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Click to see!Mattel's Batman Begins Action Cape Batman
by Mr. Stinkhead

Batweek has begun, come back all week to see more Batman related reviews. And check out our Batman coverage to see if you've missed anything in the past.

I have been getting into large scaled action figures lately. It's not the only thing I'll buy from now on, but I dig the extra articulation that is permitted with the larger format. If you actually use the larger format to your benefit, than it can make for a great figure. Check out our reviews of Roto He-Man and Skeletor, Roto Hulk, and the ultra-articulated 18" Spider-Man to see why we're digging this format so much.

So we got the opportunity to check out the Action-Cape Batman based on Bats from the upcoming Batman Begins. Standing at about 12.5 inches tall he's packed full of articulation, he's pretty sturdy, and he has a spring loaded bat cape.

Click to see!The Action Cape
The edges of the cape have a thin wire that will keep the "wings" spread open to recreate Batman's leap and glides from tall buildings. It took a little bit of work figuring out if I had it right because my box came with no directions. I mean, I'm not retarded, but after that lighter fluid incident a few years back, I like to make sure I'm adhering to the intended usage of a product.

It's a cool effect to snap the wing into a folded position, hit the trigger button and his wings spring open. The best part though, is that it's easy to remove and replace later, allowing for just as much play as display. It's a cool feature, but I'm glad Mattel realizes I want to get some cool poses and have his cape flapping in the wind if possible. Simply unclip the center mechanism from his back, and slide the extensions out of the cape edges (there is a hollow seam sewn into the edges). It's easy enough to replace later.

Click to see! The Articulation
They packed this Batman with some impressive articulation. The first thing to point out is that the joints are tight, and not just cool, I mean tight. With the weight of the figure, the tighteness allows the figure to stand in a few different poses, his weight distributed between his legs in different manners.

You have a nice clean ball joint on the neck, a lot of times figures with ball jointed necks can sit too high or low, but this one looks great, and being able to add 'looking up' or 'looking down' to your pose really helps.

The shoulders have a nice ball joint and swivelling bicep, this allows for some decent motion. You can't do any Romanian gymnast contortion stuff, but who would want to? You get an elbow, and I like the wrist, it's a rotator cuff, but also with a hinge, much like a Mego type figure to add for some cool poses with his Batarang. (It did take a little work to get him to hold it, but he will)

The twisting waist joint is nicely hidden by the Batbelt. The angle is odd, but it allows some body twisting angles that a ribcage joint may have provided. It works.

The hips are great, and hold a multiple axeled joint. You can get the basic sitting position, but there is also a swinging joint that allows you to do a split (like mentioned above). There is twisting capability along with a spinning thigh joint near by. This allows you to get the legs into a position to hold the body weight pretty easily.

His knees are particularly strong. The natural seams of his armor allow the joint to be nicely fit into the design. The shin has a rotating joint, and then on the ankle you get a whole host of possible angles, much like a real ankle. You can twist it, move it side to side, and up and down. Pretty nice and tight. (Careful, I pinched my finger tip while moving his ankle.)

Click to see! Materials
I like the mix of materials used. Though they vary, they fit together nicely. I like the soft rubber for the head and the gauntlet spikes. The sturdy cloth for the cape of course, and the hard plastic for his legs and trunk. I believe parts of the arms and legs may have some roto'd pieces, but I can't be sure. By using different plastics, it makes for a good figure.

I'm digging this figure a bit more than I initially thought I would. The biggest perk is the removeability of the action cape mechanism to have a great looking display Batman. I'm not 100% sold on the look of the Batman, but that's up to the movie, so we'll see how I feel after seeing the film this summer. The poseability is nice, and if you're into the larger sized figures, this one will hold up well. I do wish he had a little bit more with his accessories. The smaller action figures come with a whole arsenal of weapons and accessories; that and directions. I thought this figure could have used a small one-sheet of directions. But maybe I'm getting old.

Click to see! I thought this was the perfect opportunity to show you the 12" blue and gray Batman I got from KB. Also produced by Mattel, this figure is a little short on articulation, but has a commanding presence at a foot tall. The cape is like old school windbreaker material, the rest is hard plastic. The version I have came with no accessories, but two pouches on his utility belt flip open revealing some cool inner workings. I thought the Four Horseman sculpt and paint apps were nicely applied. I would have liked elbow joints. On a figure this large, additional articulation is much easier. I'm really diggin' the Bat emblem on the sole of the show.

You do get nice ball joints on the shoulders, the arms twist at the glove, and there are knees and hips, and a rotating head. There is a black and gray version that has a ton of accessories he can hold as well as a retractable Batarang attachment as part of his utility belt. The bottom line is at $10, this was a great addition to my collection. He comes on a handsome base, and looks great both in and out of the packaging. With the sales at KB stores, you could probably score two for cheap.

Click to see! So there you have two good looking 12" inch Batmen that are currently available in stores. (Batman Begins Bats is a little taller.) Both of these particular two could use a bit more in the way of accessories, but are mainly for display.

You can snag Action Cape Batman from Batman Begins on, and this particular blue and gray Batman was a KB exclusive, but they have the repaint (with loads of accessories) in stores everywhere, and on Amazon.

Check out the rest of our Batman coverage, and check back all week for more Batman reviews during Batweek!

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All photographs are ©2005

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