REVIEW: 3825 Krusty Krab
Posted 13 August 2012 - 06:57 AM
The Spongebob Theme is like that bug on the wall; you see it and freak out and whap it lightly, and it falls to the ground. You go: 'is it dead?' And just then it starts buzzing and you run out of the room screaming like a little child. But I'll tell you this, kids: it's never dead. So step back to what we could call the larva stage of that bug, and look at the original:
Set Name: Krusty Krab
Theme: Spongebob Squarepants
Minifigures: 3 (plus a cylinder)
Year of Release: 2006
Price at Release: 20 USD, 20 GBP
Buy it? Inventory? Bricklink Brickset Peeron
Just browse the pictures? Flickr set
Hold up, did I get that price right? And piece count? Let me just say: whoa.
One of CloneyO's great stupid decisions was to not get either Avatar set. I'll admit, I'd never heard of Avatar when it came out, and the sets did kind of suck. Spongebob I had heard of and watched, though, so I thought I might as well check one set out. I never bought another one, but I think that's more to do with not having unlimited resources than it has to do with this set. Let's see…
Like Monsieur L'eponge's pants, the instructions are rather square. The theme-specific artwork is very loud, but that's a perfect fit for Mr. Pants and the old Nickelodean splash logo. What's not so hot is the cg graphics of the set, which are rather poorly done. Renders were really not up to snuff back in 06, so I'm not sure what LEGO was going for with this idea. I would've liked to see a picture that at least looked real.
Things go under the sea for the inside, which fits quite well. The instructions have no part callouts, and can actually be difficult to follow at times. There's a lot of looking around to see what happened in each step. That's what I grew up with, though, so I like it that way.
One of the kids on the back is screaming, but at least he's sedate about it. And he doesn't want you to win anything, he's just so enthralled by LEGO's killer website. He probably just pulled up that page so that the photographer wouldn't catch him at something a little more devious.
There's a good mix of things in this set: some medium blue, a nice amount of brown, the baseplate of course, and some green for the dumpster. But no picture. Sorry.
This Krusty Krab comes with exactly the figures necessary to run it, plus Plankton. LEGO had to throw him in because of the mandatory 'must have conflict' clause that they sign with themselves annually. But I'm not complaining, at least none of the Krusty Krab staffers are left out.
The first thing you'll notice is that Mr. Krabs' mouth is folded over. I touched it one time, and whoopsie. I heard you also shouldn't touch Dobby's eyes, so it's clearly a problem that wasn't only around on soft heads in '06. It's sad, but oh well.
Anyway, Krabs and Spongebob look pretty cool. Both of the special heads are spot-on, and Krabs' torso is cute in its simpleness. It looks like a print from an earlier time. Both Krabs and Squidward have caught the dreaded grey-hand disease, which is annoying.
There is really very little going on from the back, besides for a little crabby texture and an unsightly indent on Krabs' head mould. Nowadays we'd get some back detailing, but I don't think these figures need it.
I pretty much avoided talking about Plankton and Squidward on the last two pictures for a reason: they're damn ugly/wrong. Let's take an up-close look. Squidward's problem is his head. I guess LEGO figured they'd maxed out on their special-head quota with Spongebob, Patrick, and Mr. Krabs, so they said 'what the heck, we'll just do Squidward as a regular head.' Guys, it doesn't work like that. You could complain about no special leg mould too, but for me it's all about the head. It looks like a blow-up balloon with Squidward design. Then Plankton. He's a cylinder. I guess you can use your imagination… but it's still a cylinder.
That dumb Squidward head makes me want to make a Frankenstein monster out of him. Like so:
This is actually a somewhat arbitrary selection, since I forgot the condiment bottles/fire extinquishers. Anyway, there aren't a lot of true accessories in this set, but cups and rubbish bins and brooms are always nice, so who's complaining. The barrel is also not uber common, though it gets around.
The stickered tile really does say Krabby Patty Recipe. It's a wee bit hard to see with the naked eye, but it's there.
There are only 20 steps to the main building, but as I said a bunch happens in each step and you get no help with it, so it takes a while. I'll just point out a few things, and you can find a few more pictures in the Flickr set.
Back in the old days, instructions would give you a birds-eye view and clearly show you where the initial parts go on a baseplate. They didn't do that any more by this time, so it's more difficult to tell where things go, as here. Also on display here is the sparse usage of cheese (can you spot them?).
I thought you might like to see how LEGO builds a burger, I mean, Krabby Patty. Well here it is folks. By no means realistic, but quite cute in its jumbo-ness:
It's also interesting that the last step doesn't have you put everything together. It's just the end of building itself, no minifigures or anything. The very next thing is the parts list.
There are numerous stickers in this set. They are mostly signs and decorations like that, so I'm really fine with them. Here's the whole sheet courtesy of Bricklink:
However, I learned the hard way that these non-see-through stickers can really start to peel and crack if you leave them out a long time. I've tried to keep them intact with some scotch tape. It's unsightly, but it's better than there being half of a sticker.
COMPLETED SET - By Parts
Yeah, I know I just showed you the build for the main event, but it was a tease. The littler things come first in the instructions, and I must follow the golden rule: never deviate from the instructions. Let's look at dumpsters.
Don't ask me why LEGO decided to include a dumpster. I do recall one factoring into a few episodes, and its a nice bit of scenery to be sure, but I'll admit it's not super necessary.
In terms of dumpsters, though, they really nailed it. Just look how dumpster-ish it is. Pretty darn dumpster-ish I'd say. I appreciate that it's green, since green is a cool color.
The colors on this thing are very nice, and I love the use of flags for the lid.
Since the top is flaps you can open them together or one at a time, depending on how much trash you need to throw in. What excellent playability!
Wow! I even took a picture of it from the back!
The Cash Register/Kitchen Thing
Now we move on to something a bit more exciting. On the show, the cash register area is a little boat. Behind that is a window to the kitchen so that Squidward can yell at Spongebob. LEGO took these details and combined them into this single little kiosk.
It's both silly and cool that LEGO smashed these things together. Having this little area is great for roleplaying (plus adding a play feature which I'll show later), so it's nice, even if a little whacky. The broom is a great added accessory, even if it hangs where the door to the kitchen should be.
Around back is some lovely detailing with the bar and that black sticker. I'm not sure what the sticker represents, but it feels kitcheny nonetheless and can be easily used in kitchen MOCs since it's on a 2-high brick. I'm less fond of the cash register sticker, which looks odd being blue on black and has started to peel over time.
The other side is similar to the first, but without the hanging broom. No need for symmetry.
Right off the bat, LEGO did a good job nailing some general things. They got the shape of the restaurant and the brown color. They got the big clam sign and enter sign. They even tried to have the string of flags, although they did only four out of five and they don't look very strung-up. The chimney is a little far to the side, but aesthetically it looks fine. Overall, from this view it's a pleasing model.
Viewed straight-on, it still looks good besides for the gaps that are apparent underneath the roof and the gaping holes where windows should be. You never really view a model this straight-on, though, so the roof gaps aren't much of a problem. I'll address the gaping holes later.
On this side you can see the lovely sea-weed that LEGO added for extra under-the-sea decor, plus the trash can for which they actually give you extra colored studs to simulate trash. Why it's out here and not by the kitchen is anybody's guess, but there's a lot of baseplate space and they need to fill it with something. That little protrusion with blue out of the building is the back of Mr. Krabs' safe, which is pretty odd sticking out like that.
There is very little to see on the other side of the building. I'll mention here that I'm not a fan of the 1x4 black plate underneath the roof. Black really doesn't look good with tan and brown there. They should've just gone with brown instead.
The interior is both spacious and barren. The oddest quirk of the model is that the building stops before the back of the baseplate. We're used to imaging back halves of buildings with open backs; less so imaging buildings continuing onto empty space left behind them in the set. The set is so quirky anyway that I guess it doesn't matter, but the fact that the building just stops is still supremely odd.
There are lots of details in here which you can start to see for yourselves, but I'll take you on a full guided tour in the next section.
The Restaurant - Guided Tour
I've enlisted the help of numerous minifigures that don't come in this set to illustrate some points. You can probably tell which ones they are, unless you forgot which minifigures actually do come in the set.
Let's start outside and work our way in. First, I really like the doors. Both left and right only come in five total sets in light bley. They're quite stylish.
But who needs doors when you can bust out of the restaurant multiple other ways! Really, the big holes are ok. I can imagine windows. But at the same time, like so many other things in this set, it's so weird that you have to imagine the windows. They couldn't have used some clear panels here?
Perhaps they didn't want to fill up the windows because they also didn't want to fill up the gaps under the roof. That way, the gaps under the roof seem fine and normal because they fit with the other gaps. These gaps are somewhat ugly. But they do provide another escape route!
On the left side of the restaurant is Mr. Krabs' safe. Just sitting there. Out in the open. I guess it had to be included because you're supposed to roleplay Plankton trying to steal the Krabby Patty recipe. It's still strange that it's just right there and that it juts out of the building.
Mr. Krabs is clever, though. He actually keeps the recipe under the little side table. I don't think this is particularly true to any episode, but there have been a ton of episodes, so I don't really know. It seems to harken back to an earlier LEGO time when they just loved hiding things under hinged things. Seriously, that used to happen all the time. Maybe it still does.
True to the show, LEGO used barrels for stools. However, that puts the people on the stools ridiculously high up. It must be very hard for the waiters, especially if they have short legs. Also, LEGO got the tables all wrong, since they are supposed to look like ship steering wheels. I don't mind the yellow plate, though, since it's a nice piece.
Squeezed into the corner is a little condiment area, serving mayo and ketchup. It's hard to get your fingers in there because it's so close to the table, but I appreciate the added detail/props. Alternatively, fire extinguishers.
Note that both tables sit a little bit low compared to the minifigures. Minifigures have strange proportions anyway, but it's like the food is at the level of their feet, which isn't too good.
I suppose the hidden recipe is also a play feature, but it doesn't involve high flying ACTION!!! So let's look at the action features.
Let's start with the dumpster. Yes, the instructions actually demonstrate launching a Krabby Patty from the dumpster. Why you would do that is, well, a mystery. But they tell you to do it, so it's a play feature. Launching a Krabby Patty is boring, though, so I'll launch Squidward! It works well.
Making more sense, the grill has a launching function as well so that you can flip burgers. The front of the instructions show burgers being launched as projectiles, so maybe that's why they are so large. They are actually bombs. The feature is quite simple: you put something on the red plate and push down on the lever.
But let's launch Spongebob instead! This feature also does its job well.
3825 Krusty Krab is very… odd. It looks good from the outside, and has a tolerable amount of details on the inside, a couple nice play features, and plenty of pieces. Actually a ton of pieces, especially considering the $20 price tag. LEGO nailed a lot of the details, and then went and did some crazy things like the huge holes in the building, the safe that's just sitting there, the building that doesn't extend to the back of the baseplate. The little kitchen/cash register kiosk is odd too. About the minifigures, two are decent, while Squidward is god awful and Plankton is half a joke.
What can be said to sum it up? I think what can be said is this: this set was part of the line's debut, and it certainly set a tone that has been continued ever since and completely sets Spongebob apart. The sets aren't juniorized, they're just… strange. The show itself is completely whacky, and on the show buildings look different on the outside than they do when you see them on the inside. So does it really matter that the building doesn't go all the way back or that the safe is just chilling there? No, not so much.
Parts: 10/10 - Soo many for the price. And in some good colors. So I'm going with full marks.
Build: 8/10 - It's a little challenging since there's nothing helping you, but I don't mind that. I supposed it can be a bit frustrating, though.
Design: 6.5/10 - The odd sort of design is what they were going for, as evidenced by the whole line, but there are so many weird things.
Minifigures: 6/10 - Two good, Squidward is awful, and I shouldn't really count Plankton.
Price: 10/10 - For this amount of parts and a sizable building, you can't beat it.
Playbility: 8.5/10 - There are some working play features, but flipping things gets a little old. Just the thought of playing with the Plankton cylinder is hard on the brain.
Overall: 8.2/10 - That's solid but not stellar. You just have to realize that Spongebob sets are weird. That's what LEGO is going for, I suppose because it fits with the show. Some may not like it, but I find it interesting. Not my favorite, but interesting.
Posted 23 August 2012 - 12:37 PM
Anyway, thanks for sharing this review CloneyO. It was nice to look back at how things were for this theme during its initial days.
Posted 23 August 2012 - 10:37 PM
This one is perfect though as they nailed the design perfectly with tons of small details and cool or unusual pieces. I do get annoyed with the imaginary windows too though.
But once again, thanks for this in depth review.
Posted 23 August 2012 - 10:38 PM
Posted 24 August 2012 - 10:45 AM
Cloney O'Patra, I would like to say a big thank you to you for helping me improve my reviews in the Academy. In fact, your reviews are what inspired me to make my own, because of how amusing and detailed they were. It's just so great to know there are such dedicated reviewers here in the EB community.
Betty in The Pearl Mafia.
My Academy-approved reviews: 9469 Gandalf Arrives, 8236 Bike Burner, 30027 Reindeer, 8737 Toa Hordika (Bionicle),8514 Power
Posted 25 August 2012 - 05:15 AM
I'm not a huge fan of this set myself, I think the newer one is better - at least they fixed Squidward. It does have some great parts in it though and I would not turn it down for $20.
Mitgardia Guild Ambassador, Architect Regent of Valholl & Captain Michael of Wolftracks Company, Mitgardia
Heroica RPG's Cinna the Dark Mystic Knight (25.33)
Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:49 AM
Great review as usual!
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