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Review of Man-Bat - Batman Animated action figure

DC Collectibles
Date Published:
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Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Introduction

There were lots of reasons I started to collect action figures, including my natural propensity to hoard. I picked up various figures here and there as far back as the late 80's, but there were a few key turning points in the early 90's that took me from occasional dalliance to outright psycho. One of those was the show Batman: The Animated Series.

You can't be a Batman fan and not know this show. It is one of the finest versions of the character in television or movies, and remains a favorite more than 20 years later. While the voice acting and writing were key to its success, it was the designs and style of the show that set it apart. When they began producing figures in the early 90's, I went full completist on a line for the first time. I also wanted the entire line both carded and loose, another first. One of my overall Holy Grails remains the elusive Robin's Dragster. Thanks so much for the addiction, Bruce Timm.

DC Collectibles has been producing a series of new, larger scale figures based on the designs from a variety of the older animated Batman shows. Tonight I'll be checking out Man-Bat from BTAS, based on his appearance in the episode On Leather Wings. He's shipping right now, and will run you around $20 - $22 depending on the retailer.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Packaging - ***1/2
Rather than stuff this guy into a cardback/bubble package similar to the rest of the series, they let him have his own box. Better yet, they posed him in the box with outstretched wings, a big plus for the MIBers who still want to show him off on the shelf.

The box is actually sorta, kinda collector friendly as well. You'll have to cut some twisties, but you can get him (and the accessories) out without too much damage, and put it all back for storage or sale later if you'd like.

The graphic and text is reasonable, with an appropriate amount of character personalization. They also include a small sheet that gives basic instructions, and another that shows off the overall line so far and tells which show episode each character comes from.

Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Sculpting - ***1/2
The overall sculpt is great, with some decent size and volume to the figure. These are in the 6" scale that's so popular right now, and Man-Bat comes in at about 6 1/4" without the ears. With his bent legs, that looks about right.

The head sculpt matches up with the on screen version pretty well, especially around the ears and head shape. I do wish they'd done a bit more with the fangs, which are too rounded and short here, but it's a minor nit.

The sculpted wings look good, and providing two versions was a smart alternative to attempting to articulate them. There's not a ton of detail here, but that's the way it should be with an animated character. They've translated the tricky 2-D design into 3-D with great success.

Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Paint - ***
As with the sculpt, there's not a ton of paint detail, but the cut lines and edges are all quite clean. Again, it's really the teeth that end up a little blobby looking and soft, but the eyes, ears and wings look terrific.

As is the norm with figures where the body is cast in the color you see, you do end up with rub marks and slight variations in the finish from matte to gloss, but this is another of those pretty minor issues that don't detract from the overall impression.

The blue jean's color might seem a bit weird, but it did have that look in the show too, depending on the lighting and color effect they were going for in a scene.

Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Articulation - **1/2
There's good news and bad news when it comes to the articulation. Let's start with the good news - remember all the breakage issues that we had with the first series of figures? No problems whatsoever with Man-Bat. All the joints are solid with high quality pegs and posts.

There's plenty of them too, starting with the ball jointed neck. The range of movement on this one is a bit too restricted though, although I did find if you unseated the ball a bit you could get better poses. If you're wondering how I got him to look up as far as I did in a couple of the shots, that's the answer. A longer post would have been a big improvement in this case.

The ball shoulders also work great, and as I mentioned earlier, they went with two sets of arms rather than elbow, wrist and wing joints. I think the overall look is definitely better, although you're pose options are greatly reduced.

He also has a pin ab-crunch and a twisting chest, hinge hips that allow forward, backward and side movement, pin knees, and cut joints at the calf/pant. As I said, these are all well made joints, with no fear of breakage.

The legs are a little loose though, making it tricky to get him standing. Add in the odd shape to the legs and the large upper body/wings, and you've got a recipe for frustration when you attempt to get him to stand. Remember, I'm one of those people that believes an 'action' figure should be able to stand on its own, and that's a real trick here. It's possible, but you'll probably end up depending a lot on the included base.

The other issue is a bit of an odd one - the arms fall off every time you breath in their general direction. It's great that they are swappable, but they made the posts very short and very loose on both sets, and any time you pick him up or touch him in just about any way, they'll pop off. Perhaps they were burned so badly by breakage in the first series that they wanted to avoid any chance, and I admit that falling off to simply be popped back on again is far, far, far better than something breaking. But it does add to some of the frustration I mentioned earlier.

Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Accessories - ***1/2
I've already talked about it a couple times, but Man-Bat includes two sets of arms.  One is fully outstretched in flying mode, while the second set have the elbows bent slightly, the wings tucked up, and the hands curled inward. This set works well for a straight standing pose with his hands grasping his legs at the knees, or in a threatening fight stance.  You can also mix them up, using one of each for some more variety. Keeping them on is the real trick.

As with the other figures, he also includes a small display stand with a clear plastic rod and waist clamp. This will hold him in a basic standing pose, but is not intended for any sort of flight or elevated stance. Even if the rod wasn't too short, it's just too flimsy to hold his weight.

I was surprised to find four other small extras with the figure. There are three tiny vials, and a small cassette tape/recorder. These are taken right from the episode, and I thought the recorder was a particularly nice add. This recorder contained a tape which was evidence that allowed Batman to determine Kirk Langstrom knew more than he was saying, and was critical to solving the case.

Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Fun Factor - **1/2
Under normal circumstances, this guy would have been at least another half star higher...maybe even a full star. The problem with the shoulders hinders things a bit though, particularly with kids. While an adult who is posing him once and leaving him standing (with the stand) on the shelf can deal with the annoyance, an 8 year old who is actively playing with the figure will get much more frustrated when the arms fall off, over and over and over.

Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Value - **1/2
I'm as annoyed as the next collector with current high prices, and $20 is definitely not cheap. But when you compare this guy to other figures in this same scale intended for the 'collector' market, like Hasbro's Star Wars Black, NECA's Planet of the Apes, or Funko's various Legacy series, the price is pretty much in line.  Man-bat's large size and impressive wingspan help take some of the sting out of the price as well.

Things to Watch Out For -
The obvious issue is simple - don't lose the tiny accessories. Other than that, you should be good to go.

Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Overall - ***
The short posts for the shoulders and the neck are the only things standing between *** and ***1/2 stars for this guy. I love the show, I love the design, and they've done a terrific job capturing the look with a decent amount of articulation and accessories. Wrap a little plumber's tape around those shoulder posts, and you'll be a much happier fan.

The best news is that it appears that the breakage issues are solved with this second wave.  I'll be reviewing both the Joker and Robin very soon as well, and have my fingers crossed that this remains the case.

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

Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- comes in at just $20.

- has him in stock for $22.

- Entertainment Earth is at $23.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Man-bat has made plenty of past appearances. I've reviewed the cool Batman Black and White statue version, the very pale version from The Batman show, the Batman and Son version, the Secret Files Rogue's Gallery figure, the super cute Kubricks animated version, as well as one of my favorites, the DC Universe Classics Man-Bat.

And the first series of DC Collectibles animated figures included Batman, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze and Two-Face.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

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Batman Animated Man-Bat action figure by DC Collectibles

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

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