NIGHTWING – FORCE SHIELD
THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (KENNER)
In case you missed it, The Figure in Question has officially made it through two years of reviews. In honor of that, today’s review will a little bit more special. I’ll get to that in a bit.
In the mid-80s, Dick Grayson gave up his Robin identity, going without a costumed identity for a little while before taking on the identity of Nightwing (previously the Kandorian alter-ego of Superman. It’s a long story). To the general populace, Dick remained Robin, mostly due to his presence in the role for Batman: The Animated Series. Nightwing made his way into the public eye in that show’s sequel series, which is how I became familiar with the character. That series’ toyline also provided the character with several of his earliest figures, one of which I’ll be looking at today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Force Shield Nightwing was part of Kenner’s The New Batman Adventures line. He was the second version of the character in the line, released not long after the first. The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and has Kenner’s signature 5 points of articulation. It’s a pretty low articulation count, but it’s a standard for the time, and aside from the neck joint, which is limited by the hair, the movement is pretty decent. Nightwing is, obviously, based on his design from the show, sculpturally at least. As a “wacky variant” of Nightwing, a little parts re-use is to be expected. What’s actually a bit surprising is that this Nightwing is NOT a complete reuse. The head, arms, and legs are all the same as the regular Nightwing release, but the torso is a new piece, which removes the weird plug from the original’s back. So this one’s sculpt is actually more accurate than the normal one. Nifty! The sculpt does a pretty spot on job of translating Nightwing’s show design to three dimensions, which is nice to see. The etched in logo is a nice touch, especially since it could have easily just been painted on. The paintwork is what really sets this guy apart from the prior Nightwing. Rather than the usual blue logo, this one keeps the logo black, and paints the surrounding area gold. Certainly a different look, but it’s handled pretty well. The gold, like a lot of gold paint has faded over time, but it still stands out well enough. Nightwing was originally packed with a big grappling hook launcher (Kenner was a Hasbro subsidiary at that point…), as well as his titular force shield. I’ve lost it, but it was shaped like his logo, bright yellow, and the “wings” folded out to reveal pictures of the various Batman allies and rogues. It’s an odd gimmick, but there it is.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Hey, so, this is actually my first Nightwing figure! Cool!
Story time: When I was 5, my parents took me down to visit my Dad’s family home in North Carolina. My dad came and got me from school, and one of our stops was, I believe, a Kmart, where I found this guy. I had yet to see any of his appearances on the cartoon, so my dad had to explain to me who he was. I thought he looked super cool, so my dad was nice enough to buy him for me. This guy went on the trip with me, all the way down there and back again, so I formed a bit of a bond with the guy.
Over the years, my collection grew, and this guy fell by the side. Somewhere along the way, I decided to paint him up like Jace from Space Ghost. I have no idea why. Anyway, he just got thrown in a box for a while, until I rescued him just a few years ago, while deep in my whole indexing my collection project. He was still covered in paint, but it was acrylic, so I began the process of returning him back to his original state. I finally got him cleaned up just in time to take him with me on my fifth trip down to NC. Here he is on the mantle place. Doesn’t he look so happy?