DC Gallery: Batgirl Statue by Diamond Select

I’m always happy to be able to bring back DC Friday, even if it isn’t that often. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when I had enough DC related action figures and collectibles to keep it going as a regular thing. But between Mattel’s terrible distribution and DC Collectibles’ inability to stick with a line and scale, I’ve mainly been turning to Diamond Select Toys’ Gallery Statues for my DC fix these days. Let’s check out their new Batgirl!

Based on her 2014 makeover by Babs Tarr in Batgirl of Burnside, this statue comes in the typical Gallery style box, with windows on the top, front, and side panels and a purple and yellow deco to match Batgirl’s costume. The statue is suspended between two plastic trays, allowing you to see what you’re getting before you buy and open her. And as always, everything here is collector friendly, which is good for me because I don’t have the shelf space to display all of these, so I have them in their boxes and stacked in a corner.

There’s no assembly required, as Batgirl comes out of the box all ready for display, and what a nice piece this is! I should start by saying that I don’t find the pose anything terribly special, she’s simply striding across the rooftops with her arms out and hands balled into fists. Her hair splays out in the wind and her cape bellows off to the side behind her. It’s not bad at all, it hints at a nice bit of action, but it’s just not that unique or memorable to me.

Thankfully everything else about this statue is so well executed! Every detail about the costume is incorporated into the sculpt and that includes the tailored seams, pockets, and even the bat symbol on her chest. Even the lines of the black stripes on her legs are sculpted. The detail on her utility belt includes the little buckles and retaining straps on the pouches, and the sculpted laces on her boots are fully realized.

Equally impressive is the coloring here, which mostly relies on the purple, yellow, and black of her costume. Everything is done with a matte finish, and while this costume’s boots and gloves are often depicted as shiny in other recreations, I think the matte works fine too. For the most part the paint applications are sharp and clean, but there are a few exceptions, particularly between the yellow on her boots and the black of their soles. Still, it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before on far more expensive statues.

The portrait is pretty solid, although not terribly expressive. It’s a good likeness from the comic art and I’m extremely happy with how sharp the lines are on her mask, as well as the paint applications for her eyes and lips. The sculpted red hair is a bit muted, but I dig the way it spills out of the cowl and blows wildly around her.

The base appears to be an abstract of the city rooftops, perhaps scaled down to give her a sense of height? I’m not really sure what they were going for here. It’s not bad, though, and it offers her a good surface for her wide stance, as well as giving the statue stability.

Batgirl is another fine example of why it’s been impossible for me to quit DST’s Gallery series. You simply can’t beat the quality at this price point. And while my budget and available space often requires me to admire the bigger premium statues on the market from afar, I can collect this line all day without breaking the bank. Batgirl here cost just under $40, and I couldn’t be happier with how she turned out!

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DC Gallery: Supergirl by Diamond Select

It does my heart good to be coming back with a third review this week. It makes me even happier to relive the old days with a DC Friday review! I’ve been trying to cut down on the number of Gallery statues I buy from DST, because they were getting out of hand, but this past month, they’ve released a bunch that I simply could not resist. Today, I’m opening up one of those, and it is indeed… Supergirl! In case you’re unfamiliar, these are roughly 9-inch scale, budget-priced PVC statues, and DST churns out a lot of them!

We’ve already seen Supergirl twice in the DC Gallery line, both of which were based off the animated Justice League Unlimited series, with one for regular release and one as an SDCC Exclusive. If you’ve been with me for the three dozen or so Gallery Statue reviews I’ve done here on FFZ, then you should be readily familiar with the packaging. These statues come in collector friendly window boxes, with windows on the front, top, and side panels. This particular box is a little larger than most of the Gallery statue boxes in order to incorporate the rather dynamic pose. The statue inside is nestled in a clear clamshell, letting you see what you’re getting from almost every angle. In this case, the box itself is nice and colorful, with some beautiful character art on the back (even if it doesn’t match the statue at all!) and her S-Shield printed on the back of the interior tray. All that is great because I am currently displaying these statues in their boxes. Let’s get Kara out of the box and check her out!

The statue comes out of the box all assembled and ready for display, and looking mighty fine! For the most part DST has been producing these statues with fairly static and reserved composition. That’s certainly not the case here, as Supergirl is seen bursting forth from a fiery explosion and ripping a chain in half. No doubt, an eeeevil chain! She has one leg drawn up at the knee with her other leg trailing down and touching the base. The pose shows off both her power and the grace of her curves beautifully. Straightaway, I’m going to say that this is one of my favorite poses this line has done, and it’s also one of the better poses I’ve seen on a Supergirl statue recently. It exhibits some great keneticism and excitement, and it just captures the character perfectly.

I’m also very fond of the costume style they chose here. She sports the blue long-sleeved crop-top and skirt, yellow belt, red boots, and the flowing red cape. As is routine for these statues, all of the details of the costume are incorporated into the sculpt, right down to some subtle wrinkles. This goes a long way to bring the costume to life and it often helps keep the paint in line too. And the coloring is also very much on point. The shades of red and blue go great together and include nice subtleties like a glossier finish on the boots and a matte finish on the cape. The S-Shields on both her chest and the back of her cape look nice and crisp. The skin tone is warm and even, but my one nit-pick would be that it’s a little too glossy for my taste. It’s not so bad under normal lighting, but my studio lights make her look like her skin is wet and glistening. Eh, maybe that’s not so bad.

I was a little unsure of this portrait from the initial solicitation shots, but I think it turned out quite good in person. Indeed, I like it even more than DC Collectibles’ Cover Girl version of Supergirl, and that one is no slouch either. The paint on the eyes and lips are sharp, and I like how her mouth is slightly parted to show that it took the tiniest bit of effort to rip apart that chain. The hair sculpt isn’t terribly dynamic, but it does kick off to the side a bit to offer a little windblown look. I’m not sure this portrait is based on any particular art, but she’s pretty and I think it’s an overall  good look for Kara.

Bases have not always been the best thing about DST’s Gallery statues. It’s not that a lot of them are bad, but they’re just kind of there. That’s sort of the case here. Supergirl’s base is serviceable and lends itself well to the action pose. I’m not one hundred percent sure what it’s supposed to be, but I’m assuming it’s just a ball of fire from an explosion. I suppose it could just as easily be a fiery comet or something. Not knowing what it is doesn’t really compliment the sculpt that much, but I’m willing to accept it as an abstract construct.

And before wrapping it up, I thought I’d toss in a shot of Gallery Supergirl alongside the previously mentioned Cover Girl Supergirl by DC Collectibles. Obviously, the costumes and styles are different, and this is a PVC statue as opposed to cold cast porcelain, but I think the Gallery statue holds up remarkably well against the competition. Plus, the PVC material is a lot more durable.

Once upon a time I used to call Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line the best value in statue collecting. Well, two things have happened for me to revoke that praise. First, Koto has raised their prices a lot. Second, DST’s Gallery line has come along. And while the quality here isn’t on par with Koto’s, at around forty bucks, this is an extremely nice display piece for the money. A lot of thought went into the composition, the sculpt is excellent, and the paint only shows a few minor rough patches, which aren’t even worth it to me to complain about. As always, I would recommend buying these in person whenever possible, so you can scrutinize the paint you’re getting, but this one came to me in the mail, and I did just fine with what I got.

DC Gallery: Catwoman by Diamond Select

How about a DC Friday for old time’s sake? Once upon a time I could fuel DC Friday every week with a seemingly unending offering of figures from Mattel and DC Collectibles, not to mention there were statues galore! Well, DC Collectibles killed off their Icons line, Mattel just lost the license to Spin Master, and I’m trying to not buy as many statues these days, because I’m all out of room to display them. Nonetheless, Diamond Select’s DC and Marvel Gallery series continues to be tough to resist. And their new version of Catwoman was an impossible temptation! So let’s take a look at this feline temptress!

For the unacquainted, DST’s various Gallery series are a budget line of roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues that grew out of their old Femme Fatales series. They later branched out to DC Animated Series statues before ultimately embracing all of Marvel and DC. The statue comes in a box with windows on the front, sides, and top panels, which offer enough visibility that you could just about get away with displaying these in the package. That works for me, because I ran out of shelves long ago, and now I display most of these as a wall of the stacked boxes. While the DC Gallery’s previous versions of Catwoman have been based on her animated appearances, this one is drawn from her more modern comic look. Of course, everything here is collector friendly, and Catwoman comes out of the box all assembled and ready for display!

And this is a case where the composition and overall style had me mashing the pre-order button the moment I saw pictures in the solicitation. Sure, when it comes to Catwoman I’m an easy mark, but having her perched on the giant Egyptian-styled cat-head turned my head in a big way. She sits on the top of the statue with one leg bent under her and the other dangling down, while leaning slightly forward on her hands, both clutching at the statue in a very cat-like manner. I’d like to imagine that she just crept her way into the skylight of the Egyptian Wing at the Gotham Museum of Antiquities, pounced down onto the head of this giant statue and is now sizing up the various lasers and security cameras that stand between her and whatever coveted bauble she happens to be after. There’s something to be said when the composition can send my mind to working up context for the figure and that’s exactly what happened here.

Despite being a fairly modern look, Catwoman’s costume gets by with a fairly low amount of detail, and that is in no way a slight against the sculpt. Her body suit relies on some neatly sculpted stitch lines and it’s smooth contours accentuate her curves and muscle tone in all the right places. The finish looks black, with just the right amount of gloss to make it look like leather, and under the right light it can give off a purple sheen. The front of the suit features a silver zipper, which is pulled down just enough to show off her kittens, and that low plunge is balanced out by a high collar.

And while the suit itself is simple, that’s not to say there isn’t some great detail to be found. The boots in particular are wonderfully done, with sculpted laces running part of the way up and interlaced through the eyelets. The excellent sculpt is finished off with a high gloss black to differentiate them from the rest of the suit, and the same finish is used on Catwoman’s gloves.

Her brown whip, which doubles as her belt, is coiled around her and sculpted with a very fine braided pattern. It loops around her waist four times, held in place by a silver belt-buckle, and terminates with the segmented grip protruding from behind her right hip.

And that brings us to the portrait, and DST did a fine job on it! I love the way the mouth is sculpted with the lips slightly apart to show off her pearly whites, her nose is perfect, and while I don’t really associate this likeness with any one artist, I still think she looks great. The cowl is sculpted with the same stitch lines we see in her suit, and the paint lines between the cowl and her skin are clean and sharp, even around the chin strap. One of the things that particularly impresses me here are the lenses in her goggles. They’re remarkably clear for a piece in this price range, showing off her green eyes. Hell I think the lenses here look every bit as good as the ones on DC Collectibles’ second Cover Girl Catwoman statues, which retailed at more than twice the price.

And that brings us to the base, which not only compliments the figure beautifully, but really elevates the whole statue. The Egyptian cat head features a large loop earring in each ear, some geometric patterns around the base, and a Egyptian eye motif on the collar. It’s all sprayed in a gold finish, which has just the right amount of sheen to it. It’s quite simply marvelous!

With over two dozen of these Gallery statues in my collection, I usually only have the space to have a handful on display at any one time. So it’s quite the compliment to say that this one is going to be immediately taking up one of those spaces, and bumping someone back into their box. I just haven’t decided which one yet. This is a piece that I was super excited to get from the moment it was revealed, and now that it’s in hand, I’m happy to say she does not disappoint. Toss in the fact that she was only $44 and it’s hard not to love and appreciate what DST has been doing with this line. Every time I think I’m out, they release a beauty like this one to pull me back in!

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 2

This is it, Toyhounds, the final day of my week of canned bullshit. It’s also the final five Biggest Disappointments of 2017. These are the things that I added to my collection and reviewed throughout the year that didn’t really live up to my hopes and dreams. These are in no particular order, so let’s get started…

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited) Hawkgirl by Diamond Select: There was a lot of competition in this line for a spot on my Favorites list, but really only one that deserved to land among my Disappointments. I was really looking forward to getting the JLU version of Hawkgirl on my DC Gallery shelf, but when the statue showed up it was marred by some pretty poor paintwork, ugly seams in the arms, and just an overall lack of quality control. When I look at how amazing some of the Gallery statues have been this past year, it’s easy to forgive one bad one slipping by. But that doesn’t make me feel any better about laying out the cash for it.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Sixth-Scale Drax The Destroyer by Hot Toys: I have been called a Hot Toys sycophant. And yes, if sticking my tongue down their collective trousers would net me some extra Reward Points at Sideshow, I’d get right on that lickity split. So, it’s probably no surprise that never before has a Hot Toys figure appeared on my annual list of Disappointments, but I guess there really is a first time for everything. After a long series of delays, and the possibility that Hot Toys Drax might be a no-show, he finally showed up this year and he was a little wanting. The sculpt was solid enough, as was the likeness, but there’s just something about him that failed to impress. Toss in a faulty right arm on my figure that often pops out at the elbow joint and a price point that was too high for what came in the box (a common failing for Hot Toys in 2017), and I couldn’t help but dub him Drax The Disappointment. Oh, I’m still happy to have a complete Hot Toys Guardians team on my shelf, but Drax deserved more polish and a price tag around $20 lower.

DC Super-Villains: Johnny Quick and Atomica by DC Collectibles: For the most part, DC Collectible’s Super-Villains line has been pretty solid. Hell, I even liked their New 52 Captain Cold figure, and I kind of hate that character design. So when Johnny Quick showed up at my door with some terrible paint fading and an arm that pulled right out of the socket, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see him turn up here. And what a disappointment it was, because I really dig this design and I loved to hate him in the Forever Evil. But when you toss him in with a rather lackluster DeathStorm, it’s no wonder that I didn’t pursue the rest of the Crime Syndicate from this line.

Marvel Legends Warlock Build-A-Figure by Hasbro: What’s that, you say? You cry foul because I had a Marvel Legends figure on the list already? Well, you’re going to have to fight me, because here’s another one. I’m justifying this because 1) He’s a Build-A-Figure and 2) I really did review a shit ton of Marvel Legends in 2017, so you’re just going to have to let me have this one transgression. Warlock featured a decent sculpt and a pretty cool paint job, but he was not a character that I was interested in, and especially not as the BAF waiting as a reward for collecting an entire wave. Add that to the fact that the left arm of my Warlock simply will not stay in the socket, and you have a figure that I would have happily done without. Now that I think of it, this is the third figure on this list that had arm issues. Weird.

ThunderCats Classics Panthro by Mattel: Here’s the thing. I ran out of shit that disappointed me after nine, so I had to get cute with this last one. And that’s why after long deliberation, I decided to put a figure that I rated with excellent marks here on this list. Because no matter how great Panthro turned out (and he is a great figure),  he arrived to me heralded by a bitter chorus of disappointment. At the time I opened him, it seemed unlikely that ThunderCats Classics would continue. And shortly after we got word from Super7 that they were not able to secure the license and continue the series. And that was easily my number one biggest disappointment of 2017. It’s not Panthro’s fault, but he seemed like a good conduit to get this one on the list.

And that wraps up this week of so-called content. I’ll be back on Monday with the first Marvel Monday of the year and I hope to have Transformers Thursday and DC Friday on the books as well, along with whatever I wind up tucking into Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

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 Gallery (Justice League Unlimited): Huntress by Diamond Select

If you’re keeping track, I last visited with DC Gallery, Diamond’s plucky line of comic-based statues, back in September with JLU Hawkgirl and I was disappointed. But before that Black Canary and Zatanna blew me away. Will today be the day that the DC Gallery restores its good name? Let’s find out and open up Helena Bertinelli based on her appearance as The Huntress in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon.

The DC (and Marvel) Gallery statues evolved from DST’s old Femme Fatales line, and the packaging hasn’t changed much since those days. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You get a collector friendly window box with windows on the front, top, and both side panels. This offers a great opportunity to scrutinize the piece you’re buying, assuming you actually get them at a brick-and-mortar shop. The back panel features a blurb about the character and you get a nice JLU logo on the front. The statue comes encased in a plastic tray and there’s no assembly required.

DST has managed to do some pretty fun poses with these statues, and The Huntress here is no exception. She’s staged sitting on the edge of a cylindrical light fixture with one knee drawn up. Her right hand crosses her chest and wrests on her left arm, which in turn is raised with her signature crossbow at the ready. She turns slightly, waiting for her prey to arrive, and clearly she means business. The composition here is a nice compromise between a staged cover-style pose, while still offering a whiff of action. I love it!

There’s more than the usual amount of sculpting invested in Huntress’ costume. Because of the simple nature of the source art, these animated statues don’t always offer a lot of opportunity for sculpted detail, but there’s a lot going on with this one. Indeed every detail, from the purple bands on her boots and gloves, to the tummy-exposing cut out, to the white stripes on her cape, is incorporated as part of the sculpt. She also features pouches on her belt and arm bands, and a holster for her crossbow. The crossbow is cocked and ready to go. Even the shoulder-hugging cape falls naturally and looks great.

It’s the paint that has been an issue on a few of my DST statues. It was particularly bad on their Lady Deadpool and not so hot on their Hawkgirl. Fortunately, The Huntress is here to set things right again. The quality of application here is fantastic. The lines that separate her boots from her skin could have been a tad sharper, there’s a tiny bit of slop where she makes contact with the light fixture, but I only point those out because I’m really looking for something to complain about. One of the pitfalls of some of these pieces has been scratching and rubbing showing up on large, featureless surfaces that are painted gray or black. I’m happy to say that’s not the case here.

If I had to nitpick anything else, I’d say the face is a little too triangular. When I compare it to the cartoon, I think it tapers too sharply toward the chin to be one hundred percent faithful to her look on the show. At the same time, it’s not bad at all, I’m just saying they didn’t nail it quite as perfectly as they did with Zatanna or Wonder Woman. With that having been said, the mask and the hair both look great, and the facial features are painted with the same care as the rest of the statue.

As usual, our last stop is the base and what we have here is certainly functional and well executed. I’m just not really sure what it’s supposed to be. I know she’s sitting on a light, but it’s not like any light I recall seeing. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be on a rooftop.

And so, The Huntress takes her rightful place alongside Black Canary and Zatanna as another shining example of how great this line can be when it’s firing on all cylinders. The three cornerstones of any statue will always be the pose, the sculpt, and the paint, and this lady hits them all with style. Indeed, at about forty bucks, I’m surprised at seeing this level of quality in what is essentially a budget line. If you want some nice representation of these characters, and don’t have a lot of money to blow, DC Gallery remains an excellent alternative to the more expensive DC Collectibles stuff.