To the Batpoles Robin! The Batcave is the ultimate super-hero lair. Screw the Fortress of Solitude, the commute is too far. Hall of Justice? The snack machines blow. The Batcave is the crib of cribs because it was underground, it had the sweetest computer (c'mon, you know that's better than a bunch of crystals) and not too far from town.
We are absolutely thrilled with the Minimate C3 sets. The construction block and mini figure marriage has been executed expertly. I'm not typically a LEGO type of guy, but I have had more fun putting these sets together than I thought I would. But Mr. Stinkhead... this is the Batcave everyone's having problems with, right?True. There is a lot of talk online about stability and assembly problems with this particular set. I'll lay it out for you, and maybe offer some help.
Oh yes, I'll tell you all about the beautiful set and wonderful play features, but I know you're skimming for problems. I'm going to be honest. I had no problems assembling the set. It took a few hours, but the pieces are divided up in progressive bags, so you can open the baggies as you go. The directions are relatively easy to follow. You do have to count the uh, nipples on the base to figure out exactly where to put each piece, but my directions also had an amendment that moved one of the supports over a row on Page 2. If you didn't get this b&w insert (unattached) in your directions, check that out and see if that helps.
While I was rotating the set back and forth for different angles, I did have a substantial collapse and the second and third floor fell apart. Maybe I was being too rough? Not likely, but here's my take. For setting up and displaying on the shelf (which is why we got it, right? That is what we told the significant other...) it stays together nicely, and you can situate the figures all over the place. I had this set up for a week, preparing photos, and there were no problems. However, if you need to move it, it may fall apart. I tried putting it back together, and more pieces came unattached. So this is not the set for taking over to your neighbor's house. I recommend hot gluing the bottom and middle floors at load-baring points, and the supports of the third floor if you will be playing with this set often. I still love this set, I consider it worth $50, and I'm not really playing with it roughly. To me it's like Monev the Gale or a McFarlane Terminator... they look great, you can get some great poses, but you have to be a bit gentle. If you have little hands in your house, you may want to start off with a different playset. Like the Chemical Warehouse (you'll get a Joker too).
That out of the way, I'll tell you why I still love this set. Not just because its a Batcave, but that's a big part of it. I feel like the Art Asylum guys weren't just trying to make a building block playset. They love and respect the Batcave as much as we do, and that love and attention to detail shows.
The Top Floor Unlike a lot of other Batcave playsets, AA gives you a cool slice of Wayne Manor to play in. A lot of playsets fold up, and that resembles the outside of an mansion. ooh... I'm thrilled... Anyway, here you get a flip up Batphone (why oh why wasn't it red? Get me my paint.) A portrait of Dr. and Mrs. Wayne, and a rotating clock hiding an elevator to the second floor (down). The elevator mechanism is operated by lifting and lowering the green spire (is that the word? It's a shame I know what wainscoting is, but can't appropriately name this thing. Damn you TLC!!!), which incidentally can be flipped open to act as a radar dish.
The Middle Floor
The middle floor contains what I consider the most important aspect of any Batcave. The vault which holds the suit. Just like the Batwing and Batglider, you get an extra chest plate/cape, gauntlets, cowl and boots that you can slip onto Bruce for a traditional Batman. The set also comes with heavy armor Batman, but I'll get to that in a bit. From this floor, there is a nice spiral staircase down to the cave.
The cave features a rotating platform with a huge Batcomputer (with lenticular screen that flips through 4 images depending on your viewing angle), a rotating base, a sweet chair, and an overhang that perfectly fits the Large Batmobile like a garage. I do wish there was something on the back, or a free-standing rack of some sort for the Batglider or something. Maybe in a future add-on set? (oooh that would be sweet).
I love how there are two stalactites hanging down, to hint at the carved-out
rock feel, without wasting peg space with sculpted rocks. To me, it's clearly
the Batcave. I love how there are Victorian esque trappings all over the top
floor. It's not just four walls, or a floor up on stilts. There are cool arches
and buttress type elements everywhere you look.
The Figures No playset is complete with out the exclusive figures. You get our favorite character from the Batman mythos, Bruce Wayne (we named our site after him, duh), a heavy armor Bat suit, and comic book style Joker. You also get a Bat-grappling hook gun, and extra wings for the Bat suit. Master Bruce is looking suave in his classically styled tux. You can remove the coat, hair, shoes, and hands, and pop on the chest/cape, cowl, boots and gauntlets (gloves) easily over top.
Joker Joker is looking good. Good and crazy. He's not just a re-paint. His coat, hair, face, and overall coloring is different than the animated-style Joker from the Chemical Plant. He does come with the jester-headed cane like that Joker, but this Joker's face is much more sinister looking. Personally, I like the animated Joker figure just a tad better, I think the simplified detail translated a little bit better on that one.
Heavy Armor Batsuit This amped up suit looks pretty cool. Not necessarily what I think of when I think of Batman, infact I know most of us turn our heads at souped-up Bat suits. This one is not offensive at all. Does it replace classic Batman? Absolutely not. I like the interchangeable wings, and the wrist-mounted batarrang thing is cool. It looks good.
Where is Alfred? Yes, you did see an Alfred figure in our Toy Fair 2004 coverage.
Apparently this figure was omitted shortly before production. Will he make
it to another set further down the line? Only time will tell.
do consider this one of my favorite playsets of all time. I think it's a great
Batcave, it's a sweet C3 set, and I had fun putting it together. (Thanks John
and Renzo). Yes, I do wish that the pieces stayed put just a little bit more,
but it is a building block set that's meant to be assembled and disassembled,
so my approval of the set is still high. I am getting out the hot glue gun
before I move it to its permanent home.
Right now you can pick up this set for $10 at Amazon.com!!