TOY REVIEW: Lego Batman Classic TV Series – Batcave

Rating:

Who doesn’t love the old Batman TV show? No one, that’s who! Now I could bemoan the end of the excellent Batman ’66 comic. I could laud the recent animated “Return of the Caped Crusaders.” Instead let’s talk Lego, because I recently put together the huge Batman Classic TV Series – Batcave along with my wife.

The Good

There is lots to love about this set…

Minifigs Galore

Catwoman and the Joker Minifigs

Catwoman and the Joker Minifigs. Photo by Tom Carlson.

I’m hard-pressed to think of any minifig that could be considered missing from this set. The line-up consists of:

  • Batman
  • Robin
  • Bruce Wayne
  • Dick Grayson
  • Alfred Pennyworth
  • The Joker
  • Catwoman
  • The Riddler
  • The Penguin

All are well done. The Riddler is the weakest. It doesn’t capture much true Gorshin essence, but it’s still perfectly fine. The other figures are outstanding. Yes, the Joker has Romero‘s painted-over mustache. One could argue that Batgirl would be a nice addition.

The minifigs are so sweet, you could forgive someone for saying they alone make the set worth buying. They don’t. That would be over thirty bucks a minifig. They are very sweet though.

Vehicles Galore

Batmobile in Lego

Batmobile in Lego. Photo by Tom Carlson.

Yeah, it’s the Batcave. It also includes a very nice Batmobile, a sweet Batcopter and even the Batcycle. The Batmobile would make a valid set on its own. The Batcopter lacks the crucial Bat Shark Repellent spray but otherwise is great. The Batcycle is a gimme.

Wide Variety of Areas

This set includes the study up in Wayne Manor, Batpoles, the Atomic Pile and the exit out of the Batcave. (Despite what some reviews on the Lego site think, that’s not a garage for the Batmobile. Does the Batcave have a garage? No! You park the Batmobile right in the middle of the damn Batcave!)

Bat Climb in Lego.

Bat Climb in Lego. Photo by Tom Carlson.

The backside of the Batpoles/Study is rarely shown in promo materials, but it’s awesome! It’s the side of a building with windows, a roof and gutters! Why is this important? Because you can hook the included Batarangs and ropes to the gutter and have Batman and Robin climb up the side of course! The windows even open so you can lodge other minifigs in there for the Dynamic Duo to meet on their climb.

Details

It’s full of details that fans of the show will love. Red button under the bust of Shakespeare? It’s there. Batphone in both the study and the Batmobile? They’re there. Labels all over the damn place? They’re there.

Also Includes a Cat

“Also includes a cat.” Look, it’s in the feature list, and there is a cat included.

The Bad

So, this set sounds great! It is great, but it also suffers from some serious deficiencies. Allow me to rant and rave a bit…

Expensive

Holy overdraft Batman, this thing is $270! This is not a cheap set. I’m not saying it isn’t worth the cost, but let’s not pretend the cost isn’t damn high.

Stickers

For a deluxe expensive set, this thing has too many stickers. Good luck getting the huge helipad stickers on straight. Get it right the first time, because a sticker that huge is not coming back off!

I know, the show labeled everything. I know, printed bricks are expensive. But check the previous point. This is an expensive set. Nix the stickers!

It would be easy to cut some of the expense if only there were a bunch of pointless extra pieces…

Excessive Greebles

So Many Brown Lego Rocks

So Many Brown Lego Rocks. Photo by Tom Carlson.

Greebles are those wee details added to models to make them look more interesting. For this model, the greebles take the form of brown rocks. Lots and lots and lots of brown rocks. It felt like half the set was brown.

Putting together greebles isn’t a bad thing when they add interesting detail to a model. Here they were a problem. You’re putting together yet another rock while thinking “It’s a damn rock. It doesn’t matter if I put the pieces together correctly!” But you put them together correctly anyway, because the one time you don’t is the one time it matters, and you don’t want to have to start taking things apart.

Making the damn brown rocks gets very tedious.

Excessive 1×1 Wedge Greebles

You know those little one unit by one unit smooth-topped wedge pieces? The ones that are difficult to pick up, difficult to put in place and really easy to lose? There are 85 of them in this set, 73 all the same shade of brown. No other piece comes anywhere close to being that numerous. Most of them are pointless, yet you gotta put ’em on!

Structurally Shaky

This is not the most solid Lego set I’ve ever built. It’s not awful, but it’s not that solid. There’s no cross-bracing on the Batpole/Study piece to steady it front-to-back. The whole Atomic Pile rests on a 2-stud by 2-stud base. Try not dislodging that easily!

Build Sequences

Many of the build sequences make no sense. Say you have a couple small pieces that go on a larger piece that goes on the model itself. Far too often the instructions will have you stick the larger piece onto the main model, then stick the smaller pieces onto the larger piece. It wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact that parts of the model tower 18″ high and lacks cross-bracing. It’s unusual for Lego instructions to be this poorly thought out.

Missed Batpole Opportunity

The Batpoles are a bit of a letdown. There’s a sweet sliding bookcase in the study revealing labeled Batpoles, but these are fakes. They don’t connect to the long poles inside the structure. Inside the structure, there are two tilt-able platforms. You can connect the minifigs to those poles, then tilt the platforms down and the minifigs will slide down to the bottom.

What they could have done is extend the poles in the study through the floor and have a descending minifig trigger the platform tilt. You could actually have Bruce Wayne slide down from the top and have Batman appear at the bottom.

True, this would be difficult to pull off but, again, this is a $270 set. This is the sort of cool feature you pay that much cash to get.

The Verdict

So, what’s the verdict? Is this a sweet set or what? Despite the long list of drawbacks, it’s still so damn cool. Neither the build process nor the resulting model are quite as good as I would expect for the price. But, damn, it’s still classic TV Batman. It’s true to that vision of Batman. That makes it worth the cost and effort.

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Just a guy who likes stuff then writes too many words about it.

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