Guardians of Gotham 4 Pack

Hasbro has been producing a series of four packs of their animated figures for the past couple years.  These four packs usually consist of at least three repaints, and something new - at least when they're really clicking they do.

This time we get the Guardians of Gotham - Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl and our big thrill, Commissioner Gordon!  Fans of the animated series have been begging for a Gordon figure for literally years, and now with the line winding down, we've finally gotten one.  Better late than never!

All these four packs have been Toys R Us exclusives, and this one is no exception.  All the four packs have also sold extremely well, so if you have a hankering for this set, I'd pick it up when I saw it.

Packaging - ***1/2
The box is the same as the previous four pack releases.  The artwork on the back is great, and the text explains all the characters.  The front allows you to see the figures and their accessories without having to open it up if it's your thing to stay with MIB, and you can also open it up pretty easily and remove everything without damage.  Overall, these four pack boxes are some of Hasbro's better work.

Sculpt - ***1/2
The sculpts on all four figures are great.  Of course, we've already seen this Batman, Batgirl and Nightwing more than once, so the real focus here is the Gordon.

He's excellent - the head sculpt captures Gordon perfectly, and the slightly overweight but still tough body looks just right for the animated style.  His hands are sculpted to hold guns, but fortunately not the awful guns he comes with.

The other three figures are also great sculpts.  All four figures stand well on their own, which has been a problem for this particular Batman figure in the past.  He has skinny ankles - I suppose it runs in the family.

Nightwing is a slightly different sculpt than the previous version - no hole in his back this time, and his legs are close together.  See the picture below for a comparison.

Articulation - **1/2
It's Hasbro articulation.  Five points - neck, shoulders, and hips.  Yes, we all wish there was more, but for the animated style it's acceptable.

Accessories - ***
Here's a bone of contention - some of these accessories I really like, but others are simply terrible.

Let's start with Gordon - the guns he comes with are huge!  They are Joker accessories, and look cartoony as you'd expect.  Oddly enough, his body sculpt includes a gun in his shoulder holster which is the right size.  I swapped in the gun that came with the newer Two-Face figure, and it works great.

The other awful accessory comes with Batgirl.  This stupid projectile weapon has been used a couple times before, and hasn't aged gracefully.  On top of that, the colors used here are simply ugly.

Nightwing comes with a couple nifty accessories, re-used as they might be.  The grappling hook gun is great for play value, and the hang glider that he can hold in his hand has some terrific graphics of the various villains on it.

Now for the big surprise - Batman's accessory is really cool!  Okay, so lots of folks hate these bizarre colored items, but his big orange snapping trap has terrific play value!  It works smoothly, and is great fun - something accessories for toys like these should always be.

Paint - **1/2
Poor paint ops is the greatest weakness of this set.  The Batgirl's I saw had black bleeding into the back of her eye liner.  Maybe it was intentional, but it doesn't look that way to me.  On top of that, the bat symbol on her chest is a slightly darker yellow than the rest of her outfit.

While I don't think it was a mistake, the other odd paint scheme is her cape, cowl and uniform.  The cape and cowl are the blue they used on the Wind Blitz Batgirl, while the rest of her costume is black, like the previous four pack Batgirl.  Why?  The contrast between the cowl and the costume looks odd.

Nightwing's paint work was fine, and I think this version is the best they've produced.

Gordon's paint ops have one major failing - where the hell are the whites of his eyes?  Without any paint, they certainly look odd, and I haven't seen any of the Gordon's with them painted properly.

Batman has a slight paint change as well from his previous incarnations.  Along with a slightly lighter shade of gray for his uniform, the inside of his cape has been painted this same color.  Others have complained about this, but I like it.  From a defensive standpoint, it makes excellent sense - if his costume and the inside of the cape are the same color, his body parts won't stand out against it so well, and he'll make a worse target.

Quality - ***
Hasbro quality is actually pretty good most of the time.  While they may not always have the best articulation, their figures do tend to be sturdy and well made.  The only quality flaw here has already been covered in the paint ops.

Value - ***1/2
Four figures, one of them brand spanking new, with accessories, for twenty bucks.  It's not the single greatest value ever seen in the aisles of Toys R Us, but it's not bad.

Overall - ***
This could have been the best four pack so far - with the new Gordon figure, and the improved Nightwing, it was posed for greatness.  Unfortunately, the paint problems and some of the accessory choices ended up hurting what otherwise could have been truly amazing.

All in all though, it's still a great set, and for the Gordon figure alone any animated Batman fan should pick it up.

Where to Buy - 
These are Toys R Us exclusives, so you'll need to hit your local store or check out Amazon.  Previous 4 packs have hit there as well, and perhaps if you still have a WB store around you might get lucky there.  But with the swift demise of the WB stores, I wouldn't count on that one!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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