We got a note from a member of the Community Outreach Team for LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago and their fantastic new Lego Star Wars Miniland Display for Episode IV, and specifically, the LEGOLAND Star Wars Days running March 15-16th. If I lived closer, I’d have to check it out just to give my daughter a chance to play with a life-sized R2-D2. She looooooooves my UCS R2. If you’re in the area, it’s certainly worth checking out for the AFOL and Star Wars fan in you!
You can see a gallery of some exclusive shots of the new layout below, and check out the full press release after the fold!
The Clone Turbo Tank and I have a weird history. As a vehicle, it was on the screen for probably less than a minute in the movie, and I didn’t even realize that it existed until I saw the Lego set for it sitting on the shelves of my local Walmart waaaaay back in 2005. It also first launched when I was in the only dark age of note I’ve had as an adult collector, from about 2003-2005, and I was never all that interested in the PT stuff anyway. Then I noticed that the set came with Mace Windu, and I absolutely had to have it! I was young and hadn’t discovered FBTB yet, so I knew nothing of the aftermarket sites and thought eBay was for people with more money than good sense (the years since have taught me that thought was true most of the time). I ended up getting lucky, and found a couple of the original CTTs on a 50% clearance, so I got my Samuel L. Jackson fix and got introduced to the aftermarket to sell my extra.
The weird history continued with the updated CTT that came out with the Clone Wars, since by that time, I’d gone on to doing reviews for the site and angering hundreds of people with my opinions. I actually had the review for the CTT lined up in a big blitz a long time back, and was doing a whole bunch of pictures on a beautiful summer day. This was before I had a decent setup or lights, so I was actually taking them outside in my driveway, because the sun is better than any lamp I can get on Amazon.com. After getting through a half-dozen sets, I set up the new CTT for pictures, turned around to do some positioning on my tripod, and heard the sound that you never, ever want to hear, and that is the connection of a large lego set and a driveway from a fall of a few feet. I grabbed most of the parts, though I occasionally still find a brick or the like in the driveway, but never got around to doing that review.
The Microfighter version is the first one that we’ve had since the Clone Wars one in 2010 in anything other than a micro format, so I suppose we take what we can get. This one is an interesting choice for the Chibi style, since the full-size sets have never been very great at capturing the original model. Much like the X-Wing Fighter, there isn’t a whole lot there, but this guy does feature an exclusive figure, for now, in the Phase 2 Clone Wars Trooper. I’ll rant about the fact that such a basic army building figure is in such a not-army builder set later, but at $10 and 96 pieces, it’s not as if this is going to be a huge hit to the wallet (unless you try it as an army builder). But are those parts worth it, or are we paying for a whole lot of 1×1 round studs?
Just in case you weren’t planning on spending all of your money on the obligatory May the 4th sale for Star Wars stuff on Shop@Home (and as soon as we know what minifig will be robbing us of our purchase of $75 or more, we’ll let you know), DK has announced on their Facebook Page that a new Visual Dictionary for Lego Star Wars will be coming out on the same day. It’s obviously updated through the early 2014 sets we’ve been busy reviewing, given the prominence of the Falcon Mini and the Police Gunship on the front.
The big news is that they’re including a “Retro” Luke Skywalker minifig to celebrate 15 years of Lego Star Wars, complete with a yellow head and hands. Not sure how I feel about that. Sure, it’s a new Luke figure with an old head (and the printing is certainly the new styles)… but we’ve had fleshy figures longer than we’ve had yellow in Star Wars, so he’ll be way out of place.
Were you the one clamoring for a whole new “official” scale that’s been popular as MOCs? If so, Lego has the sets for you! I guess that’s probably because chibi is really just slang for “oversized” or “super deformed” that maybe Lego didn’t want to adopt it as an official term. As a style, it’s obviously something we’ve invested in a lot here at FBTB, with our Chibi contests in the past and featuring builds in that style.
I’m not sure if these things are ever going to get a fair shake in the eyes of the AFOL community, since they replaced the Planets sets that were fairly popular to collectors, and I don’t think popular at all for kids. I don’t have any evidence for that, it’s just… how many kids want to play with what is effectively a christmas ornament and a mini-build with a figure? It was a display piece, which would be fine if it was targeted swiftly at adults, but Lego is notoriously bad at targeting their products outside of the kids market.
These sets are pretty much the opposite. The appeal to kids is pretty obvious, especially if you’ve kept up on the action figure trends. The whole oversized / out-of-proportion look has been big, with Star Wars, Marvel, and Transformers all having a line dedicated to looking odd. More than that, they’re obviously not designed for AFOLs… except of course for that minifig, which sort of proves that someone at Lego is just an evil genius, getting us to drop $10 on a handful of parts just because they know we want a Theron Nett minifig. Well played, Lego… well played. Full article »
Playsets are always seen as a risky choice in the development of Lego stuff. They often underperform, because they’re not swooshable, and apparently kids only like buildings that can also turn into a robot (even if Tom Hanks doesn’t think so). I’m pretty far removed from doing anything as a kid, so I know that my opinions are colored by being an adult, and worse, an AFOL, but I’d hazard a guess that kids just don’t like playing with bad toys. Playsets, especially Lego playsets, are often just bad toys.
Sure, everyone likes vehicles, and they are rightfully the core of toys about doing stuff. My favorite toy as a kid was G.I. Joe, which has a whole mess of vehicles (including some spectacularly terribad ones), vehicles that were buildings (often with jets for some reason), and just straight up buildings (The Command Center was awesome). What was important with the stuff that was successful is that it made sense with the other stuff. I could put figures in the command center or park vehicles, things like that.
Lego has a tougher time with stuff like that, because sets aren’t really designed to “work” together most of the time. This is especially true for the Super Heroes line… where a lot of the stuff is thematically similar, but mostly just sits there. The Quinjet isn’t going to pick up the SHIELD truck, and no one wants to put Spider-man in any of those terrible vehicles. So how does Hulk Lab Smash, the Avengers Assemble set in the Marvel Super Heroes lineup measure up to the whole mix like that? At $50, four (or five) minifigs and only 398 pieces, there probably needs to be a whole lot of playset to make it work…
Take a read through Ken’s review of Thor: The Dark World, and his biggest beef with that movie and it’s lack of tie-ins to Lego sets, and you’ll get one of the big problems with the Marvel lineup this year. There are some sets coming out for Guardians of the Galaxy, but that’s pretty much it for movie tie-ins. Which means that Lego has ignored two big releases, Thor and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, opting instead for Avengers Assemble, the Disney Channel cartoon.
From the point-of-view for Marvel and Lego, that makes sense… Avengers Assemble is one of their popular shows and it has a bigger exposure over time than the movies do. But it really looks out of place in toy aisles full of figures from the movies (and the cartoon) to keep ignoring the big releases. That’s not to say that this set (and it’s cousin, Hulk Lab Smash), are bad sets. Far from it… this is an interesting set that gives us a new Captain America and his greatest nemesis, Red Skull (along with a Marvel henchmen that’s not Chitauri). It’s also a chance to put captain on a proper motorcycle at last, and give us some nice Hydra stickers to decorate our MOCs with. That and I bet there’s more than a few classic army type builders that will get this set just for those number stickers on the side.
At $20, the set seems like a great value, but at only 172 parts, you’re left wondering if it comes up being a little bit short. It’s price point is replacing two stand-out sets as well, Wolverine’s Chopper Showdown and Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape, which means that the bar is set up pretty high for this little set right out of the gate. Given that there are only two sets in the early Marvel Lineup that don’t feature the same Spider-man figure (and that trike set is just absolutely awful), is this one worth some of that hard-earned money?
When we first started to divvy up the review schedule for this year, I volunteered for the AT-AP on a whim. I owned the original (even though it was parted out… and then un-parted for this review), and remembered it somewhat fondly. My loveaffair with walkers is fairly well known, but to be honest, I didn’t think all that much of this particular set. It didn’t strike me as all that different from the original, which wasn’t exactly spectacular, and the price was considerably higher ($60 for the new one while the old one only ran $40).
I actually have a process when I build sets like this for review along with the older version. I always build the new model first, make some observations, and then go build the old one (or ones, in the case of the Jedi Interceptor). I got the added fun with this one of digging through hundreds of thousands of parts and old sets to get the things I needed, which was… something. Everytime I do that, I swear I’m never parting out another set (and then do it anyway when I run out of storage room for sets), and then jump to doing some comparisons.
Most of my notes for this set consisted of stuff like this…
“12 steps of nothing but technic stuff” “Is this really all that different?” “Legs seem a lot nicer looking in this one with the bricks”
Usually, I have a good idea of the old vs. new comparison during the new build… my memory isn’t quite that bad, but it does occasionally fail me. This was one of those situations, where I was obviously remembering the old set in a far better light than it deserved. It wasn’t a bad set, exactly, but it wasn’t a good one either. It looked okay standing there next to an AT-TE, because as much as I harp on the PT as movies, I really like making displays of clones and jedi cutting through battle droids. What can I say, a toaster wronged me years ago, so I want to cut down some robots! Anyway, I built the new one, jotted some notes, wasn’t really blown away, and shelved it to go start getting the old stuff going.
It was putting together the old one that really started to reveal just how much of an upgrade this new set was. Without putting them side-by-side, you won’t realize that there is a size difference on the legs (and a bit on the body). Without holding them both you won’t realize that the old one was light and flimsy and the new one is built like a rock. Having over 300 more parts did wonders for this model, and not just on looks. This is probably the first review where I had to go back and review the new set after building the old one, because my initial notes obviously didn’t do it any justice.
Forum member (and awesome builder) sparkart, who goes by SPARKART! on Flickr, added a little bit of levity to our weekend with this creative little build that I just absolutely want to see show up in Episode VII. I’ll let him provide the description…
Jabba was not killed by Princess Leia, but merely put into a catatonic state from which he quickly regained consciousness. He suffered major injuries in his escape from the exploding sail barge. During his lengthy recovery and rehabilitation, Jabba lost almost all control of his criminal empire. He lives now, unfavored in the Hutt community, in self-exile, planning his ultimate revenge against Solo and his friends.
I mean, this makes more sense than Maul coming back to life. He was cut in half. Jabba is basically an earthworm that has risen to be a criminal overlord, so cutting him in half would only double his power, right?
LEGO Shop@Home’s promotion for March gives us all an opportunity to get Martian Manhunter J’onn J’onzz. All you’ll need to do is hit up the Shop@Home site, and purchase a minimum of $75 worth of LEGO product. It will automagically be added to your cart with no coupon code required. Good news is that once you hit that $75 minimum, you’ll also score free shipping. Offer is valid from March 1 until March 31 or while supplies last.
Forum member bacon1986 (mmmmmmmmmm, bacon) has spotted the 30215 Legolas Greenleaf polybag available with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug DVD/BluRay combo pack is indeed exclusive to Target. The figure appears to be the one from the Mirkwood Spiders set, so if you just want it for the fig, it may not be for you. If you don’t have that set, love collecting polybags or expected to pay around $25 for the combo pack anyway, it’s not a bad deal.