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REVIEW: Indiana Jones 7197 - Venice Canal Chase

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#1 Svelte


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:32 AM

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Name: Venice Canal Chase
Set: 7197
Theme: Indiana Jones
Subtheme: The Last Crusade
Year: 2009
Pieces: 420
Minifigs: 4 (and a rat!)
Price: $US39.99 (according to Toy Fair), yet to be confirmed elsewhere
Resources: Brickset

1. Introduction
Indiana Jones and the Decades-Late Merchandising! After last year's successful releases to coincide with the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull film, this year's Indy sets have shown a distinct inclination to focus on the past - appropriate for such an eminent archaeologist. The Venice Canal Chase is one of the most memorable action sequences from the 1989 release 'The Last Crusade'. Introducing beautifully detailed figs and an action-packed assortment of features, this mid-size set is sure to be a must-have from the 2009 Indy assortment.

2. Box, parts and instructions
The front of the box showing the chase taking place. I think this picture was a poor choice by marketing, as the angle of the shot makes the boats look tiny and hides much of the Venetian bridge. I think some people will complain about the price tag on this set, not realising it is substantially bigger than it looks just from the artwork!
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The rear of the box, showing the various functions at work - more on those later :wink:
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Minifigs. The Grail Guardians get a special shout out! If I was Elsa, I'd fire my agent. Presumably everyone knows who Indy is :laugh:
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Instructions - one book only!
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Random instructions page showing the building up of the boat:
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The other forthcoming sets from this wave:
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And some very exciting poster art for the biggie of the summer releases, the Temple of Doom/ Dwarves' Mine crossover :laugh: (You know you were thinking it too :wink:):
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There are no stickers in this set, so straight to the parts. There are three numbered bags. The first contains the minifigs, canal bridge and surrounds, and the other two correspond to the boats:
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The parts scattered hither and thither:
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There is not a great deal new non-minifigs wise, but we do get some pieces in dark tan we haven't seen before - tiles, jumper plates, the large cutout wedge plate and the 1x1 plate:
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One of the large individual Tommy/submachine guns:
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But really, it's all about the fez! It's a great part, and unlike some new headgear pieces, sits very firmly on the head. I can see zillions of usage for this piece. I bet Jamie Berard has a whole stash wondering what he can do with a new modular building using this as a decorative detail :wub: :wub: :wub: One of the best new pieces this year! I mean, who doesn't love a fez?
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3. Minifigs!

As is usual for the Indiana line this year, the minifigs are exceptional. We get Indy in a grey suit (his fedora is included so you can swap), a brand new Elsa with double-sided torso and buttercup yellow glamourpuss hair, and two menacing villains in dark flesh and with similarly snappy suits. Is this a Lego set or a fashion parade? :tongue:

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From behind:
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Just the good guys, to show Indy's suit better:
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Elsa's mugshot. The hairpiece is nice, not revolutionary, but a welcome and classy addition to the range. It will be great for '40s style Hollywood noir MOCs:
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The Grail Guardians. I love these bushy 'staches! Kasim, on the right, is the one who has all the dialogue in the movie - and also the only member of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword with a flower in his lapel. I'll forgive Lego for not producing four different new torso prints for this set though :hmpf: :wink:
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Kasim's original stache deserves a screenshot of its own:
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Bonus pic!
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3) The Build - The Canal

First up are the canal markers - bricollas? - very simple in blue and white but adding a nice contrast to the browns and muted tones of the rest of the Venetian streetscape.
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The canal scene is assembled in three parts. First is the manhole which leads up from the sewers Indy and Elsa escape through:
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On the other side a little ladder leads up from the canal itself. The 1x6 tan tiles conceal a seesaw mechanism:
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With a little bridge added:
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The extended bridge sits over the parts of the tan tiles which jut out, so that when the mechanism is depressed the bridge flies off. I like how they added the 1x1 blue round plate to the end of the bridge struts to keep it looking as if the whole thing was submerged :laugh::
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The two long arch pieces connect the two side of the canal, with tiles acting as stairs and an ornate railing using the spyglass piece in black. Here, Elsa enjoys the scenery:
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The piece selection of the Venetian bridge here is great, very useful for any builder (bley arches, lots of tiles, the spyglasses). The manhole cover is simple and effective, and isn't attached by studs so pops off easily. The bridge exploding mechanism is sturdy when constructed but easy to operate, and the whole assembly doesn't fall apart when you move the set around. I like that minifigs can perch on the railing or appear from beneath the manhole; it really does add an extra level of playability to the chase scene that would be lacking if the set just comprised two boats. This part of the set is probably what pushes it out of the $US30 mark but it is well worth it, in mu opinion.

4) The Build - The first boat

There are two boats included in this set - an ordinary tan one and a dark tan one. They are similar but not identical, as we shall see. Superficially, the colour scheme is the most obvious point of difference.

At the end of the build I did notice that the box art and the instructions contradict each other in illustrating who is sitting in what boat :laugh: The instructions show Indy and Elsa in the dark tan vessel, as below, but if you look back up at the box art (and every other promotional image of the set, including the cover of the instructions), Indy and Elsa are in the ordinary tan boat and the villains are in the other one :wacko::

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I was confused and perturbed by this (as you can guess, I am easily confused and perturbed :grin:) so I rewatched the scene on DVD to see which was right. However in the film, the boats are almost exactly identical! :laugh: There is however one point of difference. Here's a screengrab from the film, see if you can spot the clue:

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Can you spot what makes this boat special? :oh: No?

It's the colour of the flag at the stern! In the film, Indy's boat has a red flag and the bad guys have a black one (how appropriate). In the instructions, Indy and Elsa are correctly placed in the dark tan boat with the red flag, but everywhere else they're in the regular tan boat with the black flag! Tah-dah! Except of course that in the film both the boats are identical anyway, and there is no differentiation in colour apart from the flags. Make sense now?

People who followed the above paragraphs may scrape their melted brains off the floor and pour them back into their heads. Repeat after me "Cool, those blue and white markers *do* look like the ones from the movie!". We will now resume the review!

The dark tan boat up is built up of two sections connected by Technic pins:
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This connects to the rear section. The tiled slope thing will act as the ejector button when in position:
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The finished boat:
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The button goes down and the end of the boat pops off!
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"This is *our* boat and I won't hear a word otherwise!"
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Seriously, you don't want to mess with that 'stache:
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Another shot. In this edit of the movie from an alternate timeline, Henry 'Pistol' Jones and Elsa 'Succubus' Schneider are the villanous members of a secret cult, whilst Kasim and his furry-faced friend are heroic adventurer-archaeologists bent on saving the world!
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The light tan boat is built differently to its predecessor. We see a lot more greebly engine stuff in this version, and the boat's hull isn't designed to split in two:

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The separate little engine slides over the innards:
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Tan tiles attached to plates sit on top of the engine section to complete the craft:
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Side view:
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By depressing the studs between the gap at the end, another seesaw mechanism pushes the tan tiles and engine section out of the boat. Boom!
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Extra parts leftover at the end of the build:
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And the chase is on! Here are all the parts of the set together!
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4) Action shots and final thoughts

It is actually surprisingly enjoyable to set up the bridge and reenact the chase! My inner child was pleased at the various layouts you can make - so top marks for playability! Swooshability is for spaceships and so on - what's the word for describing the feeling when you're pushing two boats around? Submersability? Hullability? :wacko: Someone out there coin a new phrase! :wink: The builds are solid too so the play features don't self-destruct if you play a little rough.
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A before-and-after demonstration of the set features. Here's before:
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Action features utilised! This is exactly how the parts landed, nothing has been moved to make it look like they flew further! :grin:
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And just because he's too cool :wink:

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5) Summary review

Playability: 9/10 - Every part of this set has a different and well-designed function - and the set definitely works as more than the sum of its parts
Minifigs: 9.9/10, minus .1 for the fact the two Grail Guardians should have different torso prints :wink: On the other hand, the fez! The fez! There is currently no better line for minifigs than Indiana Jones
Design: 8.5/10 - Great functions, some useful parts, solid builds.
Price: yet to be determined
Overall: 9/10 - A great addition to the Indiana Jone lines. Really fun to build and play with, and superb minifigs - what more could you want from a Lego set?

#2 The Penguin

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:48 AM

A great review of a great set. Thanks, svelte_corps! )  :classic:  :thumbup:

The figs (I'm mostly interested in them) are trully amazing aren't they? The torsos, the heads! Wonderful!  :wub:
Elza will go great for my Gotham! )  :cry_happy:
One question: her hair, what color is it? The same one as Willy's, I presume? )  :sweet:

Thanks again! )

Good day, ladies and gentlemen! )  :sweet:

Edited by The Penguin, 27 April 2009 - 07:50 AM.

#3 daxflame680


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:20 AM

Great review. :thumbup: This'll probably be one of the first summer sets I buy. I voted this set 'outstanding'. Great set, plus it doesn't have a ridiculous markup, which we're starting to see in the Indy sets.

#4 Guss


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:41 AM

Amazing set, I want it, now! ^^ you did an awesome review of it svelte corps, the scene of the movie you included to compare the set with are awesome, more than great job, outstanding job!
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#5 Etzel


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:51 AM

Great review! And great set! The Indiana Jones theme is gonna take a lot of money from me this year. :sweet: :cry_sad:

#6 BillytheKid


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:19 AM

Great review, exspecially with those screenshots form the real movie.

#7 WhiteFang


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:21 AM

First of all, I will like to take this moment to thank you personaly for doing all of this superb wonderful delightful reviews for EB Community. They are of great, useful reference for many of us whom are keen to obtain this set over the next few months of launching worldwide, I hope.

Very interactive and useful review, filled with many movie references for us to reminisce the movie once again. This set does provide many unique range of minifigs once again, from the new Indiana Jones looking figure, sexy Dr Elisa/Eliza and the two Guardians that resemble lots similar in the movie. I am pretty surprised with the playability offered in both the bridges and the speedboat. It sure provides lot actions and possible illustration of its explosion scenes due to its mechanics. Wonderful set, and it's defintely a great collectable for all Indiana Jones fans.  :thumbup:

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#8 Albero - BEL

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 10:12 AM

great review. It really appar a must-have set....

#9 I Scream Clone

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 10:36 AM

Outstanding work svelte! as always :blush:
I was thinking about this set for the figs alone, but your indepth review showed all the great play features and awesome selection of useful parts for MOCing too!
Now its a question of how many I will get not will I get any!

Im off to get some fezinger Fezs now! (wow that was bad :grin: )

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#10 The Cobra

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 11:08 AM

TLC, watch out for typos! "Grail guradian"?????

But, thanks Svelte for this wonderful review!
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#11 Natman8000


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 11:11 AM

Great review of a great set. I really like this one, new parts, new colors, and new minifigs. And plenty of 'stache.
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#12 baby


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 12:33 PM

Awesome review!

You change my mind on this set.  :thumbup:

#13 iamded


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 12:41 PM

Superb review, svelte_corps! This looks like one stunner of a set, the fezzes, the parts, the play features, that moustache! :laugh: And presented in such a wonderful form, thank you, svelte_corps!

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#14 pedro


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 12:54 PM

Excellent review svelte, great idea adding movie images to jog my memory! You've done this set justice - it looks awesome - LEGO is really going all-out making some truly superb minifigs and sets this year. The Indiana Jones line has some of the best for sure!

#15 MaxGoof


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 01:50 PM

View Postpedro, on Apr 27 2009, 07:54 AM, said:

Excellent review svelte, great idea adding movie images to jog my memory! You've done this set justice - it looks awesome - LEGO is really going all-out making some truly superb minifigs and sets this year. The Indiana Jones line has some of the best for sure!

When is this set expected to hit retail? June?

I wouldn't mind it right now...

#16 Barricade769


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for the great review svelte-corps. I was initially a little bit sceptical of the play features, but now I'm definately gonna pick one up.  :grin:
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#17 kris kelvin

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 02:39 PM

This set is simply fantastic.
I love dark tan colour and it`s the perfect answer for my pray  :classic:

#18 eti


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 03:15 PM

This looks like a truly awesome set - i have never seen an Indiana Jones movie and I don't care about the characters, but those minifigs are fantastic. And I disagree about the hairpiece - it is revolutionary. Never seen one that has the hair swung to the front over the shoulder before (and only the 2nd one in this color, I believe).
I started a series of faire tale MOCs (just made Little Red thus far) and I will need the hairpiece for princesses!

The rest of the parts are all great, too. I might actually get the entire set if that price tag of 40 dollars (35ish euros?) is correct.

#19 Erdbeereis


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 04:14 PM

Oh yes, Svelty is at it again! :laugh:

This is an excellent review of a fittingly excellent set. The minifigs like others have said are just lovely. My favorite new piece has to be the fez, I see it being useful for just about any MOCing theme, but the Elsa hair and the torsos for all of the figs are superb as well.

It's nice that TLG didn't seem to go down in design of anything; the boats and bridge are also very nice looking and have some good parts as well.
Indiana Jones is certainly one of the best lines LEGO has ever made in my opinion.

Thanks so much for the review Svelte! :sweet:

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#20 Freddie


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 05:04 PM

Thank you for a truly enjoyable read, svelte_corps. It's one of those where one really appreciates the work that's gone into the review itself, and not just highlights of the ups and downs of the sets.

As for the set, I've always had the impression since the leaks the were out, that this year's Indy sets were going to be great, this one included. I'm glad to see that it lives up to its initial impressions, and is thus one of the sets I will try to get this year.

#21 puddleglum


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 05:42 PM

Wow, this one really looks like it turned out great. I'll definitely be picking one of these up as soon as they hit the shelves!

#22 Bonaparte


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:30 PM

Till now I've only been buying a selection of the Indy sets because because they had great parts and figs (Motorcycle Chase) or simply because it a great set (Lost Tomb). However, this set has it all! Fantastic minifigs and minifig accesories, great parts (I love the tan and dark colors) and overall it's a well designed set. A must buy both for Indy fans, collectors and MOC'ers.

Thanks a lot Svelte for you hard labor. This review is outstanding!

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#23 TheBrickDaddy


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:53 PM

An amazing review! I just wish you hadn't beaten me to it!  :cry_sad: That's OK, I have another new Indiana Jones set, a review of which I will post shortly. I want to make a note to congratulate you on the superb effort of adding in photos from the movie; a lot went into this review!

#24 UserNameInvalid


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:00 PM

Very good review!
And great set. I like it and might get it.

Only comment: why do the new lego females all have faces like drag queens?
Too much red lipstick, blue eyes, eye shadow and false lashes.
I also didn't like Willies dress in Shanghai Chase: too draggy

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#25 Asuka


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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:15 PM

A brilliant review of a brilliant set. Probably the most playable and splendid Indy set till now... smooth crafts with great functions,
neat surroundings and excellent MFs.  :thumbup:
I especially love Indy´s new torso design. A very smart work indeed, well done TLC!  :classic:

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