Batman is almost always accompanied by an extensive arsenal of specialised vehicles in films, television series and comics, a number of which sometimes seem rather odd. The four-legged Knightcrawler depicted in 76086 Knightcrawler Tunnel Attack is a particularly unusual example and has been designed for use in extremely difficult terrain, hence the combination of articulated legs and standard tyres.
This bizarre design provoked considerable criticism when the first images of the set were released and it is easy to see why. We have very little knowledge of the Knightcrawler in the movie and it is therefore difficult to assess the quality of the model, particularly since it looks unlike any previous Batman vehicle. Nevertheless, the set includes some excellent minifigures and appears as though it should offer excellent play value.
A brand new Batman minifigure was introduced in the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice range and the figure has undergone a minor update for Justice League. His cowl remains the same but the head underneath now features some stubble as well as the standard white band which shows through the holes in the cowl. The black cape is made from a soft fabric so will not become creased and it looks great in contrast with the dark bluish grey suit.
I love the subtle silver printing which gives the impression of an armour weave fabric and the black lines depicting seams look great. These designs continue across both sides of the torso and onto the legs which are new, although they are not dual-moulded which is disappointing. Nevertheless, this is one of my favourite Batman minifigures to date and it comes complete with a batarang and a grapnel launcher, as usual.
The Flash has only appeared in three previous sets and I am sure this minifigure will be a considerable draw to the set for many people. He sports a brand new mask which fits over the top of the head and includes some golden decoration on either side, although this is not as prominent as the lightning bolts found on previous Flash minifigures. The head is cast in dark red to form the lower half of the mask and features two smiling expressions.
Unfortunately, the flesh tone is almost entirely washed out due to the dark base colour and the printing on my figure is slightly askew, as shown below. However, the detailing on the torso and legs is superb, replicating the mechanized appearance of the suit in the movie. The ubiquitous lightning bolt symbol is printed on the front of the chest and I like the metallic gold highlights which are present on both the torso and legs.
The minifigure is equipped with two trans-light blue power blasts which are launched from the hands by pressing on the tail. These elements resemble crackling electricity which is perfect for The Flash as he appears in Justice League and I think the figure looks superb when holding them, as though he is running at super speed.
Parademons are present in all three of the new Justice League sets and this set includes a pair of the green variants. The level of printed detail is tremendous, feeling almost excessive given the generic nature of the subject matter! Nevertheless, such intricate detail is very welcome and I love the combination of fleshy surfaces and heavy armour which is particularly apparent on the head where a pair of red goggles are worn.
The two Parademons have different sets of wings, one of which with the wings spread and the other with them retracted. They are punched from a single plastic sheet and fit on the back via a trans-clear neck bracket. I love the veins printed on the lower wings and the contrast with the armoured texture of the upper wings, although the latter designs are somewhat restrictive should you wish to use the wings for your own insectile figures.
Removing the wings reveals additional detail on the back, including a green spine suggesting that the aliens are protected by an organic exoskeleton. Each Parademon is armed with a standard shooter which look rather clunky, although we have yet to get a good look at the weapons they wield in the film so perhaps stud shooters are the most appropriate option.
The Parademons have come in search of four Mother Boxes which are spread throughout the Justice League range. This dark bluish grey box includes a pair of masonry bricks to create some texture and a printed 2x2 tile is placed on top. I appreciate how distinctive each Mother Box appears, not only in its colour but also in the style of the printed design as this one looks quite mechanical while that found in 76085 Battle of Atlantis seems more organic.
The Completed Model
Batman's Knightcrawler bears some resemblance to the four-legged mechs which appeared in the Exo-Force theme but its wheeled mode is unique and seems rather odd to me. The vehicle rolls on a total of eight wheels which are mounted in pairs on the undersides of the four footpads. You can adjust the angle of the feet as the Knightcrawler crosses rough terrain but the wheels themselves have low ground clearance in relation to the surrounding armour so they sometimes become stuck.
The unusual shape of the Knightcrawler necessitates the use of an extensive Technic frame which ensues that the model remains sturdy. This would be fine but many pin holes are left exposed so it looks rather skeletal from certain angles, giving the impression that some areas of the vehicle are heavily armoured while others are totally unprotected. Nevertheless, I like the simulated harpoons mounted alongside the wheels and stickers provide some welcome detail on top of the housings.
A hexagonal panel forms the cockpit canopy and is cast in dark red for the first time so matches 76087 Flying Fox: Batmobile Airlift Attack. It slots into the hull quite nicely and closely resembles the shape of the cockpit seen in the most recent Justice League trailer. There is a yellow seat for a minifigure inside, again matching the design of Batman's other vehicles in the DC Extended Universe sets.
I think the Knightcrawler looks best when viewed from the side as few of the exposed grey elements are visible. The printed 1x1 round tiles situated where the legs join the main body look superb and the general shaping is pleasing from this angle, although the blue Technic pins look rather out of place to me and the Technic beam below the printed tiles should probably have been covered.
There are slots to store Batman's equipment at the back of the vehicle and a trans-orange tile appears to represent a small booster, much like the Batmobile possesses in Batman V Superman. A small light bar is fixed to the top alongside two rotary stud shooters which are activated by turning the black gears on the back. They are sturdily attached but look awful from the rear as the dark bluish grey Technic beams are completely exposed.
The Knightcrawler can transform from rolling on wheels to walking on four legs. This greatly increases the size of the model and it measures exactly 30cm long in crawl mode so looks pretty impressive alongside even the Flying Fox. The ratchet joints at the knees are very stiff so the four pointed feet can comfortably support the weight of the vehicle and their relatively sharp ends look as though the limbs could be planted to climb even a steep surface such as the side of a building of a rock face!
Each leg has only a single point of articulation as the hips are fixed in place. I was therefore concerned that it would be difficult to pose the model in a dynamic way but am pleasantly surprised by the range of motion which can be achieved. Certain poses give a real sense of movement and it looks even better on an uneven surface so I would suggest building some rocks for the vehicle to clamber over if you are intending to display it. I expected little of the Knightcrawler but in this walking configuration I think it looks brilliant.
76086 Knightcrawler Tunnel Attack is not nearly as bad as many early comments suggested but is still my least favourite of the three Justice League sets. The minifigures are excellent and I am sure The Flash will prove particularly popular given his brand new design. The Knightcrawler itself looks as strange in person as it does in official images but I appreciate its distinctive design and it actually looks remarkably good on display with the legs deployed.
Unfortunately, the price point of £54.99 or $49.99 does the set no favours. The US price seems a little expensive in relation to other Super Heroes sets and the UK price is even worse, despite the inclusion of 622 pieces. Many of those are very small Technic pins or 1x1 round plates and the content of the set does not feel like it justifies the price point. Nevertheless, this is a decent set on the whole and I would recommend it at a discounted price, especially if the Knightcrawler occupies a major role during the film.
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