Welcome to another installment of Knockoff Nation. This is a (semi)regular article on HiddenLevel where I (OgelBlockHead) will review toys that come from the Far East, typically China, that are off-brand versions of more popular brands toys. In the past a knock-off or bootleg usually indicated poorly made toys; cheap plastic, castings from lousy molds, sloppy paint, mismatched parts, etc., this is no longer always the case. If you know where to look, you can find some really nice toys at a great price.
Today's review is of a Batman figure that's been popping up on ebay that usually ships out of China or Hong Kong. The mold that was used to make this figure appears to be the one used for the Batman from Mattel's Arkham City two-pack that came coupled with either Two-Face or Catwoman. The main difference between this Batman and the official figure is that this one is predominately dressed in black. There is also a knock-off that is in the gray and black costume, much like the one that's paired with the Two-Face set.
This figure was listed on ebay as 7" Batman Unlimited "Dark Knight Returns Batman" Action Figure. The figure is usually listed with a "Buy Now" price of around $10 to $15, but if you do an auction instead, you can probably get one for around $7 with free shipping, like I did.
When the figure arrived in the mail, it was just a loose figure wrapped in bubble-wrap inside an envelope. One I had the figure out of the package I noticed that it smelled more like the plastic from a dollar store than a typical mass produced action figure. The plastic also felt a bit harder and more solid than most of the DC Universe figures I own, the cape especially.
The sculpt the figure was actually pretty impressive. All the details are sharp and well defined, which you don't always get with a bootleg. The body of the figure is done quite well, the only thing I have any issue with is the size of the head, which seems too small. Judging by the pictures I looked at of the real figures, I think this is an issue due to the design, not the production. He seems to fit in much better in scale with DC Collectibles figures than Mattel DC figures, which I found a bit surprising.
The paint is very minimal probably to keep costs down, which I'm sure was the reason they went with the all black costume in the first place. The two areas that are painted are the face and the utility belt. I think I lucked out by getting a figure that has very clean paint. Everything, including the eyes, is painted very straight and crisp. I'm sure this may vary from toy to toy, because quality control isn't typically all that great on knock-offs, but in this case, I'm very happy.
Once I started playing around with the figure and putting him into all kinds of action poses, I was surprised to find that his articulation was really fun. He seemed to move into and maintain various stances very easily. None of his joints stuck at all nor were any of them too loose. I was worried that a toy like this would have fragile plastic, but it was quite the opposite. This figure seemed like it could take more abuse than the average Mattel DC Universe action figure.
Overall, I am very happy to have this in my collection and I plan on displaying him right along with my other Batman figures rather than my bootlegs as I had originally planned. I liked him enough that I may need to go back to ebay and bid on a gray suit version.
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