Monday, February 22, 2016

First Season Special: The Flash Figures Start With More Than Just Product Placement!

The Good: Good sculpt, Accurate coloring, Amazing articulation
The Bad: Poor balance, Exposed joints, Articulation creates costume issues
The Basics: The first Barry Allen as The Flash figure from DC Collectibles line of figures based on The CW's The Flash is good, but hardly flawless.

While I have become happily immersed in The CW's television show The Flash, I have been openly critical of the product placement within the show. For as much as I love The Flash and I understand - from having spent a year studying the character - the celebrity status that The Flash takes on in Central City, it was pretty insulting to fans that the pre-Christmas episode last year, "Legends Of Today" (reviewed here!) openly and prominently featured the DC Collectibles The Flash figure. This just a few episodes after the figure that was obviously the ReAction figure showed up. We get it; you want to make money off the fans and the DC Collectibles figure of The Flash conveniently hit the marketplace in time for holiday shopping. But, really . . .

That said, my wife picked me up the Barry Allen as The Flash action figure for the holidays and it was a welcome gift. The figure, which is specific to the first season of The CW's The Flash (reviewed here!), is a cool idea and a generally decent execution of the character. However, the figure is one that is clearly not intended to be taken out of the package as its balance is pretty horrible and the articulation is impressive until one moves the joints and the lines of the costume are entirely ruined. The result is a figure that treads more toward average than extraordinary.

It is The Flash in his first season outfit, as identified by the red-backed symbol on his chest, that is the subject of the DC Collectibles action figure of the character.


The Flash figure is a wonderful sculpt of the television character and DC Collectibles manages to cheat the facial sculpt for accuracy and coloring by having The Flash with his hood up to obscure much of the details that would define the character as Grant Gustin's Barry Allen. The inaugural version of the fastest man alive stands 6 3/4" tall to the top of the figure's head. The Flash figure is available from DC Collectibles, though there is a smaller, more overtly crappy version of the figure from ReAction now on the market as well.

On the sculpt front, this version of the Flash looks perfectly like the CW show version of The Flash. This is clearly Barry Allen as The Flash and the texture to the costume is far richer than figures based upon the comic book version of the character. This version of The Flash features gold lightningbolts - which double as The Flash's communications system - molded to the sides of his hood and the figure looks appropriately lanky and thin. Unlike some versions of The Flash, this version of the character is wearing an outfit that is clearly assembled; the shirt is molded with a distinctly different texture than the pants and both have seams mimicking the ones on the costume that clearly imply it was sewn together. The Flash's cowl covers most of his face, but DC Collectibles captured the angles of Grant Gustin's version of Barry Allen for the jaw, nose and eyes to make the figure entirely accurate to the television character! Even the set of Barry Allen's lips make him look determined like he frequently appears on The Flash.

The Flash's costume is a very simple red uniform, making the coloring very simple. Fortunately, DC Collectibles realistically added the black undertones that make it look less clean and more weathered than a pure version of the costume. The coloring is augmented, predictably, by the gold stripes and lightningbolts that appear on the costume and they look accurate and impressive . . . until one adjusts the figure at all for any sort of posing. When one uses the joints, the lines painted onto the costume clearly do not line up and the figure takes on an unfortunately fractured appearance. As well, the coloring details for what little skin is exposed on the face are very light. The lips are not fully colored and the eyes seem slightly small based on the lack of whites (I thought the fact that the figure does not have eyebrows seemed a little off, but it is accurate to the subject of the action figure!). So, the coloring is split between immaculate for the outfit and a little underdetailed for the human aspects.


The Flash, as rendered for the television incarnation, comes with only two (or four, depending on perspective)accessories. Noticeably lacking in a stand upon which to put the figure, The Flash instead comes with two alternate pairs of hands. This version of Barry Allen allows one to pull out the hands it comes with and put in fists or straight (fingers extended for a running look or a full-on slap version!) hands. This is not an incredible accessory or selling point, but the alternate hands do help provide fans with more options for posing and play. Given that the figure comes with no accessories to hold, that The Flash comes with hands that are partially-open so they could hold something feels like the manufacturers are inadvertently calling attention to the fact that there is nothing for the figure to hold (other than alternate hands, which just ends up looking super-creepy!).


The DC Collectibles figures were designed more for display than play and this is good, but not flawless for this figure. As a serious detraction, the Flash has poor balance, except when he is flatfooted in the most neutral position possible. Unfortunately, the moment one articulates the joints, The Flash looks ridiculous and/or falls over. For sure, there is enough articulation to make The Flash appear to be running, but in those poses, the figure does not come close to being able to stand up on its own.

The Flash comes with twenty points of articulation, which is exceptional, though it does seem to be standard for a DC Collectibles figure. The Flash has joints at the ankles, calves, upper and lower knees, thighs, groin socket, bust, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists and head. The shoulders, elbows, ankles and wrists are proper ball and socket joints, while the knees are hinge joints. The head is on a ball joint, which allows The Flash to look in virtually any direction! Unfortunately, things like the thigh articulation make the figure look ridiculous as the joint bisects the costume's lightningbolt detailing and cuts the lines of the painted-on stripes.


The Flash is part of the DC Collectibles The Flash Series 1 line which was fairly common, though it was usually only distributed through comic book shops and specialty stores like FYE. The Flash is the first hero in the The Flash line, but DC Collectibles is continuing the quality and style of their Arrow figures with The Flash. So, fans of the CW's DC Television Universe can easily collect across the series's and have their figures match for quality. That said, it would be surprising if the Series 1 Flash figure appreciated significantly in value, especially given that a Season 2 (and beyond) figure is undoubtedly on its way with the altered chestpiece symbol.


The Flash is a cool action figure, but a great example of how the attention to detail with the sculpt can absolutely be undermined by the articulation!

For other action figures from The Flash's corner of the DC Universe, please check out my reviews of:
Flashpoint Zoom
Black Lantern Black Flash
Blue Lantern The Flash


For other toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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