The Dark Knight Batman DX-02
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
|Jeff is back tonight with a
terrific review and comparison of Hot Toys newest Dark Knight figure,
the DX-02 Batman! I'll be covering this guy when mine eventually gets
here, but that might be quite awhile, so til then - take it away, Jeff!
Thank you Michael. Well, the judges deliberated, stroked their chins,
cast their votes and the results were counted, in what for the world of
toys and collectibles is a little like the Oscars and Razzies rolled
After seeing the results of The Poppies,
Picks and indeed Mike’s own personal
faves for 2009, one figure stood out for many people, one
figure pretty much summed up the pinnacle of 1/6th excellence in
collectibles for the year, and indeed one figure let Hot Toys spell out
large their message of intent for future products, It was of course the
DX01 Joker from The Dark Knight (TDK)! And now at last we have the
follow up companion piece to that ground breaking figure, and it has a
lot to live up to!
|Like the Joker,
this is the third version of the character to be
released from TDK, with the Joker we had the first version, (that Yulli
by her own admission wasn’t happy with, due to the lack of reference
that had been made available to her), but she followed it up with the
sublime Bank Robber Joker with it’s twin heads and then lastly the DX01 again with two head
sculpts, (this being the one that swept the boards in the awards).
But we’re here to talk about Bats this time, first we got the hugely
popular original suited version,
which is now rarer than rocking horse poop and changes hands for silly
money (perhaps a DX of this would be worthwhile). This was then
followed up by the new TDK
suit, both were outstanding figures, but the dedicated, hardcore fans
started to point out a few places where there was room for improvement…
and Hot Toys listened and indeed have delivered.
soon as many saw the DX announced their old TDK suited figures were
back in their boxes and up on eBay before you could say ‘Holy Bargain
But was this the right decision?
I have to admit I immediately thought ‘great’ the first version can now
be my dedicated Bat Pod
figure… maybe you did too, and if you did I think we made the right
decision, as when it comes to getting a natural position on the Pod,
the DX doesn’t quite measure up to his earlier incarnation.
lets get onto the nitty gritty, now that we finally have the much
anticipated DX02 figure from Hot Toys in our grubby mitts… can it live
up to the hype?
For the DX series Hot Toys have spared no expense, and as this is very
much the Yin to the Jokers Yang it makes sense that the boxes should
complement each other pretty closely. The first thing you’ll notice is
that the colour of the outer box is similar, but not the same, as the
metallic blue/grey of the Joker is replaced with a dark metallic
grey/purple for Bats. It struck me that there was a certain implied
irony here as their characters have always mirrored each other. The
outer edge of the new box is a nice dense black to contrast against the
vivid purple used on the Joker. The rest of the basic construction
follows the same pattern too. So you lift the flap on the right hand
side which is again held in place by magnets and unwind it to the left.
You’re now met by a die-cut sheet of black card over a sheet of die-cut
black foam. The cut shapes house three matte brass coloured Batarangs.
These like the Jokers three cards make for an impressive opening
gambit, but they really are only display items as they seem to be
constructed of lightweight plastic-coated foam board.
Lift this sheet out and you have another sheet of die-cut card
overlaying a deep die-cut foam layer that houses the main figure (with
the sonar head attached) next to his regular head with the PERS
(Parallel Eyeball Rolling System) feature and a vac formed head to hold
the extra mouth/expression. Under these is a plastic tray with the
special tool to move the PERS and flip out the mouths, which is next to
the neck for the PERS head. Then we have the back pack that held the
special deployment glide cape he used in his daring base jump in Hong
Kong. Lastly for this layer is another plastic tray that holds the
collapsible sticky gun.
So, you now lift this out to see the final layer which is again die-cut
foam. This layer houses the light up stand, the cape, 5 extra hands and
another plastic tray holding the second belt, his grappling gun, a clip
on holster to hold said gun, a flash grenade and lastly a brace of
Batarangs. You’ll also find an instruction booklet under the stand, not
something that will be appreciated by many, but it has some nice
technical line-work drawings of the figure and how to operate it.
So, I’d say it’s obvious this is a four star piece of packaging, and
I’ll be interested to see how the DX line pans out, will the over all
design change from license to license, who knows ?
And what will be deserving of the DX mantle, for me I can’t see any
‘new’ figures going straight to DX, it seems to me it will be saved for
characters that have been made once, but deserve a redux, due both to
popularity and the need for improvement. So where can this go… I’m
hoping maybe Jack Sparrow, John Rambo, Michael Jackson, Arnie as the
T-800… and please oh please let Michael Biehn give the green light for
Cpl Dwayne Hicks!
This is quite tough just deciding what fits in which category, as
although this guy is wearing an outfit, just about every square inch of
him is sculpted.
However for the purposes of this review I figured I’d just cover the
heads and hands. The hands are all sculpted in the special Bat-suit
tactical gloves, with gloss highlights and details on a matte base, and
they are as outstanding as always. The positions we get are a pair of
fists, then for the right hand a gun grip, a Batarang grip and a
tighter gun grip specifically for the sticky gun. For the left we get a
gun grip and a gesturing open hand. A nice selection that pretty much
covers all the bases and allows for some great posing with the
But now the faces, the cowls on the Sonar and PERS heads look to be
exactly the same, whilst being subtly different from the first TDK
figure especially in the profile of the nose and the sculpting of the
side details. The visible mouth sections are removable and swappable,
meaning both heads have a choice of three expressions, all sculpted by
Hot Toys hottest sculptor (in every sense of the word) Yulli. Even with
the limited flesh on show she has managed to capture Bales likeness
incredibly well. When you first open the figure the PERS head comes
with an aggressive, determined expression with the corners of the mouth
slightly down turned, then on the sonar head we get a more neutral
expression and lastly on the vac-formed ‘false’ head we get we get an
expression with a slightly open mouth which could even be described as
‘mid sentence’. These are all swapped by inserting the small plastic
tool supplied, into a hole inside the head and gently pushing them out,
the system works very well and is perfectly seamless when all arranged
and inserted in the right way.
The sonar head works almost identically to the Resi 5’s Wesker meaning the
batteries are concealed in the neck post with a bright ‘bulb’ ball
socket at the top, the Sonar head pushes onto this, and once the light
is activated by the small switch at the back of the neck his eyes glow
a bright (but not too bright) and very convincing ice-blue.
For ease of access the PERS head attaches to the extra neck post by
means of magnets, this gives the head a good range of motion especially
when tilting up or down at ¾ angles. It’s a nice feature, but be aware
of it at all times and don’t try and lift the figure by it’s head,
because although the magnets are strong enough for gentle posing,
they’re not strong enough to hold the whole figures weight. The PERS
works in effect the same as the Jokers, but where as he had an
accessible joystick to position the eyes, here we have a small tool
(the same one used to pop out the mouths) with a tiny cup socket at its
end, this fits over a small ball socket inside the head and with gentle
manipulation means you can get the eyes looking in all directions. I
found the motion much smoother here than with the Jokers, and it was
even easier to get into the positions I wanted. The miniscule ocular
organs are again miniature glass eyes, consisting of an ivory ball into
which a translucent brown iris is inserted with a jet black pupil, it
really is fantastically carried out, and this whole category really
can’t have enough praise heaped on it, not only for its observation and
artistic merit, but also for the problem solving and engineering.
The paint app here might at first seem pretty minimal as primarily this
figure is black, but look a little closer and you’ll see that subtlety
can mask a lot of detailed work!
The Kevlar panels are on the whole quite matte in appearance, some are
black while others are dark gunmetal colour, whilst others still are
covered in a fine textured pattern which appears to be screen printed
or achieved with a very well applied transfer. Behind all these
interlocking panels is the Nomex mesh suit, this is picked out in a
slightly more gloss paint, the over all effect gives the impression of
this being a fully realised mixed media suit, far more convincingly
than with the first version of this figure.
The mouthpieces are also painted, but JC Hong has shown great restraint
here, as the application is very understated when compared to the first
version, but it works very well. The flesh tones are paler and the lip
details are less fussy proving once again that less is so often more.
So, as I said earlier, the paint app here isn’t obvious at first
glance, but JC has once again answered the brief thrown up by the
specific requirements of this figure near perfectly!
- *** 1/2
I’m guessing that under all that silicone and rubber is the classic
slim True Type as
compared to the first version of the TDK suit this figure cuts a much
leaner silhouette. Obviously all that layering means some poses are
harder to achieve or maintain than others. The shoulders have a lot of
layered detail meaning this is the joint that suffers the most but with
care you’ll still get him into many classic poses. Likewise I found the
suit made the hips tend to push back when trying to position into
squatting or sitting positions, but again with gentle manipulation and
patience I still got him to hold some pretty deep stances.
So don’t go thinking this thing will pose like a naked TT, but if you
approach it with a realistic set of expectations, then I think most
people will be pretty knocked out with the degree of articulation HT
have achieved on such a complex figure.
To make this a ‘DX’ release you know he’s got to come with some cool
extras other than PERS feature. So with this version we get-
- Sonar head
- Three interchangeable expressions
- Collapsible Sticky Bomb Gun
- Base jump back pack
- Grappling Gun
- Mini Mine
- Two interchangeable utility belts (with magnets to hold the sticky
- Seven interchangeable hands
- Deluxe figure stand with LED lights
- Three 1/1 scale prop Batarangs (well, I say ‘prop’, just don’t throw
Some of these things I have already gone over in the other sections,
and a few are re-uses from the first figure like the grappling gun,
Batarangs, bomb and first belt.
So what I shall cover here are the new items, and for me the coolest of
the lot is the collapsible sticky bomb gun. This thing really is a
small work of art! It’s worth re-watching the scene when Bats puts it
together just to see just how well observed it is. You’ll find full
instructions in the manual for how to collapse and build it, but the
whole thing works beautifully, and the figure can hold it well.
Next up is the new ‘less cluttered’ belt, for those days when you just
don’t need as much ‘utility’, it’s the same basic design as the first
version but without the grappling gun holder at the back or the other
adornments it came with, the new holster can also clip onto this so the
grappling gun can be worn at his side rather than at the back. Both of
the new belts also have magnets concealed in the back parts, as do both
sections of the sticky gun, so when collapsed they can be held in
position on the belt, it’s a cute feature that works well for posing.
The base jump back pack doesn’t have any surprise action features, it’s
just to achieve the look for those few minutes we see him before he
hurls himself from the sky-scraper, but it looks very hi-tec and
stealth like with its geometric matte black interlocking flat panels.
Lastly we get the cool figure stand, this is virtually identical to the
Jokers except for the nameplate. So we get the mimicked industrial
flooring and two small possitionable lights on the two front corners.
These are constructed as an homage to the actual display
cabinets used to exhibit the suits when they were loaned to
various theatres etc.
So, another cool haul in this set-up which gives you a helluvalot of
display options, but for me it’s got to be the PERS head and the back
pack to truly show this figures re-tooled cool body and suit off to
maximum effect, then stick the sonar head on your old TDK suited
figure… or put it back in the box (a crime I know)… but that Bat-Pod is
just crying out for a permanent pilot, hmmmm, decisions, decisions!
As I said above, the outfit straddles two camps here, but I’m going to
look at everything from the neck down… well except his hands. I think
it’s fair to say Hot Toys had nothing short of a mammoth task here.
Why? Well, have you ever followed a thread on a 1/6th collectors forum
about the TDK suit… if you haven’t… keep that thought, don’t attempt to
find out, you will have a happier and more fulfilled life if you can
However, if like so many of us you are a bona fide 1/6th geek, I’m
afraid it’s a necessary evil. You see TDK fan boys know how each and
every square millimetre of this suit is put together, and everybody has
their pet favourite detail that they want depicted to sheer perfection…
I already said in my first review of the original TDK suit that Hot
Toys had made many modifications to it between first showing the proto
and then releasing the figure, but still, and justifiably so, people
found areas for improvement. And so, like the DX Joker, Hot Toys
decided to use the opportunity to bring us the uber version of the TDK
I loved the first version, but this new figure is so much more sleek,
managing to far more accurately capture his lean silhouette, especially
when in his Hong Kong base jump mode… which I have to say is my
favourite look for this figure, as it shows off all the great details
on the suit without being covered up by his cape.
The material used on the new suit is a much closer visual match to the
screen worn outfit, as the first had quite matte and rubbery look,
while this one has a more smooth satin finish, making it not only look
better, but it’s more tactile as well.
I’ve been looking over this figure side by side with its earlier
incarnation and from what I can tell only some of the hands and the
gauntlets are reused at all. Every other piece has been retooled and
modified for this release. Even the tops of the boots have a different
sweep, and parts like the upper arm/shoulder armour, which at first
glance look the same, have had some subtle changes made to the gentle
curves and fine details. The most notable revisions are to the legs and
areas, not only are the observations finer tuned here, but
they are also far greater enhanced by the new materials used and the
complimentary paint application which gives an even better impression
of this being a mixed media suit, made out of Nomex and Kevlar plates
with reinforced armour panels. The stomach area is made from a stiffer
material than before, meaning I don’t think this guy will sit in the
Tumbler as well as the first, but it does mean his six-pack is kept in
a perfect lean position, unlike the first, who from some angles did
appear to have a bit of a beer gut. I never found this to be as off
putting as many others did (some even going to the lengths of grinding
down the stomach area of the base figure), however looking at them side
by side now it really shows what an improvement has been made with this
One thing that does need to be mentioned here is the ‘oil’ issue!
What is the oil issue? Well, that’s the problem, at the time
of me writing this no one is 100% sure where it’s coming from, but
around the area of the bottom 2 abdominal plates people are
getting anything from a few light spots of an oily discharge right
through to a small slick. It seems to have become the bane of some
people’s figures. I’m one of the lucky ones; it is there but on mine is
Hot Toys advice so far is to dab or gently rub it away until it stops
appearing, but depending on how badly each individual figure is
affected, it can mean anything from one wipe every couple of days
through to a couple of times a day. I contacted Hot Toys who assured me
they are taking the issue seriously and hope to find the solution soon.
I’d personally advise using soft cotton wool or kitchen roll and gently
dabbing the secretions away, as I fear any rubbing might prove
detrimental to the paint finish if the problem were to persist. I
actually folded a small section of kitchen roll thin enough that it
wasn’t visible and left it behind the belt, so far that has done the
trick for me.
Anyway, lets get back on to the suit. One of the accessories is in
effect part of his outfit, it’s the collapsed ‘base jump’ cape holder,
this slots into the holes on his shoulders and then pushes down onto
the back panels till it ‘clicks’ into place, once secured it looks
great and is very unobtrusive to the figures movements. I found the
best way to remove it again was to push gently down on the shoulder
bars and lift the back part away from the body simultaneously. Lastly
we get the cloth cape, this again has small plastic pegs that slot into
the shoulder holes, then with a little futzing and tweaking it looks
great, you’ll also notice the cut of the cape is fuller and longer with
this version making for a much better draped effect.
So, in terms of accuracy this again has to be a full score… however
depending on whether of not your figure is affected by the oil residue
issue, it might play a big part in how you view this figure, but as I
already said it seems pretty slight on mine, and as long as it doesn’t
harm the figure (which it doesn’t seem to have so far) then I consider
it a minimal annoyance, and once the belt is in place it’s actually
pretty hard to see.
Value - ****
It’s not cheap, but hi-end 1/6th never is! However considering the R+D
that must have gone into this alongside the bountiful extras, then the
RRP price tag of $195 doesn’t seem too ridiculous at all… but bear in
mind with a little rooting around it can be got for a lot less than
that. I’ve seen some go on eBay for as little $150 and plenty of online
retailers (check out Mike’s sponsors from the home-page or the links
below), where he’s going for around the $165 mark.
This is the price I have based my score on, and for that it’s
definitely 4 star value.
Factor - ****
When posed well this thing looks just like they shrunk Bale in the
suit, I think I said something very similar when I reviewed the first
release of this figure, but the crafting on this is even finer, with
details that are quite frankly mind boggling.
But this isn’t a $20 Hasbro dolly, so you’ll still have to treat him
with care as he’s definitely aimed at your hard-core collectors rather
than kids (but the price alone should tell you this anyway). There are
many delicate and fiddly features like the sticky-gun and those pointy
gauntlet blades, but with just a modicum of care you’ll have a total
blast posing this thing, especially with that cool PERS feature.
- *** 3/4
On face value this is a full score figure, no doubt about it. Even if
you have the first version you can justify buying him for all the cool
new features, accessories and the fact it’s been virtually re-sculpted
from the soles of his boots right up to those pointy ears on his cowl.
He comes in a very cool box that protects him in layers of foam and is
quite frankly one of the coolest figures ever released… so why no full
Well, it’s the issue with the ‘oil’ seeping out of the abdominal
plates. Mines not that bad, I just have to dab away the residue once a
week, so it hasn’t really impacted on my enjoyment of the figure at
all. However for some others who found their figures are worse affected
(or the owners are more pedantic) I’ve heard it’s become a sticking
point that has left them feeling a bit deflated with the figure.
I guess it has to be said that regardless of whether you are a pedant
or not, a figure with this price tag should arrive pretty trouble free.
But in the figures defence it looks so vastly superior to the first
version that I can live with it, and when a company like Hot Toys is
constantly innovating and developing new materials I guess sometimes
you’ll get the odd setback.
I have a strong feeling the residue will eventually stop of it’s own
accord, but who knows if it will take weeks, months… of Darwin forbid,
to Buy -
Sponsor options include:
Big Bad Toy Store
Alter Ego Comics
Or you can hit eBay.
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.