It feels just like only yesterday when I first got Hot Toys DX01 and 02, which are the Joker and the Batman respectively from the first sequel of Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight. I still remembered when Sam (whom has moved on since) of xl-shop told me all about Hot Toys new product line called the DX series. It is supposed to stand for "deluxe", which I take it to mean as a notch above the standard lineup. Thus "justify" the more "premium" retail price. Then there's PERS i.e. movable eyeballs (made famous by Enterbay's line of 1/6th Bruce Lee. Where art thou Arnie Kim?) and a DX series figure would be loaded with tons of extra goodies/accessories and premium looking packaging. It does. I remembered how excited I was when the first two figures landed onto me grubby hands. Except that my expectation on the lineup is a tad too high. The Joker's fine, but the Batman comes with a belly oil that perpetually refuses to stop oozing. Even now. As I am typing this. It is as if Hot Toys decided to reward its customers with personal oil well. Wishful thinking coz I would be fart tart, rich, and can afford to escape the daily grind of works, thanks to a figure with au naturel oil. I often wonder what oil grade it is, and seriously, is the "substance" toxic? Which makes me think about some of those 3A super dust coated figures which explodes with mushroom clouds of fine particles, but that's another matter for another day. Sometimes I wonder if the "substance" would turn me into Venom. Just kidding.
Anyhoo, the DX series has marched on to figure no. 12. Actually, HT skipped DX10 and 11 (T-800 and The Joker v.2), and went ahead with releasing this one first. Another Batman but based on the second sequel and finale, The Dark Knight Rises. DX12 is comparatively the most "premium", nah, scratch that, expensive of all DXes thus far. Maybe I could be wrong on the pricing but at above RM700, it has gotta be a great action figure, ok, toys right? Nope.
When the teaser and full revelation were released, I was so darn excited with the prospect of this latest Batman (I mean, Hot Toys seems to be milking certain franchises to the last drop). The specifications are impressive and I rubbed my palms together gleefully sayin, this is the creme de la creme version of the Chris Nolan's Bats coz I darn love the trilogy and thus is a must have. I wouldn't say it is the ultimate representation of the Bat coz there would not be one in my personal opinions and there are so many versions (would love to have the comic book versions like the fat Batman from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns and Mike Mignola's 19th century version from Gotham by Gaslight) I would like to see in 1/6th format.
OK, back to this figure. After braving strong, lashing tropical rains last evening, and a particularly horrible traffics all the way along the watchtower, I mean, Jalan Kuching to Bukit Bintang, I finally got it in hands, courtesy of DJ Davey Dave David (whom has partly "poisoned" by me to go into 3A lines of vinyl figures after selling him the African Defense Heavy Bramble). Now, what they had covered in those YouTubes (I really, for the record, couldn't comprehend all those "unboxing" vids. It is so trivial and it is just a box, for goodness sake. Or is it?) and forums are true. I am with the "regret" camp. Why?
OK, the packaging is not as "premium" as previous DXes and could not hold a candle to the DX02. It feels like HT could have had sell this as a standard MMS instead coz it sure feels like one. The figure stand is awesome though, best thus far.
And onto the figure, there is no longer any free belly oil on the Batsuit. And the idea of having separate glued on "armour plates" onto the fabric instead of wholly molded piece like DX02 looks fantastic. But it seems to escape HT's attention that the elbow guards are all out of place. Nevermind, as I can probably re-imagine it to act as an offensive weapon. The gaunlets are the same as DX02 version i.e. have double rows of blades/scalloped fins. Watch out for it coz it is still sharp. Comes with additional two alternative facial gestures, but I am still not so keen on the "smiley" one, of which DX02 also comes with. Makes Brucie looks, uh, ham sap, lecherous, for the lack of better word. Maybe that's for him to pose, and ogle at Selina Kyle. At least it is not the "Huh?" looks of Lt. Aldo Raine, Chris Taylor and the "big boobies" Black Widow. But no more lighted up eyes like DX02. The heads are attached via magnetic joint, same, which is positive coz I hate those tight pegs. Which is ironic. Removing Spiderman's hand pegs are made for exercising my wrists and fingers. Each breakage is an exercise for my patience. Good news for Olympian finger wrestlers. But the DX12's hand joints are quite loose. Good news for fairies heh.
The head sculpt of Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne is as close as it gets to the real deal. Aged and more mature looking as in the movie. Or at least that's what my eyes' tellin my perception. It is also kinda more "weighty" comparatively. It is also an improvement over the ole version of Wayne.
HT shortfall of this figure, personally, comes from the overall design of the figure. DX12 armour seems abit "compress", like not enough volume, particularly on the two slabs of chest muscles and shoulders when compared to DX02. Maybe HT transplanted it onto the thigh instead, which looks better than DX02. But the "reduction" in the "mass" of the upper torso makes this Bat figure looks a tad "narrow" when viewed from the side profile. And "fat-ish". Yes, that's right. The "narrowness" or "shallowness" on the upper torso or perhaps to "realistically" tell us that due to lack of exercise of the older Bats makes the lower portion of the torso, excentuates by the bigger thighs, makes Bats looks like he has gained a couple of pounds over the course of eight years, as in the movie. Unless I pose it in a "heroic, fluffy" fashion, which I always do, a side by side comparison with DX02 really highlight the differences. But then I would have to re-watch the Dark Knight Rises again to see if it were like that in the movie. The armour is not as dark too, then again, I do remember that the movie's armour is also slightly "lighter" in colour.
Then there's the cape. Like DX02 (removal for the back pack), I am required to slot in the cape onto the body. Perhaps for allowance for me to pose and put the figure into the Tumbler. I realise that one of the plastic locks (of which we are supposed to "slide and press" onto the shoulder slots) is loosed from the stitching. This seems to be a nagging problem with HT figures that have alot of accessories. I managed to slot it properly but a removal of the cape if I wanna to would means gluing time as it is now "linked" together just with a single, bare thread. The cape's material somewhat feels less "weighty" than DX02. And there's two, short wires for "pose" running along both sides of the cape. HT could have gone abit further and runs the entire wire line down the whole cape. I would reckon that would give me more opportunity to show off the cape flapping in the wind style.
There're two belts as usual. One for the grappler and another for the sticky bombs, foldable gun. And of course, the new EMP rifle. Here's a gripe from me. The hands provided just could not grip nor position it properly.
And finally, there's the boots, of which I think DX02 is better. HT seems to be fond of making small boots.
I would not have any gripes if there's no DX02 in the first place. But the reality is there is predecessor to this figure and I can't help but to compare as well as curious. DX12 Bats is fine. Just that it does not match the retail price. Coz there's no significant difference between DX02 and DX12 'cept for the Batsuit. This is just version 2. And on top of that is the lack of upper torso mass. This could be perfect, the ultimo version, if one were to remove DX02 upper torso and replaced the DX12 ones. As well as the girl sized boots. And the darn snap on cape. The gap between the two releases maybe too short. And could have been released as a standard MMS lineup. There's just too many repeats like Pete. Now, I am abit scared of how DX10 T-800 and DX11 Joker would turns out...