So far, NECA’s stylized, inventive and very well done 8-Bit video game series has proven to be a great venue to release some neat new colorways for some of the toymaker’s top sculpts. Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, RoboCop and the Predator all got a new lease in life, cast in the colors of their classic Nintendo era video game likenesses.
But with the fifth release in this outstanding series, NECA is really pushing the envelope, with a Tim Burton movie inspired video game Batman. Thanks to some clever loopholes in regards to merchandising and licenses, NECA has finally released a 7″ scale movie style Batman figure, and the result is every bit as good as we have all dreamed of.
The sculpt here is technically not new– what we get is a scaled down version of the 18″ deluxe Michael Keaton Batman figure, masterfully rendered by Kyle Windrix, Thomas Gwyn, David Silva and Trevor Zammit. The Keaton likeness is spot-on, the figure’s proportions are perfect, and every intricate detail of Batman’s armor– from the patent leather-like texture of his armored gauntlets to the ridges on his shin guards– is beautifully realized.
I’m particularly blown away by the cowl, which offers a true sense of depth and just the right amount of bulk, thanks to the separate head piece underneath. It’s a striking effect that really helps to sell the unique silhouette of Burton’s Batman. Even the cloth cape, fastened around the neck underneath the cowl piece, is made of the perfect material, pliable enough to drape or bunch in front of or behind the shoulders and arms, while maintaining a perfectly natural drape.
NECA’s sculptors are usually quite skilled at hiding articulation into their pieces, but I feel Batman goes above and beyond what we’re used to– this guy packs in articulated joints at the neck, abdomen, hips, wrists and ankles… all of which are completely concealed by the figure’s sculpt and armor overlays. Only the elbow and knees joints are even slightly visible, and do nothing to compromise the fantastic sculpt! While this all leaves Batman not quite super articulated, he gets a good enough range to hit a variety of poses, and he’s a lot of fun to play around with.
Of course, the big licensing side step with this guy is his color pattern, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sort of love the goofy purple, blue and black video game deco. It matches Batman’s NES game look well enough, and compliments the similar shading we saw in past 8-Bit figures like RoboCop and Predator. I actually love the highlight effect on Batman’s chest armor and thighs, and while the bright blue paint obviously draws the eye, the blends between different tones of purple subtly adds a lot of depth to the figure overall.
Batman includes an alternate set of hands, which swap out easily at the wrists, a Batarang and his Grappling Gun. he can hold both accessories quite well, and they’re both perfectly screen accurate. Everything comes packed in a window box that’s become another hallmark of this video game series. The box art is designed to mimic the original NES video game box, with a screen shot and quote from the game on the inner flap, and a nice window which does a great job of displaying the figure inside.
In addition to this 8-Bit Batman, NECA has also managed to find a way to release their Keaton Batman in his classic movie colors, as well. While this news came out after the release of NES Batman, I certainly don’t mind. This video game version is totally cool, with a unique and wonderfully stylized color pattern, and he makes a great addition to this fun series of figures.
Super heroes have always been a dream project for the guys at NECA, and seeing their skills applied to caped crusaders is obviously music to the ears of many fans like me, as well. I’m really glad that NECA found the opportunity to make at least one of these cinematic super heroes a reality in toy form. 8-Bit Batman is fun, unique and totally indicative of the near limitless talent and creativity going on behind the scenes at one of the most exciting toy companies in the market today.