Hot Toys Dark Knight Joker Bust


"The 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 guest author."

Jeff Parker is back tonight to cover the second half of the Hot Toys Dark Knight busts - the Joker! Tell us all about it, Jeff...

Respect as always to our host, a big thank you for once again letting me share my views on the ever increasing number of spin off collectables from this summers biggest blockbuster, The Dark Knight. Which, interestingly enough, is getting a re-release in January, arguably to give it a last minute high profile Oscars push, but it might even help it break through the $600.8 million gross that has kept Titanic at the top of the chart for far too many years now. It’s unlikely, as it still needs to make up over 150 million, but never say never!

Now, super hero movies are all too often so wrapped up in explaining the ‘creation’ of their ‘super’ villains, that they end up taking centre stage, and pushing our ‘hero’ into the supporting cast. That’s not something that Christopher Nolan can be accused of though, sure he gave us the finely plaid out rise and tragic fall of Gotham’s finest DA, Harvey Dent, but the main protagonist, the man who set about creating this fall from grace arrived like a force of nature, laid waste to everything he touched and managed to be one of the most chilling cinematic villains ever created, and perhaps he was all the more chilling for the fact we knew virtually nothing about his origins. And whilst all this played out, Bruce Wayne was still very much the focus at the heart of the movie, it was all about the choices and decisions he made. Whilst at the core, Batman Begins was more of an emotional journey for our hero, the new movie is based more around his morals, that’s not to say Bruce isn’t put though another emotional roller coaster as well though.

And so onto this review of the partner piece to the Batman bust I reviewed a couple of weeks ago and a very cool partner it makes.

Packaging: ***
This is in construction the same as the Batman box, so it’s a sturdy corrugated card, silk laminated full-colour printed design with a cut out window to show the facial sculpt. Inside is a formed Styrofoam tray that holds him snugly. The front again has the Gotham skyline, but its made to look like the Joker has added a little of his trademark graffiti. The back and sides have some photos of the full bust from various angles. So, a nicely designed, no frills box that’ll get your bust to you in tip top condition.

Sculpt: ***
The Batman bust was sculpted fantastically by Kim Jung Mi, but this time Yulli is back in full force for the Joker!
Another absolutely outstanding bit of work that looks at it’s best with the head tilted menacingly right forward. There’s some finely detailed work on the skin texturing and the scars on the cheeks look far more accurate than on the first 1/6 scale figure they gave us, reviewed here, in fact this sculpt looks far more like Heath Ledger than that version, so why not full marks?

Well, if I hadn’t seen Yulli’s work on the up coming 1/6 ‘bank robber’ version of the Joker viewable here it probably would have been full marks, but by letting us see the, not one but two, absolutely amazing head sculpts that come included with that figure, she has done herself out of that whole extra a star, and it seems to me, that though Ledger certainly wasn’t fat, he carried a little more meat on his cheeks and chin, not ‘jowly’ but just a tad fuller in the face.

However, don’t let that put you off, as this bust still captures the look of the character fantastically!
At this scale, the work on the hair is much finer, and the front, where it flops over the forehead to the left, is a separate piece meaning there is a slight seam between it and the flesh, its very well concealed and its visibility is very dependant on where your light source is coming from. In ambient light it’s virtually invisible, but with more extreme lighting, like that used in many of my photos, the shadows make it seem more noticeable. There’s also some limited articulation at the neck, this gives you the ability to inject a lot more personality to your display. The sculpt carries on right down past his lapels, the coat sweeps down almost to the bottom of the plinth and the body is sculpted to the base hem of his waist coat, so you get the effect of the layering of the coat, jacket, waist-coat and shirt beneath all carried out fantastically, my only slight fault is that the tie seems a little too perfect, and could do with roughing up a bit to show a few wrinkles and creases.

Paint: ****
This is a far more complex job than the Batman figure that came before. For a start there’s the face with the white greasepaint, ‘Robert Smith’ lipstick and panda eyes, this is all carried out very subtly and though the eye make up looks great in person, I’m finding it difficult to capture well with my camera, especially from certain angles, but that’s probably down to the photographer rather than the bust!
The colouration of the hair works well too, with plenty of dirty greys and browns showing through so it doesn’t just look like a big green slab. The work on the outfit is equally as outstanding, and the division between each piece of clothing is super crisp with absolutely no overspill at all. I think this is down to the very clever use of layering the different garments as separate seams of pre-painted plastic, these are brought together so tightly you’d be hard pressed to notice this unless you look ‘very’ closely or remove the plinth he stands on to peer up inside, giving each separate piece its own slight difference in texture, colour and pattern, and talking of pattern, the work on the fabric of the Jokers shirt has to be seen up close to be fully appreciated, a top class job!

Articulation: ***
I guess in a way I should give it top marks, as most ‘busts’ don’t have any articulation at all. However, like the Rambo bust there’s a very well concealed joint at the top of the neck where it meets his chin, so it can be tilted from side to side or to look straight forward or down, as I said, this gives him far more ‘attitude’.

Fun factor- **1/2
This is an excellent companion to the Batman, but lets face it, busts are pretty hard to play with, mine will be used as bookends on my comic shelf, helping to keep my various Batman graphic novels in place, and for that they will look fantastic.

Value: ***
This is going to depend totally on where and when you pick one of these up. I think many people thought that the importing of these by DC Direct (DCD) would lead to a cheaper product… well, DCD have this baby up for $175 I kid you not! It also says on the web site interestingly- “Hot Toys items are not available for sale in Hong Kong, Japan, and the rest of Asia”, well this is news to me.

So I did an eBay search and a few are out there for between $80 to $120, but they do seem pretty thin on the ground.

However plenty of Michael’s sponsors have it on pre-order for $ 63.99 making it less than two and a half times cheaper than DCD and a better deal than eBay… leading me to surmise that DCD might have made a boo boo!

Overall: ***1/2
If you have the Batman but are on the fence over this guy, I urge you to make the plunge. 

I’m very happy with this bust; I actually received my HT Predator bust at the same time, which I’ll review shortly. I like the Pred a lot, though he has a few issues, but when lined up with all the busts so far, as much as I like the others, this one just has a bit more of a WOW factor! However the ALIEN is due out next, and you know how I feel about ALIENS.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
You can use the links on the homepage to check out some of Michael’s sponsors below for a far better deal-

Urban Collector
$63.99 - PRE ORDER

$63.99 - PRE ORDER

Or if you’re in the UK
52.99 - PRE ORDER

Or you can use Michaels sponsor  to find a good deal as well.


Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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