It’s been awhile since my last LEGO Batman Movie set review (The Batmobile for those of you keeping score at home) so I figured it was time to get back to the theme and try and clear my way through what is LEGO’s biggest release this year.
I recently built the second largest set in the wave (so far), 70909 Batcave Break-In, because hey, Batman needs a crib and it looked like a particularly meaty and satisfying set to put together.
It was a few weeks ago when I finished building this set, and I have to admit that it was also due to being motivated from watching The LEGO Batman Movie (review on that coming soon too!) which did a pretty good job of selling the idea of having a LEGO Batcave on display very appealing to me.
Oh and sorry for the radio silence! Have been quite busy with work and real life, but I’m trying to get back into the swing of things!
Name: Batcave Break-In
Set Number: 70909
Price: AU$179.99 | US$99.99 | £109.99– Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA] [UK] [Amazon]
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: The LEGO Batman Movie
Year of Release: 2017
The Batcave Break-In was quite an easy purchase decision for me. Outside of the obvious appeal of the exclusive minifigures in the set, I was also attracted by the fact that this was a non-vehicular set, which is something of a rarity in super hero themes.
Also, it’s a freaking Batcave. If you’ve watched the LEGO Batman Movie, many memorable scenes and exchanges take place in the Batcave.
Unfortunately, due to the scale of this set and the fact that this model is aimed at kids, LEGO didn’t even come close to capturing the sprawling complexity of the Batcave depicted in the movie.
It’s slightly disappointing, but unless LEGO were planning on selling a set that had 10,000 elements we have to be slightly realistic here.
Holy sticker sheets, Batman. There’s 22 stickers to apply, but to be honest, despite the number, they’re not too tricky to apply as most of them either go on tiles or large surfaces.
For a large set, the assortment of minifigures is on par with what you’d expect for a set of this size and calibre.
6 out of 7 minifigures are exclusive to this set, which is ultimately very helpful when it comes to rationalising the amount of money that you had to hand over for the Batcave Break-In.
If you’re in the market for Batsuits (and why wouldn’t you be), this set absolutely hits the spot with 4 exclusive Batsuits. Yes, I’m counting Bruce Wayne as a Batsuit. It technically is if you think about it.
If you’re after unique characters, the Batcave Break-In is a bit of a letdown as you technically only get 3 named characters, Batman, the Penguin and Alfred.
First up, we take a look at the Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth minifigures, which in my honest opinion are the strongest draws in the set.
Bruce Wayne is at his billionaire playboy best with a stylish white tuxedo, complete with some really nice details such as black stitching across the pockets, lapel which give it a really nice sense of contrast. On his lapel, Bruce is also rocking a red boutonniere.
Bruce also comes with a brand new black bow tie LEGO accessory which slots in between the head and torso. It’s a great new piece, if a little oversized in relation to everything else but I kinda like how its cartoonishly big. Bruce is also sporting a fresh new hairpiece, which has plenty of texture and a tousled, careless look.
Alfred is equally as dapper with his formal butler outfit which consists of a sand blue striped vest, slacks and a dark blue jacket with long coattails. Part of his outfit also includes a fancy new collar accessory – I’m not sartorial enough to know the exact term, but it looks very distinguished.
I like the use of the bald head accessory which gives Alfred a bit of personality. Initially, I wasn’t a fan of the bald cap look, especially the very obvious chasm between the head and head, but it has grown on me.
Alfred’s facial expression is just a perfect mix of concern and disbelief under his half-moon glasses. I guess if you have to deal with this version of Bruce Wayne day in and day out, that look will be seared on your face.
Bruce Wayne has an alternate face with a brilliant winking expression and just a bit of back printing. Alfred doesn’t have a secondary face, which is slightly disappointing as it would’ve been great to get another expression to give the minifigure a bit more versatility.
Moving on, we have the stock standard Batman minifigure from The LEGO Batman Movie, which if you’re like me and plan on collecting the entire theme will be quite sick off by now.
It’s not a badly designed Batman, but it’s so ubiquitous that I’m starting to tire of it. It’s exactly the same as the one from 70905 The Batmobile.
Oswald Cobblepot, who is better known as The Penguin is a great addition to the DC Super Heroes lineup. Though he doesn’t have a big role within the movie, The Penguin is quite simply one of the best designed villains in the theme – which is a huge honour! LEGO have nailed the Penguin’s design, from his pasty pale green skin, and the fantastic new stovepipe hat.
I also really like the Penguin’s new fur scarf accessory which snugly drapes over the minifigure’s shoulders. Like the new bowties, I really like this direction that LEGO is heading towards, creating new “apparel” accessories that complement existing minifig designs, instead of just relying on printing.
Another plus is the Penguin’s torso print, which makes it look like his belly is bulging out, complete with stretched fabric.
Here’s a look at Batman’s back printing, and faces underneath the cowl, as well as Penguin’s arm printing which has some sleeve cuffs.
Last but not least is one of LEGO’s best new accessories in 2017 – the new LEGO umbrella piece. Made out of a single mould, the umbrella is an awesome new tool that will see use beyond the LEGO Batman Movie sets.
Last but not least is the trio of unique Batsuits – the Scu-Batsuit, Bat-Pack Batsuit, and the Raging Batsuit. One of my favourite parts of the LEGO Batman Movie involves Batman & Robin going through Batman’s massive wardrobe of Batsuits – I love that this element of the movie got translated into this set quite well.
The Scu-Batsuit is a reference to the Deep Sea Diver from LEGO Minifigures Series 1. The design isn’t particularly outstanding, but I do like the new orange scuba mouthpiece accessory.
The blinged up Bat-Pack Batsuit is a call out to the Rat Pack, but apart from the name and the microphone, it’s quite hard to imagine Frank Sinatra and his posse dressed up in sparkly gold outfits.
The Bat-Pack Batsuit is my favourite out of the novelty Batsuits, purely because of its over-the-top design. I love the pearl gold cowl, shimmering gold cape and gold tux, complete with a bowtie in the shape of a Bat.
The Raging Batsuit is a reference to Raging Bull, a cinematic classic starring Robert De Niro, and is widely regarded as one of Martin Scorsese’s best works (I’m inclined to agree).
Because the movie is in black and white, it’s a little hard to tell if the Raging Batsuit’s colours are accurate, but it’s essentially Batman in a boxer costume. I do like the yellow boxer shorts and the new purple boxing glove hands as well as the big Batsymbol on the belt.
The Batsuits are costumes, so they each come with a plain white minifigure head, which allows you to easily swap them out for Batman’s regular head when you want to play dress-up with him.
I do like the cinematic references and the playful sense of humour that these suits (and the movie by extension) has afforded to what has typically been a dark & brooding character.
They’re not minifigures, but the set also comes with 2 evil Hench-Penguins that act as minions for the Penguin. They’re the same as the new Penguin introduced with Series 16’s Wildlife Photographer except for the fact that they have evil red eyes, which are pretty endearing. See comparison above.
These penguins are equipped with pretty heavy equipment stuck to the singular stud on their backs, which contain tools to facilitate the Batcave Break-In. The tools are a nice addition, but because they’re so large, the Penguins tend to lose their balance unless their affixed to a stud.
I love LEGO animals, and I do love evil versions of LEGO animals. I do wish more evil Penguins were included in the set.
On to the build, we start with the Penguin’s Duckmobile, a massive rubber duckie vehicle that’s one of my favourite things about the set.
I don’t know where the Penguin’s obsession with rubber duckies originates from but I do love that they’ve made this into some sort of a running joke with the Penguin in LEGO sets.
Update: Thanks Davin for pointing out that the Duckmobile originated from Batman Returns in 1992! I had totally forgot about the scene until I Youtubed it and it all came back. That does explain a lot about the Penguin’s obsession with ducks! And that I need to rewatch the old Batman movies again!
It’s pretty damn adorable and I think the designers captured the rubber duckie aesthetic quite well especially with the use of the orange curved slope for the beak. It runs on 6 wheels and despite its cuteness, is armed with missiles and guns. I do like the simple red and white missiles clipped onto the sides.
I’m also a fan of the orange propeller at the back.
Here’s a comparison with the Penguin’s last outing in 76010 The Penguin Face-Off where we were treated to a much smaller, and more basic rendition of the Penguin’s beloved duckmobile. The new Duckmobile is miles ahead of the older one, and makes for an excellent vehicle for the only baddie in this set.
The next vehicle in the set is the Batboat, which has a cute nickname “Riptide“. I really find it quite amusing that LEGO Batman comes up with adorable little nicknames for his stable of vehicles.
I was prepared to give this vehicle a pass as the official images made it look quite plain and boring, but I have got to say that the Batboat has quickly become one of my favourite Batvehicles in the theme.
It’s an unassuming build, but I think that there are really subtle and pleasing design flourishes that help make this vehicle stand out.
It has a really sleek profile but is hefty enough to look like it can take a beating. I really liked the clever use of a variety of difference slopes and plates to give it a very sharp and angular look.
Here’s how the Batboat looks like from the back. I really dig the oversized exhaust port. The decision to have red and black as the primary colours of the Batvehicles also appeals personally to me.
Red and black is one of my favourite colour combinations, and I think the emotion evoked by red and black objects – stylish, aggressive and deadly go quite well with how LEGO Batman sees himself.
Here’s a look inside the cockpit.
It’s this view that solidified my love for Riptide. The sleek lines, sharp profile and smooth studless appearance makes this unassuming Batvehicles one of my favourite yet. It’s also fairly large, which is quite satisfying for me.
It doesn’t have a lot of personality as some of the other Batvehicles, but it’s hard to say no to a very well-designed model.
I do wish that the Bat-Kayak from the movie had made an appearance and this would’ve been THE perfect set for it, but alas, we just have to contend ourselves with Riptide.
The Batcave was a lot larger and occupied a much bigger footprint than I had initially expected. The design is a tried and true format, especially for playset-type Batcaves where there are several segments connected to a main hub, as opposed to carefully re-creating a single portion of the Batcave in great detail.
The design might seem a little kiddie to adult LEGO fans, but as a playset and a toy aimed at younger kids, I think the aesthetics work well for its intended purpose.
After not liking the set initially, the juvenile nature of the set did eventually grow on me, especially when I realised that it was actually a pretty fun package and that the set really benefits from populating it with minifigures and characters from the movie, which is were it truly comes alive.
Right in the middle of the Batcave lies Batman’s control centre, where he interacts with the Batcomputer voiced by Siri. It’s an extremely scaled down version of the mega-sized version in the movie, but at a minifig-scale, there’s enough going on such as all the stickered computer panels to make it work.
Situated above the control centre is the multi-panel screen that’s designed so that it looks like a bat. It’ll take you awhile to make the connection as the silhouette of the Bat isn’t perfect, but once you see it, it should stick in your mind.
There’s a lot going on in the computer panels that reference the set itself, such as scans/schematics of the Duckmobile, scans of the Batboat and even some small Easter eggs such as the Batplaylist where Batman listens to his own music and references to the Anti-Shark repellent cans on the bottom screen.
Visually the multi-screen panel works well, although I do wish that they had used transparent tiles instead to give it more of a high-tech vibe.
One of the play features within the central column is the platform that transports Batman up to his computer – something that they managed to capture quite well from the movies as Batman makes his grand entrance.
Another thing I quite liked about the Batcave is the walkway that runs from one end of the Batcave to the other. It’s not a visually prominent part of the entire Batcave, but it does kind of hold it all together.
Utility-wise, I do like that it creates this sense of connection between the different parts of the Batcave. The walkways also make for a great place to pose minifigures, which helps the Batcave avoid looking like a static model.
Over to the first module, which isn’t awfully exciting. There’s a simple jail cell where you can lock the Penguin up in for the Hench-Penguin to break him out of, which is what I assume what all the equipment is for.
There’s a basic “exploding wall” function that works by twisting a knob but it doesn’t do much for me.
The rotating wardrobe carousel is easily the best part of the new Batcave. It takes the full concept of Batman’s expansive Batsuit collection in the movie, and shrinks it down to fit in with the rest of the Batcave’s scale.
The rotating wardrobe is simple, there are slots for Batman’s spare
Batcostumes Batsuits to be placed, and there are also spare slots which you can populate with other Batsuits (for example from the Batman Movie Minifigure Series).
The rotating wardrobe mechanism works remarkably well when you twist the technic gear which spins the carousel around in a very satisfying manner.
The wardrobe is quite small and there’s not enough space to fit ALL the zany Batsuits introduced in the movie but if you look online, there are guides on how you can expand the carousel to increase the capacity.
Lastly in the module on the right, we have a crudely constructed Batman transformation chamber. I don’t really like this part of the Batcave as it’s easily the ugliest part of the entire build.
The jagged slopes and exposed bricks gives off a really unfinished look. The colours are also a haphazard mess – the mix of tan, light & dark grey, black and yellow just don’t work well at all.
The transformation chamber functionality does work as intended, you place Bruce Wayne in the spinning pedestal, and Batman on the other side, twist the knob to complete the transformation.
It’s a workable play feature and could be quite entertaining for younger kids, but the unsightly module doesn’t do much for me.
What I liked:
- Great assortment of minifigures, especially the Batsuits, Bruce Wayne and Alfred
- Riptide’s sleek design
- Penguin’s Duckmobile is really cute and well designed
- Plenty of possibilities when it comes to posing characters around the Batcave
- The Batcave incorporates many of the elements shown in the movie
- Combines okay displayability with interactive play features
What I didn’t like:
- It feels both big and small at the same time
- Robin, an essential part of the Bat-family is sorely missing
- Batcave colour scheme is a little drab
Final thoughts: Taken as a sum of its parts, 70909 Batcave Break-In works quite well. There’s something quite nice about the Batcave, with all its modules and different parts that gives off a very cool dollhouse vibe.
That said, the set is not without flaws and the design is a little disjointed at times. Modules like the rotating wardrobe work incredibly well, but are contradicted by the shoddy design on the transformation chamber.
The middle section, which features the control centre and multi-panel display occupies your focus, but the design of the middle pillar is a little plain and the Bat-screens look really striking, yet the overall shape can be improved.
The minifigure department is by far the strongest part of Batcave Break-In. The set gets plenty of points for the exclusive figs – the Batsuits make a great addition to any Batman fan’s collection. Bruce Wayne and Alfred also sport terrific designs that almost make this set a must-buy.
The vehicles kind of steal the show. The Duckmobile is utterly adorable and will most likely cop a permanent spot in my display just because of how cute it looks. The Batboat aka Riptide also boasts a very mature, sleek and cool design which is no mean feat considering that it’s a speedboat!
That said, when you lay the entire set out and augment it with other minifigures from the LEGO Batman Movie, the Batcave does become slightly a lot more palatable to the eye.
Despite its design flaws, the Batcave excels by giving the characters in the LEGO Batman Movie a place to call home, and with plenty of space to place them around, it does mask the shortcomings of the Batcave.
I say this from the perspective of an adult collector. If I were a kid, I think I would be thrilled with the set, which contains heaps of play features that are actually fun. The set also allows kids to roleplay with the minifigures to their heart’s content, something that cannot be replicated as well with vehicular based sets.
I do like the Batcave more than I dislike it, with strong elements such as the minifigures and Duckmobile pushing this set over the line. The very fact that it’s a Batcave is also a huge plus.
The set’s high price is a bit of a hurdle, but if you’re able to get this set at 20% or better, I think the value of it becomes a lot easier to justify.
All in all, 70909 Batcave Break-In is a decent set that you should probably only get if you have a large budget for LEGO. Most of what’s included in the set are nice to haves and are in no way essential unless you’re a LEGO Batman Movie completionist.
Thanks for reading! Now that stuff has gone back to normal at home and at work, I should hopefully pick up the slack and get back some much needed momentum when it comes to reviews.
If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out some of my other LEGO Batman Movie sets linked below or find more reviews in the Review Hub.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this set if you’ve managed to build it. Share them in the comments section!
I have bit of a blank slate with my next LEGO Batman Movie set reviews. If you have any that you’d like me to review, please also list them in the comments and I’ll see what I can do!
Until next time!