Clone OPatra

REVIEW: 76112 App-Controlled Batmobile

76112 App-Controlled Batmobile  

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It's a bird, it's an App-Controlled Batmobile, it's a... oh it is an App-Controlled Batmobile. Ok then!

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Set Name: App-Controlled Batmobile

Set #: 76112

Theme: DC Superheroes - Batman

Parts: 321

Minifigures: 1

Year of Release: 2018

Price on Release: 100 USD, 140 AUD, 90 GBP, 900kr, 100 EUR (varies by country)

Flickr Set LEGO Brickset Bricklink (not yet)

Thank you to LEGO for providing this set for review. The review is an expression of my own opinions.

INTRODUCTION

The latest in a long legacy of stunningly gorgeous remote-control LEGO sets, 76112 App-Controlled Batmobile rolled out to much skepticism and bewilderment when information first became available, at least from what I read online. "$100 for that weird looking thing? You've gotta be joking mate!" But actually, if you check that handy link to a list of remote-control sets on Brickset, you'll see that this one lines up perfectly with what's come before in terms of cost for content. And while I'm clearly being a bit sarcastic about some of the horrendous-looking RC models that have come before, it seems from the user reviews that at least a few people quite enjoyed them.

So, how does this stack up? As a Powered Up (tm) set, one you build and then drive with your phone because you needed more screen time with your LEGO, is it worth your hard-earned pennies? Let's find out!

BOX

I don't think I've ever seen a LEGO box with a picture of human hands holding a smartphone on the front before, so that's very striking right off the bat (geddit?). They've also used a completely different colour scheme than the rest of the DC Superheroes line and a modern stylish Batman logo that evokes the Rocksteady Batman games logo because this set feels vaguely "inspired" by the Arkham Knight Batmobile. All-in-all, it's a design that will surely stand out on shelves for its uniqueness.

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However for a 100 USD product the box is quite small, compared to another recently released 100 USD product. It's interesting to highlight the difference, but this isn't a regular set.

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The back is quite sensibly all about highlighting the functions, though I have no idea what some of those symbols near the bluetooth hub are meant to be because they don't appear in the app or anywhere else.

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I do appreciate that it opens like one of the more premium sets, and it forces you to Hashtag because all of the kids these days are Hashtagging and LEGO is for kids didn't you know? In other words if you don't have Instagram don't bother buying this.

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PARTS and THE BUILD

Inside the box you'll find three numbered bags (ymmv on if all of the numbering styles will be the same), four loose balloon tires, the bluetooth/battery box hub, and two motors. Plus the instructions of course, but honestly there's nothing worth photographing in these instructions so I'll just say that I found it interesting that there are no written directions for how to download the app, just a page showing the app logo and an arrow pointing to your phone, and the name of the app to search in your app store.

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Bag 1 contains a bunch of technic-type stuff, random bright colours you didn't expect, the minifigure, and the juicy bat-cessory pack which I've covered in depth in this separate article.

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When you're finished with Bag 1 it's quite a colourful mess that could be anything (besides like a castle but ok you get what I mean).

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Bag 2 contains parts to start building up the shaping and look, and also one 1x2 teal tile for no reason whatsoever besides that the designers seemed to get a mandate this year to use as much re-introduced teal as possible I guess. There's also a sand green hinge base and tan cheese slopes which in combination remind me of Harry Potter, and the opaque black windscreens which are slightly but not all that rare, especially compared to many of the other opaque colours for that part.

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Here's that teal plate sticking out quite conspicuously:

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And then it's gone, never to be seen again unless you're looking down into the open cockpit from behind.

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Bag 3 finishes off the model, so naturally it contains mostly black and grey, and of course the red windscreen which has come in three sets in that colour so is nice but not particularly rare. I was surprised to see that the Nexo-shield On button was printed, though it's a kind of raised print application that has the resultant effect of looking like a sticker. But we know it's not, so it's great!

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The single technique that stood out to me most in the build was the on button. It's activated using just the natural give in long plates - no hinge, technic bit to push, or anything. The button on the bluetooth receiver is designed to be pressed with just the lightest touch, so depressing a plate with a boat plate attached is enough to activate it.

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On the less nice side of things, the back struck me as messy right away even with the wires as neatly folded as I could get them.

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MINIFIGURE

Sadly for Batman minifigure collectors, this set contains an exclusive, very detailed Batman, so people who fit that collector description will have to buy it just for the minifig. Or, y'know, Bricklink. I do love the level of detail here from the torso all the way down through the toes. From glancing at images I expected both torso and legs to be gunmetal grey, but the torso actually is moulded in black. The figure looks perfect from the front, but the difference in colour is a bit more noticeable and jarring from the back.

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The face has some nice stubble originally made for grimdark Batfleck, but now good for grimdark other Batmen as well.

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Batman comes with the typical one Batarang and one spare, which he brandishes with a grimace.

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THE COMPLETED BATMOBILE

Putting aside the functionality, which of course we'll get to, the model looks... weird. I'm not super-up on Batman vehicles throughout the years, but I know that Batman has had a wide variety and recently several tank-like cars like the Tumbler and the Arkham Knight Batmobile. This one certainly isn't out of line with those completely. Still, it looks a bit awkward in person.

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From the back things get worse as it becomes apparent that the set is more built for the RC functionality than for aesthetic purposes, though it doesn't have a huge antenna sticking out of it so that's good!

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You probably wouldn't look at it from this angle ever in real life, but this isn't real life. From this low angle it looks quite aggressive. The bigger Bat-symbols don't do much for me but the little one on the front is ace.

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It's quite tank-like when viewed this way.

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Aaaand it's a bit stubby and odd when viewed straight from the side. The back also sticks out in a strange way.

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Like in lots of vehicles, Batman has to lie down quite dramatically to fit in the cockpit. Luckily in this instance he doesn't have to operate his Batmobile though, since the human overlord (namely, you) does it for him from the app.

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The cockpit also dangerously opens down into the wheelbase which is surely quite loud and unpleasant for Batman, but the tan trim and printed control panels are nice details that let you know at least a little bit of design work went into it.

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APP-CONTROLLING THE BATMOBILE

By this point I've established that the parts in this set aren't too interesting, the minifigure is great, and the completed looks of the thing are so-so, but obviously the real test and also point of interest of this set is how it functions.

It's easy to find the LEGO Powered Up app in the app store, which will hopefully work with whatever smart device you have, and once downloaded and opened it gives you the option to choose the train control app or the Batmobile control app. There's space on that screen for more, so I presume we can expect more sets coming with the Powered Up control system.

I've never had any motorised LEGO before (besides ZNAP... don't ask), but I've watched the development of the various systems over the years and the amazing thing that strikes me with this set is how it relies on so few specialised motor-parts for the functionality. A battery box is a given, but most previous RC LEGO cars have had some sort of big base, while this just uses two motors which can be used for anything that needs rotation really. I know nothing about app programming but I know that obviously these two motors have to be rotating in opposite directions to get the Batmobile to drive forward as they're mounted 180 degrees from each other. That in itself is probably easy to achieve but to a newb like me it feels really built from the ground up out of parts that could do anything, which is exactly how LEGO should be.

Of course, that all fails if it doesn't run well or isn't fun to play with, so that's what I'll be looking at now.

The app has two different modes for controlling and driving the Batmobile. I haven't found official names for these, so I'll call the red one the Driving mode and the blue one the Function mode.

Here's the Driving one. You can slide the controls up and down to change speeds, and hit buttons to pop a wheelie, sort of turn around, or quickly drive forward and then turn around. Unfortunately you can't use the button functions in conjunction with driving, so if you want to pop a wheelie you have to stop, pop a wheelie, stop again, and then continue driving.

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In Function mode you can't pick a speed but the Batmobile actually controls more easily. Every tap of the plus or minus buttons makes it lurch, or if you hold them down it will go forward or back, as you would imagine. The function buttons here allow it to kind of shudder backwards in a fright, pop a wheelie (of course), or vibrate and jitter around.

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But you want to see it in action, don't you! That's why I've put together a couple of different videos. The first shows me demonstrating the app with minimal editing so that you can just see how it runs.

Overall, as you can hopefully see, it is fun to drive, but there are some annoyances. In Driving mode it won't run at any speed under 40, which makes the numbers under 40 a bit misleading (they're effectively 0). Also when trying to drive just one of the sides it only works sporadically. I've tested this on a nice carpeted surface too and it has the same result, so it's not a problem of it having too little traction on my smoother studio surface. Driving in Function mode works better and is therefore more enjoyable, but I wish the Driving mode worked better because in theory getting to choose speed is the way you'd want to drive.

As far as the pre-programmed functions in each mode go, the ones in Driving mode are more useful in theory because it's nice to do various turns at the touch of a button. The various jerks in the Function mode are cute novelties but would get a bit old. Like I've said, though, you can't continuously drive and touch a button and have it go straight from driving into the pre-programmed turn. Instead, you basically have to take your fingers off of the drive controls to properly hit the button, and no matter what the Batmobile stops before doing the function. Therefore the turns are rendered a bit useless, and I think kids will have a better time with the blue Function mode overall given the problems with the red Driving mode. Perhaps LEGO will work on making the app better with updates, but we'll see.

The other major thing to mention is speed. In either mode, at full throttle it just doesn't go all that fast. Now, you wouldn't exactly want it to because it's made out of lots of fiddly bits that definitely will fall off if you crash, unlike those old not-really-LEGO RC cars that were super sturdy and could survive crash after crash from what I've read. So on the one hand, I'd get frustrated if it went fast and I had to fix it all the time. On the other hand, you just kind of want an RC car to go fast. It's a conundrum.

But don't get me wrong. It still is fun to drive it around especially given that you've just built something out a bunch of parts that looked nothing like a drive-able car when you opened the box, and now you're controlling it with your phone! What a world we live in.

CONCLUSION & RATINGS

Ultimately having built and tested the App-Controlled Batmobile, it's no longer perplexing to me like it was when I first got wind of it. It's proving the versatility of LEGO's newest motors and battery box system, and I can see the wisdom in LEGO making their newest RC car a tie-in because, while a plain RC Car is somewhat cool, an RC Batmobile for (every kid's favourite character) Batman to drive around in is awesomesauce!! The exclusive, highly detailed Batman minifigure is icing on that remote-controlled cake.

The price, while high, seems justified in the context of LEGO's previous RC offerings and of RC toys in general. I did a few quick searches for other remote-controlled Batmobiles on the market, and you can easily spend more for a toy that you can't deconstruct and turn into something else, or at the very least customize with other LEGO parts!

Still, there are drawbacks. First of all, the model just doesn't look that good and it isn't really recognizable as anything. I get why it has the short wheelbase and big tires that it does, but without those slapped-on new bat-cessories it wouldn't even look like a Batman vehicle. We'll see how it fares on the market, but I can't help but feel that if it was based on a Batmobile from some media, any media, it might have a better shot than it does now.

The driving functionality and app also have a variety of negatives, as I've detailed above.

Parts: 8/10 - Nothing exceptional, but the new Bat-cessories and a few other parts like the windscreen are nice, and the battery box and motors are obviously where it's at.

Minifigures: 9/10 - The minifigure looks great from the front but odd from some other angles due to the colour difference between torso and legs, and an additional villain minifig would've been nice so you'd have someone to run over repeatedly! 

Build/Design: 7/10 - It's quite frustrating trying to fold up those wires while building, and the finished thing doesn't look great from a variety of angles. The fact that it doesn't look very Batty besides the Bat-symbols also brings this down.

Functionality: 7.5/10 - Obviously as far as LEGO sets in general go this one has amazing functionality because, y'know, it drives, but the driving functions have a number of issues and the car just doesn't go all that fast.

Value for Money: 9.5/10 - It can't be judged against regular sets; as a whole package, building a solid vehicle (without any particularly specialised parts) that you control from your device, plus a great minifigure, makes it actually fair for the money especially compared with other RC Batmobiles out there.

Overall: 8.2/10 - Ultimately this score reflects that the App-Controlled Batmobile is not without faults in both model design and app functionality, but it's conceptually and functionally a strong and fun enough set that I would recommend it even at full price if an RC LEGO car or LEGO's Powered Up system interests you. They've come a long way, though there are improvements to be made yet.

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Until next time!

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This is one of those rare times where a Lego Batman set gives me such mixed feelings. I’ve not bought an RC set before, so it will be a new experience in that respect. It will also be the first set that I will want to mod - I’m normally too much of a purist to change them. But this is crying out for the wiring loom to be covered properly and a pair of the new type batwings at the very least. I’m curious as to what extent altering the wheelbase will have on the drive functions, as well. 

Great review of an interesting set, thank you.

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I'm not a huge fan that the minifigure didn't get gunmetal gray arms. The torso I don't mind; with arms matching the metal contrasting the black base of the torso, I think it would look great, similar to the DCEU Flash's bright red arms on dark red body.

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Thank you for the review I have been waiting of. It's a fun read and contains most of the things I wanted to know. :thumbup: One thing would have been the comparison between this set and the old IR RC cars.
I'm all into moving models, yet this set is not on my buying list, once because of the price tag and then because of the model itself.
For my taste TLC could have skipped the Batman license completely. But maybe we'll see a similar RC car in another surrounding/theme soon.

As a side note I was disappointed to see how bad the 'red mode' is working when it comes to precisely moving the Batmobile around (not moving at 50% at all? :look: ). Good to see it seems to work on the 'blue mode'.

All in all for me it would end up in a much lower overall score of around 5/10.

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While the RC LEGO cars will be a step forward to increase the playability in this new realm. I suppose this could be an another innovative start to embrace technologies with bricks together (similar to how TLG start with Mindstorms, for example). I just find it quite disappointing in the areas of actual smooth control. It doesn't really appear that it can be controlled smoothly and I guess there's lots of practice involved in this. I am neutral on this and I am probably not getting it because it is not a nice set which I will like to display and the SRP is definitely on the high side for me. 

Thanks for sharing this review with us. 

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On 7/26/2018 at 2:10 PM, Clone OPatra said:

It's a bird, it's an App-Controlled Batmobile, it's a... oh it is an App-Controlled Batmobile. Ok then!

Sorry....what is it?! :tongue:

So, this is indeed exactly the same unit as in the new train sets.

I am still not entirely sure what to think of the new Powered Up elements. Great work on the review though. We'll see what happens.

Your video made my laugh out loud. Delicate controls :laugh:

The sound is pretty annoying btw. The train makes the same sound.

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On 7/27/2018 at 4:03 AM, RedHoodPug said:

It will also be the first set that I will want to mod - I’m normally too much of a purist to change them. But this is crying out for the wiring loom to be covered properly and a pair of the new type batwings at the very least. I’m curious as to what extent altering the wheelbase will have on the drive functions, as well.

Yes the back wiring section could really use a MOD. I actually accidentally MOD'd it after it fell on the floor and smashed apart a little bit in the middle of the review, and then only realised after I'd taken a round of pictures. I brought the hinges for the back gait one stud closer to the body of the car, and the wiring still fit just fine and looked a bit less messy. But a proper MOD to cover the whole thing would be ideal.

On 7/27/2018 at 11:34 AM, BaneShake said:

I'm not a huge fan that the minifigure didn't get gunmetal gray arms. The torso I don't mind; with arms matching the metal contrasting the black base of the torso, I think it would look great, similar to the DCEU Flash's bright red arms on dark red body.

You've hit the nail on the head. I think you're absolutely right that it's the plain black arms that really do it in.

On 7/27/2018 at 5:55 PM, Holodoc said:

Thank you for the review I have been waiting of. It's a fun read and contains most of the things I wanted to know. :thumbup: One thing would have been the comparison between this set and the old IR RC cars.
I'm all into moving models, yet this set is not on my buying list, once because of the price tag and then because of the model itself.
For my taste TLC could have skipped the Batman license completely. But maybe we'll see a similar RC car in another surrounding/theme soon.

As a side note I was disappointed to see how bad the 'red mode' is working when it comes to precisely moving the Batmobile around (not moving at 50% at all? :look: ). Good to see it seems to work on the 'blue mode'.

All in all for me it would end up in a much lower overall score of around 5/10.

I'm glad the review provided most of what you wanted to see ! :classic: As I wrote, this is my first RC LEGO experience, so I couldn't provide that comparison to older RC sets unfortunately.

I get where you are coming from on how you might score it and I think if I was already into RC sets and moving LEGO in general than this set would disappoint me more. I naturally gravitated towards looking at it the way a kid might look at it if it's their first RC set ever, which I think LEGO is in a way intending it to be. As somebody completely uninitiated with no standard baseline or expectation, the set works well enough which is why it got the relatively high score from me that it did, though it definitely has issues. Not moving below 40% in red mode puzzles me and is quite frustrating and misleading when trying to control the model.

On 7/29/2018 at 12:40 AM, WhiteFang said:

I suppose this could be an another innovative start to embrace technologies with bricks together (similar to how TLG start with Mindstorms, for example). I just find it quite disappointing in the areas of actual smooth control. It doesn't really appear that it can be controlled smoothly and I guess there's lots of practice involved in this.

LEGO keeps trying to bust into the integrated technology market and I wonder how much this will succeed. It's a cool novelty to control a LEGO vehicle from your phone, but I don't know if it actually provides an easier point of entry than an RC car with a dedicated controller would, and LEGO has already done those. The red mode does take a bit of practice but the blue mode is quite easy to use straight away, so that's something.

On 8/1/2018 at 1:50 AM, Jim said:

Your video made my laugh out loud. Delicate controls :laugh:

The sound is pretty annoying btw. The train makes the same sound.

And that's without keeping in all of the times I accidentally ran it off of my table and had it smash on the floor! I didn't comment on it, but you're right the sound is quite obnoxious. It seemed to me like the sound wasn't even necessary or made mechanically, but I'm just a noob. Is the sound made from the motors? And if so, why on earth would LEGO let a design that makes that sound go through?

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The train carriage makes the same annoying sound. That probably has (more or less) the same motor design inside. It's not the battery box, so it has to be the motor.

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2 hours ago, Clone OPatra said:

And that's without keeping in all of the times I accidentally ran it off of my table and had it smash on the floor! I didn't comment on it, but you're right the sound is quite obnoxious. It seemed to me like the sound wasn't even necessary or made mechanically, but I'm just a noob. Is the sound made from the motors? And if so, why on earth would LEGO let a design that makes that sound go through?

It has always been the same for years now. But when I made two versions of that tracked racer to battle against each other on a local festival, I felt the same way you did: Why has the sound to be there? Couldn't it be just silent?

For the hot days right now (the hottest summer for the last 15 years) I made a LEGO fan out of a windmill:

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It's chilling capabilities are actually very well, using the L-motor and blades from set 9688, but it comes with a super annoying noise. :hmpf_bad:

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Thanks for the review: I think this is one I could put on my 'to get' list, especially if the rumoured 'programmability' gets up and running. I love the way that this looks a bit like the Mighty Micros, but at a giant scale: A Mighty Macro! I could see a flotilla of these customised (even modified tracked racers) chasing around a course at an event!

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Thx for the review. Good job!

I've got question. I was thinking about buying this set for MOCs for this new PF system and I was wondering is it possible to make motor run all the time WITHOUT tapping any button on the smartphone?

I would like to use those motors on diorama/exhibition and would like only turn it on/off from smartphone and not to be forced holding my finger for 8 hours on the phone ;)

Is it possible?

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2 hours ago, Kalais said:

I've got question. I was thinking about buying this set for MOCs for this new PF system and I was wondering is it possible to make motor run all the time WITHOUT tapping any button on the smartphone?

Is it possible?

Unfortunately, no. As these are the same components used in the Powered Up trains from my understanding, I checked out what would happen if I used the train modes in the Powered Up app since those allow you to just press a button and have it run. However, for whatever reason the train modes don't make the Batmobile run at all. It just sits there.

All in all you're much better off investing in the older power functions which have a proper on switch.

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21 hours ago, Clone OPatra said:

Unfortunately, no. As these are the same components used in the Powered Up trains from my understanding, I checked out what would happen if I used the train modes in the Powered Up app since those allow you to just press a button and have it run. However, for whatever reason the train modes don't make the Batmobile run at all. It just sits there.

All in all you're much better off investing in the older power functions which have a proper on switch.

That's a bummer :( Thx for the reply.

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I got this set three days ago and contrary to some reviews I find it not sturdy enough for relaxed play. People say it is a solid build, but I would say it breakes apart easily. Of course that is only when it hits something, but that naturally happens indoors. Chairs are a major enemy. :D

Overall a nice set. Bad design, but I was looking forward to new electronic elements.

Edited by Silvio

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