I was pretty damn impressed
with their first shot at the Joker character, released last summer. But
as much as I loved that figure, I still had a few issues with the head
sculpt. Hot Toys had to work off early photos and very limited
reference material, and they did the best that they could. But with
their second release - the Bank Robber Joker - they had plenty of
excellent reference material, and they could see exactly what Ledger
looked like on film. And that made all the difference in the world.
Packaging - ****
Hot Toys has even upped the ante on their
packaging over the last year, becoming one of my favorites in this
category. They use an outer sleeve over a five panel box, and take
advantage of all that surface area with excellent graphics and photos.
Yea, they could still use a bit more descriptive text, but I suspect
that's a bit of an "English as a second language" thing.
are several twisties though, which always annoy me. With not one but
TWO tight fitting plastic covers on the interior plastic tray, the
figure ain't going any place - the twisties really aren't necessary.
Sculpting - ****
you read my review of the original figure, you know I whined about the
scarring on his face being off, as well as some of the more subtle
details of the eyes and facial structure. That head and this one were
both sculpted by Yulli, one of the tremendous talents at Hot Toys, and
she shows us here just how amazing her work can be when given good
reference material. All those minor quibbles with the
sculpt are gone, and this one goes beyond amazing to some new level of
work that's simply hard to describe. I've featured the new
non-mask wearing head sculpt in three separate shots for exactly that
The now trademark skin texturing
is here of course, but
combined with the face paint it looks so real it's spooky. The rough
keloid-like scarring on the mouth is sharp, accurate and tremendously
realistic, and not only is this the Joker, but the underlying Heath
Ledger resemblance is dead on.
Hair can be tricky in this
but it has just enough detail to look good without being overdone.
There fewer of the loose strands this time around, but there's still
enough to give it a wispy appearance.
I'll be talking about the
second head as part of the Accessories category as well, but let's
touch on the sculpt there now. They could have simply taken this
amazing sculpt and plopped on new hair (the second head has a matted
hair style to allow the mask to sit tightly on his face), but they
didn't. Instead he has a completely new expression, with a cocked grin
and smirk that telegraphs the underlying psycho-sarcasm perfectly.
This second head sculpt is much too good to hide with the mask, so you
just might want to pick up an extra or two of this figure (yes, I'm
talking to you, Donald Trump) to display him in multiple ways on the
Actually, I suspect many people
will pull the main
head off this figure and pop it on their original Joker. This creates
the perfect standard costume Joker for your shelf, and then the second
head can be used with the Bank Robber Joker. However, if we don't get a
Nurse version from Hot Toys, you could used this version with the
matted hair to make an excellent one yourself.
included one comparison shot of this new head sculpt (on your left)
with the original Hot Toys Joker head sculpt (on your right). If you're
wondering what this new head looks like on the old body, fear not -
Jeff Parker's guest review that I'll be running next week has several
photos showing the swap.
The other key sculpt area is the
multiple hands. All are done in scale, and work with the
accessories extremely well.
Paint - ****
The paint work that Hot Toys manages to produce is often amazing. But
like with the sculpt, they've managed to go beyond even their usual
quality with the work on this figure.
number one trick here was getting the white makeup to actually appear
like make up - not like a skin tone. In the film, as time went on, the
Joker's underlying skin became more visible in the cracks and crevasses
of his wrinkles and laugh lines. Hot Toys mimicked that appearance with
their first Joker, but somehow they managed to do that even better this
scarring and lips are perfectly painted on both
head sculpts, and the somewhat subtle green tint to the hair is just
about right. His makeup is running slightly, smudged here and there,
following realistic patterns on his cheeks and chin. It's hard to show
in photos, but there is also a very subtle transistion from the white
makeup on the face and chin, down the neck to the flesh tone. There is
not an abrubt line between the two colors, but rather a more 'smudged'
apperance that looks great.
But perhaps the most amazing
aspect of this figure is the eyes. Look
at them in the very first photo of this review, at the very top of
the page, and you will see how glassy and lifelike even the whites of
the eyes are! No matter what angle, the produce natural catch lights,
and the offset between the black raccoon face paint and perfectly
sculpted and painted eyes give him a mesmerizing gaze.
the regular head, the eyes are painted looking off to his left
slightly. Both pupils are even and on gaze, and this is an extremely
fitting expression for him. The matted hair version has the eyes
looking upward as well, but the gaze is slightly straighter.
I've seen custom, hand painted
work that's this good.
But production paint work? I have no idea how Hot Toys is pulling it
off, but whatever the code is, they've cracked it.
Articulation - ****
underlying body is Hot Toys standard TrueType. Jeff Parker did a nice
job showing this body off here, so I won't go into any excruciating
details at this point. Suffice to say, this is my absolute favorite
sixth scale body on the market right now, and it takes and maintains
natural poses almost effortlessly. Clothes hang off it well, the
proportions are excellent, and even the head and hand swaps are
You will want to be careful with
pegs. I've managed to snap their pegs on three past figures - both
versions of their DK Batman, as well as the first Rocky. Interestingly,
those were all the bigger muscle bodies, so maybe it's more of an issue
there, but I take extra care now with every Hot Toys figure I swap
Accessories - ****
Yep, this is an expensive figure. But Hot Toys has loaded him up with
some very cool extras to make him worth all the more.
is the Bank Robber version, so of course there's the clown mask. I
mentioned earlier that a second head sculpt is included, and
head pops on quite easily. The matted hair is sculpted to work with the
clown mask, and it's a perfect fit. The mask conforms to the head
tightly, with no weird bulges or misshapen edges. I am much more
impressed with this second head and mask combo than I thought I would
There's also the usual extra set
of hands, and between the
two rights and two lefts, you can get great poses with all the
This is the Joker, so you get a
nice deck of cards,
loaded up with more jokers than other face cards. It's not a full deck
of 52, but there were more than I wanted to take the time to count.
These cards are also made from fairly thick paper stock, so they pose
nicely in his hands.
He also has a packet of money,
enough they are singles. A bigger denomination would have been nice,
but that's just a minor nit. The bills are only printed on the face
side, but you can put them together in his hand back to back to avoid
showing the plain paper side.
He comes with two automatic
weapons, as seen in the film, a pistol and a machine guns. Both sculpts
are excellent, and the slide action works on both guns. In fact, the
action is spring loaded, so you pull it back and it snaps forward when
released! How cool is that?
Both guns have removable clips,
and the barrel jacket on the machine gun can be removed as well.
Joker needed some explosive devices, so he comes with three canister
grenades and four standard grenades. There is a chunk of hard foam that
these can be inserted into, and then this piece of foam fits perfectly
in his duffel bag.
The nylon duffel bag is perhaps
sixth scale bag of this type I've ever seen. It comes packed with less
dense pieces of foam, if you want to maintain a completely rigid,
filled appearance. However, it's easy enough to open the four perfectly
scaled zippers and remove the foam, leaving just the cloth covered
plastic 'walls' for each compartment. These pieces will still give the
bag a solid appearance without making it look stuffed.
And if you
don't want the walls? Just take them out as well! You'll have a
completely soft duffel bag, perfect for filling with money.
strap on the bag is completely adjustable, and it looks great hung over
the Joker's shoulder or just lying next to him, open with the grenades
The final extra is his display
stand. This is the usual
black Hot Toys version, with the stand-up name plate on the base. I
don't use them myself, but if you're that concerned about him falling
over, it's nice to have.
Outfit - ***1/2
the first major category that this figure doesn't quite get a perfect
score! Fear not, my quibble here is tremendously minor, so much so that
most folks are going to say I'm being too picky.
This outfit is
no where near as complex or visually interesting as his standard garb.
This is more of a uniform designed to blend in with the rest of the
heist team. The outfit does match the film about as accurately as you
can get. The most difficult feature was the shirt, and both
color and pattern are perfect. You could quibble about the buttons
(they are the wrong color), but c'mon.
The outfit really is just
made up of the pants with real belt, jacket, shirt and tennis shoes.
The sculpt and paint work, particularly the weathering, on the shoes is
great, and the tailoring and fit of the overall outfit is excellent.
The pants are a bit old man waisted, but that fits with the on screen
outfit pretty well.
So if it's so great, why did I
knock off a
half star here? Because he doesn't have any socks. Yea, I
you you'd think it was silly. But when you pose him kneeling or
sitting, you're going to see that goofy action figure ankle. The first
version has his funky clown socks, and a pair of white ones would look
great on this figure with the shoes.
Fun Factor - ***
isn't one for the kids. However, that being said, it's really a price
issue, not a durability one. There thin shoulder stock on the machine
gun can be broken pretty easily, but the rest of the accessories, as
well as the figure itself, is actually just as durable as most any mass
market kids toy out there. The average eight year old isn't going to
break this figure any quicker than any other you might give him - it's
just that when he does, you'll cry a little inside.
Value - ***
This figure is going to run you around $150 - $175, although I've heard
there are some retailers out there as cheap as $135. And you know what?
He's worth every penny up to that $155 or $160 range, and then some.
This is an outstanding figure, and even Hot Toys is going to be hard
pressed to follow it up with anything that's better.
Things To Watch Out For
I didn't have any actual issues. I've learned the hard way though to be
extremely careful with the wrist pegs on any Hot Toys figure, having
snapped more than one in the past. This figure didn't have
issue, but I always take extra care now.
Overall - ****
I could, I'd give this figure extra stars. It's that good. In fact,
it's not just the best sixth scale figure of 2008, it's the best figure
Hot Toys has done to date. Considering how much I like their Cannibal
Jack Sparrow and Aliens Captain Dallas, that's saying quite a bit.
companies need to work on something. Maybe their sculpting is strong,
but their production paint leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe their
accessories and outfits are amazing, but the body they are putting it
on needs improvement. But Hot Toys is leading the industry in every
category right now, doing the best sculpts with the best production
paint ops, outfitting them with excellent costumes and realistic film
accurate accessories, all put together on the best underlying body on
the market. They aren't cheap, and I've complained about over priced
collectibles on a regular basis. But Hot Toys figures are currently
worth the price they are charging, and considering what a cheap bastard
I am, that's saying something.
If you've never bought a Hot
figure, this is the one for you. But I warn you - once you've bought
one, you won't be able to stop. These things are collector crack, and
before you know it you'll be selling body fluids just to get your next
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Articulation - ****
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ****
Where to Buy -
There are a number of great online options:
Collectibles has a great price at just $150.
- Dark Shadow
Collectibles has a price of $155.
- Alter Ego Comics
has him listed at $157.
has it at $160.
- Urban Collector
is carrying it for $165.
Earth has it at $175.
- or you can search ebay
with the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.com.
Related Links -
covered a lot of the Hot Toys product so far, but let's look at just
the Dark Knight stuff:
- I just covered the Joker
and Batman busts, and I also had a guest review of both the Joker and Batman as well.
- I also just covered the Bat Pod, Hot Toys first
of two vehicles for the license.
- I covered the first Batman and Joker
they did for the film, and I've had a guest review of the second Batman. You can
expect a Bank Robber Joker review very, very soon.
Want to chat about this review? Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be