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  1. 1. On a scale of 1-5...

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  2. 2. Which TMNT show do you prefer?

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Hello Turtle fans! This is Oky coming at ya with a radical new review! But first let me give you a little introduction. Earlier this year, TLG released a line based on the new Nickelodeon hit series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is the third cartoon series based on the comic books about the heroes in a half-shell. It is quite remarkable that the turtles have sustained their success since their creation in 1984. I have never been a big TMNT fan until now due to its rather odd concept (I mean who would have thought that something called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would be such a huge hit? :wacko: ) and because the '90's cartoon always seemed too cheesy for my taste (no pizza pun intended). However, the Lego sets and the new TV show have sparked my interest in this franchise, and now I can't get enough of the turtles! :wub_drool: After watching the first few episodes, I just had to get all of the turtles and their iconic lair in the sewers. Does it do the ninja team justice? Is it worth getting, even if you're not a TMNT fan? Read on to find out!


Set Number: 79103

Name: Turtle Lair Attack

Theme: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Year of Release: 2013

Pieces: 488

Minifigs: 5

Price: $49.99 USD

S@H description:

Defend the Turtles' Lair in a Dark Ninja ambush!

It's an intense day of training in the Turtles' Lair. Instruct Leonardo in the ninja arts with Master Splinter and the rotating training dummy. Then experiment in Donnie's lab. When the explosion function is triggered by the Dark Ninja and his Foot Soldier minion, it's time for a turtle-powered ninja battle! Fight in all 3 stories of the Turtles' Lair with 10 weapons and a pizza shooting oven! Make those villains pay for trespassing into Turtle territory! When the battle's over, fire up the pizza oven and hang in the video game station with its flat screen TV. Or climb up to the street with a skateboard and shred the mini ramp!

S@H Bricklink Brickset Brickshelf

The Box

The box is mostly purple with lime green contours, two colors which go great together in my opinion and fit the TMNT theme quite nicely. The art on the front shows something we have never really seen on a Lego box: a cutaway which shows part of a street that has a huge hole in it to reveal the Turtle Lair underneath. It's a clever way of integrating the above-street-level part of the set and makes for an interesting image. One thing I find odd is that in the picture, Raphael seems to be kicking the Foot soldier into the manhole that leads to their lair. Why in the world would he do that? Shouldn't he be trying to keep him out of their lair? :wacko: Oh well, it still looks pretty cool, and I guess that's all that matters.


Since this box is fairly large, there is enough room at the top to show all five minifigures at actual size.


Looking at the back of the box, all I can think is: Holy shell there is a lot going on! *huh* Seriously, this must be the busiest back-of-the-box picture I have ever seen! And looking at how simple and boring most of the other Lego boxes currently are, especially the Super Heroes ones, this is actually quite refreshing to see. It showcases all the crazy colors and play features of the set which makes it look quite fun and interesting. At the bottom there is a comic strip that briefly tells the story of the set. The Dark Ninja and his minion break into the lair, but are quickly defeated by Master Splinter who seems to be using Spinjitzu. And if that wasn't odd enough, the two villains escape with the blueprints for the Shellraiser of all things. Was this their plan all along? Why would they possibly be interested in that? :wacko: The Dark Ninja and his accomplice did follow the turtles into the sewer in the episode New Friend, Old Enemy, but they never entered the turtles' lair, and they were after the turtles, not the Shellraiser. Oh well, I'm sure this is not meant to be show-accurate, but merely present one possible scenario that can be played out with the set.



Inside the box you will find four numbered bags, a sticker sheet, and surprisingly, one very small instruction booklet and one rather large one. The small booklet describes how to build all the small interior and extra bits while the large one covers the lair itself.


Here's a random instructions page. The background is a solid bright green color, presumably representing ooze, and gives a nice contrast to the mostly gray builds. The part call-outs don't usually exceed three different types of pieces, so it's pretty easy to follow.


There is a fair number of parts in rare colors in this set, including slopes and plates in olive green and dark orange, arches in dark gray and dark brown, round plates in purple, orange, and pearl gold, a trans-clear minifig head, a hook in dark red, and those spiral stairs pieces in dark tan. There's also one of the new lamp post pieces with only four grooves in black which only appears in one other set, Spider-Man's Daily Bugle Showdown, which ironically is also supposed to represent a street in New York City. There are other new/rare elements too, such as the 4x4 round plate with a hole, that ring with four clips that Venom has on his back, and the brick with a brick profile.


There's also an impressive number of weapons in this set, especially if you count the spares. There are 8 katanas in total (5 pearl gray ones and 3 black ones), 3 sai, 2 shuriken, a bladed bo-staff, and a regular bo-staff. And while not technically a weapon, there is also a pack of dynamite which is just as deadly. That's 16 weapons! These ninjas mean business! :devil:


There is a load of spare parts too. As you can see, one sai, one shuriken, and three of the katanas shown above are spares. The rest of the extra parts include the usual studs, tiles, cheese slopes, and Technic bits, along with two neon green antennas strands of ooze.



Most of the minifigs are exclusive to this set. Let's start with the good guys. This set includes what the show calls the "A-team", Leonardo (the leader in blue) and Raphael (who has got the most attitude on the team), along with their rat sensei, Master Splinter. Leo has a less angry looking face than in the other set he is in, the Shellraiser, although he still looks quite grumpy. Raphael on the other hand has an angry face, unlike in the other two sets he is included in, and considering his temper, it suits him quite well. They are both a regular shade of green and they both look great. I'd rather not talk about their rather female looking crotch areas though. :look: Master Splinter is a pretty neat minifig too. The printing on his head is superb and I like the printing on his robes as well. Usually when TLG uses a slope as a dress for a minifig, it makes the minifig look too tall, but in this case it actually makes sense since Splinter is indeed a lot taller than the turtles in the show.


Here are some reference images for comparison. Except maybe for their missing elbow pads, the minifigs couldn't have been more spot-on in my opinion!


Looking at them from the side, you can see that the turtles' shells are attached to them like backpacks. Also, Splinter's profile looks especially good from this angle.


All three of them have back printing. Leo's shell has two straps whereas Raph's only has one. Great dedication to accuracy here. Unfortunately Splinter doesn't have a rat tail, but I guess you can just imagine that it is hidden under his robe.


And then we have the bad guys: A generic Foot soldier, the Dark Ninja, and short Shredder dummy. Okay, the last one is not really a bad guy. He isn't even listed as a minifig, but he's neat and has all the features of a minifig, so I'm counting it. The Foot soldier is the same as in the three smaller sets. Nothing special, but it's always good to add one more to your army. Also, the detailed foot print on his head is pretty cool (no pun intended).

The Dark Ninja, however, is new and exclusive to this set. There is nothing extraordinary about him, though, except for his torso printing. For those who don't know, the Dark Ninja is Shredder's second in command in this show and, along with Xever, one of his top henchmen.

The dummy is pretty cute and sports a dark brown version of Shredder's helmet. I don't remember the dummy in the show looking that much like Shredder, but I certainly welcome this color variation of that helmet. Its torso is a bit plain, though, and would have benefited from some printing, but oh well. Would have been nice to get Shredder's shoulder pads in brown too, but I'll take what I can get.


Those of you who watch the show will know that (spoiler alert) the Dark Ninja is Chris Bradford the famous martial artist before he got mutated into Dogpound. He is a parody of both Chuck Norris and the real-life Chris Bradford. He only appeared in his full ninja gear in one episode and I don't think he was ever referred to as "the Dark Ninja", so I don't know where Lego got that name or why they chose to even include him in this set. I guess they just needed another named character they could throw in the set without having to make a new mold. I would have preferred Karai instead, but I digress. Looking at the reference image below, the ninja headwrap isn't very accurate for the minifig as it should be metal helmet, but I guess the shape is close enough. Also, the shoulder spikes probably should have been a new mold. The Foot Soldier on the other hand is spot-on.



The evil ninjas have back-printing too, except for the dummy who, again, is very plain. In fact, he looks more like a pointy Ewok from the back.


Under his mask, the Dark Ninja has Chris Bradford's face. It looks pretty good, but the hugh white pupils look odd. I know they were going for those glowing white Batman eyes that he has when he has the mask on, but they just don't work when you take the headgear off. He doesn't have an alternate face either, so you're stuck with this face for him. I think it would have been better if he had a double-sided head with one dark side with white eyes for when he is the Dark Ninja and one with a regular Chris Bradford face, or if he at least had an alternate expression.

Also, here's a close-up of the dark brown Shredder helmet from the side.


For comparison, here is what Chris Bradford looks like without his ninja disguise. The minifig version is mostly accurate, but sadly Lego failed to include his Chuck Norris mullet. We need a Lego mullet!!


Now it's time for some ninja action! Here are all the minifigs with their respective weapons. Raph gets his sais and Leo his katanas of course, and Master Splinter gets a katana too. I wonder why they didn't include his jade staff which they could have easily represented with a trans-green lightsaber bar. The dummy gets a bo-staff, the Foot soldier a scythe and a shuriken, and the Dark Ninja two black katanas. Ready, set, fight!


The Build

The first bag contains all the parts to build all the small interior objects of the lair along with the Foot soldier, Dark Ninja, and the dummy. The entire first instructions booklet is dedicated to this part of the build.


Here are all the pieces of furniture built: a TV corner, a training platform, a skate ramp, a crane, a workstation, a shelf with cans of spray paint and cans of ooze, a skateboard rack, and a catapult. They all look great on their own and already provide lots of playability (heck, this could have been a fine $15 set on its own), but we'll get into the play features later.


Bag 2 contains the rest of the dojo and Master Splinter fittingly.


Once built, this is how it looks. It has nice sewer look to it and features a weapons rack. There are enough clips to store Raph's sais, the dummy's staff, and Leo and Splinter's katanas, although I wish there were enough to store all of the four turtles' weapons. It also has ooze dripping down the walls and running on the floor, a technique which was already utilized in last year's Ninjago sets. It makes no sense why there would be ooze all over the dojo, but the green ooze is an iconic part of the TMNT franchise, so I guess it helps make this feel like a TMNT set. Then again, who else would have a dojo in the sewer?


In case you're wondering, yes, the tree is actually accurate to the show since Splinter planted one in his dojo, although Lego's adaption seems like a very light version of the one from the show.


The next bag contains the two turtles from this set and the parts to build the first floor of the main section of the lair.


This part of the lair will become Donatello's workshop where he builds all the cool Turtle vehicles and gadgets, which makes it unfortunate that Donnie isn't included in the set. If you look closely at the blackboard in the back, you'll see that it features blueprints (or greenprints) of the Shellraiser, the T-Phone, and surprisingly the Turtle Blimp. So far there hasn't been a Turtle Blimp in the current show, so either this is just a neat little Easter egg for fans of the original cartoon or a hint at a future set. We'll have to wait and see. Also, there is more of that inexplicable ooze.


The fourth bag contains the pieces for the second storey and the street level of the lair. Lots of browns and grays here.


Here is the completed main section of the lair. The second and third stories are a lot more bare looking than the first. The second floor only has a few pipes serving as the walls and the street level only has part of a wall. There are also a fire hydrant and a lamp post to indicate that this is supposed to represent a street. It's very minimalistic, but you get the idea. Still, I wish they would have put more effort into making this look like an actual street scene. The "Mutants Rule" graffiti is a nice touch though.

There is also a pizza oven on the second floor. I don't think the turtles have one in the current show, but I think they had one in the 90's cartoon, so perhaps this is another reference to that show.


In the last step, you place all the small interior items from the first bag into the lair and combine the two sections by connecting the clips on the dojo to the little bars on the tower. This step is easy to do and also to undo if you wish. And yes, as you can see, it is possible to attach the ramp the top of the main section like on the box art, although it is not very stable as it is only attached by two studs. I wish they would have provided more space to attach it properly there, but oh well.


The Complete Set

Here is the finished lair, complete with minifigures, weapons, and all the extra objects. The clip hinges allow it to stand at a slight angle. Not sure what the purpose of this is, but it does make it look more interesting.

One thing to note here is how high the steps of the stairs are. One step goes up to Spinter's hip! Oh well, they're ninjas, so they probably don't have any problem jumping up the stairs. The steps also tend to flail around a lot rather than stay in place whenever you touch them, so you have to be careful when playing with them.


When compared to the Sewer Lair Playset from Playmates, it actually holds up pretty well since they both have strikingly similar designs and play features. In fact, I'd say that Lego's version is better as it is a lot better furnished (aside from the fact that it is Lego of course, which is always better). Although the street level is designed a lot better in the Playmates version, I give them that.


Play Features

Let's look at the play features of this playset. At the top of the main tower, there is a trap door underneath the manhole cover which can be flipped open by turning the large valve on the side. Not the most authentic way of creating an opening manhole cover, but it works quite well. The only nitpick I have here is that the ladder that is supposed to lead to the lair is off to the side. How are the turtles supposed to climb down there?


Behind the wall with the graffiti there is a crank which allows you to make a minifigure swing on the pole on the other side. Underneath it there is a red peg which, when pushed, shoots the pizza out of the oven. The harder you hit it, the farther the pizza shoots. If you have read my other reviews, you will know that this is not the first set to feature a pizza shooter, and as strange as a pizza-shooting oven may seem, it actually makes a bit more sense than a pizza-shooting delivery truck.


At the bottom of the tower, there is a crank which serves as a dynamite exploding feature. When you attach the dynamite to the wall and turn the crank clockwise, the middle part of the wall breaks open. If you turn it the other way or when the dynamite is not there, it wont work, as the green arrow indicates (Did we really need a sticker for that? :sceptic: ). This feature doesn't work great as the wall just plops open rather than being blasted open like from an explosion, but well enough. Although if the dynamite is attached to this side of the wall, shouldn't the wall fall towards the inside of the lair? Oh well, this is a world where some green ooze can turn turtles into human-sized crime fighters. Realism be damned!


The training platform from the dojo section can easily be taken out for easier play. You can place the minifigs on one of the dark red studs and have them fight the dummy (or rather have the dummy fight them) by turning the gear at the front which spins the dummy around. This is a neat play feature, and I know I already made a comparison to Ninjago earlier, but I'm surprised that such a feature was never included in any of the sets from that theme, considering it is subtitled "Masters of Spinjitzu." I guess there was already too much spinning going on in that theme.


Next, we have the TV corner. This is not as much a play feature as it is just an additional set piece, although the TV can be tilted back and forth and the antanna adjusted. There are seats for all four of the turtles to sit in front of it. What bugs me, though, is the TV screen. It shows a deserted alleyway with a manhole cover and some dumpsters. What is this? What are they watching? The set description states that it is a "video game station", but if that's the case, where is the game console and the controllers, or the game characters for that matter? It would have made a lot more sense if the TV was playing Leonardo's favorite show, Space Heroes, but maybe TLG was afraid to get sued by the owners of Star Trek (which Space Heroes is parodying). Or it could show an image of news reporter Carlos Chiang O'Brien Gambe, or of a Kraang, or anything other than an empty alley! :wacko: Sorry, this just seems like a missed opportunity to me. I guess it's better than something completely non-TMNT related, like a tropical beach or something.


We also get a catapult in this set for some ninja flipping action. Unfortunately it doesn't work too well, especially with some of the more top-heavy minifigs like the turtles. It just makes them jump up a bit and land on their face. This is actually my least favorite part of the set. It resembles nothing from the "real" turtle lair and seems like a useless addition.


The skate ramp is a bit better. You can have the turtles roll down the ramp or make some cool poses on the bar at the top. The only problem is that they have trouble rolling up the ramp when it's not connected to a plate as it has a two-plate high step.

Note that Raph and Leo's skateboards have different designs on them: Raph's has a torn look whereas Leo's has an apple on it for some reason.



Design: 4/5 - This playset, like many Lego playsets, is an amalgam of scenes from the Turtles' lair rather than an accurate depiction of it. As such, it does a good job at conveying the look of the Turtle Lair in a limited amount of space. Also, this makes it appealing to TMNT fans of all ages as it doesn't represent any specific incarnation of the Turtle Lair. All the colors and details really make it feel like a TMNT set and are consistent with the rest of the sets. However, some parts of it look a bit bare and remind me of the old Harry Potter sets in that sense, so you can't help but feel like there is something missing. Especially the street level could have been fleshed out a lot more in my opinion.

Build: 4/5 - The build is long and diverse enough to keep you satisfied. It starts small and simple with the little interior items and becomes progressively more complicated as it moves on to the tallest section of the lair making for an increasingly challenging build. However, there is no part in the build that is truly challenging for experienced builders.

Minifigs: 4.5/5 - There are 5-6 minifigs in this set and most of them are exclusive. What more could you want? The turtles are great as usual, and while it would have been nice to get all four turtles in this set, I can understand why TLG didn't include them. Master Splinter is a very detailed and accurate fig and probably one of the main reasons to get this set. The Dark Ninja, while nice to have, is a bit disappointing though.

Playability: 5/5 - This set is full of play features, making it a true play-set. Some work better than others, but either way, I'm sure this set will keep kids entertained for quite a while!

Parts: 5/5 - There are lots of useful parts in this set, including many parts in rare colors and a plethora of accessories!

Price: 5/5 - 488 pieces for $50 bucks is quite fair, especially considering it's a licensed set and includes several large pieces.

Overall: 4.5/5 - This set is great for any TMNT fan, especially young ones! Even if you're not a fan of the turtles, it still has a lot of great parts and figs to offer at a fair price. Some aspects of it could have been executed better and the cobbled-together look will not appeal to everyone, but those are mostly just nitpicks as the set works the way it is. It has so many play features that it can compete with Turtle Lair playsets from other leading brands and that's what really matters in a playset. It also makes a nice center piece for your TMNT collection, so I can really recommend it.

Well, that's all, dudes! I hope you enjoyed this 5th Anniversary review. If you want to learn how to make reviews like this, join us at the Eurobricks Reviewers Academy! Booyakasha! :sweet:

Oh, and remember what the set description said about "shredding the ramp"?


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Nice review, Oky! It was truly pleasant to read this review, especially when I have zero knowledge on the new TMNT cartoon. I didn't know how to associate this set with the new cartoon especially since I am pretty stuck with the original version and I did not have much positive impression with the theme as well since it deviate much from the original plot that I am much familiar with.

I really appreciate that you have included screenshots from the cartoon to provide readers' with visual aid. I, for one welcome this information very much. All in all, I think this is an outstanding fun playing LEGO set minus away from the typical vehicular or aircraft designs.

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cool review, thanks.

The only gripe I have with this set is the stairs. I've never had those parts before so I don't know what their secret is supposed to be but for the life of me, I cannot find any way to lock them in place... But from your review, it seems you have the same issue, so I guess it isn't just me.

As for the picture in the tv, I take it as an easter egg from the comic. It looks to me like the first full page illustration of the very first issue from back in the 80s


Although now that I look at it, apart from the sewer grate in the middle, they don't have that much in common... Oh well.

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Thanks for the excellent review Oky!

This set looks fantastic and I've come close to buying it a few times. Why I didn't actually buy it... well, the money thing, and I'm not the biggest TMNT person so I didn't know if it would really be worth it to me. My main reason to buy it would be to complete my turtle collection (since I have the Shredder Bike and Lab Escape), but now that more sets are coming out perhaps I can snag Raph and Leo in cheaper sets.

Still, I appreciate this set very much. It's jam-packed with detail and play features, really a good deal for $50. Recently it seems like LEGO has been doing rather well with $50 Licensed playsets. This, the Colby set from Lone Ranger, and the Daily Bugle all seem like great values to me and much more enticing than when LEGO does some sort of vehicle for $50 (Smallville blob ship anybody?) It's nice to see this mid-price-range getting some real love.

Also, I'd say that green arrow sticker is in there as a nod to an older LEGO time. A lot of Space sets from the 80s and 90s, among others, had arrow tiles (though those were printed). Why exactly the designer felt a need to reference that.... we'll never know (unless they come and explain, or I'm just totally wrong).

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Great review, but...why is everybody commenting now? This was posted in April.

This review was created in a hidden Reviewers' Academy zone in April, but was only moved to the public forums yesterday for the Reviewers' Academy 5th anniversary.

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This review was created in a hidden Reviewers' Academy zone in April, but was only moved to the public forums yesterday for the Reviewers' Academy 5th anniversary.

Oh. I wondered bout that!

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As a TMNT fan honestly most of the TMNT sets are kind of crappy. I buy them for the minifigures.

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I quite literally just built this set, and I must say, it's pretty cool! It's got some neat features, and the figures are great! It's going to get torn down eventually since I'm really tempted to build the full lair, but for now, it's a fun set! Nothing overtly exciting in the build, but it was cool to see get set up. :thumbup:

Edited by Kintobor

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I really hope the next wave has more interesting builds. I love TMNT. But all but one of the builds just suck for the AFOL (or most of us :P). This one is just a mess of bricks to me. I bought the TMNT sets for the minifigures and none of the sets (even the half decent mech one) have seemed to even attempt to be anything but childish, which is sad since TMNT has so many adult fans.

As usual I'd love to see a New York City building, or an IMPRESSIVE (this is not) sewer. Maybe the Technodrome. Something that's more than this stuff.

Minifigures: 9/10.

Build: 3/10.

I'm just increasingly depressed about the builds of Lego sets. Since I buy more sets than ever I build more crappy sets than ever. I guess they all can't be USC stuff though.

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