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Review of 1966 Batman Batcave action figure set

Mattel
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Introduction

Regular readers know how much I love Batman.  That love started in the 60's, when both the comic books and television show were silly, campy and goofy, so it's no surprise that I love everything to do with the Adam West incarnation.

That doesn't mean I don't enjoy the more modern take - I do. It also doesn't mean that I can't see the warts on the old show through the rose colored glasses of nostalgia. The show is definitely not for everyone. But it will always hold a special place in the Batman mythos for me.

I've stayed pretty complete with the Mattel line of action figures - Lord knows it hasn't been all that hard.  It looked like things were pretty dead as of last winter, but Mattel made one more push this summer with a new character (Batgirl), a new play set ("To The Batcave", reviewed tonight), and a repacking of said Batgirl in a three pack with Batman and Robin as well as a repack of the Batmobile, this time with Batman and Robin included.

I skipped the three pack (I picked up Batgirl singly at SDCC), but I had to have the play set with another Batman.  What's better than a figure from the 1966 Batman show?  A set of accessories and small diorama to go with them!

This set is technically a Toys R Us exclusive, although you can pick it up at some online retailers for the same $35.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Packaging - ***1/2
I really like the box design they've used for this set. It shows off the contents extremely well, and the graphics have the 60's feel down pat. It's sort of collector friendly - you can open it up and remove most everything without any damage, but there are a couple rubber bands you'll toss.

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Sculpting - ***
This set comes with the standard Batman that we've already gotten four other times (on his own, with Batgirl and Robin, with Robin, and with the Batmobile and Robin) as well as an unmasked Adam West/Bruce Wayne head sculpt. Of the two portraits, the Adam West is the more impressive. The likeness is reasonably good considering a) the 6" scale and b) the price point. The expression even has a little life to it, with slightly squinted eyes and a stern look.

The regular cowled Batman is the same one we've gotten before, but the more times I see it the less I like it.  Something about how the short ears are pulled back and the way the large black mask sticks out reminds me of a cat forcing his head through a slice of bread.

The thin body remains the same as well, and it works fine in this particular context. The pouches are still not quite right, but that's no surprise at this point. The cape is cloth, and is removable (and adjustable), held in place by the head. It's a bit poofy at the shoulders again, but does fit a bit better than the single pack version and lacks the massive white tag that the Batman/Robin two pack version had. The hands are sculpted to work with a number of the accessories, and he stands great (at right about 6") on his own as well.

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Paint - **1/2
The paint work isn't atrocious, but does have its share of slips and slops.  They are most noticeable on the masked head, where the edges around the cowl and face are hit or miss.

The eyebrows and nose highlights are well done, however, and the unmasked face has clean (if mannequin style) eyes, eyebrows and hair. The chest logo is centered and straight, and the metallic blue of the collar and cowl matches the cloth cape better than you'd expect.

The accessories are also heavy on the paint work, from the bronze bust to the stickered Bat computer.  In general, the work is decent, although I have to say I'm a bit disappointed by the stickers on the computer itself. The stickers are a tad cheap, although expecting sculpted dials and buttons was hoping for too much at this price point. The stickers lack detail though in a number of places, including text on labels and some buttons. This plain appearance ends up hurting the score here by a half star.

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Articulation - ***
We've covered this figure several times before, and the joints you see are what you've gotten before.  The range of movement is good, and the quality of the pins, discs and connectors is solid.

The hinge hips, hinge ab-crunch, and ball neck are all particularly useful in getting deeper stances, and the overall flow of the articulation is fairly natural for a figure in this scale. It's worth noting that there's no wire in the cape, unlike the first release of Batman with Robin in the two pack.

There's a couple other points of articulation with the accessories. I mentioned that the auger on the bazooka can lift up and down, and of course the back of the Bat Computer opens to allow you to store the various accessories inside. More on that in the next category...

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Accessories - ****
The box proclaims the Bat Computer and 15 accessories - how many there really are depends on how you count, but there's a butt load no matter the math.

The Bat Computer is the most obvious.  While there were many variations on the computer in the cave, the one included was a main staple of the show, shown here. I've already complained that this is less detailed than it should have been, and deducted for that as part of the Paint section.

The computer actually turns around, and the back is supposed to look like a cabinet in the upstairs room that hid the top of the bat-poles.  There's a shelf to put the telephone and Shakespeare bust, and you can remove this back and store all the accessories inside.  That's a nice touch, and they've even gone one better and inscribed the inside of the computer with the label "Secret Equipment Storage".

To add to the diorama nature of the set up, they've included a heavy stock card with a scene from the upstairs on one side, and a scene from the cave on the other.  This card fits inside a slot on a plastic base to keep it upright.  While the scenes are a nice touch, they are a bit odd.  The living room (den?) side shows the phone clearly on a table. Likewise, the cave scene shows the exact same computer in the graphic.  This redundancy is weird and unnecessary.

I mentioned that they included the bust of Shakespeare, and it actually opens at the neck to reveal the buttons that operate the entrance to the Batcave below.  There's also the red phone, and the handset is a separate piece from the base, with no cord connecting them.

Other accessories in the total include 3 batarangs, 4 cans of "Batman Spray Repellent",a bat communicator, a bat megaphone, and the funky "Batzooka". Many of these are directly from the movie, where licensing rights have been more straight forward.  That includes the Batzooka, which was used on the Batboat. The red auger is articulated so it can raise up or down, and the handles fit neatly in Batman's hands.

While getting the four cans of repellant is nice, I would have liked to see them label them correctly. The term "Batman Repellent" doesn't even make sense...

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
The set has some issues with accuracy, quality, and design...but it's still a lot of fun to set up and use with your overall Mattel '66 Batman figures.  If you're a big play set or diorama fan, this one is pretty much a must have even with the failings.

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Value - **
The Batman and Robin two pack cost $30 - $35 as well, and the sheer number of accessories with this set balances that out.  Other collector lines run $20 for a figure with a couple accessories at best (assuming you don't snag them on sale or discount), and I'm not sure the additional dozen or so items warrant the additional fifteen bucks.  If you managed to get this set for $30, which is the price it started out at on the Toys R Us website, you can add another half star here, bringing the set up to average.

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.  The joints seem sturdy, and the various accessories are unlikely to break under normal play and handling.

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Overall - ***
This set has some issues. That's probably no real surprise, since the entire Mattel 1966 Batman series has issues, some of them serious. But even getting this set was a pretty major shock, and my bat nerdiness can only allow me to be so harsh. This set, along with the Batmobile, will make the figures more than they are without them, and that's a pretty important consideration.

If you are like me, and are wishing for something a bit better based on this license, don't despair. While it appears Hot Toys has lost interest, the sixth scale statues coming from Tweeterhead are outstanding. We already have Catwoman, and Batman and Robin will be shipping any day.  Already announced to follow is Batgirl, and I know the company really hopes to go deep with the line up.  They aren't cheap though, making them a bit tougher to go all in with.

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

1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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Where to Buy 
Your best bet is to head to your local Toys R Us, where this set (along with the new Batman/Robin/Batgirl 3 pack and Batmobile with Batman and Robin included) is available for $35. Online options include these site sponsors:

- has it for $35.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've looked at most of the 1966 series from Mattel, including the Batman and Robin two pack, the Joker, the Batmobile, and the Batman, Penguin and Riddler.

Other 1966 Batman product includes the Batman and Robin from Hot Toys, the amazing Tweeterhead statues that started with Catwoman, and the NECA 1/4 scale Batman and Robin. Mattel also did a terrific 1:1 scale prop replica of Batman's Utility Belt and Batarang.

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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1966 Batman Batcave action figure set by Mattel

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

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