Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Comparison Review of Three Mattel Wonder Woman Dolls

After watching the Wonder Woman preview fifteen times, I finally got a chance to go and see the real film.  It's amazing...or it has many moments of being amazing.  For example, I got choked up during all of the battle scenes--and now I see that I was not alone in having this reaction.  I mean, the battle scenes, for goodness sake!  Those are usually my least favorite part of a movie.  I actually found the love scenes in Wonder Woman tiresome and unnecessary, which is totally backwards for me.  As much as I enjoyed this movie, it didn't completely live up to all of my expectations.  In fact, my son and I critiqued the movie for the whole drive home--while cheerfully agreeing that we both loved it.  I kind-of knew something like this would happen, though, because when I'm obsessively eager to see a certain movie, my expectations get unrealistic and there's an inevitable (often temporary) let-down.  The same thing happened with Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast--except of course with those movies I enjoyed the fight scenes least and cried during all of the romantic scenes.

As a long-time fan of the Wonder Woman character, I've been thrilled to see all of the new dolls and action figures that have debuted during the past year or so.  There were a few Wonder Woman dolls released with the 2016 Batman v Superman movie (in which Wonder Woman has a cameo), and those offerings have probably tripled with the opening of the new film.

In this comparison review, I will look at a mix of dolls from Wonder Woman and Batman v Superman.  Strangely, all of these dolls are made by Mattel:

Black Label Batman v Superman Wonder Woman, Multiverse Wonder Woman, Battle Ready Wonder Woman.
It's worth noting that Hot Toys has gorgeous 1:6 versions of Wonder Woman from each movie, too, and I will review both of those dolls--whenever they ship.

The first doll that I'll show you is also the least expensive.  This is Mattel's Battle Ready play doll:


She can be found at most of the big box stores, including Walmart and Toys R Us.  I bought mine on Amazon for $14.97.

This doll comes in a small window box with one curved edge.  The curved side is decorated with a nice graphic representation of Wonder Woman:


The front of the box shows the actual doll holding her Lasso of Truth:

Truth is, a lasso would never look like that.
The side of the box has a few paragraphs of text and a dramatic photograph of Gal Gadot from the movie:


Here's a closer look at the text:


The back of the box has a large photograph of the doll--and yet another advertisement for the gravity-defying Lasso of Truth:


The bottom of the box has tiny photographs of some of the other dolls in this series:


Two of these dolls have mechanical features and cost a little more ($19.99).  Shield Block Wonder Woman has one arm that lifts up when you press a button on her back.  The bow-wielding doll has a bow with arrows that actually fire.  I saw both of these dolls in person at Walmart, and Bow-Wielding Wonder Woman is my favorite:


Her coloring is lovely and her hair looks great--very long and shiny.  

I'm not wild about gimmicky dolls in general, though, and I don't like that this doll's outfit is permanently attached to her body--especially because it's Wonder Woman's training armor, not the iconic blue and red battle armor.  Also, her left arm is not articulated.  She just doesn't seem versatile.

The third doll shown on the box is called Diana Prince & Hidden Sword:


Diana has a different face mold from the Battle Ready doll that I'm reviewing.  I own this doll, so I can show you some quick shots for comparison:

review
Diana Prince & Hidden Sword doll ($14.95).

I really like the Diana Prince doll, but I wanted the Battle Ready version for this review because she's wearing the classic armor:


This doll comes with only the Lasso of Truth accessory:


I tried to get Wonder Woman to hold the lasso in a more natural-looking way than what is shown on the box, but the coils are really hard to jam into her gripping hand.  This was the best I could do:


Strange as it is, I think she's really meant to hold the lasso like this:


The lasso is not a great accessory--at least not in this form.  The perma-coil shape means that the lasso can't actually be used in play as anything but a decoration.  I understand that there might be safety concerns with a lasso that's made out of string, but a vinyl rope with a flexible section that could be wrapped around something would have been better.  I mean, if you can't tie the bad guys up, where's the fun?

Wonder Woman comes in cloth armor with vinyl accents:

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Thanks to her sturdy vinyl boots, she stands well on her own:



Notice that my doll came with a markedly lopsided hairstyle:


She has an intense facial expression that vaguely resembles the actor:



Personally, I would not have wanted the burden of trying to make a doll in the likeness of Ms. Gadot. In my opinion she is spectacularly beautiful, remarkably athletic, and perfect as Wonder Woman.

This doll is clearly in the same family as Barbie, but I like her fierce eyebrows and determined expression:


I slightly prefer the open-mouthed face of the Diana Prince doll (this doll also has darker, more distinct facial screening for some reason) but both versions are good:

Battle Ready (left) and Diana Prince (right) dolls.

The eyes are medium brown and slightly upward-glancing.  It would have been nice if they were an even darker shade of brown, but they are painted well and have nice detail:


Wonder Woman's head armor is attached on both sides with--of course--a plastic tie.  There are even holes in the armor specifically to accommodate these ties:


The headpiece itself is made out of sparkly gold vinyl.  It does not have any painted details or shading:


As a little aside, when I think of Wonder Woman, I tend to think of Lynda Carter or the 1970s/80s cartoon Super Friends.  In those shows, Wonder Woman looked like this:


And like this:


I think flipping the tiara-like headband upside-down and making it look like practical head protection was a brilliant move.  Here's a closer look at a Wonder Woman movie photograph so you can see what I mean:

No tiaras here.
Anyway, back to the doll's armor:


The vinyl headpiece fits back onto the Wonder Woman doll, but it gets crooked all of the time and falls off pretty easily.  I wish the fit was tighter.

I finger-combed Battle Ready Wonder Woman's uneven hair, replaced her head armor, and got one of the best pictures I have of her:

Toy Box Philosopher

This shot disguises the lopsided hair and is a decent match to how Gal Gadot's loose curls look in the movie.

After getting that picture, I brushed Wonder Woman's hair with my wire brush...and things went downhill:


It's a crazy mess:


The hair feels wonderful.  It's really nice, silky hair fiber that brushes easily and has a subtle shine to it.  The rooting density is great and there are no bald patches...


...there are even little streaks of auburn highlights throughout the head.  I just found it very difficult to get the hairstyle to look nice.  

I decided to tie all of the hair back and forget about it for a few minutes while I looked at the outfit and articulation.

The cloth part of the outfit is all one piece.  The designs and colors of the armor are printed right onto the fabric:

Looks like an ultra-short denim mini skirt.
There's a velcro seam that runs part of the way down the back:


The top of the outfit is decorated with a gold vinyl chest piece.  The chest piece is attached to the fabric with thick orange thread that looks like it should be removed.  The thread is the only thing holding the vinyl in place, though, so it should not be cut.  


The sections of bodice that are not sewn to the chest piece can slip down and create a gap between the fabric and the vinyl, like this:


The chest piece comes held in place with a clear rubber band.  This band can be removed, although once it's cut, the dress slips down all of the time:


The flimsy fabric and frequent structural malfunctions make this garment feel like anything but armor.  It's not a good outfit.

Wonder Woman's arm band also comes held in place with a clear rubber band:


But, happily, the arm band stays in place nicely on its own.  

I get confused about which way is up on this arm band.  Both orientations look like the letter "W" to me.  I believe this is the correct position:


Although the shimmering vinyl hits the light better when the band is upside-down:


Wonder Woman's vinyl belt matches her arm band:


This belt is not attached to the fabric outfit so it moves around a lot.  It has a peg-and-hole clasp that's easy to undo:


Here's the belt right-side-up:


But, again, the light catches the vinyl much better when the belt is upside-down (and it still looks like a "W" this way):


Here's a look at the waistline of the fabric armor without the belt:


Wonder Woman's arm cuffs are made out of very soft silver vinyl:


They have a slit in the back that makes them really easy to put on and take off.  A little too easy, in fact.  The vinyl is so soft that the cuffs can actually just twist off during play or posing.


In the movie, the cuffs have gold decorations at either end, but this detail is missing here.

Wonder Woman's boots are also made out of vinyl.  They have a long slit down the back that makes them very easy to remove:

Ironman called.  He wants his boots back.
The softness of the vinyl also makes the boots easy to manage:


Soft vinyl worries me a little, though.  I'm not sure if my concerns have any merit, but I've seen a lot of soft vinyl toys get greasy over time (the Bratz Secret Date accessories are a good example).  Perhaps plastic mixing techniques have improved in the last decade, though, and this is no longer a concern.  Let's hope so.

The boots are made out of gold vinyl with painted red areas:


Incidentally, the Diana Prince doll is wearing boots with this same exact mold, but they're a solid gold color with no red areas.

I like the gold strap details along the sides of the boots, and the cutout areas around the foot:


There a few spots where the red paint is missing, or where it encroaches on the gold, but these defects aren't too obvious.

With the boots off, it's easy to remove Wonder Woman's armor dress:


This dress has a narrow seam around top of the bodice, but is not finished at the bottom:


It's an adequate garment, but feels cheap overall.  The partly-attached vinyl chest piece is my least favorite part.  I wish this area had been more carefully designed.

Wonder Woman's athletic, articulated body is one of my favorite things about her.  She has muscular shoulders and limbs...and a solid nine points of articulation:



She has a swayed back--reminiscent of the Monster High line:


Her underpants are painted bright blue and have molded polka dots:


I especially like the arm and hand molds on this doll.  Her left forearm looks sinewy and strong, with a detailed, splay-fingered hand:


This hand shape is unique among the Wonder Woman dolls I'm looking at today.  The rest of them come with only gripping or fisted hands.


The right arm has a gripping hand at the end of a well-muscled arm:


Wonder Woman's neck has full articulation.  She can look up, down and all around.  She's a little better at looking up than down, though:


Her shoulder joints are really prominent.  The spherical shape of these joints looks a little odd, but also adds to the muscular appearance of the doll.  The shoulder joints have hinged rotation, but can only lift this high without being rotated:


The elbows have rotating hinge joints, too, but they can't quite bend to a 90-degree angle:


The elbow flexibility is good enough for Wonder Woman to fold her arms in front (or in back) of her chest:


But not quite good enough for her to touch her face.  She can do a decent head block, though, and can also rest her hand on (or near...) her hip:


Wonder Woman's hips have ball joints with limited movement.  She can only do side-to-side splits part way:


And the shape of her bottom prevents her from doing full front-to-back splits as well:


She can sit on the ground with her legs together, but her arched back causes her to lean backwards when she's in this pose:


Her knees can bend to about a 90-degree angle...


...and can also rotate:


Wonder Woman's knees can bend enough for her to sit in this low chair:


But she's not great at kneeling:


She has high arches and a small space next to her big toe:


Incidentally, Wonder Woman also has the strange change in texture on her lower leg that I've seen in a few Mattel dolls at this point:


Notice how the leg has a matte finish near the joint and then gets shiny lower down.

Update for Lissie: a comparison of the Battle Ready body and the DC Super Hero Girls Wonder Woman body.

DC Super Hero Girl (left) and Battle Ready (right) Wonder Woman dolls.
After I inspected Wonder Woman's articulation, I gave her troublesome hair a quick boil wash (i.e., I dunked it in boiling water and then brushed it straight).  It's a little too straight to perfectly imitate Gal Gadot's hair in the movie, but I think it looks very nice:




I took some time to pose and play with this Wonder Woman before I moved on to the next doll:



I really love her hair now--it's one of the best things about her.  I had trouble with uncooperative flyaways (as you can see in some of these pictures), but overall the hair looks and feels great.


Wonder Woman's joint action feels a little restricted, but she has respectable articulation and her body mold is great.



Toy Box Philosopher

Because I prefer the Diana Prince doll's face mold to the Battle Ready version, I decided to see how Diana would look in the Battle Ready armor.  I was hoping this would be the perfect mix!

Wonder Woman has her hair down during most of the movie, so I took Diana's hair down and boil washed it.  It's shorter and curlier than the Battle Ready hair.  The hair fiber does not feels as good as the Battle Ready hair, though.  It's not as sleek and soft to the touch.


Diana Prince doll in Battle Ready outfit (with hair let down).
The Diana Prince doll does not have blue molded underwear (it's skin colored), so I had to be a little more careful photographing that short dress!


In these pictures, Diana is wielding the sword that came with her--it's a really great sword and I'll show you a few of its details a little later in the review:


This is a fun hybrid doll, but I wish the hair was on par with the Battle Ready doll.  Even though the curls are accurate to the movie, I had a hard time making this hair look good.


Diana Prince doll in Battle Ready outfit (with hair let down).
Apparently my feelings about the hair are stronger than my feelings about the face mold, because after seeing both dolls in the traditional outfit, I prefer the original Battle Ready doll:

Battle Ready Wonder Woman and Diana Prince dolls, each wearing the Battle Ready outfit.

Next, I'm going to look at the Barbie Black Label Wonder Woman doll from the Batman v Superman movie.  I have not seen this movie.  

Where I live, this doll is only available online or (occasionally) on the shelves at Toys R Us.  She usually costs $44.95, but I found mine several months ago on sale for around $35.

This Wonder Woman comes in a roomy window box with Batman and Superman-themed decorations:

Batman v Superman Black Label Wonder Woman doll.

The text on the back of the box does not say anything specific about Wonder Woman:


There is another Black Label Wonder Woman doll on the market now, too.  The newer doll is based on the Wonder Woman movie but has many features in common with the Batman v Superman version.  

I own this doll, too, but I have not taken her out of the box yet:

Wonder Woman Black Label Wonder Woman doll.
This doll is similar to the one I'm reviewing (and even costs the same), but has the following differences:
1. She comes with a different sword and shield
2. She comes wearing a black cape
3. Her box has Wonder Woman-themed decorations
4. She has a different, more muscular arm mold and different arm articulation (just learned this)


I really like the back of this doll's box.  It has a huge photograph from the movie and a paragraph describing the plot:


Here's a closer look at the text:


Visually, I prefer the Wonder Woman Black Label doll (because of her accessories) and so I want to keep her in the box--at least for now.  I did open the bottom of the box and pull out the backdrop, just to inspect the doll and make sure her construction is similar to that of the doll I'm reviewing.

*Update: the construction is NOT the same.  I should've peeked under that cape.  With huge thanks to Rett, I now know that the newer Wonder Woman has muscular arms.  The arms also have one fewer point of articulation than the Batman v Superman doll.  I am working on a comparison update right now.

For now, here's a peek at Wonder Woman outside of her box:

Wonder Woman Black Label Wonder Woman doll....hiding muscles under that cape, apparently.
And here's the Batman v Superman doll against her backdrop:

Batman v Superman Black Label Wonder Woman doll.
She comes with a certificate of authenticity:


She also comes with a stand, but hardly needs it.  She balances very well on her own:


This doll comes with a shield, a string lasso (which is sewn to the shoulder strap), and a small sword.  Her armor looks amazing:

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She is very tall and feels skinny after posing the Battle Ready doll.


I was especially excited about this doll because she appears to have many joints in common with the incomparable Made to Move Barbie dolls.  Her elbow and knee joints look promising from the back:


This doll comes with the "wrong" shield.  It's the shield from Batman v Superman, not the geometric shield that's in the Wonder Woman movie.  Still, the details on this shield are great.  There's a molded bird pattern in the middle, and painted gold bands encircling the outside:


There are tiny molded symbols between the outermost gold bands, too:


Apparently the symbols are ancient Greek letter forms, although they do not spell out any known Greek words.  In the article I linked, it's speculated that the text is intended to be a precursor to ancient Greek.

The back of the shield has three thick elastic bands that hold the shield firmly to Wonder Woman's arm:


This Wonder Woman does not come with the "god killer" sword from the Wonder Woman movie, either.  Instead, she has a small, skinny, warped sword:

We can call it the "butter cutter" sword.
The sword has nice molded details, though, particularly along the blade:


Some of the molded patterns along the blade are meant to be letter symbols, but this sword is too small for those to be decipherable.


This looks like a Barbie, but I also think she resembles Ms. Gadot more than the Battle Ready doll:


She looks even more like the actor in half-profile:


Right out of the box, her long dark hair is tangled and messy-looking:


I like this Wonder Woman's face, but I wish she had a slightly more serious or aggressive look.  Her mild expression is versatile, but it doesn't work well for recreating battle scenes from the movie (which are apparently my favorite):


Here's a side-by-side comparison with the Battle Ready doll: 

Battle Ready (left) and Black Label (right) Wonder Woman dolls.

Between these two, I definitely prefer the Black Label version.  She might not be fierce, but she more accurately captures the beauty of the actor.

Here's a look at the Diana Prince doll with the Black Label doll:

Diana Prince (left) and Black Label (right) Wonder Woman dolls.

I have a harder time choosing a favorite between these two.  They have very similar mouths--almost indistinguishable.  And again, I like the intense eyebrows of the Diana Prince doll.  I like her olive complexion, too.  But something about the Black Label doll still strikes me as more accurate to Wonder Woman's movie persona.  Here's a screenshot from the trailer so that you can make your own decision:


The eyes on this doll are beautifully-screened, but, as I noted with the Battle Ready doll, they could definitely be a few shades darker:

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My doll has a few dark spots on her lip paint, but otherwise her face is lovely.

Wonder Woman's head armor comes tied to her head with orange thread:


The mold of this headpiece is exactly the same as what we saw on the Battle Ready doll:


The Black Label armor is lighter than the Battle Ready armor, though, and it does not have holes in the sides for plastic ties.

Battle Ready (left) and Black Label (right) head armor.
Battle Ready (left) and Black Label (right) head armor.
Both of the Black Label dolls have light gold armor.  I wish Mattel had used the darker gold color for all of their dolls.  To me, it looks much more realistic and movie-accurate.

I found it difficult to get all of the thread out of Wonder Woman's hair:


Incidentally, after the threads are cut, the head armor still stays on Wonder Woman's head pretty well.  The fit feels more secure than it did on the Battle Ready doll, anyway.  This might be because of the difference in hair texture, or it could just be that the armor matches the Black Label doll's head better. 

The hair on this doll is not great.  It's frizzy and stiff right out of the box.  It doesn't look much better after a thorough brushing:


There's way too much volume for the hair to look even remotely movie-accurate:


Furthermore, the texture of the hair is coarse and dry (especially at the ends), making me think that a boil wash will not help in the long term.


I took one last picture with the hair down before I tied it back to get a closer look at the outfit:

Toy Box Philosopher

This doll's main armor is permanently attached to her body.  Some of the smaller pieces (the cuffs, the harness, the arm band, and the boots) can be removed.



The harness is made out of imitation leather and has plastic decorations on each side.  The metallic loops of the Lasso of Truth are sewn onto the right side:


The lasso could probably be cut away from the harness, but for now I'm going to leave it in place.  It's fun to pose Wonder Woman's griping hand on one of the coils--as though she's about to pull the lasso free and tie someone up.  Like this:


The left side of the harness just has a plastic decoration (this shape reminds me of something--maybe the Decepticon symbol?):


Judging from the Wonder Woman movie, I think the back of the harness is meant to hold a scabbard, but this harness does not have that detail.

Wonder Woman's gold arm band come rubber-banded to her upper arm:


And once again this piece photographs better upside-down...


...than right-side up:


The arm band is a smaller (and lighter) version of what we saw on the Battle Ready doll:

Battle Ready arm band (left) and Black Label arm band (right).
That picture gives you a good idea of how much more muscular the Battle Ready doll's arms are!

This doll's wrist cuffs do not have a complete slit on the side, so they cannot be removed unless the hands are removed first:


Wonder Woman has one gripping hand and one fisted hand.  Both hands come with painted wraps:



Once the hands have been removed, the wrist cuffs slide right off:



The Black Label cuffs are a smaller replica of the Battle Ready cuffs.  The Black Label cuffs just have complete straps bridging the gap between the two sides of the cuff:

Battle Ready (left) and Black Label (right) Wonder Woman wrist cuffs.
Wonder Woman's harness is removable, but it comes stuck to her left shoulder with a small square of adhesive:


The last piece of removable armor on this doll is her boots:


These look tight-fitting and hard to work with, but they are actually quite easy to get on and off.

The back of each boot has an incomplete slit and a band of black elastic at the top:


These boots have the same molded strap details that the Battle Ready boots have:


As with all of the other armor, the Black Label boots are just a smaller (lighter) version of the Battle Ready boot mold:

Battle Ready (left) and Black Label (right) Wonder Woman boots.
Here's what's left of the armor when all of the removable pieces are gone:


The top part of the armor is hard plastic and the bottom part is made out of layered blue imitation leather:


The armor is not actually part of the body (it can be wiggled back and forth a little and you might be able to see some very small gaps around the edges) but it cannot be removed.


The flaps of imitation leather are very flexible, but they also hold their bent shape.  You can see that a few of the flaps are curled upwards and will not lay flat:


I tried to get an artistic photograph to show you what was going on under the armor...


But ended up needing the crudest possible shot in order to make anything clear:

Black Label Wonder Woman hip joint.
Wonder Woman has a strip of blue imitation leather that acts as underpants.  My doll's strip is folded under itself in one spot, so it doesn't look great.  The other thing to notice in the picture, above, is that the hip is articulated with a black rubber band.

Made to Move Barbies have plastic ball-jointed hips with fantastic movement:

Made to Move Barbie hip joint.
Wonder Woman's upper body articulation is exactly like that of a Made to Movie Barbie...in other words, it's fantastic.  Her head moves from side-to-side and up and down, and her arms each have four joints.  You can reference my Made to Move review for more details.

Unfortunately (and inexplicably), the lower body articulation is not the same (and not as good) as the Made to Move Barbies.

The elasticized hips allow for full side-to-side splits:


And also full front-to-back splits.  No issues here:


Wonder Woman has the same excellent double-jointed knee articulation as Made to Movie Barbie:


So she can kneel very well:



The difference comes when Wonder Woman tries to sit.  Those hips just do not perform as well as the Made to Move ball jointed hips.

She sits in a chair reasonably well:


But her legs splay apart when she sits on the ground:

Temper tantrum Wonder Woman.
In addition, she doesn't have any rotational movement in her legs beyond some minor flexibility from the elastic itself.

Made to Move Barbies sit better than most dolls--in almost any imaginable position:


Now, granted, the Wonder Woman character doesn't sit around a lot, but I still can't figure out why Mattel would make this change to the lower body articulation.  It has a huge impact on the doll's movement.

Hey, why can't I sit on the ground like you??
Here's a look at the Black Label and the Battle Ready doll bodies together:

Black Label Wonder Woman (left) and Battle Ready Wonder Woman (right).
Black Label Wonder Woman's limbs look scrawny in this comparison, but I think her head looks better proportioned and more attractive.  My ideal hybrid would have the body shape of the Battle Ready doll with Black Label's head and Made to Move articulation.

After I was done looking at the articulation, I gave the Black Label doll's hair a quick boil wash.  It looked best--as seen here--before it was completely dry:

Black Label Wonder Woman doll with washed hair.


I left Wonder Woman sitting on a table as her hair dried, though, and it caused some of the flaps on her armor to stick up for several hours afterwards:


I've learned to leave her in a kneeling position if she's going to be sitting around for a while.

This Wonder Woman poses better than the Battle Ready doll, but it's hard not to wish that she could pose as well as a Made to Move Barbie.  I took some action shots of her before I moved on to the last doll:



The sword's size might be accurate to the Batman v Superman movie (I watched some clips and can't tell for sure) but it looks really small to me:


I found that this doll can look skinny and awkward in some poses, but in other shots she looks awesome:

Toy Box Philosopher

The last Wonder Woman, Mattel's "Multiverse Wonder Woman," is more like an action figure than a doll.  I found this figure on Amazon for $29--which is right in between the prices of the other two dolls.  I have not seen her in any stores around here.

Multiverse Wonder Woman comes in a large red window box that's decorated with photographs from the Wonder Woman movie:



This seems to be Mattel's favorite promotional shot from the movie:


The back of the box is decorated with pictures of the actual doll showing off her features:


Wonder Woman herself looks great:



And she comes with several yellow effect accessories for her wrist cuffs:


The box also claims that Wonder Woman might not be able to stand on her own.  After looking at the other two (very sturdy) dolls, I highly doubt this:


Wonder Woman comes in a molded plastic shell against a yellow backdrop.  She is held in place entirely by the shape of the plastic--no rubber bands or ties necessary.


It was a little hard to pry some of the smaller pieces out of this shell.


Here's everything that was in the box...and notice how beautifully Wonder Woman is standing on her own!

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She has two yellow semi-circles for the wrist cuffs, and four deflected bullet pieces:


She also has a large sword and a coiled Lasso of Truth:


Wonder Woman also comes with a pair of gripping hands--each with painted hand wraps:


The hands hold the sword nicely:

Multiverse Wonder Woman's sword.
This sword is a good replica of the "god killer" from the movie.  It has a golden hilt with a molded guard that resembles two dragon heads:

Detail from Multiverse Wonder Woman's sword.
My doll's sword has some silver paint from the blade of the sword splashed onto the hilt.

Remember that the Diana Prince doll also comes with a sword:


This version is a little nicer than Multiverse Wonder Woman's sword.  It has a more intricately molded guard, and the decorations along the blade are crisp and clear:

Detail from Diana Prince doll's sword.
Diana Prince's sword is also much larger than the Multiverse sword...even though Multiverse Wonder Woman is the larger of the two dolls:

Multiverse sword (left) and Diana Prince sword (right).
As an aside, the Black Label Wonder Woman from the Wonder Woman movie comes with the same sword as Diana Prince.  There are a few coloring differences (the hilt is a brighter, more metallic gold color and the blade is lighter silver) but otherwise the weapons are identical:



Here are the Black Label (left) and the Diana Prince (right) swords side-by-side:


Why, I wonder, didn't Mattel use this superior sword mold for all of their Wonder Woman dolls?  It's a great accessory and makes the alternatives look bad.

Anyway--back to Multiverse Wonder Woman.  She wears a full set of armor (including the shoulder harness) and none of the clothing (not even the shoulder harness) is removable:

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Unlike the other dolls, this figure has molded vinyl hair:


The promotional pictures of this figure are fairly accurate to the actual product, although I feel like the head mold in this photo looks fantastic:

Promotional picture.
And the actual figure is less impressive:

Something's off.
She looks a little wall-eyed, and not much like Gal Gadot.


She has small, wide-set eyes that are medium brown with pale accents under the pupils:


It looks to me like my Wonder Woman's eyes were printed a little too high on her face.  Notice how the eyelid crease is painted onto the ridge of the brow (it should be just underneath it):


This could be an unfortunate defect with just my doll.  It's not terrible, but it does make her face look strange.

Wonder Woman's head armor is painted onto her forehead in bright, metallic gold:


Her molded hair also has some painted detail.  It's predominantly a chestnut brown color, but there's a lot of black shading:


Here's a closer look:


This Wonder Woman's armor is the most realistic of the three dolls I'm reviewing today:


The bodice has molded line details and lots of gold highlights.  It looks like armor--not like a dress:


One thing that bothers me about Wonder Woman's armor is that the back half of her bodice does not have the color detail that the front has--it's just a plain bright red:


Underneath her plastic golden belt, Wonder Woman's armor is made of vinyl.  The sections of blue skirt can bend upwards a little bit to allow the hips to bend:


The shoulder harness is attached to Wonder Woman's body in the front and the back.  The attachments in the back are more extensive than those in the front:


The harness has great detail, with molded leather texture and little golden rivets at many of the seams.  It also has metallic gold joiners at either side:


On the right side, the harness has a small peg-and-hole connector that unsnaps to accommodate the Lasso of Truth:



On the opposite side, there's a loop of harness that serves as a scabbard for the sword:



Wonder Woman comes wearing her two fisted hands.  I removed her right hand...


...and swapped in the gripping hand so that she could grab her sword:

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The other dolls are able to hold this sword, too:

Battle Ready Wonder Woman holding Multiverse Wonder Woman's sword.
Black Label Wonder Woman holding Multiverse Wonder Woman's sword.
Wonder Woman's arm band is molded onto her left arm and painted with metallic gold.  The wrist cuffs are also part of the arm, but they have more dimensionality in their mold.  The cuffs look convincingly separate from the arm--especially in front:


The wrist cuffs also have the gold painted designs that I wish were present on the other dolls' cuffs:


The straps on the back side of the arm are even painted brown--with tiny gold fasteners!


The boots are molded onto the legs and are painted very well:



The paint job near the foot--with all of the tiny straps and cutouts--is most impressive, with no flaws that I can see:


Wonder Woman's body has fourteen points of articulation (neck, shoulders, upper arms, hands, elbows, waist, hips, knees).


Amazon advertises only ten points of articulation, but that count is wrong:

Shouldn't Amazon know more about this Amazon?
I thought that maybe Wonder Woman's head would not be articulated because her hair looks like it would prevent any significant movement in either direction.  However, the hair is actually flexible enough to allow the head to move from side to side:


There's a section of hair on the right side of Wonder Woman's face that's separate from the other hair, and this piece sticks out when the head is in certain positions, creating the illusion of movement in the hair:

Toy Box Philosopher


Wonder Woman's upper shoulder joints are rotating hinges.  They spin all of the way around and have a decent range of hinged movement:


Just below this joint, there's an additional rotating joint that allows the entire arm to twist around:


The elbows are double-jointed (so it could be argued that this Amazon has sixteen points of articulation) and have incredible range of motion:



There is no rotation in the elbow joints, but the extra upper arm joint compensates for this.


This doll's arms move just as well as the Black Label doll's arms.


Wonder Woman has a twisting torso joint just above her belt:


But because the torso is not shaped like a perfect cylinder, this joint starts to look a little funny if it's moved too much:


And it looks especially funny if the torso is spun around a full 180 degrees!


Wonder Woman's hips have simple hinged movement.  She cannot move her legs from side to side at all.

She can't quite sit on the ground, either, because the armor restricts the forward motion of the legs:


Her legs do not move backwards enough for her to do front-to-back splits:


The knee joints also have simple hinged movement.  The joints look okay from the side:


...but the large hinge is distractingly obvious from the front:


Because of the limited flexibility in her legs, Wonder Woman can't kneel very well:

(I'm holding her up in this picture).
This Wonder Woman has great upper body articulation, but stiff and limited lower body articulation.  The lack of rotation in her legs is the most glaring omission.

You might have noticed earlier that Wonder Woman has holes in both of her wrist cuffs:


These holes are for the effect accessories.  The arcs of yellow power can fit into these holes:


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And if both arcs are used simultaneously, a kind-of force barrier can be set up around Wonder Woman:


The other wrist cuff accessories are deflected bullets, but I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't figure this out right away and was using them backwards, like this:


This doesn't look very cool.

Sad droopy arrow.
When I read the box and figured out that these pieces are supposed to go the other way, it looked a lot better!


Here are some of the poses that I came up with for this figure:




She's not as flexible as I'd hope she would be.


This is my favorite picture:

Toy Box Philosopher

Here are all of the Wonder Woman dolls together:

From left: Black Label Wonder Woman, Multiverse Wonder Woman, Battle Ready Wonder Woman.
I like all three of these dolls for different reasons, and each has their flaws.

The Black Label doll looks super-skinny next to the other two.  I really wish she had been given a more athletic frame.  Her hair is also too long and very frizzy.  Even a boil wash couldn't completely tame the poofiness.  However, this doll has the best articulation of the bunch (although I can't figure out why she wasn't given the same legs as Made to Move Barbie).  I also love her face.  She looks like a Barbie doll, but she also bears some resemblance to Gal Gadot.  Her molded armor is not removable, but it looks great.  She comes with three accessories: a sword, a shield, and a Lasso of Truth.

The Multiverse Wonder Woman's armor looks amazing and I love that she has so many joints.  Her arm articulation is the most impressive.  The leg articulation is limited, though, and the vinyl hair is a little hard to work with.  I suspect that my doll has a small error in her eye screening that reduces the realism of her face.  This doll comes with a sword, a vinyl Lasso of Truth, and several effect accessories for her wrist cuffs.  Of the three dolls I reviewed, this is probably the sturdiest choice (no chance of losing outfit pieces or dealing with messy hair!).

The Battle Ready doll is a solid play doll for $14.95.  Her well-sculpted body, nine points of articulation, and beautiful hair make her a bargain.  In fact, her hair quality and body sculpt are the best in this bunch.  Her outfit is the least impressive, though, and her face bears the least resemblance to the movie character.   This doll also has the most underwhelming accessory.  She only comes with one extra item--a coiled vinyl Lasso of Truth that she can't even hold realistically.  To me, the Diana Prince & Hidden Sword doll from this same line has a better face mold and a better accessory (a sword), so I thought perhaps she could wear the Battle Ready outfit and be the perfect hybrid...but Diana's hair was not as nice as I'd hoped.

After posing and playing with all of these Wonder Woman dolls, I decided that the Black Label Barbie is my favorite of the bunch.  She has all of the critical elements for a good superhero doll.


First and foremost, this Wonder Woman has excellent articulation.  Her elastic hips are a disappointment, but she can still strike more action poses than the other two dolls.


Also, this doll comes with excellent accessories.  She has a metallic Lasso of Truth, a sword, and a shield.  All three look great.  The updated version of this doll that was released for the Wonder Woman movie (the one with the black cape) comes with an even better sword and shield.


This doll has a pretty face--not a fierce one--but of the three dolls I showed you today, she reminds me the most of Gal Gadot.

Toy Box Philosopher

I don't really like this doll's hair (it's too frizzy, especially at the ends) but I have to admit that it looks pretty good in pictures.  It has a nice dark color and a good amount of curl....and the hair fiber holds its position well.


This Wonder Woman has great armor.  It's not quite as detailed as the Multiverse armor, but it's far better than the Battle Ready doll's unstable dress-like armor.  I would tweak a few things if I could (the shade of gold that's used could be a little darker), but think the overall look is excellent.  

The removable pieces of armor (boots, wrist cuffs, shoulder harness, head piece) are surprisingly easy to use.  Some might find it frustrating that the body armor can't be removed, but I don't think the armor would look as good if it'd been designed to come off.  Also, Wonder Woman rarely goes without her armor in the movie (even that beautiful blue dress is worn over her armor...) so why should the doll be any different?


This doll poses so well on her own that I completely forgot about her stand until I was almost finished with the review.  The stand has a black plastic base and clear plastic grip.  The grip clips around one thigh and does not move.  This is good for basic running poses:


But I couldn't come up with too many extreme action shots that the stand would tolerate without tipping over.  This is my best attempt--and even this didn't last very long because those elastic hips can't hold this kind of pose very well:

Toy Box Philosopher review

Bottom line?  Phew!  This is a long review.  I've already outlined my opinions about the best and worst features of each of these Wonder Woman play dolls, so I'll try to be brief here.  First of all, I seem to have taken on too much with this review and thereby overlooked a critical detail: the two Black Label Wonder Woman dolls are not the same.

My initial conclusion was that of the dolls I reviewed today, I like the Barbie Black Label Wonder Woman from Batman v Superman best.  That's still true.  However, my recommendation was to choose the newer version of this doll--the Black Label Barbie from Wonder Woman.  The newer doll has accessories that are accurate to the excellent Wonder Woman movie, and she also comes with the dramatic black cape that Diana wears throughout the early part of the story.  I assumed all other features of the two dolls were identical.

But now, thanks to Rett's comment (below), I've de-boxed my second Black Label doll and learned that she has notably different arms.  The arms are more muscular, which is awesome, but they're also missing a rotational joint and so they aren't as flexible.  The legs are more muscular, too, but they have the same disappointing elastic hip joints as the Batman v Superman doll There are some other small differences as well.  I'm already working on pictures for a comparison of the two Black Label dolls, and will publish it as soon as I can--probably as a separate post.

So I guess there's no bottom line yet...but there is some suspense!  Which Black Label doll will be deemed the best?  Do muscles win out over articulation, or the other way around?  I'll call it Wonder Woman v Wonder Woman, Dawn of Realization!  Stay tuned.  

Toy Box Philosopher review

35 comments:

  1. Ugh, I'm super torn now. Based on your findings, I should probably try to get my hands on a Black Label doll, and her armor and accessories DO look amazing...but I just LOVE the body sculpt of the Battle Ready doll. When I first saw her at my local Target, my reaction was literally to say out loud, "Wow, she's so...beefy!" And as someone who often feels like Wonder Woman is drawn too skinny and "sexy"--more like a lingerie model than a pro-athlete--having a doll that actually looks muscular and strong is important to me. But is it important *enough* to tolerate that cheap-looking fabric armor? Decisions, decisions...

    You've given me some stuff to think about, Emily. Thanks for the great review!

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    1. You put your finger on the dilemma, that's for sure! I predict someone will make custom armor for Battle Ready and the result will be amazing!! That body sculpt is excellent--especially for the price.

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  2. Another great review! I'd love to see some comparison pictures between these dolls (especially Battle Ready) and the DC Super Hero Girls Wonder Woman. Battle Ready reminds me of her.
    -Lissie

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    1. Oh--sorry!--I meant to include the DC Superhero Wonder Woman but then forgot! I'll see if I can get a good picture to add in. Thank you for reminding me!!

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    2. Thank you! I was surprised to see that DC Wonder Women is a little taller. I have a hard time picturing the size of items from pictures or descriptions, and I guess I thought that DC Wonder Woman would be shorter because she's supposed to represent a teenage version of the character.

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  3. Wow. That hidden sword Diana is seriously tempting me! I absolutely LOVE the movie, and hopefully I will see it again with my parents because they haven't seen it. What was your favorite scene or character(other than Diana herself)? Mine would have to be Dr. Poison, she's just so cool. Bye!
    -Genya

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    1. Also, how much does the hidden sword doll cost? Is it the same as the one you reviewed(15 dollars)or a different price?
      -Genya

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    2. Hi Genya, yes--the Hidden Sword doll is ~$15 just like Battle Ready. I'll add that into the review!
      I think my favorite scenes (or the ones that made me cry, anyway) were the No Man's Land scene (epic!) and the part at the beginning when Diana is fighting Antiope and discovers some of her power. SO GOOD!!! Dr. Poison is excellent, too. I agree!

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    3. When Diana got up there and started walking across No Man's Land, I started crying. After an entire life of being men get to be the heroes, the ones who inspire, the ones who are capable, while women were always supporting characters, it hit me so hard to finally, FINALLY, get to see a woman get to be the hero in her very own right. After being told repeatedly as a child that being the hero is a man's job, and they're supposed to save the women (and being told that math and science are for boys, so why did I live them...I wish I was kidding about that, but I'm not, and the anger I still have over it may never go away), seeing Diana get out there and just kick so much ass meant so much to me, and I got to see this with my 7-year-old daughter! We've got multiple times now, and are going again. Already got the tickets! My daughter won't take her Wonder Woman shirt off!

      Did you notice how the words "Wonder Woman" were never uttered on screen? This is amazing. This says that, even when she's leading the charge, she is still Diana. She hasn't turned into someone else, the way a batsuit makes Bruce into Batman, or removing glasses turns Clark into Superman (did you catch the shade shown at Diana putting on glasses, and Etta chuckling about how that's not disguising Diana?!). When Diana is in her armor, she is still Diana. When she's wearing something else, she's still the hero. At all times, she is Diana, and she is the hero!

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    4. I have the Bow Wielding Diana, Diana Prince, and the other one with the black horse. I named him Bucephalus. I also have the Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman. I love the joints on her. I am on the fence about the Black Label Wonder Woman movie. I almost wanted that 12" Multiverse Figure but decided I have enough 1/6 scale stuff of Wonder Woman including my DC Super Hero Girl Wonder Woman.

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  4. Amazing review, as always. Thank you very much, Emily! I think I like the "Battle Ready" WW doll best. If she had darker brown eyes and red lips, she would be the perfect Regina Mills/The Evil Queen from the series "Once Upon a Time".

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    1. You are very welcome! :) She does look like Regina Mills! Good call. Love that show...

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    2. WOW. It's great to hear that you love that show, too :-)

      Greetings from Poland !!!

      /Paul

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  5. If you ever debox the Wonder Woman version of the Barbie Black Label, be sure to add a comparison! From what I hear, that doll has extra moulded muscles but with articulation similar to the MTM line. I think they reused the new muscled mould created for the Gabby Douglass doll. Anyway, I would love to see a comparison between the two since the BvS version looks pretty shrimpy compared to the muscles of Gadot on the box.

    ~Rett

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    1. Oh, my gosh--you're right!!! Ah! I peeked under that cape and the arms are strong!! What would I do without the wise comments that get posted here?? Now I have to take her out of the box! Batman v Superman is too shrimpy--agree! Thank you so, SO much for this. I will update.

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    2. Sadly, hips and legs are the same elasticized version. But the arms are very good news. I'm excited to de-box now! :D

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  6. I was hoping you would do a comparison of all the new Wonder Woman dolls. Thanks, it was a fun read as usual and I look forward to seeing your review of the new Black Label doll.

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  7. Thanks for the excellent review. All the dolls are beautiful for different reasons but I like Black Label best because of her articulation. Whether you buy WW to play with her or pose her, you'd ultimately like the one that can recreate scenes from the movie. Multiverse is my least favorite because I'd sooner deal with bad hair than vinyl.
    Looking forward to the comparison of both Black Labels.

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  8. Wspaniała recenzja! Bardzo dziękuję i pozdrawiam :-)

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  9. Ugh... I really want a WW doll, but the black label is $90 aud and the other dolls are random pick (no store nearby, and toys r us down here is stupid online).

    I'm really bummed that the black label one hasn't got a mtm body, and that she has to wear the armour. I'd hoped to buy the one (since she's not random pick) and just make her other outfits... oh well. They are lovely dolls, in their own ways, just none of them seem to be quite all they could be.

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  10. I wish there was a doll with the mobility and basic features of the black label, but with a build at least as sturdy and muscular as multiverse WW. Wonder Woman to me should be a big woman, tall and athletic almost to the point of stocky. Curvy and feminine, yes, but in a super strong Amazon way.

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  11. Now that you mention it, I'm curious if the blue dress fits over the armor, or if it fits the black label dolls, and also how the sword can be "hidden" - it would be great if you could add in more about the Diana Prince doll for your follow-up post. To me she is the prettiest of all the dolls, and I would love to see more of her features! Thank you!

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  12. Diana and Steve have a history going back to the 1940's. Fans of the comics will pick up on the nods to the comic. Dr. Maru has had four version in the comics, for example, and really, leaving Steve out of the movie wouldn't have worked. That would be like ignoring the existence of Lois Lane in a Superman movie. Steve, in this movie, served to teach Diana that, even though there is a lot of bad in humanity, there is enough goodness and love to make humans worth saving. So it was actually necessary.

    I don't know if you caught it, but Diana's headpiece was Antiope's. So it was designed to fit with Antiope's aesthetic as well. An upward point wouldn't have provided any protection. When Diana puts the piece on, she's channeling her aunt.

    I can't wait for the review of the new Barbie version! There'a also her mother and her aunt, and they're beautiful!!

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  13. Recently discovered your blog and I love, love, love it. Your reviews are super informative and helpful. Thanks for taking such time. First off I want Hidden Sword Diana, she just appeals to me the most. I really like the sword. And I'm not a big fan of Barbie, she's gorgeous to look at but they really need to articulate, articulate, articulate. MTM all the way. Skateboarder MTM is the only Barbie I currently have and she's awesome (Of course I updated her deck with a Pinky and the Brain tech deck) And secondly in case no one has suggested it before the best way to deal with frize is fabric softener. I keep a small jar handy and dip a comb in when needed. Works awesome for most box hair repair. And when really bad and tangled and frized out you soak your dolls head in a solution of softener and water, I use straight softener for really bad hair aka my 6 year olds Rochelle. Just soak and rinse. It works great. And thanks again for all your work, well my doll obsession thanks you, my wallet does not :) Looking forward to seeing more.

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  14. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the MTM leg construction would have interfered with her boots? The ankle joint isn't the sturdiest and I'm always scared I'm going to pull the foot off when I put them in boots.

    Thanks for another detailed review!

    On an off-topic note, summer vacation means I finally have time to address the eyes on my 18" My Twinn dolls. I will be frequently referencing your posts on the process.

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  15. How odd, my BMvSM WW doll has great hair, not dry, crispy, none of that.

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  16. Great post! I think I lean toward liking the B vs. S one the best, so that probably means I'll like the updated BL one for the new movie. Can't wait for that comparison post.

    There's a YouTube user called 'Hextian' who did a repaint of the Batman vs. Superman Wonder Woman that looks absolutely stunning.

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  17. I saw one of those Multoverse dolls at my local Mejeir today. She had the same "defect" with her eyes, so I didn't get her.

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  18. I love your reviews! So detailed and the comparisons are outstanding. You look at details some would overlook, but they are important. That bit about the one dress falling down without the band, the joints on the other and the wigs. I'm not fond of the one with the solid hair. That's more like a figurine.
    Thank you again!
    ~Xyra

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  19. Thank you for another group of wonderfully informative and entertaining reviews of the new Mattel Wonder Woman dolls! As is often the case after I read your blogs, I was inspired to purchase a few. I really liked the body sculpt of the Diana Prince doll, particularly her muscular arms and expressive hands. That dress is not to be sneered at either - it looks so Grecian to me. I did slit the dress up both sides to the mid thigh, which makes action poses easier without changing the look of the dress too much. And her face sculpt has a bit of Audrey Hepburn resemblance which is just fine with me! (ha) I liked her so much that I purchased the Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman 2 pack, and this Wonder Woman in her training gear has quickly become my favorite. (the full length sandals go great with the blue dress, by the way). Something about this head sculpt seems to look different with each different hairstyle, and doesn't look as good with the headband - don't know why. For me, less articulation in this case is more than made up for with the beautiful body sculpt.

    After seeing the more muscular Wonder Woman in your second review, I couldn't resist Queen Hippolyta and General Antiope! Queen Hippolyte has such a majestic and serene look - she does very well standing around looking splendid. General Antiope, on the other hand, lends herself to terrific action shots! I can't keep her still.

    Thanks for introducing me to these great dolls with your wonderful reviews!

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  20. Hey Emily,
    For all of you who like the muscular body of the Battle Ready/Diana Prince Hidden Sword barbie, you might want to check out the Mattel 2016 Power Con Exclusive She Ra. Her body mold was especially designed by Garrett Sander who works for Mattel (and has worked on Monster High). He was given carte blanche to design his ideal She Ra. She has something like 24 points of articulation, and has pretty much the same hands as Battle Ready/Diana Prince; only She Ra has 2 more pairs of hands to boot. She also shares the same foot size (only with articulated ankles and toes, so she can share footwear with the Diana Prince line, aka the great knee high sandals). She Ra is obviously going to be way too buff for some folks, but for my part I'm so put off by the (foot-binding) tiny feet of the Black Label Barbies (sorry) that I couldn't be more thrilled with the contrast of six-pack abs on my She Ra. As Garrett Sander said in an interview on this sculpt, he wanted the most powerful woman in the universe (She Ra) to look like she fit in with the most powerful man - should He Man ever get made in this scale. In fact, I suspect that the Battle Ready/Diana Prince sculpt may be directly from Garrett Sander's incredible She Ra sculpt.

    I'd also like to give recognition to Darren Sander (the other twin of the Sander twins) who designed the oversized boxes that She Ra comes in. They are SO well done - both an outer and an inner - and the very inner sanctum of the box (a dark blue castle wall with torchlight) seems to be a particularly fabulous backdrop for photographing these dolls. I'm sure it was designed that way on purpose.

    I bought two of these dolls - one from Amazon and one from Ebay - at a reasonable price. They were apparently $75 from Mattel after Power Con last year, and I got them both in this price range. I am in the process of transforming one into Red Sonja. I can't get excited about the Phicen body - I've tried. It is too realistic. This body sculpt is fantastic, and still leaves something to the imagination! :-)

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  22. I just got the Mattel Battle Ready version and I'm disappointed with mine. Not only did it have a mark on the cheek that I can't get off but what's up with the short neck? I think they made the head too large for the body which is a shame because the body sculpt is stunning and very realistic. Luckily mine has great hair though, it seems it's either one or the other with Mattel and I can't even say you get what you pay for because I've had expensive dolls from them with factory flaws too! Great reviews, thank you.

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  23. Hey there! Is there any way you can take a photo of the Mattel 12" figure with one of the shields that come with the newer movie dolls? I'm curious to see if it'll look okay with the Mattel figure.

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  24. Hey there, I love your reviews very much! I have a big question and I hope you can help me. I have hidden sword wonder woman doll and I am looking for some shoes that can fit in her feet. I could see some disney descendants dolls reviews in your blog too, and these dolls seem to have very similar feet. Can you tell me if descendant dolls shoes fit properly in wonder woman dolls?? I would be very helpful. Thanks

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.