The Flash has always been one of my favourite super heroes. As a superpower, moving at super speeds sounds almost pedestrian next to abilities like being able to manipulate electromagnetic forces, solar-powered Godlike strength or talking to fish (kidding) but DC’s writers have always been able to make the Flash sexier than he should’ve been. And the lightning bolts on his mask? So damn cool! Just to give you an idea of how amazing Flash is, he can move and vibrate so fast that he’s able to pass through walls and even time travel. Super speed? Super cool!
I was delighted when LEGO finally announced a set with the Flash in it. It was a dream come true for fans who’ve always wanted to assemble DC’s complete Justice League roster and I instantly earmarked the set for purchase as soon as it was available. Does it live up to the hype or is it merely a minifigure gated by a $50 set?
Name: Batman: The Riddler Chase
Set Number: 76012
Price: AU$49.99 (LEGO.com link)
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: DC Superheroes
Year of Release: 2014
For a set containing a minifigure fans have been desiring for years, you can bet your last Bat-dollar that the minifigs are the standout feature of the set. Although you will most likely pick this set up for Flash, his two companions, The Riddler and Batman actually hold their own surprisingly well, considering the astronomical hype for Flash. That and the vehicles are pretty decent in their own right.
First off the bat (heh) is the Scarlet Speedster himself. I may be wrong but there seems to be no indication that he’s the Wally West or Barry Allen Flash which isn’t detrimental since you can’t mistake the Flash for anyone else. His signature red garb is present, punctuated by a striking yellow lightning bolt-inspired belt and the Flash’s insignia stamped on his chest.
His costume is unified by his mask, sporting the trademark lightning bolts at his ears. The Flash’s mask is exquisitely designed, moulded and painted and is quite possibly one of the best pieces of minifigure headgear I’ve held in my hands.
As with most action-orientated minifigures, Flash has a dual-sided head, with one side displaying a relaxed smile and the opposing side has a more determined, teeth-gritting expression. Both faces are painted on a solid red minifig head, which unfortunately causes his face to have a slight pinkish tinge; a minor flaw in what is a great minifigure.
Without his mask, his face looks strange, kind of cyborg-looking but you’re not going to take his mask off anyway. Flash has very neat eyebrows. I don’t normally take heed of eyebrows but his blonde expressive eyebrows were a pleasant discovery upon unmasking him.
“solid bright red colours are perfectly presented with flourishes of yellow and white”
Initially I was a little disappointed when I found out that his mask was made of rubbery plastic but it somehow feels impressively sturdy and I quite like the matte finish on it that wouldn’t be possible with conventional ABS plastic. LEGO have done DC superhero characters a lot of justice and continue this tradition with Flash, whose solid bright red colours are perfectly presented with flourishes of yellow and white.
They got the paint and colour consistency 100% right with the Flash and I have to admit is now one of my favourite minifigures. He’s going to stay on display for an extended period of time.
We have one minifigure that knocks it out of the park, so what of the other two? I’m quite a fan of the Batman who is exclusive to this set. Bats is rocking a light grey Batsuit with back accents that really make the details pop. I think this is one of Batman’s better looking suits and I really enjoyed the contrast of grey and black which I believe has never been done before.
Ninja Update: Reader Brad informs me that the Batman and the Batmobile is based on the computer animated cartoon series Beware the Batman. Cool stuff! Not too sure how I feel about a CGI Batman, though. Thanks for the tip!
What really ties it all together is the elaborate metallic-yellow utility belt. Another great piece of detail that makes this a superb Batman is the thin Batsymbol on his chest, which isn’t too large that it looks comical.
Riddler on the other hand, was a very pleasant surprise. I didn’t think too much of him initially seeing as how he’s been in the Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape set but when I assembled him I was blown away by the minifig. Instead of the comical question-mark riddled (heh) jumpsuit made popular by Jim Carrey in Batman Forever, we’re treated to a very stylish, contemporary take on the Riddler’s outfit. Since he’s racing in a dragster, the zip on leather jacket is a great fit with the set’s theme. What I really like is the use of 2 different tones of green alongside the usual purple accents.
The asymmetrical use of the light and dark green, especially on the Riddler’s legs and arms go a long way in giving this alternate costume a very distinct and stylish look. Topping off his whole look is a sweet green bowler hat with a question mark printed on it. Even though the Riddler’s symbol is front and centre, you can still kinda use it for other minifigs by just turning it around for it to become a regular green bowler hat! If that wasn’t enough, he also gets a pimpin’ pearl gold crowbar. Never occurred to me that Riddler was into bling, but hey, he pulls it off effortlessly!
Both Batman and Riddler sport back printing, which is almost to be expected these days. The fantastic details of the Riddler continue onto his back. Look at that gorgeous scarf printing! Look at it! LEGO have really outdone themselves with the minifigures in the set. Batman looks as silly as ever with his little headband design and I really think it’s about time LEGO updated his mask. If they can pull off the Flash’s mask on a regular minifig head, I don’t see why they can’t do the same for Batman’s cowl. Each of the minifigures included in this set is unique, exquisitely designed and a must-buy for Superhero minifig collectors, especially if you’re looking to assemble your very own Justice League!
I believe I’ve done my fair share of gushing about the minifigures, but how do the vehicles stack up? To preface things, I’m not that big a fan of LEGO vehicles unless they’re spaceships. I’ve always been a structure kind of person.
The first vehicle you put together is the Riddler’s green roadster. It’s a fairly barebones build, with nothing too fancy going for it. You could call it a lean, green, racing machine. The most interesting part of the roadster is easily the engine block, which protrudes from the back half of the roadster. Funnily enough, the Riddler’s steering wheel and driver’s seat is located right behind the engine block. Won’t it get hot?
Right behind the Riddler’s seat is a massive swivelly spoiler with some a tacky green-flame design that looks like something right out of a teenage girl’s sketchbook but instead of a heart in the middle, we have a giant question mark. The spoiler as mentioned, swivels around much like a radar dish in addition to tilting upwards and downwards. Below the spoiler, 2 bulging bags of LEGO cash, which explains why the Riddler is on the run from Batman and the Flash. Bit of a strange place to stash your money seeing as how they could fly out of the bags with just the slightest breeze or tilt.
Below the moneybags is a tiny bomb (which I forgot to snap a photo of) which detaches itself when you tilt the roadster upwards, forcing it to dislodge itself from the stud holding it in place. It’s a neat little play feature and would be something you’d expect the Riddler to have in place should he be caught in a high speed pursuit by Batman. The roadster is a decent build, if a little scant. Visually, it stands out due to its bright green hues but it’s on the small side and won’t be something I’ll display for an extended period of time.
On to the main course, the Batmobile. I have to say that it took me awhile to like the Batmobile and its finer qualities. When I first put it together, I wasn’t that big of a fan as I felt that it was a little too blocky for my tastes but as I played and tinkered with it a little, it started to grow on me. The Batmobile is quite the imposing vehicle. If you were expecting a sleek, aerodynamic ride, this vehicle won’t be for you but if you’re a fan of muscly chunky cars, I suspect you’ll enjoy 2014’s Batmobile.
Two things immediately stood out to me about the Batmobile, the large trans-orange cockpit glass, complete with a really cool Bat-sticker and the massive treaded wheels. Batman gets comfortable in his Batmobile lying down on his back, which makes me wonder how he actually keeps his eye on the road when facing upwards but hey, don’t question the Bats. One thing I like about the cockpit is that there’s sufficient space for Batman and his cape, which doesn’t need to be scrunched up to fit inside.
The Batmobile is fairly stocky and threatening, with a substantial bumper attached to the front, complete with spikes to ram any unsuspecting vehicular fools. The sides of the Batmobile are reinforced with black panels to give it some added heft and armour. It actually feels more like a tank than a speedy car. But wait, shouldn’t a tank be packing enough firepower to level a small town?
This is my favourite feature. Tilting the back upwards, you’re treated to a threatening display of firepower in the form of rocket launchers! I really like the entire look of the rocket launchers, especially the way they pop out effortlessly. I’m a big fan of play features like this, which slightly alter the look of a vehicle in some bad-ass manner.
We’re treated to some flick fire missiles, but not as they’re commonly designed. Instead of forcing the missiles out with your finger like some brutish caveman, there are 2 Technic pins which you can easily push to make the missiles pop out on the other hand. I like this solution of flick fires and hope we see this applied in future sets. It just feels a lot more satisfying because it simulates the act of pushing a button to launch the rockets. The wheels are cool and it’s a lot of fun letting these 2 vehicles race on a hard surface.
Final Thoughts: Firstly, the minifigures are outstanding and are almost worth the price of entry alone. The Flash is a long time coming and delivers on all counts but Batman and Riddler are impressive on their own. The roadster is a bit of a blip, but I understand to make some concessions on a set which already has great minifigures and a hefty, combat-ready Batmobile. The Batmobile has a commanding look and design and is a vehicle I could see being displayed on my shelf. I’ll quietly dismantle the roadster at the back, though just because of how plain it looks. My only critique of the Batmobile is that the cockpit is fastened on by studs as I’d have preferred it to swing open and close to make it look a lot cooler but thankfully, it doesn’t make the vehicle any less appealing.
Should You Buy It?: If you’re a fan of Superhero sets, this is one of 2014’s must-have sets purely because of the minifigures and the Batmobile. With the recent boom in LEGO’s popularity because of the movie, Australian retailers are offering LEGO discounts nearly every other week, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a nice sale for this set. Either way, you’ll want to get it before they sell out, which I suspect they will due to it being at a very comfortable price point AND containing iconic and desirable minifigures. The Roadster isn’t flashy and will most likely end up as parts but the Batmobile more than makes up for it in value, due to it being a lot larger than you’d expect from a 300-odd part set. Also, Flash. Flash alone is worth the price of the set.