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Who’s watching the Watchmen? If you’re Warner Brothers, you’re hoping just about everyone. The film has gone through it’s share of complex issues, but it’s finally hitting the big screen on March 6th. I don’t know about you, but I’ll have my butt in the IMAX theater Friday night.

Since this is a DC property, it should be no surprise that the product coming out in conjunction is from DC Direct. They’re producing action figures in a psuedo 7 inch scale and a psuedo sixth scale, as well as busts and prop replicas. I’m checking out two of the first four action figures tonight - Rorschach and Nite Owl. The other two in this wave are the modern Silk Spectre and Ozymandias, reviewed over at Michael’s Review of the Week.

You can pick these guys (and girls) up for around $17 or so, depending on the retailer of course. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change, but I have some suggestions in the Where to Buy section that have the full set of four at just fifty bucks, or just $12.50 each. If you have any questions or comments, drop me an email at mwc@mwctoys.com, or hit my website at Captain Toy - Michael’s Review of the Week.

Watchmen series 1 - Nite Owl and Rorschach

Series 1 has been out for a week or two, and series 2 (with the Comedian, original Silk Spectre, original Nite Owl, and Dr Manhattan) has been hitting as well. There are also three variants that will be showing up at your LCS: a translucent Dr. Manhattan, old school Comedian, and unmasked Rorschach.

Packaging - Rorschach ***1/2, Nite Owl ***
Hey, they’re boxes. And the best part is they not only look great, and store easily for the MiBers, but they are also collector friendly. You can pull the figures out and just have to deal with a couple twisties - no need to actually damage the box or inserts in any way. That’s not true for the Ozy or Nite Owl figures, where the stand is blister sealed to the interior cardboard tray, but it is true for Rorschach and Silk Spectre. I don’t quite understand why they designed two this way and two the other way, but it may have something to do with the capes getting in the way.

Sculpting - Nite Owl ***1/2; Rorschach ***
This entire line exhibits great sculpts, with lots of good detail, and what appears to be a good match to the on screen counterparts. Of course, that’s tough to tell based on just poster photos and a few movie stills, but they’ve certainly captured the look of the costumes. The detail work on the Nite Owl outfit is excellent, but he does suffer from a slightly soft sculpt on his facial features. He’s the largest figure in this wave, standing about 6 3/4″ tall.

Rorschach is the smallest of the set, as he was in the comic. He stands about 6 1/4″ tall, a full half inch shorter than Nite Owl (and Ozymandias). He’s also the least articulated, so his sculpted pose is the most critical. That’s where he loses a half star for me.

The other figures in the line have a ball jointed neck to allow them to tilt, turn, and swivel. These joints work great on all the others, but for some reason DCD decided NOT to give Rorschach the same neck. Now, there might be a ball buried down there, but the neck works pretty much as a straight cut joint, allowing it to turn from side to side. Clearly, DCD knew that this was a shortcoming, since Rorschach tends to tilt his head…to compensate for it, they sculpted his head tilted. Yep, it’s sculpted in that tilted pose. Which means it looks good in only that one pose. Why did they do this? I have no idea.

Add to this the odd walking pose they went with on the legs, and I’m not feeling it. The sculpted details are still good, and I like the look of the masked face, but the figure is basically a statue, and the selected pose really ain’t doing it for me.

Paint - ***
The paint work is fairly clean, although at this price point it certainly should be. There’s some minor issues here and there, particularly with some gloppiness on Nite Owl’s face and a few fuzzy cut lines here and there, but it’s certainly B work.

The one aspect of the paint job that really does stand out though is the rorschach ’stain’ on Rorschach’s mask. It’s extremely well done, nicely centered, and looks terrific.

Articulation - Nite Owl **1/2; Rorschach *1/2
None of these figures is super articulated, but Nite Owl is much like Ozymandias and Silk Spectre, with better articulation than you might expect from DCD. He has a great ball jointed neck, as well as ball jointed shoulders that have a reasonably good range of movement. There’s single pin elbows and knees, T hips, and cut wrists. No, no cut waist…but then this is DC Direct we’re talking about.

Rorschach doesn’t fair as well as the rest of the series. As I mentioned in the sculpting section, he only has a cut neck joint. With the head sculpted in a tilt, it looks a bit weird in all but one pose. He lacks the ball jointed shoulders too, instead having simple cut joints. There’s single pin elbows and cut wrists, but there is no knee joint, and the legs are simply cut at the thigh were they meet the coat.

Accessories - Rorschach **1/2; Nite Owl **
None of the figures have a ton of stuff, but at least these two add one extra to the mix.

Each figure in the series comes with a small base. These bases have three holes in them, placed evenly across the surface. Two small pegs can be inserted from the bottom to allow the figures to stand on them, but the figures only have a hole in one foot each. Unfortunately, since the holes are evenly spaced, a character like Rorschach ends up standing in an off center way on the base no matter which hole is used.

Each figure also comes with a little bracket that appears to be designed to attach the bases to each other. At least that what it looks like to me - the packaging doesn’t bother to explain.

That’s all that Ozy and Silk Spectre have, but Rorschach includes his cool gun and an extra right hand to hold it, while Nite Owl has his version of the batarang that can attach to his belt. Is it an owlarang? Unfortunately, he can’t hold it particularly well in his hand, and it tends to fall off his belt, but as long as you can keep it in place, it looks fine.

I had some issues swapping hands on Rorschach, and ended up needing some hot water to do the job. The posts are very weak plastic, so twisting them or pulling them if they are stuck could result in tearing the hand off.

His gun looks great, but I did have some trouble getting it to stay in his hand. It’s not impossible, but it will take a little effort, and it tends to fall out once in place.

Fun Factor - **
These aren’t really designed for kids, even if Toys R Us is carrying them. It’s an R rated movie, starring characters that kids will have no background on. If one or two were gruesome and hideous, kids might enjoy them just for the monster effect, but these will just look like generic superheroes to them.

Value - *1/2
These figures will run you at least $17 if you buy the singles. At that price, you arent’ getting much - a 7″ plastic statue (albeit a good looking one) without much in the way of accessories. If you want the whole wave though, I have some suggetsions in the Where to Buy section that get the price down to about $12.50 each, which would get these up another star or so in the rating.

Things to Watch Out For -
I had issues with Rorschach’s right hand - the one that’s supposed to swap. Even twisting it was questionable, and the pegs on these are made from a fairly soft plastic. Rather than risk tearing one, just use hot water (which is what I did this time), or the old ‘freezer trick’ to free them up.

Overall - Nite Owl ***; Rorschach **1/2
Nite Owl turned out good, if a tad too statuesque for my tastes. Considering the high price point on these figures, they need something extra, either in accessories or articulation. Without it, I really can’t give Nite Owl better than three stars overall.

Rorschach doesn’t fair quite as well for me. He’s not awful, and I think the painted mask and head sculpt look great. But once again, at this price point I’m expecting that they step up their game, and I really dislike the sculpted tilt to the neck. If you’re cool with the concept that he’s pretty much a statue, and if you like the sculpted pose, then you’ll be much happier than I.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Nite Owl ***1/2; Rorschach ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - Rorschach **1/2; Nite Owl **
Accessories - Rorschach **1/2; Nite Owl **
Fun Factor - **
Value - *1/2
Overall - Nite Owl ***; Rorschach **1/2

Where to buy -
These are hitting some retailers, like Toys R Us (shocking!), but they aren’t cheap there. Even with shipping, your best bet might be some of the online retailers:

- Urban Collector has the singles for $17 each, but you can get teh case of 4 for just $50.

- Alter Ego Comics has series 1 or series 2 available for $55 for the set of four.

- Corner Store Comics has the singles for $15 - $18, depending on the figure, or the set of four for $55.

- Things From Another World has all the singles, including variants, for about $20 each.

- Clark Toys has the sets of four for $62.

- or you can search ebay using sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
I have a review of the other two figures in this first series, the modern Silk Spectre and Ozymandias, over at my site.

Comments:

11 Responses to “Toy Box: Who Watches the Watchmen?”

  1. yautjaslayer Says:

    If you boil the Rorschach figure in water (I know, may I be struck down by God for doing such a thing) you can get that tilt in his neck to go away and move his arms. he is all soft plasic so there is nothing that can brake.

  2. Tom Black Says:

    @ yautjaslayer:
    brake = a device used to slow or stop
    break = to reduce to pieces

  3. Parker Says:

    These figures are neat, but overall not worth $17 in my opinion. I picked up Dr. Manhattan last week at a Hot Topic, but almost every other figure on the pegs had shotty paint apps. Along with that, I’d rather not pay $17 for a figure that has almost no articulation and almost no accessories. While the sculpting is nice, I just don’t think the rest of the figures justify the price. Good review, though!

  4. Michael Crawford Says:

    Yep, it’s the price that really kills them. I reviewed the 13″ Deluxe Dr. Manhattan this week to:

    http://www.mwctoys.com/REVIEW_030609a.htm

    And the extreme price for what you’re getting kills him as well.

  5. Toy review roundup : Fanmode Says:

    [...] Michael Crawford reviews the DC Direct Watchmen Nite Owl (Modern) and Rorschach figures. Excerpt: “(Re: Rorschach) … the figure is basically a statue, and the selected pose really ain’t doing it for me.” (See also.) [...]

  6. bob Says:

    Saw the movie today-made me want to get these figures; although I do love Rorschach I don’t know if I’ll pay full price for him. But I might think about Manhattan, Owl, and possibly Veidt.

  7. RA Says:

    we sell these at our blockbuster for 15 even, and with my employee discount i only paid 12. rorschach is endearing enough to me to be worth it.

  8. James222 Says:

    Why the hell is Toys r Us selling the figures? Sure nothing is wrong with the toys themselves but when a kid buys these and then is told he cant see the movie they are in, what kind of message is that? Once they have the toys kids can recreate the rape, shooting of a pregnant woman and other brutal acts. These should have been comic shop exclusives

  9. Matt Says:

    Re: James222

    Oh shut the hell up, kids can get them if they want. What are you, the movie merchandise police?

  10. CHUCKY34 Says:

    unfortuenatly, he could be.

  11. Ty Says:

    Only paid 5 bucks on Amazon.com for each figure.

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