Alrighty, let’s deal with the giant lead elephant in the room. Mattel has done it again and bestowed giant status on a figure that doesn’t warrant it. First we got the inexplicably huge Rocket Red and now Lead gets the giant treatment. Lead is built off of the C&C Darkseid buck, meaning he towers over the other Metal Men. While definitely the bruiser of the team, Lead was usually drawn the same size as the other Responsometer robots. I should be furious that Mattel took us all the way up to the last member of the team and then did something crazy like this. But I’m not. In fact, I’m willing to give this one a pass, because the Metal Men could change their size and shape at will, and quite frankly, I think he looks pretty good this big.
As a quarterly figure, Lead comes in a bigger version of the same style window box we saw yesterday. In this case, the character art is solid, but not as exceptional as it usually is. You get a little bio blurb about the character and, as expected, the package is completely collector friendly.
Starting off with Lead’s head sculpt, I definitely dig the portrait, which features Lead smiling broadly. He’s got a lot of personality and his nature of the big loveable lug really comes across in the sculpt. Mattel didn’t have to do a lot of new tooling for this figure, but what they did, they did well.
Moving on to the rest of the body… well, besides his obvious growth spurt, Lead’s use of the Darkseid buck also means that he retains the stony sculpted lines on the arms and legs. Mattel, these are the METAL Men not Rock Lords. Lead and stone are two different things and seeing the stone patterns on this figure is both wrong and distracting. Luckily the dark coloring of the figure makes them a little less obvious, but the fact that these are there bother me a lot more than Lead being an oversized figure. One I can explain away, the other I cannot.
Once I get past Lead’s stony limbs, the rest of the figure falls into place pretty well. The rubbery smock that makes up his skirt and chest plate looks good. He’s got heavy rivets sculpted into his triangular front plate, and again around his gauntlets and boots. Otherwise, there’s not a lot of original sculpting on the body, but I’ve come to expect that from this team, and in truth it isn’t necessary.
Lead is painted over in a satisfyingly dark grey wash with some faint swirly patterns that crop up here and there. It’s a good finish for him that’s pretty characteristic of the artwork. The only other paint apps on the figure are the black for his eyes and eyebrows, the “L” symbols on his chest and forehead, and the white for his teeth. I’m a little iffy on the white teeth. I’m thinking black would have worked better, but it’s not really a sticking point for me.
Even as a former C&C buck, Lead retains most of the articulation we come to expect from the DCUC line. His arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. His legs have the usual universal hip movement and feature hinges in the knees and ankles. There are, however, no swivels in the thighs. Lead’s neck is ball jointed, he can swivel at the waist, and he retains his ab crunch hinge, which is still fairly serviceable under his soft rubbery chest plate. The only other thing worth mentioning is that my Lead figure has really loose legs. He can stand ok, but they really flop around.
Mattel can be geniuses when it comes to reusing parts in this line. A quick look back to Uncle Sam certainly proves that to be true. Unfortunately, Lead is not one of those times. They had two good reasons not to reuse the C&C Darkseid buck for this figure: Size being one and the stony pattern in the sculpt being the other. I can get around the size on this one, in fact I even kind of like it, but the problem with the sculpt is tougher for me to get past. I like the figure well enough. I’m very glad to have a complete Metal Men team, but a lot about this figure stinks of laziness, and when you consider that it’s a more expensive quarterly figure, I find that hard to accept. With the first year of Club Infinite Earths in the bag, I’ve been overall extremely satisfied with this line. If Lead here is the biggest disappointment, than that’s not too bad. Still, it’s a shame the line had to end the year on a low.