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Figures and Speech: DC Films Armored Batman and Icons “Batgirl of Burnside”

Figures and Speech: DC Films Armored Batman and Icons “Batgirl of Burnside”

Welcome to Figures & Speech, Nerdist’s regular column by, for, and about grown-ups who still play with their toys but might want to know more before they buy. From product reviews to informed editorials, these are most definitely the articles that’ll make you want to strike a pose.

Just in time for your favorite Bat-fan’s Christmas stocking, DC Collectibles have busted out two of their most-anticipated Bat-figures yet. From this year’s Batman V. Superman movie, Armored Batman kicks off a higher-end movie figure line that may or may not be in jeopardy, and from her 2015 comic reboot, Batgirl of Burnside comes on her spiffy purple motorcycle that I’m sure even fans of the old-school Yvonne Craig version can appreciate.


As with most DC Collectibles figures these days, the packaging is clean and minimalist on both, showing off the figure itself rather than any distracting artwork. The toy itself is the work of art, and the company knows it.


When it comes to direct market collectibles, sometimes it feels like a larger accessory just gets thrown in to jack up the price. Not in this case: Batgirl and her signature cycle come in a set where everything is included and nothing feels like padding. It’s such a thorough set–with four extra hands, extra head, extra cape, smartphone and grappling gun accessories, and vehicle with diorama base, that it’s easy to underestimate the smallish Batgirl figure. But you really, really shouldn’t.


Have you ever seen a new action figure prototype at Comic-Con or elsewhere, then been disappointed in the final product because the mass-produced version looked nowhere near as amazing as the hand-painted display version? No such bummer here. From the clean, bold paint job on her costume to the subtle fades on her face make-up, this young lady pops like a one-of-a-kind piece, and as she’s also loaded with tight and useful articulation, we’re talking a masterpiece of an action figure here, folks. Even if you don’t care about Batgirl but love good toys, she might be one worth picking up. And we haven’t even gotten to the accessories yet.

Batgirl has ball joints on her neck, shoulders, mid-torso and hips; double-jointed knees and elbows; cut and hinged wrists, an ab crunch, cut boot-tops, cut upper biceps, and hinge-rocker combo ankles. With that many joints and a thin physique, she can attain a lot of different poses. and that’s before you switch out her hands for different activities.


The alternate cape and head are designed for a “billowing backwards” look that’s mainly designed for motorcycle poses, but can also simulate free-fall.


The cycle has a nice shiny paint job, detailed engine, and rolling wheels.


But here’s where the set really shines: when you want to display your bike/figure, whether permanently or between play sessions, there’s a dynamic diorama base for that. And it’s more dynamic than first appearances even indicate–the dust flurries in which the wheels rest can angle side-to-side, so you can make Batgirl look like she’s rounding a curve.


Not that you have to necessarily use it for the bike….


Seriously, have I mentioned what an amazing-looking figure this is? I don’t even read the comics; I’m just really impressed with how well put together the toy is in every way. Okay, except maybe one–I wish she could raise her head a little higher so she is looking up more when she rides. Really minor detail, though.


Batgirl of Burnside retails for about $55. Worth it.


When DC Collectibles began as DC Direct, the original premise was that all their figures in perpetuity would be in the same scale. They’ve since introduced others–the Icons line that includes Batgirl is 6-inch scale and designed to interact/compete with Marvel Legends (they cost $5 more apiece but are definitely $5 of quality more), and you can only really say she’s in scale with this Batman if your sense of scale comes from an anime series in which every character is drawn in a different style. Or, perhaps, a Frank Miller comic. Which is to say that “Batfleck” is in the more standard 7″ scale.


Armored Batman is a part of a new premium line of DC films figures whose status remains unclear. A wave dedicated to Man of Steel appears to have been canceled (it was set to include an extra-expensive figure of the Kryptonian giant warrior, which always seemed to me a risky bet at best), and so far only Superman and Armored Bats are for sure, though the online toy sites still show preorders for Wonder Woman, two more Batmen, Aquaman, and Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn, Diablo, Katana, Boomerang, and Killer Croc. They’re pricey, ranging from $29.99 to $44.99, but they’re also the only high-end option that isn’t bank-breaking: Mezco’s One:12 figures, great as they are, run $75 and up, and for $80, you can score the NECA 18″ Affleck Batman.


Armored Batman is the priciest because he has light-up eyes. Press his lowest abs to turn them on; press again, or just wait a few seconds, to turn them off.


It’s hard to completely run down Batman’s articulation, because there are parts of him that look like they might be joints but don’t necessarily move and I don’t want to force them to see if they will. This much is for sure: limited ball joint and up-down nod on neck, shoulder pads hinge upward, double-ball shoulders, upper bicep cuts, double elbows, ball wrists, mid-torso limited ball joint, ball hips, double-knees, ball-and-rocker ankles.


He comes with a stand similar to those packed in with Play Arts Kai figures, with some differences–notably, that you don’t have to screw it together yourself. The waist clip also contains a spring to keep it tight, and…oh yeah, the figure’s too heavy to be held in a flying pose by the articulated arm. Except maybe for a second while I snap a photo.


While the hoop shape of the cape over his shoulders is fixed, there are wires running through the outer reaches of his cape for some customization, and five sewn “ribs” to give the cape a bat-winged look.


The biggest missed opportunity is that he comes with multiple interchangeable hands, and none of them hold his gun properly. They can hold it loosely enough that it won’t fall out immediately, but seriously, how hard would it have been to repose those fingers just slightly?


A nice touch, though, is the fabric tab to help you pull out the battery compartment once it’s unscrewed.


As for the likeness–the lips look pretty Afflecky, I guess. Not that I’m a scholar of the real thing. Yes, $45 might seem a little steep, but in hall honesty he is at least twice as good as the $20 Mattel version in the 6-inch scale. Is there room for improvement? Sure: let’s make those stands capable of holding heavier figures aloft, DC! But it definitely does not suck.


Are these worth your Bat-time and Bat-cash? Feel free to let me know below.

Photos by LYT for Nerdist

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