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Found 38 results

  1. Title of Set: 10243 Parisian Restaurant Theme: Creator/Expert Release Date: January 2014 Piece Count: 2469 Minifigures: 5 Price: US $159.99 - CA $189.99 - DE 149.99 € - UK 132.99 £ - DK 1299.00 DKK Further Information: Shop@Home, Brickset, Flickr Album After a long day of work, there is not much more satisfying than a delicious meal. Set 10243 Parisian Restaurant serves the function of feeding your LEGO citizens and offering quite a bit more. Author's Notes: When I came home from work one Friday night, I noticed that DHL delivered a lovely present to my house - the highly-anticipated 10243 Parisian Restaurant set (thanks TLG and EB!). As of January 2014, this will the newest set in this particular line of modular sets and it is a real treat. Lead designed by the revered Jamie Berard, it is filled with features and detail, making it an excellent set for those who are looking to start collecting the modular sets and those who already have been for years. However, does it live up to the hype and does it include the ever-elusive seagull that TLG initially advertised to be included in this set? We shall see... Box: Front: The front of the box features a main picture of the front of the restaurant, as well sub-pictures showing off the back, patio, and length and height dimensions. Quite nifty. Back: Ah, the back of the box. Always one of my favorite places when it comes to LEGO sets as it shows off all of the cool play features and some of the details. The left side is dedicated to featuring the three completed modular components with "1" being the first floor and working up from there. Taking up about half of the box's backside is the Parisian Restaurant aligned with the Town Hall (10224) and Palace Cinema (10232) sets. Finally, encompassing the top and left areas of the box are the play features and various closeups of some highly detailed sections. Side (Part List): Click here for a larger view. One side of the box is largely dedicated to displaying the part list, which is understandable and welcomed due to the set including a whopping near-2500 pieces. On the far right we can see a closeup of one of the roof's creative details to whet one's appetite. Side (Warnings): An angled view of the completed set is shown, as well as some warning text about LEGO being a choking hazard. Hmm, my idea of flavored LEGO pieces is probably not the best idea now that I think about it... Side (Minifigures): On the right side of the box there is a quaint picture of the included minifigures with appropriate surroundings. The floating painting is a tad spooky. There is also one of the box's closing latches (inner box lid has a tab that slips through it to securely keep the box closed after opening). This is a large box so I find that feature quite convenient. Side (Other Views): And here is the left side of the box, which includes the same angled picture from before and a closeup of the front of the set - namely the terrace and entrance areas. This side includes one of the box's closing latches as well. Instructions: Covers: The covers of all three instruction books all have the same cover, which uses the same picture that is seen on the front of the box. All three instructions books have landscape oriented covers and portrait oriented inner pages, unlike how some sets have both landscape and portrait oriented covers/pages that differ between books. Random Page: As to be expected, the colors of the pieces are distinct and parts that have a metallic sheen have a little shine star next to them whenever they are used in the piece call-out list. There are a decent amount of sub-builds, such as the one shown on the left page on the image above. I didn't include pictures of the part list located within the instruction booklets since the part list located on the side of the box is the same. Bags: Bags Numbered 1 and 2: There are 4 bags labeled 1 and 5 labeled 2. Bags 1 have 3 smaller bags within them and bags 2 have 4 smaller bags. What I term as smaller bags are those little unlabeled bags that are included in larger labeled bags. Bags Numbered 3 and 4: Bags 3 and 4 both add up to 4 bags, respectively. Each one contains 4 smaller bags. A total of 18 bags are included in the set, which is a fair amount. As can be seen, the labels only go up to the number 4. Loose Pieces: Not included in the bags are two loose plates: the plate on the left being 8 x 16 studs and the baseplate on the right having a massive 32 x 32 amount of studs, which came slightly warped in my set but it isn't overly noticeable. Minifigures: A total of 5 minifigures are included in the set, starting from left to right: Artist, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Chef, Waiter. The Artist, Boyfriend, and Girlfriend all have back printing, while the chef and waiter do not. Overall, the prints are nice looking but nothing amazing. The Boyfriend's tie has gold metallic shine to it. Printed Pieces: There are no stickers in this set. Yep, you've heard that correctly - no stickers! There are 10 printed pieces, with the restaurant's sign and menu being the most prominent. The menu's text has a gold metallic shine to it, much like the Boyfriend's tie. Very fancy. Scooter: The scooter features a flip-down/up handle bar and kickstand. It has two studs on the back to hold miscellaneous cargo. Partway Through: Step 5: The first few steps have the builder laying down the sidewalk and entrance area. One cute detail is that "CHEZ" is spelled out in tan plates, which later forms the outside dining area. Step 21 - End of Bags "1": At step 21, which happens to be the end of the bags labeled as 1, has the foundation set and some details already added. To the left we have the exterior and interior dining areas. The light blue tables and dark red lamps really add some nice pop to the earthy color tones used in those particular areas. To the right, we have the bus stop bench, the start of the stairs to the patio, and, finally, the wonderfully detailed kitchen with already prepared food. Extra Pieces - Bags "1": A useful assortment of bricks are counted as extra pieces. TLG seems to enjoy giving out extra rings whenever they can. And to the right of the ring is an extra temperature gauge. Step 33: The olive green walls are going up, as are the stairs to the second floor. A lovely wine display shelf can be spotted in the interior dining area and it helps add some extra atmosphere and mood to the set. Step 57 - End of Bags "2" and Book 1: At step 57, the bags labeled as 2 are all empty and book 1 offers no more insight. This also marks the near-completion of module 1 (the actual restaurant). I write near-completion because the terrace does not yet have its foliage! A shot of module 1 from the left. There is the hanging painting I pointed out back in the beginning of the review and a small side window that offers a glimpse of the kitchen. There are some nice details found in the back of the restaurant. Most are self-explanatory but I want to point out a few things that aren't as obvious: the green trash can and blue dumpster both include some "food" pieces. The trash can has 1 yellow and 1 orange cheese slope, while the dumpster has 2 pink cherries, 2 sausages, and 2 bones... That is going to be one happy mouse! The dumpster's lid has a locking hinge system that offers a wide degree of movement. The smaller foliage pieces are creatively attached to the larger pieces using carrot sprouts. There is a water faucet found below the foliage (which is likely why there is so much vegetation in that area). Two metallic silver grilles can also be spotted, and those represent a door mat or something similar. Moving on, a clear view of the back doorway is shown, complete with a red and white canopy. The kitchen's wall is adorned with various utensils (rolling pin, small and large knives), and one can spot the top half of the white refrigerator that contains some cheese slopes and blocks that represent bottles. I was thinking of taking a picture of the inside of the refrigerator but I have to leave some mystery to the set, right? Look at the size of that turkey! Damn growth hormones. By the way, the turkey is attached using 2 1 x 1 round plates stacked on top of each other. The bottom round plate attaches to the counter and the turkey sits on top of both. A better view of the entrance counter and the two curtains can be seen. Extra Pieces - Bags "2": Again, not a bad lot of extra pieces. Second Floor: Step 20 - Bed Up: And now we begin using those pieces in the "3" bags! By step 20 many of the furnishings are already built and added. The pull-down bed and recliner are my favorites in this section as they are not only useful but provide some extra color and flair to this room. The recliner's back reclines almost 90 degrees and the recliner swivels as it is placed on a 2 x 2 turntable. Next to it is a small coffee table and fireplace. Step 20 - Bed Down: The almighty bed is now flipped down. Be hypnotized by its blue and dark tan comforter and well-sloped pillow! Step 25 - Front Window Installation: The windows installation consists of a SNOT technique that allows the window panes to simply slide into place and then have the two studs located on the window sill lock them into place. I thought this was a cool feature of the build. I turned around the recliner to provide a back view and to demonstrate the fact that it turns. Step 34 - End of Bags "3" and Book 2: Module 2 is completed and we are left with a adorable home for a couple of the minifigures. The back of the module has two doors, one leading to a second balcony and the other leading to the restaurant's patio and module 3's entrance. Here is a top-down view that shows the placement of the furnishings and overall size. The exterior walkway is 3 studs wide. Patio - Bags "3": Bags "3" also build the small but useful patio. This is actually built prior to module 2 and is over in 10 steps. It keeps the same color theme found in the restaurant's exterior dining area, and some excellent hanging planters which add a lot to the look of the set. There is even a mini-bar/shelving area, how cute. The lamp posts swing down to about a 30 degree angle. Patio Attached to Module 1: The patio attaches much the same fashion as the actual modules do: with a select amount of studs. The first floor's staircase transitions nicely to the patio, partly in thanks to the consistent railing that encompasses both the staircase and patio. The Modules Attached: The set, as a whole, is starting to take shape. Module 2 blends well with the ground floor while maintaining its own unique touches, such as the front windows and balcony. So angular and detailed, yum. A back view to show off the flow of the patio and module 2's staircase. That mouse still hasn't moved. I think it's a bit shy. Continuing on with that line of thought, I would've liked a cat to be included with the set. One thing I found to be a bit off is that the door to the balcony does not have a black 1 x 1 round plate door handle on its exterior side. The other two doors seen here do and it makes it seem unfinished; however, since this particular door opens inward, a 1 x1 round plate cannot be attached as it will prevent the door from fully closing. That terrace hasn't received its foliage yet. Don't worry, it's coming! Extra Pieces - Bags "3": Nothing of much value here, but the extras are still welcomed in my spare parts bin. Module 3 - Start of Bags "4": Step 27: And we have made it to bags "4"! These bags build the third and final module - the artist's studio. Some nifty details are present in this module, including the large central window and two facades. Details like these show how much care was given to the design of this set and give the build some excitement. The chimney continues with the same design seen in module 2, utilizing those wonderful mason bricks. More window sill planters are built. Oh, and some interior furnishings can be seen, but who cares about that stuff. On that note, I want to point out how one of the empty studs on the table that holds the artist's palette is used in a similar fashion as a brush's water dish, or, at least, that is how I view it. If I am correct, I think it shows off the attention to detail that the designer put into the set. The fireplace has a industrial hinge door that swings open and close. Inside is a basic fire plume and log bricks. I especially like the mantle and flue. Module 3 - Completed: Oh my, are we done with the build already? Nope! But module 3 is completed. One of the highlights of module 3 is the curved dark blue roof. The white accents provide a lot of contrast with the blue, and act as an intermediary between the light bluish gray and dark blue. Delicious. The second section of the roof, also known as the back, contains 3 windows that act as skylights. The entrance to the studio is located at the right and continues the details we have seen before: the canopy, door mat, and lamp. The potted plant is a nice touch. This roof section flips down via two hinges. The dark bluish gray holders that you may have noticed in prior pictures act as stops. I have also opened the door to the studio to point out how barren that interior entrance way is. There is no clutter that is placed there even though I think a couple crates/boxes would've been welcomed. The clear 2 x 2 round piece (there are actually two of them, one cannot be seen in this picture) that is attached to the front roof section are, I imagine, ceiling lights. Another nice detail. Since the roof is closed at an angle, it doesn't accidentally swing open. It works quite well. A better shot of the interior entrance way can be seen, and, like I mentioned before, it is void of clutter. The easel that holds one of the paintings (the artist doesn't seem to be the best painter) can be rotated as it is attached to a 1 x 2 plate that has 1 stud. Extra Pieces - Bags "4": A few final extra pieces are leftover. Having an extra paint brush is handy so the artist can have one in hand and one in the easel. Various Closeups: Kitchen Appliances and Utilities: Here are the 3 main kitchen mini-modules: the stove/oven (I'm not sure how the chef managed to stuff the turkey in that oven), a cupboard and sink, and another cupboard and shelf. All 3 are great additions and are fun to build. Second Floor Appliances and Furniture: I pointed out a couple of these earlier in the review, but here they are again: drawers, stove/oven, microwave (or cupboard), flip-down bed, recliner, and, in the back, a lamp. Third Floor Decorations: Roof Facade: On the right I have a partially assembled segment of one of the roof's facades. The completed version can be seen on the left. It is a creative use of bricks. This particular facade design adds an organic feel to the overall set that balances well with the crisp angles found on the bottom floor. The left is how it looks partially assembled and the right showcases the final product. A total of 3 of these are built. Fully Built - Overview: Well, look at that, the terrace has foliage! The last step in book 3 is to add the two 5 x 6 leaves pieces to the terrace. Quite odd that it is done then and not in book 1. Maybe it was a last minute addition? The last module really sets off the color scheme, doesn't it? Anyway, I will let the following pictures speak for themselves. The Good Life: Ah, another relaxing day in LEGO land. And no, the waiter is not about to go on a killing spree - he just wants a quick bite of that croissant. And to answer my question in my Author's Notes section, the seagull does not appear to exist; however, using the extra pieces I'm sure something seagull-ish can be built. Perhaps a cyborg seagull (half machine, half seagull, and one-third turkey) that terrorizes the restaurant? Reviewer's Score: Playability: 9.4/10 – Having a dedicated restaurant in one's city is always a good idea, and TLG hasn't released any until set 10243 besides a few smaller cafés like set 6376. As such, this helps bring out its playability since now your LEGO city patrons have a place to fill their bellies. Still, even as a standalone set, I think the playability should be rated highly as there are plenty of appliances, furniture, details, and features to be played with. Design: 9.7/10 – The finished set is, simply put, beautiful. The white, olive green, grays, and blues flow so well with one another while still providing a varied look with plenty of contrast to attract the eye. Some areas feel overly cramped, the second floor's glass door cannot be closed without removing the third module due to no exterior-facing door knob, and I am not pleased about the lack of clutter in the artist's studio near its entrance but, overall, I cannot find much in the way of faults. Some great building techniques were incorporated in the build and it was a joy to construct, which is more than I can say about a fair share of other LEGO sets. Price: 9.6/10 – Weighing in at about 2,500 pieces for $159.99 USD is quite the good deal. I was expecting a ton of small pieces but there was a large variety of sizes found in the bags. The 32 x 32 gray baseplate and the fact that there are no stickers help as well. Total: 28.7/30 or 96% – When 10243 Parisian Restaurant is released in January 2014, drive to your local LEGO store or head on over to their online store and purchase yourself at least one as it is an excellent set to build, own, play with, and look at. The culmination of colors, attention to detail, and features are all wonderful and should complement anyone's LEGO collection.
  2. Being a fan of the Ninjago theme, and having enjoyed the TV show, I could not pass getting at least some of this year's sets. I started with two of the smaller ones, the Kai Mech, which I chose for its design, and the Warrior Bike, which I picked of the figs and parts. In fact, though the TV show version of the latter is somewhat cool, the actual LEGO bricks version did not stuck me as overly nice. Let's see if building it and having it in my hands made me change my mind. Theme: Ninjago Set name: Warrior Bike Set Number: 70501 Price: 19.99 $, 17.99 £, 19.99 Euro Pieces: 210 (+ 10 extras) Minifigures: 2 Year of release: 2013 Links: Peeron, Bricklink and Brickset The Box Front The box is rectangular, almost three times as big as the Kai Mech one, and sports the new Ninjago style, with a mix of last year's green background and yellow-gold rays originating from the Golden Ninja's aura. LEGO and Ninjago logos dominate the upper part of the front, along with the Golden Ninja himself holding a (golden, of course) katana, which he really has no reason of using given his powers. The middle of the front has a shot of the set in action, with Jay flying around in his jet-pack and the stone warrior shooting missiles at him from the Warrior Bike. The age range and set number info complete this portion for the European version; I expect the North America version to have more writings as usual. In the lower right corner, an eye catching text box, circumfused by golden light, informs us that this is one of the sets from the 'Final Battle' stage of the Ninjago story. As we now know, this battle is not final at all, since a return of the Ninjago theme as been officially announced for 2014. Back The back shows the set's play features: shooting missiles, loading the missiles in the Warrior Bike shooing mechanism, having Jay battle the Stone Warrior after parking his jetpack against a nearby rock. The corners of the back are very interesting as well: the lower left corner sports a 'collect them all' list of the Element Blades, while the lower right one is used by Sensei Wu to advertise the Ninjago site; lastly, if we take a closer look at the upper right corner... We can see the TV show version of the Warrior Bike, which sports different tyres and has a lower, more elongated overall shape. Sides The upper side of the box shows Jay, with name tag, approaching a nameless Stone Warrior, while the mug-shot depicts Jay himself at 1:1 size. The lower side, as we can expect, bears the usual LEGO legal and safety info. Contents Inside Upon opening the box, we find an instructions booklet, a rubber thread, two big hard plastic tyres, two long technic bricks, and four un-numbered bags of parts. As you can see, though most of the bigger parts are either Black or Dark Bley, Red, Blue and Lime accents liven up the set. New pieces New parts included in this small set are: Minifig, Weapon Ice Sword with Jagged Edges and Marbled White Pattern, and most of the minifig parts (more on those later on). Re-coloured parts Re-coloured parts in this set include: Dark Bluish Gray Brick, Round Corner 3 x 3 x 2 Dome Top, Red Propeller 1 Blade 10L with Bar, and Red Tread Large, Non-Technic (36 tread 'links'). Rare parts Parts collectors and MOCers will be interested in the following rare parts also: Red Dinosaur Tail End Section (making its first apparition in this colour after 12 years), and Red Hero Factory Weapon - Claw with Clip (only in a HF set so far). Spare parts The usual mix of spare parts includes a cheese slope, some techinc pins, half pins, bushes and half bushes, a round 1x1 stud, a lever, and, following this year's new weapons tradition, two katana. Minifigures Both minifigures are new in all parts except Jay's head and hood and the Stone Warrior's helmet, which we'll see later on. The new design for the Ninja kimono/suit is just great and is what made me want this set most of all. I love the detail in the torso, and I wanted a blue version to complement the red one from Kai's Mech. The Stone Warrior's armour is equally well designed and quite menacing with its spike-y protrusions. The more I look at his/its(?) face, the more I think he could also work as a clan mate for Darth Maul and Savage Opress in Star Wars MOCs. The two minifigs sport back printing of the torso, but not the heads. I really like how TLG designers went of bigger version of the Ninja elemental symbols on these figs. Here we can see the two warriors all geared up and almost ready for battle. Notice the new armour piece on the Stone Warrior. Though not as protective as most other armours or as eye catching as the skeletons ones, I find this part very nicely designed to fit the Stone Army aesthetics. Furthermore, it helps in widening the warrior's frame and keep the mouthpiece from looking over-sized for him/it. Not really minifig, but minifig-related, the Element Blade. I've read that people tend to dislike the excessive size of these blades. Now, while I can agree they are bigger than what could be reasonable in a real world setting, or even bigger than their TV show counterparts, I still think TLG designers achieved a good compromise between detail level, ease of use and size. In the end, they are not much bigger than a katana, and the hilt takes it almost 1/4 of the total size. Instructions The instructions booklet is nicely thick, and fortunately not divided into part 1 and part 2 like other small sets these days. The cover shows the exact same composition of the front of the box, except for the age range and 'Final Battle' text. The background uses a tan shade that does not distract the eye nor prevents colour or parts' recognition. In this detail shot you can spot what I suppose to be the faded Temple of Light reproduced in the upper right corner of some pages. The parts count cover two pages. Again, you can notice the dominance of Black and Dark Bley, with brighter colours' accents. The last page shows a collection of the Ninjago 2013 sets, with the star of the show, The Temple of Light with its big Golden Mech in the middle. Building Start We start off by building Jay's jet-pack. The design is new, since the other similar vehicles in the Ninjago line (and as far as I can recall, other themes) were different from this one. It uses two golden katana parts as wings and two cones as thrusters. Nothing mind-blowing, buts still a nice effect achieved with few parts. You just have to pay attention when putting it on Jay via the neck bracket: since the jet-pack is so heavy for the minifigure, you'll have to rotate the blades and have them touch the ground to support part of the weight. Now for the main model The Warrior Bike itself starts with a bunch of technic beams and pins connected to few bricks and plates to provide a building surface for the upper part of the model. Here you can see the firing mechanism in place. All revolves around the rubber band and the technic lever serving as a trigger for the (yet to be built) 'firing pin'. With the use of those big dome parts, we build up the bulk of the cockpit and provide good armour for our Stone Warrior driver to stand behind. The big tyres should provide a good propulsion power to this vehicle, though I'm confused as to their use in a tread driven 'bike'. Could this be a '3x3' model? Again, we have a passage where two 4 x 2 plates are used instead of a 8 x 2 one. I suppose we'll have to let is pass this time, though, as there does not seem to be a 8 x 2 Lime plate in the LEGO palette yet. Adding the 'forehead' of the samurai design on the bike, we complete the rear part of the vehicle. Notice the red technic pins: yes, as most will have imagined, those are to be used to connect the tread to this part of the build. And here we have the treaded portion. Not much more than a couple of technic beams supporting the wheels and rubber tread, but TLG designers tried to add as much detail as they could. Nonetheless, this is my least favoured part of the build. By adding the missiles' magazine, we get to the... Finished set ... the complete set, with its two minifigures ready to take on each other and/or zip around on the jet-pack and bike (as soon as the Stone Warrior finds a place to store his/its weapons). Front The bike looks very steam-lined and quite aggressive from the front. I for sure would not want to face one of these, with all its claws, spikes and turning tread. Back As with ho so many LEGO vehicles, this one too suffers from lack of love (and parts) in the rear quarters. the build is sturdy enough, thanks to the techinc parts, but not so good form an aesthetics point of view. Ready, aim, fire! The firing mechanism works pretty smoothly, and I suppose kids will like it. For myself, I've never been a big fan of this kind of play features, so I don't have much to say about it, apart for the fact that I tried it and, no matter how much force or speed I use, the missiles will only go as far as the length of the bike itself. Not really effective in actual combat. Final comments Overall, this is a nice set for its value. The figs are great and the part selection includes some interesting bits. What bugs me is in the aesthetics of the bike, though I recon it is not an easy model to transport in brick form. Design & Colour scheme – 6/10 (TLG designers did their best [apart for the rear quarters] and made a good job in capturing the colour scheme and Stone Army feel; Too bad the shape was distorted in the transition.) Minifig – 10/10 (As with most of these year figs, and the Ninjago figs over time, the design and level of detail are just great.) Parts – 8/10 (A little too much technic for my taste, but some interesting bits are in the mix nonetheless.) Playability – 7/10 (The jet-pack, the bike and the weapons grant for hours of play by children. The limits of the firing mechanism are the main reason I lowered the score here.) Build – 8/10 (Nothing too complex, but some efficient solutions are used, to create the samurai face design and for the jet-pack itself.) Price – 10/10 (20 Euros for 201 pieces plus spare parts is good, especially if you throw in two splendid minifigures and a bunch of really big parts.) Overall: 8.2/10 Very good As always, questions, comments, and pic requests welcome! If you like my reviews, and would like to learn how it's done, please consider joining the Reviewers Academy:
  3. Let me start with a little confession: while I've stumbled upon bits and pieces of the Doctor Who series in the past, I never really watched a full episode until last summer, when a friend of mine managed to convince me. I started with season one of the 2005 reboot, and was not really thrilled with it. But I kept going, and things got a bit more engaging. Then, after the long drawn 10th Doctor-Rose affair found its conclusion, and Tennant said his final 'I don't want to go.', I found my Doctor. I know Whovians are forever debating about who the best Doctor is, and I do not want to start a debate here. I just love the fact TLG included Matt Smith's 11th Doctor in this set, instead of making it a Capaldi solo one. Smith's incarnation is the most captivating of the reboot, in my opinion, and watching him go around as the Doctor is like watching a fireworks' show, waiting for that moment when the big shot will be fired. Does the new 21304 Ideas Doctor Who set keep up with these expectation? Let's find out. Geronimo! Set Info Theme: LEGO IDEAS Set name: Doctor Who Set Number: 21304 Price: US $ 59.99, GB £ 49.99, EUR € 59,99 Pieces: 623 Figures: 4 + 2 brick built Daleks Year of release: 2015 Links: Peeron, Bricklink and Brickset. Disclaimer - As it is based on a product based on an ongoing TV series, this review will contain references and possible spoilers. I would advise you to get your bearings on Doctor Who (at least since the 2005 reboot) before reading it. I'll include links to external sources (wikia articles, images and even few YouTube videos) to help non-Whovians, but don't blame me for not using spoiler tags. The Box The box, as usual with LEGO IDEAS sets, is more compact than those of other themed sets of similar parts/price range. Its size is 26.3 x 19 x 7.3 cm, and the cardboard is sturdier than that used for common LEGO boxes, meaning it's meant to be a collection item in itself, instead of just a container for the parts and instructions. Front The front shows a picture of the complete set, with the console and open TARDIS connected and under attack by a pair of Daleks, while the 12th Doctor and Clara run around in circles trying to find a strategy, or perhaps to understand why there are Daleks inside the control room, or even where the walls have gone at all... Meanwhile, a Weeping Angel and the 11th Doctor serenely watch the scene from a small window-like panel in the middle of the right side. A draw of a flying TARDIS, the LEGO, BBC and Doctor Who logos complete the upper part of the composition, while the age and set number info are in the lower left corner. On the right, a LEGO IDEAS logo also informs us that this is the 11th (coincidence? Rule 8: Never ignore a coincidence. Unless you're busy, then always ignore a coincidence.) set in this line. The background is composed of dark blue hexagons with lighter blue lines and areas of yellow-orange to lighten it and give more visibility to the mainly grey/blue hues of the build. Back The back includes two 'play feature' panels, one which is very reminiscent of the last shots of Time of the Doctor, with Clara and the newly regenerated 12th Doctor in the control room, and the other showing the moves you need to perform to open the TARDIS walls and connect it to the console area, while Capaldi sternly waits to be able to step inside the control room. At the bottom, you can see the four minifigs and a side view of the brick-built DalekTM. Each character is identified by his/her/its name and a 'REGENERATION' notice explains that there is no mistake, but the blur indicates the transition between 11th and 12th Doctors; whether the fez also regenerated into a sonic screwdriver is unclear and will probably be the cause of everlasting debate for future generations. Finally, a blue panel on the left, including info in six languages about the LEGO IDEAS programme, and the LEGO, BBC and Doctor Who logos fill the rest of the space. Sides The top of the box shows a 1:1 size shot of the 12th Doctor, flanked by a menacing Weeping Angel about to attack the 11th and Clara, while Matt Smith is probably taunting it. LEGO logo and set number are on the left. If you look carefully, you'll also notice a strange crack on the upper left. I'm not really sure if it's just an accidental feature due to un-careful handling, or if someone is trying to enter this universe via this scar in space and time. The bottom side is covered in the usual LEGO legal warnings and copyright statements, plus the dedicated BCC ones this time around. Contents Inside Upon opening the box, we find six un-numbered bags, and the instructions manual. Following the IDEAS tradition (with few notable exceptions), the set does not make use of stickers. Recoloured parts This set makes large use of re-coloured parts, or as others could say, is has been a perfect excuse for TLG to start producing more parts in (mainly) Dark Blue. Therefore, we have 8 Dark Blue Tile 2 x 2 Corner, 6 Dark Blue Tile, Round 1 x 1, 2 Dark Blue Plate 6 x 6, 4 Dark Tan Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Clip Horizontal on End, 4 Dark Tan Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Handle on End - Closed Ends, 24 Dark Blue Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front, 14 Dark Blue Glass for Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front, 4 Dark Blue Plate 3 x 3, 4 Dark Blue Brick, Modified 1 x 2 with Studs on 1 Side, 4 Dark Tan Brick, Modified 1 x 2 with Studs on 2 Sides, 4 Dark Blue Hinge Plate 1 x 4 Swivel Top / Base Complete Assembly, 2 Dark Tan Tile, Round 2 x 2 with Hole, 5 Dark Blue Tile 1 x 3 and 5 Black Plate, Round 1 x 1 with Open Stud. New pieces New pieces are equally as interesting. They include the two Dark Blue Tile 1 x 3 with decoration which form the POLICE BOX sign (4 of each), the Dark Blue Glass for Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front with the St. JOHN AMBULANCE logo, the White Glass for Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front with the Police Phone instructions, the 8 White Glass for Window 1 x 2 x 2 Flat Front with the windows pattern, the White Glass for Window 1 x 4 x 6 with TARDIS door interior pattern, 2 Dark Tan Dish 2 x 2 Inverted (Radar) with Dalek top dish designs, the Light Bluish Gray Tile, Round 2 x 2 with Gallifreyan symbols, the 2 Dark Bluish Gray Road Sign Clip-On 2 x 2 Square Open O Clip with Gallifreyan symbols, the 2 Pearl Gold Sonic Screwdriver, the Dark Bluish Gray Tile, Round 2 x 2 with Open Stud, the Trans-Clear Minifig, Neck Bracket with 2 Back Studs and the 3 Trans-Clear Tile, Round 1 x 1 with Pin. All printed parts are exceptionally good in quality and detail, and faithful to the source material. The only part which is slightly different from the original is the sonic screwdriver, not sporting the black on the handle and the chrome/metallic gray on the head. That is excusable, though, as the black part would be right where the minifig hand grasps the accessory, and a black paint there would be easily removed through use; moreover, it would probably be too difficult to have both the green and chrome/metallic paints on the head, and the printing process could turn the part into a mess all too easily. All in all, the part is readily recognisable, and works well as is. Rare pieces The set also includes a few rare parts, such as 10 Dark Blue Plate 2 x 2 Corner, a Dark Bluish Grey Minifig, Utensil Zip Line Handle, 3 Dark Bluish Gray Arm Skeleton, Bent with Clips at 90 degrees (Vertical Grip), 2 Light Bluish Gray Technic, Disk 3 x 3, 2 Trans-Light Blue Technic Wedge Belt Wheel (Pulley), 4 Light Bluish Gray Wedge 2 x 2 (Slope 45 Corner) and 4 Dark Blue Plate 1 x 3. Extras The extras include the usual assortment of small round plates, generic parts and tiles, cheese slopes and Technic bits. Of special interest is the second copy of the sonic screwdriver, which will allow both Doctors to carry theirs. Manual Front The front cover of the instructions manual has the same basic picture and composition as the front of the box. In addition to that, a link to the LEGO IDEAS website is provided, along with a note in 8 languages informing us that the same booklet is available in each respective language on the site. On the inside cover, we find a short text which gives us context and info about both the Doctor and the BBC TV show. The first page is dedicated to the 12th Doctor and Clara inside the TARDIS control room. This, along with providing a stylish start to the manual, gives us an idea of the material the set is based on. The main difference between the pic and the actual LEGO set is the orange colour of the tubes in the column you can spot right behind the Doctor. This difference seems to be related to the fact that the TARDIS control room scheme used in the set is that of the 7th season of the show, with Matt Smith's 11th Doctor's blue accents, while the photo is from the 8th season and sports Capaldi's orange. Here's a random page. As usual, pieces call-outs and step numbers help us during the build. The background is very similar to that behind the picture on the box and manual fronts, but with a more yellow-ish/tan hue. The manual, following the IDEAS sets' tradition, includes tons of info and details on both the source material and set design process. I limited the parts shown here to the above mentioned first pages and this, which is one of the last, giving us an insight on Andrew Clark, who submitted the original project on the LEGO IDEAS site, and his experience designing and finalising the set with LEGO designers. The very last pages are dedicated to the usual LEGO commercial ads, and since a LEGO Dimensions Doctor Who Level Pack is about to hit the market, what better product to show on this manual? Minifigures Following the order in which the minifigures are shown on the back of the box, we start with the 11th Doctor. 11th Doctor This peculiar incarnation of the Doctor displays one of the most recognisable looks in the entire series, with his distinctive bow tie, and the iconic (since seasons 7, mainly) waistcoat. For this set, designers decided to use his brown coat from season 7 (though it could have been a bit darker), which is one of the main attires for the 11th Doctor, even if not the one he used in the episode Time of the Doctor the set is supposedly based on. All in all, I really like this version of Matt Smith's character, and I've even come to like the red stripped shirt, which I did not particularly appreciate in the first images. The head has a double expression: the stern but satisfied look the Doctor sports when dealing with important matters, and the smiling face he uses when happy/joking, or, sometimes, when taunting his enemies right in the middle of a crisis. I know some lamented a lack of precision in the hair piece choice for this minifigure. I must say I quite like this part for him (it is the one I used to use for my custom version up 'till now). What I'd personally change is the hue of brown: the set uses a Reddish Brown, while I prefer, as more accurate, a Dark Reddish Brown. 12th Doctor The post-regeneration 12th Doctor wears the purple coat mostly used by Smith in the end of season 7, and only worn by Capaldi in the final moments of Time of the Doctor and in the first episode of season 8. As you can notice, the bow tie is gone just before the regeneration (check ), and so is the smile. The 12th Doctor is a sterner man then his previous incarnation, and his smiles are quite seldom, and mainly meant to scare his enemies. Also because of this, the head only has one print. Since the 12th Doctor is dubbed 'eyebrows', LEGO designers marked the characteristic feature making for an unmistakable resemblance.The hair piece is a new mould, and looks very good on this figure. It is sculpted with lots of details, especially on the back. Since, as already mentioned, a LEGO Dimension pack including another version of the 12th Doctor is about to be available, I managed to get hold of that too, to be able to show you a comparison between the two figs. The Dimensions one sports the usual (as of season 8) attire of Capaldi's doctor, dark blue with crimson red highlights. I can honestly say that I like both versions and I would be hard-pressed to choose one as the best of the two. Head and hair pieces are the same for both figures. Clara Clara Oswald, being the companion who followed the Doctor in his transition between the 11th and 12th incarnations, was the natural choice for this set. Her minifigure is indeed spot-on. I like both the torso and leg pieces, with distinctive, yet generic enough designs to be used for other themes, too. I may be a bit out of date with minifigures' printing styles, but I'm sure this is the first minifigure I own with the back of the legs printed like the front and sides, which I largely appreciate. Just like the 11th Doctor, Clara's had has a dual face print: a serene look, and a more perplexed one (who wouldn't be perplexed after dealing with Matt Smith's Doctor for a bit?). The hair piece is a common one, but still a good choice for the character. Weeping Angel Warning: this picture could turn into an actual Weeping Angel, which could either break your neck, or send you back in time to an era without LEGO, and then feed on our AFOL's despair. That said, the Weeping Angel figure is quite a surprise. Not for its design, which works very well, but because Weeping Angels play a very minor role in Time of the Doctor, and in most of the Clara era. To be perfectly honest, I would have expected a Cyberman to be in this set in its place. To the figure itself, now. As you can see, the detail of the vest is really good, and very reminiscent of that used for the Statue of Liberty CMF. The back of the torso has a print which is normally covered by the Chima wings, which are attached with the new neck bracket. The head has two faces: the calm, statue-like one, and the aggressive, maniacal one, which is very fitting for one of the most frightful and relentless enemies in the Doctor Who universe. The choice of the hair piece seems very good, too. Build Getting started The build starts with the control room, and, specifically, with its base. As you can see, this portion makes quite extensive use of Trans-Light Blue parts; too bad the rest of the build will cover them and make it almost impossible to spot them. Step on it Just a few more steps, and we have the control room floor, entrance platform and stairs in place. The supports surrounding the platform will remain empty 'till the very last steps of this portion of the build. How to build an hexagon The central column is treated as a separate part for most of its build. The lower portion, made of mainly Technic parts, will allow us to build the hexagonal console, which is no easy task with the current LEGO palette of pieces. You can see through the Trans-Light Blue cylinders that the column is strengthened by the use of two Technic axle parts. Keen observers will also notice that those pieces are of two different colours, one black and one gray. Whether this is meant to represent the internal mechanisms of the TARDIS, or it is a simple strategy for kids to better tell the two apart is not clear to me. Few round plates and two radar dishes complete the top of the column with a really simplified version of the Time Rotors. Almost there With the console in place and all the controls ready to be used, we are almost at the last steps of this section. Watch where you go! The railings, external control panels and movable monitors, the control room is now complete. As-sem-ble! Next up are the two Daleks, which are not considered as part of the minifigures, due to their brick built nature. The build is pretty easy, and modular. Many fans will be able to build their army, with different colours. The only exclusive part is the printed dish, of course. Ex-ter-mi-nate! Once build, the Dalek is ready to do his job, which is to ex-ter-mi-nate all non-Dalek life forms in the universe. As one would easily assume, they are not the best species you could encounter in your time and space travels. These specific Daleks, given their colour, seem to be based in design on the Time War variant, as deduced from the Dalek Colour Schemes and Hierarchy map. You looked shorter on TV Though the original Dalek design marked them as circa 163 cm tall, these LEGO Dalek, probably on steroids, are taller than a minifigure, meaning they are somewhere around 2 meters in (LEGO scale) height. Laying foundations And now we get to the other star of the set, the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension In Space) herself, or, as the 11th Doctor calls her, Sexy! Of course, we start from the base, which is an unusual 7x7 studs. This size is reached by the use of a 6x6 plate, two 1x6 and a 1x1 additional plates, and kept together by the overlying layer of tiles and smaller plates. Through the door, or maybe not One of the most peculiar features of this set is the fact that the parts composing the exterior door of the TARDIS are those opposed to the part of the build that actually opens up to reveal the interior. As counterintuitive as that may be, the explanation is quite simple (as we'll see more clearly in as short while): the back of the 'door' must be completely visible in the assembled-with-the-control-room stage, so it needs to be a whole wall. Fans may still mod their TARDIS so that the front doors are on the split side, but the inner face door is opposed to them. It's just a matter of personal preference. Almost a cabinet The rest of the walls are built very easily, as the window parts must just be stuck one upon the other in a repetitive manner. Four walls and a roof By adding the POLICE BOX signs and the roof, we complete the build and are almost ready to start to investigate the play features. I'll just spend a few words on the signs themselves by saying that though the gap between the two parts looks a bit awkward, it is better looking in real life than you could expect from pictures. This thing is huge! Due to the fact that it includes a raised platform that must match up with the console room, and the strange height/width LEGO ratio, the closed TARDIS is huge when compared to a minifigure, way bigger than its real-life counterpart. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful build and a great model to display. Finished set All together Once we assemble the control room and the open TARDIS, we get the full set, complete with its minifigures and brick-built Daleks. The set has a satisfying size, which gives it importance, and the parts connect with harmony, both in size and colour scheme. Inside the TARDIS As mentioned, the inside of the TARDIS includes a raised platform which connects with the one at the back of the control room. This can also be used to place and store your favourite Doctor, or Clara (the winged Weeping Angel and the Daleks do not fit in) when travelling through the time and space continuum. Ready... Connect! The two parts connect via a combination of Technic axle (on the control room side) and brick (inside the blue box). This link will keep the two in place during play, but will not bear excessive roughness. While the TARDIS is pretty swooshable, the rest of the build isn't, and should not be used as an extended space-ship mid flight. Bonus Images How LEGO Weeping Angels earned their name Is this Trenzalore already? Trenzalore How I met your Dalek Finally! Final Comments Overall, this IDEAS set is very faithful to its source material and pretty rich in both details and minifigs (counting the brick-built Daleks in this category for once). The colour scheme, though guided by the original one, is well done and harmonic. Moreover, you get two models, which can combine into a bigger one or be used separately, for both play and display purposes, and also offer great potential for mod-ers and moc-ers. Design & Colour scheme – 10/10 (Very accurate to the source material and rich of well-finished details.) Minifigs – 10/10 (Though most Whovians will lament the lack of one Doctor or Companion or the other, the choices made for this set are very good, and the design and detail of the figures are great.) Parts – 9/10 (Great variety of useful parts, a reasonable amount of new pieces, and quite a few cool printed ones (no stickers!).) Playability – 10/10 (As a Doctor Who set, the only limit to playability is one's imagination, and both Andrew Clark and the LEGO designers did their best to add nice play features to the set. The one I find most entertaining is the 'regeneration feature' shown on the back of the box, though!) Build – 8/10 (Nothing too complex, but some efficient solutions are used, along with quite a bit of SNOT-ing for the TARDIS and the hexagonal console.) Price – 10/10 (For a set linked to a license, this one is extremely well priced, as you get 600+ parts for 60 €.) Overall: 9.5/10 Excellent As always, questions, comments, and pic requests welcome! If you like my reviews, and would like to learn how it's done, please consider joining the Reviewers Academy: http://www.eurobrick...showtopic=20631
  4. It is no secret that Marvel is one of the most successful companies right now. From the Avengers to the X-Men and down to even the most obscure characters like Ant-Man, every one of their movies has been a big hit until now. The latest Marvel movie, Fant4stic, was released last month and while I have not seen it yet, I'm sure it's just as great as their other movies. I mean, it has the word "Fantastic" in the title after all! And being the smart business that they are, The Lego Company decided to get in on the hype early and capitalize on this movie's undoubtful success two years in advance by making a set featuring Fant4stic's main villain, Dr. Doom. Now that's what I call forward thinking! But did they do a good job with it or were they being overhasty? Let's find out! Set Number: 76005 Name: Spider-Man: Daily Bugle Showdown Theme: Marvel Super Heroes Subtheme: Ultimate Spider-Man Year of Release: 2013 Pieces: 476 Minifigs: 5 Price: $49.99 USD S@H description: The first thing that comes to mind after reading this description is: Wow, that's a lot of TMs! Anyway, here are some resource links for this set: Brickset Bricklink Rebrickable The Box Since this set is based on the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, the box has the usual USM design with the red Marvel Super Heroes background, an illustration of Spidey in the upper right corner, and the USM logo in the lower right. As usual, there is a minifig line up in the lower left, and since this was before the terrible redesign, you can see the full body of the minifigs. I really miss this type of line up. There is quite a lot going on here: Doctor Doom attacking the Daily Bugle in his jet while simultaneously reaching for J. Jonah Jameson below with his jet's claw, Spider-Man (reluctantly) swings in to save him, while Nova fights off the Beetle. It's a pretty cool scene, even though it's not very accurate to the show. In "Beetle Mania", the episode that this set is based on, the Beetle was indeed out to kill JJJ, but it was in order to stop him from exposing his identity, not Spider-Man's (although Spidey was next on JJJ's list). And while he is a recurring villain on the show, Doctor doom had nothing to do with this plot and didn't even appear in the episode aside from a brief cameo. It's awesome that they included him anyway, though, so I'm not gonna complain. Note that the tower is so tall that it wraps around the top of the box. There, you can also see a scale reference with the Spider-Man minifig. On the back of the box, you can see the interior of the Bugle and all of its play features which there are quite a few of since this is a playset. It's all illustrated pretty well, although Lego's choice of sound effects is still a mystery to me. I don't get why they don't go for Spider-Man's signature "Fwip!" instead of "Fazzing!" and I didn't know that a breaking window made the sound "Btoom!" but I digress. Contents Inside the box you will find three instruction booklets (one smaller than the others), a comic book, a fairly large sticker sheet, five numbered bags, and two loose pieces: A white string piece and a gray 16x8 plate. There aren't really any notable pieces and nobody cares about the comic bock (no offense to the artist), so lets get right to the instructions. They are pretty straight forward and easy to follow. Some of the pages have a ghostly image of Spidey, Nova, and Dr. Doom in the top right corner which is fitting since these are all minifigs that appear in this set (which is strangely not something that can be said for many other Super Heroes instructions with this type of artwork). Minifigures As with most Super Heroes sets, most people will get this set mainly for the minifigs, so without further ado, let's talk about them. Spider-Man is the same old bootless one you get in almost every USM set. Not much to say about him. Some might complain that we don't get Spidey's alter ego Peter Parker in this set, but in the USM cartoon, MJ is actually the one who works at the Daily Bugle, not Peter. Curse the creators of this cartoon for ruining our chances of getting a new Peter Parker minifig by trying to mix things up. Next we get J. Jonah Jameson. He appeared in a Spider-Man 2 set before, but this is a complete redesign. He now has a blue suit with a red tie, a unique face print, and that combed-back hair in dark gray. This new hairpiece doesn't suit him at all and the old flat top hair was perfect for him in my opinion, so I don't know why they changed it. The good thing about this change, however, is the fact that this piece is exclusive to this set in that color. Nova on the other hand is spot-on. He comes with a new helmet mold and some nice torso printing. However, he, too, is missing his boots. TLC should have started making dual-colored legs a long time ago. Here are some reference images to compare them to. Okay, so JJJ's hair may not be completely black in the show, but I still think they should have given his minifig a black hairpiece. His suit is also not quite the right color. He rarely appears in person in the show (including the episode this set is based on) and is usually seen on screens around New York, so this is the best picture of him I could find. I guess I should be happy they included a minifig of him at all. In the episode, it was actually Mary Jane who was at the Bugle during Beetle's attack, so it would have made more sense to include her, but we got her in the Spider-copter set one year later, so that's ok. All three of them have back printing. In JJJ's case I'm using that term loosely since it is only comprised of two lines, but it's nice that they went through the trouble of adding them. Both JJJ and Nova come with angry alternate faces. It almost looks like they're trying to out-angry each other. Who do you think looks angrier? Let me know in the comments section below. Now let's talk about the bad guys. Even though he would be better off in a Fantastic Four set, it's great to finally get Victor Van Doom, one of the greatest Marvel villains ever and in comics in general. He comes with a dark green hood which was new and exclusive in that color at the time, and he is the only minifig in this set that has leg printing. Beetle is a regular minifig with wings. The metallic printing on his face and torso is pretty nice, but I wish it would have continued onto his legs as well. The Beetle looks quite accurate to his on-screen counterpart. The only thing that could have improved him is a new helmet mold with pointy eyebrows/antennae. Doctor Doom, however, looks nothing like he does in the movie. I just don't understand how Lego could have messed him up so badly. Maybe they were working off of early concept art or something. Here is a back view of Doom and Beetle. Beetle would be a pretty boring minifig if it wasn't for his wings which are awesome with their holographic texture. They are so mesmerizing, I could look at those things all day. This piece also appeared in trans. light green in the Galaxy Squad sets which came out at the same time. Here they are without their gear. As you can see, they both have back printing as well. And no, Doctor Doom does not come with an alternate facial expression, which is fine since you can't see much of his expressions due to his mask anyway. Here's a look at Dr. Doom and Nova without their headgear. Some say that Doom's face looks too cartoony, but I think it looks fine. Nova is wearing stylish goggles as a way of explaining his white eyes. It's a far better explanation than the Bat-sweatband. They did the same thing with the masked Wolverine later. Here are all the figs with their accessories. JJJ comes with a camera so that he can take "more pictures of Spider-Man!" Beetle comes with one of those overused ADU guns which is a very poor representation of his wrist-mounted blasters. I hate to say it, but even those bulky new stud shooters would have been a better representation of his weapons. Spidey comes with his usual string of webbing and Nova comes with some Iron Man style translucent studs. The weird thing is that they are red while his powers have a blue glow in the show. Doctor Doom sadly doesn't get any accessories, but who needs weapons when you have a jet with a claw and flick-fire missiles. The Build The first bag contains Spider-Man, a brick separator, and the parts to build the ground floor of the DBC building. After a quick and straight-forward build, you get this. The dumpster and street lamp are separate from the building and since the lamp post is not built onto any baseplate and is quite top-heavy, it gets knocked over pretty easily. Maybe it's meant to be that way, but I would have preferred it if you could stick it onto the baseplate of the building on which there is unfortunately not enough space to do so. As you would expect, the second bag has the parts for the first floor of the building. This is also the bag that contains Beetle. After another fairly simple build, you'll find yourself with a two story building with a spiderweb one side and a fire escape on the other. However, you have to apply three stickers during this section of the build which is never fun. Can you guess what's in bag number 3? Yup, the second floor of the building. You don't need superpowers to predict that one. Also, this bag contains Nova and Jameson. The build of this section is a bit repetitive since the second floor is mostly the same as the first and it takes slightly longer to build since you have to build the rooftop as well. Also, in addition to the two window stickers you have to apply ten 2x2 tile stickers! Trying to do this without having any of them being crooked is a real pain in the megablocks. The next bag contains Doctor Doom and the cockpit of his jet. Doom's cape is in the usual square white box and the string for the claw is folded up in a piece of tape. Here's what you get at the end of this section. Looks more like an escape pod than a jet at this point. The final bag is the smallest as it only includes the few parts needed to finish the Doom jet. Once you build the wings and tail, you stick them onto the cockpit via Technic pins and you're done. Spare Parts These are the parts that are left over after the build. There is the brick separator of course, an extra antenna, and the usual little bits and bops. What's really awesome, though, is that they give you an extra pair of Beetle's wings! Considering what a neat piece this is and that this is the only set in which it comes in trans-black make this a very welcome spare that you can use in your customs. The Finished Set Here is the complete set. The DBC building looks quite tall, especially when you count the antenna. Comparing it to a screenshot from the episode, the general look of the building is there, although there are some inaccuracies. Aside from the fact that it is obviously way down-scaled, the screens that show JJJ ranting about Spider-Man should have been hexagonal, not square, and should have wrapped around the building. However, considering how many stickers you would have had to apply if they would have made it accurate, I'm actually glad they kept the screen mercifully small. Much like Doctor Doom himself, the Doom jet didn't actually appear in the Beetle Mania episode. However, it did appear in a later episode titled "Not A Toy" in which Spider-Man plays around with Captain America's shield, accidentally drops it in Doctor Doom's Latvarian embassy and has to try to retrieve it. And yes, that episode was as godawful as it sounds. Here's a screenshot of the jet from that episode. Like with the DBC, they managed to capture the general shape of the vehicle, although it doesn't look quite as good as in the show. The color scheme is too dark and it looks kind of blockier. Let's take a closer look at the jet. There is no real way to reel the claw in unfortunately. However, there is a stud on the back of the jet that you can stick it onto. Needless to say, this is not the ideal way of storing it. I would have much preferred it if they would have attached it onto winch instead. The engines on the wings can be turned, even though they don't turn in the show, and there is a flick-fire missile on each side. Even if it's not much to look at, at least it's a very swooshable vehicle. On top of each wing there is a tile with the emblem of Latvaria. There was no such emplems on the jet in the cartoon, but they are useful pieces that make it clear whose jet it is, so I'm glad they included them. There is nothing inside the cockpit except for a seat and unless you want to ruin Dr. Doom's nice dark green cape, I wouldn't put him inside of it. They could have at least printed a control panel onto that empty 2x2 tile. Play Features Since this is a playset, let's look at all the play features it has to offer. Like all playsets, the building is open in the back so you can play inside. On the ground floor, there is a potted plant and... nothing else. Seriously? Is this all they could come up with for this floor? They could have included a security desk, a lounge, a second plant, or anything else! As it is, it's just a boring empty lobby. The first floor is a bit more interesting. There is a safe, a swiveling chair, and a pin board with various pictures of Spider-Man. There is one tile that reads: "The true identity of Spider-Man" which is supposedly what the villains are after. I wonder how Jameson got this information in the first place. Speaking of Jameson, the second floor is devoted to his office where he can sit and yell at his non-present employees, demanding "more pictures of Spider-Man!" It also has a swiveling chair as well as a desk with a lamp and a computer. There is a Technic beam connecting his desk with the ceiling of the first floor which you can remove in order to take off the upper half of the building, but it's difficult to do, so I don't recommend it. As you may have noticed in the picture above, there are a few red pegs sticking out of the building. These are for triggering the play features. Most of them are on the roof. There is one on what looks like an air conditioning unit. If you place Spider-Man holding is web-string on the jumper plate in front of it and push the peg, Spidey goes bungee-jumping off the building. Wee! There is also one that sticks out of the side of the building which when pulled triggers a trap door. The third red peg on the roof can be used to pop off the DBC sign. Why is it called the DBC, you ask? It stands for Daily Bugle Communications since in this version of Spider-Man, the Daily Bugle is not only a newspaper, but a news TV station as well, one that promotes its own highly biased views. So basically the Fox News of the Marvel universe. I guess if you're an old school Spider-Man fan, you could just leave off the "C" and have it just stand for Daily Bugle. The sign above the main entrance wont be so easily modified however. There is also a peg between the first and second floor which when pushed pops out one of the windows on the first floor. The safe is only attached to a couple of jumper plates and has some jumper plates on top of it as well, so you can easily attach the Doom jet's claw to it and rip it out of the building as seen on the back of the box. There are also some SNOT bricks on the corners of the building that you can attach spiderwebs or Spidey himself onto for some wall-crawling and webslinging action. This is not so much a play feature as it is just a feature, but as I mentioned earlier, there is a fire escape on the left side of the building. This was a neat idea as it helps it feel like a building in New York City, but it is executed very poorly. There is no hole big enough for the minifigs to climb down through, so they would have to climb down the ladders from the outside which makes no sense. No wonder Spider-Man always needs to rescue people from burning buildings. There is one more play feature in the form of the dumpster. You can open the lid, put a minifig inside, and make them jump by hitting a tab in the back. Remember, this is before the introduction of super jumpers, but nevertheless it's a pretty strange place to launch minifigs out of. I guess even Super Heroes like to do some dumpster diving. You don't think this was funny? No? Well, me neither, but that's the type of humor that this show loves to use. Sigh. Anyway, let's get on to the ratings. Ratings Design: 2/5 - The set looks ok. Despite many inaccuracies, the DBC building and the jet somewhat resemble their on-screen counterparts and don't look too bad, but they definitely could be better. Build: 1/5 - A mostly unchallenging and repetitive build with an attrocious amount of stickers. Minifigs: 4/5 - Definitely the strongest point of the set. Some of the figs could be better, but four out of five of them are exclusive to this set. Doctor Doom is easily the best and probably the most desirable one - unless the Fant4stic movie portraits him so badly that nobody will be interested in him, but that's impossible. Playability: 4/5 - As you would expect from a playset, the playability is quite high, although I still feel like there could have been more. Parts: 3/5 - Not many rare parts. If you're looking for parts for building your own skyscraper with tan walls and lots of doors and windows though, this set is for you. Price: 3/5 - At 476 parts for $50, this set is a bit pricey, but it is somewhat justified by all the large window and wall pieces. Overall: 3/5 - This set is mediocre at best. Playsets are always a good choice for Spider-Man sets since they give Spidey something to swing from, but unfortunately they are rarely pulled off well. The jet is blocky, the building is bare-bones, and the price feels too high. The only reason to get this set are the four exclusive minifigs. This set was discontinued early this year, but if you still see it on clearance somewhere, go ahead and get one for the minifigs and parts, or buy multiples and use the parts to build a better DBC building. I hope you enjoyed this review. It is part of the Reviewers Academy's 7th Anniversary. We're not doing a big celebration this year due to other commitments, but look out for more reviews with the 7th Anniversary banner soon. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am off to see Fant4stic. I hope it's as fantastic as it promises to be! (2 hours later) I was wrong! I was horribly, horribly wrong!
  5. Redhead1982

    REVIEW 41094 Heartlake Lighthouse

    Summer is almost here, and the ice-cream shop at the old Heartlake Lighthouse has opened for a new season. Join Stephanie and Kate and enjoy your favourite ice-cream flavour. Basic info of the set Set no.: 41094 Name: Heartlake Lighthouse Theme: Friends Year: 2015 Pieces: 473 Minifigs: 2 (plus a seal) Age group: 6 - 12 Price: £ 39.99 / US$ 39.99 / EUR 39.99 Price per part: 8.455 p / 8.455 c / 8.455 c Links: Bricklink, Brickset, LEGO S@H The box The front of the box is a standard Friends design, with curved sides of the box. The top right corner has a cartoon picture of the five main Friends characters, while at the bottom right there's a picture of the two Friends, Stephanie and Kate, included in this set. The box art is lovely, and I like the balloon in the background. In the bottom left corner, there's a small picture of the back of the lighthouse, which I find a bit redundant. It's too small to see the details, and as most of them are shown on the back, this picture could be omitted from the box art. The back of the box is nicely showing all the wonderful details, and is actually very appealing. Almost half of the box is covered with small windows showing different details and play features of the set. Although these little windows reveal much of the details of the set, and take away the element of surprise, I find them really useful in presenting the set. My favourite feature window on the back of the box is the one showing set's accessories. I admit I was simply captivated by all the ice-cream flavours available in the ice-cream shop. In addition, there's a new hair pin in the shape of a flower, and a coin of 5 FMU (Friends Monetary Unit). The sides of the box are following the standard box design. There are typical hearts, paws, butterflies, stars, flowers and musical notes on a lavender background. On one side, there's also a smaller picture of the set. The top of the box has a picture of Stephanie as a measure of size. This is a nice feature, but I would expect something more catching here, as there are plenty of other interesting parts in the set. The booklet The front art design of the two instruction booklets copies the box art. If you have a sharp eye, you can notice the bottom left corner of the booklet is torn. That's how I got it. Also, the booklet was twisted a bit, and stayed like this even after a couple of days under a box full of parts. Inside the instruction booklet, there are no surprises. The background is lavender, and the odd pages have a small heart watermark, which is a typical feature in Friends' instruction booklets. Individual building steps are simple, and if needed, placement of some parts is emphasizes with arrows. The back of the instruction booklet surprised me with an image of the new series, the Elves. I bought and opened the set in late January, so the Elves were still an upcoming series. In a way, they are connected to Friends series (the Elves use the same minidoll design) so this shouldn't be a surprise. The parts Inside the box, there are two instruction booklets, a sticker sheet, and a 8x16 medium azure plate. Parts not being inside the polybags is becoming a fashion, and I'd really like to know why is that. At least in this case, the plate is not that big, and could easily be packed inside a bags. Also, with its sharp edges it might contribute to damaging the instruction booklets. The parts are organized in four numbered bags. Considering the part count (473) numbered bags are expected. Each of the numbered bag had inside one smaller bag with the small parts. The sticker sheet was only slightly bend in my case, and I was happy not to see it damaged. In general, I don't like stickers as much as I like printed parts, but with the Friends series, there are some neat design. However, this is the first set where I actually applied only some of the stickers. If you read through the review, you'll see what I mean. Inside bag no. 1 the majority of the larger parts are in white and tan. Medium azure plates stand out a bit, but only due to the bright colour. When organizing the parts for the picture, I was surprised to see that Kate's torso was not packed inside a smaller bag as Olivia's torso and both of their legs were. Other special and interesting parts in the first bag are the bright pink boat, ice-cream cone, reddish brown plates with swirl top and a bright pink flower with pointed petals as hair accessory. Inside bag no. 2 the most parts are in white and medium blue, but there's also a fair amount of bright pink. An interesting part here is the bright pink 2x2 macaroni brick, and it appears in this set only. In addition to bright pink, medium lavender is another Friendly colour in this bag. I also like the flower plates in green, red and dark pink. Another rare part are the white doors, as they are available in four sets only. Bag no. 3 contains roof slopes in dark blue, and more of bright pink bricks for the lighthouse tower. I was excited to see inverted corner slopes in dark blue and the 2x3 and 1x2 slopes in dark blue. These are not very common, but they'd allow more dynamic roof tops in every city. In addition to flower plates in green, red and dark pink, a bright light orange flower plates are included as well. Bag no. 4 has more specific parts than the first three. Also, the most interesting parts can be found here. There's a lot of white parts included, but the most interesting parts are in other colours. An exciting recolour is the quarter round fence in magenta, which appeared in 3 other sets. Starting from left to right, there's a lot of the flower plates, and they come also in lavender, which is a new colour for this part in 2015. There are also some ice-cream parts included, such as a trans-neon green popsicle, ice-cream scoops in bright light orange and lime, and round plates with swirled top in bright pink and white. The most interesting parts in this set are shown on the picture above. Most of them are recolours of the existing parts, while some are completely new and unique to the set. Some of them I mentioned before, but just to emphasize my favourites. It's really nice to have a boat hull in yet another colour. If you're after bright pink bricks, this set is worth having for the variety of them. But then there's also the ice-cream cone and scoops, (not so) new plant, lavender flower plate and a printed coin plate. In my opinion, this set has a great value in these small and special parts. There's a lot of extra parts in this set and they are a nice selection. Mostly, they are the usual combination of small and easily lost parts, but there's are also some really nice extras. I really like the amount of extra flower plates, 5 FMU coin plate, and the round plates with swirled top. The minifigs Stephanie (left) and Kate (right) are the main characters in this set. Stephanie is one of the 5 original Friends, while Kate is not. I was a bit surprised to find out that Kate is not unique to this set, but she appeared in two other sets, namely 41000 Water Scooter Fun and 41037 Stephanie's Beach House. Kate is enjoying a scoop of chocolate ice-cream, while Stephanie seems to be more interested in taking photography. Stephanie is sporting a medium lavender wrap around skirt unique to this set and green top with stripes. She also wears modern trans-purple sunglasses, available in only 3 sets. Kate is wearing a bright light orange layered skirt, which is common in this theme in other colours as well, and a bikini top which she wore also in 41008 Heartlake City Pool and 41034 Summer Caravan. It's really nice to have more variety in Friends' clothing and the wrap around skirt in lavender will fit nicely with other tops. There's no printing on the back, but it would be nice to see the striped pattern on Stephanie's top. Both of them also have hair accessories. Stephanie has sunglasses, which are different from the ones that appeared in previous Friends sets. Also, they look more realistic being a trans-colour. Kate has a flower hairpin, which is a new design. I wouldn't mind using this part as a real flower. The obstacle for this is the small pin, which doesn't fit the holes in plant leaves, but it fits the flowers and can be then attached to the bottom side of the leaves. The build The building of the set starts with a minibuild setting for the seal. It's a small rocky island in the middle of the water. It's a very simple build, but it's effective for the purpose. I'd prefer a grey jumper plate on the top or if it has to be green, dark green would be great as well to present a wet algae on the top of the rocks. Reddish brown seal is rare, but not unique to this set, and has appeared first in the Friends Animal series 6. It looks really cute seating on top of the rocks. I'm guessing Stephanie is observing him/her through her binoculars. There's no printing except the eyes, which are not so realistic, but they do give the seal a cute look. The next minibuild is the boat. It's hardly considered a build on its own, as only few parts are added as equipment. There are wooden benches for sitting, and a special tile so hold the minidolls in place while enjoying the boat ride. I really like the brown bars as an extension of the paddles, as they allow minidolls to hold the paddles and actually row. What I don't like about the boat is the flags colour. I'm not sure red and pink go together, and almost every other colour would fit better. Stephanie likes taking a boat out to the lake (or sea) to observe the seals. The boat is big enough to accommodate also her equipment, the camera and the binoculars. And if she wants company, she can move her equipment to the front of the boat to free seating for one of her friends. The building then continues with the base for the lighthouse. My favourite part here are the brown pillars, on which the pier is latter build on. These are hidden in the next steps, and I wanted to show that the designers also had in mind these hidden details. The finished base for the island has three different areas. There's a small patch of grass on which the lighthouse tower will be built on, and a large wooden area for the adjacent building and the pier. The medium azure plates are nice for the water, as they create a more tropical atmosphere. The building of the lighthouse starts with the base of the tower where a small toilet is. White dome bottom is used for the toilet, which is simple design, but works fine. A weird detail is the dark pink flower on top of the toilet tank, but I'm guessing it's there as decoration, and not a part of the toilet tank. The details of the toilet are hidden as soon as the walls are built up. It's here where the white door is used, and I have to say that this is the most appropriate door colour and design for toilets. When I first put a toilet in one of my MOCs, I had a huge dilemma which door to use. It's really great TLG started making this door also in non-transparent colours. Initially, I was sceptic about bright pink walls of the lighthouse, but the colour fits nicely. The door should have a sign to indicate the toilet behind them, but I decided against using the sticker. I plan to use those door in MOCs, and I'm not sure they'll be used as toilets only, so I'm also glad the door is not printed to have a choice to used them as something else as well. Next the base of the adjacent house is build. It's a combination of white and medium blue. I like this choice of colours, as they complement bright pink nicely. A cute design are also the floor lamps, two are positioned at the base of the walls, and latter more are added to the patio area. I was surprised to see that the building continues with the front wall, as it felt a bit unstable. Another colour is introduced as the canopy, and it blends in with the colour scheme really nicely. The front door to the ice-cream shop is ''decorated'' with an ''open'' sticker sign. Left wall is latter build, and the window on the side has the same canopy. The odd parts here are the yellow window panes. The really look out of place. I wish white panes or a glass would be used instead. Additional pillars that give more stability to the walls are built, and they partly cover the cute floor lamps. Later on, the building of the lighthouse continues with the second floor. This floor act more as a storage space than actual floor, as it's a place where Kate stores various bottles. I'm guessing these are soap and air-fresheners used in the toilet bellow. The house part is finished at this point, and the colour scheme pops to life here. The combination of blues and pinks is really pleasant to the eye. The plate above the roof window has a sticker on, so that everyone can see from a far that this is where the ice-cream shop is. Only thing out of place, at least in my opinion, are the yellow window panes. More details are added also to the back of the building. There's a loft area above the shop with a makeshift bed and a wonderful view through the window. In the lighthouse tower a map is added to the top floor together with very simple ladder. The map is the same as in the 41097 Heartlake Hot Ait Baloon. I consider myself an experienced builder, yet here I made a colossal mistake when building the cooler case for the ice-cream in the shop. I used the larger trans-clear panels. I discovered this mistake when I was looking for those large panels in latter steps. Obviously, the instructions to open one bag at a time make sense even if you're a bit older. This is how the lighthouse and its adjacent building looks in the winter. The patio is empty, and more details can be seen that way. The new magenta curved fence is used at the top of the lighthouse, and the radar dish in magenta is used as a roof. Overall, despite the pink and magenta not being traditional lighthouse colours, the colour scheme is really pleasant, and even the yellow window panes don't looks so disturbing. In the last few steps, more details are added to the patio in front of the house. There's a small table where Kate is enjoying her chocolate ice-cream, and as it seems she has another portion of strawberry ice-cream waiting for her. In the back, there's an advertising board showing the ice-cream selection. While this is a lovely detail, it's a bit hidden in the back. Also, the before mentioned floor lamps are added to the patio, and I can almost imagine the atmosphere in the evenings. On the right side to the door, there's a large model of an ice-cream cone with 4 scoops of vanilla, pistachio, chocolate and strawberry ice-cream. It's a nice decorative element, and uses technic cross axle to position the scoops at different angles. Also, some greenery is added to the walls of the lighthouse tower. The finished product After 103 building steps the Heartlake Lighthouse is finally finished. Considering the small patio, it looks full. In addition to Stephanie arriving to the lighthouse in her boat, and the little seal sunbathing at the rocks nearby, there's not much more room for any other visitor. For some reason, while building the set I had an impression that the lighthouse is accessible only by boat, and that it is not build on the shore of the lake or sea. I'm guessing the tile map helped with this perception. There's not much details left to reveal on the back side. The coolers in the shop are filled with the various ice-creams. A lamp is added to the loft area. It's a simple design, and has a handle to carry the light around. All in all, there's easy access to the back of the building, and the various areas allow lots of play action. There's a cashier in the shop close to the window, so you can sell/buy the ice-creams outside the shop... ...or you can go inside to have a better look at all the tasty ice-cream flavours. If you had too much to drink, you can use the toilet in the lighthouse tower. The space is tight, but at least the toilet seat is down. That's actually the only place for the minidolls to stand in the lighthouse tower. The other two floors are too low, and too small to fit a minidoll in, and it would be much better if only one floor was made instead of two. Kate has access to the loft above the ice-cream shop, where she can have a quick nap on the bed, or just sit and watch the view through the window. Stephanie enjoys the view from the top platform, observing the seal, and taking photographs. I tried to position her with a camera taking a selfie, but apparently with no wrist movement, that's not possible. A view from the right side shows the plants growing at the bottom of the lighthouse tower. I like the leaves climbing on the walls, and there could be more of the new grass stems at the bottom, not so much to fill the space, but more to increase their availability. A view from the left side reveals the details on the patio. The advertisement board stands out more from this side, and it has a rotating base, so you can position it whichever way you like. At the table, there's seating for two, so Kate can invite over some of her friends. The Final Verdict Design: 10/10 The overall design is great and I cannot think of any flaws or improvements. Considering the target population of 6-12 year olds, the build is simple and well done. Also, it takes a while to actually build this large set, and the process is very enjoyable. Some of the parts included in the set are available in few sets only, and they add more value to the set. Overall, the colour scheme is lovely and amount of details is great. Parts: 10/10 The parts in the set are a nice selection of various bits and pieces in interesting colours. The not so common parts makes this set also a nice purchase as a parts pack. I like the variety of parts in bright pink, the magenta fence, and the ice-cream scoops. When I was deciding on buying the set, the parts list was an extra reason to get the set. Also, you get a lot of extra small parts, and there's a bunch of flower plates in 5 different colours. Build: 8/10 The building of the set is relatively simple and straight forward, and is appropriate even for the less experienced builders. The advanced level of the set can mostly be considered due to a large number of parts, as it takes more time to assembly it. The finished product is stable and allows lots of play action, however when building it, it didn't feel this way all the time. The walls of the tower are built by stacking bricks without offsetting them. Due to the curved walls of the tower, there's no other way to do this, yet I'd still prefer the sets to teach the kids how to build stable walls by offsetting. Playability: 10/10 As it's standard for the Friends sets, aimed mostly at young girls, playability is the most important feature of this set. However, there's enough action for everyone, and the set doesn't feel as it's only for girls. There are not many moving features, the playability is based more on the imagination of the player. You can row the boat around the lighthouse and search for seals though. Also, the ladder at the back can be moved to allow access to the loft above the shop. The value of the set is in playing out different scenarios. You can play shop, or watch the view from the tower, or tell scary stories in the loft at night, or simply enjoy the ice-creams. Minifigs: 9/10 Stephanie wears a lavender skirt, available only in this set, and both Stephanie and Kate have accessories that are not so common. The flower pin Kate is wearing can also be used as a real flower, although it can be connected to leaves only in combination with classic flowers. Also, their torsos are available in few different sets only. However, there's always need for different tops and bottom of minidolls. Price: 9/10 It's a large set, so the price is not that surprising. The price per part is great actually, but if the size of the parts is considered, it's not so great anymore as there's a lot of very small parts. However, keeping in mind there's some rare parts included in this set, the selection of parts is actually great for this prize. I'm not considering getting an extra copy, but the set as a whole is a great parts pack for builders oriented in creating houses and landscape. Overall: 56/60 (93.3%) As the overall score implies, this is a set worth having. The design is interesting and pleasing to the eye and offers a lot of playability. Building it is appropriate for both beginners as well as more experienced builders. The parts selection is nice, and has rare parts attractive to AFOLs. Considering the price, it's not the cheapest, but it offers a lot of interesting colours and rare parts. The parts have a potential to be used in different themes, and the set is a great buy also for the parts alone. It's not the distance, it's the goal that motivates you.
  6. Masked Builder

    Review: 21020 Trevi Fountain

    The Trevi Fountain is a wonderful piece of architecture in Rome. I looked it up when I learned I was getting the set, it's really a wonderful piece of sculpting. As an architecture set, there are no minifigures, which are a main draw for me, but as an engineer these sets look quite good. Thank you to LEGO and Bonaparte for letting me do this review! Set Information: Name: Trevi Fountain Set Number: 21020 Pieces: 731 Price: £49.00 Ages: 12+ Theme: Architecture Year of Release: 2014 Brickset Bricklink Flickr Set Box: The box is the typical set up for Architecture sets; black and minimalist. However, this is the European box so it doesn't have a part count on the front. On the back we have the usual information about the set and the real location. The sides of the box show some alternating images as well as the set name in some other languages. On the bottom of the box there is a huge block of warnings. The 1:1 image is of one of the 1x2 trans light blue tiles. I find the faded image of the set really intriguing. Contents: Inside the box there are six bags, the manual, and the survey sheet. None of these are new, just recolors, however, it's still nice to have them. I'm really excited to get some 1x1 trans clear tiles! Lots of extra 1x1 parts, including some tiles. Manual: The manual front has the same image of the front of the box and it also says what languages the manual has. On the first page this lovely print of the real structure greets you. The manual is laid out nicely I had no problems with colors. We also have some nice "fun-facts" on every few pages about the real structure. This was the only slightly confusing part. LEGO did a great job showing which parts were being put down, they outlined them in red so it's clear. Seems like someone always asks for this page, so here it is. It didn't want to cooperate for the picture though. Interestingly, there was this survey sheet also packed in the box. It's great to see LEGO looking for our feedback! The Build: The build progresses quickly enough. It was a bit slow putting down the water tiles. Adding the windows was rather time intensive, you had two separate x12 builds. This was a fun build. The rock work and the windows were quite fun to build. Finished Model: There is actually quite a bit of depth to this model. So many offsets to make the model. From the side you can see how far out the fountain pool goes out, as well as some of the very many cool offsets. This set is obviously not meant to be viewed from this angle. But this shows you the trans blue bricks that add some great depth to the windows. I'm not sure if I like the horses. The legs just seem to out of proportion. They do integrate well with the rocks. There are so many offsets here, I don't know where to begin. The four 1x1 cones are supposed to be statues. Here you can see the depth that the blue bricks behind the trans clear ones add. It really adds a great level of detail. The fountain starts up by the statue in the middle, then cascades down to the middle of the pool. LEGO did a great job giving it a fluid feel. I had a hard time finding a picture of what the LEGO set represents. This shot was the best one I found. But from it you can really tell how good a job LEGO did recreating this wonderful piece of Architecture at this small scale. One last shot with my sigfig to give you a sense of scale. Conclusion: I really do think this set is nice. For representing such a large structure, LEGO did a great job taking it and making it at this small scale. There are few discernible details at this size, but to make it as large and detailed as it would need to be, I'd see it at about the size of the latest Arkham Asylum set. The water and rock work is exceptional. Ratings: Design: 8/10 For the size it is, LEGO did a great job designing it. Price: 8/10 £50 is about $60, which seems reasonable for a 700 piece set. Parts: 9/10 There is a large selection of white parts, and those 1x1 trans clear tiles are just great to own! Total: 25/30 Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy!
  7. ... There stood a tower of marvelous shape. It was fashioned by the builders of old, who smoothed the Ring of Isengard, and yet it seemed a thing not made by the craft of Men, but riven from the bones of the earth in the ancient torment of the hills. A peak and isle of rock it was, black and gleaming hard: four mighty piers of many-sided stone were welded into one, but near the summit they opened into gaping horns, their pinnacles sharp as the points of spears, keen-edged as knives. Between them was a narrow space, and there upon a floor of polished stone, written with strange signs, a man might stand five hundred feet above the plain. - JRR Tolkien, The Two Towers Orthanc is the tower home of traitor wizard Saruman. It sits in the centre of Isengard, a once-lush valley at the southern end of the Misty Mountains, the range which runs like a spine down the centre of Middle-Earth. It is one of the eponymous Two Towers of the middle episode of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, together with Barad-Dûr (in the movies) or Minas Morgul (in the novels). This set represents the flagship of the LEGO Lord of the Rings range. It was first spotted in the background of a photograph of The LEGO Group's design workshop some time ago, but finally revealed in an official press release in April of this year. Although it is not scheduled for release until July, I was lucky to snag an early copy from the shop at LEGOLAND Deutschland during the Eurobricks Event. The sheer scale of the towers of the Lord of the Rings saga - Barad-Dûr, Minas Tirith, Minas Morgul, and Orthanc - makes them difficult to render in LEGO bricks at an affordable price, which I suspect is why TLG have shied away from producing sets of these behemoths ... until now. Of the four, Orthanc is probably the most achievable; let's see how the result shapes up. Review: 10237 The Tower of Orthanc Set Information Name: The Tower of Orthanc Number: 10237 Theme: Lord of the Rings (Shop@Home Exclusive) Release: July 2013 Parts: 2359 Figures: 5 minifigures, Eagle, and Ent Price: GB £169.99 | US $199.99 | EUR 199.99 | AU $279.99 | CA $249.99 | DKK 1699.00 Links ... Shop@Home ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron The Box Click for a larger full-frontal image This is a big box. It has the same frontal dimensions as last year's UCS-scale 10227 B-Wing Starfighter - a similarly priced set, though with fewer pieces - but it isn't as deep. Orthanc is shown amidst the Ent-derived desolation of the valley of Isengard; an unnamed Ent shakes an Uruk while another Orc attempts to bring him down with a grappling hook; Gandalf simultaneously escapes on an eagle in a strange time-warp of the storyline. A darkening sky sets the mood of the scene perfectly; quite why Barad-dûr is visible in the background is anyone's guess. The height of Orthanc isn't readily apparent from the picture; a small inset therefore demonstrates the tower's dimensions. Round the back, the tower's entire detailed interior is displayed for your perusal, accompanied by insets of various scenes: some canon, some less so. Click for a larger image Behind the parchment-like insets lies a map of Middle-Earth set on a beautiful gradient from earth blue on the right to fiery orange on the left; this is visible to a lesser extent on the front ... ... and continues on the sides: Here are left and right sides respectively. The latter's top edge is on the right, so the map - which continues at the top end of this side - is the right way up. Isengard is just visible in the centre, about a third of the way from the right, at the end of the Misty Mountains range. Kudos to the box artist if its placement here was deliberate. The five minifigures are represented in 1:1 scale on the box top ... ... while the bottom has a wall of text with the usual language lesson. My box is a little battered here, but it has just travelled six hundred miles in the back of an over-packed car. It appears that the set's components were made in DENMARK, CHINA, SWEDEN, HUNGARY, MEXICO, HONG KONG, the CZECH REPUBLIC, NARNIA, the MOON, and EVERYWHERE. What's in the Box? The box flaps are sealed with tape, so it can be flat-packed easily. Out falls the separately-wrapped and cardboard-backed Instructions and sticker pack, and eighteen polybags forming fifteen modules: see one to eight, which includes the separately packed Eagle, and nine to fifteen. The Instructions Three booklets are included, all of a similar size and thickness; all featuring the same image as the box front, and all covered with nice glossy paper. On their backs are an advertisement for the LEGO Club, the detestable WinGangeGewinne kid, and a trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; I'm not sure whether the last is a console game, a web game, a video, or a set; but whatever it is, it's coming in December 2013. Maybe it just refers to the forthcoming cinematic release. The modular construction is demonstrated over three pages at the start of manual one: It's actually a little daunting. Although the build process is modular, most sections start building directly onto the previous; there are only two places where the tower is designed to separate - between modules 9 and 10, and 12 and 13 - but even then, it doesn't separate easily. Part call-outs accompany the instruction steps, which are generally easy to follow. The Middle-Earth map is faintly visible in the parchment-coloured background. Despite the preponderance of blacks and dark bluish-greys, there are no major colour-differentiation issues; I only made one mistake in the entire build - mistaking black for DBG on a 1x1 round plate - and I noticed the error very quickly. The substantial inventory is located over three pages at the back of book three; click the links for pages 1, 2, and 3. Also at the rear of this booklet is a subversive 'Collect them all!' enticement, in the form of a minifigure display: Quite why this is included in an adult-oriented set is anyone's guess, but I guess adults can be pretty obsessive collectors too (though less likely deface their instructions by ticking the boxes). Other sets from the impressive Summer LOTR range are advertised: We are encouraged to buy two copies of the Black Gate in order to complete the scene; quite what we'll do with two Gandalfs the White is questionable, but it will help towards amassing an army of Eagles. I'm particularly looking forward to the Corsair ship with its Dead crew. Sticker haters beware ... ... there's a lot of them. Thankfully, they are all applied to flat surfaces, but that doesn't stop them being a pain in the backside. I've actually applied them this time, so we'll see where they go later. The Parts To save space and sanity, I've paired the bags up to show the parts. Modules One and Two build the Ent: There's a lot of useful reddish and dark brown here, along with some less useful parts. I can live without the reddish brown wing-end modified brick, and the Symmetrical wedge with fractured top may be relatively uncommon, but I can't see it becoming sought-after. New in dark brown are the Technic ball-joint bricks; a rather unexciting brick to find in a new colour, but it might be useful for tree-building (obviously). I am pleased by the selection of reddish-brown and dark brown bricks, plates and slopes; there's also a useful array of SNOT bricks and brackets, along with a smattering of dark and olive green. It's worth pointing out the two reddish-brown half-arches; these are the continuous-curved type, like the older 2339, but have a reinforced underside like the discontinuous style 76768 (and a new mold number: 14395). See here for a comparison. The three printed 1x1 tiles at the bottom-right of the picture are Ent eyes; one is spare. From this point onwards, we'll be seeing a sea of black and grey, so be prepared. Bags Three and Four build the base of the tower, and the Uruk. There are a whole load of useful basic black bricks, plates, and tiles, and a load of dark bluish-grey SNOT bricks, with more to come later. The 7x3 flags are new in earth blue; the new 'Elven' arches start to feature here. Bags Five and Six ... whoa. These form the SNOT sides to the tower base. Whoa. Need black plates/jumpers/headlights/bows/tiles? Look no further. Shame the 1x1 bricks with handle were on the Pick-A-Brick recently. Saruman appears with Bags Seven and Eight, and he brings with him more black jumpers and headlights: The 4x4 round plate with central cut-out is new in black. Just in front of the red Light Brick is a green and black round ball, the purpose of which we'll see in due course, if you haven't guessed already. There's also ten 1x3 black arches in this selection. Bag Nine should have been included with 7 and 8 - it forms part of the same section: the Throne Room. Here we start to see lots of black 1x2 bricks with grooves, which will feature prominently throughout the set. The two trans-yellow crystal ball globes also appear in the contemporary 79005 Wizard Battle, and serve exactly the same purpose here. Moving on to Bags Ten and Eleven, the black theme continues ... ... here accompanied by Gríma, and many more useful headlights, SNOT bricks, cheeses and tiles. The trans-clear flask with purple liquid makes its first appearance in a non-Collectable Minifigure set. Gandalf finally appears with Bags Twelve and Thirteen: 1x2 grooved bricks, 1x1 bricks, and 1x2 plates with ridge dominate the selection here; in the top right corner are several 2x2x3 slopes and their corner equivalents. Just visible at the front is a single trans-clear minifigure head - I love this part. And finally, Bags Fourteen and Fifteen build the tower's summit with its spines. There are lots of clippy- and clicky-hinges; the latter make for an interesting build technique, as we shall see. The four black 'Persian' arches contrast to the much larger quantity of 'Elven' arches we have seen earlier. Parts Summary There might not be a great spread of new or rare parts in this set, but I hope I have demonstrated the massive quantity of useful elements included. Here are the front-runners: 113 Black 1x1 Brick 86 Black 1x2 Brick with grooves 73 Black 1x2 Plate 58 Black 1x1 Brick with vertical handle 58 Black 1x2 Jumper Plate 54 Black 1x1 Headlight Brick 45 Black 1x1 Plate 41 Black 1x2 Brick 37 Black 1x1 Cheese Wedge 37 Black 1x1 Tile 37 Black 1x2 Plate with ridge 36 Black 1x10 Bow 32 Black 1x3 Brick 32 DkBGr 1x4 SNOT Brick 26 Black 1x3x3 Elven Arch All in all, this makes a great parts pack - if you need black. The Figures From left to right: Saruman the White, Gríma Wormtongue, Gandalf the Grey, Uruk-Hai, and Orc Pitmaster. Just five figures for a flagship set? It seems a bit stingy, especially considering the range which accompanies other sets of the line: this year's 79008 Pirate Ship Ambush, for example, comes with nine. However, we do also get the Eagle, and the large brick-built Ent which is an important character in itself. Moreover, Gríma is (I believe) unique to this set, and Saruman is new to this summer wave. Gandalf the Grey This version of Gandalf - prior to his level in badass after the Balrog encounter - is surprisingly rare in LEGO Lord of the Rings. He previously appeared only in the entry-level 9469 Gandalf Arrives, and there had a different face and pointy hat instead of this 'Dumbledore' hairpiece. His torso is the same here. This face is new, and reversible: amiable on one side, and ... angry? distressed? I'm not sure. This version is the same as included in the 79005 Wizard Battle - which is basically a way for people who just want Saruman to avoid having to buy this set - except he has a cape in 10237. The cape is another issue: it gets awfully crumpled under the beard and headpiece, and the latter doesn't sit comfortably above the cape. Gríma Wormtongue For a bad guy, I find Gríma's LEGO version to be rather sympathetic. He has a countenance which is somewhere between glum and scared; even his 'angry' face is tinged with fear. I like the use of tan to mimic his sallow complexion. His torso is, I believe, unique, though it looks like he's stolen the Ring for himself. His hair isn't nearly greasy enough. Saruman the White I'm slightly annoyed that this figure will soon be available in a £10 set. To be fair, this version comes with a dress and cape, and people would undoubtedly complain about having to buy a $200 set for an essential LOTR character. As head of the wizards' order, his dress robe has the necessary finery, and looks great! He also has a rubbery-feel, decorated hair-and-beard piece, which judging by its feel, decoration, and separate wrapping is presumably a Chinese production. Under the hair/beard, his face is new; though it puts me in mind more of Sean Connery than Chritopher Lee (think Marco Ramius in The Hunt for Red October, and you'll see what I mean). The set includes legs, for when the unposeable dress is too much, and the front-and-back-printed torso is simply gorgeous. Here are Gríma and Saruman for comparison - on the Orthanc balcony: TLG have captured both well. Look also to either side - it's like that tooth piece was made for Orthanc (or Orthanc designed with LEGO in mind! ). Uruk-Hai Solder This guy is nice (if a ferocious cross-bred maggot soldier can be nice ), though sadly he isn't unique. He can be found in quantity in 9471 Uruk-Hai Army, and, with the beautiful White Hand printed armour, in 9476 Orc Forge. Still, at least he's compatible with the rest of the army. His head is reversible, allowing for some variety in Uruk heads within the army; I'd like to have seen some with the White Hand in different orientations, but that might be a tall order. Orc Pitmaster This dude is ugly. But, he's meant to be. He can be found also in 9476 Orc Forge. Sadly, he doesn't have the ears/hair that one of his doubles from that set has, and I think he looks a little 'unfinished' without it. Great Eagle Although not listed as a minifigure, I've included the Eagle here. He comes in a separate polybag, suggesting Chinese production; and has the detailed printing to match. The LEGO Group haven't given him a name, and he isn't directly named in the movie, to my knowledge; however, I've read the book, and I know that he must therefore be Gwaihir the Windlord. (Apparently, in the movie version of Fellowship, Gandalf whispers 'Gwaihir' to the moth, but I confess I didn't pick that up.) Gwaihir consists of three pieces: the body/head, and the two wings. Unfortunately the head doesn't move. He's pretty big, with a magnificent wingspan, as Gandalf here demonstrates. Four studs on the top allow Gandalf to 'ride' him. I'd have preferred somewhere for him to grip, so that he looks like he's clinging on, but hey. The printing of the wings and tail-feathers is beautiful ... ... and it continues on the underside: His 'talons' aren't so hot: just a 2x2 anti-stud matrix. If you want a bigger, more versaitile eagle, use the new CREATOR one. I'm pretty pleased with this, and I'm almost glad LEGO is encouraging us to buy two copies of the Black Gate set - we'll have three eagles! The Ent Here's the unspecified Ent. I'm not sure which Ent he's meant to be - I think only Treebeard is named in the movies - but in LEGO form, he's basically a big Steampunk macha with foliage and a mushroom. There's a nicely irregular, lopsided look as befitting these strange woody creatures. Take your pick as to which of the many Ents he represents. Judging by the earth green 'beard', he might be meant to represent Treebeard himself, though the resemblance isn't perfect: The LEGO version doesn't really have a 'head'; his eyes are level with his shoulders. I couldn't find an Ent exactly like this in the movies. He does have space at the top where Merry and Pippin might perch: You can also see here the he has a Bionic Arm. Turning the grooved cylinder at the back rotates the arm around the shoulder joint. I'm not exactly clear what purpose this serves; the Ent could hurl rocks at the tower, or perhaps high-five other Ents. The gearing is stiff (achieved by using a stud-end axle in a Technic brick), so the arm will stay in whatever position you leave it: Here he's giving some kind of salute. Note the opposable thumbs, meaning he can pick up stuff. The big downside of the Bionic Arm is that the arm can't be abducted (swung outwards) at the shoulder; therefore, when the arm is lowered, the elbow has to twist uncomfortably: He looks like he's about to start dancing here. The stiff ball-joints, strong clicky-hinges at the hips, and huge feet means that he balances rather well: I'm not sure whether he's skating, or pushing something, but it's a dynamic pose. For a tree, he's quite bendy: 90 degrees movement at the hips ... ... forwards or backwards. This is handy for sticking his head in the water if it catches fire, like one Ent in the film. I haven't directly demonstrated this, but he can also swivel at the waist, where a Technic axle allows a full 360 degrees of movement. If he gets tired, he can have a rest: Note the reddish-brown 'wing-end modified bricks' that cover the arms. I hate these parts anyway, but here they are super-annoying: if you try to grip the arm, it's all to easy to apply pressure to the wing end, the result of which will be the piece pinging off across the room. Still, they do help produce a nice contour to the arms. Enty's prehensile arms enable him to pick up figures: Here he's grabbed the Orc and the Uruk. The Bionic Arm doesn't help here, but you can bash the two figures together ... ... like this: Nice. The Tower It's really hard to demonstrate in these photos, but this is a tall building. At 73cm from base to tip, it's the tallest LEGO structure I've ever built (not counting contributions to multi-coloured monoliths at LEGO roadshows when I was little, or an ugly thing I made as part of a team-building exercise at work ). There's some beautiful detailing on the structure, which we'll look at in due course. The basic construction of the tower - four pillars of black rock moulded together and tapering towards the peak with its four spines - is rendered faithfully, though obviously scaled down ... Click each frame for a larger view ... and of course the fourth pillar is missing, to allow the detailed interior to be visible. Now we'll take a look at the exterior, layer by layer, starting at the base: The black is highly reflective. Apparently Saruman lives in Heartlake next to the school. It's also a dust-magnet. I love the way the spines of rock at the base have been recreated with the long black bows, and the tall staircase leading up to the arched entranceway is simply magnificent. To see how the stairs are attached at 45 degrees, click here. Obviously, the number of spines, and the width of the staircase have been reduced to match the scale. Here's what the base should look like: The many 1x1 bricks with vertcal handle, and the 1x2 cheese wedges above, add further realism; compare here. Moving up, the next layer includes lots of little windows, made with 1x3 arches mounted on jumper plates at a half-stud offset. These are rather fiddly to build, but the result is great. Here also is Saruman's balcony, from which he surveys the building of his army and the wanton destruction of his own garden. Again, the detail is reproduced as faithfully as possible given the scale: Click for an alternative shot of this level Those rubbery tooth-pieces are perfect facsimiles of the spines higher up; 1x2 bricks with grooves are used to mimic the vertical spines above the windows. Higher still, we encounter some tall windows made with 6L bars set vertically under Elven arches. Sorry about the dust. You'll notice that the tower tapers in stages, produced by slope bricks at various intervals; the effect is rather more sudden than I'd like, but I think it is forgiveable. Bear in mind that - at minifigure scale - the tower would have to be about three and a half metres tall for the top to be the equivalent of 'five hundred feet about the plain'. I don't know about you, but we don't have room for that in our house. Approaching the summit, some three-brick tall slopes help to taper the tower more gently, and we find more of the tooth-pieces - again accurate to the real tower. I was a little perturbed by the dark bluish-grey stripes which indicate the floors at various levels; however, if you compare to this distant shot, there do appear to be lighter stripes at various levels. This may be a trick of the light, but it excuses the DBG to some extent. There's a notable anomaly in the open-backed construction of the tower: the side pillars are wider than they should be. This is to allow more depth to the interior. I'd like to see someone build a 'complete' tower, which you could probably do with two of these sets (and probably make it a little taller, too. ) Edit: Someone has! See Missing Brick's back wall here. Finally, Gandalf gets imprisoned at the summit platform: I absolutely adore the four SNOT-mounted spines here, with their 'serrated' lower edges. You can just about see these details in this shot. They are attached with an interesting technique: two 1-wide 'male' clicky-hinges on the spines marry to two 2-wide 'female' ones on the central column. This produces both a sturdy connection and a half-stud offset, centering the spines nicely. The Interior Now we get to see inside the great tower, starting with Gandalf's arrival to visit his master Saruman, before his betrayal was revealed. Inside the entrance hall, we find some stickered flags representing drapes emblazoned with the White Hand of Saruman; there's a little statue formed of a plain LEGO Games figure, and some Classic Castle axes in pearl dark grey. The dark blue tile on the floor has a sticker with a diminutive version of this pattern - fantastic attention to detail, even if the result is a little smaller than the real thing, and should really be in the throne room rather than here. This is the best place for Gandalf and Saruman to fight with sticks. Remember the chandelier; it's important. Note also the grooved round brick facing the camera ... ... this controls a trap door ... ... which opens as Gandalf faceplants onto the floor ... ... and drops him into the dungeon. Exactly how it happened in the movie. Ahem. Inside the dungeon hide some stickered Wargs, some creepy eyes, a ball and chain and some bones. Gandalf looks annoyed, probably because he's fallen into a Plot Hole. The box art has Saruman throwing an Orc into the dungeon instead. Moving up, the next room is the Throne Room, containing an ornate throne and the Palantír - one of the Seeing Stones of Númenor, and the source of Saruman's betrayal as he gazed too far and was ensared by the Eye of Mordor. Here Gríma has joined Saruman, to witness the Palantír in use. Pushing up on the chandelier below ... ... activates the Light Brick ... ... and the Palantír glows! But only if you orientate it with the green side down. It's a pity you can't lock the light on - it requires constant finger pressure to keep it lit - but I guess it saves on battery life. An alternative view of this room shows off the bookcases, formed from SNOT-mounted plates and tiles, with a loose stickered 'parchment' tile; there are also colured phials of arcane liquids. The two tall 'lamps' with yellow globes represent these (seen unlit also in the previuous linked picture). Identical lamps are found in the related set 79005 Wizard Battle, which as I've already said is a significantly cheaper alternative for people who want a Saruman figure. I guess the room above is the 'Alchemy Room' - it's where Saruman Builds the Bomb. Gríma is actually meant to be in this scene, though he's looking a little self-conscious. The bomb is mounted on a platform which rotates forward via a little gear (hidden behind Saruman here). Saruman is standing on a 2x2 jumper tile which normally holds the bomb 'lid'. Here we can see the wonderful, tall, arched and barred windows from the inside. More jars and bottles line the shelves; the torches are - wisely - unlit. Floor five is a little chamber with more bookcases, and a couple of large stickered books which may be grimoires, and skulls for arcane value. Pictures of five wizards line the walls, and might indicate that this room is a wizardly council chamber - though you'd be hard pressed to squeeze more than two wizards in here. Saruman, as head of the order, takes pride of place in the centre ... ... while on his left is Radagast the Brown. Radagast plays a significant role in the LOTR novels, but is all but ignored in the films; he is mentioned but once in The Hobbit book, but is cast in the movie: see his image here. The stickered image is a good representation. Two other wizards form part of the Order, but are not named in either the LOTR or Hobbit books; they should both be Blue, but this one is - apparently - also Grey. Note the stickered map on the wall. [Edit - I just watched the first Hobbit movie. There's a lovely in-joke, where Gandalf cannot remember the names of the other two Blue wizards. ] On the right is Gandalf the Grey, and another wizard, this one also Brown. At least the numbers are correct! Another bookcase is found here. On the ceiling is a little trans-clear inverted dome, mounted on a turntable - we'll see what it is for shortly. The sixth and final floor is Saruman's Secret Chamber. In it, his true allegiance to the Eye of Morder is revealed, and he keeps some Uruk armour as mementoes, it seems, along with spare staves. The helmet rests on a trans-clear minifigure head with a round 1x1 tile, also trans-clear. The Keys of Orthanc hang on the wall: the one on the left has some ugly plastic flashing attached, which I'm sure wouldn't have passed quality control in Billund, so probably originates elsewhere. The Secret Room is accessed via a trap door with a folding ladder. Rotating the turntable on the ceiling of the room below allows the trap door to open, and the ladder unfolds. It's a little tight on space, but can be done without removing walls. This is the only means of climbing from one floor to another in the whole tower - save for the entrance staircase. Perhaps the main tower staircase is in the missing fourth wall? Comparison I've saved this move still till now, as it best sums up the entire set: Orcs try to topple and Ent with a rope and grappling hook, with the best exterior shot of the tower in the background. This is also the only decent shot I could find of the tall barred windows of the Bomb Room. Compare the tower again to here. Conclusion Click for a larger image Orthanc features prominently in two parts of the movie trilogy: the encounter between Saruman and Gandalf, in which Gandalf is imprisoned on the summit until rescued by Gwaihir the Eagle; and the destruction of Isengard by the Ents. This set attempts to recreate both scenes, while also allowing for Bomb-building scene with Gríma, and for Saruman to survey his 'army' of Uruk-Hai - if you've managed to collect a significant proportion of the ten thousand figures you'd need! In addition, there are some added extras not in the movies, in the form of the dungeon, the Council Chamber, and the Secret Room, all produced with remarkable detail for such small spaces. The Tower itself is a brave production. There is no way the five-hundred foot tower could be recreated accurately in LEGO bricks at a scale compatible with the rest of the range, and at an affordable price. The result is a necessary compromise - it looks a little squat from certain angles, and tapers perhaps too suddenly, but I hope you'll agree that the outcome is still remarkable - for its detail, its beauty, and its size. And that's just the outside. Inside are six floors of detailed interior, recreating several important scenes from the movies, and packed with little features making the model both a great play-set and a wonderful display and talking-point. TLG have been a little stingy with the figures - I'd have thought that Merry and Pippin could have been included to sit on the Ent; or, failing that, at least another Orc and Uruk, but we do get the one and only Ent figure yet released, in addition to the lovely Eagle mold. All in all, I'm delighted with the set. It's far more impressive in the flesh than even the box art or press-release pictures suggest; of my pictures, only the final 'Conclusion' photo really does justice to its size. It's also a great source of black parts, at a reasonable price-to-part ratio; however, I think I'll keep this built. If I can find a shelf to put it on! Design & Build 9 There's some fantastic attention to detail in the architectural features of the Tower, and a remarkable number of features crammed into the interior. Building the tower is interesting, with plenty of SNOT techniques and offsets used to reproduce the tower's design as faithfully as possible; there is by necessity a little repetition but far less than you might expect. And the result is well worth the effort. Parts 8 If you're after rare or new parts, you might be disappointed, but the set is probably the best source of useful black pieces that I have ever seen. I will never complain about basic bricks in useful colours, and the quantity of headlights and jumper plates is awesome. There's also surprisingly little multi-coloured filler. Figures 8 Gríma is the only unique figure. Saruman could have been a big selling-point had TLG not decided to release him in an entry-level set; he does come with a unique skirt in this set. Coupled with the Black Gate set, Gwaihir will allow the building of a little Eagle Army; the Ent figure is brick-built (and could perhaps be cobbled together from spare parts), but this is the only Ent yet available in the whole LEGO LOTR range. Play and Display 9 Bearing the 14+ age guide, this is an adult-orientated set, but nevertheless includes quite a range of play features, whether it be recreating movie scenes or bashing orcs with the Ent. Mostly, though, Orthanc makes a superb centre-piece for your LOTR display - though it will tend to dwarf the other sets. Value 9 $200 or £170 might be a little outside many people's budget, but for just under 2400 pieces - and useful ones - this actually represents good value. Add to that the enjoyable building experience, and the magnificent result, and I think that the set is well-worth the money. Overall 86% My Score 9/10 This monster is a joy to build and to own. A must for any die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, and a great set for any LEGO Collector. Orthanc you for reading. Please leave a comment! Rufus Acknowledgements All movie scenes © New Line Cinema EB Staff for assistance - especially Rick, Pandora, and ISC. And Hinckley for encouraging 'schnell'. Resources Orthanc at Tolkien Gateway Orthanc at LOTR Wiki LEGO LOTR Page LOTR on Shop@Home My flickr set Endpiece Treebeard forgets which movie he is supposed to be in If you like my reviews, and would like to learn how it's done, please consider joining the Reviewers Academy
  8. Redhead1982

    REVIEW 41033 Jungle Falls Rescue

    ''Help a baby tiger in trouble at the LEGO® Friends Jungle Falls Rescue with Olivia mini-doll figure, cliff hut, dam function and caves.'' But... ...did the TLG get the right story? If you're interested, scroll down (and read the review) to find out. Basic info of the set Set no.: 41033 Name: Jungle Falls Rescue Theme: Friends Subtheme: Jungle Year: 2014 Pieces: 183 Minifigs: 1 (plus a tiger and a chameleon) Age group: 6 - 12 Price: £ 17.99 / US$ 19.99 / EUR 19.99 Price per part: 9.831p / 10.923 c / 10.923 c Links: Brickset, Bricklink, LEGO S@H The box The front of the box is (as always) in bright Friendly colours, with the main five characters on the top right corner as opposed to the main set's character, in this case Olivia, in the bottom right corner. The sides of the box are typically curved, as seen in larger sets from the Friends series. The landscaping on the box art is tropical and acts as a nice background for the set. Interestingly, there are many features that set the box(es) in the Jungle subtheme appart from the classic ''Town'' Friends. The five characters are dressed in tops seen in the Jungle subtheme, the box art is framed with bamboo and tropical flowers. I also noticed that the set as shown on the front of the box differs slightly from the set as seen in the instruction booklet. Can you spot the differences? The back of the box reveals other aspects of the set, most importantly the playability of the set. The Friends theme is aimed at female population, young and less young girls like me, and playability is an important factor. Individual play set-ups are framed with a bamboo pattern. There's a mechanism that allows sliding the waterfall panel to the side, Olivia saving the baby tiger, exploring the cave in the rocks and giving him a treat. In addition, Olivia can enjoy a meal with her chameleon. Same as seen at the front of the box, the most obvious box art are the bamboo and tropical flowers, clearly distinguishing the Jungle subtheme. The same jungle box art is seen on the sides of the box and it looks really nice. Of course, the mandatory hearts, butterflies and dog paws are seen in subtle print. The top of the box has a bamboo framed picture of Olivia as a measure of scale. The tropical flower pattern nicely rounds up the top of the box. I'm only missing the butterflies here. The booklet The front art design is repeated on the front page of the booklet instruction. It's slightly bend on the left side as a result of bags of bricks being pushed against it. Luckily, the instructions were not damaged. I know it's just a small set, but having more protection for the instruction booklets would be nice. On the inside, the booklet is as neat as ever. The background is in lavender, again a typical Friends colour. Building steps are simple, with not many bricks to add in each step. What I liked specifically, in some steps, such as step 18, there are red arrows emphasizing the right placement of some bricks, where it's a bit hard to see. This is a nice addition, not so much for the experienced builders, but for the beginners. The odd pages differ from the even pages in that they have a small heart and butterfly design in bottom right corner. Again, this kind of watermarks is typical for Friends. Although, it's not a necessary one, it became a traditional, and the page would look a bit empty without it. A positive surprise in the instruction booklet was the promotional page for the Jungle subtheme sets. Apart from the pictures of all 4 sets, there's a lovely presentation on how to combine those sets into one larger setup. Although it's more of a MOD, I see this feature as a promotion for MOCing. It also shows nicely how the TLG planned the individual sets to allow for combining them together. The pieces Inside the box, there are two numbered bags of similar size, a 16x16 plate in medium azure, a sticker sheet and two lime plant vines with leaves. Medium azure plate of this size is available in only 4 sets of the Friends and Disney Princess themes. Since the standard base plates in blue are not available any more, this medium azure plate can be considered as its substitute to create water. The lime plant vines are the highlight of this set - they're a new mold and one of them is an extra part! They're flexible, and can be placed in different positions. Sticker sheet is included, but again it could easily be avoided. While it does make some of the rocks slightly more interesting with the printed flowers, the set would be just as nice without it. I have two copies of this set, and chose to use the stickers only in this one for the presentation purpose. In general, I like the flower designs, but I'd rather see more plants and flowers included. The build starts with the bag no. 1. The parts found in this bag form the base of the rocks and the waterfall. Here, the torso and legs for Olivia are found, but I forgot to include them on these photos (they're discussed in more detail later on). The parts to point out include the dark bluish grey rock panels and the trans-light blue waterfall panel. The latter is actually quite rare, it's included in 3 sets only. These are my first parts of the kind, and although I'd prefer smaller parts for the rocks, in the end, these do their job just fine. Most parts are in light and dark bluish grey, and from the colours seen on the picture I'd never guess this is a Friends set (where's the pink?). Inside the bag no. 1, there's a smaller bag with the smaller parts. These parts are more colourful, and surprisingly there's only 3 parts in pink - again, is this a set aimed at girls? Yes, it is! My favourite parts here are the trans-light blue ones, they complement the waterfall nicely, and I only wish that more of them were included in the set. The 1x1 bricks were re-introduced in 2014 after a 12-year gap. The other interesting parts are the 1x1 round bricks in dark orange, appearing in 5 sets, but only 2 of these sets are currently available at the stores. Bag no. 2 contains slightly more colourful parts, but again, there's not as much pink as I'd expect from my experience with the Friends series, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The dark pink plate is the only part in a girly colour. The interesting parts here are the lime palm trees which were introduced in many sets in the last two years, two inverted tan tiles and the chameleon in bright green with medium lavender pattern. Inside the bag no. 2, there's another polybag with smaller parts. There were only a few. The most interesting (and anticipated in my collection) were the 1x1 round bricks in dark orange (there's a total of 6 in the set). Other parts are not that excited, apart from the round tiles - they are the new types with a bottom stud holder. The best parts in this set are the the panels for the rocks and waterfall. I might be too excited over those, but these are the first ones in my collection, and I'm looking forward using them in future MOCs. Also, the trans-light blue bricks and tiles are interesting and useful parts to build various water features. In addition, there are the newer molds, the 1x1x3 brick, the round tile with bottom stud holder and one with a hole in the middle. The dark orange 1x1 round bricks are welcomed too, as they allow for more variations of bark colour when making trees, and the highlight for me is the new plant vine. Did I mention you get two and one of them is an extra? Chameleon with the lavender pattern is also a new (recoloured) LEGO species. The extra parts are the usual small bricks that could get easily lost. As mentioned before, there's an extra plant vine. I won't complain about that one. I was positively surprised to see one, but I wonder why it was included as an extra part. Is it possible it breaks more easily when under stress? Never the less, it's a great part to have as extra! The minifig Olivia is the main and only character in this set. Her outfit is a uniform of the Red Cross Friends Jungle team. The dark pink printed scarf is a lovely addition to add more feminine touch to the uniform. Her hair has holes for hair assessories, but there are none included in the set. If I could choose, I'd go for some type of large pinkish tropical flower as seen on the box art. Well, I guess Olivia knows better than to pick wild jungle flowers just to put them in her hair. I didn't include the parts of Oliva in the parts section, so here they are. We all know the Friends anatomy, so there's nothing new here. Everyone would look so thin with an empty stomach, right? In addition to Olivia, two animals are included in this set. The baby tiger is the first one presented in the set. It's the same type as in the Friends Animals series 4, Tiger's Beautiful Temple. It has a nice back printing. I only wish the dark brown pattern would be printed also on the sides of the torso. It has cute written all over him/her. Beware if you have a soft spot for blue eyed kitties! The tiger has the main role in this set, as Olivia seems to be rescueing him/her from the waters in the waterfall lagune. The tiger is placed on this simple raft, that could be easily thought of as a drift wood. What I like about it, is that the underside of the 2x4 plate has inverted tiles attached to it. This way, the raft moves more rapidly over the studded water surface. The other animal in this set is the chameleon. It's a new LEGO species that was introduced in the 2014. One of them is Pascal, the chameleon from the Rapunzel's Creativity Tower. Chameleon in this set differs from Pascal in two ways, both obvious. He/she doesn't have a name, and he/she has a more realistic chameleon-like pattern. It comes in bright green with a medium lavender pattern. Since I own two copies of this set, I thought to compare the lavender pattern, and it's actually different. For me, this is really great, as it's easier to distinguish between them in case you name them. The build The set is targeted at girls from 6-12 years old, and it's basically an intermediate build. There are some more complex aspects of the set, where you need to be careful when placing parts in the correct positions. Contrary to some other Friends sets, where smaller subsets are included, the Jungle Falls Rescue is a one build set. The building process is divided into two parts as already indicated by the two numbered bags. It's starts with forming a base for the rocky landscape or the cliff, as TLG described it. The tiles seen here are where the waterfall slides into the cave, and the black jumper tile is where the crystal stone can be found. What I found interesting at this step, is that the stickers were applied to parts which are not visible from the front. This is why I think the sticker sheet could be easily omitted from the set. However, in a way it feels nice to have some details included also at the back side. At the end of the day, each builder gets to decide for him/herself whether to apply the stickers. As for me, I applied them in one set only. Few steps on, part of the mechanism for sliding the waterfall is built using Technic gears. Also, the first rock panel part is included and it's decorated with a stickered butterfly. My least favourite parts, the 1 x something x 5 bricks are included here, and although I'd prefer smaller bricks, I have to admit these parts are efficient when trying to gain some height. So far, all the building was on the baseplate. The next step is building the highly anticipated waterfall. While having a completely brick built waterfall would be amazing, I'm liking this panel-built version just as much, although it's more simple and less realistic. The trans-light blue colour of the panel with a rocky pattern works great as a water feature. Different views of this minibuild show part of the sliding mechanism. Another panel is included here, and I can not blame the TLG for using a panel instead of bricks. This is a part that's not visible in the completely build set. The LBG gear rack connects to the gear and allows movement. The waterfall is then placed on the tiles, and its only connection to the rest of the structure is by gears. The only thing I'd change here is the base of the waterfall. Instead of white plates, I'd go for blue or even trans-blue plates, and then use white, trans-clear and trans-blue 1x1 round plates for the splashing water at the bottom of the waterfall. . A view from the back shows how the gear rack connects to the gear. It looks simple, but I have to admit, I wouldn't think of such mechanism. Well, I'm one of those AFOLs who think Technic bricks are too complicated to use correctly. Here you can see that a medium azure tile was used as the top of the waterfall and it looks much better than the white plates at the bottom. My favourite choice here would be a trans-light blue tile, but you can't have it all. The right part of the sliding waterfall is nicely hidden by a LURP with addition of some slopes and dark orange bricks. Considering the size of the build, this large element fits just fine. To me, it even seems as if the set planning was based on this part, and then build around it. The only thing missing here is some more greenery. More details were added to the water. The LBG tiles look great as stones, and the trans-light blue tile at the bottom of the waterfall creates an effect of splashing water. I would add more of them, though. When opening bag no. 2, another interesting minibuild pops up. It's the handle for the sliding mechanism and is camouflaged as a dam. It has a gear rack on the later hidden side, and dark orange and reddish brown bricks and plates on the visible side. The handle is very colourful, and I really wonder why TLG uses these colourful parts in hidden places. In the end, only the parts above the 1x8 reddish brown plate are visible, so the use of yellow and blue bricks is not a big problem. With the above handle in place, the waterfall can already slide to the right. Here's a view from the back side, showing an ''open'' waterfall. At this point the mechanism doesn't run very smoothly, but this gets better after addition of extra bricks, that help keep the handle in place. Ok, I admit I had to try sliding the waterfall as soon as the handle was added, and I had much fun doing that. It's a great feature, and adds so much to the playability of the set. A view of the sliding mechanism from the top. The yellow handle is used to slide the gear rack to the waterfall slide, and by moving the gear in the middle, it moves also the waterfall part, thus opening the entrance to the caves bellow. I like that the TLG camouflaged this sliding mechanism as a dam, but I'd prefer to have the yellow handle in brown or at least green. It wouldn't stick out so much. Also visible from the point of view is the crystal rock hidden in the cave behind the waterfall. A few steps on, little chairs are added to the top of the rocks to form the platform for Olivia's observation point. At this point, more greenery is included, and the rocks look much better already. The new plant type extends from the top of the rocks to the bottom right. It's attached with clips, and its flexibility allows for different positions. Considering there's an extra plant vine in the set, it could well enough be used in the building of the set. There's no such thing as too much plants, right? The little table at Olivia's observation top is built very simply. It's a combination of lime and reddish brown parts which gives it a more natural look. Colour-wise it fits nicely in the little hut at the top of the rocks. The most interesting part here is the stickered 2x2 tan round tile. My first though was that it's a pizza, but I'm not sure who would order a tropical pizza with kiwi fruits, so I'm guessing it's a fruit pie. As for the yellow spots and pink sauce, I have no idea what could it be. Maybe some sliced bananas and berries. The table is then placed at the platform at the top of the rocks, under the shadow of the palm tree roof. From this front view, it's not so obvious, but the table is not completely covered by the roof. I'm guessing it doesn't rain in the jungle or Olivia is not watching out for little tigers when it does rain. The building of the set is finished here. The size of the build surprised me nicely, as I didn't expect it to be this big. After all, there's only 179 parts in the set. This number would be higher, though, if bricks and slopes would be used instead of the large panels. To increase the parts number, more plants could be included. Bamboo leaves would fill the gaps bellow the tan plate really nicely. The finished product After 42 building steps, the set is finished. The finished cliff looks great from three angles, that is the front and both sides. From the left, the rock panel is nicely decorated with the butterfly sticker. It makes it more interesting, but I'd prefer to see more plants instead of stickers. Also, the yellow handle is well hidden from this side, and the transparent waterfall panel creates a nice effect. As it is not as clear to see through as from the front view, it looks more realistic to me. From the right side, the cliff is partially opened to allow easy access. The stickered flowers add more detail here as well, but as I said before, I'd prefer real flowers. My first thought would be to add a couple of those bionicle spines hanging from the top, and it would make the set even cooler. Also, more plants could be used to camouflage the rocks and the steps to the top of the cliff. A view from the back reveals a cave behind the waterfall and the hidden crystal rock. The cave is a nice feature in this set. At first it may look that it's just an empty space beneath the cliff, but it's much more. The hidden crystal is there waiting to be found, and in addition, the (stickered) flowers are a proof of life in the cave, so there's obviously lots to explore. The access to the cave from the back is relatively easy also for the adult fingers. Another interesting feature is that the access to the cave is revealed by stopping the water flow. The dam function stops the water, and as the waterfall dries out, Olivia can set to explore the cave beneath the cliff. I really like that on one side you can have a tea party at the hut, chat with your girlfriends, and on the other, you can have an adventurous afternoon by exploring the cave beneath the cliff. Olivia climbed down from her retreat, and is debatting whether to call for help or go in the water with the life preserver to save the baby tiger. The tiger is floating on a drift wood in the middle of the lagune under the waterfall. The inverted tiles on the bottom side of the brown plate really allow for smooth surfing. When the baby tiger is safely out from the water, Olivia can return back to her hut on the rocks, and enjoy the kiwi pie. As seen on the box art, the chameleon can join her at the table, but I'm not sure if he can use the cups. Maybe the baby tiger can use them. Anyway, it's nice to have an extra cup included, so Olivia doesn't fell all alone in the jungle. Additional play features were explained in the text above, here I just want to emphasize them again. Apart from the surfing tiger, Olivia climbing up and down the rocks, the dam can stop the water and reveals the entrance to the underground world with hidden treasures, so Olivia can explore the cave. Considering the size and the price of the set, there really is a lot to offer. The Final Verdict Design: 9/10 The overall design is great, but there is still room for improvement. Considering the target population of 6-12 year olds, the build is simple and well done. I'm only missing more plants here. Considering that trees in official sets often have just a couple of leaves, I know I shouldn't complain here. After all, there's an extra plant included. There some rare and interesting parts included in the set, adding more value. I was surprised with the colour scheme, as there's hardly any pink. While being a small set, with not a large number of parts included, it offers a lot. Parts: 10/10 The parts in the set are a nice selection of various bits and pieces in interesting and very usefull colours. There are some new and rare parts included, and that makes the set also nice as a parts pack. The interesting parts are the new lime plant vines (there's 2! ), the panels for the rocks and the trans-light blue parts for the waterfall. The parts selection is very useful for various MOCs, and for me that was the reason to get an extra copy of the set. Build: 8/10 It's a simple and straight forward build approriate for beginners, but also with some elements for the more advanced builders. I was excited to see the dam mechanism. It's a lovely play feature. I missed some extra plants here, but that can be easily added, as probably everyone has some extra greenery. Considered it's targeted at girls, there's a lot of building, and not many mini builds, as in some other Friends sets. It also has a potential to modify it and make it larger. Playability: 10/10 Playability is the most important feature of this set. There's enough action for everyone, boys and girls, and adults. There are moveable features, such as the dam and the surfing tiger, the hut to enjoy a meal, a cave to explore and baby tiger to take care of. Minifigs: 8/10 Olivia wears a Jungle uniform. Her top is a new design, while the skirt isn't. This is probably one of the few minidols without hair accessories, and she looks good that way. Well, I wouldn't mind some tropical flower pinned in her hair. Price: 9/10 It's a small set, but it offers enough interesting bricks for the price. The price per part is a bit high in this price range, as there's sligthly less parts included due to some of the panels. I mentioned there are some rare and new parts included, and these justify the price per part. I was nicely surprised with the selection of very useful bricks, and I have to admit I got two copies of the set for both the parts and playability, and considering the price, it was a great deal. Overall: 55/60 (90%) The overall score implies, this is a set worth having. It's an interesting design, appropriate for the beginners, it has a great selection of parts to attract AFOL, and it offers a lot of playability. Considering its price, this is a set that should attract different demographic groups of LEGO users, and still meet their various needs. So, did the TLG get the right story? I think the baby tiger was after an adrenaline-pumping ride at the waterfalls, and Olivia missinterpreted his intentions. But that's just my story, you can make your own....
  9. Apologies to Nuukeer whose artwork I have mutilated for the background. Thirteen years ago, The LEGO Group amazed everyone by releasing a Star Wars set that was clearly aimed solely at adults. 7191 X-Wing Fighter was a large-scale, accurate representation of the iconic X-Wing, and introduced to the unsuspecting world the concept of Ultimate Collector Series models - large, complicated builds, with interesting techniques and (often) parts, all with oodles of AFOL appeal. The original 7191 - with its sister 7181 Tie Interceptor - might have been seen as an experiment; years have passed, and the UCS title has (officially) disappeared, but it appears the experiment was a success and the concept lives on. Since then, we've seen most of the more famous SW vehicles released in UCS format, but it has been a long time since an X-Wing has been available at this scale without resorting to extortionate aftermarket prices. If you missed the first one, you need fret no longer: there's a new, updated version. I'm therefore proud to present a Eurobricks early review of 10240 Red Five X-Wing Starfighter. Obviously we are keen to see how the new set shapes up, but I'll also concentrate on how she compares to her thirteen-year-old ancestor: to see if owners of the original 7191 might be tempted to shell out for the new version. In honour of this occasion, I've made a new, detailed review of the older one: read 7191 UCS X-Wing Fighter here. 7191 was a great set, but it had a few flaws. The principal ones are these: the wing attachments were weak, and there were a large numbers of STickers Across Multiple Pieces (STAMPs). Let's see how the new one deal with these issues, and also if newly-available parts have improved the overall shape. A huge thank you once again to The LEGO Group for providing this set for early review! Review: 10240 Red Five X-Wing Starfighter Set Information Name: Red Five X-Wing Starfighter Number: 10240 Theme: Star Wars Original Trilogy / Exlusives / Hard to Find Release: 3 May 2013 Parts: 1558 (Press release) 1559 (Shop@Home) Figures: 1 Price: GB £169.99 | US $199.99 | EUR 199.99 (Ger) | AU $279.99 | CA $249.99 | DKK 1699.00 Links ... LEGO Press Release ... Shop@Home ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron The Box Click the picture for a larger full-frontal image The 2013 Star Wars box art has a smart, attractive green tinge to the banner, matching action-Yoda's lightsaber. Recent years have seen a uniform banner for all Star WarsTM merchandise - LEGO or otherwise; it doesn't necessarily match the model in question. Action-Yoda appears only in the prequel episodes II and III; the X-Wing is very much an Original Trilogy set. Moreover, Luke's Red Five X-Wing doesn't go anywhere near the Death Star II pictured in the background; as I recall, we don't see her after Bespin in The Empire Strikes back. Questionable canon aside, I like the picture: the ship stands out nicely against the dramatic backdrop. The size of the banner (or perhaps of the box) has, however, necessitated the loss of the lower starboard laser to box oblivion. A small inset - also picked out tastefully in green - gives us an idea of the final size of the model. Around the back, we are treated to the X-Wing in display mode, replete with stand and diminutinve R2-D2, on what might possibly be a Bespin landing platform. Click the picture for a larger image Insets show the ship in her most famous role - dodging laser fire in the Death Star trench - and remind us how Luke's Red Five was responsible for the DS's destruction via physics-defying torpedoes. Further insets demonstrate the opening cockpit and wings, and small images show the ship in 'flight mode', with wings closed. The overall effect is neat but a little fussy: I'm not keen on the step between the main image border and the 'torpedo' inset, which exists only to accommodate the set number. Both sides are identical, with the exception of the 'LEGO Club' logo on the right-hand side; I wonder how necessary this is on an adult-orientated set, but I guess AFOLs have a reasonable chance of having KFOL kids! You may be pleased to see that the box opens via flaps, with no box-destruction required, and allowing easy storage for a highly collectable set. Scale is provided on the box top by the image of '1:1' R2-D2, but as he is rather lost in the model itself, the X-Wing's size information is repeated here: The bottom teaches us to say 'Small Parts' in innumerable languages, which I suppose might be useful. I was a little surprised by how big the box isn't: Measuring W 578 mm x H 371 mm x D 82 mm, it's roughly the same width as 7191, but some six centimetres shorter and only a centimetre deeper; she feels much smaller, if that makes any sense. The weight is similar: 2255 grammes compared to 7191's 2204, and there are 250 more pieces. Presumably this represents TLG's move to more environmentally-friendly packaging; we'll have to see if the larger part count translates to an 'improved' model. The Instructions You'll be pleased to see that the instructions and stickers are wrapped separately, and cardboard-backed. Three booklets are contained therein: All have the same cover image; book 3's cover is noticeably lower quality. Advertisements for the LEGO Club and the LEGO Star Wars site adorn the rear of two of them; I'll give you one guess what's on the back of the third. The dimensions of the booklet allow for a slightly larger picture of the X-Wing than the box front affords: We therefore haven't lost quite so much of the lower starboard laser. Inside, we are treated to a whole two pages showing the modular construction; the first is shown here: Here we get a little sneak preview of how the wing-opening mechanism will be achieved. I was surprised to see that the stand is built in module 6, rather than at the end as in most UCS sets. The rather bland grey-brown background persists throughout all the instruction steps: Part call-outs and sub-builds are demonstrated clearly; a quick glance suggest there won't be any issues with colour-differentiation; but when I came to build, I did encouter a little difficulty distinguishing between dark tan and light bluish-grey in artificial light. I quickly spotted the error. Insets depicting the set's principal features are repeated from the box back at the end of manual three: Click the picture for a larger image Owners of 7191 will recognise the design of the rear-end knob which opens the wings. Immediately before this is found the set's inventory, spread over three pages; see them here: Page 1, Page 2, and Page 3. The inside rear cover of manual one advertises the extensive Summer 2013 Star Wars range: I was a little disappointed to find out that we've seen all these already. I'm no Clone Wars fan, but I love that Mando Speeder. DSS There are two separate sticker sheets; the smaller sports the complex decals for the cockpit: I was fortunate to receive two of these, so I have a backup for when I screw it up. On the larger sheet are found the display plaque decal, and some detail for the wings, complete with 'battle scars', in addition to a few smaller features. Click the picture for a larger image with correct orientation It is far less complicated than the rather daunting sheet from 7191, though I'm a little disappointed to see that - it seems - the control panel and targeting computer will be stickered. End of Part One Introduction | Parts | Build | Complete Set | Wings Open | 10240 vs 7191 | Conclusion
  10. Masked Builder

    Review: LEGO Ideas #007 Exosuit

    Firstly, a HUGE thank you to LEGO for sending me this wonderful set, and to Eurobricks for letting me do this review. When I first heard this was going to be a set, designed by Mark Stafford no less, I was super excited to see what he would do for us. When the wonderful promo video was posted last week, it looked better than I had hoped. Set Information: Name: Exosuit Set Number: 21109 Pieces: 321 Price: $34.99 Ages: 12+ Minifigs: 2 Theme: LEGO Ideas Year of Release: 2014 Brickset Flickr Set Box: The front of the box has a moon background, along with what appears to be a space base. (Though possibly the space ship where the Exosuit was discovered) It also features the Exosuit logo, and the LEGO Ideas logo. Let me say now that I was surprised at how small the box was. There is very little extra room in this box. The back shows an alternate image for the set as well as the names for the astronauts; Pete and Yve. Along the left hand side, there's a small blurb about how the LEGO Ideas program works. And the 1:1 image is of Pete our first Classic Green Spaceman! Contents: There were four bags in the box, along with two loose pieces. I'm naming this printed tile the "Mark Stafford." I just love the print so much. Can you believe this is my first one??? The new plant bowls are pretty neat too. And here are our extra parts. The number of extra parts surprised me actually. Manual: The front of the manual has the same image as the box. It also shows the sheer number of languages that this manual is printed with. Seriously, it's a lot. And note that this manual is bound nicely like the Architecture theme. The first page goes into detail about the making of the set, this page also shows some classic space sets. The second page has more details about the making of the set as well as Mark and Pete. The next four tell the back story that, I assume, Pete created for the model, accompanied by some lovely pictures. The manual is printed in black and I had no problems with coloring. Every few pages, there is a small picture and some text describing all of the parts that are on the Exosuit. One of the last pages goes much more into detail about the LEGO Ideas process. We have a new WIN! image! I think this minifigure looks much more like an AFOL. Minifigures: Here we have Pete and Yve! They're your typical neo-classic space men. There's really not a whole lot to Class Spacemen. No back print, or double sided heads. The Build: After the minifigures you build the turtle. It's great to see one of Pete's more popular MOCs in a LEGO set. Then the little stand thingy. And lastly you get to the suit! First you build the body Then the legs. And lastly the arms. Then your Exo Suit is complete! Finished Model: And the completed set! I was expecting just the suit, but I won't say no to one of Pete's turtle bots as well as an extra astronaut. The turtle just looks great. Mark threw just enough silver parts in to make it look mechanical. The only problem I have is the guns aren't big enough. I'm not sure what to call this other than a play feature; because that's all it adds to the set. For how simple it is, I think it looks pretty damn good. Front view. Wow, it just looks SO good! The greebling is perfect, the color blocking is good, and Mark did a great job hiding the various Technic/Bionicle parts the make up the joints. Side view. I think this is the worst possible view for this set. You can see all of the connecting bits. And the back. It's obviously not supposed to be viewed from behind, but I think it doesn't actually look too bad. Were you starting to wonder where this was? It's just such a sweet piece and I actually didn't have any before now. Most of the greebeling is here; so here's a close up of the wonderful work Mark did with this. It is very flexible, allowing for wonderful poses like this one. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this guy. Took a little balancing, but I did manage to pose this way too. The hands work quite well, he has no problem holding the barrels. This is the closest thing I have to a LEGO mecha built right now. Wow that Ent is big. Conclusion: Have I mentioned how much I love this set? I can't imagine what else I would add to this to make it better. It's just that good. The greebling is excellent, the pose-ability is great, and it just looks awesome. I think this would make a great discussion pieces on ones desk at work. Great job Mark, Pete, and the LEGO team! I already planning on getting a second. Ratings: Playability: 8/10 For what it is, it's pretty sturdy and I can see a child playing with this. Design: 7/10 I took a few points off here because it isn't exactly like Pete's original model, but it's still great. Price: 10/10 $35 seems perfect for this set. Minifigures: 9/10 I am just in love with the Green Classic Spacemen. Parts: 8/10 This set not only gives you a great main model, but it's an excellent parts pack too. Total: 42/50 "When is it my turn?!" Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy!
  11. Brickington

    Review: 21013 Big Ben

    This is my first review ever and I hope all of you enjoy it! Big Ben is one of history's most recognized landmark in the World. And now, it's in a LEGO set. Now you don't have to go all the way to London, England to feel the majesty elegance of Big Ben! The LEGO Big Ben set is full of detail and will put you in all at every brick you place on the set. This build is a must get for those interested in the LEGO Architecture series and/or detailed LEGO sets. Basic Information: Set Name: Big Ben Set Number: 21013 Number of Pieces: 346 Price: $29.99 USD / 29.99 Euro Theme: Architecture (Landmark Series) Year Released: 2012 Resources: Brickset LEGO Shop@Home BrickLink The Review: The Box The Front: The typical LEGO Architecture box. I am starting to love the design of it. It is modern, simple, and just lovely. Side: Another typical Architecture set picture. However, I always love seeing these sets in this view. The one thing I do not like is the tape on the top of the box. Back: The back of the box just shows an overview of this set and facts of Big Ben. The back also shows us that this set is 7.7in. tall. Instructions Front: Here's another typical Lego Architecture picture. Just a simple photo, nothing to it. In the instructions there are quite a few pages about the history of the actual Big Ben. These little pages are quite informative and interesting. Also, throughout the instructions you will notice random little clips of the history of this great landmark. Overall, the actual build instructions were pretty easy to follow, in a very step-by-step way. However, I can see a a child having a little difficulty building this alone, due to the type of techniques that are used. But a piece of cake for your average AFOL. Back: Just a nice little picture of this set. Contents: Mostly contains tan pieces. Which isn't a bad thing, is it? I personally like all of the tan pieces. Printed Pieces: ​ Now here is the printed pieces. You have the usual name of the set, obviously here it is Big Ben. And there is the four clock pieces. I think that they are quite ugly. The Big Ben Build The Base: And I present to you the base of Big Ben (in LEGO version at least)! Here there is just some (LEGO) green grass and some (LEGO) concrete. And then of course, the Big Ben title. Stage 1: Just a bird's eye view of the first part of this build. Pretty simple. Stage 1 (with roof): Pretty picture, but as far as the build goes, pretty plain. 1x1 Pieces: For some reason, these 1x1 pieces have always intrigued me. Probably because these 1x1 are quite useful, but it takes a difficult technique to use them. Stage 2: Here's stage 2. It looks like the exact same build as stage 1, but as you will notice in the next picture, you can't always judge a book by it's cover. Also, here's where you can see the ingenuity of the LEGO designers. I never thought of using those 2x1's as windows. Amazing work. Stage 2 (top view): Do you see? Not the same as stage 1, is it? I think TLG did a good job here. The LEGO Big Ben set is a good example of a SNOT technique in the windows. You can see that in this photo. Roof: And now you have the roof. I believe TLG has remarkable job here. It looks very good with the rest of the set. The double-slooped roof pieces are attached to a half-stud offset. TLG had some ingenuity with this part of the build. First Part of the Tower: I like to consider this as the first part of the tower. Three more copies of this piece will be made after this. I like the use of the pieces and simplicity of this part. Clock Stage: Here's clock tower piece, without the clocks. All I can think is "Man is this such a great set!" You are building with the great SNOT technique and just the ingenuity of the window pieces. This set is instantly recognized in a room. Start of the Steeple: Here's the base of the Steeple. Steeple Stage 2: Another simple picture of the Steeple build. Steeple: And the steeple in all it's glory! Simple, yet majestic. Steeple with the set: A picture of the steeple with the set. The Instructions say to put the clocks on after this, so that's what I did. Pictures of the Final Product Full View: ​ * drum-roll* And we are finally done! I just wanted to show you some pictures that show you the true beauty of this set. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Bottom View: I love this image. It shows how talents the LEGO designers are at using simple LEGO bricks and making them into masterpieces. Tower View: Another view of this awesome set. Clock View: The actual (LEGO) clock in all of it's glory (well sorta). Here is where the complaining starts. I think TLG could have made a way better clock, after all it's printed in the first place. Back View: I love this view. I'll just let the picture speak for themselves. Real Big Ben Photo: I just wanted to post a picture of the actual building for everyone to compare to set to the real Big Ben. I believe the LEGO Big Ben set greatly represents the actual building. As I said above, it is instantly recognized in a room. I'll like to thankHoteles Y Alojamiento for the photo. Totals: Design: 10/10 The LEGO Architecture sets never seize to amaze me. I love the design of Big Ben. The designers did good here. The way LEGO made simple bricks into this, is just incredible. Thus, this set should be no more than 10 out of 10 in design. Parts: 8/10 Personally there are not really any rare parts. However, there is numerous of tan bricks. Which is a great plus. But besides that, not really any great pieces, as I said. Build: 10/10 Big Ben is one of those perfect builds. It is not a hard build, but just a little challenging were it is fun to build. Another 10 out of 10. Price: 7/10 At $30, this is a pretty good buy, but not great. At 7 cents per brick, not bad.However, I think this set could cheaper. I believe this set could easily be five to ten dollars/ euros cheaper. Overall: 35/ 40 Overall, this is a very good set. I enjoyed every single brick I put on this amazing set. I think everyone should go out and buy this set, and have as much fun as I had building it. This is such a great build and there is not enough words to describe how great this set is.
  12. Redhead1982

    REVIEW 41026 Sunshine Harvest

    It's autumn, when the leaves turn various shades of red, yellow and brown, and when it's time to harvest fresh fruits and store them for the cold winter months. Olivia is offering some fresh fruits and homemade jams at her stand, but she could use an extra hand picking up those tasty red apples. Why don't you join her? Basic info of the set Set no.: 41026 Name: Sunshine Harvest Theme: Friends Year: 2014 Pieces: 233 Minifigs: 1 (and a dog) Age group: 6 - 12 Price: £ 17.99 / US$ 19.99 / EUR 19.99 Price per part: 7.721p / 8.579c / 8.579c Links: Brickset, Bricklink, LEGO S@H The box The front of the box is (as always) in bright Friendly colours, with the main five characters on the top right corner as opposed to the main set's character, in this case Olivia, in the bottom right corner. The sides of the box are curved, again as is typical for the larger sets from the Friends series. The landscaping on the box art is a lovely way to present various mini builds and adds some depth to this relatively small set. The back of the box reveals other aspect of the set. Contrary to the front box art where the set is presented as a whole, the back of the box gives much more information to the potential buyer just by a quick look. Again, Olivia is shown on the top right corner as the main character of the set. The five smaller pictures show off different parts of the set - the mini builds and accessories found in the set. This is a great way to promote all the interesting bricks found in the set (but more on that later). The side of the box (again) shows Olivia as a measure of scale. In my opinion, it might be more interesting to show off some of the interesting new and rare pieces, such as the new grass stem or the red apples, instead of a minidoll. Afterall, the set's name is Sunshine Harvest, and some of the crops would look nice on the side. The other side of the box has the same, but smaller, picture of the set, as on the front of the box and in my case shows signs of some wear and tear from a few months storage. The booklet The front art design is repeated on the front page of the booklet instruction. Luckily, the box is big enough and the booklet doesn't have to be folded in half, thus avoiding possible creases. Nevertheless, my booklet was only slightly damaged, as it's visible on the top right corner, with the last page sticking out a bit. Inside the booklet, I was surprised to see a page with all Friends characters from the first wave of 2014's new sets. I've seen this design only in some LOTR sets, and here I was tempted to put tick marks in the corresponding boxes to show off my 2014 collection of Friends. I do find this a bit commercially oriented towards the target population of little girls, collecting all the minidols from the series. ''Look mommy/daddy, I only need Mia and Liza from the Sunshine Ranch to complete my collection!'' A random page from the instructions shows one of the intermediate steps of one of the many mini builds. I specifically chose this page as it shows off nicely a new type of plate, the 3x3 cross in dark orange. The parts needed for each step are shown in light blue boxes on a lavender background. Having in mind the set is targeted towards 6-12 year olds, individual steps are very easy to follow. The pieces The set contains two numbered bags of similar size, and quite colourfull. Logically, I opened the bag no. 1 first. In comparison to some other Friends' sets, the parts come in many bright colours. In addition, there are some interesting parts included, such as the red apples, cherries, printed strawberry tiles, and the ice cream cone. Parts I specifically like, although they are very common are the flower stems, yellow flowers, bright green and dark pink flowers. Bag no. 2 holds some goodies as well. The most interesting are the greenery bricks, the more common leaves in green and dark green, flower stems, bright green and dark pink flowers. In addition, a redish brown arch 1x3x3 and a new mold of grass stem are included. The highlight parts of this set are shown separatelly. Most of them are greenery parts, such as the leaves, flowers, and plant stems. In addition, the red apples made a comeback after 10 (long) years. As they were included in five of this years sets, their price on Bricklink dropped, however it's still much higher than bright green apples. In addition, five apples in the set makes this set the best one to get for the apples alone (as was almost the case with me). Luckily, the set has other interesting parts, such as the 3x3 cross, which is handy when building trees, printed strawberry tiles, pearl gold tiles, red cherries and the icecream cone. Most of them are smaller parts, but they can be very handy when creating small details around your MOCs. In addition, the extra parts are interesting as well. There are some extra plants, cherries and pearl gold tile. The minifigs Olivia is the main and only character in this set. Unfortunately, her outfit is pretty generic. The dark blue skirt can be found in 7 sets, while the lovely top with light pink flower design was seen in 4 sets. In my opinion, clothing is the limiting factor of the minidols, and I welcome all the new clothing designs found in the newest sets. I played with colours in Photoshop, and this is what I came up with. Different shades of purple and blue would still look Friendly, and they would differ enough from the white top. However, I still like the top design, yet I'd be happier with a different print or top colour. Surprisingly, none of the almost standard hair accessories can be found in this set. Contrary, Olivia got her own pitchforks to work around her apple tree orchard. Another detail I like is the asymmetrical back opening of the top, which is actually hidden by Olivia's hair. Not counting as a minifig, but as her best friend, is a white nameless dog with brown spots. The dog appeared in 4 sets, one of them being UK promotional set. According to Bricklink, the dog's name is Charlie, but the name connect to only this promotional set. Charlie looks cute enough for Heartlake, and can be easily included in any City layout. The build The set is meant for a fairly young population (6-12 years), and the simple mini builds can be expected in this age range. Within the set, several individual mini builds can be assembled and then combined together to picture a lovely scene found on the box of the set. The first mini build is also the simplest. It's just a bucket stand with some flowers. I'm not a fan of the stand, as it looks too colourfull, but it's a nice idea to put the pink basket to use. On the other hand, I was excited to find the ice crem cone used as a holder for the flowers. It's still a rare brick type, and it's nice to see it used also for something other than as ice cream cone. I wish there would be an extra one included. As for the flowers, the I like both the yellow classic ones and the newer dark pink ones, but not on the same stem. The next mini build is Charlie's hut. I'm guessing Charlie is a girl, considering the pink roof and flowers around her hut. The hut is made pretty simple, and it's actually just the front part of what might be thought of as a dog's hut. This is convenient for the little hands that mostly play with these builds. I'm a bit annoyed with the pink-red combination of the hut's roof. The red plate could easily be changed to white or bright pink, and the colour combination would look much nicer, in my opinion. Despite the pink-red colour combination, Charlie looks happy inside her hut. Well, it might be for the extra bone at her feet. My favourite mini build in this set is Olivia's market stand. It's also larger than the first mini builds, and it's even more colourful. However, various colours used in this build are much more pleasant to the eye. To start, the roof colour is the same pink-red combination, and it would look much better without the red. Even an awning could be added, and the overhang might hide the red a bit. Side view of the stand shows nicely a wide selection of goods on offer. The most interesting here are fresh red apples and strawberries. Although strawberries and apples don't grow in the same season, including them on the stand was well thought of. On the other side of the stand, there are some homemade jams, as is also indicated by the printed sign on the roof of the stand, and probably a home made fruit cake. Front view of the stand with Olivia behind the counter really emphasizes her various goods on offer. I mean, who wouldn't want to stop and try some of the strawberries or homemade jams? My favourite detail on the stand are the jams. Using trans-coloured bricks with simple pearl gold tiles as lids look really realistic. Also the different colours are indicative of different flavours. My guess, from the left to right, is two glassed of apple jam, orange jam, and 2 glasses of strawberry jam. If you were wondering, where Olivia grows her vegetables and fruits, she has a small garden close to her stand. She grows extra large carrots and some flowers. The design of the garden is again simple, but it looks really nice surrounded by a low white fence and a door. It also offers some playability as the crops need to be picked up, or substituted with other greenery. The highlight of the garden is the new grass stem. The fifth mini build is a tree. It's a somewhat typical Lego tree with branches expanded to three sides. Here, a new plate type is utilized, and this new 3x3 cross comes very usefull stabilizing the branches. Also, the dark orange colour is suitable for the tree design, I only wish it will appear in other brownish colours as well. The finished tree design looks great from the front as opposed to the back side. My only complaint here is that more green leaves could be included, ast the treee looks rather bare with only 3 leaves. On the other hand, another intriguing detail is that apples and flowers grow at the same time. The trees I'm familiar with, have flowers in the spring, and fruits in the autumn. Nevertheless, these characteristics are easily improved by adding more leaves from your own collection, adding extra fruits and removing flowers in the autumn, or removing fruits and adding more flowers in the spring time. As mentioned above, the tree looks very bare from the back side. Here, the lack of extra leaves and branches is much more visible than from the front side. I know it's not much work adding more leaves, but I wish the designers would do that. The sixths mini build is a tractor. What stands out are the colours, the dominant medium azure and accents in bright pink and lavender. Another unusual detail are the flowers used for the exhaust. If you consider the set as a useful parts pack, then the dark pink flowers are a nice detail. However, from the technical view, I found this detail unusual. At the back of the tractor, there's a hook to attach the trailer. The trailer is predominantly in medium azure and some lavender. It has enough space to transport various goods from the garden to the stand. The stud in the middle of the trailer can be used to attach havier loads. Olivia fits nicely on the tractor. The only flaw is that she can't reach to the steering wheel, but that's a problem with the minidoll design. This is even more obvious from a side view. An alternative connection of the steering wheel on SNOT bricks to achieve a 90° change of orientation could solve the problem, but I'm not sure how would that affect the overall appearance of the tractor. The finished product At last, here's how all seven mini builds look together. Considering varying size of these mini builds, the end product looks quite large. It also allows for flexibility of individual mini builds, as they can be moved around and everyone can adjust the positioning of the mini builds according to their own whishes. The set also offers a lot of playability. It is targeted towards girls mostly, and offers a lot of imaginative play. I actually prefer this kind of role playing in contrast to various missiles found in some City sets. In addition, as mentioned above, there are quite a few interesting bricks and pieces included that give the set an extra value. The Final Verdict Design: 9/10 The overall design is great, but there is still room for improvement. Considering the target population of 6-12 year olds, the set with seven mini builds is appropriate for this rather wide age range. In addition, there are some interesting parts included in the set, adding more value. Colour wise, the set is rather colourful, yet it's not too girly coloured. The highlights in pink, lavender and medium azure don't look out of place as they're combined with more neutral colours. I also like the idea of position the set more in the rural area with orchards then in the town. Hopefully, more sets in this theme (farming) will follow. Parts: 10/10 The parts in the set are a nice selection of various bits and pieces, that you can use to play with in different MOCs. The parts standing out as more rare or new are the above mentioned red apples, new grass stems, and printed strawberry tiles. Build: 8/10 It's a simple and straight forward build with no special or advanced techniques. I like it for what it is, it's simple enough for inexperienced builders, but offers a chance to improve and/or reuse individual builds also in a more advanced settings. Playability: 10/10 Playability is an important feature of this set. It's probably more targeted towwards girls, but even boys (or adults) with imagination can enjoy building and playing with the set. The playability of the set is based on various situations that can happen either around the garden (picking the apples or greeneries), transporting them to the stand or selling various fruits and home made products at the stand. Minifigs: 7/10 Mia has a rather standard clothing design, and I'd prefer to see at least a different colour combination of her top and skirt. Price: 10/10 It's a small set, but it offers enough (interesting) bricks for the price. None of the parts are particularly outstanding, but there are many interesting parts as mentioned in the parts section. I was pleasantly surprised with the selection of bricks, and I have to admit I got the set for parts mostly, and considering the price, it was a nice deal. Overall: 55/60 (90%) As the overall score implies, this is a set worth having. Although the builds are simple, the value of the set is its design - combination of interesting parts forming various smaller builds that can be combined in various ways and offer lots of playability. Also, the price of the set is in favour of buying it, even if it's just for some parts. I'd definitely recommend buying this to anyone. Despite the long line, customers in Heartlake are leaving the stand with smile on their faces.
  13. For several years now, CREATOR has carried the flag for LEGO housing; CITY dwellers are presumably meant to sleep in their caravans or fire engines unless they are lucky enough to have a Modular Building for a domicile, or only sleep in buildings that have snow on them. I suspect this is a deliberate move by The LEGO Group; the CREATOR 3-in-1 mantra provides versatility in design, and might perhaps provoke multiple purchases to enable a bit of variety in one's Town layout, or at least an affordable source of house parts. The last bona fide CITY residence was 8403 City House in 2010; this year's CREATOR range will boast no less than three minifigure-scaled dwellings, if you include the rather offbeat 31010 Treehouse; let's take a look at the first to be released, the modestly-named Small Cottage. Review: 31009 Small Cottage Set Information Name: Small Cottage Number: 31009 Theme: CREATOR Release: 2013 Parts: 271 Figures: 1 Price: GB £19.99 | US $24.99 | EUR 24.99 - 27.99 | AU $39.99 | CA $29.99 | DKK 299.95 Links ... Shop@Home ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron (not yet listed) The Box Click for a larger full-frontal image The CREATOR logo shamelessly obscures part of the model on this square box; the set itself is captured from its best angle. The usual blue CREATOR background is enhanced by faint bushes and trees, framing the cottage and setting the 'countryside' scene indicated by the official set description; it wouldn't otherwise be obvious. Two insets in the CREATOR yellow don't even try to frame the two alternative models. The box 'feels' like good value; it is larger than similarly-priced sets from many other themes, and weightier, though the latter may be due to the instruction manuals. More bushes flank the alternatives, which are showcased with their features on the box rear: Click for a larger image The box artist has done well to show all three distinctly without overlap; the space has been used very well. You'll notice that Thumbs are required to open this box. I used a knife; but, to be fair, this still required thumbs. Despite the inclusion of a minifigure, it's a three-part lantern that decides the scale on the box top: The troublesome gradient behind the inventory persists: why do they put the light-coloured parts in the light corner, and the dark ones in the dark corner? Of the other sides, the left-hand is the most interesting: The two lesser models feature here, with a multi-lingual explanation of '3 in 1' if it weren't already clear. Unusually, the 'Small Parts' warning features on the right-hand side rather than the bottom. Out of the box fall four polybags, three instruction manuals ... and a 16x16 full-thickness plate in Bright Green. It's shown here because I forgot to include it in the Parts section. The Instructions Three smart manuals each have shiny, quality covers; no indication is given as to build difficulty or order, either on the covers or inside. The only information inside the front cover is the new 'sort your bricks!' cartoon. I've assumed that the model order is the primary build, the Small Cottage on the cover; then the Windmill; then the other house, which is called a 'Skater's House' in the official blurb which also uses this order. There's no other indication that this is the 'correct' order; in fact the box art might suggest the smaller models should be reversed; but for clarity and consistency I will refer to the models and their respective manuals as 1, 2, and 3 in this order. The other two manuals are similar: Click the thumbs for larger images More monochrome bushes feature on the covers; different in each case reflecting the change in perspective. The steps are clear and simple. Piece call-outs ask for an average of three to four parts per step: I only encountered one point where the placement of a brick wasn't clear, which will be indicated later; it was of no consequence in any case. Advertisements for other CREATOR sets feature prominently; book one promotes the excellent 7346 Seaside House and 31004 Eagle on their own pages, akong with a composite of several sets on the back cover; I was a little surprised at the choice of 31008 Thunder Wings for the full-page treatment at the back of book three, considering it has what I would consider a rather different market than the houses might attract. Manual one also contains the inventory; see page 1 and page 2. The Parts Hope you weren't expecting Technic. Actually, there are two Technic plates, but otherwise the inclusion is mostly basic bricks and plates. There is great selection of dark blue roof slopes: not quite as good as 5891 Apple Tree House (which, incredibly, is still available, in the UK at least) but still most welcome. Door and window parts are always useful. The bright green 6x6 plate hasn't been seen since early noughties Belville. The smaller part collection is dominated by basic red bricks. We used most of ours building a Toadstool, so I'm not complaining. I got very excited by the inverted bracket when I reviewed the new UCS X-Wing, not knowing I had one in this set which I've owned, unopened, for at least two months. Otherwise, the tiles will always be useful, and I appreciate the inclusion of earth blue cheese slopes. The Minifigure CREATOR houses have included figures since Log Cabin in 2011; they are rarely anything to write home about, and this one is no exception: I'd sooner have had a classic smiley, but I expect TLG have done their market research and presumably kids want more expression. Rather surprisingly, the face isn't that common: appearing only in a couple of basic brick sets, a seasonal CREATOR, and the Winter Village Cottage, along with a few promotional minifigure collections. The entire figure, replete with skateboard, is found the Watford UK store opening set. I'm going to call him Chet. He has an American Preppy look. Not sure if Chet is an appropriate name for a skateboarding, sausage-sucking, drink-spilling preppy, but Chet it is. Model 1 - Small Cottage The primary build is quite a beauty! A surprising amount of detail has been crammed into this cute little cottage. The colour scheme is pretty, with stripes of white and light bluish-grey adding texture and the appearance of height to the red walls; the dark blue roof is smart and features an attractive gable. The yellow door provides a further splash of colour, and is set off nicely by the dark blue cheesy awning. A SNOT-mounted lantern, tiled step and flowerpot - the last typically formed from colourful 1x1 rounds in CREATOR style - add a welcoming aura to the entrance. Note the dark tan plate with rail forming a neat sill under the gable window. I'd like to have seen the roof apex 'finished' with double-slopes - like on the venerable Apple Tree House - but the studded top does help to round it off in a more 'cottagey' style, I suppose. Another window sill sits under the double-height window on the right-hand side; this wall is otherwise featureless ... ... except for the plate-hinges which suggest an opening section for access to the inside. Click the picture for a straight view. The opposite face is far more interesting. Big full-length French windows are the main source of light into the modest internal space, and one slides open - in one of the rare instances of the 1x8 plates with wide rail being used for their intended purpose. We'll see the barbecue in more detail later, but this is a good moment to point out the chimney. Dark bluish-grey and tan are used to add texture to the stone, and slopes gradually angle the flue; the stack sits just off the centre of the roof, but the slopes imply that the chimney is continuous. It's rather pretty; sure, it doesn't use headlight bricks and tiles to add depth like we see on the Winter Village sets, but for a little CREATOR set, I think it's been done quite tastefully. The back of the chimney is squared off nicely, and forms the boundary to the opening rear wall: The dark grey plate with vertical pole forms a little handle, which allows the whole - and otherwise plain - wall to open. You can also see that there's another gable window - replete with sill - on this side. The wall swings back, allowing Chet to sit in his swivelly chair ... ... and preventing adult hands from having to squeeze through the narrow space afforded by the sliding window. In the opening corner is a little table - rather optimistically called 'drawers' in the promotional text - with a lamp of unusual design. It's basic, but at least there's furniture! Though I hope the chair is comfortable, as Chet doesn't appear to have a bed. If the opening wall isn't enough, the whole roof comes off easily: This is great for play access to the interior, even if there isn't that much to do in there. I'd quite like to have seen a bunk bed, or something. Sadly, there is too little space in the roof structure to add any features up there; this is partly because larger bricks have been used than is strictly necessary, in order to allow for the alternative builds. Maybe Chet sleeps in the garden; certainly the little pond obviates the need for a bathroom. The pond is incredibly simple, but still rather effective; the slopes and green plates are somewhat successful in providing an illusion that the pond surface is lower than that of the lawn. I do like the fence. Barbecues seem to be an essential feature of CREATOR houses: Seaside House, Hillside House, Log Cabin, Beach House, and Lighthouse Island have all featured outdoor cookery in various guises. The tradition continues: Chet enjoys his sausage with a cup of something. I'd have appreciated a little clip to attach sausage or 'fork'; you can clip the fork to the plate with bar under the grille, but then there's nowhere to put the sausage. I guess Chet can just hold it while he goes 'boarding. Cottage Verdict: This is a remarkably pretty little cottage, designed to look very smart despite a limited part selection. The opening door, window, and wall section; swivel chair, barbecue and skateboard provide minor play features, but it is in the creation of a beautiful house and garden scene from very simple parts and techniques that this model excels. Model 2 - Diminutive Windmill Hats off to the designer's imagination for including a windmill among the alternatives, even if the execution is a little too simplistic. To be fair, this isn't its best angle; the mismatched colours of the opening side look a little jarring here. I do like the design of the chimney flue, though. Not so on the opposite side with the door; the double white stripe continues above the door here. I'm not so keen on the use of red 1x1 round plates in the central stripe, but at least they are used symmetrically; I'd rather see normal 1x1 plates even is it would result in square flowers in the other builds! The big windows aren't used in this build; instead, four small windows let in some light. A 1x2 brick with frictionless pin - not used in the other builds - allows the windmill to spin ... ... which it manages to do for less than the eight second exposure of this shot. It might have helped a little if I'd built it correctly - the white tiles and red plates should have rotational symmetry. Of course, an effecive windmill would have sails that capture the wind; these barely extend beyond the face of the mill. I do like the minor landscaping detail which, coupled with regularly spaced tiles, makes an attractive path up to the door ... ... beyond which we see a hint of some inside detail. From the front, note again the dark bluish-grey brick which looks a little out of place, and the rather-too-short sails: The back is more interesting than you might imagine: here, the dark tan rail-plates make a little ladder - spaced a brick apart using a technique which might be instructive to less experienced builders - even if it doesn't really lead anywhere. Again a red round plate looks a little incongruous, but not nearly so as the trans-orange one at the bottom of the ladder. Again, the back opens, revealing the inside detail and a eyebrow-raising blue floor: If you don't like the floor, there's a bright green plate you can use instead; maybe blue is better. The white cones are, I presume, bags of flour, although you'd be forgiven for thinking they are milk bottles. It isn't clear from the instructions how exactly to place the SNOT 2x2 round brick onto the wall; I've chosen to use its centre anti-stud as it is a better connection, even though it's now off-centre to the other 2x2 round brick. Like the primary build, the windmill's roof is detachable: The roof section is a very uncomplicated stack of bricks. I'd have thought the black plate with bar at the top of the opening wall section would have been better facing out, at the top of the ladder. Windmill Verdict: A novel idea, though a little disappointing in the flesh. This is by far the weakest of the builds, though its spinning sails might appeal to younger builders. Model 3 - Modest House The final build is another cottage, but this one is long and thin, and there's a good reason for this: it folds! TLG calls this a 'skater's house' - that well-known phenomenon. We'll see why it's call that in due course (and not just because of the skateboard. ) With the house folded out like this, the chimney forms an attractive buttress adding to the 'cottagey' feel. In this and the first view, you can see that the large windows form the end walls; they are topped by the 1x4 arches, which I guess form an architectural feature, but it isn't entirely successful. I'm not sure why the arches were included in the set; apart from introducing a little variety to the red bricks, they don't really add anything to the designs at any point. From the front, you can see how again the wall-mounted lantern welcomes you, and this time there is a little garden tap, though it's a little close to the ground. I'm not sure why the doorknob is a dark blue cheese slope; there are plenty of black 1x1 rounds to do the job a little better, but maybe this is due to show that other parts can be used for this in your MOCs in the unlikely event you've run out of rounds plates. Now for the money shot: Closing the house brings the two large windows together; they look great, but this emphasises the oddity of the arches. I wonder if the blue 'pond' plate might have been better placed in front of the further window. The plain wall formed by closing the model again suffers from an incongruous round plate in its construction. The light bley bottom layer is nicely continuous; the chimney bley intrudes a little far into the wall, but I can live with this: it looks suitably rustic. Chet retains his swivel chair to warm his feet by the lounge fire, but he still doesn't have a bed. This time he does have somewhere to keep his fork (if that's what it is there), but it's all for nothing, because he doesn't have anything to cook. Not a sausage. And that's because his sausage has been employed elsewhere: Nice part usage!! the sausage forms the stem of an angled desk lamp. Super! Shame it's a red light. What do you get up to in the evenings, Skater Boi? Anyhoo, in daylight, he likes to practice his skateboarding tricks, and the house has a means to help him: The plate with rail is a ledge for him to do that thing that I've seen skateboarders do on MTV. Apparently, according to TLG, this is called 'grinding'. Who knew? Skater's House Verdict: There's something refreshing about this little house, which achieves far more than just the folding mechanism would imply. It's cute, it's quaint; it's ... somehow familiar, reminding me quite strongly of some old classics: Here we have the Skater House next to veteran sets 6370 Weekend Home, from 1985, and 376 Town House, from as early as 1978. They're really not too different. Stick a moulded tree and some flowers onto 31009, and you've got a Classic Town set in all but name. Conclusion You know, I really like this cute little set. It's simple, unpretentious; it looks great, with a pretty colour scheme, and there's a bundle of useful house parts for creating your own little town buildings, from homes for your myriad CITY workers to trackside structures for Train fans (I can see an opportunity for a signal box, though you might not want a blue roof). There may not be much in the way of technicality in the build, and play functions are little lacking; the skateboard probably appeals to the kids in this respect, but I'd rather have had a bicycle. As a standalone, it might not compete so well with the slightly cheaper 'action' CREATOR sets; however, it fills a niche that's been lacking now for years: an affordable home that will fit into any Town layout. Design & Build 8 A pretty though simple set, it lacks a little in the build compared to other CREATOR sets, but it's great to look at. Not so much the windmill, perhaps. I'm impressed with the effect of the simple landscaping to create garden features and gradients, and the smart use of colours in the two house builds. Parts 9 Dark blue roof pieces, including corner slopes; large and small windows; and a variety of basic bricks and plates in useful colours make this a great parts pack. I'd consider buying mutliples of this to make a big house. Figures 6 Chet isn't the most exciting dude to be included in a LEGO set. He has a rare-ish face, but I doubt you'd be buying this set for the figure alone! Playability 7 There are a number of good play features; I suspect this set might appeal more to girls than boys, unless they are all entranced by Friends; the somewhat anathematic skateboard might have been included to swing this appeal the other way. Couple the set with some CITY and the playability multiples. Value 10 Part for penny, the CREATOR range is always good value; at £20 for 271 useful pieces, this is a bargain. Couple it with two attractive houses, and ooooh so much potential, and it's a no-brainer. Overall 80% My Score 9/10 Classic Town lives on, in a modern CREATOR-fied form. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the review. Please take the time to comment! Rufus My flickr Set Other CREATOR House Reviews 4954 Town House by Siegfried 4956 House by alex54 4996 Beach House by def 6754 Family Home by Matn 5891 Apple Tree House by def 5766 Log Cabin by The Brickster 5770 Lighthouse Islandby Pandora 5771 Hillside House by Rufus 7346 Seaside House by Pandora I you like my reviews, and would like to learn how it's done, please consider joining the Reviewers Academy:
  14. It's wonderful to see that The LEGO Group's confidence in the Architecture Series has increased enough for worldwide landmarks to appear! In what might seem opportunistic timing, with the fast approaching 2012 Olympics being held in London, TLG has revealed that its latest Architecture set will model what is probably London's most iconic landmark: the clock tower of Big Ben. As has been pointed out innumerable times, Big Ben is actually the name of the huge bell which resides within the tower, itself forming the north-west corner of the Palace of Westminster; the tower itself is known simply as the Clock Tower. But if you say 'Big Ben', I imagine people from around the world will immediately picture this famous tower. This review is a team effort by Pandora and myself (with a little extra help from a certain someone at a crucial point ). The opinions presented here are ours; fortunately we agreed on pretty much everything so there was little need for discussion! Anyway, with further ado, Pandora and Rufus are proud to present.... Review: 21013 Big Ben Set Information Name: Big Ben Number: 21013 Theme: Architecture (Landmark Series) Release: 1 June 2012 Parts: 341 (our count) Price: US $29.99 | EUR 29.99 | CAD $39.99 Links ... Brickset ... LEGO Architecture We'll update the price information, links and the official set description as they become available. The Box The smart but rather austere box livery of the Architecture range continues with this set. I see no reason to change it! Big Ben sits atop a technical drawing which may well represent architectural plans of the Palace of Westminster, but who's checking. The eagle-eyed among you might note that this latest addition to the Architecture range is designed not by Adam Reed Tucker, but instead by Rok Zgalin Kobe, a Slovenian architect. The back of the box is more colourful, sporting a scale render of the model, with some pictures of the real building in atypical English weather: The text is a language lesson describing the enclosed booklet, which is in English, and mentions the two Architects of the tower, Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin. The narrow sides are well suited to a tall, narrow model, and allow the boxes to be stacked on shelves vertically. The left side features a beautiful low-down shot of the tower: ... while the right side, which forms the flap of the box lid, shows an interesting 'exploded' render of the model beside the 'Choking Hazard' warning in a vast array of international languages. A very small part-rendered picture graces the top of the box, and the bottom reveals that parts were sourced in DENMARK, HUNGARY, MEXICO, and the CZECH REPUBLIC. We suspect this represents different manufacturing sources for different regions. Interestingly, this set - despite being considerably larger - comes in a box no bigger than those of the smallest sets in the range. It is of identical size to 21002 Empire State Building, or 21000 Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, Chicago, pictured here: It is, as you might imagine, considerably heavier, and clearly requires two extra years of building experience to build it. Contents We love these Architecture boxes! There's a certain sense of nostalgia for the days of intricate packaging which heightened the whole LEGO experience. Admittedly these don't have the (expensive, we've no doubt) plastic inserts and lifting lids of the 80s, but it's clear that TLG have gone to some pains to make the box as collectable as the set. You can even flatpack the box for longevity without tearing or cutting! The box is almost as smart on the inside: This one is remarkably full, which helps to preserve the instruction manual. You are instructed clearly to 'Enjoy your building experience.' as you open the lid. It's a really nice touch, and emphasises the lengths TLG has gone to to maximise the ... um ... building experience. Out of the box are pulled four polybags, and two loose plates. As Siegfried/Sinner mentioned in the Sydney Opera House review, it's a shame that not all of the parts are bagged, but we can't really blame LEGO for this in this case. It's only two pieces, and would probably require much larger bags, which might in turn necessitate a larger box to allow automated packing. Looking at this picture, you immediately get a sense of the rather small parts variety - there are only 33 different pieces in the set, including different colours of the same part. Instructions Some serious thought has gone into this instruction manual. It is quite thick, and beautifully presented, being printed on high quality paper, like all the sets in the Architecture range. Aside from the difference in orientation, the cover is similar to the box front, but does reference the Architecture website. The rear cover of the manual features an alternative view of the tower from behind: but is otherwise rather plain. Most of the interest is contained inside the manual, where can be found ten pages of facts about the tower and its construction, an example of which is shown here: The text is superbly written. It is a potted history, packed with facts and interesting to read, without being a daunting mass of text. We learned quite a lot ourselves! Following the tower facts comes a double-paged biography of the architects: The pictures here are reprints of oil portraits of the long-departed designers of the tower. Again, kudos to LEGO for going the extra mile to add interest and value. The instructions themselves are clear, and nicely paced to avoid confusion without being patronising. About every eight or nine pages is a little inset depicting further little factoids about the building: It's easy to miss these, if you are concentrating on the building. We'd recommend taking your time when building, and enjoying these little tidbits of information when you encounter them! They are a really nice touch. Otherwise, there are some parts in similar colours (particularly black and dark bluish grey), which could cause confusion; however, if you follow the build order then there shouldn't be any problems. You would notice if you used a dark bluish grey 1x2 tile on the base, for instance (unless you're building in the dark ). Towards the rear of the manual is the now-standard parts inventory: Again, the small variety of parts is readily apparent, and belies the size of the set. Finally, we are treated to a discourse from the Artist himself, and an intriguing look at Architecture in the early days of LEGO (including the invention of the plate!) We're pleased to note that Rok Zgalin Kobe refers to SNOT (Studs Not On Top), implying it's the acronym used by LEGO designers themselves! We're easily pleased. The Parts But enough about paper, what about the plastic? We've arranged the parts according to the polybag they came in, which is roughly dictated by size. The largest bag contains the large tiles, including the unique printed 'Big Ben' piece, and a sea of tan. Most of these parts are commonplace; even the 2x2 clock face is often found at the Pick-a-Brick wall. Of note are the dark bluish grey 'Slope 45 1x2 Double', found in two other sets, and the 'Slope 75 2x2x2 Quadruple Convex' in DBG and the two earth green 2x3 Plates, each found only in one other set. Not rare, though useful, are the nine 1x1 bricks with four studs ('dalek pieces', as we've heard them called). Generally, part variety is small but quantity high: We're certainly not complaining about the 57 round bricks and 32 grille tiles in tan, useful for architectural MOCs. 2x1 tan plates were at the PaB wall recently, so we're not short of those... ... but jumper plates are always useful. Finally, we have the ubiquitous round 1x1 plates, and 1x1 tiles in tan are most welcome. Not a cheese wedge in sight! Overall, it's a part selection that won't get too many people excited, with only a small number of rare elements, although the quantity of some of the parts might make this useful as a parts pack. The Build Let's put these plastic blocks together! As you might expect, we start with the familiar Architecture base: Immediately, you can see by the jumper plates that the model uses a half-stud offset for the entire structure. This is presumably to centre the model, which is an odd number of studs in length. The jumpers make a surprisingly strong connection, meaning you can build the model whilst holding it, rather than on a flat surface, although it's worth noting that the two black plates at the base are only connnected via three tiles, giving them a tendency to separate slightly if you do do this. The 'trick' behind the SNOT wall detail is revealed in this shot: SNOT bricks - with 1 (white), 2 (light bluish grey) and 4 (black) studs on sides are used to attach 1x2 plate-grille tile pieces to give the sides their ridged detail. The 'gap' that remains under the grilles is filled with 1x1 tiles. This technique is a little fiddly, but surprisingly strong and effective, and is used throughout the model. For the second layer, rinse, and repeat... well, nearly. Here you can see that only black 'dalek' pieces have been used to add SNOT to the sides, rather than the two-sided stud pieces. Although this might at first glance seem odd - it prevents adding 1x1 bricks in between, which might weaken the structure - there are two reasons for this. One is that the side-facing studs are also used in some places - to hold SNOT tiling at the side, and the mysterious upward-pointing dark bluish grey tile you can see here - and the second is that the 'open stud' on the top of the dalek pieces is required to attach the roof at a half stud offset (similar to the use of technic 1x1 bricks in the White House, or Empire State Building) With the roof-pieces attached, the odd DBG tile fills a gap caused by the half-stud offset : As we add height to the tower, things get a little repetitive, with three identical layers to construct. As we approach the top of the tower, four single-stud SNOT pieces are added which will hold the clock faces: And here we can have a nice look at the rear of the building . Finally, the rather intricate roof is built: And we're done! The build takes about 30 minutes if you're rushing, or an hour if you're leisurely (and read the history while you're at it). It's a little fiddly in places (making sure the 1x1 tiles sit squarely is a pain, but this is always a problem), and gets a bit repetitive, but being a smallish model this is counteracted by the feeling of the tower taking shape. Some of the SNOT techniques, especially the roof, are a nice surprise. The Complete Set Now let's take a look at the finished article. Big Ben stands proud and erect in all his slightly phallic glory: This angle shows clearly how effective the half-stud offset is at centering the tower. We like the use of the SNOT grille-tiles for adding the ridged detail which is crucial for adding realism, and the differentiation between the various levels of the building is brought about quite neatly and simply by the use of 1x1 bricks or round bricks at various points. It's highly effective. Now, let's get this out of the way: the major flaw of this set is the clock faces, which stand proud of the tower by two plates, unlike the real clocks which are if anything slightly recessed. This is a product of the designer's decision to make the entire building three studs wide, which is necessary to make the building affordable, keep consistency with the rest of the Landmark Series, and itself makes the build more interesting in places. Moreover, the design of the 2x2 round tile on which the clock sits - with a cross in the centre of the underside, rather than an anti-stud - necessitates the use of the extra 2x2 plate, therefore exacerbating the problem. A possible solution to this would be to build the clock section of the tower in four-studs wide, at a half-stud offset. One day we'll try this. Maybe the designer did, but chose this method in the end. Now that's out of the way, let's continue enjoying the view. Here's the rear: The tower (obviously) looks the same from every angle, but here you get a view of the snippet of the rest of Palace of Westminster. It's 'cut off' from the rest of the building; the blank tiles/bricks indicate where the building would continue: here, and on the left side. Note the 1x1 round plates instead of cones at the rear: this approximates to a real feature of the building, which doesn't have spires on the inward facing parapets. Side views (left and right respectively): The left side features a little dark green, representing a small lawn area in front of the tower where politicians and press gather from time to time. Note again the cut-off where the building would continue to the river edge. The right side faces Parliament Square, where the tower sits flush with the edge of the Palace. Finally, a shot representing the most common view of the tower: Another slight niggle, and again due to the use of the three-wide scale, is that the lower part of the roof doesn't slope particularly gracefully, but the use of round studs is probably the best compromise the designer could achieve. Comparison Now lets compare the set to the real thing. Being rather camera-shy, Pandora and I grabbed an unsuspecting random American tourist to help with these shots. The model is rather small (as is the LEGO set ) making direct comparison difficult. It's approximately 1:350 scale, after all. Still, you can see that the overall impression of the model is pretty accurate, which we think is as good as could be achieved at this scale. Getting both the tower and the model in focus together was nigh-on impossible. This is about the best we could do: The blocky roof isn't so noticeable here; unfortunately, the sticky-outy clock faces are. But the time is uncannily correct. Our contract with the Random American Tourist demanded more than just one picture: He made himself useful, and got us into the London Eye for some aerial views: Well, we'd love a massive Architecture set of the entire Palace of Westminster, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon... ... so here's a shot focused on Big Ben himself, from a similar angle as the last set picture: We should mention here an interesting observation. On the way out of the London Eye is a gift shop filled with souvenirs (many relating to the forthcoming Olympics). This (and many other souvenir shops around the area) would be an ideal place to sell this set - it'll appeal to chance customers who wouldn't normally even consider buying LEGO. The set makes a great souvenir - it is instantly recognisable, despite its flaws, and this market would perhaps be rather more forgiving than the average AFOL. We hope TLG have already thought of this. Conclusion Bus and Grenadier Guard not supplied with set. We were a little disappointed when we saw the preliminary pictures, but having seen the set 'in the flesh', as it were, we think this is actually rather a nice set. Sure, the protruding clock-faces aren't ideal, but they're certainly better than stickers, and the flaw is balanced by the level of detailing which is astonishing for such a small scale. Moreover, if the preliminary prices are correct, this set represents far better value than most of the smaller Architecture sets, and perhaps hints that the line is firmly hitting the mainstream. The Big Ben set, together with its attractive packaging and informative manual, makes a wonderful collectors' item, and indeed potentially a lucrative souvenir piece (if TLG takes our advice on this ). I'm sure they've already thought of this, as the timing of its release with the 2012 Olympics hints. A larger-scale model might allow more detail, solve the clock problem, and enable perhaps a bit of gold decoration on the tower; but would restrict the target market to the die-hard LEGO fans. Perhaps TLG have deliberately decided to accept the smaller scale compromise; we think that, overall, the set is pretty good for the scale. Design 8 Were it not for the clock faces, we'd give this 10. It's remarkably detailed for the scale. Build 9 A pleasing build, sometimes a little repetitive, but with some interesting features along the way. If you follow the manual carefully, it is an enjoyable experience. Parts 7 It's not really a set for rare part hunters, but might appeal as a parts pack if you need tan grille tiles or round bricks. Value 8 We haven't seen the UK price yet, but going by the US and European pricing, this does seem to be better value than many of the smaller Architecture sets. Overall 8/10 Big Ben might not appeal to die-hard sticklers for accuracy, but it's a detailed and recognisable rendition of what is perhaps London's most iconic landmark. We were rather pleasantly surprised. Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed the review. Many thanks to CopMike for making this possible, TLG for allowing us an early look at the set, and Hinckley for being such a good model! Pandora and Rufus. More pictures on flickr.
  15. If you can't make it to Paris, let Paris come to you. One of the 2014 models of LEGO Architecture's Landmarks series is the Paris' hallmark, the Eiffel Tower. If you want to know whether or not the LEGO model makes up to it, you can continue reading this review. Although, I must admit, I had a trip to Paris planned twice, and still haven't made it there, so I might not be the right person to compare the real tower and LEGO model. Nevertheless, here's my thoughts about the LEGO model of the famous Eiffel Tower. Basic info of the set Set no.: 21019 Name: The Eiffel Tower Theme: Architecture (Subtheme Landmark series) Year: 2014 Pieces: 321 Minifigs: 0 Age group: 12+ Price: £ 29.99 / US$ 34.99 / EUR 35.99 Price per part: 9.343p / 10.900c / 10.900c Links: Brickset, Bricklink, LEGO S@H The box The front of the box is unexpectedly dark and shady for a LEGO set, yet the Eiffel Tower still stands out. It's standing on white sheets of paper, presumably the architectural plans for the model. The grayish structure of the model is nicely visible, and gives a suitable impression of the slightly curved and cone-like shape of the model. The back of the box features a picture and a short description of the Eiffel Tower, an iconic symbol of Paris. In addition, the LEGO model is presented schematically with its dimensions (height 31.7 cm and width 11.2 cm) and announcement that the Instruction booklet includes more details on design and history of the Eiffel Tower. A nice detail is the text description in 6 world languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hungarian). A lovely feature on the side of the box is a picture of the model with its name in 6 world languages. The narrow and tall model fits very nicely on the side, which makes it nice to display the box on the shelf and save some space. In my opinion, the best feature of the box (this is true for the whole Landmark series or at least the sets I own from this series) is that it opens up to reveal the box contents. This is not a new detail, as it was a standard in the 90's (I believe), but nowadays it's rather rare. I like this feature of the box, as it allows easier access to the contents. In addition, the box is made of a sturdier cardboard which makes it more convenient for storage. Both features of the box are the reasons why I decided to keep it, as I generally throw set boxes away almost immediately after building the set. The booklet The booklet design is similar to the box's front side. It's made from a thicker paper and has even thicker cover and back pages. This is definitely a plus, as instruction booklets are made of thinner paper which is more prone to accidental tears. Another feature of the booklet that stands out is the dorsal binding. In a way, this is not so handy while building, as the pages keep turning on their own, but it adds to the quality and long life of the booklet. This can be compensated by slightly rubbing the turned pages in the booklet, although it leaves a mark on the booklet. The booklet includes a detailed description of the Eiffel Tower's design and construction, and some basic information about its designer, a French engineer Gustave Eiffel. Many interesting facts can be found in the booklet, including the fact that he was specialized in building different metal structures, was the designer of the Statue of Liberty, and was involved in building the locks for the Panama Canal. Another lovely feature of the booklet are wonderful photos of the real Eiffel Tower. For someone, who hasn't made it to Paris yet, just looking the photos is very tempting to start planning the trip there. In addition, basic facts about the Eiffel Tower are included. Did you know there's 18038 iron parts included in the tower? In addition, the booklet is bilingual. All the information is written in English and French. A random page from the booklet shows that it's not that hard to follow up different steps of the design considering the mostly greyish structure. The parts needed are highlighted in clouds with white borders. The corners on the booklet pages seem to be reserved for some kind of ''Did you know?'' information. This page states that the position of each of the 2500000 rivet holes was specified to within 0.1 mm. In my opinion, this seems very precise, especially considering the model was designed more than 100 years ago. The pieces Parts to build the Eiffel Tower are packed in 4 polybags. There's not much variability in colour. Parts are in 6 different colours (black, light and dark bluish gray, flat silver, dark green and red), however the majority of parts is in both shades of gray. These are the largest parts found in the box, mostly plates and tiles. Of interest, there are two black printed tiles with French and English name of the tower. This is a nice detail, as you can choose how to name your tower. I chose the English name, as I'm more familiar with it. However, French is original, and including only a French tile would not be a problem. Smaller parts are again mostly plates and modified plates. Special parts here are the SNOT plates, that are very abundant in this set. Majority of the parts is included in larger numbers, as they are used as building blocks of each of four sides of the tower. Parts wise, there's not much special bricks that would make it worth buying this set for parts only. However, the interesting parts in this set are the before mentioned printed tiles, 4x4 round plate with 2x2 hole inside in light bluish gray, 2x2 dark green tiles, dark bluish gray plate with grill, flat silver hoses and flat silver modified plate with octagonal frame. The build The building of the model of the Eiffel Tower starts with now almost classic Architecture set's platform with distinguished black edge with printed name of the model on the tile. I chose English name, however, you can ''personalize'' your model of the Eiffel Tower, and use a tile with French name. The platform is tiled with dark green tiles representing the grass around the tower, and light bluish gray tiles representing the paved surface below the tower. Positioned on the turn tables in each corner are the bases for each ''leg'' of the tower. Another specialty of this model is SNOT building. In addition, to classical SNOT techniques with SNOT bricks, throughout the build you can find different 1x1 modified plates positioned at 45° angle in respect to other bricks. Here, at the first level of the tower, you can see gray clips at the edges of the level. The grill plate is used as a base for the first level, and again here you can see 1x1 clips positioned at an ''odd'' angle. The grill plate looks nicely as it is similar to the iron structure of the real tower. In one of the later steps, you attach the middle part of tower's legs to the angled clips. These middle parts of the ''legs'' attach to the higher smaller platform with the same technique. An interesting detail at this step is that you actually have built the middle part of the tower, but you cannot attach it to the base platform, as the bottom part of the ''legs'' are not built yet. The bottom part of the tower's ''legs'' is added later during the building. They're built similarly to the middle part from previous picture. The only difference are the additional clips on the sides of the ''legs''. These clips will hold the flexible hoses, but are added a bit later. Also, at this point, the model is up-side down. The finished bottom half of the model looks great attached to the base platform. The flexible hoses are a great detail, although the flat silver colour is not so evident in this colour scheme. Aditionally, slightly more reflexion and mimicking of metal colour is provided by the two rows of flat silver grill plates around the edges of the lower two platforms of the tower. The upper part of the tower differs in size and shape from the bottom part. At some point it looks very odd with sides of the upper inverted pyramid sticking out in the empty space. Although, different in shape, the same SNOT techniques are used as in the lower part. In the bottom of this upper part of the tower, you can again see the clips positioned at 45° angle. The finishing touch of the tower is the octagonal ring in flat silver at the top and flag pole at the top of the tower. The only thing I'm missing at this point is a printed tile with French flag design to hang on the pole. This would be the icing on the cake. The finished product After some repetitive small builds, here's finally the finished model of the Eiffel Tower. The model is instantly recognizable. Although LEGO bricks are generally considered as ''blocky'', there's almost no sign of blocky appearance in the Eiffel Tower. Specifically when viewed from an angle, the cone like shape of the tower is even more evident, and small details in flat silver and slightly differently angled ''sides'' of the tower really stand out. How well the designer(s) of the set managed to replicate the cone like structure of the tower, is nicely seen also from the birds' perspective. What I missed is the designer(s) behind the model. As I remember for some models of the Architecture series, the name of the designer was included on the box. However, for this set I couldn't find any reference as to who is the person(s) responsible for this lovely model of the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to EB member Steve309 who provided the missing information of the set designer (as seen in the book entitled Lego Architecture: The Visual Guide), I can add the name of the designer behind this set. This is Rok Zgalin Kobe, a Slovenian architect and designer of the Trevi Fountain, Imperial Hotel, Big Ben and other Architecture sets. The Final Verdict Design: 9/10 The overall design is well executed. The Eiffel Tower is instantly recognizable, and the colour scheme is reminiscent of metallic iron structure. The shape of the tower is spot on thanks to some simple, yet effective SNOT building techniques. The only thing I missed is a small French flag at the top of the pole. Parts: 7/10 Selection of parts is just a pile of mostly light bluish and dark bluish gray plates and modified plates. It's definitely not a set worth buying for parts only, as there are not that many special or rare bricks included. However, it might be useful to get a hand on some SNOT parts in light bluish gray. Build: 8/10 The build itself is not that simple build as some of the bricks are positioned at a 45° angle, however there are some repetitive elements included which takes away a bit of fun. Nevertheless, the build is impressive and enjoyable enough as it's starts somewhere in the middle of the tower, and is not straight from the bottom up. Playability: 9/10 The set is definitely not meant to be played with, yet it's still sturdy enough to be handled even by younger hands. As for the target population, it's a great model to display (and this is one aspect of ''play'' for the AFOLs, isn't it?). Price: 7/10 The price is a bit on the expensive side with more than 0.1 EUR per brick while it doesn't offer any special or rare parts. However, in my opinion it's still a better value than some other smaller sets from the Architecture Landmark series. Overall: 40/50 (80 %) From the overall score the greatness of the model is not that obvious. From specific aspects, such as parts, price and build the model doesn't appear to be sticking out of the average. However, the design is well done, and it's a recognisable model of one of the most famous Paris' buildings.
  16. Hello all! In celebration of the Reviewers Academy's 6th Anniversary, I've decided to review this new-ish Hobbit set! It's hard to believe that teaching and learning how to make quality reviews has been going on on Eurobricks for half of a dozen years now. Time really flies, and I'm one who joined at it's very start. Since then there have been many changes to the site and to my life, as well as others' lives, but it's good to see that the Academy is still going strong. Albeit with less enrollment in the past few years, it's really great that anyone seeking to improve their Lego reviews has the chance to get advice and hands-on teaching on this site. Let's hope for six more! Also, I must note that this is the first Lego set of any kind that I have bought in over three years. Unfortunately other aspects of life have kept me busy and I'm not as active on the forums these days as I used to be. And I am a little rusty at reviewing. But that being said, it was a joy to stop in the Lego store, look around and grab a few sets (this and the Saraumon set). Nostalgia hit me when putting the shiny new bricks together and snapping the pictures for this review. So I hope you enjoy! Without further ado, let's begin. Set: 79012 Mirkwood Elf Army Pieces: 276 Minifigures: 6 Price: 29.99 USD/39.99 EUR/29.99 GBP Theme: Hobbit Year Released: 2013 Brickset Bricklink Catalog Flickr Box: Let's start with the box. Nice glossy texture and all the works with the set info and the contents displayed. There is a nice CGI background, including the banner of the Misty (?) Mountains. I don't really remember this scene from Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, or at least, with Thranduil in it. I'm not sure if it's supposed to depict the scene when the dwarves escape from prison in the Mirkwood fortress and the orcs attack. Anyways, the box is pretty long, but not very large overall. The back of the box, appropriately, shows the "back" of the set, or the inside of the fortress if you want to look at it that way. Comic-like panels show the various play features as well as the accessories and weapons. The sides of the box are rather boring with all the usual text, production and copyright information, etc. The minifigs are shown to scale on the top, but I'll get to those shortly. Contents: Inside the box we find two big bags of parts (each containing several smaller bags of parts, and one including the usual cardboard box with a cape in it), one smaller bag with the Warg pieces inside, a folded ( ) instruction booklet, and a hexagonal baseplate. The big bags are numbered in order of the build, but old-fashioned folks like me will just mix all the pieces together anyways. I've picked out a few interesting parts here. I've been out of the loop on Lego news lately so you'll have to forgive me if these are old news. We're given some parts in the new leaf green color: small foliage, cheese wedges, and 1x2 plates. There's also some 1x3 dark tan tiles, a pair of pearl dark grey hooks, and a 2x2 round plate in an orange-ish color that I'm not familiar with. And here are the spare parts that won't be used in the build (sorted out afterwards, obviously). Those Daggers of Time from Prince of Persia seem to appear everywhere these days! Minifigures: The minifigures are definitely the highlight of this set. Six are included, which seems like more than usual for a set this size. Two elf arches, one elf warrior, two Gunbadad Orcs and Thraduil the Elvenking are included. I'll be looking at each one in detail. Thranduil is the main reason I bought this set. He's such a cool character! When seeing the first Hobbit movie I was pretty impressed by his design: crown of sticks and leaves, shiny armor and elk mount in all! I think the minifigure version is pretty accurate and also very neat. His torso is in the new leaf green color and is overlain with metallic paint. The hair piece, to my surprise, is completely rubber and not stiff ABS plastic like most other hair pieces. This makes the color a little off and the material a little less "high quality" looking, but a cool piece nonetheless. I will note that hair fits on the minifig with cape, but with some difficulty and causes the cape to wrinkle a little. Thranduil's accessories include a light grey longsword and an elegant-looking shield. Two of these shields are included with the set, and can either be mounted on the fortress wall or be given to minifigs to hold. I wasn't as impressed with the Thranduil minifig as I thought I'd be, judging from the pictures, but I still think he's very cool and a minifig worth having! I'd really like to add the Elrond figure to my collection as well (partially because I'm a fan of Hugo Weaving ). Next up is the Mirkwood Elf Archer. Both are identical, with reversible heads. The torso print is very detailed on the front and the back, and is probably one of my favorite torsos to date. Recalling from memory of the movie, I'd say these guys are pretty accurate. The dark green hoods are very nice looking as well. Each archer is given a longbow, and one more is included as an accessory of the fort for a total of three. I do like that piece quite a bit. The other Mirkwood Elf wields a dagger and shares the same torso, leg, and face prints as the archers. The hair is the same as Legolas' or Tauriel's but in brown. I included the Tauriel minifig from 79001 Escape from Mirkwood Spiders for comparison because they are quite similar. Tauriel is not included in this set. I'm starting to amass an elf army! There are still a few more that I'd like to add to my collection... Last but not least are the orcs. There are two, but with slight differences. One wields a spear and wears armor, and the other only has a sword. The prints are identical, but are still impressive. It's been a very long time since I read The Hobbit so I don't know the exact difference between these orcs and the Uruk-hai, but this variety seems a little less badass and a little more goblin-like. I included the Warg here because it's sort of a minifigure, right? Although I would have much preferred Thranduil's majestic elk steed, I actually kind of like this little guy. He looks ferocious with his gnashing teeth and spiked fur. The points of articulation are the lower jaw and neck, which have ranges of motion as extreme as shown in each of the first two pictures. The tail is rubber. A saddle is included, but can be replaced with a 1x2 brick and 1x2 plate in case you don't want the gaping hole in the Warg's back. I prefer the solid dark brown color to the spotted grey and white Wargs from previous Hobbit sets. Build: The fortress itself consists of several modular builds. The first is the main tree tower. As shown in the pictures, the top platform can be rotated 360 degrees. I don't think this is very realistic for a tree to do, but I guess it's a cool play feature. I am a little underwhelmed by the design of the tower - to me it doesn't really resemble a tree. In my opinion the trunk needs to look more... realistic? And more foliage would add a lot. I see a lot of beautiful trees built by our MOCing community; it's a shame the trees in official sets never look like those. There's a catapult play feature that can launch a minifig and topple part of the tree branches in the process. It actually works pretty well, though I don't know why you'd have elves flying through the air. *hand not included. The inside of the tower is quite simple, but includes a barrel with some green jewels hidden inside. The second module is a neat little thing, some sort of decorative shrine or just part of the wall. I found the use of corners here interesting. The third and final module consists of a central wall connected to two similar walls on either side via those angle wing plates. Here the shields are mounted along with some sparse foliage. The design is simple but the color scheme is appealing. Again, not much to see here. The raised platforms give a place for minifigs to stand, and yes they can see over the top of the wall. There is a single flickfire missile in the center. The last thing to build before putting all the modules together is the siege ladder. A simple yet effective design. It fits well onto the wall. Complete Set: After connecting all of the modules, this is what you get. Not a bad set up for a medium-sized set. I wish there was more foliage included to really give the fort a Mirkwood/wood elf vibem but I guess there's only so much that can be included for $30. There are six minifigs, after all. I wanted to quickly highlight the modularity of this set - you can rearrange the module wall parts in multiple ways or get extra copies of the set to expand the fort. I think this is really cool and it's something that Lego fans have been asking for for a long time. I believe the Mines of Moria and Helm's Deep sets are also like this. And finally, here's the complete set, minifigs and all. Once the fort's been populated with the 'figs it looks a lot better. With both orcs and elves included, battle scenes can be recreated and the various play features can add to that. All in all a fun set with some good pieces and amazing minifigures! Let's see how it stacks up in the ratings. Final Ratings: Build/Design: 6/10 - The design was understandably limited for the set prices, but overall I wasn't very impressed with the design. The tree tower was especially underwhelming, and could have used a lot more foliage. If there are some positives, they're the color scheme and the modularity. Playability: 10/10 - For a set this size, a lot of playability is packed in. It's fun to have the elves and orcs battle! Some of the play features are a little weird, but they work so there are no complaints from me. Minifigures: 9/10 - You can't ask for much more for $30, with six highly detailed figures and a warg. I was just the slightest disappointed in the design of Thranduil once I actually got to hold him in my hands, and I still think an elk steed would have been cool, but overall the selection is outstanding. Parts: 4/5 - Again, more foliage could have been thrown in, but other than that there are some very useful parts in good colors. Price: 5/5 - I definitely think that I got this set for a fair price. The price per part is a little over 10 cents, but that seems to be the norm these days especially with licensed sets. And don't forget that the awesome minifigs and warg add little to the piece count. FINAL SCORE: 34/40 - An above average-to-outstanding score! I really like this set - obviously the initial appeal was good enough to bring me from a three-year hiatus from buying Lego. I'd recommend it to any Lego fan, especially those looking for parts and minifigs for fantasy/medieval MOCs. That's all folks, thanks for reading! If you'd like to learn how to make reviews like this be sure to enroll in the Reviewers Academy!
  17. dj2005, Clone O'Patra, def, Big Cam, WhiteFang VBBN, Pandora, Rufus, LuxorV, JimButcher, Inconspicuous, ZO6, The Penguin Oky, Brickdoctor, Masked Builder, The Cobra, R8, Sisco Dear Eurobricks Community, Since 2008, the Reviewers Academy has strived to help put great LEGO set reviews out to Eurobricks and the AFOL community as a whole. We teach students how to take professional-looking pictures and to write detailed opinions and facts about sets. A combination of in-depth lessons and one-on-one interaction teaches students everything from the basics of reviewing to neat tips and tricks to give reviews that extra flair. We are celebrating the sixth year of the Reviewers Academy. When the Academy first began, there was no telling what future it would hold. What started as an initiative to share knowledge, has since become a highly regarded aspect of our community. It has been a long journey, one that has only been made possible thanks to the students who wish to learn, and the teachers willingness to dedicate the time and knowledge to them. If you are interested in joining the Reviewers Academy, Please visit the official topic for more details. The teachers have prepared 17 reviews in celebration of the Academy's six years: 3818: Bikini Bottom Undersea Party reviewed by Clone OPatra 4766: Graveyard Duel reviewed by Clone OPatra 9476: Orc Forge reviewed by Masked Builder 30168: Gun Mounting System reviewed by WhiteFang 30216: Laketown Guard reviewed by Masked Builder 30255: Crawley reviewed by WhiteFang 31015: Emerald Express reviewed by WhiteFang 70161: Tremor Track Infiltration reviewed by LuxorV 75036: Utapau Troopers reviewed by WhiteFang 76000: Arctic Batman vs Mr Freeze: Aquaman reviewed by WhiteFang 76010: Batman: The Penguin Face Off reviewed by Masked Builder 76012 Batman: The Riddler Chase reviewed by Oky 79012: Mirkwood Elf Army reviewed by JimBee 850888: Castle Knights Accessory Set reviewed by WhiteFang 850889: Castle Dragons Accessory Set reviewed by WhiteFang 2014 SDCC Exclusive: Batman of Zur-En-Arrh reviewed by Oky 2014 SDCC Exclusive: Unikitty reviewed by Oky In addition to this, over the course of this last year the teachers have given 45 early, exclusive reviews of some highly anticipated sets: 10243 Parisian Restaurant by dj2005 71004 LEGO Minifigures:The LEGO Movie Series by WhiteFang 79014 Dol Guldur Battle by Masked Builder 44015 Evo Walker by VBBN 44016 Jaw Beast vs Stormer by VBBN 44017 Stormer Freeze Machine by VBBN 44018 Furno Jet Machine by VBBN 44019 Rocka Stealth Machine by VBBN 44020 Flyer Beast Vs Breez by VBBN 44021 Splitter Beast vs Furno and Evo by VBBN 44022 Evo XL Machine by VBBN 21021 Marina Bay Sands by WhiteFang 70800 Getaway Glider by Clone OPatra 70801 Melting Room by Clone OPatra 70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace by Clone OPatra 70802 Bad Cop's Pursuit by Clone OPatra 70804 Ice Cream Machine by Clone OPatra 70805 Trash Chomper by Clone OPatra 70806 Castle Cavalry by Clone OPatra 70807 MetalBeard's Duel By Clone OPatra 70808 Super Cycle Chase by Clone OPatra 70809 Lord Business' Evil Lair by Clone OPatra 70811 The Flying Flusher by Clone OPatra 70812 Creative Ambush by Clone OPatra 70813 Rescue Reinforcements by Clone OPatra The LEGO Movie Press Kit by Masked Builder 71005 LEGO Minifigures: The LEGO Simpsons Series by WhiteFang 70816 Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP! by Rufus 21108 Ghostbusters by WhiteFang 70206 CHI Laval by VBBN 70207 CHI Cragger by VBBN 70208 CHI Panthar by VBBN 70209 CHI Mungus by VBBN 70210 CHI Vardy by VBBN 70211 CHI Fluminox by VBBN 70212 CHI Sir Fangar by VBBN 44023 Rocka Crawler by VBBN 44024 Tunneler Beast vs Surge by VBBN 44025 Bulk Drill Machine by VBBN 44026 Crystal Beast vs Bulk by VBBN 44027 Breez Flea Machine by VBBN 44028 Surge & Rocka Combat Machine by VBBN 44029 Queen Beast vs. Furno, Evo & Stormer by VBBN 21020 Trevi Fountain by Masked Builder 21009 Exo-Suit by Masked Builder Sincerely, The Reviewers Academy Teachers
  18. 70161_000 by LuxorV, on Flickr Being a fan of the old Agents theme, I could not pass getting at least an assay of this year's Ultra Agents sets. I started with the second smallest one, which I chose for its design, as well as the figs and parts. In fact, though the idea of a big fisted track vehicle is far from new in the cartoon-ish representation of technological villains of all times, the actual LEGO bricks version did convey the feeling nicely, and I was interested in seeing what building solutions where used to make the set. Let's see if building it and having it in my hands made it live up to the expectations. Theme: Ultra Agents Set name: Tremor Track Infiltration Set Number: 70161 Price: 19.99 $, 17.99 £, 19.99 Euro Pieces: 241 (+ 9 extras) Minifigures: 2 Year of release: 2014 Links: Peeron, Bricklink and Brickset The Box Front 70161_001 by LuxorV, on Flickr The box is rectangular and sports the new Ultra Agents futuristic/techno style, with a mix of greys and an overall light blue-ish aura. I particularly like the rulers on the right hand side, which suggest the idea we're seeing this through a pair of high tech binoculars or a survey camera of sorts. LEGO and Ultra Agents logos dominate the upper part of the front, along with the Ultra Agents (in this case Agent Fury) vs Tremor cartoon pic. The middle of the front has a shot of the set in action, with Tremor Track smashing through a wall (not my idea of stealthy 'infiltration', actually) and Agent Fury ramdomly shooting his gun, while the precious chip flies to what will probably be its destruction against the opposite wall. The age range and set number info complete this portion for the European version; I expect the North America version to have more writings as usual. In the lower left corner, an eye catching icon plus text informs us you can play an Ultra Agents game via a free app on your tablet. More on this later on. Back 70161_002 by LuxorV, on Flickr The back shows the set's play features: shooting missiles, smashing mechanism, rolling treads, randomly shooting Agents Fury's gun (honestly, did he attend shooting range training with the Storm Troopers?) and extracting the chip from its case. The rest of the back is very interesting as well: the lower right corner sports a detail fro the new 'almost spring loaded, but based on simple tension' guns, while the top shows an impossible-to-miss advertise for the Ultra Agents free interactive story app. Sides 70161_003 by LuxorV, on Flickr 70161_004 by LuxorV, on Flickr The upper side of the box shows Agent Fury and Tremor, while the usual mug-shot depicts the new gun at 1:1 size. The omnipresent app advertise is here, too. A lateral side bears the usual LEGO and theme logos, another app advert and a bracketed image of the mission goal, in this case the chip. Contents Inside 70161_011 by LuxorV, on Flickr Upon opening the box, we find an instructions booklet, a sticker sheet, two rubber tracks and a bag of parts. As you can see, there is quite a number of Dark Tan parts to compliment the Grey and Black under-structure of the set. New pieces 70161_014 by LuxorV, on Flickr New parts included in this small set are: Minifig, Weapon Trigger for Gun, Blaster Mini, Technic, Axle 5 with Stop, Tile 1 x 1 with Dark Bluish Gray Square with Black Center and Lines Pattern (Ultra Chip), Minifig, Weapon Gun, Blaster Mini in White and most of the minifig parts (more on those later on). Re-coloured parts 70161_013 by LuxorV, on Flickr Re-coloured parts in this set include: Black Vehicle, Spoiler 2 x 4 with Handle, Dark Tan Plate 2 x 10, and Dark Tan Slope 33 3 x 2. Rare parts 70161_012 by LuxorV, on Flickr Parts collectors and MOCers will be interested in the following rare parts also: Flat Silver Light Cover with Internal Bar / Bionicle Barraki Eye (occurs in five sets), Light Bluish Gray Brick, Round 2 x 2 Truncated Cone (occurs only in four non-Star Wars sets), Dark Bluish Gray Technic, Steering Wheel Pilot's Yoke (first time in a non-Technic set), Dark Tan Dish 2 x 2 Inverted (Radar), Dark Tan Plate 1 x 6 (getting more common this year), Dark Tan Slope 30 1 x 2 x 2/3 (Usually in bigger or Collection sets), and Dark Tan Wedge, Plate 2 x 4. Spare parts 70161_016 by LuxorV, on Flickr The usual mix of spare parts includes a long antenna, a second chip tile, some techinc pins and a half pin, a few round 1x1 studs, and a second lever for the new gun. Minifigures 70161_017 by LuxorV, on Flickr Both minifigures are new in all parts except Agent Fury's headgear. The new design for the Agent suit is just great and, together with Tremor's armour, is what made me want this set most of all. I love the detail in the torso and legs. Tremor's armour is equally well designed and quite menacing with its dark red accents. 70161_018 by LuxorV, on Flickr The two minifigs sport back printing of the torso and heads. While Tremor gets angrier, Agent Fury grins, probably to taunt him. 70161_019 by LuxorV, on Flickr Here we can see the two warriors all geared up and almost ready for battle. Notice the new armour piece on Tremor. While it's one piece (I would have preferred a removable helmet), it surely is more protective than most other armours and has very good aesthetics. Furthermore, it blend nicely with the fist pieces to give this villain an even more menacing look. Finally, notice the two half-sphere bulges near Tremor's mouth: those seem to be microphones for some communication device built in the armour. What I find strange is the choice of the shield for Agent Fury: I suppose it would have to be made of Vibranium or similar materials to withstand Tremor's (or worse, Tremor's Track) punches! Instructions 70161_005 by LuxorV, on Flickr The instructions booklet is nicely thick, and fortunately not divided into part 1 and part 2 like other small sets these days. The cover shows the exact same composition of the front of the box, except for the age range and 'free app' text. 70161_006 by LuxorV, on Flickr The background uses a blue-ish shade that does not distract the eye nor prevents colour or parts' recognition. As you can see, the rulers' theme is reproduced here, too. 70161_007 by LuxorV, on Flickr 70161_008 by LuxorV, on Flickr 70161_009 by LuxorV, on Flickr The last pages sport the usual plethora of adds, both for the Ultra Agents theme and App. . 70161_010 by LuxorV, on Flickr The parts count covers two pages. Again, you can notice the dominance of Black and Grey-s as well as some Dark Tan, with sparse brighter colours' accents. Building Start 70161_026 by LuxorV, on Flickr We start off by building the secure case for the chip. The design is not totally new, since the other similar structures have been used in a variety of themes over the years. Nonetheless, it's a nice little addition to the set and can help increase the playability. 70161_027 by LuxorV, on Flickr The case opens by pivoting the front part and reveals the chip for Tremor to steal. Now for the main model 70161_022 by LuxorV, on Flickr Tremor's Track itself starts with a bunch of technic beams and pins connected to few bricks and plates to provide a building surface for the upper part of the model. Notice the big steering wheel in the back: it is proportioned for the huge iron fist things on Tremor's hands, and it boosts the cartoon-ish feel of this set. 70161_023 by LuxorV, on Flickr Here you can see the start of the fisting mechanism in place. All revolves around the tan technic axle serving as a 'trigger' for the (yet to be built) big arms. 70161_024 by LuxorV, on Flickr Only the truncated cone part in the back controls the mechanism: the one in front is there for aesthetics only. 70161_025 by LuxorV, on Flickr The tracks complete this model. I like the use of the radar dome pieces as hub caps, and the whole set is very well proportioned, I'd say. Finished set 70161_028 by LuxorV, on Flickr The shot of the complete set helps us have a better idea of the relative proportions: if Tremor were to use the vehicle fists on either Agent Fury or the chip's case, I doubt he'll have more then a few shards to collect! Bird-eye 70161_030 by LuxorV, on Flickr The big vehicle looks pretty compact and well designed, without useless details and full of interesting solutions in the use of space. What I found odd at first was the presence of the antenna. Then again, I reflected and came to the decision that the antenna must be connected with Tremor's armour (remember the communication devices?) and allows him to control the track even when he's not operating it directly (something similar to the Goblin's control over his glider). Back 70161_031 by LuxorV, on Flickr I'm always intrigued by the way LEGO designers put peculiar details in their models. Take this Tremor Track, for example: Tremor is a know villain, riding a tank-like vehicle with giant fists, which will never pass un-noticed in the streets, nonetheless, LEGO designers put a full set of braking lights on this track, so that Tremor won't be bothered by the Police for not complying with the traffic laws. Ready, aim, punch! 70161_032 by LuxorV, on Flickr A side shot to show the reach of the mechanical fists. They would indeed make a big hole in any LEGO City structure unfortunate enough to be on Tremor's way! Final comments Overall, this is a nice set for its value. The figs are great and the part selection includes some interesting bits. Design & Colour scheme – 9/10 (TLG designers did their best and made a great job in creating the colour scheme for this set; what I dislike, though it is a minor annoyance and probably could not be done differently, is the extensive use of Technic beams in the central part of the vehicle.) Minifig – 10/10 (As with most of these year figs the Ultra Agents figs have a design and a level of detail that are just great.) Parts – 8/10 (A lot of common parts, but some interesting bits are in the mix nonetheless.) Playability – 9/10 (The chip safe case, the track and the weapons grant for hours of play by children.) Build – 8/10 (Nothing too complex, but some efficient solutions are used.) Price – 10/10 (20 Euros for 241 pieces plus spare parts is good, especially if you throw in two splendid minifigures.) Overall: 9/10 Very good As always, questions, comments, and pic requests welcome! If you like my reviews, and would like to learn how it's done, please consider joining the Reviewers Academy:
  19. I was rather interested in this polybag. Polybag availability can be iffy anywhere so I wasn't sure if I could get it. When I found it in my box I was quite excited to have it! Set Information: Name: Super Secret Police Enforcer Set Number: 30282 Pieces: 40 Price: $4.99 Ages: 6-12 Minifigs: 1 Theme: The LEGO Movie Year of Release: 2014 Bricklink Brickset Flickr Set Baggy: There's not much on the front of this bag, nice and neat. The speeder, for lack of a better word, is placed on a rather neutral background, I think it's a construction site. The back has the usual translations and warnings. Contents: Five extra parts. I wonder why LEGO chose the trans-black visor... Manual: The manual is a very nice blue and yellow setup, it reminds me of the construction sets. There are six steps on this page, and you've mostly finished the build. Four more steps on this page, along with two sub-assemblies. There's also a large ad for several other The LEGO Movie sets. Minifigure: While I really like the uni-eyed robot, this guy is growing on me. His helmet only comes in one other set, and this is a much cheaper way to get it. The torso is nicely detailed with a great badge that matches his helmet logo, and his knee-pads and pockets on his legs are great. On his back he has a radio with a wire going to his helmet. I guess what I don't like about this guy is that his head is a "v" shape, just not my style. This gun is great! I thought the stock would be longer, and I'm not sure if I like the clip on the top, but I think I can ignore it. Finished Model: No build pictures with this model as I showed you the manual. This is a very compact, fun little craft. The lines are great, and the angles flow well. Good work LEGO. While simple, this speeder is quite spectacular. The simple lines, flowing curves, and over all great shape lend this to be a great model. I noticed on the bag that LEGO intends for there to be three thrusters on this model, though only two have trans pieces to represent that. The back is not really for viewing, plus you won't see it when you're swooshing it. Conclusion: This is one of my favorite polybags that I've gotten in a long time. It's very, very fun to swoosh around the house. Like I said, the minifigure has grown on me as I've written this review, he looks better with his helmet on for sure. While the build is simple, and there are no great parts, it all goes together to make a great, fun little set. Good work LEGO. (Now to find out who designed it.) Ratings: Playability: 8/10 There's not a lot beyond swooshing it around. Yes I do love swooshing stuff that much. Design: 8/10 I think LEGO probably could have squeezed in a flick missile, but I like where the set is now. Price: 9/10 Not the best PPP ratio, but the design for such a small number of parts is great. Minifigures: 8/10 He's got a rather rare helmet. Parts: 6/10 Nothing new or spectacular in this set. Total: 39/50 How he drives in a straight line with only one hand on steering is beyond me. Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy!
  20. When I first heard of this set, I wasn't at all interested. Small polybag, with Emmet and a rock? Not really interesting. I was planning on getting the Cloud Cuckoo set, so Emmet wasn't a draw for me. This set was in my package of sets including The LEGO Movie Press Kit. So I can't argue with that! Let's see how the set is. Set Information: Name: The Piece Of Resistance Set Number: 30280 Pieces: 33 Price: S@H Promotion Ages: 6-12 Minifigs: 1 Theme: The LEGO Movie Year of Release: 2014 Bricklink Brickset Flickr Set Baggy: I really like the layout of The LEGO Movie set art. We have The LEGO Movie logo in the upper right corner as well as some movie frames showing numbers. This is the European bag, and it doesn't have any age or part counts on the front. The back is full of the usual stuff, warnings in every language, and The LEGO Movie translated too. Contents: Here are the extra pieces. Rather boring, but not bad for a polybag. Manual: The manual has five, six if you want to count the instructions for Emmet, steps on this page. The blue and yellow printing seems fitting since this set is based in a construction site. On the back are four more steps, as well as a warning not to launch the rock bit at anyone head, though how you would do that I don't know. The other half of the manual is taken up by an ad for three of The LEGO Movie sets. Minifigure: Emmet is the same as each other Emmet made. While it is a generic construction worker design, after having seen the movie, it's much more special to me. I love his badge with his name on it, as well as his rather classic exp<b></b>ression. From the back you can really see the new hair mold well, the Piece of Resistance blocks up a lot of the printing on his back too. His alternate expression is nice, I love having new faces, as it gives me more choices in scared heads. The back print on Emmet is some reflective silver bits. Finished Model: The completed set. It's really simple and took me less than five minutes to build. Though I do like the combination of colors and slopes which make for an interesting look overall. It's really just a rock, though the 1x1 plates in trans-yellow do break up the monotony. LEGO has done a rather good job with their sloping in making an interesting shape. And the other side, this little bit is all functionally. Functions: The main feature of this set is "finding" the Piece of Resistance. By pushing this piece here. The rock piece goes flying. It actually launches fairly far, this is how far it went. I didn't push that hard, if you push harder it would probably go farther. Conclusion: This neat little polybag isn't terrible. Sure it just includes Emmet and a rock bit, but I could see some young boys wanting a cheap set with Emmet and the Piece of Resistance. I believe that this set is all about the functionally of "finding" the Piece. Which is a good idea, since this is a big moment in the film and not at all represented in the film. Overall I like, it. Not the best polybag I own, but not bad either. Ratings: Playability: 5/10 This set is all about the function of "finding" the Piece of Resistance. It's not a terrible function, but this throwing design has been done before. Design: 7/10 I like the color combination and the angles that the slopes make. Price: 7/10 I can see this set retailing for about $4, which isn't a bad price. I can see kids buying this just so they have Emmet. Minifigures: 6/10 It's just Emmet. He's generic but designed well, and I rather like him after see the movie. Parts: 8/10 Nothing to interesting, I do like the slopes that were included. More slopes are always nice, especially when I'm doing rock work. Total: 33/50 It works quite nicely as a Emmet flinger too. See my review of The LEGO Movie Press Kit here, as well as links to my reviews of the other LEGO Movie polybags! Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy!
  21. Masked Builder

    Review: The LEGO Movie Press Kit

    The LEGO Movie Press Kit. Those words send collectors running. When I heard that I was getting one I was ecstatic, I was also hoping Benny was in it. I also wasn't sure what to expect, this set wasn't well documented, but I knew it would be something good. A HUGE thank you to LEGO for sending me this set. (And 30280, 30281, and 30282) I am very privileged to have gotten to review these sets. Set Information: Name: The LEGO Movie Press Kit Set Number: N/A Pieces: 168 Price: N/A Ages: N/A Minifigures: 9 Theme: The LEGO Movie Year of Release: 2014 Brickset Flickr Set Box: I was sent The LEGO Movie Press Kit, I wasn't sure what was going to be in it, but this is what was in it! Read the other reviews: 30280, 30281, and 30282. While box is technically correct, it is really a tin. Which is unusual as I do not believe that LEGO has packaged a set in a tin before. Surprisingly, this set has some information on it, part count, name, and age suggestion. The image is The LEGO Movie's main poster, which seems fitting. The back is covered in warnings, as well as the first poster we got for The LEGO Movie, showing Emmet. One of the sides of the sleeve shows Batman, Benny, Good/Bad Cop, Metal Beard, and Unikitty. As well as their names and the actors names that voice them. The other side is the same, however it lists, Emmet, Wyld Style, Vitruvius, and President Business. The lid of the tin has a sticker on it, with the LEGO logo and The LEGO Movie logo. Contents: Inside there is the bag of parts, the instruction manual, and the piece of cardboard for the background. The front shows The LEGO Movie logo on a stage screen with the curtain pulled back. This side shows the curtain closed if you want to display it that way. The pile of parts! The bag was quite full. Manual: The front of the manual has a very roughly rendered image of the set. If you notice Wyld Style doesn't have her hair print, but Wonder Woman has her decoration... The instructions for the set are presented on a blue brick background, which is quite pleasing and simple. Someone would ask for this eventually, so here is the part page! The back just has the blue brick background and the LEGO logo. Minifigures: Since there are nine minifigures in this set, we shall go though them by the row they are sitting in. First up we have, Wyld Style, Emmet, and Batman. My bag was open and my Wyld Style hood was missing. (Kim if you're reading this, could I get another?) But it almost works better this way, she can sit in her chair better. I am still fond of Wyld Style's hoodie, it just looks good. All three figures have back print, which is a bit unusual for minifigures. You notice Emmet's alternate expression here. With their headgear removed, you can see their alternate expressions. Emmet is really freaking out. Next is Good/Bad Cop, President Business, and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is exactly the same as her LEGO set self. Bad Cop's badge has the same logo as the bots from the movie. President Business is a fun minifigure, I quite like his very blocky hair. Wonder Woman and Bad Cop have back print. Bad cop is a rather rare figure, and his helmet is a new mold. President Business has his robot head for his alternate expression. Vitruvius, Ice Cream Jo, and the Gallant Guard. I was very excited to get Vitruvius, he's a very pivotal character in the movie. The others I wasn't super interested in but would come to like. Ice Cream Jo, and the Gallant Guard have fitting back print. Vitruvius' hair is very complex. Only Vitruvius has an alternate expression, a rather sad one too. His tye-dye t-shirt is neat too. The Build: Four steps in and you've only just started on building the base. A few steps later the first row is taking shape. Midway through, the theater is taking shape. More of the layers for the chairs are added. Each minifigure had it's own instruction page, then you added them. Finished Model: I think this model is meant to be viewed with all of the minifigures on it. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of generic parts. The fun thing with this model is that there was a promotional stand where you could put your face in a hole and be "in" the scene. Wonder Woman doesn't fit in her chair quite right. The simple way LEGO built the background in, is quite good. I would like to see more of this and less stickered parts. Vitruvius' hair fits nicely over the chair so he can sit! Conclusion: This set is an interesting conundrum. It wasn't available to the public so I think it is a must like set for me. That said, it isn't all that bad as a minifigure pack. I really like that LEGO didn't use a sticker for the background. As a promotional item, it does its job well. A bunch of minifigures from the movie, and the logo prominently displayed. Ratings: Playability: 0/10 No play value at all in this. Unless you just like minifigures. Design: 8/10 I'm giving this a rather high rating as I really like the use of the cardboard piece. Price: 0/10 Price isn't applicable here. Minifigures: 10/10 The sheer number of figures that are in this set is great, several of them are rather rare too. Parts: 5/10 Nothing super special in this set. Total: 23/50 30 Again big thanks to LEGO for making this review possible! You can read the other reviews: 30280, 30281, and 30282 Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy! ,
  22. I rather liked the look of this polybag. A small Micro Manager to battle with Wyld Style, I wasn't planning on getting any sets with Mirco Managers, and what looked to be a nice part selection. This too came in my package with The LEGO Movie Presskit. Set Information: Name: Micro Manager Battle Set Number: 30281 Pieces: 27 Price: Promotional Item Ages: 6-12 Minifigs: 1 Theme: The LEGO Movie Year of Release: 2014 Bricklink Brickset Flickr Set Baggy: The front of the bag shows a scene from the end of the movie where the Master Builders are fighting the Managers. I don't remember Wyle Style getting nun-chucks though. The LEGO Movie logo is featured prominetly. As this is the European bag, there is very little information to clutter up the front of the bag. On the back, you have the usual warnings and translations of the set name. Though on this set there seem to be less than usual. Contents: There are four extra parts in this set. Nothing to really note however. Wyld Style's hood came in this bag, I assume to protect the color printing. Manual: I love that the manual harks back to the older style of Creator sets, with the yellow and blue color scheme. In six steps you've built most of the Micro Manager. Only a quarter of this page is actual instructions. The other half is devoted to an ad for some of the other The LEGO Movie sets. Minifigures: Wyld Style is a great minifigure. Sure she has a generic hoodie on, but it is still cool. The right side of her outfit has been "gratified" on in blue and pink, it's a newer idea that LEGO tried and it works for this figure. Her hair is also quite new, she's got some printed highlights in her hair. The first thing that jumps out on you when you look at her back is her hood. The inside of her hood is printed in a nice pink color. She has the usual female print, which has some of the sides taken out with some printing. Here you can see the printing on her arm, which matches the print on her torso and legs, as well as the profile of her hood. It doesn't stick out to bad. The other side of her head is a bit of a point face, and you can also see the pink and blue print on her back. Finished Model: No build pictures as this set is so small. I really quite like this set, it has two of the new upward brackets. This guy looks very like the other Micro Managers, LEGO did a great job keeping them all similar. He only has one eye, but a common eye count isn't unusual with these guys. Not to much of anything going on in the back of him. What he's supposed to do with the wrench and chainsaw piece, I'm not sure. If the kids like it, that's all that matters. Conclusion: This was a very quick set to build. There's not a whole lot to it either, though I LOVE the parts selection here. The new brackets are great to have around. Wyld Style isn't a bad minifigure in anyway, though I've already got three of this version, maybe more sets with her hooded... Ratings: Playability: 5/10 Let's be honest here, the whole idea is for Wyld Style to "fight" the Manager. But there are no fighting features. (Flick Fires) Design: 6/10 It's a micro manager, which is a black box. Price: 8/10 While I don't know what price this will be, I think $4 is fair for the amount of decent parts. Minifigures: 7/10 Nobody exclusive to this polybag, but a good way to get a cheap Wyle Style. Parts: 9/10 I LOVE the new upward brackets. You get two in black! Total: 35/50 For some reason, I keep seeing this. Like this review? Want to learn how to make good reviews? Then join the Reviewers Academy!
  23. LEGO's 2013 CREATOR range has brought quite a variety of new models; there may not be much in the way of innovation, but I'm sure the LEGO Group knows what sells. For many, the highlight of the new sets will be this latest foray into the realm small-to-medium size cars, last visited with 2010's 5867 Super Speedster. In many respects, 31006 is a follow-on to this model, as we shall see, and we'll get to compare the two later. Review: 31006 Highway Speedster Set Information Name: Highway Speedster Number: 31006 Theme: Creator Release: January 2013 Parts: 286 Minifigures: N/A Price: GB £14.99 | US $24.99 | EUR 19.99 | AU $29.99 | CA $29.99 | DKK 179.95 A note on the pricing: In the UK, Europe, and Australia, this set occupies the same price point as 31008 Thunder Wings, which has some 50 fewer parts; whereas in the US and Canada, the Highway Speedster is considerably pricier. 31008's pricing is as follows: GB £14.99 | US $17.99 | EUR 19.99 | AU $29.99 | CA $24.99 | DKK 179.95. I can only assume that TLG have done their market research, and consider this set to be a sure-fire hit that will sell despite the higher pricing - interesting because it's rather a European-looking car, in my opinion. Links ... Shop@Home ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron The Box Click for a larger full-frontal image The familiar blue-and-yellow CREATOR colour scheme is, on this box, enlivened by a coastal roadway-graphic context for the car. I appear to have - quite unintentionally! - mimicked this for the title picture. It's more than you tend to get on most CREATOR boxes, and I think flatters the car somewhat. It is interesting that the alternative model insets - given unexpected prominence on the box of Thunder Wings - are relegated to their usual position here. Over the back, the three models parade themselves on the same 'speckled' floor found in the lower half of 31008's box rear. Click for a larger image Here, the car's opening features are opened for your delectation. I like the way the bley studs on the side of the nearmost model have their LEGO logos aligned - something I tend to take care to do when building official sets - although it is quite possible that these images are digital renders, which are often used on box art, I believe. I have often criticised the CREATOR set inventories - found as usual atop the box - for having a background gradient that can make some of the parts difficult to see; I'm pleased to report that this problem appears to have been fixed. Click for a larger image It'll be interesting to see if this lighter background extends across the entire range. The wheel construction here provides the customary '1:1' reference; it gives you some idea of the depth of the box, which is considerably deeper than that of 31008 ... ... though both share the same frontal dimensions. I doubt the 50 extra pieces require the increased interior space; it may be designed to mitigate the price hike for North American customers. This paradox continues inside the box: only three polybags reside within, compared to 31008's four; one however contains a small foetus. Each model gets its own manual. In common with the rest of the standard CREATOR range, no stickers are included; I wonder if this habit is to change with the introduction of the CREATOR Expert range and its decals. The Instructions The primary model's booklet has a shiny, high-quality cover. Having a smaller height than the box, the car is forced to encroach onto the yellow surround, as if breaking out of the page. The other two manuals have covers of a similar quality to the inside pages. A plain blue surround makes the instruction steps clear. With about 4-5 pieces per step, the build nevertheless progresses at a reasonable pace. As you can see from this picture, the rear and of the model is almost complete before the front is more than a skeleton: There are a few small sub-builds, but it's largely brick-on-brick, with very few colour-differentiation issues. Two double-page spreads advertise the rest of the new range, and some CITY vehicles. It's nice to see that the new Small Cottage gets a mention here! Behind this lies the inventory; found complete with part IDs here and here. There's nothing in the second manual besides instructions; the third's rear cover advertises the LEGO Club, with its disturbingly-faced mascot: The Parts A few pieces of blue and red break up the black, white, and grey monotony of the larger parts bag and its smaller offspring. It's nice to see a number of trans-black parts. Trans round tiles and a number of white cheese wedges could prove useful; the large number of light bluish-grey 1x1 studs would be handy if you're a fan of Derfel Cadarn's medieval walls. The other two bags contain quite a collection of white bows, tiles, slopes, plates and wedges, all are welcome in my collection. I'm really pleased to see large numbers of 1x2 plates in various colours. The yellow plates might be a little surprising; we'll see why they are necessary in due course. The only new(ish) part is the 1x2 brick with studs on one side, which I highlighted in my Octan Tanker review. Model 1 - Highway Speedster The primary model is a curvy, 10-stud wide supercar with large, purposeful front air vents, wing mirrors, large 'low-profile' tyres, and a rear-mounted engine. Size-wise it is similar to 2010's 5867, and as we shall see, the two compliment each other rather well. The low roof, and wedge-shaped profile building to a higher rear end, gives the car a suitably sporty look. The use of this piece improves the look of the tyres, which otherwise would look rather chunkier than you'd expect for such a car. They do a reasonable job off imitating alloys; the pearl light grey colour looks a little flat and it would have be nice to see them in metallic silver. Better still would be new wheel parts with low-profile tyres, but that would undoubtably push the cost up, if it is even possible at this scale. I like the red and black recesses in the sides, which otherwise would be rather flat and blocky. The low front is dominated by the twin air intakes, lined quite effectively with wedges, cheeses and bows to create a stylish look. The trans-red 1x1 rounds are a little surprising, but their resultant look complements the other, rather subtle, red parts in the intakes, without being too 'in your face.' The back is simple but smart, and looks somehow familiar. Using 1x1 round plates to imitate exhausts is perhaps a little simplistic, but it does show the younger builders how to create complex effects with simple parts, I suppose. Bows and slopes have been used in this model to recreate sexy supercar curves to quite good effect, seen best in this rear oblique view: You'll note the transparent cover to the engine compartment: a realistic feature of many modern supercars. It opens, too, as we'll see shortly. The little red tiled spoiler is rather understated; it also serves as a handle to open the engine cover. A new feature in this latest supercar is the transparent roof, formed from a 1x4x3 window panel and a 1x4x1 wall element attached SNOT to a 1x4 brick. It isn't hinged, but lifts off quite easily to access to the interior. I think the smooth look is an improvement over the previous studded plate of 5867. There's no rear window, however: the driver would have to rely on his wing mirrors! No steering in this car! I doubt a steering mechanism could be added at this scale without losing much of the exterior aesthetic; I wasn't expecting any, so I'm not disappointed. Note that, unlike most previous CREATOR cars at smaller scales, the wheels are connected directly via a 'live' axle. A minor side-effect of this construction technique is that manoeuvring the car in small spaces (ie., doing a three-point turn) is rather more difficult than with independently-spinning wheels. There's a large cavity under the passenger compartment, the floor of which is mounted above the large blue chassis rails. I'd expect a 'real' car to have quite a low floor; this is something of a design floor flaw which will cause us a bit of a headache shortly. Now we'll take a little tour of the car's features. The front headlights make use of a minifigure neck bracket to attach indicator lights; it's a fairly common technique that I've used before, and can be very useful. I do wonder whether the parts should have been white, though. The top-right frame shows the little recess under a 2x2 white tile that contains a trans-red round tile at a half-stud offset. I'm not sure what it's for, but it gives the car a Knight Rider vibe. Now there's an idea... I've already pointed out the very attractive round rear lights, but let's look at them again. Opening the engine cover reveals that, unfortunately, the engine is a little disappointing, especially compared to the hinge-brick V8 from 5867. In what is, I believe, a first for CREATOR cars, the Highway Speedster features gull-wing scissor doors (thank you, SirBlake, for the correction). The bley stud acts as a handle to allow the door to be lifted more easily ... ... even if the resulting 'open' door looks a little lame. Lifting off the roof allows easy access to the interior, itself quite smartly laid out: The chairs are a little perfunctory. The dash can easily be modified for right hand drive. It's also worth pointing out the two black symmetrical wedge plates under the windscreen, which form an attractive rhomboid shape here. Here's the downside to the high floor of the passenger compartment: You can't sit minifigures inside, without removing the roof. Actually, you can, but it involves a bit of modding including removal of the steering wheel, and lying the fig down almost flat. To be fair, you're probably not going to be trying to squeeze this car through the streets of LEGO City! I actually prefer the look without the roof. I was pretty keen on 5867 Super Speedster when I reviewed it back in 2010. 31006 is its natural successor; I've hastily rebuilt the earlier set so that we can see how well they sit together: 31006 shows up some of 5867's flaws. Its front fender is rather too deep; 31006's wheel trims make the chunky tires of 5867 look rather odd. 5867's curves, quite advanced at the time, look a little blocky, particularly on the wings; 31006's fluid contours are a vast improvement. On the downside, 31006's rather simplistic engine is a disappointment, and I've already pointed out the poorer turning circle; neither does the front trunk/boot cover open. I also miss the oblique-mounted doors of 5867 which greatly-enhanced its shape. However, the two sit quite nicely side by side, and this view reveals why I think the two sets complement each other. I remember pointing out that 5867's rear resembled a Lambourghini; the lovely round rear lights of 31006 are definitely saying 'Ferrari' to me. See here for a higher view. Model 2 - Highway Recovery The inclusion of a Recovery Truck as the second model in the set marks a pleasing contrast to the sporty primary model, and shows how a little lateral thinking can produce a very different creation from the same set of parts whilst sticking to the vehicular theme. Owners of 5867, however, won't be surprised - the second model in that set was also a truck, and even used the same SNOT technique for the windscreen. I would hazard a guess that the same designer is responsible for both sets (Morten, I believe). The use of tiles and slopes to provide a smooth upper surface for most of the truck is quite effective. You can also now see why the yellow plates are included in the set - they create a striped pattern along the sides, as you might see on an emergency recovery vehicle; it's a nice touch, if not exactly stunning. Trans-orange cheeses complete this image as emergency lights on the roof. The combined effect is perhaps seen better in this low view: Also apparent is the neat arrangement of inverted slopes along the underside, culminating at the front in a curved bumper. The arrangement of lights, radiator grill, and the centred 'badge' is a little messy, but it's probably the best that could be done with the available parts. The brick-built crane/hook assembly combines a number of contrasting colours, and isn't exactly beautiful, but it is functional: The main upright doesn't move very much; the arm extends a little way, and the hook barely moves at all, being restricted by a small plate/cheese wedge spur. This is necessary to enable to hook actually to hook anything - otherwise it would just swivel uselessly. The protruding blue 3L friction pins spoil the look slightly; it couldn't have greatly altered the price of the set to include a couple of 2L pins, but then again I'm sure just about everybody has a few spares lying around, if the protruding pins bother you. An interesting shortcut is used to attach the crane arm to the body: It is simply skewered on the rear axle. Neat! Note that this model also has 'live' axles (indeed, all three models do). Here's the crane in 'action' - Cameron's antique racing car has broken down, again. The minifig bracket that creates the hook works quite well, provided there is a plate or brick underside that it can hook onto. You have to place the towed vehicle onto the hook by hand, and it might struggle to tow anything with a low ground clearance. The truck's interior is neat and spacious, and can seat a System minifigure with ease: However, the cab roof is quite securely attached, and it can be tricky to remove. This view also highlights what I think is one of the major flaws of this build - it's just a little too low to the ground; you would expect the wheels to be mounted a plate or two lower, perhaps. Model 3 - Highway Racing I wasn't desperately keen on this third model - a classic racing car - when I first saw its pictures, but having built it and spent some time looking at it in the flesh, as it were, I've come to like it quite a lot. Like the 'concept car' model in 31008 Thunder Wings, an ugly lump of bricks transforms during the latter stages of the build into a smooth and sleek racer. I particularly like the use of wedges to define the bulge around the cockpit; the array of lights at the front looks a little odd, but it might be the best that could be achieved with the parts. The sides are finished with a SNOT panel with a row of bley studs representing, I suppose, exhausts. See, I've aligned the LEGO logos too. It's profile is somehwat dull, but I like the bowed front and the little wings over the rear wheels. The wheel-hub inserts do well here to give the appearance of spoked wheels, though they are a little too wide for realism. The back end is also neatly bowed, and here you can see the beautifully-tiled cockpit interior: It is interesting that the steering wheel is mounted slightly to to the right - I would expect the car to be a single seater. There's a jumper plate included in the set, which I don't think is used elsewhere in the model, so this could be easily corrected. The car's size is a little too large for a System minifigure, but it looks to be the ideal scale for to fit a Fabulander. It's possible, but only with a minor modification: I've removed the seat backs here so that Gibson Goat can challenge Cameron Crocodile to a race! This is perhaps what led Cameron to break down. Click the links below for some alternative views: Conclusion LEGO CREATOR's latest advance into the territory of small-to-medium sized Supercars provides us with a sleek, sporty, powerful-looking roadster that builds on the successes of its predecessor. There is some superb usage of bows and slopes to define the curvy contours of the car; the simple addition of wheel inserts vastly improves the realism of the look. If you own 5867, you will be delighted to note that the two cars are the same scale, and will look pretty sitting side-by-side on the shelf, especially given the 'allusion' to real supercar brands provided by their rear ends. The two included alternative vehicles are good models in their own right, with sufficient variety to make them interesting and fun builds, and as always significantly increase the value of these CREATOR sets. Yes, there are a few minor flaws, but overall I think the designer has done a fantastic job here. Design 9 The aesthetic of the supercar is enhanced greatly over that of its predecessor, with a wonderful use of curves to depict the svelte lines of a luxury roadster. The two alternatives are imaginative in their variety, and attractive to behold; they can be inspiring in their use of the available parts to create a very different vehicle from the original. I'm not so keen on the rather simplistic engine of the main build, and if I were to change one thing, I would lower the floor of the interior. Build 7 The build process is fun if a little pedestrian; unlike 31008 Thunder Wings I didn't experience any 'wow' moments here, although there are a few neat little tricks used here and there. The highlight is seeing how the gorgeous curves take shape. Parts 7 Aside from the new 1x2 SNOT bricks, which are already becoming quite common, there are no rare or interesting parts; however, the overall part variety and colour palette looks to be more useful than many of the set's contemporaries. Playability 8 A few fun features enhance the experience, but primarily this is a set for pushing around the carpet or sitting pretty on the shelf, at both of which it excels. Value 10 I've scored here for the UK price point: at £14.99, this set is a steal. Less so, perhaps, in North America, where it seems to have been hit be a 'desirability' premium, or something. Or perhaps TLG has taken pity on the recession-ravaged UK, where clearly people can no longer afford luxury cars, even as toys! Overall 82 % My Score 9/10 A great set, at excellent (albeit location-dependent) value. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the review. I'm sure people will have a lot to say, particularly about the price issue. Fire away! Rufus Resources My 5867 Super Speedster Review My 31008 Thunder Wings Review LEGO CREATOR home page My flickr Set Endpiece Who needs steering, anyway?
  24. dj2005, Clone O'Patra, def, Big Cam, WhiteFang VBBN, Pandora, Rufus, LuxorV, JimButcher, Inconspicuous, ZO6, The Penguin Oky, Brickdoctor, Masked Builder, The Cobra, R8, Sisco Dear Eurobricks Community, Since 2008, the Reviewers Academy has striven to help put good LEGO set reviews out to Eurobricks and the AFOL community as a whole. We teach students how to take professional-looking pictures and to write detailed opinions and facts about sets. In-depth lessons and one-on-one interaction teaches students everything from the basics of reviewing to neat tips and tricks to give reviews that extra flair. Today represents the fifth year of the Reviewers Academy. When the Academy first began, five years was a milestone to reach, and today we have achieved that. It has been a long journey, one that has only been made possible thanks to the students who wish to learn, and the teachers willingness to dedicate the time and knowledge to them. This year we saw 4 students complete the first portion of the Academy and achieve the bronze-level (Brickington, TrumpetKing, Boomchil, The Penguin), 2 silver-level students (Boomchil, The Penguin), and we welcomed a new teacher (ThePenguin). These students are accompanied by those already working toward producing quality reviews in the Academy, and welcomed by 59 new students who joined us since last year. If you are interested in joining the Reviewers Academy, Please visit the official topic for more details. The teachers have prepared 4 reviews in celebration of the Academy's 5 years: 6036: Skeleton Surprise by dj2005 850425: Business Card Holder by LuxorV 850839: Pirate minifigure pack by WhiteFang 79103: Turtle Lair Attack by Oky In addition to this, over the course of this last year the teachers have given 20 early, exclusive reviews of some highly anticipated sets: 10233: Horizon Express by mostlytechnic 10937: Batman: Arkham Asylum Breakout by Clone O'Patra 21017: Imperial Hotel by Masked Builder 41015: Dolphin Cruiser by Oky 41005: Heartlake High by Pandora 41999: 4X4 Crawler Exclusive Edition by Masked Builder 70706: Crater Creeper by Pandora 21050: Create Your Own Architecture by JimButcher 21018: United Nations Headquarters by Clone O'Patra 21103: Back To The Future Time Machine by Rufus 70003: Eris Eagle Interceptor reviewed by WhiteFang 70004: Wakz' Pack Tracker reviewed by I Scream Clone 70100: Ring of Fire reviewed by WhiteFang 70102: CHI Waterfall reviewed by I Scream Clone 71001: LEGO Collectable Minifigures Series 10 reviewed by WhiteFang 10240: Red Five X-Wing Starfighter reviewed by Rufus 70708: Hive Crawler reviewed by LuxorV 70709: Galactic Titan reviewed by WhiteFang 21015: Leaning Tower of Pisa reviewed by Rufus 71002: LEGO Collectable Minifigures Series 11 reviewed by WhiteFang Sincerely, The Reviewers Academy Teachers
  25. I've been wanting to get the funny lettered tiles for quite some time now, and this year, with little interest in other theme sets, I decided the time had come to explore this 'Office & School Supplies' section of the LEGO S@H website. I must admit the set did look a bit too colourful and childish at first glance, but the price was good, and it had a nice pieces selection. So, let's see how the set grades fro parts, appearance and 'playability'. Theme: Gear/Office & School Supplies Set name: Business Card Holder Set Number: 850425 Price: 14.99 $, 11.39 £, 12.99 Euro Pieces: 151 (+ 1 gear) Minifigures: 2 Year of release: 2012 Links: Bricklink and Brickset The Box Front Matching the set name, the box has a pretty clean, business-like design. The almost plain yellow background is split in the upper portion by a wave-y white line which separates the LEGO logo and set name from the rest of the info. I suppose this is a standard box for all countries (contrary to usual sets which have regional differences between NA and European versions); in fact, the set information include age range, pieces count and the words 'Building toy' (in three languages), just like the North American standard. On the other hand, the set number is conspicuously absent from the front of the box, probably due to the fact that this is a 'Gear' set and is sold in a different category from the normal themed ones. The size of the box is approximately that of a medium-small standard set. Back The back is quite bare as well, with only the set name (in 5 new languages this time; of course, Italian is not there!) and a shot of the minifigs and business card together with the parts callout. LEGO designers really wanted to keep things simple in this design. Sides Not much to say about the sides. The upper one (the only I photographed), sports a 1:1 mug shot of the smirking male minifigure, the LEGO logo and the usual info about production. Apparently parts in this set come from Denmark, Hungary, Mexico and China. Surprise! You may have notice the standard 'Put your finger here to open the box' spot on the back of the box. Well, that's a totally useless addition, as this box comes with not-glued side flaps and can be open normally, without any need to indent the back side. I can only suppose the box designers simply used a common template and did not bother to check the actual product they where working on... Contents Inside Inside the box, we find three thick polybags, one for the instructions and business card, one of the lettered tiles and one for the other pieces. All the polybags are made of recyclable plastic, but the bigger one includes some more ink for the usual LEGO safety warning in a plethora of languages. The parts' selection isn't spectacular, for the normal bricks, but includes ever useful parts in a number of colours. Of course, the raison d'etre of this set are the printed tiles, and there's plenty of those! New pieces The new pieces include all the special characters and number tiles (all of which in Black): Tile 1 x 1 with Silver '-' Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver '.' Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver '@' Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver '_' Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 0 Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 1 Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 2 Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 3 Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 4 Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 5 Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 6 Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 7 Pattern, Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 8 Pattern, and Tile 1 x 1 with Silver Number 9 Pattern. I'd also like to notice that , for some reason, the set includes (or, at least, this particular one does) 3 Q tiles, whereas the parts list only shows 2. It's also interesting that you cannot write a whole web address with these tiles, as there are only 2 W there... Maybe next version will include a special 'www.' tile as well. Instructions Upon opening the instructions and card polybag, I felt a rush of nostalgia for the old times, as the instructions 'booklet' is no booklet at all: it's an old style folded sheet. Now, I'm well aware we get plenty of these in polybags of all themes, but I haven't see something like this in bigger sets for a very long time. The back of the business card has blank spaces where to write your name, address, e-mail/web address, phone number and (I suppose) birthday. The instructions have a nice and relaxing light-blue background, almost no pieces call-outs (see next picture) and are easy to read and follow. Again, as on the back of the box, the last part of the instructions sheet is dedicated to the parts list. Minifigures Nothing spectacular in the minifigs compartment. These business couple sport some plain overalls, very common in the City theme nowadays and cured bill red caps, probably to give them a window-cleaner or bill sticker look to either make you feel as big boss or movie star. The faces, too, are very common, with the smirking male and soft-eyed, cherry-lips female. Always an useful addition to ones collection, but definitely no news at all. The back printing of the torso is no surprise even with such simple designs, nowadays. And, of course, the heads do not sport back printing, since the caps could not cover them. Building We start off by building a sort of small swimming pool-like, tiled box with a rainbow-ish back wall. We go up until al the 2x1 and 1x1 coloured bricks have been used, and top both sides with the 1x12 white plates. Do not worry, though: you won't have to look at the mix-matched wall for long! In fact, the business card will cover up most of the build and you will be able to rest your eyes on those smiling minifig faces (or your own personal info) for as long as you'll wish. Speaking of the two workers, they will have their personal stands to be impaled, well, stand on, while... ...they'll guard your bill-board yellow 6x10 plate. Here, I used up all the Es for the first word, so had to resort to a flipped 3 to complete the second word. Bonus images Let me introduce myself It's quite funny to browse through the tiles to pick up your letters and compose bill-board announcements and such. Just be aware of the limited number of letters at your disposal. Again, I had to resort to a little trick (photoshop, in this case), to complete the second word, having used all the (2) Rs in the glorious Eurobricks name. I would advise people to buy a second copy of this set if you think you'll need many of the same letter for your compositions. Final comments Overall, this is a nice little set, with pretty unique parts and a fine number of more common, ever used bricks and two generic worker minifigs. Design & Colour scheme – 8/10 (Very well proportioned and efficient. The only con is the somewhat too childish colour scheme, considering the business-oriented look of the set, as shown on the box.) Minifig – 8/10 (A happy working couple to set up our business card holder and guard the bill-board. Minus points for the very common parts, though.) Parts – 9/10 (All useful parts here, with the big plus of the printed tiles. The new special characters are an interesting addition, and the letters will be useful in any collection.) Playability – 6/10 (From an AFOL's point of view, this set is pretty poor in sheer playability. I mean, there isn't even a secret compartment of flick-fire missile! On the other hand, I suppose kids can have lots of fun with the little workers setting up and tearing down the bill-board.) Build – 6/10 (Very very simple and plain.) Price – 10/10 (Considering almost half of the parts are printed, this is a very good set price-wise.) Overall: 7.8/10 Very good As always, questions, comments, and pic requests welcome! If you like my reviews, and would like to learn how it's done, please consider joining the Reviewers Academy: