Funko Batman ’66 action figures review

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I’ve said it many, many times before, and it bears repeating: the 1960s Batman television show is experiencing a well-deserved renaissance.  With books, movies, and other memorabilia coming out to celebrate the landmark show, there’s something out there for every fan of the zany adventures of Adam West and Burt Ward’s Caped Crusaders to enjoy.  Stepping up to the plate to deliver a line of action figures are Funko, those purveyors of plastic Pop playthings.  While the company is best known for their figurines that range from cute to absolutely amazing, they have also made a stab at the action figure market for some time.  Now, they bring their talents to Batman ’66, with a line of 3.75″ figures that include Batman, Batgirl, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, King Tut (?), and Bookworm (?!), as well as a to-scale Batmobile with its own Batman and Robin figures.

How do these knick-knacks and novelties match up against other toyetic trinkets, baubles, and curios?  Read on, chums.

Get used to that tabletop.

Batman

Batman here is a great little figure, with nice details that are pure.  West.  His mask has the painted on nose and eyebrows, which are a must, the symbol on his chest is appropriately sized and placed, and the boots have a slight point to them at the shin.  They even got more negligible details right, like the ruffling under the cape and the fact that his belt pouches are upside down.  The cape itself is soft plastic with some good scalloping at the bottom, though it’s a bit flimsy around the neck.

Of the seven figures he’s far and away the most poseable, with solid knee and hip joints, arms with a decent range of motion, and a movable head.  Most figures lack that last function, so it was a nice surprise to see that Batman could turn his head.

The figure comes with a small Bat-radar device that fits in his hand reasonably well.  I would have preferred a Batarang or maybe some sort of Batspray, but it’s a nice little accessory.  All in all Batman is one of the better figures in the line.

It should also be noted that a Batman variant is one of two chase figures in the line.  Instead of the classic Batsuit, the chase figure is in the screen test outfit Adam West wore when he auditioned for the role.  It is incredible and I need it.

Batgirl

With the bright purples and yellows of her costume and that red hair, Batgirl is a very pretty, striking figure.  Her hair has a nice molded shape to it, and I like that her cape is short and likes to hang a little off-center.  She has a passing resemblance to Yvonne Craig at best, but you’ll find that’s a pretty common theme with these toys.

From a construction standpoint, there are a few flaws here.  The way she’s packaged made her right leg bend a bit  so it’s really hard to get her to stand on her own, and it’s almost impossible to fit her accessory in either of her hands.  It’s a fun little radio that looks nice enough, but I seriously had to jam it in one of her hands to get it to stick.  I was afraid I was going to break her thumb at some point in doing so, which is never a good feeling.

Still, despite some shortcomings it’s a nice figure.  I’m glad Barbara was included in this first wave of figures to round out the Dynamic Duo with the Dominoed Daredoll.

Catwoman

Catwoman is the last figure that makes sense to be included in the first wave.  On top of having an iconic look, she’s one of Batman’s most recognizable foes, so having her as a figure is a no-brainer.

While her outfit is pretty simple, there are still plenty of nice details that make the action figure visually interesting.  Her cat ears are nice and on-model, resting atop some nicely molded hair (that distinctly differs from Batgirl’s), and the light gold necklace and belt give the character a pop of color.  One of the biggest surprises in this line are the details that went into each character’s boots, as everyone has a distinct piece of footwear.  Catwoman’s are some of the best, with a nice heel and low cuff that give a nice visual break in all that black.

She comes with a little cat-shaped pistol that fits in her hand well enough, and compared to Batgirl she’s much easier to pose.  While she’s still a bit wobbly, it was much easier to get Catwoman to stand on her own.  Saying that, though, she pretty much has to be standing up straight if you want to pose her in any way, as even a small change to her leg positions will cause her to fall over.

Mr. Freeze

Now this is what I’m talking about.  Mr. Freeze isn’t as big a name as Joker or the Riddler, but with a great look and neat gimmick he makes for a pretty cool great action figure.

Based off the Otto Preminger iteration of the character, Mr. Freeze has a pretty good likeness to the actor.  He’s bald, so that’s like 80% of the way there, and those intense, epic eyebrows really sell the look.  The design of his freeze suit is nice and cheesy, as it should be, and I liked some of the small details on his bodysuit like the molded pockets.  His hands are made from two different types of molds, too, with his right hand having a slightly cocked pointer finger to simulate holding his freeze ray.

…if he could actually hold it, that is.  It’s a nice idea, but the bulkiness of the handle and trigger on the gun don’t fit in his hand very easily.  It’s a fun little accessory to be sure, but behind Batgirl he was the hardest one to get to hold his weapon.

Besides that though, the figure is great.  I love the use of silver paint on his gloves and boots, and he probably has the best likeness of any character here.

Freeze also has a variant chase figure, this one based off of Eli Wallach’s look.  Not quite as intense as Preminger here, but a good likeness nonetheless.

King Tut

Remember how I said that Catwoman was the last figure that made sense to be in the first wave?  Well, here’s King Tut.

This is not a knock against King Tut in any way.  On the contrary, Victor Buono’s performance made Tut one of the best and most memorable villains on the show, and he was far and away the most popular original villain (though a case could be made for Egghead).  But with a wave that includes Batman, Batgirl, Robin, and Catwoman, you’d think they’d get one of the more recognizable villains in the set, like Penguin.

Really, though, I don’t care, because this action figure rules.  He has a rather insane smile on his face, which is a nice break from the rather stoic looks the other characters have, and his outfit is gorgeously detailed.  From his headpiece down to his sandals, there isn’t an inch of Tut that isn’t well-crafted.  Just take a look at the gallery and look at all those gorgeous purples, blues, and reds.  His robe even has a nice silhouette to it, widening at the waist and getting narrower around his feet.

The character is nice and hefty, giving him good balance, and he comes with two different accessories: a hook and a flail.  They each fit in either hand very well, which is very important.  Given the bulkiness of the costume he isn’t the most posable character, mostly being able to move his arms up and down.  That’s fine, though, as Tut here is such a good looking figure you may just want to display him.  Make a throne for him to lounge on.  Go full Buono.

Bookworm

If Tut is the best figure in the lot, Bookworm here might be my favorite.  Only appearing in one two-parter in the entire series’ run, Bookworm is still one of the most memorable original foes that Batman faced in the television series.  Part of the is thanks to Roddy McDowall’s excellent performance, and part of it is the brilliant character design.  The performance part may not be able to translate to a plastic action figure, but the great design sure can.

Unlike Tut, Bookworm isn’t remarkably colorful, with just a hint of white and gold to break up the brown hues of his ensemble.  Like Tut, though, there’s still a crazy amount of detail here, so he doesn’t just look like a boring amorphous mess.

The most prominent feature Bookworm has is his headlamp which is perched proudly atop his hat.  His eyeglasses are a nice little detail, molded from clear plastic when they could have easily been painted on.  His suit, which was brown leather in the show, has an appropriate sheen along with gold trim around the edges and pockets.  Even his shoes have a distinct look, evoking a nice pair of brown Oxfords.

He comes with a large brown book, appropriately enough, and it fits his hand fine.  It is rather drab, though, without a title or any detailing on the spine.  The figure itself is great enough I almost rather he hadn’t come with an accessory, or maybe make his hat removable and that would be enough.  Regardless, he’s a great figure and one of the best of the lot.

Batman, Robin, and the Batmobile

Great as some of the individual figures are, if you’re going to buy one of these it might as well be this one.  I mean, it’s the Batmobile!  Greatest whip of all time!  You’d be foolish to pass that up.

The set comes with a Batman figure, a Robin figure, and the Batmobile.  Batman and Robin come in their own plastic blister that keeps them secure while also doubling as a possible death trap.

It’s rare that the packaging can be used in play, but seriously, this is totally something Joker would have encased them in had he gotten around to it.  Gotham isn’t the home to abandoned Giant Action Figure Factories for nothing.

The Batman that’s included has no discernible differences compared to the individually packaged Batman, save for the fact that he doesn’t come with an accessory.  Unless… Robin is supposed to be his accessory, in which case this Batman wins.

Ultimate. Accessory.

The whole set is nicely packaged against a cardboard diorama of the Gotham skyline, complete with Batsignal.  It’s really nice and made of solid, sturdy cardboard, so even out of the package it makes a nice display piece.  Robin doesn’t bear much of a likeness to Burt Ward, but that’s easily forgivable.  The figure has some nice details regardless, including a collared cape and “elf boots.”  He’s also shorter than Batman, too, which is a nice touch.

The Batmobile itself… it’s just awesome.  It looks like the full-size version, with the open canopy, rocket booster, and triple-exhaust ports.   The wheels turn and can actually get some decent speed, and they’re set in the chassis well enough that they don’t wiggle around.  Within the cockpit there’s a small red Batphone and a Bat-fire extinguisher, which are fun little details, though a few labels would have been nice.  Still, it’s understandable why they kept things pretty simple, and it still looks great regardless.

The biggest issue I had with the Batmobile was in getting the Dynamic Duo in their seats.  They fit fine and there’s plenty of room, but the capes got in the way.  It’s really difficult getting them in comfortably without having the capes stick out over the cockpit canopies, and that puts strain on the capes.  That’s more an issue with the capes and less to do with the vehicle, though, and even then it isn’t a huge issue.

And hey, other figures fit in there fine, so the girls can make a getaway.

Punch it, Selina.

Value: The figures retail at around $10 a piece which is a bit steep, though par for the course these days.  The Batmobile set can be found for just over $30, though, which is a real value considering the quality of the vehicle and inclusion of two figures.

Overall: This wave is a great start to what I hope becomes a bigger line of figures.  Despite a few sculpting issues, each figure is pretty great on its own, though the accessories still need to be worked on.  Casual fans may not get why a guy like King Tut or Mr. Freeze got precedence over Joker or Riddler, but when those are two of the best figures in the wave it’s easy to get over.  With great playability and an absolutely amazing Batmobile, here’s hoping we can see more figures, vehicles, and playsets from Funko in the near future.

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