Review: DC Universe Classics, Wave 3: Robin
Last time we took a look at Nightwing and Solomon Grundy's torso. If you haven't seen it, you might want to take a peek - this is kind of part 2 in a six part series, and you wouldn't want to get lost.
Robin was the "gateway drug" into this wave for me. I've got a lot of Batman figures in this scale, as well as a Batgirl (who's one of my all-time favorite six inch figures), but I didn't have a Robin. And, once I had the Robin in hand, the others and the build-a-figure were just too good to pass up. So if you work in Mattel's marketting department, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. It worked.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the next DC Universe Classics, Wave 3 figure:
I really like Robin - a lot, in fact - though he's just a hair shy of perfection. My first complaint is more a personal preference than an actual problem with the figure: I think Robin is depicted as being a little too muscular. Not a lot, mind you, but I'd have preferred if his shoulders were a bit more narrow.
That aside, there are three problems I can see, two related to his head and one to his belt. The first is one he shares with Nightwing: his head is cast in a flesh tone rather than painted. It's a small reminder that this mass market toy is, in fact, made for the mass market (it's just about the only reminder you'll have to put up with).
The second is the overall head sculpt, which looks less than perfect from certain angles. But I can't fault that too much, because it looks absolutely perfect from other angles. Head on, I have no issues; in profile... it's a tiny bit odd.
The last problem is a splotch of paint on his belt. There were two figures in the store: this one had the belt problem, the other had a smear on his face. Easy decision, but it does mean these aren't uniformly perfect.
Now that all that's out of the way... Robin is a nice looking figure. I mean, really, really nice. He isn't my favorite figure of the line: that honor remains with Batgirl (incidentally, before anyone accuses me of being confused, that isn't a mistake: I simply refuse to differentiate between the DC Superheroes figures Mattel started with and the Universe Classics that followed).
But Robin... he just might come in second.
Remember last time when I grumbled about Nightwing lacking sculpted detail? Yeah, not an issue this time. They've sculpted Robin's 'R' symbol, his buttons, his belt, and (obviously) his cape. All look great.
He easily deserves at least an 8 out of ten, and that's a harsh judgment. I came close to giving him a nine.
Packaging and Extras: +2
The packaging is basically the same as Nightwing's. Again, there's the character info on the bottom of the back - nothing to write home about, but nice detail:
Robin's chunk of Grundy is less impressive than Nightwing's, but... what are you going to do? You only need one torso, anyway.
And, honestly, getting a build a figure is a nice addition, particularly since you only need five figures to complete the set (compare that to the recent Marvel Legends sets: you'll see what I mean).
Further, you get some additional extras. I mentioned that Nightwing felt a little lite (well, other than the massive piece of Grundy he came with).
With Robin you get a better selection. He comes with two batarangs and a quarterstaff. The batarangs are nice, and they fit in his hands pretty well. It's a tight fit, but once they're in there, they aren't likely to fall out.
For those of us with a healthy collection of action figures, these have an additional advantage: if you don't leave these with Robin, you can pass them off to other figures. In fact, I wound up giving Robin a different batarang altogether, one that came with a Batman who can't even hold it.
His quartstaff is a little mixed, to be honest. First of all, it's crooked. You can probably fix it with hot water and some patience, but I couldn't build the motivation. Also, depending on the pose you want, the staff might slide (more on that below).
I'd liked to have a base, as well, but no such luck. But they've really gone above and beyond what was required, including not one but two batarangs as well as the quarterstaff. Between all that and Grundy's arm, that's two extra points for Robin.
Play and Display: +1
Robin's articulation isn't quite as good as Nightwing's, but he's got several advantages that make up for it. As always, let's get the unpleasant part out of the way first.
Be aware that the neck joint is limited by the back of Robin's cape. His head turns from side to side easily enough, but you won't be able to tilt it up or down. As much as I like good articulation, I wouldn't trade it for the sculpted cape looking right.
There is one missing point of articulation that's a little harder to forgive: the turning waist joint most of these figures have. It would have been easy to conceal that at the bottom of Robin's utility belt, too, but they left it out.
That said, you're still left with a solid range of articulation aided by a selection of accessories and good balance. I had a good time playing around with different poses and options before settling on one for the shelf. You have even more options because of his cape: if he's a little off balance, it'll hold him up.
As I mentioned before, the quarterstaff doesn't always fit as firmly as you might hope... but you'll be able to find plenty of options that work just fine.
Despite the missing articulation, I feel compelled to hand Robin a bonus point for possibility and versatility. This is precisely what I want on my shelf.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 10+
Robin's price tag is a bit... ambiguous... at the moment. I felt lucky finding him for $14, but that's higher than he technically should be. Is he worth this kind of cash? Well, I'd say yes, even though he is a little smaller than others in this line. But keep in mind I needed a Robin in my collection, and he's probably the best I've seen.
If you tally up his score, Robin technically should receive an 11. Since '10' is supposed to be the top of the scale, we'll designate him as a '10+'.
Two down, four to go. Next time we'll turn our attention away from the Bat-Family and look instead to the Corps. The Lantern Corps, that is, with Hal Jordan, the greatest of the Green Lanterns.
As always, if you've got questions, you know how to reach me.