It’s been a good year for DC fans. We got a great first year with Mattel’s DC Universe Signature Collection via Mattycollector, and we have two new lines at retail: DC Unlimited and Batman Unlimited. While the Signature Collection will focus on more fan demanded classic characters, both DC and Batman Unlimited will focus on the big guns, and not much else. These figures are, for the most part, New 52 inspired, which brings us to the figure we’ll be looking at today: New 52 Batgirl.
|PACKAGING – That Batman Unlimited packaging seems to share a lot of design aesthetics with the Batman Legacy packaging, and I’m fine with that. I like seeing creative packaging, and one thing Mattel seems to be good at is making some beautiful trash. It’s sometimes very hard to throw away their packaging.
We’ve got the Batman Unlimited logo at the top, with Batgirl’s name at the bottom. To the left we have some great art of Batgirl from the New 52 comic book series, and the new DC Comics logo at the bottom left corner.
The back features a larger version of the artwork from the front, and gives us a bio for Batgirl to the right, as well as some stats for her at the bottom. We also see some artwork for the other two figures available in this assortment, New 52 Batman, and Super Powers Penguin.
SCULPT – Barbara here features an almost 100% new sculpt. The hands look to be reused, but everything else is new. She’s incredibly well proportioned, which is nice to see on a Mattel female DC figure. Usually they feature incredibly scrawny arms and lower legs, with huge thighs and a really thin waist. Very unnatural looking. But here, she actually resembles a human female. Kudos.
Her suit features some really great armor plating detailing, and lots of great panel lines. Her gloves have ribbing in them, and the same panel lines are featured on her boots as well. She also has a raised bat symbol on her chest; it’s not just painted on. Her cape looks great and is in a flared out position. I prefer this to looking completely static, because I usually put my figures in some sort of action pose.
Now, the one part I wasn’t sure about being new as the head. At a glance, it’s easy to assume it’s the exact same Batgirl head we’ve seen before from Mattel, but upon closer inspection I can confirm that it is indeed. Look at the comparison pic I posted to the right and you can see as well. For one thing, her ears are a bit shorter, and they curve inward, matching the art from the new series she’s in. The older head has straight pointed tall ears. The other thing that makes it obvious is the eye holes in her cowl. On the old head, she has little horns sculpted at the top corner of each eye hole, whereas the new head does not feature this.
Also, while much of her hair looks the same as the previous head, I did notice some spots that looked different, further proving that it is in face a new head sculpt. The face seems to look better in general, but it could just be a trick of the paint. It’s possible that the new head sculpt was built off of the existing mold, but there’s no doubt that this is a new head, and it looks seriously great.
PAINT – Batgirl’s armor is painted a semi-gloss black. I don’t think it’s completely glossy, because it doesn’t seem like it, but it could be. At any rate, it is shiny. There’s no highlighting to it, but there doesn’t really need to be. Her boots, gloves, belt, and the insignia on her chest are painted gold, while her cape is painted a flat black on the back, and purple on the inside, matching the comic book art.
Her cowl is also painted a semi-gloss black, and her hair is painted a very deep red, with a great wash applied to it. Her lips are painted a fuchsia-like color, and her eye tampos are applied extremely well. I can’t find anything wrong with the paint job on her head. It really looks great, especially when compared to the older head. She looks quite beautiful. There is some bleeding of the gold paint on her insignia onto the black of her armor and a tiny bit around her belt as well, but it doesn’t ruin the figure.
ARTICULATION – She features a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, swivel-hinged elbows, cut wrists, a mid-torso swivel cut, standard Mattel t-hinge hips, thigh rotators, single knees, and ankle hinges.
Her hips are pretty loose, but so far they haven’t really affected her standing or posing ability. If you shake the figure her hips will wobble back and forth, but she can stand just fine it seems. No problems with any of the other joints.
I will note that she does not have an ab crunch. Mattel has been using this newer torso articulation on some of the recent female figures (first used on Star Sapphire in DCUC), where it’s just a cut in the middle of the torso, similar to the floating ab joint that Hasbro uses on many of its figures. Only here, there’s absolutely no rocking motion at all. It’s just a swivel joint, and it’s VERY TIGHT. It requires a good amount of force to move it, that it almost makes you feel like you’re going to break it, but it will be fine. This type of ab joint is used so the sculpt isn’t so broken up, and actually helps make the torso better proportioned and more natural looking.
It sucks not having an ab crunch, but then again on the older Batgirl figure we did have an ab crunch that barely worked, and she couldn’t even turn at her waist. So some might consider this better. Even with her hair the way it is, her head turns just fine as well. I was surprised by that, and it’s great when the female figures’ hair doesn’t restrict the articulation.
ACCESSORIES – Batgirl comes with bupkis in the accessories department. Not a batarang, or a grapple gun or anything like that. But Mattel did see fit to give her a hand for holding a batarang in case you have any extras lying around, so…there’s that I suppose.
FUN - Pretty much any major Batman character is going to have some fun factor attached based on name recognition alone, and Batgirl does have that. As a stand alone figure though, it’s not as much fun as I was expecting. The lack of accessories is really noticable, the lack of an ab crunch does limit her posing too. It’s very fun to handle and look at, inspecting all the intricate armor detailing that was sculpted in, but it’s a pretty standard action figure. Nothing spectacular or anything that makes your jaw drop.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR – Loose hips are the only problem I had with her. She’s still recovering though, so it’s forgivable.
OVERALL – It’s really great to have a new Batgirl figure. As much as I like the older figures, seeing this new one really points out how dated the old female sculpt is. The proportions on this figure are great, and her sculpt has some really incredible armor detailing put into it, making the figure almost 100% new. From a company that values reuse perhaps more than others, it’s refreshing to see this.
Her paint job came out really good as well, with only tiny flaws around some of the gold trim. Her articulation is mostly solid, with the loose hips being the only design flaw. The ab crunch is missed, but it does blend in with the sculpt nicely. The lack of accessories hurts the figure, and with an otherwise standard action figure, it could have really helped. Many fans are turned off by the New 52 designs, but I’m actually a big fan of them, especially the Batman related characters since there’s not too much change from before. The biggest change is armor detailing in the suits, which makes sense.
This is a good action figure, and if you’re a Batman fan I’d recommend adding it to your collection. Like I said before, it’s great to have an updated Batgirl figure. Mattel just missed a couple of important marks that could have made this a really spectacular figure.
FINAL SCORE: 3 / 5
Where to buy:
Be sure to check out these extra photos below that couldn’t fit in the review.