SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


DC Universe Classics Wave 18 (Part 1)
Bronze Tiger, Samurai, and Toyman

Golden Tiger DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel


Seems like forever since the last release of the DC Universe Classics, but now it's raining superheroes with the release of both wave 17 and wave 18 to retailers. I have both full sets here in front of me, and I'll be splitting up the large number of figures (six plus a BAF in each series) over the course of the next week or so.

I thought I'd start out of order, looking at wave 18 first. I'm covering Samurai, Bronze Tiger and the Toyman in this first part, and I'll hit up Captain Boomerang, El Dorado and Black Vulcan next week. I'll also cover the Collect and Connect figure of Apache Chief at that point.

Unlike at least some of the figures in past waves, this entire set is a truly a "Who the Hell is that?" wave. It's also one of the most ethnically diverse waves we've ever seen.

Samurai is best known for his introduction on the old Super Friends cartoon, as well as his action figure in the Super Powers Collections. Fans of the Super Powers series will enjoy his inclusion here, but others may be scratching their heads.

The Bronze Tiger is a master martial artist who is probably best known for his leadership of the Suicide Squad, but has had appearances in the comics as recently as Blackest Night, and on television on Batman: Brave and the Bold.

Toyman is a true Golden Age character, having first appeared in 1943. He's generally a Superman villain, but hasn't been around a whole lot in the last 30 years. He's made occasional appearances on some of the cartoons though, like Superman The Animated Series (and the Super Friends as well!), but not necessarily in this particular form. He's one of those characters that have seen quite a few revisions and versions over the last 70 years, and they went with Super Friends look, in keeping with many of the other DCUC releases.
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel

Packaging - ***
The little pin back buttons didn't last too long, did they? The package has some minor changes in the inserts, but the overall design remains the same. There's no twistie ties, which is a big plus, and only a handful of rubber bands.

Most importantly, I didn't have any damage to the joints caused by the design of the inner trays. This has been a big problem in the past, and I may see it when I crack open the other 9, but with these three things were good.

Sculpting - Samurai, Toyman ***1/2; Bronze Tiger ****
All three figures sport bodies that are based on the standard bodies used in the past. In some cases, like the Toyman, they've matched parts and altered articulation in just the right way to get the best possible look, while in others they simply added new costume pieces to existing bucks.

All four head sculpts (don't forget the tiger mask!) look good, although the Samurai needed a bit more detail in the huge eyebrows. They hearken back to their classic looks, and match up nicely style-wise with previous releases in the series.

All are in scale too, but the variation in body type - the taller skinnier Toyman compared to the squatter, stubbier Samurai, for example - makes them more visually interesting.

While it's clear that the tiger mask has the most detail work, the Toyman's head sculpt should not be overlooked. The slightly manic expression ties in properly with the wrinkles and creases in the cowl and mask, giving him that crazed but capable appearance.

All the figures stand great on their own, and they can also hold their accessories. The gripping hand on the Samurai isn't quite tight enough to hold the sword properly in every pose, but it's a small issue.

Paint - Bronze Tiger ***1/2; Toyman ***; Samurai **1/2
The overall impression that I get from this wave is one of slightly above average paint work for this style of collectible figure.

Toyman is a good example of that. There's a little fuzziness to the black/yellow and red/yellow cut lines, but it's minor. They went with a blue to black transition on the hat in an attempt to get that comic book coloring feel, but I'm not sure it really works. Still, all the colors are consistent and even, and the varied palette is certainly eye catching.

On the top end we have the Bronze Tiger, who has more small details thanks to tampo work on the costume and neck. The tampo style work means his cut lines between colors are very sharp, and the stripes on his face look excellent. The eyes and eyebrows are clean and even, but it's the exceptional work on the tiger mask/head that really ups his overall score. The transitions and shading between colors are excellent, and the wet appearance of the tongue and eyes lends realism to the overall appearance.

Then there's poor Samurai, who has some sort of weird skin tone problem. The face does not match the body - not even close. On top of the dark skin tone, his cheeks are blushed up even further, and the solid black eyebrows look like something a woman would have painted on in 1953.

The work from his neck down is much better, but it's basic enough that it can't override the issues with the face.

Articulation - ***1/2
All three of these figures have the usual articulation - ball jointed neck and shoulders, pin elbows, knees, and ankles, cut wrists, biceps, waist and thighs, hinged hips, and an ab-crunch. Toyman even goes so far as to add in a second pin joint on the elbows, allowing those long arms even more movement.

Nothing in the costumes or design particularly restricts the movement of the joints either, so you're getting about as good of posibility with these three as you're going to get with the series. While these might not be as highly articulated as some collector lines on the market right now, it amazes me how well these joints can produce a natural, flowing stance.

If I could add one thing, it would be rocker ankles, to allow the feet to stay flat on the floor in deeper stances, but that's a minor quibble.

Accessories - Bronze Tiger ***1/2; Samurai, Toyman ***; 
Each of these comes with a Collect and Connect piece to build the Apache Chief - two arms and a leg between them. If you're looking to build the big Indian, you'll be happy with that, but if you are only picking and choosing your characters here, the extra piece is a waste.

Samurai comes with one additional extra - his cool translucent sword. It doesn't fit as tightly in his sculpted left hand as I'd like, but it looks terrific nonetheless.

Toyman actually has two extras - his top that is also a bomb, and a deadly looking Yo-Yo. Since Yo-Yo's were weapons to begin with (and can put a mighty lump on your little brother's head, let me tell you), it makes perfect sense. He can hold both or either in his hands.

Finally, there's the Bronze Tiger, who is outfitted to the hilt. He comes with two short fighting sticks, as well as a longer bo staff. These fit well enough in his hands, and look great in a ton of poses. There's also a wicked sword, and it fits much better in his sculpted hand than does Samurai's. These are all re-used from previous figures, but they work perfectly here.

His best accessory is his mask, however. It's not really a mask in this case, but a completely separate head, which pops on quite easily. The detail work on the fur and fangs is amazing, and you can see just how much the Four Horsemen love sculpting animals. I think we've found us a mate for Queen Alluxandra.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
These are well articulated figures, with cool accessories and great sculpts. Kids will actually recognize a couple of them (perhaps) from their more recent television performances, but even if they don't, they are an excellent way to introduce them to the old Super Friends cartoons.

Value - **
At $18 or more a pop, these are just too damn expensive. I'd love to see the DCUC line blow past 20 waves, even with some of the goofy character choices they've been making, but at this price point it's hard to believe it will happen.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing this time around.

Overall - Bronze Tiger ***1/2; Samurai, Toyman ***;
The Toyman and Samurai have various minor issues, but nothing that's going to deter their real fans. The lovers of these characters will be pleased that they got action figures at all, and Super Powers collectors (and Super Friends fans) will be thrilled to add two more key characters to their display.

But the stand out is Bronze Tiger, even if you have no interest in the character. The paint and sculpt on the tiger mask, along with the well executed standard DCUC body, make him a terrific addition.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Samurai, Toyman ***1/2; Bronze Tiger ****
Paint - Bronze Tiger ***1/2; Toyman ***; Samurai **1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Bronze Tiger ***1/2; Samurai, Toyman ***;
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - Bronze Tiger ***1/2; Samurai, Toyman ***

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Big Bad Toy Store has the set of 6 for $100, or the singles for $17.

- Entertainment Earth has the singles for $18.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
There's been a metric ton of DCUC figures over the last few years:

- my most recent reviews covered the new Green Lantern waves: wave 2 part 2 and part 1, and wave 1 part 2 and part 1.

- Series 16 was split up too, into part 1 and part 2.

- I finished off wave 15 in two parts, one here and one here.

- and wave 14 was also in part 1 and part 2.

- the SDCC Plastic Man was the previous review.

- I split the wave 13 up into two sections, part 1 and part 2.

- I covered half of wave 12, but it took awhile to pick up the second half.

- prior to that was part 1 and part 2 of wave 11.

- big surprise, wave 10 was before that, with some here and some here.

- you can find wave 9 part 1 here, and part 2 over here.

- I split wave 8 up into two parts, one here and one here.

- prior to that was wave 7 (duh), which I covered here.

- I broke wave six into two reviews, one here and one here.

- no, I never reviewed wave 5, but prior to that was wave 4 which I also broke into this review, and this one.

- of course, prior to that was wave 3.

- I covered wave 1 in two parts, one here and one at here. It took me so freakin' long to find them, I never did review wave 2, but if you're looking for one, Kastor's Korner has a great review.

- last up in the DCSH figures were the Clayface and Bruce to Bats figures.

- before that was Mongul, who is also one of the best figures this year and Parasite and Steel

- don't forget the 12" version of the smaller Batman, and the 12" Cyborg Superman.

- in this smaller line, the fourth series was Superman themed, with Brainiac and Darkseid. There's also the Batgirl and Superman from the two packs. 

- there's the guest review of series 3 Batman and Azrael.

- a guest review of series 2 Doomsday, and another of the series 2 Superman.

- my review of the series 2 Bizarro and Supergirl.

- my review of the Batman and Killer Croc from wave 1.

- and finally, my review of Bane and Scarecrow that were released internationally as part of the old Mattel line, and then re-released with wave 1 of the DCSH.

- and while the aren't technically DCUC, the new Public Enemies figures are close enough for most of us. I split the review into part 1 and part 2.

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

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS!



Share this review with others! 
Google +1
 
Digg it!
 StumbleUpon Toolbar
Stumble It!
 
Reddit

Samurai DC Universe Classics dcuc wave 18 action figure by Mattel


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

This page copyright 2000 - 2011, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions! Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com