Released by Triad Toys at the start of 2011, Dakota Jennings is part of their “Dead Cell” line of supernatural investigators and eliminators. According to the storyline of the toys, “Dead Cell” is a special ops group made by the US Goverment to deal with vampires, werewolves, and other nightmarish creatures. Led by Abigail Van Helsing, there are hundreds of teams like this around the world ready for any paranormal situation.
Dakota watched as her parents were killed by monsters at a young age in her hometown of Devil’s Lake, North Dakota (I wonder if that is a real place), and was raised by “Dead Cell” members who fought the beasts. She is a master of “Judo-based street fighting,” and prefers to use her sword and pistol in battle. With this bizarre background info out of the way, let’s take a look at the figure!
Dakota is boxed in what appears to be a rather straight-forward set-up with a long cardboard box. The design work on the front lets you know what team she is on, and gives multiple pictures of her posed for action, or possibly a photo-shoot in “Soldier of Fortune” magazine.
The back of the box has all of her stats, as well as the extended backstory to what I summarized above for the concept behind this “Dead Cell” line (which you can read in the full in the photo gallery at the bottom of this review), as well as who Dakota Jennings is.
There is a barcode on the bottom of the figure with the code “DED0001,” so next time you go to your local toy store, ask them to check for that bar code in their database.
The toy opens from the top, but the real fun is in the panel in the front. In spite of it’s simple appearance, the front opens up to reveal her accessories on the left, and a window into the figure itself inside the packaging. The weapons are attached to the left side via six plastic plugs, keeping everything nice and snug inside their molded plastic homes.
The figure itself is around 10 1/2 inches tall, and not a full 12 inches. The sculpting is smooth on her face, perhaps too smooth since she has a look of dull boredom on her face. Maybe she is just jaded from all the demon killing, but her expression is so lackadaisical that it is disappointing. It could be interpreted as a cold stare of death from a woman who has seen so much violence in her world that it no longer phases her, but all of the ladies from Triad Toys have this look.
Her hair looks nowhere near as good out of the box as it did in the photos on the packaging. I am not much of a stylist, but the hair juts out of her head flatly and evenly, making her facial expression even more noticeable. The sculpting on her accessories makes up for much of the plainness of her face, but we will get to that in a bit.
Her clothing is all fabric, and fits the tone of the character in the color and appearance. She has all sorts of leather-looking pads wrapped around her, like on her forearm, knee, and her belt. Her denim pants had some trouble staying up (FYI, she is going commando), but they were meant to be low-riders anyway, so just give them a yank when you are posing her in your display. Otherwise, she will be giving the other figures in your collection a free show, and if you want a piece of Dakota, you have to pay to play.
Not much I can say about the paint job here, since most of the paint is on her face. It’s clean and neat, and that sums up the paint on the figure. The accessories are more or less all solid tones as well, nothing spectacular but nothing bad that detracts from the figure. The detailing here is more in the clothing since it is fabric, as opposed to sculpted clothes.
Dakota comes with eight hands; a pair of closed fists, hands to hold her sword, hands to hold her gun with a trigger finger, and completely open hands grabbing for the air. She also comes with a handgun with a removable clip and sliding barrel, her leather jacket, her Katana, and the scabbard holding it. She also has magnetic boots, meaning she can clip onto a metallic surface to help her stand up straighter.
The hands come on and off pretty easily, and firmly grip whatever weapon you want to put in them. The sword slides right into her scabbard and has great detail on the handguard of the katana. I love the pistol, and I do want to add that both her gun and sword have holsters as part of Dakota’s clothing. The pistol fits in a holster on her left leg and the sword has a section on her back, as you will see in the photo gallery below.
Sadly, you can not put the sword in that compartment when she is wearing her leather jacket, but the jacket is so cool that you can forgive that. The front has a working zipper, and more surprisingly, so do the sleeves!
I really love the sword here, and can not get over the detail in the handguard. When I heard Triad had the license to make “Lone Wolf and Cub” toys, I was very worried about them getting the weaponry right, but my fears have been alleviated after seeing Dakota’s arsenal. Triad did a great job with the accessories, and if you count her clothes as part of that category too, then you will love this figure for that alone.
Dakota uses an Alpha Female body type from Triad Toys, making her extremely flexible and great for posing and play. This is a toy for adult collectors, but is priced at just the right point where a kid could play with this, or an adult could have fun making stop-motion animations or taking dynamic photos of her in action.
She can hold her sword like a samurai, point her gun like James Bond, or pose like Elektra from Marvel Comics (minus the giant red bandana), and that is all without a figure stand. All of her accessories offer plenty of different options, and lots of fun for the stop-motion animation enthusiast. If you are a diorama maker, chances are you already have a great setting to put her in, whether it’s urban, some dark temple, or a post-apocalyptic setting.
I may have been a bit harsh on Ms. Jennings here, especially since she was one of the first in the “Dead Cell” line. While the other figures in this line come with much more interesting accessories and clothes, Dakota looks like a passive and less attractive Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Triad Toys is not trying to be like other companies, such as Sideshow or Hot Toys. These are not figures that are going to have short runs with absurd prices and limited availability. These are high-grade figures made for a specific fan base, and I think it accomplishes a lot on the level that it is going for.
The number of accessories, the clothing, and her flexibility make her a good figure overall. I wish her face looked less identical from the other cloned ladies that Triad makes, but she poses well and, when placed in the right position with her accessories, the expression works.
Fans of Triad must like this face since it is used a lot in their other lines, and since this is my first figure from the company, I probably just need to get more accustomed to it. Overall, I like this figure a lot and am open to grab some more Triad Toys figures the next time I come across them.
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Check out the gallery below for more pics of Triad Toy’s Dakota Jennings!