Tuesday, 5 July 2011

#171 of 365 DCUC Wonder Twins - Repost

This review was originally posted at PoeGhostal.com. Here's a repost for July 2011's DCUC month.

The Wonder Twins should be no strangers to regular viewers of the Super Friends in the mid-to-late ’70s. They were the teenage alien replacement to Wendy and Marvin to the Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup. Unlike the two characters who they replaced, the twins had superpowers that were only activated when they touched each other and uttered the catch phrase “Wonder Twins Powers – Activate!” Zan could transform into any form of water in any of the three phases, while Jayna could morph into any living creature.
The pair, from the planet Exxor, made the leap from the cartoon to the Super Friends comic series, and from there, it was only a hop, skip and jump to the DC Universe, of which they are now an integral part. It’s no wonder then, that Mattel decided to produce these twins as part of their DC Universe Classics line.

The twins were first available as an exclusive at San Diego Comic Con 2009. At the show you could also pick up Gleek, their pet monkey (not a fan of the diabolical Fox show). Everyone knows about the issues with Gleek’s availability, but that’s outside the scope of this review. A few weeks later the Twins, sans Gleek, was made available on Mattycollector.com and they were one of the few DCUC figure sets on Mattycollector that sold out quickly.
Packaging: The packaging for the Wonder Twins was designed specifically for them. They were shipped in an unmarked white mailer box with the standard DC Universe logo on the front, but no text identifying the contents. However, the box is rather distinctive, since the Wonder Twins have been the only two-pack released in this format.
Mattel did away completely with the bubble, instead replacing it with a wraparound sheet of plastic. The sides featured the logos for Zan and Jayna – the same logos that are present on the chest of their costumes, while the bios for both figures are printed onto the back of the wrap-around.
Zan and Jayna are each packaged inside an individual tray connected by a piece of cardboard on the back. Since the bios have already been included on the wrap-around, Mattel put some artwork on the back.
The Twins are posed in the plastic trays inside the box such that when the box is opened, the figures are in the classic “fist bump” pose. The two accessories, Zan’s bucket of water and Jayna’s eagle, are also displayed prominently.
The special thing about the packaging is that Mattel included two battery powered speakers. When the box is opened and the figures bump fists, flashing lights go off in the packaging, and the corny transformation dialogue is played. To be honest, despite the corniness, the nostalgia of listening to these figures’ lines when I open the box has yet to pass.
Design & Sculpt: Zan is made from the standard male buck, while Jayna has the standard female buck, as far as I can tell. The mold line on both figures, particularly on the arms and legs, are more pronounced than usual and detracts from the overall look. The weird thing is that there is a square piece of plastic on the back of both figures, which is not present on the rest of my DCUC figures. The facial sculpts are nicely done and pay homage to the Hanna-Barbera cartoon versions of these characters.
Plastic & Paint: The Wonder Twins are mainly molded from purple and blue plastic, with the yellow highlights painted on. This yellow paint seems to be rather sloppily applied on Zan’s boots and on both figures’ belt buckles. Conversely, the tampo logos on the chest seem to be very clear. The paint on the heads is rather sharp, and there are even blue highlights in the hair of both figures.
The plastic was sufficiently hard enough such that they were not deformed by the pose on the tray.
Articulation: Both figures feature the standard DCUC articulation. Zan’s neck ball joint allows his head to swivel in almost any direction, and the collar does not hinder his ranger of neck movement. However, Jayna’s neck joint only allows left-right movement and not up-down movement. Her cape also does not hinder her neck movement. I do have to point out that since this is my second DCUC female figure, I find Jayna’s arms way too skinny and I’m afraid I’ll break her arms while posing her.

Accessories: Zan comes with his pail of water and Jayna comes with an eagle. The eagle is the same one packaged with Beast Boy, but painted to resemble a bald eagle. The same eagle was reused for Zoar (with Teela) and Screech (with Evil Lyn) in Masters of the Universe Classics. The white paint around the head and tail is sharp, but the black paint around the talons on the feet seems a bit shoddily done. There are four points of articulation on the eagle, at the wings and the legs.
Zan’s pail of water is molded from silver plastic, with translucent blue plastic used for the “water” inside the pail. Zan’s face is sculpted onto the blue plastic to give it the appearance that Zan took in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The black paint on the handle seems to be painted on in a hurry. However, the head sculpt appears to be very similar to the head on the figure. The handle of the pail can be moved, just like a real pail – a detail that Mattel could have omitted, but didn’t.
I found the fact that the pail was designed such that the eagle could grab it by the handle (similar to how it appeared in the cartoon) a big bonus. Jayna could also hold the pail in her hand, but not Zan, which makes sense. Gleek could supposedly–I say supposedly, since I don’t own him–pick up the pail, too.
Quality Control: Aside from the mould lines and the paint work, the quality of the figures are rather good. The joints on both of my figures are rather tight and the figures hold their poses well.
Overall: Despite the less than stellar availability of the figures, these figures are relatively well made, especially when compared with the first few waves of DCUCs. I find that the fact that these figures were based on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon increases the nostalgia value for me. Despite their cartoonish appearance, the figures still fit in with the rest of DCUC thanks to the re-use of sculpts.
However, I do have to knock off a couple ravens for the sloppy paintwork and the visually horrendous mold lines. The cost of the figures is also slightly higher than the average DCUC, thanks to the unique box and (the literal) flashing light and sounds that it contains.


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