Toy Review: Diamond Select Avatar The Last Airbender Waves 2 and 4

The Diamond Select Avatar: The Last Airbender action figures resemble import figures, more than any Diamond has ever done before. And that’s meant in both good and bad ways. Good, in that they feature impressive engineering and articulation for such skinny things. Good, in that they try to do innovative things with effects. Bad, in that the execution of said innovations results in something iffy at best, and easily broken at worst.

Wave 1 still came in the oversized blister cards that only Marvel still seems to use among DST’s licenses, but waves 2 onward come packed in the new boxes. In theory, they’re collector friendly, but on our review samples, the plastic window on more than one had come mostly detached from the cardboard. Like it wasn’t properly glued.

Unless I somehow missed it, these do not come with instructions, which can make things quite frustrating. The multi-articulated clear stands plug into some of the figures, but not all. And some of the effects, too, but it’s not always clear how to pose them, and they easily over-balance unless perfectly centered. In the worst case, with Azula, it also broke apart at the joint under the first sign of stress. Use a screwdriver to tighten and loosen for the best safety here.

Thankfully, the stands do come apart at every joint, so the broken one can come out. But that wasn’t the only breakage. Azula has a hand with a water-bending effect around it, but let her fall three feet off a table, and it too breaks off. Perhaps it could have been better executed as a snap-on or slip-over effect.

That was it for breakages. so maybe we just got a really bad Azula sample. But it does seem like a display base with these effects attached would work better for display than the overly conspicuous mechanical arms. In the case of the two Aang figures who come with his glider, the stand can only display them straight up and centered without falling, or being balanced by something else. (Poses below may involve off-camera hand-holding.)

Sokka features his boomerang and a knife, as well as two boomerang effects — one throwing, one spinning. In the past, Diamond managed similar effects with clip-on extras. The stand does not improve the look here. The strings attached to his weapons holsters make for a nice touch, though.

Most Diamond Select figures run around a 7-inch scale, but it’s fair to say these are smaller; closer to 6-inch, maybe. (McFarlane does 5 and 7 inchers, so that could be the reason.) Consider that Spider-Man is one of their least bulky Marvel heroes, and compare to Sokka:

Considering the relatively small size of the figures, the articulation is particularly impressive. In some cases it’s so well-hidden and initially sticky that it’s not apparent. But these figures all have disc-and-pin ball joints at their elbows and wrists, true ball joints at the neck and elbows, cut waist, cut-and-hinge hips, mid-thigh cuts, double-hinged knees, and hinge/rocker ankles. The black figure stands that come with some, and the clear arm stands that come with all, help with balance. But these guys can strike a fight pose. Season 1 Aang and Azula also have mid-torso ball joints.

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All figures come with multiple hands, and both Aangs come with staffs and the gliders that (in storyline, but not literally) fold out of them. Season 1 Aang also comes with a Momo sidekick.

But it’s Final Battle Aang who’s the highlight. Featuring a multi-hued, translucent effect to replicate all four bending powers, he’s a beauty of style and sculpt. And nothing on him broke. The translucent arm stand can even plug into his back with or without the bending effect. Or just into the glider instead.

Season 1 Aang is the only one whose clear-arm stand features a two-prong connector, made for his glider only.

These probably don’t make the best toys for kids who love the cartoon. Buy them sturdier things. Even adults need to take extra special care, using hairdryers and screwdrivers as needed to get the perfect poses. Forewarned is forearmed — maybe the misadventures of these samples will amply prepare other collectors to do better. And if so, our work here is done.

These and other figures in the line are up at our affiliate partners Entertainment Earth, for $20-$25 apiece with deals on sets. Superhero Hype may earn fees based on site links.

Take a look through the gallery below for more. Then tell us what you think in comments.

Recommended Reading: Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search

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