Batmobiles of varying design have consistently accompanied the Dark Knight. The streamlined vehicle that appeared within Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie has become particularly famous and exerts remarkable influence upon multiple subsequent Batmobile designs. That continues three decades after its introduction.
76139 1989 Batmobile looks magnificent in official images, exhibiting brilliant accuracy when compared with the original vehicle and including superb detail. Furthermore, three exclusive minifigures are provided here, including the brand new Batman which is inspired by Michael Keaton's noted portrayal of the character and should therefore prove exceptionally popular!
Box and Contents
Black overwhelmingly dominates the packaging for 76139 1989 Batmobile which seems appropriate and I think the model looks absolutely spectacular here. The famous emblem from the 1989 movie is included which is great, although I was surprised by the relatively small size of this box. Nevertheless, the set feels reasonably heavy.
Opening the box reveals 24 numbered bags alongside two without numbers which contain the larger components. Several of these bags are packaged in another white box with the enormous instruction manual, comprising 404 pages. Separate internal boxes are becoming increasingly common for large sets and they have proven useful in protecting elements from damage during transportation.
The instruction manual contains some fascinating information about the development of this popular Batmobile design, with emphasis upon its melding of power and darkness. Comments from three set designers are also provided. John Cuppage, Chris Perron and Adam Grabowski describe working on different sections of the model and Adam's involvement seems particularly fitting as he also designed 76023 The Tumbler.
Nineteen stickers are included. That seems slightly disappointing, although the majority of these are easy to apply and there are some printed elements. However, the display plaque should certainly be printed in my view, especially given the relative likelihood of trapping dust underneath while applying this sticker onto the 8x16 tile.
LEGO has released numerous versions of Batman, taking inspiration from comics, television series and the Dark Knight trilogy. However, this minifigure is based upon Michael Keaton's portrayal of the popular hero and I think it looks absolutely brilliant, featuring an exclusive cape and cowl component which is made from rubbery plastic and therefore closely resembles the onscreen character.
This element includes wonderful texture which is particularly visible from behind. However, the fixed cape position restricts display potential. I appreciate the integration between Batman's cape and the cowl though, especially since that reflects the source material. The bat symbol printing looks perfect and this double-sided head looks reasonable, despite featuring white lenses rather than visible eyes.
Removing the cape and cowl reveals some interesting torso decoration on each side, corresponding with the movie. The metallic gold utility belt and muscle definition both appear accurate. Furthermore, this minifigure wields a standard batarang and an Overwatch pistol which is intended to represent his indispensable grapnel launcher.
Vicki Vale appears relatively simple beside this Batman minifigure, although her blonde hair piece is effective. Unfortunately, her double-sided head is somewhat disappointing because exactly the same component has appeared on several previous occasions and it lacks the frightened expression which would have been appropriate for the character.
This sand green attire takes inspiration from Vicki's startling encounter with Batman and the Joker at the Flugelheim Museum. The decoration compares favourably with the film and includes lovely detail across the torso and legs. A camera accessory is provided for this minifigure, befitting her successful career in photojournalism.
Much like his incorruptible foil, several different minifigures depicting the Joker have been produced. This version closely resembles Jack Nicholson's incarnation, featuring unusually pronounced cheeks which replicate his permanent grin from the movie. The purple fedora looks reasonable, although this figure lacks an alternative hair piece which is unfortunate because the element created for the Doctor would have been ideal in green.
However, I am delighted with the Joker's purple jacket, teal waistcoat and orange shirt which appear exceptionally accurate. The tartan trousers are equally impressive and I love the acid-spraying flower pinned to his lapel. As usual, the Joker is appropriately armed with a dark bluish grey revolver but the famous 'bang' flag from the climactic scenes inside Gotham Cathedral is missing.
Large-scale vehicles are traditionally designed around Technic elements and 76139 1989 Batmobile conforms to that trend. This structure is reasonably simple, consisting primarily of 4x6 Technic bricks, but feels sturdy and the exceptional size of the model becomes immediately apparent. Moreover, the early appearance of some black bodywork is enjoyable.
Technic construction techniques continue during the next phase of assembly, particularly around the steering mechanism which is more complicated than I had envisaged. Nevertheless, I appreciate the close integration between these pieces and the standard bricks and slopes that form the surrounding bodywork, further extending the already significant length of this magnificent vehicle.
In fact, the model somewhat resembles 7784 The Batmobile: Ultimate Edition after the wheel arches have been completed. Many of the same building techniques are employed here, although additional layers of armour will subsequently be situated over these slopes, thereby creating smoother surfaces and concealing the colourful parts which are visible below.
Attention next shifts to the steering column which seems quite simple. The machine gun housings, by contrast, are heavily reliant upon brackets and sideways construction. These techniques are certainly enjoyable and the resulting motion feels fairly smooth, although I think the design of each mechanism could probably have been simplified.
However, the mechanical detail along either flank is even more impressive. Pearl silver roller skates create marvellous texture and I love how pearl dark grey gauntlet components have been integrated here. Furthermore, gear shifter rings are nestled between 2x2 wedge plates which is very innovative and these form the grapnel launchers which appear prominently during the movie.
Numerous angular sections comprise the armoured bodywork which shrouds the entire Batmobile. I appreciate the variation in how these panels are connected to the Technic frame as some are reliant upon hinge plates while others employ Technic pins and brackets. The round air intakes are effective too, although my favourite aspect of this armour is how separate wedge plates slot together.
Constructing the interior feels reminiscent of Creator Expert vehicles which is excellent because they feature consistent detail. The rear wheel bearings, on the other hand, seem more closely aligned with recent Technic models such as 42083 Bugatti Chiron. That similarity is not entirely surprising because this Batmobile is easily comparable in both size and weight to those Technic sets.
Having completed the wheel arches and the internal structure, the focus of attention returns towards the front. The outer layer of bodywork connects almost seamlessly to the elements underneath and I am especially satisfied with this enormous turbine engine that makes brilliant use of two train wheels, recreating turbine blades from the original vehicle.
While certain aspects of this construction process are relatively familiar, assembling the bodywork in distinct layers seems unusual. Even so, these building techniques are very enjoyable as the shaping becomes more refined as construction continues. Fitting the canopy is similarly interesting. The large windscreen piece provides rigid structure to this assembly and I like how curved slopes are employed towards the rear.
The area behind the cockpit includes additional curved slopes and black 3x8x2 shells. Situating those larger components feels remarkably satisfying as they each slot perfectly into the available space and replicate the curvature of the source material. Smaller details, such as the circular windows, stand out too and feature 2x2 sliders which are attached using 2x2 jumper plates with 2x2 round tiles with holes through the centre.
My favourite construction techniques are focused towards the rear where several spoiler components form louvred exhaust vents. These are angled in two directions, making excellent use of clips that are hidden beneath the bodywork. The pronounced wings are also cleverly assembled, incorporating four 1x3x2 inverted bows which are fixed upside down on each side and create an elegant shape.
Construction concludes with further external details, including the tail lights and machine gun covers. The turbine exhaust design is particularly attractive and features some pearl dark grey angular shells which have not previously been available in this colour. Display stands for both the Batmobile and the minifigures complete an enjoyable building experience.
The Completed Model
Following the good example of 76042 The SHIELD Helicarrier, this set contains an attractive display stand for the minifigures. Its design was inspired by the distinctive architecture of Gotham City, hence winged grotesques are positioned at either end. Plentiful room remains for the minifigures though and their varied colours ensure that these characters look nice when displayed together.
Another stand is provided for the Batmobile. This connects to Technic bricks beneath the vehicle so lacks aesthetic detail when compared with its minifigure counterpart, although I think the information plaque looks splendid. Its horizontal orientation is unusual but elevating the plaque any further might overwhelm the Batmobile, given its relatively narrow profile when viewed from the side.
That information plaque remains clearly visible when the Batmobile is situated sideways on its stand and the integrated turntable is lovely, enabling the model to rotate. Batman Returns introduced some additional gadgets, including an interesting hydraulic lift which can extend from beneath, so that may have replaced the separate base. However, I think this design is great and elevates the vehicle to an appropriate height.
While the turntable stand is undoubtedly welcome, the Batmobile appears similarly impressive when displayed without it. The elegant bodywork of this vehicle looks absolutely marvellous and compares very favourably with the source material, capturing both its aerodynamic profile and muscular stance which are integral to many traditional Batmobile designs. The proliferation of smooth surfaces is also helpful in that regard.
Moreover, the substantial size of this model has exceeded my expectations. 76139 1989 Batmobile measures nearly 61cm in length and is therefore accurately scaled beside 76023 The Tumbler from 2014. In fact, this vehicle is slightly longer than both 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS and 42083 Bugatti Chiron, although their width is greater. Nevertheless, the model definitely looks wonderful on display.
Some outstanding details become apparent when viewing this vehicle more closely, including subtle bodywork shaping around the headlights. They are represented by trans-yellow 1x1 bricks which are situated between different layers of armour. Unusually, white stickers are applied behind these bricks which marginally improves their visibility. This technique seems particularly interesting as the original car included Honda Civic headlights that were painted yellow while this version features trans-yellow parts with white stickers!
The prominent jet engine is ingeniously designed too, incorporating train wheels which represent the turbine blades. Furthermore, the enormous spinner appears accurate when compared with the movie and I like the curvature of the cowling, particularly beneath the engine. Ideally, this shape would seem smoother but I think the designer has used the most appropriate available parts.
Narrow cooling events should be situated in front of the tyres. They have been excluded which feels somewhat disappointing, although including those vents would affect the surrounding bodywork. The wheels, on the other hand, are excellent. The printed bat symbols at the centre of each hub look nice and the tyres are brand new, measuring 68.7mm in diameter, so fit neatly within the wheel arches.
Technic vehicles almost invariably include steering and 10265 Ford Mustang demonstrates that sets comprising standard bricks can include that functionality too. This magnificent Batmobile accordingly features forward steering that reflects the onscreen vehicle and links to the steering wheel inside the cockpit. External controls would have been useful for play but are unnecessary for dynamic displays.
Curved slopes and tiles form smooth bodywork above the wheel arches and the turbine engine. The armour around the wheels should bow outwards gently but I think recreating that subtle shape would have been impossible without compromising its appearance from the side. Fortunately, the bodywork across the top looks perfect and I appreciate the textured vents near the cockpit.
Removing two panels reveals M1919 Browning machine guns which can be deployed from inside the Batmobile. They are controlled by rotating the turbine exhaust towards the rear and the function works quite smoothly as both weapons rise in unison. In addition, the stickers on each side look great. I was disappointed that the panels lack hinges but they are actually ejected during the film so this design is authentic.
Subtle mechanical detail is visible along both flanks, including numerous roller skates which faithfully replicate texture visible on the original car. I am equally satisfied with the cavernous air intakes which appear fairly accurate and I like the grapnel launchers fixed between pearl dark grey conduits. Ideally, these hooks would include four flukes but the existing part with three is adequate. The printed tiles on the armour are superb as well.
An outstanding trans-black windscreen element has been created specifically for the 1989 Batmobile and looks brilliant. Its curved shape corresponds with the source material and the printed designs are appreciated, despite sometimes disappearing against the dark interior. The surrounding armour looks good too, including subtle texture present on the actual car.
Two round windows are located behind the cockpit. They are opaque but look delightful when viewed from outside. Moreover, the entire canopy is connected to Technic axles which allow it to raise slightly and slide forwards, as demonstrated below. That motion is faithful to Batman's celebrated vehicle and feels incredibly smooth. A locking mechanism would have been welcome though.
Various stickers are placed inside, depicting authentic control panels and system displays that match those shown during the movie. These exhibit exceptional attention to detail as the location and colour of each switch is correct. Further to those stickers, an attractive bat symbol adorns the steering wheel and another spare printed 1x1 round tile is provided.
Moreover, the footwell contains brake and accelerator pedals while the central levers are individually adjustable. Their differing colours are fantastic and I am particularly pleased with the light bluish grey throttle lever which is represented by a connecting rod. These elements frequently appear in Technic sets but the lever looks great here and I love the Batmobile system monitor near the passenger seat.
Additional stickers decorate the area between the seats and the contrasting dark bluish grey design looks marvellous in my opinion. The original seats were black but choosing dark bluish grey ensures that the interior stands out against the external bodywork. Moreover, the design of the headrests has been replicated perfectly, making clever use of mudguard components which are fitted together.
Curved slopes behind the cockpit form another substantial air intake while inlets situated along either side cool the rear brakes. These correspond precisely with the movie and the metallic silver fuel caps are attractive too. Two more printed bat emblems decorate the wheels and these imposing tyres were originally created for 76023 The Tumbler but appear equally appropriate here.
Batmobiles frequently incorporate enormous bat-shaped fins and those found on the 1989 Batmobile are especially renowned. Their unusual scalloped shape has been replicated beautifully and I like the narrow bands fixed on both sides. However, small gaps are visible where the trailing edge is attached and I think those could have been concealed. Thankfully, the resultant design looks superb, even with those gaps.
This vehicle appears similarly impressive when viewed from behind, particularly because the louvred exhaust vents have been integrated perfectly with the surrounding armour. Moreover, I like the subtle curvature of this bodywork and the combination of various shapes is quite effective. The trans-red tail lights look excellent too as their relative sizes are accurate.
Pearl dark grey elements distinguish the turbine exhaust nozzle which looks fantastic. Its segmented shape closely resembles the original car and four pearl silver exhausts are suitably positioned around the central structure. Unfortunately, the Technic brick placed behind the exhausts remains fairly visible, albeit only from certain angles. Even so, this section of the model continues the high standard of detail which is evident across the vehicle.
Considerable interest surrounds every Batmobile design and the rendition from Tim Burton's Batman movie is probably among the most famous examples. 76139 1989 Batmobile has accordingly elicited significant attention and this is an extraordinary set, capturing the crucial combination of menace and elegance which distinguishes this celebrated Batmobile from various alternative examples.
The model looks absolutely spectacular on display, exhibiting magnificent attention to detail and some enjoyable functions. Certain gadgets and defensive countermeasures have been omitted, such as the grenades or emergency Batmissile transformation, but I am very satisfied with the twin machine guns and opening canopy which are integrated seamlessly.
Furthermore, the minifigures which accompany the Batmobile are superb and the price of £219.99 or $249.99 seems reasonable, especially given the enormous scale of this model and comparisons with recent Creator Expert vehicles. For those reasons, this is undoubtedly among my favourite DC Super Heroes sets and stands out among the best designs of 2019!
I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your opinion of 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.