Hot Wheels' 1989 1:18 Scale Die-cast Batmobile
by Mr. Stinkhead
We're going to wrap up Batweek by looking at what is simply put The most beautiful Batmobile that has ever seen the light of day, only to end up on a collector's shelf in their basement. That wasn't simply put at all. But basically I have never been this excited about a die cast car.
I'm sorry if I'm getting weird, but rarely do I get toys that put me on the verge of tears. I have been looking for this car for quite some time. They came out in mass-retail back in 2002, and then disappeared, but are now back! I spent a couple of weeks asking clerks at the usual places and they had no idea what I was talking about, so I picked one up on eBay for $10, (shipping for 11 inches of die-cast metal was a little bit more than that) but now that I have it, I can't imagine living without it.
Awe at its Magnificence
First off, when I first saw photos of this car online, I thought I was looking at a picture of the actual full scale prop from the movie. It was a shitty photo, but still, the proportions to scale are amazing. The Toy Biz 89 Batmobile looks great, but is slightly "pudgy" to make way for action figures and action features. Did they do any laser scanning on the car to get this model? If not, it's unbelievable.
The chasis is all die-cast metal, painted a flat back. Not too shiny, not too dullit looks fantastic. The canopy is a matching plastic, (to allow for the windows to be clear), you wouldn't know it was plastic until you touch it. And it slides gracefully down the nose of the beast to reveal the cockpit. The tires are hard rubber, and some of the piping on the sides is painted plastic. Everything works together very well, and the amount of detail does give the opportunity to shoot realistic looking photos. Yeah, as realistic as standing next to a Batmobile is ever going to look...
Pop up machine guns too?
Not only is this a top-notch display piece, but there is play value as well. I don't recommend rough-housing with this Batmobile as you would the one from Batman Begins. But you can touch and examine it without it coming apart in your hands. After sliding open the canopy to check out the cockpit, I pressed down on one side of the machine gun bay and the panel flipped around to reveal a great looking machine gun. This was an extra step thathad it been absentwouldn't hurt the overall value of the car at all. But it's not absent, it's frickin' sweet! But that's not all, as I was getting the machine guns out, I discovered the rack and pinion steering!
Rack and Pinion Steering
You know I toss around the term "rack and pinion steering" in all the reviews that feature cars that feature what I think is "rack and pinion steering." I don't know enough about cars to really know what I'm talking about. However if you twist the tiny steering wheel, the front tires move accordingly. And I'm spent. That's right, about that point of discovery, I had to put the car down slowly and think about baseball. Too late. This is officially my favorite eBay acquisition. Yowzas. I just looked it up on the internet, and I'm not too far off with this rack and pinion steering stuff.
The Engine Pulls Out
What!? after I thought I was done, the jet-engine turbine thing in the nose slides out a couple of inches. You know, a solid die-cast Batmobile with an opening canopy would be sufficient, but the little extras just kind of subtly added really make for a show-stopping collectible. That and it's the Batmobile, even non-toy geeks will get a kick checking it out.
Well Rounded Beauty
The thing about the design of this Batmobile, is that it looks stunning from absolutely every angle. (ok, maybe not the underside, but c'mon!) No matter where I put the camera, you'll be looking at a picture suitable for blowing up and framing. (for only $24.95) This is a work of simple, elegant, sophisticated beauty. Man you can tell I'm running out synonyms for gorgeous.
Can I gush about the Batmobile any more? Probably, but I'll spare you. Basically it boils down to this being one of the most perfect collectibles I have ever seen, much less owned. Everything I would have done was included plus more. Usually when I get something this cool, there are one or two things that I would have changed to make it a notch better, not so with this Batmobile. On top of everything, I got it for about $20. (It may be cheaper if you pick it up in stores, but some online retailers are selling it for up to $30) That helped a lot too. Not only is it magnificent, but it's accessable. Art should be for the people! Or something like that.
When I was in France, I had heard that this was €40 (euros) retail, €100 at specialty stores once they sold out. That's like $60/$130 respectively. Ouch.
I posed the C3 Minimate Batman with the Batmobile, and by removing his cape, I was even able to fit Batman down into the cockpit most of the way, but the lid will not close.
I also reviewed the new Batman Begins "Batmobile" which, while based on a crappy excuse for a Batmobile, is one top-notch toy. It looks good, and plays hard. Check out the rest of our Batman related coverage including a whole host of action figures, a life-size replica of the 1966 Batmobile, and directions on how to make your own working light-up Batphone. And if you like die cast cars, check out our die cast car coverage.
Article and photographs are ©2005 MillionairePlayboy.com.