As I've gotten older (ouch), I've found that I have a deeper appreciation for toys that are meant to be toys. In other words, there's something special about a toy that was designed for children to love and play with verses something that has been created for adult collectors to admire and put on a shelf... never to be played with. Now, I'm just as guilty as everyone else for succumbing to things that companies like Hot Toys or DC Direct are producing. Usually, they are very nice, high-end items that look fantastic. However, due to their high price tags and limited availability, the vast majority of these "collector toys" never reach the eyes or hands of children. When the kids of today grow up, they probably won't have much interest in a lot of the stuff that we older Batfans are filling our shelves up with these days. They will be interested in the things that they ACTUALLY played with as children. Case in point, I think most of us nutty collectors agree that the most cherished pieces in our collections are the ones that we had when we were kids.
All this rambling brings me to the item in today's post, the Mattel Batman The Brave and the Bold Transforming Batmobile. This is a TOY...with a capital "T." This is exactly the type of thing that I would have loved to have played with as a child. Mattel's Batman Brave and the Bold line has been very "kid centered" from it's inception. Almost as if thumbing their noses at collectors and the collector's mentality, Mattel chose to make their Brave and the Bold toys very kid friendly with play features that are meant to make them TOYS. The figures themselves feature peg holes up and down their arms and legs for attaching accessories. Whether you like the holes or not, they are there for play value and nothing else... and I think this speaks volumes about who these toys were designed for...kids. I think that's pretty cool.
Back to the toy pictured, the Transforming Batmobile. Mattel could have just made a Batmobile that rolled, made sounds, lit up, and shot missiles... just like about every Batmobile toy that's been produced in the past 20 years or so. However, they went the extra mile and produced a toy that not only looks like a great deal like the Batmobile from the Brave and the Bold cartoon, but also TRANSFORMS into a Batplane. How cool is that?!
Also, the way that this toy transforms is pretty amazing and a sight to behold. You only have to pull or push the front and back (via a lever and "grab" point on the bottom) and the toy does all the work in an instant. No pouring over instructions to figure out which panel to twist where and in what order. Nope...just give it a pull and "BAM!" it's a plane. Give it a push and "Wham!" it's a car! This mechanism works extremely well and is very fluid. My hat is off to the person (or people) that designed this fantastic toy and it's "magic" mechanism. Great work!
Oh, and it does shoot missiles, also. There are four missiles included that plug into four "missile ports" and can each be shot with the press of a button (one button per missile).
My only "nitpick" is that the Batman figure (not included with the Batmobile) from this line has to almost lay completely horizontal to fit inside the cockpit. This is a pretty minor issue but was something that jumped out at me while shooting the pictures for this post.
I can't recommend this toy enough for kids OR the Batman collector that wants to feel like a kid. I was debating on whether to open this toy or not. Boy, am I glad I did. I have a feeling this toy is going to see some true kid playtime when my 6 year-old spots it on the shelf, though. He may need one of his own. Don't feel too bad for him, though. He just received a whole slew of Imaginext Batman stuff (including a really cool Batmobile) for Christmas. The Transforming Batmobile was a gift from my wife that realizes she needs to keep the ten year-old inside of me happy from time to time.