Unbelievable, but it happened! After last year's LEGO BATMAN 3 game, where you got to play an entire level within the 1966 show, it became painfully obvious how amazing all of this would be as an actual set....Lego must have thought so too!
And it's huuuuge. 2526 pieces in a 10-pound box. And they didn't scrimp when it came to extras, as we shall see. (Not to mention 9 minifigures!)
|Bags upon bags upon bags...|
The set consists of three parts, which can be hooked together (in more than one configuration) to make the Batcave and Stately Wayne Manor, as well as three vehicles. And speaking of that, the first bag contains the 1966 George Barris Batmobile!
It's a jewel, complete with red phone, Bat-Turn lever (nice touch!), printed hubcaps, and a handy trunk to keep accessories in:
Last year (or before that), we got the first 1966 Batmobile, which was a Comic-Con exclusive. It was meant to be cute, and it was, but it doesn't hold a candle to this new one. A kind soul published the building instructions online, and if you went that route like I did, you will benefit from the scan of the label sheet at the end of this article, because this little one badly needs door decals.
Of course, the exclusive one was meant to be sort of super-deformed, while this new one is better to scale with everything else.
Bag(s) marked #2 are the main unit of the playset, consisting of Wayne Manor on top, and the Batpoles and cave entrance below. There must be a thousand pieces in the #2 bags alone, and if you are breaking up your build by steps, this is going to be a long one.
The crown jewel of the playset is this room from Wayne Manor. I am happy to say that while the playset includes a sheet of 29 labels, the "wallpaper" bricks are printed.
The bust of Shakespeare lifts up to reveal the button, the bookcase slides back, and the Batpoles are revealed! As difficult as it is to be critical about this set, I will say that I found myself wishing this level of the playset was a few studs bigger all the way around. The room is crowded for three minifigures, and since the flooring is tiled, they fall off easily if your table wobbles. Between the globe and the desk, not much floorspace is left. I know some people will complain that these Batpoles do not go all the way down, but there's actually some rationale here. You can put Bruce and Dick into this section, close it up, and then already have the real Batpoles loaded with Batman and Robin, who are held in place by means of a hinged platform. Releasing the platform causes them to spin to the bottom (by the way, they hold onto handlebars that are threaded around the spiral poles.)
|Possibly for Catwoman?|
So in the end, we have a neat, but crowded, Wayne Manor study, and then at least a foot of Batpole space, which is a very involved build, as I've said. But then we get into the actual Batcave:
The middle unit of the playset is the Reactor, which if I remember right, somebody actually fell into in the 1966 movie. In this photo, you can see some of the many accessories you get: several computers, tables of chemicals, a filing cabinet, and more. Several of the computers are placed to the left and right of the reactor, but you can move them around and have quite a bank of machinery--a room-full of equipment that the phone in your pocket can out-perform.
The reactor is impressive, but it's one of those hinged builds that has to sit onto a base, and never really anchors down. The four leaning columns help in this regard, but it's not seated enough to stay put when you are moving that component of the playset around...in the end it's really background anyway, so it's not a huge deal. Again, many, many slopes and arches in order to enclose it...which is a little bit of drudgery, but looks good when completed.
The third unit is a garage for the Batmobile, and a landing pad for the Bat-Copter on top. I don't recall ever seeing in the show exactly where the Bat-Copter was kept, but this works nicely for the playset. The Copter itself is a nice touch; I thought I wouldn't end up liking it nearly as much as I did. Oh, and the dome is printed, so THANK YOU Lego for that.
My problem was the garage part for the Batmobile...I should point out that I did this build in one afternoon, and I'm sure I was getting weary of tan slopes and wedges. They shorted me a tile piece, and apparently gave me an extra of something else, but that's not my concern here. I probably won't be alone in complaining about the OUTSIDE of this component...to me, it should look like a cave, with lots of underbrush around it, complete with KEEP OUT sign or whatever it was...you know what I mean [NOTE: I may have been thinking of the "GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES" one]. Like the show. Instead, the opposite side has the exact same facade that the front does. The reason for this, admittedly, is so that the playset can be laid out in the opposite direction as the second photo shows. You could have Wayne Manor on the right, and the other parts to the left. They show you this in the manual; I just don't see the need for it. It would have been much, much better to wall in the reactor (yes, even though it would mean more rocks and tan), and then decorate the exit area for the Batmobile. Then the entire outside of the playset would be as detailed as the front of Wayne Manor....but I don't want to complain too much!
The third vehicle is a motorcycle with sidecar. Nothing fancy, but included for completeness. You can park it to the side of the Batmobile.
Now let's get to the minifigures!
All are amazing, and almost every one has an alternate face. At first I thought that Dick Grayson should have the "short legs," but that would require Robin to have them too, and he needs to be able to sit down! The printing on the minifigures is extraordinary. Some details, like the Joker's pinstripe pants, are even side-printed! And why no Batgirl? Well, I think this is the "1966" Batcave, so she wouldn't be around yet. I suppose it leaves an opening for a future set?
There is a rumor that Mr. Freeze is planned to come out later in a polybag, so anything's possible. By the way, the Penguin does have the short legs, as he has before. And I can't say enough about Caesar Romero's visible moustache!! Well done! All we are missing are the exclamatory sound effects:
Like that. While $270 is quite a pretty penny for this set, I ordered as soon as it became available, as it was my most-wanted set this year, and that's saying something. I am very thrilled with it, and congratulations to Lego for a bang-up job!
Now here is the label sheet, and like I said, my main reason for scanning it is to provide door decals for the previous Batmobile:
Before we go, here are a couple of photos I took while having fun with some parts from the 6" action figures: