A minor wave of LEGO DC Super Heroes sets recently hit Australian stores, I think sometime in the middle of June and I picked up The Batboat Harbour Pursuit purely to get my hands on the long awaited Deathstroke minifigure. If you’ve been reading my blog and LEGO Super Heroes reviews for some time, you’d have picked up that I’m a pretty big fan of DC Comics sets so I was naturally very excited to finally add Deathstroke to my minifigure collection.
Name: The Batboat Harbour Pursuit
Set Number: 76034
Price: AU$49.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA]
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: DC Super Heroes Justice League
Year of Release: 2015
Instructions: LEGO 76034 The Batboat Harbour Pursuit
After a strong DC Super Heroes showing at the start of the year, which finally gave the other characters in DC’s universe an opportunity to shine, LEGO seems to have taken a few steps backwards with the new batch of DC sets reverting back to being Bat-centric once again.
It’s a shame that after a commendable bunch of sets featuring heavyweight DC characters such as Superman, Supergirl and the Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern, we’re back to being force-fed the umpteenth Batman-focused set.
I kind of understand that Batman is DC’s golden child, but with such a rich and varied universe of characters to draw from, I simply cannot comprehend Warner Bros’ heavy handed approach to including Batman in everything. Like all Bat-sets, a random Bat-vehicle is shoehorned into the set and we get a Batboat that’s not too different from the Batsub from Black Manta Deep Sea Strike.
As mentioned earlier, the Deathstroke minifigure was the main draw of this set for me. I really enjoy the Arrow TV series which did a remarkable job with the portrayal of Slade Wilson in the earlier seasons, helping to endear the character to me in recent years.
I have to say that I’m quite split when it comes to the Deathstroke minifigure. On one hand, I loved the fact that LEGO nailed his iconic blend of dark blue and orange primary colours that he’s immediately recognizable at first glance.
The minifigure also has really exceptional torso printing, with contrasting shades of blue, a great looking bandolier strap and plenty of cool details like the dimples on his abdomen which give Deathstroke’s torso a whole new dimension of texture.
Sadly, his mask which is Deathstroke’s most iconic feature feels a little flat. To me, it looks like LEGO botched his signature two-tone mask as it just looks like they slapped a black square to divide his face. If you look closely, you can barely make out the slight facial contours that just gets lost in the overly dark patch.
I also kind of dislike that they didn’t coat the entire half of his head in black paint which would give it a bit more of a uniform look. His head just kind of looks like a sloppy job with the black area looking like someone just lazily coloured it in with a black marker pen.
Here’s a look st Deathstroke’s back printing which also includes his mask’s fabric straps which are neatly printed on the back of his head. His back printing is just as sharp as the front’s and is a huge plus to his overall look.
Another interesting thing to note about Deathstroke are the two-tone legs. I believe that this is the first time I’ve encountered these two-tone legs and they look FANTASTIC as the printing goes all the way behind as well.
I can’t say that I hate the Deathstroke but I can’t quite say that I love it as well. I wish that LEGO had given a lot more thought with his mask but tightening up the printing so that it actually looked like a two-tone mask instead of just an opaque black spot.
Making up for Deathstroke’s shortcomings are the excellent duo of Batman and the Boy Wonder, Robin. Batman’s suit isn’t exclusive to this set, having made an appearance in 76026 Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas. If you missed out on the Gorilla Grodd set, this will be a slightly more affordable way to get your hands on this grey suit variant of Batman which I really like.
The printing on his torso is on a whole other level and is quite possibly one of my favourite versions of Batman. Set against his black accessories, the grey tones give out a really sleek and modern look that’s reminiscent of the Arkham series video games. The only problem is Bruce Wayne’s awful tan – you’ll see what I mean later.
Robin on the other than was an unexpected but welcome surprise. This version of Robin (exclusive to this set) which boasts a classy looking shade of dark green is quite possibly one of the most mature looking Robins I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. Kudos to LEGO for finally designing a suit that doesn’t make him look like he just walked out of a circus.
Here’s a look at both Robin and Batman’s back printing and alternate faces. You’ll notice that Batman has an awful looking tan – he’s several shades darker than Robin. Who knows what caused this to happen as I can’t help but feel that this is some sort of manufacturing error where the wrong pigments were added into this batch of Batman faces.
The minifigures in this set are the main draw and I guess I can walk away feeling slightly satisfied. Deathstroke as a fan favourite DC villain is a welcome addition, although his face printing could’ve been improved.
Robin is the surprise standout of this set that I will go as far as to see that he’s my favourite minifig out of the three. Batman is Batman – he has a good looking suit and that’s all you could ask for when it comes to the most overused DC minifigure in history.
Deathstroke has his very own souped up (and colour-coordinated) Jetski which he uses to terrorise the waterways of Gotham (?). The jetski looks all kinds of silly, thanks to the comically oversized twin
missiles warheads strapped to each side.
Deathstroke’s Jetski is fairly basic with no special printed parts or stickers, relying on the colours to give it some semblance of an identity which works quite well.
Within the context of this set, it seems like Deathstroke has burgled a safe filled with diamonds, attached to the jetski using a long linked chain piece.
It’s a really silly premise – one of DC’s most vicious and dangerous supervillains going out of his way to steal some sparkly diamonds but I’ve become quite fond of the outlandish and comic-book vibe exuded by Deathstroke and his schemes in this set.
I’m normally not a fan of Batman’s many LEGO vehicles mostly because I think that they are usually poorly designed affairs that feel very forced into sets that Batman feature in. They’re mostly just uninspired black and yellow vehicles. As a rule of thumb, if it’s not any sort of Batmobile, it’s tough to get my excited.
The Batboat on the other hand kind of took me by surprise. As a marine vehicle, the Batboat should’ve really been named the Bathovercraft but I guess that doesn’t really roll off the tongue naturally.
The Batboat’s black hovercraft looks really work for it, and is further accentuated by the believable levels of weaponry and equipment strapped on to it. From the side, you can see that the Batboat is made up of four inflatable boats held together by a central structure.
Here’s a look at the Batboat from behind – the Batwings strapped onto the boat gives it an unmistakable Batman look and are quite well proportioned in size to the rest of the craft.
The cockpits of the forward inflatable boats open up for Batman and Robin to commandeer the Batboat side by side. Both minifigures fit in snugly into the cockpits and the soft fabric capes nestle in comfortably, without any of the creasing that older stiffer capes used to suffer.
Sadly this set is overrun by stickers, evident by the stickers used for the Batman logo in the front all the way to the computer panels strewn in the set. Stickers are a necessary evil in today’s LEGO sets, but at the very least I was expecting at least one printed element.
The Batboat features an oversized radar dish and antenna, presumably for tracking baddies such as Deathstroke on the high seas. The radar pops up somewhat awkwardly, standing a little too tall for my tastes, which is why I have it laid down in most of the photos as I felt that it looks sleeker that way.
The radar pops up to create space for a console of sorts where Batman (or Robin) can sit down and monitor four screens to track Deathstroke’s whereabouts.
The command center of the Batboat is quite impressive thanks to the multi-monitor setup. Each screen features a unique sticker, feeding out data in the form of graphs, pie charts and a proximity sensor as well as a screen which provides data on Deathstrokes jetski – going into so much detail as pinpointing the stolen safe and is weaponry. The transparent blue panels are also a nice touch, giving it a cool futuristic vibe to Batman’s gear.
The oversized radar dish serves its purpose as one of the play feature of the set, which involves using the Super-Jumper to launch Deathstroke into the radar, knocking it down and disabling all communication and monitoring on the Batboat. I hate and have boycotted the use of the Super Jumper (I explain why here) so I just used Deathstroke to illustrate how the radar tower comes crashing down – at the lightest touch.
It’s not a novel play feature at any rate but I can definitely appreciate that it was designed around the Super Jumper’s functionality.
The second, more interesting play feature involves the use of this cleverly hidden lever that you can see in this picture above. It’s the yellow Technic thingamabob with the rounded end that sits right below the flick fire missiles. Here’s a demonstration of what happens when you exert some force onto it and push it forward.
Jumping Batboat launchers, Batman! I really didn’t expect this play feature but boy is it fun. You can launch both Batpods/Boatpods and they jet off in a very satisfying manner.
It’s quite a fun interactive play feature to have – I love any functionality that allows you to launch projectiles across a table, even better if the projectiles are actually part of the set itself.
The inflatable boat launch feature is actually quite clever and fits in so well with the set’s overall theme. It makes sense for the Batboat to deploy these speedier pods to chase down Deathstroke’s swifter jetski.
Here’s a closer look at the inflatable boats. You get 4 of them in the set and this is the first time that they’ve appeared in black. There’s so much utility with these black inflatable boats as they look the part for any military/covert ops application.
It’s certainly one of the best colours that these boats have ever been created in and having 4 of them kinda makes up for the set’s relatively light piece count.
What I liked:
- Finally get a Deathstroke minifig
- Robin’s minifigure is one of the best ones so far
- The Batboat isn’t a traditionally ugly Bat-vehicle!
What I didn’t like:
- Deathstroke’s head printing
- Set feels quite pricey, exacerbated by the low piece count
Final thoughts: When you purchase a set just to get one minifigure, you’re almost setting yourself up for failure – especially if the heavily anticipated minifig doesn’t quite meet the lofty expectations placed on it.
The Deathstroke minifig falls short of my expectation of a premium set-selling minifigure should be thanks to his awkwardly painted face. Other than that, he’s all flash and I really like his torso printing which scores a lot of points for sharp and well considered details.
Thankfully, the rest of the set actually makes up for Deathstroke’s shortcomings. Batman and Robin are always a great pair to fit into a set and it also helps that Robin is by far the standout minifig in this set.
The Batboat is an impressive looking model with its imposing and threatening appearance, which is the impression that you’d want to get from all Bat-vehicles. The fact that it actually looks like a vehicle that you can imagine Bruce Wayne building, designing and piloting in makes it all the better.
For $50, this set is a little pricey and the low piece count certainly doesn’t do it any favours. You get some pretty useful elements like the 4 black inflatable boats and some cool stickered computer consoles but I was still left wanting a little more out of this set.
Can’t help but feel that this set should’ve been in the $40 price range, but hey, LEGO imposes the Deathstroke/exclusive minifig tax just because they can.
The Batboat Harbour Pursuit is purely aimed at DC Super Heroes completionists – if you’re a fan, you’ve probably already budgeted for this set. If you’re a casual LEGO fan, there are way more sets which contain a lot more value.
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