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Clone OPatra posted a topic in LEGO LicensedThe fact that the evil Megabluck got their grubby paws on the Spongebob license brings a true solitary tear to my eye. Just as LEGO started making actually good Spongebob sets too! Darn. Anyways, let's look not that far back at… Set Name: Bikini Bottom Undersea Party Set #:3818 Theme: Spongebob Squarepants Pieces: 471 Minifigures: 4 (ish) Year of Release: 2012 Price at Release: USD 50, GBP 50 Buy it? Inventory? Bricklink Just browse the pictures? Flickr set INTRODUCTION The now sadly defunct Spongebob theme was probably one of the oddest LEGO ever made. It lasted for six years but only ever had fourteen sets, with no wave consisting of more than 3 (and one of the first wave sets was the weird big buildable Spongebob thing). I can't say I ever greatly cared for Spongebob the show or Spongebob the LEGO line. I got the original Krusty Krab, but I can't say why, other than just to get a LEGO Spongebob minifig most likely. For years, none of the Spongebob sets trickling out appealed to me, since they seemed to be pretty basic and uninteresting designs. That is, until 2011, when the sets finally started being cool. Somebody actually had the bright idea to bring the line up to modern design standards, with cool new variants of the minifigs to boot (not just another slightly different Spongebob face). I only picked up this set of the lot, though I wish I'd nabbed a few others on sale as well (as I did with this one). It's the third time LEGO released the good old iconic pineapple under the sea, so let's see how LEGO did with it on the third go-round. INSTRUCTIONS No box, sorry. Suffice it to say, it was yellow, largeish, looked fun. Yeah. Here's the same image as the front of the box, though with elements moved around to fit the square space (the box was rectangular). I honestly have no idea if there was an episode where somebody threw a party at Spongebob and Squidward's houses with giant leis, but I wouldn't put it past LEGO to have made the whole thing up. Sure looks like fun though. The inside has an appropriate under-the-sea blue color with bubble pattern. Color differentiation in clearly quite good. Why oh why did I not buy the Flying Dutchman set. I thought about it so many times, and it wasn't even expensive. Oh well, one lives with regret. MINIFIGURES My favorite thing already, woohoo! Actually the parts in this set are amazing too. But here are our funky fresh minifigs. Like every version of Spongebob's house, the set contains Patrick, Spongebob, and Squidward (and buildable Gary). This time they are decked out in exclusive lei prints, with Patrick having an insanely awesome face print as well. I don't know how you could look at that and not smile. This was only the second set to contain the lovely Squidward head mold, and not the horrid 'Squidwards general face smashed on to a minifig head' design. I guess LEGO figured it was high time to squeeze a little more use out of the Mrs. Puff mold they'd made back in 2007, though it doesn't make much sense why she'd be here. Pearl Krabs would've been amazing!! But oh well, these are already cool. Even in the age of backprints, none of these figures have one. They're not really too necessary, though. One interesting and unsettling thing that I discovered is that you can fit Gary inside of Mrs. Puff. I left her open to illustrate her, but she does fully close with Gary inside. Play scenario kids! Mrs. Puff gets hungry and eats Gary! While I'm here in the minifig section anyway, I thought I'd weigh in on the Megabloks take. I've watched the Brickshow's reviews, and honestly, the Megabloks characters look excellent. Excellent mini action figures, that is. The charm to me of minifigs is that they never deviate too much from one, simple design. Sure, all of the minifigs in this set have special heads (and Mrs. Puff isn't compatible with anything), but they're all still unmistakably minifigures. The charm of when LEGO does a license, in my mind, is that they modify characters to work as standard minifigs, not make new figures to represent characters. The Megabloks figures look great and have a ton of awesome detail, but they're just completely a different item from minifigs. The Spongebob characters seem about as far as LEGO can stretch with minifigs and be successful to me. Toy Story had to go even further outside of minifig zone to have characters like Ham and Rex, and it just didn't really work because it lost its LEGO-ness. Don't get me wrong, I have Ham and Rex and they're both super-cute, but like Mrs. Puff it's really hard to see them as a LEGO product (Ham has a whopping zero points of connectivity). Ok, just had to weigh in on that. Back to the regular program. PARTS This set, unquestionably, undeniably, makes one heck of an amazing parts-pack. So many of the parts in these colors are super-rare. I tried to pick out some of the rarest and most interesting, but I missed a few. For anybody who just builds in natural colors, this set might not be for you, but for people looking to brighten up their life there's just so much on offer here. I love bright colors personally. Somehow I never noticed until rebuilding this set for the review that LEGO changed the pillar mould to have a solid stud. Looking at Bricklink, it seems LEGO made the switch in 2012. Cool, though now you can't put rods in the top of pillars to make cool guns on mechs or stuff like that. Note also - excessive amounts of light blue cheese. SET Interestingly, the instructions don't have you build things in an order that make sense. You'd think the playground equipment and DJ equipment would be grouped together respectively, but no, they go back and forth. Obviously it doesn't matter at all. Just thought it was interesting to note. I'll show the stuff in the order I want. Food Stand I guess one of the characters rented this from somewhere, since it's not usually chilling on their lawns. It's a nice little island-themed build. The colors work together quite nicely. The brickbuilt cake is also fun, as are the balloons. Nothing unexpected from the back, besides for the fact that it's decorated with four cheese! Woo! Playground Equipment Somebody also must have brought in some playground equipment. What party would be complete without a playground? Umm… idk. This stuff seems a bit random and feels like it was thrown in just to fill out the set to the $50 price point, but it supplies great parts in great colors so who can truly argue with that. There's really no reason these things need more than one picture now collectively. They go quite well together, and the merry-go-round goes round merrily. DJ Equipment More logical for a party is sound equipment. These I will show separately to note a few things. The LPs for scratching are stickers, but they're great stickers so why not sacrifice two black round 2x2s to make funky LPs. They're even put on turntables to you can literally turn them. The speakers have a truly ingenious design, using the bottom part of treasure chests. Along with the fire in sticks in the ground, these truly have an island or tiki vibe. Altogether these components look fantastic, and would make a nice little display just like this. Such a cute little setup. Squidward's House (Note that I did not apply exterior stickers to either house. While those huge lei stickers are nice, I wanted to keep the models clean for making standard Bikini Bottom scenes, not specific party ones.) Squidward's house was one Spongebob element never done justice before this set. It was excluded entirely from the second Pineapple set, but it might as well have been left out from the original Pineapple set as well since it was mainly composed of this horrid 4+ Pirates abomination of a piece and had no interior, being completely devoted to having a stupid target feature in its eyes. Anyways, though Patrick's rock didn't make the cut for a redesign to something other than two LURPs as it was in its only appearance in the whole line, Squidward's Easter Island head house thankfully did. This version fully uses contemporary building techniques with plenty of bricks and even some SNOT. Comparing it to pictures of the show, it's actually not great; the show version is rounded and tapers back and upward, as well as being far darker. The shape of the 'real' house really can't be duplicable in LEGO at this scale by my estimation, so though this model is way too light, skinny, flat, and blocky, it's still pretty much undeniably Squidward's house, especially when put next to the Pineapple. It's also worlds better than that 2005 piece of crap model. I don't mind the mixture of greys, since LEGO does not abide by monochrome models, and the effect here doesn't look sloppy. The model is extremely flat though, with just enough depth to not completely be a facade. The upper half does not even go all the way back, which is a bit weird, but make for more room to play on the 'interior.' Overall the shaping and look of this house is not super-fantastic, but it does the job and it's nice to have Squidward's crib. PLAY FEATURE ALERT!!!!!! ……… The door opens. Why can't LEGO make the hinge pieces light grey, though. Seriously. From the back this set sort of reminds me of the most recent Hogwarts Castle sets and their towers, which had next to no space but had details crammed in them anyway. Particularly reminiscent is the top floor, which just has a little build representing a present and no space for minifigs. The ground floor contains a little potted plant, and a music stand and clarinet for Squidward to use. The clarinet is a nice detail from the show, since it actually factors into a number of episodes. The sticker is again, like the LPs, a nice simple, versatile one. The second floor simply contains a little table and chair for Squidward to sit at in solitude, being mopey. More nice stickers here. Usually I'm not a fan of stickers having a back color that does not match the color of part to which they are applied, but here the white on brown actually works for to create a 'framed picture' effect. Spongebob's House Though I don't own them, I've looked at pictures and reviews of the first two Pineapples and found that they were very largely the same from the exterior, which just a few minor differences. This set gave the house a complete revamp, with a couple of the most noticeable differences being the front section shortened to just six studs wide instead of eight, and the addition of some SNOT orange rooftop pieces to give it some pineapple-y bumpiness. Like Squidward's house, the model can't really get the shape right, but again I think that would be impossible. It's still unmistakably Spongebob's house. It's got quite a visually appealing design LEGO-wise as well. It seems somebody decided on the first version that it should have some red stripes, which hasn't been done away with here. It looks nice even if the 'real' thing doesn't have such stripes. Note that the windows are printed, and appeared in all three pineapples as well as the Bikini Bottom Express. The other side features some good asymmetry, with the window being placed on the upper part rather than the lower (and of course the absence of the chimney). There's not too much going on on the inside. This version contains no more detail than the previous one, and actually a little less since that one had a separate armchair that could be put inside. However, the few details are pleasing. I especially like Patrick's portrait over the door. True friends have pictures of their true friends in their houses. Let's go through the features/details. Of course the door opens, as expected. I just love opening doors (and then taking pictures of it). This side of the interior is fairly simple, with just a bowl for Gary and a picture to let you know that its his section. I have no idea what that other sticker in the background represents. Some giant harpoon? The other side contains Spongebob's all-important bed. This must be a go-to component of the house, since all three have feature a different version of it. It makes sense, given that it's featured in the opening sequence of the show and it's an easy play feature to pull off. Again, nice sticker on the wall. The original bed had an elaborate rubber-band mechanism, but the next to have been simple lever-style. Push down, wake up already-smiling Spongebob. Just in case you were wondering, the set looks like this when folded out castle-wall style. Why you'd want to do this, I don't know, but YOU CAN. And here's the inside that way. You could make pineapple fortifications for a fruit castle or something. The interior would be a big apple. I don't know I'm just brainstorming. WHOLE SET and CONCLUSION I forgot previously to show this picture of just the disconnected bits, so I thought I'd do that here. This almost makes some strange, small Winter Village Market style scene. Now here's really everything. This set is a lot of fun, and if the theme had to end, this isn't a horrid way to do it. From a Spongebob fan perspective, we finally got an updated Squidward house and redesign of Spongebob's house as well. The whole set might be yet another rehash, but it's a rehash of the best kind. The original versions were just ugly. The minifigs in this set are really not a huge draw, besides Patrick, who is awesome. I'm happy to get the nicely molded Squidward, but if you're not at all a Spongebob person you probably wouldn't care much for him. His sand-green skin tone on the torso wouldn't look too great with a yellow head, either. Parts-wise, this set really shines. There are so many parts in rare colors here, it's amazing. Few sets have such a nice, rare selection. I got the set on sale for USD 35, which was a truly great price that convinced me to buy it. I'd already been eyeing it at $50 though, and if I was a Spongebob fan I probably would have done it for full price. For USD 50 it certainly wasn't bad at all. This set was a good send-off for the theme, but it also shows how good things could have been if the theme had been continued. The last four sets were all pretty great (though the superhero boat was a bit weird), and if the theme could have stuck around in its minor way I'm sure we would've seen a nice, updated Krusty Krab. I guess it's good to go out on a high note, though, and in that last wave LEGO provided once again almost everything you really need for acting out most Spongebob scenes. Heck, if Lord of the Rings has really gone to the dogs, this is a way better conclusion for a Licensed theme. We didn't even get Faramir.