DCD 13" Deluxe Robin

DC Direct's line of 13" Deluxe clothed action figures has gone from just the men, to including the ladies, and now to including the boys.  The Boy Wonder, specifically.

After getting the classic Batman and classic Batgirl, you can now pick up a nifty Robin to go with them perfectly.  He's the first male figure to sport a smaller body, although I'm betting we see this body get plenty of use in the coming year.  Toy Fair might just show us some interesting stuff...

Robin hit comic shops last week, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $55 - $80, depending on the retailer.  This line has the most wildly fluctuating prices of any I think I've ever seen, due in part to the huge margin DCD must be enjoying.

Next up in this series is the Green Arrow and Bizarro, followed later in the year by the Joker and Harley.  If you haven't gotten into this line yet, it's not too late, and most of the figures can still be had at retail or even below, with the exception of the Green Lantern.  Let's hope that figure sees a reissue at some point!



Packaging - ***
The box continues the standard style for this line, with a fifth panel flap covering the window.  The packaging is fairly collector friendly, and there's some brief text on Robin on the inside flap.  My favorite feature is the listing of all the figures produced so far in the 13" series - my least favorite is the photoshopped photo of Robin holding the rope in his fisted hand, since that's physically not possible.

And while it's fairly collector friendly, there's still too many twisties and too much tape for this expensive of a 'collectible'.  Drop all those accoutrements and use a top plastic tray, please.

Sculpting - ***
They style here is based on the Silver Age look, much like the classic Bats and Batgirl.  But there's some Golden Age influences here too, and the name Dick Sprang sprang to mind immediately when I looked at Robin.

The head sculpt is an attempt at that sort of generic appearance, and it works well enough.  The hair has nice detail work, and the chin and features are appropriately chiseled.  It comes off a little more mannequin than I'd like, but I believe that's largely the fault of the paint, not the sculpt.  He looks much better in the mask(s) than out, and that's good since that's the way you'll probably be displaying him.

They've dumped the bendy hands - sort of.  Thank God for that, too.  There are three sets of sculpted hands: fists, gripping and open.  The open hands have fingers that *might* actually still be bendy to some degree, but they are small and much harder than the fingers on past hands, making them a) look so much better and b) not able to hold any extreme pose.  Color me thankful.

Robin stands great on his own, and the new body fits in nicely with the rest of the 13" line scale-wise.  He's shorter at 12" tall, but he is also less bulky and more svelte.  It's a more normal athletic build than the other superheroes, and makes perfect sense for the 'teen'.

Paint - ***
The paint work is generally clean and neat, with no real quality issues.  The hair is jet black, with a clean hair line, and the eyes are straight and even.  The lips have a little bit of the lipstick look to them, but it's not atrocious.

The biggest issue is that the paint, especially the work on the eyes, lacks life.  Rather than looking like a 'real' person, the figure looks just like what it is - a figure.  It's possible to pull off realism, though, and get the figure to look less like a store display and more like the real deal.

The one big flaw on mine is the zit on his forehead, that looks like a chunk of dirt ended up in the paint.  Hey, I know he's a teen, but Bruce could afford Clearasil.

The other major paint application is on the hands, where they are done in a bright green that matches the vinyl cuffs in both color and finish.

Articulation - ***
Robin comes on the new, smaller hero body from DCD.  Their bulky heroes stand a full 13" tall, making them tower over other sixth scale lines.  Robin is scaled to fit in with those giants, and stands just a hair over 12" tall.

The articulation is slightly different as well, and in some ways an improvement.  Most notably, he has an excellent ball jointed neck, with a great range of movement and the ability to hold lots of tough poses.  There's a bit of a gaping at the jaw line, but with Robin's large cape collar, it's not as noticeable.  This is another improvement worth thanking DCD for.

The rest of the body is much like the larger body.  There's the ball jointed shoulders and hips, the double jointed pin elbows and knees, the cut biceps and thighs (although Robin's thighs are cut much lower and closer to the knees), and the pin/disk ankle with the cut joint just above.  Oh, and let's not forget the cut waist and pin chest joint.

However, the hip joints are a bit of a disappointment.  Robin's butt is sculpted well down toward his thighs, making him look better in his tights...but also making it very difficult for the legs to move backward.  At all.  I'm talking they don't go back past parallel to his spine, period.  That interferes with many leg stances.  The pin chest joint doesn't help any either, since it allows his torso to tilt forward quite a bit, but not backward at all.  I found this restriction fairly frustrating when I was posing him for shots.

He also still sports the silly cut wrist joints, but I'll give them a little slack on those, at least for now, since they gave me such a great neck joint.  The pins for the wrists are too short again as well, but the fit is tighter so that the hands don't fall off quite as easily as some past releases.

Outfit - ***
Robin's outfit is a bit simplistic, but that's the style they were going for.  Nothing wrong in matching the reference material, simple or not.

And simple doesn't always mean 'easy'.  Sometimes simple means that the company assumes they can take short cuts on quality and tailoring and they'll get away with it. I say Nay Nay.

Fortunately, DCD didn't think that way.  Robin's costume consists of three separate pieces of clothing, plus his belt, gauntlets for the gloves, and boots.  He also has two masks, but I'll talk about those in the Accessories section.

The cloth pieces are very well done, made from high quality material with great stitching.  Most of the tailoring is also quite good, although the cape does tend to ride up a bit around his neck, exposing it in front at times.  That's probably the single biggest flaw of the figure overall, although until someone points it out you might not notice.

The cape is particularly nice, with a hemmed edge and thin material that flows nicely.  Like I said, it rides up a bit, but it's a minor annoyance for me.  The length is just right for the period.

His red robin tunic has actual string ties across the front that thread through tiny metal rivets, with a small in scale zipper down the back.  The 'R' on his chest looks similar to an iron on decal, but it's lined up nice and straight with a proper placement on his left side.

Under the tunic is his green one piece body suit, also with a small zipper down the back.  In fact, every piece of clothing on Robin is designed to be easy to remove (although you have to pop the head off to remove the cape), something that hasn't always been true with this line.

The back half of his gloves are made from vinyl, but they match the paint job on the hands well enough to blend in nicely.  They fit well, and the vinyl is a good material to use.

At least for the gloves, that is.  I hate the vinyl boots, which are goofy looking and oversized.  I think that sculpted boots would have been a much better approach, although they would have been more expensive for DCD to produce.

The belt is the final piece of the costume.  It fits great, and looks very realistic even with it's simple design.

Accessories - ***1/2
Robin comes with quite a few more goodies than the usual DC Direct Deluxe figure.

There's the usual display stand, which works pretty well.  You won't need it, but if you're looking to do some funky wild poses, it can come in handy.  There's a nifty Robin logo on the base too, complete with "The Boy Wonder".

As I mentioned earlier, he also has two extra sets of sculpted hands.  He comes with the fists attached, but there's also a gripping set and a relaxed, gesturing set.  This second set *might* also be a little bendy, but the fingers wouldn't stay in other poses very well for me.  That's fine too - I hate those bendy hands, and these three sets of sculpted ones look so much better.  The hands swap pretty easily, and while the peg is really too short, it's a tight enough fit that the hands don't fall off as easily as some past releases.

He also has two masks, one black and one dark green.  These are supposed to work like the Nightwing's masks, snapping tight to his face and staying there under their own power.  This doesn't work nearly as well here as it did with Nightwing though.  These don't fit as tightly, and they tend to fall off or slip down his nose like a pair of loose glasses.  He looks better in them than out, but I wish the engineering had been a bit better.

Finally, he has one of the coolest grappling hooks I've ever seen.  This one looks like a flat batarang on a rope inside the box.  But take it out and you'll find that the flat section is actually two pieces.  Push down on the back section and it can be turned outward, making a complete grappling hook!  The spring holding the back half in place is nice and strong, and the movement is very fluid.  This is a terrific design!

Fun Factor - ***
He's not really meant for kids, but it's nice to know he still thinks of himself as a 'toy'.  The body is sturdy, as are most of the accessories.  Swapping the hands might be a bit frustrating for kids, and I don't think I'd drop this kind of cash on a figure for them to use in the backyard, but kids who have an appreciation for taking care of their 'collectibles' would enjoy getting this guy.

Value - **
I bought this one at my LCS.  And I paid $70 for it.  And it hurt.

These figures HAVE improved, no doubt about it.  But at that price point they are priced above Sideshow's offerings, and up in the neighborhood of some of the Hot Toys properties like Rocky or Rambo.  This figure is good, but he's not at that level.

I am giving them a bit of a break here though, because of the new body.  That doesn't mean they should be trying to make up the entire cost of developing that body on this first figure though.

If you pay around $55 for him, I'd add another half star.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Keep in mind that the masks don't stay in place as well as Nightwing's, and they could drop off when you're just moving him from one spot to another.  Losing them would be a major problem.

Overall - ***
I like Robin quite a bit more than I expected too.  Certainly not $70 worth, and that's what keeps this guy back from that extra half star.  However, had a) the masks fit better, b) the boots weren't quite so goofy and c) the butt sculpt had not restricted the hip articulation, I'd gave given him another half star even at the premium price.

Better yet, leave those things alone and give me this figure in the $50 - $55 range, and you get that extra half star as well.

The Deluxe line continues to improve, with sculpted hands and a great ball jointed neck showing up on Robin.  If DCD continues to make improvements to the line, I expect this line to turn out great in 08.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Outfit - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value -  **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Your local LCS might have him, but the prices can vary wildly. Sponsor options include:

- CornerStoreComics has him for $55.

- Amazing Toyz has him in at $55 as well.

- Alter Ego Comics has him at $59.50.

- or you can search Ebay using MyAuctionLinks.

- Related Links -
I've covered a number of the 13" Deluxe line:

- the latest was the two versions of Batgirl.

- before that was Batman himself, in the old school 70's outfit, Nightwing, a guest review of Catwoman, and my reviews of the Martian Manhunter, Two Face, Batman Begins and classic Batman

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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