LEGO has produced several different renditions of the renowned Batcave. Certain features have appeared on multiple occasions, such as villains infiltrating Batman's base and the monumental Batcomputer. They are definitely apparent here but innovation is present too.
76122 Batcave Clayface Invasion contains some memorabilia from Batman's earlier cases, taking inspiration from the comics which invariably include this trophy chamber. The dark colour scheme and armoured Bat-Tank look wonderful too and an exceptional selection of characters is available here, including exclusive renditions of Two-Face, Catwoman and Clayface!
DC Rebirth introduced an impressive new Batman design and this minifigure definitely resembles its source material, although certain details are absent. Dual-moulded legs would have been particularly beneficial here and the grey skin tone is quite disappointing. However, I like this cowl component and the metallic gold decoration around the emblem on Batman's torso looks fantastic.
Bruce Wayne has accompanied several previous sets focusing upon the Batcave and this example looks superb, wearing an intricately patterned jacket that returns from 75930 Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate. The subtle decoration on his waistcoat and tie is equally appealing. Moreover, this head is only available in two other sets and I think the slicked hair element suits Bruce Wayne.
An excellent Robin minifigure accompanies Batman here, wearing an unusual crenelated cape which looks marvellous. The torso is similarly attractive and features some yellow pouches that contrast with his red attire underneath. Furthermore, I like the green domino mask and two facial expressions which seem appropriate for Damian Wayne, who occupies the moniker of Robin here.
I am similarly satisfied with this depiction of Batwoman who returns from 76111 Batman: Brother Eye Takedown. The combined mask and hair component includes wonderful moulded detail and I love the corresponding cape which blends with Batwoman's hair. Removing the mask element reveals goggles alongside smiling and angry facial expressions.
Once again, I believe dual-moulded red and black legs would have improved this figure, although the torso looks brilliant. Batman and Batwoman are both armed with black batarangs, as one may expect. Their grapnel launchers and some additional crime-fighting equipment is available inside the Batcave.
Two-Face is among my favourite Batman villains and I welcome another incarnation of this character, taking inspiration from his DC Rebirth attire. The bright red jacket and pink waistcoat stand out clearly beside other minifigures and look fairly accurate when compared with the comics, although pink might have been more suitable for the jacket.
Harvey Dent's scarred face is reasonably detailed too. I appreciate how his expression differs slightly across the head but there is no secondary face, unfortunately. Moreover, the hair element could have been improved with greater variation in texture between the good and evil sides. While new character designs are frequently interesting, I would have preferred the more traditional black and white version to return here.
Many depictions of Catwoman have appeared in comics, films and television series. Her minifigures have remained relatively consistent though and this example borrows design elements from previous versions, wearing an attractive mask with goggles from The LEGO Batman Movie. The metallic silver highlights and red lenses underneath look perfect.
Two expressions decorate her double-sided head and they look great, although this printing appears closer to grey than the realistic flesh tone that was intended. I think the torso design looks marvellous though, featuring a metallic silver zip and an interesting cat-shaped belt buckle which correspond with Catwoman's DC Rebirth aesthetic.
As usual, Catwoman carries her black whip and an elegant diamond which seems incongruous within the Batcave. Two-Face's machine pistol and dynamite feel more appropriate, although his classic coin has been omitted. This is extremely disappointing because the coin is integral to his binary personality and did accompany Two-Face in 6864 Batmobile and the Two-Face Chase from 2012.
The Completed Model
Catwoman and Two-Face certainly present an imminent danger to the Batcave but Clayface provides even greater destructive potential. 70904 Clayface Splat Attack contained an impressive model of this amorphous character and this rendition is simpler, measuring 12cm in height and comprising far fewer pieces than its predecessor. However, this figure is instantly recognisable and works perfectly for play.
Reducing the size of Clayface has enabled the designer to include greater articulation, particularly on the legs which include ankle joints. The swivelling waist is equally important for creating the illusion of dynamic movement and I appreciate the combination of medium nougat and dark orange pieces here. The light and dark bluish grey ball joints stand out among those elements, although not to the extent I had envisaged.
A dark orange shoulder shell represents Clayface's head. This construction technique seems unusual but the result is effective and I like the sunken yellow eyes. Furthermore, this design allows the mouth to open, revealing several teeth and some red elements inside. The ball joint placed towards the back looks somewhat awkward though, unfortunately.
Various curved slopes and 4x4 rock elements form the gelatinous texture for which Clayface is known. The stickers look nice and I like how medium nougat and reddish brown round plates have been used on the reverse, matching 70904 Clayface Splat Attack which was heavily reliant upon those elements. While that model remains my favourite, this rendition of the villain has exceeded my expectations.
Batman employs an extraordinary range of vehicles while fighting crime and the Bat-Tank is probably the most powerful example. This model looks very small when compared with the vehicles from 7787 The Bat-Tank: The Riddler and Bane's Hideout or 76055 Batman: Killer Croc Sewer Smash, although the level of detail is consistent. The distinctive roll cage and visible weapons are excellent too.
Six pearl dark grey wheels are connected to the chassis. These certainly replicate the rugged styling we would expect to encounter on any rendition of the Bat-Tank and I love the trans-yellow headlights situated across the front. In addition, the internal dark tan upholstery contrasts with the black armour that dominates the exterior and the decorative bat emblem looks splendid.
Despite his traditional aversion to lethal force, Batman's vehicles are frequently equipped with heavy weaponry and this tank conforms to that trend. Stud shooters are connected beside the cockpit while an enormous missile pod is positioned towards the back. I think those stud shooters could have been integrated more neatly but the articulated missile pod looks great and I like the warhead pieces.
Excluding models intended for younger builders, LEGO renditions of the Batcave have often followed consistent design principles. They typically comprise multiple sections which are joined using Technic pins, creating an angled environment that encourages you to imagine further space at the centre. The latest model measures 44cm wide and its tiered configuration provides ample room for the minifigures to explore.
The tallest section of the Batcave takes evident inspiration from 6860 The Batcave that was released during 2012, featuring an enjoyable transformation function as Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. I was extremely impressed with this feature on the previous model and welcome its return here, particularly given the presence of the red telephone where emergency calls sometimes arrive.
Bruce Wayne stands on the upper platform to receive that telephone call while the Batman minifigure fits on another platform underneath. Removing the dark bluish grey Technic axle which is shown here will release both platforms, thereby causing Bruce Wayne to vanish inside this structure while Batman emerges from beneath. The mechanism has remained identical since 2012 but its outward design has been updated so the new environment features more natural rock than the previous model.
I favour the modern design and the dark brown slopes which decorate this Batcave notably stand out. The pearl silver elements on the exterior appear similarly interesting and I can envisage the 1x1 plate with two adjoining bars proving especially useful, although they are packaged with many other pieces. Resetting this mechanism is sometimes difficult as the uppermost platform does not consistently slide into its starting position but this remains an outstanding play function in my opinion.
Equipment storage is another perennial feature of Batcave models. This yellow rack stands out within its section of the cave and provides three batarangs beside an unwieldy grapnel launcher. The printed hazard strips along the top look good and I like the pearl dark grey stanchions on each side, indicating that the rock walls required some reinforcement.
Batman must always remain in peak physical condition, hence this weight training bench is positioned above the equipment storage. The same feature appeared in 7783 The Batcave: The Penguin and Mr. Freeze's Invasion but this example is more detailed, featuring an enormous weight which is placed on two 1x2 plates with ball cups above the dark tan bench. The accompanying bottle is fun too.
Many different versions of the Batcomputer have appeared in LEGO sets and this example is unique, consisting of five large screens which are monitoring various subjects. I am especially impressed with the map of Gotham City, matching the layout established during the No Man's Land comic series from 1999 which has remained consistent. The bat signal has seemingly been activated in New Town while Robin is located in the Diamond District.
The surrounding monitors display an incoming transmission from Robin, information about Catwoman, diagnostic data for the Bat-Tank and the Joker's DNA profile. The latter screen reflects another sticker applied on the desk, featuring DNA under the microscope. I would question the scientific rigour of this depiction but it remains an enjoyable detail and the keyboard looks superb as well.
Reddish brown and black pieces are combined to excellent effect on Batman's swivelling chair while the neighbouring platform houses an elaborate jetpack assembly! This appears inconsistent with the Dark Knight's typical equipment but offers some welcome play value. However, there are no steps to connect each area of the cave which is disappointing.
Memorabilia from historic cases is present in almost every comic incarnation of the Batcave but these items have not appeared in any other LEGO renditions. This trophy chamber is therefore very exciting, featuring an entirely sand green dinosaur which represents an imposing Tyrannosaurus rex beside the Joker's playing card and an oversized penny. These are smaller than their comic counterparts but they are appreciated, nevertheless.
While the famed trophy chamber is making its first appearance here, prison cells are found in several models of the Batcave. These always seem strange because only the most desperate circumstances might compel Batman to imprison villains within his sanctuary, although this cell does offer some play value. Furthermore, its black and pearl dark grey colour scheme is attractive and I like the buttons for controlling access.
Twisting the yellow and light bluish grey dial behind this prison will cause the barred wall to detonate, allowing its occupant to escape. Similar functions have appeared in many past sets but these remain appealing and the handcuffs clipped beside the cell are useful, should Batman need to recapture any escaping minifigures or those who are invading his cave.
7782 The Batwing: The Joker's Aerial Assault contained an impressive docking station for the Batwing which could connect to the 2006 Batcave. A similar feature is available here as the aircraft from 76120 Batwing and the Riddler Heist can land above the prison cell. This design seems likely to inspire noise complaints from prisoners below but I love the connectivity between separate sets from the new range.
76122 Batcave Clayface Invasion provides excellent play value and numerous interesting details but significant potential for improvement remains. While some aspects of the model improve upon earlier designs, including the Batcomputer and trophy chamber, others are disappointing. For instance, each section of this Batcave seems completely disconnected from those around it.
However, this dark brown and dark bluish grey colour scheme is effective in my opinion, capturing the shadowy atmosphere of the traditional Batcave. Moreover, I like the new minifigures and this Clayface design is better than I had anticipated, although Alfred and Oracle would have been pleasing additions. The price of £94.99 or $99.99 seems fairly reasonable but I think the designer could have included the same functions and details using slightly fewer pieces, thereby potentially reducing the cost.
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This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.