Even though The LEGO Batman Movie has been in theaters since February, LEGO Batman is back this summer with a whole new wave of sets. Many of the sets this time around feature some of the more spoiler-ish elements of the movie, but nothing that will ruin the movie if you haven’t yet seen it. The flagship of this wave is 70917 The Ultimate Batmobile, which we got our first look at in February at the New York Toy Fair. It’s a massive creation from the film’s turning point that features a Batmobile, Bat-Tank, Batcycle, and Batwing all joined into a rolling fortress for Batman and his cohort. By far the largest of The LEGO Batman Movie sets, The Ultimate Batmobile has 1,456 pieces and will retail for $129.99 USD and should be available June 1.
The set includes 8 minifigures, along with a light-up Batsignal.
In the box
The box uses the same bright yellow graphics as the previous wave of The LEGO Batman Movie sets, and is sized on par with other similarly-priced sets at about 23 inches wide. The back shows all the constituent vehicles that make up the Ultimate Batmobile.
Inside the box are nine numbered bags and a sealed bag containing the instructions and sticker sheet. Despite the word ultimate in the set’s name, don’t confuse this with the Ultimate Collector’s Series of sets. Although the UCS moniker was applied to a Batmobile in 2006 and arguably the Tumbler from 2014, this Ultimate Batmobile set is just a really large set from the standard theme. There’s no premium content in the instructions like in a UCS set, with the manual diving straight into the construction, nor is there an info placard.
The sticker sheet is quite large, and with 41 individual stickers, you’ll get lots of practice applying them. Most are subtle details showing rivets and panel lines or red stripes.
There’s not much in the way of new elements in this set, though that doesn’t detract from the build quality. One of the few new pieces is this light bluish-grey modified 1×2 brick with a handle on one end (element 6156663). It’s not exclusive to this set, having previously appeared in a few other sets this year, but will likely be new to most builders. It’s used as one of the connections between modules of the Batmobile, where it pairs with clips for a sturdy coupling. The other wholly new elements are all in the minifigures, so we’ll cover those later.
Bag 1 jumps right in with the primary Batmobile, which is positioned as the front vehicle in the freeway pileup of bat-named vehicles that makes up this crime-fighting conveyance. Unsurprising to anyone who’s built a large LEGO vehicle in the past five years, the car is designed around a solid frame of Technic beams plastered with an array of SNOT elements. The chassis takes on a U shape as the center is left open for the Batcycle to slot in later.
A backward-facing new-style X-wing canopy in transparent yellow makes an excellent sleek cockpit. The trans-yellow version of this canopy also previously appeared in the Batcave Break-In as the windscreen for the Batboat. Here you can see the first of many stickers, which not only scrawl Wreckreational Vehicle on the wheel arches but help maintain the red pinstriping up and over the wheels. Although the red stripes are stickers here, throughout most of the vehicle they’re quite cleverly brick-built.
Working up through Bag 4 completes the Batmobile, which is a very good little vehicle. It could easily stand alone as a set.
The car is bristling with guns, from the four stud-shooters above the headlights to the pair of hidden guns that pop out in front of the rear wheels.
The Batcycle is up next, and with its wide wheels and bright colors, it’s an odd hybrid of The Dark Knight’s Batpod and 60’s TV series coloring.
The wide wheels make sense, though, once you see that they can spread flat for the bike to slot into the Batmobile. The single exposed Technic axle on the Batcycle’s nose also helps lock the bike into place.
The Batcycle fits cleanly all the way in, and can even attach without removing Robin.
Once the Batcycle is attached, the Batmobile’s huge rear jet engines swing down to lock the Batcycle into place, and to prepare for docking with the Bat-tank.
The Bat-tank occupies bags 5-7 and is a squat, chunky vehicle hiding massive cannons in its flanks. Piloted by Alfred, the Bat-tank also conceals the weapons compartment with hand-to-hand combat tools.
Here’s the Bat-tank in low-profile mode, with the cannons neatly tucked away beneath massive armor-plated sidewalls.
Each of the two cannons raises independently by pushing down on the back of the cannon, and is a 6-shot rotating stud-shooter. Sadly, there’s no clever mechanism for spinning the gattling-style stud-shooters, so the exposed ammunition rings must be turned manually.
The back of the Bat-tank reveals more of the transparent purple exhaust that’s the trademark of LEGO Batman’s vehicles.
A large hatch on top slides back to expose the weapons compartment, which houses two Batarangs, two ninja swords, and a pair of computers.
The Bat-tank spins around and connects to the Batmobile facing backward, forming the rear of the Ultimate Batmobile, a perfect position for Alfred to brush up on his rear-gunner techniques learned during the Blitz. A pair of clips connects the two vehicles with a satisfying click, while the weapons compartment hatch rotates all the way forward and clips onto the top of the Batmobile’s rear deck. The connection is remarkably solid, allowing the joined vehicle to be lifted from either end without issue. Finally, the Bat-tank’s gray cylinders which surround the canopy rotate, revealing themselves as engines for the Ultimate Batmobile.
Three vehicles in one, and the Ultimate Batmobile is beginning to take shape.
The fourth and final component is the Batwing. It’s a significantly smaller build than the Batmobile or the Bat-tank, but it employs some clever techniques for the engines, and provides a second transparent yellow X-wing canopy.
The back of the Bat-wing is its weak point in the design, with just a flat wall behind the cockpit. It also bothers me that the black hoses on the engines (a criminally underused element in official sets) doesn’t connect to anything at the front. It’s a hose that goes nowhere. The Bat-wings play features consist of a pair of spring-loaded darts on either side of the cockpit and adjustable angles for the wings.
The Bat-wing slots down neatly into the open space above the weapons compartment. There are no connections like clips or Technic pins, but nevertheless the fit is smartly snug, and the Ultimate Batmobile can even withstand a brief spin upside-down without the Bat-wing coming loose.
The finished model
The Ultimate Batmobile is now complete, a terrifying doom machine hosting four pilots in four subsections. Once you get the hang of it, all four sections come together smoothly, and the finished model is remarkably strong.
The aggressive nose with a grille reminiscent of a locomotive cattle guard gives this vehicle a perfect gothic flair. There’s just the right amount of red pinstriping to make the black panels really come alive, and the multitudinous guns show that Batman is determined to get down to business this time.
Of course, there’s also the Batsignal. Although it’s almost an afterthought in this huge kit, the spotlight is quite a good build with some deliciously clever SNOT techniques for the curved housing. The Bat logo is courtesy of a transparent black 4×4 dome with a black bat printed in the center.
The light source is a standard LEGO lightbrick with a yellow LED, and it’s activated by holding the exposed Technic pin on the spotlight’s back.
The light is far too dim to be seen in normal lighting conditions, but it casts a passable bat symbol when positioned about 18 inches from a wall in a dark room. Gotham’s in trouble!
The first three minifigures are nothing new, having each appeared in this exact configuration in several previous sets. Robin, Batgirl, and Batman are all great figures, and of course it’s necessary to include the heroes in this set. But chances are you already have them if you’ve purchased any of the previous sets from The LEGO Batman Movie, so I won’t cover them in detail here.
Alfred Pennyworth has already appeared in previous sets as well, but not wearing this super retro Batman costume. He retains his tuxedo tie, though this time it comes in black, and he has a black policeman’s cap with a bat logo. The head is single sided, with a bat mask over the eyes.
For villains, The Ultimate Batmobile goes all new. First up is Polka-Dot Man, whose special power is a weird affinity for polka dots, which give him no special powers. Apparently, however, the costume conceals a variety of weapons, but here he’s only armed with polka dots.
The first truly new element in this set is Polka-Dot Man’s minifigure stand. It’s a 4×4 round tile with two studs on top. It’s clearly designed as a minifigure stand, and though it’s exactly the right size, it cannot fit on a 4×4 round brick since it lacks stud cutouts. Oddly, the edge of the plate has a groove for easily removal like those found on tiles, despite this plate not being able to fit on anything larger than a 2×2 brick. Regardless of its oddities, I have a feeling we’ll see more of this piece in the future, perhaps in the Collectible Minifigures theme.
Next up is the Wicked Witch of the West, and this is the same version that appeared in a LEGO Dimensions pack in 2015, but is new to The LEGO Batman Movie theme.
Finally, the Flying Monkeys. While there were Flying Monkeys in that same Dimensions pack along with the Wicked Witch, they were brick-built. These monkeys feature newly-sculpted heads atop minifigure bodies. They have sand blue digitigrade legs, a pair of sand blue wings, and sand blue tails (the same tail that came on Scratchy from the Simpsons’ Collectible Minifigure line). Interestingly, they have unique expressions, something LEGO couldn’t even manage for the pilots in the UCS Snowspeeder.
The arms are double molded with medium blue sleeves and sand blue skin, and they have a red, white, and black emblem on each arm, as well as on their fezes. The fezzes are part of the head element, which is double molded in light bluish grey and medium blue.
Conclusion & recommendation
The four-in-one design is tricky to get right, but the Ultimate Batmobile achieves a cohesive design without too many compromises in the individual models. The small Batmobile in particular is an excellent design, and even the Batcycle serves its purpose suitably. Fully assembled, the Ultimate Batmobile is sturdy and robust. At about $0.09 per piece, it may not be the screaming deal that the NASA Apollo Saturn V kit is, but it still comes in a little below average for a price-per-piece ratio. 8 minifigures, four of which are entirely unique to this set, also increases the value for those keen to collect Batman-themed figures. I was a bit hesitant about this model when I first saw it at Toy Fair New York back in February, but having built and assembled the modules numerous times I find myself won over. This is a cool Batmobile.
Available June 1, 70917 The Ultimate Batmobile has 1,456 pieces and will retail for $129.99 USD.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.