Toy Review: Suicide Squad Harley Quinn (Sideshow/Hot Toys)
The first theatrical Suicide Squad movie hit screens last summer to massive box office, terrible reviews and a divided fan base. One of the few things that almost everyone agreed on was Margot Robbie's terrific performance as the psychotic Harley Quinn.
Created in 1992 by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for Batman: The Animated Series, Harley quickly moved beyond a one-time appearance as a comic relief henchwoman to the Joker and became a fan favorite character, cementing her place in the Bat-family canon. Throughout her 25 years of existence, Harley Quinn has remained one of the most popular characters in the DC Comics universe. She’s moved beyond the various Bat-titles and, in recent years, found herself becoming more of an anti-hero, teaming up with various characters throughout the DCU and landing herself a prominent spot on the Suicide Squad, leading to her inclusion in the film adaptation.
Hot Toys has truly outdone themselves here. Their 1:6 scale Harley Quinn from the Suicide Squad movie comes with pretty much everything she had in the movie: her Puddin choker, baseball bat, revolver and two speedloaders, two sets of bracelets, satin jacket, the purse that she liberated from the department store window, stand and background with a chunk of rubble, and three alternate sets of hands. The Sideshow exclusive version also comes with her mallet, briefly seen as the team is gearing up to head into Midway City to take on the Enchantress. One would be hard pressed to think of a single accessory that was left out, save for maybe her cell phone. I can’t help but wish they’d also included her classic costume, also briefly glimpsed in a flashback and the same scene with the mallet, even if only as an extra prop. I can understand why they left that out, though, as it would likely bump the overall cost of the figure above their desired price point, not to mention removing a potential variant down the road (a Belle Reve Harley with espresso, Harlequin novel and the afore-mentioned cell phone is already on its way).
The main attraction here is the likeness. It is, in a word, incredible. Even by the usual high standards of Hot Toys, the likeness here is possibly one of their best. When I initially saw the expression, I immediately wished they had gone a different way. Perhaps something more neutral or a sly smirk or the like. Seeing it up close and in person (and among the rest of my Harley Quinn shrine) I’m actually really happy that they went with the expression that they did. It makes it stand out from the crowd and goes a long way to showcasing her personality in one look. The paint is incredible, with techniques that evoke realistic-looking smudged makeup alongside eye lashes that you’d swear were real. The technique used to replicate her bleached skin is so well done that you find yourself poking at her cheek to make sure it’s not real. Harley’s hair is sculpted and there’s a metallic sheen to it. It’s slightly odd and off-putting at first, but when viewed from a slight distance it reveals its effect, replicating Harley’s very light blonde hair.
Beyond her facial likeness, the rest of the figure is just as phenomenal. Her shirt, bra, shorts, belt, shoulder holster and fishnets are all soft goods, with the rest being sculpted plastic. The shirt faithfully recreates the rips and stitches of the actual shirt and the shorts give a very realistic sequin look. The fishnets are the only puzzling part. As a 1:6 scale figure in the Hot Toys aesthetic, it was a given that the fishnets would be soft goods. There are several 1:12 scale figures that have used actual fishnets to great effect (the DC Universe Classics Black Canary and Zatanna immediately come to mind), but this figure uses a kind of thin foam latex stocking with a molded and painted overlay. The only reason I can see to use this method is to keep the fishnets tight to the legs in any pose. It has an unfortunate side effect in that it makes the intricate paintwork on Harley’s self-done leg tattoos hard to see close up. It’s a shame to lose that detail, but the overall effect faithfully recreates the leg shading from the movie costume without using a paint overlay that would likely interfere with the tattoos even more. Another problem with them is that foam latex tends to be fairly brittle. The instructions warn you to carefully adjust the fishnets before bending the knees, which can be a little intimidating considering how unlikely repair or replacement is if they tear.
Speaking of the tattoos, they are all perfectly recreated on the figure, even when they are going to be partially or completely covered. That extra mile is a Hot Toys staple, and is always appreciated. The chances of someone getting the shirt off without damaging it are slim to none, and yet they even faithfully recreated her bra, which appeared on screen for all of two seconds. Most other companies would have simply done a generic white one, or none at all. In scaling down the exact garment from the movie, they’ve replicated the effect of the thin white shirt and further sold the realism of the figure.
The accessories are a pretty solid bunch. The bracelets and choker are separate in the package and you can choose to display Harley with or without them. Her bracelets are worn together in the movie, but if you’re displaying her with her jacket on, the “YES” and “SIR” bracelets will likely get in the way and can be left off. Harley ditches her choker toward the end of the movie, so you can leave it off if that look is what you prefer. The revolver and speedloaders are impressive. The cylinder on the revolver actually opens up, allowing Harley to be posed in a reloading pose, and every design and mark on her custom weapon is present here. They all fit perfectly into her shoulder holster, though it might be a little difficult for most hands to get the speedloaders into their designated spots. The bat is a real highlight, with her writing (“Hush Little Baby”) in exact detail. The handbag is nice, though perhaps unnecessary. The chain strap is very small and feels extremely fragile. Despite how soft and pliable her hands are it can be a little harrowing to get the strap in her hands. I don’t see myself displaying her with it for long or often. The exclusive mallet is a really fun choice for the exclusive, despite being onscreen for only a few seconds. The detail is on the same level as the bat, but it’s a little more associated with the character than the bat. If accuracy to the movie is more your goal, I see it ending up as a prop laying on the display rather than a weapon in Harley’s hands.
The stand is pretty standard, using the typical Sideshow crotch hook instead of the traditional-for-this-scale waist clamp. The front features the Suicide Squad movie logo and a reticle in relief, with the character’s name printed in between them. The top is a textured plate with what looks to be a photo of demolished asphalt. There is a sculpted piece of cinder block and rebar to add to the look, but it’s ultimately unnecessary. There is a large cardboard background featuring the entry gate to Belle Reve and an overlay with Harley-esque designs, making it unique to this specific figure. When put together as one display piece, it gels spectacularly.
Sideshow’s stuff doesn’t come cheap, but it’s almost always worth it. This Harley Quinn is no different. The exclusive version is sold out, but the standard version without the mallet is still up for preorder. If you’re a fan of Suicide Squad or Harley Quinn in general, I can’t recommend this figure highly enough. She’s almost certainly going to be the highlight of my shrine.