Hot Toys Dark Knight Batman (new
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
Parker is back already with another great Hot Toys review. He
just received the new Batman from HT, based on the new suit in Dark
Knight. Tell us all about it, Jeff!
Well a couple of months ago I did my
review of the first two figures from Hot Toys (HT) The Dark
Knight (TDK) series as did
Michael and we were pretty much in agreement that we had two
damn fine figures on our hands, and it certainly seems to have
developed into one of the most talked about 1/6 lines of the year.
Since then we’ve had the news that two more additions are due: a
fantastic new version of the
Joker in his bank robber attire and an amazing Harvey
Dent/Two face figure, unfortunately in the scrum of internet
activity that followed these announcements you could almost be forgiven
for not realizing the new TDK suited figure had been released…almost,
but not quite, for this is far too sweet a figure to overlook.
It was a pretty big theme in the movie, the design and construction of
a ‘new suit’ as after being mauled by dogs in his encounter with the
Scarecrow and a vigilante group, Bruce realized the old suit was too
restrictive, he needed to be able to move more freely and turn his head
when in combat. So his trusty R&D team, well…Lucius Fox, set
about making him a suit that could tick all the boxes to his
‘Superhero’ brief, and what we ended up with was something
pretty damn cool.
In truth this redesign was to help Christian Bale act and Nolan direct,
as much as it was for Bruce Wayne to rid Gotham’s streets of scum and
villainy, and whilst I have to admit the original suit is more iconic,
in that it takes its cues more directly from the comic book, the Batman
that we all know and love, there’s no denying that this new outfit is
pretty dynamic, and brings the idea of a specially-designed
militaristic combat suit closer to the ‘real world’ Nolan has grounded
his Batman universe within. So what we end up with is not only a much
more agile outfit, but an outfit that is more layered in its appearance
with far more detail. Would HT be able to pull it off at this scale?
Designed to stand along side
the first two releases, this again has the matte finished outer sleeve
bearing a shot from the movie poster of the new suit, slip this off
then we have the more familiar silk finished flap-fronted five-panel
box. This inner box has plenty of photos of the figure with a brief bio
on the inside flap. The window opposite shows the constructed figure
alongside his accessories, the acetate also has bit of funky Joker
graffiti where he’s scrawled his ‘why so serious?’ motif alongside a
big red smile painted over the top of the face of the figure within,
Inside the figure is held in place by three twisties, you’d have
thought the top tray could have held it secure, but as these guys have
a long trek from their point of origin to our sticky mitts I guess I’d
rather un-twist three ties than have to glue him back together again
So no major departure from the first two TDK boxes, but I thought the
graffiti was such a cute detail it deserved a gnats whisker more for
its final score.
Like many figures with armour or rubber constructed outfits, the
category of ‘sculpting’ kind of ends up straddling a lot of camps. When
the first photos were released of this figure the initial reaction of
most was WOW, another home run!
But there are a lot of hardcore Bat-fans with very sharp eyes that soon
started pointing out how some small details on the cowl, shoulders,
belt and legs were a bit ‘off’, I figured they were fair comment but
pretty slight on the whole and things were too far down the line for
any major changes…but I was wrong!
Quite a few modifications have been made since those pictures first
surfaced, and we all get a better and more accurate product because of
it, you can see the first version in my link
here and more photos of the production
figure here where you’ll notice the shape of the nose and
lower face have changed, the shoulder armour is smaller and more
accurate, they’ve removed the Batarangs
from the front of the belt and improved the depth of sculpt on the leg
details. The differentiation in the painted tonal values of the suit
have also been toned down and brought more in line with how it appeared
on screen. All in all this is yet another outstanding piece of work,
for the hardcore fans this is just the kind of attention to detail we
craved and the Hot Toys R&D team deserve a lot of praise.
The overall look of the suit seems pretty much spot-on to me now; I’m
sure some will find a few areas where a detail is out by half a
millimetre but I’m hugely impressed. I’ve said this before, I’ve been
collecting 1/6 for about 15 years, moving up to hi-end in the last
seven or eight, and I’ve witnessed things progress onehelluvalot in
that time. After years of Hasbro I was knocked sideways by the first
offerings from Sideshow, then onto Medicom, DiD, Enterbay and of course
Hot Toys, and it has to be said we collectors are living in exciting,
if not also very expensive, times.
This new figure showcases once again just how much dedication and
attention is being lavished on these creations, as more and more
‘artists’ and people who are collectors with a love for the medium
become involved in their manufacture and production, rather than just a
bunch of corporate ‘suits’ paying ‘guns for hire’ to knock out
‘product’ as quickly and cheaply as possible from the licence ‘du
jour’. I call it the Peter
Jackson principle, to do a thing well you HAVE to love that
thing, and it’s blatantly obvious when people do.
As I just said above, most of the outfit is sculpted, but I guess I
ought to leave something for that section so here I’ll cover the heads
As with the last TDK Batman the cowled head is by Kim Jung Mi and the
Bruce Wayne (BW) is by Yulli, the new cowl is obviously completely
different from the first one by design, but the work on the exposed
face is just as good, if not better than before and the new separate
head and neck design means that just like in the movie it’s a lot more
versatile and you’ll get a whole lot more dynamic poses out of this
figure than with the original suit. The details here have also been
expertly observed, and the ‘tweaking’ of the nose shape makes this far
Yulli’s new BW head is, in my opinion, even better than the one before,
I liked that one a lot but the new one has an even more determined and
steely expression and the detailing around the eyes seems smoother and
more subtle, perfect for a separate kit-bash. So all in all this is
definitely a four-star sculpt, now bring on IRONMAN!
All the hands are new, and had to be, so as to accurately depict the
new glove design. He comes with two attached in a fist position and you
get two other sets, one set is in a gripping position and will come in
handy for general use and holding the grappling gun but they’re
actually intended for holding the Batpod handlebars, however, we’ll
have to wait to try them out as his wheels aren’t due till next month.
The last two come as a right-handed Batarang grip and a left handed
splayed fingers. I found they all swapped over fine as long as you’re
firm but gentle (which is kind of a rule for life!) but if you
experience any problems then apply a little heat to soften up the hand
and it’ll make life a lot easier. All are sculpted well and extremely
accurately to the source material, however, whilst they are a unique
design they bring to mind Oakley
tactical gloves to me at least.
As with the last Batman we
have another faultless paint app. Kicking off with the new BW head,
lovely warm, very natural skin tones and expertly applied hair and
eyebrows, this version has a lighter palette than the previous version,
making this one look more natural when they’re viewed side by side. The
lips have just the right amount of colour to differentiate from the
skin tone without looking like lipstick and the eyes have, the now
‘classic’ JC Hong wet glossy look, very natural and catch the light
perfectly without the accursed doll dot.
Though not as extensive, we get just as good a job on the cowled
version. The exposed areas of the mouth and eyes are again very natural
and expertly carried out without any slop.
There’s also some great work on the suit to show the difference in
texture colour and finish between the base suit, armoured panels and
straps etc, this armour panelling on the chest and arms also shows some
very fine texture printing to mimic the materials used, all this is
carried out faultlessly, no over-painting or slop, just another
Articulation - ***4/5
As you would expect, under the outfit is the stock HT body, the
True-Type described here one
of, if not the best base body out there at the moment. This figure
utilises the double-ended neck post both for BW and a specially
designed one for the new Bat-suit. I’ve heard many people are making
slight modifications to this neck post by dremmeling or sanding a
groove at the top and base of the neck to slightly improve the range at
which he can look forward and down, if that’s your thing, then hey, why
I am however more of a box fresh kind of guy and I’m plenty happy with
his articulation. It does, however, have to be said that due to the
nature of the suit it’s probably about as restrictive as the real suit
would be, perhaps even a tad more so. I expected the shoulder
protectors to be more restrictive than they are, but I got my figure
into pretty much all the poses I wanted…obviously you’re not gonna get
anything as extreme as getting the arms to point straight up, but I’m
reasonably sure Bale wouldn’t be able to do that in the actual suit
(unless it was adapted for a specific scene). So not 100% perfect but
better than the last one, hence its slightly higher score. I also
noticed the ankles seen more sturdy on this one, though I didn’t
experience any real problem with the original, I heard some people
complain of ankles that required the stand to be used for long-term
posing. I found with my original costumed figure the ankle balls
weren’t completely pushed into the cups of the boot, and due to the
nature of the rubber boots rubbing against the rubber trousers means
you have to fiddle a little, but after a good shove mine were a lot
- Alternate head of Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, (new
- Utility Belt including cell phone
- Mini Mine
- Grappling Gun
- Two Batarangs
- Three sets of interchangeable gloved hands, inclusive of hands for
gripping the Batpod handlebars
- Figure display stand featuring TDK logo and BATMAN nameplate.
Last time Bats came with all of the above plus his pneumatic-mangler.
Now this time the suit is far more complex admittedly, but I still feel
it would have been nice to give him the sticky-bomb
gun that he uses in Hong Kong before daringly apprehending
Lau, but to be fair he has all the ‘essential’ items, and for me the
extra BW head is the sweetest extra, and I’m impressed that HT are
giving pretty much all their superhero figures their alter ego
likenesses as well (at least with TDK, IRONMAN and the last Superman so
He comes in his newly-designed suit from TDK, and this is another bit
of beautifully designed and engineered outfitting. I was expecting
great things for this outfit after seeing the initial photos, but there
is so much cool hidden detail you’ll never really see, like the
intricate panels and detail on his back that will spend virtually their
entire life covered in his cape.
This is one of those figures you will want to sit and really
scrutinize, and you won’t be disappointed, it’s a small work of art.
Just like the 1/6 original suit, this looks like they have somehow
managed to shrink down the actual costume.
So working up from the feet we have the same boots as with the original
suited figure, but I guess even Lucius has a budget to work to.
Next we have the newly sculpted armoured trousers, these are all rubber
and unlike the previous ones they don’t have the rigid knee-guards so
articulation is slightly better here, the armour panels are all molded
as part of the rubber, so as not to infringe upon the poseability. Then
we get to what is in effect the ‘shirt’; this has all the detail of the
abdominal and side protection sculpted into it and carries on down the
arms. Over the pectoral muscles and upper chest is a rigid sculpted
panel that carries on over the shoulders to the upper back. Also
attached to this are the newly designed upper shoulder pads which are
attached by means of being glued to plastic straps at the top and
elastic ones at the sides, these elastic straps allow for a good range
of movement when raising the arms. Further down the arms we get the
gauntlets, these have a double row of ‘Ninja’ blades, I advise caution
here, as not only do they look potentially fragile they are also
extremely sharp, you have been warned!
Lastly we have the cape, this is held in place by two small clips that
simply slot in to holes on the shoulders and are held in place by
gravity. This means they stay in place well for general posing but can
also be removed easily when you want to. The cape hangs well and drapes
down his back convincingly, though it has to be said that when viewed
from behind, the new slim-line neck means he doesn’t look quite as
intimidating as his earlier incarnation.
I love the fine sculpting on the texture and paternation where things
like the Nomex base suit but up to Kevlar and Titanium interlocking
panels, great work, and to my ‘relatively’ keen eye it all looks
Top score, no problem!
Sorry, it’s time for me to sound like the proverbial broken record.
Not for kids, yadda, yadda, yadda, display item only blah, blah, blah,
handle with care etc,etc,etc, but you know what I mean!
For collectors this is virtually faultless, an instant classic of a
figure, if you want a TDK Batman figure to accurately portray how he
looked in the movie, this is it! If you want a Batman figure for your
kids to play with check out Toys ‘R’ Us, there are plenty of really
good ones available…none as great as this though!
If you picked yours up on pre-order for around the $170 mark you got a
good early bird deal, this figure is easily worth that to me. The price
for this is already starting to climb on the secondary market, with
most eBay sellers asking for $199, a few are higher with one even asking
$288 good luck to him!
You can still pre-order direct from the DC Direct website for $175, a
good price, but they don’t expect to ship theirs till December 10th,
and considering this hit retailers in Hong Kong back at the end of
September that’s quite a wait, but in these ‘credit crunched’ days
saving upwards of $25 don’t seem like a bad idea.
I have to admit that
speaking purely from a visual aspect, then the original suit still just
has a bit of an edge for me, it’s more iconic, gothic and brooding with
a slightly sinister vibe.
However, from a functional and indeed an engineering angle then this
new suit is far, far more impressive and Hot Toys have managed to
convey that perfectly with their two 12” versions. This has been, and
is continuing to be a hell of a year for 1/6 collectors, this is the
kind of figure that in years gone by would have won figure of the year
for me hands down, but with Sideshow about to release their Vader and
Stormtrooper, Enterbay giving us their Fist of Fury- Bruce Lee, the
first figure of Buck Rogers about to hit from Go Hero and Hot Toys
still to deliver IRONMAN and the mucho anticipated bank robber Joker he
faces some extremely stiff competition.
But for now, for a figure with this much R&D, a great box and
based on a price of between $170 to $185 then this is a full-mark
figure for me without a doubt!
Where to buy -
As I said above, you can pre-order
at DC Direct for $175 or try Michael’s sponsors linked on the home page
who have it for-
Or if in the UK-
Or you can use Michaels sponsor www.MyAuctionLinks.com
to find a good deal as well.
Packaging - ***3/4
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***3/4
Accessories - ***4/5
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ****
Overall - ****
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Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.