Monday, February 6, 2017

Toy Review – SH Figuarts Suicide Squad Harley Quinn from Bandai


By Phantom Troublemaker

I thought that Suicide Squad was overall a fun, exciting movie with a few flaws. I’m pretty sure I liked it a lot more than most people. I’ve watched it four times now and still dig it and find that the flaws are fading into the background thanks to the frenetic action and big characters.

I do not, however, recommend the Extended Cut on the Blu-ray. Unlike the Dawn of Justice Extended Cut, it only serves to muddy the story and create a whole bunch of contradictions. The added Joker and Harley stuff is cool, but not worth the rest of the added footage dragging down the pace.

I think that many folks do agree with me that Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn was one of the best things about Suicide Squad. Some may argue that her portrayal wasn’t true to whatever their idea of Harley is, but for me she is a character that can be interpreted just as widely as her fellow Gothamites Batman and Joker. She can range from cuddly and adorable to terrifying and homicidal. And I feel like Robbie brushed up against both ends of that spectrum nicely.

As soon as the first cast pictures were released people were gnashing their teeth about the costume. I’ve spoken plenty about Harley’s look (and Joker’s) and will just sum my thoughts up by saying that as a fan of Conner and Palmiotti’s Harley, this works for me. While I’d still love to see the 5150 Roller Derby look on film, this is pretty darn close and looks great on film.

This costume was inspired by a picture of Debbie Harry, giving it some cool roots. I am a big fan of all of the elements that were thrown together. The colors are coordinated fairly well, but other than that Harley looks like a crazy person. With style.

I had already preordered this SH Figuarts Harley as part of my plan to review the exact same version of a character from several different companies – Bandai, Medicom, and Mezco so far. I’m not bothering with Mattel because theirs looks terrible and I’m passing on Hot Toys for obvious reasons. Unless they want to send me a free one.

After reviewing an SH Figuarts Batman, I was even more excited about this Harley arriving from Amazon. Is it worth the hype and, more importantly, the money? Read on…


FIRST GLANCE

If you aren’t impressed by your first look at this figure I don’t know what to tell you. The production pics were impressive, but in person this release is stunning. It’s hard for me to justify fifty-plus bucks for a twelfth scale figure, but the reason for the premium price is immediately apparent. The sculpt, paint, and accessories are so superior to American mass market releases that it looks like an entirely different class of product. And it is.

PACKAGING

This colorful, eye-catching window box is made out of the thinnest, cheapest cardboard I have ever felt. This is the kind of stuff that’s usually used as inserts in packaging. But I don’t care. All it had to do was keep the figure and all of the parts together until I opened it, and it did that.

It is visually appealing. The bright colors and cut-out window look nice. I would have preferred a picture of Margot Robbie over a picture of the toy, but whatever.


The back features a bunch of stuff I can’t read and various other pictures of the figure, which is packed securely in two plastic trays. I greatly prefer this method over twist ties or tape.


LOOKS

Harley’s default head has a great crazy face. The likeness is uncanny and is enhanced by a spectacular paint job. Even if Mattel could manage a sculpt this good, they’d ruin it with garbage paint apps. To be fair, Mattel’s figure costs just over a third what this one does.

The paint apps on the head are above reproach. From the lipstick and beautifully faded eye shadow to the tattoo to the bright, glossy eyes, it’s all clean and precise.


There are several different earrings sculpted onto each ear. They all have a coat of metallic gold paint. Harley’s hair is sculpted with just enough detail and also has tremendous paint apps. The metallic bands around either ponytail are spot-on and the faded color at the ends looks great. My figure has a strand that got bent out of place in the package, but a hairdryer will fix that easily enough. It’s soft plastic.


Harley’s “PUDDIN” choker is gold plastic and sort of sticks out as the one unpainted piece on the figure. The all-gold coloration is accurate, it just seems odd to have that one unadorned piece. Also I wish it was vac metal. But then it would be prone to breakage, as it’s concealing a joint and needs to be fairly mobile and just a bit flexible.


The jacket is a separate piece. Things like this can be annoying, but this part was executed perfectly. It’s loose on the figure but has snug enough shoulder openings that it doesn’t look bad. It can be moved for different poses and adds another layer of dynamism to the figure. The sculpt itself is wonderful. The folds, zipper, and trim all look great. The paint job is clean as can be, with perfectly placed gold trim and lettering. Harley’s shoulder holster is cleverly done, as the straps are sculpted onto the torso, but the holster itself is attached to the jacket. Visually it is all one piece, but functionally it doesn’t bulk the figure out and allows for more movement.


Harley’s arms are the jacket sleeves, which match the jacket piece perfectly. There are multiple bracelets on each wrist and a glove on the left hand. The right hand features a detailed ring and nails.


Under the jacket Harley’s shirt has the appropriate amount of wear and tear. The frayed neck and torn holes look very natural. The paint, as with the rest of the figure, is spot-on. I do think that Harley is missing some tattoos, though. There should be some ink on her exposed torso. Considering how perfect everything else is on this figure, it’s quite odd that those were left off. It doesn’t really bother me, but I also feel that a figure at a premium price should be perfect.


The shorts are a separate piece that can move around as the figure is posed. The sculpt and paint are fantastic and the studded belt and buckle are packed with fine detail. There’s fishnet sculpted onto the figure’s legs with tattoos painted “underneath”. I’ve seen some variance as to whether the character’s fishnet is dark or flesh-toned like the lady wrestlers wear, but it looks better in person than in these pictures. I think the Mafex and One:12 figures each have different takes on this feature. Also, the difference in color between the legs and the rest of the skin isn’t nearly noticeable in person, though there is a difference because there is supposed to be.


Harley’s shoes are pretty wacky. The figure accurately represents the footwear from the movie and cleverly incorporates the open ankles into the articulation. The sculpt and paint are both well-executed.


ACCESSORIES

Harley comes with two alternate heads, five extra hands, a pistol, and a bat.


Much to my surprise, the heads are easy to swap out. I was concerned about the integrity of the peg, but it’s pretty darn sturdy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be careful, but it’s solid plastic. Both heads – one with a wicked smirk and the other with a more neutral expression – look as excellent as the default.


I was concerned about the head peg, but I was super nervous about the hand mounts. They are tiny and they’re on pivots. But they are equally sturdy. It’s a little harder to get the hands on than the heads, but it helps to know that they plug in towards the thumbs rather than just in the center like most figures. Getting that angle helps a lot.

There are two left hands – one splayed and one posed for the bat. The right hands have both of those poses and a pistol grip pose. They all look great and match up to the figure’s colors perfectly.


The bat has really clean paint apps, but I think I would’ve liked some wear. It’s just a little too clean. The handle pops off so that it can slide into the bat-gripping hands. I prefer this to softer plastic hands that you have to force weapons into, as it provides a more secure fit and doesn’t hurt the integrity of the plastic.


The pistol has a ton of sculpted detail and a painted grip. It looks great and fits perfectly into the appropriate hand.


FUN

This figure is articulated out the wazoo (somewhat literally – more on that in a bit) and has some truly ingenious joints.


The head is mounted on a two-sided peg, which is mounted in the neck, which has a joint at the bottom. Oh, but don’t let me forget that the ponytails are both articulated not only to swivel, but with a degree of movement in every direction, somewhat like a ball joint. So the head can be posed in many ways and the ponytails can actually be moved to look correct and enhance the poses.

The shoulder joints are super complex, but easy to manipulate. There are several gimmicks under the jacket so that the arms can be posed pretty much any way you want. They actually swing down and out for posing, but can easily be slotted back into place for a more neutral stance. The elbows sport a deceptively deep bend without looking double-jointed. The wrists swivel and pivot and the hands swivel on the peg mount.


Harley’s torso has two ball joints – one at the upper torso and one about halfway down and under the shirt. These combine to create a fantastic range of motion, though not quite as much swivel as I thought there should be. Still, you can achieve pretty much any pose you might want with this combination.

Which brings me to the wazoo. This figure has what are essentially articulated buttocks:
They don’t move independently of the legs, but the combination of some excellent ball joints and the mobile shorts create the illusion of a poseable butt. 


It’s extremely clever and slightly pervy. But it was a brilliant way to keep the figure’s profile aesthetically pleasing. Most figures have very ugly crotch/hip areas, and thanks to the brevity of Ms. Robbie’s wardrobe and some genius toy engineer, this one avoids that.

The knees aren’t double-jointed, but bend just deeply enough to be satisfying. There are swivels at the tops and bottoms, but they aren’t super useful. I think they’re more a side-effect of the construction method than actual features. The range of motion in the hips makes up for the slight limitations in the knees.

The ankles take some work to get full use of, but they are good. They swivel and pivot and it’s just a little tricky to get them positioned so that you can tell where the hinge is.


The bottom line is that this figure can achieve just about any pose an actual human could. Sometimes it took some playing around, but I managed at least a close approximation of every pose I attempted.

Between the poseability and the plethora of accessories, this is a super fun figure that’s going to stay on my desk for a while. Right beside Ash. Who I still haven’t reviewed.


OVERALL

I am blown away by this figure’s combination of poseability and aesthetics. I didn’t see how it could achieve the highest levels of both, but it did. Like Mezco’s One:12 Collective, this Figuarts entry makes me feel like I got my money’s worth, despite the high price tag (around fifty bucks American).

I’m not saying that this high-dollar figure is for everyone, but if you’re looking for something new and are willing to spend a little extra, try one of Bandai’s SH Figuarts action figures. So far I’ve been thrilled with them.

5 out of 5


I got mine from Amazon – you should too, and help support Needless Things when you do!:


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