Set Name: Granite Grinder
Set Number: 8958
Year of release: 2009
Price: $9.99 USD
Minifigures: 1 miner and 1 rock monster
Sticker sheet: Yes
Front and back of the minifig showing printing on both sides.
Instructions, sticker sheet, and extra pieces.
Random instructions image.
Front 3/4 view
Rear 3/4 view.
This is a great set. Upon close inspection, this set is very well designed and fun to build despite its size. It's also an excellent parts pack for $10.
The miner minifig is all new, with a dual sided expression and torso with printing on front and back. His face is somewhat of a "rock on, dude" (no pun intended) look on one side and a terrified look on the other. He has a scar below his mouth and grime lining where the blue helmet sits on his head. I am very happy they brought back the Rock Raiders helmet in a new color. This feels like a fresh revival of the RR theme. The legs are even printed with a chain and flashlight design.
The rock monster is hollow inside, allowing the included blue crystal (another revived RR piece in a new color) to fit inside his mouth. The top of the head is hinged like any of the Canadian characters from South Park, and it is a very comical looking creation. The best part is that his arms are minifig socket- compatible. as shown above.
The actual vehicle packs a lot of cool design in a small package. There is a bit of technic, a bit of brick-built, and some SNOT on the sides. I love the little details like the flood light and white tanks in the back. The lime green and orange isn't that bad, but I think it could have been better color-schemed. The dump truck bucket is attached by a chain to the back and is easily removed. The actual drilling mechanism is really neat. The rubber band snaps it back into place, while moving the treads bumps it forward, making a jackhammer-like sound and motion when it moves. The play function works very well.
The best part is the return of alternate build pictures on the box. It shows that you can combine this with another set to make a great hovercraft-looking thing. (Sorry...I don't have a pic, I threw the box away.)
Ratings (on a scale of 1 to 10):
Parts: 9.5/10 - All new figures and parts, plus plenty of lime green. Would have been nice to have tread links instead of rubber tire treads.
Minifigs: 10/10 - Includes two all new figures.
Detail: 10/10 - very clever design and solid build.
Playability: 8/10 - Cool mechanism but the wheels are a bit stiff and the bin that drags behind can be cumbersome.
Price to parts: 9.5/10 - Under 100 elements for $9.99, though there are plenty of new and returning pieces here.
Availability: 7/10 - Should be showing up everywhere soon if not already.
OVERALL RATING: 10/10 - I'd definitely recommend picking this up as a test of the new theme. If you don't like it, you still get plenty of neat pieces.
This on top of the Pirates theme is a very good outlook for 2009, since the Clone Wars sets pretty much stink. TLG is very creative with their unlicensed sets, and this set really shines. I picked it up to decide whether or not I liked the theme, and it really turned my opinion around. It's a great little set.
Edited by WhiteFang, 23 May 2009 - 06:49 PM.