Jim Lee Batman Collection Review – Part I

Welcome to Day 2 of Batman Week fellow Bat-Fans. Today’s Bat goodness is my review of the Jim Lee Batman Collection (31205) from LEGO®️ Art. Like the other sets in the theme, you have the option to create multiple images from one box. For this particular collection, five images are possible with either one, two or three copies of the set. Having already established my love for all things Batman, it was an inevitability that I pick up three copies. How could I not want to build all these amazing portraits – especially the big mega build! With that in mind, I am thrilled to bring you reviews of each of the five images. For this first article, I will look at the three single portraits you can create from one box set. Parts II and III will then focus on the double and triple size portrait. Alright, let’s get Batsy.

NOTE: Two copies of this set were provided by The LEGO® Group to True North Bricks for review. The third was purchased independently. This does not guarantee a favourable review and all opinions are my own. For a breakdown of the rating system, please click here.

All three sets will be reviewed as essentially one. There’s a few differences, but the overall results are so close that I am able to assign one final score. As I have previously reviewed a couple of other LEGO®️ Art sets, I won’t go into the basic details of the theme, packaging, etc. But I will talk about how these images differ in any construction, experience or techniques. If you are interested in a bit more detail on this theme check out my reviews for for Andy Warhol’s Marylin Monroe (31197) and Elvis Presley “The King” (31204).

set SUMMARY

JIM LEE BATMAN COLLECTION (31205) | ART / 18+ | MARCH 1st, 2022

OPTION A: BATMAN
OPTION B: THE JOKER
OPTION C: HARLEY QUINN
  • COST:  $149.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 4167
  • COST-PER-BRICK: $0.04
  • BUILD TIME: 230 mins
  • COST-PER-MIN: $0.65
  • COST:  $149.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 4167
  • COST-PER-BRICK: $0.04
  • BUILD TIME: 256 mins
  • COST-PER-MIN: $0.59
  • COST:  $149.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 4167
  • COST-PER-BRICK: $0.04
  • BUILD TIME: 254 mins
  • COST-PER-MIN: $0.59

QUICK SUMMARY

  • VALUE: 96% (near perfect cost-per-brick scores and a fantastic cost-per-min score)
  • BUILD: 95% (great individual designs with bold, fun colours and the usual Art theme experience)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 95% (lovely display pieces alone or together, soundtrack is fun but too short)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 95% (another great Art set with fantastic original artwork)

VALUE: 96%

The Jim Lee Batman Collection (31205), like all LEGO®️ Art sets, represents an excellent value for the money. Each box contains over 4000 pieces. That’s the second highest piece count for a standard size Art build. And at a retail cost of $149.99 CAD, this gives us a cost-per-brick of $0.04 which is a perfect 100% score. Even if you’re not a fan of the line, you can’t deny the awesome value of these Art sets.

If you look at the each set by build time they are very close to one another. I built Batman first in 230 minutes, The Joker in 256 minutes and Harley Quinn in 254 minutes. This equates to a cost-per-minute of $0.65, $0.59 and $0.59 respectively. And these scores translate to 90%, 93% and 93% for each image. Taking the average of these numbers we get a healthy 92%. And if we average the cost-per-brick and cost-per-minute scores together, the final Value is a solid 96%.

BUILD: 95%

The Jim Lee Batman Collection (31205) comes in the standard Art theme packaging, which I gotta say still impresses me to this day. It’s classy looking stuff – basically the iPhone packing of the LEGO®️ world. Inside are the requisite bags of coloured studs, in this case 16 different colours. The 107 page instruction book helps you create each of the three images and the standard frame/border. As always, separate all your colours, follow the legend and you’ve got all you need to make a pretty awesome comic book image.

Great Depth and Detail

Each drawing is a Jim Lee original. And each one is very well realized as a mosaic. There’s a surprising amount of detail on each one. You can actually see some of Jim’s trademark hatching and linework – albeit in a very simplified way. The colours are what really stand out. Batman’s mostly blue and black palette actually gets plenty of depth thanks to perfectly placed accent colours. The background and outlines make clever use of navy blue, white, black and metallic gray. You don’t notice the metallic in the box art, but seeing it in the finished design makes a huge difference. The flesh tones are also superbly done – after all gotta get that scowl just right!

For the Joker and Harley Quinn you see a much higher use of white, tan, red, green, purple and brown. Both of their faces make great use of light blue, aqua and grays for shading. The result is a nice level of depth that looks great when viewed from the right distance. Joker’s grin is sufficiently menacing without overdoing it – it’s still a family brand after all! And I love how Harley’s two-tone hair looks and that heart tattoo is an adorable stand out. She is my favouite image of the lot.

Same but Different

As you might expect, all three builds are a near identical experience. Each is the same number of pieces but with clear variation in the amounts to use per colour. I was surprised to see how my build times changed though. My quickest build was Batman at just under 4 hours. Even with the need to set up all the colours, it still didn’t take as long as Joker and Harley. I expected those to go faster since I was able to keep my set up and continue on. But Batman’s colour range is less varied than Joker and Harley. Several rows of black, gray, blue are faster to do than rows of browns, blues, red, green, white, etc. Overall The Jim Lee Batman Collection brings you all the standard building experience you expect and want from an Art set. I’m giving the build an overall score of 95%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 95%

LEGO®️ Art is all about display and wall decorating. All three of theses images look fantastic on their own and picking any will make for a nice bit of pop culture decor. If you so happen to build and display all three, they share a connected background which is a nice bit of cohesive design. It’s quite noticeable when you set up all the portraits in a row. I also appreciate that each picture is fairly unique in profile and colour palette. It really feels like three separate images and not a recycle of the same one. I’d say that’s a decent bang-for-your-buck result.

Listen, Build and Absorb

Like all the Art builds, The Jim Lee Collection has an accompanying playlist/soundtrack that you can access online by scanning a QR code. At just 55 minutes, it’s the shortest one I have listened to so far. Jim Lee is joined by his longtime collaborator and colorist Alex Sinclair. The two discuss their work, their techniques and how this project developed over time. The set’s designer, Kit Kossman, also brings a lot of great insight on the set’s challenges and what it takes to translate a detailed image into a mosaic. Overall it’s a fun bit of background but it’s very short and it could have been so much more detailed. It’s 80 years of Batman and not even an hour’s worth of content – kind of a bummer.

In my previous two reviews of Art sets, I have made note that these types of builds are only as entertaining as you want them to be. You’re either on board with the concept and find them soothing, or you’re disinterested entirely. This particular theme is sure to please and attract a fair number people just on Batman’s popularity alone. And I do hope people give the mosaics a fair try. The frame is a good stash of bricks and spare parts too if you’re a MOC maker. Or maybe you need a few thousand 1×1 studs, in which case you’re making out like a bandit! This is a very fun set and I give it a final score of 95%.

OVERALL: 95%

An Art set on Batman is an easy sell for me. It would take a lot to get me to pass on picking this up. Thankfully the images are solid, the colours are fantastic and the end results make for a wonderful display. Picking Jim Lee and getting all original drawings is a huge bonus. He’s a legend in the industry and his art style translates quite well to this style. There’s that amazing cost-per-brick to consider as well – a major plus in value scoring. I will admit that building three full sets one after another did create some tedious moments. By the third box I was seeing some fatigue set in. But unless you’re on a deadline, you’ll most likely take your time and enjoy a great build experience. My final score is a stellar 95%.

And that’s a wrap on Day 2 of Batman Week! I hope you enjoyed Par I of III for the Jim Lee Batman Collection (31205). If you’re interested in more mosaic goodness, then stay tuned for the larger builds. I’m excited to create these great alt builds and get more Batman art. But please let me know what you think? Are you a giant Batfan as well? Do you enjoy the Art theme and the releases thus far? What other super hero or villain makes it on your list for the next set? Comment below and let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading and until next time, keep on brickin’.

-Frank

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