Thursday, April 7, 2016

A New Batgirl Review: Barbara Gordon (Surf's Up Joker variant) from Batman: Classic TV Series by Figures Toy Co.

 Before every early 90's sitcom did a "beach vacation" or Hawaii themed episode and before Fonzie jumped the shark on Happy Days, Batman had to best the Joker in a surfing competition. As crazy as it sounds, "Surf's Up! Joker's Down" has become one of the most well loved episodes of the classic 1966 Batman TV series and ever since the licensing rights became available for the series various companies have been eager to release product based on it. Figures Toy Company has based an entire series of four figures on the episode and today I'm looking at the one I picked up: Barbara Gordon! Yup, this is essentially just Yvonne Craig in the black swimsuit she wore in the episode, but that's a pretty random variant I don't think anyone ever expected to see, eh? Let's take a closer look after the break...

 The Facts:

Height: 8 inches

Articulation: Hinged ankles, hinged knees, elastic ball jointed hips, o-ring waist, o-ring mid torso, o-ring shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, o-ring neck, swivel head.

Accessories: Bathing suit and beach bag.

Non-Scalper Price: $30 dollars


 The Positives:

* I usually don't talk much about packaging on here but I'm making an exception since this packaging is intentionally reusable. There's a plastic zip-tie through the peg hole that says Figures Toy Co. Once you remove that you can easily open and close the durable plastic clamshell. There are some twist ties but a little work will allow you to keep your Barbara Gordon figure on display. I think she looks great in the package as it's very personalized for her with two pictures of her in this exact outfit from "Surf's Up! Joker's Down!"

* I'm not a fan of the Mego style but they really do have a pretty wide range of articulation built around a standard and easily reusable body. There's a series of rubber connectors inside that give the neck, torso, hips, and shoulders a lot of movement. If you've never held one in person the figure seems to be kind of a cross between a Marvel Legends figure and a Barbie.
 * Most of these Mego inspired figures reuse the same bodies over and over, so the outfits really make each release seem special and unique. Since this episode took place on the beach, Barbara was wearing a lovely black bathing suit which you can see in greater detail here. I think we can agree that considering the scale and style of these figures, Figures Toy Co. did a decent nice job of capturing the look of the bathing suit. It's not perfect but it's still recognizable and gets the point across.

* To give her something to tote around, Figures Toy Co. packaged Babs with an orange beach bag. It's a pretty nice accessory done in a plasticy, pleathery material that feels like an authentic beach bag. It's functional, too!

 * I'm really divided by Barbara's headsculpt as I have some pretty heavy criticisms of it, but first I do want to point out the positives: If you look at the headsculpt from the nose up, it's pretty good. The eyes, hair, and nose really capture Yvonne Craig's likeness. Even though this is done in a retro style, the likeness is still quite recognizable.
 The Negatives:

*The problem with this headsculpt is the lower half of the face. The first problem is that the jawline seems much too large and rounded. It really just seems far to oversized to work with the rest of the face. Secondly, Figures Toy Co. went with a rather odd expression. I wish they'd gone with a smile or something rather than this odd glare. Everyone was always so happy and silly in the 1966 series and that look would have been so much more fitting, especially for this episode.

* The hips on these figures often look weird, particularly if there isn't anything covering them like a cape, jacket, or skirt, or robe. These just look a bit odd in person.

*  This is probably just a molding error rather than a problem with every figure in the line but my Barbara had some really odd disfiguring on her right hand and wrist.
While we've recently seen toylines try to capture the appearances of retro toylines, I really think the folks trying to capture the Mego aesthetic have been at it the longest. When looking at these figures, you do have to keep in mind that they're going for something very specific and, considering that, I think they did a pretty good job here. While I'm still not nuts about the headsculpt, it fits the style OK and the rest of the figure is a pretty cool variant of something that I doubt anyone ever expected to see. This is an incredibly episode specific version of Barbara Gordon that also captures Yvonne Craig's likeness from some of her most well known fashion photographs. It's a Good figure and one that might not be for everyone, but that should be pretty exciting to collectors of Batgirl merchandise, 1966 Batman fans, and fans of 1960s pop culture in general. Figures Toy Co. keeps going deeper and deeper with this line and I'm eager to see what other wacky variants they think up in the future!

I've only reviewed two other Mego styled Batgirl figure on the site Batgirl from Figures Toy Co.'s Batman Retro: First Appearance and yesterday's 1966 Barbara Gordon. I've reviewed plenty of other Batgirl stuff, all of which is archived at my virtual Batgirl museum.

If you're looking for more stuff based on the Batman Classic TV Series, check out my reviews of:

Batman: Classic TV Series by Mattel (2013)
The Joker
The Penguin
The Riddler
Surf's Up Batman

Batman: Classic TV Series Bendables by NJ Croce (2014)

Batman: Classic TV Series Maquettes by Tweeterhead
Batgirl (Signature Series)

Batman: Classic TV Series Premiere Collection by Diamond Select Toys


  1. Its a little strange looking and thats coming from a collector who collects dolls and Mego's .Just something a little off putting about the entire thing, it looks more like one of the puppets from Thunderbirds then a Mego.

    1. Ahh! Thunderbirds! That's it! It definitely reminds me of something from Thunderbirds (or Team America: World Police).
      Good eye my friend!

  2. The Mego body has never looked good 'naked.' Which is why originals like Wonder Woman had full body skin toned outfits. I absolutely love the concept here, but I am not sure the product itself is able to live up to the ideal.

    1. Yeah, these are definitely more about the thought, novelty, and total package, not necessarily the final "look" of the figure.


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