I don’t think I’ve ever made a secret of the fact that I’m not a fan of the Tim Burton Batman movies, but even so, I always thought Michelle Pfeiffer was perfect for Catwoman, and I enjoyed her unhinged performance and her trash vinyl costume in Batman Returns. So getting my hands on NECA’s ¼ scale “Cat” was pretty exciting. NECA has great designers and great artists; they make great collectibles that are considerably more affordable than a company like Hot Toys (which I love), and which have a high playabilty factor because they are designed specifically to be durable.

She’ll run you anywhere between $100-$130 dollars depending how shrewd of a shopper you are, and she stands an impressive 18 inches tall (she towers like an Amazon over my ⅙ scale toys).

Unboxing

The box is a box. It’s fun enough, with a plastic view window, and some cheeky cat artwork. As in the movie, rather than call her Catwoman, she is merely labeled “The Cat”. If you’re a sane person who buys toys to, you know, actually play with them rather than leave in them in suspended animation and thereby failing to fulfill their ultimate purpose, you’ll want to sit down with a lot of patience (and maybe some small wire cutters) to liberate The Cat from her cardboard entombment.

Because, on the one hand, she’s very snugly packaged with little concern of damage in shipping or jostling about. On the other hand, she’s very snugly packaged with about a dozen or more points of restraint–those little wire fasteners that are twisted about 187 times on the back of the cardboard. Some of these might be able to be snipped once you untwist and loosen them, but they are generally pretty tight and it took me a long time and some frustration to get this Cat out of the box.

Appearance

But boy is she worth it!  The Cat is an interesting amalgam of plastics–hard and soft, as well as other interesting media: implanted loose strings on her haphazardly sewn (plastic) costume, and acrylic hair on a second sculpt that’s wonderfully crazy. The little string details are especially nice; they could have just added them to the mold of the plastic as the rest of the stitching is. The fact that they stand out gives her an added touch of realism.

At first I thought her non-wrecked sculpt didn’t quite look Pfeiffer enough and the way the “make-up” is painted on seemed a bit cartoonish. But actually, it’s spot-on and the likeness is quite good. The crazed version with the hair is even better, though. She has a great scowl and her eyes are nicely piercing. Straight out of the box I thought her hair would be a nightmare to deal with, but actually, after a few taming combs and a little time out of the plastic, the hair relaxed nicely–as much as you would want it too, at least, since it is supposed to be kind of crazy. The hair is nice enough that if you decide you want to control it a little more, you can always use a wee dab of conditioner to tease it into place.

The corset is a separate piece that helps hide the joints and joins of the harder plastic upper body from the more flexible hip area. All-in-all, the joints are very well concealed (the fact that she’s all in black helps too). The use of a softer plastic in her lower body is an excellent design feature since it allows her the widest range of motion in her legs without making the crotch area look awkward.

Play Value

In addition to the alternate sculpt (which is super-easy to switch out), The Cat comes with an extra set of hands, her little cat taser, and a wire cloth-covered whip.  Her hands are quite impressive, and again, demonstrate thinking designers who actually build this thing for play. The delicate needles on each finger are a softer plastic that bends easily so there’s no risk of snapping off little pieces while changing her hands, posting her, or making her hold her accessories. And the detail on those little hands is phenomenal!

The whip is maybe the least impressive item in the box. The wire is rather kinky and it takes a lot of smoothing to get a nice look from it. The blunt end on the cloth tip is also just kind of, well, blunt–and the cloth itself is rather dull.  I like that they wanted to whip to be fully poseable and the handle is nice, but the rest of it is a bit lackluster. Especially compared to the details on the other pieces.

She also comes with a tiny stand.  Given her wonderful screen-accurate stilettos, you would think she’d be hard to get on her feet, but I found her relatively easy to balance even without the stand. She’s heavy, so it does take some practice, but again, she’s been designed well and her ankles pivot enough to assist. The little stand is nothing special, but it does help as well if you’ve planning to pose her and leave her on the shelf for the long haul.

My one warning is that her joints are tight and sharp. I pinched my fingers and palms every time I repositioned her legs and that was not fun. So mind where you put your hands when you move her around or else she might bite you!

Recommended If…

  • You’re a big fan of the Burton franchise!
  • You like higher-end toys that won’t totally break the bank.

Overall

With two very nice sculpts depending on your mood, and exquisite detailing throughout, this Cat is an awesome addition to any Bat collection. She’s solid in your hand, built to be durable and playable, though keep your fingers clear of her joints! Quarter-scale is a large format, so she needs lots of room to prowl, but don’t be surprised if you find her the kind of gateway to more figures–not only from this franchise, but in this scale!  Fortunately, NECA has what you’re looking for. Go forth and spend confidently!

SCORE: 9/10