1966 TV Series Batmobile
Like everyone (well, every geek at least), I have my own opinions on what makes Batman work best, and that's about as far from the version portrayed by Adam West as possible. And yet, there's something about the zany adventures of the 60's that's, well, gosh darn fun. And it's hard to think of anything that better represents the show (and connected film) better than the Batmobile.
I have a "healthy" collection of Batmobiles, mostly from when Corgi had the license. Their time has come and gone, and the license has passed to Hot Wheels, a subsidiary of Mattel, who DC's trusting with almost all of their mass market toys.
While Corgi gave us some versions of the Batmobile dating from similar eras, they weren't able to deliver the iconic car driven by Adam West. Hot Wheels has rectified this with a 1:18 scale version of the car. There are also more costly collector versions available, but if you're reading a site called The Clearance Bin, I'm guessing you don't have any more interest in dropping that kind of cash than I do.
Appearance: 8 out of 10
I figure the Batmobile, like most SF television vehicles, underwent a lot of changes as the show went on, with pieces added and pulled off, extras painted and repainted, and so on. I'm sure there are plenty of sites and reviews out there where you can find detailed information about when in the series this was modelled after and how well they did.
But I don't know the show that well and I don't care about the details that much, either. My score is based on two simple criteria: how good the vehicle looks and how well it captures the spirit of the original.
On both counts it does very well, but I have just enough issues that I have to pull the score down to an eight. The issues here are overall problems, rather than specifics, so they were hard to pin down. As soon as I first saw this version of the Batmobile (after I was finished gasping), I felt like something was a little off. It took some time looking at pictures from the original, but I think I finally figured out what bothers me.
First of all, there's the orange paint lines around the car. While these are neat and well placed, they're thicker than they seemed to be in the original (I also think the coloring could be a little more vibrant). In addition, some of the detailing was omitted, particularly in the front, when the toy was being sculpted.
The pieces on the top and inside the car are also less elaborate and less detailed than I'd have liked.
Packaging and Extras: ----
The package is nice enough, though very simple. Its main purpose is to show off the toy, and I'll grant that's probably all it needs to do. There's not much on the back, though they did find the space to add in a few of the show's iconic "sound effects."
The Batmobile does come with some extras, though nothing all that exciting. The extras are connected to the packaging. Literally. The car is screwed in place to some plastic pegs you can use to connect the Batmobile to a display case. In fact, if you're one of those collectors who likes their toys mint in the original package, this is going to work out nicely for you.
For the rest of us, it's kind of a pain to get the Batmobile out, since it takes some time and a screwdriver. It's not too bad, though, and it means the car was protected during shipping.
Play and Display: +1
First of all, lets discuss what's here to like. The doors open and close beautifully, and turning the steering wheel moves the wheels. Since I'm used to Batmobiles where the front axles are locked in place, it was a welcome surprise.
Unfortunately, I'm also used to Batmobiles in this scale having a hood or trunk that opens. That's not the case here, where these are fused shut. If you spring for some of the more lavish versions, I think you get something under the hood, but I don't understand why they couldn't have afforded something simple here.
Also (and this is about as minor a nitpick as I can make) the little "spinning thing" on top of the car can't spin. I'm not sure why you'd need it to, but it was a little surprising. I guess every penny counts.
Even without an opening trunk/hood, I'm still going to bump the score up by one. The working front wheels, doors, and the display pegs (they have to come in somewhere) justify a bonus point. It could have been higher, though.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 9 out of 10
At forty dollars (and up) this is an expensive toy. But lets not lose sight of what this is. This isn't a piece of plastic: this is (mostly) metal, and, for all my whining, it looks fantastic on the shelf.
Maybe it's the Christmas spirit, but I don't forty dollars is all that unreasonable, all things considered. It's certainly on the edge, but this is a good sized toy that would make an excellent centerpiece for a collector - even non collectors who like the old show could display one of these without appearing too geeky.
Of course, if you're lucky you can get it for a lot less. This one was actually a Christmas gift from my wife, and (I think) she got it for around twenty-five. At that price, it's a heck of a bargain.
Now, if we can just get Hot Wheels to put out the Batmobile from Batman Beyond and the Batwing from the Animated Series we'd be all set.
Well, that's a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, or whatever you like from The Clearance Bin. Don't forget to stop by the "Uncanny X-Mas" special, and of course leave any feedback in The Middle Room.