Jim Lee Batman Collection Review – Part II

Who’s ready for more Caped Crusader goodness? Today I continue my look at the Jim Lee Batman Collection (31205) with Part II. For Day 4 of Batman Week, we’re returning to the LEGO®️ Art theme and my second of three reviews for this set. My first review was for the single portraits of Batman, The Joker and Harley Quinn. As I made note of in that review, two alternate builds are possible (which is a staple of the Art theme thus far) using two or three copies. Combining the pieces from two copies you can build this rather lovely image of Batman and his anti-hero love interest Catwoman. It’s essentially two portraits combined for a 100 x 50 stud image (including borders). It’s a great bit of design, so let’s get to reviewin’!

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.

set SUMMARY

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

Original Artwork by Jim Lee and Alex Sinclair. ©️2019 DC Comics and The LEGO®️ Group
  • COST:  $299.98 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 8334
  • COST-PER-BRICK: $0.04
  • BUILD TIME:
    w/ disassembly = 470 mins
    w/o disassembly = 290 mins
  • COST-PER-MIN:
    w/ dissassembly = $0.64
    w/o dissassembly = $0.97
  • DIMENSIONS: 100 x 50 studs

QUICK SUMMARY

  • VALUE: 96% (still great scores for cost and build time even with a shorter than expected assembly)
  • BUILD: 96% (similar positive experience that will be a bit tedious if you’re disassembling prior builds)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 95% (another fun build with an even better display value and a lovely image)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 96% (recommend this more than the single builds if you want a nicer display piece)

VALUE: 96%

The Jim Lee Batman Collection (31205) logically maintains its perfect cost-per-brick score even with the need for two purchases. Double the cost does at least get you double the pieces. So with an MSRP of $299.98 CAD (two sets) and over 8000 pieces now, we maintain a value of $0.04 per part. And like the single portraits, it’s a perfect 100% score. Comparing it to all sets with reviews, that’s well above the 80% average of $0.14. So far, so same.

Dismantle. Sort. Repeat

Here’s where things change up. In building the prior single portraits my average building time was approximately 240 minutes each. In order to slap together this bigger portrait, I first needed to take apart all the other builds. And Oh..My…GAWD was that ever tedious. I’m not a fan of sorting pieces. And I can vehemently assure you that sorting 10,000 1×1 studs is as tedious as it gets. Re-organizing 16 different colours is way less fun when not already separated into bags. Two unopened sets would be the way to go if you intend to build and keep this image exclusively. The less tiresome way to go that is. And all praise to that giant brick separator – it’s critical!

Each frame took roughly 90 minutes for disassembly and sorting. If I exclude the disassembly, my building time on its own is 290 minutes. If I go by only that time, my cost-per-minute yields an alright $0.97 and a score of 73%. That sits slightly below the average of $0.85 for 80%. I mulled going with this score, but I feel the need for tearing it apart first is an integral step in this build process. As such my final cost-per-minute is a more encouraging $0.64 for a score of 91%. Averaging my two numbers I get the exact same final score as the single portraits – 96%. A little surprising but I do like the consistency.

BUILD: 95%

For this alternate build of the Jim Lee Batman Collection (31205) it’s the same rules as before. Place your coloured studs in numeric order and follow along in the very clear instructions. In this case however, you will find the instructions online. The printed booklet in each box is for the single portraits and the frame only. To get the alt build instructions you can scan the QR code in the booklet which directs you to the right page on The LEGO®️ website. It’s a smart call that saves on paper and costs. I have never built an official set using digital instructions, but I have to say in this case it was very simple and straightforward.

Already Prepped and ready

Unlike Part I of the Jim Lee Batman Collection, my set up for building was a bit more elaborate. In finishing the main portraits I was already left with quite a lot of extra pieces which I simply kept sorted. My usual sorting tray (an Advent Calendar interior) filled up pretty quick however. And after that much dismantling of dots I had LOTS of parts to contend with. Enter the spare pile of resealable plastic bags. After filling a tray I kept my extras in a bag to replenish from. It’s not the cleanest method, but making sure nothing spilt was top of mind. With my laptop in front of me I was off to the races.

Like The Flash

At twice the size of a single portrait I naturally expected this double-size picture to take twice as long. But it only took me a shade longer (30 minutes) than one standard size build. So what gives? I attribute my speediness to a combination of larger swaths of one colour per plate and my already thorough expertise in the set. I did just build three over the course of a few days after all. And to be honest, by now I was finding the experience a little tedious so I was speeding through it. Let this be a friendly warning to all you Art theme enthusiasts: Don’t build 5 mosaics within a two week deadline!

The Bat and The Cat

The completed image for this double size Jim Lee Batman Collection alt is lovely. Batman and Catwoman are in profile, sharing a tender moment. It’s a nice reference to the Hush storyline wherein both characters begin developing their romance. At least, in a more serious way – serious for vigilantes. Both of their hands are just in frame and on the other’s shoulder. I love the imagery and it’s a great switch up from the serious and sillier poses of the single portraits.

With more space to fill in, the design features a really nice cityscape in the background. I love how the buildings of Gotham look. The generic clouds are also a simple but effective touch as they don’t draw your eye away from the two main figures. Reuse of colour here is fairly simple, incorporating mostly blue, black and grey. A nice touch is the use of purple for the clouds and brown for the far horizon. It’s a bold, but restrained image and I think it’s the most impactful and original of the bunch. I’m giving this build an overall score of 96%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 95%

Was this alt build of the Jim Lee Batman Collection more entertaining than the first three? This is actually a tougher call. I did enjoy it as much as any Art experience so far, but it wasn’t tremendously better by any stretch. I do love the image more as it’s quite unique and well done. But with the tedium of the disassembly fresh in my mind as I set to getting this done, it did make for a frustrating experience. I can’t lie and say I wasn’t bored at parts. But there was still enough variety per square to keep me engaged. And as a display piece it’s even more impressive than a lone portrait – definitely top marks for that. If I had done this first (or only this) I think I would have given it a perfect score. But I’m ultimately giving it the same score as Part I in this category: 95%.

OVERALL: 95%

A small part of me wanted to score this set lower. I did have an obnoxious time taking apart all three single builds to prep for this one. And again, I built all four of these so soon after one another that it made for a slightly more boring experience. But in the end I had to be more objective and think about what it would be like to start with two unopened boxes and simply enjoy as normal. So in the end I knew that the process would be fun and any tedium is a result of the deadlines I had. And in all fairness, this picture just looks so good in the end that scoring it any lower than the prior builds wouldn’t be right. It’s a big recommend from me – just take your time of course. My final score is 95%.

And that is Part II of the Jim Lee Batman Collection my good AFOLs. I hope you enjoyed this similar but different review to my prior one. Please stay tuned for more Bat goodness with Tom’s next review and my final look at the BIG Batman portrait this Saturday – on Batman Day! What do you think of this alt build? Do you enjoy these alternate designs? Are you a Bat-Cat stan? Please comment below and let me know. Thanks for reading and as always, keep on brickin’. 🧱

-Frank

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