For today’s DC Friday, I’m pulling out a line that I thought I was done with. As most of you probably remember, the 1966 Batman TV Series was in licensing limbo for a long time. No DVDs, no toys, no nothing. Well a couple of years back some lawyers reminded everyone involved that money is a good thing and managed to break that log jam. The result was an avalanche of toys and merchandise. Mattel scored the 6-inch scale action figure license and produced a couple of series of figures and while they were far from exceptional, they were fairly decent by Mattel standards.“Holy backhanded compliment, Matty, are you going to let him get away with that?” SHUT THE HELL UP, ROBIN, ADULTS ARE TALKING!!! I liked the figures well enough, but let’s face it, they would have been in better hands with just about anyone else. Where was I? Oh yeah… let’s look at this…
Yvonne Craig was one of the last hold outs in terms of likeness rights, Mattel finally got them, but the timing was awkward and unfortunate as the line was already breathing its final breaths. The package even makes a funny little jab at that fact with Robin’s quote: “Holy return from oblivion, Batman!” Mattel managed to get the figure out anyway, but in a typical Mattel dick move, they released her in this three-figure boxed set, making sure that pretty much everyone buying her was going to be re-buying the Batman and Robin figures too. This is actually my third time out with the same Batman figure, because Mattel made us buy him again in order to get Robin. Sheesh! In the end, this set arrived on store shelves around the same time the earlier figures were deep discounted on the clearance racks. I’m pretty sure this set was a Toys R Us Exclusive (that’s where I got mine), but there’s nothing denoting that on the package.
The packaging here is actually quite nice, although based on early promo pictures, I assumed the box opened up to look like this, but nope, it’s just a weirdly shaped three-window box. Presentation was always this line’s strongest suit , and I think that’s reflected here. The colorful artwork is great and the box shows off each of the figures beautifully. The back panel even shows Batgirl’s motorcycle. which would have been a pretty cool vehicle for Mattel to make if this line had lived longer. While the individual carded figures were not at all collector friendly, this set is, so between the Batmobile and these figures, I still have the look of the package represented on my shelf. Anyway, if you haven’t guessed by now I’m really here to check out the Batgirl figure. I’m not going to spend a lot of time with Batman and Robin, because I’ve already featured them here several years back. But let’s take a quick look at them anyway…
Batman is the same as the carded release, which just means he doesn’t have the wire running through his cape. So, I suppose if you only bought the Batman & Robin 2-pack, this figure is new to you. Robin also comes sans cape wire, which means he’s also sort of a new figure and he’s nice to have as he fits in the Batmobile better than wire-cape Robin. The paint on this pair is OK, but the quality seems to have dropped a smidge from the earlier runs. My Robin has a stray mark of green paint on his upper right leg and my Batman has a stray blue mark on his chest. Overall, though, not bad.
The articulation on these figures is pretty good for what are essentially Mattel’s Movie Masters line. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs feature those lateral hinges, which should be familiar to people from the DC Universe Classics days. There are swivels in the thighs and hinges in both the knees and ankles. There’s an ab crunch in chest and the necks are ball jointed. The right thigh swivel on my Batman is fused. It’s probably an easy fix with a little heat, but seeing as I now own three of these, I don’t think I’ll bother. A lot of people loved to shit all over these figures, but I really do enjoy them a lot. If these were available when I was a kid, it would have blown my little mind. Moving on to Batgirl…
I watched the intro of every episode of Batman with baited breath to see if Batgirl was going to drive by in the animated intro sequence. They did that whenever she was going to appear and while I’m not sure I knew why back then, I always wanted her to appear. She made me feel funny in every good way possible. Mmmm… Batgirl. What? Oh, the figure… right. This was a great costume. It was campy and colorful and it really showed off Barbara’s Bat Assets. The costume itself is recreated quite nicely here, but something about Batgirl’s figure is lost in her figure. She just ends up looking a little too boxy in the hips and a little too lanky in the limbs. The same was the case with this line’s Catwoman. Still, all in all, I think the good outweighs the bad here.
The cape is cool, so long as you’re OK with it always being spread out. The stitching is surprisingly well done for a figure in this scale and the fabric matches the purple paint on the cowl fairly closely. It’s definitely going for a singular look, but it displays nice on the shelf, so long as you don’t stand anyone behind her.
The head sculpt is fine, although it really begs the question why Mattel needed the rights to Yvonne Craig’s likeness to make this figure. Sure, it looks like her, but I attribute that mostly to the cowl and mask and hair. The eyes are painted sharp and straight and the extra flare of mascara really sells it, but it’s hard to believe they had to pay out to the actress just for the eyes and the lower half of the face sculpt. If this were a Hot Toys figure or even a NECA release, I could understand it. You’d get more of an attempt at accuracy in the sculpt. This feels more like what we might have had in a vintage action figure likeness.
The articulation here is pretty close to what we saw in The Dynamic Duo. You get identical articulation in the neck, arms, and legs. The only difference here is that the ab crunch on Batman and Robin is replaced with a ball joint under the chest. At least I think it’s a ball joint. Truth be told it only allows for a swivel on my figure. Despite her tiny feet and high heeled boots, she can stand surprisingly well. As for getting her to high kick? Well, as the fine print on the packages often say, that required some additional support.
One of the fun little gimmicks of this line was the inclusion of stands for all the figures, each of which featured one of the comic style fight expletives. In this case, Batman gets “BAM!” Batgirl gets “SOCK!” and Robin gets “WHAMM!!” Each has a foot peg to secure the figure and there’s a slot in the back to stick in the collector card, which doubles as a backdrop. I’ve opted not to remove my cards from the box, but the fronts have animated shots of the characters, and I presume the backs have stills from the TV series. At least that’s how the carded figures did it.
As I mentioned earlier, I really do like these figures and think it’s a shame they get dumped on as much as they do. I would have certainly been all in for another wave of villains. I think one of the big problems is that despite the “Adult Collector” moniker on the package, these feel more like toys to me than collectibles. But that’s fine, because in that sense they’re fulfilling a wish that I had as a kid. There’s no doubt a company like NECA could have done these better, hell they proved that with their one off Adam West Batman release, but I’m all for enjoying these for what they are, rather than lamenting over what they could have been. One legitimate gripe I do have about these was the price. These figures retailed for $20 a pop and these are definitely not twenty dollar figures. Not in any dimension. Fifteen? Yeah, I guess. And here’s where having to buy this whole set to get Batgirl won back a little favor with me. I got mine for $30 on clearance, which means if I factor Batgirl in at $20, I only paid five bucks a piece for the Dynamic Duo.