Saturday, January 15, 2011

For Fans Of Watchmen, The Only Rorschach Figure On The Market Fails To Impress.

The Good: Great sculpt!
The Bad: General accessories, Lack of poseability, Balance issues.
The Basics: While initially appearing to be one of the best Watchmen figures, the unbalanced Rorschach figure is a tough sell to those who love the film.

The only thing more disappointing than a disappointing action figure is when the same disappointing action figure is released multiple times with the same flaws in it. Though it hasn’t been moved to my new blog, I have reviewed the Walter Kovacs Rorschach variant action figure. I found the variant to be unposable and problematic because the variant had variants. Unfortunately, when I broke into my Rorschach standard action figure, which my wife gave me for an anniversary gift, I discovered that while it was not plagued by variants in the main line, it was the same cast as the variant.

Yes, the only difference between the Rorschach action figure and the Walter Kovacs variant is that Rorschach's head is different. This is the traditional Rorschach with the mask and the hat and while the figure looks good, it still tips over and has virtually no posability, making it one of the more disappointing figures in the Watchmen toy line, at least for those who actually take the figures out of the package.


To support the film Watchmen (reviewed here!), DC Direct released two series of Watchmen action figures. DC Direct was tapped because they had the ability to create a higher caliber of action figure, based on the film characters. DC Direct created only eight figures based upon the cinematic representations of the essential Watchmen characters. In addition to the main four figures in the first line-up, there was a variant Rorschach action figure, which was limited to five thousand pieces. This Rorschach, though, is the standard-release Rorschach.

Arguably one of the most controversial characters in Watchmen is Rorschach, the lone vigilante still working despite the Keane Act, who was played by Jackie Earl Healey in the film and is now immortalized in plastic thanks to DC Direct.

Standing 6 5/8" tall to the top of his hatted head, Rorschach is immortalized in his trenchcoat, fedora and purple pinstripe pants. Rorschach has his white mask with the black ink blots on it. Naturally, the ink blots are painted on and do not change, as they do in the film. The trench coat features the flexible belt and shoulder loop. Rorschach is cast with pretty extraordinary casting details, so his coat looks precisely as it did in the film with realistic coloring and apparent wear as well as amazing detailing on the gloves, scarf and mask of the character. Rorschach is molded in a striding pose and he looks good. He was given two fists, though the alternate hand looks great as well and the fist Rorschach's right hand is in looks ready to deliver quite a punch as it is molded with a sense of tension to it!


Rorschach comes with the standard Watchman base, an alternate right hand and Rorschach's grappling gun. The base is a 2 1/2" plastic square that raises the figure 1/2" off the display surface and most closely resembles a section of suspension bridge. The base has three holes in it, through which one of the two pegs that come with the figure may be placed. The peg is designed to go into a hole in the figure's foot and Rorschach has a hole that fits the peg in his right foot only. The other two holes may either be filled in or left unpegged. The base also comes with a simple connector which latches together Rorschach's base with the base of any of the other Watchmen figures; all of the bases seem to be identical.

Rorschach's right hand - the fist - may be popped out of its socket and replaced with another hand which has the hand in a grip with a trigger finger extended. This holds Rorschach's grappling gun, though it does so with an unfortunately loose grip.

Rorschach's grappling gun is a 1 3/8" plastic replica of Rorschach's tool without the hooks extended. The gun looks amazing; the steel portions of it look weathered, the grip is black and solid and it contains amazing coloring details for the pneumatic launching portions! One wishes it actually could shoot the grappling gun!


Watchmen is an adult film and as a result, most everyone who picks these figures up will be using them for display, not play. DC Direct seemed to figure this out well in advance and the bases that the figures, like Rorschach, come with are designed for support and display, as opposed to play.

On the principles, Rorschach looks good, but is a pretty poor action figure. He is clearly intended to be a display piece, not a toy. This is evident by the fact that Rorschach comes with only seven points of articulation. Rorschach has almost no posability and he has terrible balance when off his display. He has joints at the shoulders, elbows, wrists and neck. The joints almost all have a poor range of motion, as they are swivel joints largely inhibited by the sculpt of the coat. Even the head is only a simple swivel joint, so it may only turn from side to side, not nod up and down.

Unfortunately, Rorschach has absolutely terrible balance. His feet may not be moved. Because of how the trenchcoat is molded, the legs are molded directly to the bottom of the coat and cannot be moved. Given that Rorschach is molded in a stride, he has limited surface area on his feet to allow the figure to balance and moving his arms too far in any direction causes the figure to tip over. On the base, though, Kovacs does manage to stand tall.


DC Direct seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest in the Watchmen figures and with the DVD release, they foolishly re-released most of the figures again. This Rorschach is one of the figures re-released, but despite that, the value of the figure continues to remain high, suggesting that Rorschach's popularity outweighs his poor balance or that most collectors are keeping them in the package. Still, the value is not quite as high as the limited edition variant, but still - at least until DC Direct comes out with a more posable Rorschach figure - this remains one of the strongest Watchmen action figure investments on the market.


Despite being a cool sculpt of one of the most recognizable characters from Watchmen, the Rorschach figure is a disappointment, as he tips over easily and has almost no posability. One hopes DC Direct will make a better version in the future.

For other Watchmen figures and toys, please check out my reviews of:
Nite Owl
Dr. Manhattan (variant!)
Kubricks Watchmen Set B


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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