Friday, November 6, 2015

I Am Elemental: Courage Review!

We don't need another hero, because we have Courage. Click the link for my look at the brand new figure from the I Am Elemental toy line!

I've written about I Am Elemental numerous times. It is one of my favorite toy lines that makes up a great line of female action figures with an empowering message for girls, boys, and adult collectors alike. Everything about this toy line is pure perfection. Julie Kerwin and the IAE Team started out with a Kickstarter campaign that raised an impressive amount to make their toy line dream come true for all of us. Being a supporter of this line from the beginning, I have managed to collect many of the figures. In fact one of the figures (Enthusiasm) plays a big part in my toy soap opera story as I have made her toy Miss M's super crime fighting alter ego. (Fun right?)

The first wave of figures made up seven elements of courage. The figures were in a 3.75 inch scale and while I was beyond thrilled to own them, one of the things I had high hopes for was an IAE figure in a six inch scale. Most of you know I am a fan of figures in that scale. In all reality I'm a fan of any figure. I'll be that 90 year old woman in the nursing home with her toy collection. It will be epic.

I am getting off track like I so often do. Julie and the IAE team answered the dreams of myself and other fans with the newly just released I Am Elemental figure Courage! She is a 6.5 inch figure with some awesome items and details. Oh, and let us not forget that she has over 30 points of articulation! Now let's check the toy out!

The packaging for Courage is simple yet packs a lot of great details. I enjoy the periodic table of elemental themes for the first wave of figures on the right. The effect is a nice way of playing with the title of the line while also explaining the purpose of Courage. She is the core power of the other seven figures. There's a nice synergy with this line. The window on the box also opens up and really shows off the figure. On a quick side note, the image at the beginning of this post is from the top of the box featuring that delicious I Am Elemental logo.

The front window spills over to the side where even more details of Courage can be seen. The armor on this figure is unbelievably sleek and fresh. There is so much to love about this figure!

Courage's sword and shield are displayed perfectly on the other side of the box. This is such a nice use of space for the toy packaging. Being able to get an up close view of the accessories is divine. 

The sword has a nice flame effect on it. In the last number of years certain action figures have used similar effects and I think it is a toy trend that needs to last for a very very long time. 

Courage also comes with an elemental shield like the other figures released in the first wave. It's an interesting design for a shield as it serves as a nameplate for the figure and can be worn as a charm for a bracelet like the other shields. 

More great use can be seen for this toy on the back of the box. The name of the line is proudly displayed at the top followed by the fun tag line below. A nice list of what is included with this purchase is really nice. Often times toy lines neglect this detail and it is nice to have that quick reminder of everything inside. I also appreciate an image of the figure from the back. It's a nice touch to share how the figure is crafted, especially in terms of keeping this figure mint on display. Some collectors never remove a figure from the box so it is nice that a collector in that situation would have the option to view a rough idea at how the figure looks from front to back.

One of my favorite aspects of any toy packaging are the images of other items for sale. I can't stress enough at how fantastic the entire line looks. Just a solid line up of female action figures. There is a uniformity to the line that some really enjoy and others find bland, however I think there is enough variation with the use of color and armor/costume pieces that really give everything a sleek and fun look.

Out of package Courage is great. (You all had to know I was going to open this toy!) There are some loose joints at the knees and hips, though these are minor concerns because the figure can stand on her own very well. I really enjoy the use of color and armor on this figure. She looks like a warrior woman, so the IAE team really delivered a strong powerful looking figure.

All paint and sculpting is great. There are no smudges or marks on the figure I purchased. One of the things I really enjoy about this toy line is that the figures do not have skin tones that are "natural." I really dig that the figures are red, orange, pink, and purple. It's a nice touch.

There are plenty of details for the figure all around. I am constantly impressed with the sculpt of these figures. Sometimes figures will have have a great amount of detail placed with the front sculpt of a figure while the back sculpt will be left lacking. This is not the case with Courage. Check out the details on her helmet and the hair. Again, everything seems simple in design but when it is all put together there is a great quality to the overall aesthetic. 

The helmet and shoulder pieces can be removed. I am so excited for this! Without the helmet Courage has a great sculpt. The color and shape of the hair has such vibrancy and movement. Perfect! The chest plate can also be removed though I was a tad nervous to do that. I wasn't entirely sure how to remove it. The chest plate is made of a softer plastic which more than likely can slide over the head. Anyone else have tips on this piece?

More images of the accessories! The brushed metallic paint on the shield is nice. The flaming Energy Sword is connected to the flame effect. The plastic is soft with a unique shape for the actual sword. Both items are enjoyable and make sense for the figure. I am not sure what else I would have liked included with the figure. Possibly a stand? However that is not a deal breaker for this item. 

Here is a quick image of the other side of the sword. The ragged handle helps with a nice grip for Courage. I also have to say that even though this is a toy line aimed for girls and boys, I just burst with pride when I think of girls playing with this figure. Most toy lines aimed at girls do not feature the word 'action' in them let alone a sword being included with the item! I wasn't a violent or aggressive child, but I loved characters like She-Ra with the idea that I could wield a sword too, it was empowering. Don't get me wrong, I love fashion and some of the stereotypical things that girls are expected to like. However I always enjoyed kicking butt and being my own hero. That is the importance of this line, for girls and boys. There's a lot we could all learn from playing with power. 

Here's a fun Courage pose! I'm not a fancy toy photographer. I use the same glittery cake plate behind Courage for a lot of figures because I like sparkly things. I do love toys though and this is my own way of showing off just how much fun this figure is. The sword fits easily into her hand. The joints and articulation are great barring some looseness with her legs. She fits in nicely with other toy lines. (As faithful readers of this blog will eventually see in the future.)

Like the flamed sword, the elemental shield also snaps easily into Courage's hand. Now she is ready to be a hero for us all. There are a lot of nice aspects to this figure and it comes in at $24.99. Some might scoff at the price but I think it is worth it. I'm a huge fan and will continue to support I Am Elemental. Julie and the IAE team are really great. They listen to their customers. What is not to love about this line? I have even heard that a new figure will hopefully be unveiled in February. For more information on I Am Elemental please go to the IAmElemental website. These folks put their heart and soul into this line. It is still a start up toy line and needs continued support to thrive and be bigger and better. Now go and check them out! I hope you are all well. I've got some fun things coming up on Diary of a Dorkette, so come on back after you do some I Am Elemental toy shopping. Now let's go play with some power!


  1. I really like this line as well. I have none of the figures but I am going to look them up. Female figures make up a large part of my own collection. I am glad I never saw a distinction between the genders. A hero or villain can be of either sex. I like the look of these.

    1. I really do too Kal. I think it is nice to have a well rounded mix of figures for people to collect. If anything it gives me something to do. lol Female figures tend to make up the bulk of my collection too, as I know you know. lol Hope you are doing well!

  2. i really love this line and its main goal. the figure looks cool sort of almost a female japanise animie version of dead pool with her mask.

    1. Ya know you really bring up a good point! There is a female Deadpool samurai look to this figure. I like it. This is just a fun line.

  3. I think this line looks really good, the toys look awesome! But it kinda goes against the double standard I have been fighting against in comics and toys. If all male heroes have to look all muscular and buff, why shouldn't all female heroes have to look sexy and busty?
    I can appreciate the toys, cuz they are great looking-but I always feel like the "feminist" view on comics and toys is kinda hypocritical most of the time.
    I mean, if we are asking for "male" action figures, does that mean I should want to see figures that look like skinny geeks and stuff? That makes no sense for me personally. I may be not as buff as He-Man, but I am not a skinny geek either! I am OK with He-Man and Arnold Shwarzenegger movies and stuff, cuz, it's fantasy, the males and females should look like things they DON'T look like in real life, cuz frankly, real life sucks!
    Still this line doesn't make the girls look realistic by any means, so I can get behind it. But I do hate the divide that comes when you say something like "action figures for females"
    On a less argumentative line of conversation, that thing you said about being old and having your toys in the nursing home-haha! I read this book called "Hey There Boys and Girls!" which was about local TV kids show hosts from the 50's and 60's -and they talked about one guy who didn't remember some of his own family members, but he remembered the puppets that he used to use on his show when his family brought them in! God forbid you ever end up like that-I could TOTALLY picture you still playing with the cast of this blog!
    And really, maybe that would be the best old-age situation any of us could hope for! Playing with toys! haha!

    1. Well I don't think that it is expected for males in comics to look all muscular and buff. I get and understand the aesthetic you are referring to in comics, but I think what the beauty about comics or toy collecting shows is that there can be room for everything. There doesn't have to be just one way of visualizing a man or woman.

      I personally would be fine with comic stories or toy lines where the men have normal looking bodies. I'm not saying He-Man needs to be manorexic, but I am not opposed to adding other possibilities with how men and women can look. Note, I'm not saying anything needs to be taken away. I think there will always be an aesthetic for comic stories that have beefy men and busty babes, but not everyone wants that. Believe me, I get the fantasy element, but I know a slew of people who have enhanced their bodies to look just like the super heroes in the comics so I don't personally get caught up in the fantasy of Batman's biceps. He could have regular guy arms or super guy arms, it wouldn't matter to me.

      I see it like this, one of my favorite comics right now is the Jem and the Holograms book. Every female in the comic is drawn with a variety of different body sizes and images. It is refreshing for me. One of the gripes I have had about comics, most notable super hero comics because that's mostly all I've ever read, is that the buff muscular look for men and the busty tiny waisted big butt look of the females gets translated to every character. I look back at X-Men comics from the 90's and it's like everyone has the same body type, it's just they have different heads on their bodies. In some cases certain characters even share similar facial features so it becomes difficult to tell who is who in certain panels. Now I'm not saying that aesthetic should be abolished, I just am saying there can be room for all kinds of different takes on a character and that sometimes diversity is a breath of fresh creative air.

      I also think it is important to sometimes describe a toy line as a female action figure line, not because it's meant to be only for girls, but because it is an indicator that something is different. I've been in toy stores a few times when young girls are looking for a specific female super hero action figure and they either can't find one because the figures aren't there or the figures they do have are too expensive because they are made for an adult collector. So I think it is important for a toy line like this to exist. It appeals to adult collectors but it is made for a specific audience that does not have a lot of representation in the toy aisle. One day it would just be great to have action figure lines that contain a nice mix of female and male characters that cater to everyone. I just don't think toy stores and companies have fully realized that yet. I hope it will be better one day.

      And I will be that old crone of a woman living in a nursing home playing with toys. lol Hope you are doing well!

    2. It is hilarious that you described X-Men comics as being something where sometimes it is hard to distinguish between characters, because they all look the same with different heads-because sometimes, that is LITERALLY what they did in the Masters of the Universe toy-line!! Same bodies, mixed with different heads. Sometimes, re-painted heads on the same exact body. We had the imagination to get past it. I never even THOUGHT of Beastman and Mossman as the same toy done up differently but they were. Archie Comics ( And Moose Comics!) mostly consist of the same character outline drawn in the same way, with different hair and coloring.
      I don't think people do that to discriminate against people who don't look a certain way, I think it is because you have a lot of comics to make, or a lot of toys to make and you can't make each one an entirely unique design. For expediency sake, you have to have a basic body type or design you use if it is a skinny character, a buff one, or a fat one, you have one body drawing or design for each type.
      I just have never had a problem with stuff like someone on TV playing a dork who I KNEW couldn't be a dork in real life because if they looked like what I looked like in seventh grade, they wouldn't be hired for the role! Adam Brody was a dork on the O.C but I never cared about the fact that he was way too good looking to be a dork in real life. I just liked the character he portrayed.
      I will say one thing though, that we can BOTH be pissed about!! That new Star Wars commercial , where the kid built his own R2-D2 to send an invite to he new Star Wars movie to a girl!?
      OK-as someone who actually was into Star Wars during the period when it wasn't "cool" for the mainstream (mid 80's to when the prequels came out) had I done that for a girl, she would have laughed at me and her guy friends would have beat me up.
      So it does piss me off that "geeky" is cool now. Why couldn't this have happened when we were kids!?

    3. Well it isn't that hilarious. There is a charm with the reuse of body sizes and what not for He-Man, I can enjoy that look. When I look at Moss Man or He-Man, even though there might be some similarities in body sculpt, there are enough differences to set them apart. With X-Men issues sometimes, the art is very important for the story to understand who is who. I still enjoy the X-Men regardless of body styles because I am not a fan solely for the bodies of these characters. I also understand that it is quicker to produce more content when there is a uniform look for the characters. I still see nothing wrong though with some comics breaking the mold and coming up with different sizes for characters. I want it all. I am a greedy dorkette like that. That's all I'm saying.

      I never cared that Adam Brody was good looking to be a dork either, but if they had cast the role with an actor who was really really "dorky" looking, I wouldn't have minded that either. I guess for me I am open to everything. I enjoy it all and if there is something I might be critical about or point out, it's not meant to be a bad thing but maybe just my own personal request for other options too.

      I have not seen the Star Wars commercial that you are referring to. I will need to look it up. I do agree though that it was tough being dorky and stuff back then whereas now it seems to be something for everyone. Everything eventually catches up though.

  4. Great review M! And the folks that make these should take notice of your love of these and the way you help promote the line.

    1. Thank you John. I don't know the folks behind this line personally, but Julie has emailed me to thank me for purchasing items from their site, which I would imagine she does for everyone. I just felt like it would be a nice thing to do. I hope you have been doing well!

  5. Well I would hate to think you'd think I am trying to knock you with these posts! You KNOW I adore you and these bits of verbal sparring, I just consider them to be fun!
    Yes, we may not totally agree on everything, but your blogs and how amazing they are, we CAN agree on that!
    I was sad to not see a new one this week! :(

    1. Oh I know you aren't. It's just hard trying to accurately describe what is on my mind in terms of these topics with such limited space. I am glad we can have these conversations. There will be a new post very soon and hopefully a second one this week. I just finished up the pictures and it should be super fun! Hope all is well!