For The Distinguished Lego Batman Collector: 76052 Classic TV Series Batcave Review
Welcome to my new feature, For The Distinguished Lego Batman Collector! Like most AFOLs, I've been a Lego fan for nearly my entire life. When I rediscovered Lego when my son turned four, I was really surprised to see the development of detail in the minifigures, and in particular the licensed figures. And staring at a shelf of Lego sets in the store, my favorites were the Lego Batman sets. I was hooked.
Naturally, I've begun collecting Lego Batman sets, minifigures, DVDs, and Character Encyclopedias, and I'm even on the hunt for that Lego Batman Board Game! The collection is small right now, but growing every day. So it was with great excitement that I recently saw the newest addition to the Lego Batman family: The Classic TV Series Batcave. Because I am primarily a collector that likes to display sets from the collection, I wanted to review the set through the eyes of someone that would be building this set to display. Without further ado...to the review!
First, the basics: at 2,526 pieces, this is easily the biggest Lego Batman model. MSRP is £229.99 / $269.99 / 249.99€. It includes nine minifigures, and all of them are awesomely exclusive to this set (for now). It also includes three "modules" of Wayne Manor/Batcave, one killer Batmobile, one nice Batcopter, one slick Batcycle complete with sidecar, and a host of Batcave accessories. As is typical with licensed minifigures, they are spread out throughout the bags. As expected, the box is big - it's the same frame size as the Grand Emporium box with roughly 1" more depth to the box. As you can see in the picture, the box art is phenomenal. Both the front and back graphics are set in a Classic Batman motif with a cartoonish skyline and an old school Bat signal to boot. The box is so nice, it can easily pair with the set for those with unlimited shelf space.
Inside the box, there are the following:
2 - Number 1 bags
5 - Number 2 bags
3 - Number 3 bags
4 - Number 4 bags
2 - Number 5 bags
2 - Number 6 bags
1 - Number 7 bag
3 - Number 8 bags
In addition to the numbered bags, there are five unnumbered bags. Three of these contain the same tan column bricks and dark tan plates, while the other two have unique contents. There's also a bag with the instruction book and sticker sheet, and three loose-in-the-box pearl gold poles.
Right off the bat, the Number 1 bags start you off with arguably the best parts of the set: the Classic Batmobile and the Batman and Joker minifigs.
The first two minifigures don't disappoint, and they provide a wonderful departure from the typical Batman minifigure. Both have exquisite detailing like the penciled eyebrows on Batman's cowl and the "whited out" mustache of the Joker. Both have two minifigure faces, although the Joker's is obviously more pronounced since his head print isn't hiding behind a cowl. These are easily my favorite Batman and Joker minifigure of the entire Lego Batman theme.
The Batmobile construction rounds out bags 1, and it also doesn't disappoint. This build is magnifiicent and truly captures the lines, angles, and detailing of the original Batmobile. From the red phone between the seats to the angled wings, this build is incredibly accurate and allows both Batman and Robin minifigures to sit comfortably while on display. The spongy capes included with both Batman and Robin allow each to "flutter" in the breeze of the open convertible while still returning to its original shape after a quick ride. Also a small hatch in the back solves an age old issue for Lego Batman collectors - it's a great place to store the extra batarangs! I even like the stud shooters that were incorporated into the hood, although purists may feel these details are unnecessary and, at worst, a Lego-forced encroachment on a legendary vehicle. In my opinion, this Batmobile is a no-doubt home run. The design team deserves a raise for this effort!
On to bag group 2...when sorting the set, I was surprised and there were five bags that were numbered 2. Building Lego Batman sets over the last four years has conditioned me to expecting one or two of the same numbered bags, so five was a surprise. Bags 2 contain the Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and Alfred Pennyworth and the "cat" made famous by the Lego Shop at Home bullet point descriptor "Also includes a cat" - a non-sequitur at it's delightfully finest.
I like the three minifigures the design team gave us here as they are all nice depictions of the show characters. That said, I feel a little empty when displaying them as they stand in stark contrast to the phenomenal minifigures that adorn the rest of the set. And the aforementioned "cat" is really just a retread of "Jeff", the cat from the Lego Movie that comes with Mrs. Scratchen-Post from the Lego Movie CMFs. A little Bricklink research revealed this tabby has been in five Lego sets that were all from the last two years. All that said, Jeff still provides a nice compliment to Catwoman when displaying an burglar attempt to break in from the roof.
As you can see, the build progresses from structure to cladding, back to structure, with a cladding finish. The star of this build is easily the Wayne Manor facade. The windows are well designed with an attractive, "high-end" siding aesthetic, and contain wonderful, although slightly obscured, window treatments to hide the backside of the interior's dark tan plates. The structure is solid, if not unattractive, although my only main complaint is that all of the holes on the column supports weren't covered. This apparent nakedness gives a little bit of an unfinished look to an otherwise snappy build.
Bags 3 include Catwoman and the Wayne Manor interior build out.
Another slam dunk winner - the Julie Newmar-inspired Catwoman is awesomely awesome with the hair mold from the Series 14 Tiger Lady CMF used to great effect, and the head and torso printing augmenting an already near perfect minifig rendition of this classic villain. The whip accessory seems to make sense as an appropriate accessory for this minifigure, especially when mocking up break-in scenes for Catwoman.
The interior of Wayne Manor is very well done and displays really well. The wallpaper print bricks are super, and aesthetically create an umatched ethos of wealth and stature for the room, a perfect reflection of Bruce Wayne's position and status in Gotham society. The room itself includes the famous red Batphone to Commissioner Gordon's office, the impeccably designed Shakespeare bust, complete with the hidden button, and the sliding bookshelf that reveals the Batpoles for Dick and Bruce, complete with label plaques to match the TV show. The only complaint here is that the Batpoles behind the sliding bookshelf don't actually connect to the Batpoles you see housed below the structure. On its surface, that doesn't seem to make sense as you would expect Bruce and Dick to ride the same Batpoles down to the Batcave. However, this build allows Bruce and Dick to magically transform to Batman and Robin with a close of the sliding bookshelf and a conveniently hidden platforms under the floor to hide the Batman and Robin minifigures until it's go-time.
The finished Wayne Manor module of this model is really nicely done on both sides. This creates a slight problem for display though - which side do you display? I have chosen to show the Wayne Manor facade side as I have my current display with Batman and Robin rapelling up the side of the house, but you can just as easily display the Wayne Manor and Batcave interior. I suppose it's a positive that both sides are so well done, but it does create a bit of a question.
There are four bags labeled with the number four, and these contain the Riddler minifigure and the Bat Lab bricks.
The Riddler minifigure is pretty accurate to the Frank Gorshin version of the show's character, down to his memorable lavender gloves and iconic question mark shirt. It comes with three TNT dynamite stick bricks as accessories, but I wish there had been something a little more that came with the minifigure. That small complaint aside, this is one great minifigure, and I would guess this is the only minifigure ever to have lavender hands.
The start of the Bat Lab looks good with the use of some slick, albeit repetitious, "SNOT" techniques to create the octagonal core.
Bags 5 include the trim around sides of the Bat Lab, and the steps utilize some of the unmarked bag pieces shown earlier in the review.
Bags numbered 6 complete the Bat Lab by providing the top stone archway that frames the reactor, with a couple of hanging bats thrown in for detail.
All in all, it's a very accurate depiction of the 60s Bat Lab. The removable computer mainframes can be removed and placed in front of the Bat Lab to expand the footprint of the display. The designers have also included a smart little dresser where Batman and Robin can keep their day outfits.
Bags 7 includes bricks for the Batcave entrance for the Batmobile, along with a helipad for the Bat Wing.
A nice, matching start to the Batcave entrance, along with all those bats that now keep popping up everywhere!
Nearing completion of the set, we open bags numbered 8. These bags include both The Penguin and Robin, the final stonework on the Batcave entrance, and Batwing and Batcycle.
Nearly as good as Batman, the Robin minifigure is really well detailed and accurate to the show. The awkward "speedo-with-tights" look aside, this Robin is a really slick looking minifigure, and perfect compliment to Batman. To my surprise, the short cape is also show-accurate. The Penguin minifigure is also suprisingly good. While similar to other Penguin minifigures, this one includes a lavendar hat (an exclusive color for this piece) that really sets off the minifigure. With Riddler's exclusive hands and Penguin's, this is a great set for fans of lavendar minifigure parts.
The Batcave entrance displays well and works with the other two modules, but there are two flaws I see: the Batcave entrance desperately needs some foliage if this is truly intended to be the entrance, and the Batcave doesn't fit very well in this area. From a display perspective, the first is much worse than the second as most will probably want to highlight the Batmobile in front of the display rather than hiding it in the entrance cave. The missing foliage is a head scratcher - with a few more bricks, the designers could have made the entry incredibly accurate and added some play feature as well. That said, it's still a nice addition to the Batcave, and it's a great place to display the Batcopter prominently.
Speaking of the Batcopter, I think it turned out nicely. While it's a little chunkier than its small screen brother and the wings could have used a little bit of red trim, it's a nice piece. It's just not as iconic as the Batmobile. The Batcycle is nicely done too, although it's missing the windscreen the TV version has. I also appreciate the design team's effort to infuse some of the red trim on the Batcycle with the round 2x4 plate behind the black dome, and their attempt at "batifying" the cycle with the vertical wing too. While this wing isn't a detail on the original cycle, it's still nice to see the designers trying to separate the Batcycle from any other Lego motorcycle with sidecar.
The complete set is really an incredible build, with all of the campy components from the original TV series rolled into one great model. As mentioned, the Batmobile and Batman minifigures are the stars of this model, along with Wayne Manor's exterior and interior. The Batcave modules are accurate and look great, with the only major head scratcher being the lack of two continuous Batpoles that span between Bruce's office and the Batcave.
Please let me know your thoughts on the model, minifigures, components and their display features in the comment section below!
For the Distinguished Lego Batman Collector
Edited by Quacs