Updated: Nov 25, 2018
Review : Black Panther
Marvel Select (Diamond Select)
Wave/Series : Disney Store Exclusive
Released : 29th February 2016
Price : £19.95
My collections is essentially one themed around my favourite movie's in either 6" or 7" scale. Within this I chose to go with the larger 7" Marvel Select Cinematic figures over the 6" Marvel Legends from Hasbro.
So as a collector I am now finding myself picking up selected Comic book figures from the Select range to compliment the MCU figures, and this new Disney Exclusive Black Panther is a perfect example where he will stand in perfectly in my MCU collection until such time as Diamond get round to giving us a Black Panther which I am guessing won't be until maybe 2018 (if of course at all).
Black Panther, being a Disney Store Exclusive, comes in a slightly slimmed down box than the usual Select figures - depth wise at least. Like all Select figures the box is a huge clear blister around which is wrapped a side panel and card back. Like all Select's the side panel is the true star of the packaging with a full image of an almost blue Comic Black Panther against a vibrant comic book yellow background. Round the back and the imagery changes to that of the figure, which dominates almost the full card back. There is no bio or background info or any checklists of "other figures".
Out of the box, Black Panther stands at dead on 7 inches high and is packed in one perspex tray, with a second tray underneath containing the stand/diorama piece - we will look at that in a bit, but first the figure.
The sculpt is pretty strong, and is not particularly over exaggerated as you may expect from a comic figure. The head, even though it is a mask, is very expressive with furrowed brows above those white eyes. The body is muscular with texture and ribbing throughout the suit although it can't seem to make it's mind up whether it looks like flesh with veins and muscles, or whether it is a more padded and armoured suit?
Although you would assume the figure is fully black, Diamond have applied a very dark blue paint effect to the figure. This at least breaks up the colour and creates some variation, but the blue doesn't look to be strategically placed to bring out certain detail. It also seems to be over painted on the groin piece which in some lights then looks a different colour to the rest of the body parts around it.
The eyes are the only real colour variation anywhere on the figure. They are OK, but have a bit of bleed and aren't bright enough for me as though they should have had another coat
Articulation has been moving at pace recently with Diamond figures, and the Black Panther is possibly the most articulated figure to date in the line, helped of course by his slimline body suit with no armour or bulkier parts blocking movement. The head is ball jointed and rotates fully and can be cocked from side to side, or looks up and down.
Ball jointed shoulders followed by swivel biceps allow a wealth of arm movement up, down and out to the side. The elbows are then jointed followed by a forearm swivel and pegged hands that not only rotate but flex up and down to sit 90 degrees to the forearm. The hands are positioned in a open palm claw pose and it is a shame that Diamond didn't include other hand options to bolster the figure look further - similar to how they tackle Spider-man for example.
The chest is jointed at the torso and can twist a few degrees either side. Although it then looks like there is a waist joint, this does not move.
The infamous Select hip joints are back, and are still a bit loose. They do however work to allow Panther to sit down or get down to almost do the splits. Down from the hips is a thigh swivel. Personally I think this is a joint too far as the split is unnecessary and once twisted ruins the sleek look of the figure. Knee joints remain double jointed, and the leg almost bends fully back under itself. Another swivel at the shin is executed a bit better than the thigh, but again I question how useful it is. The figure then finishes with jointed ankles - and sadly these are the weakest and loosest joint on the figure so he has a habit of toppling over as the joint is not strong enough to not buckle under the weight of the figure.
That being said the articulation gives you some good action poses for Panther, and if Diamond are going to go more down this articulated route then I think they should consider some form of action stand to support more dynamic poses? Panther would look great in a leaping motion or jumping to attack.
For a Select release the lack of any accessories/swap out parts is disappointing. And for me so is the base. I get how it is Wakanda themed, but it just feels too small. Blow it up another 50% and I would have been much happier.
In summary, the weak joints continue to be a bug bear on Diamond products - and the ankles on this one are even more frustrating than the usual hip problems. I am also not overly enamored by the base or the lack of any swap out hands or other parts.
In his defense though this is a good looking figure which at 7" scale still comes in sub-£20 at a time when the smaller Legends figures are marching towards £23. As a release he is also cleverly thought out and timed in that he will satisfy comic fans in this his debut appearance in the line. And will also please a lot of Marvel Movie collectors at the same time.
I have bounced back and forth during this review between scoring Black Panther a 3 or 4. I do love the figure, but it has faults that can't be ignored. After much deliberation I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and go with a 4 out of 5 rating.