Batman's rogues gallery got a little more crowded in 1992. With the debut of Batman: The Animated Series, most of the villains were longtime foes of the Dark Knight....but creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini had a stroke of genius when they added a new character: Harley Quinn. Harley is the Joker's girlfriend and irritant, his confidant and sometimes his competition. She frequently goes on the lam with gal-pal Poison Ivy, and she's as nutty as the Joker is. She's a lot of fun, funny, and not quite as evil as some of the other Gotham City villains, but still a thorn in Batman's side. Over the last sixteen years, she's become a major player in the comic books and the various television series, and she's one of my favorites. So of course I was happy to see her included in the LEGO Batman video game and toy line--and she's in a very fun LEGO set at that.
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The official name of the set is "The Batcycle: Harley Quinn's Hammer Truck," and the 267-piece set retails for $29.99. Like all of the Batman LEGO sets, it's created as a hero-vs-villain playset, and there's a lot of play value in the design of both vehicles here.
This Batcycle takes more inspiration from the Batpod in The Dark Knight than a traditional motorcycle. It has three wheels--two mounted together in the front of the cycle, and a single wheel in the back. A small hood with the Batman logo is on the front, and there are small fin-like "Batwings" swinging out from the rear of the bike. Two small missiles are mounted on either side. He can either ride the Batcycle standing or sitting--I think Batman looks best standing on it, leaning forward. It's a complicated build, made mostly from LEGO "Technic" pieces. It rolls freely, and has an interesting suspension that makes it feel "real."
Harley Quinn's Hammer Truck is a fantastic design, basically a harlequin-colored monster truck with a gigantic swinging hammer. The truck tires are taller than a LEGO minifig, and are softer than other LEGO tires, feeling like they're inflated. The red and black of the truck mirror Harley's own costume. Many LEGO sets these days use stickers to add detail to the model, and while that can be irritating, here it works nicely. A Joker card is "Scotch taped" to the fender, there's an "I Heart Joker" bumper sticker, and a "WACK-A-BAT" slogan on the giant hammer. There are two small missiles on Harley's truck as well--my boys like using them to wreak havoc in Gotham City. The hammer has a mechanism that makes it swing and fall--you just twist a piece in the rear of the Hammer Truck, and the hammer is ready for the rampage.
There are only two characters included here--Harley Quinn and Batman. Harley is a faithful version of the character, with a new jester headdress for her. She's got a white face and gloves, and there are diamond details on her legs, just like the character "really" has on the cartoon. She's got blue eyes behind a domino mask, and slightly yellow teeth behind a black-lipped smile. Batman's costume has been updated to reflect "The Dark Knight," with more of a chain mail armor look to it. It uses the "Batman Begins" logo on the chest instead of the older classic Batman design, and the gold utility belt looks more like Christian Bale's than Adam West's. He's still got the scalloped cloth cape and the pointed cowl--for being two inches tall, it's a pretty good likeness.
This set comes with a lot of accessories, so both Harley and Batman can take on the other. They include four transparent diamond-shaped jewels, a Tommy gun, submachine gun and pistol. These all fit in a brown chest in the bed of Harley's truck. Harley also has a big mallet that fits in her hand. Batman's accessories include a set of handcuffs, three Batarangs, and two Batgrapples. Each of the Batman sets includes these same accessories, so by now I can take on Gotham's vilest villains myself!
The play scenarios with this set are nearly endless. My 4 year old, my 6 year old and I have played with it for hours, starting during the second Presidential Debate, and have kept the sets intact ever since. The vehicles are very well designed, and are sturdier than previous Batman LEGO sets. The price point does seem about five dollars higher than it should be for this set--I would have liked an additional minifigure, like a henchman or hostage or something. Another nice addition would have been Harley's pet hyenas, or one of Batman's many sidekicks. In any case, it's a fun set, and if your kids already have the Batmobile, or have Joker from another set, this playset complements those sets nicely.
Amount Paid (US$): 29.99
Type of Toy: Blocks
Age Range of Child: Kids to Teens