Number – 3628
Name – Perry Panda and Chester Chimp
Theme – Fabuland
Year – 1981
Minifigs – 2
Pieces – 3
Price – GB £26.14/ EURO 30/ $42.28 (when bought)
Everyone loves Fabuland, don’t they? It’s a bright and happy world where sweet little animals go about simple lives, and many real-life people find that they have resonance with a particular character or animal. For hopefully obvious reasons, I personally found this resonance with Perry Panda, who really is.... adorable. Through the power of BrickLink, I bought a used and lonely figure of Perry Panda, but unfortunately, though still adorable, he was a little grubby and faded, and required a lot of photoshop work to restore him in pictures. A return to BrickLink and a slightly more thorough search returned this set, MISB! An opportunity to have a new Perry Panda, plus a friend and a vehicle, for our Fabuland friends must have some of their world around to make them feel at home, this is an opportunity not to be missed!
Review: Perry Panda and Chester Chimp 3628.
It’s an old box, and the passage of time has not been kind but the front of the very colourful box shows our heroes going about their daily business. An old price sticker indicates the box was likely originally bought in Germany, costing 10.20 Deutsche Marks.
The back of the box is equally beaten up. It shows what good friends our heroes are and further scenes of day-to-day business, including an inability to put the ladder in the tricycle, and Perry’s concern for Chester as he horses around at height.
The sides show identical scenes of further chimp and ladder acrobatics, and you can see where I have tried (and failed) to open the box carefully.
The base shows yet another comic scene.
Inside the box are two booklets, one with a specific story for Perry and Chester, and the other showing off other Fabuland sets.
The Story Booklet shows a wordless comic describing the adventures of the pair as they set about cleaning windows. It is lovely to look at so here are all four scenes.
Another page describes the relationship between the pair, unfortunately not in English, so I have translated as best I can:
Percy is the owner of a window cleaning company. They say he is a real a businessman- but perhaps a little too good-natured.
Gabriel Gorilla works for Percy. Intelligent he is not, but in the story (or in his mind?), he is king.
It’s interesting that BrickLink and other resources call this set Perry Panda and Chester Chimp, when the Story Book clearly calls them Percy Panda and Gabriel Gorilla.
The booklet also shows a drawn picture of Fabuland itself and its inhabitants. You can see Perry and Chester at the top of the right-hand side (click the picture for a high-res view).
The second booklet shows a photograph of Fabuland and its inhabitants.
As this set is not easy to get hold of I’ve included some small pictures of the pages inside the second booklet; please click on them for links to high-res pictures.
The last page of this booklet shows Charlie Crow building his own truck (Carry-All) and also has instructions for parents. I shall translate (I hope!):
Each box contains a book of stories on the small animal from the box, and gives ideas for building and play. If you read the story aloud, your child will better know each new character.
Onto the LEGO!
There are but three parts, the first two are a ladder and a red tricycle:
The tricycle is an attractive red and seats (stands) one at the front, with space for equipment at the back.
When I saw this, I immediately remembered my childhood Fabuland set, Ricky Raccoon and his Scooter, as the tricycle is remarkably similar:
The ladder is a simple piece with hand grips at one end and attachments for the tricycle at the other.
There’s also a brush (but I got two )
Our adorable heroes, Perry and Chester, from the front:
I’m slightly miffed that, given the main reason for buying this set was to get a brand new Perry Panda, the 30 years of rattling around in the box has still left his nose and ears a little worn
Here they are from the back, and Chester is looking a little short...
The build requires simply attaching the ladder to the tricycle. Here you can see the holes in the bed of the tricycle into which the ladder attachment is inserted.
The ladder stands upright when attached in this way.
It can also be placed using the hand-holds to lie horizontally.
Here are all the elements of the set together, emulating the scene on the front of the box.
And once you get them all together, you can start to have even more fun!
Design and Parts –8/10 this is classic Fabuland, not that there’s any other kind, and it’s a beautiful red tricycle. It coordinates well with the scooter, and the fact that the ladder can attach in two different orientations is great. The brush is the same as those used by classic LEGO minifigs and looks a little small. Given that other Fabuland sets have Fabuland specific accessories, a Fabuland brush would have been nice, as would a bucket.
Build – 8/10 it takes under five seconds; attaching the ladder to the tricycle is neither taxing nor time consuming, but still makes you smile.
Minifigs – 10/10 these are the headline of the set for me. I bought this primarily for Perry, who is just able, but Chester is also entirely loveable, with his cute little ears, even if he is a little short. The addition of the background story adds depth to the characters.
Playability – 9/10 the characterisation gives a springboard for setting up scenes of comic mishap with these two, plus the tricycle is fun to zoom around and the ladder attaches firmly in both orientations, preventing dislodgement when zooming.
Price – 8/10 At the time of selling, this set was evidently priced at 10.20 Deutsche Marks, which equates to EUR 5.22, GB £4.52 and US$ 7.36 at todays exchange rates. I'm not sure how reliable the conversion is, but GB £4.52 is certainly a more expensive price-to-parts ratio for 1981, but this was the case with Fabuland back then.
Nowadays a MISB set can be bought from GB £25.99 to GB £43.28, and used sets range from GB £4.98 to GB £19.06 (values from BrickLink at the time of writing). This was a MISB set with a known battered box, and I paid GB £26.14; I bought from a seller I had used before who also had other things I wanted to buy. This set is undeniably expensive, and I can only comment for myself, but I felt it was worth every penny. If only a secret stash of old MISB Fabuland sets could be found so that they could be cheaper to buy (and I’d feel less guilty for opening it )
I adore this set, it’s just gorgeous. The characters are cute and the story is great, the only thing missing are more appropriate accessories, but those can be acquired by other means.
Thanks for reading, High-Res pictures can be seen on my flickr