70917 The Ultimate Batmobile was revealed to great excitement in February and contains 1456 pieces so is one of the largest sets based on The LEGO Batman Movie. The Caped Crusader builds this enormous vehicle with the aid of his newly assembled team towards the end of the film and its design reflects this as each character drives their own car, motorcycle, tank or plane.
Furthermore, the set includes a tremendous selection of minifigures, the most exciting of which are probably Polka-Dot Man and the brand new Flying Monkeys. The presence of all four heroes is welcome too and I am particularly enamoured with the light-up Batsignal which has never before been rendered with such detail or functionality.
The LEGO Batman Movie introduces us to new versions of many DC characters and the vast majority of those have undergone some significant design changes for the new film. Batman, on the other hand, remains relatively similar to the minifigure which has been in use since 2012, but for the addition of a yellow utility belt which fits around the waist and includes rows of pouches on the front and back. His torso features some muscle definition and the head is printed with two expressions, one of which looks very grim while the other appears cheerful.
Batman rarely smiles but Robin represents a direct contrast in both character and appearance so features a wide grin as well as a worried expression. I love his bright costume and the detailed printing on the legs and torso looks great, particularly in combination with dual-moulded arms. Robin wears a yellow cape with a matte interior surface and a shiny back along with a brand new hair piece which includes a large pair of glasses. The set comes with a selection of batarangs and other accessories which are stored inside the Batmobile and can be wielded by any of the heroes.
Batgirl wears a cape with shiny and matte surfaces to match Robin's attire, although hers features a crenelated edge. The costume is primarily purple but includes a yellow bat symbol, gloves and boots as well as a belt like that worn by Batman. The minifigure looks brilliant and almost every surface is decorated, even on the sides of the arms and legs! Batgirl's hair is tied in a ponytail which emerges from the back of the cowl and two expressions are printed on the head underneath, with a smile on one side and a grimace on the other.
Alfred Pennyworth usually assists Batman from the Batcave but here he wears his own suit which borrows aspects of its design from the Batsuit seen in the 1960s television series. However, the cap and neatly buttoned jacket recall the uniforms worn by British police officers of the early nineteenth century, reflecting Alfred's nationality. I love the contrast between black and silver as well as the inclusion of a domino mask just like that worn by Alfred on the rare occasions when he ventured beyond Wayne Manor in the 1960s series. Alfred wields two silver katana in the movie and is accordingly equipped with them here.
DC and Marvel Super Heroes sets have yielded some fairly unusual and obscure characters over the last five years but few are on par with Polka-Dot Man. The villainous Abner Krill made his first appearance in 1962 and wears a colourful costume covered with polka dots. Each spot can be transformed into a deadly weapon or gadget in the comics and this design extends across the entirety of the minifigure, from his helmet to his legs.
Polka-Dot Man looks very impressive and a belt printed on both sides of the torso completes his costume. The head is reversible so features a smile and a frightened expression as well as a red mask with different coloured eyes. However, perhaps my favourite aspect of the figure is his prominent front teeth which are perfectly suited to such a bizarre and comical character. I never could have envisaged that such an obscure rogue would appear in minifigure form but I am very glad that he is now available!
The villain is equipped with lime green and orange polka dots, represented by 1x1 round tiles, but his more interesting accessory is this brand new base. Polka-Dot Man is known to employ a round hover board but this element could also serve as an excellent display base and it seems certain to appear in that context at some point. The top includes just two studs while four can be received in the centre underneath. This element looks brilliant with the spotted printing but I am eager to see how it will be used elsewhere in future.
Batman could probably defeat Polka-Dot Man alone but also faces a host of villains from other properties in The LEGO Batman Movie. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz is one such character and has only previously appeared in 71221 Wicked Witch, a LEGO Dimensions Fun Pack. This minifigure is identical to the earlier one and wears a black hat along with a cape which is made from a relatively stiff material, unlike that seen on Batman or Alfred.
The Wicked Witch's dark clothing is also printed on her torso, hips and legs. It looks superb and I like the sharply contrasting lime skin tone too. Unfortunately, the design of the hat does not permit a second face on the back of the head but this cruel smile seems very appropriate for such an evil character and the wart printed on the chin shows excellent attention to detail on the part of the graphic designer. The minifigure comes equipped with a reddish brown broom for flight but has no need for other weapons given her magical powers.
Two Flying Monkeys complete the minifigure roster. A brick-built version appeared in 71221 Wicked Witch and was certainly a reasonable representation of the characters but these minifigures are far superior and sport brand new head components. They each feature a grey beard and hair as well as a small fez, just as in the 1939 film. It is pleasing to see two different expressions printed on the front and the fez is adorned with a red symbol.
Matching red designs appear on their little waistcoats and some dark bluish grey fur is visible underneath. This continues onto the back of the torso and the top of the legs which are unusually shaped, using the piece introduced with the Faun in the fifteenth series of Collectable Minifigures. They are perfect for the Flying Monkeys and their rubbery tails look splendid as well. A pair of adjustable wings completes each minifigure and they are attached around the neck using a trans-clear bracket.
The Completed Model
The Bat-Signal has appeared on several previous occasions, often as part of a polybag or promotional model. Two small versions have already featured in sets based on The LEGO Batman Movie but this example is much more substantial and is the first one which is truly worthy of display without any modification in my opinion. I love the mechanical details around the lamp and the rounded base looks marvellous, as do the support arms which slot onto either side of the signal.
You can rotate the Bat-Signal and adjust its vertical position in readiness for activation. A minifigure must use the lever but we can activate the light brick inside by pressing on a Technic pin on the back of the cylindrical signal housing. The light is orange and shines through the trans-black dome which is printed with the bat symbol, thereby casting a shadow in the centre of the beam and forming the shape of the famous symbol on any given surface!
I have to admit that I was somewhat sceptical about this function before building the set but it works brilliantly, projecting a clearly defined shape even when several feet from the target. Naturally, the definition is reduced as the light source moves away from the surface onto which the symbol is projected but the below image shows it at a distance of about three feet and it is still very clear. This image was taken in reasonably dark conditions but it becomes even more effective in darker spaces and the feature is very enjoyable overall.
The Ultimate Batmobile measures almost 40cm in length and is highly detailed throughout. It is primarily black, as one would expect of a Batmobile, but includes some red accents and trans-yellow cockpit canopies to match the rest of his arsenal from The LEGO Batman Movie. The overall colour scheme looks great and the model is absolutely bristling with weapons which again fits with the style of other vehicles from the film.
The Batmobile presents a very intimidating profile when viewed from the front, featuring rows of lights as well as four stud shooters and an enormous radiator grille. I love the angular shaping and the contrast between black armour and the dark bluish grey grille looks brilliant. This area of the model incorporates several stickers which add some welcome detail including rows of rivets, although only the central sticker showing the bat symbol is vital to the appearance of the vehicle so you could probably leave the others off if you prefer.
Batman decorates each of his vehicles with a humorous nickname and this one is no different so stickers are applied on either side of the cockpit, labelling the Ultimate Batmobile as a 'Wreckreactional Vehicle'. The cockpit canopy opens on a hinge tp reveal a seat for the driver and some simple controls including a steering wheel and two printed gauges. The angled bars look superb and I appreciate that you can also see part of the Batcycle through the windscreen, although a gap is left when the secondary vehicle is deployed.
The Ultimate Batmobile is packed with weapons and looks as though it could crush any obstacle. However, it was not built for speed so the front section can be detached for rapid pursuit, revealing powerful engines and allowing the rear section to divide into two more vehicles. The attachment between the smaller Batmobile and the Bat-Tank is very secure, relying upon two clips as well as four studs on top.
Even when separated this Batmobile is fairly large, measuring almost 24cm in length. I think it looks very sleek, particularly around the cockpit where the windscreen forms a seamless line which stretches from the front of the model to the back. Additional stickers are used on the sides of the vehicle and on the wheels while a few dark bluish grey and pearl silver elements represent mechanical details.
A pair of large fins are fixed above the rear wheels and these are angled outwards, much like on 70905 The Batmobile which was released in January. The engines appear quite intricate and are mounted on hinges so can be raised to reveal trans-purple dishes. Presumably these facilitate a sudden boost of speed, perhaps with the aid of the small trans-purple 1x1 round plates placed beside the tyres.
Raising the twin engines also allows you to deploy the Batcycle. This is fitted using a single Technic axle and slides out fairly easily, with its wheels splayed in flight configuration. The Spider-Cycle found in 76004 Spider-Man: Spider-Cycle Chase includes a very similar feature as the wheels can be brought together for driving or open to act as thrusters. I think the Batcycle looks pretty good in either mode, although the black Technic axle is slightly bothersome and is more noticeable when the wheels are split, as shown below.
The transformation is very simple and works perfectly. I like the trans-yellow lights formed using teeth and the red stripes which adorn the Batmobile are present in the form of protective bars around the driver of the Batcycle! The vehicle is controlled using a pair of handlebars and twin exhausts are placed above the rear wheels which looks quite realistic. This is certainly a decent model but it is my least favourite of the four vehicles simply because the Batcycle is not as detailed as the others, although this is primarily attributable to its relatively small size.
Removing the Batmobile and the Batcycle leaves two vehicles behind, the Bat-Tank and the Batwing. These are joined quite securely but they look a bit odd when disconnected from the forward section so I would tend to display them apart or as part of the full Ultimate Batmobile. The Batwing rests on top and is deployed simply by unfolding the wings and lifting it off, leaving the tank to undergo some minor transformation before turning around and joining the battle.
The deployment of the Batwing leaves a large hole in the top of the Bat-Tank, revealing some interior detail. This area is intended for the storage of equipment but also includes some displays showing a batarang and a Flying Monkey. There is not room to seat a minifigure once the hatch on top has closed but you could imagine that the tank can serve as a mobile base, a little like the Forward Command Centre seen in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, so the top could be left open under certain circumstances.
A large panel, originally used to secure the Batmobile to the Bat-Tank, folds over the storage area to ensure that every aspect of the model is properly armoured. It looks fantastic when in position and the model certainly feels like a tank in this configuration, due in part to the angular design of the armour as well as the heavy complement of weapons which seem to face in almost every direction! The glowing purple engines at the rear are properly defended and I like the twin exhausts which match those seen on the Batcycle.
The front of the Bat-Tank forms the rear of the entire Ultimate Batmobile and includes four huge thrusters which propel the vehicle forward. Their angled design looks brilliant and I like the stickers on either side, warning minifigures that standing too close might be dangerous. However, these engines would appear very strange once the Bat-Tank separates as they would then be facing forwards.
Thankfully, the thrusters have been designed to fold away, forming twin fuel tanks and revealing some more lights around the cockpit! This epitomises one of the most impressive aspects of the set as each transformation feature has been fully thought through and you will not be left with a core model which looks unfinished once the smaller vehicles have been launched. In fact, I would be quite happy to display all four together.
The cockpit opens to reveal a seat for the driver as well as two levers and a central control panel which shows the Bat-Tank in silhouette. This blue console colour is consistent throughout Batman's vehicles and looks very distinctive as there are not blue parts visible on the exterior. A railing forms the rear of the cockpit so you can see into the storage area but it is only accessible through the hatch on top.
Several weapons face towards the rear but the front appears vulnerable at first glance. In fact, a pair of stud-shooting rotary cannons are hidden beneath the armour and can be extended by pushing down on sections of the bodywork at the back of the tank. They are fairly well hidden when retracted but the exposed blue pins are slightly bothersome, as is the tendency for the guns on either side to rotate freely.
Turning the model upside down reveals its four wheels. The two larger ones at the front are fairly visible but the rear wheels are almost completely hidden which is entirely appropriate for a tank. I like the short wheel base as this allows the vehicle to turn very sharply, just like most real tanks and unlike the Ultimate Batmobile which drives on a total of eight wheels so is almost impossible to steer!
The Batwing is the final section of the model to be constructed and I was very pleasantly surprised by its impressive wingspan of 19cm. That is only slightly smaller than the craft found in 6863 Batwing Battle Over Gotham City and this model is considerably more detailed. The wings feature lights and even more weaponry as well as a couple of stickers decorated with rivets. They are clipped to the fuselage using hinges so can be angled while in flight, perhaps to assist in directional control.
Opening the cockpit allows access to two control yokes and a stickered control panel. The interior is upholstered in reddish brown, like 70916 The Batwing, but there are no studs so the occupant may rattle around inside during flight. Ensuring that a minifigure remains secure seems vital to me so this is a disappointing oversightvv, although it is easily rectified using your own pieces if you wish.
The engine pods situated beside the cockpit include plenty of mechanical details and I like the tail fins which match those seen on the Batmobile, right down to the angle! These are connected to the engines via hoses while additional fins are represented using trapezoidal flags connected to 3L bars. I think the intricacy of this assembly seems a little excessive in relation to the rest of the model but it still looks great in my opinion.
The seven thrusters at the rear of the Batwing glow purple so this feature remains consistent across all four models. A 2x2 dish forms the central nacelle while the other six are represented using 1x1 round plates. The entire model is very sturdy so can be flown around without fear of breakage and there are two spring-loaded shooters hidden deep within the fuselage which can be fired by pressing on the tails of the trans-orange missiles.
70917 The Ultimate Batmobile represents the fundamental nature of The LEGO Batman Movie. Every aspect of a traditional Batmobile has been taken to the extreme as each vehicle is laden with headlights, engines and non-lethal weaponry. Furthermore, the structure of this model seems to acknowledge different types of Batmobile from the past, incorporating a sleek vehicle not unlike that seen in the 1989 film or Batman: The Animated Series as well as a beefy tank which recalls the design of the Tumbler or the enormous machine seen in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns!
The splitting functions ensure exceptional playabilty and I like the bizarre selection of minifigures included which reflect the crazy design of the Batmobile itself. The Flying Monkeys and Polka-Dot Man are the highlights for me but it might have been nice to see a few more villains given the price point of £139.99 in the UK or $139.99 in the US. Perhaps this would have been an appropriate set for Gentleman Ghost or Crazy Quilt to appear, both of whom are suitably unusual to face a Batmobile of this kind.
My issues with this set are few. Over forty stickers are used across the model and these may deter some prospective purchases, although none were particularly difficult to apply in my opinion. The lack of studs inside the cockpit of the Batwing is also rather irritating but could be easily resolved with some minor modification. Ultimately, I would definitely recommend this set to fans of The LEGO Batman Movie. Not only does it come with a good selection of minifigures but it also looks brilliant on display and offers tremendous play value.
I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.
This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.