DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Katana by DC Collectibles

It’s DC Friday again, folks, and after today the regularity of DC Friday may become a little spotty. But I’ll save that little editorial for the end of the review. In the meantime, today I’m checking out the final figure in the second wave of the DC Bombshells line. If you’re not up to date, these are action figures based off of statues, which in turn are based off original designs inspired by 1940’s and 50’s pin-up art, which also in turn has spawned a really good comic series. Phew… that’s a lot of exposition!  Anyway, today’s character is none other then Katana, and I saved her for last because I was pretty excited about her.

There you have the typical DC Designer Series packaging. It’s mostly white, it has a cool window front with one end angled. There’s character art on the side panel, and everything is collector friendly. Katana is also number 8 out of 8 in the series. I really dig Katana in general, and I loved her Bombshell design so much, that I almost picked up her statue, but she was one of the ones that sold out pretty quickly and has since really shot up in price on the secondary market. Maybe they’ll do a Deluxe version of her at some point down the road. Anyway, let’s get this open and check out the figure!

So, straightaway, I think DCC did a great job recreating the look of Katana’s Bombshell costume for the figure. I do, however, think this one is pretty detached from the scope of the Bombshell’s art. I get it, though. Most of the characters are based on western art and fashion in and around World War II, so going to the other side for material might have been a little problematic. Also, the source material has changed and expanded a bit since the line’s original inception. With that having been said, this figure shows off some of the more impressive sculpt and variety of paintwork that we’ve seen in this wave for sure, and possibly the line as a whole.

The dress is primarily maroon and black with gold borders around the black areas. The front part of the lower half of the dress features a gold floral motif and it’s torn off about halfway down, allowing Katana to show more leg and thus continuing the cheesecake factor of this line. The waist features what looks almost like a target pattern and has a big sculpted bow on the back. Her arms are painted to match the maroon of the rest of the dress, and she has a piece of segmented armor on her right shoulder. The silver paint on the armor looks especially nice, and each of the sculpted laces are neatly painted red. I really dig the plastic DCC is using for the flesh tones in this line, as it’s very warm and even. Katana’s lower right leg features an elaborate dragon tattoo and she’s wearing a pair of traditional wooden sandals on her feet. Just about everything that made me fall in love with the statue is recreated here quite well.

I say just about everything, because the one big disappointment for me is the dragon tattoo, which is actually a decal. The decal has a bit of a shine to it, making it really stand out against the matte finish of the plastic, especially around the areas where it’s cut out. Also, the edge near the tip of the dragon’s tail is starting to peel a bit on my figure, right out of the box. I don’t have a lot of hopes for that decal standing the test of time, and I can’t believe they didn’t just tampo the design directly onto the figure. What a shame.

On the plus side, Katana features what I believe is the best portrait this line has produced, and that’s quite a complement, because there have been a lot of great looking head sculpts. She’s absolutely beautiful, she has an appropriately stoic expression and the paint is absolutely fantastic. Her lips and eyes are perfect, and the red Rising Sun against the white makeup looks quite striking. They even did a beautiful job sculpting her hair. I couldn’t be happier with how this turned out.

Katana’s articulation is right in line with the rest of the second wave figures, which includes the absence of thigh swivels. I’ll direct you to any one of the three previous figure reviews if you need to get caught up on the points of articulation. I will say that the ankles on my figure wouldn’t budge, and after having one of Mera’s feet snap off right out of the box, I was pretty apprehensive about trying to get them to work. A little time in front of a space heater eventually did the trick. So long as we’re talking articulation and posing, here’s a good time to point out that Katana’s left hand is sculpted in a pointing position to recreate the pose used for the statue. That would be all well and good if she came with extra hands like the first wave figures. But since she doesn’t, that left hand isn’t all that helpful for many poses. In the end, I just didn’t find Katana as much fun to play around with as her fellow Bombshells in this wave.

The only accessory Katana comes with is her… um, katana. Soultaker is a pretty nice sculpt with bright silver paint on the blade, but it does feel a little undersized and unimpressive for what is supposed to be an epic and enchanted blade. She can technically hold it in either hand, although as already mentioned, the left hand has that pointing finger extended so the sword looks a little funny in that hand. And since I’ve also already touched on her lack of extra hands, here’s where I’ll point out another couple of obvious missed opportunities in the accessory department. If you’re going to be so specific and give her the pointing figure from the statue, why not give her a swap-out foot and the samurai helmet, so you can completely recreate the look of her with one foot arched and resting atop the helmet? The answer, I’m sure is budget cuts.

If it sounds like I’m being extra hard on Katana, it’s because I was really excited to get her open and play around with her. And to be fair, there’s plenty of great stuff going on here. The overall sculpt and paint approach the highest levels this line has offered. But little signs of cutbacks like a cheap decal for the tattoo, and a lack of extras in the box really holds this figure back from being the masterpiece it could have been. And that’s been a running theme for this entire second wave. These are really good figures, but it really shows that DC Collectibles wasn’t willing or able to invest the same level of value into them as they did in the first wave. What a shame. DCC has already cancelled two of the upcoming Bombshells, Bumblebee and Supergirl, although they claim the line is not dead. Although, DCC released their highlights for Toy Fair yesterday, and there is only one release announced for Bombshells in 2018, and that’s a Joker and Harley two-pack. Bummer!

And now for some words about the future of DC Fridays. I love DC Comics. These days I love DC Comics sooooo much more than any of the garbage books that Marvel is pumping out. But DC is making it hard for me to express that love with my toy/collectible buying dollars. DC Collectibles has killed off the DC Icons figures, it looks like DC Cover Girls is either retiring or slowing to a crawl, and I’ve seen nothing about the DC Essentials line that makes me want to re-invest in a brand new line of figures at $22 a pop just to have it get cancelled again. And with how many collectors no doubt feel the same, that line is going to have an uphill battle. Meanwhile, Mattel’s Multiverse line continues to disappoint, and even if it didn’t, the distribution here is terrible and the figures tend to go for scalper prices on Amazon. What I’m getting at is that DC Friday’s is going to have to switch to some kind of rotation from here on in. I’m tapped out and the supply of incoming has been reduced to a trickle. As I get new DC related items, I’ll push them to the head of the line. I still have some figures and statues on my “To Buy” list. But don’t be surprised to see other things dropping in on Fridays from here on out.

 

 

 

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DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Batgirl by DC Collectibles

It’s Friday and this week that makes me sad, because it means my vacation is just about over and it feels like it just began. But it’s also DC Friday and today that means I get to open up another of DC Collectibles’ Bombshells action figures. If you’re just joining me on these, I absolutely loved the first wave, but this second wave has been a little hit-and-miss. There have obviously been some cuts in the articulation and accessories, and Mera broke right out of the box. Hawkgirl was a big improvement, and I’m hoping that Batgirl can continue this line on the path to redemption.

The packaging is that very familiar DCC window box that they’ve been using with all their Designer Series figures. It’s collector friendly, has some great artwork on the side panel and it shows the figure off brilliantly. I’ll confess I was a bit stumped on Batgirl’s design for a while. At first, I thought it was some kind of vintage circus homage, but after actually reading some of the comics, it’s just meant to be an aviator outfit. Oh, yeah, she’s also vampire.

Sculpting and paintwork have never been an issue with this line, and Batgirl carries on that tradition quite nicely. From the waist up, Babs sports a corset-like half-top features a bat-motif, a pair of long gauntlets, and the straps to her parachute pack are sculpted onto the figure. Down below, she’s got a simple pair of purple painted pants, and high laced high-heeled boots. The utility belt got a lot of attention, with a bat-symbol on the belt buckle and various pouches for all her gadgets.

The coloring on the figure is also fabulous. I love the purple they used, and it’s accompanied by some bright yellow for the boots and belt pouches, plus you get some snappy gold paint on her chest and the belt buckle. Even the lacings on the boots are neatly painted and if you look really closely you can see tiny bat symbols on the sides in a slightly darker shade of yellow. There are some inconsistent spots on her pants, which could have been smoothed out, but I can just chalk that up to some weathering from action in the field and still be happy with it. Finally, I really like the plastic they’re using for the skin on these figures. It’s warm and even and looks great.

The headsculpt here is also pretty solid. It has a goofy charm to it, and I particularly like Babs’ wide, beaming smile. This is an example where I actually like the portrait on the figure better than the final production run of the original statue. The printing on the eyes is sharp and bright, and the glossy paint on the lips looks great. In addition to her aviator-style cowl, Batgirl has a scarf tied around her neck, and her trademark red hair blows off to the side in a ponytail.

The goggles are a separate piece, which was a great idea, as she can either wear them up on her cowl, or if you want to mimic the statue, you can slide them down over her eyes. They fit the figure perfectly, and I dare say they look as good if not better than what we got on the statue.

The articulation here is identical to what we saw in the last two figures in this wave. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have rotating hinges in the ankles. The torso features an ab crunch hinge down low in the waist, a ball joint under the chest and there’s also a ball joint in the neck. And yes, I still do miss those thigh swivels.

The parachute pack is a separate piece that pegs into Babs’ back, just like Hawkgirl’s jetpack. I’m not sure why anyone would want to display her without it, but I guess it’s nice to have options. I guess by putting it next to the figure, it looked like an extra accessory. The pack does actually open and you can put her cape on it, and that brings me to a quality control issue. The flap on my figure’s pack was painted shut. I tried heating it up and carefully razoring the edges, but when I finally got it open, the peg that holds it closed snapped off in the hole. Unfortunately, it’s also the peg that passes through the cape and holds it in place. On the bright side, the cape already hooks over the edge of the pack, so it doesn’t need it to hold it in place. It’s nowhere near as big an issue as Mera’s ankle breaking straight out of the package, but it’s still an issue worth noting.

I’ve mentioned how this second wave seems to be really light on the accessories and Batgirl here is rather deceptive about that. The goggles, parachute pack, and cape all fill up the bubble nicely, but they’re also all parts of her outfit, so they don’t go a long way for play value. I’m never going to display her not wearing her goggles or backpack, and I’m probably going to always have her cape on too, so as far as accessories go, they don’t feel much like bonuses. Not that I can think of much more to pack in with her, other than some extra hands.

Despite some minor gripes and another unfortunate QC issue, I think Batgirl here is another plus for this wave. She’s a great looking figure on every level, and I’m still delighted to see these designs getting their due in action figure form. Some extra hands would have gone a long way to adding to the fun, but even as she is, I had a good time posing and messing around with her. This wave still isn’t reaching the heights of the initial one, but I’m increasingly happy that I bought it. Next week, I’ll finish off the wave with a look at Katana!

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Hawkgirl by DC Collectibles

It’s DC Friday again, and after a few detours it’s time to get back to checking out the second wave of DC Collectibles’ Bombshells figures. If you’re just joining me, these are action figures based on the original statue designs DCC has been putting out for the last couple years. The DC Bombshells have become super popular and have not only spawned merchandise from other companies, but also their own comic book series. I absolutely adored the first wave of these figures, but the first figure I reviewed from this new wave, Mera, left me a little cold thanks to cutbacks in accessories and articulation, not to mention a joint breaking right out of the box. Let’s press on and see how Hawkgirl turned out.

There’s really nothing new to say about the packaging. This is the same style box we’ve seen across most of DCC’s Designer Series figures with the angled edge on the window and some nice character art on the side panel along with the figure’s number in the series, in this case Hawkgirl is #6. The presentation here is nice and clean, and everything is collector friendly, but I can’t help but notice a lot of empty space on that tray. Uh oh… looks like the accessory cut-backs continue!

And here’s Hawkgirl out of the box! I’m not sure exactly what they were going for here in terms of design. That famous first jetpack flight of the Bell Rocket Belt was in the early 60’s so it’s a little too late for the Bombshell’s era. I’m going to go with a vintage Buck Rogers or maybe a Rocketeer kind of vibe. Whatever the case, I like this design a lot and I came damn close to buying the statue even after I had sworn off collecting them because of lack of display space.

Hawkgirl features a green jumpsuit, with the top unzipped and hanging down around her waist and legs, exposing her rather tight yellow tank top. The lower half of the jumpsuit effect is achieved simply with paint, while the top half is sculpted separately and attached to look like it’s hanging off of her. She also wears a pair of long gloves and tall brown boots with yellow trim and sculpted and painted laces. Some nice little touches include the subtle wing motifs etched into her boots and the elastic cuffs on the loose, hanging sleeves of the jumpsuit. The paint on this figure is pretty solid, but then that’s been the case for this line from the beginning. Granted, there isn’t a whole lot of complex brush work going on here, but the yellow on the boots is pretty sharp, as are the stripes on the legs, and they even painted the buckles on the boot straps with a little gold paint. Likewise, the tiny buckles on her shoulder straps are painted silver, and the silver on the helmet looks great. There is a stray spot of red paint on her nose, but otherwise no complaints here.

I really dig the portrait here a lot. Hawkgirl is wearing a wry smirk that gives her a lot of personality. She wears a very familiar hawk-styled helmet, and they did a nice job sculpting the patches of her red hair that spill out from under the tight-fitting helmet. She has a loose pair of goggles hanging around her neck, and the shoulder straps for the jetpack rig are part of the sculpt, so they’re present whether she’s wearing the pack or not. I do wish they could have worked out a way to make her blowing a bubble an option, as that was such a distinctive aspect of the statue, but I guess it wasn’t to be. Before we talk articulation, let’s get her suited up to fly!

I already griped about the accessory cut-backs being a trend in this second wave of Bombshells, and yes the jetpack is the only accessory included here. Gone are the extra hands and various extra bits of fun. In the case of Hawkgirl, I’m almost willing to look past it, because the jetpack uses a little more plastic than your average accessory. It attaches simply to her back via two pegs, but getting the control arms into her hands is a little scary because they are pretty fragile. The pack itself looks pretty good. It has an appropriately retro design with some sculpted panel lines and a pair of wings to follow through on the Hawkgirl theme. There are some red rings painted on the twin cones and the thrusters are painted black. The control arms feature painted wire snaking around them, and the hand grips have red thrust buttons on the tops.

The articulation is overall pretty good, especially when you consider some of DCC’s other offerings. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and double hinged at the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s an ab crunch hinge, but it’s all the way down near the waist, and also a ball joint just under her chest. Finally, the neck is ball jointed. I do still miss the swivels in the thighs, and while I appreciate the torso articulation, you still can’t get her in a decent flying position where she’s looking up, but she can do some pretty good hovering poses. Also, while it’s a shame I have to mention it as a plus, I was happy not to have any joint snapping issues here. All of Hawkgirl’s articulation was smooth right out of the package.

After a dodgy start with Mera, Hawkgirl here goes a long way to rekindle my hope for this second wave. Sure, removing the thigh swivels still pisses me off, and even with the jetpack, I would have still liked a few more extras in the box. I can’t help but think that if this figure shipped in the first wave, she would have had an extra pair of hands, maybe an alternate bubble-blowing head, or at least some effect parts for her jetpack. That having been said, she’s still a lot of fun to play with and I was happy to not have any QC issues with this one. But best of all, I can finally stop feeling remorse over not picking up the statue, because at least now I have Bombshells Hawkgirl  in my collection as an action figure.

FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 2

Welcome back to the Week of Insufferable Lists. I’m not really here this week, but my Life Model Decoy is right in the middle of laying out my Ten Favorite Acquisitions of 2017. Let’s jump right in with the final five. Again, these are in no particular order…

Mythic Legions Stone Troll by The Four Horsemen: Back when I blew my tax return on that original Mythic Legions kickstarter, I never could have guessed how big it would get. Now my Mythic Legions army is expansive and early next year, I’ll be dropping another 35 figures onto those shelves. But if I had to choose one figure that really illustrates how big and successful this line has been, it would be the huge Stone Troll. The sculpt and paintwork on this guy are amazing and it really illustrates how much more craftsmanship can go into a toy that isn’t destined for the shelves at Target or Walmart. My only regret is that I couldn’t budget the Forest Troll to go with him, but at least I take comfort in the fact that soon he’ll have a Cyclops buddy.

DC Bombshells Batwoman (Designer Series) by DC Collectibles: While I had to take a pass on collecting most of the DC Bombshell statues, I was happy to get the Bombshell figures as a more space-friendly alternative. The first wave was chock full of knockouts, so it wasn’t easy choosing one as a favorite. In the end, I went with Batwoman, because I love the pun, I love baseball, and this figure is just too much fun. Great sculpt, great articulation, and great accessories! But hell, I just as easily could have stuck Harley or Wonder Woman in this slot. These are some of DC Collectibles’ best work in years.

Lost Exo Realm (LER-04) Deluxe Severo by Fansproject: 2017 will likely be my last big hurrah with Third-Party Transformers and it was mostly spent tying up loose ends. It took me a long while to get around to picking up Severo and wrapping up my LER Dinobots, so long that I had almost lost interest. He sat for months waiting to be opened, but when I finally did it was love at first sight. Not only is he an imposing beast in either robot or dino modes, but he comes with so many extra weapons and a throne fit for a king.

DC Gallery (Batman: The Animated Series) Zatanna by Diamond Select: I’ve been generally pleased with Diamond’s line of budget statues based on Marvel and DC characters. So much so, that I knew I had to include something from this line on my list of favorites. There were several contendors, but in the end, I had to go with Zatanna. Not only do I love the character, but this statue is very nearly perfect. The sculpt is a spot on representation of her from the Batman Animated Series, the paint application is clean and precise, and the overall quality feels like something beyond a budget statue.

Zenescope’s Robyn Hood Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen: I purchased and reviewed all three of Phicen’s Zenescope figures in 2017, and I don’t think anyone really cared. That’s cool. Zenescope is a small comic book company, and most definitely a guilty pleasure of mine, so I can understand the lack of interest. I could have probably picked any one of these figures for this list solely based on the fact that it’s a miracle a company actually produced Zenescope merch, much less high end merch. And while I love all three of these ladies, the truth is that picking one was not even difficult. Liesel Van Helsing and Mercy Dante are both great figures, but Phicen just knocked it out of the park with Robyn Locksley.

And that’s going to do it for the good stuff. Come back tomorrow and we’ll start having a look at some of those purchases that sucker punched me in the nether regions with my first five Disappointments of 2017.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Mera by DC Collectibles

Welcome to the last review of 2017! Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What happened to the rest of the DC Multiverse Justice League Wave that you started last week?” I’ll come back to it, don’t worry. But I wanted to squeeze at least one of the new wave of DC Bombshells figures in before the end of the year, so I decided to take a detour. Also, I loved the first wave of these figures so much, I couldn’t wait any longer before opening one of these ladies. And since last week was all about Aquaman and Mera, let’s keep the ball rolling with Bombshells Mera!

If you’ve purchased any DC Collectibles figures in the last year or so, this packaging should be familiar. It’s more or less the same style used for the first wave of Bombshells, as well as the DCTV figures, and the other Designer Series releases. It’s not the most exciting presentation out there, but I do like it a lot. The large wrap-around window offers a great look at the figure inside and the design is clean, simple, and the box is collector friendly. It also features character art on the side panel so you can line them up on a shelf and each character is numbered, with Mera being #7 in the series. Let’s get her out of her aquarium and check her out!

Wow, this figure looks great! But before I start gushing, I’ve got to report that her left foot broke off at the ankle just from being taken out of the tray. What the hell, DC Collectibles? You’ve been doing a lot better with this kind of QC stuff, but clearly you haven’t slain all your demons yet. I was easily able to glue it back on, but obviously at a cost to that ankle’s articulation. Of all the places the figure could break, that was probably the best scenario, but it’s still unacceptable to have it happen simply by removing the figure from the tray. We’re not off to a good start, but let’s see if Mera can redeem herself.

The Bombshell makeover puts Mera in a vintage style sailor outfit, which is very appropriate for this Chickie of the Sea. Her cut-off top is sculpted to resemble the scale armor she’s often depicted as wearing, and painted with a beautiful metallic green. She also has a sailor pearlescent white sailor scarf with a green stripe and a golden anchor pendant hanging around her neck by a string. I thought that was a really nice touch.

Below her exposed midriff, she sports a pair of pearlescent white flared slacks with green scaled stripes and a gold belt, as well as a pair of shoes sculpted and painted to match her top with the same green scales. The outfit is rounded out with a pair of gold wrist bracers and a chic white sailor’s cap with a gold “M” on the front. Both the sculpt and coloring on the outfit are top notch, making this one great looking figure. You also get some really nice subtle paint applications like the gold on her shoes and the red nail polish on her fingers and toes.

The portrait is no slouch either. Mera sports a pretty face with some clean paint apps for the eyes and mouth. She also has a copious coif of red hair done up in vintage 40’s style. I’ll note here that I really like the matte plastic that DCC uses for the skin tones on these figures. It looks appropriately warm and soft and much better than the usual paint we sometimes see on some of the other companies’ 6-inch scale figures.

The articulation here is good, but not as good as what we saw in the first wave. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have rotating hinges in the ankles. Well, my figure now only has a rotating hinge in the one ankle. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and there’s also a ball joint in the neck. What’s missing? The thigh swivels have unfortunately been cut from this second wave and I really do miss them.

And you know what else is missing? Almost all the extras. The first wave of figures all came with multiple pairs of hands and in most cases multiple accessories, which really added to the fun factor. Mera comes with no extra hands and just one accessory: Her trident. Cutting the extra hands here is particularly egregious because the ones she comes with don’t really hold her trident well at all. I would have really liked some fists, relaxed hands, maybe a saluting hand. It sucks when a company sets expectations for an initial wave of figures and then lowers the bar for the follow up. And while I won’t swear by it, I’m pretty sure the promo images for this wave showed extra hands.

The trident is a welcome accessory, although it is fairly simple though. It’s cast in a rich gold plastic.

With how amazing the first wave of Bombshells figures was, I did not expect Wave 2 to begin with disappointment, but that’s the word that best comes to mind. Now, to be clear: Mera is a beautiful figure with a terrific sculpt and some great paintwork, but with breakage right out of the box and cutbacks in both the articulation and the accessories, I’m sad to see this line is not dedicated to living up to the standards set by the initial four offerings. Am I sorry I picked up the second wave? Nope. I love these designs, and I’m happy to get the opportunity to add them to my collection as action figures. But that doesn’t change the bitter feeling of the cutbacks. The irony is that I actually picked this figure to review today because I wanted to end the year with a sure thing, and it kind of backfired on me. Granted, it’s possible that the only way DC Collectibles could go through with a second wave of Bombshells figures was to cut costs, but from what I’ve seen the first wave seemed to have sold rather well.

And that’s a wrap for me and 2017! Next week will be gobbled up by the canned content of my Annual Favorites & Disappointments lists, which I’ll be wrapping up and scheduling over the weekend. FFZ will then go on autopilot, but I’ll most definitely be around to reply to comments. Thanks, Toyhounds! I’ll see you on the other side!

 

DC Bombshells: Deluxe Harley Quinn Statue by DC Collectibles

I really wanted to get in on the DC Bombshells statues, but at the time I was still building my collection of DC Cover Girls and the last thing that my wallet and living space needed was a new line of statues to collect. By the time I was caught up on Cover Girls, Bombshells was in full swing and most of the early A-Listers were way too pricey for me to go back to. And so I happily settled on the action figures, which turned out to be great! Fast forward to now and DC Collectibles is revisiting some of those main characters and producing them in new Deluxe versions. They’re larger, more elaborate, and of course a bit more expensive. When Harley went up for pre-order, I jumped on it right away.

The statue comes in a fully enclosed and mostly white cardboard box. It’s much bigger than the Cover Girls boxes, but very similar in size and style to the DC Designer Statues. In this case, the box also features a sticker indicating that it’s Harley’s 25th Anniversary. Harley isn’t quite in the Sixth-Scale range, but with the base and the one arm up in the air, she still measures over 12-inches tall. The statue itself is based off original art by Ant Lucia and the “Gotham or Bust” art print is available from QMx designs. I picked up one of the prints shortly after getting the statue and I’ll say a few things about it at the end.

And here is Harley all set up! She comes in three pieces, all individually wrapped in plastic, and sandwiched between two pieces of styrofoam. The set up requires you to plug her into the base via two metal rods and attach her right arm via a magnet. Getting her slotted into the base was a little troublesome. At first I thought she wasn’t going to stand flush at all, but I gently coaxed the pegs out and tried again and again and one more time, and eventually got there. The magnet that holds the arm in is not very strong, but it is attached to a tab, so between the tab going into the socket and the magnet, the arm stays in place very well.

It’s impossible for me to begin anywhere else but the composition, because that’s what made me fall in love with this piece at first sight. Harley surfs through the sky atop a descending WWII-era bomb, tethered to it with a bat grappling hook in one hand and her other hand flying free, waving her pop gun in the air. It’s a scene reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove and also perfectly fits the 1940’s aircraft nose art and pin-up art styles that fuels this series. The whole piece has a wonderful sense of balance to it and almost seems to defy gravity. But that’s not to say this statue favors composition over craftsmanship, and style over substance. The sculpt and paint quality here are both top notch, and I’ll lay it out right now that I have no complaints about either.

Harley’s wearing the same costume we saw in the original Bombshells statue and in her action figure and they did a beautiful job detailing it here. She’s got a pair of really short and pretty tight black shorts, secured with a golden batman utility belt with red and black pouches. Her feet feature a pair of brown boots worn with socks over red and black stockings. And she’s got a black and red bikini top with a vintage-style bomber jacket and red gloves. There’s some wonderful sculpted detail to be found in her wardrobe, from the knitted pattern of her socks, to the wear on her boots.

They also packed some great touches in the outfit include the Joker card that’s tucked into her left stocking and the Joker-style medal pinned to her jacket, some wing medals on her lapel, and stars pinned to her epaulets. The “Joker’s Wild” painting on the back of her jacket is a work of art all by itself. It makes me want to get a mirror to put behind her, because sadly, it won’t be visible when viewed from the front.

And that brings us to the portrait, which is excellent. Somehow they’ve managed to keep a little bit of Harley’s crazy and still maintain the homage they were going for. She looks absolutely delighted that she’s about to steer a bomb right into some unsuspecting target in Gotham’s cityscape. Her pigtails fly up behind her in the wind, and she has a pair of goggles secured to the top of her head. The paintwork on the face is as solid as the rest of the statue with immaculately painted eyes and lips. The white face paint isn’t overdone, and it’s worth mentioning here that the flesh tones on the rest of the figure are warm, even, and clean. I also love the pink tips on the ends of her blonde hair. It’s worth mentioning that because of the nature of the composition, Harley is looking down, so this is a piece that is going to best be displayed at eye level, or a little higher.

Her pop gun is beautifully sculpted and painted with a silver finish and black grips with a cork stuffed into the barrel. You gotta love the tiny Batman dangler that’s tied to the lanyard loop of the butt.

The base consists of the bomb sitting on an angle in a smokey-clear cloud with additional motion effects streaking off the back fins. The smoke is frosted clear plastic with some white paint and a rough texture. Effects like this are tough to do in this format, and I think it came out pretty good, but if I get in real close, the illusion tends to break down. The trailing effect parts are pretty delicate. One got knocked off, even while I was re-positioning the statue very carefully, but they’re tabbed in and it went right back on easily.  The artwork on the bomb includes the “Gotham or Bust” slogan along with Harley’s initials, a bat symbol with a line through it and a “Cherry Bomb” sticker on the tail. I just love the whole look of this thing!

Of course, the statue has a limited production run, in this case 5,000 were produced, so it’s not really that limited, but still a couple hundred less than when DC Collectibles was doing 5,200 of almost everything. As usual, the limitation is indicated on the bottom of the base. In this case, mine is 3,223 of 5,000.

Deluxe Harley retails at about $160, which makes her the most expensive DC Collectibles piece I own, but only by about twenty bucks. Was she worth it? Hell yeah. She also seems to be doing well because the place I got her from sold out quickly and she’s back to pre-order status. This is one of those “love at first sight” statues for me, which has also given me a second chance to own Bombshell Harley in the statue format, without having to blow the $350+ that the original is now going for. I have to say, I’m not quite as smitten with the early shots of the Bombshells Wonder Woman Deluxe, but having Harley on my shelf may get me to pick up a few more of the regular Bombshells releases to keep her company.

Oh yeah… the “Gotham or Bust” print is available from QMx directly or any number of re-sellers. I got mine off of Amazon for about $13 shipped securely in a tube. It measures 18″ by 24″ so it’s easy to get a frame for it, and I think it really complements the statue wonderfully. The only problem will be finding someplace to display the both together, but these are nice problems to have.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Poison Ivy by DC Collectibles

After a little mid-wave sabbatical last week, I’m back on target to work on finishing off this amazing assortment of action figures based on the DC Bombshells art and statues. The third figure up on deck is Poison Ivy!

If you’ve been on board since the beginning of the wave, then you already know all there is to know about the packaging. It shows off the figure wonderfully and it is totally collector friendly. You also get some nice character art on the side panel so you can identify who is who when the boxes are lined up on a shelf. I have to be honest, Ivy was probably my least anticipated figure of this wave, so let’s see how she ranks among some pretty stiff competition.

Batwoman was aimed at America’s Greatest Pastime, Wonder Woman referenced WWII Posters, and Poison Ivy here is squarely targeting the cheesecake pin-up style of the 1940’s. As such she comes wearing not much at all, just her chlorophyll-infused skivvies: Bra, panties, stockings, and high heels. All of her outfit is integrated into the sculpt, so the only thing on this figure that’s achieved by paint alone are her amazingly cool tattoos and the vine patterns on her legs, which I assume are supposed to be part of the stockings, but this is Poison Ivy, so you never know! Particularly nice touches include the sculpted bow in the center of her bra and her garter belts. I’ll also note that this is one of the few times I can remember where a figure in this scale had high heeled shoes that didn’t come out looking like granny shoes. Ivy comes out of the box with a pair of fists, which I don’t find a lot of use for with this figure. Luckily, she does have two other pairs of hands to choose from.

The portrait definitely has the whole pin-up style down pat. I don’t think they were going for any specific actress, but the hair style feels influenced by the famous pin-up artwork by Alberto Vargas. The paint applications for the eyes and lips is quite good, and the sculpted rose in her hair is a very nice touch. This shot also provides a better look at her lovely tats… and by that I mean tattoos!

The articulation here is right in line with what we saw for the last two figures and as such it’s some of the best pose-ability I’ve seen in any of DC Collectibles’ lines. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, with swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the elbows. The hips are ball jointed, but also seem to have a sort of hinged dog-bone up in there, that allow for even more range of motion. Further down we get swivels at the tops of the stockings, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s an ab crunch hinge and a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed. My figure’s left bicep swivel was stuck, but a little warm water fixed that. I should also note that while those heels look great, Ivy is a difficult figure to keep standing!

If Poison Ivy stumbles a bit where the others excelled, it would be in the area of accessories. Now, don’t get me wrong, the accessories she comes with are definitely on point for the character, but by their nature, I didn’t have quite as much fun using them with the figure as I did with the previous two releases. It might also have something to do with the fact that the other figures were kitted out more for action, whereas Ivy is in her underwear. I wouldn’t call these complaints, she just has a different feel to her in that sense. With that having been said, the first accessory is a simple rose.

The other accessory is a little more interesting and also a tad frustrating. It’s a coil of vine with a snapping head on the end. I like it. It’s a cool looking piece, but it’s hard to figure out exactly what she’s meant to do with it. None of the official photos of the figure that I’ve seen have her interacting with hit. I managed to come up with some OK things for her to do with it, but I still feel like I’m missing out on exactly what was intended here.

I feel as if I’m more critical of this figure than the others and I’m not sure why. The truth is she’s a fantastic sculpt with some beautiful coloring, and a superb level of articulation. It’s true that Ivy is my least favorite figure of the three I’ve opened so far, but in this assortment of figures, that’s not something she should be ashamed about. On the next DC Friday, I’ll wrap up the wave with a look at Harley Quinn. Was I saving the best for last? The worst for last? Come on back and find out!

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Wonder Woman by DC Collectibles

On the last DC Friday, I started digging into the first wave of the new DC Bombshells action figures. These figures are based on a line of statues, which conceptualize DC Characters (mostly the gals) in a 1940’s style. I kicked things off with a look at Batwoman, and boy was I impressed. Today, I’m pressing on and opening up my second figure in the assortment… Wonder Woman!

Clean, attractive, functional, and collector friendly. These are all words that I would use to describe DCC’s packaging these days. You also get some wonderful Bombshells character art on the side panel so you can line these up on a bookshelf and still know who is who. In this case, you also get a sticker on the window proclaiming the 75th Anniversary of Wonder Woman, and my doesn’t she still look great for her age! Normally, I’m quick to throw out action figure packaging, but I’m actually holding on to these boxes for now. I know, I probably won’t be able to keep them for long, but I want to at least give myself the option up until wave two hits.

And here she is out of the box and ready to go! If Batwoman represented America’s greatest pastime, then Wonder Woman here is going for the Rosie the Riveter, “We Can Do It!” angle. It’s a little more subtle here than a full on baseball uniform, but I still think it works very well. A big part of the success of this design for me is in the way the costume manages to stay faithful to Wonder Woman’s traditional look, while still embracing the 40’s style. The blouse, for example, features her emblem on the front, but adds a wide white collar and cuffs on the short sleeves. The blue shorts feature her iconic white stars, and her red high-heeled boots have white decorations and stars as well. The outfit is rounded out by a belt with a sculpted gold belt buckle and her famous lasso hanging off her right hip. She’s even got her wrist bracers, which are beautifully etched. All the details in the costume are part of the sculpt, and the paint is sharp and clean.

The portrait is over-the-top cheese, which certainly fits with the original statue. Wonder Woman is offering her biggest “Can Do” smile and has her hair tied up with a yellow ribbon while the bulk of her coif blows off in the breeze. I really love what they did here, but I have a feeling that it may be a little too singular a look for some collectors. It conveys the original art beautifully, but with a perpetually smiling expression, you are certainly limited in some of the poses you can pull off with her, whereas Batwoman’s portrait was more versatile. With that having been said, apart from adding in a second head, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The articulation here is every bit as good as what we got with Batwoman. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. Once again, I’ll point out the irony that these are figures based on a line of statues, and yet they feature some of the best articulation that we’ve seen out of DCC yet. And no stuck or gummy joints, either!

In addition to three sets of hands (fists, tight gripping, and loose gripping), Wonder Woman comes with two fun accessories. The first is a wrench, and let me tell you, if you’re in the market for a wrench in this scale, this is probably one of the best ones I’ve seen. It also fits the theme here quite well. I’m sure Wonder Woman is going to use that pipe wrench to tighten the bolts on the bomb that’s going to blow up Mr. Hitler! If not, then it’s just a great metaphor for the whole “Put America to work” mobilization that made up the CCC and WPA leading up to Doublya-Doublya-Two!

The other accessory is a chain with a cinder block on one end and a ball on the other. The original statue had her breaking a chain, which obviously inspired this piece. At first, I thought it an odd accessory, but I have to confess that I’ve had a ton of fun playing around with it.

If Batwoman spoke to my love of Baseball, Wonder Woman here does the same for my love of history. Everything about this figure gels so perfectly. The design, the execution, and the amazingly fun level of articulation. I was originally on board with these figures as some inexpensive alternatives to buying the statues, but I never expected them to be so engaging, or so difficult to put down. These figures are retailing for around $25 at most online retailers, and if this style is your jam, then you really can’t go wrong. On the next DC Friday, I’m going to take a mid-wave break to check out a statue, and then I’ll start opening up the second half of this assortment of amazing figures.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Batwoman by DC Collectibles

If you are at all attuned to the collectible comic statue market, then you’ve probably seen the DC Bombshells line. They’re DC gals (and a few dudes) re-imagined as WWII-era nose art. Or at least that’s how it started. It’s since grown into a wider scope, embracing the DC characters depicted in 40’s-era style in general. The statue designs have been pretty cool and while I’ve come close to picking up a couple, I’ve managed to resist so far, mainly because I’m already struggling to find space to display my DC Cover Girls. Although, I just miiiight have one Bombshell statue on pre-order. Enter the DC Bombshells figures. You get the same re-imaginings of the characters in action figure form and at a fraction of the price. Now you’re talking! I picked up the whole first wave and I’m kicking things off today with a look at Batwoman.

The packaging should look readily familiar if you’ve picked up any DC Collectibles figures these days. They use this same style for the Designer Series, the Icons Series, the DCTV Series… just about all the Serieseses. And why not? This is clean, collector friendly packaging that show off the figures beautifully and really lets you get a solid look at not only the figure, but all the accessories you’re getting. DCC is actually releasing the Bombshells under their Designer Series, celebrating the wonderful art of Ant Lucia. Batwoman is inspired by what else? America’s greatest pastime, Baseball! Get it? Bat-Woman? Oh, you did get it. OK then, let’s check her out.

Batwoman dons a somewhat non-traditional, but quite yummy, skirted baseball uniform, which includes a low cut top, sculpted belt, high socks, dainty gloves, and glossy cleats. Naturally, the deco is inspired by her crime-fighting costume in the comics, featuring a snappy mix of black and crimson. The paintwork here is super sharp, from the silver buckle on her belt to the piping around her collar and the black stripes at the tops of her socks. Best of all, you get a glossy bat symbol across her chest. This is a great piece of inspiration and an all-around great looking figure.

A quick view from the back reveals the lettering on her uniform top: “Gotham Knights 52” I love it!

The portrait here is pretty stellar as well. She features wide green eyes, perfectly painted lips, and a flowing coif of crimson hair that spills out from her distinctive baseball cap, which features both her bat symbol and a pair of adorable little pointy bat ears. She also has just a hint of grease paint around her eyes, suggestive of her mask. All the skin tones are achieved through nekkid plastic and the stuff they used looks great.

DCC went above and beyond with the articulation here. It’s something I really didn’t expect from a line of figures based off of conceptualized statues, and yet here we have it. This is quite frankly even better articulation than we’ve been getting out of DC Icons. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. The jointing feels excellent, with no gummy hinges or stuck joints. I can’t even tell you how much fun I’ve had playing around with this figure, but hopefully the pictures will convey a little bit of it.

Accessories include three pairs of hands: Fists, bat-holding hands, and ball-holding hands. She also comes with a catcher’s mitt, a baseball, and a bat. The mitt is just another hand that can be swapped out and it’s sculpted to hold the ball perfectly so you can recreate some amazing catches. Batwoman doesn’t let anything get past her… not even those pop flys!

If there’s anything in this package that’s disappointing, it would have to be the bat. It pains me to say that, because it’s an excellent sculpt with a very realistic wood-grain finish. It even has her name engraved on it and a tiny bat emblem on the tip. So what’s the problem? It just feels too small. Maybe I’m off base (HA!) on this. I dig baseball a whole lot, but I’m no expert. Nonetheless, I just get a sense that the bat isn’t regulation and that it’s under-scaled for the figure. Make no mistake, it’s not enough to tarnish my love for this gal, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Besides, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have anything negative to say here at all.

Am I gushing? I’ve been gushing, haven’t I? Well, truth be told, I was really looking forward to getting this first wave of Bombshells figures in hand, and I gotta tell ya, after opening up Batwoman, this gal does not disappoint. Everything about this figure, from the sculpt to the paint to the super fun articulation is just about perfect. I love the spirit behind these designs and I am suitably impressed at how this figure manages to capture the look of the statue while delivering all the fun that goes along with a fun action figure. I’m chomping at the bit to open up another, but sadly, that’ll have to wait until the next DC Friday.