REVIEW: 4851 The Origins
Posted 28 August 2012 - 07:11 PM
The new (piss-poor) Spider-Man set made me want to go back and look at some of the older stuff. I only have one Spider-Man 1 set, though that might be all you need. It's…
Set Name: The Origins
Set #: 4851
Theme: Spider-Man and Studios (sort of)
Year of Release: 2003
Price at Release: USD 30, GBP 25
Buy it? Inventory? Bricklink Peeron Brickset
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The sets for the first Spider-Man movie were a strange wave. In 2002, around when the film was released, LEGO put out two sets that you could get along with an expansion pack to basically make the scene where Green Goblin attacks his former fellow board-members on a balcony. Then, in 2003, they released three sets that seemed more tied to the film. Maybe these were released to test the waters and pave the way for the Spider-Man 2 wave in 2004? It's possible.
I'm not sure Spider-Man as a film series really lends itself that well to LEGO sets, but at the same time I can't help feeling LEGO boggled the license. They especially didn't put enough creative juices into the sets for the first film, as a whole. But now for 4851 (which may or may need actually be called Spider-Man and Green Goblin - The Origins). I picked it up for cheap a while after the release, but I'll try to judge it on being a $30 set. Even if the whole wave was weak, is this set enough to have some fun and re-enact your favorite film scenes? Let's find out!
It's rare that LEGO throws two unrelated scenes into a single set (actually, I'm not sure if it's happened another time), and you can see that it doesn't make for easy artwork. They rearranged the scenes from how the instructions tell you to build them so that you can see them better, but you've still got two scenes atop each other and Spidey zooming out from… nowhere. The Spidey graphic in the corner is freaky. It's like 'Surprise! Yeeaaaaaa!' This is a weird-looking set.
I always like to laugh at bad minifigure graphics. LEGO must've been testing this new thing called 'computer software' and it wasn't working to the company's advantage. These look particularly demented.
The build goes rather slowly. It being after 2000, kids were already getting stupider at a rapid rate (until the Krusty Krab). The background is an exterior picture of a building because that's a total Spider-Man thing. You hear Spider-Man, you think building facade.
A page in the back displays the fun features. Actually, it shows you that a sign goes up and down and that something spins in the Lab C35 part. Totally fun, right? The set is still built differently than the instructions…
To win back in 2003, you didn't have to put up with a screaming kid. Those were the good old days.
The back features the few other Spider-Man 1 sets, besides for the Studios set with its expansion pack. They don't look so bad, it's just that… that's it. That's all the sets for Spider-Man 1 (plus this one, of course).
I'm always so surprised how quickly we get to the good stuff in a review! So much for saving the best for last.
Six minifigures in a $30 is terrific, hands down. As minifigure parts go, these guys really have a lot to offer. The scientist is hugely exclusive; the torso and old grey hair are exclusive to this set, while the face comes in just one other. I always thought LEGO was trying to update the classic smiley, but then forgot or gave up. Both kids' torsos are exclusive to this set, as is the flat-top hair in dark orange that Norman Osborn has here. The orange Hermione hair came only in two Spidey sets. Green Goblin and Spider-Man are fantastically detailed figure, but I'll talk more about them in a moment.
Let's start with the best and work our way down. Unfortunately, Green Goblin's lovely gold helmet printing has mostly worn off, and he's developed cracks all over. Maybe LEGO hadn't gotten down the bright green formula quite yet. Ahh, but what a lovely color it is! GG was the first figure to ever have bright green arms and green hands, making him especially cool at the time. More importantly, just note how well-detailed these guys are. Spidey has muscle detailing, GG has blue highlights to make his armor look 3D-ish, not to mention all the other small details. These are above and beyond 2003… in fact, I'd say they'd fit right in with today's minifigures.
More delicious printing on the back. I'm a little confused why we're seeing lats on GG, since his armor is thick and armor-y, but whatever. Still looks great. It's also interesting how they made the GG helmet backless; they did it so it works well on the figure, so no complaints with that.
The helmet only looks a little bit silly from the side. No problem with the moulding, but it seems like he's rather chinless. The thin helmet doesn't work perfectly with fat minifigure torsos from this angle.
Peter Parker is also a perfectly ok minifigure. His torso was designed just for this set, as was MJ's, and both look nice and high-school-ish. Dark blue was also a nice choice of pants color, since it connotes jeans. But, the heads. Peter's head doesn't fit Tobey McGuire perfectly, but it does have a Peter look, what with the big glasses and slightly dopey smile. MJ just uses the head of the Studios actress, though, which is bad. The head itself is fine, but it doesn't look like MJ in the film at all, and she looks too made up. This seems more like 'stock read-head girl #27' than MJ.
Norman Osborn has the same head problem. He just has the stoic male actor Studios face. Why couldn't LEGO design a new Norman head? This head doesn't remind me of him at all, and the dark orange hair also makes no sense. The way they got the head design on the GG figure is nice, though, but the actual face design is poor. Why the heck is he so happy under that Goblin mask anyway?
Plus, the hair does not work with the reverse actor face. Not at all.
And that's another thing - maybe MJ would need to scream like that, but Norman Osborn would never have that expression.
One final thing about Norman Osborn is that the plain yellow torso looks silly. I suppose LEGO hadn't worked up to printing abs yet, but my my would he look better with some ripped musculature. The scientist figure is great though (while not seeming like the scientist in the film scene in the slightest).
There aren't a whole lot of accessories here. The one that makes the most sense is the camera, since Peter would be nothing without that. The magnifying glass makes sense once it's in the set, but the mug, as we'll see, is an oddity. I like clear mugs and all, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't exactly fit.
There are a crap-load of spiders in this set. When I say a crap-load, I mean a crap-load. They are all different colors too, which is pretty awesome. Trans-red is the rarest, coming in only 4 sets, but blue and orange are also not extremely common.
While there are a few stickers in the set, there are also a nice bunch of printed parts. Duplicates are not shown; there are three keyboards and two slope computers. The coolest ones are certainly the double-helix and green juice with monitor 2x2 tiles. There's really no reason why these even have to be printed, but they are, so that's cool. The green stuff one also comes in Tusken Raider Encounter in blue. The keypad is a pretty useful piece as well. The worst ones are the computers. Yes, computers are neat, but why the error message graphic? It could just be a couple windows, but anyhow, it doesn't work very well for an average computer display.
LAB C35 - Overview
I figured I'd already talked about the build in the instructions section, so it's time to dive right in. At an overall glance, this scene looks pretty nice. It's reminiscent of the movie scene enough: you've got the part that Norman goes into behind glass, the console showing the green stuff going in, another computer… not too shabby. The LAB C35 sticker is a STAMP, but really, did you need those three 6-long tan bricks? I didn't think so. The big trans-clear panel is exclusive here in that color, this is its only appearance in a non-4+ set, and it looks terrific.
The design of the inclosure is quite pleasing. Being up on little stilts gives it an industrial science vibe, and the panel gives it a great shape from the front. The tall window piece on the side is also quite nice; these particular colors on it only come in one other set. You can also see how much empty floor-space there is. The baseplate (in its only appearance in light grey after 1990) provides plenty of play room, just like I like it. Science facilities shouldn't be cluttered anyway.
The inside of the inclosure is taken up completely with the play feature switcheroo mechanism. And by mechanism I mean you turn it around, but I'll get to that later. The nice thing is that there's a lot of space in there if you wanted to MOD it into something, but LEGO wasted it a bit.
On the other side of the lab is the well-done entrance to the inclosure. The door, like so many parts already, is also not uber common, and I applaud LEGO for actually providing steps and an entrance into something. Clap clap clap. That was my applause.
LAB C35 - Features
I took some shmancy close-ups and a play demonstration pictures. You saw everything already, but hey, it's my job to live up to my namesake and give you way more pictures than would be actually necessary.
Our scientist buddy demonstrates how to use the computer console. This is a lovely detail with a modern flat-screen design, and it looks great atop the stilt piece. So few pieces come together to form such a nice little thing.
The other console is also wonderful. I love those door pieces for whatever reason, and they only come in three sets in light grey. The levers and little green and red lights are excellent, and kudos to LEGO for making the levers somewhat reachable for the minifigure.
You might be wondering what's inside the cabinet, and the answer is a whole lot of nothing. LEGO provided space in there so that there could be something, so that's nice. But it would be nicer with something in there.
The inclosure entrance is also nice, as I already said. Very realistic too, and true to the movie. The scientist punches in a code before going in and getting strangled, if you remember.
And now, drumroll, the playfeature. You can turn around the thing inside to turn Norman Osborn into the Green Goblin. Wait… what? He spins around and is magically in the Green Goblin suit? You don't say… That's pretty lame. A cool play feature would've been for the front of the thing to explode, so that you could reenact Norman smashing the scientist through the glass and killing him. Or maybe a mechanism to load Norman into the place on a bed that then stands up, true to the film. This spinny thing you do get is lame-o.
MUSEUM LAB - Overview
Apparently, in the movie this is actually a genetics lab or something. Maybe they say that in the film, but it always looked like some kind of science museum to me, so I'm going to go on calling it a museum. Whine all you like and see how much I care. Aka not at all.
So here we go. This thing looks pretty nice. There's a big display screen with spider-facts like there was in the movie, and some cool details all around making this scene feel very much like it did in the film.
The spider-web around back is a bit ridiculous. I like the piece, don't get me wrong, but somebody really should've called maintenance to get rid of that thing. It's not like it's up on the ceiling; it hangs so low, a minifigure can't even get under it. The pillars are quite nice, though, and give off a 'high ceiling' vibe without there being a ceiling.
You're not supposed to look at this setup from certain angles. There's nothing behind the computer console, although underneath the desk makes a nice hiding spot. I'm confused by the black tile; it seems like it's almost just there to guide you during the build. I like tiles, though, so who's complaining.
MUSEUM LAB - Features
Just like last time, more pictures of stuff you already saw!
The table thing is kind of weird. The table itself is great; the designer picked nice elements and a good color for the legs. What's on the table is a little more suspicious. Maybe that spider is dead, but still, it's right there out in the open. Also, what is the helix tile supposed to represent? A handout? A computer screen? I'm confused.
The spider case is superb. I freaking love trans-panels; back when I used to haphazardly MOC I used to use these things. There didn't actually need to be hinges on both sides, but I love hinges too, so I'll take it. They certainly don't hurt the model. The sticker is pretty nice too, and spices up the stand for the case.
The computer station is nice. Museums do have spots where you can read info or do interactive things on computers, so this is a nice touch. What is weirder is the mug sitting there (I know I left it off in a few pics earlier, but the instructions do tell you to put it there). Even if this is a research lab, it's still some kind of exhibit, so why did somebody leave their coffee mug sitting about? It's just odd.
Here's the play feature of this part in one handy composite pic. The blue spider is on a hinge so you can make it come down and bite Peter while he's trying to be a voyeur and snap pics of MJ. That's actually pretty neat. Yeah, it doesn't hold a finger to flick firing missiles, but it's a pretty cool way to simulate a spider coming down from the ceiling. Albeit a gargantuan trans-blue spider. Also, I'd just like to take this space to say how the way Peter gets bitten is SO much more interesting and believable in the original Spider-Man film, as opposed to Amazing Spider-Man wherein he just stupidly walks into a room full of what he knows to be radioactive spiders and then STUFFS HIS HAND INTO THEM (sort of). Gosh that movie sucks on nearly every level.
What happens when Petey gets bitten is a full-costumed Spider-Man pops out. I mean, if Norman Osborn spins around and appears in GG armor, why not, right?
Or maybe you're supposed to hide Spidey behind the computer desk. So that's what that space is for! (Can you spot the mistake I made, for which I retook a whole bunch of my pictures? I left it in this one.)
WHOLE SET and CONCLUSION
Bam. So there it is: the whole shebang. It does in fact include the hinge tile so that you can attach the scenes.
Individually, the scenes are pretty nice, especially as a display piece. They work best on display because they really aren't too functional. It's an odd idea for a set in the first place; showing how the hero and villain got their powers. I'm not sure there's another example of a LEGO set depicting two separate scenes, although I suppose a few Star Wars sets end up being a ship parked next to a scene (X-Wing with Yoda's Hut, Eta-2 with Mustafar droid/platform).
It's strange to say, but I feel like this set is best for adults or at least people older than LEGO's target kid age-range. Why? A few reasons. It's a nice display piece, as I said, so all your comic-book nerd friends can go 'oh hey, I remember those scenes in the movie, cool man!' Then there are all the pieces that are in pretty rare colors, which turns out to be quite a few. Lastly, you get all of the Spidey minifigures that you need: Green Goblin and Spidey of course, but also Peter and MJ (although she sucks as film MJ). Plus the scientist is a wonderful figure.
So LEGO failed somewhat at making a set that kids could really enjoy as is. If the kid is a Spidey fan already, then I guess it's ok, but they could've made a much better play feature out of the Oscorp lab part. It seems LEGO accidentally created a set that might appeal more to the older set; it's certainly the 2003 version of well-detailed (aka no cheese slopes, but who needs em). But maybe I don't give kids enough credit. I feel like kids would still like this set because they get Spidey and Green Goblin, but 30 bucks is a lot just for that and a somewhat boring set. 30 Bucks for a plethora of nice figures, plus a pleasant display piece or lots of excellent parts, though, is just fine.
Minifigures: 9/10 - That might seem high, but here's the rationale: Spidey and GG are totally awesome, the scientist is really useful, and the rest have some good parts. Even if MJ and Norman are bad compared to film material, they are still useful minifigures to some extent, so I only docked a little.
Parts: 10/10 - There are so many parts in rare or exclusive colors in this set, it's great. Also, the printed pieces!
Build: 10/10 - The build is fun and always changing, since this set has a lot of different things going on.
Design: 9/10 - I docked just a little because the LAB C35 part could have a better feature. Otherwise, this set looks great and has tons of perfect details.
Price: 9/10 - Gut instinct would say that this set is a wee bit over-priced at 30 smackers. But if you stop and think, there are six (different) minifigures who are, by the way, everyone LEGO made for the first film. There are also so many cool parts, and a few large ones. So, really, 30 is fine.
Playability: 6.5/10 - This is pretty low, and it will bring down the overall somewhat, but that has to be done. For kids, play-wise, I'm not sure this set is so great. The lab could've had an awesome feature but has a lame one instead, and it's all about roleplay here. There's nothing to even swoosh. At least you get Spidey and GG to create your own adventurous battles.
Overall: 8.9/10 - It's only brought down by the playability and a few other little things, and it seems right. This set is really pretty strange, and there aren't many like it. That said, it's still pretty neat, and it seems a little ahead of its time in that adults might like it more than kids. Not that LEGO releases adult geared sets that are only 30 dollars now (besides maybe LotR), but you get the point.
I really enjoyed looking at this set, and I hope you enjoyed it too. If you've read my other reviews, you'll noticed that I never conclude with some statement like this. I'm saying it now because it's true specifically in this case. 2003 was a weird time for LEGO; themes were either amazing (Orient Expedition, Studios Monsters, Bioncle [the Mask of Light tie-ins were very cool]), god-awful (designer with motion stuff, sports, technic hockey players??), or mis-handled like Spider-Man. LEGO was getting started with detailed sets, but it took them quite a while to really figure it out.
I'd love to know what people think of this one!
Posted 28 August 2012 - 08:44 PM
I also don't see what's wrong with how he gets bitten in The Amazing Spider-Man. What was he supposed to do, take a picture of it? At least those Spiders were kept in their proper place; I always wonder about which idiot forgot to close the cage.
Posted 28 August 2012 - 08:56 PM
Great review! Brings back great memories!
Posted 28 August 2012 - 10:50 PM
Have to disagree with your opinion on that film I'm afraid, found it far superior to Raimi's Spider-Man, but let's save that for outside this thread
Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:45 PM
I remember getting this set around my 9th birthday in 2004 and as being a big fan of the 2002 Sam Raimi film I couldn't be more that happy. Even though I was mostly anticipated for the upcomming Spider-Man 2 sets, this set supplied me with the golden-eyed Gobby, which was far superior than what had come the previous year, and a lot of rare parts.
Also, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who hated The Amazing Spider-Man. Granted, it had a well-chosen cast (although Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man was probably one of the things I didn't like ) and a lot of good action scenes, but the story was complete crap. It was waaaaay too dependent on plot convenience and a lot of sub-plots that could have made the movie interesting were completely brushed aside and will either be covered in sequels or just be dropped off entirely.
Edited by chucker, 29 August 2012 - 01:55 AM.
Posted 29 August 2012 - 04:32 AM
I haven't opened my new Spiderman set, but based on the box art I like the old spiderman figure better. The one from this set is my favorite of all the Spiderman figs I've seen so far.
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Posted 29 August 2012 - 07:56 AM
The actual set looks quite good but it's the empty space and lack of playability that brings this set down.
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Posted 30 August 2012 - 04:30 AM
Of all the sets in the 'Spider-Man' wave, I'd have to say this was my least favorite, just because it seemed boring and empty. However, the minifigures are actually really nice, and after reading this review, I see that this set has a lot more cool features than I originally thought.
Still, the 'Spider-Man' theme always seemed confused and mishandled by LEGO as you said, and I was never sure if it was within the world of the fictional movie, or within our world filming the movie, due to the 'Studios' connection.
Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:59 AM
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Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:10 AM
Thanks for the review, Cloney. So many minifigs... and spiders! The Green Goblin is really cool, as are the first of the dual-faced minifigs. There are some useful parts in here, but overall I think this set is rather boring. I guess the playability factor is good, but not a whole lot to see. I guess these sets of TLG's "dark age" don't hold up against the test of time.
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Posted 03 September 2012 - 08:30 PM
It looks really playable, plus it recreates the scene really well. My only complain is Norman's head, it looks horribly printed.. like if someone had drawn his
face with a sharpie. I'm saying this because I also got that head in the same state with another set.
Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:38 AM
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