There have been many LEGO Batcaves over the years, first in the dedicated LEGO Batman theme and then in the LEGO DC Super Heroes theme; but which are the best? With 76252 Batcave – Shadowbox having launched alongside The Flash, Blocks magazine is picking out the finest Batcaves so far.
Ah… the Batcave. The most beloved superhero lair of all time. Most recently, the 1989 Batcave (and its owner) were featured again in The Flash, building excitement for the millions who are heading to the cinema to see his return. The Batcave though is a location steeped in controversy among LEGO fans due to varying designs and build quality.
There have been nine LEGO Batcaves in the System scale (discounting Duplo sets), many of which have been well-regarded. It can be challenging, however, to create such a sprawling building with a limited parts budget, or to include every minifigure. Three Batcave sets in particular stand out as the best of the bunch, though as seen in many comic book discussions, opinions will vary wildly. Here are the three best Batcave sets released by the LEGO Group.
3. 76052 Batman Classic TV Series – Batcave
Like the number one pick on this list, 76052 Batman Classic TV Series – Batcave was a controversial release. Its abundance of crumbling dark tan ‘stone’ is an acquired taste. The only part of the build that’s well designed, to some critics, is the small study in Wayne Manor resting above the famous Batcave poles. However, this is a set with hidden charm and features you may not notice until you build it. It also fully embraces the goofiness of the show, something uncommon in modern LEGO sets.
It all starts with the tall, imposing Batcave poled entrance. While the slide doesn’t connect between the manor itself and the chamber below, it’s easy to roleplay Bruce and Dick grabbing the poles and sliding down with a little imagination. Next, the removable atomic pile is a faithful recreation of what’s seen in the show, down to the four supporting pillars at each corner. Lastly there’s a helipad and Batcave exit, perfect for use with the three excellent vehicles you’ll build in this set – major vehicles from Batman’s 1960s fleet.
And what accessories are included? Batarangs, dynamite, tapes and the famous climbing rope are just a few of the oddities you’ll find in the box. Ten electronic machines with various uses are included, which can be crowded inside the atomic pile or used on their own in front. There’s also a whopping nine minifigures included, all of which are exclusive. The only thing missing here is shark repellent. Wham! Pow!
2. 7783 The Batcave: The Penguin and Mr. Freeze’s Invasion
Whip a batarang back to 2006, the launch of the LEGO Group’s original standalone Batman theme. This was a marvel of a theme, punctuated by a gothic atmosphere, killer villains and intriguing builds. 7783 The Batcave: The Penguin and Mr. Freeze’s Invasion certainly brought out the best in the theme with this enormous Batcave playset. 1,071 pieces go into this build – a large amount for playsets of this period – yet every build is well-thought out, contributes to the play experience and complements the invasion.
On the right side of the Batcave is a massive round pipe and sewer grate blocking the entrance, letting the Penguin and his penguin minions begin reconnaissance. The middle has a massive, well-detailed Bat-computer and trophies from Batman’s foes – this is also the only Batcave set to feature the ‘giant’ T. rex (smaller here). This wintry Batmobile rests on Bionicle skate pieces, which allow this massive craft to glide effortlessly on ice, while the turntable it rests on can be rotated as it gets ready to launch.
There are countless other details hidden throughout the Batcave itself, almost overshadowing the seven included minifigures. All the characters included in the set (including the brick-built penguins) are classics in their own right, especially to fans who have played LEGO Batman: The Video Game.
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1. 76252 Batcave – Shadow Box
Yes, we went there. No, Batman didn’t ask us to come. The number one Batcave designed by the LEGO Group will turn some people’s heads and fully turn off others. It’s entirely enclosed in a black shadow box, eating up much of the piece count and making this set extremely expensive. Despite being the largest Batcave by piece count, it only contains seven minifigures, while a very similar Batmobile is featured in another set for a far lower price. For the right audience, however, 76252 Batcave – Shadowbox is arguably the cream of the crop.
In some respects, it feels like an improved version of number two on this list, with a dark, muted colour tone to match the 1992 film Batman Returns. The set has exceptional interior detail made up gunmetal supports across the ceiling, rocky outcrops, metal platforms raised above the abyss of the cave, and of course, a gorgeous platform for the Batmobile to rest on. Thankfully, it doesn’t abandon the play features of picks two and three – the brilliant screen function in the Bat Computer, the deployable machine guns on the Batmobile and plenty more make this something truly special.
What puts it ahead is its most controversial element; the shadowbox. The expertly-designed Bat symbol opening lets you peer into the cave, making it a fantastic display piece that you’ll want to stare into until you go … batty. It’s the only Batcave to look like an adult display piece, for better or for worse. Everyone is entitled to their personal tastes on LEGO Batcaves (some may even put this one squarely last on their list) but this set shines brighter than anyBat signal when it comes to display.
Which Batcave casts a shadow on your collection? Send us a comment – we love reading them!