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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Wonder Woman action figures
Batman vs Superman Movie vs. Multiverse

Mattel
Date Published: 2016-01-08
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

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Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Introduction

Less than a month since The Force Awakens hit theaters, it has crushed all those before it.  But for the fans that saw it that first week, it's all old news, and they are focused on the next big geek flick to hit the screen...Deadpool. Don't expect to see any merchandise at your local Toys R Us, however, and while Hot Toys is producing a high end sixth scale figure based on the film license, we won't see that for months.

So collectors - and retailers - are already looking to the next film on the nerd blockbuster list for 2016: Batman Vs. Superman. I suspect this will be a polarizing film in the geek community, but for the more casual fans (and kids), I predict a big hit. Mattel certainly hopes so, and they have the usual glut of figures, vehicles, masks, and other paraphernalia hitting stores right now.

For action figure fans, there are actually two separate lines.  Both are approximately a 6" scale, but stylistically very different.  One, which I'm going to refer to as the 'movie' line from here on out although it is often commonly called the 'basic' assortment, and the Multiverse series.  Collectors already know the Multiverse name, but Mattel has changed it up for 2016, increasing the scale to 6" from the earlier 4". Remember Movie Masters? Yep, that's sort of the role the Multiverse line is now playing.

The Movie series includes Batman, Superman and an armored Batman of course, as does the Multiverse series.  The Movie line adds in a Aquaman in the early shipments as well as some kid friendly Bat-variants, and both series also host their own version of Wonder Woman.  While the Movie line is only focused on the movie, the Multiverse series also has a Green Arrow, Flash and Joker from other current properties shipping in the same case. The Multiverse line gets even more confusing by having two different CnC (Collect and Connect) extras at the same time - one made up from parts assembled from 6 different non-BvS figures, and one assembled from accessories packed with 8 different BvS movie themed figures.

The slight scale variation isn't the only difference between these two lines.  The other big driving force is price, with the Movie line only costing $10 at most retailers, while the Multiverse series (like most collector themed lines) is $20.  And that extra ten bucks means plenty of other differences in quality, accessories and articulation.

I figured I'd start out with a comparison review of the two Wonder Woman figures. When I picked these up, they had just been freshly added to the pegs. While there was only one Multiverse Wonder Woman amongst the many Batman and Superman figures, there were plenty of Movie (basic) Wonder Women available. It appears that this particular store was getting in the 'wave 2' cases, where she's packed out at 2 each, rather than 1.

Let me know if you find this sort of comparison helpful, as I might consider doing the same for the Batman, Armored Batman and Superman figures.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Packaging - Movie ***; Multi ***1/2
The Movie line uses a standard blister pack, and there's nothing particularly unique about the bubble or card back. It does show off the rest of the line on the back, and you can easily see the figure and accessories, but it's not collector friendly.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

The Multiverse figure comes in a box with a hanger, much like Star Wars Black or one of the Funko Legacy lines. However, they've angled a corner on the box to add some visual flair, and the rest of the line (and the 'build a prop replica') are clearly outlined on the back.  This box is collector friendly, and you can remove everything with little damage. However, the figure did have one rubber band holding it in the tray.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Sculpting - Movie **; Multi **
Unfortunately, neither of these are particularly attractive. They did go in two very different directions with the style.

The Multiverse release is more realistic, and has much, much more detail. You can already see where some of that extra 10 bucks went, particularly with the sculpting on the costume and accessories. There are plenty of details added in, with some nice texture work as well.  The hair, while very restrictive, does have a flowing, clean look with relatively thin strands.  And while the face will get some pretty negative criticism I'm sure, the reality is that most of the problems are likely due to the heavy handed paint application. I suspect there might be a decent sculpt hiding in there, because it does appear to me that the nose, facial shape, and lips are pretty close to photos of Gadot in the Wonder Woman outfit. But the paint work on the lips, eyes and eyebrows is throwing everything off.

The Movie version is much softer, much more doll-like in style. Sharp details are gone, both on the portrait and the costume. The sculpt is much more stylized, less realistic, and while the figure is only 6" tall, the lack of detail is very apparent in hand.

Both figures come wearing a harness/belt that's a separate piece.  It's not particularly tight fitting on the Multiverse release, and the permanently sculpted lasso on the right hip and sword loop on the left stick out quite a bit from the body.  The Movie release also has the sculpted lasso, but lacks the loop for the sword on the left, another cost cutting move.

And yes, the Movie version is just about exactly 6" tall, while the Multiverse release is about 6 3/8", about 1/8" shorter than the Multiverse Batman. Depending on how big you think she should be, either figure can fit with various 1/12 scale lines, but the style and design pretty much precludes the Movie figure from looking right with other collector themed lines.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Paint - Movie **; Multi ***
Once again, it's painfully obvious where that extra 10 bucks went. The number of paint operations on the Multiverse release far outweigh the number on the Movie release.

That doesn't mean their perfect, however.  As I said, I think most of the problems with the portrait lies with the paint.  The thick eyebrows, small lips, and flat eyes are a creation of poor paint application, not sculpting. It's funny because the actual paint application on the Movie figure is better - the eyes are cleaner, the eyebrows less obtrusive, and the lips fully painted. Sadly, the underlying sculpt isn't good enough to create a better overall result.

Costume details are nicely done on the Multiverse, and colors are clean and bright. Gold is actually gold and not mustard, and the coverage is relatively consistent. There are some spots that look like intentional wear, so I'm cutting them some slack there.

Smaller details are almost entirely missing on the Movie version. The work on the accessories is perhaps the most obvious, with a very realistic and detailed paint job on both the sword and shield with the Multiverse release, and no paint work at all on the Movie versions.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Articulation - Movie **; Multi *
It's pretty amazing what going from $10 - $20 really translates into, and with this pair we are seeing major upgrades in every category.

Articulation is no different. Neither figure has much neck movement, thanks to the long, restrictive hair. The Multiverse release has rotating hinge shoulders, cut biceps, hinge elbows, cut wrists, cut waist, double hinge hips, cut thighs, and hinge ankles.  Having some rocker movement in the ankles would have been very nice, but the feet do have a terrific range when moving forward and backward. Other areas are also slightly lacking, like the cut wrists and solid torso, but overall she's reasonably well articulated for the scale and price.

The Movie version has articulation, but most of it is useless thanks to the design.  As I said, her neck is locked up tight by the hair, and she only has cut shoulders, rotating hinge elbows, T hips, and pin knees. No wrists, no ankles, no waist, and the joints that are articulated have a much lower range of movement thanks to the cheaper design. She can stand up and hold her accessories, but don't expect any dynamic posing.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Accessories - Movie **1/2; Multi ***1/2
Both figures come with her two most critical extras - her shield and her sword. I know, I know, her lasso is also mighty critical, but Mattel choice to sculpt it as a permanent part of her belt in both cases.

The difference in quality between these two figures is glaring in this category. The sculpt and paint detail work on the Multiverse versions are so far superior to the clunky, cheap look of the Movie versions that it's astounding.

The smaller Movie shield not only has less detail, the symbol in the center is barely recognizable. The larger Multiverse shield is more properly scaled, has textures and small detail sculpting, and a fantastic paint job. While the Movie shield merely clips to her arm, the Multiverse shield has a nicely sculpted handle and forearm armor piece in back. Check the first or last photo for a great look at this detail work.

I will say that on mine it appears that this was assembled backwards.  When the shield is in place on the proper side - the left arm - the symbol on the front is upside down. Perhaps it's an assembly issue and merely a one off error, but even if it's a consistent problem you'll only notice it when you're as picky as I am.

The Multiverse version does include one more accessory: The 'collect and connect' piece to build and display the Batman Grappling Gun. This 'grapnel blaster' replica is a great idea...if they do it right.  It's supposed to be an actual prop replica, but we'll have to see the final quality and scale. I've only opened Wonder Woman so far (and the other three movie figures required to complete it aren't shipping yet) and her piece of the puzzle is not a particularly good indication, since all she has is the support piece of the display base, not an actual piece of the gun.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Fun Factor - Movie **1/2; Multi ***1/2
Better looking paint and sculpt, better articulation, better accessories...gee, I wonder if the Multiverse figure is more fun?  Since both toys are about the same in terms of joint strength and plastic quality, both can take plenty of wear and tear in the back yard.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Value - **1/2
Both of these are at about the price point we're currently seeing on the market for any mass market toy in a similar scale and similar target audience. You're not getting any great deal, but you won't feel ripped off either.

It is worth noting that spending the extra $10 is well worth it.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing, at least in terms of breakage or handling.  You should do what you can to snag the best paint possible on the pegs, but that's pretty standard with mass market releases.

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Overall - Movie **; Multi ***
When doing a comparison review like this, it's interesting to spend a little time thinking about what might have been different had I reviewed these figures independent of one another. I think my overall assessment of the Multiverse release would remain exactly the same.  While she's a solid figure for the money, the portrait needs work, and there's some articulation that we are starting to expect in collector themed lines that's missing here.

It's a little different with the Movie figure. Had I reviewed her on her own, without the Multiverse figure in hand for direct comparison, she might have squeezed up another half star. But having a figure in hand that was superior in every way while still not perfect, only accentuated the short comings.

Let me know if you found this sort of comparison useful, as I might do the same for the Batman and Superman releases in both series.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - Movie ***; Multi ***1/2
Sculpting - Movie **; Multi ***
Paint - Movie **; Multi ***
Articulation - Movie **; Multi ***
Accessories - Movie **1/2; Multi ***1/2
Fun Factor - Movie **1/2; Multi ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - Movie **; Multi ***

Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman action figures by Mattel

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has the pre-order for the basic Wonder Woman at $13, and the Multiverse 'movie master' version at $22.

- Entertainment Earth has a case of the basic assortment for $120, but none of the Multiverse.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered plenty of Wonder Woman collectibles, although most tend to be statues.  I have this Kotobukiya version in my office, and check out the DC Bombshells version, the first Cover Girls release, the latest Cover Girls version, the Bishoujo release, and the Armored Cover Girls version.

When it comes to action figures, there's the DC Unlimited Wonder Woman and the DCUC version.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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