Review > Hawkman (DC Universe Classics)


I’m still waiting on my case of Wave 6 to ship from an online retailer, but in the meantime I did score a Hawkman (thanks Mom!). I’ve been a victim of Hawkmania recently and have been attempting to sort out his history, which is a mess. But that doesn’t detract from a great action figure.

Packaging: Despite the fact this is clearly the Silver Age-era Katar Hol Hawkman (evinced by his red briefs and lack of a pouch-belt), the packaging bio describes Carter Hall, the Golden Age and current Hawkman in the DCU.

During Ancient Egypt’s 15th Dynasty, Prince Khufu and his beloved Princess Chay-Ara discovered a downed spacecraft from the planet Thanagar. Exposure to the ship’s anti-gravity Nth Metal allowed Khufu and Chay-Ara to be reincarnated countless times throughout the ages to follow. In modern times, Khufu became the hero Hawkman, Chay-Ara reincarnated as his beloved Hawkgirl.

hawkman_2Sculpt: No doubt inspired by the Super Powers figure, the Four Horsemen have done justice to the Justice Society stalwart. While the body sculpt is the standard DCUC “large male,” it does have some unique tooling. Hawkman’s shoulders and forearms have raised veins, as befitting his shirtlessness, while the tops of the boots and their yellow trim are raised and sculpted.

But the best work is on the head and wings. The feathers on the wings of the head are highly detailed, and he even features Hawkman’s distinct chin-butt. The facial sculpt manages to convey Hawkman’s no-nonsense attitude perfectly.

hawkman_1As some collectors have noted, Hawkman’s eyes are a little high–on a real person they would be about where the beak of the mask is. But in reading some Hawkman comics, I can tell you this is something the artists do a lot as well. Unless I really think about it, it’s not something I notice.

The wings, as you can see, feature some fantastic detail. Every line on every feather is visible. As with Deathstroke’s scale mail or Aquaman’s shirt, Mattel and the Horsemen are clearly willing to get really detailed when it’s warranted.

hawkman_3One last thing to note–Unlike Amazo, Hawkman gets to have sculpted man-nipples. Hooray for man-nipples!

Plastic & Paint: It’s important to keep in mind this is the Silver Age Hawkman, which is why his outfit is so bright in colorful.

Hawkman’s upper body is molded almost entirely in flesh-colored plastic. It’s notable that he doesn’t have a wash anywhere on his body, unlike many DCUC figures. The washes tend to be hit-and-miss, so it’s probably just as well, particularly since this is modeled after the brighter Silver Age Hawkman. I don’t mind the lack of a wash, but hawkman_5some fans have expressed a wish for one on the pants and boots.

The real amazing paint work is on the wings. They’re molded in gray, but have a fantastic bright-gray drybrushing that brings out all their detail. It’s some of the best paint work we’ve seen on this line so far.

Articulation: Aside from his wings, Hawkman features standard DCUC articulation. Unfortunately, he suffers from the Helmet Syndrome, meaning he can’t really look up straight for a good flying pose; in fact, the helmet limits most of the neck’s mobility, although I find I can easily pose him looking straight down.

hawkman_wing_detThe wings are mounted on hinges and feature additional hinges at the top of each, allowing Hawkman some excellent mid-flight poses. The wingspan is about twelve inches when the wings are flat against his back. While the wings can also be moved forward and back, they’re quite tight, and it can be difficult to get them to stay in a medium position between flat against the back or straight backward. It’s a minor issue, though.

hawkman_maceAccessories: Some DCUC figures don’t have any accessories; others get the woiks. Hawkman has a mace, a short sword, and a shield embossed with the hawk symbol. They all feature some nice weathering, and have clearly seen more than a few battles. The paint work isn’t quite up to the quality of the sculpt, and the weapons look a bit toy-ish.

More bothersome, though, is the fact that Hawkman’s right hand is closed, so hawkman_shieldit can’t hold any weapons. While I appreciate the fact Hawkman is known as a physical fighter, I think Mattel should have gone with two open hands in this instance; I wish I could put Hawkman in this pose.

Also, the haft of the mace and handle of the sword are rather slender, and tend to hang loosely in Hawkman’s hand. I finally heated up the hand, pushed the fingers in a bit more, and dunked it in cold water, which helped improve his grip.

Quality control: I had no problems with my Hawkman, but as always with DCUC, be careful with the joints, especially the hips.

Value: Hawkman runs about $12, which just about standard for a 6″ collector-oriented figure these days. However, I feel a lot better paying $12 for a figure like Hawkman, with his large wings and three weapons, than I do, say, the Atom.

[raven 4.5]

This is as good as it gets, folks. Hawkman is in the running for my Action Figure of the Year.



Ask Mattel, 2/3/2009


Pic of the Day


  1. Dark Angel

    I remember Rustin! Heya!

    …also, the more I think about those days the more I start to think about how it really went to hell. I'm sad now.

    But, hey! Toys!

  2. Dark Angel

    Oh, I remember them all. In fact my aforementioned webcomic is something of a (poor, shallow, pale) homage to the one that used to appear there…who was it that did that thing? Do you remember?

    If I recall correctly, you and I had a disturbing number of similarities of taste back then, and as my eyes wander toward the Warduke beside this text box, I realize that my recollections must be correct! No love for Strongheart and his pornstache?

    I still read OAFE, but lost my login info to their board ages ago.

    I am totally onboard with DCUC, I would just like to see a little more consistency on individual figures. I must say Lobo is easily my favorite figure from last year, and I don't care a wit that he is "too big". In DA's version of the DC universe, Lobo rules all, so he's perfect for me. Still, I just can't bring myself to say he's perfect…but he's really, really good, as are plenty of other DCUC figures.

    I am not so much into the He-Man, and haven't bought any of those exclusives. Many of my reservations have already been articulated across the internet (and on your site), blah blah blah, etc. However, there is certainly nothing WRONG with the figures – they just don't blow my skirt up, if you get my meaning.

    Do I dare assume you can see our emails? Feel free to write me if you like…I generally check my personal email no less than once a week.

  3. Rustin

    Hey guys – I was on Spawn Board too! as Rustin Parr… yeah me!

    After getting the figure and playing with him think I fall somewhere in between both reviews… my biggest issue, though, is the huge pivot-shaft on the back is so very noticeable. And the smoothness of the bely/harness – though I can forgive that as "this is Silver Age" and eventually we'll get a more detailed modern era one…

    But still far more impressive than many other figures in the line

  4. Poe

    Awesome! Glad to have you back, DA. I still miss those days sometimes. Yo go re and Shocka, my fellow OAFEs, all met there. Remember No-Doz, DNA Drone, Hail2DaKing, and UncleBob? Good times, good times.

    I'm also glad to hear you're on board (well, sorta…) with DCUC. You should fit right in around here. Are you into the new He-Man line?

  5. Dark Angel

    I've been outed! So, yeah…HI POE!

    Yes, I am the same Dark Angel from that period on the Spawn board, but not the individual who prefaced the name with "Reverend" (sp?).

    I am still on the "Unreal" Spawn board, though my visits there are sporadic and mostly revolve around my infrequent updates to a webcomic I am doing for them.

    I only discovered sometime last week that your site is one of the few my work doesn't block me from interacting with…um…in lieu of, y'know, working. Hence my sudden appearance!

  6. Poe

    Wow, DA! In some ways, I wish I could review figures as closely as that, the way a fine art critic would examine a sculpture. I tend to look at it and say, "Looks like a human to me." Of course, I don't think I hold action figures to quite the same standard as Michelangelo's David.

    On the other hand, I bet there are people who would like to see action figures reviewed in this manner. Got a website? 😉

    Incidentally, are you the same Dark Angel that used to post on the Spawn boards back in the late 1990s?

  7. Dark Angel

    "Chin-Butt"? Honestly, you kids…

    I feel like such a killjoy, but I gotta say I am not nearly as thrilled with Hawkman in hand as I was looking at his pretty, pretty pictures.

    Let me preface this by saying that I really do like him as a mass-market, low-end figure. And yes, I know that those qualifiers are pretty cruel, but that's just how it is.

    I'll run through my criticisms in the same order Poe does his reviews. Sculptwise, he's just "ok" to me. There are several elements that really turn me off. The face/helmet that Poe mentioned above is key. Having noticed the proportion issue, I can't not see it. He now reminds me very much of the DCUC Wonder Woman (another figure that seems to garner universal love) in that he appears to have some craniofacial deformity hiding under his mask (in Diana's case, under her tiara). And for the love of whatever deity you choose, do not look closely at his profile against a high-contrast background. It's very disturbing.

    Moving on down to his body, I am awestuck by how wildly assymetrical his torso, shoulders and arms are. His right shoulder is a bit smaller than his left, and has a much tighter range of motion in the hinge portion of the two-part joints (specificically, the cut-out portion is shallower – all this is very clear in Poe's second picture above). His left lats are also glaringly smaller than his right. I do like that they kept his bulkiness subtle, but there again, he's sculpted in only one dimension (a recurring issue with the Horseman's work that apparently only bugs lil' ol' me). He has a thick, muscular build from side to side, but front to back, his torso is a bit too shallow.

    I fear I have to nitpick his costuming as well. While I don't take issue with the smooth, undetailed harness straps and belt, why on earth is the loop on his belt (which can hold either the sword or the mace, by the by) so ruggedly detailed? Hell, it even has some tiny rivet heads where it has been attached to the utterly undetailed belt.

    Moving on down, his feet are…lumps. Really, no human being could walk with those incredibly high arches and virtually no toes. He looks rather as if he's undergone foot-binding, which is even more disturbing than it sounds (for those who don't know, get thee to Wikipedia, and prepare to lose any appetite you may have). Most DCUC figures have rather odd feet in my opinion, and it has bugged me for a while, but this is easily the worst case of Horseman-Foot I've yet seen.

    All that being said, the helmet details, the wings, and the accessories (with the exception of the huge CHINA markings) are all beautiful. Which is, in part, why the aforementioned issues are even more annoying to me.

    I also want to note that I am incredibly happy with the rigid plastic used for the accessories. No droopy mace! This is a good thing!

    Paintwise, mine is sloppy around the face/mask breaks, which is unfortunate but can hardly be helped. Some figures will always come out better than others, and since I had the choice of exactly one figure, that was that. I do wish he'd gotten a nice layer of fleshtone paint, since mine has at least three very distinct skintones. And yes, the difference shows pretty clearly under most any light.

    I won't get into Quality Control, as I am sick of the issue as far as Mattel is concerned. Suffice it to say, mine is in one piece with all the joints working as intended, though it took more effort on my part to accomplish that than it should have.

    I realize that all this sounds as if I despise the figure – I don't! I just wish it had been better. I freely admit that I am a terribly harsh judge of anatomical detail. And I am annoyed that I will most likely be seeing this horrifically disproportionate buck over and over again.

  8. Anyone going to do a Magnet/Ball Bearing neck mod for the head? I know I am.

  9. plain_sliced

    i always know which figure is my candidate for toy of the year when i buy extras whenever i see them on the pegs. hawkman is one of those favorite figures like bullseye.

  10. HOly crap, the wings alone (and I do love winged figures with working wings) makes me want to buy him so BADLY!

  11. Griffin

    I assumed wrong, but that pose would be very impressive, better than what I was imagining. Personally I would never want a closed fist, except on a GL power ring hand, since the open hands are close enough for me to fists. Even on non-accesory oriented characters like the Flash, if I want him to hold Aquaman's trident he should be able to damnit.

  12. Poe

    @Griffin: I fixed the "this pose" link…should work now.

    The annoying thing is, I'd be happy to do a hand swap with another DCUC figure, but there's not one with an open hand molded in flesh color, rather than painted.

  13. chuck20

    My hawkman had some paint problems on his wings, where some of the wash wasn’t applied to a patch in the middle of the wing. However, a bit of my own paint and I can’t even tell where it was. This is an amazing figure

  14. The shot from the back, with the wings opened, looks great.

  15. Poe

    Actually I do have a half-day today, and it is snowing, but I just happened to have a lot of material at the moment…

  16. Another great review Poe! Are you having snow days or something, you're in the midst of an updating frenzy.

  17. Griffin

    Awesome review yet again Poe. I'm still waiting on mine from CSC and it's killing me. Also I couldn't get the "this pose" link to work, but I assume he is wielding two weapons at once.

  18. zach

    I have to agree, this is an amazing figure. Easily my current favorite. I just wish I could move his head upward!

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