Yes, against all expectations I broke down and bought an Alpha 2.0 from Triad Toys.
Let me preface this review with the following: I don’t knock Triad Toys as a company. I think they have good intentions (if somewhat off the mark). My biggest concern, and the main reason I generally avoid buying anything from them is the Quality Control issues that seem to have plagued most of their releases.
So I wasn’t too certain what to expect with this doll/action figure other than that I should be prepared for her body to fall apart in my hands.
Purchased: Triad Toys Alpha (hispanic version).
She comes with:
- Black bathing suit (ala 1980)
- Flat feet
- Semi-high heel feet
- Flat hands *default on figure*
- Trigger finger Hands
The body is considerably lighter than I expected (weighs 136 grams). I expected it to be a bit heftier, and to feel a bit more like a Takara CG. However, it is nicer than I expected and has an evenly dispersed tone/color in the plastic. The face sculpt looks considerably better in person than in pics online and I think there is a lot of potential in it. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the appearance of the knees but IMO they seem ok. After all, in real life not all knees are sexy!
Things I like:
The face sculpt: is a nice change from Triad’s usual fare of “angry” women. I’d say it’s a good relatively neutral look, and is something that could easily be tweaked in Photoshop for alternative expressions. IMO Neutral = Good!
The body: looks a lot nicer in person. The joints are reasonably firm and most of the joints aren’t eyesores. I like the way the bust has been sculpted and the fact that the bust joint allows for a pretty good range of motion when it comes to turning the torso. The hip area is nice as well allowing a smooth transition which I can see will make costuming & clothing the doll a much nicer experience.
Alternate Feet/footwear options: A definite plus is the fact that she comes with flat & Semi-HH feet. It’s also worth noting that the Alpha can wear/ use the boot feet etc from Takara CGs.
Clothing options: the Alpha can wear Ken clothes/pants. I’m not sure how well it fits the Dollsfigure clothing or CG default clothes.
Things I don’t like:
Stumpy neck syndrome. She’s got it. But to be fair it is no where near as horrible as it was with Triad’s first releases (the ones that were on the hotly contested triad/ Soldier Story bodies). Those were horrible!
The default face paint & hair: I understand that Triad was probably going for the “Neutral” look–but they could have done so with some lighter shades and had a better looking default face. The current paint applications along with the “meh” hair (reddish brown mix) doesn’t do much for the figure.
The Eyes: have been sculpted fairly small. IMO the sculpt might have looked a bit better with slightly (1 mm) larger eyes. But hey, some people do have small eyes in RL.
Hip/Leg joint Range-of-Motion: This seems pretty limited (not terribly, but enough that it’s noticeable to me). Generally in this situation I’d take the action figure or doll in question and shave out some of the hip joint & ass area to allow the upper legs more ROM. However, since the alpha feels rather light I’m suspicious that that area might actually be hollow pieces fused together…which means if I pare it down I’ll end up with a hollow hole which would suck more than the limited articulation.
Quality control Issues: Right out of the clamshell box —Some kind of melt marks on the leg, as well as what appears to be stress fracture/discoloration on the knee. Also a lot of flashing is either still on the figure or has been removed in a really haphazard (and messy) manner (I am not surprised, just a bit disappointed.)
Also a couple of random paint marks on her face (nose & chin). These don’t matter as much to me since I will be stripping her face & repainting her. *fingers crossed the paint stains come off*
In Comparison to the Takara CG 2.0 body:
Oh, I’m not going to apologize for the fact that I am biased toward the Takara CG 2.0 bodies. They are IMO the best thing out there and will likely be the gold standard until someone makes something better. I’ve done a basic (not overly intensive) comparison between the 2.0 and the alpha. If you have questions or want more pics let me know and I’ll try–but no promises with the move going on.
For comparison I’m using a Takara 2.0 body from Catwoman (the comic version) with an AJ head, and the Triad Alpha Medium bust. CLICK THE IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION (easier to see)
1: The neck posts--The Alpha has a considerably thicker neck. This means that if you want to use non-Triad heads on it that it will take extra work and customization on your part. (Watch Silent G’s blog for a tutorial on how to do that–he’s working on one!). It’s also worth noting that the Alpha has a limited downward tilt to her head/neck. That _is_ easily fixed with a scalpel knife (you simply need to make the channel wider that the neck knob goes into).
2: Elbow joints– The Takara 2.0 has a double jointed elbow which is superior to the single joint that the Alpha has. Why Triad, did you do that when you had the double joint on the Otaku? Why downgrade the ROM?
3: Waists — The Alpha is long waisted compared to the 2.0 body. This is possibly part of the reason her legs look weirdly dumpy(knee joints not included). The actual joint on the CG 2.0 is cleaner/closed and generally speaking neater. I’ve had the Alpha waist joint pop at weird angles leaving a large area of “open” to her interior.
4: Busts/bust joints — The Alpha has an undercut bust joint which is rather nice. It will make fitting clothes a little easier and is a nice design feature. The Takara 2.0 has a combined bust/torso joint which functions well although for aesthetic purposes isn’t quite as nice as the undercut bust on the Alpha.
5: Hip/thigh joint — For movement & practicality the Takara 2.0 body edges out the Alpha in this area. The 2.0 has a wider range of motion and posing. Aesthtically the Alpha is better as it is shaped more normally and will look good in skimpy clothing & lingerie.
6: Hands/Joint — The Takara 2.0 wins hands down (LOL) as it has a superior range of motion without having to adapt or adjust the joint in any way. Other pluses are that the 2.0 can use hands from TTL, and Earlier versions of CGs (in this photo is using the hands from a 1.5 cg). While the ROM for the Alpha’s wrist is limited you can adjust it with some customization work. Another plus for the Alpha is that Triad has made an accessory pack of hands in different poses.
7: Crotch area — The Alpha wins this one for Aesthetics. It is a more natural looking shape. The 2.0 has what I call “the man crotch” which requires more care in designing clothing for to minimize that MC look.
8: Knees — Without any doubt the Takara 2.0 is superior. The ROM with the Alpha is very similar but aesthetically the 2.0 is just cleaner and flows better witht he line of the body. The way the design was done for the Triad Alpha it seems to draw attention to the joint which is a No-No IMO.
9. Feet — People have complained about the Large size of the Alpha’s feet. I don’t really think they are that large. they are hard plastic so if they really bothered you (or you wanted to use some smaller shoes) you could carve or sand them down.) They seem appropriate to the rest of the body. The plus is that Triad included a semi-high heel pair as well as the flat feet…I’ve been told that they will fit the shoes for some of the Tonner 16″ dolls. (I don’t have any so I can’t check!). Also another nice aspect is that the feet can come off on the feet cup instead of at the base. That makes swapping out the feet/footwear a considerably easier experience.
Another positive is that you can remove the peg and foot and use feet/shoes/ bootfeet from the Takara CGs. You’ll need a pair of pliers for that though.
10: Sitting — not as important to those of you who plan on just having your figs standing around…but pretty damned important to me! The Takara 2.0 sweeps this one. The Alpha is unable to sit down with her knees together (so un-ladylike!). Pushing the Triad Alpha’s knees together results in her torso/hip area laying backwards…..This may be adjustable with some judicious scalpel work and paring (there was also an issue with standing up straight with legs–possibly related to the same area). Because the Alpha feels hollow I’m not certain how much scalpel work can be done on it without leaving gaping holes.
The Alpha Overall: They seem to be decent for the amount they cost—bearing in mind that it will be a continual crap-shoot about the QC issues. When budgeting permits I’m willing to add a couple more Alphas to my collection.