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Batman, Batgirl and Penguin - DC Unlimited
Mattel

Penguin DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel


I've missed the DC Universe Classics, but Mattel is bringing back the format for 2013...sort of. If you were lucky, you found the new DC Unlimited figures before Christmas, but in my neck of the woods they didn't start showing up until after the holiday clearance sales.

There are six figures in the first wave, although technically there are two separate first waves. While everyone is going to call them all DC Unlimited, there's actually DC Unlimited and Batman Unlimited. The three I'm looking at tonight are the Batman figures - Bats, Batgirl and Penguin. There are also three DC Unlimited branded figures - Flash, Hawkman and Superman.

Both the Superman and Batman are simple repaints of the earlier All Stars New 52 figures. Sadly, Batgirl, Flash, and Hawkman are all also New 52 designs. DC fans are going to be stuck with this for awhile.

Packaging - ***
There's not a ton of volume that these figures have to take up. They are 6" scale, with little to no accessories and no BAF. And yet, the cardback and bubble are large enough to accommodate either a much larger figure, or a bunch of extras. That's a lot of waste just to try to snag more peg real estate.

There's also a ton of Matty Collector advertising.Too bad Mattel didn't commit to that years ago.

Of course, it's not collector friendly, but at least there's no twisty ties. Instead, they use clear rubber bands on each figure to hold them in place, even though the cape on Batgirl and Batman won't allow them to come out of the trays easily.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Batman DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel
Batgirl DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel
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Penguin DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel
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Batman DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel
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Batgirl DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel
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Penguin DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel
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Batgirl DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel
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DC Batman Unlimited action figures by Mattel
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Batman DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel

Sculpting - Penguin ****; Batman, Batgirl ***1/2
The Batman here is just a repaint of the All Stars figure, based on the New 52 design. I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of most of the New 52 designs, but at least this Batman is better than the goofy Tron style outfit he has in some of the books.


The short ears are an interesting look, and the rubber cape is light enough that he doesn't topple over in normal stances. The gloves and boots are a bit clumsy looking in their design, but I do like the small pouches on the belt. He stands just a hair over 6 1/4", and he does stand great on his own. He even had hands that are sculpted to hold accessories, although he comes with none.

The Batgirl is also based on the New 52 look, but her outfit isn't as clunky. I'm not a big fan of the gloves, but the boots are decent and once again, her cape doesn't cause her to topple over. It's not the best Batgirl costume we've ever seen, but it's not the worst. She also has a sculpted right gripping hand, and yet she has nothing to grip.

The Penguin is based on the classic Super Powers look, although he has a unique head sculpt. He's also larger, standing just about 6" tall. He stands great on his own, the sculpted hands work well with the accessories, and the maniacal expression looks great.

Paint - Batman ***1/2; Batgirl, Penguin ***
Batman might be a mere repaint, but I have to say that I really like the color. The metallic gray looks as good on him as it does a new car, and the contrast with the glossy black makes it pop. The coverage is clean, and the lines are sharp and neat. There's a little slop around the mask, but it's pretty minor.

Batgirl and Penguin don't do quite as well, although neither is terrible.

Batgirl's costume looks good, and most of the cut lines and edges are well done.  I'm not loving the matte finish on neck, however. The gold is a tad sloppy too, and some of the coverage is poor. And she has some wonky eyes, with neither looking in quite the direction you expect. It's minor, because you have to be paying pretty close attention to notice it, but once you do you can't unring that bell.

The Penguin is the cleanest paint job of the three, but there's just not enough operations. The expansive blue coat has no detail, and the shirt and vest are both the same color of white. At least the bow tie has a little color, but with the white gloves and blue hat, there's just not enough variety or detail. 

He also has a very thin black line around his nose, which is not visible except under the harsh glare of the micro lens. It adds some definition to the nose under normal conditions.

Articulation - Batman, Penguin ***1/2; Batgirl ***
All three figures are well articulated, but Batgirl is a bit weak when it comes to posing.

They all have ball jointed necks, but Batgirl's hair makes it a pretty moot point. On the other end of the spectrum is the Penguin, who can tilt and lean his head all over the place. Batman is some place in between.

The pin/disc style ball shoulders, hinge hips, cut biceps and thighs, pin elbows and knees, cut wrists, cut waist, and pin ankles, all work well together allowing for fairly natural poses, at least for Batman and Penguin. Batgirl, not so much, although she has knees and elbows that can turn as well.

Batman also has an ab crunch, which allows for better crouches.

The joints are high quality, and will stand up to normal handling, posing and even play.

Accessories - Penguin **1/2; Batman, Batgirl Bupkis
Sadly, there's no BAF or CNC type piece with these figures. It makes me saSd, and if there had been, they would have sold a couple more of the series.

Both Batman and Batgirl come with nothing, not even a batarang. That's pretty shocking, since they've made enough of them over the years in this scale that you would have thought the cost of adding a couple would be minute. That really hurts their overall value, both monetary and play.

Penguin fairs better. He gets two extras - his umbrella and the Gatling gun attachment inside. You can pop the gun off the umbrella if you'd like, perhaps for a less malevolent look.

The umbrella itself fits nicely in his right hand and looks great in any number of poses. It doesn't close of course, but it's always a rainy day for the Penguin. This umbrella looks to me like the one we originally got with the Penguin released as part of the very first series of DC Universe Classics.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While there's a real shortage of accessories here, all three figures have great articulation. They are very solid, with god joints, and are true action figures with all the play value that implies.

Value - Penguin **1/2; Batman, Batgirl **
These figures are going for the usual $15 at most retailers, which is average these days for a toy like the Penguin. It's too much for Batman and Batgirl, since neither have an accessory to their name. Batman is even worse, since he's also just a repaint.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - Penguin ***1/2; Batman, Batgirl ***
To be honest, the New 52 costumes on Batman and Batgirl don't do a whole lot for me, although they aren't the worst costumes DC has come up with recently. However, Batman is really just a repaint, and if you've already picked up the All Stars version from last year, you really don't need another.

Batgirl and Batman also lack accessories, a big negative. While there's nothing about either to hate, they're definitely mediocre releases.

On the other hand, there's the Penguin. He has the cool nostalgic thing going for him, along with a better value due to the accessories. As a Bat-Fan, he's a must, but you can feel safe skipping the other two.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Penguin ****; Batman, Batgirl ***1/2
Paint - Batman, Penguin ***1/2; Batgirl ***
Articulation - Batman, Penguin ***1/2; Batgirl ***
Accessories - Penguin ***; Batgirl, Batman Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - Penguin **1/2; Batman, Batgirl **
Overall - Penguin ***1/2; Batman, Batgirl ***

Where to Buy -
These are popping up at most mass market retailers, but it looks like Target is putting them out first.

Related Links -
I've reviewed a ton of DC Universe Classics, but instead I'll point you to the last one - Series 20 - and you can check out the 'Related Links' section there to find the others.

Discussion:
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Batgirl DC Unlimited action figure by Mattel


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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