During the initial “Bat Craze” of the 1960s, toys and memorabilia based on the campy TV series, Batman, were plentiful and widely available. However, for fans of 1:6 scale, the only Batman figure produced during that time was a costume set created by Ideal for its Captain Action line. Cap’s Batman set was cool, yes, but far from perfect. Collectors have always wanted more—MUCH more. And now it seems, they’re about to get their wish.
For over 40 years, the dearth of ’60s-era Bat-product has led many customizers to create their own 1:6 scale Batman figures. But all of those talented “kitbashers” may soon have to find something new to create. With the recent announcement from Warner Brothers (WB) regarding the long-awaited, official licensing of the classic TV series, a veritable flood of new Bat-products is expected to appear soon.
Nevertheless, one amazing kitbasher plans to continue creating his own 1:6 scale custom Batman figures at the kitchen table for years to come. Here’s what Rick R. told us about his favorite spare time pursuit:
“I started making custom figures nearly 20 years ago. It all started with villains for the Captain Action toy line; Red Skull, Green Goblin etc.
Ideal toys never did get around to making the bad guys for Dr Evil ( Captain Action’s nemesis ), so a few friends I knew sculpted some mask’s and I kitbashed some suits. And that’s how it all came to be.
Moving forward a few years, I had always wanted a 1:6 scale Adam West Batman figure. No one had ever offered one before. My good buddy Wes from Classic Plastic made one for Captain Action and I decided to take it a little further.
First, I took a resin head from a model kit of Adam West as Batman. Then, I had his clothes made, put it all together on a figure…and I had my first Adam West Batman!
Over the years, I’ve worked with some very talented sculptors to make most of the TV show’s cast in handcrafted, resin form. I also work with an amazing seamstress. That lady can make anything!
I’ve been fortunate enough to know and work with some very talented folks. Without their help, I’d never get my custom figures done. It’s been a blast making them.”
When asked if he planned to attend the licensing event for future manufacturers of official Batman products, Rick replied:
“No. I simply can’t afford the licensing fee to manufacture on a mass-produced basis.”
When asked for his thoughts and feelings regarding all of the new, upcoming 1:6 scale Batman product, Rick answered:
“A buddy of mine told me that Hot Toys has already secured the right to do the 1960s’ 12” Batman, Robin, Joker, Catwoman, Riddler and Penguin figures, as well as a 1:6 scale Batmobile. That’s all still about 15 months away, but man, I think it’s going to be huge! Sure I’m a little bummed, but I can’t wait to get some for myself. I mean, have you ever seen Hot Toy’s Christopher Reeve Superman? Biblical! Best figure on God’s green Earth. If they do that for the Adam West Batman—it’s over, man!“
Indeed, with announcements by both Sideshow and Hot Toys regarding the imminent production and sale of a 1:6 scale ’66 Batmobile (see our article published July 12, 2012), “Bat-fans” everywhere are already thinking ahead and yearning for equally high-quality action figures to display alongside them.
The custom figures created by Rick and other customizers are definitely high-quality. And we’re sure everything produced by Hot Toys will be absolutely mind-blowing. Whatever the outcome of all this new-found “Bat-Hoopla,” it looks like we, the fans and collectors, are going to be the ultimate winners.
Bottom Line: We wish all of you 1:6 scale customizers out there the very best. To contact Rick personally about his amazing customs, send him a message HERE. In the meantime, here are some more cool pics of custom ’60s-era Batman figures. The work speaks for itself and the talent level involved is simply AMAZING. Enjoy!