Monday, June 18, 2012

Batman Begins Tumbler

Presenting Batman's Tumbler from the Batman Begins movie - also known as the Transblast Tumbler. I think it's rather sad that Christopher Nolan's trilogy comes to an end this year though I am interested in seeing whether or not it will tie the Avengers movie in terms of ticket sales.

But I also find it sad that the most of the Tumblers that will be seeing action in the 3rd and last movie will be working for the antagonist, Bane.

Still this would be the last time that we see the Tumbler in action (I'm really not so keen about a "flying" Tumbler), so a full 7 years after Batman Begins, I thought that I would dust off the cobwebs off of mine, take it down from the shelf, and share my thoughts on it.

Wikipedia gives the Tumbler the following specifications:
  • Length: 15 feet (4.57 m)
  • Width: 9 feet 4 inches (2.84 m)
  • Weight: 2.5 short tons (2.3 t)
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 5.6 seconds.
  • Engine: 5.7 liter GM V8 engine capable of 500 horsepower (370 kW). Personally this seems kinda weak for what the Tumbler can do.
  • Fuel: The "jet engine" on the back of the car was fed by propane tanks (Propane Tanks? Really?
  • Tires: 4 Interco "Super Swamper TSL" tires standing 44 inches (1,100 mm) tall 18.5 inches (470 mm) wide in the rear, and;
  • Two 94.0/15.0-15 Hoosier Checkerboard dirt tires on the front.

Batman's Tumbler features:
  • Rear flaps to assist brakes
  • Dual front autocannons
  • Rocket launcher
  • Landing hook to Sprung landing stabilization
  • Integrated fire-extinguishing system
  • Integrated safety connection to gasoline control
  • Jet engine on back of car for quick boosts/"rampless" jumps
  • Stealth mode, which turns off the car's lights and cuts off the main engine. The vehicle is powered by an electric motor making the car very hard to find in dark places (which makes the mode most useful at night), and as demonstrated by the car chase in Batman Begins, can easily throw off pursuers.
  • Explosive caltrops are deployed from the rear of the vehicle, which can take out any cars that make contact with them. This is used during a car chase in Batman Begins, where Batman uses it to take out numerous police cars pursuing him.
  • Front of car is heavily armored, so the car can ram as a practical offensive attack, and also protects the driver (Batman) while in the prone driving position/"Attack" mode
  • Both front wheels can eject when the vehicle is damaged to form the Batpod, a motorcycle-like vehicle (the rest self-destructs).

What's to like about the Batman Begins Tumbler?

Well I've always been a fan of the design. I'm really happy that Christipher Nolan's vision did not include another Batmobile with bat-wing designs flying out the back. No. This is a more modern and tough vehicle that the hero needed.

It is, afterall, kinda hard to take someone driving any of the previous Batman "Batmobiles" seriously. But then again so does dressing up like a flying rodent - but Nolan was able to establish nicely the reason for the outfit and the practicality of the suit.

There really was no reason to dress up the Tumbler. Batman needed something that can pull him out of a tight spot by crashing through walls and scaring the hell out of everyone who sees this rolling "tank" in the process. That's the job description and the Tumbler delivers in spades.

Mattel built a toy that delivers the same toughness that the Tumbler shows in the movie. The Mattel Tumbler is a solid heavy vehicle that weighs in at an astonishing 1.2kilos.

I honestly believe that you can toss this toy around for quite a while before any of the tough rubber and plastic parts break.

The Tumbler is also battery powered - three large watch batteries are included and inserted in the underside and you can turn the Tumbler's electrical system on, off or place it in demo mode which will give you shorter versions of the "On" mode's lights and sounds. Pressing the left and right most buttons on the rear of the Tumbler will activate the Tumbler's forward firing weapons lights and the "Bat-Boost" jet system of the Tumbler. Pressing the center button activates the Transblast weapon system of the Tumbler as can be seen in this YouTube video:

What's NOT to like about the Batman Begins Tumbler?

Well it didn't come with it's own Batman. You had to go buy one separately. I'm unfortunately not a fan of the highly detailed but poorly articulated Mattel Action Figures.

Batman fits in nicely into the Tumbler - though if you wanted to, you could substitute G.I. Joes or Marvel Universe figures. They'd fit a bit loosely as Batman is slightly taller, but you could still put them in.

This brings us though to the next problem of the Tumbler: The Tumbler in the movie sits two, with Batman sitting on the right. The Mattel Tumbler only sits one - seated at the center. The only time he sits in the center is when he's repositioning himself to fire the Tumbler's forward weapons.

Then Mattel decided to enhance the Tumbler's weapons with pop-out side missile launchers - which is why they call it the Transblast Tumbler. To be perfectly fair I'm a big fan of the sound that the Tumbler's Transblast weapons make when you push the middle of three buttons on the back of the chassis to activate them. I'm also a very big fan of how violently they snap out. But seriously when deployed they make the Tumbler look like a child's toy. Perhaps Mattel would have been better off by giving the Tumbler a snap out rocket-launcher and autocannon system out in front as was seen in the movie.

The pink missiles are spring loaded and pressing a button on the back launches them. Both launch quite weakly - kinda pathetic actually.

The Batman Begins Tumbler or Transblast Tumbler is still available on Amazon for US$ 79.99 - assume that prices will go up or down depending upon the success or failure of the movie (Roughly PhP 3,439.57 plus shipping) - making it one of the most expensive toys that I have in the Dungeon that was purchased at retail - which I think I remember was around PhP 1,500 (US$ 35) 7 years ago.

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