During the making of Batman Begins, production designer Nathan Crowley and director Christopher Nolan agreed to never do a flying machine because it would not be believable to the audience of this new, more realistic take on the Batman mythology. However, when it came time for the conclusion of The Dark Knight Trilogy the two started working on designs for just such a vehicle before a first draft of The Dark Knight Rises script was even finished.

With there being no runway in the Batcave, the vehicle would need to lift off and hover like a harrier jet, but it would also need to maneuver like a helicopter in order to pull off the film’s climactic action sequence so writer David Goyer suggested they look to experimental urban warfare aircraft. As the screenplay evolved and scenes required an even larger plane for The Caped Crusader, Crowley drew inspiration from the Boeing Osprey and added more aggressive armor while still trying to give the Bat a look that felt as though it was still from the Wayne Applied Sciences division and the Tumbler/Batpod family. To quote Nathan Crowley, “…it wound up looking like a flying bug. It was faceted and paneled like the Batmobile, but much more organic, with jump jets on the front and underslung choppers.”

Five models were sculpted. The Mach 4 was kept by Crowley while Nolan took the final Mach 5 home with him. Now, over three years after the release of The Dark Knight Rises, you can own your own model much like the one sitting somewhere in Christopher Nolan’s house only his probably doesn’t light up or include a miniature Batman and Catwoman…

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Unboxing the Hot Toys The Bat Deluxe

The Bat is many things, but “small” is not one of them. The cardboard box it arrived in was gargantuan and the official Hot Toys packaging is guaranteed to take up a sizable portion of your storage space. And yes, you’ll hang on to the box. Like all Hot Toys, the Bat’s box showcases its own original artwork, but it’s nowhere near as creative as what we’ve seen from their collectible figures like the Heath Ledger Joker or the ’66 Dynamic Duo. Still, its bold color scheme, oversized lettering, and captivating side graphics make quite a statement. That said, the thing could’ve still have used a pair of handles. It’s cumbersome.

Here’s what’s in the box:

The Bat

  • (6) front LED lights
  • (6) LED lights in the middle of aircraft
  • (2) LED light up back engines
  • Functional cockpit door
  • (2) Seaters
  • Moveable front dual rotors
  • Rotatable underside propellers
  • Articulated flaps at the back
  • (2) machine guns
  • (2) Side panel rocket launchers
  • Remote control for LED light-up and propellers spinning functions

1/12th scale Collectible Figures

  • (1) Batman Collectible Figure
  • (1) Selina Kyle (Catwoman) Collectible Figure

Accessories

  • (1) Fusion reactor
  • (1) Set of collectible stands for The Bat

Three (3) AAA batteries required (not included)

Product Size

29.5L x 16.5W x 10.5H inches

Dimensional Weight

55 lbs.

Int’l Dim. Weight

76 lbs.

BatShowcase

The Bat Deluxe

Personally, I was never a big fan of the Bat in The Dark Knight Rises. It just seemed kind of ugly and for a vehicle called “The Bat” it sure as heck didn’t look anything like a bat. But after spending nearly three hours piecing together this authentically detailed replica, I have a newfound appreciation for the third-generation Applied Sciences vehicle.

You might have taken pause when you read “nearly three hours.” That’s not hyperbole. The only thing Bale’s Batman loved more than justice was armored plating, and you’ll have to apply a lot of it before you can enjoy your new Bat and you will have paid upwards of eight-hundred bucks for the privilege. The Bat’s creator, production designer Nathan Crowley wasn’t kidding when he described the aircraft as being more like a bug. The ribbed underside with its odd curvature resembles the exoskeleton of a beetle. It takes quite a bit of time to fully realize this effect through snapping long black sheets of faux metal into teeny-tiny pegs.

After the ribs were in place, I added the larger, heavier flaps to the caboose. These pieces feature metal rods that didn’t quite lay flush with the rest of the Bat’s shielding– even when I added a few drops of oil. These flaps lock into multiple positions with a touch of a hidden push-button and feature adjustable tips for posing the vehicle at rest. The Bat also includes a stand with multiple supports, giving you the option to display the craft as if it were flying or if it had just been parked. I liked that the transparent pillars gave the illusion of being suspended in midair at a glance, but at closer inspection were reminiscent of the clear armory featured in Batcave scenes from The Dark Knight Rises.

The propellers of this screen-accurate piece were easy enough to snap on, but you’ll have to play with their placement a bit to ensure they don’t scrape against one another later on. These integral components are perhaps the most exciting element of the already quite impresssive Bat since they’re fully functional! With the press of a hidden button above the cockpit or on the included remote control you can send these impressive blades spinning (the remote is almost identical to what was included with the Batsignal). However, as cool as they look, the propellers are rather noisy. Annoying, even. The high pitched whirl caused by their quick rotation is easily one of the biggest strikes against the Bat. Sound in general is something that should have been given more attention by Hot Toys. For such an expensive figure, it would have been nice to have the option of playing a few sound effects from the film in addition to the lights and the propellers. One thing that really stuck out about the Bat on film was the almost alien noises it would generate as it performed barrel rolls or just glided over the Gotham streets. Integrating those effects into this model would’ve gone a long way to making it worth the steep price tag. Seriously, this thing costs more than what many folks pay for a month’s rent.

Back to the perfectly painted armored plating, I had to add even more to the arms of the Bat and these were not as easy to install. The choice of square-, plus-, and triangle-shaped pegs probably wasn’t the right way to go since manufacturing problems could arise where a slightly misaligned rod could lead to a cockeyed plate, which was the case with one of the shields on my Bat’s left arm (I’ll find a way to fix it myself eventually, but at this point I was just ready to see the thing finished). A pair of wires meant to extend from the cockpit to the arms was easily the most frustrating aspect of assembly. I recommend chewing the rubber pegs at the end of each wire a little to soften them up before trying to put them in.

From here on things got easier. Add a few stickers to some control panels, pull back a spring loaded door and release to lock it to the cockpit, and then add some more plates to the outside for good measure. Since it’s the deluxe edition, it also comes with a little Batman and a little Selina Kyle. These 1:12 scale figures are really impressive looking, but they’re not sturdy enough for the price you’re paying. The joints are just way too loose. Before I even got them in the cockpit, Catwoman fell apart at the waist twice and Batman’s arm popped off once. They’re just here for the ride. Place them in the cockpit (if they fall apart, reassemble and try again) and leave them be. They’ll look great at the controls. A large plastic replica of the fusion bomb complete with nylon straps and metal accents is also included and if you squeeze your finger between the ribs of the bat you can turn a wheel that lowers a hook. It’s a great little detail but don’t go zooming around your house with the bomb in tow– the rope can support it. I know. I tried.

Overall

It’s definitely got the wow-factor. Even I, as someone who wasn’t a fan of the Bat on film, have discovered an all-new appreciation for this vehicle thanks to getting an up-close look at all of the intricacies of the design. You can get lost in the details of this aircraft’s layers of protective plating, and switching on its headlights when you have the curtains pulled and the room pitch black? Awesome. The white LEDs up front, the yellow of the back engines, and the subtle blue emanating from the middle of the craft really look stunning. And actually having a highly detailed Batman and Catwoman sitting in the cockpit, plus that fusion bomb really puts the visual over the top! Assembly is a bit of a pain since you have to click in so many small, identical pieces, but the end result is admittedly worth your time. But worth over $700 dollars? It’s a jaw-dropping piece that any fan of the Nolan trilogy would be proud to have on display in their home or office. Seeing those propellers and the front dual rotors in motion is bad ass, but at the same time I wish it were a little bigger and quieter for the money. Then again, maybe I’m only hesitant because I still prefer the Burton Batwing.

For more info and to pre-order your Hot Toys The Bat Deluxe Set, head over to Sideshow Collectibles. You might also want to check out some of their other Batman merchandise. They have everything from Arkham Knight to Red Son and Batman Returns.