Monday, December 8, 2014

Mattel '66 Batman and Robin 2-Pack 2013


When Mattel announced they had the license to make toys based on the television show, Batman, there was immediate joy at the idea of finally having figures of Burt Ward, Adam West, and all the other fantastic actors involved. This lasted for about forty-five seconds before those same people then realized that it was Mattel making the announcement. We knew, then, that it probably wasn't going to end well.


Those of us who doubted Mattel's ability to properly deliver these toys were fairly quickly proven correct. Some of the figures, such as Catwoman or the blessed and magical Surfing Batman were fantastic (no, seriously, Surfing Batman is going to be a permanent favorite of mine), but others were really disappointing, such as the Joker. (How in the world do you screw up the Joker??) Still, those figures that were lacking in execution were not the worst sin that Mattel committed.
No, this pack was the worst sin. When people watch Batman, they see Batman and Robin. The Dynamic Duo. Robin was an incredibly important part of the show, and was just assumed to be included in the toy line. The good news was that he was included. The bad news was that he could ONLY be bought through this two-pack. Batman was released in about 19 different variations, but there was only one Robin, and he couldn't even be bought without having to buy Batman as well. That was just dirty pool. There's no other way to put it.
The sculpting for this figure is actually pretty fantastic. New bodies were created for Batman and Robin. West and Ward weren't exactly the picture of absolute physical fitness, so using Mattel's usual hyper-fit superhero bodies just wouldn't have worked. The sculpted elements of the costumes are accurate, as are the build of the two figures. Unfortunately, one thing they forgot to do was to make Robin shorter than Batman. Why? Because Mattel giveth and Mattel taketh away.
Included with the two pack is what can be loosely termed a diorama. Constructed so that it can be hung on a wall, it simulates one of the walls that Batman and Robin were often seen climbing. It even includes windows that can be opened to allow that week's celebrity to pop out and talk with the Dynamic Duo. However, remember my statement that Mattel giveth and Mattel taketh away? Sure you do, it was like four sentences ago. Really? You don't? Have you considered seeing a doctor? Anyway, the wall is hollow plastic and there isn't really enough room for a figure to be placed so that they can look out the window.
Additionally, Batman and Robin attach to the wall with pegs. I would not, however, recommend you ever depend on these pegs. The Mattel Manufacturing Process (TM) isn't really able to make pegs and holes to fit tightly enough together to ensure that Batman and Robin don't regularly topple down to the ground. Unless you plan on gluing them to this wall to keep them in place, you're probably not going to get much use out of the wall.
The capes are cloth, but they come with a tag about half the size of the figures attached to it. You can cut it off and make the figures look less ridiculous, as I did, but it is a bit silly that it's even required.  Somewhere, there is a lawyer laughing. A lot. The capes have wires running through the edges in order to them to be posed like gravity is pulling at them, but your mileage with this will absolutely vary. The rest of the figures are decently articulated and can get into most poses, but the hips make a lot of those poses look odd. While the Mattel "H" hip can work in some circumstances, these figures are simply too slim for it not to stand out.
I don't hate this pack by any means. In fact, I actually bought it as a gift for my mother, who is a big fan of Batman. No, my issue is more with the fact that this could have been amazing. The entire toy line could have been amazing. Instead, the flaws are pretty glaring and hard to miss. Sloppy paint (check out that hairline around the ears) and bad design decisions just add up to make this less than impressive out of the package.








2 comments:

Eric Stettmeier on December 8, 2014 at 9:57 PM said...

Ah, but you forget: the line didn't succeed because THE FANS DIDN'T SUPPORT IT! (TM Mattel)

And IF they ever release the promised Batgirl...well, you will have to buy another Batman AND another Robin to get her in a three pack. Because Mattel.

Which is precisely why I never picked up Batman or Robin. HAHAHAHA whose laughing now, Mattel?!?!

And I agree, Surfing Batman is one of the greatest action figures in the history of mankind. Period.

Super-Duper ToyBox on December 10, 2014 at 7:30 PM said...

... didn't buy 'em, but the Surf's Up Bats did look fun...

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