Batgirl - 13" Deluxe

Regular readers know just how hard and unrelenting I've been on the DC Direct 13" Deluxe line of figures.  The male figures have had a number of problems that will simply not go away, including the awful bendy hands, poor wrist joints, mediocre neck joint, and sometimes less than stellar costuming.  All this comes at a price equivalent to what Sideshow charges for much better quality.

DCD has already done one female figure in the series - Catwoman.  While I own her, I didn't review her.  The Batgirl will be my first complete look at the other gender, and while some of the issues of the male versions are corrected, there's a few here that belong only to the females.  Just like real life!

The Batgirl actually comes in two versions - the regular has the blue/gray/yellow costume, and solid plastic red hair.  The variant has the old school black/blue/yellow costume, with rooted red hair instead of sculpted.  The variant was also produced in fewer numbers, although I haven't actually gotten a handle on just how many of each were produced.

Expect to pay around $55 - $65 each for these, at least for the non-variant version.  The variant version is going to be a bit tougher to find at this point, particularly at the regular rate.

Packaging - ***
The boxes are decent, with good shots of Batgirl and a nice bit of text on the inside flap and back.  There's also a completely different box for the variant, with a photo of her on it instead of the regular version.  That's a big plus, since they could have just cheaped out and used the same box.

There are twisty ties used to hold her inside the plastic tray, and I'm not sure what's up with the weird library background used for her photos and for the interior cardboard tray.  I suppose it's there to give you a Wayne Manor feel, but it doesn't have the same impression of action that the ones included with some of the other characters did.

EDIT - as many of my less memory challenged readers pointed out, Barbara was a librarian back in the old days. Yea, but for me that just makes the background even worse. Because Bruce Wayne is a millionaire, do they give Batman the inside of an office as a backdrop? This is a Batgirl figure, not a Babs figure. They should have gone with something that implied action and danger - not her dull day job.

Sculpting - ***1/2
While the head sculpt is very generic, it still has an attractive yet capable appearance.  Both versions have a nice retro feel, and will go well with the recently released old school Batman.

The gray version has solid sculpted hair, and while it's a bit heavy, it doesn't get too much in the way of posing or with her ability to stand.  The hair has good detail work, and is a reasonable length.  In fact, I'm betting most folks are going to prefer the sculpted route.

The variant uses rooted hair, rather than sculpted.  I shot it without making any changes to it, to allow you to see how it comes out of the box.  Actually, in the box it comes with a nifty little hair net to try to keep it safe, but once you have it out of there it will lay down her back.  Not in a particularly attractive way, but from the front it will look fine.

Get yourself a small brush and work on the hair a bit and I'm betting you can get a very attractive look.  Make sure it's a fine brush though, because the hair is very fine, and you don't want to pull it out or give her the frizzies.  You might want to even try that spray that kids use on their hair to get out tangles, as it might make brushing it out easier.  However, if all the red dye runs out, or she ends up bald, it's not my fault.  I haven't worked on mine yet, so my suggestions should be taken with a grain of salt.  Perhaps one of my readers who are more accustomed to working with doll hair can give us some suggestions.

Unlike the male figures, the Batgirl actually comes with three sets of sculpted hands.  Thank you!  This works so much better than the God awful inflated surgical gloves that are called bendy hands that the guys are stuck with.  The hand sculpts vary a bit in their proportional quality - the fists are a tad small, while the open hands seem a tad big - but it's a minor quibble since I've been begging for this approach all along.

The head to torso proportion is good though, and is much less pinheaded than most of the males.  I was also expecting the bust to be way oversized, but I'm pleasantly surprised by it.  It's large, sure, but not nearly as Dolly Partonesque as I was anticipating.

The scale between this figure and the rest of the line is pretty good too, with Batgirl standing about 12 1/2 inches tall.  She'll tower over other sixth scale females - and most males - but she fits in fine with the 13" males in this line.

Paint - ***1/2
Both figures sport very clean paint work, particularly on the face.  The cut lines along the mask are clean, as are the lips and eyes.  The red hair on the regular version is nicely painted, while the yellow vinyl on both figures matches the painted yellow hands quite well.

There were a few stray marks on the hands, particularly on the variant version, but these were caused by the workers when they were packaging the figure.

As a final note for this category, the Bat symbol on both costumes, done as a vinyl appliqué, is clean, neat and very straight.  I personally prefer the larger version on the variant, but both look great.

Articulation - ***
The articulation on the female body is a step up from the males, but not up to the level of some of the other sixth scale producers in this same price range.

She has the usual - ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips, cut biceps and thighs, double jointed elbows and knees, pin/post ankles (I believe...I didn't want to take the boots off completely), cut waist, and ball chest.  The waist and chest work particularly well, giving you many more posing possibilities.  The only downside is those annoying cut wrists.

The ball jointed neck also has a solid range of movement, even with the sculpted hair on the regular version.  All the joints actually have a great range of movement (other than the wrists), but none of them hang quite as naturally as say, the Hot Toys female body. 

The cut joints on the arms and legs don't show up as badly on the females as they do on the males, either.  That's probably due to the less extreme definition in the muscle sculpt.

The big negative here is the cut wrists.  The lack of any ability to pose the hands (other than to turn them) ends up hurting how realistic the poses can actually be.

Accessories - ***
Both figures come with the same set of accessories.

There's a black display stand, with a nice Batgirl emblem on the base.  I'm never going to use it, but for those that like them (or live in earthquake zones), they are decent enough.

They both come with two additional sets of hands.  There's the fists that come on the figure, along with a pair of very open gesturing hands, and a pair of gripping hands to work with the accessories.

I'm THRILLED that they went this route, but they still have the too small wrist pegs and too small holes in the optional hands.  The fists pop on and off easy enough, but the other two are almost impossible to get on.  You'll probably have to bore them out a bit, but be careful since it's easy to over do it and make them too loose.  If these could actually fit well, the accessory score would have jumped a half star.

There's a collapsible batarang as well, and it's a nice, hefty size.  She can easily hold it in her hand, and looks great with it.

There's also a grappling hook with a long chunk of rope.  The hook itself folds in to the handle for storage and carrying - cool!

Finally, there's her Bat-purse.  It can fit on her belt, and opens.  It's made of a fairly cheap plastic though, and reminds me of the kind of accessory you would have gotten with a 1970's mass market toy.  Yea, that's not the kind of nostalgia I'm looking for at $60.

Still, had the great hands actually been easy (or at least easier) to swap, she would have gotten at least another half star here.

Outfit - regular **; variant **1/2
The big detractor on these figures is the outfit.  Unfortunately, while sculpt and paint on smaller figures are the major factors, on a sixth scale figure like this the outfit carries just as much if not more weight.

The capes on both look good, made from a nice quality material, with good stitching and decent tailoring.  I also like the body suit on both, which fits well and looks good.  As I mentioned earlier, the symbols are properly centered on the chest.

The big problems come with the vinyl pieces - belt, gloves and boots.  The boots are simply awful.  Really.  They thick vinyl is oversized and out of scale, and the fit is terrible.  They look like something a customizer did - and not a good customizer.  Companies like Hot Toys, Sideshow and Medicom find ways to make much more realistic looking clothing.  At this price point, they are certainly trying to compete with Sideshow and Hot Toys...and boots like these don't cut it.  Don't even get me started on the dopey zippers in back.

It doesn't help that one of the boots on my regular Batgirl came out of the box damaged.  The sole is bent down at the toe, and the toe is scuffed pretty badly.  Somebody had to rap her foot pretty hard on something else pretty hard to do this kind of damage - it shouldn't have made it off the assembly line this way.

The belt brings mixed feelings.  It photographs well, but in person it's huge, with a lot of space between it and her body.  It hangs low on her hips, made from vinyl and plastic, and was less impressive in person than it appears in my shots.  Looking at them, I was surprised at how good it actually looked.

The purse can sorta kinda fit on the belt, but it's a stretch.  The spacing on the two clips in back doesn't line up particularly well with the space between the cylinders on the belt.

Finally, there's the upper half of the gloves.  These are the best of the vinyl pieces, but they still left me a tad cold.  If the boots and belt looked better, I'd probably be a lot less harsh on the gloves.

Fun Factor - ***
I wouldn't recommend giving these to a six year old to play with, but they've kept true to their roots in most ways.

I found that while I had some serious issues with the outfit, posing her was a lot of fun, and she fits in great with the rest of the line.

Value - **
I'd feel great about paying $45 for these.  At $50, I'd give them a **1/2 star average rating.  But at $60, which is what you'll pay at most comic shops, you should be getting a better quality outfit.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Swapping hands is extremely tough, and should be done carefully to avoid damaging the arm or gauntlet.  Otherwise, you should be good to go.

Overall - regular **1/2; variant ***
Some folks are going to say I'm being too harsh - the head sculpt and paint are great!  Yes, they are, and I'm very happy with the accessories too, with the exception of the difficulty swapping the hands.

But I really, really hate the boots, and the belt is a close second.  In person, these two issues really brought the score down for me.  In fact, had these aspects been improved, this could have been the BEST deluxe figure they've done so far.

The variant scores a little better though because the black bodysuit with the large symbol looks better overall to me.  Sure, it still has the boot and belt issues, but the color of the outfit (along with the larger symbol) helps make up for it a bit. 

Some folks might have a real issue with the rooted hair - I can here the chorus of 'doll' ring out - but I don't have an issue with that.  If you do (and you happen to buy both) you can always switch the heads.  Or you can just take a little time, grab a fine brush, and give her that perfect doo.

While the issues with the outfit hurt the overall for me, it's worth noting that if you don't have those same issues (or if they carry less weight for you), the accessories, sculpt and paint are all solid.  The good news here is that the 13" deluxe figures ARE getting better with the last couple releases.  By the time they do the Joker and Harley, I'm hoping for a ***1/2 star figure.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Outfit - regular **; variant **1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - regular **1/2; variant ***

Where to Buy -
Your LCS may have them in, but they tend to charge higher prices.  At least the ones around me do.  Online options include:

- CornerStoreComics has the regular Batgirl for $55, or the pair of the regular Batgirl and the latest Batman for $105.

- Amazing Toyz has the same deal - $55 for the regular Batgirl or $105 for the Batman/Batgirl set.

- Alter Ego Comics carries the Batgirl for $59.49.

- Or you can check out the Ebay action by using to help you find her.

- Related Links -
I've covered a number of the 13" figures, mostly related to Batman:

- the last was Batman himself, in the old school 70's outfit.

- there's also Nightwing, a guest review of Catwoman, and my reviews of the Martian Manhunter, Two Face, Batman Begins and classic Batman.


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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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