LEGO 76188 - New 1960s Classic Batmobile Vs. The 2016 Release
LEGO 76188 - Batman™ Classic TV Series Batmobile™
Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from 26th April 2021.
LEGO comes at us with a Batman set from Adam West’s 1960s Batman run. But with a previous Batmobile set for us to compare this to, is this new one an improvement above the original? Or have LEGO sent themselves back to the 1960s with a mentality of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
So about 5 years ago, yes, it’s been that long, LEGO released the 1960’s Adam West’s Batman 76052 Batman Classic TV series Batcave.
Now I’m not sure if it was the same experience across a global scale, but the 1960’s Batcave set was a bit of a commercial flop on the Australian market. Through many of the Australian LUG channels, it was a constant chatter of where someone could find a Target or online platform that was selling it for $199 AUD, half of its $399 AUD price tag.
Now I’m not 100% sure as to why this was a big thing, but I also managed to get my hands on this big set during its run. I liked it! Not really a thing I would collect but didn’t mind having it under my wing. I built it, appreciated the little details and eventually, broke it down.
So why did LEGO come out of left field with this set? I’m legitimately puzzled. Maybe there was a success from the 1960’s theme? But as far as I was aware, this market was hit, and LEGO have made a set based on this one specific era of Batman’s history.
Just making it clear, I’m not a die-hard classic 1960’s Batman fan, but a set is a set, and a potential cheap rehash is still a rehash.
This set features Caesar Romero’s Joker taking on the caped crusader in his Classic RV Series Batmobile. …And that’s it.
We get new versions of the Joker and Batman and an upgraded car, but there isn’t anything else. Just like the Classic Batcave, our villain doesn’t get any sort of vehicle or whacky weapon to take down the Bat. In the large Batcave, it is kind of understandable, because the cave is broken into by the goons, but poor ol’ Joker has nothing but a grappling hook. Which I would even debate isn’t actually his! I’ve heard some people claim that this set would have really done better with Robin joining the club, but it would work against the set by further unbalancing the Good vs. Evil.
I haven’t watched the 1960’s Batman, so I can’t really claim that he should have X, Y or Z, but here’s the thing. LEGO focus on the conflict-in-a-box dynamic with sets, but Joker is just an accessory here. You could swap him with literally any other enemy and the result would be the same. He doesn’t have a platform, scenery or even a roadblock and traffic cones. Nada. What are kids going to play with? How will they make this an exciting battle scene? WHY DOESN’T HE HAVE A CREAM PIE?
Before we tackle the car, we’ll tackle the figures.
Please note: Old on the left, new on the right.
We’re fortunate enough to have our hands on the previously released Batman and Joker to make comparisons to. For good ol’ Bats, the cowl and cape are essentially the same. But Adam West has now changed from a sand-blue to a light-grey colour scheme. In reality, the costume was indeed actually a light grey, but due to filmography equipment of the time, the colour appeared with a hint of blue. I can’t fault LEGO here with updating the figure and giving collectors the choice best on what they associate with the era. As for the printing itself, there are some things one does better than the other, and vice versa. The neck scruff of the cape looks better on New Batman, but I personally prefer the defined belt on Old Batman. I’m really on the edge about the new belly marking, as I can’t quite tell if it is there to define a belly, or the start of abs. Even looking at the source material I’m just as confused.
The one thing I do not like about the new Batman is the face print. The new goggles/headband solution is good and a nice change from the older version of Batman (and all Batman versions). But the new flesh printing isn’t as expressive as the old. I do prefer the tanned skin tone of the older version. But that’s only because the skin printing of the newer one makes him look very pale, in a way that makes me what to inject him with nutrients ASAP. I know the new one is closer to the source material, but I just can’t help but feel…off.
The Joker has had some slight upgrades this time around. It’s still the same suit but with a few more subtle modifications and a necktie that doesn’t look as… adult. I think the printing has improved quite a bit on this fig, except for, once again, the head. The previous version is simply just that more expressive. It’s nice to have a sad face Joker, but we didn’t need a sad-face joker. It would have been nicer to see a different Classic TV villain like… Lola Lasagne…?
1960s TV Classic
Moving on to the Batmobile itself, credit where credit is due, the car is definitively better than its predecessor. It’s a whole 2 studs shorter, more sleek in its design, and the front and side profiles are a lot nicer to look at.
There is a lot to cover here, so I’ll spitfire through the big differences.
New version has a stickered cure on the front and uses the curved 1x2 with a point to round to give more shape on the sides. Whereas the previous uses 2x4 wedges and looks blockier.
The front of the car has a grill and defined headlights whereas the older one does not.
The new version has small satchels on the back and uses a newer exhaust piece. As well as multiple newer plate parts to add a bit of red in versus the 2x3 brick wedges the old version uses.
Rear boot uses the new armoured part instead of a brick-built trapdoor with an antenna.
The rear boot on the newer model also feels slightly smaller than the older one.
The new version has three silver pipes behind the driver versus two. This is accurate to the source material.
Both models have the onboard phone, but the previous version has an “Emergency Bat Turn Lever” build, whereas the new does not. The new build uses the 1x6 wheel curve piece instead.
The new version has stickers with monitors and rocket controls, whereas the old version had “Detect-A-Scope”
The be-all and end-all is that, admittedly, the newer version is an improvement. It certainly takes away some of the whacky and cooky aspects of the 1960s and their crazy inventions of the time, but it is an improvement.
Overall thoughts on this set compared to the previous version is that it makes an improvement that you wouldn’t get at face value. It certainly is a lot smaller than its predecessor and shows that the older model was limited to the parts of its time (and overall set). Whereas a specific set based around it has more going for it.
My thoughts on this set in a general sense in a consumer market are mainly filled with confusion and asking the question “whyyyy?”. When was there an interest in the Classic Batman Series again? Did I miss it? Why remake the set when you didn’t need to? If LEGO turn this into a whole series of sets, I’m honestly not sure how people will react to it.
On a consumer standing, if you imagine a parent with the child looking for the next set to buy, would they get more enjoyment out of; A. This set, which is a 1-vehicle set with nothing extra, or B. A City police chase set, which is more than likely cheaper than this for 2 vehicles and a small backdrop?
Overall, I don’t know where LEGO is heading with this or who their target audience is. Because if this set is designed to appeal to kids, 1960’s Batman is not the medium to choose and even if it were, give us a new villain that kids would happily seek out for their collection. Batman fans already have plenty of the Joker. This one is just going to be another for the LEGO tub whilst younger audiences use the version that is more recognizable to them.
Thank you to our mate Jay from Jay's Brick Blog for lending us the set for review <3.
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All opinions are my own.