Full Set by Tereglith, on Flickr
I was overjoyed when I saw a few Marvel sets on the shelves of my local Wal-Mart (which is usually about a month late to the party with new sets). If they had had the Wolverine or Cosmic Cube Escape sets, I never would have bought this one. I could have waited until they did have the smaller sets, but I felt that I just had to have something more substantial than Captain America all by his lonesome. Was my impulsive buy a good decision? Let's find out...
Quinjet Aerial Battle
Set Number: 6869
Piece Count: 735 (Box)
Price: $69.99 USD
The box is extremely large, the same size as those of sets twice its piece count, as evidenced by this comparison with the box of the Volkswagen Camper Van, which has a good six hundred more pieces. The front features a bright, kinetic aerial action scene framed in the line's dark Marvel red, and it certainly stands out on a shelf, especially next to the comparatively more somber DC sets. I was able to spot it from halfway down the aisle.
Box size by Tereglith, on Flickr
The instructions are packaged in the new premium standard first observed in the POTC sets, with sturdy cardboard backing and a plastic sleeve keeping them unsullied (Sorry I couldn't take a picture of this - I had already built it when I decided to do the review). The instructions are divided up into three books - the first one is tiny, and takes you through building the first bag. The second and third books are both standard large size, with the second being longer than the third. Color differentiation is strong and if there were any misprints I didn't notice them. Cap, Thor, and Loki pop up in the top right corner of the page to say hello every so often.
Instructions by Tereglith, on Flickr
First book by Tereglith, on Flickr
The steps are usually fairly complex by today's standards, but you'll never be putting on more than six or seven pieces at a time, and there is the occasional useless 1-part step.
Second and Third Books by Tereglith, on Flickr
In addition to the instructions we have a large comic, which is rather nicer than the tiny ones I've gotten in my (smaller) DC sets. Still no words, though, and don't expect a riveting story. The back cover and a spread on the inside showcase all of the marvel figures, including Spider-man, Doc Ock, and Iron Fist (!). No Nick Fury to be found anywhere, though.
Comic by Tereglith, on Flickr
The sticker sheet is fairly substantial, and I think the model looks good with them on, though it would still look fine without them. They're all large and rectangular, which for me made them easy to apply accurately. At the very least I would recommend applying the large S.H.I.E.L.D. stickers, as they add a lot to the look of the plane and are big enough to be easy to put on.
Pouring out the contents of the box, it seems surprisingly full for its large size. There just aren't too many small parts in this construction, and a lot of big ones. Pieces of note include a wide variety of extremely useful new brackets, a ton of neat trans-blue grille plates, some useful fuselage parts, and a lot of curved slopes. With 735 parts it's well above the 10 cents/piece mark, and a significant number of the pieces are large and useful too. It's not often that a licensed set can be viewed as a good parts pack, but I think this set will be great for plane-builders, with many useful plates, wedges, and curves.
Here's a few of the most easily-gotten-to interesting parts. The new upwards-pointing brackets have been sorely needed for a long time, and they ought to make SNOT building in tight spaces much easier.
Unique Parts by Tereglith, on Flickr
The trans-light-blue stud is included for comparison with the trans-blue(? I'm not sure exactly what color they are) grille plate. The grille plates look kind of icy and electric, and ought to be useful for all kinds of sci-fi MOCs. There's quite a lot of them in the set, too - 24 by my count.
Lineup by Tereglith, on Flickr
We get five. In the order we're supposed to build them...
Loki: Neat, but you can get an identical figure in Cosmic Cube Escape, and with the cosmic cube to boot. Because The Avengers focuses on one villain and not a rogue's gallery the designers were sort of forced to overuse him.
Alien General: Identical to the one in Captain America's Avenger Cycle, but good for army-building. I got Cap at the same time, and putting the three aliens together with their vehicles/turret makes for a nice little phalanx.
Black Widow: Lego has consistently had trouble making female minifigures that don't look like Rosie O'Donnell, and Natasha here is no exception. Her black catsuit has the traditional printed curves, and some lines were added on her face to try to make it look thinner, but they just make her look old. Still, the resemblance is there, and the orange hair is neat, though it looks like her hair in Iron Man 2 instead of her hair in The Avengers. It's a laudable effort, but I would have preferred Nick Fury to be the exclusive figure in this set, or at the very least to be another exclusive figure in this set. Five is a little anemic for a $70 flagship.
Iron Man: Undoubtedly the best figure of the set. Also unique, though only on a technicality (check out the arc reactor in Cosmic Cube and this), Tony just looks great in real life. The helmet's size isn't distracting at all, and the shininess of the pearl gold printing and mask look phenomenal. The Tony-face underneath could use a little work, but it's recognizable. And why would you want to have the mask up anyway? The helmet looks excellent down, and I intend to keep it that way for display. The figure is interesting in that it's assembled with repulsor beams built right in - two trans-light-blue-studs on the hands and cylinders on the feet. They look pretty good as repulsors, but really I can take them or leave them. The figure look fine either way.
NERD TIME: This armor works as the Mark III, Mark IV, or Mark VIII armor, while the triangular one only works as Mark VI or Mark VII, so when it comes to acting out scenes from all three movies this one is more versatile.
Thor: Not unique, but still nice, Thor creates a sort of ying-yang with his brother. Green and red, helmet and no helmet, clean shaven and bearded - they are truly opposite in every way! Of all the figures in this set, Thor is probably the one who most resembles his movie counterpart. My only complaint is that Mjolnir is a little underwhelming, but at least it's approximately to scale, which is more than can be said about a lot of Lego weapons.
Four of the figures have back printing and three have alternate expressions:
Reverse by Tereglith, on Flickr
deskp, ask and ye shall receive. One Black Widow with Dastan's hair coming right up:
Agent Dastan Romanov by Tereglith, on Flickr
The dark brown is a little too dark to look like the character; however, this same hair appears in regular brown in the "Jungle Guy" CMF, so if you can get ahold of that it might look okay.
After trying this I also had to try some short orange hair. BEHOLD, AGENT NATASHA RONMANOV!
Agent Ronmanov by Tereglith, on Flickr
It... didn't work out too well.
The build is divided up into five bags. It took me a little under two hours to complete it, with occasional breaks. Let's go!
Bag 1 is the one that I see as the most likely target of pernicious "Single-Bag theft", because it contains a completeable model and an exclusive figure. Here's the contents:
Bag 1 by Tereglith, on Flickr
It also includes one of the new orange brick separators, which I never had to use during the build, but it's a nice thing to have.
The cockpit is a nice little build all by itself. Check out the brick-built chair!
Cockpit by Tereglith, on Flickr
Loki's chariot is an odd craft, but it fits in well with the other alien equipment from 6865, the other set I got yesterday (I highly recommend buying them together). It's a simple build, but contains those exciting new brackets!
Chariot side by Tereglith, on Flickr
After that, Bag 2 creates the bottom of the fuselage, complete with seating area. Bag 3 builds up the fuselage and creates the right wing. Bag 4 makes the left wing and connects the different bits of the top of the fuselage and wings together. Bag five finishes off the top and the wings, and smooths everything out, and you end up with the completed model.
The build is fairly straightforward. It never gets boring, even when the parts you're building are symmetrical (like the wings) and it keeps you interested with fun little features like a fire extinguisher in the cabin or a particularly neat method for a play feature. However, after my last two major builds (the new X-wing and the Volkswagen camper) I felt as though I'd just been given a building lesson. Here, I didn't feel that way. It's a fun built, but not particularly innovative or challenging.
The completed model
Quinjet diagonal by Tereglith, on Flickr
The model is a sight to behold, looking like a flying tank (no, not like in the A-team movie).
Quinjet top by Tereglith, on Flickr
Even though it's an airplane and not a mech, it's very poseable. The wingtips, wing fronts, jet engines, and cockpit can be moved around on their hinges to convey different types of flight, from fast and predatory to slow and cautious.
Quinjet predatory by Tereglith, on Flickr
Quinjet slow by Tereglith, on Flickr
It rolls quite easily on old-school landing gear (unfortunately non-retractable, but you can't have everything).
Quinjet Bottom by Tereglith, on Flickr
The model pulls off the balance between bulky and sleek quite well. It's very beefy for an airplane, but it looks aerodynamic enough that it looks as though it could fly. The very large jet engines on the back bolster that impression.
Quinjet side by Tereglith, on Flickr
The cockpit and upper deck open up smoothly, with the upper deck revealing a nice sitting area with room for two heroes (Cap and Iron Man are best, as Thor's cape gets rumpled). Note the little fire extinguisher. S.H.I.E.L.D. follows FAA regulations!
Sitting area by Tereglith, on Flickr
But what's this control panel in the sitting area for?
Control Panel by Tereglith, on Flickr
Well, that's up to the neatest play feature in the set to explain. Here we go...
THE VIDEO WON'T EMBED
SO CLICK ON THIS POEM INSTEAD
It's the adorable SHIELD Drone!
SHIELD Drone by Tereglith, on Flickr
I'm not exactly sure what the SHIELD Drone does, seeing as it has no weapons or tools of any sort, but I'm sure we'll find out on May 4th. In the mean time, maybe let's just assume it flies around knocking people over? It's a pretty big robot, I bet it could do some damage.
Agent Coulson, you've changed! by Tereglith, on Flickr
Through the sitting area, we can see how the function works. The landing light presses the peg out of its hole, and the entire assemblage drops down on the two axles at the back.
Going a little bit further back, we find a trap door on the top of the Jet. This might be a problem for some people, because if you try to have the Avengers do a barrel roll they'll find they've got a huge drop in cabin pressure on their hands, since there's nothing to keep the door from flopping open. It leads down into an empty storage area.
Storage top by Tereglith, on Flickr
The same storage area can be accessed from a click-hinged door on the back of the jet.
Storage rear by Tereglith, on Flickr
What's it good for? Well, it can store a nontrivial number of Avengers:
Chillin' by Tereglith, on Flickr
But it can't really store much else. Big Hulk won't fit in there - not that I own him, but I've seen other people's pictures. More importantly for me, Cap's motorcycle is too big to fit in there. The cycle seems like sort of the perfect thing to put back there, so it's a little disappointing that Lego didn't see fit to make either door big enough to accommodate it.
My bike's too big again by Tereglith, on Flickr
I'll probably wait until the movie comes out and then MOD that part to contain something from it.
In all this concentration on the Jet, I nearly forgot about Loki's Chariot, but you don't when the model's on your table. It doesn't seem like an afterthought as many smaller enemy vehicles do. It's actually a fairly substantial model on its own, at a little over 5" long stretched out. It shares the same striking aesthetic as the vehicles from the Cap set, which make it stand out from the military look of the Quinjet. The splash of green that Loki's outfit adds only serves to make it pop more.
Chariot above by Tereglith, on Flickr
The midsection looks a bit spindly sometimes, but when you can't see that part the vehicle is rather intimidating.
Chariot Front by Tereglith, on Flickr
And when everything's put together, it looks excellent (and is also too big for my makeshift photo studio on my coffee table).
Full Set by Tereglith, on Flickr
I suppose ratings are expected? All right, let's go...
Parts: 9/10. The parts are very nice, and there's certainly a lot of them. The new brackets are a big plus, as are all the curved slopes. Still, there's not as many really neat parts as there could be, so only a 9 instead of a 10.
Design: 8/10. The more I look at the jet, the more I like it. It looks just like the Quinjet we've seen in the trailers. However, I'm taking a couple points off for the uselessness of the rear storage compartment, the awkwardness of Loki's chariot from most angles, and the lack of retracting landing gear are in order.
Minifigures: 7/10. Tony, Thor, and Black Widow are great, but the baddies are a little lacking. For me to give the set a ten, Loki would have to have a better face and torso, Black Widow would have to have movie-accurate hair, and the set would either have to add Nick Fury or Hulk/Bruce Banner.
Playability: 10/10. The drone is fun to play with, its play feature is great, the heroes are fun to play with, the poseability of the jet is neat, the jet itself is extremely swooshable and sturdy, you can roll it on its landing gear, things open and close - you get the idea.
Build: 8/10. Fun but unextraordinary.
Price: 9/10. The price is entirely reasonable for the model, but when I pay more than fifty dollars I want to get more than five minifigures (I really want a Nick Fury, goshdarnit!)
Overall: 8.5 rounded up to a 9/10. From the looks of things the Quinjet is going to be an integral part of the movie, but even divorced from the movie tie-in, this is a great model. It's the true center of the LEGO Avengers universe, it's really fun to play with and it looks great. If you have the funds, I definitely advise you to buy it.
And to close us out:
As the Avengers fight bravely outside the Quinjet...
100_2134 by Tereglith, on Flickr
Edited by Tereglith, 08 April 2012 - 04:33 AM.