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Review of Gordon, Blake and Bat Signal
Batman Dark Knight Rises sixth scale action figures

Hot Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 4 out of 4

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Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Introduction

It's true that Hot Toys tends to spend a ton of time on Iron Man, releasing every known - and some unknown - versions of the armor.  But they still show the Batman license some love, and I'm just the sort of sucker for all things Caped Crusader that when they announced a three pack of John Blake, Jim Gordon, and a working Bat Signal, it was an instant pre-order.

This isn't the first time we've seen Gordon from Hot Toys.  They released him as one of their 'exclusives' in his SWAT uniform a few years back. Of course, they've leveraged some things from that release here as well.

This is our first Blake however, and probably our last. Had Nolan remained with the franchise we might have seen him again, but that was not to be.

There's a couple ways to pick these up.  This is the full set of three, which will run you around $400 - $420, and that I'm reviewing tonight. If you already have a Gordon, you can pick up just Blake and the Bat Signal for around $260 or so. The new Gordon isn't available individually, but you may find some sellers parting out the set on ebay.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ***1/2
The box is fairly standard stuff for them, but it's attractive and collector friendly in that way only Hot Toys can do it.

There's also an interior card covering the plastic tray with some decent artwork.  The trays themselves are designed to waste as little space as possible, and you can remove everything and put it back with no real damage.

They have tightened up the plastic wrap booties though, and I had to cut them off both figures. While I don't mind tossing them, I really hate working around my expensive sixth scale figures with a knife.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ****
Let's start with Gordon, because we've seen this sculpt before. When I first saw Jim in his SWAT gear three years ago, I gave him a four star sculpt score, and I see no reason for that to change this time around. Not only does this have the ultra realism that we expect, but it is extremely accurate to the character and the actor.  By giving him just a hint of an expression, they've avoided the zombie effect and added a life-like attribute as well. I'm particularly impressed with the shape of the jaw line, and the slight sagging to the skin along the jaw and neck. Add in the proper amount of skin texture (notice that Gordon, older than Blake, has more texture) and the super fine detailing of the hair, and you have a four star sculpt.

Blake follows that up with his own exceptional portrait. Pop this head off the body, hand it to your non-nerdy significant other, and they'll instantly recognize Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They might not know it's his Blake character without the police uniform, but they'll know it's the actor. He also has the slightly stern expression in the eyes and wrinkles at the bridge of the nose, and while there's less texture to the skin than with Gordon, there's the appropriate amount for his age and look in the film.

If I had one complaint about the sculpting, it's not with the portraits.  It's a complaint we've all had for a long time - those big, bear paws they use for the relaxed hands. As the grip pose gets tighter, the hands tend to get more in scale, with the closed fists always looking the best. That makes sense since most of the disproportion is in the skinny, long fingers. For both of these guys, the relaxed hands are going to be a popular look, and the out of scale proportions are far more obvious.

Both of these figures are the standard Hot Toys sixth scale, making them just shy of 12" tall.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Paint - ****
Another beautiful paint job by Hot Toys. They perfected their techniques for sculpt and paint about 5 years ago, and while they haven't really made any huge improvements since then, their work still sets the bar in the industry.

The slight variation and aging in the skin tone is perhaps most impressive, making these figures look spooky real even under the cruel eye of the macro lens. They have a very subtle transition across any hair line, and subtle variations like the lips look proper, not like they're wearing their favorite shade of lipstick.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Articulation - ****
The underlying TrueType is pretty much free to do whatever you'd like it to with these less restrictive outfits. Of course, the personality of the character and look of the clothing will effect your display choices - Gordon is probably not going to be in a wild fighting stance in this rather dumpy police commissioner outfit. Still, all the exceptional articulation is accounted for, and none of it is overtly subdued by the clothing.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Accessories - ****
If it weren't for the Bat Signal - which I'm counting as one, big, beautiful accessory - this pair wouldn't fair as well in this category.

Gordon has the fewest extras. He has the relaxed hands he comes wearing, as well as a gripping right perfect for the file folders, a looser gripping left, and a gesturing left. If you think you've seen these hands before, you'd be right, including the gesturing left that came with the first Gordon.  There's also a couple extra wrist pegs, just in case.

I mentioned his file folders - perfect for his desk duty days.  There are four folders and four sheets of paper, printed in enough detail to be legible under magnification. The four sheets are arrest warrants for Batman, while the file folders are labeled "Anonymous vigilante investigation".

His last 'extra' is his best - his glasses.  The first release had some pretty bulky specs, but this time they managed to do a much better job getting them in scale. The fit is good, and the clear lens look great.

Blake does better, with a pair of fists, a gun grip right, a tight grip left, and a loose grip left to go along with the relaxed hands he comes wearing.  He's got a couple extra wrist pegs as well. There's a bunch of cop goodies to go inside the various pouches on his belt too, including two additional clips, handcuffs, a flashlight, his radio, and of course his handgun.

Details and sculpts are the usual amaze-balls. Each item fits perfectly in the associated pouch or loop on the belt, including the radio. There's a slit in the jacket that allows the handset and cord to travel from the back of the figure to the shoulder, where it clips on the small loop. There's lots of nice detail work on all the extras, but the radio itself is truly a standout, with some terrific paint work to go with the sculpt.

I almost forgot - Blake also has a terrific looking watch that he can wear on his left wrist.

Which brings us to the ultimate accessory - the Bat Signal.  This guy is big, although it is a smidge too short due to the base.  To get the control box up high enough for Gordon to place his hand on it without bending down you'll need to set the signal on something.

The signal turns 360 degrees, and can tilt way back. It also tilts forward toward the ground, but not nearly as far. Pay attention to the instructions for details on movement as well as inserting the three AAA batteries.

Those three aren't included, but there is a large flat cel included for the remote. Yes, you can turn on the Signal with a remote!  The use of remotes for lights and sounds is a fairly new concept for Hot Toys, and it seems to be getting a bit better with each iteration.  Here, the larger remote has a single button to turn the light on and off. The switch on the bottom of the light has three positions - off, on, and remote.  You get the idea.

I hope we see them come up with ways to use a remote with the Iron Man figures of the future - it's the one area where they could still improve.  The Bat signal works great, looks great, and is bright enough to get Batman's attention on even a cloudless night.

Let's not forget that both come with a standard black display stand as well.  Unfortunately, Gordon's says 'Lt.', not Commissioner, a pretty blatant re-use of the stand from the previous release.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Light Feature - ****
I just raved about the Bat Signal, but it's worth re-iterating the cool light up effect in the appropriate category.You'll need to supply three AAA batteries, but inserting them is easy and safe. Put the switch in the right position, pop the flat cel in the remote, and summon a hero!

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Outfit - ***1/2
While the first Jim Gordon release had a great outfit, it wasn't exactly his normal duds.  Here we get Jim in the better known, if more frumpy, clothing he usually wore.

There's a white shirt, under a Mister Rogers sweater and heavy jacket. The brown pants are plain but well tailored, the striped tie is properly scaled, and the basic shoe sculpt works for the character. You probably won't dress him down, since he needs that heavy jacket when he's out working the Bat Signal, but the multiple layers are a bit lumpy this time around. While it's not far off his look, the lower layers (shirt, tie) don't fit to the body as tight, making the sweater and jacket pooch out more. It's a minor nit - you can futz it around to your liking - but out of the box it was a bit annoying.

Blake looks much better right out of the tray.  The outer jacket is still thicker than usual, but the fit is better and the underlying shirt, pants and belt are well tailored. The shoe sculpt is great, and the overall appearance is quite realistic.  The large badge on the jacket doesn't always lay just right, but that's another of those minor nits.

I've put Blake's larger belt in this category, rather than in the Accessories section. It looks terrific, and you can adjust the buckle to your liking.  I didn't follow the instructions when I did mine, but your mileage may vary.  The buckle is actually two separate pieces - the one you see, and a set of metal hooks on the belt itself.  If found that if I attached the outer buckle to the right side (tongue) of the belt first in the position I wanted it and then attached the outer buckle to the hooks, it was easier to adjust.  There is also a small black post that you can insert to keep the buckle in place even if it pops out of the hooks, but I didn't use it since I was adjusting the belt while shooting. I'll pop that through once I get ready to put him on the shelf and don't expect to adjust the belt any further.

Speaking of the black post, they use these for the various closures on the pouches and holster as well. They are very sturdy, much better than some past releases, and work much, much better because of it.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
While you probably won't get too extreme with the poses on either of these figures, they do fit in great with the other Hot Toys releases.  The inclusion of the Bat Signal is a big plus as well, and by going with a remote to control it, they've upped the 'fun' for collectors.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Value - ***1/2
There's no doubt that Hot Toys prices have gotten out of control. In the last 6 months prices have reached levels that will be hard to maintain. But this set is a breathe of fresh air - if youre a Bat-fan.

You can pick up this trio for $400 - $420.  The usual single figure release from Hot Toys is now $225...at least.  $240 is becoming common place.  But here you get two figures plus the light up Bat Signal, and you're getting them for less than the recently announced Pepper Pots/Iron Man pair.

The Bat Signal is easily worth $60 - $80 all on itss own. Let's go $70, and assume you pay $410 for the three pack, making the figures cost $340, or $170 each. When was the last time you got a Hot Toys figure for $170?  While there's some re-use with the portrait on Gordon, it's solid re-use - it's a fantastic portrait that didn't need any tweaking. There was a ton of re-use with the recent Captain America, and he was still $225 (although the use of magnets with the metal shield did contribute).

Of course, you can also get this set as low as $400 (see my Where to Buy section), and I can easily argue that the Bat Signal would run you at least $80 on it's own.  That brings Gordon and Blake down to a ridiculous $160 each, a price even ThreeZero or Star Ace couldn't match. So when taken at face value the total price might seem high, the reality is this set is one of the best values we've seen from Hot Toys in quite some time.

The value isn't quite as good if you're only getting the Blake/Bat Signal set, but it's still a solid *** compared to other releases.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
I didn't have anything that I was concerned about. Everything, including the posts on the pouches and holster, and the Bat Signal, was sturdy and well made, with no fear of breakage or damage.

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Overall - ****
As a massive Bat-fan, I'm extremely happy with this set.  We get two more cool B characters to fill out the display, along with a terrific diorama piece, all for a much better price than most Hot Toys releases. Unlike any oher large, multi-movie, multi-character license they've had that's over (where's my POTC Barbosa?) or is still on-going (BTTF can't end without a Doc Brown...), I can honestly say that my Nolan Batman fix is complete. I suppose you could argue that they still haven't given us Lucious Fox, but that's not quite the gaping hole that we've seen with other series.

That doesn't mean the Bat-wallet gets a rest. We know they have the Batman vs. Superman license to abuse us with next year, but until then, my Hot Toys Batman fix is well satiated.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Light Feature - ****
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****

Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has the trio for $420, or the Blake/Signal set for $280.

- has them for just $400, or you can get the Blake/Signal set for $265.

- is at $410 for the set.

- has the set for $420, and the Blake/Signal for $280.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Perfect for the shelf with these two is Bane or Batman. Hot Toys has also done Catwoman and the Alfred/Wayne two pack, but I haven't gotten around to reviewing either.  And if you're a fan of Gordon, you should check out Hot Toys first release.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Batman Dark Knight Gordon, Blake, Signal action figures by Hot Toys

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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