A modified spotlight used by the police as a call-to-arms for the Caped Crusader, the Bat-Signal has been shining hope into the skies of Gotham City since 1942. DC Gallery’s $300 replica Bat-Signal prop is a a faithful foot-tall replica of the iconic device with one major difference—it works.

As cool as the idea of shining a spotlight into the night sky to signal Batman is, most of the time the result would be nothing more than a beam of light fading into the darkness. Even with cloud cover low and significant enough for the light to reach, the symbol would look fuzzy and ill-defined.

Cloud cover is not an issue, though, when you’re beaming a USB-powered searchlight from within your office. Given sufficient darkness, the DC Gallery Bat-Signal projects your choice of three different bat-symbols from seven to ten feet.

Batman not included, but one assumes he’d show up anyway.

Limited to 5,000 pieces and selling for $300, the Bat-Signal prop is not technically a toy, but really it’s a toy. Okay, it does feature a really nice polystone base, and though the construction of the light is mainly plastic, the paint does a convincing job of making it look like rusted metal. We’ll call it half toy, half functional art. Or maybe just the catch-all “collectible.”

Holy rusted metal, Batman!

You’ll note that the replica lacks the all-important Bat-Symbol out of the box. That’s because there are three different designs to choose from, depending on which Batman you want to call. Are you looking for Christopher Nolan’s Batman? Then slap on the searchlight-hogging Dark Knight Trilogy symbol. If you’re more of a comic book fan, you can choose between modern and classic symbols, which are a bit more modest.

The symbols are affixed to the searchlight portion via a cleverly-placed magnet.

No, I have no idea why Batman is calling himself, other than I do not own a Jim Gordon figure.

Even without the light on, it’s an impressive piece. It’s strong and sturdy, yet still capable of rotating 180 degrees on its base. You know, in case you’re having trouble getting a signal.

The Bat-Signal uses a USB power cable. It comes with a plug-in adapter, but I’ve just been plugging it into my computer’s USB port.

Power it on, and boy does it shine. In order to keep the magnet assembly from interfering, the unit’s LED light is fitted behind the symbol, shining backwards. A mirror at the back of the searchlight reflects it back through the plastic window.

It’s quite bright.Even with the overhead light on in my office and my camera lights set up for photos, the Bat-Symbol is clearly visible on my ceiling. And when the lights go out, it’s Batman-calling time.

There’s some rippling along the edges of the symbol, produced by the scalloped edges of the searchlight’s drum. It’s more noticeable the closer the light is to the projection surface.

Beamed around five feet away, the symbol is about three feet in diameter. It looks really good.

It’s not Batman, but close enough. It’s shining over a Lego movie theater, so Bruce is probably hanging out in the alley.

The Bat-Signal is one of the most iconic tools in comic book history, right up there with Wonder Woman’s golden lasso and Captain America’s shield. DC Gallery’s replica is a faithful small-scale reproduction of Batman’s impractical beeper. I feel like I’m a trench coat, 100 pounds and a full head of hair away from being Commissioner Gordon.

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, toys, snacks and other unsavory things.

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