B.A.T. V1.8 (Force of Battle 2000)
As I said in my review of the BAT Squad Leader, I’ve always loved the 1991 version of the Cobra BAT. When the BAT Squad Leader was first revealed, I was excited because I thought that it was meant to reference the 1991 BAT I had growing up even if it didn’t have the color scheme I was expecting. Then the BAT v1.8s were revealed and I was even happier because not only did this figure use the new head the GIJCC tooled up for the BAT Squad Leader, but it also used the 1991 color scheme. Initially, I wasn’t sold on having eight of the same army-builder in this set, but between the quality of the BAT v1.8 and the built in customizability of the BAT figure, I’m way more sold on having an army of BATs in my collection.
Since the BAT v1.8 is another version of the BAT, that means we’ve seen most of this build before. From the neck down, this figure uses the standard Cobra BAT body we’ve seen since the 25th Anniversary line. While it does lack the slightly sleeker look of the 1991 BAT, it does do a pretty good job at standing in for the later model of the BAT. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Retaliation Storm Shadow thighs used here, like the GIJCC did with the Inferno BAT (when they used that figure’s full legs) because they were sleeker and a little less detailed, but the Cobra BAT legs work just fine. If it’s the choice between the original BAT legs and the Storm Shadow legs the GIJCC has been using lately that have feet that don’t fit nicely on the figure stand pegs, I’ll take the BAT legs any day. The GIJCC did make one change on the BAT, and it actually does make quite a difference. The vintage BAT had a strap with a grenade right by its chest window. The GIJCC removed that strap and in doing so, does actually bring the chest slightly more in line with the 1991 version. Yes, the 1991 version had a differently shaped chest window, but at least without the strap on the chest, it does remind me just a bit more of the earlier 1991 BAT. Topping off the figure, the BAT v1.8 gets a new head, albeit one that’s shared with the BAT Squad Leader. This head is incredible. The GIJCC did an amazing job at recreating the 1991 BAT’s head and giving it a lot more detail. All the vintage detailing is there, with the wider face plate, the bands running around the head, and the little nub sticking off the top of the top band. However, the newer BAT head looks far sleeker and the details print just a little better, which is something I really like. Even though it’s sleeker, the new head still looks at home on the vintage-styled BAT body.
For me, what takes this figure from good to great is the color scheme. Yes, I know that the 1991 BAT is overly bright, but that was my BAT growing up, so I’m glad to see that color scheme here. The base of the figure is black like the vintage BAT, but the trim colors are far brighter. The boots, belt, chest window, shoulder armor, forearms, and faceplate are all a bright orange while the straps on the legs and arms, elbows and the detailing up by the neck and on the head are done in a bright green. There’s also a Cobra sigil on the left shoulder that wasn’t on the vintage version that’s done in bright green. The BAT v1.8 may be a bright figure, but I think it’s perfectly fine. The vintage version looked great using these colors and so do its modern counterpart.
The BAT v1.8 has a pretty substantial gear load. First of all, it’s got a pistol to fill the holster on its left leg. This is the same pistol that’s been used every time we’ve gotten a modern BAT, so I like it here for completeness’s sake. However, the BAT has always been about the arm attachment weapons, and this version has a lot of them. It’s got the same great attachment- carrying backpack, which is nice, but it’s got so many arm attachments it can’t carry them all at once. It’s got the standard BAT laser cannon, flamethrower and claw, plus it’s also got the newly-retooled sword blade that the GIJCC recreated for the Inferno BAT. The plastic for the blade is definitely higher quality than the last time the GIJCC used it, which means it doesn’t warp as easily. One of the blades was a tad warped, but I was able to bend it to make it straighter than it was. However, there’s a tiny part of me that wishes the GIJCC could have somehow managed to find some money to tool up a new version of the 1991 BAT’s hand cannon. I thought that weapon was just the greatest and I’m a little disappointed the modern version doesn’t have it. The laser blaster looks similar to it, which is why the one I’m keeping on display is using it, but I think it would have been a nice touch if the GIJCC could have found a way to remake that iconic hand attachment.
Initially, I thought that including eight BAT v1.8s in the Force of Battle 2000 set was a really bad call, and a cheap one at that. However, as I thought about the set more, I became more okay with that call. Thanks to the fact that the modern BAT has two different interchangeable arms, that gives you a lot of customization options. Being able to swap out each arm with one of four different arm weapons makes it a lot harder for all your BATs to look the same. Plus, I have and love the 2009 Crimson Strike Team set, and that was just four unique figures. At least with this set, I only have eight identical figures as opposed to twelve of them. The colors are excellent and effectively recreate the great 1991 BAT’s look. I’m sure some fans think it’s too bright, but I think that’s part of what makes the figure work. After all, with all the yellow, the vintage BATs weren’t exactly subdued either. The 1991 colors look surprisingly good on the vintage-styled modern BAT frame and the new head is an excellent addition. I kind of wish the GIJCC had held off making the Inferno BAT until they had this piece in the library to make it look a little more like the original version. This is a solid version of the BAT, and I’m really starting to like having a group of eight of them in my collection.