Hot Toys Bat Pod - The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle from Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

You know Jeff loves his Hot Toys, and tonight he's checking out the recently released Bat Pod! I gave my take on it earlier in the week, and we aren't too far apart. What's your thoughts, Jeff?

Now there’s a Batman!

The Joker’s throwaway line as the Bat-Pod flashes in front of him from a side street. Pretty nonchalant considering it was his first glimpse of his nemesis new ‘wonderful toy’.

And so at long last, after what seemed like an interminable wait the Bat Pod finally landed with me a few days before Christmas.

Because of the festivities and my daughter’s birthday I didn’t feel able to dedicate too much time to my collecting and reviewing passion, but now it’s all over… I can, and I’m like a kid in a sweet shop. On arrival I had a quick look over to make sure all was present and correct, but finally I just spent the last hour pawing over this beauty and I am very impressed.

After watching the extra features on The Dark Knight (TDK) DVD I was even more stoked to re-unpack this baby. It just fits my design ethos down to the ground, and as Walter Gropius said, from function comes beauty, and this is a beauty. I think old Walter would have approved, as this is an awesome bit of industrial deign, no superficial flourishes here… No, this is the Phoenix that rose from veritable ashes of the Tumbler.

But beauty comes at a price, and as the Pod needs a big’ol box it doesn’t ship cheaply either. So is it worth splurging such a big, big lump of your hard earned, lets find out.
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys

Packaging: ***
This is as I said a big box, not quite up their with the Power Loader but still pretty damn large. Mine arrived in a brown corrugated box and within was a custom made black printed box, but like a Ukrainian, Matryoshka I still needed to delve deeper. This black box is purely to protect the actual box proper that is housed within. It’s a full colour large scale affair with its own carry handle (this handle fits through the black outer box as well for transport from your place of purchase). There are plenty of photos of the Pod covering this inner case. One big photo on the front alongside the movie logo and seven smaller pics showing the many details on the back. Once you’ve opened this you’ll find a tray of Styrofoam with a card covered corner, under this card is the ‘bonus’ Bat-cape that comes with wires and a special rig that attaches to the back of the TDK Batsuit to mimic the ‘flowing’ cape we saw in the movie. You’ll also find an instruction sheet on how to attach this to the figure. It’s pretty straight forward and the solid rig part clips onto the upper back, you then slot the fasteners from the cape onto the front of the suit and slide the concealed wires into the grips at ends of the bendable metal arms that stick out from the back of the rig. It’s an ingenious bit of kit designed by TS Wong (at least the box credits him as ‘accessories supervisor’, so I guess this was his baby).

The sheet also has instructions on how to construct the Pod itself. Thankfully this is pretty minimal and just consists of fitting the handlebars and forearm armour onto the metal posts. Mine was a tight fit, but I got their in the end.

The main thing in the design of a box for a model this complex (and fragile) is not to get too overly clever, just make sure it gets from A to B in one piece! and I’m glad to say mine made it from Hong Kong to the UK without even a dink on the corners.

Sculpt: ****
Bike design is due a massive evolutionary leap, according to many ‘designers’ and the Pod is a nod to a possible direction things might go, however Chris Nolan’s lack of ‘actual’ knowledge of ‘real’ motorbikes is partly what led to the Pods radical look, and as I’ve always had a soft spot for Kaneda’s bike from AKIRA I can’t wait to see what some of these future designs will be like.

But as far as this beast is concerned it’s top marks absolutely no question, this just looks like a 1/6 facsimile of the screen seen vehicle thanks to the sterling work by Ming Yeung who sculpted this thing. From the asymmetric handlebars, through to the rubber tread on those super-wide tyres, it’s all there.

The fore-cannons, handlebars, engine cowl, wheels, hell every square centimeter of this thing is covered in fine details. I think this is one of those occasions where I’ll let the photo’s do the talking, but I will comment on how impressed I was with the detail under the engine cowl. This is removable so as to get at the well-hidden battery compartment for the working headlights; it’s this kind of hidden detail that really sets Hot Toys apart at the moment.

All this super detail could have been let down had it not been for the exceptional paint apps, but more on that later.

It has to said that you’ll spend more than a little time finding just the right position to pose your TDK Batman on the bike, and getting his feet on the plates, knees in the rests and hands on the controls can be… well, lets just say a might frustrating! 

But if you persevere you’ll get a very good approximation, and considering the nature of the new Batsuit, I wouldn’t want to leave him in a prone position for too long anyway. No, mine will be displayed straddling the Pod or standing next to it. The wheels also have two removable red pegs; these lock the wheels so as to stop your $200+ investment from rolling off of your shelf, but are easily removed for the ‘freewheeling’ mode.

Paint: ****
Most of the Pod is a matte grey/black with areas of gun metal and steel, a palette that translates as raw industrial power, and if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know that’s exactly what this thing has… by the shed-load!

It’s basically a highly mobile heavy artillery platform that the Batman uses to take down the Joker. 

The odds may seem stacked against our hero, especially as the agent of chaos is baring down in an 18 wheeler truck which is available to purchase should you need a new set of wheels!

But the Pod has quite a few surprises up its sleeves, and a truck is quite frankly no match for a pissed off Batman on an über-super-bike!

I know the actual Pod toured many US cities on the release of the movie, but being based in the UK I wasn’t lucky enough to see this baby in the flesh so to speak. But having trawled the internet for reference and watched the TDK DVD a couple of times the paint job all looks immaculate to me. A top-notch application, and they even weathered not only the bikes body but also the tyres… now that’s attention to detail. Great job.

Action Feature
Well, after the terrific light up features on the recent HT Nostromo cosmonauts it comes as no surprise that the Bat Pod should have some cool and incredibly bright head lights. As I mentioned above the engine cowl lifts up to reveal another bar that has to be lifted and a small screw needs to be undone to open the battery compartment. Once they are in place you can flick a switch on the underside of the engine and two bright lights come on, on either side of the front wheel amongst the cluster of machine guns, cannons and grappling guns, it certainly adds a nice touch.

Fun factor: ***
As always with HT this is not for little Billy to play with on the hall floor, he’d have lots of tiny pieces within minutes of the first collision. 

So as a ‘play thing’ this would struggle for any marks at all, but perhaps if you were dumb enough to pay $295 (the official price from DC Direct) on this for a kid to torture, you’d get what you deserve!

No… the price tag and the level of detail will soon make any sane person realize it’s a construct and display piece again, and for any fan of Batman, especially those beloved of the masterpiece that is The Dark Knight, then this will be the centre piece of your display (well, at least until the Tumbler is released).

However in many ways this is THE vehicle of TDK, even more so than the Tumbler, and the iconic scenes as it first burst forth from the wrecked Tumbler and at the close of the movie as the Batman rides off into Gotham city, will make this a must have item for many.   

Value: ***
Considering this is a limited release of a (heftily) licensed product that needed to be modeled and sculpted from the tip of its guns to the end of the rear tyre, the official price tag of $295 seems to be in the right ballpark to me.
If you’re willing to search around, I’ve seen them on eBay with a ‘buy it now’ as low as $225, and Michaels sponsor Urban Collector has it up for a pre-order of $236, if you get it for this kind of price then it’s a four star item to me without a doubt. I’ve based my three star score on the ‘official’ DC Direct price.

However, although I’m impressed with the quality, and the price seems just about fair, I think these tough economic times might mean these will be available for a little time yet, so let your wallet… and conscience do the thinking! 

But I also feel that when things are back on more of an even keel economically, this will become one of those must own grail pieces.

So happy hunting! 

Overall: ****
This is a very high quality and super detailed piece of merchandise that screams full score at me, even with its relatively high price I would urge Bat-fans to try and secure one. If I had to find a negative it would be that the nature of its design and the accuracy with which HT have translated this into a 1/6 scale model, means there are obviously fragile elements. 

Some metal has been used to strengthen the high stress areas like the frame and handlebars, but molded ABS plastic is used to flesh out all the details on the engine and alike, so you will still have to exercise caution and respect, especially when sitting Bats astride the Pod… or Bat-Hog as my wife christened it last night, it kind of made me want to get another to paint flames down the side and sit a hairy biker on it.

So to sum up, for me it’s as near perfect as it could get, sure I’d have loved for it to retail for under $200 but baring in mind single figures like the recent Medicom ALIEN was demanding nearly that, it’s not realistically going to happen.

If you’re interested in further aspects of the Bat Pods design there is more info here, here and this site was fun.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
There are plenty on eBay right now for between $225 to $320, so it’s worth digging around.

DC Direct - Pre-order $295.00

Or some of Michael’s sponsors have it for ‘in some cases’ considerably less:

- Showpiece Collectibles has a great price at just $236.

- Urban Collector is carrying it for just $236 as well.

- CornerStoreComics has it at $260.

- Alter Ego Comics has it at $265.

- Entertainment Earth has it at $295.

- Forbidden Planet has it in the UK for 300 GBP.

- or you can search ebay with the sponsor

Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys

Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys
Dark Knight Bat Pod vehicle by Hot Toys

Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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