REVIEW: Mattel SDCC13 Batman ’66 Batusi Set
The First Adam West Batman Figure Dances Into Your Collection...
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Every since Batman graced the small screen in the 1966 Batman TV series there has always been a demand for merchandise of the caped crusader and his trusty sidekick. Back then, there were all sorts of products available from party supplies and role-play items to models and games. But after the series was canceled and distribution rights were fought over between studios for many years, there has been next to no merchandise from the series save for a few Batmobile toys. That has all changed now and an agreement between studios has allowed for a resurgence and marketing bonanza for the original 1966 series. Mattel has honor of giving fans some of the first action figures and dolls based on the likenesses of the characters in the series, and the San Diego Comic Con exclusive Batusi set features the first action figure of Adam West as Batman.
Based on a memorable scene from the pilot episode titled “Hi Diddle Riddle”, Batman unleashes some sweet dance moves that appear only one other time in the series, but live on to be part of pop culture. Dubbed the “Batusi” the go-go style dance was a take on the popular dance craze of the late 60s called the Watusi.
The packaging is really the highlight of this figure because it captures so many elements of the time period and of the episode it is based on. The outer box features some retro looking pop art with some swinging dancers on the front and Batman and Robin in the Batmobile on the back. The tagline “Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel” is scrolled across the top flap.
The inner box is made to look like an old-fashioned tube television with Batman and dancers visible through the front window/screen. I appreciate that the sides of the box feature the Riddler popping out the manhole cover, Holly the henchman praising Batman’s dancing and Robin stuck in the Batmobile outside because he’s too young to enter the club. When you shake the box a little, the dancers on the inside will sway back and forth to simulate their moves (they are attached via flexible pieces of plastic). There is an opening in the back of the box that allows you to reach a lever on Batman’s back activating his arms to move back and forth simulating the Batusi dance. On the bottom right of the screen is a small button that when pressed plays a jazzy music piece similar to the one playing in the episode.
The actual Batman figure included in this set doesn’t really serve much of a purpose outside his packaging, but can be removed fairly easily without destroying the box, although you need to be careful as he has a tag that goes through his cape and this can create a small hole as I found out. The figure only includes the one set of hands spread in V shapes so he either dances or looks like he’s throwing up gang signs when you set him up for display.
The figure’s sculpting is as good as you would expect from Mattel and will fit in nicely with your DC Universe Classics figures. The likeness of Adam West is pretty good and I would love to see either a Bruce Wayne or Batman figure with no cowl later in the line. The figure features around 19 points of articulation, which despite his fixed hands allow for an impressive range of motion and posing. The figure includes a cloth cape that looks a lot better than a sculpted one would have. And also due to the fixed hands, there are no accessories as he wouldn’t be able to hold them anyway.
The paint application was pretty accurate with only two or three colors besides the head. They used a blue that had metallic flakes in it that gives it a pretty cool effect. Despite that, I felt for the small amount of colors used and flat paint applications that things would be a little cleaner but there were defects and run overs in the paint all over the figure.
Overall I love the figure and it is such a great display piece that I really wouldn’t want to remove it from the box. With all the other Batman figures coming out to support the new line this is one can keep on dancing. While it was originally sold at San Diego Comic Con and shortly after on MattyCollector.com, the set is now sold out. But the other Batman ’66 figures are available at many other fine retailers and are shipping into stores right now.
Review & Photos by Michael Klein
Review Sample Courtesy of Mattel