When LEGO announced that they were expanding their LEGO Art line to include Jim Lee’s Batman art, there was a certain amount of “well, that was inevitable” to the news. Batman is one of the most iconic super heroes in the world, and it was only a matter of time before LEGO expanded from their minifigure-scaled movie tie-in sets and Technic offerings into the “adult collector” area. LEGO Art 31205 DC Jim Lee Batman Collection will be available starting March 1, for US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £104.99. The 4167 pieces in this set can be used to create the grim visage of the caped crusader, or can be rebuilt into a portrait of either the Joker or Harley Quinn. Come along as we take a close look at the set’s ups and downs, and see just how arty this Bat-Mosaic really is.
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 and instructions
The packaging for this set is very standard for both the LEGO Art theme, as well as the Adult Collector line in general. There’s a large image of the main mosaic build in the center, a solid black background, and minimal text and graphics. The age range of the set is set at “18+” – pure marketing, as we know from the 21226 LEGO Art Project set, the “real” difficulty level of this type of building is a mere “7+”. This is good news for younger Bat-fans, as parents don’t need to be worried that this set is too complex for them.
The back of the box shows the Batman picture displayed in a home, as well as three inset shots showing the three different builds included in the instructions. There’s also an “in progress” shot and a small blurb about the soundtrack that LEGO releases as an audio companion for the building experience. Sadly, that soundtrack wasn’t live at the time of our review, so we can’t comment on the relevance. The instructions describe it as an “exclusive soundtrack featuring LEGO designers and DC artists.”
The tab-sealed box has a hinged lid, and the parts are grouped in the same manner as the other LEGO art sets. The colored plates are grouped to the right, the instruction book is held in place by tabs (Or so you’d hope. I’ve yet to have one of these sets have the instructions not slide around in transit.) Under the instructions are the more plain-looking pieces that will be used to form the frame. The 16×16 Technic bricks that make the mosaic’s backplate are in their own box along the bottom – the one with the “soundtrack” logo on it.
There are 16 bags of 1×1 round plates, each having a single color. There’s a good range of hues, including a new plate for 2022 in light aqua and medium lavender.
Four more bags hold the framing elements. Three bags hold standardized frame elements that appear in most LEGO Art sets, while the fourth has the printed logo tile and color guide plate, as well as the Thicc separator (the wide, black version of the classic brick separator tool) and a blue key-shaped tool for removing single plates.
This set features a 108 page, perfect-bound instruction manual. The front has the Jim Lee art that the main image is based on, but if you compare it to the mosaic image you can see how the colors needed to be adjusted somewhat during translation.
The first few pages follow the arc of the standard information shared in these sets. There’s a page about the LEGO Art theme, an introduction to Batman, and a discussion of how Jim Lee’s art was adapted to this medium. After that are a few pages promoting the soundtrack, giving some building and display suggestions, and tips on using the Thicc separator.
The back cover is very plain, with just a logo for the DC Collection. Note the tear in the upper left – that’s the result of those not-quite-functional tabs in the packaging design. If the manual slides around at all, it’s very likely to get caught on the tab and tear in transit. It’s a bummer.
Before we start in on the image, the first assembly step is to build a color guide. Two printed 1×8 tiles are affixed to a 2×16 plate, with the 1×1 plates attached in the same order as they’re displayed in the instructions. The bag that contains these parts also has the printed “DC Collection” 2×4 tile that is unique to this set.
Next, we need to organize the 1×1 plates. I like to use old LEGO X-Pod containers, but you can substitute whatever you have on hand. Just don’t be tempted to mix the colors – you’ll be a lot happier if you keep them in their own containers. The quantity breakdown of the 1×1 round plate is:
Black – 566
Titanium metallic – 432
Dark bluish-grey – 216
Light bluish-grey – 277
White – 257
Light aqua – 194
Medium Azure – 139
Blue – 293
Dark blue – 423
Reddish-brown – 165
Dark orange – 55
Medium nougat – 153
Tan – 380
Bright Green – 210
Medium lavender – 95
Red – 112
Note that due to LEGO’s policy of “overfilling” a few extras of easily-lost pieces, you might score a couple extra of each color in your set.
Here’s a tip from me to you. I’ve found that assembling “stacks” of 1×1 plates makes the assembly process a whole lot easier.
When you’re filling in large contiguous areas of color, you can use a “lean and pop” method to quickly place large numbers of tiles. I found this was a lot easier on my hands than putting individual plates on one at a time. Your mileage may vary, of course. Do you have any tricks to speed up a mosaic build? Share ’em in the comments!
The lower right corner offers a choice – either you can add the 2×4 printed signature plate, or you can put the 1×1 round plates for a seamless image.
The final set is adding the frame. It’s a pretty standard build, with 2×6 plates in dark grey reinforcing the vertical seams. Those plates always seem to pop off for me, though. It’s not really a problem, as the Technic pins that connect the sections, combined with the locking provided by the frame, create a very solid display piece.
From the front, the frame adds a 1-stud wide line in black. It’s an elegant look, but a fun customization might be to build the frame in white (like the 31203 World Map.) to better mimic a comic panel’s borders.
After completing the Batman image, there’s a pretty wide range of parts left over.
This is because this kit is also designed to let you build an image of the Joker or Harley Quinn if Batman isn’t who you’d like to see on your wall. All three images have their own section in the instruction manual.
There are also two “Ultimate Builds” teased in the instructions. If you buy two copies of the Batman set, you can make a 96×48 mosaic showing a quiet moment between Catwoman and Batman. If you splurge for three sets, you can make a 48×144 vertical image of Batman, similar to the Ultimate Darth Vader or Iron Man images. These instructions aren’t in the manual but will be available by going to the LEGO website. (Sadly, that page was not live at the time of writing.)
Conclusion and recommendation
When it comes to recognizable DC comic superheroes, Batman is one of the most iconic. And when it comes to iconic versions of this iconic character, Jim Lee’s art also makes for one of the most recognizable styles. Happily, the translation from comic page to mosaic worked very well, particularly the gradients in the skin tones. The alternate builds also look great and offer an interesting range of options to the builder. At $120 US for 4167 pieces, the price per part is a reasonable 2.8 cents per. Admittedly those are mostly 1×1 plates, but the good range of new and rare colors in useful quantities makes this a pretty good parts pack. (Particularly for those of us who love to make our own custom mosaics.) The continuing expansion of the LEGO Art theme means you are more and more likely to find an image that appeals to your interests – and if Batman is one of them, then I think you’ll be pretty happy with this set.
LEGO Art 31205 DC Jim Lee Batman Collection will be available March 1st from the LEGO Shop Online for r US $119.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £104.99. 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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