Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Figure Review: Deluxe Librarian by Accoutrements

The Deluxe Librarian action figure by Accoutrements (2005) comes boxed with Nancy Pearl figure (with shushing action), a cardboard insert that can be used as a backdrop for the figure that includes a reference desk, a computer with a swiveling monitor, a book truck with rolling wheels, 4 stacks of books, and 4 single books that Ms Pearl can hold in her left (non-shushing) hand. The box is made to look like a hardcover book, with a blue spine and the "title" in yellow. The top and bottom of the box has stripes to look like pages. The back has a photo of the real Nancy Pearl wearing the same outfit as her action figure, a biography and "Pearls of Wisdom." (The carded, non-deluxe, version of this figure is wearing an identical outfit, but it's navy blue instead of red. It also includes a different stack of books, and a single book for her to hold, Book Lust.)

The figure itself has 5 points of articulation: head, shoulders and elbows. The feet/legs cannot move. There is a button on the back that, when pressed, releases her right arm to swing up a little, molded index finger raised to "shush" any noisy library patrons. The arm must be in the "down" position for this feature to work, and if her elbow is extended so the arm is straight, when pressed, the raised arm will appear to point instead of shush. The mechanism isn't as smooth as it might be, but still pretty cool. Her molded left hand will hold one of the 4 individual books that come with the figure: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams), Why We Buy (Paco Underhill), Walden (Henry David Thoreau), and More Book Lust -- which was written by Pearl.

The cardboard backdrop that comes in the box has a reference desk (also cardboard) and make it appear that your figure is indeed standing in the library, patiently answering your questions. Unfortunately, whoever opened the carton my figure was packed in slashed the top and bottom of the box, and sliced into my backdrop's "floor" a bit. 

I was particularly impressed with the attention to detail. Pearl's hair is an attractive salt-n-pepper, her cardigan/jacket has buttons and button holes, her glasses closely resemble the ones she's wearing in the photo, though she does have a slightly goofy/toothy smile. The book truck's wheels really roll. The computer's monitor swivels. The books have far more detail than you might expect, with textured edges to look like pages, spines marked with titles or authors, and on the 4 single books and the top book of each stack, both. 

This figure has some pretty great pluses: it's completely recognizable, there's fabulous detail in the accessories, the accessories are appropriate and meaningful, and the backdrop (even simple cardboard) has a wonderful look to it. The minuses would have to be her limited articulation and the not-quite-smooth mechanism for shushing. Overall this is a wonderful action figure, and Accoutrements designer(s) should be applauded.

It's a little unfortunate that, while I think it's terrific and love mine, Pearl actually took a bit of flak for this, with one critic claiming that she was "setting the profession back 30 years." Both the shushing and the clothing seemed to make librarians everywhere defensive. Fortunately, Pearl herself said that it's "a lovely idea and a lovely tribute to my chosen profession." Ms Pearl, I simply couldn't agree more. Can I have your autograph..? Maybe you could sign the figure... >_> My biggest dilemma is, do I put her in my home library, or put her with the rest of the action figures downstairs? Library, I think. She deserves to stand out all on her own.

Other books, stacked:
Trawler, (Redmond) O'Hanlon
Shantaram, (Gregory David Roberts)
(unknown title), David Whyte
Gandhi, (autobiography?)
(unknown title), Tahir Shah
My Invented Country, (Isabel Allende)
(unknown title), Eric Hoffer

30 Days in Red Pants, Gibson (Holub)
Lady Wu, (Yutang Lin)
Man's Achievement, (Edwin William Pahlow)
Ways of Escape
Darwin Awards, (Wendy Northcutt)

I, Robot, Isaac Asimov
Neuromancer, (William Gibson)
The Martian Chronicles, (Ray Bradbury)
1984, (George Orwell)
A Scanner Darkly, (Philip K. Dick)
2001: A Space Odyssey, (Arthur C. Clarke)
Dune, (Frank Herbert)

Pablobian Visions, Schaap
Judge Dee
Orchid Fever, (Eric Hansen)
Gig (Americans Talk About Their Jobs), (John Bowe, et al.)
Musahi (possibly supposed to be "Musashi"..?)
Hamlet, William Shakespeare

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