(Written by William)
Wherever there is Batman, there must be a Batcave. So it makes sense that Batman’s home was released with the first wave of The LEGO Batman Movie sets. I have missed out on the very first #7783 LEGO Batman Batcave, but have been keeping up ever since. So far I have built the #6860 LEGO Batman Batcave from 2012, the #76052 LEGO Batman Classic Series Batcave from the beginning of this year, and now the #70909 LEGO Batman Movie Batcave. From the three this last one is my favorite. Below I will show you why I like it so much. 🙂
Let’s start with the official description just to see what all we are getting here: Defend against The Penguin’s Duckmobile invasion of the Batcave in The Lego Batman Movie: Batcave Break-in set. The highly detailed Batcave features a rotating transformation chamber for Bruce Wayne to ‘transform’ into Batman, rotating Batcomputer control center with multi-screen elements and elevating platform function, and a prison with an exploding escape wall function. The Batcave also has a rotating wardrobe with alternative Scu-Batsuit, Raging Batsuit and the Bat-Pack Batsuit minifigure bodies for Batman. Dial up the conflict by using the Batboat’s spring-loaded missiles against the Duckmobile’s dual stud-shooters and flick-missiles. Includes four minifigures: Batman, The Penguin, Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth, plus two Hench-Penguin figures, each with robot-style hands. Batcave measures over 8” (21cm) high, 15” (40 cm) wide and 7” (20cm) deep. Batboat measures over 2” (6cm) high, 7” (20cm) long and 4” (12cm) wide. Duckmobile measures over 3” (9cm) high, 4” (12cm) long and 3” (10cm) wide. 1047 pieces. Price: $99.99 – BUY HERE
Looking at the minifigures in the #70909 LEGO Batman Movie Batcave Break-In, we don’t just get Batman, but also Batman, Batman, and Batman, and… Bruce Wayne – who, of course, is also Batman. Honestly, the charm of having all these suits in one set is something I never knew was missing in my life, until I saw them all together like this. In previous LEGO Batcaves we had quick costume changes, but not this “suit for every occasion” extravaganza we get here. There is standard Batman with the new utility belt in yellow, Scu-Batsuit Batman with breathing device, orange utility belt and flippers, Raging Batsuit Batman with purple boxing gloves, and the Bat-Pack Batsuit Batman with a gaudy metallic-gold cape and a microphone. And of course there is Bruce Wayne sporting a new bowtie. Other minifigs include Alfred with a very nice new collar piece in white and cloth coattails, and The Penguin with a removable fur-style collar, new top hat, and folded up umbrella.
The #70909 LEGO Batman Movie Batcave Break-In set is made up of several different sections. So let’s take a look at them one by one, starting with The Penguin’s Duckmobile. In typical Penguin style, this vehicle is armed to the teeth! There are stud-shooters, flick-fire missiles, and detachable bulky bombs. There are even a couple of red unicorn horn tipped contraptions, which, I assume, are also weapons of some sort. I’d call the finished vehicle “Adorable Intimidation”!
Next up is “The Riptide”, which got to be the slickest looking watercraft in Batman’s arsenal. Previous Bat vehicles I’ve assembled spent a bit too much time trying to make the overall shape look like a bat. This vehicle takes a different approach by using a basic boat shape and then saying, “What would Batman do to make this boat look cool?” The result is an elegantly black and red speedboat with hidden spring-loaded projectiles at the front and stud-shooters on both sides.
At the center of the Batcave there is platform built on a circular pillar that can rotate around, so Batman can see all parts of the cave at all times. It also gives Batman access to the all-important Batcomputer with a bunch of display screens. The platform has a connected lift to raise and lower minifigs to and from the upper levels, as well as connect to the side-wings like a bridge. A very practical and sensible solution. Another way to get from one section to another is through various walkways and catwalks.
As in the other LEGO Batcave sets, here we also get a “quick change” action feature, where Bruce Wayne can turn into Batman. In this set this is achieved by a rotating wall in the right side-wing. And in the left side-wing you can find Batman’s extensive wardrobe. Three costumes are included on a rotating garment conveyor, and there is room to add four more. The LEGO Batman Movie Collectible Minifigure series will definitely help to fill those empty slots. I like this section so much that I’m considering using the same design to make a rotating minifigure display.
There is one more section of the Batcave that we haven’t talked about yet, which is a prison cell wedged between the wardrobe and the central column. It has two doors that lead into a single holding cell, and a breakaway wall at the back that can be activated by a knob. Great feature for both breaking in and breaking out by badguys.
Now let’s take a look at the interesting building techniques in the #70909 LEGO Batman Movie Batcave Break-In. The first one that caught my eyes is the catwalk, which incorporates some complicated angles. Up close it is easy to see the gaps in between the sections, so you may not think it looks all that great, but from a distance it just works. This is because the technique of concealment is used. Normally we find symmetrical and repetitive patterns pleasing – like a row of windows on a building. However there could be obstructions that break a pattern (odd angles, gaps and other structural necessities, etc.), in which case we can use concealment to hide them. This could be achieved with colors, lines and decorations that help our eyes continue a pattern even when it is broken. In the case of the Batcave, the catwalk frames the set nicely, and because of the uniform colors, cleverly placed angled pieces, and modified plates with grills, you don’t notice the gaps until you get close.
The next technique I want to discuss is free-floating elements, i.e. parts that only sit on – or buried in – other constructed components without being attached. Personally, I don’t build action features into my models that often, so it is always interesting to see how LEGO tackles the problem. In this set we find two instances where free-floating elements are used to create an action feature; the trigger for the missiles on the Riptide, and the base of the garment conveyor.
In the first case, we are dealing with a well-concealed trigger that sits behind the air-intake piece at the front of the boat. The trigger has rotating wheels to make sure nothing catches when the missiles are loaded and fired. The rest of the contraption is done with lift-arms, which restricts the trigger in how it can move. On the garment conveyor the free-floating element is under the base. You are basically building a round flat bearing with curved slope bricks, which allows the gliding motion of the conveyor belt without anything caching or getting out of alignment. To summarize, there are two major components required to build a free-floating action feature; a shape that can move without getting caught (thus rounded pieces are typically preferred), and controlling the motion with the surrounding structure (which means some rubbing between elements, but more as a way to direct motion rather than stopping it completely). Watch the video-review to see these features in action.
As far as interesting elements in the #70909 LEGO Batman Movie Batcave Break-In, it is hard not to love all the new minifigure accessories. The folded umbrella is a personal favorite of mine. Then there are also the penguins, which are fully armed, so don’t get taken by their cuteness. As far as building pieces, I really like the new 2×2 wedge plate with cut corner and three studs – you get four of them in dark-bluish-gray. If specialized parts are your thing, you may like the fins at the back of the Riptide. They have a 1×4 modified tile base, so you can easily attach them to studs – unlike previously released fins that use an axle connector only.
All in all, I’m very fond of the #70909 LEGO Batman Movie Batcave Break-In set . It has a lot of substance, some downright cool play-features, and awesome minifigures. And as much as I’m not a fan of random vehicles in sets with buildings, I really like the ones included here. Both are full of personality while not skimping on play features. I even prefer them over sets where vehicles (i.e. a Batmobile) are the main attraction. In many ways this is two sets in one (Batcave and vehicles), and even the price is very reasonable. Also, I felt that in previous Batcave sets there was not enough importance given to the Batcomputer, but her it is clearly given central position. And it is even shaped like a bat! The set is available under The LEGO Batman Movie section of the OnlineLEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like the #70909 LEGO Batman Movie Batcave Break-In? Is this a set you are interested in? Do you have it already? Which is your favorite LEGO Batcave so far? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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