What Bikini Bottom needs is a dose of new blood...
A younger breed of Super Heroes dedicated to protect it from all underwater danger...
Then came the Heroes that Bikini Bottom doesn't need, but the ones it deserve...
Name: Heroic Heroes of the Deep
Theme: Spongebob Squarepants
Price: $14.99 | £13.99
Links: Brickset | Bricklink | Peeron | LEGO Shop@Home
The subtitle primarily summarizes the current state of the 'Licensed' Themes, as Super Heroes have taken over with its slew of DC and Marvel sets. Dumped behind is the SpongeBob Squarepants product line, which might be nearing its run (?) having only released only two sets each last year and this year. I'm doing this review for a couple of reasons, and one is I personally love the SpongeBob Squarepants cartoon, no matter how weird it sounds coming from a full-grown adult. And with the current popularity of Super Hero sets I think this set review would 'fit in' just nicely. So without further ado, let's start the ball rolling...
The boxart perfectly captures the feel of the underwater world of Bikini Bottom with its minimalistic artwork and the signature 'flower clouds' in the
The few play features are also enclosed in the same bubble panels, which is really a nice touch consistent with the whole underwater theme. The other 2011 set, 3816 Glove World, is advertised as a corner filler in the back layout.
Again, the 1:1 minifig panel at the top of the box is a bubble, but enough of all these "bubble-talk". There is an interesting set of details in each side of the box - random SpongeBob bady parts, Yay! How exciting! SpongeBob body pores at the top, check! SpongeBob leg at the bottom, check!
Peek-a-boo! SpongeBob's tri-lashed eye peeks at the right side, while the left side has his hand either: a) trying to wave or b) trying to ask for help because he 'drowned' (sponges don't drown underwater ), or c) his hand just came out from the grave and he's part of an underwater zombie apocalypse. But seriously I find these random body parts in the box funnily cute.
Also interesting to note is Stephen Hillenburg's signature on the side, which has me imagining him as: "Here's my free autograph for your purchase of this lovely set, thank you very much random SpongeBob fan" + <wink>.
No surprises here, just the right 'ingredients' (one big and small bag of parts, a loose element, and instruction booklet) for a small-sized set 'recipe'. Oh wait, I take it back, there is a surprise, there's no sticker
Instruction Booklet (Sample Page)
Other sets of the SpongeBob theme are featured in one of the last pages at the booklet.
The LEGO parts
The parts selection is expectedly colorful, consistent with the lively bright motif of the SpongeBob Squarepants world. Bright yellow, red, and dark azure comprise majority of the parts plus the usual black and white pieces.
Some pieces of interest include the two types of minifig cape: the standard two-holed cape and the single-holed version which is exclusive to this set (at least in this blue color, not sure if there are other color variants). I'm also pleasantly surprised by the number of printed pieces for this small set - four nice ones to be exact. This kinda makes me slightly upset since if TLG can do this for a small 77-piece SpongeBob set then why couldn't they give us these in more popular (and better-selling) themes like Star Wars, Super Heroes, or LOTR? It's also nice to see a trans-clear cook's hat!
Here are is our superhero duo, Super SpongeBob and Sidekick Patrick (just my catchy name for him ) and the evil Plankton in a Hydro-Robo Suit (at least that's the name I gave it).
And since I thoroughly enjoyed making the Minifig Visual Dictionary-type of presentation in one of my Batman Minifig Customization Contest entries, I decided to do the same for the super-hero/villain minifigs in this set. Here they are, I hope you enjoy them!
This is a very good representation of SpongeBob as a superhero, the blue costume works well with the 'yellowness' of SpongeBob, the facial expression is fit for a hero, and that jellyfish logo in the outfit is quite a nice little detail. The cape being pressed inside Spongebob's body piece is a bit weird, but it still works nonetheless.
Sidekick Patrick's costume is another good color combination, yellow-green meshes well together with Patrick's fleshie head. The star logo fits Patrick Star perfectly, and I'm even surprised there is a nice belt buckle detail in the waist, though the leg prints could've been better (difficult to print a lighter yellow color on a darker green piece I assume?). And for once Patrick expression doesn't look dumb or dorky (or it may be just he's good in acting the hero part! )
I really like the build of Plankton's Hydro-Robo Suit thingy - just the right size, nice effective design utilizing only a few pieces but covering all the necessary parts of a robo/mech-suit. This is also a good parallel of Lex's Power Armour, with both villains trying to compensate their lack of physical power with genius inventions to rule their respective worlds. Hooray for nerds' world domination!
The Build - The Super Boatmobile
The main build of this set is the Super Boatmobile, take note - not just an ordinary Boatmobile, but a Super Boatmobile (loaded with super-enhancements stated above ). The build is quite over-simplified, and I know some might find the crudity of having no actual interior space for seats, but I think it's within the overall fun dorkiness of the whole SpongeBob genre. The bright color combos, goofy design, and weird but fun details - they all make perfect sense in the world of SpongeBob Squarepants!
Here's a composite image of the play features of the boatmobile - they're all very basic though the folding bubble torpedo launchers is nicely executed.
Forget the others: Metallic Silver Mechanical Claw - the CLLLLAAAAAWWWWWW.....
Rating the Set:
Design – 8/10 Some might think this score is a bit high for the design aspect, though if we take into consideration the weird world of SpongeBob SquarePants and that this set is primarily aimed for kids, the "over-simplified" build of the boatmobile is more than justified.
Build – 7/10 As simple as it can get - just the appropriate level of
Parts – 9/10 The parts selection offers some brightly colored pieces that can be useful for MOCing. The four printed pieces also adds points! (still wish TLG would do these for other themes)
Minifigures – 9/10 Plankton in a well-designed hyrdo-robo suit is genius. The superhero representations of SpongeBob and Patrick couldn't have been better. The concepts for the costumes are well thought-of. The only thing I'd like to improve is Patrick's bland leg prints, but overall a near-perfect score for the minifig line-up.
Playability – 7/10 Reminding my self to judge playability as a kid and not as an AFOL, I think it has a pretty decent amount of play features-slash-moving parts. I really don't expect more for a set this small size.
Price – 7/10 The 15 cents price-to-piece ratio is a bit high in the norm, though considering this is a licensed set and we get "2-and-a-round brick" minifigs plus several printed pieces, it's quite understandable.
Let's make this short and sweet, if you have 15 bucks to spare and you appreciate SpongeBob Squarepants then this set is a nice pick-up. Otherwise, you might just want to spend the money on other things more interesting to you. Personally, as a huge SpongeBob Squarepants fan, I'm very happy to get this and have the Super Hero versions of SpongeBob and Patrick plus the awesome Plankton Hydro-suit in my minifig collection.
One of the reasons I made this review is I wanted to pay a tribute to the recently-departed Ernest Borgnine, the voice behind Mermaid Man. (Incidentally, the superhero characters of SpongeBob and Patrick in this set is inspired by Mermaid Man and his sidekick Barnacle Boy). Mermaid Man's character might not be on every episode, but when he's in one I always enjoy watching his old, cranky, and 'always forgetful' antics, thanks to the convincing and realistic voicing by Borgnine. Mr. Ernest Borgnine, you shall be missed dearly. (and you'll always be Mermaid Man for me, even if there's another voice actor to replace you )
On a more positive and livelier ending, I made a mini comic strip for this set, which you could find in the Brick Flicks & Comics section (link below).
Comic Strip: Trolling Plankton
Thanks for reading my review! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did in making it!