Review: 76052 Batcave

When the Batcave (76052) set landed at my doorstep, I must admit I wondered what I was going to do with it.  It doesn’t look like there is much there for someone who is mostly interested in modular buildings and conversions.  Let’s see how it stacks up.

First of all a big thank you to the AFOL Relations & Programs team (AR&P) of The LEGO Group for providing me with a copy of the set.
Opinions provided in this review solely reflect my views.  Similarly, the images presented are mine and were not directed by TLG in any fashion.

This review is a modular conversion review, which means it is done from the perspective of how it can be converted to a modular building and how far the set will take you as a parts pack for a modular building.*

The box is huge, which is not really that surprising for a set that has around 2,500 parts.  But the front of the set doesn’t offer much hope for modular buildings!

There’s a little more hope on the back of the box, which reveals a section of the Wayne Manor facade:

Inside the box, I found an instructions book and sticker sheet, three of the new Pearl Gold twisty poles (one not as straight as the others) and a stray 2×14 Tan Plate (which I discovered later had fallen out of a torn numbered parts bag).

There were also several un-numbered bags:

   

   

There are a number of large plates, which will come in handy for floor plates for modular buildings.  If I hadn’t recently seen Tobias’ Outdoor Store, I would have questioned the value of a BURP (big ugly rock piece) in a  modular building, but apparently they can be useful.  The Dark Orange tiles with the studs on edges are unique to the Batcave.

I thought the three bags with the Tan supports may have been an error because they are all the same, but you actually need all those supports and 16×16 Dark Tan plates to build the Batcave.

Let’s take a closer look at what is in the numbered parts bags.

Parts Bags 1 are dominated by car parts in Red and Black.  There are some cute 1×1 round tiles with the Red Bat symbol patterns on them , which become the hub cabs for the bat mobile.  The other parts that caught my attention were the chemical flask and the Red phone piece.  Everyone needs a Red phone.  The Lime hairpiece will likely show up as a vegetable at a later date.

The two cardboard boxes contain the capes for Batman (Dark Blue) and Robin (Yellow), and a length of Black string (for the grappling hooks).

The number 2 bags bring a change of colour, with Tan, Dark Tan and Light Bluish Grey dominating.  There are lots of things that caught my eye:

  • Lots and lots of wedges and wedge plates in Dark Tan.
  • Black window panes (unique to this set), which look great in the Tan Window frames.
  • 1×1 Dark Orange tiles (also unique to this set) and will be great for doing tiled floors.
  • Lots of tiles in earthy tones.
  • Inverted White slopes, which are used for curtains.

Bag 3 contain the printed 1×4 White bricks with the Sand Green wallpaper pattern.  They look even better in real life!  There are quite a few parts that are useful for creating interior details, such as the trophies, globe and various parts in Reddish Brown (plates with rail, 1×2 bricks with grooves, 1×1 bricks with extra knob, panels and crates).  The Tan hairpiece is new and unique to this set.

Bag 4 signals a change from the “living” part of the Batcave to the “working” part, with these parts building what I have called the “graviton” (the round thing with the four slanted columns in the middle part of the overall build).  I know it really isn’t a graviton but that’s what came to mind when I was building it.

This is the first 10×10 octagonal plate with hole that I have.  Turns out though that it has been around for more than 20 years!

There are some great parts in Bag 5, such as the Dark Tan roof tiles, bricks and tiles, and the Dark Bluish Grey hinge bricks.  Only small quantities, but not to be sneezed at.

I was pleasantly surprised to find more pieces that would be useful for furnishing normal (town?) modular buildings, thinking that we had completed that part of the build at the end of Bag 3.  The Reddish Brown cupboards and Medium Dark Flesh drawers are relatively new, being available only in 2016 sets.

If you hadn’t noticed yet, the Batcave has a lot of Dark Tan wedges, Dark Tan wedge plates and Light Bluish Grey brackets, and these parts dominate Bag 7.

Bag 8 brings a welcome change of colour scheme and quite a few interesting parts.  Those that caught my eye were the various Trans-X heads, chemical flasks, bottles and round bricks.  The Black motorcycle fairing is unique to this set.

Bag 8 builds the helicopter, motorcycle with side car, lab bench and shelves, and finishes off the Batcave. Let’s have another look at the set as a whole.

The parts that are left over:

And the nine minifigures:

My understanding is that there are a few of these that are unique to this set. Catwoman is my favourite.

There did not appear to be a large number of parts that I would normally associate with a  traditional modular building.  Even when you put like parts together, there aren’t a great deal of any one part or type of part.

   

   

   

The exception is brackets – there were loads and loads of those.

The lack of bricks is explained by the unique approach to how the facade part of the set has been built.  It is essentially plates attached to the large Tan supports using the brackets.  This is great for covering a large surface quickly and with few parts.  However, there are quite a few gaps that detract from the overall look of the facade.

My favourite part of the build is the study / library.  The wood panelling is reminiscent of the back wall in the Fire House.

I really liked the design of the lamps in the study and have used it as the outdoor lamp for the modular conversion (see below).

I must admit that I was tempted to stop building after the study / library was completed (end of Bag 3).  I felt like I had done so much building already, and still had Bags 4 – 8 to go, knowing that there wasn’t going to be anything else resembling a town building!  I wanted to get stuck into the conversion part.  Anyway, I persevered just in case there was more that might be useful in a future modular building.

My preference for sets that are themselves not modular buildings is to do a modular conversion review.  However, it was clear early on that this set just didn’t have enough of the right types of parts to build a traditional modular building.  Nevertheless, the Wayne Manor facade did inspire an idea because it looks like a perfect candidate for row houses. The outcome is “Manor Row”:

   

   

It requires a lot of parts other than those found in the Batcave (76052), so I don’t think I can technically call it a modular conversion.  It was however, heavily inspired by the set.

I considered using the Tan supports to build a modular version, but they are very tall and would result in floors that were at least 13 bricks high.  As it is, they are already quite tall to accommodate the double windows.

You can download the instructions for the Manor Row here: 070-ManorRow-Instructions.

I’ve only done the Manor Row in one colour for now, but the combination of bricks and plates required means that it can be done in any colour for the main brick. For the trim, you need a colour that has 1×2 curved slopes, 1×2 tiles and headlight bricks. I think it will look great as a row of townhouses.

If you made it all the way down here, thank you for reading!  C&C welcome, as always.

* If you’re looking for a set review of the Batcave (76052), head over to EuroBricks for the review by VBBN.