Most people would agree that it was when Lego began producing movie license sets – Star Wars in particular – that the company went from humble brick makers to one of the most sophisticated toy manufacturers in the world.
Along with The Lego Movie tie-in products, the new Lego Batman Movie sets have the distinction of being Lego based on a movie that’s based on Lego that’s based on a movie. In short, it’s free reign for Lego – an opportunity to show the extent of its creative genius.
The Lego Batman Movie does deliver an all-new Batmobile – as is standard with most on-screen incarnations of the Dark Knight – but we thought we’d take a look at some the other vehicles from the new film first.
This time around The Joker gets his own ride, the sweet purple and green Notorious Low Rider (£54.99). It’s a relatively quick-and-easy model to put together, with a bouncy suspension and spring-loaded canons that shoot from the car’s boot.
In Lego terms, it’s pretty standard stuff but a nice looking set. Collectors might be more drawn to the mini-figures, which included a redesigned, wonderfully cartoonish Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis in the movie), Harley Quinn, and Batgirl. It’s pricey, but as ever with Lego – you pay for the quality.
The Killer Croc Tail-Gator (£64.99) – a monster-style flatbed truck with rickety, elasticated suspension – is a step up. Putting it together, it also feels a bit standard until you get to the final stages. All the little easter egg details and extras bring it to life – dynamite-filled crates that pop off the sides, cow skull decoration on the hood, and oversized steering wheel and gearstick so Killer Croc himself can do the driving.
Croc is a key part of the set too – a solid plastic mould like Incredible Hulk or Darkseid models, but with snapping jaws and a poseable head. It’s a bit fiddly getting him to stay put on the flatbed, but that really depends on whether you’re buying as a geek-tastic display model or for the kids to play with (a bone of much contention and bad blood in this household, I can tell you).
The set also comes with Batman, Tarantula and Zebra-Man (who?) minifigures, plus a miniature Batman boat, with suggests some swampy action between Batman and Killer Croc in the movie. And that’s perhaps the best thing about these sets versus those from the Marvel or Star Wars movies – they hint at what’s to come without going being completely spoilerific (I’ve moaned about it before, but the inclusion of Giant Man in one of the Civil War sets was an unforgivable besmirch of wide-eyed fandom, if ultimately inevitable in the modern era of movie/product marketing).
Going by the products advertised in this range, The Scuttler (£84.99) looks to be The Lego Batman Movie’s new all-singing all-dancing bat-vehicle. It’s essentially a four-legged robot tank thingy, shaped like a bat scrambling around on its wings (which, if like me, you don’t look at the box properly, will not become obvious until you stick the head on at the very last second – after about two hours of thinking, What the bleedin’ hell is this supposed to be?).
Indeed, it’s a handsome looking piece of kit – big, highly-detailed, and with lots of moving pieces. The bat’s head cockpit rotates on a ball socket, plus there’s an additional moveable cockpit/compartment on the back, firing guns, a net shooter, and the front legs extend to make it fully poseable. Unfortunately, it’s also a bugger to cobble together. Constructed like a scaled-down Technics model, its intricate workings are technically impressive (one of those where you can’t imagine how they even begin to design it), but that doesn’t make for the most entertaining build. It’s fiddly and a fairly repetitive, and if you miss something and have to take it apart to backtrack it’s a pain in the bat-balls.
The accompanying minifigures are great though – Batman, Joker (with ludicrously long coattails), Commissioner Gordon, Barbara Gordon in GCPD gear, Dick Grayson (there’s a nice touch with his dickie bow and goggle-like specs), and Poison Ivy, whose stand with protruding vines could make her the best figure of this range.
In terms of full sets though, the jewel in the crown is the Batcave Break-In (£109.99). To be fair, the Arkham Asylum set looks very tasty too, but we haven’t managed to have a play with that quite yet. This Batcave doesn’t match up to the 1960s classic series version Lego released last year, though with a price difference of £130, this is definitely more of a playset than collector’s item.
However, there’s still plenty for the fanboys here. The whole design – and especially looking at the Batman costume design, computer station, Penguin minifigure, weaponised penguins, and Duckmobile – is a blatant nod to the Tim Burton movies, while the Alfred minifigure is straight out of the comic books, and black and red-striped Batboat has a touch of the ‘60s series about it.
It’s also a fun set to build. Made up of four, entirely-different sections, there’s hardly any repetition. It includes a jail cell, rotating door for the Bruce Wayne minifigure to change into his Batsuit, and – arguably best of all – a conveyer belt of alternative Batsuits. It comes with three options – a glam gold suit, another with boxing gloves and shorts, and a blue-and-orange scuba suit. There are extra spaces on the conveyer belt too, so anyone who already has a collection of variant Batman minifigures can rack them up.
It’s a cracking set for what promises to be an equally cracking movie. Holy brick indeed.
For more visit Lego.com
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