Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DC Superheroes - Joker

Welcome to my action figure review blog - Action Toy Review.

While I wait for the next wave (series 4) to arrive from the DC Universe Classics toy line by Mattel, I'll be reviewing some previously released figures from Mattel's DC Superheroes line and even some DC Direct Figures.

Today's review is Mattel's DC Superheroes - The Joker

This action figure was released as part as the last wave of the DCSH toy line (series 8) which was released in Q3 2007. The other figures in this wave included Catwoman, Clayface, Bruce Wayne, Nightwing and a black & grey variant of Batman. Catwoman & Clayface were the only two original sculpts. The others are re-paints or variants of previously released figures.

This version of The Joker is a repaint of the previously released Quickfire Joker action figure (above) that was released back in 2006 before the DCSH toy line began. The sculpt is exactly the same. Joker stands at exactly 6 inches tall which makes him a bit shorter and off scale compared to the Batman action figures in the DCSH series. The DC database lists joker as standing 6'5" tall and Batman at only 6'2". One thing to note is that Joker's stance has him, sort of, leaning on his right leg, with his left leg out to the side. Maybe if the figure had a better stance he would appear to be a little taller. His left leg is actually (purposely) a quarter of an inch longer than the right. The Jokers face is the best part of the sculpt. It has a lot of great detail and really shows off his grin. The rest of the figure is really nicely detailed.

I am sort of torn about the paint job on this figure. It is very well done however, I'm not to thrilled about the color choices. Particularly with the orange pants instead of purple as Quickfire Joker had.

The rest of the outfit is not bad. The purple jacket, pink shirt and green vest look fine. Other than a little bit of running around the tie, the paint job is pretty good. My other issue is the blue wash on the face. As with the Harley Quinn figure from DCUC series 2, I'm not a big fan of this choice of wash color on a white face. I wonder if a shade of gray would have been a better choice. The wash actually does show the detail in his face better. Quickfire Joker did not have a wash on the face at all. Other than that, the face is nicely painted. There are no runs at all. The eyes, eyebrows, mouth and teeth are all super clean. The hair is classic Joker green (matches his vest) with a black wash.

Besides the paint job, the other thing different about this figure is the accessories Mattel has given us. Joker comes with a giant green hammer which has a jester symbol on it. Also he comes with a huge laughing gas gun, which is attached to a back pack that consists of 4 gas tanks. The back pack is removable from Joker's back but is permanently attached to the gun. The third accessory is a gas mask which fits over Joker's face very securely. It is fairly well detailed for a small part right down to the little grills over the mouth portion. All accessories fit nicely into Joker's hands, however, the gun is very heavy for his bony arms.

The big weak spot for this figure is his articulation. Joker's head can only move left to right. He has ball joint shoulders and twist joints in the wrists. Nothing in the elbows or biceps. He has a waist joint and knee joints. The hip joints are not your standard DCSH hip joints. They are very old school and only allow for his legs to be swung forwards and backwards. Also, there are no ankle or thigh joints.

Overall, this wasn't my favorite figure by any means. I'm not a fan of the sculpt or the paint colors or lack of articulation, but the paint is generally well done and Joker does look very good in the limited amount of posing positions you can give him. Plus the amount of accessories Mattel gives us is generous. This Joker also looks very good when paired up with Harley Quinn from DCUC series 2. it is still a good figure for display. For those of you out there that like to customize action figures, I would suggest painting the orange pants or getting a Quickfire Joker and replace it's head with this Jokers head as it is better painted. For me, i hope that they come out with a new and improved Joker in the DC Universe Classics toy line in the near future. Hey, they already gave us a new Batman, Robin & Nightwing, why not a new Joker? But at this point, nothing has been announced.

Sculpt/Design - 6, Paint - 7.5, Accessories - 10, Articulation - 3.5, Fun - 6.5
Overall Score - 6.5/10
If you're new to collecting these DC Super Heroes action figure toy line, then eBay is your friend. This line is discontinued and Mattel is already up to Wave 4 of their new DC Universe classics series. There are reasonable deals to be found on eBay but watch out for shipping costs. Sometimes buying multiple figures from one seller can save on shipping and bring the overall cost of your collection down.

If you're interested in buying this figure your best bet is once again eBay. This figure is rare and people who have it, know it. So you're looking at least $20-$25 for it. There are very few online retailers that have it and those who do, are asking for much more. If you wanna save a few bucks, Quickfire Joker is cheaper and easier to find. The main issue i have with QF Joker is the paint job, specifically the face. Its not painted as nicely as this figure but the color choices are better. Its really a double edged sword. You can also find Quick Fire Joker in a two figure value pack with a "Battle Armor" Batman for $20 (plus shipping of course).
To find DC Superheroes (series 8) Joker on eBay, click here
To find Quick Fire Joker on eBay, click here

You can also try Amazon to find deals on these figures. Just check out my Action Toy Review Recommends page which will link you to all the DCSH & DCUC figures available on Amazon.

Good Luck. Thanks for reading Action Toy Review. Be sure to check back for more reviews.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

DC Superheroes - Batman (Black & Grey Variant)


Today's Review is DC Superheroes - Batman (Black & Grey Variant)

This Batman figure was released in the 8th and final series of Mattel's DC Superheroes toy line. This action figure was and still is very hard to find. It was poorly distributed and a lot of people could not get their hands on it at the time of release in the 4th Quarter of 2007. At this point, the toy is dicontinued and it can only be purchased from a few various online retailers and on eBay. You're probably looking at spending upwards of 25-50 dollars for it.

The sculpt itself is not an original. It is almost exactly the same as the Batman figure released in the DC Superheroes Series 3 set which, up to this point, was probably the best Batman figure in the 6 inch height range. (The figure stands just under 6.5 inches by the way). The only difference (other than the paint job) is his utility belt which is has been improved. The buckle is slightly different and the pockets on the belt have been slimmed down allowing for better movement in the hip joints. Everything else you loved about the DCSH series 3 Batman is still the same.

The paint job is great. There are no runs or splotches anywhere. The cape and cowel are painted in a very deep, kind of glossy midnight black. The gray on the rest of his costume is much lighter than Series 3 Bats and i think goes very well with the dark black. The pockets on the belt are nicely shaded. You really can't ask for too much more with the paint job.

The figure's articulation is also the same as Series 3 Batman. Ball joint neck and shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms, abdominal, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles.

Bats comes with 3 different batarangs. The problem is (much like the series 3 version) is that they don't fit very well in his hands. Batman's left fist has a tiny slit in where the batarangs are suppose to be able to slide in however the slit is not deep enough to securely hold them.

Overall this is my favorite Batman action figure. The colors match up better than the previous blue & dark gray version and the belt has been slimmed and improved. Don't get me wrong, the series 3 Batman is still great, it just needed a bit of updating and that's what Mattel did with this version. The only unchanged issue is that Batman still cannot hold his batarangs very well.

As you can see in the pictures, this figure also fits in very with the more recent DC Universe Classics figures if you like to display them together.

If you're looking to purchase this figure, eBay will be your best bet. Most online retailers that actually have this figure in stock are asking $50.00 for it. eBay will be almost half that. To find this figure on eBay click here. Good luck.

Sculpt - 9, Paint - 9.5, Articulation - 9, Accessories -7, Fun - 9.5,
Overall Score 9/10

Thanks for checking out Action Toy Review. Be sure to come back for more action figure reviews on your favorite DC Universe Classics, DC Superheroes and other action figures.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

DCUC - Series 1 (Penguin & Red Tornado)


Today's Review - DC Universe Classics - Series 1 (Penguin & Red Tornado)

Okay, so I'm going backwards now. I have reviewed Mattel's DC Universe Classics - Series 2 and Series 3 but not 1. Well, the reason is, I don't have the complete set of Series 1 at this point. Since Series 4 is coming very soon, i figured i might as well at least start a review on series 1 before 4 comes in.

DC Universe Classics - Series 1 is a combination of 5 action figures. The Penguin, Red Tornado, The Demon Etrigan, Orion and Batman in his classic detective outfit. Since I'm a Batman fan, The Penguin was tops on my list. I have a couple Batman's from the previous DC Superheroes toy line so, the new "Classic" version was not a priority. Neither were the other 3 figures so, I've decided to just wait out this set and maybe pick the rest up if i can find a good deal. These figures are not that hard to find compared to Series 2 and 3.

Of course, the five figures come with a "Collect & Connect" piece and if you get all 5 figures, you can create The Element Man, aka Rex Mason, aka Metamorpho.

Oswald Cobblepot or The Penguin, is the shortest figure from this set measuring approximately 5.75 inches to the tip of his hat. DC Database lists Penguin as 5 foot, 2 inches so this figure seems to be in proper scale compared to the others.

Penguin's face is the highlight of this figure. Everything from his long pointy nose to his gummy frown makes him look like the classic Batman foe. It is a very good sculpt. The body is short and stubby. His vest is sculpted so it looks like it's too tight for his bulging belly. To top it off, he's got a classic penguin jacket with coat tales, top hat and pin-striped purple pants. It looks like Mattel has used all new parts to put this figure together too which is always a bonus.

The paint job is also top notch on this figure. I'm finding it very hard to find anything wrong with it. He has no runs or slop anywhere. The face is cleanly painted around the eyes, eyebrows and mouth.
Penguin comes with, what else, an umbrella. But not just an ordinary one. This umbrella has a cool machine gun attachment which clips on to the base. Unfortunately, the accessory only fits loosely into Penguin's right hand. It does not fit into his left hand, however, you can have him hold it with both. The machine gun attachment is also kind of loose and flops around depending on how he's holding it. That being said, its still compliments the figure nicely. Apparently, Mattel was suppose to originally include a robot penguin with this figure but I guess that idea was scrapped, probably to save $$.

This figure has a decent amount of joints, but not as many as some of the other figures. Starting from the top, you have a ball joint neck and shoulders. Then joints at the biceps, elbows and wrists. A swivel waist, then joints at the hips, knees and ankles. The hip joints are not like the other DCUC figures. His legs can only swing forward and backwards, not out to the sides. There are also no joints at the abdominal or thighs which is not a big deal. For this character, the articulation points Mattel has given us is plenty. All joints were nice and tight out of the box.
Overall, this figure is a must have for Batman fans to fill out your rogue gallery. For a set of figures that I was not excited about, this one was certainly a pleasant surprise.

Sculpt/Design - 9, Paint - 10, Accessories - 7.5, Articulation - 7, Fun - 8

Penguin Overall Score - 8.5

Red Tornado stands at just under 6.5 inches to the tip of his head. The top of his cape puts him closer to 6.75 inches. DC Database lists him as being 6 foot 1 inch so he is basically to scale compared to the other figures. His body is a little bulkier than Green Lantern from series 3. His cape is quite heavy and can sometimes weigh him backwards if not posed correctly. The costume is painted on with the exception of his gloves, cape and cuffs on his boots.

The paint job is a little disappointing. The worst part being the red wash that was used over the yellow painted areas. Its just so inconsistent and in some areas, there is just too much red where it should be yellow. Specifically the arrow on top of his head and the stripe down his abdominal. This really shouldn't have been a difficult figure to paint. The face is all one color with neon yellow eyes.

The accessory that comes with Red Tornado is a snap on..wirlwind/tornado...thingy..... Its a transparent orange and made of a somewhat hard plastic. It only fits on his right hand but it goes on tightly and won't fall off.

The articulation on this figure is pretty standard for this toy series so there is not disappointment in this area. Neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, abdominal, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. The abdominal and neck joints are a little obstructed by the cape. All joints were nice and tight out of the box.

Overall, I wasn't expecting much from this figure so I'm not totally disappointed. As mentioned, the worst part is the sloppy paint job. Other than that, it's not a bad figure and fits in nicely with the other Justice League members.

Sculpt/Design - 8, Paint - 5, Accessories - 6, Articulation - 9.5, Fun - 7

Red Tornado Overall Score - 7.5

DC Universe Classic - Series 1 action figures are still quite easy to find online. eBay is always the easiest place to find older figures. Click the following to find:

The Penguin on eBay

Red Tornado on eBay

Or you can check out my "Action Toy Review Recommends" page on Amazon

Continuing my backwards trend, my next post will probably be a review of one or more of the figures from the now discontinued DC Super Heroes toy line.

DCUC series 4 should arrive within the next 2-3 weeks so keep checking back for that review as well.

Thanks for reading my ACTION TOY REVIEW blog. Be sure to check back for more reviews on a variety of action figures including those from Mattel's DC Universe Classics and DC Superheroes toy lines.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

DC Universe Classics - Series 3


Today's review: DC Universe Classics - Series 3 (Mattel)
Click here to read my review of DC Universe Classics - Series 2:
Series 3 comes with 5 action figures which are in the 6 inch range ( they vary in sizes). Just like the previous 2 sets, each figure also comes with an additional piece of a 6th figure for you to collect and connect.

Mattel has put together a good variety of Heroes and their classic villains with this set. The characters from this series are Green Lantern (Hal Jordan version), Sinestro (Classic or Corps variants), Nightwing, Robin (Tim Drake version), Deathstroke, the Terminator (Masked or unmasked variants). The C&C figure is Solomon Grundy.

Green Lantern's design is classic Hal Jordan. The face looks good. The majority of the body looks very similar to that of Black Manta's body from the previous series. Its no secret that Mattel re-uses some of the same body pieces for these figures. The figure stands just under 6.5 inches tall. DC Comics lists Hal Jordan as 6 foot 2 inches so this figure is about right compared to others in his size range. The paint job is generally done well. There are a couple of small black spots here and there where there shouldn't be. If you look closely around the edges of his mask, its not exactly a totally clean paint job with the green and flesh tone. There are some small runs. The hair is a dark brown wash with a lighter brown highlights. Again, there are some minor runs of the brown over his ears. The face would probably benefit with a bit more shading. Its not quite as nice as Aquaman's face from the previous set.

Hal comes with his a well, Green Lantern which in the comics he uses to charge his ring. Its an okay, but nothing overly exciting.

The figure's strong point, much like most toys from these series is its articulation. Starting from the top down, he's got points in the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, abdominal, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles.

Overall its a good toy but it kind of has a generic feel to it. Still, it is a good rendition of Hal Jordan and would make any DC fan happy.

Sculpt/design - 8

Paint - 7.5

Accessories - 6

Articulation - 9

Fun - 8
Green Lantern Overall Score - 7.5

I chose the Sinestro Corps version for this figure over the classic version. The figure is a little shorter than GL standing at exactly 6 inches tall to the tip of his head. DC Comics lists Sinestro as being 6 foot 7 inches so this figure seems not close to scale. Perhaps his neck and head should've been a bit longer. That being said the face design looks really good. Most of the parts used to create the torso are new. The costume is mostly yellow and black with a silver belt.
The paint job is suspect in certain areas. The yellow over his shoulders looks like it could use another coat and shows signs are cracking around the shoulder joints. The hair is jet black with no highlights. The face is cleanly painted. He has black eyes with yellow pupils which look really good. His teeth, eyebrows and mustache all look good and do not run.
Like Green Lantern, Sinestro comes with a Lantern except his is yellow of course. Its not much, but at least its something and it fits nicely in his hands.
Even though Sinestro's body is a little smaller than GLs, the articulation is exactly the same. All joints were nice and tight out of the box. (This goes for all figures from this set).

Overall, a good figure. It uses original parts and has a great face sculpt but I'd have to question the figure's height. He should be taller. The paint is the weak part for sure.

Sculpt/design - 8

Paint - 6.5

Accessories - 6

Articulation - 9

Fun - 8

Sinestro Overall Score - 7.5

Robin stands at 5.5 inches tall so he's the shortest of the bunch. The body type is similar to that of Green Lantern but in a smaller scale. The hair is nicely done in a messy style. His cape totally wraps around his neck which kind of prevents any up and down movement.

All the yellow areas on the figure are washed with a faint red. Even the inside of the cape. The back of the cape is black but there a few minor spots of yellow. The hair is jet black with some blue highlights to give it it some dimension. It looks good. The mask is cleanly painted and his eyes are bright white with no runs.
Robin has some cool accessories. He comes with 2 batarangs and a silver staff which all fit nicely into his hands.
Articulation is the same as GL and Sinestro. The only difference, as mentioned, the neck movement is limited due to his cape design. It can only move left and right.

Overall, Its a good toy on its own and he fits in great with any Batman or rogue villain figure in the 6 inch range.

Sculpt/Design - 9
Paint - 8
Accessories - 8
Articulation - 9
Fun - 9
Robin Overall Score - 8.5

Nightwing's sculpt is very similar to Green Lanterns with the exception of his forearms and boots. They are the exact same height, 6.25 inches. He also has 2 slots on his back which hold the 2 nightsticks that come with the figure. The main difference is obviously the face and hair.
The paint is reasonably well done. He is mostly black with the exception of the blue design that runs across his upper body and arms. His hair is black with blue highlights that are a bit more noticeably than on the Robin figure. The mask is black but has areas of flesh tone around the edges where it should be black so it looks a little sloppy close up.

As mentioned, Nightwing comes with 2 night sticks which fit nicely into his hand or onto the holders on his back.
Articulation is the same as the other figures. Very well done from head to toe and there is nothing obstructing any of the joints.
Overall, much like the GL figure, this has a bit of a generic feel to it. I think that Nightwing should have been a bit shorter than Green Lantern. Dc Comics lists Nightwing as 5 foot 10 inches and Hal Jordan as 6 foot 2 inches. Perhaps they should have used more of Sinestro's body parts than GL for this figure.
Sculpt/Design - 7.5

Paint - 8

Accessories - 7 .5

Articulation - 9

Fun - 8

Nightwing Overall Score - 8
Deathstroke stands at 6.25 inches to the tip of his head. DC Comics lists Deathstroke as 6 foot 6 inches so the height of the figure is not consistant. For a mass market toy line, you're probably not going to get the height differences in for each individual figure unfortunately. Especially when they are using a lot of similar parts. That said, his body is more unique compared to the others from this set. Specifically the shiny scales around his abdominal and biceps (similar to the scales on Aquaman from series 2). He has his own utility belt similar to Robin but with smaller pockets. His gloves are wider towards the ends (again similar to Aquaman's) and his boots have big cuffs. The head is masked with the ends sticking out to the side like they're blowing in the wind. They cant be moved around.
The paint job is well done. The are some minor orange spots on the blue part of his mask. His one eye is painted on cleanly.
Deathstroke comes with a huge variety of accessories. He comes with a huge automatic rifle, a hand gun which is holstered at his left side. A sword with a holder can be detached from his belt. A round of bullets that goes around his chest and has a holder for his final weapon, a staff.
Articulation is the same as all the other figures. and there is nothing obstructing any of the joints.
Overall, this is my favorite figure of the set. Funny considering this was the figure i was least looking forward to. He looks really cool and comes with a great selection of weapons. As far as action figures go, they don't get much better than this one.
Sculpt/Design - 9

Paint - 9

Accessories - 10

Articulation - 9

Fun - 10

Deathstroke's Overall Score- 9.5

Finally we come to the C&C figure, Solomon Grundy. Grundy is big...really big. He towers over the other standing at 9 inches tall. DC Comics has him listed as 9 foot 2 inches.

His head is the highlight of the figure. Very well designed, kind of giving him that Frankenstein look. The jacket is a rubbery towards the ends and sleeves looking all ripped and torn. There are holes in his clothes all over his body.

The paint job is also really good no obvious signs of any runs or splotches. The face is nicely painted with a black wash in some of the wrinkles of his face and his teeth. The hair is gray with white highlights. The jacket, pants and boots all have the appearance that they are dirty and covered in mud.

Since Grundy himself is an accessory, he comes with nothing. His hands are perminantly closed so he cannot hold anything.

Articulation is similar to the other figures except that Grundy does not have any wrist joints. His jacket obstructs the movement of his abdominal joint so it is hard to move his upper body forwards and backwards.

Overall, this is a great bonus figure to the set, probably the best of the 3 Collect & Connect figures so far. I only wish his hands were open so he could grab or hold something.

Sculpt/Design - 8.5
Paint - 9.5
Accessories - n/a
Articulation - 8
Fun - 9
Solomon Grundy Overall Score - 9

The best place to find these figures is probably eBay or Amazon.com. Depending on where you live, they may be at a local Walmart or Target but it seems that they have only been released in limited locations.

That's it for series 3. Series 4 is expected out in October 2008 and will feature Wonder Woman, Ares, Batman Beyond, Captain Atom and Cyborg. Then series 5 is a Walmart exclusive set also due out before the end of 2008.

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