Correction: Throughout this post I continually used the term “Batplane” to refer to one of the vehicles. I had the nagging feeling that something about this wasn’t quite right. Well I checked up on it a few minutes ago and saw that it is officially known as the Batmarine. No clue why a plane gets a marine suffix but c’est la vie, it’s a Batmarine, not a
Back during my very first entry on Batmobiles, I think I had like 2 models from Corgi. Well since then, I’ve steadily been buying up all the Corgi’s at my local toy store. According to the guy I chat it up with most of the time the owner guy had to move or something and got rid of lots of Hot Wheels and other diecast thingies that roll, hence the sudden abundance of Corgis as well as the 1:50 Hot Wheels Batman stuff, which is how I scored that 1989 Movie Batwing for $50 and that neat Penguin Batmobile for some very reasonable price.
Corgi has made lots of stuff when it comes to cars and vehicles with Batman only being a small slice. They’ve also put out multiple series, going back at least as far as the 1960’s (though realistically there probably wasn’t a lot of Batman stuff to make before then). Based in the UK, the Corgi name isn’t as well known on this side of the pond outside of collectors. The good news is that aside from a few select vehicles, Corgi products in the US are very reasonably priced on the aftermarket. I’m still a big Corgi virgin myself, but I love what they’ve done so far with the Batmobiles and other Bat-vehicles.
The particular series that I’m after consists of 1:43 scale models of all manner of Bat-vehicles taken directly from the comics. In some instances the vehicles have only had fleeting appearances, and I even read about one model that Corgi produced based on a car’s appearance in a mere 1 or 2 panels! So theoretically, you should be able to dig through all of Batman’s comic history and find any and all of the Corgi models at least once. The larger size allows for increased detail and functionality without becoming too large and unwieldy. It’s a little hard to gather information without a distinct name for the collection, but they appear to have been produced in the mid-2000’s.
Another drawback of not having a name for the series is not having a way to gather hard info on the cars. For instance I’d love to have a complete list of everything that was made so I know how far along I am – half? Do I have most of ’em?? Have I barely even scratched the surface? There’s a few confusing things about how Corgi does it’s stuff that makes things confusing. Most – possibly all – of the toys are preceded by a decade, followed by the name of the vehicle, such as “1990’s Batmobile.” However, if that’s all you pay attention to, you’ll miss out. You’ll be thinking, “yeah, I’ve got the 1990’s Batmobile da dada dada…wait, there’s a 90’s Batmobile and it doesn’t look anything like mine!” The random vehicles don’t seem to have this issue, but the Batmobiles usually have 2 versions per decade. Somewhere on the packaging (and on the bottom of the car itself) you’ll see something like “BMBV1” or “BMBV2.” So far all of the Batmobiles I’ve seen have had 2 versions per decade, and so far no “other” vehicles have had a version designation other than “1” but there very well could be exceptions that I’m unaware of.
So ok, at this point you’ve got a) decade, b) vehicle name, and c) version designation if necessary. (I have no idea if they go up to “BMBV3;” this is why I eneed some kinda master checklist!) Furthermore, it seems like color can come into play. Blue and black appear to be the relevant colors. Now I am a little confused as to how it all comes together, but according to what I’v see on eBay, 2 Batmobiles identical in both decade and version can vary only by color. Now I don’t know how prevalent this issue is, but it would seem like, in at least some instances, a Batmobile will have to be defined by 4 parameters: 1) decade, 2) vehicle name/type, 3) version number, and 4) color. “Hey man, check out my 1960’s Batmobile BMBV2, Black. You know anywhere I can score a Blue One!!??
I think I have all that straight, at least based on what I’ve ran across so far, but if anyone out there wants to set me straight on just how Corgi went about designing this circa 2005 collection, by all means feel free to do so. I’d be most grateful.
Currently I have 12 Corgi specimens, listed below. I left out version numbers and colors in the non-Batmobiles just because that’s something I’ve yet to encounter. However, this doesn’t mean that every Batmobile has 2 versions; for instance I’m pretty sure there is no BMBV2 of the 30’s Batmobile.
- 1930’s Batmobile, V1, Red
- 1940’s Batmobile, V1, Black
- 1950’s Batmobile, V1, Blue
- 1950’s Jokermobile
- 1950’s Two-Face Car
- 1960’s Batplane
- 1970’s Batmobile, V1, Blue
- 1990’s Batmobile, V2, Blue
- 1990’s Subway Rocket
- 2000’s Batmobile, V2, Blue
- 2000’s Batsubmersible
- 2000’s Redbird
Most of these have a couple of moving parts, typically in the form of opening doors, hoods, and/or trunks. Others have spring-loaded mechanisms, like the Batplane, 40’s Batmobile, and Batsub. These might look and feel a little more toyetic than other collections, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially when you take into consideration that they’re pulled directly from the pages of comic books, which at various points have eschewed black for blue in the interest of visibility.
Aside from the Subway Rocket, which I ordered online, I picked up the rest of these at the toy store. There’s 2 more left, a black 60’s Batmobile (not sure what version) and a 40’s black Batmobile, BMBV2. As I’ve said before I really have no clue how deep the collection goes, but one that I know of that I really want is the BMBV1 of the 2000’s Batmobile. Most of what I see online is reasonably priced, though there does seem to be one of he 60’s Batmobiles that is somewhat rare and costly. Dunno if it’s BMBV1 or BMBV2, but I do know it’s whichever one isn’t sitting over there at the toy store.
As evidenced by the Joker and Two-Face cars, Corgi also puts out villainous vehicles. These can be tough to find because they aren’t often listed with “batmobiles” as a search parameter. So far I’ve found out about Catwoman’s Catmobile and Killer Moth’s Mothmobile, both of which are pretty awesome.
Personally the 90’s BMBV2 is probably my favorite of the ones I own thus far. Does it look 90s-ish? I dunno, but it does look like something that would’ve been pegged “futuristic” back in the 90s. Robin’s 2000s Redbird has an ultra-sleek and modern appearance – something like a flying car or bullet-train. The 2000s Batsub is also a standout, although it looks more like a “Bat-UFO” than an underwater vehicle. The more obscure Subway Rocket is awesome looking and could’ve easily been a memorable Batmobile.
I enjoy the fact that the 40s BMBV1 is recognizable from other Batmobile collections. Some of them, particularly the 70s BMBV1 and the 30s Batmobile are oddly understated. Then again, I have no idea what everyone’s opinion of what a “badass car” would look like back in the 1930s! I’ve seen a few of the old panels using this one and I only wish Corgi would’ve painted the sides black to make it look at least a little more distinctive and unique. I hope there are more villainous -mobiles out there. The Jokermobile’s appearance between a classic muscle car, a seaplane, and a submarine is very cool, and Two-Face’s Car comes with a two-toned color scheme and get this – the purple “scarred side” is all bumpy and stuff to reflect Dent’s scarring. Plus I really dig the green color on the “clean” side!
Alrighty, that’s it for the Corgi report! With any luck I’ll have those last 2 before too long, and then it’s just a matter of juggling others with all the other neat stuff I wanna order off the net. The other 2000’s Batmobile may be my next favorite, but I also really want to go after that Mothmobile. As always, I’ll keep you updated! Stick around as I unfurl my super-cool Batman surprise sometime over the next few days! Oh and Friday is amiibo Day so that’ll be fun too. I may not run out and get a Nintendo Switch just yet, but I’ma damn sure keep up with those amiibo!