40090 Halloween Bat: Trick or Treat?

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There’s not long now until All Hallows' Eve, so today I’ll be reviewing the 2014 Halloween offering from LEGO: 40090 Halloween Bat, which continues the new style of seasonal sets featuring cute brick-built characters that began earlier this year with 40085 Valentine Bear and 40086 Easter Rabbit. This will be the first review in a series looking at the seasonal sets that are currently available; 40091 Thanksgiving Turkey, 40092 Reindeer and 40093 Snowman will follow over the next few weeks. On a side note, it would be nice to have one of these sets available over the summer months too rather than having a 6-month gap between Easter and Halloween followed by four models in quick succession. Suggestions of what model could fill this gap to be directed to TLG...

As with the other seasonal sets this year, this model comes in a small box, which I think justifies the higher price (£8.49) as it feels more substantial than a polybag would. I’m guessing the change to boxes was because the polybag models were getting larger and hence more expensive but were not selling so well because of a perceived poor value for money, being more of a gift size than a pocket money toy. The front of the box of course depicts the built model, but the back includes a rather nice little storyboard showing the bat satisfying his craving for pumpkin. As well as telling a simple story, the pictures also demonstrates the play features of the model (such as being able to move the wings and to grip the pumpkin).

40090 Halloween Bat

The set contains 156-parts, none of which are unique to this set. The least common part is the 1x1 bright pink plate which features in a total of 7 sets according to the Brickset parts database. The body of the bat is built using a lot of SNOT techniques, so there are a multitude of parts that facilitate this – headlight bricks, bricks with studs on the sides and 2x2x2/3 plates with studs on, for example. If you haven’t experimented much with SNOT, I think this little model provides a good opportunity to have a go at trying it out.

40090 Halloween Bat

The build was not challenging, taking only 15-20 minutes (and this was done in my lunch break at work with curious colleagues looking on), but I found it quite enjoyable as I am more used to building minifigure-scale models and it was interesting to see the use of multiple plates and decorative parts to give Bruce (as I named my Fledermaus friend) a very clear personality. The use of SNOT and plates with bows has achieved a pretty good curved appearance for the bat in my opinion, both for his head and body. The articulation of the wings both at the body and mid-wing are sufficiently stiff to ensure that when Bruce is hugging his prize pumpkin, it is held securely. The feet connections are also stable enough to make sure he can balance and is not prone to toppling over, so he can be displayed conveniently. And with such a cute expressive appearance, who wouldn’t want to display this little guy?!

40090 Halloween Bat

With regard to the pumpkin, this again uses SNOT with attached cheese slopes and, from a distance, this does achieve the effect of appearing curved. However when viewed up close, it is effectively a cross shape and looks rather odd. I understand that it is difficult to achieve a more rounded build in this scale though; previous brick-built LEGO pumpkins have either been two-dimensional or on a much larger scale. On balance, the pumpkin is a nice addition to the set as without it, there is nothing that puts to use the articulated wings.

While my general opinion of this set is positive, there are a couple of things that I would change. There are a number of parts that are dark or light bley rather than black, such as in the feet connections, wing connections and face, which were a bit jarring for me, and I think the overall appearance would be more aesthetically pleasing if black parts were used. In the case of the part attaching the feet, this is not actually available in black but the one connecting the wings is, as are the plates obviously. The only thing I can think is that the designers are not encouraged to use “black on black”.

40090 Halloween Bat

I ended up rebuilding the model and removing the bley and I am very happy with the result, though I had to come up with a different solution for attaching the feet. I also decided to flip round the ears, which I actually think has made Bruce look slightly less dopey! The final change I made was suggested by one of my colleagues, who thought kids would like it more if the wings could move not just forward and backward, but up and down in a flapping motion. So at home that evening I replaced the 1x1 brick with vertical bar with a 1x1 brick with a stud on the side and a bar 1L with clip, and voilà! Bruce’s wings can now be posed in more positions. This connection does not quite have the rigidity that the official one has, and the wings are more liable to drop out of position, but I think I still prefer it.

In summary, I think this set has a great deal of charm about it. He would look nice as part of a Halloween display (though perhaps rather lonely – I may need to build him a lady companion!) but also has some nice play features that kids can use to act out stories with him. He’s still available to buy at shop.lego.com as I type, so if you order very soon I think you should get him in time for the big day!

 

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17 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Looks great, but not sure nearly-£9-great.

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By in United Kingdom,

Julie has one on her desk at work; she's christened him 'Enberg' ... Bat Enberg. Apparently he likes cake as well as pumpkins.

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By in Australia,

" it would be nice to have one of these sets available over the summer months too rather than having a 6-month gap between Easter and Halloween followed by four models in quick succession."

Don't forget about the standard Creator animals :P

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By in United States,

I like Creator critters, although I always thought this one's wings looked off- until I saw that mod. Looks better, but the wings are just too small relative to body size. This set actually has a very nice ppp ratio- 156 pieces for $10, which is virtually unheard of today. I don't know how much 9 pounds is in dollars, but it can't be more than $15, which is about the limit I would pay for this-- many of those 156 parts are small!

On a side note, I love that pumpkin. Realistically smooth and still LEGO-y enough.

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By in United States,

Wonderful review! I bought this set a few weeks ago and love it. He's on display in my living room with my Monster Fighters sets.

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By in United States,

"Suggestions of what model could fill this gap to be directed to TLG..."

How about a butterfly for the spring, and a dolphin or a fish (puffer fish, clown fish, etc) for the summer?

Great review! I kind of like the pumpkin's imperfect roundness. Reflects the fluting you find in gourds.

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By in United States,

Strange I CHANGED THE DARK GRAY AS WELL FOR FULL BLACK

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By in Australia,

Can I add that I think it's brilliant that you named him "Bruce"? :D

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By in United States,

I bought all four sets yesterday and I'm fine with having no summer sets.

The set is the weakest of the series, looks like a cat in a bat costume, but it's still cute. I really like the turkey, snowman and reindeer a lot. To the point I wish I bought more and got the free holiday set.

9 pounds is $14.48. Not worth that at all.

And this set is sold out online in the USA. Just as a heads up in case someone wants it.

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By in United States,

I just got the 'Bruce' joke! Ha! (Sorry...slow on the uptake over here.)

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By in United States,

Great little build. Got this along with the Turkey and the 2 Christmas ones. Very festive and fun for the kiddo to play with.

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By in United Kingdom,

I agree it's nice, but not at that price.

For the review - I'd prefer a photo of the box (at least the back which isn't on the brickset set page), rather than the words describing it.

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By in United States,

This and the turkey are the best of the new batch of these holiday figures. The snowman is just awful in my opinion, but this bat has the best poseability, and it's pretty cute.

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By in United Kingdom,

Love this set, but is too pricey for me. Hopefully next year's Seasonal Sets won't be this much. :-)

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By in United States,

Summer needs a Christmas in July set with a reindeer and a beach ball.

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By in Germany,

Actually I like it with the Bley, it breaks up the color. To me it allows the eye to move over the small set. Your modded one looks good and I will probably flip the ears on mine once I get back to the room. I think that I would want to see both side by side to see how I feel.

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By in Germany,

I also like the idea of a butterfly for summer, maybe a colorful bird of some sort. Maybe they are just testing this out for the year to see if it did better than the minifig seasonal sets from last year. Im torn kind of since I like minifigs, but i also like to build cute little critters and it seems like that is something that the kids would enjoy more.

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