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Figure Unboxing and Review: Kousaka Honoka Birthday Figure Project (Stronger)

I'm back with another figure review and this time we have Kosaka Honoka's Birthday Figure. This was released some time back as an exclusive by Stronger and with time, her price fell. Given that this is the only line of scale figures that have all nine girls in the same outfit, and together with the upcoming All Stars mobile game in 2019, there's no telling what might happen to the price of this line of figures in the future, so it might be wise to grab them now if you want them.

The box for all of the exclusive Birthday figures are similar. All of them come with a long rectangular box with absolutely no windows at all. This gives it more protection and to make up for being unable to see the figure, you get a print-out of the full front view of the figure on the box.
A similar image is used for the exclusive file, but it uses the illustration instead of an image of the figure instead. All these files are bundled with a printed autographed thank you card from the seiyuu, which are signed as the character itself.
Fresh out of the box, this second-hand figure of Honoka comes with a pretty vivid pink which contrasts against her orange hair and the dark accents of her attire. She is also standing on an L-shaped base, which can be used to form the words 'Love Live!' if you combine it with the bases of the other 8 characters.
A close-up of the base shows the L in a solid pink color and the elevated part in a translucent pink plastic with Honoka's full name printed in white font. The placement of her name also allows for a better idea of what angle the figure should be displayed at.
The base comes in two pieces, as shown below, and you can decide if you'd like to display her with just the flat L-shape or elevate it using the plastic part. If you have the other characters, you can choose to mix-and-match them too!
The base for this figure comes with a clear peg and by connecting the figure to the base, it would give a simple illusion of Honoka in the middle of a dynamic dancing pose, standing on her tip-toes.
The entire figure on the base appears to be simple but clean. The sculpting is top-notch and there are just so many layers and dimensions to this figure even though the outfit is rather simple in comparison to those of her other scale figures. A little more hair movement would really add a lot to the figure though.
A simple 360 of the figure also shows that there are many ruffles involved in this figure, such as on her sleeve, top and bright pink ribbon at her waist. The simple pink flower-shaped hair clip also has some detailing on it despite its size, which I will illustrate better in an image later.
The painting is crisp and on-point. All the stripes on the figure are painted on precise and cleanly. A tad more shading would bring the figure up another notch though.
However, from the back, you will notice that Honoka's pose will strike you as a little odd. Her waist seems a lot smaller and the angle her hands are at appear awkward. In addition, her head also looks to be very tilted, which is not an impression you get from looking at her from the front.
The impression of her head being too tilted actually continues on until you reach the side profile of the figure again. I find it a little distracting, and hope that they would have actually centered her hair a little better to fit this pose at different angles.

If you notice, at the center of the black stripe on her back there's a small ribbon indent. There is supposed to be a small ribbon that fits into that crevice, but unfortunately, said item is missing from my copy.
I love how her skirt is splayed nicely against her thighs, creating that zettai ryouiki look between the hem of her skirt and the ruffled top of her stockings. The ribbon on her chest is also sculpted to give a really lightweight look.
From this angle, Honoka's ponytail appears heavy and stiff, while the ribbon hair tie appears to be soft and lightweight as with the other ribbons and fabric material. What they could have done was to make the sculpt for her ponytail slightly more dynamic by adding more individual strands to it, which would make it appear a lot lighter.
Now, with a close-up on her outfit. We see that there are a lot of different textures and paints. The ribbon on her chest has a gloss topcoat, and that same glossy paint is also on the black hem of her darker pink top. The rest of her pink outfit is matte, though I particularly enjoy the 'rolled' effect of her lighter pink layer.
Her black skirt, on the other hand, is slightly translucent, adding another dimension to her outfit.
Her glove is skin-fit and secured with a cute pink ribbon. I love how the white glove is adequately shaded with grey to mark out the grooves of the fingers due to their structure. The way it flares out after the ribbon is incredibly cute as well. A little more detail on the ribbon would be incredibly lovely though.
More ribbons are on the tops of her glossy boots, and similar to the others on her glove, a little more detail would be more distinct.

A zoom-in on Honoka's flower hairpin shows that there are no clear details on the flower petals itself, but I really love the yellow dots on the flower, showing the stamens.
The glossy ribbon is incredibly soft looking, especially when it is matched with the two white feathers in her hair. The feathers are very detailed but a little more shading would make the feather appear much more realistic.
Honoka's expression is very typical of her, with a bright smile, happy and wide, sparkling blue eyes. Usually, I love a more subtle blush on figures, but this line of figures follow a more conservative look with an atypical three strokes of pink as a blush. 
Overall, I think the figure is very worth-it at the reduced price (30-40% discount) due to the vibrant colors, clean paint-job and precise sculpting. However, it's probably really not worthwhile if it's at its original price.

~ Reina-rin

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