Flashback Figure Friday #0008: Robin

Hey, look at that, I missed another Friday.  Last week was pretty jam-packed, and I barely had the time to right Friday’s main review, much less a second feature.  Nevertheless, I apologize to all of you who were expecting one of these last week!

This week’s Flashback Friday Figure Addendum is actually less an addendum, and more me going back and finally writing a proper review for #0166: Robin.  Why?  You’ll see in a second.

Okay guys and gals, hang on tight. The site is about to go off! No, not like “off” off. It’s still gonna be here. It’s going off in a metaphorical sense, because today, we’ll be looking at one of the greatest entries into the world of action figures ever.

This figure hails from the very first Batman line released once Mattel had picked up the DC license. I know I’ve been hard on Mattel in the past, but it’s only because I’ve been trying to hold them to the standards they set for themselves so early into their run. You see, this Batman line was important, but not for the ways you think. Oh, sure the Batmen were cool and all (especially those sweet neon colored gun-toting variants!), but the real star of this line was Robin! So, let’s have a look at the greatest toy to ever grace shelves!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was the flagship figure of the first series of Batman. He was the real heavy hitter of the wave, there so that Mattel could take chances on the Joker and Martial Arts Batman. He stands about 5 inches tall, and has 10 points of articulation, which may seem like a low number, but they had to take that awesome sculpt into account. Speaking of that awesome sculpt: has Robin ever looked this cool before? I mean, they really out did themselves. I’ve always found that a bad head sculpt can ruin a great figure. In this case, Mattel has wisely chosen to leave off the head so as to avoid any potential issue. This is the first time I’ve ever truly believed that Robin could make people think he’s anyone other than Tim Drake. I mean, Tim Drake has a head and Robin doesn’t. Can’t be the same guy! I’d also love to commend Mattel on the body sculpt, which perfectly captures Robin’s physique. I mean, those muscles are so realistic! And the torso’s straight posture coupled with the relaxed muscles everywhere else? Perfection. I’m heartbroken to say that I lost the accessories included with Robin. He had his ever present Blade-Shield thingy with his logo on it, which was such an important staple of the character at the time. It even launched discs! Who doesn’t need one of those?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew as soon as I saw the prototype pictures of this figure back in 2003 that it was going to be the figure to own. So, naturally, I spent all my time searching for this figure at every nearby store, day and night. Eventually I found one, and after sucker punching a four year old and his grandmother to get it, finally the figure was in my possession!

Yeah, so this was my first April Fool’s Day post.  It’s almost quaint, isn’t it?  This review was more a joke thing than anything.  Now a days, I’d have written the review both ways, but the figure was quite incomplete at the time.  Since I finally found this guy’s freaking head, I guess I can actually review him now!

The figure, officially titled “Battle Board Robin,” was released in the first series of Mattel’s 2003 Batman line.  Robin stands about 6 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  The main hook of this line at the time was that they’d brought in the Four Horsemen (who had just helped Mattel relaunch Masters of the Universe) to sculpt most of the figures, including the Bat-variants.  There was one exception to this in the first series.  Care to guess who it was?  Yep, it was this here Robin figure, which was handled by Mattel’s in-house team.  In their defense, it’s actually a decent enough sculpt.  It doesn’t look quite as good as the  prototype did, but what figure does?  His muscles are sort of impossible, and I’ve always disliked how stiff he was, bit there are some nice things about the sculpt.  The boots in particular look pretty solid.  But how about that head that I finally found after all these years?  Well, full disclosure: the reason it was missing when I found him was because I had fully intended to replace it with another one.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t particularly good at sculpting at 12, so the replacement I made wasn’t much better.  Ultimately, this one’s okay, but not my favorite Robin head.  I think it’s got a lot to do with the hair, which just doesn’t really look like anything Tim ever sported.  Also, still missing from the figure is his cape.  It was just two pieces of fabric glued together, and was too thick and short to actually hang realistically.  It’s kind of exhibit A of why I prefer capes to be sculpted.  In terms of paint, this figure was fairly basic colors.  For some reason the gloves are black.  Don’t know why, never did.  The accents on the muscles and some of the other sculpted work actually weren’t standard to the figure; I added them around the time that I tried replacing the head.  I really wanted to salvage this figure for some reason.  His only accessory was his titular Battle Board, which was really just a disc launcher than he could also stand on.  It was an odd choice.

There’s actually not a particularly exciting figure regarding the acquisition of this figure.  He, Joker, and the basic (Zipline) Batman were all really hard to find when these figures started hitting stores.  I eventually found him at the KB Toys near where my family vacationed (I got him alongside some Star Trek: Nemesis figures.  Oh what a joyous day that was).  He’s not awful, but he’s also not super great.  The saddest thing is that Mattel never actually returned to this design for Robin (apart from an inaccurate repaint of the later DCUC figure), so this is the best there is from them.   

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