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    Brickpicker blog articles on LEGO investing, news, reviews, evaluations, discounts and more...
    • thoroakenfelder
      The Brickpicker Brick Index was updated recently. This index gives an indication of the movement in value of each set based upon the previous 6 months of sales data from Ebay.
      You can review the sets by theme if you like, but @Jeff Mack has accumulated the top 20 performers for the last 6 months on the landing page. I'd like to take a look at the data and see what it tells us. First, let's take a look at the data that is presented. Each set is ranked by what percentage of value it has increased in the past 6 months. There's a handy graph of that period of time showing a whole dollar value on the Y Axis and months expressed numerically on the X.
      A cursory overview of the data shows us that this table is very heavily weighted towards Star Wars. 75% (15) of the top 20 are Star Wars sets. 10% (2) are Super Heroes and LEGO Movie, Ninjago, and Creator each make a single entry to close out the remaining 15%. Does this mean that Star Wars is the only way to go to ensure maximum profits? Let's take a look. Data without analysis can lead to bad decisions.
      The biggest earner in the list is 75048 The Phantom. With a monstrous 128+% increase in the past 6 months, it came out swinging. Original retail on this set was $24.99. For many months, it was available at Amazon/Target/Wal-Mart for $19.99. Current price guide value is $46.73. This set is a prominent part of the Star Wars Rebels IP and has one popular character who is only found in this set.
      Rank #1
      75048-1 The Phantom
      Next on our list is a set that was looked down upon for most of its retail shelf life. It lived with an almost permanent discount of $19.99 from a $24.99 retail. Now it lives in the $41+ zone. I think a lot of people put off buying this set always assuming that there would be another time and time ran out. You get an interesting vehicle from a pivotal scene in Revenge of the Sith with 2 hero minifigures. Both of the figures are unique to this set and the Grievous alone is selling for almost the MSRP of this set.
      Rank #2
      75040-1 General Grievous' Wheel Bike
      In a race to the finish between 75054 and 75055, the AT-AT 75054 sold out first. For a time, you could get a slight discount. Within days of selling out at retail it was already selling at 50%-60% above the retail of $99.99. It's now struggling to reach $200, which most expect to happen by summer.
      Rank #3
      75054-1 AT-AT
      Number 4 on our list is the 75038 Jedi Interceptor. This one has 2 hero minifigures in the form of Anakin Skywalker and the updated R2-D2 minifigure. It originally retailed for $24.99 and seems to have been selling for that amount up through retirement. It's now selling in the $48 range. The only reason that it doesn't outrank the similarly priced 75040 and 75048 is because it sold better at retail and was not as discounted. (75135 is bound to drive the price of this set up as people try to complete their hero pairs.)
      Rank #4
      75038-1 Jedi Interceptor
      The Ant-Man Final battle is the first non Star Wars set on our list. This set went under a lot of radars, Within 6 months of release, it was done. It started life with production problems and disappeared without a whisper. The growth of this set is probably not done. Limited production, continued media support for the character, and no forthcoming reissues will keep driving buyers to this set.
      Rank #5
      76039-1 Ant-Man Final Battle
      There's a saying that a rising tide raises all boats. The interesting thing about this set is that since it was already rare and had retired almost 2 years ago. It's value was already much higher than the $9.99 retail price of the set. The movie hype in December appears to have nearly doubled the price again. That tide raised the high as well as the low.
      Rank #6
      75011-1 Tantive IV & Alderaan
      As mentioned previously, the Imperial Star Destroyer 75055 barely lost the race for sold out to the AT-AT 75054. It had a higher price to begin with and also lived with a semi-permanent discount. It is competing neck and neck with the AT-AT on the race to $200. The only reason that the AT-AT is higher on the list is because it started at a lower MSRP. Both of these large vehicles are on the same trajectory, and the Star Destroyer is less likely to be remade as soon.
      Rank #7
      75055-1 Imperial Star Destroyer
      Number 8 is yet another recently retired Star Wars set. The Snowspeeder 75049 was a $29.99 set that could frequently be found with a $5 discount. When it and the AT-AT retired at the same time, demand for one increased demand for the other. Demand has lifted this set up to the $50 range, even with another Snowspeeder soon to be available in the Assault on Hoth set. If another AT-AT returns to shelves without this corresponding vehicle, look for it to return to this list.
      Rank #8
      75049-1 Snowspeeder
      The Microfighters Millennium Falcon was existing somewhat above retail. A lot of people had been dismissive of the entire Microfighters line, but the first series gained some traction. The Millennium Falcon had the distinction of having a hero minifigure and it is the most iconic vehicle in the series. When the Force Awakens was released, people on a budget looked for an alternative to a $150 set. Demand pushed the value up, and will probably maintain the price for a while to come. Kids and fans have come to accept and enjoy the aesthetic.
      Rank #9
      75030-1 Millennium Falcon
      Halfway through the list, we come to a set that surprised many. It's a large exclusive that only really fits in with an unprofitable theme. Not a lot of people were buying this set. Anyone who wanted it put it off because there would always be time later. Large exclusives tend to have a certain cache. The question that remains is, is this increase sustainable? By all accounts it is a fun build. People who want something unique will migrate to this set.
      Rank #10
      70810-1 MetalBeard's Sea Cow
      Wait, a Ninjago set made the list? Did the poles reverse themselves? Are we in the end of days? is Ronin's R.E.X. a sign that everything we know is wrong? Well, probably not. This set is still widely available at retail, so there's no reason for it to sell above retail, and it doesn't. This set made the list because sales were bad.It sold for roughly 40% of retail price and has increased to about 80% of retail in the ebay marketplace. Anyone contemplating buying this set at retail might as well hand $10 to a stranger and walk away.
      Rank #11
      70735-1 Ronin R.E.X.
      The ARC-170 fighter had a short life. It lived on shelves for less than a year. It sold many times for below retail. It was part of the second series and came from the less popular prequel trilogy. It had a lot of things against it, which probably led to less production and less hoarding. It seems like Microfighters are the little engine that could on this list. Frequently overlooked and underestimated. Could this be a sign that the Star Wars Constraction figures will surprise many?
      Rank #12
      75072-1 ARC-170 Starfighter
      Next up, we have a Star Wars playset. The smart money says that playsets don't do as well as ships. Well, that's partially true. Look at all of the other recently retired ships that outpaced this one in % increase. The Mos Eisley Cantina was also selling below retail before retirement (Noticing a distinct trend here.) When it retired, it jumped up above retail and continued to increase. This set has a large number of minifigures (8) with a bigfig creature and a small vehicle. It truly is a nice set, and will likely capture buyers for years unless they make another cantina set.
      Rank #13
      75052-1 Mos Eisley Cantina
      Number 14 on our list is the second Super Heroes set, DC's Batboat Harbor Pursuit. A 66% gain sounds like a good thing. There's some problems with the appearance of this set on our list. This set was released at the same time as Ant-Man's final battle, so is this another early EOL that jumped up big? Nope. This set is currently available at retail. For a long time, sellers on Ebay were selling it for significantly below retail. The jump in value can be attributed to it now selling for almost retail. Is this an indication of post EOL performance? It's unlikely, unless you assume that it will sell for close to retail after it retires.
      Rank #14
      76034-1 Batboat Harbor Pursuit
      3/4 of the way through our list we have the Ghost. This is the single most used vehicle in Star Wars Rebels. This set was easily found on Ebay for a significant discount from retail. It was unpopular with resellers and suffered from not being a set from a live action Star Wars movie. Despite the fact that it had an average length shelf life, its retirement seemed to catch people off guard. With continued support in media, this set should continue to show growth, but it's unlikely to have the significant gain that it received just returning to MSRP.
      Rank #15
      75053-1 The Ghost
      The droid gunship honestly surprised me when I saw it on this list. Sure, it's recently retired, sure it's Star Wars, but it's a non-hero vehicle from a minor scene in the prequel trilogy. Looking at the data, it seems that this set took a significant dip from retail, and all of its gains were just to put it back on an even footing with its original MSRP. 
      Rank #16
      75042-1 Droid Gunship
      Number 17 is an anomaly. Not because of how poorly it was doing before, but because it was a set that had already increased since it retired a year ago. When this Target exclusive set retired in Dec. 2014 it had a retail price tag of $39.99. A year later it was hovering in the $60 range before receiving another boost above $90. In this case instead of the rising tide saw, let's consider the words of Walt Disney "Quality will out." As collectors scoop up 75135 and 75038, they'll remember this one and realize that it's probably not getting a refresh anytime soon. Is it on track to match 7661? Hard to tell, but if the clones taught us anything, fans seem to like a rainbow of the same thing.
      Rank #17
      9494-1 Anakin's Jedi Interceptor
      Approaching the end, 90% of the way through, we find a battle pack. Battle packs are cheap, small, easy to store and frequently found on clearance. This battle pack has the virtue of being composed of screen accurate Original Trilogy troopers. It was the strongest contender of the recently retired battle packs for future growth and it found it. It's the same story though. The starting position of this set was ~20% below retail. Many will have gotten this set from the Wal-Mart clearances, so will realize even better returns than shown here.
      Rank #18
      75034-1 Death Star Troopers
      Number 19 on our list is a true representative of the rising tide theory. This set retired 2 years ago. It languished below retail since it retired until the Force Awakens came along and propped it up. Instead of being somewhere around $5 below retail, it gained $15 above retail. Honestly, not the performance vector that anyone should be looking for. It's a 2 year hold time to gain an actual ~35%.
      Rank #19
      75017-1 Duel on Geonosis
      Our final entry on the list is also not Star Wars. The Creator 3 in 1 Mountain Hut quietly retired without fanfare. The data indicates that its value dipped 25% below retail in the late summer and stayed there all fall long. Post EOL it has recovered the loss and added 20% to its value. I looked at some of the other recently retired Creator 3 in 1 sets and saw a similar trajectory. A low increase in value, but it was there.
      Rank #20
      31025-1 Mountain Hut
      Looking at this list, we see a lot of Star Wars sets that retired a short time ago. Their initial post EOL bump was probably accelerated by the release of The Force Awakens. Many of these sets were living below retail before they retired. It's easy to make significant gains when the first gain that a set makes is to get back to its original MSRP. 10-25% value jump when it disappears from Amazon or Wal-Mart would be standard. We're not even taking into account the significant clearance reductions on most of these sets. I am not discounting the money that was and is to be made on these sets. People buying at discount cleared and are poised to receive greater profits.
      Before I end here, I'd like to give a special nod of the head and tip of the cap to the set that's 91% more influential than Kanye West. For folks who are wondering where their favorite Tumbler falls, I found it in the DC Super Heroes theme in second place behind Batboat Harbor Pursuit. Since this set never really got discounted, that's where the starting value falls and it has since increased by over 50%. I guess it's time to start telling everyone how right you were to buy these at the last minute.
      76023-1 The Tumbler
      In the final analysis, what does all of this tell us? The status is actually quo. Good sets from a popular series that retire will increase. Rare sets and exclusives will increase, and things that routinely sell for significantly below retail will sometimes sell for retail. Most of the sets on the list were not exclusives, and the biggest exclusive retirements were not the largest % gainers. The trajectory of the Sea Cow and the Tumbler are good, but not worrisome as far as the rise of the proverbial bubble. (Does anyone remember pogs or those worthless Billy Ripken f*ck face cards doubling and redoubling in value so quickly?)
      It will be interesting to see in a couple months what the largest increases are. I'd also love to see what the biggest losers for the same timeframe is. I bet it would be the newest things released.

    • Jeff Mack
      Issue 18 of Blocks Magazine is now with subscribers and on shelves nationwide in the UK. This month, we celebrate all things Batman v Superman, with an exclusive series of builds, reviews of the new sets and the lowdown on how to create the perfect Dark Knight Tumbler.
      Elsewhere, MOD Squad member Daniel Konstanski shows us how you can improve your Carbon Freezing Chamber, while we catch up with the Brick to the Past team and find out whether TT Games’ latest effort is worth your time.
      There’s much more besides, including reviews of the latest Frozen sets and a behind-the-scenes look at David Pickard’s Blacktron project. It’s all topped off with an exclusive interview with LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya on his DC Comics exhibition.
      Get your copy now in the UK, and why not subscribe to get future copies early and enter monthly free prize draws? See www.blocksmag.com for more details.

    • thoroakenfelder
      I read Captain America comics for at least 20 years. Crossbones was an interesting character to me, a nutcase that idolized Red Skull. With the small number of villains that are not related to Spider-Man in some way, I doubted I'd see him anytime soon. LEGO threw me a curveball with Crossbones Hazard Heist and delivered Crossbones. I felt a lack when LEGO did nothing for Captain America: the Winter Soldier. We didn't get movie Falcon or Winter Soldier 2 years ago. They've made up for that somewhat with other releases. I'm excited to review 76050. I'm excited to get some much needed characters not named Iron-Man, Captain America or Spider-Man.

      Set #: 76050
      Name: Crossbones' Hazard Heist
      Theme: Marvel Super Heroes
      Parts: 179
      Price: $19.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 19.99 the price per piece works out to more than $.11 each. I'm really beginning to suspect that I should not focus on the 3P equation. They're pretty much always between $.09 and $.12. There are 3 minifigures. The minifigures are MCU Falcon, Black Widow and Crossbones. Widow Black Widow is the same one used in 2 other sets, the others are unique.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 numbered baggies, a sticker sheet, a comic book, and an instruction book.

      BAG 1: Apart from the minifigures, the first thing that you build is a little Drone that you can attach to Falcon's back. The drone is most likely the MCU version of Falcon's pet/partner Redbird. It makes sense to have a robotic version instead of having Falcon develop some kind of bird telepathy. But, I digress, that's movie talk, not LEGO talk. As you can see, the drone is enormous compared to the minifigure. It's got a "foot" to prevent Falcon from being overbalanced.

      Next, we build a motorcycle. If you've ever built a LEGO motorcycle, then you know what it's like. If memory serves, Nightwing's motorcycle in 7785 Arkham Asylum had slots for both sticks. Too bad Black Widow's motorcycle doesn't. So she'll have to drive with one in her hand. I'm sure that's safe.

      Uhm, random rocket launcher turret thingy? It's got 2 stud shooters that point way off to the side. It seems entirely inefficient. It's more a fixed gun emplacement.

      To round out bag one, we've got a couple hazardous material boxes. This is the strangest cross section of stuff. There's not a lot of cohesion, just a handful of minibuilds.

      BAG 2: I opened this bag with some trepidation. The previous bag was a strange enough conglomeration that this truck would almost have to be better. So, you start with a sort of boat looking base and add wheel mountings.

      Obviously, something is either going to be flung from or blown off the back of the truck. That's an old standby for Super Hero sets.

      The color choices are interesting to me. I would have expected all black or something to look industrial. The various browns and greens look organic. Sort of woody or dirty. I don't know how to describe it.

      Ah, the first of many stickers for the truck. Most of the stickers show various damage. The random colors might make sense from a ramshackle junk pile that's more damage than truck.

      More stickers including the crossbones. The shape is coming together. It looks terrible. Can I say that at this point of the build? I'm not done yet, and I'm making a judgement? Well, we'll see.

      Strange choice to use the railing instead of a larger windshield. The top of this thing has some modular technique. Plus, there's a random gun.

      Mismatched wheels finalize the build. There's a green suitcase with a hazard logo and transparent tile.

      Crossbones has a flame thrower and a gas mask. The truck looks ugly, but I think it is supposed to.

      So, the random junk in bag 1 snaps onto the truck. The boxes are what blows off the back of the truck. Put the suitcase inside of them. As much as I like having the minifigures, I dislike the set that they came with. I'm disappointed that Falcon is light grey instead of black. Maybe I wasn't paying attention and he wears a light outfit in the upcoming movie.

      The new figures have no leg printing or arm printing. Widow has plenty of printing, but all of the paint apps were already programmed a year ago. The deco that does exist on Falcon and Crossbones looks pretty good. The use of the new hairpiece from Finn is cool. This is the cheapest set to get that part in. Also interesting use of Batman's Grapple gun. 

      The first thing to note is that this is the cheapest set with a Black Widow minifigure. Collectors might already have her, but future collectors might flock to a set with a cheaper Widow and 2 unique minifigures. No one is coming after the build. Minifigures drive Super Hero sets, and this is no different. If these minifigures show up in other sets, kiss the future value goodbye. If LEGO dumps a ton of them on the retailers, forget it. Neither Falcon or Crossbones is incredibly popular like Deadpool, but hopefully it has some cache due to the unlikeliness of this set existing in the first place. I would hope for it to be another Ant-Man instead of a Arctic Batman Vs. Mr Freeze or Superman Vs. Power Armor Lex.
      Keep an eye peeled for an early, quiet exit for this set. I don't think it will have mass appeal, so it might be one of those sets that LEGO just "forgets" to refresh. I don't think a lot of investors pay attention to the cheap sets. Speculators hope for another Deadpool set, but there's too many sets to buy all the cheap ones that might do well.
      You get an extra gas mask as well as grey lightsaber handle. A handful of studs make up the majority of spare parts.

    • thoroakenfelder
      If you read my Rebel Alliance Battle pack review, then you know I was relentlessly negative and joyless from the outset. I am going to try to make the Galactic Empire Battle Pack review a little more entertaining. So, hopefully, even if this set is a disappointment, at least the review won't be. Besides, how disappointing can a LEGO set be? Welcome to LEGO STAR WARS 75134: THE EMPIRE STRIKES NEXT

      Set #: 75134
      Name: Galactic Empire Battle Pack
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 109
      Price: $12.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 12.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.12 each. This is on the high side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures. The minifigures are 2 Jetpack Stormtroopers (with enough blaster marks that they must actually be dead), 1 Imperial Technician, and a Shocktrooper Stormtrooper. All 4 are unique to this set (except the jumptrooper who is not unique by the virtue of there being 2.)
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 unnumbered baggies and an instruction book.

      The Empire wants to hold this dismal corner of this dismal planet, so they have sent 4 of their best and brightest unnamed troopers. Yup, these 4 unsung heroes of the Empire are definitely on the fast track, as soon as they pull themselves together.

      The Empire is all about organization and working efficiently. Apparently these fellows didn't get the memo, so their work area is a disaster. At least they are working together.

      On over a thousand planets, a similar scene is taking place today. The Empire is going to protect your home from the Rebels, even if it kills you.

      Social programs and welfare can wait until the Empire crushes the insurgents. These dedicated soldiers will make sure that their weapons are ready to defend your freedom to starve for the glorious  Empire.

      Don't get to close, this equipment is heavy and dangerous, especially to potential Rebel spies. Which you probably are.

      Who said that Stormtroopers couldn't build anything? They are very efficient at building their equipment.

      The technician makes sure that his control area is set up correctly.

      Just wait right there, we'll have the weapon up and running shortly, and we'll give you a firsthand demonstration.

      Now, just hold it right there. If you move even a little, we might miss.

      Well, a Battle Pack is a Battle Pack. These things are never terribly interesting. It's a small build with a lot of pieces used for the minifigures and their accessories themselves. out of 109 pieces, we use 24 for the 4 minifigures, 8 for the guns and 12 for their ammo. This leaves just over 60 pieces for a mediocre gun platform. I'd probably be more enthusiastic if I liked the minifigures, but I'm not really a fan of EU. The Shocktrooper stinks of pandering, and the Jumptroopers would have been nicer if there weren't multiple holes in their torsos, making them dead jumptroopers.

      People like Stormtroopers. I like Stormtroopers too. I just don't like non-movie Stormtroopers. I don't think that they do well in the aftermarket unless they are incredibly limited. These guys are everywhere and will continue to be for the next year. I expect to find these on clearance and debate picking any up. Battle Packs don't excite me, EU Battlepacks even less so. Maybe they're your bread and butter, maybe you make a good return on them, but I see the margins on these not being wirth the time or effort.
      As you can see, lots of extra studs for the stud shooters. Also an extra printed piece for the jetpack and a spring missile.


    • thoroakenfelder
      The Rebel Alliance Battle Pack is not based on anything in the Star Wars films. It's a set of expanded universe figures based upon the game Battlefront. I'm generally hesitant about battle packs, the builds are an after thought to the minifigures. The builds are forgettable and look generally like nothing you'd like to have as part of your display. I'm even more hesitant to build a Star Wars set without anything canon. LEGO has given us more of the same. In my review of 75133, we'll see if it's not just that. Hopefully it's something truly interesting.

      Set #: 75133
      Name: Rebel Alliance battle Pack
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 101
      Price: $12.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 12.99 the price per piece works out to more than $.12 each. This is on the higher side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures in this set, all unique.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 unnumbered baggies and an instruction book.

      Speaking of boxes, did you know that these glue sealed boxes have a date stamp on the bottom? This set has a stamp of 50R5. It's strange to me that it took so long for me to realize it.

      I hope that people are amused enough by watching minifigures building sets that they like these pictures. My 6 year old thinks that this type of stuff is really funny.

      It's been years since I built a speederbike, but it turns out, it's kind of exactly like I remember.

      These guys work well together and don't separate by species, so yay for the Rebellion. We're all inclusive here.

      Let me take a moment as an aside about the number of parts in this set. 101 parts sounds like an adequate size for a small vehicle, right? Well, 101 pieces includes the 4 minifigures and all of their accessories. Between the minifigures, jetpacks, stud shooters and ammo, we subtract 37 pieces. More than 1/3 of the set is already X'ed off.

      Several 2x4 tile pieces are a welcome addition for folks who part these things out.

      The body of the speeder is really coming together. Goggle helmet is checking the underside.

      I was curious about the plate with the axle pieces.

      I like the flat silver lances. They're in a lot of fairly new sets, but I think Castle fans will want them. 

      You build some controller rods out of battle droid arms, they actually look nice. Another stud shooter on the back. I really don't like stud shooters.

      All done, time to ride.

      I got this set hoping that the novelty of unnamed alien Rebel troopers would be enough to make me interested. Unfortunately it really wasn't. The printing is well done, but dull to look at. It's basically just the Endor trooper print done on tan. Ugh, tan does nothing to make people interested. The mix and match torsos and legs give the illusion of uniqueness. The 2 person speeder was uninteresting. I could see it showing up in the background of someone's display. It would be more of an afterthought I think. I did like the use of the A-Wing pilot helmet. I just wish that I could have liked this more. As far as it goes, I'm just going to dump all of these guys on ebay and get my money back. The speeder's not even worth throwing on ebay so will be disassembled for parts. I should know by now that battle packs are great for cheap gifts, not for collecting. If they wanted some species diversity, they could have thrown in a Twi'Lek or a mon calamari. Maybe a future battle pack will have those.

      Battle Packs have their place in the universe of Star Wars LEGO sets. They're cheap, you get a bunch of minifigures, and they are easily found. Grandparents, parents, and friends love giving these little sets as presents. 4 army builders usually work well for collectors. The big problem is that unlike 75131 and 75132, this set is not full of characters from a movie or even from a cartoon. These are Expanded Universe figures and that means that they are going to be lowest rung of the collector's ladder.
      I expect to see a good number of these on clearance when the time comes. I do not anticipate them to become very sought after long term. If they double in value before they get to 3 years post EOL, I'd be surprised.
      Pick up one on Amazon
      You get an extra 1x1 printed tile from the back of the jetpack. The extra studs from the stud shooters belong here, even though they are a part of the official piece count. Extra goggles and a black mechanical arm are the only other pieces of real note.

    • thoroakenfelder
      LEGO Ideas sets are projects that were submitted by fans and voted on by other fans. If a project got 10,000 supporters, the LEGO Group brought it under review. In the review process, they decided if the project fit their standards, if there was a reasonable chance that the supporters would actually purchase it, and if the build itself was feasible. They make certain changes to the set to make it fit more appropriately within their standards and release only a small portion of those that hit the 10,000 supporter goal.
       Disney/Pixar's Wall-E is a unique set, in that the designer of the set actually helped to create the movie that this set is based on. The flowthrough gives this a degree of verisimilitude that does not exist in any other set. Plus, the guy had to love Wall-E immensely if he put that much additional effort into the character after being done with the film.

      The story of LEGO Ideas set 21303 does not end with being chosen for release. It was plagued with design problems. It was recalled twice to create fixes for various neck issues. As you can see by the multiple seal codes on my sample, this set had a rough go.

      Here you can see the standard instruction book, and the supplemental instructions for the fix.

      Set #: 21303
      Name: Disney/Pixar Wall-E
      Theme: LEGO Ideas
      Parts: 677
      Price: $59.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 59.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.09 each. This is on the low side of pricing for a licensed set. There are a ton of pieces in rare or new color combinations, mostly in the "bright orange" color. I don't know if anyone does a lot of MOCs requiring bright orange, but this is a great set for that color.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 10 unnumbered baggies, an instruction book, and a supplemental instruction book. (1 of the baggies contains the pieces to fix the neck issue.)

      The instruction book is a heavy, thick book made of high grade paper. This is not your standard system instruction book. It also contains information about Wall-E and the designer in 3 different languages. 

      The box itself is a sturdy box, designed to be reclosed and opened. It's a collector's box.

      You may recall from my LEGO Ideas Doctor Who Review that I dislike large sets with unnumbered bags. Well, here's my workspace after 20 minutes. Nothing is built, I just separated them by color, which is still a pain to search through.

      Those orange brackets are rare. I can't think of a use for them in any build I want to do, but if you really need orange brackets, here you are. I was curious about the use of 2 2x2 corner bricks instead of a single 2x3 brick, but I realized it's because they've used  a bunch of the corner bricks throughout the build, and running this color on another machine to get 2x3's would probably cut into the production of some other set.

      The base of this thing is pretty solid. The slope pieces on back help to create the shape of Wall-E. I was curious about the off-center hinge, but not terribly concerned.

      I was really struck by the interesting gap between the slopes. You can also see here an error that I made that I didn't realize until almost the last steps. It was a giant pain to fix and wound up tearing apart my Wall-E in order to resolve. That 1x6 tile on the side is supposed to be grey. I am sorry if it bothers you throughout the rest of this build. It's sort of embarrassing that I wasn't paying attention here. However, it's sort of my thing with Ideas sets.

      I couldn't figure out these things at first. I spent a good 10 minutes just wondering if there was some kind of lifting armature on the back of Wall-E. I just couldn't place it.

      That sloped gap extends farther. I still like it. It really seems unique to me.

      Effort was made to add interesting details and remove visible studs. You may remember from my Star Wars First Order Transporter Review how much I dislike dull, simplistic boxlike builds. This set was not dull or simplistic. Sure it's a box, but effort was made to make it more interesting.

      Here, we get attachment points for the arms and the neck. The arms are going to be ball jointed, and also slide back and forth. That's a lot more motion than I expected at the shoulder.

      Remember the stuff on the back that I couldn't figure out? Well, they're details that look like hydraulics.

      Starting to see a lot more SNOT techniques as we come to the end of the main body build.

      The treads are substantial. Unfortunately, I don't know if I made something too tight or if I just couldn't get any traction, but this wouldn't turn well at all for me when I tried to move Wall-E around.

      Notice how my mistake is buried back under the treads, oh yeah it was not easy to fix. Also, notice the small object on top made from a 1x2 plate and a lever that represents the cockroach.

      This is the point in the build where we switch to the supplemental instructions.

      Tah Dah, neck and head joints built.

      I honestly had no clue what I was building here. A lot of little techniques were used to create different shapes

      Parts were twisted on pins and lots of studs on the side pieces were used.

      It's Wall-E's Eye piece, and half his head.

      Again, lots of SNOT. I like the use of the car wheel cover here.

      Make another Eye, and he's really coming together.

      See, here's where I needed that 1x6 tile. I could have used the Grey one, but I needed the authenticity. I couldn't remember how articulated Wall-E's arms were. I thought there was another joint, but upon further review, there is not.

      Finally, you add his plant. Too bad it's not in a boot.

      I loved this set. I thought it wound up looking fantastic, and my wife loved it too. She wanted to keep it for herself. It gets displayed in our living room because she loved it so much. I appreciate the fact that they fixed the problems. A part of me thinks that if they had spent a little more effort on the neck than on all of the SNOT techniques, they wouldn't have had to recall it twice. I may be in the minority that doesn't care if there's studs showing. This final product is great, looks great and I couldn't come up with the proper words to actually describe it. I think that the pictures say a lot. if they don't sell you on this set, I don't know what paltry words I can come up with that would.

      Wall-E's sad that you're thinking of not buying him.

      I don't see how this set doesn't go up in value. Sure, it's going to be heavily hoarded, but it's not Exo-Suit. This is a set that Disney fans will want. Imagine all of those kids who started collecting Princess, Cars or Toy Story sets. If they stuck with LEGO, they're going to want a bigger challenge in a few years. He's a great display piece. I know several people that are not LEGO collectors that have already bought this set. The early distribution problems probably made some people skittish. I can say that there's no reason to be worried about the final design. I don't foresee 5X retail, but 3X within 5 years EOL is certainly feasible.
      Buy it here!
      Lots of extra stuff here. A bunch of it is due to the fixes that were implemented.

      Here's a few more shots showing how flexible his neck and eyes are.

    • Quacs
      Welcome back to another installment of For the Distinguished Lego Batman Collector!  Next on tap is a review of the three sets of DC Comics Mighty Micros: 76061 Batman vs. Catwoman, 76062 Robin vs. Bane, and 76063 The Flash vs. Captain Cold.  Full disclosure: I was pretty excited about grabbing these at my local Lego Store.  These chibi-style mini-builds are DC's version of Star Wars Microfighters and, as any distinguished Lego Batman collector might be, was excited to see chibis appear in Batman form.
      As usual, first the basics: there are three individual sets here: 76061 Batman vs. Catwoman includes 79 pieces, 76062 Robin vs. Bane includes 77 pieces, and 76063 The Flash vs. Captain Cold includes 88 pieces.  Each retail at $9.99, and include two vehicles and two minifigures.  Each minifigure has at least one accessory it carries in its hand, with Catwoman and Captain Cold sporting a generous two.

      Lego has really hit the mark with the Mighty Micros.  They are a perfect cross between a collectible and a toy, working well for either a Batman display, or a simple, easy to build vehicle that will appeal to kids, teens and adults alike.  The builds themselves are simple yet cleverly done, depicting a vehicle that has relevance to each respective character.  From Bane's drill to Batman's mini-Batmobile, none feel like the designers mailed in their designs.  All the vehicles work well to frame their minifigures.
      Speaking of the minifigures, these little dudes (and dudette) steal the chibi-show.  Like the muted landscape surrounding the Mona Lisa, the sets exist to highlight these simply awesome figs.  The torso and head prints, while simpler versions of their larger minifig cousins, are all excellent, and give Batman collectors and fanatics a completely new version of each character to expand and enhance their collections.  Every minfigure is completely unique, with the only overlap of existing minfigure parts being the head gear/hair, short pants and Batman's cape.  These bad boys (and girl) will charm the socks off any Lego Batman collector.  They're simply amazing!

      The box art is also really well done, with the punchy brick depictions set on an azure background of a cartoonish night joyride through mini-Gotham City.  I love that vehicle/miifigure pair comes with separate instruction books because it makes splitting the build with a child or loved one a breeze - one takes book 1 and the other takes book 2.  No arguments, no fighting over the single instruction manual, and no heartburn, just pure fun spending time with your favorite Lego builder.
      On to the individual sets...
      76061: Batman vs. Catwoman
      Check it out on Amazon!
      Given the presence of Batman in this set, it's obviously the anchor of the line.  Batman vs. Catwoman comes with a mini-Batmobile and a Cat-Car, complete with a tail, yellow eyes and a carton of milk.  The choice of Catwoman to pair with Batman is intriguing, as we don't know whether Batman is pursuing or being pursued by a love-struck Catwoman.  It's up to you to decide the direction their tempestuous relationship takes... 

      The Dark Knight shrinks!  While this Batman minifigure is smaller than his other minfigure brethren, he more than makes up for it with personality. He sports a facial expression that should be titled "STFU", and his torso print, while simple, is iconically Batman.  The only small issue is that his cape is a little too long, like Momma Wayne bought him one size too big from Target so he could grow into it.  While Lego whiffed slightly on the cape, the rest hit the mark.  Outstanding start.

      Even Batman's head print gives him the appearance of a questioning squint when his cowl is on - yet another characteristic of his personality from a minifig that oozes it.

      Not much to write home about the back printing, but I'm glad they included it as it does complete the minfigure, and let's the buyer know the designers thought of everything.

      Even the min-Batmobile looks good.  SNOT techniques are used well for a small set, and while I would have liked to seen some exaggerated Batwings on this Batmobile, it's simplicity plays its role in keeping the minfigure the star of the show.

      Catwoman exudes elegance through simplicity.  Her torso print is nice with an oversized cat belt buckle, yet keeps the suit understated to allow the Cat mask and head print to shine.  Catwoman also has the best accessories of any of the Microfighters: the milk carton "chibis" the character by grounding an otherwise beguiling villain with a folksy carton of milk, while the diamond takes the character in the opposite direction by reminding the collector of her naughty side.  

      Catwoman just looks like she's having fun, no?  Great facial expressions bring minfigures to life, and this one clearly succeeds in doing so.

      Similar to Batman's, Catwoman's back printing is just icing on this beautiful cake. 

      Like the Batmobile, the Cat-Car is a success but for very different reasons. The cat eyes give this vehicle life, and let their owners know this set contains three figures, not two.  The printing on this specific piece is great, too.  It's good to see Lego taking a chance with brick prints on non-tile pieces as these eyes will be useful for all sorts of MOCs.  And last but not least, the tail is the perfect "end" to a great vehicle and a great little set.
      76062: Robin vs. Bane
      Check it out on Amazon!
      This set pits the Boy Wonder in his Robin-mobile against the evil Bane in his driller.  Batman Lego fanatics should recognize Lego's fascination with pairing Bane and some type of drilling vehicle as Bane's get-up mimics the pair from 6860 The Batcave.  Robin's car feels a little like a failed Batman prototype painted In red, yellow and green.  This set, while not as intriguing as the Batman vs. Catwoman set, more than makes up for it with punchy bursts of color that make this set pure eye candy.

      Robin looks like he's having the time of his life!  Bane?  Not so much...

      The Robin minifigure is my favorite of the DC Comics series.  Colorful and fun, this awesome mini deserves to be appreciated.  With a great cape, great printing, a neat red megaphone gun with grappling hook, and a playful grin, it's phenomenal.

      Back printing is simple but satisfying - it provides the minifigure some interest when the wind takes sail.

      The Robin-mobile is slightly disappointing.  It's kind of a shapeless car with a spoiler, but the spoiler has a great "R" print with Robin's emblem.  It's the saving grace for an otherwise bland build.   

      Another quality minifigure, Bane looks great.  The head printing is awesome with some mean red eyes on a stylized white field that manages to give the impression of Bane's mouth gear.  Bane's facial features make him look mean without being scary.  His torso print is also great: a clever combination of the B and the red belt buckle creates a sudden exclamation point, letting all good-guy chibis know he means business!  The rest of the torso print is nice with the ubiquitous super hero six pack and a very 50's nuclear era belt rounding out the graphics.  All in all, another great fig.  

      Bane's back printing keeps the hitz coming.  His signature venom bottle and cranial dispenser look really sharp and true to the character. 

      Bane's driller is good, but not great.  The drill feels a little too long for the vehicle, but the driller's color the flaming exhaust pipes look great.  Even the headlight look like it belongs.  In the end, the driller is still worthy of its owner.
      76063: The Flash vs. Captain Cold
      Check it out on Amazon!
      A very interesting choice of DC characters, The Flash vs. Captain Cold doesn't have have anywhere near the stature of Superman or Wonder Woman who,were skipped in this iteration.  Perhaps that bodes will for a Series 2...I can only hope!  That said, this set continues the strong run of the DC Mighty Micros with another great pair of minifigures and their vehicles.  Even though Captain Cold and The Flash aren't as widely recognized as other DC characters, their pairing is smart as they are nemeses in the DC universe.  

      Both figs sport nicely designed vehicles that work well with their themes: Captain Cold is riding a snow plow, while The Flash drives a turbo charged go kart.

      By now I probably sounding like an echo, but The Flash minifigure looks great (great, great).  His signature head mask is the same as the other Flash characters, but everything else is new: his head, torso and even his Power Bolt energy drink. The Flash minifigure wears a small, wry smile and has really sharp torso print complete with The Flash logo and a couple of sporty lightning bolts that point to his...pants thrown in for good measure.  The Flash's accessory, his Power Bolt energy drink, is another playful bit of bling that gives the manic Flash a bit more personality. 

      With his head gear off, the flash shows off those eery white saucers.

      The front lightning bolts are reflected on the back, and point directly at his behind.  The Flash sure knows how to draw attention to those parts that pay the bills.

      I actually really like The Flash's go kart.  It has nice lines and two fire trail pieces that were previously used as Ninjago sword blades.  To complete the set, an excellent printed 1x2 cheese wedge with The Flash's logo is emblazoned on the front like a hood ornament.  A great effort by the designers. 

      The Captain Cold minifigure is a nice effort too, but I can't say it's the best of the group.  His torso print is good but not great with the graphics showing an overly stylized fur-lined parka that doesn't quite look right.  It does convey a bit of a feel of icicles to enhance the cold weather motif.  The head printing looks good, but his hood is a holdover from the first iteration of Captain Cold, and while it works it's still a repeat.

      Taking off the hood reveals a head print that looks the same as when it was on the minfigure.  Not much of a surprise here...

      The Captain's back printing matches the front printing.  I really appreciate the back printing on all of these minfigures.  The extra detail really round out already great minifigures.   Captain Cold's printing is no different.

      The Captain's snow plow is really well designed as the shape, while still exaggerated, is easily recognized as a plow.  The front plow blade can also double as Captain Cold's snowboard when winter storm Captain blows through.  The small details of plow front grill and the single smoke stack are two cherries on the sundae.  
      Since every Mighty Micro minifigure is packed with personality, I wanted to see how they compared to other minifigures of the same character.  Here's a side-by-side comparsion of the Mighty Micros next to their older brethren:

      Incredibly, I like the Mighty Micro Batman better - the black pants look really sharp with the dark bluish gray torso, and it's "WTF" expression is better than the gritting teeth of the regular minifigure who looks like he's trying to chew gravel.

      Catwoman is nearly a carbon copy down to the zipper and belt pattern.  However, the original is a little shapelier. The Micro has a better belt buckle - advantage: Mighty Micro.

      The Robins are similar too, although I can't say enough about the facial expression of the Micro - so happy! In this case, it's Lego Batman collectors FTW.

      You'll have to excuse my headless Bane - my son decided to put it on another minifigure, so now you can't tell whether the headless minfigure is Bane or WWE's Kane.  All that said, I actually prefer the Mighty Micro version - the exclamation point B is awesome as is his 50's era nuclear belt.

      The Flash minifigures are really similar, although the Mighty Micro has those goofy white eyes and lightning pointing to the crotch.  I would probably take the original, although they're both great figs.

      The Captain Cold minfigures are pretty close too, although I would probably pick the original for the better looking fur neckline and outstanding faceprint.  That said, the ice cream cone is a nice touch.
      As anyone can tell by the review, I love these Mighty Micros.  They're cute, whimsical, and playful.  They make for great play pieces or display pieces.  And above all else, they really look great.  For the Distinguished Lego Batman Collectors, the DC Comics Mighty Micros are must haves!

      For the Distinguished Lego Batman Collector

    • thoroakenfelder
      I like Super Hero sets. I think there's a lot of people who do. Well, ok not so much the sets. A lot of people like the minifigures. DC and Marvel Super Heroes sets by LEGO tend to be heavy on lame playsets or jets or bank trucks. There's also a lot of motorcycles. If it's a Batman set, there's almost never anything new. In76053 we get not one, but 2 Motorcycles. I kind of shake my head and try to figure out if it's worth doing a review. Well, let's just see, shall we?

      Set #: 76053
      Name: Batman: Gotham City Cycle Chase
      Theme: DC Super Heroes
      Parts: 224
      Price: $19.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 19.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.09 each. This is on the low side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 3 minifigures. The minifigures are New 52 Harley Quinn, New 52 Batman, and Deadshot. I am not 100% sure, but I think this version of Batman has been seen before. Harley and Deadshot are both new.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 numbered baggies, a sticker sheet, a comic book, and an instruction book. (I got 2 sticker sheets. I don't know if this is standard or just my good luck.)

      BAG 1: I've not reviewed and Super Hero sets before. I have built them though. I'm not going to let my preconceptions color my writing. I will approach this set with eyes unclouded. So,with that said, I have a weird question. Why on Earth did the designers put a pink brick inside of this build? It disappears completely in very short order, but there it is. It's a color that no one associates with Batman or Harley Quinn.

      Obviously with the red and blue color scheme, this bike belongs to Harley, I like the alternating Red and blue. It reminds you of her motley.

      Apparently, Super Hero motorcycles need massively oversized tires.  I like the exhaust pipes that you build in here too. Nice use of those pearl gold pieces.

      It's good to see that Harley's custom bike has headlights.

      Something I noticed here, The front wheel and the rear wheel are different colors. The tires are different sizes, so the wheels themselves are different sizes. Is this why they are different, or is it a design choice because Harley utilizes multiple colors? I choose to believe that it's due to Harley's color choices.

      Ok, so the motorcycle is a little boring. It really needs something to make it say Harley Quinn

      How about a giant Mallet? Harley Quinn is frequently seen with a comically oversized mallet. This mallet can be mounted on the motorcycle either the way I picture it below, so that it can hang out to the side to swat people as she drives by, or on the pin right behind that so that it can swing forward to bonk people that she drives up to. Actually, that's terrible. She just sideswipes people with her mallet. Plus, she can take it off her bike and carry it with her.

      BAG 2: We just made Harley's bike, so it must be time to build Batman's Batcycle. First though, we have to build up Deadshot's stuff. Hey, look, a jetpack! Does Batman have a jetpack?

      Now, we make Deadshot's Rocket Launcher. Uhm, at least the stud shooter is almost disguised.

      According to the LEGO Movie, Batman only builds stuff in black and really really dark grey. Apparently with a nice pink base.

      I've made Batcycles before. this one is a little weird. Apparently Batman doesn't like to sit?

      I guess he wants to feel like he is flying just like Superman. I like the hint of a monster engine hiding under the black.

      No idea what that's supposed to be. Portable spot light? Rocket booster? Bat crock pot?

      Batman's got massive tires. You know what they say about big tires, right? Yup, you need big wheels. Both of Batman's wheels are black.

      I'm really curious how Batman in a prone position can see over that gigantic tire.

      Rear wheel matches front wheel. You hear that Harley Quinn?

      Batman's got tail lights. Some of the tail lights are also stud shooters mounted on a swivel. There are also clips on the stud shooter piece that allow you to put Batman's accessories away as he drives.

      I liked this set. I didn't love it. The 2 motorcycles make more sense than a drag racer or a submarine or a mech suit. Both of these vehicles come off nicely and don't look totally goofy.

      The minifigures are spectacular, and they had better be. No one buys these sets for the sets. Harley Quinn is a perfectly deranged looking clown in a bodice. She's got printed legs. I wish that her hair and legs had been molded in 2 colors. She also has a 2 sided head. Deadshot has printed arms. He's got a ton of parts to make up his accessories. Batman is Batman. Nothing new,kind of bored of getting Batmen.

      Collectors are probably as tired of getting the same Batman constantly as I am. The motorcycles are nothing spectacular. They're highly unlikely to draw attention to this set. With SUper Heroes sets, you're drawn to the minifigures. Here, we have 2 unique minifigures. Harley and Deadshot are important characters to the Suicide Squad. Later this year LEGO is releasing a set with Killer Croc and Boomerang and another one with Katana. That's a pretty significant way to having the movie characters. If that movie gets a significant amount of attention and spawns a sequel, these sets will be must haves.
      The biggest problem that I have with the future value of this set is that it is Minifigure driven. If knockoffs flood the market with these unique figures, it will be an anchor that drags this set down. If LEGO reissues Harley or Deadshot in this version, it's pretty much dead. Best case scenario is if this set goes the route of Ant-Man. We'd see people scrambling to catch up. Don't bank on unexpected 6 month retirements though. Go get it on Amazon!

    • thoroakenfelder
      I am not a little girl. I know that may come as a surprise to some. I have never built a LEGO Friends, Elves or Princess set, but I have helped my daughter build a couple. With that in mind, I asked my little girl to help me with this set. I thought it might be valuable to get the insight of the target market for the Water Dragon Adventure set. She was excited to help me, and her younger sister tried to "help" as well. So, in this review, we're going to take a look at the stuff that interested a 6 year old girl about this set designed for 7 year old girls. Is LEGO doing a good job reaching their target audience?

      Set #: 41172
      Name: The Water Dragon Adventure
      Theme: Elves
      Parts: 212
      Price: $19.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 19.99 the price per piece works out to  a bit over $.09 each. There is 1 minifigure. (Probably because the main part of the build is a dragon) The minifigure is some elf that I don't know the name of. It's times like this where I try to decide if the ppp is a good metric. 2 (or 3) wings and a dragon head probably throw off the part count as far as the number crunchers at LEGO are concerned.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 numbered baggies, wings, a head in a bag, stickers and an instruction book. I do not know if 3 wings are standard or if I just lucked out.

      Bag 1: I asked my daughter to do the building so that I could see what kind of trouble she ran into. The main body is a blocky shape with several angles jutting off of it to give the impression of roundness.

      The towball is where your tail will mount to. The first sticker is applied on the dragon's rear.

      Each tail segment has a smaller sticker. My 6 year old had some difficulty getting the ball and socket joints to snap together. Is this just my daughter or is it too much friction for your standard little girl?

      I was curious about the bow/flipper combo on the top of this dragon's head. My older daughter didn't really care, but the 3 year old was very upset when the bow was not on the head.

      To me, the legs seem stiff and in need of one more joint, but the 6 year old liked the shape and was happy when she saw what looked like legs to her.

      2 more legs. 2 more feet, I stepped in to finish those as it was getting close to bed time.

      With the wings, this dragon doesn't look bad. it's a little simplistic and cutesy, but both of my girls were very happy with it. This one spits water?

      BAG 2: Time to make the part padding other stuff from this set. First you make 3 round things. I don't know what they represent, but you make them and then move on to building a crystal island.

      I will say this for the part selection here. There are a lot of translucent pieces. My daughters both love the translucent pieces. They try to steal them from every set I get. This set had a lot and that made them happy.

      I really have no idea why there is a catapult here. My kids think it is used to feed the dragon. are the elf and dragon enemies? is there someone else flinging plants at them for some reason? who knows.

      There's an obligatory brush and a crystal heart. Is that a cookie in the clam shell? I don't understand this island thing.

      I really don't understand why there's a set of golden binoculars hidden here. The elf has a map, is this the treasure she was seeking?

      For me, the dragon was cute. The price wasn't bad. I'm not upset at the cost of this set, and the time we spent building it wasn't terribly long. I guess that just goes to show that it's a simplistic build. The island perplexes me. I can see similar set dressing in Star Wars and Super Hero sets. They are there to add value to a smaller simpler build. I wish they had put the parts and time into making the dragon more complex.
      My daughter completely loved it. From the dragon, to the minidoll, to the island made out of "shiny" pieces, it spoke her language. In her case, at least, LEGO hit the right notes and she wanted to sleep with it. (She didn't.)

      The minidoll has some nice print on the torso and the face. The back is completely plain. I can understand why long term LEGO fans don't want to have these mixed in with their minifigure collections. They are just awkward standing beside a regular minifig. I don't think that there's anything inherently wrong with these figures. If LEGO decides to make a few Super Hero or Star Wars characters in this style, I just might get them and place them on a separate shelf.

      It seems like the Elves line isn't the most popular expansion of the LEGO brand. The dragons in this series seem to be an attempt to bring vitality to the brand. To my eye, they are more striking than whatever else they've been doing in the Elves line (except maybe that Pegasus sleigh.) If anything is going to turn this theme around, it's stuff like this. I think that at some point, collectors of dragons will circle back around to these sets. They're never going to be yuuuuge money makers, but I feel like there is some money to be made. Don't rush into these, but I'd pick them up on clearance. Grab it on Amazon!
      Was I supposed to get a third wing? I have no idea. It seems like way too big a piece to be a standard extra.

    • Quacs
      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

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