Monday, June 29, 2015

Toy Review – GameStop Exclusive Batman: Arkham Knight Red Hood from DC Collectibles

Welcome to Arkham Week on Needless Things!

Every day this week I’ll be reviewing one of the new Arkham Knight figures from DC Collectibles, and on Friday we’ll be posting a special episode of the Needless Things Podcast where we take a look at the Arkham video game franchise.

Side Note: The Arkham Knight figure has been delayed, so I’ve only got four reviews. Word I’m getting is that it was pushed back due to the figure itself containing spoilers for the game. I think it’s somewhat prosaic that the antagonist from the oft-delayed game is, itself delayed.

Today’s figure is the GameStop Exclusive Red Hood, which was offered for preorder from the website in October of 2014. I’ve been collecting just about every figure from DCC’s Arkham lines, so I ordered it. And completely forgot about it until I got a shipping invoice in April.

If you’re curious, GameStop’s preorder service worked just fine. I had no problems with payment or fulfillment and it was quite easy to find the figure on the website and place the order. If only their lousy stores were so pleasant. Picking up my game preorder last Tuesday is the last time I’ll set foot in one of those places. I’m sick to death of their terrible customer service and disorganization that borders on hostile.

As far as the figure itself goes, obviously we don’t know much about the Arkhamverse version of Red Hood, but the character model looks great and ever since the excellent Under the Red Hood animated feature I am a Jason Todd fan. It’s a shame that Jensen Ackles isn’t doing the voice in the game because he did some of the best voice work I’ve heard as Hood. He was so good that I can overlook John DiMaggio’s “What If Bender Was the Joker?” voice work.

FIRST GLANCE

This is an awesome figure design with a great, eye-catching color scheme. The hood over the helmet creates a nice profile and big honkin’ guns are always a plus. It doesn’t look like there’s anywhere to store them, but maybe that’s okay.

PACKAGING

This is a massive improvement over the clamshells that previous releases have come in. When I received this figure I didn’t know if it was special for this Exclusive or the new standard for the line. Come back for tomorrow’s Harley Quinn review to find out!

The box looks great and I love the shape of the window. I’m also a big fan of the way DCC has been printing the figures’ names on the corner panel. It looks good and makes them easy to identify. The graphics and colors look great, very eye-catching. And while these boxes do share aesthetics, each line has distinctive designs and colors. You still have a uniform collection (until they change packaging again), but each sub-line is distinctive.
Okay, so yeah – this is DCC’s new packaging. But still come back tomorrow for
Harley!

The back graphics are all fancy pants video-gamey and feature a wireframe rendition of Red Hood and the actual first series of figures.

And, as always, we have credits. This one is by Gentle Giant, who handle a lot of video game rendered figure sculpts.

LOOKS

I don’t know exactly why, but this Red Hood’s color scheme really appeals to me. I think I just like how much the red and white stands out against the drab greys. The Arkham games are chock full of dark tones and these bright colors are refreshing.

First things first – the hood is not removable. I thought it would be and I was wrong. But it is very flexible and seemingly sturdy, so you can still pose the head underneath fairly easily. It is a separate piece, so I was worried about tearing it off while moving the head, but it is surprisingly secure. I’d still be careful with it, but I did pull it all the way back over the helmet at one point and it stayed on just fine.

The helmet has a very clean sculpt and much more detail than is initially apparent. There are sculpted seams and detailed parts, some of which are painted despite the fact that they are covered by the hood. It’s impressive.

You might be wondering what’s up with that crappy paint app on the figure’s chest. Personally, I’m more worried about the fact that this man seems to have repaired a slice in his bullet proof vest with an adhesive bandage. But the chest thing is an inverted Bat symbol, presumably to denote Jason Todd's distress. It’s supposed to look painted-on and is also on the back of his kickass jacket. While we’re here, look at that sculpted and painted detail all covered up by that kickass jacket. Not many toy companies would have bothered with that.

His jacket is kickass. It’s a separately sculpted piece that hangs nicely and has super tight shoulder openings. The effect of a red hooded sweatshirt (shama-lama-ding-dong) underneath a leather jacket works well. The sculpted detail features seams, buckles, and damage; all painted to look worn and lived-in. The sleeves and bottom of the hoodie even has sculpted detail to look like elastic. The gloves have seams and padding sculpted on, as well as more paint to show wear.

Hood has a Han Solo-style belt with tons of detail and shells of some kind stored all around. Every rivet and buckle is painted and it looks great.

The jeans are dirty and wrinkled. There is a harness on either thigh with ammo clips, which I’m not sure is the most practical way to carry them, but sure does look cool. The armored greaves are scratched and worn, with straps and buckles on the back. The boots are clunky and covered with dirt.

Every inch of this figure is covered in detail – both sculpted and painted. DC Collectibles may be dealing with quality control issues in some of their lines, but when they get things right they produce some of the most amazing action figures the market has ever seen.

ACCESSORIES

Red Hood comes with two pistols that are just shy of being ridiculously big. They’re incredibly detailed and have four colors of paint on them. These are definitely some of the nicest-looking pistols I’ve seen at this scale. Each one has Hood’s Bat symbol painted on the barrel, which makes me all the more curious to learn the Arkham version of Jason Todd’s story.

The pistols fit perfectly into the figure’s hands and stay put.

FUN

I had a ton of fun playing with this figure. The articulation is some of the best DCC has done. Red Hood is one of those figures that you just keep messing with to see how well it all works. The head, shoulders, and hips are ball jointed, there are swivels at the biceps and thighs, double-jointed knees and elbows, and an abdominal pivot. The ankles have hinges with swivels connecting the feet.

The figure can achieve a ton of poses but still looks great. Its aesthetics fit with the earlier, less articulated entries in the Arkham line, but can do so much more.

The pistols are awesome and interact well with the figure, but they do just sit in his hands. They’re just too big to be stored anywhere without creating an ugly issue with the profile. I imagine in the game he keeps them under his jacket, maybe in the back. For the purposes of a 7” scale action figure there’s just no way to do that.

OVERALL

DCC knocked it out of the park with this one. I couldn’t have been any happier with Red Hood. And since it came out a few weeks before the proper first series of figures it got me really hyped for those. For a figure to be not just awesome but also to create anticipation for the rest of its line is quite an accomplishment. Excellent work, DCC.

If you’re a fan of the Arkham games or just of Red Hood, this figure should be a must. It’s almost so good that I’d recommend it to any collector, but I have to admit that if you’re not into the character or at least the franchise it probably won’t be as exciting for you.

5 out of 5


If you want one, go here:

2 comments:

  1. This guy is pretty impressive. I'm a huge fan! This is pretty much the only thing I've preordered from Gamestop since Skyrim thanks to GameStop always ragging on me to buy their card, preorder games I'm not interested in, and making a big deal of me buying games on their day of release if I haven't preordered them. Still, this guy is incredible. I have 3 of the Arkham Knight figures so far: Hood, Harley, and Scarecrow. I'm waiting to pick up the Batman five pack later this year so I'll wait for that to get my Arkham Knight Bats.

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    1. Yeah, I am done with GameStop. Their ridiculously poor customer service hit an all-time low in the weeks leading up to the release of Arkham Knight, and I won't be back.
      I ordered this figure more because I was excited about getting an Exclusive and I'm getting to be something of a completest with this line. I am very glad I did, though, because it's my favorite of the bunch by far. And also the Red Hood levels are awesome.

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