The paint and the sculpt of this, particularly the support she’ standing on, are above and beyond what I expect from these releases and I never get tired of falling in love with them. 

Accessories

Mystique comes with an interchangeable lower right arm. While the arm she comes wearing in the box is her signature white opera gloved one, this swappable alternate option is sculpted to look like the mutant villain Sabretooth’s. The hand even has Sabretooth’s long, black claws. It is a clever way of displaying the femme fatale’s shapeshifting superpower despite the static nature of the statue.

While the hands inserts over a peg nicely, I wish they’d employed the same magnetic security they would later do with Professor X and Cable. A dab of putty is your friend here if you’re worried about the lower arms being too loose.

Value

Put up against some other releases like the ones we’ve reviewed recently, such as Cable, its very easy to convince yourself that Mystique is somewhat lacking. Sure, she’s petite and less of a slab of polystone on the shelf, but she is without a doubt just as masterfully done as her companions. From an excellent sculpt to a beautiful paint job to an amazing base, Raven Darkholme is deserving of a spot in the collection, despite my not loving her. Throw in the fact that Mystique was pretty low-priced when she was originally released and she actually stands as the entry in this series with the most value. 

In The End

Mystique just shows how well even the smaller statues in the already smaller 1/10 scale line that is the X-Men Vs. Sentinel Battle Diorama series will come off. While I think it’s going to take seeing these proximity pieces contrasted against the mammoth Sentinel releases that are beginning to drop for the true appreciation of this line to sink in, I’m happy that Mystique serves as a reminder that they’re beautiful alone on the shelf as well. Now that we’re all caught up, I can’t wait to start digging into the current entries in this line of statues. 

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