I should have guessed the moment I saw the Hot Toys Batmobile in person last month that I would soon be hitting the ‘pay now’ button.

Shipped by UPS

The arrival

This is the design I grew up with since the car appeared on the silver screen back in 1989, and I simply couldn’t let the opportunity pass by, not when something of this size and detail would rarely be marketed by any company. With lights and working features, this is a plastic dream come true. Unwieldy dimensions and hefty weight be damned (an 87 lb. shipping weight?!), I will make room for this beast in my home. The web overflows with ideas for custom displays (including a motorized fish tank) but I will have to first purchase some cotton gloves for fear of leaving any fingerprints on the pristine surface. Kudos to Big Bad Toy Store for inspecting and prepping the product before shipping, especially when there is a sizable number of returns reported due to unsightly scratches or gouges in early shipments from some dealers.

revealed

Talk about beauty and the beast — she’s both.

The ’89 Batmobile dominated my collection interests for a long time. My earliest example is the AMT-Ertl 1/25 scale plastic kit which I spent a great deal of effort to assemble. Puttying and sanding were not my usual routines in building kits when I was younger, but it was worth the effort and it still sits complete on a shelf to this day. After eBay appeared on the scene in ’95, I went after the 1990 Kenner toy (The Dark Knight Collection) that features flip-over machine guns and a pop-out flame exhaust that spins as the car rolls forward; much better than the previous (and odd-looking) ToyBiz version. I don’t know why I didn’t pick one up the first time around on store shelves in ’90, but it’s definitely a cool action figure vehicle.

eBay also gave me the opportunity to get what was back then the best Batmobile in my eyes: the RichMan’s Toys Inc. 1/10 scale radio controlled model from 1989, ready-to-run. I remember seeing a single advertisement in one DC Star Trek comic issue, with a brunette girl holding the model in front demonstrating the 21″ size. That large size was paired with a MSRP of US$125. Well, I was still in high school at the time, so it seemed a hefty chunk of change back then… but that had to be the *ultimate* rendition of the Batmobile. After purchasing it years later, I ran it around an empty parking lot for a few enjoyable afternoons. The original foam tires are still in great condition.

You should see my other car.

1989 Batmobile by RichMan’s Toys, Inc.

Even as the movie franchise marched onward, the ’89 Batmobile could never fully leave the public consciousness for long. A decade after its first appearance, the car was conscripted to advertise the OnStar subscription service. The campaign was widely successful.

Other merchandising was never too far off either; later toy iterations came in various small sizes from different companies. I picked up the 1/18 scale Hot Wheels Elite collectible as well.

The major competitor to Hot Toys for a Batmobile fan’s wallet is the Cinemaquette 1/8 scale (30″ long) replica that was announced as early as 2009. In terms of authenticity you could not get any closer than this: it’s based on the actual molds of a miniature from the first film (where the Batmobile races through the exploding chemical factory). It also would set you back $2000! For me that’s worth one month’s mortgage plus a few utility bills. “Too rich for my blood” as they say, but it’s long since sold out. I could mention the accompanying Batwing as well, but that’s a whole other story!

In this digital age it’s too easy to make a purchase. You no longer have to hand bills over to the cashier, write a check to post in the mail, or call a rep to dictate your credit card number. Just click the ‘pay now’ graphic and deal with the paperless bill when the e-mail reminder comes in. You can drop money in the blink of an eye without a thought and be neck-deep in buyer’s remorse for a good deal longer.

Did I really cave in on this Batmobile? No, I had since 1989 to think this one over.

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