Shadowtek Ultra
Battle Fist Batman

With all the recent talk of the nifty new Justice League additions to The Batman line up, including Hawkman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Flash, and Superman, I thought the timing was right to point out a pretty cool new version of Bats himself from that series.

Actually, he's from the 'ultra' series, the slightly larger versions of the figures.  The Ultra series is closer in scale to 7", making any of them much too large to fit in with the regular series.  However, the new version of Bane will come out under this label rather than the regular series ("Roto Bash Bane"), and the extra size might make him the perfect addition for the smaller line.  He is a big guy, after all.

This Bats is referred to as Battle Fist, although he's unique because he's a regular version of the character with just some added accessories.  No weird repaint of the costume here, which is always a plus.  You should be able to find him at stores like Target, Meijers or Toys R Us, and he runs around ten bucks.

Packaging - ***
The packaging is pretty much more of the usual.  There's a little personalization on the back, with some descriptions of the accessories, which is a nice add that too many toys are missing these days.  There's also the small photos of other soon to be or already released figures to wet your appetite.

Of course it's not collector friendly, but you can't really expect that from a cardback/bubble package on the mass market.

Sculpting - ***
I'm old school when it comes to Batman animation.  No, I don't mean Super Friends old school, but I will always love the original BTAS style the best.

This version has never done a lot for me, although I have to admit that the show itself has certainly gotten better with time.  There's something about the slightly squat boxy head that seems a bit too Neandrathalish for me.

But they have done a good job of capturing the show look here.  He does appear a little different though, with a slightly thinner hips and thighs, or perhaps a bulkier chest.  I actually think this is an improvement, and if it weren't for the design of the head, I'd probably be loving this one even more.

The real appeal here (other than the articulation) is the scale.  At almost 7" (Bats stands about 6 3/4"), he can fit in with some larger lines a bit better than the standard series.

The cape is cloth as well, something I'm fond of.  Oh, sculpted capes can look terrific, but cloth capes (when done well) add just the right touch of realism to the figure.  They also give you less trouble when trying to do various poses, since they weigh so much less.

Bats stands great on his own in lots of poses, and does not have any peg holes in his feet.  The hands are sculpted to work with the accessories, and they do that just fine.

Paint - **1/2
There's nothing outstandingly bad about the paint work here, but it is exceedingly average.

There's some slop around the face and cowl, with a poor cut line down the jaw.  There's some bleed around the eyes, and the pieces cast in the color rather than painted - the black cowl, gray body, yellow belt - are never going to look as good as painted parts.  They aren't as consistent in color and they have that annoying semi-gloss appearance.

The bat symbol is fairly clean, but is just slightly off center.  There's also bleed at the top edges of the boots and gloves, where the black is painted on the gray body.

There's some differences in finish that are noticeable and annoying as well.  Sometimes a difference in finish is used to call out different 'materials', but in this case it's simply the differences in paint vs. cast colors.  For example, the hands and spikes for the gauntlets are cast in black plastic, which means they have a slight gloss appearance.  But the body of the glove that runs up the arm is painted black, and is a flat finish.

Yea, it's just a toy, but avoiding those kind of problems is what takes a good toy to great.

Articulation - ***1/2
Ah, this is were he gets better than his smaller version.  There's almost enough articulation here to pull another half star, too.

He has a cut neck, and had that been a ball joint, he would have gotten that extra half star easily.  The cut neck is adequate, but nothing spectacular, with limited posing potential. 

There are ball jointed shoulders though, done in the peg/disk style with the joint at the torso.  They work fairly well, and don't detract from the appearance of the figure.

There are similar hip joints, but since the ball joints fit inside the T cut hips, they don't move forward and backward as far as you might like.  Still, for standing poses, they work extremely well.

There's also single pin elbows, knees and ankles, as well as cut shins, cut wrists, cut waist and a pin chest joint.  He's certainly the most articulated version of The Batman we've gotten so far.

I really would have preferred if the cut leg joint was moved up above the knee, rather than below.  Having it below means that poses look awkward because the knee is still facing forward although the foot is turned outward.

Had they moved that joint and given me the ball jointed neck, I might have very well gone four stars on this guy.  He's not super articulated, but certainly has a much greater number of posing possibilities than you'd expect.  And the joints are tight and solid as well, making them unlikely to break or wear out too quickly.

Accessories - ***
There's an unwritten requirement that Batman comes with goofy ass accessories.  We can thank Adam West for that, I believe.

Actually, a few of the old Adam West accessories would be more fun - who wouldn't want a Bat Thermos?

This version of Batman comes with some big honkin' items, larger than we usually get.  First, since he is 'battle fist', he has to have too massive mechanical...well, battle fists.  These slide on over his hands (and do so quite well), and if you press on the side, the fist pops outward.  It's not a projectile, because the fist does not leave the glove.  It's just to get that little extra oomph in the old Bat punch.  One has to assume that in 'real' life, these gloves would also have super grip, and they are sculpted to hold other accessories.

That includes his other goodie here, the Bane cuffs. As I said earlier, Roto Bash Bane is going to be in this Ultra line, so he'll be much larger in scale.  Batman comes with a pair of impressive handcuffs designed specifically for Bane.  They even have an action feature - there's a button on the inside of the ring that snaps them shut on his wrists.  They work pretty well, and actually look decent too.  As goofy, huge accessories go, these aren't too bad.

The most impressive thing is that if these cuffs are actually going to fit Bane, then he is going to be one BIG boy!

Fun Factor - ***1/2
With all that added articulation, the extra size, and the relatively decent accessories, this is definitely a fun version of Batman.

Value - **
Even with the large accessories, I have a tough time paying ten bucks for this guy.  Eight bucks, similar to other mass market figures in the 6 - 7" range, seems a lot more appropriate.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Nothing, really.  As you'd expect from a  mass market toy, he's well built, unlikely to break easily, and fairly consistent in general quality.  He might not be perfect, but he's at least consistent in his imperfection.

Overall - ***
Had they made the minor articulation changes I mentioned above, he would have gotten another half star even at this price point.  If he were more in the eight buck range, what we have here would have gotten that extra half star too.

He's not perfect, but I am very glad I picked him up, because his larger size makes him terrific The Batman version to go with the DCD figures.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value -  **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Your best bet right now is Target, Toys R Us or Meijers.

- Related Links -
Let's just stick with The Batman reviews...

- the recent guest review covered Hawkman and Green Lantern.

- I've done Killer Moth, Temblor, Killer Croc, Clayface, the Riddler, Firefly, the Penguin, Bane and Man-bat, the regular Batman, Bruce Wayne, and Joker, and the 10" rotocast version of Bats.

- and there's the multi-pack called the Arkham Asylum pack from Toys R Us.

Share this review with others!
  Digg it!    StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!      Reddit

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour