Have any of you out there tried collecting all of the Hot Wheels 1:50 scale Batmobiles and other assorted Bat-vehicles? If your collection is anywhere near completion, you’ve probably had to spend more money than you’d like on things like the Batwing and the Batblade. However, one previously pricey item has been reissued…but is it the same vehicle…?
The Original Release
A few months ago I noticed that the Penguin Duck and The Bat re-appeared on shelves. Now these aren’t particularly difficult to find or pricey on the secondary market, but it is interesting to take note of their re-release. If you look on the back, you’ll also see Hot Wheels touting the re-release of the Animated Series Batmobile. That should be good news for collectors, ’cause these guys are $40 minimum in general. Perfect, now we can cop it for $8 or $9, right? Maybe.
The NEW Animated Series Batmobile
Hot Wheels has advertised this thing for a long time and ever since I’ve been scouting for it to no avail. However, last weekend I finally located one at a somewhat unlikely store, Barnes & Noble. (I’ll get into Barnes & Noble’s bizarre and scattershot inventory of cool ass Hot Wheels another time.) I casually picked it up and a couple of seconds later my kid snatches it out of my hand and goes, “hey, this is different than ours!”
I say, “really? Looks the same to me, what are you seeing?”
And then he’s like, “it’s m— it’s got a ma— …the color is mmm—….”
And of course I’m like, “spit it out son!”
And he’s like, “ok, you know how we have 2 of those regular Batmobiles [he’s talking about the version from the 1989 film] and one’s shiny and one’s not?”
“Oh yeah yeah yeah, one has a glossy finish and the other is matte,” I said.
And then he lights up like, “yes matte, that’s what I was trying to say! This one is matte and the one we have is shiny!”
He was right, this re-release we found was indeed matte, and although I couldn’t remember 100% if our existing one was matte or not I was inclined to trust his memory. We got home, dug through the “1:50 Batmobile bin” (yep, special bin for those fellas), and grabbed the “old” Animated Series Batmobile and sure ’nuff, it’s the shiny version. But wait!!! That ain’t the only difference…maybe not even the biggest one…?
I was about to wrap this up and get the pics ready but once I started snappin’ the photos, even more differences became apparent. First of all, the Matte Version is longer, probably by about 1/2″. And also take a look at both the back and front; slight color differences but still noticeable. (Glossy Version on left, Matte on right.) Lastly I stacked Mr. Gloss atop Mr. Matte to illustrate the difference in the rims, “chrome” vs. plain ol’ gray plastic.
Length Comparison: The older glossy version (left) is noticeably shorter than the new matte version (right).
Do the differences warrant 2 separate purchases? Hey, that’s for each individual collector to decide – I certainly understand making a case for either. As far as I’m concerned, a few minor color differences/changes aren’t wildly important, but gloss vs. matte pushes me over the edge. However, I’d say the biggest determining factor here is the length. I should be supa-cool and get a ruler and a calculator out and confirm, but just by eyeballing it I think the proportions are slightly different as well. It also looks more slender because although the new release is longer, it’s the same width as the older version. Personally I think that the Matte Version is a more accurate replica of what’s seen in The Animated Series though the Glossy Version feels like a more idealized version of the car, like if they tried to transmute it into “real life.”
So there you go. If you’re not too picky about your collection, just keep your eyes open for the new, matte version. Eventually supply will catch up with demand and you’ll be able to snag one of your own for $8 or $9. But if you’re a hardcore obsessive completist like myself, you just won’t be happy until you’ve grabbed both. Be careful on sites like Amazon and eBay if you’re trying to hunt down the old glossy Batmobile. And not that I think vendors will actively try to scam you, but I do believe it could be the case where many sellers aren’t even aware that there are shiny and matte versions. Although the re-release will probably bump the price of the original down somewhat, astute sellers will still recognize the inherent value in the older packaging, so you can probably continue to expect paying a bit of a premium for the older one. If you’re really interested, take a look at the carded pictures near the beginning of the article – the colors might be able to help you out.
Still there? Cool cool! If you’ve paid attention to the latest wave of Mainline Hot Wheels hitting the shelves you might’ve noticed something pertinent to our story here…a new for 2018, 1:64 scale Animated Series Batmobile! When it comes to Batmobiles I’m generally all about “the bigger the better,” but I love the variety that the 1:64 scale encompasses.
I really hope we see the 1:50 line grow. It seems to sell pretty well in stores aside from the large numbers of ’60s Batcopters and ’60s Bat Boats left behind. A few pieces I’d love to see are the Bathammer and the Batwing & Bat Boat from Batman Forever. And of course the Arkham Knight Batmobile, preferably in “pursuit” and “tank” modes if they’re not able to craft a transforming version. And hey, if they ever run out of ideas, all that gotta do is look at the 1:64 lines! (Batman Beyond, Arkham Asylum, Affinity)
That’s all for now!