LEGO Batmobile Review: Set 76139
‘Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?’ By Stephen Baker
There have been many notable versions of the Batmobile over the years, from the sleek red and black wing-tips of the sixties’ TV show’s Bat-Cadillac (the Batillac, if you will) to the more rough-and-ready, practical-minded Tumbler (76023) of Christopher Nolan’s more realist vision of the Dark Knight; but none have become lodged in the collective imagination more so than Anton Furst’s ground breaking design for Tim Burton’s gothic comic book opera that took the world by storm in 1989, and changed the superhero genre forever. With its brooding, voluptuous curves and aggressive yet elegant aesthetic, this was the Batmobile of your darkest dreams, wrought into being by master engineers.
For a while Lego-heads had to be content with the 342-piece ‘Pursuit of the Joker’ set (76119) aimed at years 7+ but then towards the close of 2019 in celebration of 30 years of Burton’s vision, everybody’s Bat-prayers were answered with this more discerning, absolutely stunning replica that adheres closely to the original design and wastes not one of its 3,300 pieces in making you relive the sheer awe you must have surely felt when The Batmobile first charged onto the screen in 1989. I defy you not to start humming that Danny Elfman theme when the vehicle’s iconic shape begins to materialise before your eyes.
The louvered exhaust vents, which attach to the underlying bodywork, are exceedingly fun to execute as is neat turbine exhaust nozzle, comprised of pearl dark grey elements. Trans-red tail lights and pearl silver exhaust pipes perfectly offset the overall darkness and personally, I would have welcomed a fiery element like the one which spun on the earlier model when propelled forwards.
THE MINI FIGURES
‘And where is the BATMAN?’
The unique thing about this particular Batman is the beautifully-sculpted cowl, cape and insignia one-piece that has been made from rubbery elements and has a nice, tactile feel to it but, in a neat echo of its live action counterpart, it does restrict movement and limits display options of the figure (Michael Keaton discovered upon donning the Batsuit for the ’89 film that he was unable to turn his head). The cape looks its most impressive from behind and special care has been taken to emulate the redesign of the insignia for the Batsuit from the ’89 version. However, the omission of a separate bespoke element for the iconic utility belt feels like a sloppy oversight, especially given the project’s anniversary providence. Similarly, more care could have been taken with the head piece: specifically we just get clear lenses to provide the eyes behind the mask and no effort has been made to resemble Michael Keaton’s distinctive grimace or his knowing Bat-smirk. A minor gripe but it doesn’t growl “I’m Batman!” Still, it’s cool that he goes for at least £50 on eBay (I have a spare one if anyone is interested?)
‘Love that JOKER’
No qualms with this purple and plaid zoot-suited ringer for Jack Nicholson’s incarnation as the Joker. With a snap brim hat, high cheekbones and gargoyle grin, this figure is a winner. The only thing lacking is a fake gun that pops with a ‘BANG!’ banner.
‘And who might you be?’
Sporting a Veronica Lake mane of blonde hair and the same spearmint green dress Ms Vale wore to her unplanned-for date with the Joker at Gotham’s Flugelheim Museum, the photo-journalist is ready for a scoop with her camera accessory in tow.
These figures look dynamic when spaced apart on the display stand, made to look like a rooftop on Gotham Cathedral, replete with monolithic masonry and rather crude-looking gargoyles. The colours of these figure pop against the greyness and strike an iconic trio together.