The two Sabers

It’s more than 2.5 years ago in April of 2008, when Volks released the original Fate/hollow ataraxia Dollfie Dream Saber. The a few months later in December of 2008, Volks released Saber Alter. Saber Alter is actually identical to Saber in terms of head sculpture. The wig is also nearly identical with a different coloured hair, a different coloured ribbon at the back and sans ahoge on top. So the only difference is Saber Alter is in white colour and has a different/much simpler outfit than Saber. Surprisingly thought, due to the popularity of Saber Alter, at times it actually fetches higher prices in auctions than original Saber. It really gave a new meaning to “less is more”. Now 2 years after Saber Alter’s release, in 2010, Volks released Fate/unlimited codes Dollfie Dream Saber Lily with a brand new yet even more complex outfit/armor set than the original Saber. It also sports a new head sculpture and a new new wig. Since I own both the original dollfie dream Saber and the new dollfie dream Saber Lily, I decide to do a side by side comparison so that the difference between the two can be examined in detail.

Let’s start by comparing the head and the wigs. Despite the obvious difference in wigs, one thing to note is that the ahoge on Saber and Saber Lily points at different directions.

Here’s a few more shots looking at the Saber (left) and Saber Lily’s head sculpture and the wigs. As you can see Saber Lily’s chin has a sharper shape. Saber Lily also have thinner eyebrows, lighter shades around the eyes, and the corners of her eyes doesn’t lift up as much. All that making Saber lily more elegant and lady like. And on top of that, a wider smile on Saber Lily doesn’t hurt.

Here’s a look at the wig difference. I really like Saber’s braid though. It looks nice and it’s not as fragile as Saber Lily’s pony tail.

Here, the wigs are removed for a better look at the head sculpture. The white Saber Alter is basically the same head sculpture as Saber just in white colour. But Saber Lily has a completely new sculpture. It seems that even the ears are newly sculpted just for Saber Lily.

Looking at the full front comparison. Saber (left) has a wider face than Saber Lily (right), while Saber Lily has a taller face than Saber. The eye’s color are both green but Saber Lily’s eyes are much more vibrant. And if you look at the profile comparison, it is evident that Saber Lily has a much longer chin. I know just about everyone on the Internet is head over heel about Saber Lily’s new head sculpture. But I still think original Saber is cuter. Saber Lily is elegant, but not as kawaii as Saber.

The hand parts from Saber (left) are much rougher when compared with Saber Lily’s (right). The separation between fingers in Saber’s gauntlet is not as distinct. As seen in photo on the right, Saber Lily comes with these black hand joints. These are great because you don’t have to worry about scratching the original skin coloured hand joints. Whenever I put armor parts on the original Saber, the hand joints are always scratches with armor’s black color. Tiny things like this shows that Volks really did learn from the original dollfie Saber and improved upon it to make Saber Lily a better product.

Saber’s arm armor (left) compared with Saber Lily’s arm armor (right). Both seems to be in three sections, but Saber’s arm armor is actually one straight piece, while Saber Lily’s arm armor is actually in three pieces. This makes putting them on Saber Lily much easier than Saber.

And as seen here, with the arm armor in three pieces, Saber Lily’s hand can maneuver a lot more than Saber. Saber practically can’t bend her hand at all once you put on the arm armor and the gauntlet.

Saber’s Leg armor (left) is again in a single piece. Saber Lily’s leg armor (right) is two pieces with a piece of black guard cloth to protect the white socks underneath. Again nice going there Volks, you made the armor easy to install while include things like these guard clothes to make sure the armor pieces will not stain anything underneath. The thoroughness is well observed.

Here’s the foot parts compared. Saber’s foot (left) is much rougher while Saber Lily’s foot (right) is much more refined. It is also odd that under the original Saber’s foot, there’s a big hole (mold injection hole?). This prevents you from showing the underside of her foot. While Saber Lily doesn’t have this issue at all as you can see in the photo on the right.

Here’s chest armor pieces compared. Saber’s chest armor is on the right and Saber Lily’s chest armor is on the left. Now you can’t see this from the photos, but Saber Lily’s chest armor is much easier to put on, and actually stays on. Saber’s chest armor is much harder to put on, and it splits apart every time I adjust any small thing. Volks put some extra tabs on the inside of the two piece Saber Lily chest armor to make it stay together a bit better than the original Saber.

The worst piece of armor from the original Saber has to be her side armors that hung on either side of Saber’s skirt. They are very big and heavy, and they need to be hung on a thin leather strap that’s then attached to Saber’s waist. Whenever those armor pieces are on Saber, the weight always drag the leather straps way down, and I always felt like they are going to drop down at any time. Look at the photo on the right and you can see how much smaller Saber Lily’s side armors are. And they feel lighter by density too. Now of course the size of the armor pieces are limited due to character design. But Volks really should have made the original Saber’s side armor thinner and lighter.

Another things that Volks did with Saber Lily is that there’s a center piece of plastic that joints the two side armor together. So the three pieces of armor actually formed 3/4 of a loop already. As you can see the armor actually stands by itself. The leather strap really just serves to make sure the loop is closed so that the armor will not fall out. And naturally they go on Saber Lily much better than the original side armor on Saber.

Well that pretty much sums up all the differences between Saber and Saber Lily (besides the obvious clothing difference). I will end this post with a couple shot of Saber and Saber Lily together.

7 comments to The two Sabers

  • Nice to see such comparison shots. Love both Saber versions, though do like the sharper look of the newer Saber Lily sculpt. Reminds me a bit of DD Yuki from White Album by Volks.

    • Maybe because DD Yuki and DD Saber Lily are both sculpted by the same person (Misaki Serika). I have another doll from the same person coming as well — DDS Marisa.

  • Eru

    A very good comparison, though I’m sorry to say that some of the additions on Saber Lily’s armour – like the knee-guard cloth and the leather strap, which usually appears black as opposed to brown, on the flank/side armour pieces – weren’t there because VOLKS decided to add them to make it better…they’re part of the original Saber Lily design (as seen on character concepts and the Good Smile figures) Also, I believe Saber’s Leather Girdle/Corset that attaches to her flank/side armour pieces is how it’s supposed to be, just VOLKS messed up by making it too heavy for the doll.

    I’ve studied their outfits quite a bit as I’m working on a costume because I love it so much. I feel that VOLKS did a great job at keeping the doll as close to the source as possible, though I am unsure about the Corset and Top being a two-piece, as opposed to a one-piece Basque I thought it was from my investigations of the Good Smile figures…

    • Yeah the knee guard cloth is based on the character design because in all the illustrations that area should be dark. Although it is nice since the armor does scratch a lot at the joints as I pose her.

      The side armor pieces in the original Saber can definitely be improved without too much deviation from character design though. I know it was suppose to hang like that. But they could have either made it much lighter with thinner pieces of plastic. And/Or alternative they can use a bit of black plastic instead of just those thin leather straps. Just a little black bar joint at the front will make it more rigid than what is it today. It will still look about the same as original, but this way at least the pieces won’t be dragging down the whole thing.

  • Eru

    Your words are true; as I don’t have Saber, I can’t speak from personal experience, though looking at the images you’ve taken I can agree that her side armour should have been made of something lighter :/ At least they learned from their errors…

    I’ve been meaning to ask, and I hope you don’t mind that I will, but what do you use to style Lily’s wig?

    • I use a tooth brush for combing the hair. If you look at Volks’ Tenshi-no-Hair Brush you’d see it’s pretty much a tooth brush. I just have to find one that’s soft, flat and enough space in between bristles. Then I use Dollfie Water Wax. for holding the some of the hair styles in place. I do use Dollfie Wig Oil Spray some times when the hair seems too dry. But didn’t use any on Saber or Saber Lily for the recent photos.

  • Nice comparison. Generally I agree Saber’s armor design was a failure but part of the problem is inherently tie to the Saber’s design. Even if the skirt armor was made out of lighter material, it still won’t be very posible due to it being one piece. What’s more important is that they got Lily’s armor right after learning the mistakes they made in Saber.
    As far as the face sculpt goes, my vote goes for the more elegant Lily since I always thought Saber’s face was too chubby for me.