Mr Maniac

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  1. Mr Maniac

    LEGO Hidden Side 2020

    Excellent point. Wrote this elsewhere, but for me, one of the more interesting aspects of Hidden Side was how it struck that balancing act (at least among the location sets), between working as a perfectly good City set (if a bit more run-down and dilapidated) in addition to appearing more 'haunted.' Obviously some of these worked better than most (wish the Wrecked Shrimp Boat had more transformation features), but on the whole, there was plenty of good here for me to get a few.
  2. Mr Maniac

    Witch's Grove [MOC]

    Thanks @JintaiZ! Hope you thought it was...spook-tacular!
  3. Mr Maniac

    Is there a 'medieval-punk?'

    Interesting. Lots of good stuff to chew on here. I glanced at some other forums that were non-LEGO discussing stuff like this, and yeah, I realize that you've gotta make it look real clunky to fit the era. Since the official line-up from Fright Knights already had some gestures in that direction, I should be able to make it work with a more expansive color palette regarding newer parts. @Peppermint_M, I love these designs (and the terminology. Filing that away in my head for use elsewhere)! Did you ever get any further than those two horse-carts in building? Thanks for the tips, @vitreolum! Looks like some of my earlier Bricklink orders were moving in the right direction, though I suspect I'll still want to add some gears or pulleys to create an 'effect,' such as the one in the actual lab with the spinning vortex part. which honestly could totally work as a magic vortex. I think you nailed it. Don't know if I'll try something as big as a horse-powered train (though that would return the term 'horsepower' to its rightful place )! Chances are brickbuilt windmills will definitely come into play for the witch's workshop. Should've known one of the biggest role-playing games would have some sources of inspiration! Thanks for the tip! Reading your arguments, and I'm inclined to agree, which is why I want to limit any novel 'magi-tech' MOCs to Willa's 'Magic Manor,' since I don't want to redesign the entire society and theme. Thanks again everyone! This has really helped me focus on how to get this stuff to blend in with the existing medieval Fright Knights theme!
  4. As soon as I first heard rumors and rumblings around the 2012 Monster Fighters line (on this very website, come to think of it), I knew I'd be hooked. Having grown up with the LEGO Studios Monster sets, these were very much my jam. It was like we were getting more detailed, updated settings and monster minifigures from that line, except it was real, instead of being confined to a movie set. So naturally, I ended up buying all of them (except for two sets) from this line, and still get them out every year before Halloween. That being said, I felt like this theme was ripe for expansion, especially after I purchased several spooky CMFs. So after a few Bricklink orders, I managed to add to the existing sets from this line-up, including my Witch's Grove MOC. With that being said... Wouldst thou like to live deliciously? The lead witch with her sssssssssplendid familiar: And kudos to LEGO for gifting us with this wonderful fig stirring the pot. Works great as a Renfield, Igor, or (for me) another witch! (Just keep that brain jar away from the zombies!) And while there's plenty I love in this MOC, the crystal ball with the leering skull gets me every time. Such a cool effect! Some more angles: Of course, not even witches can hide from the tenacious Monster Fighters! Which includes Frank Rock jamming out taking out one of the witches with...what else? A (holy?) water pack! Along with the adventurous Ann Lee fighting fire with silver stakes (at least now we know how she got that scar)! A few more angles on Frank's water pack. This is probably one of my favorite quick-builds I went through while building, as it fits the Monster Fighters having some thematically appropriate weapon for fighting witches. I tried to build them a vehicle, but, uh, let's just say it could use another go. Photos are on my Bricksafe folder, though I'll probably try and make something that looks meaner, and closer to some of City's Firefighter sets with a water-turret in the rear. In any case, hope you all like it! This build was actually an improvement on something I had tossed together years ago, taking the parts from the tree that made up LEGO Studios' Werewolf Ambush to make the archway, including the eyes. This is more naturalistic than that, but still has great atmosphere, I think, especially paired with the Monster Fighters' The Werewolf tree, making for a spooky forest setting. Anyways, thanks for looking! Comments, feedback, and questions are always welcome! Happy Halloween!
  5. So this question may seem a little out there, but bear with me (and if this fits in better on the Sci-Fi Forum, than by all means move it over). I recently published a review of Witch's Windship here a few days ago given the season, and in it I mentioned how I ended up picking up most of that particular wave. Whether that was folly or not remains to be seen, as I've only built two out of four of the mid-sized sets. But I do find parts of this subtheme appealing, especially when we get to the different flying machines. Given the actual state of the official sets, I'm already in the process of modding them to have a more consistent color scheme, but want to go further. Given how this subtheme already dabbled in more "advanced" technology for LEGO Castle compared to other subthemes, I was considering incorporating some more "machinery" that would be high-tech...for the Middle Ages as I modify the existing line. For instance, I'm thinking of reverse-engineering a device similar to the one from the Scary Laboratory in the Studios line, where you have a door and a turntable you can spin to "transform" a minifigure. But given how I'm working in a more medieval setting, I'm not sure a direct transfer would mesh as well. So my question is whether anyone may have any thoughts on what kind of parts would make a contraption like the one I described appear more "medieval," instead of Victorian. More clockwork mechanisms? Gears? Wagon Wheels? Or is this a silly question, and should I just try a direct transfer? Given the era, I'm inclined to stay away from any designs that resemble the harnessing of electricity, and am trying to consider what other designs I could implement to convey a sense of power being harnessed for this infernal machine.
  6. Mr Maniac

    Halloween & Spooky 2020 Sets

    I think you nailed my own feelings toward Hidden Side, though I don't know if I ever hated it, so to speak. Given how the last big "spooky" theme was Monster Fighters, which basically featured classic Universal movie monsters along with quasi-steampunk/cyborg monster slayers was very much my jam in every way. Nothing against Hidden Side, but it was just a bit jarring after Monster Fighters, where we're suddenly moving from the early 20th Century to a more contemporary setting for a "horror" theme. But as someone who frequently detests how entire shelves of LEGO are often made up of nothing but vehicle-based sets, Hidden Side was refreshing to me for featuring a number of location-based sets, ones that honestly looked very nice, and even had some good play features to boot when it came to transformation actions. Plus if you're a big collector of LEGO City or Town, it's incredibly easy to integrate it into your normal city, or if you collect some Hidden Side parts from Bricklink or another vendor, you can build a whole bunch of "possessed" vehicles or buildings, which is cool. So that's a definite plus for Hidden Side for me. On the other hand, the number of hero minifigures was...not ideal. The fact that most of the sets, with the exception of the larger, more expensive ones featured only Jack or Parker (or if you're lucky, Jack AND Parker) meant it was easy for anyone collecting these to quickly reach saturation levels, which is too bad. If they could've just thrown in JB or El Fuego in a few more sets instead of the two teen protagonists, I think that would be less annoying. Although in the larger scheme of things, minifigure saturation isn't that big of a deal (after all, I already have way too many Johnny Thunder minifigs), so on the whole I'd say Hidden Side is a great addition to the spooky LEGO stable.
  7. Mr Maniac

    LEGO Hidden Side 2020

    That's a good point. I know that @Lyichir mentioned how costly it would be to make unique molds for each of the specialty ghost-figs, especially when you get into some of the more unique designs like the Harbinger with that toothy-chest-maw. But still, would've been great to get at least one big-fig or brick-built fig before Reem as a way of expanding the actual villains for the kids to fight. To look at another theme, Nexo Knights had some great designs for the villains that were brick-built while the app (they used an app, right?) didn't take away from actual set execution. Now I'm curious to know if any other current themes have a VR/app component, or if Hidden Side was it. Monkie Kid doesn't have anything similar, right?
  8. Mr Maniac

    Vargheist - Warhammer

    Genuinely curious about the part used to support the bats over the tree. Is that official LEGO, or a modded part? And great use of that skull along with the man-bat hairpiece! Never thought to combine the two, but it's a great look, and that whole build for the monster looks very poseable!
  9. Mr Maniac

    LEGO Monkie Kid 2020

    As someone who recently decided to buy enough sets to qualify for that Monkie Kid GWP set, I think I'm starting to get won over by this theme. The one thing I'd love here (and I'm sure this will surprise no one), are smaller sets at lower price points. That's probably been one of those larger stumbling blocks for me picking up more sets from this theme (he said, while hypocritically buying the big Research Ship).
  10. Well if that doesn't work, you can always give Hermione's Time-Turner a whirl!
  11. Mr Maniac

    Review: The Lost Tomb

    Hey, thanks @The Reader! Great idea combining the two, since that would probably give you a nice little temple complex, along with the central hero and two of the villains! Out of curiosity, have you taken any photos of your combination? Or is it just the two sets put next to each other? Because either way, that sounds pretty cool! And good call on those maps. Had no idea they corresponded to the printed columns, but that's an interesting theory! One of the impressive things about this debut subtheme was how generous they were with printed parts. The fact that we only got one map from the Jungle/Amazon subtheme and one of each from the biggest Orient Expedition sets make these early maps far more special. And unlike some of the later maps from Pharaoh's Quest or City's Jungle Exploration subtheme, they're generic enough to work with any number of Egyptian MOCs!
  12. Mr Maniac

    Review: Witch's Windship

    Growing up, I was never really a huge fan of LEGO Castle. The one exception to that rule was Fright Knights, which honestly looked pretty cool in the LEGO Racers video game, as if the designers had taken the previous Castle racetracks and upped the difficulty and spookiness of it all. Years later, looking up some of the actual sets from this subtheme proved...underwhelming, with their occasionally slapdash designs and weird color schemes, suggesting that I should've stuck with the memories from that game instead. But I guess I love a good fixer-upper on occasion, since I still ended up buying most of the sets from that wave anyways. Among them was a MISB Witch's Windship. So let's go 'round the cauldron and check out this set review, which was double, double toil and trouble, especially since I took these photos last year and had to spend some time looking for them again: Info Set # - 6037 Name - Witch's Windship Theme/Subtheme - Castle/Fright Knights Year - 1997 Piece Count - 56 Minifigures - 1 Price - MSRP $8 US Links Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Bricksafe Box Forget your older castle subthemes, with their pleasant green fields and blue skies. We're in nightmare territory here, as you can tell from the box art. Craggy mountains in the background suggest this is a harsh, mountainous terrain with little vegetation, while the orange and red sky is very Halloween-ish, which is great. I also dig the...large bats? Dragons? Dragon bats? that are fluttering around in the background, again suggesting that we're not in Kansas anymore (or the Yellow Castle, at the very least). With all that being said, the model that is the main reason for buying this set also looks great, seemingly swooping through the sky. And don't forget that excellent logo in the upper right-hand corner of the box, still mostly visible despite the obnoxious reflection. As for the back, it's more of the same in terms of designs from 90s sets, with alternative models and additional practical photography. Given the parts selection, there aren't exactly too many alternative models you can construct, since some of these pieces are rather specialized. Though I do like how they placed Willa and that dragon-type monstrosity for the bottom-most build on what seems to be actual rocks, allowing it to mesh better with the rest of the photos in creating a consistent world. Not to mention the dragon daintily carrying her broomstick in the upper-right model photo . The sides of the box are mostly the same with a yellowy-orange color, and all are viewable on my Bricksafe folder, so we'll just put the most interesting photo in this review, leaving the others for completists. Again, it's nice to see LEGO use what looks like actual rocks here, even if they're just pieces of painted Styrofoam. I also think this alternative model doesn't look too bad given the limited range of parts we have to work with, opting for more of an aerial chariot look. Okay, enough ogling the cool box art. Let's punch a very satisfying hole in this old set and take a look at all of the nicely preserved pieces. Here's what you get if you pay a premium for this set still sealed in its box, and what you would have gotten if you picked this up back in 1997: one bag with the smaller parts, while the rest are just sitting loosely inside. We also get an instruction manual and promotional posters, which isn't too surprising. What is surprising is that Willa's excellent cape is completely unprotected from getting accidentally creased or crumpled due to loose parts. Fortunately, it looks to be just fine. Unlike some of the other older sets I've picked up MISB, the promotional materials for this one seem to be advertising new sets for next year instead of the current year, which is always a fun trip down memory lane. If I hadn't spent the summer rebuilding and playing with several of these older themes, I might feel inclined to take them out again in the near future. Instructions Now that we've got the box open, here's the instructions which...resembles the box, except with no UPC codes or appropriate age ranges, so it's cleaner. And here's your random page from inside the instructions. As you can tell, pretty straightforward, although you have to pay attention, since there are no parts call-outs telling you how many pieces you need to get through the next step. You also get treated to a really nice orange to yellow gradient, which helps maintain the spooky, creepy atmosphere that defines this theme. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a photo of the back of these instructions, but if you want to know what it looks like, simply scroll up to the photo of the back of the box, and there you go. Pieces There aren't too many parts that I personally thought were interesting, but that's largely because I've seen them in other sets I own. In any case, below are the parts of interest for me, which include the old-school LEGO dragon mold, first introduced in 1993 through the Dragon Knights subtheme. Willa's red magic wand, which has since been used in a number of clever LEGO Star Wars jokes as a substitute lightsaber blade, also first appeared in 1993 among the Dragon Knights subtheme and since then has appeared in 92 sets. Of particular interest to me are the last two parts, which are unique because they were introduced specifically for this theme. Willa's Slope 65 2x2x2 without bottom tube with dark gray and red witch's pattern has appeared in only six sets, all of which are Fright Knights with the exception of one castle set from 1997, which still does feature all the key figures from this subtheme and from the Royal Knights. Lastly, the crystal ball piece, which is always nice to have, also made its debut in the Fright Knights subtheme, and has since appeared in 48 sets. Minifigures Here's the only minifigure for this set which, as you might have guessed, puts the witch in Witch's Windship. Unless I'm mistaken, Willa the Witch is LEGO's first ever witch minifigure, and she certainly looks thrilled to be a pioneer, with that big, cackling grin complete with a single tooth. While many of the more recent witch minifigures more closely resemble the classic pop culture depiction of a witch by being green, she still looks nice all these years later. And the printed slope is also novel to me, since it seems like any kind of leg printing is a very recent phenomenon. And here's the back of Willa, with her gnarly spider cape, matching the brooch on her front. Much like Basil the Batlord's cape, we've got a nice little fringe on the bottom, giving it a slightly eviller look compared to other capes from other Castle subthemes. And for those curious, here's what Willa looks like without her cape. While the front of her dress is printed, it's clear that backprinting was still a little too advanced for the time. But since it's covered by a cape, it isn't really a problem. As far as wildlife goes, we have Willa's noble steed, represented here by that classic green dragon of yore. While Ninjago has given us plenty of really nice-looking brick-built dragons, this guy's still pretty cool and can easily sit on a desk or castle tower without taking up too much space. Seeing how this mold was first introduced in the Dragon Knights subtheme, I like to think Willa either grabbed a similar dragon or, better yet, stole him from Majisto . Another angle on this lovely dragon, which has a nice little hole in his mouth where you can place some of those older flame pieces. Sure, you can place Zamor Spheres and all sorts of other things in the newer dragon mouths, but it's still quite satisfying to have some fire shooting out of this guy's mouth. Uh-oh, looks like he's starting to sneeze. Better move on. The Build Since we only have a little over 50 parts here, the build goes fast. So fast, in fact, that I didn't have time to photograph each step. In any case, here's what I got: We start by building the base, inside the large black cockpit 10x10x4 octagonal with axle hole part. The round yellow bricks on the bottom make up the landing struts. Then after a few more steps, it's starting to take shape, complete with rear taillights, I suppose. After all, don't want to hit one of those monster bats! And after adding the ship rigging and a very simple harness for the dragon along with its wings, we have one lean, mean, medieval flying machine! For those interested, a closer view of the interior of this ship. One of the more disappointing things here is how little space there is for more than one minifigure. Sure, you could cram two more inside the basket while other Fright Knights ride on the rigging, but it sort of takes away from this working as an aerial siege engine, since space is limited. Willa even needs to stretch to reach the crystal ball for steering, which is too bad. Two wedge plates would quickly fix this problem, instead of the 2x6 plate we're stuck with instead. And here's another angle of the windship, showing those sweet taillights. Play Features Since we only have one vehicle, there isn't really too much you can do that would count as a "play feature," short of swooshing it around. The dragon can rock in its harness, which feels realistic, and as you can see below, the two axes are on red hinge bricks, which means airborne decapitations and lancings are now possible. When I first connected these hinge bricks, one of them was loose while the other was a little stiffer, but they both worked fine and I found it quite fun to swing them back and forth. And here's the complete set, with Willa and her (presumably flying) broomstick, in case this invention of hers doesn't quite work out. Overall I like the black and red, which both matches Willa's wardrobe and the Halloween-ish vibe they're going after, although I'm not quite sold on the light gray, which I too often associate with rock, something that wouldn't quite fly with something like this. Oddly enough, the yellow is fine, since it isn't as prominent as some of the Fright Knights' other vehicles. Final Thoughts Pricing and Value - Brick Insights suggests that this set is still worth it, based on the price-per-part ratio, which is currently at $0.22, an improvement over its initial price-per-part in 1997, which was $0.24. With that being said, I would probably place this at a 7/10, since cost-wise, it hasn't skyrocketed the way other sets from 1997 have, and that means plenty of unique parts for a buyer that have since been retired, without paying too much. Pieces - With only 56 parts in the set, that means most of them better count, and boy do they ever. That large octagonal part is very usable across a number of themes, and this is a pretty nice grab-bag of medieval parts if you're running low, from a magic wand, two axes, a broomstick, and a crystal ball. Oh, and don't forget that dragon, which is always a plus. So let's say 8/10. Design/Build - Surprising no one, this set is not exactly designed super well, which is a shame. While LEGO has now done several fantasy subthemes in their Castle line, with plenty of wildly impractical siege engines, I still think Fright Knights is impressive for the sheer number of medieval flying machines they tried to make. Unfortunately, with the strangely colored parts included with this set, along with the pitifully small plank for Willa to stand on, this only gets a 6/10 from me. Playability - You can swish around Willa on her broomstick, or if she doesn't feel like slumming it, put her in the windship. With the dragon attached by an axle brick, you can also get plenty of swinging action too, which seems right when your method of propulsion comes from a dragon instead of hot air. And with the axes that can swing open and close easily, I think I'm comfortable giving this an 8/10, which may seem high, but you can get a lot of mileage out of this set even though you only get a single minifigure and a dragon, without a separate faction to fight. Verdict - LEGO may have made many villainous factions for heroic knights to fight, from Vladek's forces to armies of trolls and skeletons, but for me, Fright Knights takes the cake. This faction remains one of those compelling subthemes probably because they got there first, and as you can tell by how much I gushed over the box art, has atmosphere to burn. While I love seeing some of the more recent fantasy-era Castle sets, those still seem to take place in a shared universe with the usual trappings of rolling fields and impregnable castles. Fright Knights, on the other hand, seems very different, with innumerable flying machines, booby traps, and a batlord who may or may not be a medieval vampire. Granted, the design of several of these sets leaves something to be desired, and Witch's Windship is no exception, with a lackluster interior and odd choices for the colors of certain parts. But since you aren't getting more than one minifigure, it isn't that much of a problem for me. Given how this set is a flagship vehicle of sorts, having driven by it several times on the Fright Knights' course in LEGO Racers, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that this set gets a 72.5% from me. Thanks for reading! Comments and questions are always welcomed! Little did Willa realize the downsides of traveling in a large, spacious basket instead of a small broomstick. Especially when dealing with a tenacious Monster Fighter. Happy Halloween!
  13. Mr Maniac

    Review: The Lost Tomb

    Absolutely! It's taken me a while to realize this, but hey, turns out I like quite a few LEGO themes that are set in the past, as opposed to the present or future! While it's nice to have some version of Pirates back with that Ideas set, and while Ninjago has been excellent with giving us a simulacrum of Castle right now, I'd dearly love to have something from the early 20th Century again like these Adventurers sets, Pharaoh's Quest and some of the Indiana Jones sets! Even if it's related to Ninjago, I think that would be enough for me to, uh, break my unofficial embargo. Thanks man! It was a blast to write (though I really got to do these earlier)! Thank you! I could've sworn I found a fan page of LEGO Adventurers somewhere on the World Wide Web that had translations for each printed column, but again, in my haste to Get It Done, I decided I'd leave it to any commenters who happen upon this review. While I still need to read Tintin (which would very much be in my wheelhouse, as a fan of the movie and pulp adventure overall), a quick Google Search immediately brought up the illustrated version of this character, and wow, that is spot on! I can't help but wonder if LEGO released a new head with round spectacles and a beard, because you're right, Sinister's original head is far too evil for Sophocles (even though I love the LEGO version. That's probably why I've elected to avoid using Adventurers heads in other themes. They're too iconic for me now).
  14. Mr Maniac

    Review: Deep Sea Refuge

    Glad to see I'm not alone when it comes to how I view the original Divers theme! Given how the diver minifigures are equipped, I'd say that perspective makes a lot of sense, especially when it comes to how the art of each box depicts the full set, with the surface not too far away in case they need a break. Also never considered re-purposing this as a research station on another planet, but you're absolutely right on that front, especially if you use some of those newer coral pieces as foliage! And thank you for the very kind words around this review! I suspect a lot of the photo reviews you're mentioning are ones I also was perusing when they were in vogue, and I absolutely plan to continue (in fact, I already have)! Heh, funny you should mention that, seeing how I just looked at Jang Bricks' review of 60265 earlier today, and he had similar complaints. While the central chamber certainly looks the part, the lack of any real door or other mechanism to seal it off from the exterior environment left a lot to be desired. I kind of think that goes for most of the 2020 Ocean Exploration sets as a whole. You've got some very cool parts, including that new hammerhead and great white shark, or the new diver helmets, but that's about it. For me, most of the sets are only interesting for the parts they have, instead of the whole thing. Anyway, that sounds pretty cool that you've got an unopened Deep Sea Refuge you're thinking of building! Hope you enjoy the experience. I know I did!
  15. Deep in the Sahara Desert, the villainous Sam Sinister has decided to lug a large, bulky crate in his too-small car to a mysterious lost tomb! Will he find the Pharaoh's magical Re-Gou ruby? Is the mummy's curse real? Will I be able to fit in more jokes for this review? Let's find out! Info Set # - 2996 Name - The Lost Tomb/Adventurer's Tomb Theme/Subtheme - Adventurers/Desert Year - 1998 Piece Count - 81 Minifigures - 2 Price - MSRP $8 US Links Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Bricksafe Box So...about that. Since I got this set used off Bricklink, no box came with it, but we'll chalk that up to digging in the wrong place. A fun footnote here is that LEGO basically chose to use the same name for an Indiana Jones set. Guess there's quite a few lost tombs in LEGO Egypt. Instructions It's just a book. No harm ever came from reading a book. Unless you're used to new instruction manuals, of course, with their neat, numbered bags and piece call-outs. Then you're in trouble. But first, the front of the manual, with the lovely background made up of reds and oranges. I always enjoyed the atmosphere of these manuals, where all the action seems to take place either at sunrise or sunset (for Sinister, let's hope it's the former, seeing how he has no flashlight or torch). While lacking in mirages that distinguish some of the larger sets' instructions, you still get some pyramids in the distance, which is nice, along with a fun little scene of Sam Sinister fleeing to his crate to get some heavier firepower to deal with the Pharaoh's Mummy and local wildlife. The back of the instruction manual continues with the gorgeous sky and harsh desert sand motif, plus a fun little box cut-out with hieroglyphic borders and two alternative models you can build with all 81 pieces. Admittedly, that's not a lot of parts to work with, so the alternative models aren't too interesting to me. Though the building facade for the larger image does have a nice look to it, and you get to see Sinister's crazy parkour skills. Inside the manual, we have more design decisions I love, including the old, cracked numbers and the papyrus-like background. Not to mention the mirage-like designs for specific call-outs, such as when you attach the door part to the hinge brick. And bordering it all are those lovely obelisk designs which, if you're willing to squint at them long enough, seem to have some Egyptian hieroglyphics etched on each one. Now that's attention to detail. And in the interest of being thorough, color distinction between parts is perfect. Pieces Maybe it wasn't Plagues of Egypt bad, but man was it annoying getting every single part lined up and organized, including the plates that will make up the base of the tomb and the car. So please take some time before you scroll past to marvel at my incredible organizational skill. Pretty impressive, eh? Now that you're done marveling, back to business. As far as interesting parts go, most of these are relatively common, but at the time, quite a few of these were a big deal. Sure, the 3x4x1 and 2/3 crate may appear in 221 sets now, but this was the first theme to introduce it. Similarly, the Vehicle Grille 1x2x2 Round Top with Lights may have appeared in 24 sets now (almost all of which were Adventurers sets), but again, for the time, it was pretty interesting to have such a unique part that would let you build an older car so quickly. Same for the two sarcophagus pieces. While the blue half has popped up in countless sets, the top half remains pretty unique, having only recently reappeared in pearl gold for three new-ish sets. The two black doors are more unique than I thought, only appearing in four sets total, compared to the 13 or so sets where they appeared in brown. While the Slope 45 2x2 Double is fairly common in black (though not compared to red), the Modified Brick 1x2x1 and 1/3 with curved top is somewhat rare in Dark Gray, unless you're one of the lucky few to own the original Chamber of Secrets set. And finally, the Mummy Headress remains very rare and unique in this form, having only appeared in 10 sets total, while the ruby is now far more common and appears in far more colors. But we'll get to that later. True to the theme, no stickers need apply here, because they're all printed. Obviously there are at least two sets that have stickers, but this is not one of them. Instead, we get a nice small grab-bag of hieroglyphic parts, with the two columns possibly spelling something funny if anyone knows how to decode these, while the center features an ominous warning for anyone opening black doors. Hmmm... Finally, we have the accessories, which are rather extensive despite it being such a small set, but useful for any tomb raiding you may want to do. While the ruby already appeared in the interesting parts photo, I decided to include it here because it's just too cool to be limited to one shot. Again, while these gem parts may pop up anywhere and everywhere to bump up the value of treasure, this was a pretty unique item to have back in 1998. Sure, the original Ninja sets used it everywhere, and Adventurers certainly wasn't stingy with it, but no wonder it popped up all over the place! I have several sets featuring non-chrome treasure before this part debuted, and what a difference it made when this came around, letting you drop the regular transparent studs which were supposed to be jewels in favor of these parts. Minifigures We go from worse to bad here in terms of characters, with the Pharaoh's Mummy/Hotep and Sam Sinister, with excellent detailing on Hotep's legs and both torsos, which can have extensive usage across a wide range of themes. I appreciate how for Adventurers, LEGO was willing to give us a number of sets without Johnny Thunder. The dude looked great, of course, and fit the bill as a dashing archaeological hero, but I appreciate how deep the bench of characters seemed where you could purchase several sets and not just get a duplicate of Johnny all the time, but duplicates of Baron Von Barron, Sam Sinister or Dr. Charles Lightning/Kilroy. The same, of course, can't always be said for more recent themes (sorry Hidden Side!). The backs of each of the minifigures have no printing, of course, which was the norm at the time, but doesn't matter too much. Sinister's fancy black suit doesn't need any detailing (even if it's not the wisest thing to wear in the desert), and Hotep's headress will cover up most of his back anyway. There we go! Now Sinister's ready for a night out on the town (or for a night out excavating a sarcophagus. Whichever comes first), while the Pharaoh's Mummy is ready to unleash a curse! And what good is a curse if you don't have any dangerous, poisonous creatures to do your bidding? Why, it's no curse at all! Hence the inclusion of a scorpion and snake, which make up all the animals in this set, with both capable of working quite nicely with more modern sets and parts. The Build Given the size of this set, it's fairly straightforward and not really complex, unless you're not paying attention to the instructions, which require a bit more concentration with no part call-outs. We start with the tomb itself, building the base using the 4x12 tan plate and the 2x10 light gray plate. Add the mysterious, foreboding black doors and some columns... ...An archway... ...Some of the printed parts, and... ...We have a not-so-Lost Tomb! Some additional angles of the tomb itself, which is rather shallow, as you can tell. That said, I like the recessed doors at the entrance. Next up is Sam Sinister's small car. We start with the vehicle base... ...Throw on some dark gray panels so he doesn't fall off as it meanders around some sand dunes... ...Add a steering wheel and a few more bricks, including some fairly convincing mudflaps for the front tires using those modified bricks... ...And we have a car! Sure it may be small, but look at the size of that front grille! Some more angles of this vehicle show you just how small it is. Realistic it is not, of course, but it does seem very fitting for the character driving it. If Baron Von Barron gets a heavily-armed, loud biplane, why shouldn't the sneaky Sam Sinister get a tiny little car to drive around in? To me it's the perfect vehicle to use when you're nabbing treasure from right underneath Johnny Thunder's nose. That is, if he had one printed on his head. Now all that's left are a few small builds. So after magically transforming these parts... ...Into a pretty convincing campsite (with a special shout-out to that extra 2x3 plate in case you want the crate closed up completely)... ...in addition to sealing the Pharaoh's Mummy into his sarcophagus with the magical ruby... ...The set is complete! Again, while small, the overall impression is pretty spot-on as a minor excavation project, complete with the vehicle, tomb entrance, campsite-as-crate, and sarcophagus. Play Features Admittedly, once you build it, there's not much to do here, short of zooming Sinister's car around the tomb. You can open the doors, but as you can see below, it's hard to pull it off if you're trying to cram the sarcophagus back there. There we go, much better (once you've taken the sarcophagus off the plate). Obviously the downside here is that the set is already not very portable, seeing how you've got to carry a crate, a car and a tomb. Add in the sarcophagus and you're going to have some full hands, since there's no convenient spot to place the sarcophagus. So how to get around it? Simple! By using these nine parts... ...You've got a brand-new (but still lost) tomb! Some additional angles of my...let's just call it The Lost Tomb of MOC-MOD. Benefits of building the set this way is that you can actually fit the sarcophagus comfortably in the structure (with the original printed columns on either side), and the doors open outward, much like the warning hieroglyphic on the front foretold. Plus using a 2x10 tan plate blends better with the 4x12 plate, if you're into that sort of thing. Final Thoughts Going to try to use some numbers on this one (even though I'm not a fan), so bear with me. Pricing and Value - According to Brick Insights, the price-per-part for this set today is $0.16, which is better than it was back in 1998, when it was only at $0.02. That said, I think I would have to give it a 6/10, as it's slightly above average, and isn't as valuable as similar small sets from this theme, like, say, Oasis Ambush. Pieces - Here's where this set shines, in my opinion. You get printed hieroglyphic parts, fancy early-20th Century car parts, digging equipment, guns, and a sarcophagus as well. Not to mention the black doors, which are nice to have if you want to build a larger tomb entrance with that hieroglyphic above. As a parts pack, it's pretty good, so let's try a 8/10. Design/Build - Not too much to say here, other than what you get with the instructions is pretty decent as far as tombs go, although lacking in some of the more innovative booby traps/play features that make up the rest of the sets from the desert subtheme. But I do like the car, and the recessed doors are pretty neat, so 7/10. Playability - Open the doors, close the doors. Say 'Open Sesame' or don't, but there's not much else to do with just this set. Sam Sinister's car is fun to drive around, and having him 'excavate' (even if he's missing the most crucial tool in any self-respecting LEGO archaeologist's arsenal) can be fun, although this set works best with more Adventurers sets and characters. So it'll get a 6/10 from me on that front. Verdict: The Lost Tomb (or Adventurer's Tomb, depending on how Sam Sinister fares) is a perfectly decent set. It obviously won't surpass Pharaoh's Forbidden Ruins, Sphinx's Secret Surprise, or even Oasis Ambush. What it can do, however, is complement those sets if you own them, giving you one more sarcophagus to play with and a neat little vehicle (if you choose to keep it built) for Sinister to tool around in. So that would be (if I didn't completely botch the math) a 67.5%. Thanks for reading! Comments and questions always welcome! Don't look Sam! Keep your eyes shut! (Or at least read the sign)