Symbiote Heads and a Hero’s Cowl – A Review

Themes: Marvel Super Heroes, DC Super Heroes
Nos: 76187, 76199, 76182
Release Year: 2021

As a kid, I was a big fan of comics and this hasn’t changed as I’ve grown older. A few weeks ago LEGO kindly sent me a few new sets to check out – 76187 Venom, 76199 Carnage and 76182 Batman Cowl. These sets are quite exciting for me – one of my favourite heroes, my favourite anti-hero, and my favourite villain. I’ve also not had any of the LEGO Head sets before, so I was keen to check them out. 

76182 Batman Cowl
Similar to the other two, work starts  with the stand.  It’s not overly exciting, but does the job.

The “head” (not the cowl) is chock full of SNOT bricks and strange additions, in order to make the exterior work. It’s a mixture of dark and light grey, black, red and yellow to mix up the design, with a window frame or two thrown in for good measure. Once the less exciting structure is built, it’s time to build up the cowl itself, which is when it gets exciting. Seeing the build come together with that iconic shaping is very enjoyable.

The interesting thing about the Batman Cowl is that it doesn’t completely cover the head, so something had to be done to make the large mouth gap look natural. The eyes are spot on, using the iconic white eyes as seen in so many renditions of the Bat, including LEGO heads. The moulding of the eyes, eyebrows and nose is great. It’s not so strange that it looks weird – it looks very natural, and he’s perfectly angry. The diistinctive ears are fantastic.

The visible parts of the stand incorporate transparent black elements but I think it blends too much with the cowl itself. It’s hard to tell where the the cowl stops and the stand begins. If this was in a different colour it’d look better, although it does make the eyes really pop. The chin strap section is also good, but it does look a little odd without the rest of the cowl – namely the neck and shoulder covering.

I also like that there’s not many visible studs on the face side – obviously there’s plenty on the other sides. This is a good looking set. If you’re a Batman fan, it’s a fun one to build. It’s a bit pricey, but I don’t think it’s too bad.

On to Venom and Carnage! These two are quite similar, so I’ll check them out together.

76187 Venom & 76199 Carnage
The overall shaping of both Venom and Carnage are almost identical, with a couple of minor tweaks in the front of Venom’s mouth, to incorporate the tongue. They’re both meant to be similar, given they’re both symbiotes.

What’s also hard is the shape. Both characters have a distinct bulk to them, and this is lost in the shape, particularly in the eyes. They’re too straight at the bottom. As organic beings, there’s no straight lines in them. This is obviously unavoidable with LEGO, but there are ways to get around it. Interestingly, the eyes are actually slightly different, but it’s mostly covered by the brow elements.

The mouths are quite effective, Venom’s in particular. The colours in it are almost perfect. I would have liked to have had a thicker tongue, but it’s still a good inclusion. Venom also has some transparent neon green elements for slime dripping from it’s mouth.

It’s incredibly subtle, but works well. I think the huge underbite is too strong, as this isn’t shown in the comic or movie versions.

Carnage’s mouth doesn’t work as well. Black teeth looks scary, but the surrounding blocks being black as well just loses the effect of the teeth. If you have them displayed together, like I do, the contrast is quite stark. The pink in Carnage’s mouth is fantastic and helps to break up the black colour block in the mouth.

I like the colouring at the back of Carnage’s head, with the streaks of black – the veins at the front using stickers are good, but I feel it’s a bit too detailed. The difference between stickers and bricks is always jarring, but it’s definitely noticeable here. Inside the head is an explosion of colour, to make it easier to build and place all the SNOT elements correctly.

If you want to display something a bit different, then these are possibly for you. They won’t appeal to everyone – my wife isn’t a fan of these two – but there’s still a few other options in the heads range. Angularity will always be a bit of hinderance when it comes to organic builds at this scale, but I think it’s been done quite reasonably. Batman is done quite well, but Venom and Carnage – I’m not quite sure.

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me copies to review. All thoughts on these sets are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.