As a child of the 1980s, I predictably grew up on Danger Mouse. I vividly remember the voices of David Jason and Terry Scott filling our living room, and my excited singing of that famous theme tune. As the years passed, my love for DM remained; the definitive DVD collection still takes pride of place on the shelf, and the addition of the classic episodes to Netflix has resulted in the World’s Greatest Secret Agent regularly appearing in my ‘Recently Watched’ section.
I will admit, then, that some trepidation reared its head when a reboot of the classic series was announced by the BBC. TV reboots – and movies, for that matter – have a rather varied success rate, and memories of my childhood could not bear Danger Mouse falling into that category. It was with relief, therefore, when the new series aired and it didn’t disappoint. Childhood saved.
But we are not here to talk about the series and it’s highlight, we are instead here to look at the new series of toys released to coincide with the new series. Featuring all the known characters, Jazwares have released a series that is bound to appeal to fans of the show, both new and old.
RRP: £7.99 each
Zip-Line Danger Mouse
Without a doubt the standout piece of all the action figures, it’s our very own rodent hero, and he comes with a very special and impressive ability. Coming equipped with a zip-line – with hooks at either end, so expect to be putting this up for your kids – that is surprisingly strong and holds the figure’s weight well. The apparatus is easy to assemble and shouldn’t provide an issue for the little ‘uns, and in actual fact it will make their achievement feel all the more great when the kids can send DM fly down the wire, knowing they put it together themselves. It is here that you again marvel at just how durable the zip-line is, as it doesn’t look the strongest yet is deceptively so. The line is attached to a circular disc that bears the DM logo.
Regarding the figure itself, it looks exactly like the Danger Mouse that we have all been watching since it returned to TV. I appreciate that the character’s design doesn’t exactly involve a huge amount, but there have been plenty of action figures from years gone by that just don’t look like their comic book or TV counterparts; this is no issue here.
The only downside to this piece was an issue that my daughter found when she was repeatedly detaching and reattaching Danger Mouse to his zip-line, in that his arms would come off. No damage appeared to be done to the figure, but it looks like the reason for the relatively-easy limb removal is that the arms are attached to the torso via a ball joint. While it allows good flexibility and positioning during play, it does seem to also act as a weakness if the arms are routinely moved.
Launch & Fly Penfold
No set of Danger Mouse figures would be complete with DM’s trusty, fearful sidekick Penfold. Loveable and clumsy in equal measures, on this occasion Penfold has gotten hold of some big boots and a launcher to send him higher than his little legs will take him. As is expected, given the quality of the other pieces, this looks great and is exactly like the Penfold watched by fans both young and old. I loved the little upturned collar on the figure, it’s a small thing but it looks great and adds to the overall presentation.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of issues with this figure, starting with the limbs. Unlike DM, they aren’t attached with ball joints, but the arms do seem to come off rather easily. No issues with the legs, but having to keep giving Penfold his arms back seems like a design flaw that could have been avoided. The other major problem comes in the special feature given to this figure. Considering the age for this set is 4 years and up, setting up Penfold to be launched out of his boots is rather problematic. My 7-year old struggled a little with it, as it is a little tricky first getting Penfold into the boots and then actually getting him to fly. Though there are cutouts in the top of the launching base, the figure is not attached in any way and really just stands there. On top of this, some force is required to push down the launcher to send the figure upwards.
In theory, the launch action is fine and is a great little play feature, however somewhere in the actual designing of the product, there has been something missed that does bring the set down somewhat. Still, Penfold looks great and when stood side-by-side with Danger Mouse, they look good.
Baron Greenback & Nero
Every good hero needs a good villain, and DM has always had that in Baron Greenback. Coming complete with his trusty and faithful cat Nero, the Greenback figure doesn’t have any special ability, but it a very good-looking piece that really goes well with the other available figures. The shape of the shoulders, and contours used on Nero, allow for the feline to sit on his master’s broad shoulders. Much the same as the other figures, and arms and legs are fully adjustable, allowing for good playability and stationary positions. Unlike the Danger Mouse and Penfold figures, the limbs are not attached with ball joints and therefore are a lot stronger.
The colours are true to the cartoon, and it is a really good representation.
The Collection Overall
Acting as a double treat in this author’s household – for me as a longtime fan being allowed to remember his childhood, and a 7-year old now having figures of the characters she has been watching on TV – these figures can act as either toys for imaginative young minds anxious to immerse themselves in the world of the world’s greatest secret agent, or collection pieces for older fans who get to admire them standing a desk or cabinet when the young minds are dreaming in bed. Given the room taken up by the LEGO I have had the pleasure of writing about for the last year, the 7-year old won the day on this occasion, although when I see her joy at sending DM down the zip-line for the 20th consecutive time, it is worth it. For toys that may look rather simple, the results they bring make them virtually impossible not to recommend. Yes, there are some issues with the designs, but there is more than enough reason to overlook these and happily lay down the money for the figures.
While some TV shows don’t work out with a reboot, or ‘re-imagining’, it is safe to say that it is great to have Danger Mouse back on the TV and back in toy boxes.
These sets were provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the author’s own personal views and are not influenced in any way.