Friday, October 1, 2010

Special Edition Elite 1966 TV Series Batmobile

I received this model as a gift and it took my breath away. I’ll give away my age and admit that I watched the original 1966 Batman series as a kid but that does not make me an expert. I focused this review on comparing this model’s exterior for accuracy rather than looking for every minute difference between it and the TV show car.

The car’s exterior is as good a match to the original as I’ve ever seen. It’s an impressive size measuring in at just under one foot or 30 centimeters long. The gloss black paint has been applied flawlessly showing no blemishes of any kind. The red pin-striping shows beautifully against the black.

Both doors, hood and trunk open fully and glide easily, though it is slightly difficult to get your finger under the hood to lift it. Even though the interior is all moulded plastic, which one would have to look at closely to discover, it looks excellent. It houses some awesome details like a dashboard compass, the Batphone and a fire extinguisher. My personal favourite is the definitive bubble windshields front and back. Mattel did an amazing job of getting those right. They show clear and the grey trim has been applied nicely so as to not take away from the design. The spinning antenna positioned just outside of the windshield is a wonderful touch, though it is extremely fragile and if not careful, it could easily break.

Considering the price of this model (I’m sure you could find one for under $100 USD) the level of engine detail is good; it definitely has visual impact when you lift the hood. However, the silver engine’s highly-polished, shiny finish, brings out the look of the plastic detracting from the quality.

The decaling and detailing on this model are excellent with a great looking steering wheel, dash and labelling of important devices like Bat Turn and Bat Chutes. The all-important and familiar Batman logo is perfect in colour, size and position. Though the sticker that is the Bat Computer in the trunk of the car is slightly off. The car has a nice open (see-through) grill and rear engine nozzle.

For me there are very few negatives to speak of about this midlevel model. The all plastic base does knock it down in quality from the far more expensive Super Elite version. The tires are made from a harder rubber that make them look and feel plastic. As mentioned earlier, the small, brass antenna is fragile and must be handled with care. I’d like to have seen headlights on this car instead of the painted-over grill patterns and small plastic buttons they used. Also, the engine and Bat Computer really are the low points of this model.

Hardcore fans of the original ’66 Batman television series will take issues with the differences between this model and the show’s car. By that comparison it is not 100% accurate. This diecast was modeled after George Barris’ current Batmobile. It was always Mr. Barris’ car and after the series ended the car was returned to him. Since then he has made several changes, not the least of which was updating the stereo system which doesn’t match the original. There are other differences such as seats and seatbelts, the size of the phone and extinguisher and I’m sure many others. As I mentioned, I’m not hardcore enough to recognize the difference.

If you want an accurate representation down to the finest of details then you’ll have to spend three times what this version costs. This is the perfect version for those of us who don’t need the minutia to be perfect, but want to have the absolute best looking and affordable Batmobile available.

The verdict: Go out and buy this model right now (and remember to keep the bonnet and boot closed).

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