LEGO has recently released a new wave of motorised sets using the Bluetooth enabled Powered Up system.
The 76112 App Controlled Batmobile is the latest LEGO set to utilise the Powered Up format. The difference with this set is that it requires a smartphone app to control the model as it does not come with its own remote controller.
Read on as I review the App Controlled Batmobile and test out the new app controller.
The front of the box shows the Batmobile being controlled by a smartphone app. This set is recommended for young people aged eight years old or older.
The box is a high-quality, Ideas styled, box made out of black cardboard.
The back of the box shows some of the play features of the Batmobile. It indicates that the minifigure is exclusive to this set.
The instructions come in one booklet.
The parts come in three numbered bags.
he four tyres, Powered Up Hub (battery box) and the two motors are loose in the box.
New or Rare Parts
The set comes with a small polybag containing bat parts that have not been seen before.
From left to right there are:
- Two small bats
- Four elongated bats
- Two upright bats
- Three medium bats
- Two large bats
These parts are coloured Titanium Metallic.
The small, medium and large bats can be attached to a stud underneath. The medium and large bat has a stud on the top.
Only the elongated, two medium and one large bats are used in this set; the rest are spare.
The set includes these rare parts:
You will be pleased to read that there are no stickers in this set. The set contains these three printed parts.
The set has an exclusive Batman minifigure.
Batman's muscle-defined, armour plated torso is printed with his bat logo on his chest. The bat utility belt is also printed on. Batman's trousers and boots have been printed on a Titanium Metallic set of legs.
The Batman mask has only been seen in Titanium Metallic once before.
Batman's back continues the print of the armour plating.
Batman's head shows two expressions: on one side is his gruff, annoyed expression with his unshaven cheeks and sideburns.
On the other side, Batman has gritted teeth.
While I was building this model I reminisced about the stud-built Technic that started to disappear in the mid-1990s. The chassis is constructed around a rigid, studded Technic frame.
Bag 1 - the chassis
There is a variety of coloured tiles and bricks hidden inside the build.
The motorised system is similar in principle to the 42065 RC Tracked Racer: one Powered Up medium motor drives each side of the vehicle. The driving wheel is connected to its slave wheel through two 40-tooth gears and one 24-tooth gear. Using these gears, particularly the 40-tooth gears, gave me another flash-back to the very early Technic sets.
Four black boat-studs ensure that, should the Batmobile run aground, it will easily skid off whatever it has touched.
Bag 2 - the cockpit and body
The build continues by assembling the cockpit and body of the Batmobile.
The two printed computer consoles sit each side of the cockpit.
The completed model
I am reminded of Batman's quote from The LEGO Movie, "I only work in black. And sometimes, very very dark grey."
The external detailing of the Batmobile is dominated by black bricks and plates.
The Batmobile has four forward-facing stud shooters.
When viewed from above, the Bat emblem, made with angled plates, has been cleverly recreated and seen in the detailing around the cockpit.
The flat printed tile shield acts as the on-off button.
When seen from the side, the Batmobile has a very compact wheel base. The black, angled armour plating gives it an intimidating look.
The rear door opens to reveal the electric cabling.
Downloading the Powered Up App Controller
To enable your smartphone to operate the App Controlled Batmobile you will first need to go to the App Store (for iPads or iPhones) or Google Play Store for the android version and download the Powered Up app. (this hyperlink is for the Google Play Store)
You will then be given the option to either download the new City train controller app or the Batmobile app.
Once downloaded and your smart phone Bluetooth connection is enabled you will be able to pair it with the Powered Up Hub. It will take you several minutes the first time you try to pair the devices and you can see the progress as a percentage.
The App Controller
The main page of the app controller gives you two choices: the red options and the blue options.
The Red controller has two sliders that powers up the two motors. The battery icon with tick indicates that the controller is paired with the Powered Up Hub.
The three red hexagons have the following preformatted actions:
- A quick reverse and a wheelie with the statement "Batman" in a gritty voice.
- A 270° turn with a squealing tyres noise.
- A quick reverse and turn with "b o o m" said in Batmen's resolute voice.
The Blue Controller applies maximum power to either motor when the + or - is pressed.
The three blue hexagons have the following preformatted actions:
- Electronic sounding gunfire is heard as the Batmobile recoils backwards.
- A sharp wheelie with a "ka-boom" spoken.
- The Batmobile rotates around as it scans for enemies.
A Powered Up train controller (not included in the set) will also pair with the Hub and control the Batmobile but it won't have all the other options.
I have had an enormous amount of fun using a smartphone to control this unique LEGO set.
I wonder whether a Powered Up remote controller should be included in a set like this but I am also aware that most young people (aged 8+) own a smartphone or tablet.
The Batmobile is a bit jumpy when it turns due to the sticky grip of the tyres. It would be interesting to see how this model would work with tracks similar to the 42065 RC Tracked Racer.
The Bluetooth connection dropped out a few times when testing this but it was a quick process to re-establish this. Overall, the app controller worked really well and having the options with sound effects added some extra fun.
This is a neat, tidy build that is very solid and sturdy. The only items that are likely to fall off are the three Titanium Metallic Bat motifs on the sides and rear.
While it is great that Batman comes as an exclusive minifigure, he must be fully reclined to fit in the cockpit.
The LEGO Group has obviously invested considerable research and development into this new Powered Up system to go head-to-head with third party Bluetooth enabled remote controlled systems that are compatible with the LEGO System.
I am looking forward to seeing how the programming system can be expanded so that your own sounds and special effects can be added to the library of options on your Powered Up smartphone controller.
Value for money
The IR Tracked Racer retailed for £74.99 / $99.99 / 79.99€.
Admittedly of the Tracked Racer’s 370 parts, 157 are pin connectors and 74 are tracks pieces. There is very little in the way of body work on this fabulous set. It must be remembered that it does include an IR Remote and an IR Receiver though.
The App Controlled Batmobile retails for £89.99, $99.99 or 99,99 €.
At 231 parts, 140 less parts than the Tracked Racer, it retails at £15, $0 or 20 € more expensive.
The App Controlled Batmobile does include an exclusive minifigure but does not have a self-contained Powered Up remote control. It is also from a licensed theme.
In my opinion, the App Controlled Batmobile represents value for money and, interestingly, it is cheaper in New Zealand than most other countries. This is a pleasant change.
This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.
Thanks to Michael Howell for allowing me to use his fabulous Batman Cave MOC as a backdrop for the first and last images for this review.
The App Controlled Batmobile will be available from shop.LEGO.com on 1 August priced at £89.99, $99.99 or 99,99 €:
I'm often asked about antipodean prices - this set will be available from shop.LEGO.com on 1 August priced at NZD $169.99 and AUD $139.99: