Pictures will follow when I get the chance.
I was initially more than a little sceptical of this set. Despite a great set of minifigs and a great property, the designs of the Bat and the Tumbler both seemed a little off to me, the Bat appeared too chibi-fied and the Tumbler not accurate enough. However, after much deliberation I decided to shell out, since it's likely the only official Nolanverse set we'll ever get, and I have to say that I'm not disappointed.
Minifigures by CaptainFordo, on Flickr
Minifigures back printing by CaptainFordo, on Flickr
Bane is the big draw of this set, so we'll start with him. He's an excellently rendered minifigure it has to be said. Double printed torso is fully accurate to the film, with some metallic printing for the body armour sections of his vest, as is his one gloved hand (which I saw another reviewer refer to as his 'Michael Jackson glove' :P). His mask design, while accurately designed, is rendered in olive green instead of black. However, I feel like it still works with the overall look of the figure and it would've been hard for them to make it as detailed in black. Sadly, like Nick Fury, he doesn't have full head printing, the sides are oddly missing and while I appreciate the back printing, I feel like maybe in this instance some way of designing the mask so that it was front only might've looked a little less weird.
Now for the second exclusive fig of this set: Gordon. Gary Oldman's Gordon is probably my second favourite TDK trilogy character after Ledger's Joker, he really nailed the role and I'm so glad we have a figure of him, even though he's 100% inaccurate to what we see in TDKR. He's actually much more like his TDK counterpart, with brown hair (ok it was already graying in TDK, but less so than in TDKR) and his SWAT uniform which he only wore in that film. Nonetheless it was a good choice and makes for a better minifig rather than "dude in a suit". The uniform is nicely detailed with pouches and metallic printing . He comes with one of those double-barrelled space guns that Lego seems to be shelling out like crazy. It sadly seems to have replaced the much more realistic guns that came in the first few Lego Batman sets. It's a nice gun, and probably goes better with Lego's policies on making violence fantastical, but it's a little annoying to keep seeing it crop up in so many superhero sets. He has two faces, neutral and scared-looking. His hair is perhaps a little too brown for Gordon, but it's not like Lego can have selectively greying sections of plastic (not easily anyway) so I'd rather brown that flat grey.
Finally Batman. This is obviously a representation of his TDK/TDKR suit, but I believe it's actually subtly different from the previous one seen in the 'Tumbler/ Joker's Ice Cream Surprise' set. It is very VERY well detailed and matches the film pretty perfectly. Much like Bane's mask though, Lego has taken some liberties with the colours. The suit sections that should be black are dark grey and those that should be grey are metallic silver. In this instance I think I might've liked to see a closer match to the films, but the black mask/cape/gloves/pants and grey suit divide is a defining aspect of most Batman appearances, so it still looks very nice. No batarangs in this set, a shame for me as this will likely be my only Batman set, but probably less bothersome for others.
Front side Tumbler by CaptainFordo, on Flickr
Rear Tumbler by CaptainFordo, on Flickr
"You have been supplied with a false idol" by CaptainFordo, on Flickr
I'll begin with the vehicle which swayed me to this set: the Tumbler. When I first saw it I was initially pretty disappointed by it, but the more I saw the more I liked. It's actually WAY more screen-accurate size-wise than the previous behemoth masquerading as a Tumbler (check out my Bane shot and compare it with the film and you'll see it's a pretty decent match), though sadly its size brings with it certain design restrictions, most glaring of which are the lack of double rear tires and a single pane windscreen. Those aspects aside, though, it's actually a very neat little vehicle. It feels suitably chunky for its size and has a really nice canopy opening system (though you can't stick a figure to their seat, they just slide about), along with some well-hidden flickfires. Flickfires don't bother me in and of themselves, only when they're stuck out like a sore thumb, so this neat little hidden launcher design really works for me.
I only really have two complaints about the actual build itself: 1 the back wheels wobble quite a bit because they're on grey connecting pins instead of a wheel axle piece. I could try replacing them with black pins, but then the wheels wouldn't roll well... It's not too bad I suppose, since the Tumbler does have a kind of bouncy quality to it, but it seems a little shaky. And 2 the stickers. I know lots of people hate stickers anyway, but the Bane icon stickers just make a mockery of what is actually quite a nice Tumbler. You'll note I put on the front one when you see my photos, but that's because the underlying slope is black and looked out of place. I'm going to have to track down a beige slope piece somewhere... Another note on my photos: I mis-assembled the back flaps because having them face the other way is actually more accurate to the films.
Front side The Bat by CaptainFordo, on Flickr
Side The Bat by CaptainFordo, on Flickr
Top The Bat by CaptainFordo, on Flickr
The design of this vehicle has been incredibly contentious, both in the film and in Lego form. There's no two ways about it: The Bat is a weird-looking vehicle in any form. More specifically though, many were disgusted by this 6 year old's excuse for a Bat given the amount of fantastic custom versions out there. However, I think given the constraints of a £40 set, and the fact that a more accurate Bat would've been substantially larger and more expensive, I feel the compromise has worked mostly.
Let's get this out of the way: The Lego Bat is far from 1:1 accuracy. From the front it matches quite well (I'll have some comparisons with my Hot Wheels Bat when I get the photos up) but it's essentially missing half its bulk and is a lot less flat, but once you get past that, you can see a lot to like about the set. If you think of the Bat as being an interpretation rather than strict adaptation, it's a lot easier to like, kind of like how the first Batmobile and Two-Face set was a rough interpretation of the 'Batman Foreve'r scene.
Anyway, the model itself is a pretty fun build, the main body of the cockpit and 'arms' is great (though I wish the turbines were enclosed instead of exposed) and the fact it seats two is fantastic. If you only put Batman in, you can even just about seat him without crushing his cape if you're careful, though this is much harder with two occupants. The arms are on ratchet joints and work reasonably well and the wing parts on top resemble part of the top of the real Bat quite nicely. It's when we look at the Bat from the side things start to fall apart. The stubby little dolphin tail body looks incredibly scrawny one a machine with such a bulky front and the propellers look a little silly where they are. I do like that they paid attention to the ribbing on the underside, the little segments that remind me of prawn legs, but technically they should be lining the underside, so I pushed them up to give that effect. I'm not sure if it's better or worse really though...
The little end tail piece is not bad in and of itself, but the fins should be pointed outwards really, but I admire them for getting the tiny twin jets on there. Oh there's also a stud you can clip a rope to, of which you get two, I'm not sure if you're supposed to or if one's a spare, either way it's fun for all your nuke hanging attachments (I know it wasn't strictly speaking a nuke but I forget the name of the thing in the film).
The Bat is a flawed vehicle, there's no denying it, but the essence has mostly been captured here: The film has two seats, this has two seats, that one has rotors, this one has rotors, that one had arms, this one has arms, that one looked weird, this one looks weird; it all balances out mostly and if it had been an original vehicle...well, people would've wondered what the hell Lego was smoking, but I think it would've been more favourably received. No matter what, however, it's still better than the nasty box that Dr. Doom is flying.
The Bat vs Bane Tumbler Chase is a set that had a lot of potential, which it mostly let down. Despite this, it is still a pretty solid set and offers a pretty good value set for its pricepoint: you get 2 unique minifigures and one somewhat rare re-release, two proper vehicles (rather than Batman's awesome vehicle and villains generic helicopter/car/truck) and it highlights the most iconic moment from its property. Compared with 'Hulk's Helicarrier Breakout' (a more expensive set, but one most easily comparable), which only offered one exclusive figure, one (very nice) vehicle and a somewhat lacklustre playset, it's a much better deal in my eyes; 'all killer, no filler' if you will (except those barricades).
link to images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76875248@N06/
Forgot to include pictures of my Hot Wheels Bat >.< Here's a link to a shot comparing it with the real deal: http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb2 ... ttel_2.jpg
Looks like the back fins can be out to the side or front, so the Lego set is actually accurate in that respect.
Double edit: Ok I rewatched TDKR and the fins were out to the side in the scenes it was in near the end, so I'm guess that is more accurate.
I'd also like to say something I didn't mention which is the price. I feel like this set should've been closer to £30, £35 tops. I certainly don't regret buying it, but when I thought of how it'd break down into individual parts, I figured that the Tumbler and Bane would go for £12-15, while The Bat, despite being the inferior model, clearly has more bang for the buck and could pass for a £20. I also feel like there was a decent opportunity for a second smaller TDKR set at around £11.99, Bat-pod with Catwoman. Wouldn't have even needed a new headpiece, just one face for goggles down another for up. Sure the 'ears' would've been missing but if costs were an issue it would've been a decent alternative.