I can’t believe this year is almost over, just a few more weeks and on to 2013. So many cool figure releases this year for sure, for me it was a pretty good year for scaled releases and my beloved figmas. Interestingly enough this year saw several releases of older popular figures from a variety of manufacturers allowing some of us to acquire some sought after releases.
One such figure is Alter’s Louise Françoise Le Blanc de la Vallière - Gothic Punk ver. the archetypical tsundere with a mouthful of a name. A figure that I wanted to get my hands on for years ever since I started to collect figures four years ago.
Louise sure has gotten a variety of figures over the years, after all Zero no Tsukaima was a nice long running light novel series and a four season anime. Among those figures there have been three in particular, all from Alter, that have caught my interest and I would love to own someday.
This year was really the year of re-releases and it pleases me to end that one of those figure would be one of my top ten most wanted figures. If I had to pick my biggest pet peeve of the figure collecting hobby it would be the second hand market. For the most part, if you miss out on a release of a figure you have to be prepared to pay way over the retail price or play the waiting game until you find the best deal. Being able to buy this figure at retail price was an unexpected surprise.
I’m surprised though that Louise has not gotten more figures in recent times, the uniform version that I got is from 2009, so is the original release of this figure and 2008 for the bustier version. There wasn't anything big from the third and fourth seasons, even if there were plenty of nice costumes to choose from. In particular I would love a Louise figure in her wedding dress. I always thought Zero no Tsukaima was one of the more popular shows of the last few years. Although I suppose this could be only my point of view as a westerner.
I actually been in another one of my slumps, this time though not because of how my pictures look but because the ideas behind my photo shoots have become stale to me. I’m bored of just doing the tried and true flat background. However, not since October’s Purple Heart have I done a proper scaled shoot. I figured, rather than just not shoot anything until I got more ideas I should do a quick and easy shoot so I wouldn't get rusty and try out some things while I’m at it.
This where Louise comes in, this Goth Punk version from Alter has been out for a while and several people have already reviewed the re-release. I figured, this figure would be perfect for me to try out things and still be fine if I screwed up a bit.
One of the things I tried was trying to use a back lit backdrop, something I never done for a scaled shoot. I experimented a bit with my figmas but nothing serious. Building up from an old idea I threw some lace in front of my diffuser box. I think that was kinda of a failure, with the exposure that I used and the aperture I feel not enough detail came through in the end.
More interestingly for me though, for the first time ever I post processed my photos. I put aside my super negative view of post processing just to give it a try. Following Chag’s super awesome video tutorial I grabbed the trial of the latest Adobe Lightroom and gave it a go. I gotta say it was much simpler that I thought and not that very time consuming either. Then again I did not tweak each picture individually and just applied the same settings to the whole batch.
What do you guys think? Did I butcher my pictures, should I have let my camera take care of it? While I’m still not of the opinion that you need to post process every picture that comes out of the camera I’m more open to the idea now that I was before. Just like I told Chag, it’s alright.
What do you guys do for post processing if any? Is there any cool tips and tricks or tutorials you recommend?
As for the figure itself, I obviously like it quite a bit. I like that it shows Louise in a nice dere dere mood, although I think I would like a figure of her being all tsun tsun too. Kind of a shame though that Alter toned down the blush and perplexed expression Louise had in the original illustration the figure is based of.
Well, I suppose compared to the original illustration where Louise is essentially flashing her panties to us this pose does not warrant so much blushing. Another of the things that Alter toned down for the figure, although I’m undecided if this is a good thing or not. Having her panties right there out in the open is kinda alluring but I think it makes it lose some of the appeal the teasing such as with this figure provides. Although if you really want to see them you totally can along with some delicious zettai ryouki. A must for any tsundere played by Rie Kugimiya. The thigh highs in particular caught my attention as they present a nice asymmetric look to her legs.
This leads to the one part I dislike about this figure. I don’t like her boots at all. I find them to look very goofy, almost clown like. I wonder why they were done this way, in the illustration they look pretty normal and are sized appropriately. I do like the cute skull cat thing on it, pretty neat.
One of the things I always liked about Louise is her gorgeous hair. Might be the pink, may be the nice waves to it, might be nice volume it always seems to have. I don't know what it is but I really like it. The hair for the figure looks the part, the shading is done well and the ribbons accentuate it nicely. One of the most noticeable things in figures for me tend to be the hair, when a figure manufacturer screws up the hair it is usually a very big flaw that does not go unnoticed. Might sound like a broken record but Alter never disappoints in that area for me.
As for the rest, super duper job from Alter as always, which is doubly nice since this is technically a figure from 2008. Whenever I get older figures whether second hand or as a re-release I’m always impressed with them. While not as elaborate as today’s figures some of them such as this one really do hold up with their build quality and paint.
In the end I'm super happy to own this figure, happy that I finally tried my hand at some post processing and I got an excuse to take pictures of a figure that probably doesn't need more. Not that has stopped me before though.
Now it's time for be to go back the figure I really wanna shoot now, the currently overly popular Katanako from Max Factory.