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Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

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Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby Staff » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:15 pm

75902 - The Mystery Machine Full Set

There will always be a fond place in my heart for Scooby-Doo. While I was born after it's initial explosion (it started in 69 and had several seasons in the 70s), I grew up in the 80s, when Saturday Morning Cartoons and afternoon syndication were what dominated our childhood brains. It's sad that the idea of Saturday morning is no longer a thing, thanks to stuff like Netflix, YouTube, and kids doing too much stuff, because highly unlikely we'll get another show that can have the broad influence and sweep to a whole generation (or two) like Scooby did.

Of course, when you watch the show, there's probably nothing more iconic in it than the Mystery Machine that the Scooby gang drove around (often with the Harlem Globetrotters). It was a glorious testament to drugs + art + cars being a wonderfully terrible combination, and as much a part of the show as Shaggy and Scooby were. There's a part of all of us 80s kids that sees a van and wishes it could be painted one of two ways... A-Team or Mystery Machine, so there was a whole ton of excitement when this set was first revealed. Given this love, I jumped at the chance to review 75902 The Mystery Machine, mostly because I always need another vehicle from my childhood in the collection.

This set continued a few LEGO trends, both awesome and unfortunate. At 301 parts and $29.99, it's awesome to see the iconic vehicle in the line at a low price point. We've seen more of LEGO trying to get the recognizable vehicles into lower-priced sets, so I really like seeing the Mystery Machine at this price. The unfortunate part is that this line continues the whole "can't get the female characters in those low-priced sets" trend. Velma and Daphne are just as important as Fred is, so I would have loved to see them all show up along with this. That being said, there's hopefully a lot else to like in this set, and some real Scooby-Doo features for the fans in us all.



One of the reasons I still love this show is that it is one of the greatest "skeptic" shows of all time. And what I mean by that is actual skeptics, the people that ask the questions of why and how and what are the reasons... not the people that like to use the title and think there's a conspiracy behind everything (they're better called doubters... because when you answer the why question they usually counter that they still don't believe you). It wasn't ever really ghosts... it was a guy in a mask, it was someone using special effects. That was something unique, and unfortunately, still is, on TV; we have "Ghost Hunters" presented without a laugh track and Ancient Aliens being sold as history. Scooby-Doo may have been entertainment, but it had more useful information as any of that garbage.

75902 - Minifigs

We get Scooby and three minifigs, Fred, Shaggy, and a Zombie named Zeke in the set. Scooby and Shaggy aren't a surprise, as they're in every set. Scooby I get, but I really wonder why we get so much Shaggy. I miss Casey Kasem too, but there are a lot of opportunities for variety here. I mean is it too much to ask for at least one Scrappy-Doo, even if he's the Jar-Jar of the cartoon?

75902 - Scooby

This is the "Scared" variety of Scooby, which, until I built this set and the Mummy Mystery I didn't even realize there were multiple versions of the figure. There are apparently four, with variations of a standing or sitting body and a smiling or a scared head.  The head isn't fixed to the body, which is nice, but the character is pretty hard to position to do anything. I get using the fixed mold for a certain size and look, but a movable tail would have been awesome here.

75902 - Scooby Comparison

Here's a comparison of this figure with the smiling face variety. I've only picked up two of these sets thus far, so I can't compare it to the sitting body. I vastly prefer the version we get in the Mummy Mystery set, and I'll get that review out in the near future.

75902 - Shaggy

As a kid, I never got the appeal of Shaggy. Maybe it's because I was pretty young when I saw them, so most of the drug and slacker references went over my head, but he was just a boring character to me. As a minifig, you have to love the printed sleeves, though one of the problems with fleshy arms being used here compared to the yellow, especially on lime green, is that the defining line between them is a lot less defined. That black outline on the collar looks odd in contrast, because you sort of expect it to be on the sleeves too.

75902 - Shaggy Alt-Face

That little smirk look is the alt-face, and there's a regular confused/scared face to this figure. Like Scooby, there are multiple versions of this figure, with the faces being swapped around. You have to love that shag pompadour hairpiece to this guy. I'm not sure how you use it without a figure looking like Shaggy, but given the number of these guys that are going to show up, it'll be an interesting challenge.

75902 - Shaggy Comparison

The Mummy Mystery set includes the other variety of Shaggy, and the only difference is the face. The scared face and the smile fit the figure more than the confused one. I mean, Shaggy often was confused, but that's because he was an idiot and a pothead, not because the questions were particularly hard.

75902 - Fred

Our ascot-wearing leader, Fred, is one of the most underrated characters in the show. He's usually the butt of jokes about the show (well, him and Velma), and he certainly was a bit underdeveloped. But he was also the level-headed and competent one that was always asking the questions. As a figure, he's just a stellar representation of a character.

75902 - Fred Alt-Face

He does have a scared face, which is a bit weird overall, since often he was the character trying to get things under control. He gets a unique hairpiece here, and this is the only set he shows up in, so if you want more of them, you're going to be buying a lot of Mystery Machines. The members of the gang not named Shaggy and Scooby all get the short stick... Velma only shows up in one set as well, and Daphne in two.

75902 - Zombie Zeke

Our last minifig, the zombie named Zeke. The Scooby-Doo wiki (there's apparently a wiki for everything) says that Zeke Harris was in one episode in the 70s... so wow, that's an obscure reference even by my standards. From the front, he looks like a fairly standard zombie, just in green instead of gray. If you're in to monsters, that's a pretty solid look.

75902 - Zombie Zeke Back

The real Scooby-Doo feeling to the figure, and the part that I have to give a huge thumb's up to LEGO on, is the back. The head features buttons, representing that this clearly is a mask. I love that part to the figure, and that they made it so adding a bit of hair would clearly hide the buttons, if you wanted to use him for something else.

75902 - Spooky Tree

Our boy Zeke apparently tries to get the gang by creating a haunted tree. The front is a full sticker, which is a bit of a shame, since that seems like a solid part to print, but I get it on a $30 set. This is just suck a sticker-heavy set that it hurts some of it. The tree itself is kind of weird and stout, but it makes a lot more sense why when you look at the back of it...

75902 - Spooky Tree Back

It's clear that someone at LEGO understands what made Scooby-Doo so cool, because the tree is really a robot designed to hide that little gem. There's a lot to love here, like the computer screen, the Mixel ball-joints and some tree points. It's basic, but it just works for this theme.

75902 - The Mystery Machine

Of course, I don't think anyone out there bought this set for the tree. If you really need Mixel joints, you probably are better off buying Mixels for them. Nope, we got this for the Mystery Machine, because every LEGO connection needs a vehicle that's one flashy paint job away from being featured on To Catch a Predator.

75902 - The Mystery Machine Side

If there's anything that I'm going to knock this set on it's that it is just lousy with stickers. For those who don't feel like counting, there are eight stickers on each side of the van, and as you will see later, more inside. All of the stickers make this set kind of a paint to build, since it's tough to get them lined up and looking okay (especially since related stickers are applied during different steps a lot of the time). The only printed part are the dishes used for the hubcaps. The hubcaps are kind of weird, because they don't rotate with the tire. I guess the Mystery Machine got some spinners in the later years to keep it fresh with younger kids?

75902 - The Mystery Machine Back

The back is blue and green, and not a whole lot else. I'm not sure it's legal to drive around rolling probably-cause like this without a license plate, but I suppose this kind of paint job gives you a certain level of confidence that the ticket for invalid tags is the least of your worries. That little gap in the back reveals the big "feature" of this set...

75902 - The Mystery Machine Opened

In that the van opens into some sort of elite crime-fighting station and/or serial killer creepy picture wall. Also, there's a sandwich, because Shaggy and Scooby are in every set. The Mystery Machine had a magical ability to have almost anything they gang would ever need when they were out walking, but I don't remember them having computers or radar back there.

75902 - Radar

That's right, radar. The flashlight makes sense, and there were a few times where they showed kitchen stuff and cabinets in the back, because when I see a van like this I think "comfortable sleeping for four people and a great dane." I like how they have radar and flat screens, yet also a reel-to-reel recorder and speakers on the back. Look, sometimes analog is just better, okay?

75902 - Computers

When I see pictures and computer screens like that, along with the camera, I'm starting to wonder if Zeke is just a confused cosplayer that the gang is getting all sorts of obsessive with. The real knock on the setup inside is that there's very little room for a minifig, especially if you put Scooby in the spot he's supposed to fit, which is between the surprisingly large stove and sink.

75902 - The Mystery Machine Cabin

It really highlights the issues with the Scooby statue like it is. He looks nice, but he's very precise in how you need to add him to those plates, and he's really easy to knock off. I guess it's a kid's toy, so they have little hands, but apparently you need very little hands to put Scooby back there, and then he's the only one who can use the computers.

75902 - So Much 80s

Ultimately, though, those things really don't really affect that this is just an awesome little set, especially to us AFOLs who grew up watching the cartoon. I was excited to put it on my shelf with some of the other iconic vehicles we've gotten lately, and it looks great hanging out with Ecto-1 like some sort of nerdy car show. This is a solid, and happy, five out of five.

What I liked

  • It's the Mystery Machine... what isn't there to like?

  • I got to make a lot of bad jokes in this review, which is fun for me

  • Fred is one of the best LEGO minifig representations to come along in years. In fact, the set just does a lot o


What I didn't like

  • There are eleven million stickers in this set, give or take a few, and it makes for some frustrating builds

  • The interior is very cramped, and Scooby doesn't fit in there all that well

  • I would have loved to see a way to get more of the gang in the set, even if it was a bit more


Verdict: 5 out of 5. You should go buy this set right now on Amazon.com!

75902

 

 

 
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby banthafodder » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:17 pm

Yes, there were several episodes with computers and radar in the back of the Mystery Machine. Usually the radar was a tracking device and the computers had reel to reel tapes on them but that is accurate.

Shaggy does have a different shirt print in the lihthouse set and Scooby has goggles printed on the headless horseman set.

For me this was a 5/5 set. Great price and figures. They got the size and the shape right on the Mystery Machine and a great new windscreen. I will admit that the stickers were frustrating especially the "Mystery Machine" stickers trying to get the lettering to line up but at least they didn't go with STAMP
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby Brainslugged » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:18 pm

The unfortunate part is that this line continues the whole “can’t get the female characters in those low-priced sets” trend.

How about the only Catwoman we've ever had being in a $13 set? Or the only Supergirl in a $20 set? Or the only Wonder Woman for two years in a $20 set? Or Scarlet Witch in a $30 set? Or Rey from The Force Awakens in a $20 set? I think Lego is doing just fine. I suspect the problem lies more in there being less females in the IPs Lego is making sets from rather than some sort of devious scheme to prevent children playing with female minifigs.

And I really hope we don't get a Scrappy. As you state, one of the things that was great about the show was that the team always solved the mystery. From what I remember, when Scrappy came along, the ghosts and monsters really were ghosts and monsters and not just villains dressed up to scare people away.
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby dWhisper » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:43 pm

You and I have a different definition of fine. There are exceptions to it, and it has improved, but it's still a bad trend (which is a general direction, not a rule for everything). We still have characters like Leia and Padme who have only been in sets under $50 and $70 once, respectively. Or that the average price to get a female character is quite a bit higher than male characters. It's great that we got Catwoman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman in inexpensive sets... but at the same time, we've been able to get a kajillion Batmans, Supermans, Iron Mans, or all the other characters.

The IP rule also doesn't excuse the fact that you need to spend $90 to get Velma and Daphne compared to $30 to get the rest of them. Yes, there are a paltry number of female characters in some IPs (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc), but this isn't one of them.

As for Scrappy... I honestly don't remember the ghost and monsters being monsters, but those episodes didn't come up in syndication all that much. I just remember that he was as strong as he was annoying. I'd also be willing to forgo the request to get a Phyllis Diller and Don Knotts combo to go with the Scooby gang, or just wait for the inevitable Globetrotters submission on LEGO ideas to get approved.
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby banthafodder » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:12 pm

As much as I hate scrappy, a greater sin would be Scooby Dum.
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby dWhisper » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:01 pm

banthafodder wrote:As much as I hate scrappy, a greater sin would be Scooby Dum.


Agreed
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby Flynn » Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:11 pm

Holy crap, I've had my Delorean modified for so long I almost forgot that's what the actual set looked like. Geeez...
joecrowaz on Flickr wrote:Flynn you little wussy with a purple robed fairy for an icon,


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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby Sharpie Clone » Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:51 am

Re: the women in sets

I see it both ways. To my memory, Fred is always driving the Mystery Machine*, so I think this is the best set to include him in. It would stink to get the most iconic part of the whole series without Scooby. To me, if you have Scooby, you have to have Shaggy, since they are a duo more times than not in the show. Would it have been better for them to pair Velma with Scooby in the Mummy set to give people a cheap option for her and give us only 4 Shaggy's instead of 5? Of course. Has LEGO missed the mark with some female characters like Black Widow, Leia & Padme? Yes. Do we need a Batman or Ironman in every set? No.

However, as stated, some of these comics, TV shows and movies don't feature gender balance anyway, so there is going to be some discrepancy. But it gets a bit tiresome when it's brought up in every single review.

And while LEGO might foster imagination or do good things, they are still a business and splitting up teams to encourage more purchases is just shrewd business.


*Maybe Shaggy at times.
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby PurpleDave » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:57 am

Scooby I get, but I really wonder why we get so much Shaggy.

Because it was a common theme to just about every Scooby series. "Let's send the stoner and his 'talking' dog off to draw out the villain while the rest of us lay in wait and do whatever it is we do together when the cameras aren't pointed in our direction!" For as long as it was just the five of them, Scooby never went anywhere without Shaggy tagging along. As for this set in particular, Fred had to be in this one because he always drives. And Shaggy kinda had to be here as well, because he actually owned the Mystery Machine...even though they never, ever let him drive.

I mean is it too much to ask for at least one Scrappy-Doo, even if he's the Jar-Jar of the cartoon?

Scrappy wasn't added until one of the later series, and if you investigate the villains carefully, you'll see that they all pretty much hail from the earlier series. Except the swamp creature, who doesn't appear to be a legit SD villain from any series. There are several similar "monsters", but none with that specific coloration, or which are disguises worn by anyone with a monocle, or who are named Mr. Brown.

As a minifig, you have to love the printed sleeves, though one of the problems with fleshy arms being used here compared to the yellow, especially on lime green, is that the defining line between them is a lot less defined. That black outline on the collar looks odd in contrast, because you sort of expect it to be on the sleeves too.

The sleeves are overmolded, not printed. There's no easy opportunity to apply a printed black line to them, and traditional arm printing only applies paint to the outer half of the surface. Even if they did add a black line, it would have looked weird. Also, once you hit the forearm with a yellow Sharpie, the two halves appear much more distinct.

The members of the gang not named Shaggy and Scooby all get the short stick... Velma only shows up in one set as well, and Daphne in two.

Truthfully, it would have been better if the two girls were switched. Velma gets a lot more respect than either Fred or Daphne in recent years, and they missed an opportunity to do a "lost glasses" alt face in addition to the traditional scared face.

The hubcaps are kind of weird, because they don't rotate with the tire.

I don't think they did in the original series, either. Mine rotate, though. I made it all of half an hour tops before I had to add some fenders to that thing. Modifying it is very difficult because it doesn't look right without the stickers, and they're cut to fit a very specific set of pieces. It also has to maintain that hexagonal cross-section that gave us the new windshield. But by lowering the bottom edge one plate I was able to blend in some fenders. Then I added sideview mirrors, gutted the back, got rid of the hinges, raised the center seat one plate (this allows Daphne to sit between Fred and Velma), and lengthened the roof one plate so it actually links the top edge of the windshield to the rest of the body.

How about the only Catwoman we've ever had being in a $13 set?

Are we forgetting the other Catwoman who came in a $10 set? Actually, the real problem with that character is they released her in 2006 in the smallest set, so she was the first villain to vanish from store shelves and was already one of the most expensive by the time the Batman theme retired three years later. Then they did the exact same thing in 2012 (except for the whole retiring the theme after only three years). Poison Ivy keeps popping up, albeit in expensive sets every time (Batman Arkham, DCS Arkham/Batcave/Jokerland). Harley Quinn fell more jnto the mid-priced sets for her first two iterations, but then Nurse Harley landed in Arkham and the modernized Harley got paired up with Ivy in Jokerland. And still the only Catwoman to grace store shelves since late 2012 is DUPLO.
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby Ultron32 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:17 am

Maybe I'm just naive, but I didn't see it as purposefully excluding female characters. As a kid watching this show Fred always seemed like the leader of the team. Plus, he usually drove the van, so it makes sense including here. And Scooby has to be in every set because the theme's named after him, and apparently Shaggy has to be in every set that Scooby's in.

dWhisper wrote:It's great that we got Catwoman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman in inexpensive sets... but at the same time, we've been able to get a kajillion Batmans, Supermans, Iron Mans, or all the other characters.

That's because LEGO knows that Batman is the coolest guy in any room, and that Iron Man is the coolest guy in any room that doesn't have Batman in it. LEGO makes more of the things that are popular, and Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Spiderman, etc; are popular. Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Supergirl and the rest are all popular too, but they're often cult favorites so they show up in sets that actual fans are more likely to afford. Bane is even rarer than Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc hasn't shown up in the modern theme yet.
My point is that it's not always about their gender, each character is a different case based on their popularity. Batman is always going to be more common than Batgirl and Catwoman because nobody wants Batgirl or Catwoman without also having Batman.
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby dWhisper » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:23 am

PurpleDave wrote:Truthfully, it would have been better if the two girls were switched. Velma gets a lot more respect than either Fred or Daphne in recent years, and they missed an opportunity to do a "lost glasses" alt face in addition to the traditional scared face.


That may be the best idea I've heard for a minifigure ever...

I don't think they did in the original series, either. Mine rotate, though. I made it all of half an hour tops before I had to add some fenders to that thing. Modifying it is very difficult because it doesn't look right without the stickers, and they're cut to fit a very specific set of pieces. It also has to maintain that hexagonal cross-section that gave us the new windshield. But by lowering the bottom edge one plate I was able to blend in some fenders. Then I added sideview mirrors, gutted the back, got rid of the hinges, raised the center seat one plate (this allows Daphne to sit between Fred and Velma), and lengthened the roof one plate so it actually links the top edge of the windshield to the rest of the body.


I may need to look into that a bit. I'm going to end up getting a second of this set because I want one to play with (something I always intended to do with Ecto-1 as well... and need to get around to. Did you leave the opening design in the back, or seal and use a removable roof?
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby PurpleDave » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:55 am

Ultron32 wrote:That's because LEGO knows that Batman is the coolest guy in any room, and that Iron Man is the coolest guy in any room that's limited to The Avengers."


There. Fixed it for you. Because Wolverine. And Deadpool.

LEGO makes more of the things that are popular, and Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Spiderman, etc; are popular. Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Supergirl and the rest are all popular too, but they're often cult favorites so they show up in sets that actual fans are more likely to afford.


Batman has the most variants with fifteen clearly distinct versions (excluding alternate cowls, wings vs capes, and shiny new boots) and the only DC character to get a civilian version (twice) outside of DVD exclusives. Robin is second in the DC sets with eight (excluding haircuts and new identities). Joker is right behind Robin with five distinct versions (excluding combinations of the previous five). Harley is the next with her fourth version (excluding misprints). After that, there's a three-way tie with Bane, Penguin, and Riddler at three each. After that there are five Batman villains, one Superman villain, and five members of the Justice League that have two versions, including the one character who appears in every DCS retail set that doesn't have anything to do with Batman, and the only other DC character to receive a civilian minifig. So the fact that Harley ranks fourth with four versions, and has never appeared twice in the same outfit speaks quite a bit to how popular the character is. Yeah, 20 years ago she was a cult fave, but now the kids who grew up on B:TAS have started having kids of their own, and those kids almost always pick Harley out by name when attending one of our many shows, while struggling with the identities of characters like Clayface, Mr Freeze, and Batgirl (mostly they think anything with pointy ears is Batman, including robots and people with long red hair coming out of the cowl).

Bane is even rarer than Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc hasn't shown up in the modern theme yet.


Ivy may have four sets to Bane's three, but Bane has her by one in variations, and I think the most expensive Bane set (DCS Batcave) was still cheaper than the cheapest Ivy set (Batman Arkham). Killer Croc is indeed a glaring omission from the DCS line, as the only character besides Alfred from the original theme to not reappear in DCS (and I've made purist customs of Alfred from B:TAS and Beware the Batman). What I'd really love is a grey B:TAS minifig version, but I suspect the next time we see him he'll be a bigfig.
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Re: Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

Postby Ultron32 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:13 pm

PurpleDave wrote:Robin is second in the DC sets with eight (excluding haircuts and new identities).

In fairness, most of those Robin variants are meant to be different characters. Damian Wayne is the most obvious but I'd bet money that most of the others were intended to be various different Robins.

Harley is the next with her fourth version (excluding misprints).....So the fact that Harley ranks fourth with four versions, and has never appeared twice in the same outfit speaks quite a bit to how popular the character is. Yeah, 20 years ago she was a cult fave, but now the kids who grew up on B:TAS have started having kids of their own, and those kids almost always pick Harley out by name when attending one of our many shows, while struggling with the identities of characters like Clayface, Mr Freeze, and Batgirl (mostly they think anything with pointy ears is Batman, including robots and people with long red hair coming out of the cowl).

Yes Harley was the one I hesitated the most on including there as she has become very popular. But she's still not as popular as Batman, Iron Man, etc, and many kids want a Robin to go with their Batman. No villain or sidekick or character who is not one of the most famous members of the Justice League or Avengers is likely to get as many variants as Batman has for quite a while.

Ivy may have four sets to Bane's three, but Bane has her by one in variations, and I think the most expensive Bane set (DCS Batcave) was still cheaper than the cheapest Ivy set (Batman Arkham). Killer Croc is indeed a glaring omission from the DCS line, as the only character besides Alfred from the original theme to not reappear in DCS (and I've made purist customs of Alfred from B:TAS and Beware the Batman). What I'd really love is a grey B:TAS minifig version, but I suspect the next time we see him he'll be a bigfig.

Admittedly I was a) only thinking about DCS, not Batman I, and b) forgetting about TDKR Bane. However out of that sample, Ivy's cheapest set was Bane's most expensive, they were both in the Batcave.
And yes I'm looking forward to seeing how they make Alfred as a bigfig XD
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