It’s not easy to make yourself feel like Batman. He’s an obscenely wealthy man in peak physical and mental condition. We’re not going to be gliding off buildings or permanently crippling henchmen anytime soon. Instead, though, we can make our living spaces feel a bit more like that of the Dark Knight. You can go for maximum cool with SecretLab’s great-looking Dark Knight gaming chair, or you can go classic. Diamond Select has you covered with their offering based on the classic 1966 Batman TV series, a replica of the bronze Shakespeare bust that Bruce Wayne uses to open his secret passage to the Batcave on the show.
We’ve reviewed a few busts here at Batman News, but this one is the biggest by far. Diamond Select says the bust, sculpted by Paul Harding, is 20-inches tall, but our measurements put it closer to 18-inches tall, and about a foot wide at the shoulders. This piece is quite different from our usual reviews; there’s no paint job to judge here, nor are there questions as to how authentic it is to a given character.
As a re-creation of the bust from the show, this beast of a mantelpiece is actually really good. It’s a match in every discernible way, from the proportion of the base to the shoulders to the angle of the shirt collar, the placement of the buttons on the shirt, and the expression on Shakespeare’s face. My biggest complaint is the coloration, which more closely resembles a clean bronze color. The bust as it appears in the show has more of a patina on it with a ruddy finish and darker and lighter regions. This piece is just flat bronze throughout. At least, though, it’s not glossy; it has a nice satin finish that absorbs just enough light.
Tilting Willy’s head back reveals the secrets hidden inside, which consist of a dial, a button, and a coin slot. If you tilt the head back and let go, the bust stands on its own just fine, though the base isn’t heavy enough to let you tilt it back without holding down the base a little as you tilt it; some additional bulk would’ve been nice, though that will come as you pour coins into this thing, should you decide to use it that way. Initially, I’d been dissatisfied with the hollowness of the head of the bust, but looking at photographs from the show it’s pretty clear that that head was nearly as hollow, so in that way this is a solid recreation.
Disappointingly, the button and dial do absolutely nothing. I wasn’t expecting it to open a Batcave in my apartment or anything, but it would’ve been cool, for example, to have the dial turn to open the coin slot up, and putting a coin in to trigger a switch that made the light turn on for a second. Instead, the dial just spins and the light is opaque white plastic with no function. For the price of $99, this is honestly a little disappointing. The Star Wars piggy bank I had that had R2-D2 and C-3P0 talking and beeping and pushing a coin into a slot definitely cost less and did more.
If you really crave that extra Batman functionality, there’s a site called Gentleman Door Automation that will literally take this bust and modify it to make those aspects function and connect to some element of home automation for you. (We haven’t tried this service nor have any relationship with them.)
The lack of any mechanical gimmicks makes this bust hard to recommend enthusiastically at the $99 price, even if the amount of vinyl in this thing is probably the equivalent to 10 Funko toys. If it did something, if it did anything, we’d recommend it whole-heartedly. With that said, a collector of Batman 1966 memorabilia will find this a great way to fill out a collection with a big, dramatic piece. Put on a cardigan and stand pensively next to it while waxing philosophical to your adopted gymnastic son and you’ll already be halfway to becoming Batman.
DISCLAIMER: Diamond Select supplied Batman News with one Batman Classic TV Series Shakespeare Vinyl Bust Bank for the purpose of this review.
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