DC Direct 13" Catwoman

"The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

AFR checks in tonight with a review of the DC Direct Catwoman.  This review is a bit different than'll see what I mean.  Take it away, AFR!

Sexy. Sultry. Tight. Black. Stretch. Vinyl.

And deadly as heck with a cracking whip in hand.

This is none other than Selina Kyle aka Catwoman.

Packaging and Accessories/Costumes/Outfits: **½/ ***
DCD 13” packaging has been relatively uniform throughout the series of figures that have come out of this line. The package reminds me of a book with a Velcro “cover flap.” When you open up the “book,” you’ll see a window that displays the figure, along with her accessories. The uniformity makes it nice during storage because all the boxes are about the same size.

Selina comes with a rather impressive “arsenal” of accessories: a diamond, a furry looking thief’s bag, a device which online folks have called her diamond cutter (?), her trademark whip, her goggles, and last but not least, Isis, her lovely black and white cat. Oh, and let’s not forget her additional sculpted hands. They’re solid vs bendy hands this time, and I think it works really well for Selina. No paint flaking challenges here.

So why the relatively low score? It’s her costume. Apparently, the stretch vinyl DCD decided to use on this appears to be of a lower grade – probably only 2-way stretch vinyl – and that just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. 4-way stretch vinyl is far more superior to the old-school 2-way, and although it costs a little more, it lasts a heck of a lot longer and allows for proper poseability. 2-way does not. I would’ve paid an extra $3-5 bucks just to get that feature in Selina’s catsuit. If it was a matter of reasonable cost versus higher quality, I pick higher quality any day of the week. As a result, I gave Selina an outfit upgrade, which I think suits her quite well.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The leather jacket shown with Selina is part of AFR's 'outfit upgrade' and does not come with the figure.

**Note on review pictures: Special thanks to Shaun Wong for donating a few of his pics of Selina in her original catsuit. You can check out more of his pics and review at his blog.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Selina is the first in a line of many female DC characters that will eventually inhabit this 13” base body. When I first saw prototype pics of this body, I was not impressed. Well, my opinion on the body now has changed for the better. Whether it was lighting, the red color of the ABS proto body, or perhaps some tweaks they made to the body after showcasing the prototype, DCD’s current 13” female base body is pretty impressively sculpted. I especially love her, erhm…”endowments.” Had they included nipples to her boobs, I would die a happy man! In any case, Selina’s boobs are squishy vinyl, similar to the Takara/BBI Cy Girl soft-boobed chestplates. (Other companies like Obitsu and Volks also have bodies with this “squishy-boob” feature.) My theory on this: DCD will swap out different-sized boobs for different-proportioned female characters. Either that, or they must really think we collectors are a bunch of pervs…and they would be right. At least for me. (o:

As you can tell from the pics, the hands, the bare feet – all the other curvy parts of her body – they flow very smoothly continuously throughout. I love the look of her calves – not too bulky and not too “Mugeny” (gotta be a Samurai Champloo fan to get what I mean). Even her knee and elbow caps look sexy to me.

The female base body is pretty broad shouldered as well. Again, we can attribute this to the fact it’s going to be used in an apparently long line of female DC characters, so some concessions need to be made to accommodate as many different-proportioned superheroines and villainesses as possible. (Wonder Woman, anyone?) Having said this, the broad shoulders still look fine on Selina.

Paint - ***1/2
Selina looks hot, plain and simple. Others will gawk and squawk and do whatever else to disagree, so have at it. I, however, dig her, and the paint apps to her head sculpt – where a majority of her paint apps appear – accentuate her beauty even more. The green eyes (isn’t Selina blue-eyed like Bruce Wayne?), although comic-inaccurate, I believe, still look good on Selina’s face. She also has a sexy smirk, a trademark expression of Catwoman. As far as the cowl, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how they painted it – if they painted it at all – or how they pulled it off so well. It’s got that black stretch-vinyl/latex look and feel to it, and I’m just boggled by how well it looks.

Scale - ***
Selina is tall. She kinda has to be to accommodate her base body’s use in future installments of superheroines and villainesses from the 13” DCD universe. With her boots on, she measures about 12.75 inches up to the cat ear tips on her cowl mask. She’s taller than my Takara Batman Begins figure, for pete’s sake, so that just takes the fun out of posing the two of them together. She is well scaled for the DCD 13” universe, though.

*Note: I was going to go back and take additional pics of Selina with other figures for size/scale/height comparisons, but my digicam took a dump before I could snap them up. (I’m going through my second wave of digicam withdrawal right now.)

Articulation - ** ½/***
Yes, Selina has some mighty fine articulation that blends quite nicely into her body sculpt. Yes, she debuts the beautiful curves of the DCD 13” female body splendidly. Yes, I am okay this time with the fact she only has mid bicep twists instead of the “mid bicep swivels” ala Toy Biz Marvel Legends. Yes, she can pose pretty darn well. And it also helps that she is well-endowed, being the boob man that I am. (Just call me Mr TMI. (o: )

On the other hand, my particular copy of Selina had a frozen-solid ab crunch joint. Because she’s made of ABS plastic that’s been snapped and glued together, I cannot effectively use the “freezer technique” – ultimately to help me loosen up the joint – in fear of completely fracturing the figure body itself under the cold temperatures. Selina’s neck joint has left a rather undesirable aftertaste as well. It reminds me of a variation of a bobble head in that when you attempt to pose her looking up, down, or left or right tilt, she bounces right back to home position. She essentially has a ball-jointed neck that can only twist left and right. Sucks. (And I have a feeling Michael would agree with me on this one, being the ball-jointed neck connoisseur that he is.) And finally, Selina’s got some mighty loosey-goosey hip, lower thigh twist, ankle twist, and ankle hinge joints. In a perfect world, I’d be able to take some of the frozen joint properties in the ab crunch and transfer it to the other loosey-goosey leg joints and balance things out.

Welcome to the real world, AFR.

Onward once again, to the articulation breakdown:

• semi-functional ball-jointed neck
• fully-functional ball-jointed shoulders
• mid bicep twists
• double elbows
• twist wrists
• mid-torso crunch (mine was locked up and cannot move to save me)
• waist twist
• ball-jointed waist (I think I forgot to mention this in the Supes review, my bad)
• mostly-functional ball-jointed hip (she can do side splits but not front splits, hence, the “mostly-functional” comment)
• lower thigh twists
• double knees (I like the way they did it to blend smoothly into the leg sculpt)
• lower calf/ankle twists
• ankle hinges

Again, I am still bummed Selina does not have her ab crunch joint available to me. I was sooo looking forward to posing her in a cat stretch, but that is unlikely to happen with my copy of her – unless I do some major risky frankensteining on her, and I’m not ready to do that just yet. Maybe at some point later on, I will, and for now, I’m okay with her the way she is. (Just don’t tell that to your 1:1 lady, she’ll have you sleep on the couch for the rest of the century!)

Fun Factor - ****
Uhm…I could really make this into a very “naughty” segment, but then again, in my eyes, this is a family-oriented review site, so I will be good. (o: Seriously, Selina is a lot of fun to pose and play with. She is like a well-endowed, kick butt, sexy Barbie doll who will whip you if you ever make any other future comparisons between her and those skinny blonde dolls. As far as recommending Selina or any of the other figures to kids…I just can’t do it. I was one of those anal-retentive kids who gingerly posed and played with my figs and then bagged them and stored them in a cool, dry place afterwards – never took them to play in the mud. Kids, in general, will wanna do that with these, and I would simply cringe at the thought of seeing a kid getting Selina all scruffy looking. Still, there might be something really sexy about that whole dirty, mud-wrestling…well, I digress.

Value -  **½/***
I am grateful these figs are coming in at about the $60-70 range (factoring in s/h, taxes, etc.). Yes, they could be $5-10 less, but then we wouldn’t be living in this grand capitalistic society that has afforded so many of us such luxurious lifestyles that we get to spend disposable income on 13” pieces of plastic. (o:

Overall - **½/***
Having looked back at my first review of DCD’s 13” Supes, I must say my personal copy of Selina fell a bit short from the Man of Steel. Because of her wonky locked-up and loose joints, funky ball-jointed neck, and potentially dubious stretch vinyl catsuit, I can’t justify giving her extremely high marks in this overall category. Please understand: I still dig Selina and enjoy posing and playing with her. The inner toy geek perfectionist in me, on the other hand, wants this fig to rock hard, and it just doesn’t do it this time. Again, DCD needs to pay attention to those details that will make this figure line really shine consistently throughout – proper joint tightness, functional range of motion (as in the ball-jointed neck), quality material use for costuming, among others. I hope DCD listens to us fans and finds cost-effective ways to do this, so they can still make money, while we fans can continue thoroughly enjoying a quality line.

Score Recap:
Packaging and Accessories/Costumes/Outfits - ** ½/***
Sculpt -  ***1/2
Paint -  ***1/2
Scale - ***
Articulation - ** ½/***
Fun Factor - ****
Value -   **½/***
Overall - **1/2/***

Where to Buy -
I picked Selina up through Jake at Amazing Toyz. CornerStoreComics carries her, and most likely, any number of other online options that I’m sure Michael has a list for. I’ve only seen my LCS carry one or two of the DCD 13” figs, probably because most folks get them online these days anyways.

Figure from the collection of AFR.

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