Just when I thought it was safe to stop going to TRU until after Christmas… there’s another exclusive. The TRU Single line showed up unexpectedly with no announcement from Mattel, so perhaps it’s fitting that it ended similarly. The TRU Singles are cancelled, but “Renegade” Nightwing managed to squeak out.
The TRU Singles line has been a crazy ride. IAT broke the news about the TRU Exclusives way back in February when an unannounced Batman showed up at our local Toys R Us. Mattel would officially announce the next two (Hal & Cherry Barry), but kept mum on the fourth release. EBay leaks and an entry at ToysRUs.Com lead us to believe that the 4th figure would be a “Renegade” Nightwing, but then Mattel went and tossed a Tuxedo Joker (via MWCToys.Com) into the display case at SDCC making it appear as if he were the next figure. Then, Mattel said the TRU Singles were cancelled. No Joker for us. Sad day, right?
Well, it turns out we called it correctly back in July. Joker was to be thefifth figure. He’s still cancelled, but Nightwing hit stores this December before the clock ran out on the exclusive line. It’s all a little confusing and, really, we don’t understand why this subset of the line has been handled so cloak & dagger.
That’s still a Dick Grayson figure up there. He’s wearing a costume that appeared in a handful of issues in late 2008 / early 2009. In that storyline, readers are led to believe that Dick has switched sides and gone rogue. He allies himself with Deathstroke, takes Ravager under his wing, adopts the name Renegade, and changes his costume to the one you see here. Well, the one in the inset panel. The figure gets a few of the details wrong to stay “under budget”. The sad thing is the pieces needed to make the costume accurate already exist – the Shark’s forearms and Fate’s calves/boots would just about do the trick. The head would still be off, but the overall figure would’ve been a little closer had they been able to swap those parts in.
Though I ripped this guy open before snapping a picture, this version of Nightwing comes in the same All-Star packaging as the regular Nightwing (right down to the button). In fact, everything is the same except for the colors, so the success of this figure really comes down to the deco.
Truthfully, I didn’t really care about the figure ahead of time. I wasn’t that big a fan of the story and I’d pretty much forgotten about it. But, on the shelf and here at home, the figure looks great. I ended up really liking the design for the first time. Brown isn’t an oft used color in the DC pantheon and it looks great with the red symbol and black gear. The sculpted mask being painted over does cost the figure a few points, but the brown is dark enough that it almost blends outs the raised edges. One nice little touch is the painted neck. The DCUC3 Nightwing has no collar with a completely black neckpeg and it always looked a little odd to me. Renegade has a painted collar and it helps sell the look.
Sadly, the quality control wasn’t very good on the ones I found at TRU. There were 10 total and I would say only 3 of them had decent paint. The other seven all had problems with the mask in one way or the other – from the paint not covering the mask to dripping down and/or splattering on the face below. For a few minutes, I thought I would be going home empty-handed, but I found a couple good ones before I was done. Unfortunately, 70% of the folks buying from my TRU won’t be able to do the same.
In addition to his escrima sticks from the first release, this Nightwing comes packaged with a blue DCUC stand. Oddly, it’s a Super Powers version, but I’m happy to have it. I still love seeing that logo and I’m one of the folks that wish Mattel would produce a pack of the SP stands for MattyCollector.Com. It’d be cool to be able to give them to the other Super Powers based figures that had to go without.
Articulation is standard for the line, but my Nightwing ended up with a mean neck joint. My original DCUC3 Nightwing has a floppy, loose head, so I’m not sure if a ‘good’ DCUC3 Nightwing had such a tight articulation point. On my Renegade, I’ve got easy downward motion, but turning side to side incurs plenty of friction. Everything else works well.
Overall, this turned out to be a nice figure with a few wrong details. I’m disappointed that the TRU Singles aren’t being continued because I think this line needs repaints like Renegade and Tuxedo Joker to be complete and they don’t need to be crammed into lines taking up the regular slots. At the same time, the line had been used for “Alex Ross” versions and I’m not going to miss those. Those seemed out of place, particularly Cherry Barry.
The Nightwing figure itself does get a little too close to JLU territory with the sculpted mask being painted over, but I’m willing to overlook that a time or two as long as it doesn’t become the norm. And while the figure is definitely one that just about no one was going to miss if it didn’t get made, it does pop when you see it on the shelf. My TRU had 10 of these when I picked it up last week and only three were there today. If you dismissed this figure when you heard about it, you might give it a second look when you see it in person.
For more DCUC reviews, check out our DC Classics Collector’s Guide.
31 thoughts on “DCClassics.Com: TRU
Nightwing (Renegade) Review”
I think the deal is, Mattel just has ‘treasure hunt’ on the brain. It’s a failed business model but Mattel clings to it, and TRU bought into it (Diamond Exclusives, anyone? A project meant to benefit COMIC SHOPS who couldn’t compete with TRU and Kay Bee and Target and Walmart on mainstream toy releases) thinking it was going to drive traffic to the stores.
So, I posit this. TRU asks Mattel to keep the releases under wraps in order to completely surprise collectors. You can’t prepare for it, you just have to GO GO GO when word comes out a fig has streeted.
Reason I figure this, I doubt TRU has a buyer who knows jack crap about comics and can pick characters who have ‘heat’ and interest with consumers. Batman, easy. Green Lantern, low risk what with the upcoming movie but poor as all get out timing. Cherry Barry, well, it’s the Flash. Just be glad they didn’t put maroon flocking on him to emulate the TV costume! Who the heck gives a crud about a Nightwing repaint? Geeze, why didn’t they just do this as a variant when the original figure came out?
Well, they’ll still reach 100% sell-thru which is all they care about.
Not everything is a massive conspiracy. We can’t really posit that the people at Mattel are complete buffoons while continuing to attribute these nefarious marketing schemes to them.
Mattel was upfront about the Green Lantern, Flash, and Joker figures. Why do we have to dream up some scenario of why they didn’t telegraph the release of Batman & Nightwing?
You do have a point, but I dunno. It really is possible to be clever and sly yet dumb as a box or rocks, I have seen, first hand, supposedly smart people, people with MBAs and all that, do the most amazingly bone headed dumb stuff in the retail world. Mostly because they have never actually WORKED in a store in their lives and had no clue of customer reality.
Maybe someday I’ll tell the tale of what killed the Children’s Palace chain. A company that in 1989 was number two and breathing hard down the back of Toys R Us’ neck, and was gone by ’92.
Tell the tale! Tell the tale!
I loved Children’s Palace as a kid. 🙁
Fair enough, I’ll keep it short so I don’t annoy the masters of IAT. 🙂
OK, CP was owned by a company called Cole, whose main moneymaking was those key making kiosks that used to be outside of Sears. Remember those? Anyway, on the heels of the toy industry trade papers stating that CP was the #2 toy retailer in the U.S. Cole decided that they didn’t WANT to be in the toy biz anymore, they were tired of how unpredictable it was, so they cut Children’s Palace loose to sink or swim on its own. Suddenly capital was slashed, some of the top management took their golden parachutes and left and the slide to doom began.
I won’t go into the Nintendo World mistake, nor talk of the insane period when Hartz-Mountain convinced them that selling small live animals was a huge profit center (yes. Go buy a bird or some fish or a gerbil at the toy store. That can’t POSSIBLY have any negative ramifications :/ ) but the real killer was… THE AISLE OF GENERIC BABY DOLLS.
Money was tight, beyond tight. There were a number of hot toys- New Kids on the Block dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Oopsie-Baby, GI Joe- but the open-to-buy Dollars were just not there, and credit was cut off. All the toy companies wanted cash up front to ship product.
But the Girls Toy buyer had a plan! It was going to save the company! It was SURE FIRE!
Take the last of the cash available and… BUY GENERIC BABY DOLLS from China! TONS of them! Cases and cases and cases! From tiny little things about 3 inches long to life size, and all in between! ENTIRE DAMN SHIPPING CONTAINERS worth!
An entire aisle was dedicated to this. 30 feet of shelf, both sides and all the way up. EVERY STORE.
See, the profit margin was huge. 400% markup. Idea was we could have a ‘big sale’ and slap 50% off stickers on them and we’d still make a killing, profit-wise. Understand, CP upper management was COUNTING on this profit.
Except of course nobody bothered to consider if anybody WANTED generic baby dolls. They didn’t. Oh, I’m sure some of the dolls sold, probably about the same amount as we sold as a normal stocked item, but not blowing out the entire aisle.
Not long after this nonsense, the company filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and vanished. I believe the buyer made a lateral move and became an exec at Circus World (which not much later was absorbed by Kay Bee toys).
And that’s the story, from a warehouse manager’s point of view. Sad, isn’t it?
so the lesson is… research your market?
You’d think so. 🙂
Really, I’m not sure what the actual lesson is, because it goes to the core of a company being run by numbers only and not experience, knowledge and wisdom that comes from understanding what it is you sell and who is buying it.
Of course numbers are important, you have to have a positive ROI but if you’re not buying the product that will actually sell it doesn’t matter what the markup is, 400% of zero is still zero.
I’m pretty sure the credit being cut off by the suppliers came from the knowledge that the company was struggling and had lost its way. The whole Hartz-Mountain debacle had to send signals thruout the industry that Children’s Palace had complete idiots in charge. I seem to recall we went thru 3 CEOs in a year.
To this day I have no idea what prompted Cole to dump Children’s Palace. They had just pumped a ton of money into expanding the number of stores and you can’t do that and expect instant returns, you have to give the new markets a little time to settle in, find its place in the local ‘retail food chain’ and build on that.
It would be as if Mattel decided to completely dump making boy’s toys because the huge money they paid for the Avatar license didn’t throw off a 400% ROI.
Or they kill DCU because Renegade didn’t move 20k units.
(I’m pretty sure that as a store exclusive TRU has no returns allowance on this figure, so every unsold toy is a baby alligator chomping at their profit line)
Toy companies are funny like that. I was with Toys R Us during the whole “let’s be like FAO Schwarz” phase.
Then, while there back was turned, Walmart kicked their ass.
When I was a youngling, FAO was the most awesome place in the universe, at least according to the catalogs we got. FAO got me the complete set of Dinky Toy Captain Scarlet diecast vehicles back in the ’60s, and in 1982 while in Chicago for a convention I discovered they were the test market for Bandai’s Godaikin line.
FAO died (and was absorbed by TRU) because they wanted to be…TRU. This was the wrong move. FAO took its finger off the number by forgetting that their strength was the unique and unusual, imports and special items 🙂
But Walmart is only interested in hits, in the high turns product. TRU CAN combat that but I don’t see them even really trying, just sitting around moaning about how unfair it is.
Don’t forget, Walmart did a section reset that reduced toys by 30%.
I love the Bizarro pic. That’s exactly what this guy is to me. It is a cool repaint and much better than the Alex Ross crap we were getting before.
Agreed on the Alex Ross repaints. I don’t know who at Mattel is a fan of Alex Ross, but those were a waste.
He looks like a boring figure to me. And with just six issues under his belt he’s gotta be one of the least deserving characters so far.
That makes me curious to see which DCUC has the least appearances so far – Golden Pharaoh & Cyclotron have to be near the top with just their SP appearances…
I really enjoyed the story, so I’m happy to go hunting for this figure. I do hear ya about toy hunting this time of year though, it’s hardly worth it.
A huge increase of mouths to feed and completely random unpredictable feeding times makes everything a lot more difficult.
Does your hold the nunchucky things okay? Mine can’t hold them for crap.
They’re a little loose, but they stay in there on mine. I’ve seen talk on the forums about looser ones though.
I’ll buy him… If I can find him.
The TRU distribution on the singles is weird, plus somes stores blow ’em out and others they languish. Good luck!
Great review! I was going to use him as a Nightwing anyway, but the Bizarro thing is hilarious!
Thanks! That was a last minute idea I had while foraging for the original Nightwing’s escrima sticks. LOL
man, w/ the number of cherry barry’s still haunting my pegs, i seriously doubt i’ll ever see this fig at my local TRU… why don’t these sell on the the .com too?
Are you getting any DCUCs up at your TRU? While we were waiting on our Nightwing, we kept getting that 12/13/15 mixed case. It was cool at first because the other fellows were able to snag the 3 DCUC15 figs, but it got old waiting for Nightwing.
They should be online though, you’re right. Maybe they wouldn’t have to cancel the line then?
we just got a refresh of the darkseid wave, but the barry’s are clogging so many pegs that i’m amazed they devoted more pegs to dcu. i’m not kidding when i say 3 FULL pegs, there has to be a case and a half, maybe more, just sitting there… and apparently skeletor/lex aren’t moving very briskly either. there were maybe 9 or 10 of them on the valance on the floor, along w/ like two he-man/supes packs… the times i’ve caught people looking at them, the consistent reaction i hear is “oh cool, he-man! damned, that’s expensive.” and he tends to hit the shelf again. i’ve talked up the packs to like four people, all adults, and nary a snag. i’ve yet to see a child regard them in the aisle, but boy do i get a reaction when kids see the figures… i brought one w/ me once to a burger king while we were having lunch. the wife pulled out her laptop to do some homework while the boys played in the play area, and i pulled out tryke… and every boy is the hizzy stopped cold to come inspect what i had there… were i a predator, i think that market research would have given me a new bait. fortunately, i’m not a predator.
Great review, as always.
When does he get his photo filling that vacant spot in the checklist? 🙂
Rod “List Nag” Keith
Didn’t I just update something per your request a bit ago… 😉
I will get that up here when I have some free time. I actually want to photograph DCUC15 / DCUC14 myself too because those pshops are tacky (but necessary) to me.
Yeah, that’s why I’m dubbing myself official List Nag. 😀
But you are correct; I’d rather have it look really good like the earlier waves. So take your time to do it the way you want. Just thought you should know that people actually care about the checklist. It’s very well done.
Well, the name fits! 😀
Really, I don’t see it as nagging. It needs to be udpated and it’s good to get some encouragement because those checklists could be a full gig without the rest of the site wrapped around ’em. LOL
I’m glad that you (& everybody else) appreciate the things. I’ll have them updated here soon.
I found a bunch at the Nanuet NY (ROCKLAND COUNTY) TRU last night…Must have just put out b/c there were 12 there.
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