Mattel Batcycle

I believe there's been a conspiracy. Somehow, Mattel has been offended by my comments in the past, and is now getting retribution by keeping all Batman product out of my reach. That's my current theory, anyway.

But I did finally hit the almost-sorta-kinda jackpot today. I picked up the Batcycle (reviewed tonight), the Batmobile and new four pack showed up from Amazon, and finally - FINALLY! - I found Zipline Batman and the Joker at a local Kaybee. No sign of Robin yet, and he wasn't even in the case I found. Soon though...but you won't see a review of those two until next Sunday night. Just a reminder that I'll be at SDCC this weekend, and so there will be no Thursday night review.

On to the Batcycle! I found this bugger at a local Meijers, and was actually surprised since I hadn't heard it was out. Sure, the Batmobile and the figures have been everywhere but where I am for several weeks, but this was the first I'd heard or seen on the Batcycle. The figure and cycle are molded as one piece, and the bike has a pull-and-go type action on the rear wheel. It was $14 at Meijers, so I doubt it will be much cheaper anyplace else.

Packaging - **
It's a box. The window gives good visibility, and the graphics are decent if uninspired. Unlike all other modern box packaging, this is glued on the end, not taped. I remember this from the good old days, but unlike my childhood years, this glue doesn't turn the box into Fort Knox. As a matter of fact, the end flap practically fell open, so you should make sure your's hasn't opened and had anything removed.

Sculpting - **1/2
The Batman sculpt isn't bad, with just the right amount of intensity. Any more and it would have looked like a bug just flew up his nose. The sculpt on the bike itself is actually very good, with great style and flair. It reminds me of an early 90's comic book style perhaps, with some grittiness but also great looks. The big detraction here is that the figure is actually sculpted to the bike, rather than being a separate piece.

Now I know this is intended as a toy, but as a kid I always preferred my figures and vehicles separate. What if someone else wants to ride the Batcycle? Not possible here. This ends up hurting the overall appeal of the toy quite a bit for me. By the way - don't the helmet laws apply to Bats? I suppose he has a special cowl.

One of the big problems with having the two fused together is not making it LOOK like they are fused together. Unfortunately, they don't pull it off with the sculpt. The edge where parts of Batman and the bike meet are clearly obvious, with no attempt to make him appear separate.

Paint - **1/2
There's a little slop, but nothing like the worst days of the Hasbro reign. For the most part the colors are clean and consistent, and again the bike itself is the standout. With decent detail, and some good use of color, it comes off as mean yet stylin'.

The Siamese twin aspect of the figure and bike rears it's ugly head once again in this category. Because the two are one, the paint application around the boots, legs and seat shows a fair amount of over spray. This over spray makes the fact that the figure is not independent painfully obvious, and really hurts the appearance.

Articulation - Bupkis
Although the shoulders look like they might be joints, they aren't. The Batman has no articulation. I won't be hitting this toy up in the overall score much for it since I didn't expect it, but it's still worth noting.

Accessories - **1/2
There is one accessory - the firing rocket. The spring isn't particularly strong, but it will fire the projectile pas the front of the bike. It works alright, but won't be knocking down any other figures. And Batman better keep his head down - straighten up the slightest on his crotch rocket and even a helmet wouldn't do him any good.

Action Feature - ***1/2
The rear wheel is geared so that pushing it forward winds it up and carries it across the floor. This works pretty well, and is the high point of the whole toy. That's good, considering that's the key feature. He won't break any land speed records, but you can get him to cover a twenty feet or so without much effort.

Value - **1/2
At $14, I was feeling a bit stiffed. With a one piece toy, this should really be closer to ten bucks. I'm betting the geared rear wheel is what's driving up the price, but it's also pretty standard these days that Mattel charges too much.

Overall - **1/2
Thank God I found my Zipline Batman later in the same day. If this was all I had to judge the new Mattel line, I'd be far more disappointed. Still, it's a decent toy, and will give kids some basic fun. Had the Batman been removable so that kids had more options with riders and play, it would have scored much, much better.

Where to Buy - 
I snagged mine at Meijers, and they were also opening a case of the Batcopters. They come in very similar boxes, so if you see one the other is likely to be there as well.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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