Justice League Aquaman Maquette

DC Direct has done many things, but my personal favorite, at least to this point in time, are the Justice League Maquettes.  Based on the animated style of the show, there have been eight produced - Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Hawkgirl and now Aquaman.

Maquettes are intended to work as 3-D references for animators.  They are therefore in a relatively static pose, but that's part of the beauty of the style.  When the Warner Brothers stores were still around, we were treated to similar (although larger) maquettes of the Batman Animated world, but I think this size and price point are right on target.

You'll be able to find old hook hand at your local comic shops, or at many on-line retailers.  He just shipped last week, so he should be easy enough to find now, but these maquettes have been selling well, and with a run of 4500 I don't expect him to hang around for months.  The SRP is $90, although you can find them at much lower prices if you shop around.

Packaging - **
These boxes are fairly plain and straightforward.  Unlike the nifty Palisades boxes which allow you to see the Alien busts, or the nifty Sideshow boxes that let you view (or even display!) the Muppets busts, these boxes are meant to simply hold the statue and get it to you in one piece.  There's no way to see what your buying without opening it up.  There's also no COA, but the figures are numbered on the bottom of the statue.

Sculpting - ***1/2
These aren't complex sculpts, and to expect tons of detail would be incorrect.  That wouldn't be true to the source material.

Instead, these capture the simplicity and the beauty of the basic, angular, animated style.  The sculpt isn't soft, and does have the appropriate amount of detail and definition.

The only thing you may find distracting are the nipples.  Thank goodness they aren't painted a different color.  It's not that he shouldn't have nipples, it's just that it seems to clash with the rest of the design.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops are good, although there is a itsy bit of slop around the gold bands and belt.  Considering the price point, the paint application should be dead on. 

Design - ****
I love the animated style, so I'm going to have some bias here.  But this particular size - around 9" depending on the figure in the series - also seems to be a perfect fit.  At this scale you get enough detail and mass to feel as though you're getting your money's worth, but they aren't so huge as to cause display or storage issues.  Let's face it, when you have eight of them lined up they could take up quite a bit of space in a 12" or larger format.

DC Direct will also be doing a smaller version of these, about half the size and about half the price.  I'm not sure that this will work as well, since at that size I suspect people will feel that the price point - even when it is reduced proportionally - will be too much.  I'm not going to be interested in that scale, if for no other reason than I have no need for two of the exact same maquette, simply in different scales.

I also want to mention that the very solid base design works great, and even though he (and the other males in the line) are very top heavy, there's no fear of having him actually topple over short of a major earthquake.

Quality - ***1/2
I continue to be impressed with the quality of the series, and Aquaman is no exception.  He's very solid, with decent heft and few extremely thin or easy to break areas.  Even his hook has a nice thickness to it, and as long as you excersize a little care you should find that basic handling will pose no risk.

Value - **1/2
As the popularity of these has increased, so has the price.  While earlier maquettes had an SRP of around $75, you could easily find them at comic shops for as low as $60.  Finding this guy at least than $80 might be tricky, and at that price point the value is taking a hit.  While they look sharp, most of the run sizes (4k-5k) are high enough that the price isn't really warranted.

Overall -  ***1/2
While I wish they were cheaper, I can't complain about the quality or the design.  For the big Justice League fan, these are fantastic, and I can dream what it would have been like if someone had been producing a series of these back during the heyday of Batman the Animated Series.  There was a missed opportunity!

Where to Buy:
Your local comic shops should be getting this in. On-line:

- Boise River Collectibles has him for $81 plus shipping.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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