Puppets of Crime

Hasbro has released another in their series of Toys R Us exclusive Batman Animated four packs - Puppets of Crime.  This time we get Batman (surprise!), Nightwing, Killer Croc, and the all new Scarface (and Ventriloquist of course).

The four packs, even with at least three repaints, have proven very popular, and we've been able to get characters like Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and now Scarface, who we might not have ever seen otherwise.

But they aren't for everyone.  You do have to buy three figures you most likely already own, even if they are repaints.  So the $20 price point for in essence a single figure can be a big turn off.

I've included the figures with the original paint schemes in each of the pictures for your comparison.  They are always on the right.

Packaging - ***
The boxes they are using for these are very nice with great graphics and mood.  They are collector friendly as well, and can easily be used to store the figures in the future.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I've always loved the animated style of Batman figures, and the design is timeless and classic, although it's only a decade old.

Both the Nightwing and Batman (who is really another quick change Bruce Wayne) are decent sculpts, and look just as nice as they did the first time around.

Killer Croc looks great - except he's not the TNBA style, but the original style.  That's because he's simply a repaint of course, but they used graphics of the newer style Croc on the box, just reminding me how much I wish that's what we'd gotten.  They lose sculpting points for teasing me.

The sculpt on the Ventriloquist and Scarface is excellent though, at least in terms of accuracy to the source material.  The level of detail is just right, and I love the expression on the face of the Ventriloquist.

However, there's other factors the come into play with the sculpting.  One of those is the pose, particularly with a figure like this.  Since the hands and arms of the Ventriloquist were sculpted to hold the dummy in a very particular pose, the overall body sculpt for both was crucial.  And here they dropped the ball.

Don't get me wrong - he holds Scarface easily, just like he should.  But because of the additional weight, you have to turn his body to one side, so there is no way for him to hold Scarface facing forward, and his torso has to be turned just to stay standing.  If Scarface could turn his head, at least you could have them both looking forward, but that's not possible due to the lack of articulation.

The second factor of the sculpting that is a bit wonky here is the scale.  While the size of the Ventriloquist is good, it seems to me that Scarface is a bit on the large side.  I may have to drag out one of the episodes to be sure though, as I might just be remembering incorrectly.

Paint - **1/2
The quality of the paint ops on some of these four packs has been borderline, and this one is no exception.  The eyes on Scarface were particularly sloppy on mine, and in general the lines on the figures were uneven and rough. 

But the biggest negative in this category is Killer Croc, who suffers from cheap self tanning cream disorder.  His torso is a distinctly different color from his arms and head, obviously due to the different plastics used.  It's very obvious on the shelf however, and detracts from the figure.  As you can see in the photo, at least the original version had a consistent skin color.

Articulation - **1/2
Most of these figures have the standard Hasbro five points - neck, shoulders, and hips.  The only new figure(s) in the bunch breaks the rule.

The Ventriloquist loses one point of articulation, with only neck, shoulders and waist.  He still stands fine, however when he's holding Scarface you have to get a bit creative.

Scarface is really just a pvc figure, and he really needs at least neck articulation to give you any posing options.

Accessories - ***
Everybody comes with something, and they are all pretty fun.

It looks like Scarface was the accessory for the Ventriloquist, although I think he'd have something to say about that.

Batman is really the Quick Change Bruce Wayne, and comes with the overcoat for his Bruce Wayne look, and a cape/cowl and wicked looking gloves for his Batman look.  They swap easily, and both outfits look decent.  I particularly like the Bruce Wayne look though, and I think the gray overcoat is a big improvement over the original red.

Killer Croc just comes with his little crocodile. It's made of soft rubber, and has a nice sculpt. You know, there's some real display options with a Killer Croc figure and one of those Steve Irwin figures...

Finally, Nightwing comes with his 'wing' shield, and a firing grappling hook that works fairly well.

Value - **
This really depends on whether you have three of these four figures or not.  I'm assuming you already own the Batman, Nightwing and Croc, and are only buying the set for the new figure.  Twenty bucks is a steep price to pay in that situation.  If that's not true, the value score goes up.

Overall - **1/2
If this was just the Ventriloquist and Scarface, the score would be higher, but I have to admit the failings of the overall set, particularly when it comes to value.

Where to Buy - 
These are a TRU exclusive, so you can pick them up at most bricks and mortar locations, or on-line at:

-, where you'll pay shipping but you'll be sure to get it.  (MROTW Affiliate).

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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