Bizarre Batmobile models

16 March 2023
Looking at a pair of weird, unauthorised Batmobiles made in the Far East.
Bizarre Batmobile models Images

During a trip to Malaysia, I managed to find a pair of unusual Batman-related vehicles to add to my collection of superhero models. In the colonial city of Melaka were several small toy stores that seemed to sell nothing but unlicensed knock-offs of famous toys, such as Lego and various brands of diecast cars, most of which were based on well-known characters. Among the shelves of one shop, I located a pair of Batman-themed vehicles. They were packaged in yellow and black window boxes with mostly Chinese lettering. While they were generally reasonable replicas, they were clearly budget priced toys and were both fitted with pull-back-and-go motors.

No scale was given, but they appear to be around 1/38-ish, a common size for this type of toy. Neither car was based on a Batmobile from the movies or comics, and both were just regular cars with Batman logos printed on them!

Volkswagen Batmobile

Possibly the oddest choice for a Bat-car was this model of a 1960s-era Volkswagen Beetle. Although it was probably a copy of another manufacturer’s model, it is actually quite well made. It's accurately shaped, with separate lenses in the headlights and tail-lights, and correctly shaped bumpers.

The doors open, revealing a moderately-detailed interior, and the front luggage hood lifts to show a spare wheel. However, the rear engine cover does not open, probably as the friction motor is located in that area.

The base is in black plastic and incorporates the running boards. Some negative points would be the lack of vent windows, and the windscreen wipers being engraved on the front window.

The car is painted completely black, including the bumpers and wheels. It is decorated with a strange mish-mash of Batman symbols from different eras. The logo from the 1960s Batman TV show is printed on the nose, while a 1980s chest symbol is emblazoned on both doors. On the roof is the stylised bat-emblem from the 2005 film Batman Begins. The side trim strips of the Beetle are painted red, echoing the red coachlining on the 1966 Batmobile. However, the packaging is emblazoned with Lego block studs, and Batman Lego minifigures are pictured on the box, indicating that the model was inspired by The Lego Batman Movie, although there was no Volkswagen featured in that film.

Lamborghini Batmobile

The second model is a Lamborghini, and makes a great deal more sense than a Volkswagen. In the 2005 film Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne was shown driving a Lamborghini Murcielago; quite appropriate, as ‘murcielago’ is Spanish for ‘bat’.

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In the second sequel, The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Bruce had updated his car to the then current model Lamborghini Reventon. But he did not use a Lamborghini in his Batman identity, instead using the military prototype ‘Tumbler’ vehicle. In some of the comic books, Batman could be seen driving modified supercars, although a Lamborghini would probably be too low on the ground to incorporate all the gadgets required for a Batmobile.

The model is not based on Lamborghini's Murcielago or a Reventon, but on the slightly less-prestigious Gallardo. Again, it appears to be around 1/38 scale, but is not a bad model.

The body is diecast, except for the rear spoiler and engine cover, which are in plastic. The base and well-detailed interior are also both in black plastic. The wheels are accurate but with slightly crude brake callipers.

The doors are fitted with wing mirrors, although again the wipers are moulded into the clear windscreen. The doors open and – despite what might be expected – they open conventionally instead of lifting up like beetle wings. This is actually correct - the Gallardo, being one of the ‘lower-priced’ Lamborghinis, has standard opening doors, rather than the ‘scissor’ type doors fitted to top-of-the-line models such as the Reventon.

In addition to a pull-back motor, the Lamborghini has additional electronic play features. Pressing down on the front wheels gives a burst of engine noise, which is a recording of the car starting, then driving, followed by screeching brakes. At the same time, the headlights flash alternately, using strong LED lamps fitted behind the clear lenses. This is actually quite a good idea, as Batman must have had some type of emergency beacon fitted to warn other motorists when he was in high pursuit mode.

Again the car is all black, with a yellow oval bat-symbol on the nose, and – rather strangely – the ‘shattered’ bat logo used on the film poster for The Dark Knight. It was packed in a yellow and black box marked “Hero League”, presumably an unauthorised rip-off of the Justice League, which was pictured on the box.

The models were very reasonably priced - the Volkswagen cost 25 Malaysian Ringgits (£4.75), while the Lamborghini was slightly more at 35 Ringgits (£6.50), probably to cover the additional battery-powered features. Other than the logos, there was no English writing on the packaging, with everything in Chinese characters. Using a translation app, it appears they were made by a company called Shantou Junli Industrial Auto Mould Co Ltd, based in Dongwan Industrial Zone, Shangtou City, China.

The Volkswagen was available in a number of other liveries, including Hello Kitty, Minions and Doraemon. Obviously, these models are not going to appeal to everybody, but they make an interesting addition to a collection of Batman vehicles.