Review : Mr Freeze Gotham Select (Diamond Select Toys) Wave/Series : Series 4 Released : September 2017
Pros : very well sculpted head and suit
Cons : diorama base is a re-use (of a pretty poor previous release), ankle rockers are loose and impact posing
Series 4 of the Gotham Select figures by Diamond may be the last as both the show and the figure's popularity seems to be waning. This is a shame as the 4th wave, like the show, has started to move away from the "men in suits" releases to more recognisable super villains. The fourth wave is based on the Wrath of the Villains story-arc and is made up of Mr Freeze, Azrael and the mastermind behind Indian Hills - Hugo Strange
We are going to walk through the wave in order, starting with Mr Freeze.
As with all Select figure releases, Freeze 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 Mr Freeze.
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 Mr Freeze and how he would be resurrected by Hugo Stranger and become his enforcer. 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.
The blister has to be ripped open to access the figure and you now find Freeze tied into an inner plastic tray with a further tray behind this containing the diorama parts. The figure is tied in with black twisty ties and the same ties are used on the two weapons. The three canisters are held in place with a length of tape over the top.
Be mindful to remove the ties careful as their location can rub the blue paint on the armour if you pull the figure out round them without removing them fully.
Over the past 18-months or so the Diamond Select head sculpts are getting better and Mr Freeze is a good example of the progression in the head sculpts especially when compared with a Gotham Series 1 figure. The head is a good likeness to actor Nathan Darrow with some nice facial definition around the high cheekbones and furrowed brow. The eyes are covered by goggles and these are not removable. Flesh tone is nice and pale as it should be. There is no additional tones, but the sculpt is sharp enugh that the light falling on the face further defines the features.
The hair is well defined but is painted a little too silver and there is too great a contrast between this silver and a white dry-brush over the top. The strap of the goggles goes through the hair, but has simply been painted in the same silver as the hair.
Not immediately noticeable is the size of the Freeze head, but when you put Freeze with other similarly scaled figures the head does look large - and this disparity is even within the Gotham series, and also specifically in Series 4 with Freeze having a much larger head than Azrael and an even bigger head than Hugo Strange,
Moving down from the head and we have a beautifully realised suit which is made up of a grey undersuit and electric blue armourd pieces. The neck segment is huge and covers the bottom half of the head, consistent with Mr Freeze's look on the show. Get up closer and you the start to see sculpted detail into the suit with a hexaganol pattern in the grey suit and lots of panels and edges into the armoured blue pieces.
Everything is neatly painted but the colouring of the grey is flat, adding a wash would have accentuated the sculpted pattern detail.
Articulation clocks in at 16 points, standard for a 7" Select release. The head, within the collar, is ball jointed and has a full range of lateral movement, and some forward motion available to make Freeze look like he is looking down - so far as until his nose hits the rim of the collar.
Both arms are ball jointed at the shoulder, and designed so that the blue shoulder guards retract under the base of the collar as the arms are raised. Both arms move out to the side and up above the head. The elbows are a single joint, bending to just under 90 degrees. They also rotate fully. The final arm articulation sits at the wrist where both hands can be rotated and pivoted.
While you would expect to see a ball joint sit under the blue chest area, it is actually positioned further down around the stomach area, disguised by the blue panel and grey belt. This allows Freeze some good movement independently of the legs. There is a huge range of motion when you lean the torso back, the forward movement not so much as the blue stomach panel hits the lower belt buckle and prevents movement.
Moving down to the legs and we have the usual T-joint affair at the hips that Diamond employ on most of their figures. While not the most attractive joint when opened up, it does give a lot of lower leg movement including a full seated position. There are (ugly) thigh swivels just under the hip joint which are the only way of opening up the feet position to aid in posing and stability. The knees are then double jointed and work extremely well for kneeling poses. The final joint, and often the most important, is the ankle rocker and sadly Freeze suffers the usual Select curse of very floppy ankle joints. This makes him difficult to stand up as the weight of the figure on these loose ankles will eventually destabilise any pose.
Freeze is packed with two different freeze guns for him to wield. The first is reminiscent of a shotgun with one freeze cartridge. This weapon is the early version of the ray that Freeze wields in the show as he hunts for his wife - predating the suit by a few episodes. This is cast in a dark grey with silver dry brush to bring out the sculpted detail - of which there is quite a bit, and it is all very crisp and well defined. The cartridge piece is non-removable and i painted in a matt blue with silver framework.
The freeze ray can fit in either hand, although it is more comfortable in the right which feels a touch tighter. Both hands include a semi-flexible trigger finger can be slotted into the trigger. The arm articulation allows for some partial two handed posing, but these are more of a loading or "at rest" shot than being in the action of firing - the elbows would need to be double jointed like the knees to support these poses.
The second weapon is the more advanced ray he is armed with after his time in Indian Hills and is contemporary to the suit the figure is wearing. Like the first weapon this is grey cast plastic with dry brushed detailing. Sadly this is a touch less angular as the first weapon, with clear warping on the lower rail. The three canisters are again all painted in blue but now have a grey frame.
This larger freeze ray also fits into either hand, although this time the left feels the snuggest fit.
Freeze also comes with three further loose freeze canisters, which he can use as freeze grenades. These are painted with the same electric blue paint and with the darker silver frame. Each as a visual loop on the top of each canister.
The canisters fit in either hand ready for throwing, but there is no designed area on the body to hang them or slot them when not in use. That means they will more than likely end up in the "bits box" than be used on display. It would have been nice to see a holster of some kind be worked into the belt.
Putting the canisters aside (literally) the most dynamic posing - if you are not overly fussed with screen accuracy - is a gun in each hand and firing away at his enemies in the GCPD or similar.
You can of course throw those canisters around the base of the Freeze figure to look like spent cartridges. What ever weaponry combination you choose, Freeze is a lot of fun to pose.
Like most Select releases, the Gotham figures come with a diorama base. The initial plan for Freeze (and Azrael) was to include a diorama of an Arkham Asylum cell, with half in each release to combine into a full diorama. This was such an awesome idea, and was a perfect fit with the Wrath of the Villains theme of Series 4... but then Diamond cancelled it.
What we get instead is a very disappointing re-use of the alley we got in Series 1 split between Jim Gordon and Selina Kyle. Freeze comes with the lower part which is packed into the box as a base and a wall. They clip together using three corresponding sockets.
To be fair to Diamond they have tried to differentiate this alley way with a red brick pant job and a joker-esque graffiti tag with two eyes and the words "hahahaha!". The box also carries the Wayne Enterprise logo, another nod to the show.
On its own it is less than impressive, but join us for our Azrael review to see what the full piece looks like once combined and assembled.
Had we not known about the Arkham cell diorama then we would probably be less frustrated with the diorama included in series 4 Mr Freeze (and Azrael). However, because we do know we do feel a little slighted by its removal - something Diamond does quite often between initial showings of a figure and final release.
The figure itself is very impressive, a proper "super villain" suit to add some colour to the drab grey Gotham figures to date. Yes, he could do with a touch of wash on the grey parts of the suit - and those ankle joints could do with being tighter. But for a circa £22 figure, this is still a great figure in terms of value for money. We award Mr Freeze 4 out of 5.