The Batman: The Animated Series Penguin sculpted by Irene Matar is a too round in both head and body. There’s a line between a little tubby and rotund and this sculpt crosses it. Oswald Cobblepot looks all right from a profile view, but looking at him dead-on just doesn’t match with his design from the cartoon. The head is just too spherical. I like the paint job on this figure and the rubbery/vinyl texture of the coat and the flexibility his long hair is a nice touch as well. However, I wish that the top hat was removable rather than being a permanent part of his head. The monocle is okay, but it’s missing the accompanying chain, and the dab of glue on my figure’s monocle might be distracting for some. I almost think that, given the more exaggerated look of Penguin’s magnified eye in the cartoon, the creators of this toy would’ve been better off painting the monocle on.
You’re not going to see an incredible amount of articulation from Penguin or Mad Hatter, but they aren’t terribly physical characters to begin with so relaxed poses match their personalities perfectly. Penguin can look left and right, but not up or down. Arms rotate and there’s a single hinge at the elbow, but it’s difficult to make that joint budge. There’s no midsection articulation, he has T-crotch legs, but he’s so fat that you don’t get a whole lot of forward or back movement– again, not a big deal since this is the Penguin we’re talking about here! No pegholes are found on the feet, either, but he’s a remarkably stable toy due to his heft. In fact, due to his unique shape and size, Penguin is one of the only animated figures in the DC Collectibles series that can be displayed confidently without the included clamp stand. He’s not toppling. And, really, he’s so wide that the plastic clamp stand can’t reach around his girth anyway.
In addition to the translucent clamp and white base decorated in images of the original character design, Penguin also comes with a few accessories. You get three pairs of flipper hands (grip, closed, and open), two umbrellas (closed and open), and a teacup with spoon. The teacup and spoon might seem like an odd choice, but each of these figures boasts an episode-specific design and this particular Penguin has been created in homage to “The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne.” At the end of that episode we see Penguin stirring his tea as he sits aboard a plane.
I preferred the closed umbrella over the open one as the open umbrella just couldn’t stay in Penguin’s grip, and I thought that the closed/cane-like umbrella looked more attractive. As for the teacup and spoon, they’re fine and dandy, but I would have much preferred Penguin’s trademark slender cigarette holder.
The Mad Hatter
Jervis Tetch is sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios and they do a fine job of capturing Hatter’s likeness from the episode “Mad as a Hatter.” The paint job is a perfect match to the cartoon as well and I liked that the over-sized bowtie and coat had a rubbery texture and flexibility to them. Unfortunately, like Penguin, Mad Hatter’s top hat is not removable and is a permanent part of his head. The head is not all that adjustable either since the high collar is crafted of hard plastic that limits movement from left to right or up.
As far as the rest of his articulation goes, Mad Hatter’s arms are separate from the big blue coat so as not to restrict rotation. Elbows bend and swivel, and there actually is a waist swivel as well. However, the coat is so long that you’re quite limited with the legs, which can’t bend all that far at the knee. Shoes have pegholes at the sole and ankles do bend and swivel, but you’ll absolutely need the stand to keep him upright if you play too much with the placement of Tetch’s feet.
Accessories include the usual figure stand with illustrated base and translucent clamp. He also comes with interchangeable hands (closed, open, and grip), plus episode-specific accessories such as as the Queen of Hearts’ axe and a colorful control panel with microphone (he used this to manipulate the playing card maze at the “Mad as a Hatter” climax). These look quite accurate, but I’m not sure how exactly you’d go about displaying Tetch with the control panel without engineering a separate stand to bring the controls up to a reasonable height. I would also suggest snagging the teacup and spoon from the Penguin figure and giving it to Tetch– it just makes sense.
Both figures look great on a shelf and can easily be found for under $20 each, which is a very fair price. I think that the sculpt of Mad Hatter is the more accurate of the two, but Penguin will look fine if you display him in a side angle pose.