I love Batman ’66. This is known.
Because of that love, I am all in on any merchandise we can get based on the West/Ward series, so of course I love this wave of action figures from McFarlane Toys. I’m not even going to try and bury the lede, because that would be an insult to you, dear reader.
McFarlane have provided us with five action figures, a Batmobile, and a massive Batcave playset for review, so I won’t waste any more time beating around the bush about how much these things rule. Read on, chums.
A truly great action figure for a truly great crimefighter. Adam West’s “Bright Knight” gets a practically perfect plastic presentation of the character’s onscreen portrayal from McFarlane, with every detail of the classic Batsuit present. The color of the cowl should have probably been a little more purple than blue, and it’s not a perfect likeness of West, but it still looks great from head to toe.
The cowl has the drawn-on eyebrows and nose, along with the two-tone separation of the face from the rest of the mask. There’s even ruffling below the neck, with the rest of the headpiece poking out… well, above the cape, but still. That beautiful yellow oval looks great against the bodysuit that is just pure West, and the pockets on the belt are upside down for ease of Batarang and other gadget retrieval. The cape is fabric, and takes a bit of time to properly smooth out, and he’s lacking in many accessories. That’s a common comment with most of the McFarlane figures I’ve seen, though, but the accessories that are included with Batman are pretty genius: two attachable “sound effects.” Yes, dear reader, you can clip a POW or a KAPOW to Batman’s wrists to show just how hard he is punching crime in the face. That is brilliant, it is amazing, and it is peak Batman ’66.
And what is Batman without his Robin? The second half of the Dynamic Duo has two separate figures available: a standard masked version, and an unmasked “chase” variant with a McFarlane Platinum Edition designation. The latter is very hard to find, and worth it if you’re a collector, but aside from the scarcity and lack of a mask, they’re the exact same figure.
Much like Batman, it is also a great representation of Burt Ward’s Robin, even if this likeness is a little more “general young guy” than “definitely Burt Ward” in the finish. It still looks great, though, and the details on the costume are stunning. The bright red tunic looks stunning with the yellow “threads” running down the torso, and the R symbol pops wonderfully on the black field against the red of the suit. It would have been a nice touch had his legs been a slightly different shade than the rest of his skin, to emulate the sheer leggings that Ward wore in the role, but that’s a minor nit to pick. I particularly dig the folding of the cape at the neck and the pointed ends of the pixie boots, though the scalloped ends of his cape indicate that they probably used the same pattern for him and Batman. An odd choice, but not one I minded too much.
Like Batman, Robin is nice and posable, and I was even able to get a few more unique shots out of him than I was with Bats. That may have been because the more acrobatic Boy Wonder lends himself to inspiration easier than the more stoic Caped Crusader, but I had some fun getting some good shots out of Robin. Also like Batman, he has two sound effect attachments that clip on his wrists: WHAMM and BAM.
And what are a Batman and Robin without their most dastardly foes? Why, ordinary citizens like you and me, chum.
But until that day arrives, when the services of the Dynamic Duo are no longer required, they will be there to fight evil in all its forms. Here we have that Clown Prince of Crime, the Harlequin of Hate, Batman’s archnemesis the Joker. As with Robin, there is the standard version of the character as well as a chase variant, but in this case the unmasked version is the more common figure as opposed to the much more rare masked variant. Fitting, of course, as the dastardly villain is a broken mirror image of our stalwart heroes.
Of the three figures available, Joker has the best likeness of his onscreen counterpart, as this is a pretty spot-on Cesar Romero look. His wide grin makes it to where you can practically hear Romero’s maniacal cackle, and while he unfortunately doesn’t have either a molded mustache or wisps or paint to hint at his trademark facial hair, the slightly crooked lower row of teeth match Romero’s, so it’s a wash.
The paint application on his face and the colors of his costume are positively wonderful, with his olive green hair and pasty pallor complementing the light purple suit. His accessories consist of sound effect attachments, and they’re the best of the lot: SOCK and OUCH. Perfect for the Dynamic Duo to give a one-two punch to the laughing madman.
There is absolutely no question that the Batmobile in general is the coolest car ever created, and George Barris’ iconic and incredibly memorable take for the Sixties television series is perhaps the most beloved of the lot. Personally, it’s second only to the Batmobile from the 1989 Batman film, but even then it’s a very, very close race.
McFarlane Toys’ interpretation of said Batmobile has a lot to live up to, then and I’m pleased to say that it exceeds expectations.
First off, this thing is huge. It (mercifully) comes fully assembled right out of the box, with no need to attach any pieces or apply any decals or stickers. Just snip the plastic ties holding it in place and you’re ready to race to Gotham City (14 miles) in this has-to-be-to-scale whip that’s over a foot long from stem to stern. It has that classic black finish with the striking red highlights, and has tons of details in the cockpit. I was really impressed with the different colors they used to render the Batphone, steering wheel, and some of the various levers in the main console of the car, which I kind of wish extended to other parts of the vehicle. For instance, the rear of the Batmobile has two molded “parachute” blocks, but they blend in with the black on the rest of the car. In the series, they were more of a brownish color, but again, minor gripes on an overall fantastic car.
The only other minor complaint I have is actually kind of a plus, too: the three exhaust pipes on the rear of the body and the two “fins” that surround the light at the top of the cockpit are made of soft plastic. This means they won’t snap or break easily, which is great considering how thin and delicate they are, but that also makes them pretty easy to warp. So, they won’t break off of the Batmobile, but they might not sit straight either. Still, I’d take that over a potential break, and considering how great the overall vehicle looks, it’s a fair trade.
All crimefighters need a place to rest their head, and Batman’s Batcave is no doubt the best in all of popular culture. The ‘cave has had many different looks across just as many mediums, but it’s the bright flashing lights, complex construction, and endless labels that make the ’66 Batcave so memorable.
Impressively, this playset includes all of the above, and it’s a lot of equipment for your money. There’s the main backdrop of the Batcave, which can fold out thanks to some hinged paneling. The atomic pile is the main focal point of the set– as it should be, because it is both huge and awesome– with the rocks of the cave making up the rest of the segmented backdrop.
Like the Batmobile, there’s mercifully very little assembly required, as almost every piece comes ready to use out of the box. The only things that need to be attached are some railings, a ladder, and the Batpoles, and those are easy enough. I was a little concerned that I might bend or even break some of the rails, as they fit pretty snugly in their respective fittings but are made of really thin plastic, but it was simple enough getting them in place without any fuss.
The Batpoles are the only disappointment in the entire set, as they really don’t have any way to remain stable and aren’t strong enough to support any of the figures. They have little notches toward the top that can fit over the edges of the diorama backdrop, but even then they’re really loose and fall over easily. Plus, they’re made of bright yellow plastic and attach to discs that are the same color, so it’s not as if they’re a direct recreation of the poles from the show. It’s a nice though, but I’d just as soon they not be included at all in this case.
But, really, that is literally the only complaint I have. The playset has over twenty separate pieces, including the ladder, railings, and Batpole pieces, which is incredibly impressive for a thirty dollar set. You’ve got a file cabinet, memory banks, a computer, a work desk, radar machines, recording equipment, and more tools that should be part of every crimefighter’s arsenal. As I said before, everything is assembled and stickered right out of the box, so you have your NAVIGATIONAL AID and MEMORY BANK and BATCOMPUTER ready to go, along with both a U.S. AND CANADA CRIME PHOTO FILE and an INTERNATIONAL CRIME PHOTO FILE to ensure you can solve all crimes, both foreign and domestic.
OVERALL: If you love Batman: The Classic TV Series, there is no reason why you shouldn’t track down every single one of these pieces. The figures are fun and expressive, the Batmobile is a thing of beauty, and the Batcave is one of the most impressive playsets I’ve ever seen. With the next wave already announced, McFarlane Toys clearly know that this is a desired Batman property, so hopefully we’ll be getting plenty of toys based on the 1966 television series for years to come.
Disclaimer: McFarlane Toys provided Batman-News with samples for the purposes of this review.