“Oh my god…”
“Look at that…”
“But the price..”
“… yeah, I know”.
That is the gist of the conversation that my brother and I have been carrying on since the existence of HOT TOYS, a Japanese company that makes remarkable 1/6 toys of Hollywood favorites. I think I discovered them when I saw a picture in a sculpting forum of a Brad Pitt portrait and it was Down. To. The. Skin. Pores. Perfect.
And for the price, it needs to be.
In 1989, a new hobby fad was vinyl model kits. Vinyl allowed for better sculpting. The parts were manufactured much like roto-casting, such that each piece (this kit included 7 main body parts) was hollow but mounted to a part base. Your job was to cut out each piece and then, with hot water, compress-attach joints (Batman came with FIVE points of articulation!). Crazy glue was used to attach accessory detail parts. Capes were a challenge for the technology at the time because they required dual surfacing (the outer and inner sides of the cape) that wasn’t possible. My Batman came with a cape made from a lightweight parachute fabric. Over a few short years, HORIZON went on to make a more kits that I would hunt down. The sculpting seemed to be significantly better on the movie kits, like BATMAN RETURNS, ROCKETEER, or even the old Buster Crabbe FLASH GORDON serials, then comic kits.
It was a ton of fun to build: this was the first time I used my Dad’s airbrush. He also showed me how to spot eyes. The cape was a pain, but I finally got it to attach to the body.
I think I dragged that model to every dorm room I was assigned, and beyond. It’s aged… okay enough: a ding here or there. Really, the cape bore the brunt of the wear, as it browned over the years. Finally, I broke down this holiday and made an order to Japan.
I don’t argue that HOT TOYS isn’t an amazing quality product (it is), nor do I argue that my model is a better sculpt in comparison (it isn’t). I can’t even say my paint job is on par with the HOT TOYS team, as I look back at my work from 25+ years and see lots of things I could change. Then again, I’m not changing my Dad’s job on those eyes.
I won’t spend $200-$300 on that HOT TOYS Batman. I had more fun with my $20 model.
It DOES look good with that HOT TOYS cape, though. It looks like I always thought it did in the first place.