Set: 8635 - Agents - Mobile Command Center
Those dedicated Agents. They've fought chainsaw-armed villains, battled radio-controlled cyborg crocs, chased pallets of badly-stored golden loot and wrestled killer sharks with vicious, toothy grins. Finally they've caught the notorious Dr Inferno and imprisoned him in their cavernous Mobile Command Center. But Dr Inferno won't go down without a fight! Can the Agents stop the evil Dr 'Disco' Inferno fleeing? Will Spy Clops laser gun burn through the door in time, or will Dr Inferno simply use the lovely Agent Trace's enormous ponytail as an escape ladder to freedom? More importantly, will there be a riot in the streets of Lego City as AFOLs go apopletic at the thought of a 12 wide truck roaring through their ordered town layouts? Stay tuned!
Part 1: The Box, Instructions, Parts
As the largest of the Agents sets (so far), the box is easily the biggest. Trainee agents, examine the following three pics and see if you notice anything odd.
Spot it? That's right. The printed cardboard which has supposed to be the bottom half of the fold out middle section is on the back, slicing the ultra-large set image which would form the foldout in half . The way the cardboard is printed as one piece before it's folded I think this would be very hard to do 'accidentally' so suspect a major stuff-up somewhere along the production line. I bought this set off bricklink so would be very interested if anyone in the States who has seen these boxes actually on the shelves can tell me if this is common or rare. Basically I want to know if I should be annoyed that the bricklink seller didn't list this in the set description, or are they all like this?
The instructions come in 4 booklets. The parts list comes in at 5 pages, which is a lot even at half-size pages ! Large images of the parts inventory are in this folderwhen moderated for anyone interested. Here's also some cute Agents-type artwork at the end of one of the books. Instructions show piece call-outs and are divided into sections according to numbered bags.
As you'd expect for a set with 1100+ parts, this baby comes with a lot of bags. It's a treasure trove of dark blue. As well as the obvious large slopes and wall panels which make up the body and the roof, there is a wealth of smaller navy blue pieces as well - small 1x1 bricks, 2x2 bricks, 1x1 plates, 2x2 tiles, heaps of 2x plates, some slopes, 22x cheese pieces... basically anyone wanting a lot of dark blue should think about this set. The roof panels alone, for example, could provide a dark blue sea for a modernised Pirate MOC.
2 DSSs (Dreaded Sticker Sheets).
Quelle surprise - stickers! The grey parts of the stickers here are metallic silver ink, which is a nice touch. Actually, as sticker sheets go, they're not too bad. Fairly subtle for the most part and the navy blue actually matches the bricks themselves.
However, after looking at the sticker sheets I thought I was missing something. What about the pieces used for the projection screens showing Dr Inferno and the sharks - why weren't they on the sticker sheets? There must be another one! Frantically I checked and rechecked the box and flipped through all the instruction manuals to find the elusive 3rd sheet. Where was it? Ten minutes later I noticed something which had honestly never occured to me - THERE WERE ACTUAL PRINTED PIECES IN THIS SET! So obvious and yet so unthinkable. It's horrifying how years and years of Exoforce and Speed Racer set releases can mentally condition people's thought processes. Tut tut, Lego. What have you reduced us to?
Here they are, folks - ACTUAL PRINTED PIECES. (Yes, I do believe this news deserves the caps.)
I also noticed this nifty modification of the usual 2x3 cupboard - you can now fit drawers in it! Very clever. This may have been around in Belville sets for years for all I know, but it's new to me. The drawers slide in and out very well and the top one sits on slight indentations in the middle of the cupboard.
Part 2: The figs!
Our trusty agents - Charge, Chase, Trace and Fuse. (High powered agents don't have time for names of more than one syllable - that's why the bad guys always lose ). Chase and Fuse have the Mutt hair in black and dark orange. The lovely Agent Trace has an exquisite new hairpiece in dark brown, perfect for 'Rapunzel' themed MOCs. As you can see, her ponytail is loooong. Makes it hard to sit down, the poor girl. I feel sorry for all these female figs with such intricate hairstyles that they can never relax in an ordinary Lego chair. However, at least she has two breasts unlike the recent Harley Quinn fig. Compensation indeed. Seriously though, it's great that there's a separate torso print for the female character and this attention to detail is typical of the set as a whole.
Three of the agents have reversable heads - nice touch with the headsets and I like the ID cards on their pants. Obviously the agents security system is based on some kind of crotch measuring device. This would make sense considering the conspicuous bulges in the pants of Dr Inferno's men (see the other Agents set reviews.)
The villains - Spy Clops, Dr Inferno, Gold Tooth.
Dr Inferno's hair in all it's glory. This is a great piece, although the orange colouring is a little rough on the front. It's so 3D, it deserves a back and side view (and indeed EB thread) all of its own. As mentioned elsewhere, this is different plastic to the normal minifig hair, but it doesn't quite feel as soft as the Exo-force hair. It doesn't fall off as much, anyway.
The figs get 10/10 from me. Awesome hairpieces in great colours for the Agents and a sleek navy blue/ neon green uniform. The villains' faces are great and they are all very distinctive. The attention to detail is outstanding and it's great to see a Lego in-house theme with characters as memorable and cool as figs from the licensed themes .
Part 3: The build
The build is divided into three stages - the small vehicles, the front of the truck, and the massive command center section.
(a) Small vehicles
First up, all the small vehicles. We have a small flyer, 2 buggies, jet ski, and a speed boat - all in glorious navy blue with little bits of silver detailing.
These vehicles are all simple, small and well-designed. Probably the weakest is the flyer, only because the cockpit looks a little large. In fact, the small flyer is probably the weakest element of 8365 overall, which tells you how good the set itself is!
In various threads here, this set has been heavily criticised for being way out of proportion. There's a reason for that, as we shall come to. However, the existence of these small sets should appease some people. With the new coast guard sets, for example, all of these save the flyer wouldn't look out of place on a City beach with a little modding. Here's an example - agents beach party! (Spongebob couldn't help but crash.)
The villains only have one small vehicle, but they've been well-served in the smaller sets, and this one is a unique and clever design. I love the triangular shape and the simple but clever technique of making the arch slopes meet up around the propellers. It's sort of insectile in black and orange, and looks very different from the usual assortment of helicopters etc.
(b) Truck front
This thing is a beast! Seriously, look at it. It's chunky and mean looking. You don't want to mess with this baby.
The build is really nice. Like a lot of Star Wars vehicles, it's all based on technic beams pinned together. Unlike a lot of Mars Mission sets, underneath isn't ALL technic beams with some plates slapped on like a facade. The majority is a lot of plates and bricks which all fit together solidly. You can see from the detailing of 'cheese grater' slopes and silver pieces on the front how effort has been made to give this vehicle a distinct feel different to other Lego sets. Sure, the silver slope mirrors might be a bit too much for some, but this baby is all about attitude. You can imagine it roaring down the road en route to Dr Inferno's diabolical lair! After all, these sets are 'Agents' sets - nobody said they were *secret* Agents
(c ) Command center - whole assembly
Here's a view of the whole thing assembled - inside and cool details to follow at the end. It's kind of hard to show here as it is extreeeeemely long. This is indeed a big set. The build for the trailer part of the command center is fun and very satisfying. Yes, there are large pieces but there is also a huge amount of detail. It is also solid as a rock. I remember being annoyed building the big Ferrari truck a few years ago - everytime you looked at it, an 8 x 16 plate fell off. The Mobile Command Center is solid - even with the hinged roof and special features, it is not delicate at all. Kudos to the designers, again as it is mainly a brick build rather than a technic one. I also like how the command center part connects to the cabin - it's not a special piece at all, just a technic axle going through two circle plates, but it works and it's solid. (Please note I've been selective about which stickers I've applied during the build.)
Here's an example of why I like the build: (a) the designers have enough sense to put a ladder so a minifig can climb up to the interior when the command center is open (b) notice that although the ladder clips at the top, there is an *extra* clip there in the middle purely to hold it in place so it doesn't flap around and holds firm. I don't know if most designers would even think to put a ladder there let alone go the extra mile and put a mechanism to hold it in place. Pure class. Oh, and notice the greebly detail stuff to the right there too.
The other side. This is probably the other weak part of the build - the bricky gaps at the top where the hinge to open the roof sits. It's a little gappy but the set is so big you don't really notice.
(d) And now for the fun stuff - inside and neat details!
OK, so we've built the thing. It's big. It's blue. The top of the trailer itself would make a good warehouse MOC for a harbour layout. But what about inside? Is it any good? What about all those small vehicles from the start of the review? Where do they go?
Well, I'm glad you asked. Because the solution is superb.
The small flyer folds slightly and slides into place here:
Lift off the roof and you're away!
The large buggy and the speedboat go under here:
The jetski slides out of the rear here, attached to its own little platform:
And the small buggy goes inside the main cabin. There's even a crane so you can lift it down.
So now we know why this set is so large! To fit everything in! It's amazing that this functionality doesn't affect the aesthetics of the set as a whole.
But we still haven't finished on the details. The front section has a very easy-to-swing-open roof section and missiles:
There's also a command section underneath the bit where the flyer lifts out:
And now for the interior. I have to say I really like this space. Not only is it packed with great stuff, there's also enough room for minifigs to move around. I hate bases where the figs only have about 2 studs to actually stand and walk. Aquabase Invasion is a nice set, for example, but the actual functional space inside the base is teensy. Claustrophobia! You know within a week they'd be fighting to toss each other out of the airlock. No such problems for these suave Agents, who have plenty of legroom *and* the ability to launch missiles from their ceiling.
The whole of the interior:
Moving from left to right. First off, the medicine cabinet. Looks like someone's been leaving secret mission dossiers lying around.
The projector area for mission briefings. Dr Inferno recently changed his hair colour from purple to orange, it seems. Why are all these minifigs so obsessed with their hair?
The projector folds down when the trailer is open. Push the button and the light glows on. Now Dr Inferno's hair is orange again! This is one of my favourite parts of the set. It works a charm. The batteries for these lightbricks can also be replaced - instructions are in the manual.
Agent Charge considers shark-fin soup for dinner.
Did I mention these projection panels are printed? The detail is very fine too.
The tool section. Laptops sit in the middle compartment. You get some flippers, yellow scuba tank and various implements. I'm so impressed that the helmet is pearl silver with a different coloured visor too - there's so much variation in the parts in this set, you don't get the sense the designers are using the same thing over and over to save money. It all feels luxe and top-of-the-line, just like the Command Center itself.
Two laptops - yay!
The aforementioned rooftop missiles:
The Dr Inferno cage. Nasty electric shocks! Bzzt! (You can see my reviewing skills are burning out now - sentences.... truncated...) Another example of detail - nowhere else in the set is a 1x1 transgreen tile used - they could have used a 1x1 trans green cheese wedge piece as there are others in the set, but they didn't.
How does Dr I get out?
Flick that lever on the right hand exterior and the door pops open.
Spy Clops the loyal minion awaits his master on the other side.
And there we have it. Take a bow, guys!
There's a lot of spare parts. A suspicious amount of dark blue small slopes but I checked the instructions and didn't see anything missing. I have to say, I do like the new policy (since Speed Racer I think) of including these small slopes as extras.
Part 4: Overall Rating
If you've made it this far, you've got more stamina than Dr Inferno's army of cyborg animals themselves!
As I said earlier, this set has drawn criticism for the size of the truck. However, large vehicles do exist - I grew up in a wheat farming area and as a kid the size of the lorries that thundered past carrying grain was probably intimidating to me as this monstrous espionage machine is to the good citizens of Lego City! On top of that, it *does* contain a plethora of 4-wide vehicles inside ! Criticism of this set on the basis of size to me also seems misguided as this is basically a playset - and it is a very good one to boot.
As you can probably tell, I love it to pieces and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone, whether for parts or for play value. Check out the parts list in this folderwhen moderated and you can see just how many excellent pieces it contains. A light-up brick, a flood of navy blue, metallic silver bricks - we're spoiled. 8635 is also an enjoyable build, with fantastic figs and top-of-the-line detailing. In a year when I've found City a bit disappointing after the run of great sets in 2006-2007, the Agents line has been one of the surprise hits for me and I can't wait to see what the designers come up with next.
Edited by svelte_corps, 02 June 2008 - 12:46 AM.