The largest of The LEGO Batman Movie sets released so far takes us back to the iconic location of Arkham Asylum, home to Batman’s enemies, for a third time. Is it worth the trip?
Price: £139.99 / $149.99 / €149.99 (DE) Pieces: 1628 Available: Now
With over 1500 pieces, a sizable footprint and a price tag beyond any other The LEGO Batman Movie set, not to mention a minifigure count rarely seen outside UCS level products, Arkham Asylum certainly earns its place as the flagship of the line. Today Brick Fanatics walks through its menacing doors to see if it should also earn a place in your collection.
The High Points
70912 is a fantastic set that scores on pretty much every level. The headlines are that it is visually striking with an exceptional level of detail, great parts and a large footprint. This set would look right at home in any Batman setup, whether from the new movie or not. For those who love to mod sets, it would serve as a fantastic shell to change into a hotel, school, or fully-fledged prison.
The attribute I most appreciate is that it is mainly one, cohesive model. LEGO Friends has ushered in an era in which sets often consist of multiple sections which do not join. That may look great on a box image, but those individual builds inevitably get separated and the model feels diminished as a result. Here there are only three builds, one of which is a vehicle. That vehicle is itself a highpoint, as it is the first police car big enough to fit both a driver and a prisoner – although I would never want to ride that close to the Joker…
The main building isbuilt in three sections which are joined at the end as a single, large structure – only the guard tower is disconnected and that is so tall it would be nearly impossible to look lost. The sections are quickly and easily separated, making it easy to move the massive model around.
Focusing on the details of 70912, the set gets no less impressive. The exterior architecture is highly detailed with a variety of different window designs, breaking up the brown façade. Speaking of colour, as a brown parts pack this set is unparalleled in my experience. It includes a host of brown bricks in various sizes from 1×1 to 1×12. There are almost no large moulded parts, everything is constructed of small, exceedingly useful bricks.
The Low Points
Only two aspects of this set disappointed me. Important events at Arkham in the The LEGO Batman Movie take take place during winter. Snow is often depicted by using white tiles and cheese slopes on rooftops and at the base of buildings. In addition to those techniques, the LEGO designers have gone a step further and changed the colours of roof tiles from black to white. While this does communicate the idea of snow, it also means mismatched roof components which look terrible from the back. I would have much preferred less snow in exchange for a uniform coloured roof.
My only other complaint is the figures, which seems like a ridiculous criticism in a set boasting so many. Five of the most iconic villains are included, but they all are wearing their Arkham prison uniforms. While accurate, it means they are virtually useless in either play or display with any other set. I would have happily traded scene accuracy to get a selection of the rogues’ gallery wearing their iconic outfits all in one set.
The set is mirrored, with two identical wings branching off from the central structure. After quickly constructing the police car, instructions turn to the front door and central hall of the asylum. Upon coming through the doors, a body scanner dominates the space, a smaller version of what is seen in the film. This delightful build features a sliding mechanism and stickers showing a minifigure x-ray. The main hall is two stories tall but completely open. Its third floor houses an office.
With the central structure complete, the build turns to the wings, each of which contains a cell block built into the hall with a two story structure at the end. Cells are assigned to various criminals by stickers depicting cell art. Of the five villains included, only the Joker does not have a dedicated cell. This set invites expansion as the space above the cell block has been equipped with the same barred windows; it is screaming for custom cells to be added for more villains. The extremity of each wing contains two floors devoted to different purposes – a lab with a variety of medical equipment and laundry room on one, with a prisoner meeting area and cafeteria on the other. One thing is for sure, the inmates at Arkham are getting much better than standard prison food if this spread is anything to go by.
Arkham is completed with the construction of the tall guard tower. This is the least detailed section of the build, as the tower is completely void of equipment or furniture – which seems a little unkind to the guard assigned there. The lower sections contain a variety of screens and a prison yard basketball hoop.
Despite a couple of shortcomings, the positives of Arkham Asylum easily outweigh them – this is a set done right. It holds an enormous amount of play potential for kids, would make a fine display for an AFOL, and is a great source of useful parts for the MOCers out there. I have every version of Arkham Asylum released by the LEGO Group, and can confirm that this is the best version yet – it comes highly recommended.
Check back regularly at Brick Fanatics for plenty more The LEGO Batman Movie content.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.