2012 TBM BAT (Blue)

2012 TBM BAT (Blue)

So all the way back in the now distant year of 2012, The Black Major produced a run of 1986 BATs in his typical colors and patterns. It was pretty much the same drill you’ve seen a few times with his Cobra Troopers, Cobra De Acos, Crimson Guards and others, but it was a good lot of figures regardless. At the time, some of these figures saturated the market and floated around for low prices, though 9 years later, they’ve become a bit more of a rarity.

I like Cobra BATs, to a certain extent. In general, I’ve been excessively fond of robot characters since I was a small child, so figures like the ‘91 BAT or the BAAT got a lot of use in my playtimes. Still, the BAT removes the interesting human element from Cobra, so I can’t focus on them too much. They have a role in my Joe world, though they may not be as important to me as they are for others.

The thing that really sucks about the original BAT, is how much it costs to get one! Seriously, it was an expensive figure that might run you something like $30 when I got into collecting, but now complete BATs routinely haul $80. I really don’t know why they’re so much more expensive than Vipers and Cobra Troopers, but it’s entirely led by demand, and people really loose their marbles for BATs. Since Hasbro refuses to reissue old sculpts, it really leaves TBM as the only option for affordable BATs. When these 2012 BATs came out, you could almost get a full quad for the price of 1 Hasbro BAT, I’m pretty sure that will be the same when his new ones come out this year or next year.

Today, I’m looking at the Cobra blue BATs he produced. Although there’s a good number of other color schemes I enjoy, I’m focusing on these. Blue BATs are something I’ve seen people ask for a lot, in reference to how they appeared in the Marvel comics. These BATs aren’t quite Marvel-accurate, but they look pretty good regardless.

I can imagine some reasons for why there would be some random Blue BATs running around alongside normal BATs. One idea I have is that they’re simple production variants, and that BATs aren’t very consistent in terms of coloring and construction. Another angle you could use, is that their uniforms are made in the same factory or from recycled materials for Cobra Trooper and Viper uniforms. It’s basically just a dust-cover, so it’s actually strange that the BATs have their own unique outfits. They lack a real niche, but they look good, and there’s a few explanations I can think of for them.

There’s a few mold changes between the Black Major BATs and the Hasbro BATs. Notably, the TBM figures have fatter backpack pegs, and different pegs for the arm attachments, to prevent people from swapping them onto the originals (and presumably, then selling them). It was a really nice gesture at first how far he went to make it easy to tell TBM figures and parts apart from vintage ones, though I think there’s really no need to go this far.

Besides the chest stickers occasionally falling off, and their natural stance being a tad weird, the TBM BATs come across to me as being good, if not, average quality. His more recent releases, like the WORMs/Cobra Commanders, strike me as being a bit better, but the BATs were also better than some other releases, like the Night Stalkers. At the time, they were pretty amazing, though I personally suspect the paint might be a tad more crisp on the new ones he’s making, given the quality of most of his newer releases.

For accessories, you get everything that was present with the original BAT, including a backpack and four arm attachments. Personally, I’ve always thought a few of the arm attachments look a tad corny, namely the claw, but it’s only corny to a charming extent. My favorite was always the flamethrower arm, which seems limited in usage, but is certainly a terrifying concept, plus the sculpted details are the best on that one.

I believe the mold for this particular bootleg was given off to Red Laser Customs, who made some very interesting variants out of it. I will admit though, I’m not very clear on the specifics of how that worked. There was a lot of discussion and information that floated around on Facebook and Instagram back then, but I hate those websites, so a lot of it went by without me knowing too well.

The biggest problem is pricing a lot of old bootlegs is finding them. Mind you, some of these figures, especially these older releases, appear to exist in decent numbers. Still, you won’t be able to find a 2012 TBM BAT in a specific color at any time you want one. The good news though, is that he’s making a new set of BAT customs, and in all likelihood, will retread old themes as he did with the Cobra Trooper. If you’re not to obsessed, it’s probably a better option just to buy those.

gi joe bootleg hasbro vintage cobra bat gi joe bootleg hasbro vintage cobra bat

2012 TBM BAT (Blue) Links:

Blue BATs by 00zxcvb

Other than that, I don’t have any links. If you have a cool photo or some content on this BAT, feel free to link to it in the comments.

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4 Responses to 2012 TBM BAT (Blue)

  1. These are great. I wish I hadnt missed them. His new ones do feature a blue model, but I didn’t like how closely it follows the Viper paint scheme, right down to red (!) arms, so I passed on preordering it.

  2. Mike T. says:

    I had kind of dropped out of the Joe world when the Bats dropped. So, I never got any. I had my eyes on blue Bats since they’re about the only color I’ve always wanted. But, I never found a lot of them that was priced at a level I wanted to pay. While the Cobra Troopers and Snake Eyes figures drastically dropped in price after a few weeks, the BATs never did the same.

    I did order a set of the upcoming Blue Bats from BM. But, it appears those don’t have stickers and, instead, have painted chests. That kind of sucks. But, I think there’s some replacement chest stickers out there.

  3. A-Man says:

    I never remember what the other gun attachment to the BATS is. Laser? Grenade launcher? The 1991 has the grenade launcher and the big missile launcher.

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