Review – Hot Toys 12″ Batman

4 09 2006

Hot Toys went head to head with Takara in their recent releases of the 12″ Batman. This competition means one thing – whoever wins we win! I have reviewed the Takara Batman in this blog so it will be inevitable that comparisons be made in this review. It is actually good as iron sharpens iron and a shootout like this will reveal what works (and don’t work) for a 12″ Batman figure!

I must also highlight that Hot Toy’s Batman is a limited release figure. Every unit comes with a Certificate of Authencity which has its unique limited edition number written on it.

Bottomline

A good effort from Hot Toys with this Batman! Good details, face sculpt and a collector-friendly packaging makes this a worthy buy! However, it has its issues that prevent it from toppling Takara’s Batman from the position of the best 12″ Batman figure. It’s more attractively priced than the Takara and makes a good alternative for those who wants a good and affordable Dark Knight in their collection!

What’s good:

  • Full marks for box art. Beautiful and cool!
  • Packaging design is very collector friendly. Keep it up!
  • Figure has good details and face sculpt.
  • Batman’s cape is double layered, well-sewn and huge!
  • Neck and boots will look better than the Takara’s in a photography shoot.
  • Good material used for batsuit.

What could be better:

  • Figure is much less stable as compared to the Takara. Requires the display stand that comes with it.
  • Figure is a little too bulky, chest looks long, abs are soft and can be pressed in with a finger!
  • Hands looks a bit small(especially the clenched fist) and pops out easily when twisted. Basically, the design from the forearm to the hands could be better.
  • Batman’s head and neck piece becomes misaligned when turned to the side.

Review Details

Packaging

One of Hot Toy’s strong points in their products has got to be the packaging. They are usually collector-friendly and everything in the box can be accessed easily. They have also shown that they can deliver very cool box art designs. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised to find the Hot Toy’s Batman box designed beautifully to match it’s limited release status.

The packaging comes in 2 parts – a cover sleeve and the box itself. The sleeve has the same glossy material found on their Predator snap fit kits. Under light it shines shades of multi-colours that give the box a premium look. There are also well-taken photos of the actual Batman figure inside – something that the Takara’s box did not have. Warning : These photos causes salivating to a collector and pushes the neurological chemicals to enact a decision to buy!

The actual box has a different design. It has a matte surface that’s so comfortable to the touch and depicts the Dark Knight in all his shadowy glory. Very cool! The photos on the box also gives a buyer confidence that money is well-spent.

Undoing the velcro ‘lock’ opens the box flap to reveal the Batman figure inside. Let’s take out the figure for a closer look!

Headsculpt/Resemblance

This Batman’s headsculpt is good… well, depends on the individual, really. I find it good because the features are sharp, the gaze is menacing enough with nothing to complain about the mouth or chin. I’ve always liked a Batman with longer bat ears like those on this Batman.

Compared to the Takara, it has longer ears, longer and more pointy nose and bigger eyes. The nose looks fine although if viewed from the side, it may remind you a little of the Penguin! If the Takara was not released, I would not complain about the eyes. But now, Batman does look to have overdosed on caffeine if standing next to the Takara!

Ok, Hot Toy’s Batman does have a bigger head than Takara’s but I am happy with the sculpt. It is actually pretty good.

Quality of Product

High marks for Hot Toys in the quality department. I prefer the material used for the batsuit than that used on the Takara Batman. The latter had a rubbery material that was tacky to the touch and easily attracts dust particles. The Hot Toys version, however, was easy to the touch and stayed free of dust particles throughout this photo shoot.

The armour design was different for both Batman. Hot Toys Batman has a thin underlying rubber suit with the armour parts worn over it. The Takara version is a 1 piece batsuit with armour and all. Although I’ve yet to ascertain which is movie-accurate, I don’t have complains for either interpretation.

Batman’s cape is another aspect the Hot Toys product edges out the Takara. This Batman’s cape is much bigger than Takara’s and it is sewn double-layer. The material used for the outer layer has a coarse surface while the inner layer is smooth and shiny. I must highlight that the cape is well-sewn and does not allow light to pass through. Takara’s cape is a 1 layer thin cloth which allowed light to pass through when it is backlit. Sewing on the Takara cape was a disappointment as the hem showed a simpler sewing which did not look good in photos. Please check out the photos in the Takara Batman review to see the difference as I do not know how else to describe this!

I tired to pose Batman like in the movie where he was perched on the edge of a building with his majestic cape all around him. I would say my attempt was pretty close except for the right backdrop. See the pic below.

Stability

In the stability shootout, Takara’s Batman wins hands down. While taking pictures for the Hot Toys Batman, I had set up a makeshift ‘studio’ platform that had a slight gradient. The room was slightly windy.

Making the Hot Toys figure stand still was tough. I would attribute the difficulty to the design of the boot/feet for a figure with such a huge and thick cape. It has the normal 1 piece boot which restricts the ankle articulation of the body underneath. This prevents the feet from laying totally flat on the surface. Takara’s feet design was obviously catered to stability than being pretty – though they made a good effort to make it look good. It had a 2 piece design just like the feet on a nude body. It’s heavy duty and very stable.

You may think that maybe on a flat surface, it would had been easier. And that I was punishing the Hot Toys to give brownie points to the Takara.

At this point, I took out the Takara to get both Batman to have their first shot together and guess what… I got the Takara to stand on that same surface on the first try. Read 1 second taken. And that fella just stood there even when I fiddled with the Hot Toys. Without the shadow of a doubt, the Hot Toys is much less stable.

The lack of stability makes posing a figure less enjoyable. Think of it this way: What’s good having several types of hands but can’t handle the pose that they are meant for?

In fact, the Hot Toys really needed the display stand that comes with it. I think that this figure may have taken his dad’s advice (“Bruce, why do we fall?” “So we can blah blah blah) too seriously!

Proportions

For a producer of so many wonderful 12″ Military figures, Hot Toys’ Batman has disappointing proportions. Ok, they got the height just about right… at least Batman is not a shorty. The main problem seems to be mainly on the upper body of this figure. Compared to the Takara, this Batman is a bodybuilder under that suit! In fact, it reveals that the Takara is too slender… which is true. Takara’s Batman with suit looks about the correct size for Bruce Wayne without the suit. But Takara Batman is already wearing the batsuit!

Back to Hot Toys, Batman’s chest is too long and shoulders are too broad. The body reminds me of an over-the-hill bodybuilder with sagging chest muscles and sloping shoulders. I believe this problem points to an ill-fitting upper body batsuit. Even the abs are not taut like the Takara. I was surprised that there was a significant amount of space between the nude body and the suit around the abs area. This problem is accentuated when you try to use the display stand by clipping it around Batman’s waist. You could see the display stand clip tightly around the waist making a small buldge on the abs due to the wider batsuit.

The Takara’s proportions are better – the shoulders look realistic, chest length just about right. It’s just that it’s too lean. I would say a body size between the Hot Toys and the Takara would be just right.

Hot Toys Batman would look ok if you do not put it next to the Takara. With the large cape and the good headsculpt, the mis-proportions could be overlooked for a Batman fan.

Accessories

Hot Toy’s Batman comes with a good set of accessories. Check out the picture below for the complete set of accessories.

Takara’s Batman may seem to have more accessories but I feel the difference is due to the direction the company is going into for this product. For example, the Christian Bale head, harness, balaclava etc caters to Bruce Wayne’s exploits before his batsuit was ready. It is accurate to storyline in Batman Begins.

Hot Toys may have headed for the mainstream direction, that is – Batman in batsuit and everything. Their package has more hands – 3 right and 2 left excluding the the 2 clenched fists default on the figure. It has a hand particularly provided for grasping the bat bomb which looks like a super mini sea mine. I really found this accessory really cool and it is movie-accurate too! Remember Batman escaping Arkham Asylum in Batman Begins?

Another difference is that Takara provides 3 batarangs while Hot Toys has 2. To me, it is not really an issue to have 1 less batarang.

Overall, the accessories are good… well, until someone comes along and gives a more comprehensive array of accessories that define a new ‘standard’ for 12″ figures. The standard stuff are there… several sets of hands, the figure’s weapons etc.

Conclusion

So which is the better Batman? My personal preference would be the Takara. Why? Well, it had better body proportions, more stable and better head/neck articulation. These are attributes tantamount to a great figure to me.

However, Hot Toys’ Batman has its merits and areas that were superior to the Takara. Not to mention that it is more affordable than the Takara. It’s a good figure. In fact, it is good enough for me to have it on my display cabinet and I’ll probably convert the Takara into the Bruce Wayne in harness mode.

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2 responses

12 12 2007
Biggis Spielzeugoase

Thank you for this information. Will probably for a while in your blog. Your blog is really the bomb.

12 12 2007
swftoys

Hi Biggis,
Thanks. I hope the contents will be helpful to you. See you around!

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