One of the bigger surprises DC & Mattel were able to pull off this last year was working out the rights to the Classic Batman TV Series. I’m not privy to what the exact stumbling blocks have been all these years, but you can’t get the series on DVD and if you’ve wanted any merchandise beyond replicas of the Batmobile, you were pretty much out of luck… until now.
Warner Brothers has let loose with the Batman license this year. Mezco has some cool new Mez-Itz featuring the classic designs. NECA has a gorgeous quarter-scale figure coming soon. Hot Toys has gorgeous Batman & Robin sixth-scale figures on the way (and a sixth-scale Classic Batmobile to boot). And Mattel has… well, Mattel has figures too.
I enjoy the old show. I enjoyed it more as a kid, some fifteen to twenty years after it originally aired and like most things I enjoyed as a kid, I usually want some action figures to keep those childhood memories alive. When Mattel announced, I was excited at the prospects. A 6” scale classic Batmobile! A Caesar Romero figure with a molded-on, but unpainted mustache! Multiple Catwoman! A Frank Gorshin figure (he put Riddler on the map, if you ask me)! Burgess Meredith! Egghead! King Tut! Bookworm! Louie the Lilac! I have no idea how deep Mattel would go with the line-up (other than not deep enough), but it was really fun to think about.
I put in pre-orders for everything as soon as they came up and that included the 2pk being reviewed today. It featured the Dynamic Duo with a wall-mountable building façade that they could “climb” up. The set looked fun with opening windows and, hey, it’s also the only way to currently get Robin. I was excited when it came in (seemingly early) and I was excited when it shipped. I was pretty much ecstatic right up until I opened it.
The set and I got off on the wrong foot right away. That was truer for Robin; whose leg had been pretty badly warped by the package. The real problem for me was the paint QC on both figures, particularly the faces. Batman featured a lot of slop on the right side of his mask and a scratch in his symbol. Robin had fuzzy lines on his mask and hair, and a big paint glob on his lip. It was difficult to really have fun with the figures due to the sloppiness. I pretty much boxed the set back up and left it until it was time to work on the review. Not exactly what I had planned when I got the e-mail that the set was shipping.
I’ve been trying to look past the QC to get excited about the figures. While I don’t feel like all the articulation is working well in concert with the sculpts, I think the sculpts are nicely done overall. The Adam West is the better likeness of the two (in that I don’t really see much Burt Ward in the Robin head sculpt). The real success on his head sculpt is the separate cowl piece. It does a great job; giving much needed depth to the mask and letting natural light & shadow give the figure a great feel.
Beneath the mask, I’m still getting used to the non-heroic proportions, but the figure does match up pretty well to the show. For some reason, I can’t “unsee” the bicep swivels – and while I almost always favor articulation, but I kinda wish they weren’t there. Those Ghostbusters ball-elbows might have worked well on this figure where the aesthetics seem a little more important than they do on the comic-based-fare.
While Robin’s head sculpt is as sharp as Batman’s, I think some of it may be do the paint. The head is molded red and painted in that gloopy fleshtone (I know because mine got a “bloody” lip after I removed that paint glob). I think that’s making the sculpt appear a little softer than it might normally be. The rest of the figure’s sculpt looks fine and the costume details do a better job of hiding the bicep swivel. I did have an issue with my Robin’s wrists though. The two parts aren’t as flush as they should be and a small, but noticeable gap is there on both arms. Continue to Page 2…