2011
01.01

This is the first of my Batcave progress articles. if you want to see how I got on later, check out Batcave Progress – part 2, in which I try to construct version 2 of the Batcave. Also now available is the fully in-depth Batcave review.

The Batcave, a work in progress – October 2004

I knew people had had problems with the set. I knew people MUCH more experienced in block construction had had the thing crumble on them. I knew all this, but I went ahead and bought the Batcave. Why? I’m a completist, and it meant I had completed wave 1 of the C3 stuff. It also had 3 great Minimates, all of which are well worth having. Plus, it looked a good playset, with the amount of Minimates I have it would certainly see some use.

The first time I tried to make it I used my bed to rest all the pieces on, which was clearly not a good idea. After getting to the point where the walls collapse when I tried to put the second floor on (stage 5) I gave up. Obviously I would need a table for this.

Troubled by my failure, it took me several days to pluck up the courage to try again. This time, I would use my kitchen table. From the rubble of the first attempt, I managed to get back to where I had been:

 

Those struts don’t look like much, do they? Probably why they redesigned them – check out the PDF instructions for the Batcave on the Play Along website. Anyway, the struts aren’t the entire problem. The second floor that you have to attach to them is where it all goes to pot. This is a small clip of me putting the arches on that connect the floor to the struts. I’m pushing the piece onto a flat surface and just leaving it. See what happens: Pop goes the arch piece! That happens to most of the arch pieces on the floor section. It barely holds together just as a separate floor piece, which looks like this:

 

You then have to carefully manoeuvre the floor piece to rest on all the struts, lining it up carefully. Because the floor piece is made from 2 pieces that are barely held together, you get this:

 

The other side isn’t much better:

 

The whole floor just doesn’t hold onto any of the struts properly. Amazingly silly engineering decisions like having the stairs support the floor just at the point where the staircase is unbalanced compound this. Also, the support on the far right side isn’t even made up of solid blocks – some of the support is one block width! So what would make the floor even more unstable? Having to build more blocks on top of it, that’s what.

 

See the blue thing on top of the second floor, right over where there is no support structure in place? Try pushing those blocks in so they all hold together properly, and this is what you get:

 

The far right support can’t handle it, the floor comes off the struts, so you push it all down again and…

 

Oh dear. What a dreadfully unfun experience this is so far. I put all the blocks back in the box and will continue at some other point in the future when I get my head straight. It’s infuriating.

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