2011
01.01

This is the second of my Batcave progress articles. if you want to see how I got on before, check out Batcave Progress – part 1, which details my struggle with the first version of the Batcave. Also now available is the fully in-depth Batcave review.

The Batcave version 2, if at first you don’t succeed… December 2004

As you can tell from my initial Batcave progress, I found it an impossible task to construct the Batcave, due to several different problems, one of which being the instability of the struts holding up the floor pieces. In the last few weeks, people have been receiving the “Batcave fix” pack from Playalong Toys, who help market the C3 sets created by Art Asylum. Knowing that the new pieces should help with the stability, I decided to try again. It was a dark, cold Friday night, and steeled by a small alcoholic beverage (remember kids, drinking isn’t cool!), I tried once more to construct the Dark Knight’s secret lair… Read on, if you dare! Oh, and as a warning, just like the first page, this is a very picture-intensive piece, so it might take a while to load in every single picture. If I get hundreds of modem users emailing me to ask about using thumbnails, then I’ll consider it for the site, but I’d rather use a lot of big pictures to try and get across the processes of building this set.

Initially there was the Batcave, and then later versions of the Batcave came with a one-page amendment sheet which simply changed the position of one of the struts, arguably to make it more stable. And then came the fix pack, and presumably Batcave v2.0, although there have not been any reported sightings of this at retail as yet. So let’s look at what you get with the “Batcave fix” pack.

 

See how many of the new blocks are large, flat ones? That’ll be to replace the woefully-inadequate struts from the first Batcave set. Interestingly, the number of pieces doesn’t change between version 1 and version 2, but the recommended age goes up from 4 to 7. Check out the version 1 instruction booklet on the left compared to the version 2 instruction booklet on the right:

 

Theoretically, the change in recommended ages should be a good way of finding out whether the Batcave you’ve seen on the shelf of your local Minimates retailer is a version 1 or a version 2.

Now to the building… As I keep mentioning, one of the downfalls of the first version of the Batcave was that the struts used to keep up the rest of the multi-level structure were not solid enough. When you start building version 2, you can see that AA have tried to rectify this problem, the first picture below is version 1, the second is version 2:

 

The struts are a lot beefier now. Also one of my complaints was that the stairs had to hold up part of the floor when they themselves weren’t stable. The block in the middle of the second picture is a support for the stairs:

The floor pieces have a lot more blocks to attach to now. making putting on the floor section a bit easier. Also in the redesign they have swapped out some (but not all) of those infuriating arch pieces.

However, despite my best efforts, I still could not make the floor pieces grip every strut properly.

Still, it does seem a bit more stable than the first one, so lets’s try adding on the second level. First the wall gets built up…

Now try adding on the base for the fold-out wardrobe and the lift pieces. You can see here the rift between the two floor pieces as I try to add on the blocks for the base of the lift.

The wardrobe base piece is terribly done – it just doesn’t grip anything at all, it pretty much just rests on the blocks…

The rest of the wall gets built around the lift pieces – but notice the gap between the two halves of the lift. They should be together as one piece but do not fit onto the base properly. Still, I’ve got further than I ever have before so something’s holding together better.

Another support strut gets built and added to the side of the main building – however that grey block should be flush with and level with the top of the wall, and it clearly isn’t.

At this point, the main structure is left and building concentrates on the third level, the “mansion” part of the Batcave. The main focus of this is the second part of the lift shaft…

Which is cleverly hidden behind a grandfather clock…

The picture of Martha and Thomas Wayne is a sticker.

OK, the 3rd level is complete and ready to be attached to the main structure…

Careful… careful… place it on the top of the main bit very slowly… line up the blocks…

Dammit!!!

Undeterred, and spurred on by the fact that it’s taken me hours to get this far and I can’t stop now, I quickly rebuild. I take the central lift shaft piece itself (the bit which is joined on to the roof pieces) and connect the two parts of the lift shafts. That way it acts as a guide when I try to push all the floors together. Success!

Now for the final part, the Batcave computer section. This should be a much more straightforward bit to build, but I find the construction of the computers fiddly and get some bits wrong. I blame tiredness at this point.

The actual giant screen section is great fun to build, and the lenticular card that acts as the screen itself is very cool. The circular console piece fits onto the base on the main section and you have…

A completed Batcave! Phew! In total, it took about 4 hours to build.

Hopefully this in-depth look at the construction of the Batcave C3 set has been useful.

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