Review : Hugo Strange Gotham Select (Diamond Select Toys) Wave/Series : Series 4 Released : September 2017
Pros : Nicely textured suit. The treatment chair is brilliant
Cons : head too small, hands too big, whole body is out of proportion. Glasses poorly done
The 4th Series of Gotham is the Wrath of the Villains series and includes characters from the 2nd half arc of the 2nd series. While this is the first series to give us more traditional villains in their super-villain outfits - Azrael and Mr Freeze - the 3rd inclusion returns us to the standard for Gotham of a man in a suit. Hugo Strange is the mastermind behind the Wrath of the Villains arc and it is his work at Indian Hills that resurrects and releases the various villains upon Gotham.
As with all Select figure releases, Hugo Strange comes in the extra large blister packaging with wrap around side spine. The predominant colouring is dark, with the Gotham Cityscape as the backdrop. The Gotham logo is written up the spine with the "Wrath of the Villains" subtitle underneath. The triangular insert that expands onto the blister contains an actual shot of the figures head and confirms the character name as Hugo Strange, the title of Doctor has been dropped which does make sense so not to confuse this Dr Strange with the Marvel version in any listings.
The side panel also features an image of the figure rather than the normal image from the show, and this will potentially frustrate boxed collectors as the first three waves did run with the wide panel showing the actor from the show, and not the figure.
Round the back we have quite an in-depth write up of Hugo Strange and how he fits into the Gotham backstory via his relationship with Thomas Wayne. Another image of the figure sits to the side of this and below that shots of the other figures in the wave as well as an image of the diorama that you can build by picking up both Freeze and Azrael together.
The inner packaging is made up of the outer tray containing Strange and his paperwork and books. Beneath this is a second tray carrying the treatment chair from Indian Hills. All the main parts are strapped in place with twisty ties.
Looking at the figure first, and the head sculpt has an immediate issue of being too small for the body. While it is a passing resemblance to BD Wong, the proportions are all wrong. In fact they are so wrong that the head size is comparable to a 6" scale figure than the 7" scale where the Select figures sit.
Aside from the size there are other issues sadly. The paint job is one tone across the whole head with a beard section painted on - there is no sculpting to the beard - the lines on said beard are too harsh and angular and it looks more like a chin strap for a non-existent helmet than the trimmed beard that Strange sports.
The lips and eyes are well painted, but the glasses over the top couldn't be any thicker if they tried. While I know it is hard to glasses at this scale, these are far too thick and don't carry the tinted red lenses we see int he show. Other companies are doing glasses far much successfully, you only have to take a look for example at the ones Hasbro put on the recent Maz Kanata. The other option would have been to make them part of the head, sculpting the whole thing as one and then painting it - the way NECA tackled the Terminator with sunglasses - although there would still have been an issue with the lenses.
Interestingly, if you buy the basic US Toys R Us version of Strange - the glasses are not even included, and therefore looks better.
While the head disappoints, the body is a triumph. There is no re-use here, Strange gets a full new 3 piece suit with actually sculpted pin striping on the arms, legs and suit jacket and waistcoat. This is then painted in grey with a dark wash over top to fill in the ridges and create the pin stripes. Beneath this is a cream shirt with a red tie - and only here do we see some paint issues with the cream bleeding onto the skin, shirt and suit around it.
While the head was too small, the hands look far too large - and the same could be said of the feet, but they are less noticeable.
While he is a man in a suit, Diamond have provided Strange with the full 16 points of articulation they give to each Select figure. This gives Hugo a massive range of motion. The head can turn on its ball joint as well as looking up and down by some distance. There is then a similar ball joint mid-torso to allow for some forward and backward leaning.
Arms are ball jointed at the shoulder, moving out dead straight and then rotating above the head. These are then supported by very mobile elbows that bend to just over 90 degrees as well as rotating. The huge hands are a pivot joint so also rotate as well as bending in or out from the wrist.
Hugo's legs start with the T-joint hip, which is a little ugly when used. There is then a thigh swivel and double jointed knees. The legs end with a rigid ankle pivot so getting Hugo to stand is dead easy. Hugo also sits very well, both in his own chair as we will see in a little while but also on a similar scale stool or chair. For those wanting a larger diorama then the X-Files Select chair & desk might be a good addition to your Hugo Strange office.
Moving onto accessories, and there has been some thought that has gone into these by Diamond. The first two are certificates of sanity that we see handed out to Penguin and laterly Ed Nygma in the show. At first I thought these were laminated, but that is just a protective cover over the top of them in the packaging. Once out they are simply printed cardboard - so while they look nice, their longevity will be in question.
Hugo then gets two books - one red and one green. Each has a title, although my eyesight cant make out what they are meant to be, and there is sculpted page detailing down the sides. These would look awesome in that office environment we mentioned earlier laid on the desk.
There is then a third book which is much more ornate than the other two. This is the history of St Dumas and links directly to the Azrael story arc. This book is actually hinged by means of a metal pin so it can be opened. Inside the two pages are more legible with the left talking about the history of St. Dumas and the right page showing an illustration simply headed Azrael.
Hugo's hands are designed as such that there is a slender bap between the forefinger and thumb for him to hold the accessories if you wish.
The arm articulation is also poseable enough to have Hugo reading the book of Dumas.
Moving onto the treatment chair from Indian Hills and this arrives in two separate parts - the chair and the base. Assembly instructions are not included, but the process is simple and DIamond have shaped the base to the socket so it slots in the right way.
The octagonal base of the chair is textured with the green tile effect from the treatment room. These are painted in gloss dark green with grey grouting.
The chair itself is silver predominantly with black padding to the back and head rest, and down the arm and leg rests. The headrest is poseable so can be moved forward and backward to line up to the head of the figure sitting in the chair. Sadly the chairs leg rest and arm rests don't include this option. While the legs are not such a big problem, the arms rests sit on flimsy plastic sections which make lining up the arms to the rest more difficult.
Strange can sit in his chair if he wishes, although he would usually be positioned standing around the treatment chair getting ready to administer his programme to his patients. The base will allow this, but there are no peg holes to line up with the feet of Hugo.
The chair is of course for treating patients at Indian Hills, and both Freeze and Galavan (Azrael) came through this treatment. Sadly neither can sit comfortably in the chair.
And when we put Strange with his fellow Series 4 figures, the disparity in his head and hands vs his body are even more pronounced.
Hugo Strange is a figure made up of a number of good, and sometimes excellent, parts. Sadly some of them are just not scalable to each other and when brought together Hugo looks awkward and disproportionate - more so when put alongside other Gotham releases.
The suit is brilliantly done, and the treatment chair is very nice. The books and certificate are also a nice touch. The glasses should have been done better or left off altogether like the basic release. And that head needed to be a good 5-10% bigger. I score Hugo Strange a 3 out of 5, saved from being a 2 by the chair diorama and the books.