Batman (Classic TV Series): Batman, Robin & Batgirl Box Set by Mattel

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…

matbatg1

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.

matbatg2

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…

matbatg3

matbatg4

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.

matbatg5

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…

matbatg6

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.

matbatg7

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.

matbatg8

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.

matbatg9

matbatg10

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.

matbatg12

matbatg13

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.

matbatg14

matbatg11

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.

Batman (Classic TV Series): Batmobile by Mattel

Yes, it’s DC Friday and yes, the last four weeks have been all about DC Icons, but I’m taking a short break to catch up on some other DC related goodies before diving into the second wave of Icons. Today’s feature is long overdue as I picked up the 1966 Series Batmobile last year right around Christmas when Amazon was blowing it out at an irresistible price. This is one of the most iconic vehicles in my nostalgia addled brain, so I’m more than ready for this… Atomic engines to power… Turbines to speed…

66batmob2

Mattel has done a consistantly nice job with the packaging and presentation on their 1966 Batman line and the Batmobile is no different. You get a colorful window box that gives you a great look at the toy and a lot of vintage TV flavor. My only complaint here is that the side flaps are glued and not taped. Since I don’t have the shelf space to display this beast right now, it’ll go back in the box and I had to be very, very careful when opening it up.

66batmob3

66batmob1

The vehicle itself comes fully assembled. There are some clever little locks on the bottom that hold it into the tray. You just need to turn them, pull them out and unpeg the mounts from the bottom of the car. I was sure I was going to need a screwdriver, but that wasn’t the case.

66batmob10

66batmob11

Out of the box and this thing looks pretty fantastic. Although, it’s worth noting that for a vehicle this size, it is extremely light because it’s a totally hollow piece. The lack of heft may be disappointing to some, but it doesn’t effect the wow factor when displaying it, so I’m not bothered by it at all. While the bulk of the car’s body is cast in a lovely high gloss black plastic, there are some rubber pieces designed to comply with toy safety. The back fins, for example are rubber, although it does a pretty good job matching the rest of the finish.

66batmob16

66batmob8

The driver side fin on mine has a notable gap in the seam, which would bug me a lot more if this was a high end piece, or perhaps if I paid anywhere near the original retail. The exhaust pipes behind on the back are also very soft plastic, but they seem fairly straight and sturdy. Lastly, the lights on the top and the gold thing sticking up behind the hood (I have no idea what that is) are also soft plastic.

66batmob12

Overall, the paint is applied pretty well. There are a few fuzzy spots on the orange striping, but nothing specifically bad to call out. The bat symbol tampos on the doors are very sharp. The silver looks nice, particularly around the turbine on the back and the license plate is printed on. I love the fact that the parachute packs are also sculpted on the back. The silver wheels really pop and I dig the sculpted bat emblems.

66batmob1366batmob14

66batmob15

As nice as everything looks, I think this Batmobile’s greatest feature is the detailed cabin. There’s all sorts of neat stuff in there like the batphone and the bat fire extinguisher. I suppose you can call those things the bat steering wheel, the bat seats, the bat gas and brake pedals. Everything is branded BAT! You also get two seat belts that tab into slots to hold the figures in place. The steering wheel turns, although it does not turn the wheels.

66batmob5

66batmob4

The figures, which are not included in this particular release but are included in the more recent one, fit into the seats quite well. The individual release Batman without the wires in the cape goes in better, but since there’s only one Robin and he has the wires, I keep that pair in the seats. The belts can be a little tricky to tighten, but they do come out the bottom so you can grab them and pull them through.

66batmob6

66batmob7

All in all, I think this Batmobile is a great piece and a perfect addition to the action figure line. It’s hard to articulate the nostalgia I get from it as it brings back strong memories of playing with my Mego Batmobile as a wee lad in the early 80’s. Not to mention my brother and I watching the TV show almost every afternoon. Of course, my opinion on this vehicle is colored by the fact that I got it for $22 shipped when the original retail was in the $50-60 range. At that price, I think it’s only fair to expect a heftier piece with a few more bells and whistles, but as things stand, I’m delighted with this purchase.

66batmob18

It’s possible that this will be the last addition to my Mattel 1966 Batman collection. I am still missing Batgirl, but individually she goes for way too much money. The three-pack (bundled with Batman and Robin) is more tempting, as the packaging is really nice and the going rate works out to less than $20 a figure, but I’m still in a holding pattern. That having been said, I liked this line a lot and I don’t think it deserves a lot of the flack it got from collectors. They may be closer to the toy end of action figures than collector end, but I would have absolutely killed to own everything you see in the picture above back when I was a kid.

Batman (Classic TV Series) Quarter-Scale Figure by NECA

This big guy has been setting unopened on my shelf for way too long, but that shouldn’t reflect poorly on my interest in him. No, I’ve been saving him for just the right time. That turned out to be this past weekend,  because the Hot Toys version of the 1966 Caped Crusader started shipping and since the reports of the super delicate body suit has officially scared me off of dropping $200 on him, I thought I’d settle for this giant Adam West as my consolation prize.

quartwest3

This figure is the fourth of NECA’s Quarter-Scale line in my collection, and my second Batman, so the packaging here doesn’t hold many surprises. It’s a simple and huge window box that displays the figure well and offers up all that kitschy charm of the old TV series. Even the cardboard tray inside is illustrated with all that cartoony artwork in the style of the TV Show’s opening credits. The back panel has more of the same and does a nice job showing you what kind of accessories are inside.

quartwest4

The figure comes secured by a plethora of plastic ties, so you better come prepared with your Bat-Snippers. All the extra bits come secured in trays under bubbles on each side of the figure. The box is totally collector friendly, and if you’re buying this guy in an actual store, you should be able to scrutinize the figure you’re buying quite well to avoid any blemishes or unsavory paint surprises. If you aren’t familiar with the sheer size of these figures, Batman stands about 18-inches tall. That puts one of Mattel’s Batman figures at a height roughly equivalent to this guy’s knee. They’re big!

quartwest5

Freed of his diabolical trap, I gotta say NECA did a really nice job on this sculpt. Sure, Adam West’s Batsuit isn’t the most detailed ensemble to reproduce, but I still have to give props for how good it looks. I was a little concerned that it might look bland or spartan in this huge scale, but instead it just looks downright impressive. The body suit is an even grey, which is possibly a little too dark, but not enough of a divergence for me to get upset about. The plastic simulated material used for the boots, gauntlets, undies, and cowl, on the other hand, is downright perfect. These parts have just the right amount of sheen and some brilliantly sculpted wrinkles. The batsymbol on his chest is neatly printed and the yellow is bright and vibrant.

quartwest2

As with NECA’s giant Keaton Batman, the cape comes pretty rumpled out of the box. It does improve a bit after being allowed to fall naturally. I keep meaning to pick up either an iron or a cheap steamer and have a go at these capes. I think the results would be pretty phenomenal. Batman’s cape is secured around his neck with a metal chain clasp and it’s designed so that it can fall over his shoulders or it can be neatly folded back so as to be worn off the shoulders and out of the way.

quartwest19

The portrait here is excellent. Not only is it a decent likeness to West, but I’m super impressed by the way the head is constructed to give depth and credibility to the mask. The head is obviously a full head with the mask layered on top of it and the result is that if I didn’t know better I’d swear it was removable. Of course, it isn’t. The skin tone is excellent as is the faint pink paint on the lips. Still, I think it’s the eyes that really drive this portrait home. The glossy paintwork is absolutely phenomenal and better than anything they’ve done on any of these Quarter Scale figures that I’ve seen before. There really is an uncanny spark of life in Batman’s peepers.

quartwest10

The utility belt hangs on the figure so that it can be repositioned if needed. The pouches are all sculpted on and you actually get one loose pouch that clips onto the belt. It doesn’t open or hold anything, so I’m not sure why NECA did it, but it’s there nonetheless. The belt buckle opens to reveal the Communicator button. It’s worth noting that the hinge on the buckle feels extremely fragile, although I don’t see any signs of it breaking.

quartwest12

quartwest11

The articulation here is well beyond what I expected. Previous Quarter Scale figures in my collection have had serviceable points, but most of the articulation was in the arms and everything else felt like it was just there for tweaking. Batman’s articulation makes him feel like an actual action figure and not just a giant display piece. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double-hinged elbows with a great range of motion, and hinges and swivels in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and knees, the ankles have hinges and the feet are hinged in the middle. There’s a ball joint in the torso and the head is ball jointed as well. There’s a lot of great poseability here and the leg joints are strong enough to hold the bulk of the figure. My only real gripe is that I would have preferred rockers in the ankles over the hinged feet. It’s also worth mentioning that I had to do a lot of gentle coaxing to unstick a a few of these joints.

quartwest13

quartwest14

quartwest16

Before we get to accessories… let’s inventory the hands. Batman comes with a total of three pairs of hands, all of which can be swapped just by unplugging the pegs. You get a pair of fists, a pair of Batusi hands, and a pair designed to interact with the accessories. The Batusi hands are also really good for hooking the cape on if you want to display Batman with his cape spread outward.

quartwest6

quartwest17

quartwest15

Batman comes with a pair of Batarangs, one of which folds up and can be stored in a pouch, which can be clipped onto the back of the utility belt. It’s rather bulky, but a nice option nonetheless. I really dig the fact that you get two Batarangs, and both have holes so you can attach a string if you so desire.

quartwest8

quartwest7

quartwest9

You also get the Bat Communicator, which is a really nice piece that has a pair of telescoping antenna. That’s all there is for the accessories. Not bad, but a can of shark repellant would have been pretty cool.

quartwest18

quartwest1

I have to say that this Batman is possibly my favorite entry into this NECA line since Captain America. I expect these giant figures to be great display pieces, but this guy is the first one of these Quarter Scales that I had trouble putting down because I couldn’t stop playing with him. Size be damned, he’s just an incredibly fun action figure and well worth a look if you want a giant conversation piece to express your love for the Adam West Batman. At about $90, these giant NECA figures still feel like a good deal, but considering the fact that I got Batman here on sale for $75 shipped, he turned out to be an extremely good deal. As always, the only downside with these figures is having to find the space to display them. Right now I have all of mine still in their boxes and lined up on the bottom shelf of one of my book cases, but as soon as I can find some extra room, they’re going out!

Oh yeah, NECA… I’m waiting for my Quarter Scale Robin!

 

Batman Classic TV Series: Batman & Robin by Mattel

Yesterday we looked at the last Club Infinite Earths release, which happened to be a Batman figure. Well I really wanted to wrap up some unfinished business this weekend, and so at the risk of being repetitive today we’re going to look at the last two figures I have yet to feature in Mattel’s 1966 Batman series. With all the single carded figures already under my belt, this boxed two-pack is all that’s left of this rather brief run. Mattel were real bastards about making Robin an exclusive to this set. Any of us that were buying a complete assortment of the first wave wound up with two of the same Batman figures. I wasn’t going to bite, but when this set turned up on Amazon over the holidays for $13 shipped, I couldn’t resist completing my Dynamic Duo.

bctvsbar1

bctvsbar3

This two-pack comes in a sizeable box with the vintage Batman logo and a large window that lets the figures and base do most of the talking. The Caped Crusaders are carefully posed on the wall base against an animated background and they look great. I’m glad I took a picture, because it proved to be the last time I was able to achieve that look with the figures on the base. But I’ll come back to that in a little bit.

bctvsbar4

bctvsbar2

Mattel’s presentation for this line has been spot on from the get go, but I think the deco on this box drives it home even better than the carded figures. There’s no stupid and nonsensical overreaching quote from Robin and no extrapolated artwork of the villains, at least not any that’s prominently displayed. The artwork of Batman and Robin shaking hands on the back of the box looks like it was taken directly from the TV credits and really yanks at my nostalgia pole. The side panels feature the credit artwork of the Caped Crusaders running and it just looks awesome. Just about every iconic and animated trope from the series is on display here. Let’s get the figures out and take a look.

bctvsbar11

bctvsbar10

bctvsbar12

Batman should look familiar because it is practically the same as the carded figure I featured a few months back. The biggest difference here is the cape, which features wires running through the edges to help it fan out. I presume this was done to make the capes fall more realistically when the figures are “climbing” up the wall base. It also features a HUGE f’cking obnoxious mattress tag inside the cape, which I had to cut off. Why the hell did that have to be on this figure and not the carded one? I’m sure the real answer is ridiculous, but if anyone knows the I’d seriously be curious to hear why. The cape here isn’t really better or worse, just different. I’ll probably wind up displaying the carded one just because this cape seems to float a little higher around the neck. Otherwise, this is still a decent figure and he does come with a bonus batarang, which was excluded from the carded release.

bctvsbar8

bctvsbar9

Moving on to the real reason I bought this set… Robin. I’ve read some mixed reactions to this figure but in hand I have to say I think he turned out quite good. The head sculpt is a little soft but still a good likeness to Burt Ward. I’m not sure about the height, maybe he’s a little too tall, but he is shorter than Batman and that works fine for me. The build of the figure’s buck is good and the detail on the costume relies as much on original sculpting as it does on paint. Robin features the same style cape as Batman with the wires in the sides and the huge tag. I imagine the wires could be removed fairly easily if you wanted him to match the carded Batman a little better, but I’m content with leaving mine the way it is.

Since this is the first time we’re seeing Robin, I’ll run down his articulation, although it’s basically the same as Batman. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hips, Swivels in the thighs and hinges in the knees and ankles. Robin has a swivel at the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso and his neck is ball jointed. I’ll also throw it out there that while his legs are pretty thin, he can stand a lot better than my last DCUC Robin, so that’s a bit of a treat.

bmarbase2

bmarbase1

The rest of this set is represented by a base that looks like part of the side of a building with opening windows and foot pegs for the figures. The idea here is that you can recreate the iconic scene of the Dynamic Duo climbing up the side of the buildings. During these sequences various famous actors would make cameos by popping their heads out of the windows and hilarity would ensue. It’s a great idea that sadly doesn’t work at all. Despite having a socket to help you hang the base on the wall and a small hole to attach the included rope, I find it impossible to get the figures pegged in so that they will stay in place on the vertical base, let alone do so while appearing to be climbing. If you can’t tell the photo above was obviously flipped vertically. I suppose if you were willing to glue the figures into place you could get a satisfactory result, but even then the base isn’t really big enough to make the illusion work for me. The failed execution of this makes me all the angrier that Mattel didn’t just release Robin as a single carded figure.

bctvsbar6

bctvsbar7

This Batman and Robin 2-pack retailed at about $25-30, which isn’t all that bad for what you were getting. I was boycotting it on principal that we shouldn’t have to buy another Batman to get Robin. But as I mentioned in the opening, when the price dropped to $13 on Amazon I ended the boycott. I guess my principals are worth exactly $17. In all seriousness though, the sale price was about what Robin would have cost as a single carded figure and so I felt justified. Besides, it wasn’t until I got the Dynamic Duo together on my shelf that I realized the folly of not completing my collection with Robin. Thankfully I was never all that interested in the display base, because it just doesn’t work.

Batman (Classic TV Series): Catwoman by Mattel

Oh, 1966 Batman line, we hardly knew you. After what seemed like an eternal build-up and celebrations over Mattel securing the rights to the franchise, it amounted to about one wave of figures, a two-pack, and a Batmobile that I never saw at retail. Reception of the line from collectors has been all over the place. It wasn’t perfect, NECA could have done it way better, but overall I was happy with what we got. I was, however, not happy that this is all there was, especially since Mattel seemed to be closing up shop on the line just as Yvonne Craig was signing away her likeness to merchandisers. What about Batgirl and King Tut and Egghead, and all the other awesome villains? Oh, well. While there was a “Surf’s Up” Joker slap in the face figure shown off recently, I’m going to count Catwoman here as the last entry in this flash-in-the-pan line. Let’s check her out.

bctvscatwoman1

While a late comer to the party, Catwoman comes on the same cardback as the other figures. Its easily bent die-cut edges should serve to irk mint-on-card collectors. The fronts of the cards have been generic with only Robin’s dopey speech bubble changing. The back shows the character in an animated style, which is no doubt meant to emulate the opening credits, but doesn’t really do that for me.

bctvscatw3

bctvscatw4

So, let’s deal with the elephant in the room first. Fans will remember that three lovely ladies played Catwoman in the Classic Batman series: You had Julie Newmar playing the role for the first two seasons and then being replaced in the third by Eartha Kitt, followed by Lee Meriweather in the movie. I have a feeling the younger crowd are most familiar with Meriweather in the role just because that movie has been more readily available. Personally, I think Eartha Kitt did the best job with the character, she absolutely nailed it and made it her own, but in terms of pure sex appeal, Ms. Newmar was clearly my favorite. I have no idea how likeness rights factored into the decision to go with Newmar, but I’m sure it did. In the end I’m fine with the choice they went with.

This is a tough figure for me to assess. There’s some stuff I like about it, and a couple things I don’t. The big sticking point for me is the arms, which are just too long, too thin, and rather angular at the elbows. She looks like a stick insect. The elbows are also way too far down on the arms.  How many people have elbows that start at their hips? She doesn’t look so bad with her arms at her sides, but bend them and you can’t deny that this kitty has a ridiculous amount of bicep. As a result, there are poses where I think she looks just fine, and others where she looks rather awkward. Also her feet look really small. They’re so small that she has a big problem standing up without being plugged into her stand. All this, plus her somewhat oversized noggin, conspires to make her look quite barbie-doll-ish. Nonetheless, all this gives the figure something of a stylized appearance, which kind of works for me.

bctvscatw8

How about the portrait? The likeness isn’t a hundred percent, but I still think the portrait is Ok. The paintwork on the face is excellent, and I can see Newmar’s likeness in there… maybe… a little bit. I’d say this is definitely one of the better head sculpts in this line, and no I don’t mean that as a left-handed compliment. In terms of likenesses for a mass retail line of figures, I think Mattel has delivered adequately on these, and with Catwoman, a little bit moreso. But no mask? In fairness, Newmar seemed to spend as much time without it as she did with it. An extra masked head would have been nice, but by now we all know that unless it’s a surfboard or an umbrella, extra accessories were too much to ask for in this line. In the end, I’m fine with a mask-less head.

bctvscatw5

The costume is pretty well represented here. There’s only so much you can do with a black leather catsuit in this scale and Mattel gets the job done with a little extra attention paid to the glossy paint and sculpt of the gloves and boots. Traditionally speaking, Mattel has saddled some of the poor ladies of the DC Universe with some serious granny shoes, so it’s nice to see them get the heels right. Catwoman also features a painted low hanging necklace and a belt slung low on her hips. Still… it’s hard not to keep staring at those spaghetti arms… WTF happened there, Mattel?

bctvscatw6

bctvscatw9

The articulation has been pretty consistent throughout this line, but toss in the first female buck and you can’t be quite sure what you’re going to get. As it turns out, it’s mostly the same. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels at the biceps and wrists. The legs feature the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. The head is ball jointed and she can swivel just under her chest. The articulation is serviceable enough, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t prefer my Catwoman to be a little more flexible and agile. Meow!

bctvscatw7

bctvscatw10

In keeping with the rest of this line, you also get the figure stand and collector card. The card shows Catwoman having a little bondage fun with Batman and the flipside has another scene from the Batcave. I still like these cards a lot and the fact that they plug into the stand makes it easier for me to justify keeping them around and not sticking them into the back of a drawer. The stand reads, “CRRAACK!” otherwise it offers nothing that we haven’t seen before with the rest of the figures in the wave.

bctvscat12

bctvscatw2

bctvscat11

If you aren’t willing to give this line a pass by now, Catwoman here probably isn’t going to sway you. I’ll confess nostalgia has compelled me to be pretty forgiving and I’m still delighted to have these figures. And that folks is Mattel’s 1966 Batman line in the bag. If you’re out to be a completest, you can still hold out for the “Surf’s Up” Joker, but I’m prepared to call this line done. There’s always a chance I may yet pick up the Batman & Robin 2-pack, especially if I find it on clearance. As much as I want the Batmobile, I’m trying to exercise some self-control because I have no room to display it and so many other things now vying for my collecting dollars. Still, willpower has never been one of my strong suits, so it is possible that it’ll turn up featured here on FFZ one of these days.

Batman (Classic TV Series): The Riddler by Mattel

Here we go… it’s the last figure from Mattel’s first wave of 1966 Batman figures. I saved The Riddler for last because he’s probably my least favorite of all the villains from that TV series. I don’t hate him, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t dig him as much as Joker and Penguin, or even King Tut and Egghead. I think I just found his riddles too damn annoying. Anyway, Mattel’s figure is based off Frank Gorshin in the role, so let’s take a look at how he turned out…

bctvsridd1

bctvsridd2

We’ve seen this packaging on no less than four occasions already, so there’s no point in gassing on about any more. Robin’s dopey quote is new and the back of the card has a little blurb about the character and some artwork that is specific to this figure. Suffice it to say that I really like the presentation that Mattel went with here. It’s fun and it captures the wacky spirit of the show.

bctvsridd3

bctvsridd4

The Riddler is certainly the simplest figure in this wave. You get a lean buck cast in green plastic with purple paint for the gloves and belt. Oh yeah, there’s also a bunch of question marks stamped on him. That’s not a complaint against the figure, rather just a commentary on the costume we’re dealing with here. Mattel did a good enough job for what they had to work with.

bctvsridd5

I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the likeness here, but I’m not really sure why. For a mass market, $15 figure, I think the portrait is perfectly fine, albeit a little soft. Sure, we’ve seen better in even smaller scales, but it’s certainly not terrible. The eyes could have been set a little deeper behind the mask, and maybe Mattel could have gone with a more jovial and less angry expression, but I’m still pretty happy with what we got.

bctvsridd6

bctvsridd9

Riddler features all the standard DCUC style of articulation. The arms have ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. He can swivel at the waist, he has an ab crunch in the torso and a ball jointed neck. Oddly enough, the ball joint in the neck doesn’t allow for much more than just side to side movement.

bctvsridd8

bctvsridd7

Naturally, Riddler also comes with the collector card and stand. Riddler’s stand says “Ka-Pow!!!” I’m still digging the artwork on these collector cards a lot and the fact that they double as a backdrop for the stand is cool. They are also each one frame of a complete panoramic view of the Batmobile in the Batcave…

bctvsriddd

Yep, it’s a great idea, but you really can’t see the backdrops with the figures on the stand, so it probably could have been executed better.

bctvsridda

bctvsriddb

bctvsriddc

And that wraps up the first wave of Mattel’s 1966 Batman figures. I really enjoy these figures, probably enough so that I will pick up the Batman & Robin two-pack just to get Robin. I’m also still waiting for the Catwoman figure, which I have on pre-order. Word is that Mattel has signed a merchandising deal with Yvonne Craig, so I’m really hoping that a Batgirl figure might be coming down the pike as well. I would certainly buy a second wave of these, especially if they rounded out the Rogue’s Gallery of the series.

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.

bctvspeng1

bctvspeng2

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…

bctvspeng3

bctvspeng4

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.

bctvspeng9

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.

bctvspeng5

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.

bctvspeng6

bctvspeng7

bctvspeng10

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.

bctvspeng8

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.

bctvspenga

bctvspengb

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.

Batman (Classic TV Series): The Joker by Mattel

A few memorable actors have walked in The Joker’s clown shoes since the 1966 Batman TV Series and they’ve all left their mark on the character. But while the younger fans of Ledger and Nicholson and Hammill all argue for their individual champions, they tend to overlook the pioneer work of Cesar Romero. For the first half of my life, Romero was The Joker. By the time Nicholson donned the white grease paint in 1989, I was already nearly 20 years old. Toss in the fact that Romero played The Joker in something like 20 episodes and a movie, the truth is he will always be the most familiar portrayal of the character that I fall back on. And it doesn’t hurt that Romero did a f’cking fantastic job with the role. This figure is long overdue.

bctvsjoker1

bctvsjoker2

The Joker comes on the same style of card that we saw earlier this week when looking at Batman. There’s a new Robin quote on the front and the back of the card is character specific. The artwork is based on the animated opening credits. I think it works better for Batman and Robin than it does for The Joker here. Apart from that, there’s nothing new to talk about here, so let’s just bust him open.

bctvsjoker3

bctvsjoker4

I’m not going to mince words… I love this figure, but that does not mean it does not have its share of issues. The outfit matches his regular purple suit rather well and it’s layered on with soft plastic to give the figure some convincing depth and allow his coat tails to hang down the back of his legs. The downside of that is that he looks too bulky to me in his top half. Also, so much of his black tie is showing through his coat that it’s hard to tell he’s not just wearing a black top under that, when in fact he has a green shirt peeking out as well. These are not crippling issues, just things I think worth mentioning. If I wasn’t as starved as I am for this figure, I might be less forgiving.

bctvsjoker7

The head sculpt is great, although it’s worth noting that Mattel didn’t follow through on Romero’s sculpted mustache. A little detail like that was a big selling point for this line with collectors and the fact that it was cut in the end is a tad disappointing. Mattel still makes the nod with a little paint app under his nose. It works OK, but it’s not quite the same. Still, everything else about The Joker’s mug works so well for me that I’m willing to accept the change. His expression is just priceless!

bctvsjoker6

Lastly, I do think the one pointing finger is a strange choice. I’ll grant you, it’s amazing how many poses you can make it work in. I think a swap-out hand would have been a great idea here. I do like the idea of the pointing finger, but not so much if it’s my only option.

bctvsjoker5

Joker retains most of the articulation we saw with the Batman figures. He has ball joints in his shoulders, swivels in his biceps and wrists, and hinges in his elbows. His legs have the DCUC style hip joint, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. He can swivel at the waist and his neck is ball jointed. He may have an ab-crunch buried under that suit, but if he does it’s rendered useless.

bctvsjoker10

Joker comes with his own collectible card and I absolutely love it. It’s a great illustration and it reminds me of the kind of collectible Lobby Cards they used to have at the cinema ages and ages ago. It can also be flipped around to form the third panel of the Batmobile display for the figure stand.

bctvsjoker12

bctvsjoker11

Yes, Joker also has the same style figure stand as the two Batman figures. His says, “ZAP!!” I’m not sure if I’ll be using these in my display, but I do really dig that Mattel included them with the figures.

bctvsjoker8

bctvsjoker9

bctvsjokes

I could be a lot more critical of this figure, but the truth is nostalgia is blinding me here. Sure, there’s always room for improvement and I’ve pointed out all those particular areas that I thought could have been tweaked. That having been said, this is still, more or less, The Joker figure that I was hoping for. He definitely looks the part and he displays wonderfully next to his nemesis, Batman. I can’t wait to get him set up with some of his partners in crime. Next week, I’ll try to get to both Penguin and Riddler.

Batman (Classic TV Series): Batman and “Surf’s Up” Batman by Mattel

WHAT’S THIS??? A NEW WEEK OF FIGUREFAN’S FIENDISHLY FRESH FEATURES OF FIGURES?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist… Happy Monday. As a kid, the old Adam West Batman series was a big deal to me. I used to watch it in re-runs every single day when I got home from school. Every episode served up a weird mix of comic book style, camp, sexual ambiguity, latex fetish, and predicament bondage that both confused and delighted my impressionable little brain. It was also one of the few times my brother and I could sit down to watch TV and not have it come to blows over what we were going to watch. My brother is about as far from a geek as you could get, but even he couldn’t get enough of 1960’s Batman and Star Trek. Anyway, as a kid I had the Mego Batman figures and the Batmobile and whatever else I could get my parents to shell out for. It’s sad that there’s been such a long void of toys based on this classic series, but I suppose it makes it all the sweeter now that they’re actually here.

ctvsbatman1

Obviously, I picked up the entire wave in one fell swoop. It consists of Batman, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Robin. Oh… no. It doesn’t have Robin. It has Surf’s Up Batman. Why? Because Mattel wanted to make sure that if you bought this as a set, you got stuck with a remold of a figure you probably don’t want. And if you do want Robin you have to buy a two-pack with another Batman. Well, screw you Mattel, I’m not biting. I’ll do just fine without a Robin. I’m not buying that two-pack… Yeah, I’ll probably buy the two pack. Anyway, Surf’s Up Batman doesn’t deserve his own feature, so I’m going to look at both of them today. Let’s start off with the man himself…

ctvsbatman2

I love the packaging here. It’s obvious that the guys at Mattel had fun with this design and it really captures the spirit of the show. The front of the card is generic with only Robin’s speech bubble changed for each figure. There is, however, an insert in the bubble with the individual figure’s name. The bubble is also embossed with ‘BAM!” “POW!!” and “WHAMM!!” Maybe it’s a little too forced, but I definitely like it. Either way, I’m still just tearing it open and throwing the package away. If you are a mint-on-card collector, the die cut edges of the card are likely going to drive you crazy. Batman’s head juts out the side and will likely be very prone to bending and creasing either in shipment or on the pegs.

ctvsbatman4

The back of the card is a little more character specific. The artwork is patterned after the opening animation, which was probably good thinking for the look they were going for. There’s a blurb about the character as well. The bottom of the card shows the rest of the wave, plus Catwoman who should be following later on in a revision wave. Ok, let’s tear open Bats and see what he’s all about.

ctvsbatman6

ctvsbatman7

The sculpt is simple, but effective. The head is the best thing about it, as I really think Mattel nailed Adam West in the cowl as best as we could expect in this scale and price range. The paint apps for the eyebrows and nose are also clean and well executed. The rest of the costume fits the part, and by that I mean it conforms to my memory after not having seen the show in about two decades. The utlity belt seems off, but again, I’m working on vague memories here and that having been said, I’m very happy with how the figure turned out.

ctvsbatman13

And then there’s the cloth cape. I’m still not sure about this. It looks OK on the figure, and I imagine it was done to let him sit in the Batmobile. I’m pretty sure I would have liked it better in soft plastic, but I don’t hate what we got. I suppose I’ll like it a lot more if I ever do buy the Batmobile.

ctvsbatman10

ctvsbatman12

ctvsbatman11

Despite featuring a brand new buck, Batman sports articulation very similar to what we saw in the DCUC line. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Batman can swivel at the waist, he has an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and his neck is ball jointed. Oh yeah, my Batman has a stuck thigh swivel in his right leg. I’ll likely try freezing it to see if I can get it to give. The last time I had this problem was with my DCUC Raven figure and her leg twisted right off. I suppose if that happens, it’s more incentive to buy the Batman & Robin two-pack. UPDATE: Yup, freezing worked!

ctvsbatman8

ctvsbatman9

Batman comes with a colorful figure stand with “POW!” printed on it. I’m not sure if I’ll use it for display, but it’s a very nice thing to have. You also get a Collector Card. I honestly thought it was the shitty little card showing through on the side of the bubble, but nope, there’s actually a very large card printed on heavy cardboard stock with artwork on both sides. I’m not going to say it’s any kind of major added value, but it beats the hell out of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe “Comic Shots.” It’s also designed to fit into the stand and make a backdrop, although you can’t really see it with the figure on the stand.

ctvsbatman14

Ok, let’s run through Surf’s Up Batman super-fast. Here’s the packaging, front and back.

ctvsbatman3

ctvsbatman5

Again, not much new on the front. Just a different dopey Robin quote. The back of the card, however, is specific to this figure.

ctvsbatman17

It’s the same goddamn figure only wearing yellow swim trunks! Apart from the newly sculpted trunks, there are no other changes. He does retain all his hip and leg articulation despite his new swimwear.

ctvsbatman15

ctvsbatman16

And, yes, he also has a big surfboard. The surfboard looks good, but it’s kind of flimsy and made of softer plastic. It has two pegs on it so you can stand the figure on it pretty well, but with the fin in the bottom, it’s kind of heard to display him riding it, unless you balance the board on something else.  I joke about Mattel sticking us with this tweaked repack, but truth is you’re getting a lot more for your money with this figure than you are with regular Batman, so long as you don’t mind your Batman wearing swim trunks and carrying a skateboard.

ctvsbatman19

ctvsbatman18

You also still get a new collector car and a new figure stand. This time the card has Batman and the Joker surfing and the stand says “BIFF!!!” It also reveals that the backs of the cards are meant to form a single backdrop when the stands are put side by side. In this case, it’s the Batmobile parked in the Batcave. It’s a cool idea, but there’s a huge gap between the backdrops, and again, with the cape, you really can’t see the backdrops behind the figure when they’re plugged into the stands.

ctvsbatman20

No doubt, Batman is a solid figure. Hell, I even have to admit to digging Surf’s Up Batman just because he’s so ridiculous that he captures the spirit of the show. Part of me still wishes NECA could have procured the master license, rather than for just the quarter-scale figures, but even still Batman and Mattel have always been a pretty good fit. Despite the Adult Collectible moniker on the packages, these definitely feel more like toys than collectibles, but I’m OK with that. I’m ultimately happy with what we got so far, although I still think it’s inexcuseable to not have a single-carded Robin.

bctvsbats

Anyway, give me a few days to cover some other stuff, and I’ll swing back at the end of the week with The Joker.