Tutorials -

The (mini) 1989 Batmobile

We were thrilled to get our hands on this set - it's LEGO set 40433 - the 1989 Batmobile Limited Edition.

Which basically means it's the awesome new huge Batmobile.  But much smaller.

It was given away as a Gift With Purchase (GWP) when the 1989 Batmobile launched and sold out almost immediately.  A kind fan shared their brand new in box Batmobile with Elegant Bricks so we could have a play!  They'll get it back with a custom light kit as a thank you!

The Set

Here it is in all it's 366 bricks of goodness.

For the record - this model did not look so dusty when we took the photos.  It's gloss black on a black background - it shows EVERYTHING!

The Lights

Designing the lights wasn't rocket (engine) science.

It needs:

  • White Headlights
  • Red Rear Lights
  • Cabin lights
  • And a rocket thruster / afterburner effect

We want to keep the model with full playability, so can't tether this to external power supplies.

It's actually a little tricky - the model is very solid - almost no gaps in the body under the outer layer - so the only place for the battery will be... the driver's seat!

Equally the flame at the rear - these look awesome if you light up the base and the whole thing glows.  Add an animation effect and job done!  Except this flame is mounted to a little gearbox on the rear axle, so it rotates when you push the car along.  Pretty cool, but makes lighting it much harder!

The Parts

To light up this set we used the following parts:

  • 2 x 30cm Cool White Bit Lights
  • 2 x 30cm Red Bit Lights
  • 1 x Rotating Bit Light
  • 1 x Micro Battery Pack

The Installation Process

Let's get straight into it.  We'll start with the headlights.

  1. Rip off that windscreen / windshield / glass screen bit.
  2. Remove the stud shooters
  3. Remove the black 1x6 tiles
  4. Rip off those four special curved pieces over the front wheels
  5. Carefully pop out the front headlight assembly.  This may well collapse in your fingers when you do so.  That's fine too.

 

Let's break down that front headlight unit and fit the two 30cm Cool White Bit Lights into it.

Hold the first carefully in place as shown and lower the light unit over it.  Because the trans-yellow plates have no space between the studs (some do, some don't - these don't!) we have to put the light under just one half.  It's fine - it's bright enough anyway.  I chose the inner lights.

Carefully squeeze the upper section down into place with the cable coming out towards the middle-rear as shown.  Repeat on the other side then rebuild the middle section.

 Fitting the heading module back on is a little fiddly, but keep on wiggling and carefully replace it.  If it's easier for you, pop the wheels off and then replace them afterwards.

Run the cables along the undercarriage and then up past the guns / barrels on the side.  There's a handy gap there to poke the cables into the cockpit.  

Get the cables in place - line them up neatly, then bring them snugly together in the cockpit and twist them together.  This pulls the wire under the car tight and keeps it from snagging on anything.  

Leave those wires hanging for now, and let's do the rear lights.

I won't show the process of removing that curved back section behind the cockpit.  It's pretty easy to pop off everything and leave it looking like the picture below.  

Strip it back to basics, pop off the rear lights, and grab the two Red Bit Lights.

Sadly those 1x1 round tiles don't have space in them for an LED, so we need to replace two of them with 1x1 round plates instead.  As you can see I've picked the lower light on each section.  

Positioning the wires isn't too critical here, just carefully place the new trans-red piece into place and push it down firmly.  Then run the wires down towards the wheels, and you'll be ready to fit these back together.

Carefully replace the left-hand light module and run the wiring down vertically between the two exhausts.  Then fit the 2x1 black curved piece to finish that modular.  The wires should be barely visible now.  Repeat on the other side in a similar fashion.

Flip the Batmobile over and remove the two 1x3 tan plates as shown.

Run the cables alongside the light grey chassis and secure snugly by replacing the 1x3 tan plates.  This keeps the wires clear from the wheels.

Poke those wires up into the cabin and as before twist them together to keep the wires underneath tight and out of the way.  

Lastly we fit the rotating bit light.  Place this carefully at the rear just above the axle hole where the flame goes.  Run the wire across the back of the Batmobile in the middle, and clip it into place with that big 2x4 slope piece.  Leave a little slack as shown so we can position this light later.

We'll keep the wires for the rotating bit light in the middle as we route them back to the cockpit, so replace the bricks and places one by one as shown, making sure you do not trap the wire over a stud.

Once done, replace the missing parts to complete the rear of the car.

You should now have five pairs of wires coming into the cabin.  This is when you realise that there's no way you're going to fit a minifig and a battery and a cabin light, so there's just no point lighting up the cabin.

Let Batman stay in the dark where he's happiest.  Well.  Kind of happy.

Take the five wires and twist them into a tight bundle.  This makes managing them and tucking them out of the way much easier.  

Then replace the front trim, the 1x6 tiles and the stud shooters to complete the look of the car.

And now the only slightly fiddly part - carefully position the rotating bit light as shown, so it's sticking out horizontally from the rear of the car.  Then position the cone piece over the flame and the rotating bit light.

Give the wheels a spin and see if the bit light is catching on the flame.  Adjust the rotating bit light by gently turning it (so the wires coil) and keep it snug to the sides of the cone and away from the turning axle piece.

 

 Finally we have the fun part - powering her up!

Simply connect the five pairs of wires to the built-in connectors on the micro battery pack.  Then neatly squish the wires and battery pack into the driver's seat, making sure the on/off switch faces up so you can get to it easily.

Finally refit the cockpit and you are ready to roll.

Summary

We hope you enjoyed this project -we certainly did.  It's a fabulous little set, though sadly it's so solidly built there's not much room for us to hide components in!  We think the end result is great fun though and keeps to our rule of making sure the model is still driveable and playable of course.

Well, driveable for us holding the Batmobile - it's a bit of a squeeze for MiniEB, not least because of his big hat!

Video

Here's a quick video showing the animated rear engine effect we used.

 

 


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The (mini) 1989 Batmobile