METAL GEAR SOLID: 12" Meryl Silverburgh

Series: Metal Gear Solid Konami Doll Collection
Manufacturer: Yamato
Price: Approximately US$30

Yamato has released a set of 4 1/6th scale figures based on the hit Konami espionage game Metal Gear Solid. The assortment consists of Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, Sniper Wolf and Meryl Silverburgh. Reviewed here is Meryl.

I don't know why people review packaging, but for those interested, the box is well-designed in the MGS theme colours and motifs. The back carries a bio and the design artwork that the figure is based on.

The MGS figures finally break the tradition of using irritating wire twist ties to hold the figure in the casing. They instead use fishing lines, knotted at the back, so all you need is a good pair of scissors to get them out.

Meryl comes with two weapons, a handgun and a dagger (please don't ask me for specifics). That's it. Lousy value for the price. If you want you can count the bright day-glo orange vest she comes with as another accessory, since she never seemed to have that in the game. But she looks better without it. The weapons do fit snugly into their sheaths on each side of her trouser legs, so storage isn't a problem.

Her outfit is fairly accurate and faithful to the game (Apart from the orange vest), right down to the tattoo on her left shoulder. She does have elbow pads that do not appear on the game art, but more on that later.  Everything fits snugly due to the use of elasti-bands instead of fabric belts. There may be a danger that they'll eventually turn brittle or snap in a few years down the road. The major problem with the outfit is the cut of the hips. They don't allow for much allowance in hip movement, and when you move her thighs into sitting position her fly tends to stay open. 
 On the whole, the female body isn't a bad design, incorporating a lot of useful, if not terribly innovative articulation. You get your standard run of joints including ball neck, 3 piece swivel torso, and double jointed elbows and knees. Overall, it allows for quite a bit of posing, so long as the tight pants don't get in the way of leg positions.  The hips are ball jointed, and there is some restriction as to how much they can swivel. She can put her feet together, but she can't really cross her thighs. 

Hidden behind the shoulder loops of her shirt are two rings around her shoulder joints. I have no idea what they contribute to the articulation.

The joints run on the click system. Once you get the piece to rest on a notch it hold its position. Mostly. There are some minor problems like the hands falling off the wrist pegs easily, and visible rivets, but they're trivial gripes. The paint on the fingers tend to flake from pushing the gun into place.

Some people have complained about the small-chestedness of the body. I guess it's alright for Meryl, but things do look amiss on the supposedly volumptous Sniper Wolf. Either that or I've been staring at the McFarlane figure way too long. I do think that this body is a little too tall and anorexic. 


I will say this though: SHE HAS UGLY ELBOWS. I think that's why they gave her elbow pads, which tend to ride into the gaps on either end and need constant rearranging. And the cup guard is loose and will rattle when shaken. Going commando on her limbs is not a good idea. This is one girl who won't be wearing a swimsuit anytime soon. 

The most severe problem for this body is the weight distribution at her neck. Her head is cast in soft vinyl, while her hair is a separate piece that's quite heavy. What this means is that her head tends to lean back, and her neck joint isn't stiff enough to correct this support problem. So to get her to look straight ahead, you need to get her to slouch; straighten her back, and she's looking at passing clouds. The head on mine literally bounces backwards when I try to position it looking down.

My other major gripe is the extreme ugliness of her face. Granted, the sculpt is actually pretty good. It's not as detailed or lifelike as the McFarlane figure, but they did a good job of capturing her flowing locks. The face itself looks generic, yet it isn't bad to look at.

Until you get to her eyes.

Whoever they hired to do the paint templates for her eyes needs to get into another line of work. It's quite possibly one of the worst paint applications I've seen on a Japanese product, or in this scale, and I have had my share of ugly Hasbro Star Wars dolls. They gave her ridiculously thick eye-shadow, in utter black, as well as amazingly ugly Moulin Rouge eyelashes that make her look like a vintage Barbie doll from the 1960's. Added to this is a strange, soulless expression that looks either pissed off or drugged and sleepy. It's not only out of character, it's a turn off to look at.

Hopefully a paint wipe and repaint will help things. I'll add pics if the operation's successful.

For it's current price, this is only so-so. A few more accessories would have made it slightly more worthwhile, along with a nicer head deco. It's unfortunate, but the entire MGS line here seems to be less popular than it should be because of general unhappiness with the heads. Meryl looks ugly and accessory-less in the box, Sniper Wolf has a bad deco as well as neon green hair (!!!) and Solid Snake looks goofy. The nicest head probably belongs to Liquid Snake, but who really wants to get him outside of the set? Still, if you're willing to do some tweaking it will make a nice addition to a collection, and $30 isn't that bad a price when you consider that these are Yamato imports.

I took 10 minutes to get her to hold this pose!


PS: On a whim, I was playing around with some spare parts I have, and put together this kitbash, which I think makes her look so much better. Her bad eye deco actually suits the bad girl look, which reminds me of something out of a Jean Paul Gautier ad cum Village People. The gun and vest are from the Cy Girl 'Sky", and the hat is from one of Dragon's German outfits.