Lego Technic Batmobile: definitely Batman’s car, even if not identical to the one in the movie
The Batmobile from Lego Technic is simple in design and perfect to build with children. It includes the same details as the one in the movie, but it has a totally different look.
It’s matt black. It’s mean. And it lights up in two places. I’m talking about the new Lego Technic Batmobile, which has been borrowed from the car in the new movie «The Batman» starring Robert Pattinson. This is the perfect building project to do with your kids. It doesn’t even matter if your kids are a little too young to watch the movie, which is rated PG-13. After all, no one can resist a muscle car.
After completing the build, I came to a realisation: the design isn’t very complex, so it’s perfect for children even under Lego’s 10+ age recommendation. Actually, scratch that. It would be perfect, if not for one thing: the Batmobile bears zero resemblance to its movie counterpart.
The Batmobile took me five hours to complete. With that, onto the review.
The build: entertaining, but not exceptional
The building time is pleasantly short. Working alone, you can expect to invest about five hours from «Time to start» to «Time to drive around with the Batmobile on the dinner table while making vroom noises». With the help of a child, you’ll probably have to allow more time. But even then, you should be able to make headway fast enough. Only the differential of the rear axle, which you assemble during the first third of the build, is a bit tricky. It’s fiddly – and after taking the finished Batmobile for a spin, I don’t understand why any of it was needed. Sure, having a differential is almost a rite of passage in the Lego Technic lineup. But in old muscle cars, of all things, it just doesn’t seem fitting. Rigid axles were commonplace there. Granted, Batman probably added in the differential himself in his Batcave. And Lego, for its part, can claim an additional feature for the kit.
All this to say: the Batmobile is not particularly complex. It follows textbook Lego design:
- Hood and roof
By now – having built the Ford F-150 Raptor, Ford Mustang, Dodge Charger and Jeep Wrangler – I could build the eight-cylinder engine in the back with my eyes closed. They all work the same way. The only difference is that the Batmobile’s engine is see-through. The rest is nothing special.
Where’s all the evidence of engineering finesse, which I enjoy so much? The things that make me go, «Wow, someone really put some thought into this!» All in all, I miss the work of Mike Psiakis, Senior Designer at Lego, who seems not to have been involved in the making of the Batmobile (assuming his personally curated Brickset profile is up to date). If Mike had been involved, the model would have turned out much more creative and playful. As an example, on the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1, he used grey painted barrels from Lego’s pirate world on the bumper. And the grille? It was made from roller skates.
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But it’s this very simplicity that makes Batman’s black car a perfect building project to do with the kids. Boy or girl, it’s guaranteed fun. If you go for it without your child’s help, five hours of relaxation await you. There really is something meditative about steady progress.
The model: worth it
After the five hours, you end up with quite a unique car. It’s basic, but not without nice details. On the tyres, there are the caps that we see reinflate themselves in the film. There’s the gearshift which turns on the light under the hood. When you press down the steering knob on the roof, the transparent V8 engine lights up. And the plastic flames shooting out the back of the turbine spin.
It terms of functions, the Batmobile is modest. The spinning flames at the back are the highlight. Aside from that, there’s the steering knob, a hood and doors that open, and cylinders that move up and down. It’s alright, but certainly nothing earth-shattering. For comparison, the Ford F-150 has a wonderful suspension, the Ecto-1 has a gunner seat that folds out. I would have liked to see something along those lines, since Batman’s car is famous from the comics and movies for having just about every gadget imaginable built into it. Granted, in «The Batman» the Batmobile really is just a car with jet propulsion that drives. But here’s the thing – I built the model before I saw the movie, so I did find myself thinking, «Is that it?»
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The finished Batmobile looks powerful. It’s a muscle car – beefy and bold. The fat rear tyres, the wide bumper, the open rear engine ... Wow. And the Batmobile is stable. While I do realise that this isn’t exactly the standard use case for a Lego model, I can report that it survives being transported in the trunk of a Dodge Challenger – without any safety precautions – beautifully. So, if you build the Batmobile with your kids, it leaves them with a toy that won’t immediately fall apart.
The lighting of the rear engine is particularly clever: the cylinders are made of transparent plastic, and there’s a light brick underneath that lights up red. This light brick turns on when you press the steering control on the roof of the Batmobile. So, whenever you take the Batmobile for a spin, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see the rear engine light up.
The only details I’m not a big fan of are the flames everywhere. There are blue flames on the hood as well as on the V8 engine at the back and, of course, on the jet engine. They give the vehicle something of a kitschy and almost cartoon-like vibe. While not so dramatic for Batman in general, it’s not fitting for «The Batman». The film shows a very down-to-earth Batman and avoids cartoonishness and exaggeration. But I’ll note that I seem to be the only one who thinks this – just about everyone I showed the finished model to said they liked the flames.
The «but»: model vs. movie
As beautiful and beefy as the model is, it doesn’t have much in common with the car in the film. This isn’t necessarily because the Lego engineers were sloppy, but rather because the current Batmobile is characterised primarily by curved shapes.
Lego, on the other hand, is angular. That presented quite the challenge to the Lego designers. They did a good job and got as close to the Batmobile as possible. But they had to make compromises. The front and rear fenders are made with the «Panel Curved 18944/28923» part, which results in an identical look at the front and rear of the model. This isn’t the case with the real Batmobile from the movie. There, the rear fenders are raised, almost to the extent of a classic muscle car. If we go with muscle cars, all in all, the movie Batmobile looks more like a Dodge Challenger or Charger, whereas the Lego Batmobile looks more like a Chevrolet Camaro.
The hood is also off and doesn’t resemble the one from the movie. But I can forgive that; under the hood is a light brick that illuminates the engine bay in orange. It would be a pity if the light didn’t seep out.
Despite all the deviations from the original, the Lego model is clearly a Batmobile. It’s not the Batmobile from the movie, but it’s inspired by it. It has adopted the important elements, but not the overall shape. Quite strange. But credit where credit is due: the Lego designers understood what makes the car from «The Batman», then remixed and reinterpreted important elements. They created a vehicle that could just as well be in the movie, even though Robert Pattinson’s Batman drives a very different car in the film.
Meditation or adventure
It’s clear what Lego wanted to achieve with the Batmobile: a model that anyone can build as effortlessly as possible. And it succeeded. Sit down with the kids, lay the black bricks out on the table, and get cracking.
If you’re an adult Lego and/or Batman fan who wants to build the Batmobile and get lost in the whole process, you’ll only half succeed. The set didn’t manage to bring out the child in me. This is, for one, due to the model’s lack of complexity and finesse. The other reason is that the building instructions are, well, just building instructions. They would have been the perfect place to give Lego lovers more information on the Batmobile. Would it have killed Lego and/or DC to throw a few pictures and facts into the instructions?
Despite its shortcomings, building the Batmobile gave me five hours of meditation. As I sat at the table putting the pieces together, my mind was allowed to wander. And at the end, I had a great-looking model in front of me.
But one question remains unanswered: what exactly is the Batmobile?
Background informationMovies and series
The Batman: on the trail of the Batmobile
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