Review:76052 by Swert

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BS01 Reviews



76052 Batman Classic TV Series Batcave


This set was provided by The LEGO Group for the purpose of review, but the opinions that I provide are that of myself.

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Batman Classic TV Series Batcave – 76052

I want to get this out of the way before I begin this review proper; I am a huge DC Comics fan. I think it’s not evident anywhere, so I figured to inform you all first. [/sarcasm] Just wanted to make that clear. As a child raised in the 90’s, Batman was most certainly a part of my childhood, specifically Batman the Animated Series. Growing up, I knew about the campy 1966 Batman show because of my folks, but I never truly understood any of what went on with them. Of course, being much older now, I understand it a lot better.

The most iconic shooting location in both the show and the movie was the famous Batcave. Lego has now taken this piece of Americana history and turned it into a set. Does it live up to our expectations? Read on to find out!

Box

Let me first preface this part by explaining, and this is saying a lot for me here, this is the largest box I have ever held that I now personally own. Easily the biggest boxed set I’ve ever had the opportunity to build for fun, that’s for sure. On the front, we clearly see the entire model, complete with an entire row of the minifigures in the set.

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On the back of the box we see detailed shots of the set, including a back view of the entire set. Featured as an homage is large text balloons; an obvious call back to the famous VFX placed over the fight scenes. On top, we see all nine figures in full, and on the sides we get a comic still of the Dynamic Duo emerging from the Batmobile, as well as showing off the quirky SNOT technique wall climbing ability.

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Speaking purely as a fan, I’m not a huge fan of the graphics on the box. In the original series, at the end of each episode we’re treated to the credits with a friendly tone of blue behind a silhouette of Gotham. This one evokes more of the Batman Animated Series opening sequence, with the red toned skyline. Overall, a good box that catches your eye, but again I’d prefer if they would evoke more colors from the show, and less of the black/red scheme featured on the vehicles. But at this point, I’m nitpicking. Time to move on!

Parts

So, I’ll confess: I forgot to take photos of the individual parts, however I did get a photo of all the parts at once, and let me tell you: this is no polybag set. You get a grand total of 8 numbered bags, plus 5 unnumbered that you’ll have to use as you go, as well as another dreaded sticker sheet. In total, the set is advertised in having 2,488 parts.

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There is a large selection of brand new parts, most recolors of existing parts, but one or two are unique to the set (so far). One part that stands out the most is the new 1x4 white brick with a Sand Green Wallpaper design. Strictly speaking, BIONICLE fans may not exactly gain anything new out of this set, but if you’re a System builder, there’s parts galore that you can use.

Build

So, more confessions: I absolutely hate taking photos of sets in-progress. However, since this set is so modular, I can easily photograph everything separately and still look like I took the photos while building. Woohoo!

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The minifigures for the set are just so awesome… but with a caveat. Batman and Robin are easily the stars of the set, though I am having problems with Batman’s head. Specifically, the face print is too dark, and this seems to be a growing trend for the last few Batman sets. I recently picked up the Gotham City Cycle Chase set, and again the Bat face under the cowl is darker than normal. Now, I assume there’s going for a 3D-style effect, suggesting a shadow under the cowl, but the problem with that logic is 1966’s Batman never had a true shadow on his face while wearing the cowl. Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Alfred round up the rest of the “good” guys, with Bruce wearing his traditional suit, Dick Grayson in his red sweater, and Alfred wearing his butler outfit like a pro. Again, I’m nitpicking but they missed an amazing opportunity with Alfred: If you recall in the Batman movie, one of the tasks given to Alfred was to drive the Batmobile with Robin to trail Bruce. Remember the mask he wore? Totally should have given us a print of it on the other side of his head.

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The last four figures are the villainous cast featured from the movie: The Joker, The Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman. I’ve no main complaints with these four, but I am bothered that we didn’t get a Catwoman hairpiece without the cat ears, specifically so she can become Ms. Kitka since they give us an unmasked face. Likewise, an unmasked Riddler would have been welcomed, and I would have preferred his suit from the very first episode, though the jumpsuit is iconic because of (once again) the movie. Cesar Romero’s infamous moustache is on display for everybody to see, and I’m happy they continue to honor this small piece of trivia in the print. Finally, the only nitpick I have with Penguin is the lack of a folded umbrella option, though that isn’t too hard to just build out of spare parts, specifically a black 1x1 cone and 1x1 cylinder. Each figure is scattered across the 8 numbered bags.

Now, I won’t go over EVERY single bag, but I will break down the set into five models: The Batmobile, the Batpole/Study Unit, the Atomic Pile Unit and Batcave accessories, the Helipad Unit, and the Batcopter/Batcycle (as small as they are, it’s easier to lump them both together). The first bag is the infamous 1966 Batmobile. In a list of my top 5 Batmobiles, I place this one #3 (#5 Tumbler, #4 Batman 89, #2 Batman Arkham Knight, #1 will always be The Animated Series) so to build it was truly an honor.

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The build was pretty simple, though not flawless. First, I have to address a sensitive topic being discussed in my household, that being the gun features on the front hood. Obviously this is a new feature invented for this set, but it’s a tradeoff I’m willing to have. The final argument made was that the LEGO Group is, first and foremost, a company marketing to kids. This feels like an addition to appeal to kids to want to play with the set, much like how one would add a flick fire missile feature to a vehicle designed for police. I’m not saying it’s accurate but it’s understandable. However, it is worth noting this set is clearly intended for a much older audience.

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The only other note I’ll go over with this Batmobile is the other elephant in the room: the length. Now I’ve done the math, basically this car is ~1/10th scale based on width. To match that scale, it really ought to have been 21-22 studs long, but the end result is closer to 27-28 studs. Now granted, the proportions were probably inflated to make up for the fact it has to support two figures, but the fact is it could easily afford to lose 4 studs total from the length and still retain the look. Having said that, the figures do fit wonderfully in this car, and I’m happy to have it on display with them sitting there ready to blast off to face another fiendish villain. Speaking of blasting off, did you notice something missing in the jet booster? So did I.

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So to add one, you simply need a flame element (I chose the classic flame since that produces the most accurate distance for the set) and a half-pin (pin with a stud on one end) to slip in there. Easy fix, but I’m kind of sad Lego didn’t include it in the first place.

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Next up is the Batpole/Study Unit. In a scale of iconic locations from Batman 1966, this unit easily has #3 and #4 on that list. The Study is where the new 1x4 white brick with Sand Green wallpaper is heavily used, and to good effect. Likewise, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Martha Wayne are also on display, both stickers but excusable ones. On the desk, we see a case file from the GCPD featuring (and teasing) the 1966 version of Mr. Freeze. Also on the desk is the infamous Batphone, which connects to the Commissioner directly. When the call comes in, the Dynamic Duo is always ready to spring into action by pulling back the statue’s head…

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… which opens up the bookcase…

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… allowing them to slide down the Batpoles and hit the Instant Costume Change Lever. Of course, now that we’re on the Batpole sliding down, that means we must hit…

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The minifig function portion of this unit! As you can see, Batman and Robin are able to be stored, grabbing onto the pole slide elements, standing on a pair of yellow tiles connected to a technic mechanism that slides them down. This is a very tricky mechanism that, at least on my set, requires some effort in releasing them both at the same time. I believe it was intentionally made so if you wanted to release at least one figure, you’d be able to. On mine, I also found Robin dropped much faster than Batman, but I suspect it may be my timing that always seems to throw me off. Still, it’s a fantastic small detail and I’m glad Lego added it in.

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On the back of this unit, you can see a portion of stately Wayne Manor, which I’ve done some quick research to find matches what was in the original TV show as far as color goes. The roof unit can swing up to allow access inside, which is nice if you accidentally drop Bruce or Dick inside and can’t get them out. As mentioned when describing the box, the studs of this unit are facing out instead of embedded. I suspect the designers intentionally did this in order to allow the famous wallclimbing trick, without giving us a separate unit to lay on the table to have minifigs standing on ala the original way it was filmed.

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The next unit is the 2nd most iconic location, the Atomic Pile. This section contains the Atomic reactor that is used to charge the Batmobile, and leads to a few different plot points directly related to both a few episodes and the movie itself. The most notable part of this area is the new sand green 1x4x2 rails, a must-have for people interested in unique colors and parts. The Atomic Pile itself is a simple build, and reminds me of the core console unit of the Doctor Who Ideas set. Around the outside are gorgeous Pearl Gold 1x2 grille tile, creating a magnetic coil effect. As you can see, it fits in snug in the center of this unit, and is normally surrounded by more lab equipment. Each machine is removable from where it’s stored, allowing you to fully utilize as much space as needed on a tabletop to expand the playability/display.

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Also featured here are a lab table with samples, and a shelf unit with more samples. There is also a wooden shelving unit in reddish brown with medium nougat drawers.

Moving on, we now have one of the most famous iconic… wait, what did this show up in?

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The Batcopter and Batcycle share a pad together on this Helipad unit. Now, canonically neither vehicle actually lived in the Batcave, unless the newer DC comics around Batman ’66 (this is actually a thing) says they are, but the only times we see the Batcopter is in the movie, and even then it was based at a nearby airport, not the Batcave. Likewise, the Batcycle was stored outside of the Batcave blended in behind fake bushes. This unit, though certainly welcome in order to allow a place for these vehicles to stay, is really not a great use of the parts. I think I’d have preferred to have a floor pad unit for me to put all the lab equipment on, as well as to store the Batmobile on. Construction-wise, it is rather solid once the top 8x16 stud tiles are in place, but if you remove them for any reason (like I did to see about correcting the large stickers), you risk having to possibly rebuild the whole unit again.

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Finally, we land on the Batcopter and Batcycle, both of which were near the end of the book around bags 7-8. The biggest note I can make here is plain and simple: I understand the need for scale accuracy, but the Batcopter cannot hold both Batman and Robin. This is a minor quip, and not so bad since in the movie Batman is hanging from a ladder over the ocean for a brief time anyway, but there is no rope ladder to be found in this set. The Batcycle also suffers slightly because of the limitations of the material, but not in scale. A few may recall one of the functions of the Batcycle in the show and movie was the ability for Robin to launch off the sidecar into a smaller go-kart style rider, a feature that is kind of represented here, if you count being able to detach the car from the bike via an axle and it rides on only one wheel. It’s a rather boring small unit, but I suppose between the more famous Batmobile and the slightly more popular Batcopter, it’s good for what it may or may not be used for. Also, as an aside, where’s my Batboat? I should go build that…

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The three individual units connect together via axle pins, and the pillar attachments can be swapped around between the Study unit and the Helipad unit. I prefer to leave it the way the book explains it, as compared to the box, due to where the batpoles are located in relation to the atomic pile in the show, but it’s nice to have the option. Overall, the BURPs and other rock pieces in this set helps to give the right atmosphere to the Batcave, though I kind of wish they had done more to cover up the tan pillars. Again, going back to the unnecessary Helipad unit, a lot of those parts could have been traded out for more units to hide the pillars going up.

The Brass Tacks

Should I get this set?

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Yes


  Good for people who like:

*People who like to display models
*MOCists planning to build Batman 1966 MOCs or looking for good parts
*AFOLs who want a nostalgic kick with a side of hobby
  Not for those looking for:

*A fun playset - the most you can do with this set is the bat climb and roll around in the vehicles
*BIONICLE purists - not a decent part of BIONICLE parts
*Fans of Batgirl - Wait for a possible polybag, Mr. Freeze is coming soon, so anything’s possible.
  Other Comments:

A good set, though it’s not necessarily for everyone. --Swert

When this set was announced, I was already planning to save up to get it. When the opportunity came around to review it, I did not hesitate once to volunteer to do so. I highly recommend, if you are an AFOL who absolutely enjoyed Batman, I can’t recommend it enough.

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