Thursday, December 5, 2013

Toy Review Batman: Arkham City Mr. Hammer & Harley Quinn from DC Collectibles

I was surprised when DC Collectibles offered this two-pack and two more like it – Batman with Bane and Penguin with Mr. Hammer’s brother, Sickle.
Each set consists of one new figure and a slight repaint of an old figure. It was a pretty smart way to get three oversized figures and three sold out but popular figures on the market. I’ll talk about the other two sets in the coming days; today I’m going to take a look at the first one that came in at the ol’ local comic book shop.
This first set is notable for me because I never bought this version of Harley. I wasn’t crazy about the design before I played the game, so I didn’t order it when it was offered through Previews. By the time I decided I wanted one they were long gone. So this set was the best deal of the three for me because I didn’t have either of the figures.
I’m not sure that that I actually like this Harley design now, but since she was essentially the main villain of Arkham City I got used to it. And Mr. Hammer is awesome. I love the concept that these two conjoined twins – the Abramovicis – had a falling out while working for the Russian circus, cut themselves apart, joined rival gangs in Gotham, and eventually reunited. It’s one of many world-building tertiary plotlines in Arkham City that made that game so great (and one of the many things that Arkham Origins was lacking).
First Glance: Both figures fit perfectly with the established Arkham style. Full of detail and hyper-realistic form with muted coloring. Next to Harley Mr. Hammer looks huge, but he’s hardly the biggest figure from the line – a fact that delights me to no end.
Articulation: Both figures are articulated with the usual aesthetics this line puts forth – a smart combination of form and functionality.
Mr. Hammer
Head – ball joint
Shoulder – ball joint
Bicep - swivel
Elbow –pivot
Wrist – swivel
Waist - swivel
Hips – ball joint
Knees – swivel/pivot
Calves – swivel
Mr. Hammer’s head has a decent range of motion in every direction. He can’t look up and down as much as I’d like, but he does alright.
All of the arm joints work quite well together. You can achieve most poses you might want to for a huge guy with a big ol’ hammer. More importantly, the joints are tight enough to support poses even with the weight of said hammer.
The legs do as much as you need from a guy this size that basically just needs to be able to walk around and whack things. However, when I tried to use the swivel on his right foot the whole damn thing ripped right off:
The feet are made of a soft plastic – one of my pet peeves – and apparently there was some paint freezing up the joint. I had to use an X-Acto knife to cut out the twisted up portion before I could glue the foot back on.
Overall, though, Mr. Hammer is well articulated. None of the joints are ugly or mar his profile and they all function quite well. Except for the one that’s Super Glued.
Harley Quinn
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps – swivel
Wrists – swivel
Hips – swivel
Knees – pivot
Boot Tops - swivel
Harley’s head might as well be on a swivel.
Her arms feel delicate, but they move well and have a good range of motion. I’d like it if her elbows bent more.
Harley’s legs have a decent range as well, but ankle joints would have made a big difference.
Harley has plenty of joints, but still isn’t quite the Harley Quinn figure I want out of this line. We’ve gotten super articulated versions of Nightwing and Batman; I’m hoping a Harley will happen at some point.
As things stand, all of the joints on my figure work well and are tight. It has no problem holding poses.
Sculpt: Sculpt-wise this is the exact same Harley Quinn that was in the first wave of Arkham City action figures.
The form and clothing all looks exactly like the character in the game, but this figure has a seriously disturbing case of deadface. I would have preferred a smile or even a crazy Harley laugh, especially given that this is the second go-round for this particular figure. Heck, a sneer would have been good. But the face does look great. The proportions work – the game designers really captured Bruce Timm’s design in a realistic way, right down to using her ponytails to mimic the harlequin hat. The hair is done well, with just the right amount of sculpted detail and a few bits hanging in her face.
The detail on Harley’s clothing and accessories is outstanding. All of the seams and trim are sculpted detail. The joints are all worked into the design, so interruption of the profile is minimal. The studded accessories all have a sort of matched scale and look like they belong together – collar, wristbands, corset straps, belt. Even the boning in the corset is sculpted indention and has a depth. Each layer of clothing is distinct.
Mr. Hammer is an all-new sculpt.
The head is pretty silly until you get up close and realize just how gnarly the face under that wig and nose is. He’s got mashed lips with crooked teeth just visible behind them. There’s thick stubble under the greasepaint and wrinkles around the beady, little eyes. The hair is a separately sculpted piece and looks intentionally artificial. The round clown nose is also separate (though both are permanently attached).
Hammer has a massive, thickly muscled physique and a shneck that would make Batista jealous. The wrappings on his hand and feet look great. I hate it when things like this are just painted on. He’s wearing an Arkham jumpsuit rolled down to his waist and I appreciate how easy it is to tell that. The bottoms of the legs are torn off, giving them a clown-like appearance. His feet crack me up. Whoever sculpted the bare-footed figures in this line definitely has some kind of foot fetish because the toes and shape of the feet are just ridiculously distinctive. Every single one of them has that gap between the big toe and the next one.
The scar from Mr. Hammer’s brotherectomy is grotesque:
I’m very impressed with the level of detail on this thing and the way that it runs down the body. It isn’t just a straight line, it’s a nasty, crooked gash that hasn’t healed right. I suppose we should be thankful it isn’t all infected or something.
Compared to other figures in the series Mr. Hammer doesn’t sport a ton of detail. This is kind of crazy because he does have so much detail. The wrappings, the texture of the pants, the musculature – it’s all outstanding.
Coloring: Mr. Hammer’s flesh parts are molded out of a plastic that looks very much like human skin. I’m not sure how the effect is achieved, and the painted washes certainly help, but it looks amazing. His tattoos are just a bit too dark for my taste, but they do look great. The details are excellently done, especially considering all of the contours they had to be applied to. Then there's the Joker face that appears to be spray-painted on:
His head looks great. The clown hair has a wash to bring out the textures. The makeup on his face is sort of smeary and gross. He looks very much like something out of A Cotton Candy Autopsy, as a matter of fact. Which I just found out is being made into a movie by the guy that did The Place Beyond the Pines, which means there’s a better than good chance Mike Patton will do the score, which is wild because he’s the reason I even know what A Cotton Candy Autopsy is. Though he’s probably the one that told the Pines guy about it.
Oh, uh… yeah. So Hammer’s clothes look great and all the colors are applied well. The grit and dirt on them is pretty gross and represents the look of the game well.
Harley has a somewhat basic color scheme, but the figure designers have done an outstanding job of representing every little difference possible.
Harley’s tattoos – a noticeable element of this version of the character – look amazing. They are crisp and distinctive and their placement is perfect.
There are a few problems with the paint on Harley’s head and hair. Nothing terrible, but some splotches that DCC is usually good about avoiding. Her scrunchies bleed into her hair a bit, the hair around her face has some white going into it, and the coloring in her left ponytail is more orange than red. I know that’s not so much an error as just how it is, but I’d like a deeper red.
The rest of the figure is almost perfect. The greys, reds, and blacks are different glosses depending on what kind of trim or fabric they are and I’m always a sucker for different paint glosses. All of the detailing on the various studs, hoops, and straps is accurate and applied well. I didn’t even notice the only real error until I was going back over the pictures I took:
That grey shouldn’t be going so far up. It should stop before that sculpted ridge.
Flair: Harley’s belt looks excellent and I love that DCC used an actual metal chain for it. The sculpt is great. All of the studs are uniform and the way the belt goes through the buckle is great. The paint job is good. There are a couple of little sloppy spots, but nothing you notice when the figure is just on the shelf. I love the way the chain is affixed to specific parts of the belt rather than just stuck on. This is a great looking little bit of plastic.
Accessories: This set includes Mr. Hammer’s big-ass hammer. It’s huge and looks great. You have to open his hand up a little bit to fit it in there – which made me very nervous – but it works. The thing is heavy and menacing.
Packaging: Just a window box. I do like the uniformity of the DCC window boxes, though.
They are all designed to look like the stupid new DC logo, with the logo itself peeling down to reveal whatever the product or franchise is.
Value: Each of these three sets is the amazing low price of $29.99, which is ridiculously good for two great figures, one of which is oversized. GREAT value.
Overall: I wish Harley’s face was a little more interesting, but the only major flaw of the set was Mr. Hammer’s foot tearing off. Most of the little paint errors are no big deal – barely even noticeable without close inspection. This is a great set that will compel you to buy more of this series.
4 out of 5
Check with your local comic shop first. If you can’t find this pair there you can hit up Entertainment Earth, BigBad, or probably even Amazon.
-Phantom


3 comments:

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  2. Replies
    1. They're the 7" scale. As far as I know DCC has not released different sizes of these characters.

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