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While Jurassic Park rightly deserves a lot of credit for re-introducing audiences to the pleasures of mankind encountering living, breathing dinosaurs (before said dinosaurs eat man, leaving women to inherit the earth), let's not forget some of the earlier versions of this, including the 1925 silent movie The Lost World, based on the 1912 Arthur Conan Doyle novel of the same name. I bring this up mostly because the Adventurers' Dino Island subtheme, first released in 2000, has more in common with Doyle's work than Crichton's more contemporary version. And as an avid fan of both dinosaurs and turn-of-the-20th Century adventurers, this was a pretty solid third wave for one of my favorite LEGO themes. So hold onto your butts, as we explore: Info Set # - 5955 Name - All Terrain Trapper Theme/Subtheme - Adventurers/Dino Island Year - 2000 Piece Count - 185 Minifigures - 3 Price - MSRP $30 US Links Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Bricksafe Box 65 million years ago, I did have a box for this set in my collection. But alas, it has since been lost to the ravages of time, (otherwise known as the parents recycling it) so we'll just have to push on without it. Although for those curious, it looks like Bricklink has a listing for the box. Instructions Aside from the usual wear-and-tear, along with some postmortem contractions of the posterior neck ligaments, this is probably one of the better Adventurers instruction manuals in my collection (especially compared to my River Expedition one, yikes). The world map graphics bordering the actual set image is a great change of pace from the previous imagery around the two earlier Adventurers subthemes, suggesting Johnny Thunder and friends (along with his nemeses) are well off the beaten path here. While the background is very clearly computer-generated, I don't mind the swooshing lines for the trapper or the stationary net, which help to highlight the play features. Moving closer, we can also see a revision to the old Adventurers logo, which I'm personally not too crazy about. What was great about the first two was that it gave you everything you needed in one concise package. You had the brand-new hero for this brand-new theme in the center, along with the new wildlife molds in the border. Add in palm leaves in the background of the Jungle subtheme logo, and pyramids (plus that all-important biplane) in the Egyptian one and you've got a pretty great logo. The fact that it looked like an old-school stamp you might see on a steamer trunk or a passport didn't hurt things either. But this logo's a touch too sprawling for my tastes, even though it still gives you everything you need to know about this subtheme (namely that it has dinosaurs and Johnny Thunder). So while I'm nitpicking, it still gets the job done. Much like in previous manuals, this one also offers alternative builds, and given how this subtheme featured more blocky, less specialized pieces, it could make for a bit of a mixed bag. Fortunately there's mostly good stuff here you can create, from a nice little jeep and storage depot in the bottom-most image (even if that plane is severely lacking in controls), and a pretty good barge in the smaller image. Also, there's a fun little comic here, which helps to explain the different alternative builds, even if it's clear the two lead characters are dreaming a little bigger than what's actually possible with the pieces in the set. And for anyone who always wished they could actually build the alternative models, LEGO kindly incorporated abbreviated steps for a few of the designs, which is pretty nice. I can't remember how often I'd try replicating one of the cooler alternative builds with the earliest Star Wars sets, only to run into a wall during the attempt. As an added bonus, you also have fun infographics near the end, offering interesting facts on each Dino Island dinosaur, such as their weight, size, what they eat, and most importantly of all, which sets they came in, so, like Pokemon, you can collect them all. Moving on to the interior of the instruction manual, you can see it's a pretty basic layout, with the background vaguely continuing the atlas-like motif, with some latitude and longitude lines. The color distinction is perfect, while sub-models get call-out boxes and steps. But for those of you used to having individual piece call-outs for each step, get used to carefully looking over each image for new pieces that are added on, before doing the same with your pile of parts. Pieces As you can see, we spared no expense sorting all 185 pieces of this set. Aside from the bright yellow and red, which will mostly be covered up by the rest of the vehicle, the brightest color will be blue, which is the dominant color scheme for the villain's vehicles on Dino Island (minus one glaring exception). Plenty of green and light gray will make up foliage, while black will help round out the shaping of the Trapper. Much like how frog DNA easily slots into prehistoric dino DNA to fill the gaps, LEGO opted to use mostly generic bricks for the Dino Island subtheme, which can fit in everywhere. Similarly, the unique pieces aren't too out there, largely being quite common, although that only makes the set more attractive if you're not looking to keep it built. Take for instance the ubiquitous string net, 10x10 square. which appears in 55 sets in black, used in everything from Pirates to Ninjago. Or the plate, modified 2x2 with bar frame square, appearing in 35 sets total. The same goes for all the other pieces pictured here, which are interesting compared to the rest of the pieces in this set, but aren't too unique when you look at the bigger picture. The biggest exception to this rule might be the slope, curved 2x2x1 double with two studs and the vehicle, base 6x5x2 with two seats, both of which were introduced in the Adventurers line, but have since been incorporated in a number of other sets. Again, owing to this theme's relative simplicity in parts usage, there are no printed parts here. Fortunately, LEGO spared no expense in providing plenty of accessories for this motley crew, which is always nice. Here we have two different kinds of firearms, along with a hammer and wrench for making quick fixes to the Trapper, a crate to carry it all around, and some cooking supplies. Let's just hope they don't mind sharing utensils. Minifigures While we don't have Dodgson here, what we do get is the entire villain's team in one set, which is rather nice. From left to right we have Baron Von Barron, er, I mean Sam Sinister, his sister Alexis Sinister, and their intrepid big game hunter/guide, Mr. Cunningham, which, while not as much fun to say as Rudo Villaino, still gives you a good enough idea of his character. He's cunning! And judging by that shirt of his, he's a big fan of ham. As for the other two, Alexis Sinister is a nice way of shaking things up in the villain department, since I don't think the Adventurers theme ever had another female villain (who's apparently rather interested in getting Johnny Thunder to work with the bad guys, if the September/October 2000 issue of Mania Magazine is any indicator), and Von Barron, or rather, Sam Sinister is the quintessentially perfect pulp adventure villain. I can't really blame LEGO for re-using his character so many times (though I can blame them for changing his name), since he's got everything you need in a villain, from the snooty-looking monocle, to the nasty scar and the hook for a hand! He's honestly perfect. I decided to skip photographing the backs of the minifigures' torsos, since there's no printing there anyway, so we can move onto the real reason you'd buy this set in the year 2000: Dinosaurs! While they've made more detailed ones in the Jurassic World sets, with better articulation, these ones are still fun to have around and get the job done. Aside from the baby T-Rex which I forgot to include here, there are no predators in this set (aside from the human ones, that is), with a Stegosaurus and Triceratops making up the quarry for our nefarious trio. The Build We kick things off by building the titular Trapper, which is nicely symmetrical, and actually rather intricate. We start off with some white plates and vehicle axles... ...followed by some tiling and a few 1x1 blue round bricks. The tiles will become part of the main play feature. Add in a covering for the back, along with a propeller, and it's starting to take shape. But first, a sub-model. Here's one of the two sub-models. This piece fits over the blue tiles, which will make contact with... ...this axle brick. While the yellow and red stick out a bit, they'll mostly be covered up in the final model. So installing these two and covering them with another plate, we'll have... ...a fairly complete model! But first, after some tires are added, and... ...we get to move onto the actual trap part of this All Terrain Trapper. Using these 7 pieces, we create... ...a weighted net, which still looks the part with those 1x1 round bricks in blue. Add that to the end of Trapper, along with a chain and the cab, and... ...Behold! If you want something that'll let you get around Dino Island easily while catching said dinos, this is the vehicle you'd want. Some additional perspectives of the All Terrain Trapper. One thing you don't get from the image on the instruction manual and box is how the vehicle seems designed for amphibious use, able to drive right into a river or lake and get to the other side without getting the minifigures wet (though I wouldn't try this in real life). The propeller in the rear, along with the wedge-shaped plates help contribute to that look, while the cab, typically situated closer to the ground, is near the top of the vehicle. And those tires look like they're made for the type of rugged environment I'd imagine Dino Island to be, making this a vehicle that can traverse through a variety of different terrains, including long grass. An added bonus of this vehicle is how, unlike the jeep in Spider's Secret, there's more than enough room to place a headlight or two on here if you want, since, unless I'm mistaken, Dino Island doesn't have electricity or running water that isn't a river. Of course this group couldn't call themselves effective poachers if they only had a single trap, so we get a stationary one as well, for all the clever girls who avoid the Trapper. We start by taking the big 8x16 green brick and attaching it to two more 2x3 green bricks. The two 1x8 light gray tiles will be part of a play feature, which comes next. We start by building the mechanism that will support the net, with one 2x10 blue plate and two 1x10 light gray plates to start. Two 1x1 round bricks in blue will get added later. Speaking of, this particular brick did not hold up. Not sure if this has happened to anyone else, but it's a good lesson kids. Always treat your bricks gently. Fortunately I had a spare, and the part of the trap that supports the net is done. Now we move onto the platform that'll trigger the trap. Add some bricks onto the grille plate, and boom, we have a trap! Just attach it to the plate, and... ...we have trap number two! While not as striking as other booby traps in the Adventurers theme, the low profile works well for Sinister and Company's prey, especially with the camouflage on either side. Some more angles of the stationary trap. While with current parts (or even parts back then, if I'm being honest), you could probably add more camouflage to the grille plate and net, resetting it would be a pain after springing the trap, so it's fine. Last but not least, we have the actual campground for Sinister's base of operations. A 4x8 blue plate makes for a nice river, and provides some welcome change to the set's environment. So after building up a solid connection between the two baseplates with bricks and plates... ...we can get started on the campsite proper, with a barrel complete with a tap on top and a 2x2 round brick in brown, which will become a stove of sorts. So after adding a few more pieces, along with the Trapper's super-simple repair kit, and we have... A campsite, complete with Alexis Sinister and that pesky baby T-Rex I missed up above (though you tell me whether he's supposed to be an accessory or wildlife. Guess it depends on if you're in Sinister's camp or Johnny's). Some more views of the campground from different angles. Dino Research Compound this is not (for one thing, this model has a completely different name), but it's still a great addition to this set, giving our villains room to scheme and plan their next trap while enjoying fresh fish or whatever else they have on hand to eat. And there's plenty of room, which ensures all three minifigures can fit on here easily when the Trapper's engine is on the fritz. Let's just hope that they set up camp away from a game trail. And now you have the whole set, with all characters and vehicles included. As you can see, there's plenty to do here, so let's move on to the play features. Play Features Once you've built your top-of-the-line, custom vehicle designed for capturing dinos, it's only natural if the next thing you wish to do is give it a little field test. In the case of the Trapper, which capably traversed the rough terrain of my white tablecloth, we see it's encountered a rather docile Stegosaurus, caught unawares. Let's see how it does. Well, Mr. Cunningham must be a religious man, since it seems as if he got an assist from the Hand of God. Aside from outside help, you can see how the arm propped up launches the net. Once the Trapper hits a dinosaur (or a hand, wall, or pet), the front plate will be pushed in, sliding along the tiles to push the arm carrying the net up. It's pretty clever, and works wonderfully every time (although you do need to hit it like you mean it to get any kind of trajectory. Otherwise it just lands on top of the engine). Moving onto the stationary trap, we see Alexis Sinister has kindly offered to demonstrate how it works for us. By placing something on the black grille plate and pushing down... ...the net gets lifted up and falls over the quarry, leaving them a little tied up. Between the two traps, this might be the better one, since it doesn't require any finessing. Just stick something on the plate and let 'er rip. Finally, there's the campsite, which again, isn't anything noteworthy in terms of play features. But given how we get two really good ones with the other two models, having a bit of scenery where your minifigures can just hang out is nice. Although that flame under the frying pan might be a little strong if it's holding it aloft. Might want to turn that thing down, unless you like your food burned to oblivion. Final Thoughts Following my new tradition of trying to use numbers in my set reviews, let's see if I can sum this set up fairly. Pricing and Value - According to Brick Insights' statistics, which will probably be skewed a bit once this review is added to their index, the price-per-part for this set today is $0.24, an improvement over the initial price-per-part in 2000, which stood at $0.26. Overall, I'd say the value of this set is a 7/10, since you get a fair number of pieces for the price (and if Brickset is any indicator, the prices on this set used haven't gone up too much). Pieces - Sadly, this is where the set takes a hit for me (along with the other Dino Island sets), since so many of the actual parts aren't that unique. Unlike the Egyptian or Amazon subthemes, which offered a wealth of printed parts, here the only printed piece which is unique to this subtheme is a film strip tile, which is nice but a far cry from what we received in previous Adventurers subthemes. And the foliage isn't even that interesting, with all of it variations on this piece. On the other hand, you get two dinosaurs and two nets, along with some other useful, cool pieces, so it's a 7/10 for me. Design/Build - Here's a set which shows that, despite a lack of interesting or unique parts, you can still accomplish a lot with basic bricks, slopes, and plates. The design of the Trapper is fantastic, and the stationary trap is good too, while the campground has enough diversity in appearance to make it fit in with the other two models without completely disappearing. So it's a 9/10 for me, due in large part to the dedicated campsite and unique amphibious design of the Trapper. Playability - No preoccupations about whether or not I should try and trap a dinosaur with the Trapper or with the stationary trap, only that I can do so and should honestly do it more often. This set is very playable, and offers just enough accessories to give each minifigure something to hold or do. While the Trapper only seats two, you can still give the odd man out (or woman, if it's Alexis) something to do at the campsite or the stationary trap, which is great. While the net-launching feature on the Trapper doesn't always work if you aren't actively ramming the target, the rest is fine, so 8/10 for me. Verdict: All told, I'm glad life found a way to bring this set to me. While it was sacrificed at the altar of Star Wars, and later, Indiana Jones, it was a real treat to put it back together and play around with it some more. While some of the Dino Island sets are a little wonky now, especially in the surrounding environmental design, this set is a perfect balance between cool vehicles and playable terrain. Plus, if you're trying to avoid overdoing it with your LEGO purchases (preposterous, I say), this is a great set to get since it has all the villains. But again, the blocky design is a little primitive and lackluster compared to the designs of the previous two Adventurers subthemes, so the total score is a 77.5% from me. So while this isn't, say, a UNIX system, it's still a set I'd absolutely recommend picking up. Welcome...to collecting LEGO sets. Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave questions or comments below.
Greetings, adventurers! As you have probably seen, the next Creator Expert set, 10273 Haunted House, was announced this morning and it features many references to Adventurers and other themes as it is designed to be a fairground ride that is modeled after the manor of the notorious villain Samuel Von Barron. There is a large haunted portrait of the baron, a sign saying "Manor Von Barron" and several stolen artifacts from the Egypt and Orient Expedition subthemes. So my question is: is this canon to the Adventurers theme? If so, that opens up a lot of questions. We don't know how accurately the fairground operators recreated Sam's manor, but assuming it is accurate, we can gleam a lot of information from it. First, let's talk about the name. Baron Von Barron's infamous name change to Sam Sinister has been confusing Lego fans to this day, and TLG is muddying the waters even more here by calling him Samuel Von Barron which seems to be a combination of the two. Is this his real full name and was "Sinister" just a nickname? The portrait has a play feature that causes Pharaoh Hotep to appear behind the baron. This suggests that the baron was cursed by the pharaoh, possibly for stealing all of these treasures. Did the baron die from this curse? On the other side of the manor, there is "strange altar" with skull candles, a chalice, and a vassal with some dark red contents. There is also a skeleton with a top hat just like the one that both Sam and Slyboots (a.k.a. the other Sam Sinister) used to wear hanging from chains from the ceiling. This has some surprisingly dark implications. Did Sam used to practice some kind of blood rituals up here? Is the skeleton meant to be him or Slyboots or someone else? Were the rituals meant to free him of the curse? There is also a red snake hiding under the table which according to a German Adventurers audio drama is venomous and killed the first people who raided Pharaoh Hotep's tomb as part of his curse, so it would make sense that Baron von Barron would suffer the same fate. There is a coat of arms over the manor that references Fright Knights, specifically set 6007 Bat Lord. Does this mean that Sam is a descendant of Basil the Bat Lord?! As a fan of both Adventurers and Fright Knights, I am absolutely fine with accepting that as canon! There is also one of Ogel's orb bombs from Alpha Team in the attic along with a rusting Junkbot. Does the baron have some kind of connection to Ogel? There might be even more interesting references that I missed, but this gives us a lot to think about. So what do you think? Do all these things mean what I think they mean? Or am I just overthinking some fun easter eggs in a silly haunted house set? It's probably the latter, but either way, discuss!