Medicom 12" Batman Begins

The most disappointing thing about the film Batman Begins was the lack of any exceptional toys.  There were a few passable ones, and some that were pretty bad, but nothing that stood out from the usual routine.

When Medicom announced they'd be doing a high end 12" figure, hopes rose.  Long known for their exceptional work and even more exceptional price tags, Medicom could be the answer to the collector's prayers. But this particular answer comes at a very big price.

The tough thing about reviewing expensive items, particularly those that are actually obscenely expensive, is judging the true value.  How can any action figure actually be worth two hundred dollars?  Is gold or sexual favors involved somehow?  For that price, many collectors will assume they actually get to have Christian Bale stop by wearing the bat suit for a few hours.

This 12" figure is now hitting from overseas importers.  Picking it up locally might be pretty tough, but there are some reputable online dealers that are carrying it.  If you search around, you may find it as cheap as $175, at least for now.


Packaging -  **
The box graphics are reasonable, based right off the film but showing a little creative in layout and design.  The box breaks one of my cardinal rules though - it's about three times bigger than it needs to be.  Tons of wasted space all around, and that doesn't do the buyer, retailer or planet any good.

Make special note though that there is a display stand included, hidden behind the large plastic tray.  If someone hadn't mentioned it to me, I would have tossed it out with the packaging!

Sculpting - ***
The sculpt is alright, although it suffers from the same issue as most of the Batman Begins sculpts.  It doesn't look a whole lot like Bale from the nose down, but then it really shouldn't I suppose.  If you could tell who this was wearing the cowl, it would make the outfit a fairly moot point.

The size of the head is fairly good, although in some shots it might look a bit oversized.  That's probably closer to reality though, since a cowl like this is always going to exaggerate the size of someone's noggin'.  Part of the problem is really my only major beef with the figure overall, the undersized chest.

Medicom's 12" body is a small body, both in height and in build.  Here the chest is no wider than the hips, and there's no traditional triangular upper male form.  This small chest tends to make the head look bigger than it really is in comparison to the rest of the figure.

The small chest also makes the figure look more like a boy in the suit than a man.  Medicom needed a buffer torso for this figure, nothing major but enough to add a little width across the shoulders and chest.

Scale is fairly short here, with Batman only standing 11 3/4 inches tall at the top of his ears.  He's not going to fit in with most other sixth scale figures, since he is clearly not, but will fit in if you want him to face off against the Medicom Vader or Luke, for example.

Paint - ***
There is very little paint here, but what is here is clean.  The edge of the lower face is almost perfect, with no bleed or over spray.  The eyes are straight and even, and the finish on the body suit is a nice matte.  

There is the little issue of those lips, however.  I don't recall Batman wearing any lipstick in the film, but perhaps there was some sort of cross dressing scene when I stepped out for popcorn.

Articulation - ***1/2
The Medicom body has excellent articulation, and as is the case with many Japanese manufacturers, is very light weight.  This figure has a much wider range of movement, and far more joints than the DC Direct 13" version.

The suit still does hinder things somewhat, but it's less of an issue with this figure.  The neck is ball jointed, and can assume all kinds of different upward and downward looking poses, along with tilting to the sides.  This is a huge benefit over previous attempts by other companies.

There's all the usual sixth scale market joints, including very well designed wrists that allow for both turning and forward and backward movement.  These hands are also swappable, giving them the best possible combination.

The arms can lift almost to the shoulder level, but not beyond it.  The armor is just too much to let that happen.  The underbody suit is made of a stretchy pleather though, so he can take quite a few arm and leg stances.  I've seen some folks getting him into poses on his knees and sitting down, but I didn't want to over do it.  I'm a little worried that with repeated stretching, or with a constant pose of a long time putting the suit in a stretched situation, that the elasticity will give out.

Outfit - ****
This is the one category on this figure that I have absolutely no issues.  The costume looks excellent, with perfect sculpting on the rubber armor pieces, a nice stretchy material for the body suit, and solid hard plastic for the boots and forearm cuffs.

The cape is permanently attached, and is simply huge.  It's hard to explain just how large through photos, but I did give one or two where you can see the full size around him.  The material is extremely high quality with a soft outer material stitched to a fine, soft nylon like interior.

There's the belt as well, which doesn't appear to be removable, but I wasn't going to snap anything trying, either.  It is a separate floating piece on his hips though, and has all kinds of various gadgets and goodies sculpted around the perimeter.  This includes his nifty little communicator - which is not removable - and several canisters and pouches.  The belt if also hard plastic, not a soft rubber.

I was disappointed that there was no place to put either of the batarangs, and that would have really improved my overall opinion on value.  The color of the belt is also off, more bright gold than the film version.  But the outfit is the one place I can find very little reason to fault this figure, as the quality and craftsmanship match up with the kind of investment.

Accessories - ***
Bats comes with two batarangs, one small and one slightly larger, along with three additional hands.

The batarangs match up with the film fairly well, and scale is better here than we've seen with other BB Batmen from other companies *coughdcdirectcough*.  He can hold them in either the fingered hands, or in one of the additional extra hands sculpted specifically for it.

The standard hands have separated fingers with open hands.  These are not rubber, or bendy, or anything of that nature, but hard plastic.  Scale is good, and the work well with a variety of cape poses.

Two of the three additional hands are fists, basic but sensible.  The third is the aforementioned hand designed to hold the batarang.  All the hands pop on and off easily with very sturdy posts.

Value - *1/2
Generally retail for this figure is between $175 and $200, and that's where I'm grading it.  That's some SERIOUS cash, and you have every right to expect perfection at that price point.  You know it's a serious price when you tell someone what you paid, and they look at you like you could be dangerously ill.

Pick this figure up for $100 - $125, and you can add another half star or so to this category.  Now you're getting into the realm of an 'average' value in the current market.  Squeak that down around $75 - $80, and you'd be getting a three star value.

Of course, the cost of importing this figure doesn't help this situation, along with the absolute lack of competition for high quality Batman Begins figures.  Takara will be releasing theirs soon, and if it's this good at their lower price point (around $100 - $125 I believe), then you'll be getting a much better value.

Fun Factor - ***
This would actually be a pretty fun figure, if the price tag allowed you to hand it to a kid.  The figure is fairly sturdy, although the cape could suffer some damage.  For kids over 10 or so, who are big bat-fans, and who have parents with more money than God, this would be a great gift.  For the rest of them...they'll have to wait til they grow up and can buy it on their own.

Things to watch out for - 
Not much - the construction on this figure is very sturdy, even though it's a 'high end collectible'.  The cape is probably the most likely to get damaged, and you'll want to dust it regular to avoid losing color over time.  I'd keep it out of direct sunlight as well.

Overall -  ***
My biggest complaint about this figure overall is the narrow chest.  If you look at actual production photos though from the film (like this), it isn't off as much from reality as you might first think.

The other big issue here is the inflated price.  This was *this* close to a **1/2 star score, largely because of the big price tag.  Yes, the quality here is top notch, and it's definitely a vast improvement over the DC Direct version.  But is it more than twice as expensive better?  In all honesty, no.  I'm being a little generous here with the three stars, and I waffled around on it for quite awhile.

If you could find this for around $125, you'd be talking.  Because of this, I have extremely high hopes for the Takara version, which may finally hit the mark with high quality and appropriate price.

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

Where to Buy -
That's a tough one.  You'll need to search around the net to see what you can find, or turn to ebay at this point.  Don't you just love imports?

Related Links:
I've done a number of other Batman Begins reviews:

- The most closely related is for the 13" DC Direct version.

- In a similar scale, but very different price range, is the Action Cape Batman from Mattel.

- Let's not forget the huge, almost three foot tall version.

- and if you're looking for something a little smaller, there's the Microman Batman, Mattel Battle Gear Batman, and Mattel's special Collector's Edition version.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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