1975 "Tin fin, purple canopy"
The Batboat was the first version or "tin fin" version (1967 - 1976). Although the Batboat was blue in real life, Corgi chose to mold their Batboat in black. This first version Batboat did feature a "flame" sticker on the side of the hull similar to the real Batboat. The rear deck and fin were covered with a tin lithograph which displayed the yellow and black bat logo and was roughly correct for the actual Batboat. Like the Batmobile of this era, the trailer had metal hubs and rubber tyres, although they were smaller than those of the Batmobile. The Batboat was held in place on the trailer by means of two "spring loaded" plastic "hooks" that grabbed two corresponding tabs on either side of the boat hull. All Batboat trailers were painted gold.
First Note About Batboats Sold Separately : The first version Batboats were sold with a little plastic "trailer coupling" that fit over the first version Batmobile's turbine exhaust (held by friction). This coupling provided a hook for pulling the trailer. Those trailer couplings are very rare these days. But at least the first version Batmobiles were able to pull around the Batboat and trailer.
Batboat 1967-76 Tin fin version, available white, aqua, purple and light blue glass, beacon cage (early versions looked like a dark silver, later versions from 1970 it was gold). Came with a trailer with tyres (4 types) and Whizwheels, Batman and Robin included. Box was card which was predominantly blue and yellow with a pic of the Batboat in water on the front and back. Flame stickers on hull. Later box types had on ther inside flap "for spare tyres ask for ref no 1449". The first Batboat boxes had NO ref no. This again, was due to complaints about the tyres splitting. You'll notice the ref no is DIFFERENT from the GS3 box type 2, this is because when the boxset came out in 1970, the trailer was still the original, with it having different tyres. So that makes it POSSIBLE to date your Batboat by its trailer. This changed as well on the Batboat box in 1973 when the boat changed its trailer tyres and hubs. Also included in early versions was a plastic coupling, which you could attach to your Batmobile IF you had bought one WITHOUT a towhook. So in regard to the ref numbers, in 1970 it first appeared on any box, 1456 and 1457 being first, and 1973 just for the boat trailer it changed to 1449.
The Batboat, there were 6 versions of this. The tin fin 1st issue, which came with aqua, purple, white and light blue glass and 2 versions of the later one. Early versions of the last issue Batboat still have the cut outs on the body of the boat. If you look at the front of a tin fin and orange fin you will see that the tin fin has 2 slits where you can see into the boat, whereas later orange fin versions don't, apart from VERY VERY early orange fin ones. Its hard to describe or name it really, its the area where the raised area on the front of the boat dips into the front area which leads to the hook on the front. Theres 2 holes there either side. They simply used up the rest of the tin fin bodystyles they had left over.The type of Batboat that appears on the back of 76 issues was a prototype and was never produced for any of you that have ever noticed the differences between the boat you get and the pic on the back. Also, any whizzwheels made from 76 youll notice they tend to have a lot of chrome wear. Earlier models were painted twice and then lacquered whereas in later whizzwheels versions they only had one coat and were not lacquered. This is why some early models, even battered ones tend to keep the chrome finish a lot better, rather than the later issues.
The Batboat wasn't a very good seller, especially the later version. There wasn't any features on it like the Batmobile, and given the choice most children went for the Batmobile. The Batboat was cancelled in 1981, along with the Batcopter, which wasn't a good seller and looked nothing like the tv series one. For me personally, whilst i own the Batcopter and the Batbike, they aren't my favourites. Corgi tried to expand its batman range in 76 with the penguinmobile and the jokermobile, but these didn't sell well either.
I have seen pics of Batmobiles and Batboats that for some reason or another give off the wrong colour !!
Digital photography is difficult to match colors because of the actual color of light used, daylight, room light, flash, and photo lights, can and do cause color change. Then, each computer monitor is set up a little differently also. Add to this we all see colors a little differently too, and in describing colors verbally, even if we both saw the same color we might describe it a little differently!
Batmobile changed color of canopy over the years : purple was too much dye, white they simply forgot to put dye in. This error occurred just twice, in 1975. Once with the purple, once with the white. They had literally thousands of them so had to run with them. This stopped in 77, when they had used up all of the purple and white glass and then went back to using the blue. Normally, this fault would have been rejected, but there were simply too many of them to chuck away.They ran with them simply because of cost cutting.
original tin fin Batboat was available in the shops until 1976 (and even then
some corner shops or little toy shops still had them on display for a couple
of years after) and Corgi made it in the factory itself upto the middle of
1975, which is why the Batboat appeared with white glass. They stopped making
the original Batboat before the purple glass mistake, which is why one was
never made. The purple glass error occurred late 1975. Now, the purple glass
error DID occur with the batboat glass itself but they were so few in number
they didn't use them, (they didn't make as many Batboats as Batmobiles because
the car was obviously more popular) plus since they were bringing out a new
batboat as it were, they wanted it to be perfect which is why they used blue
glass only. No batboat was ever assembled using purple glass.
But this Batboat is Purple, and these numbers were very very small, so to find one mint is very very unlikely these days.
Yes, it certainly is a mystery. In all of my years of collecting them, i have never seen a batboat with purple glass until August 2010 (Its the first time i have ever seen one of them !!!). its clearly purple. Sean and Darren told me years ago now that while the purple glass for the boat was made, none were ever assembled.
There however are only a few possibilities :
- 1: its reproduction but I tend to discount it as i have yet to see anyone do a reproduction purple screen, either for the car or the boat.
- 2: Only a few were assembled, is a slight possibility but then they would have been noticed more.
- 3: that a Corgi employee took some parts home with them, it's sounds most likely, as a lot of employees took home parts once a model had been discontinued. It wasn't uncommon in the factory for the employees to do this, and maybe someone took home the parts from the tin fin batboat and the purple glass and assembled it himself.
- 4: that could be that it was a prototype that never went into production.
- 5: Darren and Sean made a mistake, which is unlikely as they have been right with everything else about the car and boat and plus more would have been spotted of them, broken or mint.
Personally, i would say number 3 is the likeliest, It begs the question now though, how many did the guy take home with him??
Digital photography is difficult to match colors because of the actual color of light used, daylight, room light, flash, and photo lights, can and do cause color change. Then, each computer monitor is set up a little differently also.
But you can find Batboat with DEEP purple canopy or Batboat with LIGHT purple canopy.
Version with light purple canopy :