Monday 18 April 2022

LEGO® #76181 Batmobile™: The Penguin™ Chase review

 LEGO® #76181 Batmobile™: The Penguin™ Chase

When I first saw this set I wasn’t that impressed. Some of the product imagery on the LEGO store site wasn’t that inspiring and looked a little cartoony.  Compared to the much bigger Technic version of the same vehicle from the 2022 The Batman movie, this seemed to be aimed at a much younger audience (the set is rated 8+) which is odd given that the film is another dark and gritty version of the dark knight detective. (Full disclosure - I haven’t actually seen the movie yet).

Now that I've built the set I’ve completely changed mine. This is a great car and is actually a really detailed model. It is much closer to a Speed Champions model than some of the earlier, more outlandish LEGO Batmobile sets.

A quick online search offers a variety of answers to the question of what make the vehicle actually used in the movie actually is, with Dodge Charger, Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda being offered as the basis for the car. Although LEGO have made versions of some of these, they were part of the smaller  “single seater” collection so won’t have been the starting point for this model in any event. 

A challenge with Batmobiles is that they often are very black (and sometimes, very, very dark grey), which can make it harder to visually distinguish features. The designers of this set have done a good job of including light grey elements to break up the blackness and add a flow to the shape of the car, and help the rear mounted engine really stand out. 

Colour comes in the form of translucent cyan flames (of which you get more than is actually used in the model) and further detailing is provided by stickers (e.g on the top roof panel).  As usual, it is worth taking your time to carefully apply these stickers straight, using tweezers if you’ve got thick fingers like me. 

A sticker also provides a neat control in the cockpit, which is roomy enough to make inserting and extracting the driver fairly easy, even one wearing a cape. 

And the gauge at the back of the engine is a nice little touch too (this is not a sticker).

Weaponry come from 2 javelin missiles set in the front radiator which are launched by pressing the switches in the centre of the bonnet.

The Batman minifigure is decent, with a smug crooked smile expression which I like. The Penguin minifig doesn’t look much like a penguin to me, but as I said, I haven’t seen the movie yet. I’m also not sure how much of a “chase” it would be without the villain having a vehicle of his own, but I think I prefer the recent trend of just supplying a nemesis minifig with the Bat-vehicle, and not dreaming up a penguin-mobile (or whatever) which bumps up the cost of the set.  He does have a really big gun though!

Summary. This is a great set which is sturdy and offers good play-ability, as well as looking cool if you just want to display it. It’s a solid 8/10.