Thursday 30 March 2017

Toybox REVIEW: The LEGO Batman Movie Set 70901 Mr Freeze Ice Attack

Release Date: January 2017
RRP: £19.99/$19.99

The LEGO Batman Movie has been out in cinemas now for a few months now and its fair to say that it's been a pretty big success. Once again, Warner Bros and LEGO have proven that just because a film is based on a toy line, doesn't mean that it can't be something more than a shameless advertisement. That said, the film did a pretty good job of roping me back into a state of brick mania, as can be seen by my rapidly growing collection of LEGO Batman sets. After rounding off the majority of the main cast through the Joker Balloon Escape and Catwoman Catcycle Chase sets, my attention was turned towards some of the other famous rogues available in the more affordable sets. Mr Freeze has always been a favourite of mine, and given the "upgrades" he's received in this movie set 70901 Mr Freeze Ice Attack was a no brainer.

Mr Freeze Ice Attack comes packaged in standard cardboard LEGO packaging, with a perforated semicircle on the back to push and open the spine. The front of the box features a nice dynamic photograph of the set that shows everything off nicely, with an alternate layout of the contents depicted on the back. Inside the box you'll find the contents separated across two numbered plastic bags, each containing a different element of the set. Also loose in the bag is the accompanying sticker sheet, which will be needed later for those few details that LEGO bricks can't quite manage. 

The 75-page instruction booklet neatly lays out a step-by-step pictorial guide to building the set, separating it into two sections identified on the plastic bags. The booklet also includes a handy piece breakdown complete with ID numbers, just incase you're missing anything or want to make note of specific parts for other projects.

The first of the three included minifigures is of course Batman, because how can you have a LEGO Batman Movie set without Batman (well, you can have one with Robin or Batgirl instead but neither were in the film at this point in time)? If this were a comic-themed set Batman would probably have some sort of special outfit for dealing with Freeze but here it’s just the standard black suit variant. Batman’s head sports both smirking and scowling expressions, which isn’t unique to this set alone but different from the one included in the Joker Balloon Escape set.

Batman’s dedicated accessories include a black batarang and a flamethrower gun to fight off Mr Freeze. There’s nothing particularly elaborate about the gun, but at least it gives the Batman included in this set its own individual value even if is just an accessory.

Mr Freeze’s LEGO Batman Movie design takes obvious cues from the various iterations of the character that have appeared over the years, particularly the iconic Batman: The Animated Series version. The torso has features some excellent detailing for his cryo-suit and breathing apparatus, most of which is sadly obscured by the blue armour piece that slots just over the top of it. That too however has a nice detailed silver panel on the front though, so it isn’t all bad. Topping things off is a clear plastic bell-jar helmet, which fits onto the armour and completes the look perfectly. The colour combination of the blues, silver and white work really well together – making this a particularly good-looking minifigure and arguably the best Mr Freeze LEGO have put out thus far.

Mr Freeze’s main accessory is of course his custom-built Freeze Gun, which is a pretty hefty weapon with a number of building steps to it. The problem here is that the gun is actually designed for his mech suit, which means it’s far too large for him to hold properly even though the instructions claim that he can. The gun also has a launching gimmick, and can fire small one-piece studs by flicking the lever at the top. It’s a nice little feature, but given how easy it is to lose these pieces it probably wouldn’t get much usage from children or collectors.

Rounding off the minifigures included in the set is a generic Gotham City Energy Facility worker/security guard, whose uniform includes a yellow jet-pack piece (oxygen cylinders I presume) and a two-piece hazardous materials mask with (when the white hat piece is removed) a flip-up visor. The minifigure’s head also bears two different expressions – a standard serious face and a rather brilliant panicked expression.

The security guard’s main accessory is a standard grey plastic LEGO shotgun, however a standard white mug piece is also included as part of the set should you want him to take a much-needed coffee break.

The first main piece of the set is a hinged translucent blue ice block, which a minifigure can then be placed inside as if they were frozen. It’s a very minimal build comprised solely of the hinged base and the two ice pieces, but it gets the job done nicely and really adds something extra to the set as a whole. A few smaller ice blasts (or even those classic LEGO crystal pieces done up in the same translucent blue) would have definitely made the set even better, but that aside it’s great to see at least one ice effect included. It wouldn’t feel like a Mr Freeze set without it.

The first half of the set is dedicated to a section of the Gotham Energy Facility, which was stormed by Batman’s rogues gallery at the beginning of the film. The section is mainly comprised of a wall/control panel section, with red piping on either side. One side also leads to a small silo structure, which is connected by a hinge for different display options. The wall also features three different stickers – a computer monitor, a tape-like printout and a pressure gauge. A nice extra touch is that the gauge also has “G.E.” printed on it, which of course stands for “Gotham Energy”. Other features include translucent green and red pieces to represent lights, with working lever just underneath them and a turnable valve to the side.

As was previously mentioned in the Joker Balloon Escape review, the three Energy Facility pieces spread across this set, Joker Balloon Escape and Scarecrow Special Delivery can be combined together to form a larger diorama display. Pictured above is how the build looks with the bomb piece from the Joker added, which connects to the side via a basic LEGO connector clip. While joining the two up don’t really add any features per se, it is nice to have the pieces look like part of a bigger display rather than just broken off parts. This is especially true for the Mr Freeze Ice Attack component, which is otherwise pretty much just a wall with a few pipes connected to it.

However the best is truly saved for last, as this version of Freeze isn’t just content with having a cryo-suit and freeze gun – he also has a giant mech suit! This immediately set Mr Freeze apart from the other villains in the film despite his limited appearance, because who doesn’t love a giant robot every now and then? The core is a new piece shared by the new LEGO Nexo Knights Battle Suits range, featuring a cockpit area to store the minifigure pilot and protruding ball-joints for the limbs to connect. The back of the core can swing open to provide access to the cockpit, and once Freeze has been inserted there’s also a handle bar which swings up to keep him firmly in place. Other excellent flourishes include the “tanks” on the back of the figure as well as the hoses that wrap around the torso.

The suit sports ball-jointed shoulders, hands, hips and knees, along with a waist that can rotate a full 360°. LEGO have already produced a wide range of articulated kits over the years so this set doesn’t really do anything groundbreaking, but there’s definitely a charm to how it mixes together the larger jointed pieces with standard LEGO brick components. For a construction set it has a really impressive range of movement and together with the good level of balance the feet provide pull off all sorts of great poses.

With Mr Freeze barely appearing in The LEGO Batman Movie Mr Freeze Ice Attack isn’t exactly an essential set, but it is a relatively affordable one with plenty of cool (pun intended) things on offer. Freeze was already arguably one of the best looking Batman rogues, and giving him his own mech suit is just a stroke of brilliance. On top of that nicely posable suit you also have another part of the Gotham Energy Facility (especially good if you own the Joker and Scarecrow sets), three minifigures and a nice little ice block effect that has plenty of play value beyond this set alone. If you’re looking to only pick up a few LEGO Batman Movie sets and/or are sticking to some of the cheaper options, then this is definitely one to consider.


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