Yamato Batman wave 3
Batman, Bane, Catwoman and Batgirl

After the dreadful fourth Batman film, Batman collectors found themselves with little merchandise to buy.  Things really dried up for a couple years, but fear not - it's a major merchandise flood once again.

Between all the DC Direct and Mattel stuff related to the movie and comics, there's plenty of cool goodies to pick from.  Not to be out done, the Japanese company Yamato is regularly releasing a series of plastic statues with their own special style.

They have just released the third series in this line, with another Batman (he's in ever set), Catwoman, Bane and Batgirl.  These are more statue than action figure, and are designed to simply look good on the shelf.  They run around $18 - $20 each at most comic shops, since these are an import item.

Packaging - **
The packages are fairly plain, and take up a huge amount of space.  They could have gotten a little more creative here and cut these things in half.

Sculpting - Bane ***; the others ***1/2
The sculpts are fairly good across the board, although they do have some aspects which are distinctly Japanese.

Batman is creeping up some stairs that look like he's visiting Dracula.  Very medieval eastern European in appearance, and I'm not sure where he'd find something like this in Gotham.  Then again, who cares?  It looks pretty damn cool.

His sculpt is fairly rough, done in a broad style with heavily accented muscles.  The pose of the cape looks good, and in general, he'll look great on the shelf.

Batgirl is doing some sort of funky dance move on top of a building roof corner.  The pose is a tad odd, and she's been given certain Pamela Anderson attributes, but the flowing red hair and sculpting on the boot tops and emblem make up for any comic over endowment.  The face has a very anime feel to it, which isn't all that surprising.

Catwoman has the same anime appearance, right down to the button nose.  Some folks have mentioned that theirs was dented, but mine was just fine.  That's something to watch for though.

She is also in a rather odd stance for a comic book villain.  When I was shooting photos of her, I thought I was doing work for Playboy.  Still, I'm not complaining.

Bane has issues, but his sculpt is not the biggest one.  Oh, he's in a fairly dopey pose that makes him look like he's competing in the Mr. Universe contest.  And his musculature, bare of clothes, doesn't look right with the harsh style of sculpt.  But he has bigger issues in later categories, and he's still fairly decent in the sculpt department.

One of his issues is scale, and I've shown him with the Mattel version of Bane for comparison.  Which one would you rather have?

Scale isn't such a problem for the others, at least if you're looking for these to go with the other Yamato stuff.  Even though they are supposed to be in a 6" scale, their overall proportions make them appear to be slightly smaller than the Mattel line.

Paint - Batgirl ***1/2; Catwoman, Batman ***; Bane **
The paint ops on Batgirl and Catwoman are extremely clean and neat, with almost no bleed or slop.  The faces and eyes are particularly nice, with just a little glopping on Catwoman's cheek.  That would be her the cheek on her face, gentlemen.

Batman has a pretty heavy use of a dark wash, and it's over done for my tastes.  The shiny finish doesn't help, making him appear almost wet.

Bane is the only one with real paint issues though.  Now, I'm a very white boy, and Bane makes me look like George Hamilton.  The skin color is matte though, which is a nice touch and offsets the skin from the outfit.

The outfit is predominately blue, rather than predominately black.  That bugs me as well, and just throws off the entire appearance of the character.  He is supposed to look like he's based on a Mexican wrestler, not like he's a parody of a Mexican wrestler.

But while I don't like the choice of colors, I have to admit the work is clean and neat.  There's no basic quality issues here, so if you don't mind your Bane wearing bright blue and looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost, you'll like this paint job better than I did.

Articulation - Bupkis
These are not articulated figures - they are statues.  They do have some joints where the pieces are put together, and where you can take them back apart again, but they don't serve much value for posing.

Accessories - ***
Each of the characters comes with a base, and some have an additional accessory.  They also all come with a small card that shows the cover of a Batman comic.  These are nice, but end up tossed almost immediately.

The bases vary.  Batgirl's is the most minimalist, but has some great sculpt detail.  Catwoman's is the largest, and I love the huge, full moon.  Batman's is easily the most complex though, and includes a torch that attaches to the wall of the castle.

Bane's is fairly interesting as well, with two girders that pop into the dirt base.  These fit best only one way, although you can get them to fit more than one way if you really try.

All the figures really need the bases to stand, although Bane can handle it on his own if necessary.  Catwoman has one heel raised, and clearly Batman is in a pose that only works with the stairs.  While you might think that Batgirl would stand on her own, you'd get a surprise.  You're going to need the base for her as well.

Bane and Catwoman come with one additional accessory.  Catwoman has her whip which fits in her right hand nicely.  Bane has a chunk of bent metal, but I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with it.  His fits can hold anything, and I couldn't find any place on the base to attach it.  Perhaps you'll have better luck than I did.

Fun Factor - *1/2
These are definitely not figures designed for kids.  The lack of articulation isn't as big of a problem as the odd poses and the body parts that fall off at the cut joints.  Well, that and the fact that Catwoman is in heat.

Value - **
One thing these figures are definitely NOT is cheap.  At close to $20 each if you buy them individually, you're really going to feel it in your wallet.

You're much better off buying them in a set, since you can get them for closer to $15 each.  Still not cheap by any means, but your wife might not divorce you.  Until she sees you oogling Catwoman's butt again.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Watch for nose dents on Catwoman, and try to find the best paint jobs you can.

Overall -  Catwoman, Batgirl ***1/2; Batman ***; Bane **
If you're looking for plastic statues of the Batman universe, done in scale with each other, these might be the answer.  They aren't cheap by any means, and you'll probably want to be selective about which ones you pick up.  But there are some gems in the pile, like this version of Batman.

I haven't seen an announcement yet of a wave 4, but I'm betting that these are selling well enough for Yamato to keep it up for awhile longer.

Packaging - **
Sculpt - Bane ***; the rest ***1/2
Paint - Batgirl, Catwoman ***1/2; Batman ***; Bane **
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - *1/2
Value - **
Overall - Catwoman, Batgirl ***1/2; Batman ***; Bane **

Where to Buy -
I picked these up online, but you can also find them at your local comic shop.  Online options include:

- Circle Red has the set of four on sale for $63.

- Alter Ego Comics has the set for $65.

- CornerStoreComics has the set for $70, or the individual figures for $19.

Related Links -
I've reviewed all the Yamato stuff so far:

- here's the review of wave 1, which included Batman, Harley, Joker and Robin.

- then there's a review of wave 2, which included Batman (of course), Penguin, Riddler and Poison Ivy.

- and if you like these, you should also check out the Kia Asamiya figures.  They're a little bigger, but some can fit in with these.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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