8 Inch Scale
By: Classic TV Toys
There’s something inherently awesome about the classic 1966 Batman TV show. While the show played up it’s campy nature, with ridiculous concepts, over the top fights and well placed humor, it all worked for one reason or another. For decades fans have flocked to this show and it’s become a cult classic with a massive following of fans. At one point Adam West was so recognized for being Batman that he couldn’t escape the role and the public had a hard time separating West’s campy portrayal from any incarnation of the character.
Despite the show’s continued licensing longevity, there was never much in the way of action figures and toys until this year. Mattel was the first to market with their 60’s Batman 6 inch figures, but that toy line flat-lined almost as soon as it stepped foot out of the Batcave. None of the figures quite worked and Mattel made it clear they weren’t intending to make it a full fledged toy line, thus killing it before it ever really hit shelves.
Enter Figures Toy Company and it’s Classic TV Toys brand to bring us their take on the 1960’s Batman show in action figure form. Classic TV Toys have had mixed results in the past with their 8 inch figure brands, but to many folks the vintage 70’s Megos served as the unofficial toy line of the William Dozier show. So it’s a pretty natural fit that this “Mego-like” style of figures would be a good vessel for a classic TV series Batman toy line. Over the next few days I’ll be reviewing all of Series 1 of these new Batman figures, but today we start with Batman himself, as portrayed by Adam West.
To a lot of Mego collectors, the packaging is important. CTVT have gotten on board with this mentality by offering resealable packages for many of their recent figure offerings. This is true of the Classic TV Series Batman figures as well. Each figure is nicely packed into a resealable clamshell and features an inside backer card that’s unique to the character.
Batman’s card has several images of Adam West in the cape and cowl from the show. The back features pictures of the other characters in Series 1, as well as some of the other announced figures in later series. The figure has a nice plastic tray inside to help keep Batman from flopping around in the package (a problem with many Mego-like figures) and he has a few twist ties to secure him to that.
The packaging is just 60’s Batman enough to work, but isn’t in your face with it. It’s a nice design and if you’re one of those people who keep your toys in the package, this will look nice on a shelf. The resealable element allows for collectors to store their figures without any problems as well.
One of the first things that must be said about these figures and Batman in particular, is how good the likenesses are. I’ve heard people compare these to Hot Toys and that’s for good reason. While the figure obviously isn’t necessarily comparable to a $200 1/6 scale figure, there’s no doubt that this figure raises the bar of what’s capable in the 8 inch “Mego” format. I’ve bought every type of Mego figure out there from every company, whether it’s vintage Mego, Doc Mego, EMCE, Cast-a-Way, Zica, BifBangPow or even Classic TV Toys themselves and I can tell you hands down that this figure’s sculpt and costume design is better. This figure is on a whole ‘nother level, folks.
What’s particularly surprising about all of this, is that Figures Toy Company and Classic TV Toys have not always done such a good job in the past. Some of their figures were failures on a lot of levels and they had a somewhat tarnished reputation within the Mego community. I can tell you now that these figures pretty much erase any previous grievances, because the detail here is superb. Nothing feels cheap or shoddy about this guy.
Batman has all the details you would expect from an Adam West incarnation. His head sculpt is really solid, with sharp paint work and a jaw line that’s very clearly West. Some people have commented on the painting of the lips, but it looks quite natural in my opinion. I don’t get a lipstick vibe at all, but your mileage may vary.
The suit is tailored well, with mine only having a slight unevenness with his trunks. The quality of the fabric used on the costume itself is top notch. There’s no feeling like it’s going to snag or pill. And it very nicely replicates that odd cotton/spandex look of the 1966 costume.
The silk parts are equally as well done and no expense seems to have been spared on this figure. Batman has a wire in his cape which greatly helps with posing. This means that you can drape the cape just right for any pose and it allows it to be more fluid than a loose, flaccid cape would.
The gloves, boots and belt are all made from a very pliable rubber material. It’s a different feeling than you’re used to with a Mego figure as I can’t recall anything else that’s used this before in this scale. But it works really well and actually makes the figure seem a bit more deluxe as a result.
In fact the only issue with the costume is that the belt is about 3 notches too small. It fits around the torso, but it should actually fit around the hips and waist. As a result you’ll find yourself fidgeting with the belt a bit. I suspect I’ll make an extender somehow.
The articulation is a bit of a weak point, if only because CTVT follow the vintage Mego articulation model. For whatever reason, this just doesn’t work as well as it used to. Arms don’t go as far as they should and it’s just not quite as poseable as I’d like. But this is NOT a flaw of the figure itself, just the Mego design.
This appears to be an all new body from CTVT and it’s fantastic. It’s very lightweight (feels about half the weight of a comparable EMCE figure) and yet feels twice as sturdy. Unlike previous CTVT offerings, Batman and friends stand up nice and tight, with no issues, no floppy legs and no “I gotta go pee” stances. Everything here feels top notch across the board.
The hands and feet connect using new ball joint adapters, but it doesn’t increase the articulation. This seems to be more of a way to get the new gloved hands and feet on. While it reduces the articulation a touch, the trade off is definitely worth it. No more over mitts or simple painted hands.
I always complain that Mego-like figures need an accessory or two, but Batman doesn’t come with anything. He has his removable belt, but that’s it. Frankly, unlike most times, I’m not upset here. This figure feels like he’s a cut above your average Mego and as such, it’s more excusable that he doesn’t have an accessory. Sure a Batarang would have been nice, but CTVT is actually making an accessory pack for future release so I can’t complain much.
If you buy the figure individually it will run you $25 plus shipping. That’s not cheap by any means, but this figure doesn’t feel cheap in any way. I gave Mattel a ton of grief when they priced their Retro-Action Mego style figures at $20 retail, but I don’t mind paying more for these Classic TV Series Batman figures because they are of a much higher quality and have more intricate sculpting, paint and a more specialized license. They’re also made in more limited quantities. This is one of the first Mego figures I’ve felt like were a real value at their price. And if you buy the whole series (and I suggest that you do) you can score them for less than the $25 price tag.
This retro Batman figure manages to get the ultra rare and coveted, 10 out of 10. To my knowledge I’ve never rated a Mego figure this high. While there are some very, very minor nitpicks that could be said about this Batman figure, it’s nothing compared to the qualities that I want to rave about. Classic TV Toys have hit a homerun with this Batman figure and it’s just about perfect, hence the perfect score.
When I was a kid, I remember when I first found the old Batman TV show in reruns on television. Up to that point I had no idea it existed and had never heard anything about it. I was immediately transfixed and I thought it was just about the coolest show around. I didn’t think it was cheesy or stupid, I thought it was awesome. These figures from Figures Toy Company have brought back that magical time to me, when I first discovered Adam West’s Batman and how cool I thought it was. That’s as strong an endorsement for these fantastic figures as any grown man can give.