2011
01.01

 

The Batcave review, a long time in the making… December 2004

The Batcave is the largest C3 set in wave one, weighing in at an amazing 447 pieces and coming with 3 Minimates. Sadly Alfred did not make it into the set unlike the pics first shown at Toy Fair in February 2004. Instead it comes with Bruce Wayne, the Joker and Heavy Assault Batman.

This review is the last of my Batcave progress articles. For more pictures of the Batcave during construction, please check out Batcave Progress – part 1, detailing my struggle with the first version of the Batcave, and also Batcave Progress – part 2, which documents the construction of version 2 of the Batcave as reviewed here below.

Packaging

The Batcave comes in a really big box. It’s huge! The graphics look good on the front, with Heavy Assault Batman flying away. Some of the colours used on the blocks are very different to what you actually get, noticibly the stair pieces which are grey on the boxart but transparent blue in the set itself. Most importantly, the 3 Minimates can been seen very clearly.

The C3 pieces are all bagged up in about 6 different bags in the main part of the box, and the Minimates are packaged in a tray on the right hand side.

The back of the box shows the cross-sell of the other C3 sets and a “technical specification” type drawing to show off the set itself. In addition, there is a roundup of C3 Minimate figures which does not appear on any of the other sets, presumably due to space reasons.


 

The Figures

Heavy Assault Batman

The first figure in this set is a variant Batman, this time in battle armour. This version is similar to the Stealth and Pilot figures in that it is not a traditional comic-based version of Batman but a more stylised one.

The helmet is much more robotic and futuristic than the normal Batman cowl. The bat ears are long and pointed and the slit for the eyes glows an ominous green colour. Some of the green has bled over the faceplate. It’s certainly a different look to the usual, and as such AA can’t be criticised for trying something removed from the norm. The head underneath is the same as the Stealth Batman and Pilot Batman.

The rest of the costume has similarly bold design, if a little flawed in the execution. There are a LOT of removable pieces on this Minimate – some might say too many. As well as having shinguards and a belt on the lower part of his body, Heavy Assault Batman also has a removable chest protector with a tiny Bat-symbol on it. On this piece, 2 shoulder protectors are attached and on the back, 2 wings can be added, from a choice of 4 different styles. Finally, one of the gloves has a wrist-mounted batarang shooter with removable batarang. It’s a shame that this equipment is made out of fairly flexible rubber because some bits do not want to stay on – the wings in particular are very flimsy and constantly fall off.

I guess they went with the rubber because they didn’t want to impede articulation – and arguably with the rotating wings and movable shoulder pads they have increased the points of articulation on this figure. It’s just a shame it’s a bit fragile as a result of this. One of the nicest surprises is that underneath the chest protector, the torso block has a larger Bat-symbol on it.

Overall, it almost feels like they tried to do too much with this Batman, and it doesn’t all work, but the look is very bulky and imposing.

MMC Score – 7 out of 10


 

Bruce Wayne

The second figure in the set is Bruce Wayne, Gotham’s millionaire playboy who fights crime as Batman. This is the second Bruce Wayne in the C3 line, as there is a version of Bruce Wayne (taken from “The Batman” cartoon) available with the Stealth Batwing set.

Bruce has a dignified expression on his face, more contemplative than rugged. The hair is swept back and looks good for a more civilian-style haircut.

Unlike the exclusive Bruce Wayne, who went with a blue shirt and black trousers, this Bruce Wayne looks very elegant in his dinner jacket. The black and white is broken up by the red on the waist sash, which is an effect that works well. There isn’t a lot of painted detailing, but what’s there has been applied well.

Bruce comes with a giant “batarang gun”. This impressive weapon has a sliding batarang piece which moves out as though it’s being fired, but as it only extends by a few centimeters, the effect is muted. Like a lot of the other Batman C3 sets, Bruce also comes with extra clothing pieces (“Batman Armor” as it’s called on the front of the box) so that you can create a “proper looking” Batman. I think Bruce looks best dressed in the Batman gear but without using the cowl, as the hairpiece looks so good with the rest of the costume.

Overall, much like the exclusive Bruce Wayne, this figure has enough about it to be worthwhile.

MMC Score – 7 out of 10


 

Joker

The third figure in the set is the Joker. The previous Joker available in the C3 line was based on his appearance in the Justice League cartoon. This one looks like it’s taken from the Batman film, with a very Jack Nicholson-looking face. The expression is perfect, the mouth curling up into a delightful sneer. The hair is wild and green.

The Joker is dressed in his customary purple costume. The jacket and tails is a separate piece, and one of the coolest aspects of this figure is revealed when you remove it. The green torso block beneath has some collar detailing, which can be seen when the jacket is over the top of it, and a pocket, which can only be seen when the jacket is off. I don’t know why but I think that’s really cool and marvellous attention to detail.

The paint job on this figure is flawless, especially on the pinstripe legs, which could have been a problem area, and the petals of the yellow flower on his lapel.

For accessories, the Joker comes with a Joker-faced cane. Whilst very nice, it is a re-use from the last Joker.

Overall, this is a very cool looking Joker. The detailing is excellent and makes for a great figure.

 

MMC Score – 8 out of 10


 

The Construction Set

Batcave

The C3 construction set is the Batcave. This is the largest set in the C3 line, and will take a long time for anyone to build.

The Batcave is split into 3 distinct areas. The top part of the 3 storey-playset is Wayne Manor, with its almost castle-like appearance. Here we find the phone that hides the controls for opening the secret lift behind the grandfather clock. This area has been well recreated, the grandfather clock looks great and has movable hands and bell. There is also a sticker showing a portrait of Bruce’s parents, done in the Minimate style. The grandfather clock is on hinges that swing round and allows access to the level below using a lift system. The lift is controlled by a rod that you pull the top of to raise and lower the lift piece. The rod is attached to the roof, which also opens to form a radar-type dish.

The second level has Bruce Wayne’s Batman armour wardrobe, which folds out, revealing all the different parts of his costume. The wardrobe base piece doesn’t stay attached to the floor very well, making this feature very tricky to use successfully. Also on this level is a computer that flips open and the stairs to the lowest level.

The lowest level is also the most fun. Here we have the Batcave’s computer systems, for helping Batman analyse data and solve crimes. There are several small computer displays but the main focus is with the giant screen. This is a great piece which has a lenticular card which shows 4 different things depending on the viewing angle – the Batsymbol, the Arkham Asylum security archives (with the Joker, Riddler and Catwoman pictured), the Batwing technical schematic and finally a Minimate’d picture of Robin, Batman, Nightwing and Catwoman (what, no Oracle? For shame!). In the centre is a large rotatable chair for Bruce to sit in and brood. The console area itself rests on a rotatable platform so it can spin round, presumably to allow easier access to it, but as the console section is pretty much out in the open away from main structure of the Batcave there doesn’t seem to be a great need for it to be rotatable.

So, a fair few features, and plenty of space for your C3 Minimates to run around in. Except, for all the torment putting it together, it really doesn’t want to stay together. Calling it flimsy would be an understatement of the highest order. Be careful where you build it, because you will not be able to move it anywhere else. The structure will collapse. I built mine on our kitchen table and when I tried to carefully slide it off the table to take some more in-depth pictures with Minimates, it exploded in a shower of bricks and broken dreams. So now it’s all back in the box, because it’s too much hard work to try and repeatedly build this thing when it steadfastly refuses to be nice and stay together. I know some people suggest gluing the blocks in place to create a more stable structure, and theer are some people (either insanely gifted or very lucky) who haven’t had any problems at all with the set, but I’ve had such a miserable experience with the Batcave that it’s really put me off the C3 concept altogether.

Overall, the Batcave set tries hard but is completely flawed in its execution. The smaller sets all stay together well, but the Batcave has such major durability and stability issues, even with the version 2 modifications, that I cannot recommend this set. The Minimates that come with it are of an good standard, but at the highest pricepoint yet seen on a Minimates product, it simply isn’t worth the money, or the time, effort and frustration of putting it together.

MMC Score – 2 out of 10

C3 Batcave Assembly Guide 

Review and pictures by Danny Mills

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User Rating for Minimate #1:
Rating: 9.6/10 (5 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #2:
Rating: 7.3/10 (6 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #3:
Rating: 9.0/10 (5 votes cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #4:
Rating: 7.4/10 (5 votes cast)
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