Leave it to the Japanese to beat Hasbro at the Marvel figures game. I've been a fan of Spider-Gwen's design ever since the character made her debut way back in 2015. I have 2 commissioned pieces from French artist Bengal, the Spider-Verse Hot Toys release and the original Mafex Spider-Gwen figure. I've owned the Legends release, but honestly it was so limited compared to other options, it was sold on quite fast.
So why Sentinel? It's quite expensive at over £120, especially when the size is around 1/12, putting it at the Figma scale - even there, prices are usually around £50 when ordering from Japan. I think in all honesty it was a combination of a ton of accessories, a gorgeous head sculpt and pose-ability I couldn't quite believe from official photos. I also admit to a fondness for the ballet shoes, it's a terrific design detail that perfectly fits the character, and I'm sorry they swapped them out for generic looking trainers in the new film.
Incredible articulation means that there are very few poses Gwen can't pull off convincingly
When you first crack open the box, you'll find a near overwhelming number of parts to start messing with. There's Gwen of course, with 5 sets of hands (and 2 more thwipping hands hidden in the next tray) an alternative masked head with narrow eyes, a folded hood, two unmasked heads (smiling and smirking), alternative hair (shaved, non-shaved) and finally a mobile phone. And if you really want an "ultimate accessory" there's a school outfit torso with non-movable arms and no legs of its own. More on this later.
Joining Gwen in the box is Spider-Ham, 7 alternative arms, a worried alternative head, a mallet and a camera. So all in, you have two and a half figures in the set. There's a stand with two black holding claws, but it took me ages before I realised you had to pop the clear bar and then awkwardly shove the arm through and then lock it with a tiny piece of plastic It's also black, so not ideal for a figure holder. All in I hate it.
Anyway, there's really no shortage of parts to fiddle with and you have enough options to create pretty much any pose or outfit combination you can think of.
A shame that, for all the work that went into the school outfit, it's useless without taking the legs off the main figure
In terms of sculpt, everything is spot on, from the texture of Gwen's crime-fighting costume (bobbly for the black, smooth for the white areas) to possibly the best face-sculpt I've yet seen for this iteration of the character. I love the fact that you have optional hair pieces in order to do away with what some call the "activist" shaved head look (though it never bothered me). This does have a tendency to just fall off at annoying times though and I spent more time than I would have liked trying to retrieve the blasted thing. It's also a shame that the prominent freckles of the prototype have been removed from the final release, it was a lovely detail that I liked a lot.
In terms of the poses you can pull off with her, there's almost no limit. Her legs cross easily, a small recess in the back of her thighs allows her to bend her knees to a crazy degree, each arm has 4 points of articulation, a midriff hinge, waist swivel, ball jointed ankles and toe hinges, it's absolutely insane how flexible she is. This of course makes her a lot of fun to mess about with.
I mentioned the school uniform option that's also in the box, and this both pleases and annoys me in equal measure. The torso and arms are molded with no articulation, but more irritating is that in order to get a full figure, you have to cannibalise the legs and connecting joint from the main body. Why? You have a gazillion limb options for Spider-Ham, but they couldn't add a lower body for the school outfit? This is very expensive for its size and not only is one of the main parts a statue, it doesn't even have its own legs. It would have been so nice to display them together and make use of more parts in one go, but alas it's just a wasted opportunity. A shame too, because the school outfit is actually really nice, especially the subtle tartan on Gwen's skirt.
The webbing kept slipping out of her hands...
So there's at least one amazing figure in this box, half of a half-decent statue and a pig. While the bevvy of options was originally part of the appeal, the execution leaves me baffled. The problem with having so many display options in one box is that it immediately makes half of it redundant. Yes, you might, once in a blue moon, switch things out a bit, but who's going to prioritise the schoolgirl bust over the main figure? If you're going to have all these options, maximise the display potential, don't leave half a figure useless for want of 2 parts while shoving in redundant ones instead. I've seen a lot of Sentinel KO's of Miles on Chinese websites, I can easily see me finding a few quid to get hold of an extra hip connector and some legs, it's just a shame Sentinel don't meet this need directly.
Speaking of cash, this figure will set you back between £120 and £150 depending on where you source it. That's a lot of money for a figure this small, more so given the competition from Marvel Legends (£25) and SH Figurarts (£65). While I can say that the figure is easily the most seamlessly pose-able that I've found, with a gorgeous sculpt, slender lines and a rare distinction of texture on her costume limited to the black parts, it's hard to say that it's the best value. There's no doubt it has attention to detail and real quality where it counts, but for display purposes it's really hard to justify all that extra money.
I have the SH Figuarts on order, only because I love how you can have the hood up with her unmasked head and that gorgeous 2-tone hair on show. But having seen the reviews on that figure, I can say that the sculpt and range on Sentinel's effort does appear to be superior - whether it justifies an extra £80, well that's really down to you.