Since not all of Batman's enemies stick to the surface streets, the Batmobile isn't his only mode of transportation. He's got Batplanes, Batgliders, Batcopters, Batcycles and even, in this set, Batboats. You can't say the guy is unprepared, that's for sure.
There was already a Batboat in the deluxe Batcave playset, but that one seemed to be designed more for cold-weather applications: can't imagine that ice skates would be much use on open water. This Batboat, however, is a more traditional floaty type. It looks like a barge or a pontoon boat, really, rather than a speedboat - guess they're keeping that design in reserve for the next series.
The Batboat is 10" long and 5 3/4" wide, and has weather stripping around the leading edges -
it's not enough to make the toy actually float, but it makes this look like a hovercraft. Quickly, to the Bathovercraft! Rather than a submerged propeller, the Batboat has two top-mounted turbine engines to pull the boat along. There are plenty of those long, sloping pieces to give the boat its shape. The boat has a general U shape, with the cockpit nestled in the curve while the engines are at the end of the arms. The more you look at this, the more you realize this isn't a boat, this is an ACV (air cushion vehicle - a hovercraft).
Unlike most of the other Bat-vehicles from Lego, the canopy is not hinged - to get Batman in or out, you have to actually remove it. That's not a detraction, at all, just an observation. Rather than rudders to direct the thrust, it's the engines themselves that pivot side to side, with a connecting bar to ensure they move as one. The turbines inside actually spin, and one of those big goofy bat wing fins juts up from each. There are a few assemblies on the boat that look like weapons, and translucent bricks serve as lights.
For times when the Batboat is too slow or unwieldy to get the job done, Batman can hop in the back and launch a one-man jet ski. It's a tiny, simple piece, but it captures the look well, thanks to the mainly angular blocks that built it. It's rather like the escape pod on Art Asylum's Batplane - a last resort, for when the ship is going down in flames.
The boat-as-hovercraft thing makes sense when you look at this set's villain, Killer Croc.
Croc is likely to hide out in a swamp or marsh, places where a traditional boat would quickly get mired or blocked by the native flora. An ACV could go right over all that, and the Batski will come in handy when the baddie hops onto his own crocodilian watercraft. He's got a jet ski thing that's slightly more elaborate than Batman's, with a visible propeller, dual missile launchers and a toothy, scaly face painted on the front. The missile aren't spring-loaded or anything; you just flick them with your finger to "fire" them, so distance and aim depend mostly on your efforts. If Killer Croc misses his target and Batman catches him, it's your fault - better hope he doesn't get out of jail any time soon.
This set only includes two minifigures, because Killer Croc isn't usually the type to employ henchmen.
Because if he did, he'd be likely to use them as a snack when he got hungry. The Batman figure is actually a bit different than the one included with the Batcave and Batmobile sets - those were both in all-black suits, while this Bats is in his sportier black and gray. He's still got the goofy removable mask that leaves Bruce with a huge white unibrow, but that's the flaw with the entire series. His hands, hips, cape and cowl are black, with the rest in lighter colors. The muscles of his chest are painted on, as is his belt.
Killer Croc is green, of course, with scales painted all over his chest. His face looks like the animated series' version, with the pseudo-skeletal mouth. His legs are blue, suggesting that he's wearing jeans, and for some reason his hands are black. Black? It's not like he'd be wearing gloves, so why black? Maybe he just changed the oil in the Crocmobile. As an added note, both the Batski and Croc's sweet swamp runner can plug into the back of the Batboat, though why Croc's would be there is a mystery.
This set isn't quite as high on the "IT MUST BE MINE!" scale as some of the other sets in this series. Killer Croc isn't the most popular villain in the world, and the Bathovercraft is never going to have as many fans as a real Batboat would - a Batboat lego is sure to release sometime. In its defense, there are some really cool alternate modes hinted at in the instruction booklet, and this Batman stands out from the Bat-crowd.
Do you like this Batboat or are you going to wait for the "real" version? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.