“With me comes the fury of nature herself.”
I’ve tried to stay away from collecting too many 1:4 scale X-Men statues, even though they are my favorite Marvel team. I find it difficult to pick just a few, and I don’t want to fall into the Pokémon trap of having to get them all. Favorites like Jean, Cyclops, Mr. Sinister have all made it into my collection. And most recently, Storm, in her iconic 90’s costume, was available from not one, but TWO producers! So I took the practical approach, and acquired both! One statue is a “fan art” custom with an edition size of 55, while the other is produced by XM Studios with an edition size of 420, being part of their new made to order sales approach.
So let’s dive right in…
Packaging: Both pieces arrived with similar packaging, consisting of Styrofoam inserts with Velcro straps, within a solid outer box, all within a brown shipper. This has arguably become the expected packaging norm. Both are large heavy boxes (custom = 30 x 20 x 21 inches, XM = 26 x 22 x 18 inches).
Extras: The “fan art” custom includes a beautiful art print and edition size (COA) card. The XM also includes a beautiful art print, their standard registration materials, and an assembly manual.
What’s in the box? XM Storm: Base, body, two heads, two sets of arms, two sets of capes (each cape is made of two separate parts), two sets of hands. “Fan art” Custom Storm: Base, body, two long-haired portraits (one screaming), one calm and one screaming head, which share a single removable mohawk hair, two right arms (one holds the ball lightning, one does not).
Overall both pieces are packed very well. However, as luck would have it, I still had both arrive with damage. Coincidentally, they both had similar damage (broken hair, broken earring). I have already received the replacement head for the “fan art” custom. I am awaiting the XM replacement head.
Both pieces have similar design concepts, Storm in flight with a tornado at her feet.
XM Storm: This version has a large swirling grey tornado base. There is no additional pedestal of any kind under it. It has the effect of swirling clouds, more than just swirling air. Storm’s single left foot keys into the inside of the swirling base.
XM Storm comes with quite a few switch-out parts, which, as intended by XM, allows you to have two distinct looks for the piece. However, you can mix and match the switch-outs to create even more display options. Her arms, hands, and heads all attach via nicely strong magnets. Her capes attach via pins into her back, and gold chains to her wrists. Fan Art Custom Storm: Storm stands on a lightly pink tinted swirl of translucent resin, with streaks of grey clouds swirling around it. There is a significant black disc base below it. Storm’s left foot peg keys into the pink swirl, and the lower half of her left leg sits in a cutout pocket in the swirl as well. No other parts of her touch the base.
While the custom Storm also has several switch out parts, these are just for some variations, like mohawk change out heads (CoH), and arms with or without lightning. It is too bad that only the right arm is able to be displayed without lightning, since in my opinion it is the more successful, with the ball lightning. The left arm can only be displayed with the lightning, which just looks unsuccessful, with the lightning being in a sort of arrow formation. Displaying the left arm without lightning leaves a small indent in the arm where the lightning attaches, but it is possible. The arms and Mohawk hair attach via magnets, while the heads attach to the body via pins.
The custom is definitely more action posed. Her pose is very dynamic, from the raised right leg, and the shocking twist to the torso, to the outstretched arms.
I like both bases. The custom base definitely conveys more air movement, while the XM base is just really nice, and almost looks more like a hurricane.
I have two complaints regarding the bases: 1. The additional piece on the XM tornado (top, front) is a complete eyesore. It sticks out and doesn’t match the rest of the base (paint, texture or angle). 2. The custom Storm base has minor seams where the various parts of the swirling cloud were joined.
Both sculpts are close to flawless.
The portrait sculpts are different, for sure, but I think both are very nicely done, when considering the closed mouth portraits. As for open mouthed, XM looks amazing, and definitely conveys happiness/pleasure, but the angle doesn’t make it a great display option. The screaming portraits on the custom Storm are not my favorite, and I likely won’t display them much.
The XM Storm body sculpt is simply gorgeous. The peek-a-boo back cutout and the abdominal details are nicely done. I know people have complained about the wrist chains, but I have no issue with them, and the cape does look like it attaches to the wrists. People have also complained about the neck seam for the CoH. If the complaint is about creating a costume seam where one didn’t exist, then yes, it is there. If the complaint is that the seam was not well done, well, I guess I received a good one. The portraits are also beautiful. The hair on the XM Storm is intricate and well done. She doesn’t have gloves, but the hands are nicely done… including sculpted knuckle wrinkles and silver nail polish..
The custom Storm has wonderful sculpted details, like the zippers on the boots and the gloves. The contrasting textures on the various parts of her costume are also a nice touch. Her cape attaches to her forearms, not her wrists. The custom Storm also has giant voluminous hair on two of her four portraits.
For me, the body sculpts on both are equally well done…. But XM has a more refined, stoic look. The hair on the custom is a big winner for me. I always associate Storm with big hair. To me, the custom is gorgeous and voluminous and flowing, while, the XM is just a bit too much tendril, and low in volume, especially over the forehead. I also don’t care for the bangs XM molded into the hair, even though they are blowing back with the rest of it. The custom also has very nicely done Mohawk hair CoH, even if Storm didn’t sport a mohawk in this costume.
Paint applications on both bases are nice (except for the attachment on the XM piece already mentioned). For Storm’s costume, XM chose white (similar to the animated series look), with grey on the boots and the abdominal panels. The custom went with an allover steel blue/white/silver color (similar to the silver look in the comics)…. It’s hard to describe. I really don’t care for the grey on the XM Storm’s boots or panels. XM could have, at least, added some pearl, sheen, something. Her shoulders and arms did get a very nice pearl treatment of some sort, it just doesn’t photograph well.
The portraits on both pieces are painted very well. I love the details of the slight pink in the corners of the eyes on the XM Storm, though the red lips are a bit jarring and the eyebrows are a bit thin. The custom Storm has more neutral lips, with a lovely blush sheen on her cheeks, and some nice eye shadow, especially on the mohawk heads. Both utilize grey as a shade in her hair. I wish both pieces would have gone with a whiter overall look to the hair.
Overall, which Storm you prefer will likely depend on many factors. From a comic perspective, the fan art custom wins, due to certain details like gloves and paint app, though the cape attachments are a definite minus here. From a basic statue composition perspective, XM wins, with a gorgeous body, sculpted on top of a dynamic base, coalescing into a very well composed piece. From a dynamic perspective, the fan art custom is amazing, and really looks like she is ascending in front of your eyes on a whirlwind tornado.