Packaging - ****
Whatís not to love? There is a shiny outer slip over the box that has the standard looking Begins black and gold deco on it. And inside that the box, which has more of a matte type finish to it, has an opening flap to reveal the figure, along with several dark moody pics of the actual figure itself. The back of the inside box has some more pics of the figure along with pics of the accessories and has movie preview style credits listed on it. Very clever. The outer packaging slips on and off easily enough to keep it in good shape but is snug enough that it wonít fall off either. The figure and accessories are completely secure however there isnít a single piece of tape or twisty tie to be found. You can remove this from the box and put it back in and never know the difference. And for you MISB guys out there whatís better than a box with 3 different display options.
Sculpting - ****
Thereís actually quite a bit of sculpting here for a sixth scale soft goods figure. Letís get the controversial point out of the way first. The head sculpt IS Christian Bale as Batman Begins. Period. I turned on the DVD yesterday and paused it during a close up of him in the cowl and it was remarkable how good the sculpt was. The hands (which Iíll cover in detail later) also have great sculpts with the dots (or whatever they are) on the palms and some great detail on the fingers. The belt (which they list as an accessory, but I donít) is an absolute thing of beauty. The communicator is sculpted on but it looks great. The left hand compartment looks like it could actually open up (but it doesnít) and the little doo-dads are all there and accounted for. They also didnít cheap out and leave the back under detailed since itíll mostly be covered by the cape, it looks just as good as the front. Thereís no place to attach the gun like with DCDís version, but the detailing more than makes up for that. The costume also has several sculpted parts on the armor sections and they all look very good. With sharp points for the Bat fins and good detailing on the gauntlets, torso, and other armored areas.
Paint - ****
Iím beginning to sound like a broken record here arenít I? The Head is actually fully painted and it looks superb. The face is a little pasty but a little paleness would actually make sense on Batman. The eyes look great and are very dark giving him the moody look needed for Bats. Once again itís the belt that really stands out here with detailed paint work giving it a very real world look. All in all the paint aps are very crisp and neat with no slop or bleed at all, at least on my figure.
Articulation - **1/2
Oh, and he was doing so well! This category is really where this guy takes a hit. Donít get me wrong, all the POA that youíd expect in a high end sixth scale figure are there. The problem is that the suit tends to heavily restrict the waist and hips cutting their range of mobility down pretty drastically. The rest of the body is pretty good however, with the standard Hot Toys wrists (which are only second to Sideshow in my opinion) and are even better on this figure since the gauntlet hides the joint without drastically restricting the movement. The neck isnít near as restricted as youíd think it would be due to the cowl hanging over the shoulders and it allows for quite a bit of mobility. The elbows and knees have very good range but hereís where you run into problem number 2 Ė the suit will bend and give to allow you to put the figure into several good action poses, but as soon as you let go the suit pushes the joints back toward their original position. Itíll stay there for a while (all the poses in the pics were made without the use of the stand) but after a few, maybe 30 seconds the figure will tip over and fall. Mine suffered 2 bad scrapes on the bat ears due to this. :í( So be careful! I wouldnít try and display this guy without the stand. For play the artic is great, but you arenít going to get a lot of nice action poses for display without some serious manipulation of the suit and the use of the stand. The third problem mine has in this area is a loose right shoulder which (due to the suit) means that arms isnít ever going to do much beside stay near his torso. In one of my pics youíll see him raising one side of his cape in Keaton-esque fashion, and the other arm isnít doing anything due to the loose shoulder. Such a shame since it would look so great displayed like that.
Outfit - ***1/2
Ok, now weíre back on track. This is a great, Great, GREAT Batsuit. I really donít know what itís made of but itís rubbery while very forgiving without leaving creases. The armor is actually separately molded and sued/glued onto the inner body stocking, which is much like the black parts of the Medicom Stormtrooper. Iíve already covered how well itís sculpted but itís also put together very well so you can move him around and pose him without it causing stress fractures in the rubber or popping stitches, at least so far (knocks wood). Now, the cape. The cape is huge. No, scratch that. The Cape is so huge that I fear itís going to swallow me and drop me into another dimensionÖor something. When I first pulled it out of the package I absolutely hated it, but after playing around with it and taking some pics I found it to be kind of cool. Iíve never owned a Batman figure that you could actually pull off some of the signature cape poses with and this figure certainly can. Itís made of 2 different materials with a nylonish interior and a non glossy darker exterior. Both fabrics are great in that they donít attract lint at all and the cape itself is so huge it tends to hang correctly over the shoulders and such. Now the negatives, and there are 2. 1 Ė the cape has no wire in the hem which I find very annoying since itís so big. You make a cape that big fine, just give us the tools to pose it properly as in flight and what have you. 2 Ė the lapels that ďholdĒ the cape in place are not attached (as in the film) to the cowl. Consequently they donít lay correctly next to the cowl like they should. Neither of these problems bothered me with the figure in hand near as much as they did in pics Iíd seen though.
Accessories - ****
Another area were this figure shines. Youíve got everything you need for Batman to do his thing. 2 Batarangs, the grappling gun, 2 extra sets of hands, the standard style Hot Toys base, and, my personal fav, the mini mine. All sculpted and painted perfectly (the mine is probably a little big but thatís easily
forgivable). Iíve heard the grapnel gun might also be a little large but I really
wouldn't know for sure. I included a close up of it being held so you can judge for yourselves. The batarangs fit well (if a little loose) on the utility belt, which is also
removable if you feel the need to have him captured or something while youíre play..er, um, posing him.
Fun Factor - **** for adults and bupkis for kids
As someone who admittedly plays with his figures this thing isÖhow shall I put thisÖfriggin awesome! But thereís no way Iíd ever let anyone under the age of 13 even pick it up. The cost is just too high for someone who doesnít know how to play nice with higher end stuff.
This ones always tricky when dealing with higher end collectibles. For what I paid for it Iíd rate it at *** considering that the reason we pay through the nose is that no one in the US (and by that I mean Mattel) is willing to either make as nice a figure as this for a DC
license, or give up that license to someone like a Sideshow or whoever to make them. Therefore in order to have it, we have to pay for it. I got mine for 110 before shipping but that was before they were actually released. Iíd take it down half a star for every 50.00 you pay above that.
Things to watch out for
Not that you can tell in the box, but the stronger the joints are, the better chance you have of pulling off some cool poses in spite of that suit.
Overall - ***1/2
I really wanted this to be a four star figure, but in all honesty itís not. The lack of mobility for the waist/legs and the problems with posing keep it from being truly great. However I am very pleased with it and it will definitely wind up being one of the favorite (if not best) figures in my collection because of the play value, and also because how remarkably close it is to a shrunk down Christian Bale in a Bat suit.