Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Black Label Barbie Wonder Woman Dolls

The suspense is over!  Here's my update to the Wonder Woman comparison review from earlier in the week.

To recap: Mattel offers two different Black Label Wonder Woman dolls at the moment, one from the 2016 Batman v Superman movie and another from the more recent Wonder Woman movie.  I assumed that--other than a few accessory and packaging differences--these two dolls were the same.  Acting on this assumption, I included the Batman v Superman doll in my comparison review so that I could leave the newer doll on display in her box.

But then, Rett informed me that the two dolls are not the same.  Not only is the newer doll more muscular, but she she has different arm articulation.  So, of course I had to de-box the newer doll for a quick showdown.  Here's the lovely (and strong!) Black Label Wonder Woman 2.0:

Black Label Barbie Wonder Woman from the Wonder Woman movie.
Here are the same pictures of the packaging that I showed you in my earlier review:


I really like the look of this doll's box.  The dark shades of blue and red are dramatic and classy.



Wonder Woman comes with a cape, a shield, a sword, a stand (not pictured), and a certificate of authenticity (not pictured):


I was disappointed to learn that the cape does not have a hood:


The cape is also unlined.  In fact, the inside is relatively unattractive, with a 3/4 inch folded seam allowance and a big tag:


The outer edges of the cape have a fuzzy black trim, and there's a small button-and-loop closure just under the neck:


This Wonder Woman comes with a different sword and shield than the Batman v Superman doll:


Her bronze-colored shield has a geometric sunburst pattern in the center with metallic gold accents:


The inside of the shield has a textured gold ring and two elastic arm grips:


The Batman v Superman doll's shield has three elastic arm grips--which I think is too many.  This shield is easier to work with.


Here's the doll without her extra accessories:


From a distance, I find it hard to tell this doll apart from the other Black Label doll.  Up close, it's a little easier to see that she has some muscle definition in her arms:


Her dark hair is also shorter and curlier than the Batman v Superman doll, and the hair looks pretty good right out of the box:


My doll has a glaring defect in the assembly of her armor.  The blue layered skirt is off-center.  This looks bad and also exposes the left hip joint:


Ordinarily, this level of defect would cause me to return a $45 doll for a refund.  However, I was eager to get an update posted, and I also think it's important to share what types of flaw are possible in this product.

Before I examined the articulation on this doll, I removed all of her extra armor pieces.  In order to remove the wrist cuffs, I had to pull out the hands.  

The Wonder Woman doll has the same hand molds and hand paint as the other Black Label doll, but the connection pegs are narrower:

Wonder Woman doll hand (left), Batman v Superman doll hand (right).
The narrow pegs on the Wonder Woman doll pull out of the arms much more easily than the thick pegs on the Batman v Superman doll.  Perhaps a bit too easily?  Because of the difference in peg size, the hands are not interchangeable between dolls.

The Wonder Woman wrist cuffs look like they're the same mold as the Batman v Superman wrist cuffs.  The Wonder Woman cuffs are a slightly lighter shade of silver, though:

Wonder Woman wrist cuff (left), Batman v Superman wrist cuff (right).
The Wonder Woman wrist cuffs have a wider opening, too, although this is really hard to see:

Wonder Woman wrist cuff (left), Batman v Superman wrist cuff (right).
The cuffs are interchangeable between the two dolls, but the fit is not the same.  The Batman v Superman cuffs are tight on the Wonder Woman doll. 

The arm bands also look pretty much the same:

Wonder Woman arm band (left), Batman v Superman arm band (right).
Although the Wonder Woman arm band has a different gripping shape to accommodate the more muscular arm:

Wonder Woman arm band (left), Batman v Superman arm band (right).
Both arm bands fit the Wonder Woman doll, but the Wonder Woman band does not fit the Batman v Superman doll--it slides right off.

The boots are almost identical, although the Wonder Woman boot has a slightly wider slit down the back:

Wonder Woman boot (left), Batman v Superman boot (right).
The boots are interchangeable between dolls.  In fact, I have a really hard time telling the boots apart and may have already mixed them up.  There's an extremely subtle difference in the shade of gold used in the boots, though.  The Wonder Woman boots have a darker, shinier hue.

Ok, now that the armor is out of the way, let's take a good look at those arms!  The shoulder joints have hinged rotation--just like the Batman v Superman doll:



The elbows have double-jointed hinges--again, just like the Batman v Superman doll:


The elbows have fantastic flexibility:


The arms look great, too.  Both the upper and lower arm molds have more muscle definition than what is on the Batman v Superman or Made to Move dolls.


However, this doll does not have an extra rotational joint above her elbow.  This means that she cannot rest her hands on her hips...not gracefully anyway:



And she cannot cross her forearms in front of her body, either...


...which is kind-of a big deal:


The Wonder Woman doll also has muscular legs.  Her upper and lower leg molds are different from the Batman v Superman doll.  I think her thighs are especially impressive...although they look funny with her ridiculously tiny feet:

Wonder Woman doll's legs (left) and Batman v Superman doll's legs (right).

The hip and knee articulation is identical in these two dolls.  The Wonder Woman doll has the same elastic hips that I showed you in the last review.  Her leg flexibility is great, but not quite as good as the Made to Move articulation.


Now, let's look at the two Black Label Wonder Woman dolls together.

Black Label Wonder Woman dolls from Wonder Woman (left) and Batman v Superman (right).
The Batman v Superman doll looks taller to me, but that could be an optical illusion.  If there is a difference in height, it's very small.

The body and armor molds look identical:

Black Label Wonder Woman dolls
from Wonder Woman (left) and Batman v Superman (right).
Black Label Wonder Woman dolls
from Wonder Woman (left) and Batman v Superman (right).
And the face molds and face paint are the same--with only small incidental differences in application:

Black Label Wonder Woman from Batman v Superman.
Black Label Wonder Woman from Wonder Woman.
Here are the faces side-by-side:

Black Label Wonder Woman from Wonder Woman (left) and Batman v Superman (right).

The Wonder Woman doll's muscular arms are the biggest visual difference between these two:

Black Label Wonder Woman dolls from Wonder Woman (left) and Batman v Superman (right).
And the relative inflexibility in those arms is the biggest functional difference:

Black Label Wonder Woman dolls from Wonder Woman (left) and Batman v Superman (right).
Black Label Wonder Woman dolls from Wonder Woman (left) and Batman v Superman (right).
Here's an updated summary of the differences between these two dolls:
1. They come with different swords and shields
2. The Wonder Woman doll comes with a cape
3. The Wonder Woman doll has shorter, curlier hair
4. The Wonder Woman doll has more realistic, muscular limb molds
5. The Batman v Superman doll has an extra arm joint that gives her superior flexibility

So, the Wonder Woman doll looks better and the Batman v Superman doll moves better.  Choosing my favorite of these two came down to weighing the relative value of those two strengths.

I played around with both dolls for quite a while, trying to make a decision.  First, I had each of them pose with their shield accessory.

The Batman v Superman doll can hold her shield directly in front of her body.  The Wonder Woman doll cannot do this:

 Batman v Superman (left) and Wonder Woman (right).

I also tried to recreate some of my shield poses from the previous review, like this one:

Batman v Superman Black Label doll.
Which the Wonder Woman doll can do with ease:

Wonder Woman Black Label doll.
And this one...

Batman v Superman (left) and Wonder Woman (right).

...which is also no problem.

But this pose:

Batman v Superman Black Label doll.
Is impossible for the Wonder Woman doll to copy exactly:

Wonder Woman Black Label doll.
She has to hold her shield off to the side, not in front of her face.

This pose presents a similar problem:

Batman v Superman Black Label doll.
Because the Wonder Woman doll just can't angle that shield in towards her head:

Wonder Woman Black Label doll.
Next, I played around with the sword.

The Wonder Woman doll can't cross her sword in front of her body--at least not when her elbow is held close to her side like this:

Batman v Superman (left) and Wonder Woman (right).

But the movement in her wrist can cover for some of this inflexibility.  For example, this pose:

Batman v Superman Black Label doll.
Was possible with the Wonder Woman doll because she can stick her elbow out and bend her wrist to achieve a similar sword angle:

Wonder Woman Black Label doll.
And I was pleasantly surprise to see that the Wonder Woman doll can swing her sword behind her head with no trouble:


Batman v Superman (left) and Wonder Woman (right).

One thing I noticed is that--especially with some of the simpler poses--the Wonder Woman doll's hair and muscular body give her a more active appearance.  For instance, compare the two dolls in a walking position:

Batman v Superman (left) and Wonder Woman (right).

The Wonder Woman doll looks more dynamic.

So, the Batman v Superman doll can use her arms to block her head much more effectively:

Batman v Superman Black Label doll.
Wonder Woman Black Label doll.
Batman v Superman Black Label doll.
Wonder Woman Black Label doll.
But the Wonder Woman doll has a more energy and movement in her narrower range of poses:

Batman v Superman Black Label doll.
Wonder Woman Black Label doll.
It was harder than I expected to pick a favorite between these two.

Wonder Woman Black Label doll (left) and Batman v Superman Black Label doll (right).
I assumed that articulation would win the day and make the Batman v Superman doll my clear favorite.  However, I think that the muscular build of this character is extremely important.  The spaghetti-armed Batman v Superman doll is almost offensive in her lack of musculature.

Also, while there are some frustrating and undeniable differences in flexibility between these two dolls, the Wonder Woman version still has excellent articulation in the grand scheme of things.  She certainly moves better than the Battle Ready and Multiverse Wonder Woman dolls from the previous review.

I think the Wonder Woman doll would have been my favorite regardless of the accessories, but the accessories certainly made my final decision easier.  I like both shields for their appearance, but prefer the Wonder Woman doll's simpler shield grip.  I love the sword that comes with the Wonder Woman doll.  To me, it's vastly superior to the Batman v Superman sword.  Both Black Label dolls have a bit of trouble holding their swords without dropping them, but the Wonder Woman doll's sword can be gripped much more securely.  I also appreciate the Wonder Woman doll's black cape...even though it has simple construction and no hood.

So, there you have it.  Strange as it may seem for someone with my articulation obsession, those muscles won me over.

Now, before I finish up, I received one more request that I want to address briefly.  Lurkins asked if I would mind showing some photos of the Black Label doll wearing the Diana Prince doll's blue dress, and also talk a bit about how the sword is hidden in that outfit.  No problem!  

First, here's a reminder of what the Diana Prince doll looks like:


She comes with the same awesome sword as the Black Label Wonder Woman doll:


Her dress has a loop of ribbon in the back seam:


And this is where the "hidden" sword is held:


Thanks to its high-waisted design, the dress does fit over the Black Label doll's armor.  The ruched edges and folds of fabric in front both help conceal the bulkiness of the underlying armor:

Black Label Wonder Woman wearing Diana Prince's blue dress.
The dress closes in back without the sword, but the fit is too tight when the sword is sheathed in its loop of ribbon:



The dress is pretty, but wrestling it over the rough armor is not something I would recommend doing again and again.  The unfinished edges of the blue fabric seem too fragile to handle this kind of stress. 

Black Label Wonder Woman wearing Diana Prince's blue dress.
Here are a few more action shots of the Wonder Woman Black Label doll:

review



And here she is back in her cape:



Bottom line: I guess my conclusion is the same as it was at the end of the first review.  I like both Black Label Barbie Wonder Woman dolls better than the other options from Mattel.  In addition, if forced to choose, I prefer the Black Label doll from the Wonder Woman movie over the older Batman v Superman version.

There are a few disappointments with this doll, though.  I wish she'd been given the same superior arm articulation as the Batman v Superman doll...while also having the muscular arm mold.  Greedy me.  Also, I wish both Black Label dolls had the same amazing leg articulation as the Made to Move Barbies.  I can understand the omission of the articulated foot in this case (to ensure that the boots are easy to use), but see no possible reason for the less appealing and less flexible elastic hips.

Criticisms aside, these Black Label Wonder Woman dolls are beautiful.  They are excellent souvenirs from a memorable and convention-defying movie.  You can't go wrong in purchasing either one, although I don't recommend paying full price for the Batman v Superman doll anymore, now that a superior update has entered the mix.

Toy Box Philosopher
Pretending that the cape comes with a hood...

11 comments:

  1. I usually prefer joints but I defiantly think her muscular arms work better on this doll.

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  2. Thanks for the update and comparison! While I really love articulation, those muscles really do make the doll for me too! The thigh muscles are unexpectedly impressive too. If they ever make a muscled body with the extra arm and leg articulation, I will have to attempt to swap the armor :P

    Thanks again!
    ~Rett

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  3. Lurkins/Usual Lurker/Lurky McLurkerson/etc.June 18, 2017 at 2:58 AM

    Oh, man, I got so excited when I saw you put the blue dress on Black Label Wonder Woman. Thank you so much!!! I love this blog and have commented many times but since I'm always anonymous I have used many handles - but it feels very special to have you answer a request. This really is a beautiful doll, and that dress looks great on her; it's too bad she can't hide the sword like Diana Prince can.

    It's funny, I've begun taking de-boxing pictures whenever I get a new doll now, thanks to the influence of this blog. I came for the American Girl stuff, I ended up reading almost every post and now checking compulsively for updates. I feel like every time you show us a new toy, I'm living vicariously through you! Thank you so much for continuing to share your collection with us internet folk. <3

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  4. Thank-you! I loved this review. You're right to prefer the more muscular WW, she's more realistic. I was used to seeing Linda Carter who isn't muscular at all so it wouldn't have bothered me but this is meant also to reproduce Gal Gadot. What's making the more muscular doll less able to pose,though? Is it the thicker limbs?
    I also think she's beautiful in the blue gown over her armor. With the cape over that she could go from the red carpet to the battlefield :-)

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  5. Have you seen the American girl megablocks dolls? They are tiny little articulated american girl style plastic dolls. You can change pieces of their outfits and hair around and they have a really good range of motion and poses for such tiny dolls. I think with your love of tiny dolls and articulation you would really enjoy them!!!

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    Replies
    1. I agree! And for being American Girl brand, their not expensive at all!!!

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    2. My daughter has the Grace Thomas one, and they're surprisingly inexpensive!

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  6. If you want to see more about that blue gown: http://ariacouture.com/wonder-womans-gala-gown-a-costume-study In the movie, a dummy was used that was only about 4".

    I love these dolls, and like you, with the WW version had the extra articulation. But when I can, she'll be the one I get anyway. Any chance you'll get the Hippolyta or Antiope versions?
    http://www.thebarbiecollection.com/pop-culture-dolls/barbie-hippolyta-doll-dwd83
    http://www.thebarbiecollection.com/pop-culture-dolls/barbie-antiope-doll-dwd84

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    Replies
    1. I enjoyed your blog discussion about the blue gown - thanks Aria. My Diana Prince doll and I have a new appreciation for her beautiful dress. I took out the side seams up to mid-thigh, which (in my opinion) doesn't radically change the look of the dress, and allows for greater mobility.

      Emily, I noticed that when you put the blue gown on the Black Label Wonder Woman, suddenly the tiny feet seemed to be much more visually acceptable. Diana Prince has larger feet and hence larger boots, and the boots look very clunky under that beautiful gown. I never appreciated the tiny feet of the black label dolls before. The sandals from the bow action wonder woman doll go very well with the blue gown - problem averted!

      Your review inspired me to get the Hippolyta and Antiope dolls, thank you. I posted a few pictures of them on Pinterest if anyone is interested.

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  7. Great review!

    Emily, do you have any Equestria Girls minis? They are great and super cheap right now. Search in Toys r us:

    http://www.toysrus.com/products/my-little-pony-equestria-girls-dolls.jsp

    Have a nice day!

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  8. I so wannaturally get one of these beauties! But hhaven't seen them in stores and I'd hate to over pay online prices. I kinda like the BvS Ww for her upper arm joints but the new Ww doll is also really great, I wish her cape did come with a hood that would be soo cool!

    If you did want to remove her armor, I heard that taking a exacto knife and cutting down the seams of the armor will take it off the doll while still keeping the armor in good condition. Or you could always remove the head and put it on a blue top m2m barbie.

    ReplyDelete

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