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Review: Kitchen Scale MF


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#1 Svelte

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 04:19 AM

Theme: Gratuitous merchandising!
Shop@Home Set Name: Kitchen Scale MF (I assume MF stands for Mini Fig and not Mother F#$#er)
Set Number:#852534
Pieces: 2
Price: $AUD34.99, GBP17.59, EUR19.99

The Lego Group's merchandising section continues to invent new ways to plaster the company logo and smiling visage of a minifig face over every conceivable object in one's home. If bath towels, bags, T-shirts, watches and clocks aren't enough for you, the Lego Kitchen range is here to ensure your domestic compliance with the household gods of ABS is complete. Along with ice cube trays, melamine plates, storage sets, cake moulds and the vaguely adult-sounding 'Silicone Studs' (!) cutlery range, you can now prepare delicious recipes using the Kitchen Scale MF *and* drive your significant other to madness by colonising the previous safe-haven of the Lego-free kitchen with a giant, leering minifig face. Everybody wins!

In the interests of thoroughly road-testing this scale, I baked a delicious cake to see how practical this thing was in action. Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Orange Cake is a famous gluten-free dessert which had a revival and was especially popular in cafes and restaurants about a decade ago. It is easy to make and great to endear yourself to the previously mentioned significant others. To fully engage with this review, you will need:

2 large oranges, washed
6 eggs, beaten
250g ground almonds
250g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Lego MF scale

Full cooking instructions to follow.

Let's begin with the review proper! Firstly, the box. I was amazed at how large it is. Having always used small, minimal, compact kitchen scales, I thought this thing would be about half the size it is:

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Box art, front. I hate to be the one to break it to that kid in the middle, but he is not biologically related to that woman or the other kid. Check out his non-ginger mop. That apple didn't fall from anywhere near that tree, if you know what I'm saying - *cough* Prince Harry *cough*. Here we also see this Danish  family preparing the traditional delicacy of 'flour in a bowl'. Yum!

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The back of the box:

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The side of the box. Here we have some technical information. Maximum weight is 1kg, and the variance is 25g. I guess 2.5% error is OK, but I'm unused to scales advertising how *inaccurate* they are! Usually it's the other way round :wacko: What happens if I'm only weighing 250g of sugar, as Claudia demands? Does this mean I'll be out by 10%? In the delicate art of cake-making, that's quite a large error :sceptic:

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Unboxing begins. The scale dish comes out first:

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Look how neatly the stud on the head pops through the protective cardboard box here!

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What clever and amazing packaging! If only Lego was so careful shipping things like, ooh, I don't know, $AUD400 giant S@H Exclusives. (Sorry! I am still sore about this :wink:)

Here is the head. The face is great, if a little stereotypical. Mamma Mia! Actually, it kind of reminds me from Erds for some reason, I can't imagine why. I hope that folkdancing career is going well, I haven't heard from him for a while. Anyhoo, I think Lego kind of missed a trick by not including a full-size white Chef's Hat to go with it :grin: And yes, the eyes do follow you around the room.

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Side view. I'm no design expert, but even I would question whether using a teensy red line against a black background was the best choice for clear and visible measuring. Also, the way you calibrate the measure to zero is by moving the whole of the clear plastic section up and down so that the white line 0 at the top measures up with the hard to see faint red line. What isn't obvious from the pic is that this clear section is a fair few mm in front of the measuring part, so there is significant parallax error depending from which angle and height you are judging the measuring line from. More on that later:

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Top view. They even have the 3D 'Lego' printing on the stud. So cute! Colour-monitor CP35670 will be pleased to note that the quality of yellow in this set is top-grade :thumbup:

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Some assembly is required:

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And here it is with a minifig to put the scale into scale (so to speak):

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The question on everybody's lips is, can this set be used to determine whether Chrome Vaders are hidden inside 2009 battle packs? (Unlike starstreak, I have not attempted to record a controversial video demonstrating this experiment while sitting in a car and rotating the scale and battle packs in my hand while being mocked for my lack of tonal excitement, nor have I recorded a follow-up and equally controversial video in which I find *two* Chrome Vaders in one pack :grin:)

Here is a battlepack in position. You can already see that the red measuring line is almost impossible to see against the black background:

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Since we're unlikely to see any Chrome Vaders in Australia (unless TRU gives them away to 5 year olds again, like last year's C3P0s :tongue:), I have taken the liberty of adding a Vader to the scale to note any change. The answer? Yes - a very slight one, which shows that the weight difference between the two is measurable.

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However, while adding Darth to the scale did make it move slightly, the difficulty of getting a clear reading of the weight before and after each battle pack was added means that comparing sealed packs to see if the weight of a fig made any difference is beyond the accuracy of this device :sceptic: Furthermore, the way the dish 'sticks' to the scale each time something was removed made re-calibration of the measure necessary between weighings, further undermining accuracy. In conclusion, I guess seekers of Chrome Vaders will have to get them the old-fashioned way - by hassling members of the Ambassador program with their inside connections :laugh:

Darth surveys his empire from his new balcony:

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While the scale was a failure in this respect, it still needed to be tested in the context for which it was designed, ie the kitchen. So, on to the recipe. Gather your artfully-strewn ingredients (and scale) and we will begin!

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Firstly, boil the oranges in a little water in a covered saucepan for 2 hours. Yes, 2 hours. You may need to add more water as the pan dries out. At the end they should be firm but soft to the touch. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190ºC (170 degrees fan-forced) and butter and flour a cake or springform tin.

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Cut open the oranges, and chop roughly (including the skin). If you bought oranges with pips, take those out now.

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Blend oranges and remaining ingredients thoroughly in a food processor. (My food processor was broken, so I just blended the oranges and mixed in the dry ingredients afterwards; it doesn't really matter.)

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Now we need to add the 250g of almond meal, 250g of sugar, baking powder and beaten eggs. Our first practical test - to measure the weight of almond meal:

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How easy was it to use the scale? Well, it was kind of annoying actually. Due to the parallax error, the line looked different every time I moved my head. I got a susbtantially different reading every time. In my kitchen, the red line against the black was hard to see. And the way that the dish stuck and I had to recalibrate every time I took ingredients out was aggravating, to be honest.

I learned that to reduce reduce parallax error, I had to put the scale on something higher (like the microwave) so that my line of sight was more in tune with the measuring line. Once I did this, it was much easier to use the scale, but it still wasn't perfect by any means.

Just out of curiosity, I weighed some of the eggs to see if it matched up with the weight on the carton. Again... they sort of did, but again the differences each time were noticeable. I guess they weren't lying on the box when they said 25g variance! Points for honesty, but not much else.

Once you have thoroughly mixed the processed orange and other ingredients, pour the batter into prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour, turning the tin around half way through. If cake is still very wet, cook a little longer. Cool in tin before gently turning out. You can see mine is a teensy bit overbaked:

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You really don't need to dress this cake up much, as the taste is amazing by itself, but you can sprinkle a little icing sugar on top for decoration just prior to serving. Hurrah and yum!

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Since the scale was kind of not great for kitchen usage, I passed it on to a nice Jedi Master who was passing by. He said he needed something rough just to measure fertiliser for offloading to a local farmer. He also mentioned something about the Republic Army being funded by recycling, I'm not sure what he meant.

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(Now you know what happens to all the corpses of those expendable clones! :grin:)


To sum up:

Item #852534, the Kitchen Scale MF, looks good but is largely useless for accurate measurement. It has several features which are poorly designed (hard to read measuring line and parallax error) and the dish tends to stick too hard to the head stud. Honestly, I couldn't recommend it to anyone serious about cooking :sadnew:. On the upside, it does look attractive in a kitschy, retro kind of way. Perhaps if you are a bad cook, like the red-headed mother on the box art making Danish flour-cake, I guess I would buy it purely so I could blame my culinary inadequacies on my useless illegitimate child: 'Jørn! You've put in too much flour! You've ruined my precious cake! No smørrebrød for you for a month!'

Note: A week after I made this cake, I used the scale again, and probably because I had become accustomed to its idiosyncracies, I found it easier to handle. I guess you get used to its quirks. I'm torn because I think it looks great, but it is kind of, well, dysfunctional. As a product, it certainly doesn't inspire confidence in the Lego kitchen accessories range for future purchases. I kind of wish I'd bought a Belville ice cube tray instead :wink: Now, who's up for reviewing those 'Silicone Studs'? :wink:

#2 Hewman

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 06:01 AM

Brilliant review. I do like how they used the head from the chef minifig, even though it does creep me out a little bit (that's my own issue, I don't need to go into it here).
So how'd the cake taste?
On a serious note, it's good to see a review of the quality of the some of the gear lego sell, surely they couldn't have got things too bad with ice cubes tray though. Perhaps I should review my classic space logo cap.

#3 Svelte

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 06:03 AM

View Posthewman, on Apr 3 2009, 05:01 PM, said:

surely they couldn't have got things too bad with ice cubes tray though. Perhaps I should review my classic space logo cap.

The ice cube trays are great! Sinner has a very detailed review of the Belville one in the 'News & General Discussion' Forum.

I eagerly await your classic space logo cap review :wink:

The cake was brilliant - it always is :classic:

#4 Izzy

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 06:35 AM

What a brilliant review. Thank You for telling us about it's idiosyncrasies... I was seriously looking at buying this item as I am a keen baker. (am going to try that recipe also  :wub:) I love nothing better than Jaffa so it might have to sneak some chocolate on top for icing.

I purchased the Timer whilst in L.A. a few years back and it ceased to function shortly after its first use. I must get it out of the drawer as all lego products are beautiful to look at no matter what. I am getting the Tool Box for my birthday in a few short weeks and shall have to do a review on it for one and all. Haha! (Pretty sure there won't be much to tell about it but nevertheless I shall do it)

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#5 mechamike

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:47 AM

Nice review!! One small question, what temperature did you put the owen on? ( that cake looks really nice , and I think Ill too will use chocolate as iceing on top)  :tongue:  and by turing the cake around , do you mean rotate it or flip it 180 degrees??

Edited by a53021, 03 April 2009 - 08:49 AM.


#6 Svelte

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:50 AM

View Posta53021, on Apr 3 2009, 07:47 PM, said:

Nice review!! One small question, what temperature did you put the owen on? ( that cake looks really nice , and I think Ill too will use chocolate as iceing on top)  :tongue:

170 degrees Celcius in a fan-forced oven, which is about 340 Farenheit. Ordinary ovens should use 190 degrees  :classic:

#7 Kanal-K1

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 09:32 AM

Thanks for this great review! I hadn´t laughed so much for a long, long time. I never thought, that I will some day somewhere read a review for a kitchen scale  :tongue:  :tongue:  :tongue:
Frankly speaking, you have my deep respect, as if I had school task like this, to write down a kitchen scale review for few pages, I had for sure became at least 3-4 (for USA residents - similar to US rating C-D). :tongue:  :tongue:  :tongue:

Edited by Kanal-K1, 03 April 2009 - 09:33 AM.


#8 I Scream Clone

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 10:08 AM

An awesome review of a faulty quirky product I feel no need to buy! :thumbup:

It was a very amusing article with many anecdotes and *cough*send me a Chrome Vader*cough* interesting tidbits of EB community life in general

On another note is it usual for Gluten free cakes to have

Quote

..... the 250g of flour
:devil:

Hewman, I feel we are all missing out when it comes to no current review for the Classic Space cap, so bring it on! :sweet:

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#9 Svelte

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 10:17 AM

View PostI Scream Clone, on Apr 4 2009, 09:08 PM, said:

An awesome review of a faulty quirky product I feel no need to buy! :thumbup:

It was a very amusing article with many anecdotes and *cough*send me a Chrome Vader*cough* interesting tidbits of EB community life in general

On another note is it usual for Gluten free cakes to have  :devil:

Eek! The cake is gluten-free. It's all almond meal. See - this is why the keen scrutiny of the Reviewers Academy assessment is so important :grin:

That isn't a Chrome Vader in the review, that's just an ordinary one. Just in case someone sends goons around to my house looking for it  :tongue:

#10 Sinner

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 03:20 AM

Thanks for the great review! Annoyingly you've made me not want this set. I have a digital kitchen scale that I have been using for years that I love, and I couldn't go to an analog scale. Thus I hoped to justify this as a LEGO scale!  :tongue: But the inaccuracies and the parallax error turns me right off. Maybe on sale... :look:

View Postsvelte_corps, on Apr 3 2009, 02:19 PM, said:

I hate to be the one to break it to that kid in the middle, but he is not biologically related to that woman or the other kid. Check out his non-ginger mop. That apple didn't fall from anywhere near that tree, if you know what I'm saying - *cough* Prince Harry *cough*.
My sister has three red-head boys and neither her, the father or any of our family does as well... :wink:





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#11 CP5670

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 08:02 AM

This review was hilarious, especially the part about the bad cook. :laugh: :laugh: And yes, I can definitely see in your pictures that this is the nice, rich Lego yellow of the past. :thumbup:

It looks pretty crappy for what it's actually designed for though. I always find analog meters with a large parallax error like you described to be quite annoying.

Edited by CP5670, 05 April 2009 - 08:05 AM.


#12 Svelte

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 08:23 AM

View PostSiegfried, on Apr 5 2009, 02:20 PM, said:

Thanks for the great review! Annoyingly you've made me not want this set.

They don't call me a 'negative nancy' for nothing :laugh:

Actually, I was disappointed too as I use a scale all the time and I really wanted something practical yet garish around the kitchen. I've also found the other Lego kitchen stuff quite good but this was a case of looks first, function second  :thumbdown:

#13 Erdbeereis

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 12:42 AM

Simply hilarious. :laugh:  But don't tease my poor beheaded cousin. :angry:  My folkdacing is coming along nicely by the way, thanks for asking.

I had a good stomach-workout with the laughing. A  :thumbup:  from me. :wink:  You should start a T.V.program, "Cooking with Svelte"  :tongue:

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#14 VBBN

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 12:59 AM

Great review, and great cake! Certainly not my thing, as I usually use my easy-to-read kitchen scale.

#15 Rocketbilly

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 12:19 AM

A HILARIOUS review....

I never knew reading such an in-depth article on a kitchen scale would be so entertaining!

many thanks and very well done! =]

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