Do you remember the old Fleetwood Mac song? The (lime) green Miner-lishi with the two-pronged
8958: Granite grinder
Theme: Power miners (link to the official site with info, games & more)
Pieces: 94 (including 5 small extra pieces and counting Monster head and body as two different pieces)
Price: 10 USD / 10~13 EUR / 7,85 UKP (S@H price for most European countries = 10 Euros; France = 12 Euros, Finland = 13 Euros!)
Building time: 15/20 minutes
MISB on review: Yes
More info: Brickset - Peeron
Box front: European version, no set name or pieces count.
Box back: Highlighting the chance to build a combo model with 8960 Thunder driller and some moving parts.
Box sides: The monster has a name (so does the minifig, but you still can't tell); and just like Thunderbirds (or Lego Agents), vehicles have their own numbers.
Small prints: Some info in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian. Who cares about Italy...
Box content: Two bags with pieces, one bag with rock monster Glaciator, two loose "Technic Treads Very Small", one loose "Tipper Bucket 4 x 6", sticker sheet and instructions book.
Random instructions page: building the grinding mechanism (click for larger image)
From the instructions book: Set inventory (click for larger image)
From the instructions book: Theme overview and Monsters line-up (click for larger image)
From the instructions book: How to combine 6 models to build 3 larger sets, and Lego club a.k.a. the Dead Themes Society (Exo-Force, Aqua Raiders, Mars Mission - click for larger image)
Unusual pieces: Up to now, these very small treads have been available in 8 sets, one pair for each of them. The tipper bucket has been around for nearly 30 years (my first one came in the early eighties, see 6652) but for the first time it comes in Orange. Dynamite sticks are one of this year's new pieces (Dynamite previously available printed on a 1x2 tile); "Rahkshi Staff of Poison" if my first Bionicle piece not coming from an Exo-Force set (no, I never owned a Bionicle and I hardly will), also available in orange for the first time. The "roll cage" als is a new pieces and basically a PM trademark (4 sets out of 7, including the Boulder blaster, have it). Finally, as Sinner found out, no more plastic "rubber band holders" but a small cardboard sheet.
Minifigs: enter "nasty and evil" Glaciator and "top engineer" Rex.
Minifigs: rock monsters back has some detailing too; and human minifigs have double printed heads and torsos.
Minifigs: can humans and monsters co-exist? I'm not so sure about it...
Building the Granite Grinder: as good as it looks outside, the grinder hides a secret under lime green pieces. Here are a couple of "Technic knob wheels" that will force the grinder moving forth (the rubber band will force it moving back)
Building the Granite Grinder: adding more Technic pieces, the final one will be the "Staff of poison" / Grinder.
Building the Granite Grinder: a couple of grey baseplates protect the mechanism; now we're ready to build the upper/outside part of the vehicle.
Building the Granite Grinder: Lime is the colour, along with orange they couple with grey and black pieces.
Building the Granite Grinder: Building is nearly complete, see how the GG looks before adding stickers.
Granite Grinder: A close-up of the cockpit without stickers.
Granite Grinder: And now, the cockpit with stickers.
Granite Grinder: A view from the right side. You surely need some lighting down there in the caves.
Granite Grinder: A view from the rear. A chain is used to "carry" the tipper bucket. Those white pieces should be gas thanks.
Granite Grinder: Set is complete, her are the minifigs too and some small extras.
When I first saw those blurry and oddly colored pre-pics of this new "Power miners" theme, I thought: "What is this supposed to be? A bad remake of an old decent theme? A one-year-filler till they come up with some better ideas? A bunch of solid-neon colors pieces put together to form something eye-catching? Better pics didn't make change my mind. It took a few months, after I had a full chance to see what PM was all about, to decide. Yes, I was going to buy one set, and not just because I like to own at least one set per theme, but because the Granite grinder was something outstanding. Human minifigs are mostly good, except for Brains (8957), so that was no tie-breaker. Small monsters are just the same, except for the main color, and blue is by far my favourite. But the Grinder itself is really something. As a 10 bucks set, it's compact without being cozy, it looks good thanks also to the stickers, it has an opening "cockpit" thanks to the hinged roll-bar, it comes with not so few accessories, some of which are vehicle add-ons like those white gas tanks (I guess that's what they are) and the 2x2 round headlight. But the heart of this set is the grinding mechanism. I first thought "what is a rubber band supposed to do there?", then I found out and I though "ingenious". Kids will love how the "double pronged jackhammer" moves when the treads roll.
Color scheme: 5/5. Lime green and orange work great; as bad as these colors looked like in preliminary pics, as good as they do now.
Minifigs and accessories: 4,5/5. Glaciator is my favourite rock monster, and those who know me wil tell you that's because it's Blue. Human minifig is good, with the torso printed on the back too and choice between two face expressions. the chain holding the tipper bucket works good with the monster stealing it (as seen on the box). And a blue monster deserves a blue crystal The only downpoint is: the Handaxe. What is Rex supposed to do with it? Are rocks made of wood?
Pieces: 4/5. I already told about shapes, colors and "rarity"; I'm not sure if someone would buy this set for pieces, but looking at the pics you know exactly what you can get.
Playability: 5/5. Do I have to explain? The rubber band is the core of the fun! And the monster can eat crystals (and dynamite?), and there's the tipper bucket, and...
Design: 5/5. The vehicle looks solid; using treads instead of wheels is a good choice since this is a sort of construction set (like a digger or an excavator), there are two figs, one on the "good" side and one on the "bad" side as you would expect in these themes. Building was easy (also thanks to piece call-out) and funny (thanks to the grinder mechanism!)
Overall rating: 4,5/5. Very close to perfect.
The final words: Amongst my friends, this is the favourite set in the PM theme. Wanna join?
Edited by WhiteFang, 23 May 2009 - 06:48 PM.