Reviewing a LEGO Brick Sketches set is a rare thing: it’ll take me longer to formulate my review than it did to actually build the set. Taking 10-15 minutes to build, Brick Sketches are extremely quick, but I kind of like that about them; they’re perfect for building on a break from work, for example, or if you want something nice and easy to do before you get ready for bed.
The finished products are probably an acquired taste, but I really like them – particularly the cartoon-ified face of Batman. And, being able to hang them on the wall or stand them up like a photo frame, there’s no shortage of display options top. But how does this pocket money-priced set size up against the rest?
LEGO Brick Sketches 40386 Batman
- RRP: £14.99 (originally £17.99)
- Number of pieces: 115 pieces
- Release date: July 2020
- Age rating: 8+
- Time to build: 15 minutes
What’s in the box?
Inside the small box of LEGO Brick Sketches 40386 Batman, you’ll find a flimsy instruction book, three unnumbered bags of bricks, and two loose 16×1 white bricks.
Unfortunately, my instruction booklet came out of the box very bent – it clearly hadn’t been packed with much care amongst the bags. Not a dealbreaker, and obviously it won’t be everyone’s experience, but the bent pages did make flipping through the instruction booklet trickier than it should’ve been.
What’s great about the Brick Sketches set is that you’re building from a different perspective. In a typical build, you’ll put bricks on top of each other to generate height and stability. Here, bricks are put on top of each other to form a picture. There’s a great use of textured layering; it’s incredibly simple but very effective. Who’d have thought that less than 100 bricks could perfectly recreate Batman’s face, yet here we are.
There are some strange elements to the build, though, like a strip of smooth tiles that go down the centre of the base plates early on, which are then laid over with more plates. Why not use studs to add some extra stability? It doesn’t create a problem with the final build, but is one of those design decisions that leaves you scratching your head.
Another annoyance – and something that all Brick Sketches sets have in common so far – is the use of angled tiles in the top right and left corners. It leaves an unsightly small white gap. It’s easy enough to fix by substituting your own bricks, but it shouldn’t be necessary.
Regardless, the finished model is still rather fantastic. Batman’s cartoon face looks wonderful, and I particularly like his traditionally cocky half-smirk; cleverly recreated by layering an angled plate on top of a white background. It feels more reminiscent of LEGO Batman – the minifigure variety – rather than actual DC Batman, and that’s rather fitting considering the medium we’re working with.
Play or display?
There’s no two ways about it; LEGO Brick Sketches 40386 Batman is a display set, through and through. There’s nothing to play with here, but it does have built-in display features. The back of the build features a hanging hook and a photo frame-like stand, so you can display this on the wall or on a shelf. It’s very sturdily put together too, so it’ll feel secure enough on the wall.
Value for money?
Interestingly, the original four Brick Sketches (Batman, Joker, BB-8 and Stormtooper) originally had an RRP of £17.99. That’s since been reduced to £14.99, which feels more fair. After all, their piece count is more in line with a BrickHeadz set, which retail at £9.99. Almost twice the price is hard to justify. But an extra £5 feels more warranted. After all, there are bigger pieces here, and the built-in frame/stand makes it feel like more of a premium product.
£15 for something you’ll put together in 10 to 15 minutes might feel like a lot; but you’re left with a fun and quirky piece of art to display in your home. On its own, LEGO Brick Sketches 40386 Batman looks great, but coupled with more Brick Sketches in a display, it looks fantastic.