Most of you are hopefully familiar with the Hot Toys brand by now; their Dark Knight Trilogy ⅙ scale figures date back to 2008.  Since then they have made three different TDK Trilogy Batman/Bruce Wayne figures, five Jokers, Scarecrow, Two-Face/Harvey Dent, Selina Kyle, Bane, Gordon in SWAT gear, and Demon Batman. Next summer they will be releasing Commissioner Gordon and John Blake as a packaged set with the Bat Signal. In addition to the TDK line they’ve produced figures for Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film (with two versions of the Joker), a Batman design based on the Arkham Asylum game (a Joker is also in production), and Batman and Robin from the 1966 series. Howard Chan, president of Hot Toys and the guy behind all of its decisions clearly loves Batman (a love perhaps only challenged by his obvious passion for Iron Man, but that’s a whole different room full of toys).

So what’s so special about Hot Toys (aside from their exorbitant price tags–which true fans nonetheless barely blanch at)? Simply this: state of the art design. While there are some companies out there who make fine (and cheaper) toys, and while there are other ⅙ scale manufacturers that also do great work, Hot Toys has been a trend-setter and industry leader from the start. So sure: if you want to have some cool Batman toys to go play with out in the yard, you probably have a dozen other options. But if you want something that will make a truly awesome display piece, that can also provide hours of (albeit more gentle) fun, and has unparalleled accuracy, articulations, and detailing, then Hot Toys is the way to go. Hot Toys also hold their value as collectors items. If taken care of properly, chances are you can sell them at cost (or more) if you ever get sick of them or have to, I don’t know, pay the bills or something boring and responsible.

I’ve been collecting the TDK lines of Hot Toys for some years and have most of the releases. I also believe that toys are made to be played with even when they’re “high end” collectibles–primarily because I don’t intend to ever hope to sell them. I can attest to the fact that Hot Toys are generally fairly durable (though yes, I’ve broken a wrist peg here and there). They do have delicate parts that need more gentle handling, but for the most part they have sufficient integrity to withstand moderate regular play (and I know from experience because I have been playing with mine for years).

The Unboxing

This bonanza set is a Holy Grail for Batman fans: complete figures of Batman, Bruce Wayne, and Alfred (so cool you want Batman and Bruce to be two separate people just so you can display them together even though it makes Bruce look like he’s got a doppelganger).

Unboxing is part of the experience of savoring Hot Toys. This one comes in an immense container, complete with its own handle for ease of carrying (bravo on that little detail), though it’s not too heavy.

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Hard cider not included: shown only for scale.

The box art is nothing spectacular. Often Hot Toys does interesting and wonderful things with their box designs, but this is pretty much just utilitarian. And it’s just a box anyway, so it’s perfectly fine.

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It does have a nice sheen on the logo

Inside, it’s packaged beautifully: compact in layers as their figures always are. This always adds an extra depth to the fun of unboxing because you keep picking up layer after layer to reveal new goodies (it’s all about the goodies, man). And the sweet sweet smell. You know what I’m talking about, you other Hot Toys owners out there.

The top layer is all the figures and they are carefully immobilized and wrapped so as not to get damaged in transit. Some of Hot Toys fancier efforts are packaged in foam, but this set goes the more economic route with plastic. Each figure comes fully assembled with a number of extra hands and accessories. For Bruce and Alfred that amounts to display stands if you like to display them with their names and logos (I never use the stands–arranged properly, Hot Toys typically don’t need support). Alfred also comes with an overcoat which is stored in another layer below.

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Batman comes with a number of additional accessories: an empty cowl to display the suit within the armory, a neck adapter, and a collar–so that you can trade out both the empty cowl and the Bruce Wayne head. There are also three additional face plates, so you can change Batman’s expression (based on a sampling of Christian Bale’s weird ducky lips–the accuracy is astounding!). The previous release (DX12) had only two additional plates and there was some grumbling in the ⅙ fan community that the range was not what they had hoped for, but this new sampler seems to cover all occasions!

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Which one is best for “Where is the trigger!”

Before you can get much further you can’t help but notice the bright yellow warning on the top tray. If you’re not new to Hot Toys you know this warning is on every set and you might be inclined to ignore it and just start taking everything apart. So Hot Toys made sure to put a second warning right on Batman himself (on his belt) to say: yes, you do need to read the instructions!

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They really mean it

I’m exactly the kind of person who ignores these stickers, so I’m glad I was pulled up short because reading the folded booklet for this one can save you time and frustration (and potential damage) with a number of instructions for equipping Batman’s utility belt, removing armory pieces from their foam so as not to wreck the foam, getting the LED lights running, and identifying some of the more puzzling bits and pieces. This is a pretty complex set, but the instructions are easy to understand and generally expressed in the universal language of pictures, which is helpful for, again, people like me who don’t want to read and just want to play with their toys.

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Did you get all that? Shall we proceed?

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Hot Toys Jim Gordon in kitbashed TDKR clothes is totally sold separately

Below the figures is the armory, Alfred’s overcoat, and Batman’s cape. I will confess that I did not open Batman’s cape because I have a custom one that I prefer, but I understand from other pictures/reviews that it has designed clasps (the DX12 cape was a bear to install), and that it drapes more nicely than the previous one, though some have complained that it is too thin (and allows light through).

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Stuff and stuff and endless stuff

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This is how the armory looks straight out of the box

The Awesome

There are some things that struck me as pretty darn cool once I’d liberated everything from the packaging. Most importantly (and I mentioned this a little before), Hot Toys appears to have been responsive to feedback on the DX12. While the Bruce Wayne is the same sculpt as the DX12 with a new paint job, the Batman head is completely remodeled. The cowl has a new shape, the eyes are smaller, the lids are painted, and the mouths overall are much more accurate and nuanced.

Also corrected were a few inaccuracies of the suit (like the misalignment of the bat symbol). While I concede the DX12 had minor (some very minor) issues, the redesign does seem to address them all very nicely. As someone who purchased the DX12, I don’t feel like I bought a duplicate figure at all.

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Batman Armory Batman (L) vs. DX12 Batman (R)

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Batman Armory Bruce (L) vs. DX12 Bruce (R)

Alfred is awesome. A lot of people felt like Hot Toys wouldn’t make an Alfred because, let’s face it, he’s an old man in a suit (not really a thrilling action figure). But c’mon, this is Alfred, the greatest Butler that ever lived. The fans were begging for him from the start and finally Hot Toys produced him–and produced him wonderfully.  He’s still an old guy in a suit, but the likeness of Michael Caine is spot-on and he looks awesome next to Bruce. For a lot of collectors, he’s the gem of the set.

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Bruce’s pinstripe suit and striped shirt are great and Alfred’s overcoat has a wonderful suede feel to it (very soft!). The clothes are nicely tailored, though I wish they both weren’t wearing red ties. Technically I think Bruce’s is slightly more wine-colored, but they are too similar. Both have plastic shoes, which is a bummer since they spoiled us all by making Joker’s shoes with real laces and fabric the last go-round. But the molding on the shoes is still nice.  All of the pockets on both suits are real (even the tiny vest ones) and Bruce has belt loops on his slacks even though you’d never see them unless you undressed the figure. They also both have black socks. It’s details like this, again, that have put Hot Toys at the top of their class.

Batman also has Hot  Toys’ patented PERS (Parallel Eyeball Rolling System), which, along with the face plates makes him probably the most facially articulate figure on the market.

And then there’s just the Armory itself, which, holy cow, there just are no words. Batarangs, sticky bomb guns, grapnel guns. extra belts, mini-mines. So much cool stuff it’s ridiculous. The armory opens from both the front and the back to allow easy access and every piece has its place (though if you’re like me you’ll be dropping things left and right as you put them in and take them out, so make sure you’re working in a space where things won’t roll away or get eaten by pets). And a utility belt you can actually load up with gizmos? Ridiculously awesome!

The base for the stand can also be turned around (if you don’t want the logo to display because you’d rather pretend that Bruce Wayne and Alfred live in your cabinet–some people really go for that hyper realism). The LED lights in the armory are very nice and it comes with a remote so you don’t have to fuss with it too much if you want to turn it on and off.

A final cool detail of this set (particularly for Hot Toys collectors) is the inclusion of two “uncommon” hand shapes: one for holding thin items (like the batarangs), and one for holding round things (like the nunchucks). Most Hot Toys come with pretty standard hands, but these special ones are nice to have, given the range of armory doodads.

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“Let me hang my coat, Sir. Then we can finish putting away your expensive toys from Fox.”

The Bad Less Awesome

Batman’s articulation is comparatively poor to other Hot Toys figures. This is due to the complexity of his suit and the fact that he’s got an extra layer of fabric underneath the Kevlar to help bulk him up (and possibly reduce friction). The previous Batman release (DX12) was built in the same way and the first thing I did was buy a second spare body so that I could hack out the layers and improve his ability to do basic things like sit or crouch. I won’t be doing that with this version, but I wanted to mention it here because the biggest drawback to this set is that Batman is a very stiff figure and only an extreme modification can change that. This may not be an issue for someone who just wants to pose Batman in a display case and make him look pretty standing next to the armory (or to use the suit with the empty cowl option), but could be a deal-breaker for anyone who wants to do anything more dynamic.

Also, my battery for the remote was DOA. I was going to dock a smidge off for quality care and then noticed that the specs say “battery not included”, so I can’t really complain that they gave me a dead sample of the battery you’ll need to buy to get the remote to work.

In addition to the 3V for the remote, you’ll need three AA batteries as well. I hate things that require batteries, so I’m just noting this here, though it’s not really a mark against it since you really don’t want something like this to be stored or shipped with batteries (which are environmental devils and the enemies of all plastics).

The Ugly The Staggering

Can you dock points off for a toy being so awesome that it takes hours to assemble? I started unboxing at about 11 am and quit around 1 pm because I needed to get this review written and it was taking me forever and a day to set up. I’m sure if I hadn’t stopped to play with everything, I could have finished quicker, but it’s virtually impossible, I tell you, to try to put this together without examining all the little details of everything or seeing how all the pieces looks in Batman’s hand. I didn’t even get around to assembling his utility belt, never mind finishing with the 113 pieces that make up the armory (including 27 individual rounds of ammo).

So if you’re wondering where the money shot is of the completed set, I didn’t take one because I am still playing with it and I realized I’d promised I’d get this review done today. But there are plenty of images online already from professional photographers (and videos if you want to see other people’s unboxings).

And besides, Selina was getting cranky because I also promised that Alfred and Bruce would help her decorate the Christmas tree.

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Make your holiday happier with Hot Toys!

Product Details (Specs)

Product Size

14.5″ H (368.3mm)*

Dimensional Weight

12 lbs*

Int’l Dim. Weight

24 lbs*

* Size and weight are approximate values.

Artists:

Bruce Wayne figure:

  • Head Sculpted by Kojun
  • Head Painted by JC. Hong
  • Head Art Directed by JC. Hong
  • Costume Designed by Hai Lim

Alfred Pennyworth figure:

  • Head Sculpted by Im Jung Hyuk & Yu Mi Kim
  • Head Painted by JC. Hong
  • Head Art Directed by Yulli
  • Costume Designed by Hai Lim

What’s in the Box?

A full listing of the contents:

Spoiler

The 1/6th scale Batman Armory Collectible features:

  • Authentically detailed 1/6th scale Batman Armory in The Dark Knight
  • Approximately 37 cm tall
  • Movable armory doors
  • Movable armory shelves
  • Light-up function on armory ceiling with remote control

The 1/6th scale Batman Collectible Figure features:

  • One (1) Batman head with patented Parallel Eyeball Rolling System (PERS) and four (4) interchangeable lower part of faces capturing his classic facial expressions
  • One (1) complex Batman body featuring fabric material covered with armor

Costume:

  • One (1) Batsuit collar
  • One (1) black cape
  • One (1) pair of black boots
  • Six (6) pieces of interchangeable gloved palms including:
  • One (1) pair of fists
  • One (1) pair of relaxed palms
  • One (1) left open palm
  • One (1) right palm for holding batarang

Weapons:

  • One (1) surudoi saw
  • One (1) nunchuck
  • One (1) cutter
  • Two (2) smoke bombs
  • Three (3) sticky-bomb guns
  • Three (3) grappling guns
  • Three (3) Batarangs for attaching to utility belt
  • Four (4) mini mines
  • Six (6) ninja spikes
  • Eight (8) Batarangs

Accessories:

  • One (1) set of wire
  • One (1) antidote injector
  • One (1) drill
  • One (1) set of drill bits
  • One (1) big hook
  • Two (2) holders for Batarangs attachable to utility belt
  • Three (3) utility belts
  • Three (3) gun holders
  • Three (3) holders attachable to utility belt
  • Four (4) hooks
  • Five (5) sets of grappling gun clips
  • Fourteen (14) mini canisters
  • Fifteen (15) pouches
  • Twenty seven (27) rounds of ammo
  • Armory stand with the movie logo

The 1/6th scale Bruce Wayne Collectible Figure features:

  • Newly painted head sculpt with authentic and detailed fully realized likeness of Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight
  • Movie-accurate facial features with detailed wrinkles and skin texture
  • Approximately 30 cm tall
  • Body with over 30 points of articulations
  • Seven (7) pieces of interchangeable palms including:
    • One (1) pair of fists
    • One (1) pair of relaxed palms
    • One (1) pair of holding palms
    • One (1) right palm for holding batarang
    • Each piece of head sculpt is specially hand-painted

Costume:

  • One (1) light blue shirt
  • One (1) dark red tie
  • One (1) black pinstripe vest
  • One (1) black pinstripe blazer
  • One (1) pair of black pinstripe pants
  • One (1) pair of black shoes

Accessories:

  • Figure stand with Bruce Wayne nameplate and the movie logo

The 1/6th scale Alfred Pennyworth Collectible Figure features:

  • Authentic and detailed fully realized likeness of Sir Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth in The Dark Knight
  • Movie-accurate facial features with detailed wrinkles and skin texture
  • Approximately 30 cm tall
  • Body with over 30 points of articulations
  • Seven (7) pieces of interchangeable palms including:
  • One (1) pair of fists
  • One (1) pair of relaxed palms
  • One (1) pair of holding palms
  • One (1) right palm for holding batarang
  • Each piece of head sculpt is specially hand-painted

Costume:

  • One (1) white shirt
  • One (1) red tie
  • One (1) black vest
  • One (1) black blazer
  • One (1) black coat
  • One (1) pair of black pants
  • One (1) pair of black shoes

Accessories:

  • Figure stand with Alfred Pennyworth nameplate and the movie logo
  • Batteries not included, 2A batteries (a total of 3 pieces) are required
  • Battery not included for remote control, button cells are required (see my note below).

Playing with your ⅙ Scale Toys

To get the most enjoyment from your Hot Toys and to help them last longer, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you understand how ⅙ scale bodies are built so that you know where and how to bend and rotate their joints.  Either strip your figures completely to study them or look at examples of Hot Toys bodies online (Note: DO NOT strip your Batman figure unless you have mad skills working with ⅙ figures).
  • Remove figure heads, hands, and feet for ease of dressing and undressing.
  • If removal of any of the above parts makes you nervous or seems difficult, use a hairdryer to warm and soften the plastic (don’t melt it!).
  • Alfred’s overcoat can fit over his jacket, but if you want a less bulky look, take off his jacket first.
  • When gearing up your Batman figure, remember that his head is just held on by a magnet, so take it off until you’ve got his body in the position and with the gear that you want. Otherwise you risk dropping the head off as the magnet, while strong, can detach if you turn the figure on the side or upside down.
  • If you break wrist pegs, all Hot Toys come with spares. Also, you can purchase them cheaply online (along with dozens of other spare parts).
  • Futz, futz, futz! Straight out of the box Hot Toys don’t always look their best (due to packing and travel). Take the time to groom and redress them to make sure their clothes fall properly. If they are wrinkled, you can straighten them with a little water and heat (no microwaving!). Hot Toys look their best when futzed with care.
  • Tons of more ⅙ accessories can be found online and can add even more display/play possibilities, but beware: these toys can be very addicting!

Recommended If…

  • You can afford ‘em! (and especially if you somehow missed out on the DX12 Batman release).
  • You want to display your love for the TDK Trilogy in an awesome, changeable diorama.
  • Your inner child needs nurturing this Christmas!

Overall

However expensive this set is, you have two other cheaper options: one with just the armory and Batman, and another with Batman, the armory, and Alfred. Given that the price of individual Hot Toys is in the $190-$250 range these days, however, this set with three complete figures and the armory (and its 100+ doodads) is a really good deal from Sideshow Toys for $644.99 (when shipping is added). Sideshow regularly has extra deals too, so you might find a coupon to shave a bit more off.  While I think the redesign on Batman is really nice, I would have liked for them to have resolved some of the articulation issues from the DX12. To be honest, I also like my Bruce Wayne head from the DX12 better than this one, but the fact that this comes with a suit and a body is pretty awesome. Alfred, meanwhile, is the best of the bunch: picture perfect in every way.  High-end collectible toys aren’t for everybody, but if you want to spoil yourself rotten, you can’t go wrong with Hot Toys.

SCORE: 9/10