Price: £19.99 / $19.99 / €24.99 Pieces: 198 Available: Now
70918 The Bat-Dune Buggy follows the general aesthetic of the past year’s worth of The LEGO Batman Movie sets – it’s mainly in black, it’s bigger and bulkier than it should be, it’s better built than expected, and it includes black-suited Batman.
With that in mind, then, for a single vehicle – that in any other range would be medium sized but in the TLBM range is small – and the inclusion of just the one other minifigure, is there enough here to make you part with £19.99?
When comparing it with what else is available in its theme, the immediate answer would likely be no, because it’s the only set at its price point with just the two minifigures, where the other three sets carry three, and it’s the only one at that price point to include just the one build for the entire set. However, there’s a lot to like about the Bat-Dune Buggy and, such is its all-round design, fairer comparisons over quality and value should be with the sets at the next price point up. Really.
The construction of this vehicle is far more intricate than its size and general appearance would suggest, and in a number of ways, from big things such as how the back-end suspension is achieved and the roll cage is smoothly designed, to smaller points that in particular use clever angles to not only position the bat-fins around the engine in a unique way, but also leave that engine looking far more substantial than otherwise expected.
The final effect is that of a highly-detailed, bat-themed off-roader with awesome angles 360 degrees around. It positions itself as one of the finer-designed bat-vehicles over the past 18 months, yet it remains a set that will likely divide fans of the Brick Bat.
The larger-than-necessary bulk to the buggy both immediately justifies its place within a TLBM range that is dominated by some utterly ridiculously-scaled bat-vehicles, and potentially stops it from appealing to bat-fans with more general tastes. These would be bat-fans who are likely to have endured as much as enjoyed the year-and-a-half so far given over to this version of the Dark Knight (for brilliance like 70904 Clayface Splat Attack, there has been nonsense like 70914 Bane Toxic Truck Attack), and have been counting down the return to some DC Super Heroes bat-action.
Indeed, whether or not you are drawn to 70918 The Bat-Dune Buggy may depend on which of the other sets from TLBM’s range appealed to you most. Was it the minifigure-scale bat-universe expanding 70912 Arkham Asylum, or was it the fun-first and egregious beast 70905 The Batmobile?
For those LEGO Batman fans who have used the TLBM line to expand their LEGO Batman world dating back to 2006 with sleek, display-based masterpieces, the smartness in build of 70918 may not be enough to tempt them to hand over £20. Why? In a buggy that is as big as this is, it’s a tight fit for the Batman minifigure. For a vehicle that is 11 studs wide, the bulk of it is built outwards from Bats’ seat. This isn’t a grand shell to cocoon your minifigure within, like many of the best LEGO Batmobiles and Batwings of previous years. This is more like one big chair with four wheels and a bouncy suspension.
Which is why for those who have enjoyed the more grandiose nature of the TLBM range – which is actually the point to it – this is yet another spot on addition to what is a very long and increasingly expensive roster of TLBM bat-vehicles.
This is a vehicle designed for fun, ones that embraces Batman’s penchant for having bat-vehicles for every occasion, however outlandish. It is cartoonish and it is over the top, just like the design for the Captain Boomerang minifigure. Nothing about 70918 The Bat-Dune Buggy is necessarily bad, and, even if the junior elements put you off – or frustrate you as a more traditional LEGO Batman fan fatigued by the black-suited LEGO Movie version of the Dark Knight – it’s still worth noting that this is a set that compares very favourably with the Bat-dune buggy that appeared in the DC Super Heroes release 76056 Batman: Rescue from Ra’s al Ghul. That’s a highly flawed and disappointingly basic design from a wildly over-priced set.
If comparisons are your thing, and your ambition and LEGO collection allow, then look to the City line for inspiration on a much better buggy that Batman could claim as his own. A re-colour of the low-sitting, far more aerodynamic 60145 Buggy would definitely be a worthy addition to a sleeker LEGO Batman collection.
Just imagine what else could have been included for £19.99 in 70918 The Bat-Dune Buggy if the buggy was that size. Probably a giant flying boomerang. Hopefully you get the point. This is a LEGO Batman set designed to The LEGO Batman Movie’s particular aesthetic. That both makes and breaks it in the eyes of LEGO Batman fans.