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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Knightmare Batman
Batman V Superman Sixth Scale Action Figure

Hot Toys
Date Published: 2016-10-10
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

Regular readers know I'm a huge Batman fan.  And yes, I liked Batman V Superman...better on blu-ray than in the theater (the theatrical release lacks critical scenes that make the movie far more sensible, although not perfect), but DC still has a way to go before they reach the sort of quality of the best Marvel films.

Still, I'm all in for anything Batman related from the flick, and the 'nightmare' sequence provided a great Elseworlds sort of look for the caped crusader.  With the long coat, googles, brass colored utility belt, and brown clothing bits, it's a terrific mash up of Batman, steam punk, and western style.

Hot Toys recognized the opportunity for a truly unique sixth scale Batman figure, and their version is now shipping.  I believe it's only available through Sideshow in the U.S., where you can pick it up for around $235.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ***1/2
While this shoebox style package isn't a lot different than the basic version, it has enough spice to garner it a slightly higher score.

I like both the exterior box graphics and the interior cover card artwork.  This mirrors the rest of the BvS boxes - I have Superman here, and I'm waiting on the regular (special edition) Batman to do a review - and of course everything remains completely collector friendly. Rather than use a perfect rectangle for the box cover, they've angled the sides, giving it a more asymmetrical look. And while there are plastic wraps on the hands, feet, and head, none of these are taped so tight that they won't slip off easily.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ***1/2
This is Batfleck of course, and they've done a very good job capturing the rather wide and stubby proportions of this Batman. From the thick, short neck to the beefy torso, it looks very much like the on screen counterpart.

There are three lower face plates - one screaming, one neutral, and one with a slightly open mouth.  The instructions show you how to remove the head and use a small tool - provided - to pop out the plate, then you pop in the other.  I did that a couple times, but thanks to the annoying features of the neck and eyes (more on that in the Articulation section), it's not a great way to go.  I found that by pushing down slightly on the chin I could bet enough of a gap around the plate to remove it without removing the head each time.

Of the three plates, the slightly open mouth is my least favorite.  There's two reasons for this: it's not a great look, in my opinion, for most poses, and it also didn't quite fit as well.  I found the latter to be odd, since I assumed all three would be identical in size, but with mine, this one plate wasn't quite as clean of a fit. It's not a big deal in person, but it's enough of a gap to notice in macro photos.

One of the complaints with the old DX series and the PERS eyes was how deeply set they were.  Here we see that again with these swappable eye plates. It's not quite as bad since the eyes should be set back a bit from the front of the mask, but it's still farther than ideal.

The other two work great, and both provide plenty of posing options.  I suspect I'll go with the extreme scream in my display, since it adds a very different look from the overriding number of blank stares. All three plates also look enough like Affleck, right down to the perfect Hollywood Chiclets teeth.

He doesn't come with a ton of hands, but there's six in total that are designed to work with a couple of the accessories.  The size is a bit over scale, but not any more so than most Hot Toys figures. Bats stands about 12 1/4" to the tips of his little Bat ears.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - ***1/2
There's not a ton of complex work here, so they really aren't able to show off their true chops.  The face plates look good, but not extraordinary, and the basic costume colors are nicely done. The work on the utility belt, goggles, and screaming mouth is probably the best, but it's not one of those paint jobs that's going to elicit oohs and aahs.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - **1/2
This is the category where I have the majority of my issues, and while it's titled 'Articulation", it's really about the design of the body, not the usability of the majority of the joints.

In fact, the body is far more mobile and posable than I expected, considering the costume.  While there's a little restriction in the torso, the legs, arms, and neck all have a decent range of movement.  The neck and ankles (thanks to the two piece boots) are particularly useful, and allow for plenty of cool stances and looks.

The lower score here focuses on two areas.  First, there's the hands. The hands are fairly soft, the wrist pegs just as stubby and short as ever, and the long gauntlets cover the wrists and ride over the wrist end of the gloves. This combination creates a well known problem: hands that drop off at the slightest touch, are difficult to put on, and difficult to pose.

This isn't a complicated problem to fix.  Longer wrist posts that go further into the hands would be a huge help, but require them creating new posts. Re-use and standardization equals profit, so making even simple changes like this is often frowned upon.

My second problem comes from the neck post and facial arrangement.  I mentioned that the lower face plates can be popped off and on when you remove the head.  The head is actually the head, neck, and cowl that shrouds the top of the shoulders. It's big.  Every time you replace it, you have to work with the coat to get the right look again, since the edge of the cowl remains well under the collar of the coat.

That's workable though, and only a minor annoyance.  My bigger issue is aligning the post with the inner workings of the skull. Inside this large hunk of head is a thick, complex neck post.  That's because not only is the face plate removable, but so are the eyes.  There is a square block on the back of the eye plate that sits inside the head, taking up about half of the interior at the top.  The neck post is supposed to slide in behind this block and snap into the top of the head's interior. If the head and neck post are even slightly out of alignment, or if the eyes are not pushed fully forward in the head, the back of the eye plate will get in the way of the neck post. As I mentioned earlier, you can avoid all this by not removing the head to swap face plates, although that can be a little tricky. If you want to swap eye plates, you clearly must remove the head, and it can be frustrating to get it back in place.

The punch line here is that you don't get any eye plates with this figure anyway.  To have the two additional eye plates, you need to purchase the other Batman, MMS342. I have one on order, but it hasn't shipped yet.  If you aren't picking that one up, this head/neck complexity is serious overkill. I get what they are going for here, and providing you a way to get many different looks is a nice touch. While you could argue that they can just give you three head sculpts, that would mean you'd only have three possibilities - with three eye plates and three chin plates you get nine potential unique facial expressions. Still, the route they took to get there is more convoluted than it probably needed to be.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - ***
He's not loaded, but he does have some critical and well designed accessories. I've already mentioned the three face plates, and they add quite a bit to this score.

He has four extra hands to go along with the fists he comes wearing. There's a gun grip right, an open grip left, an open grip right, and a tiny grip right that looks perfect for a batarang...which this figure doesn't have.

I've already mentioned how annoying it is to work with the hands, but now you can also see that he's mighty short on left hand opportunities. There's a couple extra wrist pegs in case you break one, but that's about as unlikely as it gets.

I'm going to mention two items here that could also be considered part of his Outfit, but I'm putting them under Accessories. That would be his goggles, and the extra bandana. The goggles are one of the highlights of the figure overall, and have a high quality elastic band that fits around the head.  The paint is excellent, and using them is almost a must. They are slightly too big - check this side view photo for an example - but I'm not going to get too picky on that one.

The bandana is actually an extra, since you already get one with the head that can be re-positioned and placed over his mouth and nose if you desire.  Both bandanas have a wire through the top edge, useful for posing, and both tie in the back behind his head.

Batman has two guns, and yes, he uses guns. He comes with a pearl handled Colt that fits neatly in the holster on his right hip or in the gun grip hand. Another great sculpt and excellent paint job - Hot Toys always does terrific weapons.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

The same is true of the the rifle Batman carries, the SCAR-L. Another amazing sculpt, and they've included the cloth wrap on the forend and the Joker card taped to the stock.  Best part - the tape is actually duct tape! Of course the magazine is removable, and the front sight is adjustable.  The longer barrel also comes off, although that's more annoying than helpful.

He also comes equipped with a pair of binoculars, which can hang around his neck on a strap. The strap is too short for it to go over both the neck and a shoulder (which is how he wears the rifle), but it's fairly normal to wear them just around your neck. The hands don't work great with them, but you can get a reasonable pose or two.

The last accessory is the display base, done in a BvS symbol style.  I haven't opened my Superman, so I can't say for sure, but I'm assuming this new design is consistent for the line. It's pretty sweet too, with a fold up symbol that has an easel support behind it. Rather than a standard crotch or waist grabber, this time there's a metal rod with a single long, sturdy hook that can be used like a crotch support, but is less obtrusive and much sturdier. It's an interesting design, and I've included a photo of it.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Outfit - ***1/2
For my purposes, the outfit consists of his coat, upper body bat suit, pants, boots, belt/holster, utility belt, and gauntlets. I've already discussed the goggles and bandanna, so those will be skipped here.

The overall look of this unique costume is extremely good. The materials and construction are top Hot Toys level, and small details are nicely done.  I'm particularly happy with the pants, boots, and belt/holster, which look fantastic and do not restrict the articulation. Two piece boots are always a smart move when you can get away with it visually, and they've done a great job here.

The hard shell holster holds the Colt perfectly, with little chance for it to drop out or get lost. The utility belt is a pretty standard Batman design, and reminds me a lot of the old Adam West version, but I think the paint work is a little toy-ish.  I get that they were going for a weathered metal look, but it just looks cheap compared to some of the other paint work on the figure.

The Bat suit that covers the torso is restrictive of course, making turning and leaning more difficult than a simple shirt would. It's less of a problem than I had anticipated however, and I could get some tilt, turn, and lean action out of him.

The long duster is his most prominent costume feature, and it's made from a high quality material with excellent stitching and tailoring.  It's not particularly worn though, and while they did try to add some dirt effects with paint, it lacks the look of wear that you'd expect. They also added a small strip of material along the bottom edge that is worn and tattered, but it looks a bit out of place when compared to the pristine condition of the rest of the coat.  I suspect most collectors will end up weathering their own a bit more.

There's a thicker wire along the bottom edge of the coat that allows for some decent dynamic posing, but if there is one along the front edges, it's mighty thin.  I was able to blow out the bottom edge of the coat in the deeper poses, but I would like more hold along the front edge as well.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - **1/2
This guy could be a lot of fun, if not for the damn hands. I'd also advise not taking the head off if you don't need to, simply because it's so damn annoying getting it back on with the eye/neck post arrangement.  With the rest of the articulation and the quality costume and accessories, this could have been a figure you pose and re-pose.  The issues with the hands will greatly reduce your desire to do so.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Value - **1/2
Regular readers now that a **1/2 here is an average value, and this score does not raise or lower my personal Overall. At $235, he's a little over the norm of $220, but he does have a much more complex costume than most releases.  While there fewer accessories than I'd really like, the exclusivity combined with the costume complexity keeps this one at an average score for me.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
I briefly mentioned that the extended barrel on the SCAR-L comes off and is not glued in place. That means it would be easy to drop while posing and not even notice until much later - watch for it.

I've also discussed working with the eye plates, which can be difficult when popping the head back on. Be sure everything is lined up before applying too much pressure to avoid damaging the eyes.

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Overall - ***
I don't want to sound ungrateful, because God knows it's been ages since we've gotten much in the Batman arena from Hot Toys. I was looking back through my Hot Toys reviews, and there's been an awful lot of Marvel and Star Wars over the last few years...not much DC, and even less Batman. Getting this very cool and very unique design is a big plus.

Still, I was left feeling...underwhelmed. He's very posable, but those damn hands were frustrating. I love the costume, but the jacket really needs better weathering. I like the swappable face plates, but the eyes seem unnecessary and difficult to work with.

I almost did go that extra half star here, but there were enough issues to hold him just slightly back. He's a solid release, with far more good than bad, but is really intended for us Bat-freaks.

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

Knightmare Batman sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
In the U.S., this guy is exclusive to Sideshow, where he'll run you $235, or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other Hot Toys Batman figures include: Batman Returns and Bruce Wayne, an 1989 Batman, a regular Nicholson Joker, a mime variant, Arkham City Batman, DKR Gordon and Blake, Bane, Batman, first release of Gordon, the 1966 Robin and Batman, DX11 Joker, Cop version of the DX01 Joker, as well as the regular DX01 look, a Bank Robber version, the original non-DX version, DX version of DK Batman, and the Harvey Dent/Two Face.  I bet I'm forgetting a few too..

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

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

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