Review : Alfred Pennyworth Gotham Select (Diamond Select Toys) Wave/Series : Series 2 Released : March 2016
£19.99 - £22.99
Alfred Pennyworth, faithful butler to Bruce Wayne, is the 3rd figure from Gotham Select's 2nd series of releases - hitting stores in March/April 2016.
Alfred, like all the Gotham figures, arrives in the Diamond oversized blister/box packaging with the usual visually impactful left hand art panel and with a full image of the figure on the card back along with a paragraph about Alfred and how he fits in the show. The card back also sports a checklist of the other figures in series 2 - Detective Harvey Bullock and Ed Nygma.
Out of the box and Alfred comes with a pretty substantial diorama piece which we will look at a little later. There are no other accessories included.
Alfred stands a touch over 7 inch which is a little under Sean Pertwee's 6ft stature, but this is not hugely noticeable in amongst the other figures.
As a collector of Dr Who figures, and knowing how difficult it was for that line to capture his fathers face (Jon) I didn't expect a perfect likeness for Alfred. The sculpt does a job but lacks a bit of definition where Sean has a very rugged look. Alfred is one of those odd head sculpts that looks very different from different angles, and doesn't photograph all too well.
The paint on the head does very little to work with the sculpt, and is pretty poor in areas. The skin tone does have depth and works well from most angles, but they have then gone with very heavy - almost mascara made up - eyes and huge floaty eyebrows. The hair is also two stark in contrast, its too brown and dark on top and then two light at the sides and the change between the two is a crisp line with no blending from one colour to another.
The rest of the body is a sculpted 3 piece suit and is presented in a plain black matt finish. The waistcoat is nicely done with a crisp gold watch chain that is exceptionally neatly painted. The waistcoat sits over a shirt & tie and I suspect from the folds in the collar this is another "partial" use of the shirt & tie that we saw on Gordon and Bullock.
The suit jacket is a rubber coverall piece and has a bit of flex to it to aid movement. Being rubber there are some softer details, particularly the handkerchief in the top pocket - but the fact it is included on the model does show a good level of attention to detail.
The arms finish with a white shirt cuff popping out and then into a simple skin coloured pair of hands on the right of which there is a sculpted ring. The transition from waistcoat to trousers is difficult to make out and perhaps a slight variant in colouring may have helped. The trousers are very plain with little in terms of cloth folds or ruffles - Alfred is obviously a mean hand with an Iron. The figure finishes with glossy lace up shoes.
I have been really impressed with articulation from Diamond recently, but sadly Alfred appears to be a step backwards in many areas.
The head is ball jointed and rotates fully, but lacks any significant up and down movement leaving his head quite rigid in terms of positioning. The shoulders appear to be the usual ball joint, but for some reason they can only be raised outwards to about 45-50 degrees before sticking. There is no bicep swivel, and the elbows follow suit with the shoulders in not moving to the full right angle. With the combination of shoulder and elbow restrictions you wont get much in terms of poses out of the arms. The one I wanted was the hands behind the back "butlering" pose, and you can just about get this but to look more natural you would need the elbows to bend further to allow the hans to touch round the back.
The torso split remains, and is quite unsightly on Alfred and in reality does little but allow a touch of twisting to either side. I would have probably preferred this to be dropped and more work put into the arms?
The legs are much better with the T-joint ball hips that can go out into the splits, or into a seating position - albeit restricted ever so slightly by the coat tails. The thighs have a swivel, unnecessary in my view and unsightly. The knees are double jointed, and then there is a pivot and swivel on the ankles. This gives Alfred a good range of lower half movement - not that you would do much other than have him stood straight waiting for Master Bruce to hand out some instructions. Alfred stands very well and has no sign of loose hip syndrome.
Like most "human" size select figures, and in keeping with all the Gotham releases to date, Alfred is packed with a diorama piece. Unlike the first series and Bullock from series 2 this is not a stand as such - and is more akin to a display prop. This takes the form of the Bruce Manor Fireplace, a big affair that stands almost as tall as the figure itself. It is hollow cast, but despite this feels quite solid and contains quite a bit of detail in ornate carving. It is painted in a solid brown, with a wash to bring out the carving detail. The fire back is then painted a contrasting grey tile.
The Fireplace is probably my favourite Gotham pack in to date, and will make a lovely display considering the air play it has had in the show and what it represents. It will also work with the upcoming series 3 Bruce Wayne figure.
Alfred is not the best the Gotham series has to offer. The face painting in particular is too heavy handed, and when the actor's face is so difficult to capture anyway the paint had to be spot on - which it quite clearly is not. It is also a shame on the articulation on the arms and head which feel to have taken a step backward. The Fireplace does save the figure somewhat, a big and chunky piece that does have some significance to the figure & the show rather than a generic alleyway scene. Alfred is not a write off and thanks to the Fireplace diorama piece scrapes a 3 out of 5 overall score.