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REVIEW: 10937 Batman: Arkham Asylum Breakout

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#1 Clone OPatra

Clone OPatra

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:39 AM

Merry Christmas everybody! Christmas may be winding down now, but regardless, please enjoy my present to you: an overly-long review of…

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Set Name: Batman: Arkham Asylum Breakout
Set #: 10937
Theme: DC Universe Superheroes
Pieces: 1619
Minifigures: 7 (and two halves)
Year of Release: 2012
Price at Release: US $159.99 - CA $209.99 - DE 159.99€ - UK 129.99£ - DK  1399.00 DKK
Buy it? Inventory? Bricklink LEGO
Just browse the pictures? Flickr set


INTRODUCTION

First of all, credit must be given where credit is due: to our own Bonaparte and LEGO for sending me this set to review, and so speedily to boot! Many thanks to you! (LEGO really is the most wonderful company when it comes to community interaction, although since I don't participate on the international Coca-Cola forums, I can't really say that Coke doesn't have such a high level of interaction as well.)

A quick note about the pictures: unlike my usual reviews, this time I've uploaded the pictures in their huge un-shrunk glory, so please check out the Flickr set link above if you'd like to see the minute details of all the dust that accumulated on the set in the five seconds between when I took it out of the box and when I snapped the photos.

And now, without further ado, let's see what this big bad boy has to offer…


BOX

This box is just one thing: beastly. Really, it's absolutely ginormous (I've added Riddler for a little size comparison). This being the European version, the front isn't adulterated with parts count and stuff, so you can really enjoy the humungous, gloomy, dark scene. The artwork is quite beautiful and suits Arkham very well. There's more action here than you usually find on the big exclusives; it's still a Superhero thing after all.
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Since the box is so darn large, the back feels empty despite having all the usual back-of-box trappings. It's fun that LEGO still puts on the comic-style arrows and noise words even on a big-kid geared set. Just because this box dwarfs all the others by a factor of twelve doesn't mean it isn't part of the line!
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For the top they went with the character that physically takes up the greatest amount of space, because hey, they could. I never knew the top of European boxes were so empty…
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There are some more box views in the Flickr set, but I felt we had more important things to see. You can see the box yourself in a LEGO store any time.


CONTENTS

In the box we get nine numbered bags, one bag with big plates and the white rope, and this lovely thing to keep our sticker sheet, comic, and instructions from getting bent out of shape! I don't really care about smashed instruction manuals on small sets, but on such a large one like this it would be quite a bother. It's great LEGO makes sure that doesn't happen!
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Here's the front of the comic, which I'm pretty sure is exactly the same one you get in the Arctic Batman set except a lot bigger because why not. Just like Oky mentioned in his Arctic Batman review, it's got an odd smattering of stuff inspired by different media, movie Bane being the biggest sore thumb (though the Tumbler is the background is a little odd too).
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The inside contains a fun but average wordless comic that you can enjoy flipping through once and then never look at again. The back, just like on the Marvel comic, has last year's DC figure lineup and this January's. Some choices are a bit odd, though, like putting Ivy and the guard in both when they're exactly the same, having two Harleys in the right-side one, and not having blue-winged Batman on the left side. But ok, whatever. Lots to collect, go buy sets, etc.
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We get three lovely instruction manuals that cut off in completely arbitrary places. I literally have no idea why LEGO decides to move onto another manual when they do, especially because these manuals have different amounts of pages. It's not like you move onto a new build; no, one step you're in one manual, the next step you're in the next one. But… #thingsthatdontmatter
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The inside is an orangey-yellow gradient that looks just fine. It doesn't muddle things up, anyway. Here you see how the minifigures are spread out over the bags to spice things up just when you were starting to feel minifigure-withdrawal. The steps are easy to follow, and there are piece callouts (though I don't use them because I'm stuck in the old 'search the picture for differences' method).
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I found just one mistake in the instructions, and luckily not a biggie. It's just that the grill piece already appears in this step, when it isn't added for a few more steps. Odd.
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Lastly, everybody's favorite: the DSS. Most of these stickers are just fine, and I didn't mind them (although the instructions do seem to mock you by showing the stickers going on perfectly straight). The ones for license plates, though, are terrible because they're smaller than the length of the plates on which they go so it's quite annoying getting them smack-dab in the middle. As you'll notice on the set pictures, I wasn't having the best stickering day in general.
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PARTS

…or, the section in which I arbitrarily pick some pieces out that I find interesting! No, I'll try to actually comment on the parts, bag by bag, with the parts I find interesting in a picture-within-a-picture.

Bag 1 builds the truck and the restraining stretcher for Joker, so we get a whole bunch of lovely fresh white. It might make you think there are actual colors in this set, if you count white as a color (I think it's more of a color than grey). Parts of interest are the big white doors, small white doors, some SNOT stuff, that curvy Cars part exclusively in white and the clear windshield, just because… well, it's not actually rare, but you know, it's nice.
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No more tricks; here's the actual color scheme for the set. Grey, grey, grey, and black. Still, less grey than a Star Wars set. In Bag 2, which builds the gate, we get four lovely black wings from Chima, the 3L brown flex tubing that's also in TMNT sets, and the Ninjago skeleton arm now in dark bley! Plus dark green and dark red, and a bunch of dark metallic sais, lovely.
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The two big plates are from the unnumbered bag of big stuff, but the rest is Bag 3, which builds the entrance. From now on, we'll see lots of the tall grey pieces with a groove in them, which lend a lovely look to the finished model as we shall see. I had no idea this piece has only been around since 2010! Before that they just stacked up 1x2 ones when they needed a tall column for garage doors. Other cools parts here are the chair in dark green (because dark green), the brick brick (because it's still slightly a novelty), and the red phone (because yeah).
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You build above the entrance with Bag 4. Included are those tall black industrial-like pillars, more groove columns, metallic teeth, square bricks with groove, that printed computer screen, and some nice accessories. Plus lots of trans-black little screen parts; large quantities of things are always fun.
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Bag 5 makes the cell block, and there's nothing of exceptional interest. Many grey 'log' bricks are nice, though, as are dark red and leaves. There are also more jail bar parts than I think you'd see in a City set normally.
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As you might be able to tell, Bag 6 builds Poison Ivy's cell and surrounding small room. The corner brick with double concave slope makes an appearance, there are a couple nice smoke tiles, and the big clear rounded panels are cool. Black periscope… not super sure why I threw that one in there.
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Bag 7 builds the tower cell. A bunch of cool stuff to be found here: trans-red doughnut piece, grey double clip piece, dark grey frog, more dark grey skellie arms, trans light-blue cheese… nice!
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Bag 8 makes the bottom portion of the remaining Arkham section. Just the same old cool parts we saw before.
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This caps it off! A little more tan to break up the grey/black combo. The brick with grooves actually appears to be new in tan, though there's just one. As we'll see in the model, I'm not sure why it's necessary at all, but hey, I'll take it. Maybe it'll be more prevalent in another upcoming set.
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There are more extra parts in this set than there are parts in a SW Battlepack! Ok, maybe not, but there's still a boatload of extras here. Somebody should start a 'build using only extra pieces in big sets' challenge.
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MINIFIGURES

For once, I'm not more excited about discussing minifigures than I am about discussing a set. But still, minifigures are lovely goodies! Let's look at 'em. I've collaborated with The Penguin to bring you info about the inspiration for the specific designs of each figure; since the set's not tied to any particular media, it's interesting to see what designs were chosen.

Here's everybody; from left to right: big-wing Batman, Robin, random guard #7, Scarecrow, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, and prison outfit Joker. But they're so far away when they're all lined up; you need to see them up-close!
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The Good Guys

All of these guys are not so fresh. The guard is the twin of the one that failed to stop Two-Face's robbery last year, though he still has a snappy torso. This Robin is styled after the one in the Arkham City game, which would make him Tim Drake, the third Robin. Of course, he just uses parts from the Robin of last year, but it's cool to see him in this darker outfit anyway. An all-new Nightwing would've been better, though. Batman may also come from Arkham City because of the wings, though I think the wings are a common move, so he really could be anything. He'd be better with an alternate cape, but I do like the winged look.
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Unlike in the Catwoman set where Bats has a whole jetpack on his wings, these he wears straight up. Perhaps they're really just supposed to be a cape, as Bats often does have a cape that becomes stiff to help him swoosh around. Robin's cape feels pretty soft, which surprised me.
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Being older and more experienced in the weight-room, Bruce has better back muscles than his young buddy.
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Bats still has his good old cheeky reverse face, and Robin has his ridiculous face. It doesn't work as well with the hood as it did with his other outfit, though.
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Overall, these good guys are necessary, but nothing outstanding.


The Old Bad Guys

Old because we've seen them before, but still possibly my two favorite figures in the set. Poison Ivy, who is just an amalgamation of regular comic-book Ivy looks, is a gorgeous figure.  The printing in her hair, the plant-y body, the green lipstick… lovely. A nice addition too for anybody that didn't get the Batcave.  Joker is also wonderful. He wore a prison outfit in the Batman: Under the Red Hood movie, so this outfit could be based on that; regardless, it's a great torso with wide usefulness. The Joker face and hair was superb to begin with, so coupled with the lovely torso, it's just another superb figure. I was surprised to find that the color under the neck is actually flesh (sorry yellow lovers); I thought it was white from pictures.
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Both have reverse faces that I like less. Joker's works well for being locked up and maniacal, but the grin is a bit too creepy-wide for me. Ivy's mouth looks a little too close to her eyes, but it's still ok.
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Ivy has some quite low-cut back printing, and Joker has a inmate number. The number is really the only detracting factor from the torso - if you collected a bunch of the torso, all your prisoners would have the same number! Or maybe that's useful for something.
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The New Bad Guys

Dr. Harleen Quinzel is clearly from Batman: The Animated Series where she's introduced, subsequently goes mad and becomes Harley Quinn. The Harley outfit under her doctor's coat isn't from anything specifically, but perhaps in the context of this set it's showing that she's already Harley Quinn and is merely dressing up like her old self. The face is great (girls with glasses, yay!) but I find the torso to be fairly bland and single-use. This Penguin with lovely lilac pants is reminiscent of the Gotham Underground Penguin; LEGO pulled off a fat look very well, and it's useful parts all around, but still I find his face pretty ugly (ugly still is useful, though). Scarecrow has a generic Scarecrow look, but frankly looks amazing! The old one was a bit creepier, but this one is more on the adorably creepy side, which I like. He looks so sly and mischievous.
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More lovely stitch-work on Scarecrow's back, while the others have fairly regular, by-the-books back printing. Still nice for a well rounded figure in today's LEGO day and age.
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Harley has a reverse 'Harley' head with sloppily applied white face paint - a great touch. Scarecrow has lovely printing on the back of his head that could be quite useful for other things, like plain scarecrows. It's stuff like this that make him a standout figure.
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I was sad to find that the Harley face is the same as the one on the full-Harley figure. This would've been a great opportunity to get a third expression for her, but instead we're stuck with the same one I didn't like much last time anyway. Her hat is glossier this time, though.
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Minifigure Accessories

There are surprisingly few true accessories. I say 'true accessories' because plenty of the detail bits in this set, like the sais or the axe blades or spears, could double as accessories, but these are the only ones LEGO tells you to use as accessories. Just a plain pole for Robin, a batarang for Batman, handcuffs for the guard, and a fish and umbrella for the Penguin. Scarecrow is really sorely missing a scythe.
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BUILD HIGHLIGHTS

I'm not going to show the whole build; most of it is pretty straight forward, or you can see what's done on the finished model. There were just a few things that stood out, so I'll show you them and provide musings, as always.

Quite early on is the use of two newish SNOT pieces together to make the front of the truck. Just made me think about how useful all the new SNOT pieces are, and how well they work together. I imagine that to people who actually MOC regularly (unlike myself), these must be amazing.
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You think that SNOT is cool, check out the side of the truck. Seriously, this thing needs a tissue. But it's awesome!
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This is a nice little assembly for a lantern that I hadn't seen before. The single stud is the top, and the cone slots onto another bar.
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This assembly, though, is utterly annoying. These are necessary to attached the windows on the center part, so four are built over time. Stacking everything straight is a nightmare! I'm not sure of an alternative, and you can power through it, but man is it annoying. Shorter ones are also needed for the shorter window assemblies.
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Finally, somebody employed Shire architects in Gotham! It's the same technique used in the Bag End Hobbit set, and I was surprised to find that once it's closed with another arch on the other side, the window isn't actually snug - it rattles around. Still, the effect is worth it.
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THE COMPLETED SET

After hours of toiling, the set is finished! Builds this big really do take quite a while. Before we get to the main shebang, the big cheese, *ahem* the Asylum itself, we need to go through the other stuff!


The Van and Restraining Stretcher

This van model is the best I've seen in LEGO. It's quite old school, with a 40s-ish vibe, and that's excellent. The front makes it look pretty tough, and it certainly gives you the feeling it's going to an old-school institute for the insane. The curved Cars part is employed so well in front of the windshield. Also major props to the set designer on the studlessness. Truly an amazing vehicle.
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The big tiles on the side give it a great, boxy look. I just love how the tiles hide half the wheels. Really this whole thing has spot-on proportions and coloring, and parts use. I know it'd still look great as an unmarked van without the stickers.
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Those big white doors on the back are great too. I can almost see this being converted into a milk truck; big white doors say 'refrigerator' to me. Here we also have the worst sticker - that annoying license plate that you're supposed to center somehow on a 6-long tile.
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The cabin is quite detailed, with a stickered radio console, steering wheel, and shift. There's even enough room that you could probably fit another figure in, though it'd be tight.
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Now then, since this is an Arkham prisoner transport truck, the guard is guiding Joker into the restraining stretcher. The bars and droid arms work so well on this thing to give it a creepy metal feel. Looks like the type of contraption Hannibal would be transported in.
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Once Joker is strapped (or in LEGO - clipped), he can be easily slid into the truck. The one thing I'd worry about is that there's no barrier between him and the guard in there, so if he breaks free that spells doom for our security friend.
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The Gate

The black gate (no LotR reference) is quite intimidating. It's odd that the separate gate halves aren't designed to come together, but they still seem a bit tough regardless.  The color scheme for the entire building is set up here: grey with dark red highlights and some black. The designer's got nice consistency going through the set, really bringing the gate and the building together.
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These dark guardian statues are wonderful. The Chima wings really take them to the next level, making them supremely spooky and intimidating. The angled piece below for a robe is also inspired parts use. Here you can also see the nice lantern build I showed earlier, and that the security camera is on a grey skeleton arm, another nice part use.
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I'm not too sure what the pieces with spears angling off are about; I suppose they give the illusion that the fence continues, which is nice. I'm not sure they're totally necessary, but I'll take it. The van, as you can see, fits nicely through the gate.
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The Asylum - Exterior

We've made it to the main event, the Asylum! That is one freaking nice-looking building. It's got excellent repeating architectural themes running through it, like the wall pieces with groove, the rounded modified pieces at the bottom of each wall segment, the dark red, the similar windows, etc. but then each part of the building is spiced up with something unique to keep it from being monotonous.
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I love how the whole part of the building under the tower is a bit different, what with the big slope going down. It makes it look like it's built up more to support the tower.
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There are a lot of excellent small and larger details to see. The little spires with teeth and unicorn horns are lovely and provide a nice stronger look compared to the sais. The use of hand-claw weapons is also quite good. A very impressive larger aspect is the window design; for a moment I wondered why they didn't just use smoke pieces in 1x4 instead of all the 1x2s, but the 1x2s really give it a great window-ish look. It's great how there are taller window units on the main room, and then a shorter one of similar design off on the other room.
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This little gargoyle deserves special note. Another absolutely inspired use of parts, coming together to make this wonderful little guy (guys, since there are two). When I first saw pictures of the set, I thought it was some new head attachment, but no, just a frog! Brilliant.
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I just wanted to finish this section off with perhaps my favorite portion of all: the entrance. The doors, the surrounding steps, the little lanters… everything about this part is brilliant.
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The Asylum - Interior

This set doesn't skimp in the slightest on interior design. Here's the overview, but that won't do… we need close-ups!
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I'll start with my favorite section - which is again the entrance. The doors look so strong due to the black handle parts and smooth-bottom tiles. Very asylum-like. The fire extinguisher is fun too, as is the phone, though I'm not sure why the danger phone is just sitting there in the hall. Unless it's not a danger phone.
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Really, my love for this section comes down to the security station. The way it's a step down from the main entrance, with the wood table-top part, and the controls and panic button - it feels so real and fun. There isn't even much to it, but sometimes it's the littlest things that work the best.
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Moving over to the right is the weakest part of the set: the rotating thing. On this side are the extra prison cell signs, so you can swap out figures if you want to/have them (aka go buy the other sets!). But let's think about this for a second. Ivy already has a dedicated cell upstairs, as does Freeze, as we shall see. So those are useless. I don't know who LEGO could've put instead; since I'm pretty sure Riddler never went to Arkham. Or if he did, then he should be here. Did Catwoman? Lex Luthor? In any case, two of these don't make real sense.
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On the other side is this little makeup stand where Harley pours out her love for Joker on a mirror and does herself up in clown makeup. The stand is well-detailed, and I dig the little bottles made out of flowers and round tiles, but there's no room at this thing. Harley has to stand off the building just to fit. Good idea, but bad execution. Also, the way the set is, I'd think a guard could just walk in and see her. Good thing there's only one guard staffing the place, I guess.
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On the other side of the entrance is the cell block. This part looks quite good: lots of bars, doors, nice printed tiles that look like electronic locks - no wild parts uses, but it does the trick. You may wonder why there is that odd 3-long technic pin receptor above the cells (I thought it was just for decoration at first), but all shall be revealed.
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The doors are constructed so that they can be slid away together for some whole-prison break fun. Sliding is fun!
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Or you could just open a single door, though it's harder to get your fingers in there to extract the figure. As you see, you can also have a bit of fun with the signs, lumping a lot of people in a single cell.
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Above Harley's secret area is a little office, probably also for her (I mean, do you see another Doctor in the set?). The desk is more ornate than it needs to be, though I do like the design. I'm not even sure what material it's reminiscent of in real life, but it looks great. The armchair is also a cute build with excellent color choices.
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One interesting note above: the roof uses two styles of hinges, allowing it to be in a very certain place but achieve angles that it couldn't with only click-hinges.
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The middle room is an examination area. The big black columns make the ceiling feel very high, and the room spacious. Small cramped spaces are scary, but there's something equally creepy about the thought of being experimented on in a cavernous room where your screams could really echo. Ok, enough morbidity. The table has some great details, like the bottles of stuff, and the drawers, one of which uses a hinge brick to permanently look open. It's weird, but looks cool. You could always 'close' it by taking out the hinge brick. The exam table is also a great use of parts.
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To the left we have the room with Ivy's cell. I love the huge glass doors, which I hope are made out of thick glass in the 'play' world. Otherwise, Ivy could easily cause plants to smash through them. The little plant build in the corner is cute, and kind of mocks Ivy. You know, heh, I'm a plant, etc. Ok, never mind. The use of cheese slopes on the window Scarecrow smashed out of produces a wonderful broken effect.
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Perhaps Arkham staff is especially nice to women, since Ivy gets a cell far more spacious than any other in here.
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Up top is the tower, with a lovely sticker showing temperature control. I love on the sticker the yellow button that mimics the design on the printed tiles (a design which has been in use for ages, I might add). But, why does it need temp control, you ask?
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It's a cell for Mr. Freeze, complete with some white snow and trans-light-blue ice! Very nice of LEGO to add this cell, making you want to spend more money on the Mr. Freeze set. Well, I haven't done that yet, so in the meantime they locked up Thi Sen. He can deal with cold, anyway.
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ALTERNATE CONTRUCTION

Somehow I didn't even realize this until I got the set, but Arkham can be rearranged! It breaks apart into three sections, like so:
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Taking it apart is the easy part, though. Making all those pins line up is far more difficult, resulting in a bunch of what I like to call KABLAMOS. They look like this:
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Once you figure it out, you get this new arrangement. Personally, I'm not a huge fan. If you have very little shelf space, maybe do this to save room, but otherwise the first look is better. This set is already not physically that huge - it's packed with parts and details, but the actual space it takes up in the world once built is not that great. In this second arrangement, it takes up even less space, making it less impressive. Moving the tower off to the side also isn't as nice.
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The interior produced has ups and downs. Harley now has a lot of room by her secret Joker-fetish stand, but now nobody can stand on the other side of her desk. Also, it's much harder to access the second cell in the cell block in this configuration.
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CONCLUSION

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There's a lot to like in this set. Time and time again, I found myself wowed by building techniques and parts usages. I don't regularly get any of the exclusive sets, so that may be a common thing, but I'm really impressed with it in this set. The overall facade detailing of Arkham is also fantastic - not too monotonous, but very far from a hot mess too. The interior is good overall, especially in the entrance area, with the perfect little security station. The only part that really fails is the Harley stand, though the desk and chair in the office also are kind of filler despite being well-built.

The van - I don't have many more words about it. The van is truly amazing. I'd buy it if they released it separately, no questions.

The minifigure selection is good, not fantastic, but maybe that's just because I'm not a huge Batman fan. A different Robin would've been greatly appreciated, but there's a lot good about what you do get.

The one slight problem in my mind is, again, size. I've been feeling it with most LEGO sets recently - there are tons of detailed packed in, but the resulting model isn't huge. This building is, of course, quite large, but not really bigger than older castle sets or the old Ninja Fortress in footprint, just way more parts put into detailing. Now, does it matter? To MOCers, certainly not. To people who want display pieces, still not really, because this is an impressive building. It's just odd how LEGO sets have gotten a bit… smaller. I'm not trying to say this set isn't a good value, and eventually I'll just have to get over the size thing. For now, though, I still don't know how I feel.


RATINGS

Minifigures: 8/10 - Robin is dull, and Harley isn't so exciting herself. Not bad, just not standout.
Parts: 10/10 - A lot of parts period, and a lot of interesting things, including a few parts in exclusive colors. Great!
Design: 8.7/10 - Great consistently, but there are some parts that are downright annoying to build or annoying to sticker. Rearranging the model can also get tough, though I'm not sure anything's to be done about that.
Price: 9.5/10 - Feels right for the US market anyway, though again, the finished thing isn't extremely large.
Playability: 10/10 - Quite a lot of fun to be had in the set, roleplaying with the minifigures, sliding the cell doors, driving the van around, etc. I 'played' for an hour taking pictures of fun!

Overall: 9.24/10 - A high score. There are a few little things about this set that don't completely hit the mark, but it still has quite a lot going for it. If you're on the fence, I'd say go for it if you like excellent buildings, or Batman, or cool vans, or hopefully all of that.


I took quite a few fun or atmospheric pictures that I didn't end up using in the review to let a little of your bandwidth survive, so please check out the Flickr set if you'd like! Here's one I thought to take because I wished the rope in this set had been a different color:
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Thanks again to Bonaparte and LEGO for giving me this grand reviewing opportunity!
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#2 Speedy

Speedy

  • White Reggaeist


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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:04 AM

Thanks for the review :thumbup:

This reminds me a lot of the Bagend set, in that the designers are starting to make sets with irregular builds like MOC'ers, particularly with the gates and gargoyle, though they've been doing it in the modulars for a while.  Is it a shift to more AFOL style sets, or have they just decided kids can handle it.  Either way, they are really interesting.

I agree the minfigs are hit and miss.  I don't have a Scarecrow or Poison Ivy, so they'd make me happy, but I'm getting pretty overwhelmed with Batmen.  

This set will be in my "likely to buy" pile this year, though it'll be competing with the Monster Mansion and whatever modular is released.

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#3 WhiteFang

WhiteFang

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:21 AM

Thank you Clonie for advancing this review and doing a superb job for it!

It is truly magnificent to see this set being re-released again. I missed the earlier version and even decline to buy it when it was on the shelf back then. Seeing it once more, I will definitely acquire this set when it is released. This set is not just any other normal set, but instead it's a play set to engage with the minifigures and the playing features in a fun and interactive manner.

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#4 ZO6

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:24 AM

Wonderfully detailed review, Cloney!  What a beautiful set!

I'm really glad TLG has released a new Arkham Asylum, especially one with this many pieces and details.  I quite like the new figs in this set, particularly Scarecrow and Penguin.  The rest of the figs round things out nicely.  I'm glad to see that the truck is of such high quality.  I always hate it when a set comes with a vehicle that eats up lots of parts but then ultimately ends up being somewhat of a throwaway.  The gate looks really nice too - it's like a beefed up version of the one from the Haunted House.

I'm a bit disappointed about the physical size of the asylum.  I totally get what you're saying about modern sets often feeling small.  New sets are made up of so many tiny pieces that contribute to high piece counts and highly detailed models, but they also leave you with a feeling of your model having been shrunk in the dryer.  It's a fine line to balance.  We AFOLS are often complaining about large pieces being used in place of smaller ones, but this is the result.  I'm all for highly detailed models, but it's a bummer when the final product doesn't appear to have given you your money's worth.  I personally think that if you're happy with the look of the final model, and it has the features (whether they be play functions or figures) that appeal to you, then it doesn't matter what the size of the final product is.

Anyways, moving on.  I'm glad that TLG took the route that they did with this model - making it highly detailed.  Both the exterior and interior of the asylum are gorgeous, and there are plenty of little things to fiddle around with.  It's a shame that a big set like this couldn't have gone the extra step and included more printed pieces, but I suppose it would have only jacked up the price more.

And yet, looking through the pictures of the set, I can't help but feel that it's still missing something.  Maybe I'm still too much of a kid at heart, but I want more functions and things that move.  The security station, office space, and examination room are all well and good, but they lack traps or action features (I don't mean flick-fire missiles, but instead things that move or explode).  I guess it's fun to place Harley in the office or a guard at the security desk and use your imagination for some scenario, but this is a Batman set and it needs more action.  And while there is ample floorspace in some spots (examination area), there is a completely lack of studs in other key places like outside the cells or by the rotating make-up thing.  This set is also just begging to have two small "rooms" behind the two roof sections.  The ceilings on the second floor just go up forever, it would have been nice to have had an attic/loft space.  

Ultimately this is an amazing set.  I'm really happy that something like this was made available for Lego fans.  I'm planning on picking up my copy in a couple days.  Despite my complaints, the strengths of the set far outweigh any negatives.

Thanks again for the early review!

#5 Ceroknight

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:27 AM

Brilliant review!
This is an absolutely amazing set with its selection of minifigures, a brilliantly designed van and the architecture of the Asylum itself.
The one thing that I find incomplete is the design of the roof. The lack of a 'top piece' really bothers me. :sceptic:
The Canadian price is also not that great, but I will try to save some VIP points to reduce the price and get this! :sweet:
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#6 Sinner

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:30 AM

Excellent review (and done really fast too I might  note)! Harline is a disappointment but other than that it's  all very desirable I might have to remove the Monster Mansion from my list and replace it with this...





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#7 Esurient

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:51 AM

Great review and lots of great pictures! :thumbup:  Thank you!
This set will be a must get for me since I missed out on the old Arkham Asylum and this set has come at the right time! Woohoo. :laugh:
Now appearing as Elin Surefoot 397 years old Dwarven Cleric in Sandy's Cruel Angel's Thesis

#8 RoxYourBlox

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:53 AM

View PostClone O, on 26 December 2012 - 01:39 AM, said:

This assembly, though, is utterly annoying. These are necessary to attached the windows on the center part, so four are built over time. Stacking everything straight is a nightmare! I'm not sure of an alternative, and you can power through it, but man is it annoying. Shorter ones are also needed for the shorter window assemblies.
Line them up as you like, then place the tower on its side against a glass- or laminated-top table. Press down, and you're done.

Edited by RoxYourBlox, 26 December 2012 - 02:54 AM.


#9 ZO6

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:02 AM

View PostRoxYourBlox, on 26 December 2012 - 02:53 AM, said:

Line them up as you like, then place the tower on its side against a glass- or laminated-top table. Press down, and you're done.

For things like that I always build them on their side.  I let whatever surface I'm building on keep edges flush as I stack the pieces.  Works like a charm every time.

Also, I've already been thinking about my first comment, and I have a bit more to add.  I feel as though I was downplaying the importance of one's use of imagination, and I didn't mean for that.  Using one's imagination is of the utmost importance when it comes to building and playing with Lego.  And when it comes to action functions and whatnot - the best ones are those that do neat stuff without negatively affecting the integrity of the model.  I would much rather take neat details that enhance the look of the set then some wacky play function that ruins how the model is built.  In this case, the security desk, examination area, and office space all add loads of charm to the model in a way that say a trap door couldn't.  

Thinking about the target age range for this set, I think the balance between construction techniques/overall look of the model and play functions was well handled.

#10 daniel gourhan22

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:12 AM

The Riddler is admitted to Arkham.

Bane, Catwoman, and The Penguin are generally depicted as sane and sent to Blackgate.

Great review, I will be getting this set with my Christmas money.

#11 Herman Lee

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:09 AM

Thanks for your review. The back of the box should show more details like what you found.

I just want to say:
  • What components can be made in Hong Kong?
  • The reason why the size is relatively small may be the cost control effect. An article I read said they need to set the maximum pieces as 2,400.


#12 Dark Knight

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:18 AM

I must say I love this set very much. It's just robin's short cape that really makes me feel uncomfortable. It makes him look silly:). Dun u guy think so? Merry christmas

#13 daniel gourhan22

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:51 AM

His cape  is shorter because of the hood, to make it look like the cape is hiked up.

But to some it looks silly, to me it looks awesome.

Merry Christmas to all.

#14 Oligarchy

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:18 AM

Thanks for the wonderful review, amazing pictures. I think I'm going to get this but I'm afraid of the Canadian pricing.

#15 The Penguin

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:40 AM

Outstanding review, as usual! :classic:  :thumbup:

The set is indeed smaller, it seems, than it looks at first glance, and when you compare it with the size of the box. The pic where you compare the box with the size of the minifig is most impressive.

Despite all the good things about it, I can't help noticing that the number of variants you can combine parts of the set is somewhat limited. I mean if I buy, say, 2 AA sets there will be not many variants I can combine them with each other. Which is a shame!

You don't like The penguin fig?! :cry_sad: Aw-w-w-w-w!
I thought he was awesome. :grin:

Thanks again for bringing us that most impressive review! :sweet:

Good day, ladies and gentlemen! ) :classic:

#16 Darth Wayne

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:53 AM

Damn after already getting the SSD i cannot justify grabbing another huge set so soon :( hopefully this will stay in print for at least another year or more

#17 seaotter71

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:54 AM

thanks for the review. Solidified my lust for this set. I particularly loved the statues (don't blink) and was surprised with the gargoyle. I would have loved it if it had included a new Nightwing, instead of yet another robin. The thing that has changed for me since first hearing of this set is that Scott Snyder's run on the comic books is really dark and twisted, and is causing me to look be a little at unease at the cuteness of the minifigs and a LEGO depiction of such a dark place. Still, I understand how something like
Batman is beyond specific interpretations and can go all over the map. I might be in for some interesting nightmares. Anyway, thanks for the wonderful review.

#18 jonwil

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:22 PM

The first Arkham set included a cell for Riddler. No idea if it is canon though :)

#19 ???theriddler???

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

This is my favorite batman set, and i think it's the best batman set so far. It really has the feeling of batman. I really like the nice windows. It's indeed annoying to build them, but i like what you get in the end. I have a big shelf, but i like the second construction more. It has a more compact, 3d effect.
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#20 marcosbessa

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:31 PM

Thanks for your review! It was really well done and written, paying a lot of attention to all details. :)

One of my favorite elements of this set is also the van. I had a great time designing it!

And speaking of the design process, feel free you guys to put together a list of questions about this set in particular - like why did the cell stickers include Poison Ivy and not Catwoman or the Riddler? - and then send them to me. I can try to answer to as many as I can.

And as a curiosity, Bagend's window was designed after mine, not the other way around. ;)

#21 The Penguin

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:48 PM

Actually, this image raises a question. If I buy two AA sets and build both of them exactly the way it's shown on the pic, then put them together, am I right in thinking that I'll get a "fully closed" building?
As far as I can see technically it's possible, no? If so, it is amazing! :sweet:

What still remains uncler is the Penguin's panel on the cage? Generally he's considered to be one of the few actually sane Batman villains. You don't really consider a man wearing a monocle and carrying cool umbrellas with him insane, do you? :grin:

Good day, ladies and gentlemen! ) :classic:

#22 daniel gourhan22

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 05:41 PM

Macosbessa. Great set man, all the little details are awesome. Can't wait to get to get this set, I'm a huge Batman fan.

The Penguin raises a point, why is there one for Penguin? Like he said, Penguin is one of Batman's sane villains, the other three are Catwoman, Bane, and Mr. Freeze. The last one goes to Arkham anyway because they can provide the condition he needs to survive.

Better yet, why are ones for Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze, the have there own specific cells with no way to attach to the cells. I wish there was one for Riddler, Croc, and Mad Hatter.

#23 Sid Sidious

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:02 PM

Is that a phone piece being used as a phone?  Blasphemy!  Everyone knows they are only for greebling UCS ships.  Great review of this set, it looks really nice, but out of my price range.  Dat SNOT on the truck, it does need a tissue.

#24 BrickG

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:30 PM

Honestly I'm not liking it that much for a few reasons.

1) We get too many duplicate Minifigures.  

2) The Price.


The price feels way too high.  And since it comes with duplicate minifigures that I have no interest in having duplicates of (Ivy, Cop, basically (but not entirely) Batman and Robin) I'm having trouble justifying buying it.  Yes, it has the new Penguin and Scarecrow which are probably the main draws (since we've already had Joker and Harley, just not in this clothing) but it feels like...  it's one of those "trap" sets.  I have to spend an ungodly amount of $$$ to get these VERY important Minifigures.  

More people can probably live without most of them (especially since they're duplicates) however I'm just sick of them sticking the key, important figures in ridiculously overpriced sets.


TMNT did it right.  None of the sets were this expensive.  You could get all the Turtles with just 3 sets and basically have all the important parts WITHOUT even spending THIS MUCH on a single set.



I don't like that practice.  It's good for business but just makes me pissed.  Lego is already expensive.  I'm not rich.  Stop making it so hard to collect the things I want.  If I end up buying this set it'll JUST be for a few of the exclusive minifigures.  The build looks decent but honestly not superly interesting (unlike the Grand Emporeum, Pet Shop, etc) because it's a tiny sliver of a building.

Edited by BrickG, 26 December 2012 - 07:31 PM.


#25 Bobstapwns

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:50 PM

"Moving over to the right is the weakest part of the set: the rotating thing. On this side are the extra prison cell signs, so you can swap out figures if you want to/have them (aka go buy the other sets!). But let's think about this for a second. Ivy already has a dedicated cell upstairs, as does Freeze, as we shall see. So those are useless. I don't know who LEGO could've put instead; since I'm pretty sure Riddler never went to Arkham. Or if he did, then he should be here. Did Catwoman? Lex Luthor? In any case, two of these don't make real sense."

The Riddler was in the 2006 Arkham set. Also, I thought Penguin went to Blackgate, which would be a waste of his tile, too...and that also doesn't make sense as to why he is in the set. :3 LEGO should've thought it out better than they did, if you ask me.



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