Batman (Classic TV Series): Penguin by Mattel

Honest, folks, I am trying to get through my new receivings in a timely manner. Averaging six features a week seems like a lot, but not when the pile of unopened figures in the corner is slowly growing rather than shrinking. Anyway, if you read my look at The 1966 Joker figure than you know what Ceaser Romero’s portrayal of the character meant to me. Well, that’s a thousand times truer for Burgess Meredith as The Penguin. This is likely the case, not only because Meredith was brilliant in the role, but because I just don’t think there have been any iconic portrayals of the character since. Danny Devito’s version was too influenced by Tim Burton’s weirdness for my taste. I can love Romero’s Joker and still respect what Ledger and Nicholson and the like did afterwards, but I can’t imagine anyone other than Burgess Meredith ever being The Penguin to me.

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There’s the packaging. We’ve seen it three times already, so I don’t have a lot of new stuff to add. Robin’s stupid quote has changed and there’s new artwork and copy on the back of the card. I still enjoy the fact that they bothered to emboss the bubble with the classic comic-inspired fight exposition gibberish that was such a big part of the show. I’ve been hankering to open this guy for over a week now, so I’m going to get right to it…

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Penguin is built on an appropriately tubby buck, which suits the character quite well. The tux is a little bland, but I can’t fault it, because it sticks to the source material pretty closely. I like the little details like the ill-fitting pants, the spats on his shoes, the sculpted gloves, and the coat tails that hang off the back. The layered on clothes work so much better for Penguin than for Joker, just because it adds weight to a character that is supposed to be stocky. The bland, white expanse that makes up his shirt could have used a little more something. Maybe sculpted wrinkles or a little texture, but for what is essentially a mass market figure in this price range, I’m pretty happy with the body.

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The head sculpt requires me to offer a little more give and take in my acceptance. Yes, I do think it’s a pretty good likeness of Burgess Meredith in the role. The silly make-up used on the show certainly helps the caricature quality of the sculpt. The monocle is rather odd. It’s like the eye was sculpted to hold a monocle, but instead of putting one in Mattel just painted the rim. It looks fine if you don’t get too close, but on closer inspection, if I didn’t know better, it almost looks like something might have fallen off in the package. And then there’s the cigarette holder. It was a bold move to attempt it, since it is part of this Penguin’s iconic look, but they had to make it way too thick and there’s no white paint app for the cigarette at the end. I’ve gone back and forth on this one, and in the end I think I’m still glad they did it, even if it didn’t come out as well as I had hoped. I should also note that my Penguin has a stray black paint mark on the top of his hat. I have high hopes that Magic Eraser will save the day.

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If you were worried about a portly fella like Penguin getting shafted on articulation, fear not. Sure, it’s pretty obvious there’s no ab-crunch, but everything else in the DCUC style made it intact. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels in the wrists and biceps, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Penguin’s neck is ball jointed and he can swivel at the waist. Not too shabby.

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What’s this??? An accessory for The Penguin??? Yeah, these figures have been light on accessories (ie. Nonexistent, except for Batman’s surf board) but they couldn’t very well have released Penguin without his umbrella. It is a nicely sculpted piece with a painted tip and a bendy handle that helps get into either of his hands. You also get the same style stand that we saw with the other figures. Penguin’s says “AWK!” which I like because it kind of sounds like a bird noise.

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Of course, you also get the collectible card that doubles as a backdrop for the stand. One one side it features another panel in a Batcave scene. I’ll get a picture of them all together for the last feature in this wave. The front has a portrait of Penguin on a podium. I’m really digging these cards as extras, probably because I used to enjoy the old collectible Lobby Cards from the cinemas. The artwork is quite good and it’s an overall nice and well-executed bonus.

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So, Penguin is pretty good, although there are a few little tweaks that could have improved him a lot. If you aren’t sold on this line, Penguin probably isn’t going to be the figure that pushes you in favor of collecting them. On the other hand, he’s about what I was expecting so I can’t say he disappointed me. I’d say he’s roughly on par with The Joker and not at all a bad figure, so long as my nostalgia goggles are affixed firmly to my head.

I’ve only got one more figure in this wave to look at, The Riddler, and I’ll try to get back to him early next week.

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