Thursday, December 1, 2016
Toy Review: Batman Automobilia No. 78: Batman: Arkham Origins Video Game
Posted by Erin Snyder at 12:00 AM
This is the second die-cast vehicle I've looked at for Mainlining Christmas, the first being the Batman: Noel Batmobile. These are part of an impressively large line of monthly Batman vehicles from Eaglemoss Collectibles. The line represents stories from all forms of media: comics, the campy 1966 series, various animated incarnations of Batman, and (obviously) video games.
While Batman might not be the first character you think of when you hear Christmas music, he's had his share of holiday misadventures, including the 2013 video game, Batman: Arkham Origins. I was a big fan of the game, so I was excited when Eaglemoss produced a toy version of the Batwing.
Let's start with the magazine. In lieu of actual packaging, each of these comes with a magazine. Actually, I'm a little unclear whether the vehicle or the magazine is technically the accessory, but I doubt anyone shells out $20 for the ten page pamphlet.
As always, this include fold-out schematics and some background info on the game and vehicle. I actually have a bone to pick with the company this time around - I couldn't find a single reference to Christmas in the entire magazine, despite it being a major component of the game.
But who cares? The magazine isn't why I bought this.
Eaglemoss did a good job recreating the look of the vehicle, though I don't think they did as good a job as on some of the others.
A lot of that isn't their fault: the design of this Batwing really isn't as inspired as some of the more famous versions (I far prefer the one from the '89 Burton movie, as well as every version used in the Animated Series and its spin-offs). This isn't bad, but the game designers were clearly trying for something more realistic looking. While I can understand the impulse, I'm not sure that's the best starting point for a high-speed jet the main character regularly zip-lines up to as it swerves between high-rise buildings in a major metropolitan area.
As is usually the case, it looks better from some vantage points than others. Actually, the game chose a really bad perspective for most of its shots, making the plane appear lopsided. The toy provides us with a better idea of what they were going for.
There's also an issue of perceived value. Due to the size and shape, it winds up feeling quite a bit less substantial than the Batmobiles, despite occupying more space. The Noel vehicle, in particular, looks a lot more like something I'd feel comfortable paying $20 for than the plane. Here's a side-by-side comparison:
While the dimensions aren't dramatically different, you can see that the car has more heft - it's a larger piece. It also has more components, providing a more textured appearance. To be fair, Eaglemoss didn't have a lot of options here. I'm sure there were limits on shipping size, which already required a bigger case, due to the wingspan.
This is as good a picture I could pull off of the holographic backing, which I'm pretty sure was lifted directly from the game. It works quite well on the shelf, despite some issues with the waterline. It's probably not obvious if you haven't played the game, but the lights are mainly due to the holidays. There bottom of the stand also alludes to the season: you can seen broken ice on the water surface. Once again, I think this was pulled from the game. While I like the backdrop, I wish they'd either pulled a higher-resolution image for the water or redone it. Something's off in the rendering, almost like it's a digital map of the ocean's floor or something.
I like this, but I do feel like it's one of the weaker entries in the line. The display case and backdrop help justify the price, but when I compare it to similar-sized Batwings from Hotwheels costing less than half as much (above), I can't help but question if it's worth it.
If only they'd talked about Christmas in the magazine, I could recommend it more wholeheartedly. C'est la vie.
I'll close out with one more comparison shot, this one comparing the Batwing to a pair of aquatic vehicles from what I consider the gold-standard of Batmobiles in this size, the Corgi vehicles from about ten years ago. Again, these would have run you $8 to $12 bucks or so at the time.