Tag Archives: #batman

The Road Less Travelled: DIY vs Hot Toys

“Oh my god…”

“Ohhhhhh man…”

“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.

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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.

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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.

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I won’t spend $200-$300 on that HOT TOYS Batman.  I had more fun with my $20 model.

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It DOES look good with that HOT TOYS cape, though.  It looks like I always thought it did in the first place.

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Playing Santa: A BRAVE & BOLD HOLIDAY!

Oh, the pitch-perfect wonder of the BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD show.  A fantastical re-invention of a childhood of bright colors and brighter imaginations driving the stories of Batman and his friends.  We couldn’t get enough of it, so of course it was cancelled.

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The only disappointment?  Lousy toys.  Sure, toys designed with features that children could play with may appeal to children, but how am I going to develop my line of adult collectibles around that?  And, of course, NO WOMEN.

Thankfully, we fixed all that over at my other site, When Batmobiles Fly.  After perfecting a female buck, ideas started coming to mind about other heroines to join the B&B team.  Who better to start that off with than Black Canary?

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Black Canary was trained by the legendary Wildcat and the Justice Society of America.  Eventually, she took off her mask and decided to fight crime on her own!

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I decided to pay tribute to that moment in designing our Black Canary figure:

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Eventually, Black Canary meets the brash Green Arrow and the two decide to team up.

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This figure was a long time in coming and I hope the recipient enjoys it!  Our next heroine shouldn’t take as long to join the team!

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GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES and the Batmobile Parachute Pickup Service

When life gets tough, I find great joy in in the cellophane cover of cardboard and styrene.

LINDBERG is an American hold-out model company.  LINDBERG does quality work at a decent price.  They have a “no questions no problems” policy and will mail you more parts if you ask them for it.  It’s a shame, because the Japanese kick their ass with higher price point models that feature greater detail and precision in more exotic subject matter.  LINDBERG makes some off-beat subject matter, like this hot-rod Dodge A-100.  Thank god for them, ‘cuz there’s no other way to get this baby.

The Dodge A-100 was a source of inspiration for the So-Cal kustom car culture.  As the box indicates, a dragster version made the scene, so loved that HOTWHEELS even made one in 1/64 scale.  The Dodge A-100 was also America’s workhorse utility vehicle in the Sixties.  Me, I love that hot-mess front end design.

I crack the cellophane and go through a ritual I’ve known my entire life.  Engine block, rear axle, transmission, front suspension and axle, chassis, and wheels.  It’s a nice v-8 and everything glides together in a flurry of paint trays full of parts.  I add the floor panels and prep the front seat and dash.  $25 later for this:

I don’t want a hot rod, I want a ding-dong Dodge A-100, so I get on the yammer and get the JIMMY FLINTSTONE STUDIOS.  These guys are model car nuts who have a big fricking swimming pool full of resin.  The lovable perverts sculpted and casted the un-touched, kustom free Dodge A-100 body.  $25 more dollars and it arrived in glorious beauty:

Resin models arrive with all open areas completely covered in resin.  It’s the way these guys work their dining room casting machines.  I’ve started cutting out the windows.  I still need to cut the headlights and grille and then sand the edges.  That’s a small bother, because these guys cast a perfect body: no bubbles, no flaws, no screwin’ around.  Clean up those windows and boom: I’m a Dodge A-100.


So here we have it:
A Mid-Sixties Dodge A-100, baby-blue utility truck, with Gotham City license plates, dated 1966.

As for GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES, my pal Joe and a bunch of like-minded guys lead by editor Jim Beard decided that a life-long affection for William Dozer’s BATMAN TV show was worth creating a collection of critical essays about the show and it’s influences.  They got it published by Sequart:

If you are loving your latest BATMAN ARKHAM video game, I’m thrilled.  Did that Heath Ledger Joker just about make your day?  Awesome.  Are you ready to riot over Ben Affleck’s casting?  Don’t get your Bat-Panties in a twist.

Me, I go to the absurdity and brilliance of 1966 BATMAN.  The humor, color, and outright artistic inanity of it makes me smile broadly.   Batman and Robin use their atomic-powered Batmobile to jet around Gotham City and fight crime.  When they make a wrong turn and have to bolt back to Commissioner Gordon, they employ the Batmobile Emergency Turn Parachutes and pull a hard 180 turn.

Now, rather than leave those 10′ dragster parachutes lying in the middle of a busy Gotham street, Robin calmly picks up the bat phone and dials – who else, but:

The Batmobile Parachute Pickup Service

The show producers used their great Hollywood 20th Century Fox studio resources to make the show happen.  That means a ton of cobbling of sets, locations, and props.  One prop was the beloved Dodge A-100.  It was the go-to henchmen vehicle for the show.  IF they had ONE, it was probably repainted and fitted with a new sign every other time you looked at it.

Here’s a great compilation from the 1966BATMAN website, by A. Pennyworth, to prove my point:

I love this show.  LOVE it.  It makes me happy every time I watch it.  That’s something to be thankful for.

Go buy GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES!!!!

PS- If the $50+ price tag is too steep, you can find a pretty decent A-100 HOTWHEELS that will work too.

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