LEGO Batman 76240 Batmobile Tumbler: Scratching that seven year itch [Review]

Back in the dim history of 2014, LEGO released set  76023 The Tumbler, a UCS-scaled rendition of the Batmobile from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.  Now, seven years later, LEGO returns with an updated version to tempt a new generation of Bat-Fans. The 2049 piece Batman 76240 Batmobile Tumbler will be available November 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $229.99 | CAN $329.99 | UK £209.99. Will the build upgrades and the addition of new exclusive minifigure versions of Batman and the Joker be enough to tempt long-time fans into a second expensive helping of the Tumbler? Read on and judge for yourself!

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet

The set comes in a large, tab-sealed box with standard “Adult Collector” theming. This means a black background, minimal logos, and an “18+” suggested age range. The lower right has a Bat-Logo with “The Dark Knight Trilogy” branding, with the set name of “Batmobile Tumbler” in the upper left. The image of the Tumbler is glossy compared to the matte background, which adds some subtle shelf appeal. The interior of the Tumbler appears to be brightly lit, showing details you really can’t see clearly in reality.

The back of the box shows the Tumbler from the rear angle, perched on the vehicle’s display stand. Interestingly, the stand isn’t correctly assembled in the large photo – the information plaque isn’t connected and is just floating in space. Along the bottom edge are a shot of the movie Tumbler, an inset showing the set’s dimensions (43.7 cm/ 17.2″ by 11.5cm/6.4″), a shot of the model on the stand (note the attached plaque here), and a shot of the exclusive Batman and Joker minifigures on their display base.

Inside the box are 18 numbered parts bags (covering 11 building steps), an unnumbered bag with the wheel hubs and large tile, six tires, and a white cardboard envelope.

Like most high-end LEGO sets, the instruction book has been well protected in that white envelope. The manual itself is perfect bound and 416 pages long. The formatting is standard for adult-collector sets, with the first few pages having a black background for the introductory text and photos. Happily, that changes to a lighter grey when the building instructions kick in. The envelope also holds two sticker sheets, one of which I missed until I was pretty far into the build.

The manual includes a brief interview with creative lead Jesper Nielsen, who details some of the changes made to this version. He also talks about some of the changes they didn’t make – like adding steering:  “…that would have meant a more clunky profile, and that was a sacrifice we weren’t willing to make.”  LEGO graphic designer Adam Corbally also gets a page, talking about revising the graphics he designed for the 2014 version, and noting he was responsible for the look for the new minifigures.

A few grumpy fans have already been asking “why did LEGO release another Tumbler at all, particularly when it looks almost identical to the previous version.” LEGO has a response in the early part of the manual covering the design process:

“As LEGO Batman fans will know, this isn’t the first Batmobile to be immortalized in a LEGO set. Having an existing Batmobile presents us with the ultimate starting point, but also a unique design challenge. How do we respect the original, but also ensure our finished result feels completely fresh?  We had to set ourselves free somewhat and force ourselves to see it for the first time, rewatch footage of the Batmobile in action and obsessively tweak and adjust detail until we could stand back and see something that really stood apart.”

As we’ll see, the changes aren’t super noticeable,  so it’s debatable if they hit the mark on making something “that really [stands] apart.” That’s somewhat understandable, though, since the 2014 version was already an incredibly close match to the movie vehicle.

The parts

While the majority of the parts in this set are fairly common, there are some points of interest. First are the new printed 2×2 tiles with the fuel cap design, an upgrade over the 2014 stickered version. Second are the giant tires – four 107 x 44R tractor tires for the rear, and two 81.6 x 44R tires for the front. (The smaller two also appear in the 76139 Burton-Era Batmobile.)

The set contains two other printed elements – a fairly common 1×1 round tile pressure gauge and an exclusive window element.

The set comes with two sticker sheets. The first, printed on a white background, are mostly monitor displays for the Tumbler’s cockpit. (The exception, of course, being the giant sticker used for the informational plaque.) The second sticker sheet is printed on a clear background and has the heads-up steering display. Be careful when unboxing things – my smaller sticker sheet had clung to the inside of the white envelope and was nearly reported as MIA.

The build

I want to start off this section with a couple of quotes from the LEGO product description. The first is “This collectible display model provides stress-relieving escapism as 2,049 LEGO® bricks slowly transform into the spectacular Tumbler.” The full set took me roughly 3 hours to put together while taking photos – you can decide if that’s “slow” or not. LEGO follows up the above with “You can embark on this fascinating construction project immediately, thanks to the high-quality printed instructions that are included.” I’m not quite sure how the “immediately” thing is supposed to be a perk. Maybe they were/are considering doing online only instructions or something. Or maybe it’s just marketing jargon. I think LEGO is still working on the right language to try and tempt new adult collectors/builders while still appealing to their core demographics.

Anyway, let’s get started on the build ourselves. The Tumbler has a very sturdy base made from linked Technic squares. The white square in the center is a visual clue as to where to align the completed model with the display stand – a nice user-friendly touch.

As noted earlier, LEGO considered adding in steering, but decided that would compromise other design choices too much. As such, there’s not a lot of complex Technic construction to be had beyond the use of beams to help keep the overall model rigid and provide mounting points for the unusual angles needed for the armor plating. The front control pod area gets a stickered 1×2 cheese wedge – a detail you can only really see during the build.

The rear wheels are braced and supported by this large central brick-built beam. More display screens and control surfaces are added at this point, as attaching them later would be a real pain.

The core of the Tumbler is now pretty much assembled. Note the four screens along the front edge. Eventually you’ll want to rotate them up so that they face the center of the vehicle – a step I didn’t see called out in the instructions the first time through. (It’s part of step 105 on page 100, if you’re curious.)

The crazy angles of the armor plating start to come together now. The Technic assemblies continue to be very sturdy and well reinforced.

The rear of the vehicle gets a skin of black curved slope and plate, and the sides are built up with a variety of sloped brick and tile.

The front windscreens are trans-black in this version, and the front control pod gets a printed window. The darker transparent plastic does obscure the view of the interior, but using colors that look more like tinted glass feels like the right design choice.

The front wheel struts go on next. Attaching the tires later on is a little tricky, but I’m not sure adding them now would have made the build any easier.

The massive rear wheels are connected with standard Technic rods, bolstered by these connection hubs. You’ll want to double-check the direction the tread is facing when assembling – I had to take the wheels off when I realized I had mixed up the orientation. Twice.

The rest of the wheels go on next. You could almost stop building at this point and have a Bat Dune Buggy.  But keep going, as the addition of the armor panels is a really satisfying bit of building.

With the outside armor on the front of the vehicle, you can see another design change. Instead of brick, the designers have opted for plate, giving the front end a slightly slimmer look.

The final bits of build are adding in the jet thruster and the adjustable panels over the rear section.

The finished model

The completed model is a great example of the complex shapes you can achieve with LEGO if you’re really creative. This is an extremely accurate take on the movie vehicle. The exposed LEGO studs remind you of the medium used to construct it, but don’t detract from the overall look.

The Tumbler looks good from just about every angle. There are lots of details that you have to really lean in close to see, like the shock absorbers or pressure gauges at the rear. It’s nice when a model rewards that sort of scrutiny.

The weakest angle is, of course, the bottom, but no one is going to be looking there anyway.

The Tumbler is meant to be a display piece; there really aren’t any play feature to speak of. There are display options to be had, though, as the roof panels can be removed to expose the interior.

It was at this point I realized the four front-facing display screens should have been rotated up. Luckily there’s just enough clearance to get a finger in there, and they swivel pretty easily.

The vehicle display stand incorporates the information plaque for the set. The turntable is mounted at a slight angle, giving the model a more dynamic pose.

There is a bit of a design flaw, though. The informational plaque is very difficult to see when the Tumbler on the stand, particularly when the Tumbler is posed head-on.

This can be addressed, however, by angling the plaque as far forward as it can go and only aligning the Tumbler lengthwise. This adjustment covers a small part of the side of the vehicle, but makes the info much easier to see and read.

The minifigures

This set comes with two exclusive minifigures, Batman and the Joker. Both feature new printing and other tweaks from their 2014 editions.

The figures get their own little display stand, too. There are brick-built gargoyles on either side, with plenty of room between them to space out the characters.

Batman has a removable cape and cowl, with the “Bat Headband” providing the white eyes when masked. He has new dual-sided printing for his torso, and all new leg printing. Batman’s head is the same design that’s been around since 2012, appearing in the Burton-era Batmobile set as well.

The Joker is an exceptional take on Heath Ledger’s version of the iconic criminal. This figure has new dual-sided torso printing, with printing on the legs and arms. His dual-sided face is new, and the green hairpiece is new in bright green.

Durability Test

When The Brothers Brick reviewed the 2014 Tumbler, one of the highlights of the review was a video where it underwent a very rigorous stress test in our state-of-the-art testing facility. Our reviews have come a long way since then, but for the 2021 edition, I wanted to return to this concept and see how things had changed. Let’s just say while the overall test ran a little differently, the results were kinda similar.

Yes, I put the Tumbler through a bit more of a durability test than you might see in other online reviews. We did it so that you don’t have to!

Comparison with the 2014 Version

Thanks to my friends at WisLUG, I was able to borrow a copy of the 2014 Tumbler to do some side-by-side comparison shots. The first thing you’ll notice is that they’re pretty much identical. The obvious upgrades are in the rear wheels and the gunner window at the front. There are also a few more gold accents, and a few tweaks to the armor where new-since-2014 parts have been utilized. In general, the front end is a little slimmer, using plate over brick to narrow the shape.

Otherwise, the exterior build looks pretty much identical.  To me, it feels a lot like one of those “find the five differences” puzzles.

I think the new version does look slightly more movie-accurate. The designers only made changes where they were necessary, leaving the great work they did in 2014 more or less intact.

The minifigures, however, are noticeably different. The 2014 versions were displayed on a stand that included the fact sheet, which was moved to the vehicle display stand for 2021.

Batman looks a lot more detailed with the new leg printing, but I think I prefer the slightly less cluttered torso design of the 2014 version.

The Joker feels like a more unique variation. We can probably credit that to his appearance changing more dramatically over the course of the film. The “classic” version has a purple jacket that has been ditched for the more casual-looking vest in the 2021 version. The lighter color for the hair seems a little too bright, but it does add additional distinction between the versions.

Conclusion and recommendation

There’s no real question that this is a quality movie-accurate display piece. The Tumbler looks great and the exclusive minifigures are excellent. The stand is a little iffy, but can also be made to work. The build is fun, and involves shapes and angles that are far from what you’d normally encounter in a LEGO set. But is this a set that you should be contemplating adding to your collection? Well, I think that might depend heavily on if you were able to acquire the 2014 version of the Tumbler. This set feels more strongly aimed at the large number of Batman and LEGO fans that missed out the first time around. If you have that earlier set, then there might not be enough here to justify the repeat expense. The price is a little high at $230 US for 2049 parts, giving a price-per-piece ratio of just over 11 cents per. As most of the elements are fairly common, it’s a bit too expensive to treat as a big black parts pack. (Although the minifigures will certainly do well on the secondary market and might offset the other costs.) If you’re on the fence you can always put this one on your watch list for a holiday sale. Or ask Santa for it if you’ve been very, very good this year.

LEGO Super Heroes Batman The Dark Knight 76240 Batmobile Tumbler will be available November 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for US $229.99 | CAN $329.99 | UK £209.99. It may also be available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

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.

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