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REVIEW: 8962 Crystal King


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Poll: On a scale of 1 to 5 (87 member(s) have cast votes)

How do you rate this set?

  1. 1 - Poor (8 votes [9.20%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.20%

  2. 2 - Below Average (13 votes [14.94%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.94%

  3. 3 - Average (22 votes [25.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.29%

  4. 4 - Above Average (31 votes [35.63%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.63%

  5. 5 - Outstanding (13 votes [14.94%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.94%

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#1 mania3

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:03 AM

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Crystal King

Set #: 8962
Theme: Power Miners
Year Released: 2009
Piece Count: 168
Minifigs: 2
List Price: $19.99 USD

I don't think I'm alone when I share that many fans were a bit hesitant with this set.  But I think this set represents a classic example of a new, burgeoning LEGO psychological condition called The Power Miners Effect. Now, this is certainly not a condition we might hope to see in the future DSM-V, no, this is a pop-culture phenomenon that occurs when most everyone who sees a Power Miners product can't help but initially say, "Yuck."  While this is doubtfully exclusive to Power Miners themes, it is most often seen in Power Miners themes, thus my need to coin the phenomenon known as The Power Miners Effect.

That being said, I bring your attention to the Crystal King, a set that has received more groans than usual.  But if anyone can recall the initial disgust that came with the Power Miners revelation, you might be inclined to corroborate my understanding of The Power Miners Effect.  Because, invariably, the "Yuck" turns into :wub: or at the very least  :classic:

That being said, let's get busy!

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The front of the box.

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The rear, which features things I will likely explain in greater detail.

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Inside the box there are three bags.  Two containing multiple parts, and a single bag containing the head and jaw of the Crystal King himself.

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There is a single, small instruction manual included in this set.

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These pieces are so cool to me.  I don't know how practical they seem to me at the moment in terms of imaginative application in MOCs, but it just strikes me as a piece I would crave as a child.  I can see this becoming a set people puzzle over in MOCs 20 years from now, wondering where that rare rock piece came from, as people do from strange exclusive pieces in the past.  The set includes three, and for the sake of display, I flipped the center one over so you could see the bottom.  They are all three identical.

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A close up of the Crystal King's head, jaw agape.

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The rear of the Crystal King's head.  If you were looking up into the skull, you'd see two tecnic pin holes.

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Front view, jaw closed.

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Jaw and head separated.  The two come apart quite easily, though they are packaged and shipped connected.

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The two Power Miners.  All in all, it seems to be things we've seen a few times over.  Nothing that impressive.

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Rear view.  Again, nothing that impressive or new in the series run.

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As usual, the dual sided faces are present.

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The initial phase of construction has us building this backpack drill unit that is used to combat the Crystal King.

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A view of the completed drill unit without user.

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A view of the completed drill unit in action.

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The Crystal King is built in sections, then connected through the ball joints.  Here is a shot of the sections that need be completed before assembling the fully finished Crystal King.  Given the low parts count, this is an extremely quick build.

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A shot of the King himself, alone, and ready to defend his crystalline kingdom.  My quick and only gripe with this set is that the level of crystal detail apparent in the waist up is lacking in this model.  A couple extra crystal pieces on the feet would've made this model more sensible.

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The usurpers come quick, and the King is just as quick to act.

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A view from behind.

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An obligatory action shot.

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A view of the extra pieces.


I purposely brought up this notion of The Power Miners Effect for the most specific reason of personal experience.  When I first saw this set, I was really put off.  It seemed so anti-climactic.  And while it's still not the Crystal King I would've expected I'm still more impressed with it after building it, as seems to be the case with LEGO products.  There are a few pieces in this set that I think are pretty neat, and the set's moderate price tag make them a fun thing to pick up.  While I don't expect fans to be doing cartwheels down the street to pick this one up, I do think the bashing was a bit premature, my own included.  I think opinion initially was cruel to the Power Miners theme, but history will bode well for it.

Edited by WhiteFang, 23 May 2009 - 12:06 PM.
Indexed


#2 Svelte

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:12 AM

Nice try, mania3, but you can't brainwash me. This set is still :sick: :laugh: The colour scheme and build do nothing for me. I hate those overused joint pieces and the Crystal King doesn't look menacing at all with his weirdly oversized head and stunted, blocky limbs. I also wished they'd used a more lava-type colour scheme so at least the new pieces could be used in different contexts.

Actually I think the effect you describe was stronger in last year's Agents sets :grin: They eventually became very well-received, but I still see a lot of resistance to Power Miners.

Nice review; sucky set :wink:

#3 mania3

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:21 AM

View Postsvelte_corps, on May 12 2009, 03:12 AM, said:

Nice try, mania3, but you can't brainwash me. This set is still :sick: :laugh: The colour scheme and build do nothing for me. I hate those overused joint pieces and the Crystal King doesn't look menacing at all with his weirdly oversized head and stunted, blocky limbs. I also wished they'd used a more lava-type colour scheme so at least the new pieces could be used in different contexts.

Actually I think the effect you describe was stronger in last year's Agents sets :grin: They eventually became very well-received, but I still see a lot of resistance to Power Miners.

Nice review; sucky set :wink:
I am forever and will remain a LEGO apologist.  :tongue:   Though I have to agree about the color scheme.  Why not red, or blue, even?

#4 Raven Brickroft

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 11:42 AM

You won't stop til you're done with everything, right? :D


Anyway, I've been very optimistic about the crystal king. Though nothing about it stands out, it seems like a really good set for a child. Easy build, big monster. Right up the alley for children. He seems a bit lacking, though. Maybe a little more details in the back.

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#5 Natman8000

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 11:44 AM

Still looks blech to me. Horribly built, and not all too creative. Nice review anyway!
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#6 Yloquen

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:00 PM

Thanks for the review. Personally, I see it for the first time so you may call me  unprejudiced. With that in mind - I find the set pretty neat, meaning, I might be tempted to buy it :) My opinion on the Power Miners line is that it is intended more for children than AFOLs. And that's why here we might be bashing it a little bit more than it deserves ( I guess that if the members here are not mostly adults , at least the ratio of AFOLs to kids in the forum is skewed :)
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#7 Lordofdragonss

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:03 PM

Another sweet review from your hand!

So I am the one who loves this Little Rocky? I want to buy at least two and combine them!
He must be blocky! He is made of stone!
But Why Yellow? I thought Meltroxes are leaders!

Could you put a photo oh the new "sword" piece Mania3? I never seen them previously...

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This set Rocks!

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#8 Brickmaster

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:48 PM

Definately not a great set by any standards, but those triangular transparent rocky pieces are just beautiful. Although this set has alot of hate spewing around with it, it is definitely very playable and cheap. Could definitely see a little one begging for this set  :tongue:
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#9 CDC

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 02:57 PM

I might get this one. :tongue:

#10 Algernon

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 03:18 PM

If I buy any of the summer Power Miners wave it certainly won't be this one... I think this set looks awful. It's got some cool parts, but I can't see what you would use them for, and that big ugly head is totally useless.

#11 Eilif

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 03:51 PM

Though initially skeptical of the Power Miners, I've come to be quite charmed by the line.  Thats mostly because of the neat vehicles though, so this set still looks pretty unimpressive.  I will say though, that I'm glad they went with more brickbuilt features instead of using bionicle parts.
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#12 The Green Brick Giant

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:04 PM

LEGO must really like PM to make several new molds for one set.  We are always told how expensive the molds are and yadda yadda yadda, and then they waste new molds on this crap.  :laugh:

#13 yoshy

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:21 PM

View PostBrickmaster, on May 12 2009, 03:48 PM, said:

Definately not a great set by any standards, but those triangular transparent rocky pieces are just beautiful.

Yeah, I want some of those, would be useful for Blacktron II creations. There seem to be quite a few slopes also. Probably the only Power Miners set I would even think about buying though.

#14 Toa_Of_Justice

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:19 PM

This set reminds me of the awesome-yet-defunct EXO-FORCE line. :classic: I gave it a 4 because of all the action features and cool pieces. :thumbup: However, your built model seems to be missing a few pieces--I was concerned because of the "extra" crystal and Plate 1 x 1 with Clip Light - Type 2. I don't think LEGO would ever include pieces of that size and complexity as extras, especially in a set like this. From looking at the box, I have deduced that those pieces belong on the other side of the Crystal King's head. I also noticed two "extra" cheese slopes--usually LEGO only includes one extra per set (unless there are multiple colors of that piece or multiple bags which contain that piece in a set). I believe that one of those slopes should accompany the other two "extra" pieces next to the head. Other than the small possible building slip-up, I liked your review very much! :grin:

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#15 Merlin of Lego

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:29 PM

While I am not a big fan of this line and will likly not buy any for my uses, my 7 yr old keeps begging me let him buy some.  He thinks they are so cool..... :hmpf:   He will think that this is so cool and it will be on his list of things to beg for.  I can see him using this monster to fight the black dragon that he has.  


With the bigger Star Wars sets, the Emerald Night, Medieval Market place, and the new Carousel,  I think it can be harder for us AFOLs to remember that not all of the lines are for us.  I think that this line is more for the kids, and the kids like it more than we do.  My son loves to look at them and I have over heard other parents in hte store talk about how ugly the sets are but that there kid really wants them, and then they leave with two sets.

#16 Tacitus

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:31 PM

I don't think it is that bad.  He does look sort of goofy with the large head, but he doesn't look anymore silly than the little rock monsters.  
I think that the Crystal King would also work well transplanted into the castle line as a monster lurking in the dwarven mine.

#17 The Cobra

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:42 PM

I voted average.
You can have those special pieces, but I still think this set is overpriced. And not so well designed.
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#18 DarthPineapple

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:12 PM

Very impressive. I love the wedges used at his chest and lower arms.

#19 Lt. de Martinet

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:35 PM

Could we see better pictures of the spikes on the back of the King's head? That's a new part, as far as I can see.
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#20 Algernon

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:36 PM

View PostLt. de Martinet, on May 12 2009, 07:35 PM, said:

Could we see better pictures of the spikes on the back of the King's head? That's a new part, as far as I can see.
I think those are just part of the head.

#21 puddleglum

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:40 PM

Thanks for the review! I've like this set since pictures first surfaced, both because it broke from the mold of other PM sets, and it looks like a fantastic parts-pack. Maybe next time use Flickr to host your photos, and you won't have a problem with exceeding bandwidth restrictions.

EDIT: At least, the first time I looked at this thread, all your links were broken. Now they're back.

Edited by puddleglum, 12 May 2009 - 06:47 PM.


#22 mania3

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:56 PM

View Postpuddleglum, on May 12 2009, 11:40 AM, said:

Thanks for the review! I've like this set since pictures first surfaced, both because it broke from the mold of other PM sets, and it looks like a fantastic parts-pack. Maybe next time use Flickr to host your photos, and you won't have a problem with exceeding bandwidth restrictions.

EDIT: At least, the first time I looked at this thread, all your links were broken. Now they're back.
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#23 Sandy

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:07 PM

I don't think this set is as bad as people make out of it. I might get it just so I can build a fantasy stone dragon or something like that out of it.

Sure, the set doesn't offer much in the veins of building, but I see use for the few pieces included. :wink:

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#24 Mariann Asanuma

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:12 PM

mania 3, great job!  :thumbup:

The pictures are great.  I liked the review so much I blogged about it.  :grin:

#25 Toa of Whimsy

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:14 PM

Silly crystal toothed rock monster looks silly. might've looked better with trans orange and black.

Speaking of black, do those 2x2 blocks with the ball joints sticking out of them come in any other sets? Do they come in black? They look very exploitable...
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