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Review of 1989 Batman Premium Format Statue Exclusive

Sideshow Collectibles
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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Introduction

While it's hard to argue with the Christian Bale version of Batman, for many fans it is the Keaton Batman that defined the character. Or if not Batman, then certainly Bruce Wayne. The 1989 Burton film is getting a better assortment of collectibles these days, and Sideshow has just released their much anticipated Premium Format statue.

There are two versions: a regular version with an edition size of 2500, and an exclusive with swappable left hand and an edition size of 1250. Both were originally $400 at Sideshow.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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Packaging - ***
He comes in a large box, with the 89 Batman logo and a nifty silhouette. The pieces are cradled in Styrofoam eggshell inserts. Bats is not a solid statue, but rather comes in multiple pieces - head/cowl, cape, body with legs, forearms with hands, staircase base, and two bat 'hangers'.

The hands/forearms, head and bats are held in place with strong magnets. The cape is attached with Velcro, and the body itself attaches to the base with a long, square metal foot peg on the bottom of the lower left foot.

All of this is held safely in the package, but take special care when cutting the tape around the foam trays. The neck of the statue is quite close to the edge, so you don't want to insert a knife blade too far in.

1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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Sculpting - ****
I'm loving the choice of pose and expression, but I know some people will take issue with him turning his head.

It might seem like a minor thing, but screen accurate extremists are going to point out that he couldn't turn his head independently like this in the actual costume, because the rubber cowl was simply too thick.

I have no problem with this. I like the pose, and prefer the slight head turn and tilt to a straight forward stance, but your mileage may very well vary.

The sculpted suit has a soft texture to give it a rubbery look, and the skin has its own appropriate life-like texture. The face is clearly Keaton, although the lips are just a smidge on the pouty side.

I also like how the face isn't quite perfectly centered in the cowl. It wouldn't be, since the cowl is supposed to be a very stiff material. As he moved his head within, the cowl didn't quite move as evenly. This gives it a very realistic feel, and shows some nice up front design work.

Premium format statues are supposed to be 'mixed' media. Lots of materials, when appropriate, can go into the design - resin, metal, plastic, cloth, leather, etc. etc. etc. With Batman, there's really only a couple different materials - polyresin for the majority of the figure and base, with a leather/cloth cape, and plastic stairs.

The attention to detail is quite impressive on the overall base. They even included three small bats - two as one set and a separate loner - that attach to the underside with strong magnets, giving it that ultimate cave feel!

While it's not really 'sculpting', I wanted to mention the exceptional quality of the cape. It's long and thick, with a high quality lining and fantastic stitching. It attaches to the body of the statue with Velcro, and the cowl pops in place over it, making a tight seam.

This is a quarter scale statue, and Batman stands 19 inches tall (including the ears), with the overall piece coming in at 26".

1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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Paint - ***1/2
There's going to be some controversy with this category, because they are trying to get the look of rubber using polystone, and the paint is the best way to do that.

It's a matte dark gray, not really black, certainly not like the glossy pleather cape. They went with this color and finish to get that rubbery look, but I know some people will complain that it's too light, and has too much contrast with the cape. If you light this figure harshly - bright light directly on the statue - you'll definitely have an issue with the color. But that's not the way this guy should be displayed. He needs indirect lighting, shadows, atmosphere...

There are a few spots on the suit that appear to be slight rub marks. That's a hazard with a matte finish - if you've ever used it on walls, you know it goes on super consistent, but over time tends to show surface damage more than eggshell or semi-gloss. That's going to be true with this statue as well, but I don't want you to think that you'll leave marks with normal handling. You won't, but it's worth noting that care should still be taken.

Even with the matte paint, the light still reflects off the sharper angles. Just look at the 'eyebrows', which are sharply defined on the cowl, and which catch the light at various angles.

The work on the eyes and lower face is extremely life-like, especially for resin. This sort of work is easier with sixth scale figures, where the skin can have a translucence and the paint can be better absorbed into the material. The shading and colors are excellent, and the black around the eyes looks like make up, not paint.  They eyes themselves are straight and clean, with just the right amount of gloss to get that wet look.

The base is a combination of blacks and grays, giving it that dank, dark, cave-like feel. There's a nice use of gloss on the rocky sections, adding a damp look. The stairs are made from plastic, but the paint gives the necessary impression of metal, complete with appropriate wear.

1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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Accessories - ***
With the exclusive version, there is technically an accessory - one additional left arm. I actually prefer it, making the exclusive my pick over the regular.

The extra hand is holding the grappling gun, tip pointed downward. It's not super dynamic, but it does look a bit more interesting than the standard slightly open hand sculpt.

Of course, if you're going to pose him with the cape covering both arms, it won't make much difference either way.

1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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Value - **1/2
Both the exclusive and regular edition were originally $400 at Sideshow's website. That's actually the low end for Premium Format statues (and pretty much the norm), with some running $500 - $600 depending on size and complexity.

A good comparison is the 1/4 scale statues by Pop Culture Shock. These are from licensed properties and similar in detail and size, but aren't mixed media - they are entirely sculpted polystone. They tend to run in the $350 - $450 range for most characters, but the exclusive versions often have smaller edition sizes.

For me, that puts this Batman in a middle ground spot, not a great deal but not overpriced. I'm getting what I expect for the money I spent, so this category doesn't have any real impact on my Overall assessment, up or down.

1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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Things to Watch Out For -
Be careful when assembling, and remember that he does come in multiple pieces when you pick him up and move him around. The magnets holding the hands, head, and bats are strong, but you can still knock something off and break your statue...and your heart.

1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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Overall - ***1/2
While this is a statue, the cape provides you with a bunch of potential pose changes. Over one shoulder, over both shoulders, hiding both arms, showing arm or the other, folded inward, folded outward, etc. It might just be a cape, but it's damn versatile.

I'm really loving this PF, and it will take a place of honor in the collection immediately. I'm not sure what PF is going to have to move on out to make room, but there's no doubt one is going to get voted off the island.

Whether or not you should concern yourself with getting the exclusive over the regular edition is a bit of a conundrum. I like the exclusive, because I much prefer the left hand holding the gun over being empty. But the reality is that I'm not going to pose the cape in such a way that you'll even seen the left hand, making it a bit of a moot point. If you're not going to be showing off the extra hand, you'll probably be just as happy with the regular edition.

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

Where to Buy 
The exclusive is no longer available at Sideshow, but you can get on the wait list. If you want to skip the wait and risk, the regular edition for $400. Online options include these site sponsors:

- has a great price on the regular edition, coming in at just $380.

- also has the regular for $400.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
If you're into the 1989 Batman, you should check out the sixth scale Keaton figure by Hot Toys, as well as their first and second versions of the Joker.

There's also several figures from NECA that are a bit more budget friendly, including the 1/4 scale figure, and the 7" video game figure.

Discussion:
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1989 Batman Premium Format Exclusive statue from Sideshow

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

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