Batman Dark Knight Rises DX12
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
|Jeff is hitting us up with another Hot Toys DX release - take it away, Jeff!
A big salutation as always to Mike for keeping this site so relevant to all us collectors, be we casual or obsessive!
years to come the blockbuster season of 2012 will be remembered as a
very solid, some might even say ‘vintage’ year in the quality of
popcorn fodder that it produced.
There were some minor and
reasonably major disappointments along the way, but the two behemoths
that stole the show were Whedon’s Avengers (Assemble) and Noland’s The
Dark Knight Rises (TDKR). Both showcased top quality geek fare, with
the Avengers busting box offices the world over and delivering an
escapist couple of hours of wanton destruction, with a permanent
sideways smirk. While TDKR gave us the dark and brooding, closing
chapter of the Batman trilogy. I find it hard to pick a firm favourite
of the two, as even with its themes of apocalypse and world domination,
the Avengers felt warm and fluffy, with a bright colour palette, like
an old snuggly jumper you pull on as a comforter. On the other hand
TDKR felt darker, both in tone and palette, giving us a two-hour
adrenalin rush with added post-millennial angst thrown in for good
I admit that for me the second part of the Batman
trilogy was the strongest by a country mile, but TDKR managed to be a
fitting finale to the story arc (However, I still can’t for the life of
me work out why the Joker wasn’t even given a tertiary mention).
this movie our titular super detective returned to public service after
a long sabbatical, forced once again into active duty by the sinister
actions of Bane and his band of terrorist anarchists. However, unlike
Tony Stark who gets a new power suit three times in every movie (on
average), Bruce Wayne returned to the threads he developed for TDK. And
‘threads’ is an important word here!
Hot Toys decided to
return to the new outfit, but with added emphasis on the way it was to
be fabricated. They had already giving us a pretty impressive version
in the form the DX02, reviewed here,
but that version of the suit was primarily made of plastic, rubber and
silicone (complete with the oily abbs problem experienced by many).
However, on this visit they have endeavored to make the final outfit
much closer to the way the actual suit was constructed in the movie.
lets imagine you already have the DX02, he stands on your shelf looking
down at you like a one foot tall watchful guardian, and on the whole
you are a happy bunny… do you really need to shell out for an upgrade?
the joys of a DX figure, few things can compare with the moment you
first undo that brown shipping carton, pull out the box and then start
to explore its contents. It’s like being transported back to being that
eight-year-old boy again with the latest Action Man figure set!
where as that old toy had a basic cardboard box, a figure rattling
around loosely inside and a few accessories (of a quality aimed
squarely at that eight-year-old boy), this is designed with a far more
discerning and sophisticated market in mind!
And when that
‘market’ is paying a hefty $ 260 to do so, you need to make sure they
are rewarded! And so we get a heavy duty cardboard outer shell held
shut with magnets. It’s finished in a dark graphite grey rough texture
with a glossy Bat logo on the front. It unwinds to show a 1/6th
representation of the blue-prints for The Bat, his new flying vehicle
that featured so prominently in the new movie. Then you find the figure
beneath held snugly in layers of die-cut foam.
Yes, I know we
have seen it all before, but it doesn’t make it any less impressive.
Once again Dixon Chan and Monster Jr have produced a suitably handsome
box for a great looking haul of goodies.
If you want to see some
great images of this figure that really let the details shine, and
sadly show up my photography talents, check out these links by OMG over
on the Sideshow Freaks forum here.
And Luka at One Sixth Warriors here.
You can also hear a few thoughts on this figure with our latest podcast, the HOTTOYCAST episode 2 here along with other reviews like the new DX Luke Skywalker.
Sculpting - ****
Toys excellence in the field of producing 1/6th figures has its
downside, and the biggest bug bear for the company is the fevered
anticipation that many of their fans enter into on the often long run
up to a figures release. During this time there is much discussion and
dissection on forums all over the planet, some well considered opinions
are aired while much pointless drivel is also spouted. Obviously every
figure will have its supporters and detractors, but come the day that a
figure is released, or heaven forbid a stray badly taken photo makes
its way onto the Internet early… well, then the floodgates open, and
boy do the freaks come out!
I love this hobby and I’m pretty
passionate about it as an art form, meaning I like to take part in
considered discussions about the latest releases, but increasingly I
find it’s best just to wait a while until the dust settles, let the
trolls get all that bitter phlegm off their chests before getting
involved (you might say something you regret).
Bats here is a
case in point of this situation. When he was released the boards went
into meltdown with inane hyperbole about the quality of this or that
aspect of the figure. And I guess if you are the kind of anally
retentive collector who loses sleep over the length of an armour panel
or deepness of an indent on the cowl you might find something to be
concerned about. But I think its fair to say that to your average fan
this turned out to be pretty darned ace.
In this category I
shall stick to the hands and heads of which we get one regular cowled
head with the PERS feature and also a Bruce Wayne sculpt. He also comes
equipped with a selection of six hands in various positions to interact
with the accessories.
Like with the first DX 02 of Bats, the
cowled head comes with a selection of three interchangeable mouths
featuring different expressions. One is a regular stern expression, the
second is sterner still with the corners of the mouth down turned and
the last shows the mouth slightly open with the teeth visible. All are
based on expressions from key scenes in the movie, and when accompanied
by a simple repositioning of the eyes they can inject a ton of
character to your chosen poses. The way the PERS feature operates on
this figure is the same as on the DX 02 making it far less intrusive on
the way the figure looks than on the Tim Burton 89 Batman. Where as on
that one we had to remove a panel at the rear of the cowl to access the
mechanism, on these the head can simply lift off by use of a strong
magnet (not so strong that you can pick him up by it, so beware) and
the eyes can be moved by using a small ‘cup’ ended spatula to interact
with the control ‘joystick’. This tool also has a small plug at the end
to aid in the removal of the interchangeable mouths. I found the PERS
operated well on mine, and the positioning was smooth and free.
exposed flesh on the three mouths and indeed on the un-cowled Bruce
Wayne head all show the usual deft touches in the way the skin exhibits
wrinkles, folds and even pores. And the likeness to Christian Bale is
pretty stunning. The unmasked head seems to capture something of
Bruce’s world-weariness, this is a man that has aged a few years since
our last visit to Gotham, and the years (and indeed mileage) show on
Like the last sculpt of Bale that we got with the
re-released version of the ‘Begins’ suit, this is by KoJun, and he is
becoming rather adept at capturing his likeness after his work on the
actor as John Connor in Terminator: Salvation.
Needless to say
the portrait captured here is pretty amazing, and the likeness is
stunning, as is the beautifully observed detailing on the hair. The
selection of hands also illustrates how much attention to detail Hot
Toys likes to lavish on their productions, and the various positions
all show deep crisp tooling on the way the gloves are sculpted.
So for me this is a great looking figure and another worthy member of the DX series.
Yeah, you guessed it, it’s a four star category, but when Hot Toys can
put out devastatingly impressive apps on one of their regular releases,
you can bet your bottom dollar they can pull one out of the bag for a
as you can expect, with JC at the helm all the details are executed to
perfection. The Wayne head and mouths all have that spookily lifelike
appearance, and the cowled head is aided by the tiny glossy glass eyes
that are inserted as part of the PERS feature. There are also some
paint details on the suit, hands and accessories, and all are carried
out to near perfection.
As I mention in the outfit section, his articulation is
seriously hampered from the waist down because of the accurate way in
which the suit has been constructed. But that is all down to the way
Hot Toys have decided to make this figure and its accompanying outfit.
Underneath all the layers of armour is a well designed and engineered
True Type, the body that started a small revolution in the 1/6th world.
It redefined what we should expect from a good quality base body, and
continues to hold a healthy place in the pantheon of convincing,
well-proportioned figures. Just make sure you approach this with
realistic expectations, and then you will be greatly rewarded. Think of
it as a museum quality replica of the Dark Knights armour, a small
facsimile of the suit developed for the movie, rather than an agile toy
able to strike a contortionist like pose, and you will be happy with
the outcome, I know I am!
comes with a reasonable haul, with only one glaring omission. That
missing object for me is the empty cowl. Yes I know we will get one
with Selina/Catwoman, but as this was the first time in the trilogy
that we actually see Bruce in the Bat-suit with the cowl removed it
strikes me that he should have come with one as well. So, what do we
- Bruce Wayne head sculpt
- 3 interchangeable mouths (and spatula tool to swap over and move eyes)
- 4 extra hands (a selection of six in all)
- 1 grappling gun
- 2 Batarangs
- 2 mini mines
- 1 articulated utility belt
- 1 magnetic utility belt
- 1 collapsible sticky bomb gun
- 1 EMP rifle (with light up function & clip to attach to the Bat Pod)
- Blue prints for The Bat
- Environment figure stand/base.
already went over the head, mouths and belts above so here we will look
at his wonderful toys. Many need little explanation as they are simple
pieces with no moving parts, like the grappling gun, Batarangs and
bombs, and the collapsible sticky bomb gun is a repeat of the one we
got with the DX 02, all of these objects were described in my previous
So the new items
are the EMP rifle, which was something of a signature weapon in the
movie, and allowed out hero to handle another ‘gun' without
compromising his disdain for ballistics. It has a light up front
section that allows the emitting rods to give off a cool blue glow when
the small switch at the bottom is flicked on, this is my favourite of
his new extras. It’s meant to fire an electro magnetic pulse and is
used to disable electrical devices and vehicles with devastating effect.
new environment stand is modelled to look like a section of Gotham
pavement/steps. It has the Bat logo smashed into the bottom step and
shows snow drifting into the corners. It has two small directional
lights at the front corners that work by flicking a switch at the rear
of the base, (you will need to insert three AAA batteries for this to
work). They illuminate brightly and it’s a cool display piece for those
that like to use stands, and you’ll be pleased to know there is at
least enough articulation in the legs to get him standing in a stepping
position on them.
All in all a fair selection of goodies but for the price tag I’d have liked just a few added extras.
- Aesthetic****, Functionality **1/2
happens when an unstoppable force meets an articulated figure? Well, if
the unstoppable force is Hot Toys and the articulated figure is Batman,
I guess we get this.
Hot Toys always strive to find a middle
ground between making their figures look as movie accurate as possible
whilst keeping that all important play value of a toy… I mean, who
wants a statue? Well, as it happens plenty of people do. However Hot
Toys are not here to cater for their particular needs, instead they
make a product, that to my eyes is, is whole lot better, and more
dynamic to boot.
This version of the suit features a
well-tailored fabric skin-tight body-glove on to which the interlocking
panels of armour are glued/welted. It makes for a truly impressive
final look, but with that accuracy of that aesthetic comes a compromise
in some of his mobility. The arms don’t suffer too much, but his torso
and legs lose a lot of their underlying articulation.
end of the day he just needs to be able to stand well (he can do this
just fine), sit astride the Bat Pot (I can’t personally get him to do
this convincingly) and recline in the Tumbler (sadly I don’t have one,
so can’t comment). The detailing and tailoring of the underlying cloth
suit is fantastic, with well researched microfibers of the fabric
chosen, and then the subsequent detailing on the texture for the panels
that overlay it is mind-bogglingly good. It’s this level of detailing
that elevates it so far above the previous DX version. The boots are
also handled differently here, rather than being a rubber moulded ‘all
in one’ they are constructed as a virtuously seamless two piece affair,
with the foot being separate from the collar that goes up the lower
leg. If the legs had the mobility to strike some deep poses this change
would have been much more beneficial. As it is, it does at least help
in positioning the feet when attempting to sit him astride the Pod.
cape drapes pretty well and the velvety finish makes it look better
than some earlier attempts at it. It attaches by inserting two angled
begs into slots near his collarbone, and then pushing them gently but
firmly back against the shoulders. I managed the left one easy first
time, but needed to futz and redo it a couple of times for the right
hand side. Once aligned correctly it all fitted just fine, so take your
time getting this right.
The next item/items in his wardrobe
cross over into his accessories bundle too. The reason being he comes
with neither of them fitted but rather packed beside him. They are his
two utility belts. One is a more simply constructed affair and has no
pods or pouches fixed to the front section, but does have concealed
magnets at the rear for attaching the sticky gun when unassembled. The
second belt has much more detail in the attachments on its front and
has the clip for the grappling gun at its rear, but its cool new
feature is that it is articulated and made up of interlocking sections
that move when you undo it. This makes it sit better against the
figure, and even though it’s only a small detail, it’s a cool one!
instruction booklet provided also has a credit list of the production
crew, and this outfit is credited to Echo & May, who definitely
deserve some recognition for actually managing to replicate the screen
seen suit so accurately at this diminutive scale. My score ends up
having two categories of its own, because I love the way it looks, but
really wish a little more mobility could have been retained.
$259.99 this is definitely a luxury item, but there again, lets not
forget that all designer and high-end ‘adult’ collectibles are a
luxury. None of us ‘need’ these things, we merely ‘want’ them! So like
all art, the price tag has more to do with what you are willing to pay
than what an item is truly worth. That’s not to say I am being flippant
about the rewards Hot Toys deserve for taking on a hefty license, which
can be an expensive gamble (Green Lantern, The Spirit… anyone), and we
all know manufacturing is getting ever more costly. Plus all the
talented artists, creatives and backroom folks need to draw a wage.
$260 is not a sum to be trifled with, it is a sum that needs to be
taken seriously, so take it seriously I do. Yes I can see that the
R&D behind the development and manufacture of this figure must be
eye wateringly high. But I would hope that the amount of units that Hot
Toys will be able to shift should mean recouping that outlay quite
quickly. And considering the recently released Luke Skywalker is a
double figure pack with an impressive light up display stand for a mere
$40 more, makes me think this should have been around the $200 to $225
Well that’s my two-penneth, at the end of the day the
RRP is what it is, the decision on whether you actually want to pay it
is up to you. But regardless of your collective thoughts on its
perceived value, you certainly get a kick ass figure for your money!
Factor - ***1/2
The truth of the matter is that I rarely put my figures in particularly
extreme or deep poses, most end up in a reasonably straightforward
stance, standing and either holding a weapon or gesturing. And for this
figure the stock pose I have been leaving him in so far is standing
with the EMP rifle held in both hands, head slightly tilted, looking
off to the left, its perfect, trust me, and displays all the details I
want to see flawlessly. Of course if I was to actually want to put this
figure in a sitting or even a crouching pose, I would be up a certain
creek without a paddle, but luckily I don’t. The light up EMP rifle and
the collapsible sticky bomb gun are both nicely designed elements that
help enhance and boost this figures cool factor and the whole package
comes together well.
if you were seriously considering giving one of these figures to a kid
you would have to be crazy, the price alone is proof of that. But add
into the equation the potential fragility and almost certain loss or
swallowing of tiny parts and it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that
this is squarely aimed at more mature collectors. If you are one of
those rare adults who can deem it perfectly acceptable to splash $ 260
on an action figure, fill ya boots, it’s a peach!
beat around the bush, to many collectors who just want a solid
representation of the ‘TDK’ suit, and who have already invested in the
first DX 02, this new improved version might not seem quite so
essential. And I can see their point. To the casual fan, both do a
great job in representing the outfit. However, if you are a purist or
worse still a completist this is pretty much a must buy. The way the
suit has been replicated here really is a small labour of love, and
deserves to be recognised as the mini masterpiece it is. The only thing
holding it back is the price and that darned articulation in the legs,
but even taking that into consideration, I love it!
Where to Buy -
The official importer into the North American territories is still Sideshow,
and at the time of writing he was still available from them at the full
RRP of $259.99, however this is not your only option as I did manage to
find it on one sites sponsors BBTS for a slightly more reasonable $239.99
Or you can try eBay where BIN prices are between $265 up to $315… anyone remember when you used to get a bargain on eBay?
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.