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Review : Gotham Select Penguin, Oswald Cobblepot (Diamond Select)

Diamond Select Toys have been producing Marvel 7" (1:10 scale) figures for over 13 years now and they have now added a DC licence to their Select figures offering and are bringing us figures directly from the Gotham TV show. The first wave of these has hit as of October 2015 and contains three figures all taken from season 1. As well as Selina Kyle and Detective Jim Gordon, the series is rounded off with Oswald Cobblepot, more commonly known as Penguin - and it is the Penguin we are reviewing here. Attendees of SDCC in July of 2015 had the opportunity to pick up an early variant of this figure, a roughed up Penguin with cuts and bruised face - essentially the figure is identical to the main release so my review covers both variants and I have included some stock images of the SDCC version to the gallery. Unlike the SDCC version, which came in thinned down packaging with no diorama base, the main release versions have gone with the full size Select Packaging that Marvel collectors will be used to. The card back is fully decorated with images of the figure, a biography and images of the other two figures in the range. The left panel (as you look from the front) has a full art panel of the Penguin as played by Robin Taylor. The front left flash has the Gotham TV show logo and runs with the tag line "Before the Legend". There is then a triangular flash that repeats the Robin Taylor image and details the name of the character, in this case just "Penguin" rather than his full name. Out of the packet you will find Penguin tied into the inner tray alongside two alternative hands, an umbrella and an apple. Behind the tray is the diorama piece, and I will look at this a little later. Penguin stands 6 1/2" high which is a tad under the usual 7" size of Select figures, but is reasonably accurate to the actor's real height of 1.6m and will ensure that Penguin remains a diminutive figure beside any future characters like Butch or Falcone. I am going to start with articulation, which is a pretty standard level vs other Select figure I own. The head is on a ball joint, but will only rotate rather than look up and down. Sadly this leaves Penguin looking down in a lot of poses. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulder and can get out to the side and over the Penguin's head - none of these look overly realistic so in the main the arms will remain by Penguin's side. The elbows are jointed and can also rotate as can the hands. Although he comes with two alternative hands, you will find both are left hands each with a slightly wider grip than the next, these are designed to be swapped over if you would like Penguin to be holding the apple accessory. The hands swap easily enough, but unlike other Select figure I have had with swappable hands there is some significant paint rub when you do this so I wouldn't be changing the hands too often. The apple sits neatly into either of the open hands and is a decent enough sculpt for what it is with an uneven shape and a sculpted stalk. There is a torso joint with the ability to move left and right and add some lean forward and backwards. The waist is then fixed and the hips are on a two way joint which means you should be able to get Penguin into a sitting position, or the splits. Sadly the coat, even though it has some flexibility, blocks both these movements. The double jointed knees do a good job if you want to kneel Penguin and there are rockers on the ankles to aid stability. The huge miss is the legs sit too far apart and the feet cannot be splayed outwards, this means Penguin stands like any regular figure and not the pose we are used to throughout the history of batman with his legs together and feet apart. This is a shame, although if you don't mind mismatched thighs you can use the thigh swivel to rotate the feet outwards and get someway towards what I would call a classic Penguin stance. Onto sculpt and it is a really good job with a very good likeness for Taylor as well as capturing that sneer that he often sports in the show. The hair is nicely layered and pointed up and holds a good degree of realism vs what we see in the show. The clothes are particularly plain but there is a sculpted neck tie, waistcoat and then a jacket. Trousers run down to a pair of laced shoes. The Paint is where Penguin comes apart. As I mentioned early I found a disturbing amount of paint rub when swapping the hands, and this seems to stem from the fact Diamond haven't cast the head and hands in their usual flesh tone and instead it is painted with a pasty complection to match the character. From a distance this looks really good, but up close and to the touch it is rough and chalky and makes Penguin's face look like he may have been taking make up tips from The Joker. Beyond this unusual flesh paint everything else is pretty well done. The eyes and mouth are neatly and realistically painted and there is some shading in the ears and the lines of the face to bring out the sculpt further. The waistcoat is a particularly nice chequered affair and the jacket has green lapels which stand out vs the greyer finish of the rest of the suit. All of this is pretty neat with just some slightly bleeding from the shirt collar onto the neck tie. The other issue is that the paint on the hair doesn't wrap around the back of the head towards the socket. That means if you are viewing the figure from behind the back of the head looks a tad off - but who displays their figures backwards? The umbrella, the other accessory included, is sadly bent straight out of the packet and is made from a soft rubber. It can be straightened in hot water but its quite tricky to get it perfectly shaped. The handle will hang over Penguin's arm, or you can put it just about in the right hand to act as a walking stick. Moving to the base, and while I understand why the dockside is used and its significance to the character - I find myself looking a the series 2 Alfred and wonder how much better Penguin may have been with a bar section from Fish Mooneys? The dock piece does a job, but doesn't have any pegs to slot Penguin into. I have already discarded the base to the parts box and dropped Penguin onto a NECA clear base (which he fits nicely). It is always difficult to benchmark and score a brand new range, but I am going to do this using the information to hand and by making comparisons to the other Select range I have collected and reviewed. Penguin is a good sculpt and has a good range of articulation. The paint is well applied in the main, but that chalky skin texture is not nice and I think will chip and rub really easily if I am not careful. The apple and umbrella are decent enough accessories but the bendy umbrella is disappointing when it could have been easily been made of harder plastic and packed better. The base is a bit of a non-event and isn't dramatic enough to add anything to the display. And the choice of supplying the figure with 3 left hands and one right is plain odd and I would have preferred a hand that could do something with the umbrella. Finally the Penguin "stance" for want of a better phrase is a miss and even by tweaking the thigh swivel and bending the knees, he just doesn't look right. I am going to be go with a 3 out of 5, which may be a tad harsh but he certainly has too many little flaws to be a 4. As always the first wave figures from any new range quite often set the bar and the range improves from there, I hope this is true of the Gotham range. I intend to pick up and review Selina and Gordon later in the year and will then be counting down to the slightly more interesting wave 2 which contains Ed Nygma, Det Bullock and Alfred with that wonderful Wayne Manor Fireplace.

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