Na na na na na na na na BATMAN!

Here's another fun little project to try.  We borrowed the lovely little 1966 Batmobile and just had to give it a few lights.

Here's set 76188 in all its glory.

The Options

We start with the obvious point - it's a car, so we can light up the front headlights and rear lights.

Then there's the cabin - with trans-clear pods front and back, dashboard computers and the light cone on top there's lots that could be done here!

We could also look at cool undercarriage lights or possibly pimp those front canons, though in our case the model has been built without those canons so we'll ignore them for now.

The Challenge

As with the similar 1989 Batmobile and other cars of this scale, it's a dense little model.  Unlike larger models which tend to have ample interior void spaces, these cars are solidly built.

And that's a challenge because a) there's few options for hiding the wiring and b) there's no option for hiding a battery pack!

For small sets designed to be played with it's great to be able to use battery packs and keep them mobile.

The Design

We decided to keep this one small and simple.  Too many lights just distracts from the model.

To light up the Batmobile we used 2 x 30cm Micro Bit Lights for the two headlights, 2 x 15cm Micro Bit Lights for the rear lights, and a single Rotating Bit Light for the beacon on the roof.  Plus a 4-port Micro Expansion Board to join them together, and a nice long Connecting Cable to go out the back and to a power supply.

The Installation

Due to the design of the car there was a fair bit of disassembly required here.  The front wings had to go back to the chassis to get to the headlights and run the wires.  Similar at the rear.  But it's only a simple model so just go for it!

The Front Headlights

These were an added challenge, since we are using Micro Bit Lights.  There's nothing to hold the Bit Light!  Normally you would use a standard bit light and thread it through the lantern brick so the LED is sat on the front and cover it with a 1x1 stud.  In this case we are keeping the flat tiles which look nicer, but the micro LEDs are so small they aren't trapped in place.

The solution to this, and to many problems in life, is Blu Tack! Or today White Tack since that's all we had to hand.  Same stuff anyway.

A small blob inserted into the lantern brick holds the LED and we used tweezers to turn the LED around to ensure it was facing out.  Then stuck the trans-clear tile on the front and put it back into place.  Simples!

Running the cables all the way to the back was straightforward, using the traditional technique we ran them along the inside edge of that outer 1 stud wide strip, and occasionally looped them between the studs to ensure they stay snugly out of sight.

 

The Back Lights

 These were much simpler.  Again it's a transparent tile we need to illuminate, and our Micro Bit Lights can fit comfortably!  The only challenge is holding the LED in the right place whilst fitting the tile back on top.  Otherwise it seems fine but when lit you can see a visible difference in where the light is.

You only need to remove a few pieces here to fit a Micro Bit light, replace the tile, keep the wires neatly at the edges whilst replacing that big 2x4 sloped piece, and finally the 2x1 sloped piece goes on top.  Neat as can be and no wires visible.

For this we only needed 15cm Bit Lights.

The Top Light

This set comes with the classic Bat Light made with a simple trans-red 1x1 round brick on top of a grey stud.  

This is just perfect to hold our tiny rotating bit lights. If you haven't seen these marvels they're amazing - a tiny microchip with four LEDs on top fixed to a tiny framework.  They are just the right size to fit inside these cylinder pieces, and the lights illuminate in a rapid sequence which looks like it's a spinning light.

Here's the Joker demonstrating how tiny these are:

And to stop the light showing through the top we flipped it and put the stud on top.  Actually we think it's closer to the original this way, as the silver frame covers the red light - check it out!

Photo © five

And here's how it looks.  There's no way to hide the cable completely but it's discrete enough.  The arch section easily pops off, the grey clips lift out, and you can run the wire into the rear storage area.  Simples.  Just make sure to run the cable so it's behind the arch, depending on which way you plan to display the Batmobile.

The End Result

We're pretty happy with this.  It would have been lovely to use a battery pack but that sadly wasn't an option.  And although we could have gone overboard with extra lights this combination seems just right for a model this size.

Parts Used

This was a nice compact design, and the use of a 4 port Micro-Expansion Board meant we could make use of the two standard connectors on it and avoided needing any extra boards.  Neat!

  • 2 x Micro Bit Lights - White - 30cm
  • 2 x Micro Bit Lights - White - 15cm
  • 1 x Rotating Bit Light
  • 1 x Micro Expansion Board - 4 Ports
  • 1 x USB Power Cable

For the photos we used an extra long Connecting Cable too, so we could reach the power supply and keep things tidy.

The retail cost of the parts used was £33.85.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this write-up.  We had fun with the build and hope it inspires you to light up your LEGO in your own way!

 

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