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DCClassics.Com:
Three Cheetahs Review

It took a little longer than usual, but DCUC13 has arrived at IAT! It’s been nearly five months since I snagged DCUC12 online. That’s a long gap for a line that’s supposed to go through five waves a year. Sadly, some of the figures weren’t worth the wait. Let’s get three of out of the way today: the Cheetahs.

There have been three Cheetahs (I’m choosing to ignore Man-Cheetah, sorry) in Wonder Woman’s history. If you’ve managed to snag all three versions of Cheetah that ended up in the wave, you still only have two.

First was Priscilla Rich (top left) who appeared in 1943’s Wonder Woman #6. Rich was just your run-of-the-mill social debutant with some personality issues. When she was upstaged by the Amazing Amazon, Rich’s mind fractured and, at the urging of her reflection, she took up the identity of the Cheetah and started her obsession with taking out Wonder Woman. She fought Wonder Woman many times over the years, aging while Diana stayed young. When she was on her deathbed, her niece would be pressed into service as the new Cheetah.

Debbie Domaine (top right) is the Cheetah we didn’t get. This annoys me because this is the one I think of first despite her brief tenure as Cheetah. She is simply the niece of the original, brainwashed into following in her Aunt’s footsteps. When DC re-arranged history with Crisis, they erased Debbie’s time as Cheetah, left Priscilla Rich in the 40s where she fought Queen Hippolyta (WW’s Mom who was being WW at the time), and brought forth a new Cheetah, Barbara Minerva (bottom left & right).

Minerva is an unscrupulous archaeologist merged with the god Urtzkartaga. Unlike her predecessors, she could turn into a cat girl instead of simply donning a suit. She coveted the Lasso of Truth and thus came into Wonder Woman’s life. She didn’t get the lasso, but she did make Wonder Woman cry and got shot by one of Wonder Woman’s friends for her trouble.

She’d become a more credible threat over the years and, perhaps more important to this review, she would start wearing clothes while in her Cheetah form. This leaves the “nudity” in her original appearances in question. And she hasn’t helped matters by wearing pants that have a cheetah print on the midriff, crotch, and inner thighs. I’m inclined to say that she wasn’t naked, but when she disrobes now (and sleeps with Snapper Carr!) she’s shown to cover up the parts that would make Wonder Woman blush.

I don’t know where to start with the sculpt on these figures. On the one hand, I’m happy to see the women figures move beyond the uni-boob for a standard reusable piece.* There are some other nice details among the parts the three figures share. The tail has some texturing at the tip; the hands are sufficiently claw-like without being so much so that they couldn’t be used for the original’s Cheetah normal hands.

The main trunk of the figure seems to reuse a lot of the new Donna Troy parts. This is somewhat of a shame because of the hip problems (more on that in the articulation section) and because Cheetah could really use some fur texturing throughout. This is a cost-saving factor, I’m sure, but it really detracts from the final product. The unique parts of the figures are somewhat of a saving grace in that regard.

* – By the way, Mattel, it’s time to revisit Starfire now.

The original Cheetah scores a little higher because of her great head sculpt. It has a great expression, features the suit’s only visible seam, and adds some texture with the ears. She also uses a new wrist weapon and reuses Donna’s boots. The modern head looks good too, but I think it was an opportunity for a screaming head. I feel bad for the Four Horsemen sometimes. When they make a screaming figure like Firestorm or Alan Scott, the internet revolts a little bit and acts like they’ve been forsaken. While the Firestorm head was definitely improved, I think Alan looks good and I think that Cheetah was a missed opportunity for a screamer.

In the overall line, Mattel, the company known for making dolls, is still having problems with the female figures. The softer plastic used on limbs really hurts the ladies who are also being given too thin parts. The “twiggy-ness” of the females is another issue entirely. The ab-crunch is beyond anorexic from the side and the arms and hands are too small from any angle. I mention all this separately because these problems aren’t specific to Cheetah, it’s just how the line is. I’ll talk more about it in my upcoming Donna Troy review.

Articulation is fairly typical for the line despite the new pieces. The head has full swivel and can look up or down (the modern Cheetah’s hair keeps them from looking up). There’s also ball shoulders, swivel biceps, wrists, waist, & thighs and hinges on the elbows, knees, & ankles. The changes are in the hips and the ankles. The rocker joints have been removed entirely (the new factory for Wave 13 appears to have molded all the ankle joints attached to the foot piece – wonderful). Continue to Page 2…

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33 comments to DCClassics.Com:
Three Cheetahs Review

  • Cade

    I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE JUMPED ON NAKED MODERN CHEETAH!!!!!! ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cade

    Per GrownNerd’s tutorial, Cheetah doesn’t have the Donna problem.

    BTW, Cheetah from the same wave doesn’t have this problem, but it’s not because her peg is different, it’s the same as Donna’s. The interior structure of her crotch is what’s different. It has enough clearance for the peg to turn. So on her the peg has room above and below when the leg is in down position. When raised the width of the peg ends up fitting snugly in the vertical space.

    • That is correct. I’ve gone back and clarified what I meant in that paragraph. I left out my experience with Donna and how’s she behaving exactly the same way as my Cheetahs.

      One thing I did learn from my efforts to get the necks fixed is that not all the figures have identical internal structures. (i.e. not all DCUC9-10 figures had triple barbells, even in the same character, etc). So, at best, I can only speculate about the interiors of these girls crotches without examining them myself. 😀

  • dayraven

    WTF? why are these not being made w/ the same interior structures? isn’t this the fundamental of the buck, one body, more savings? are the interior structures completely manufactured apart from the outer shell?

    • The buck system is what the sculptors work from to insure that the new parts work with existing pieces, the “buck” is not actually part of the final product. As for the internals, Donna and Cheetah use two different pelvis pieces due to Cheetah’s tail so the internals may have had to be different between the two to allow for the attachment of the tail. Without seeing them it’s hard to say.

      • That’s how GN explains it, that the tail causes changes.

        The bucks are only identical on the Mattel/Four Horsemen end. The interior is up to someone else, someone not always adept at it.

  • 3B

    Cool review. I picked up the Classic Cheetah and she has the gummy hip problem. The hands look, and feel, ridiculous. I can’t say I’m totally disappointed, I wasn’t excited about the wave overall, but this was the perfect chance to make a beautiful figure and they screwed it up.

    She’s still 10x better than Donna Troy. I’ve passed on her three times already. I’ve looked for any excuse to buy, but she just looks crappy.

    And Starfire is really underrated! Cut her some slack, maybe uni-boobs are common on her planet, 🙂

    • I do like that I can lace the figures, but that’s just a small plus to poor material choices.

      Donna… I need to review her soon and get her off my desk! I noticed that I like the wave a lot more today now that Cheetahs have gone from the desk to the join the rest of the DCUCs. LOL

      After years of studying Starfire closely, I can definitely say Tamaraneans do not have uniboobs. 😉

  • Jam! Balaya

    This wave took real step backwards in quality control. The softer plastic is generally gummier than in prior waves, the paint is sloppier, and frozen joints have returned. If Mattel used a new factory like you say they need to switch back because if the next waves are like this, that’s gonna suck.

    • Frozen joints bothers me the most. I don’t know how I feel about the wave. I was hohum about it, so maybe it’s good that it’s a bad one since no figure I really treasured got mistreated. On the other hand, this lineup really needed good QC.

  • Blambert

    This new shorter girl buck is just an awkward mess. What Mattel and the 4H should have done is sculpted a new larger female buck that wasn’t anorexic and use it for the superhero woman and taken the old buck, shortened the limbs and called that the teen girl buck.

    As it is, Mattel/4H have just all but signaled that they’re going to ruin the Legion.

  • Nicholai

    I’ve got two of them, but I haven’t seen naked Cheetah in stores.

  • I wouldn’t worry about not getting all the Cheetah’s, DC is dumping WWs entire history for a ret-con today:

    http://comicnewsi.com/article.php/index.php?catid=144&itemid=13106

    • LOL I saw that. It’s DC, wait 5 minutes. 🙂

      Truthfully, I think this would’ve been an exciting short endeavor from Gail Simone, but not from Stracynski.

  • dayraven

    no comparison photo w/ the ML tigra? i would think that would have been a prime opportunity to showcase the differences between hasbro’s current approach to figure craft vs mattel’s.

  • Adrian

    Interesting review. Much more tempered than fun. Would you have not bought these had then not been part of a set?

  • Bettes

    It’s a shame they didn’t get textured bodies. That would’ve helped ease the sting.

  • Akatsuki

    Great review!

    Just an FYI, but you’re Ares’ arms are reversed. It happened to most Ares figures I saw. You just need to swap the biceps and then swap the forearms.

    • LOL I know, I’m just lazy. I have two Ares (I built two Desperos, I was so close anyway) and the other one is fine, so I haven’t bothered to fix this one.

      The other one has slits in his skirt to increase the articulation too, but he’s somewhere in a box.

  • wesitron

    Damn I hope they get the teen body fixed before they start making too many more. You know Mattel, they’ll deny there’s even a problem or that a change was made for months until someone shows them a picture and won’t recall a damned one even though they’re pretty much broken. I think they’ve realized that as collectors we’re so revanous for these things we’ll buy them whether they work or not. Dang, I was going to pick up a Donna this weekend. Anybody had any that weren’t crap?

    • I’m hoping that this factory won’t be used for future waves. It looks to be the same factory that made Public Enemies and the bad DCUC12 figures I ended up with. I hope the 2009 factory hasn’t closed or changed the arragement with Mattel. They were doing well by the end of the year.

      As for Donna, her hips are just one component of why I don’t like her. I might do her next to get her out of the way…

  • douglashawk

    I actually like my Donna Troy and she’s probably my favoite in the line. The thing that irritates me the most is Cheetah’s size. She should be on par with WW not Troia. Blue Beetle’s knee joint is bent so I am trying to straighten it out so he can stand. I really hope they don’t start over-articulating. My other concern is the second half of this wave. Blue Devil, Negative Man, and Cyclotron all have bum right thigh match ups. The lower thigh does not line up… Besides that (and it’s a doozy with me) I really like them, especially the Cyclotron. If I had to remove a point of articulation it would be the thigh joint. Wonder Woman looks like an amputee because of them.

  • Scissors

    I have been whining about the 4H’s female proportions (and facial designs) since they were doing MOTU 200X line. As talented as they are, the 4H really need to step up and improve their female designs to they are on par with the men.