Whelp, this is it. My final student review for the Reviewer's Academy. You wouldn't believe how bad my hands are shaking right now! I can't believe that all the hard work has payed off. Looking back at my first review, I can't believe how far I've come. But this could not have been done without the help of the Wonderful RA staff. Thanks, teachers! I owe you all a drink in the Teacher's Lounge. I can't keep you any longer, so enjoy this 9th Student Review!
Bored? Want something better to do on your Saturday than laze around the house? Or maybe you're trying to find a place to take that hot girl from 4B out on a date? Well, look no further! We've got this lovely Amusement Park for you! Complete with a Ski Slope, Race Car Track, Giant Robot, and a Pirate Ship Ride! There's only one hitch... What? You want to know what it is? Well, step into this lovely machine here first, then I'll tell you. ... Alright, now that you've been shrunk, I'll tell you that the park is in miniature scale, and every customer needs to be shrunk. I'm not so sure about the growing bit... Glad you payed in advance!
Set #: 5525
Name: Amusement Park
Price: 69.99 USD
Wow, that's some digital packaging. I don't really like it, it shows a lack of creativity. And this is a Lego set. Not good, packaging designers. The good thing is, this box is small. The pieces inside take up all the room in the box, and I'm very happy about that. Good job for the environment. The set looks kind of attractive, too. It shows the four modules, as well as a few building features on the front. Not bad at all. A link to High-Res can be found here.
Again with the digital packaging. Bo-ring! Oh well, at least there's some reading material. The designers of each module has given a brief bio and description of their module. If you would like to read these, here's a link to a specially made Flickr Set with closeups of each bio and description. They're pretty interesting, so I encourage you to check it out. Again, a link to High-Res can be found here.
Before I go on, I suppose that I should talk about the "Factory" theme and how this set came about. "Factory" is the predecessor to "Digital Designer". These sets were designed on a computer, folks! Not only were they designed on a computer, but TLG hosted a contest, and made the winning creations into sets. Here is a link to the Official Rules and Entry Sheet for that same contest. What? You want to enter? Too bad, this thing's been over and done with for a little over six years. Sorry guys! If you want to see the other two winners, here are some links to the Brickset Page: 5524 Airport and 5526 Skyline. Enjoy!
Hm... Crap. Where are the instructions?! I kinda need those... What's this? Why it's a...
... Piece of paper explaining that the instructions are online. Er... Okay then. I went to the website, and found that it was expired... Thank God for...
Whew, thanks for Peeron for saving my megablocks. That said, these instructions were the worst I've ever encountered. I'm not exaggerating. The. Freaking. Worst. There were no piece call-outs. There were about 10-15 steps in each picture. The instruction order wasn't lined up with the bag numbers. I think I ended up building Bag One, Bag Three, Bag Two, and Bag Four, in that order. This could have been a Peeron Mess-up, but still. These instructions were very sloppy, and I was not happy with them at all.
This is the back of the piece of paper that came instead of instructions. Nothing special, just that boring background and the other two sets from the line. Where the hole is, there was...
This interesting little card. It doesn't really tell me anything new, but it has that cool image of Lego computer desks in the background. I like that a bit.
And this is the back of that nifty little card. It's a pretty cool, thrown in little extra for the kiddies. I won't be using it anytime soon.
So, this is what 1344 pieces look like, all lain out in their polybags. It's a good experience, my friends. This is my largest set to date. Pathetic, I know. But, this is the largest piece count I've ever had lying before me, and it was magnificent. Thank goodness they're numbered. I'm going to split this review off into four sections now, one for each module.
Well, here is the contents of all the bags marked "1". Surprisingly, there's nothing I haven't seen before. They're all basic pieces. *Yawn*. I suppose that's to be expected, seeing as this is a factory set. It's still slightly disappointing. I suppose it's okay though, seeing as you get a lot for the money. That's a lot of generic colors, too.
Here's something to highlight the horrible instruction quality; this is two steps in. Yes, two steps. Just some generic plating and tiling to start us off.
Three or four steps later, and we have this. There's a ship-sized hole in the plating, and an island in the works. Not too much to say, so I'll get along to the next step now.
And the base is completed in about ten steps. I like that mini-palm, and the landscaping is well done. The mini-minifigures are interesting... Just cones of various colors and a 1x1 round. I suppose I couldn't expect much more than that. On to the ship...
Everything starts from the ground up, and this pirate ship is no exception. This was a pretty sturdy base, but it made the bottom a little ugly.
The very next step, and we've built it up a little, added cannons, and added the rudder. I really hate those instructions.
This ship is almost completed! Wow, it's looking great so far... Just for reference, you have to take off the oars in order for this ship to fit onto the base. Now, onto the masts...
And this is done. Yum! This looks very nice. I'm surprised that the kid designer could create a miniature scale ship of this caliber! Good job, little dude. I really love the sails, and the prow (I think that's what it is... Sorry I'm not better with ship terms.) looks excellent. The only thing I could wish for are crow's nests. One other thing I'd like to mention that is unfortunately a flaw is that the masts are pretty flimsy. In the process of taking this picture, they both broke off twice each. So... Don't play too hard.
And now. For your viewing pleasure... Four views of the completed product from all angles! Looks lovely, doesn't it? This ship looks great from all angles, and I'm glad it does so, because the rest of the modules shall not be so lucky...
Here are the contents of the bags marked "2". Nice selection, with a lot of white pieces and green cones. Still kind of "meh" on the special parts, though. I know that this is a Factory set, and these were designed on a computer with limited pieces, but I think that TLG could have at least thrown something in. The parts are very boring to me. Sorry that the picture is a little dark, it was the only way I could get all of the white pieces to stand out.
We start out with some simple plating and tiling action, mixed with a few bricks. The frozen lake doesn't really look frozen to me... Maybe some trans-clear instead of trans-blue would make it look more like a frozen lake? Then again, you'd be able to see the gray plate underneath. Well, we could spend all day debating this particular issue, or we could continue on. I choose to continue on.
Two or three more steps, and the mountain has manifested itself. I don't get why there's a big hole in the middle of where the mountain should be, but I'll discuss that later.
A few steps more, and this has really turned into a ski slope. There's a ramp (a little to close to the bottom maybe?), and those random red pieces that made me go "Huh?" while putting them down. I suppose they're supposed to be a fence to keep onlookers safe or something. That hole is getting deeper.
And the slope is completed itself is completed. There's another ramp, and a ski lift on the other side. Now for the final details...
Trees, skiers and snowboarders, and a finish line are added. But, this is where I don't like the scale. The people are as big as trees! A cone and a 1x1 round is the standard for mini-minifigures here, and apparently also trees. Only difference is that the trees have the 1x1 on the bottom. Bad scaling here.
Here's a closeup of that ski lift I mentioned earlier. It's also out of scale. Hmph. I don't get this set and scale, TLG kind of screwed up letting kids design sets.
Woah. There's a hole in my slope! Wow, that's just bad design. Don't display this one from the back, folks! If the bricks were real snow, then the first skiers to use this would slip right through to a plate-y grave. They couldn't even put a wall back here to cover this hole? Hmph. Bad form. Very bad form indeed. There's even a 4x6 stud space on the plate!
Now that we've gotten two out of four modules done, it's time for a picture displaying them together.
Hmm.... Doesn't really look like an amusement park, does it? More like two unrelated mocs in miniature scale. This whole set reminds me of Legostein. The king of the minis would be proud to call these his mocs, I think. Well, there's still two more to go, so let's get going again!
Bags three. The piece selection is looking a lot better in this bag! That's 37 2x2 dark bley tiles over there... There's also plenty of cones and 1x1 rounds. This bag is awesome parts-wise!
And here we come out of the gate with some tiling and a tiny amount of plating. This seems to be the norm with this set! The race track actually looks quite nice.
Here we have the rest of the ground track finished, the finish line finished, a bit of the overpass finished, and the stands are finished. All in the span of about five steps. Talk about a lot of pieces per step!
About three more steps, and we have the overpass done. The track is looking exquisite! I love the minute details of the sides and finish line. Now we just have to add the cars, people, and flags.
Well here are the people and flags, but where are the race cars? Oh, they're in the next three steps. Okay, I'll be there in a moment after I'm done bragging on the flags.
Wow. The flags are more than I expected! They all resemble the countries they're supposed to (USA, Germany, Italy, and Japan for anyone who doesn't know), and they're easily done. The people are... People. Yawn.
Here we are halfway through the build of the first car. I have to say, the wheels are not my favorite part. They're just two 1x1 rounds... Note, the back bits are supposed to be dark bley. Blame the bad color distinction in the instructions.
And the first car is completed. I like it! It's very cute. The build is quite simple, but enjoyable. That's a good thing, 'cause you have to do it three times in a row. Since it's the same build, I'll fast forward the build of the other two cars.
And here they are! The exact same car, except in different colors. I think my favorite is the blue, it uses a lot of trans-blue cheese and reminds me of neon under a car.
Wow, this is a great scene. Take a moment to imagine with me. The fans are screaming and jumping up and down in their seats. O. Range has done it! He's won the International Cup! The crowd is deafening now. There's confetti falling everywhere. The engines on the racers are still going, straining to slow their momentum.
At least, that's the scene I imagined when I built this and put it all together. Not bad at all!
Oh, so you wanted to see how tall the overpass actually is? Well... Okay. . You know I can't resist that puppy dog face! So, here it is. It actually doesn't look that tall, does it? And really, it's not. I believe it's highest point is only about... Six studs high. I suppose it's only to be expected due to the miniature scale, but I was kind of expecting... A bit more. Huh.
I guess it's not a bad selection. Plenty of orange and blue, and a ton of hinges. More cones and 1x1 rounds. I'm still a little disappointed with the piece selection. Very basic and boring pieces, with a few breaks in the monotony. I do quite like the flame pieces, you can never have too many of those.
A few steps in, and we have this. The mini-minifigure is already inside, and is hard to get in or out. Trust me, if you accidentally plop this guy out, it's nearly impossible to put him back in. This is quite a refreshing turn from the "Tile and Plate" beginning of each module.
A little more is added. An arm. The head. The head doesn't really look like a head, IMHO. Not sure what it looks like exactly, but it looks weird and un-headike. The arm uses a bunch of those hinges, and is pretty pose-able. They're unfortunately hard on the fingers. I suppose a Technic builder would feel right at home. I'm no Technic builder though, so my fingers were a little sore. Right after I added the second arm, it got too top-heavy and I couldn't take more pictures of the construction of the robot. That's okay though, you'll see it completed in the next few pictures.
The base is about halfway finished in this picture. This was probably the most monotonous and bland section of the entire build. I mean really? Some boring "sidewalk" tiling and a white fence? Come on, even a kid can be more imaginative than that.
Well, it's finished. You know what? This was my least favorite module. It was the most repetitive, and had no interesting building techniques. I was bored through the entire build of this, and I'm sad that they saved the worst for last. The robot's weapons aren't pose-able, by the way. They always fall down to where the bottom of the arch brick is pointing down. The Technic brick attaching them is just too weak.
What? You want a straight on shot of the robot ride by itself? Fine, but you're being awfully demanding. Still ugly as ever, eh? I can't wait to scrap this one for parts.
And you want a straight shot from the back? Fine. Here ya go, mister! It's even uglier from the back. I mean really? Not even any greebling? It's all flat on the back, with a bad color pattern. Ugh, this module just keeps getting worse. I'm not spending any more time here...
Set In Full
Well, it's been a trip. This set has its ups and downs, but overall it wasn't bad. I enjoyed at least half of the build, and there were some pretty neat techniques and ways of thinking that went into this set. I'm thinking that I'm going to keep the race track and the pirate ship modules together, and scrap the other two for parts.
Another thing I noticed from this set was that it doesn't really have the "Amusement Park" feel. Every amusement park that I know of has a theme, and almost every ride sticks to that theme. This one disappointed me in that aspect. Just four modules that had nothing to do with each other, thrown in together and called an "Amusement Park". This is probably the reason that I never heard of this set before I bought it. Well, that's my cue to ride off into the sunset, so I'll wrap this review up with...
The Final Verdict
Design: 6/10. There were some horrible design flaws in this set, so they drag this score down. I was really disappointed in some aspects, and ecstatic with others. I really loved the race track, the cars, the ship, and the flags; I really hated the gaping hole in the ski slope, the poor robot, and the boring build of the base for the robot.
Build: 7/10. I credit this set for being the largest set I've ever built, and it gave me the longest build. Some parts were flimsy, though. I got burnt out starting the base of the second module, and the mini scale really threw me off.
Playability: 4/10. Surprisingly, considering that this is an Amusement Park, the playability sucks. I was really bored after I built the set! About the only things you can do are drive the cars and pose the robot. Sure, there are plenty of Mini-minifigures to pal around with, but they're just unappealing. I'm using this for a display only set.
Minifigures: N/A. There were none, and I won't hold that against this set.
Price: 10/10. If there's one thing this set has going for it, it's the price. 70 bucks for over 1300 pieces? Heck yeah! I'll be honest though, the pieces are basic pieces. They're still useful, though.
Overall: 6/10. This set scores a "D" grade with me. That's a shame, because I was really hoping for a better set for my Student Finale and Biggest Set to Date. It just has too much working against it. The many design flaws, the boring-at-times build, the mini-scale that didn't stick to scale... This set is okay. The only thing that saves this set is the price. Who wouldn't love that price? That comes to roughly five cents a piece, half the normal ten cents a piece ratio. So... Parts pack.
Harry didn't mean to shrink the amusement park...
Edited by WhiteFang, 22 February 2011 - 07:24 AM.