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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.
Growing up, I was never really a huge fan of LEGO Castle. The one exception to that rule was Fright Knights, which honestly looked pretty cool in the LEGO Racers video game, as if the designers had taken the previous Castle racetracks and upped the difficulty and spookiness of it all. Years later, looking up some of the actual sets from this subtheme proved...underwhelming, with their occasionally slapdash designs and weird color schemes, suggesting that I should've stuck with the memories from that game instead. But I guess I love a good fixer-upper on occasion, since I still ended up buying most of the sets from that wave anyways. Among them was a MISB Witch's Windship. So let's go 'round the cauldron and check out this set review, which was double, double toil and trouble, especially since I took these photos last year and had to spend some time looking for them again: Info Set # - 6037 Name - Witch's Windship Theme/Subtheme - Castle/Fright Knights Year - 1997 Piece Count - 56 Minifigures - 1 Price - MSRP $8 US Links Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Bricksafe Box Forget your older castle subthemes, with their pleasant green fields and blue skies. We're in nightmare territory here, as you can tell from the box art. Craggy mountains in the background suggest this is a harsh, mountainous terrain with little vegetation, while the orange and red sky is very Halloween-ish, which is great. I also dig the...large bats? Dragons? Dragon bats? that are fluttering around in the background, again suggesting that we're not in Kansas anymore (or the Yellow Castle, at the very least). With all that being said, the model that is the main reason for buying this set also looks great, seemingly swooping through the sky. And don't forget that excellent logo in the upper right-hand corner of the box, still mostly visible despite the obnoxious reflection. As for the back, it's more of the same in terms of designs from 90s sets, with alternative models and additional practical photography. Given the parts selection, there aren't exactly too many alternative models you can construct, since some of these pieces are rather specialized. Though I do like how they placed Willa and that dragon-type monstrosity for the bottom-most build on what seems to be actual rocks, allowing it to mesh better with the rest of the photos in creating a consistent world. Not to mention the dragon daintily carrying her broomstick in the upper-right model photo . The sides of the box are mostly the same with a yellowy-orange color, and all are viewable on my Bricksafe folder, so we'll just put the most interesting photo in this review, leaving the others for completists. Again, it's nice to see LEGO use what looks like actual rocks here, even if they're just pieces of painted Styrofoam. I also think this alternative model doesn't look too bad given the limited range of parts we have to work with, opting for more of an aerial chariot look. Okay, enough ogling the cool box art. Let's punch a very satisfying hole in this old set and take a look at all of the nicely preserved pieces. Here's what you get if you pay a premium for this set still sealed in its box, and what you would have gotten if you picked this up back in 1997: one bag with the smaller parts, while the rest are just sitting loosely inside. We also get an instruction manual and promotional posters, which isn't too surprising. What is surprising is that Willa's excellent cape is completely unprotected from getting accidentally creased or crumpled due to loose parts. Fortunately, it looks to be just fine. Unlike some of the other older sets I've picked up MISB, the promotional materials for this one seem to be advertising new sets for next year instead of the current year, which is always a fun trip down memory lane. If I hadn't spent the summer rebuilding and playing with several of these older themes, I might feel inclined to take them out again in the near future. Instructions Now that we've got the box open, here's the instructions which...resembles the box, except with no UPC codes or appropriate age ranges, so it's cleaner. And here's your random page from inside the instructions. As you can tell, pretty straightforward, although you have to pay attention, since there are no parts call-outs telling you how many pieces you need to get through the next step. You also get treated to a really nice orange to yellow gradient, which helps maintain the spooky, creepy atmosphere that defines this theme. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a photo of the back of these instructions, but if you want to know what it looks like, simply scroll up to the photo of the back of the box, and there you go. Pieces There aren't too many parts that I personally thought were interesting, but that's largely because I've seen them in other sets I own. In any case, below are the parts of interest for me, which include the old-school LEGO dragon mold, first introduced in 1993 through the Dragon Knights subtheme. Willa's red magic wand, which has since been used in a number of clever LEGO Star Wars jokes as a substitute lightsaber blade, also first appeared in 1993 among the Dragon Knights subtheme and since then has appeared in 92 sets. Of particular interest to me are the last two parts, which are unique because they were introduced specifically for this theme. Willa's Slope 65 2x2x2 without bottom tube with dark gray and red witch's pattern has appeared in only six sets, all of which are Fright Knights with the exception of one castle set from 1997, which still does feature all the key figures from this subtheme and from the Royal Knights. Lastly, the crystal ball piece, which is always nice to have, also made its debut in the Fright Knights subtheme, and has since appeared in 48 sets. Minifigures Here's the only minifigure for this set which, as you might have guessed, puts the witch in Witch's Windship. Unless I'm mistaken, Willa the Witch is LEGO's first ever witch minifigure, and she certainly looks thrilled to be a pioneer, with that big, cackling grin complete with a single tooth. While many of the more recent witch minifigures more closely resemble the classic pop culture depiction of a witch by being green, she still looks nice all these years later. And the printed slope is also novel to me, since it seems like any kind of leg printing is a very recent phenomenon. And here's the back of Willa, with her gnarly spider cape, matching the brooch on her front. Much like Basil the Batlord's cape, we've got a nice little fringe on the bottom, giving it a slightly eviller look compared to other capes from other Castle subthemes. And for those curious, here's what Willa looks like without her cape. While the front of her dress is printed, it's clear that backprinting was still a little too advanced for the time. But since it's covered by a cape, it isn't really a problem. As far as wildlife goes, we have Willa's noble steed, represented here by that classic green dragon of yore. While Ninjago has given us plenty of really nice-looking brick-built dragons, this guy's still pretty cool and can easily sit on a desk or castle tower without taking up too much space. Seeing how this mold was first introduced in the Dragon Knights subtheme, I like to think Willa either grabbed a similar dragon or, better yet, stole him from Majisto . Another angle on this lovely dragon, which has a nice little hole in his mouth where you can place some of those older flame pieces. Sure, you can place Zamor Spheres and all sorts of other things in the newer dragon mouths, but it's still quite satisfying to have some fire shooting out of this guy's mouth. Uh-oh, looks like he's starting to sneeze. Better move on. The Build Since we only have a little over 50 parts here, the build goes fast. So fast, in fact, that I didn't have time to photograph each step. In any case, here's what I got: We start by building the base, inside the large black cockpit 10x10x4 octagonal with axle hole part. The round yellow bricks on the bottom make up the landing struts. Then after a few more steps, it's starting to take shape, complete with rear taillights, I suppose. After all, don't want to hit one of those monster bats! And after adding the ship rigging and a very simple harness for the dragon along with its wings, we have one lean, mean, medieval flying machine! For those interested, a closer view of the interior of this ship. One of the more disappointing things here is how little space there is for more than one minifigure. Sure, you could cram two more inside the basket while other Fright Knights ride on the rigging, but it sort of takes away from this working as an aerial siege engine, since space is limited. Willa even needs to stretch to reach the crystal ball for steering, which is too bad. Two wedge plates would quickly fix this problem, instead of the 2x6 plate we're stuck with instead. And here's another angle of the windship, showing those sweet taillights. Play Features Since we only have one vehicle, there isn't really too much you can do that would count as a "play feature," short of swooshing it around. The dragon can rock in its harness, which feels realistic, and as you can see below, the two axes are on red hinge bricks, which means airborne decapitations and lancings are now possible. When I first connected these hinge bricks, one of them was loose while the other was a little stiffer, but they both worked fine and I found it quite fun to swing them back and forth. And here's the complete set, with Willa and her (presumably flying) broomstick, in case this invention of hers doesn't quite work out. Overall I like the black and red, which both matches Willa's wardrobe and the Halloween-ish vibe they're going after, although I'm not quite sold on the light gray, which I too often associate with rock, something that wouldn't quite fly with something like this. Oddly enough, the yellow is fine, since it isn't as prominent as some of the Fright Knights' other vehicles. Final Thoughts Pricing and Value - Brick Insights suggests that this set is still worth it, based on the price-per-part ratio, which is currently at $0.22, an improvement over its initial price-per-part in 1997, which was $0.24. With that being said, I would probably place this at a 7/10, since cost-wise, it hasn't skyrocketed the way other sets from 1997 have, and that means plenty of unique parts for a buyer that have since been retired, without paying too much. Pieces - With only 56 parts in the set, that means most of them better count, and boy do they ever. That large octagonal part is very usable across a number of themes, and this is a pretty nice grab-bag of medieval parts if you're running low, from a magic wand, two axes, a broomstick, and a crystal ball. Oh, and don't forget that dragon, which is always a plus. So let's say 8/10. Design/Build - Surprising no one, this set is not exactly designed super well, which is a shame. While LEGO has now done several fantasy subthemes in their Castle line, with plenty of wildly impractical siege engines, I still think Fright Knights is impressive for the sheer number of medieval flying machines they tried to make. Unfortunately, with the strangely colored parts included with this set, along with the pitifully small plank for Willa to stand on, this only gets a 6/10 from me. Playability - You can swish around Willa on her broomstick, or if she doesn't feel like slumming it, put her in the windship. With the dragon attached by an axle brick, you can also get plenty of swinging action too, which seems right when your method of propulsion comes from a dragon instead of hot air. And with the axes that can swing open and close easily, I think I'm comfortable giving this an 8/10, which may seem high, but you can get a lot of mileage out of this set even though you only get a single minifigure and a dragon, without a separate faction to fight. Verdict - LEGO may have made many villainous factions for heroic knights to fight, from Vladek's forces to armies of trolls and skeletons, but for me, Fright Knights takes the cake. This faction remains one of those compelling subthemes probably because they got there first, and as you can tell by how much I gushed over the box art, has atmosphere to burn. While I love seeing some of the more recent fantasy-era Castle sets, those still seem to take place in a shared universe with the usual trappings of rolling fields and impregnable castles. Fright Knights, on the other hand, seems very different, with innumerable flying machines, booby traps, and a batlord who may or may not be a medieval vampire. Granted, the design of several of these sets leaves something to be desired, and Witch's Windship is no exception, with a lackluster interior and odd choices for the colors of certain parts. But since you aren't getting more than one minifigure, it isn't that much of a problem for me. Given how this set is a flagship vehicle of sorts, having driven by it several times on the Fright Knights' course in LEGO Racers, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that this set gets a 72.5% from me. Thanks for reading! Comments and questions are always welcomed! Little did Willa realize the downsides of traveling in a large, spacious basket instead of a small broomstick. Especially when dealing with a tenacious Monster Fighter. Happy Halloween!
Deep in the Sahara Desert, the villainous Sam Sinister has decided to lug a large, bulky crate in his too-small car to a mysterious lost tomb! Will he find the Pharaoh's magical Re-Gou ruby? Is the mummy's curse real? Will I be able to fit in more jokes for this review? Let's find out! Info Set # - 2996 Name - The Lost Tomb/Adventurer's Tomb Theme/Subtheme - Adventurers/Desert Year - 1998 Piece Count - 81 Minifigures - 2 Price - MSRP $8 US Links Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Bricksafe Box So...about that. Since I got this set used off Bricklink, no box came with it, but we'll chalk that up to digging in the wrong place. A fun footnote here is that LEGO basically chose to use the same name for an Indiana Jones set. Guess there's quite a few lost tombs in LEGO Egypt. Instructions It's just a book. No harm ever came from reading a book. Unless you're used to new instruction manuals, of course, with their neat, numbered bags and piece call-outs. Then you're in trouble. But first, the front of the manual, with the lovely background made up of reds and oranges. I always enjoyed the atmosphere of these manuals, where all the action seems to take place either at sunrise or sunset (for Sinister, let's hope it's the former, seeing how he has no flashlight or torch). While lacking in mirages that distinguish some of the larger sets' instructions, you still get some pyramids in the distance, which is nice, along with a fun little scene of Sam Sinister fleeing to his crate to get some heavier firepower to deal with the Pharaoh's Mummy and local wildlife. The back of the instruction manual continues with the gorgeous sky and harsh desert sand motif, plus a fun little box cut-out with hieroglyphic borders and two alternative models you can build with all 81 pieces. Admittedly, that's not a lot of parts to work with, so the alternative models aren't too interesting to me. Though the building facade for the larger image does have a nice look to it, and you get to see Sinister's crazy parkour skills. Inside the manual, we have more design decisions I love, including the old, cracked numbers and the papyrus-like background. Not to mention the mirage-like designs for specific call-outs, such as when you attach the door part to the hinge brick. And bordering it all are those lovely obelisk designs which, if you're willing to squint at them long enough, seem to have some Egyptian hieroglyphics etched on each one. Now that's attention to detail. And in the interest of being thorough, color distinction between parts is perfect. Pieces Maybe it wasn't Plagues of Egypt bad, but man was it annoying getting every single part lined up and organized, including the plates that will make up the base of the tomb and the car. So please take some time before you scroll past to marvel at my incredible organizational skill. Pretty impressive, eh? Now that you're done marveling, back to business. As far as interesting parts go, most of these are relatively common, but at the time, quite a few of these were a big deal. Sure, the 3x4x1 and 2/3 crate may appear in 221 sets now, but this was the first theme to introduce it. Similarly, the Vehicle Grille 1x2x2 Round Top with Lights may have appeared in 24 sets now (almost all of which were Adventurers sets), but again, for the time, it was pretty interesting to have such a unique part that would let you build an older car so quickly. Same for the two sarcophagus pieces. While the blue half has popped up in countless sets, the top half remains pretty unique, having only recently reappeared in pearl gold for three new-ish sets. The two black doors are more unique than I thought, only appearing in four sets total, compared to the 13 or so sets where they appeared in brown. While the Slope 45 2x2 Double is fairly common in black (though not compared to red), the Modified Brick 1x2x1 and 1/3 with curved top is somewhat rare in Dark Gray, unless you're one of the lucky few to own the original Chamber of Secrets set. And finally, the Mummy Headress remains very rare and unique in this form, having only appeared in 10 sets total, while the ruby is now far more common and appears in far more colors. But we'll get to that later. True to the theme, no stickers need apply here, because they're all printed. Obviously there are at least two sets that have stickers, but this is not one of them. Instead, we get a nice small grab-bag of hieroglyphic parts, with the two columns possibly spelling something funny if anyone knows how to decode these, while the center features an ominous warning for anyone opening black doors. Hmmm... Finally, we have the accessories, which are rather extensive despite it being such a small set, but useful for any tomb raiding you may want to do. While the ruby already appeared in the interesting parts photo, I decided to include it here because it's just too cool to be limited to one shot. Again, while these gem parts may pop up anywhere and everywhere to bump up the value of treasure, this was a pretty unique item to have back in 1998. Sure, the original Ninja sets used it everywhere, and Adventurers certainly wasn't stingy with it, but no wonder it popped up all over the place! I have several sets featuring non-chrome treasure before this part debuted, and what a difference it made when this came around, letting you drop the regular transparent studs which were supposed to be jewels in favor of these parts. Minifigures We go from worse to bad here in terms of characters, with the Pharaoh's Mummy/Hotep and Sam Sinister, with excellent detailing on Hotep's legs and both torsos, which can have extensive usage across a wide range of themes. I appreciate how for Adventurers, LEGO was willing to give us a number of sets without Johnny Thunder. The dude looked great, of course, and fit the bill as a dashing archaeological hero, but I appreciate how deep the bench of characters seemed where you could purchase several sets and not just get a duplicate of Johnny all the time, but duplicates of Baron Von Barron, Sam Sinister or Dr. Charles Lightning/Kilroy. The same, of course, can't always be said for more recent themes (sorry Hidden Side!). The backs of each of the minifigures have no printing, of course, which was the norm at the time, but doesn't matter too much. Sinister's fancy black suit doesn't need any detailing (even if it's not the wisest thing to wear in the desert), and Hotep's headress will cover up most of his back anyway. There we go! Now Sinister's ready for a night out on the town (or for a night out excavating a sarcophagus. Whichever comes first), while the Pharaoh's Mummy is ready to unleash a curse! And what good is a curse if you don't have any dangerous, poisonous creatures to do your bidding? Why, it's no curse at all! Hence the inclusion of a scorpion and snake, which make up all the animals in this set, with both capable of working quite nicely with more modern sets and parts. The Build Given the size of this set, it's fairly straightforward and not really complex, unless you're not paying attention to the instructions, which require a bit more concentration with no part call-outs. We start with the tomb itself, building the base using the 4x12 tan plate and the 2x10 light gray plate. Add the mysterious, foreboding black doors and some columns... ...An archway... ...Some of the printed parts, and... ...We have a not-so-Lost Tomb! Some additional angles of the tomb itself, which is rather shallow, as you can tell. That said, I like the recessed doors at the entrance. Next up is Sam Sinister's small car. We start with the vehicle base... ...Throw on some dark gray panels so he doesn't fall off as it meanders around some sand dunes... ...Add a steering wheel and a few more bricks, including some fairly convincing mudflaps for the front tires using those modified bricks... ...And we have a car! Sure it may be small, but look at the size of that front grille! Some more angles of this vehicle show you just how small it is. Realistic it is not, of course, but it does seem very fitting for the character driving it. If Baron Von Barron gets a heavily-armed, loud biplane, why shouldn't the sneaky Sam Sinister get a tiny little car to drive around in? To me it's the perfect vehicle to use when you're nabbing treasure from right underneath Johnny Thunder's nose. That is, if he had one printed on his head. Now all that's left are a few small builds. So after magically transforming these parts... ...Into a pretty convincing campsite (with a special shout-out to that extra 2x3 plate in case you want the crate closed up completely)... ...in addition to sealing the Pharaoh's Mummy into his sarcophagus with the magical ruby... ...The set is complete! Again, while small, the overall impression is pretty spot-on as a minor excavation project, complete with the vehicle, tomb entrance, campsite-as-crate, and sarcophagus. Play Features Admittedly, once you build it, there's not much to do here, short of zooming Sinister's car around the tomb. You can open the doors, but as you can see below, it's hard to pull it off if you're trying to cram the sarcophagus back there. There we go, much better (once you've taken the sarcophagus off the plate). Obviously the downside here is that the set is already not very portable, seeing how you've got to carry a crate, a car and a tomb. Add in the sarcophagus and you're going to have some full hands, since there's no convenient spot to place the sarcophagus. So how to get around it? Simple! By using these nine parts... ...You've got a brand-new (but still lost) tomb! Some additional angles of my...let's just call it The Lost Tomb of MOC-MOD. Benefits of building the set this way is that you can actually fit the sarcophagus comfortably in the structure (with the original printed columns on either side), and the doors open outward, much like the warning hieroglyphic on the front foretold. Plus using a 2x10 tan plate blends better with the 4x12 plate, if you're into that sort of thing. Final Thoughts Going to try to use some numbers on this one (even though I'm not a fan), so bear with me. Pricing and Value - According to Brick Insights, the price-per-part for this set today is $0.16, which is better than it was back in 1998, when it was only at $0.02. That said, I think I would have to give it a 6/10, as it's slightly above average, and isn't as valuable as similar small sets from this theme, like, say, Oasis Ambush. Pieces - Here's where this set shines, in my opinion. You get printed hieroglyphic parts, fancy early-20th Century car parts, digging equipment, guns, and a sarcophagus as well. Not to mention the black doors, which are nice to have if you want to build a larger tomb entrance with that hieroglyphic above. As a parts pack, it's pretty good, so let's try a 8/10. Design/Build - Not too much to say here, other than what you get with the instructions is pretty decent as far as tombs go, although lacking in some of the more innovative booby traps/play features that make up the rest of the sets from the desert subtheme. But I do like the car, and the recessed doors are pretty neat, so 7/10. Playability - Open the doors, close the doors. Say 'Open Sesame' or don't, but there's not much else to do with just this set. Sam Sinister's car is fun to drive around, and having him 'excavate' (even if he's missing the most crucial tool in any self-respecting LEGO archaeologist's arsenal) can be fun, although this set works best with more Adventurers sets and characters. So it'll get a 6/10 from me on that front. Verdict: The Lost Tomb (or Adventurer's Tomb, depending on how Sam Sinister fares) is a perfectly decent set. It obviously won't surpass Pharaoh's Forbidden Ruins, Sphinx's Secret Surprise, or even Oasis Ambush. What it can do, however, is complement those sets if you own them, giving you one more sarcophagus to play with and a neat little vehicle (if you choose to keep it built) for Sinister to tool around in. So that would be (if I didn't completely botch the math) a 67.5%. Thanks for reading! Comments and questions always welcome! Don't look Sam! Keep your eyes shut! (Or at least read the sign)
Hello everyone! Long-time lurker, (relatively) first-time poster! With LEGO's latest Deep Sea lineup having taken longer than planned to come to the U.S. (wonder if there's any world events that might explain the delay?), I decided to browse through some of the old 1997 Divers sets earlier in the summer to see if anything caught my eye. Sure enough, I happened upon a MISB edition of Deep Sea Refuge on eBay. Having played with it at a friend's house as a kid, I decided to snap it up. But with the newest sets having a state-of-the-art underwater research station, does this original model still hold up? Let's find out as we go beyond the sea (just kidding, we're going under it. Sorry Bobby Darin.) Info Set # - 6441 Name - Deep Sea Refuge Theme/Subtheme - Town/Divers Year - 1997 Piece Count - 433 Minifigures - 5 Price - MSRP $60 US Links Brickset, Peeron, Bricklink, Bricksafe Box Aside from a few minor dents and scrapes, the box still looks pretty good. Love that sunshine pattern on the seafloor. Definitely way more inviting than the box art for Aquazone, Atlantis or recent Deep Sea sets. It gives off that peaceful tropical island vibe that quite a few of the 90s sets gave me, although it probably helps that the only foliage available at the time were palm trees or those little conical and spherical versions. We also have the very cool Divers subtheme logo in the upper right-hand corner, along with an old price tag sticker that's still on the box. I won't say how much I paid for this thing unless asked, but I can assure you it was far from the original $59.99 shown here. That said, that logo continues to be great, reeking of atmosphere. You can practically hear the Jaws theme playing as Mr. Mask and Snorkel here looks to the surface and sees the shark silhouette, wondering if it saw him, if he can make it to safety... Moving on, the back of the box gives you some very fun alternative LEGO models, including a goofy little water slide and diving board setup, along with a larger (and smaller) undersea research station. Overall, they all seem pretty good to me, even if the boat on the largest alternative model picture looks a little strange with the bubble windshield. But that's the fun of LEGO. Now here's the good stuff. Like most boxes from this age, we have a great inner flap with more set pictures and some flavor text to help unleash your inner Jacques Cousteau, which I transcribed for all of you lovely people. "The ocean depths hold many mysteries and dangers. Sharks, stingrays and possibly sunken treasure! With building sets from the LEGO SYSTEM Divers collection, only you, the LEGO MANIAC, will find the secrets of the deep." The same flavor text is also available in French and Spanish for those in the multilingual crowd. We also have the customary (for the time, at least) plastic window which has some of the specialized parts on the left, with a random assortment of parts in bags to the right, complete with fun little scenes of the divers trying to outswim an octopus while a possible Captain Redbeard shipwreck lingers in the background. I understand why LEGO doesn't do this anymore, but man, it'd be great to bring this back. The top of the box feature some attractive water patterns, complete with rays of sun hitting the waves and the top of the ship's antenna and flag, which suggests the boat sank. Guess the pilot should've read the legal notice on the side of the box, which clearly states "NOT FOR USE IN WATER." The bottom of the box has some more of that big beautiful water pattern, complete with a porthole-like window design for viewing the diver minifigures and all that sweet, sweet animal life. Plus a now-useless barcode. Finally, the sides of the box both feature another angle of the set, with a captured shark and a sawfish that's getting a little too close for comfort for one of the divers. Once you open it, the seafaring fun doesn't stop at the exterior of the box, with a blue tray that helps contribute to the aquatic atmosphere. Take all the bags out of the right partition and you get the instructions plus a small catalogue which shows the hottest sets of 1997. Had to take a photo of the Divers page, as it looks great, with none of the obvious computer backgrounds that most promotional art has now. Instructions No surprises here. It's about the same as the box front, except without the name or age range. On the back are those wonderfully goofy alternative models again, along with a small blue tag in the lower left corner, which would be cut out and sent to LEGO for a magazine subscription. It may be repetitive, but I'll take this over Win-Shouty Kid any day of the week. Here's a random page in the actual instruction booklet. As you can see, no call-outs for individual parts, although submodels do have little yellow boxes. This can make for a more challenging build if you're not paying attention, though it's what I'm used to, so no problems there. Given the limited color palette, you get very good color differentiation, along with some fun graphics of schools of fish swimming around behind the instructions. Pieces Here's the eight bags that'll make up the whole set, still freshly sealed from all the way back in 1997. While LEGO doesn't use the bags with holes in them anymore (presumably to ensure the parts stay fresh), they still have a nice tactile quality to them. As far as loose parts go, all we've got here is one long string that will make up the winch and one lone LURP, which were everywhere back in the day. Two tan 32x16-stud baseplates make up the last loose parts in the box. Not as exciting as some other aquatic baseplates, but does provide plenty of room for staging little dioramas. Here's my first attempt at creating a photo grid in PhotoShop, with four of the bags open. Again, much like the instructions, no neat and orderly numbered bags like they make now. Chaos reigns when it comes to what parts are in what bag, so you just have to open all of them. Depending on your point of view, it can be either incredibly frustrating or incredibly rewarding to scrounge around until you find the exact piece you're looking for. And here's my second attempt at creating a photo grid in PhotoShop. With another four bags open, we can get started...almost. In case you couldn't see what was in the one plastic window, which so ably displayed all the cool new parts from this subtheme, worry not, as I took another photo of the parts after peeling the film away. We get some more sea life, some seaweed, two minifigures that have been tragically bisected by the sawfish and a few printed parts. As for the parts of interest, we have not one, not two, but three light-blue bubble windscreens, which were the most common versions according to Bricklink and mostly appeared in Divers sets (and were always excellent to have). We also get some neat modified bricks which were quite rare, only appearing in two sets in white and five sets total. The white and yellow panels 4x3x3 with portholes are also somewhat rare, having only appeared in five sets total, and only two sets in the color white, both from the Divers theme. As for the white panel 4x4x6 concave, these parts only appeared in seven sets, including some older ones from the space theme. Both the white and yellow 3x3x3 corner convex parts are probably one the more unique items here, having solely appeared in divers sets, while the minifigure handjet was sprinkled among a number of themes and subthemes (no pun intended), including an Aquazone set and Alpha Team: Mission Deep Sea one. Perhaps one of the more surprising finds here was the bow top, 6x6x1, which only appeared in two Divers sets. All told, quite a catch. As befits LEGO's generosity, we get two separate DSS for this set. I opted to leave off the marine life ones that go on the LURP since we now have actual molds to fill the gap, but I ended up using all the ones on the larger sheet, as it helps give the set some more character. Fortunately, LEGO's not a complete monster, and does give us plenty of excellent printed parts to make up for all the stickers, including control panels, a diving flag and three fun sea life tiles that will be part of a play feature. While I don't think it's to the same level as Adventurers, we still get lots of nice accessories for the minifigures to use as they explore the depths, along with two baseball hats to wear when they're not. Minifigures After getting the minifigures into emergency surgery (otherwise known as my hands), they're back together and ready to go! While they work well enough as generic figs to play around with, the May/June 1997 issue of Mania Magazine saw fit to give them all names that, depending on your perspective, are either endearingly silly or irritatingly cute. From left to right, we have Cora Reef (I think), twins Tug Topside and R.C. Scooter, along with Diver Dan and Scuba Sandy. As befits minifigures from this era, no backprinting exists for any of these characters, although the front of their uniforms are on-point, with great little sub logos that suggests a level of financing and organization the blue divers from the same subtheme simply don't have. Here's the gang with all their uniforms and scuba equipment on. Now we have a little more differentiation among the identical ones, and some of the flippers come into play. Love how the red and black flippers contribute to the overall look of the uniform. A rear shot of Cora and Dan with their oxygen tanks on. Kind of wish LEGO still used these ones, instead of the dual tanks from space sets, which are smaller and less detailed. We also get plenty of aquatic life for this set, including two stingrays, the happiest (and rarest) dolphin I've seen, the common sawfish and octopus, plus a white shark that may or may not be great. Hard to say with the newer one from this year. The Build We start by building the boat, which fits in nicely with the color scheme of the overall set. Even the 1x4 red brick works given the color band that makes up part of the actual Refuge structure. Build it up some more with a crane boom and some steering... ...then after tying off the string to the winch and hook, which is one of the two most frustrating steps in the world... ...you'll have a boat! Though something's still missing. So, after the second most frustrating step in the world... The boat is complete! While I don't have too many of the larger brick-built boats from this theme, the design of the cabin is particularly nice with the raised platform for the sonar dish. Not to mention the stern of the boat works better than the one from Shark Cage Cove, which always seemed a little low. Some other angles of the boat. One thing I like here is how the number on the side corresponds to the set number, something that still gets done anytime you pick up a set that has a vehicle in it. Now to move onto the main course that is the Deep Sea Refuge itself. I was surprised the instructions had you start on the main model immediately after building one of the two vehicles, but so it goes. We start by building the base. The blue hinge brick in the center is part of a play function that we'll come back to later. Add some flooring and the all-important chrome silver knives... ...followed by some furniture and hooks that will make up the changing room for divers... ...and we're well on our way. But first, a sub-model in the form of an X-ray machine. Obviously sleeker versions can be made now, but it works just fine and fits in nicely. Now it's starting to take shape. The machine on the opposite side of the X-ray machine is supposed to be a microscope, though it may not be the best version I've seen. The changing room for divers looks good, and fits all the extra scuba accessories that come with the set. Once that's complete, the Refuge gets closed up and we start working on the rock formation. Add a LURP and a roof to the Refuge... ...and we're done! While Sebastian and Flounder may be missing, there's still plenty of room on the two 32x16-stud baseplates for the sea life and divers we do get from the set. Some more angles of the Refuge itself. While it's quite bulbous, the shaping actually works for the structure, even if the greenery is a little samey compared to the diversity of parts we're spoiled with now. Now that we've gotten through the appetizer and main course, time for dessert, in the shape of a yellow submarine. We start with the base... Add in some branded compartments and that fishy computer screen in rear... ...and the sub starts to take shape once we add the last bubble windscreen and the porthole panels. Much like Aquazone sets, this sub comes with two moveable arms, even if it's missing a magnet hand. Unlike Aquazone sets, the joints that make up the arms seem to be slightly sturdier and less breakable, since they use fewer finger hinge parts. Guess time will tell if they break as readily. Also of note are the parts they use for the hands of the arms. I've only seen the towball piece used as part of a winch before, so it's cool to see a different use for it here. And there we are, one yellow submarine! While not as fancy as the one used by The Beatles, it still pops nicely. Another two angles of the sub. If you can ignore my crooked sticker placement on the rear and the shoddy PhotoShop job I did, you'll see this is one sleek machine, a far cry from the Crystal Explorer Sub's bulbousness. The fence pieces on top, along with the light gray bar adds some nice greebling detail. Hats aside, the two spare parts here include a Technic axle and a trans-clear 1x1 round stud. Pretty basic. Play Features While lacking in such traditional fun-filled action features from our "enlightened" age like flick-fire missiles or stud shooters, there's still some good solid stuff here. The most interesting feature that springs to mind is how easy it is to get inside the Refuge. With two hinge bricks, the structure easily swings open. There we go! Plenty of room for Sandy to do her research and for Diver Dan to get a new oxygen tank. Here you can see the cleverness of using trans-light-blue for the bubble windscreens, making it seem as if they're actually underwater, instead of an ad hoc photo studio. The placement of seaweed right outside both of the windscreens is also a solid design choice, giving the illusion of swimming to a stingray on the left and Cora on the right. So I'm cheating here, but didn't want to figure out the proper exposure for a printed tile on black under a dark blue window, so I'm stealing from the instructions. All three tiles, much like the Exploriens gimmick (and maybe a few others) look scrambled under normal light, but once you look at them through the dark-blue window, you can see bones and other fun-filled secrets. Curious about what the Refuge looks like when closed up? Simply open up the roof and you'll be able to see the structure the way the minifigures would. Kudos to the designer for making the entrance to the Refuge four studs by four studs to fit an actual minifigure, although they lose a few points once you realize there's no easy way into the structure given the placement of the struts. The bubble windscreens are also big enough to accommodate a minifigure as well, which probably comes in handy if you want to do some lounging, and can open up. Much like the Refuge, accessibility is the name of the game with the sub too. The bubble windscreen opens wide to place R.C. in his comfy blue chair... ...and thanks to four hinge bricks in the rear, it's a snap to place another minifigure in the back, although this is clearly the less comfortable position given how there's no chair. And if a diver finds something they want to stow away safely, all they have to do is open one of the two boxes on either side of the sub. Admittedly, I don't know if the printed tiles would fit in here, but the coins definitely would, along with whatever other knicknacks they happen to come across. The arms on the sub are also just as capable as a minifigure's, and can grasp a number of things. You'll also notice that there's plenty of room to display the sub on the baseplate without needing to take something else out. And thanks to the miracle of trans-clear bricks, I can make it seem as if the boat is floating on the surface of the water, where our last few play features reside. But before I forget, the boat does have a nice little compartment near the bow for placing spearguns, hats, and whatever other accessories aren't in play. While lacking a hatch on the top to seal the compartment (along with an accessible way for the pilot to get to the compartment short of clambering around the outside of the bow), it's still nice to have. Last but not least is the boat's winch, which has plenty of string to reach the (imaginary) seabed. That 41L string piece can also attach quite easily to the roof of the Refuge, even if it's not exactly clear what it's function is. If you're a fan of the movie The Abyss, you could treat it as an electronic tether and recreate the scene where the drilling platform slides deeper into the oceanic trench by pushing the set off the table. Final Thoughts Pricing and Value - According to Brick Insights, which I use for this sort of thing because I'm lazy, the price-per-part for this set is $0.22, which is a slight improvement over its price-per-part back in 1997, when it was at $0.24, which makes it good overall. That said, I think this set was still worth it even if the score was worse, given how many rare and exclusive parts you get in this set. Speaking of... Pieces - You get three bubble windscreens, eight panels with portholes, some parts that are nice to have such as an anchor and a chain, along with plenty of seaweed, string and sea animals. I'd say that's a pretty good deal, especially when you look at how much you get, and the rarity of some of these parts. Design/Build - This might be one of the more satisfying builds I've gone through recently. With two vehicles, you have something to show for your efforts without it taking too much time. With a lack of small plates and tiles, you can quickly assemble one model after another, and it's all well thought out. The sub is longer than some of the other ones from this...ahem...subtheme, but still looks sleek with plenty of room to access the interior, and the Refuge is similar. No matter if your hands are large or dainty, LEGO made sure grubby digits of all sizes can get into the Refuge. While lacking some of the more homely touches that make up 2020's Ocean Exploration Base such as a bed, coffee maker or lamp, this one has the edge by actually making it seem watertight, something that is frustratingly lacking in more recent underwater sets. And the boat is a nice addition that didn't need to be included in a set whose main focus is underwater anyway, so adding one in is a nice touch, which I can't say for the more recent line. Playability - This review took me a little longer than planned, since once the Refuge itself was complete, it was hard to get back on track and finish the sub. There's so much to do, with all the divers, accessories and sea life that you can have a number of adventures and not once get tired. Swoosh the boat. Swoosh the sub. Swoosh the aquatic animals into the Refuge. Even if this is the only set you have, it's still enough to have a good time (although I might have to recommend picking up a set that comes with a shark cage). Verdict: There's a reason this is a flagship set, one that, judging by The Brickster's review, is still widely loved and appreciated. If you compare the more recent Ocean Exploration Base to this set, it's almost no contest in terms of what you get. LEGO Divers may not always sell as strongly in the aftermarket as other retired themes, but it's well worth your while to seek this set out. Heck, it even integrates quite nicely with more modern underwater City subthemes, yellow colorschemes and all. While this set wasn't the first one from this subtheme I was looking to buy, when I saw it, I figured it was worth the price. And boy was it ever. I suspect this will stay in my collection for quite some time. Thanks for reading! Comments and questions always welcome!