Let's look at set 76013: Batman: The Joker Steam Roller. I was able to snag this set at 20% off at the Lego Store. They had a sale on a bunch of the winter DC sets, basically all the ones that were kinda lackluster. I've had my eye on this one for a while, but it never appealed to me enough to go out and get it. But this sale made it worthwhile, so I spent the money. But now how does it add up?
I don't normally mention the boxes; I do in the official reviews just to cover everything but don't really care for the packaging too much myself. However, this box seemed exceptionally thick. Maybe it was because of the wheel pieces or something, but it's just like an extra large box. Odd.
I'm not going to lie; I wanted this set for the figs. And sadly, not even for all the figs, but primarily for Batgirl. I'm not a huge Batman fan, so I can't said I've been wanted her to appear as a fig since the theme began... BUT I did like playing as her in the original video game, and I thought it was a terrible cop-out that there wasn't a real fig verson of her. But now there is, and the detailing on her face and mask is excelent. Plus, a purple cape!
Batman is more of the same, although I guess this is my first all-black one, so he'll fit right in with my Lego Movie character lineup. Short Robin (forget which verson he's supposed to be) is okay, but I'm not a fan of his facial expressions. (Eh, he'll probably die tragically or something later.) Joker is decent, but not a must-have, especially since I personally prefer some of the older versions. I guess the henchman is good for army building, but I found him kind of bland anyway.
The Steam Roller is a very decent model. It's big, bulky, and detailed. The best design is, of course, the mouth on the front, but the back side also has a lovely tractor look. There's a fair amount of SNOT here, and a decent hinge joint to control the roller. The bulkiness is mostly attributed to the large roller and wheels, but it's still a hefty enemy vehicle. What's also interesting is the use of color: there's purple (back wheels), red (mouth), orange (front rollers), yellow (side highlights), lime (back engine), and green (roof). They just need to throw in some blue and it will be a full rainbow! (Blue technic pins don't count.) Although there is a LOT of color, it seems to be fairly well balanced so I kind of like it. One bit of a fail is the flick fire balloon launchers, which don't have a secure connection in their holders like normal flick fire missiles. (Although the face printing on the rounded cone piece is a plus.)
The Bat-Plane, on the other hand, looks awful. It has a fun little function, where the wings snap forward to grab onto the Joker or smash his head in. And the function is creative and it works! But it doesn't look good. They have a lot of curved edges as they try to round out the vehicle, and those curves are sharply contrasted by the straight edges on the inside of the wings. It doesn't look iconic or even very areodynamic. Even the function is kind of hard to pull off because there's no real way to hold onto it as you set it off; if you push in on the front "bumper" then the wings snap in on your hand, and depending on the speed it could be painful. Plus, the construction has you build the two wings at the same time when they're only connected by one 1x4 brick, so the construction kept falling apart. Generally Lego seems to have these builds done independently and then added together at the last minute, so the instructions here just seemed odd.
In conclusion, I can see why this set is on sale. The minifigures are good, but only Batgirl is great, and the rest have kind-of been done before. The Joker's Steamroller is an excelent design, but the Bat Plane not so much. I think the problem with the plane is that too much effort went into creating its function, which does work, but greatly at the expence of its overall look. If you wanted a bat vehicle, there are better options out there to choose from. The pieces are decent (and there are 486 of them, which is good) but nothing is exceptional or unique (except for the purple and orange wheels.) I wouldn't recomend this set unless you reeeeeeally want Batgirl (guilty) or this has some parts that meet you needs. Even then, keep an eye out for a decent sale first.