76182 Batman™ Cowl Review

By Allan Taylor (SAFOLs Member, CapeLUG Member)

Weighing in at 410 shiny black parts, split between three bags of bricky fun, set number 76182 Batman™ Cowl is yet another sterling product from the LEGO® Group.  This set is an amazing build of the headgear famously worn by none other than Batman himself!

Right from the get-go the packaging and even the manual is set to impress with its delightful and informative preamble on the opening pages to its stylish typesetting for the instructions themselves on beautiful glossy black paper.  This set sports an 18+ age recommendation and is clearly designed to appeal to an older audience.

So… let’s get to the actual build, shall we?

As with many of these busts, the fact that the base is designed to be hollower raising it by one plate height via strategically placed studs near the corners, makes this base tricky to build on because it isn’t stable unless you are working on a perfectly flat surface.  As I was building this set in our bedroom so I could also spend some time with my missus I did NOT have a perfectly flat surface to work on and frequently during the build the support struts would need reattaching to the base which would also require a bit of rebuilding as bits had popped off when I absentmindedly applied pressure.

If you’ve built any of these amazing busts before, you will be familiar with the start of the build as it follows roughly the same formula as previous sets. Establishing the base and support during the early steps so that it can all be incorporated deep within the final build, adding the essential structural integrity with tasteful engineering which is well obscured from view once the final product is on display.

The base design does differentiate itself slightly from previous Marvel and Star Wars busts by adding a few aesthetic elements more fitting with the Batman milieu in the form of some Trans-Black cheese slopes and some of the newer triangular corner tiles (and I REALLY hope these become more prevalent in future sets as they are invaluable to any MOC builder’s arsenal).

Another departure from the norm is the use of trans black 1x2x6 bricks to form the outer layer of the central pillar.  This trans black “smoky glass” is a theme that is evident throughout the entire build, but it just works, and I think Batman himself would approve of such well implemented design aesthetics.

As you progress through the build, raising the now well-known and cleverly design central cavity, one also notices that there are elements added at this initial stage which will nicely round out the completed design by elegantly complimenting the various sub builds which comprise the actual shaping of the bust, such as the black curved and angled plates layered near the bottom.  This results in a slightly less “vanilla” design to the support structure whilst still maintaining the necessary sturdy but hollow outcome.  This is a staple of these builds as it brings down the total part count (ie the cost to you, the end user) as well as the overall weight of the model once complete, which is great because even as is these things can get pretty hefty.

Once the second bag of bits has been built and incorporated the model really starts taking shape and looking every bit as iconic as one would imagine.  The sub builds for the top, back and sides of the cowl are brilliantly designed and are both authentically gorgeous looking as well as extremely structurally sound.  They attach flawlessly with not much overlap and no finishing pieces added after the fact to blend them, this could not have been an easy task given the complexity of the source design.  The ears, historically tricky to pull off properly without looking comically out of scale, are PERFECT on this representation.

The third bag is almost exclusively parts required for the front of the cowl.  Here again we see the recuring theme of trans black, ingeniously used to represent form without attempting to recreate that iconic square jaw and chin in actual “flesh”.  This is smart for two reasons, primarily, as (in my humble opinion) when LEGO® has attempted organic, and specifically human, form for faces it has largely failed.  More relevant to the display factor though, is that it creates the impression that this cowl is not currently being worn but is ostensibly under lock and key in whichever dark recess the Batcave is currently occupying.  In simpler terms, it just looks so freakin’ cool man!

The shaping of the nose, eyes and eyebrows is achieved through a brilliant combination of angled pieces and cleverly concealed hinge elements.  The final satisfying step is snapping the singular printed tile piece to the base, letting all your jealous friends know that this is indeed… BATMAN!  The end result is breath-taking, resulting in a display piece any fan of The Bat can certainly be proud to have as part of their collection.

LEGO® has once again delivered an outstanding rendition of a much beloved character, continuing its streak of successful throwbacks to the genius of Tim Burton in the mid 80’s.  Also, unlike expensive behemoths such as the 1989 Batmobile and Batwing, the price point on this set makes it extremely appealing and justifiable as a display piece. My final thoughts on this set would be almost totally positive despite some small niggles regarding the base design as I mentioned before.  Zero stickers, one printed tile piece and non-excessive use of new elements makes this another set which could be quite easily sourced and built if one had the patience and so desired, which is always a plus in my book.  Also, if you ever had the heart to dismantle it, it would make for an excellent parts donor set (even for a NON-BATMAN related to build!).