Without super powers to rely on, Batman must instead be equipped with gadgets and vehicles in preparation for every eventuality. Thankfully, billionaire Bruce Wayne can comfortably afford such luxuries and the Batcave therefore houses a selection of remarkably specialised equipment.
This includes 70918 The Bat-Dune Buggy which is designed for off-road pursuit where larger and more heavily armoured vehicles might not suit the terrain. The dune buggy looks marvellous in official images and I have been looking forward to building it. However, the exclusive Captain Boomerang minifigure appears to be the highlight of this set, taking inspiration from his original Flash #117 design!
Batman appears in almost every set based upon The LEGO Batman Movie, as one might expect. The figure wears a new utility belt which fits around his waist and looks superb, featuring a few pouches on the front and a row of tiny canisters on the back. I like the shaping of the cowl too. It lines up perfectly with the grinning and angry expressions as well as the eyes which change shape to reflect Batman's emotions.
The torso is nicely printed with some muscle definition and a traditional Batman symbol which is yellow to match the belt. A black cape completes the figure. This is made from a soft fabric to avoid becoming creased when the Dark Knight is seated in his dune buggy. Batman is equipped with two Batarangs in this set and faces perhaps the only person who is equally skilled with weapons of this variety.
George Harkness, better known as Captain Boomerang, made his debut appearance in 1960's Flash #117 and is often associated with the Scarlet Speedster. However, he has also fought against Batman on several occasions and featured among the villains in The LEGO Batman Movie. This minifigure takes direct inspiration from the character's original design, sporting a blue costume which is decorated with white boomerangs. Only his scarf is absent.
I love Harkness' confident expression and the ginger sideburns are also a traditional feature of Captain Boomerang in the comics. The hat looks brilliant too, again matching the first rendition of the character right down to the boomerang symbol on its left side. Captain Boomerang also appeared in 76055 Killer Croc Sewer Smash wearing a black coat but this more traditional version is definitely my favourite of the two minifigures.
Naturally, Captain Boomerang is properly armed with a pair of his signature weapons. The boomerang element has not appeared in white before and nicely compliments those printed on Harkness' costume. It can be held at the edge, as shown below, or placed on top of a minifigure's hand via an anti-stud on the underside of the accessory.
The Completed Model
I was not expecting this to be a large model but was still surprised that the Bat-Dune Buggy measures a mere 12cm in length. This makes sense given the purpose of the buggy but it feels quite small in relation to the price point of £19.99 or $19.99. Nevertheless, the detail is splendid throughout and I like the colour combination of black with red stripes, a consistent design feature of Batman's vehicles in the movie.
The vehicle rests on four balloon tyres which feel appropriate for off-road driving. I love the textured the tread and the yellow lights along the bumper look great, loosely resembling the design of several real dune buggies. However, a sticker featuring Batman's insignia confirms that the vehicle lies in the realm of fiction. This is placed between the lower parts of the roll cage but does not come away as the cage opens.
A simple steering wheel is fitted inside and the reddish brown seat looks great, again matching the rest of Batman's arsenal. The exposed yellow pieces beside the seat seem slightly out of place to me and the blue Technic pin in front of the engine looks similarly odd. I am very impressed with the shaping of the roll cage though as it lines up absolutely perfectly with the rest of the bodywork, as shown in the images above.
The rear of the Bat-Dune Buggy is elevated above the wheels, giving the model a forward rake and an impression of speed which looks magnificent. Stud shooters are fitted on either side of the cockpit and these can be rotated all the way around to fire at pursuing villains if need be. I like the decorative bat wings above the tyres and even the Technic liftarms that form the chassis look good as bodywork is often stripped from dune buggies to reduce weight, leaving areas of the frame exposed.
Soft suspension allows the vehicle to cross rough terrain with ease. This is facilitated by two rubber bands underneath and works brilliantly, although the range of travel is quite limited when compared with many other sets which include functional suspension. Even so, this is a fantastic feature on a set of this size and I think the model looks equally impressive when the rear is pushed down, almost entirely eliminating the forward rake.
A large engine dominates the rear of the dune buggy. This includes some attractive details, with pearl silver 1x1 round plates representing the manifold and radiator grilles beside the bat wings. A second sticker identifies the main exhaust outlet at the back of the engine and you could imagine that this allows the buggy short bursts of speed, perhaps by attaching a flame to the exhaust. The rear axle is clearly exposed but even the bright red Technic pins look alright to me, matching the accent colour of the stripes and rubber bands.
70918 The Bat-Dune Buggy has proven to be a lovely surprise. The brand new Captain Boomerang minifigure remains my favourite aspect of this set, as expected, but the dune buggy is excellent too, including impressive detail throughout as well as some marvellous functions. I particularly like the rear suspension which works very well but does not interfere with the appearance of the model at all.
Unfortunately, the level of detail included has dictated the size of the model and it therefore feels quite small given the price of £19.99 or $19.99. A third minifigure may have gone some way to justify that cost but with only two it seems expensive. I would therefore recommend waiting for a discount before purchasing this set, although it should not be overlooked entirely in my opinion as the Bat-Dune Buggy and Captain Boomerang are tremendous.
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