Saturday, October 25, 2014

LEGION TOYS: Saturn Girl (Mattel 12-Pack)

Mattel 12-Pack Saturn Girl 
by David Weter

It was long-believed that female figures don't sell as well as male figures, and they were harder to make.

The second half seemed to be true for comic-based toys for most of the 80's and 90's. Teela never quite seemed shaped like a human, thanks to the ball-jointed legs. The Super Powers Wonder Woman looked a bit disproportionate while the Toy Biz Wonder Woman barely tried to get her curves right.

Lest I sound misogynistic- let me clarify that I am speaking of a natural, organic shape to a female figure, and not about the toy looking like it belongs on the cover of Maxim.

With all of that said, we come to the lone female figure in the Mattel 12 pack: Ms. Imra Ardeen.

It is a shame that there wasn't a second round of figures to diversify the boys' club feeling of the offerings. But, as one of the founding members, Saturn Girl was a must for this collection in my opinion.

Sculpt: Saturn Girl seems to be an original sculpt, through and through. In terms of scale, she is visibly smaller than her male counterparts, but proportionate.

Her arms feel a bit frail, though. This owes more to the soft plastic, and pins, rather than size.

Her face is highly detailed, with distinctive cheekbone structure, and a determined expression on her face. It doesn't give the idea that she is intense, or brooding, but more like she is concentrating.
Her hair is swept back, and makes her look a bit dated. A straight cut would have made her more interchangeable with any point in the timeline, but here she looks straight out of the Sixties.

Another note is that she wears her standard pink and white jumpsuit. While most of the line seems to root its costume choices in the Cockrum/Grell era, Saturn Girl did not come in her disco-stripper uniform.

This was a good choice, because this uniform straddles the eras much more gracefully.

The mid-section of the figure is the weakest link- literally. With the male figures, the joint that attaches the chest to the abdomen looks a bit more seamless, and integrated into the figure.

Imra, however, looks disjointed a bit, with gaps at her sides for the movement. It definitely takes the figure down a peg.

Yet, the seamless integration of the edges of the tunic with the waist balances out the figure's quality, and successfully hides awkward leg joints, but hinders the figure a bit in articulation.

Articulation: Speaking of articulation- Saturn Girl shares the multiple points made popular by the line. The catch-22 is that the arms feel fragile thanks to that soft plastic.

The legs are hindered by the fringes of the tunic, and her head feels constricted by her longer hair.

Sure, the joints are there, but they don't have a lot of use. On the plus side, she easily stands on her own power, without suffering the bane of ankle joints.

What we lose in movement, we gain in the field of display, since she doesn't topple over and take every other figure with her.

Again, that mid-section joint doesn't serve a purpose, and could have been omitted this time.

Paint: Saturn Girl's face looks perfect in terms of color and complexion. Too often quality control is a losing battle with some figures on shelves: eyes get mis-painted or logos get put in the wrong place.

But, despite Mattel's offerings on shelves now, such as their Multiverse line, featuring many a lazy-eyed Michael Keaton Batman, this 12 pack caters to the adult collector, and nails the quality.

The uniform is all matte, which is spot on. I think the gloss of some of the gloves and boots used on other figures would have lessened the vibrancy of this costume's colors.

Even without the sheen of reflective paint, Saturn Girl stands out when displayed with the other figures from the 12-pack, and she tends to draw the eye to her. This was an inspired choice to keep the costume radiant, but understated, letting it look natural.

The only weak spot in the paint is in the upper leg, where the more sturdy plastic of the torso meets the softer plastic used on the arms- there is a noticeable difference in texture, which creates some color differentiation.

It's not noticeable from a display standpoint, but it really stands out when looking closely at the figure.

Overall: Imra isn't the weakest figure in the bunch, but suffers from Mattel wanting to keep the many joints rather than focus on display quality.

For a company that was squarely, and successfully, catering to a specific collector market, this was a bad call. Mattel should have known better. These aren't going to be the toys that get played with, they are the ones sitting on shelves.

The comparative scale to the other figures, and the natural hues of the costume make this figure stand out in a group, but when handling it, she feels like the materials put into the figure are of a lesser quality.
Yet her face and the natural shape of the figure stand out in the end, making her an above-average female figure, and an average offering from the normally high quality DC Universe Classics line.

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