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Review : Barbara Kean, Gotham Select Series 3, Diamond Select Toys (November 2016)

Review : Barbara Kean Gotham Select (Diamond Select Toys) Wave/Series : Series 3 Released : November 2016

£19.99 - £22.99

Barbara Kean is the 2nd female release in Diamond's Gotham Select range of figures, following the series 1 release of Selina Kyle. Series 3 is focused on the events of Season 2 Rise of the Villains.

The Gotham Select packaging is an identical layout to the other Select ranges, but has developed it's own grim and Gothic style with dark tones and Gotham City skyline backdrop. The triangular front panel that cuts into the bottom left of the window carries an image of the Erin Richards on top of which is the character name and the subtitle "deluxe action figure with base".

This same image is repeated on the side panel. The image is presented in shadow and is framed at the base with the Gotham logo and the sub-title Rise of the Villains. The back gives us a full size image of the figure itself, and to the left of this is a bio of Barbara and her role in the series to date. Sat under here are images of the other two figures in the three figure series - Victor Zsasz and Bruce Wayne.

Out of the pack and Barbara looks pretty isolated in the huge inner tray, particularly when the large diorama backdrop is removed. Unlike most of the Gotham figures to date, Barbara does not come with any accessories or even other hand options.

She stands a touch over 6 1/2 inches high and scales well to other Select figures - Gotham and others. The likeness to Erin Richards is not the best. The sculpt captures a passing likeness, but those high cheekbones are missing and the figures chin is a bit too pointy. The lips too are too thin, but the eyes are pretty nicely done and painted neatly. The skin tone of the head has been left as a single colour, and we know that Barbara is not one to be seen without make-up. I wonder what some highlights and blusher on the cheeks and chin would have done to the sculpt.

The hair, which is sculpted well, has had a dark wash too many - so looks grimy and streaked. This may be deliberate to reflect Barbara's stay in Arkham, but when you compare it to screen shots it doesn't stack up well.

As this figure is reflective of Barbara's stay in Arkham Asylum, she comes dressed in her striped Arkham prison dress. The top section is striped horizontally in black and white, and these stripes are well painted with no bleed. The white is not a pure white, but carries a grimy off white tint which for me adds a degree of realism. Barbara's prison code, A-15, is placed on the left side of her chest. This looks to be a decal with a clear yellow tinge beneath the lettering. There is very little sculptural detail in the top clothing. The v-neck sits above the chest beneath, with a couple of muscle details in the neck. The arms are a bit more flowing with some folds and bunching to an elasticated hem just under the shoulder.

The arms are thin and cast in a flesh colour, but seem to be painted also as you can see some paint scrape round the joints. The hands in particular are thin and delicate, right through to the slim fingers which are presented on both hand as an open palm.

The lower part of the dress is vertically striped and is a cast rubber section slipped over the articulated legs. Like the top there isn't much to talk about. There is some paint errors here with a couple of marks from the black onto that off white tone. Like the arms, the legs are painted flesh tone and mine had a bit more grime on them - possibly intentional as Barbara is of course wandering round in bare feet. These feet are not as neat as the slim fingers. You can see the toes picked out and toe nails but either the sculpt is soft, or the paint too thick, as the detail is not crisp.

Articulation is the standard amount you find on any Select figure. However, for some reason there is very little you can actually do with Barbara in terms of posing. Her head is ball jointed, but aside from turning a few mm either side it is locked in by the hair piece. The ball jointed shoulders move out a full 90 degrees and rotate, but other than posing Barbara like she is about to be searched, you will most likely find the arms just sit down by her side. This is despite having a decent elbow joint that bends and rotates, and a particularly good wrist joint that allows the hand to be rotated and bent to nearly 90 degrees.

The legs carry a hip joint, thigh swivel, knee joint and ankle rocker. But with the skirt a solid rubber piece only the ankle rocker is really of any value. With such delicate legs and a touch of floppy joint syndrome you will also struggle to stand Barbara up. I sat her on a Protech circular stand to help keep her upright.

So the figure is a tad average, but what is packed with her is far from average.

The Arkham Asylum gates that are supplied with Barbara almost make it worth paying £20 just to grab the diorama. It arrives in three pieces, two columns and an overhead arch. Assemly is not clearly illustrated anywhere (its rare Diamond ever pack instructions) but it isn't hard to figure out. The two posts are reversible rather than being right or left handed and each post carries four plug holes round the back. The central arch plugs snugly into the two of these four holes.

Once assembled the gate is just over 13 inches across. It stands, at the highest point, 10 1/2 inches high. The two columns are similar in colouring to the Ghostbusters rooftop parts and have been washed to give a decent stone work effect. Each post also as an ornate lamp fitted part way up. These are in a very weathered metal colour with some top spikes and decoration - which is cast in a slightly flexible plastic to avoid breakages and injury, but this does mean they can be bent out of shape. The glass panels of each lamp is an off white colour.

The top arch section is made up of rows of double pointed rods, with the Arkham Asylum wording on top. The painting of this is really nice, with the base grey colour washed with a metal colour, then some grey to dirty it up and then some slight touches of turquoise to give the effect of oxodised copper.

The gate, width wise, scales really well to the 7" scale figures. The height for me could ideally be a couple of inches bigger so figures can walk under the arch without banging their head. This could be a relatively simple fix for a competent customiser. All in all, the gate is an impressive piece and a lovely back drop for the Gotham range or indeed any Batman figure.

At circa £20, the Barbara Kean figure scores low as a figure, but over performs in terms of its packed in diorama. Barbara herself could have done with some accessories and perhaps a slightly better paint job at least on the head and hair. The diorama however is just 2 inches short of perfection. Together I will score them a 3 out of 5.

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