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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Ken Robichaud | June 12th, 2014 | DC Universe, LEGO Super Heroes, Reviews

Review: 76010 Batman: The Penguin Face Off

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I don’t buy a lot of Batman sets. I only bought the small Catwoman and Mister Freeze sets for myself during the original run and of course the UCS Batmobile. All, ALL on clearance. I should probably mention that I have almost every one of the other original Batman sets put away for my son and those too were all picked up on heavy clearance. When the sets were first produced, I was excited in general. Batman is cool, kids love that guy! I wanted a big Batmobile and I wanted a Batman minifigure, $30 later and I was satisfied. I closed that door and threw any other set I saw on sale in a box for the inevitable arrival of offspring. Surely, a theme that seems to be so ill received won’t last long enough for my kid to enjoy it. Years later and the bat is back and bigger then ever and I have bought mostly none of the new sets. I bought the Ar(c)tic set, the new version of the Catwoman set and the Dark Knight Rises based set… only because it was on a massive clearance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Batman. I have every season of every Batman cartoon I can get my hands on (other then Beyond) including Justice League, Super Friends and the DCU animated films. I even still read a Batman comic from time to time when a writer or artist strikes my fancy and that’s saying something for me, because I fell off the DC wagon in the late 90’s and have mostly only read them when I felt like I wanted to stand in a comic shop holding a book in one hand and shaking the other clench fisted in the air at the comic gods who had so vehemently forsaken me. I still count the ’89 Batman and it’s sequel as a couple of my favourite comic book films. I just never cared about the sets very much. Bat-car, Bat-boat, Bat-bike, Bat-tank (oh wait! I have that one too. It’s a freakin’ tank!), etc. A lot of the same and while I completely get that it totally fits with the whole Bat-verse to have all that. I just wasn’t buying them all.

But something happened this year. I bought every set.

Call it a moment of weakness, call it nostalgia for the 75th anniversary of the caped crusader, call it whatever you want.
I call it a rubber ducky.
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Nick Martin | June 10th, 2014 | LEGO Super Heroes, Marvel Comics, Reviews

Review: 76021 The Milano Spaceship Rescue

76021 - Full Set

Every generation has that one girl that guys (and some girls) identify with in popular culture… that girl that we watched grow up right along with us, the that we’ll remember for the rest of our days and associate those “strange” feelings we got as puberty was wrecking our young lives. The 50s / 60s had Annette Funicello, the 70s and 80s gave us Brooke Shields, and the generation today has Justin Beiber. But the 80s and 90s gave us Alyssa Milano, and those of us that grew up in that era probably remember her transition from a kid like us in Who’s the Boss to “oh, wow” on Melrose Place… a show I can tell you nothing about other than the fact she was on it.

whos-the-boss-cast

Maybe that’s why the MCU version of the Guardians of the Galaxy ship (which wasn’t named the Milano and didn’t look like this at all in the comics) resonates so much with me, and why it just screams 80s at me in a way that no amount of Breakfast Club jokes ever will. It’s colored like a jogging suit, it’s got the name, and there’s a boombox in the back… all it needs is a New Coke machine and we’re at maximum 80s saturation.

76021 The Milano Spaceship Rescue is a unique entry in the the Super Heroes lineup… the first Marvel set that’s crossed the $50 line since the Avenger’s QuinJet. It’s hard not to draw the comparisons between them, honestly, with their size, shape, and movie nature. The Milano comes in with less parts (665 vs. 735) and is $5 more, but I’ll be honest, if you put them next to each other, you wouldn’t feel those differences amounted to much.

This is obviously the big, eye-popping set of the Guardians of the Galaxies line. On the box, it just looks great, much like the QuinJet, and the kind of build you’d leave together on the shelf. It also includes a little bad-guy ship, and like the Avengers line, it looks very similar to the one included in the smaller set, The Starblaster Showdown. $75 isn’t cheap, even in Lego dollars, so the question is… does this set live up to the hype?

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Nick Martin | June 7th, 2014 | LEGO Super Heroes, Marvel Comics, Reviews

Review: 76019 The Starblaster Showdown

76019 - Full Set

I wouldn’t call myself a comic nerd, honestly. I like comics, and I read them a lot when I was a kid, but it was also something I’d more or less stopped caring about as a teenager. At least until the start of quality comic movies, which hit overdrive when the MCU came into being, and I started to go back and read some of the older stuff. The advent of Marvel’s digital subscription made it even easier to catch up on older and some of the stranger titles.

One of the first ones that I latched on to was this weird little title called Guardians of the Galaxy, which quickly tied into a big series called War of Kings (and then Reign of Kings and the Thanos Imperative). It reminded me of some of my favorite titles as a kid… I was an X-Men reader (everyone in the 90s was an X-Men reader), but my favorite titles were the constant Infinity sagas, the new Infinity Watch series that followed up on the Infinity Gauntlet. A bunch of the characters in Guardians were from that team… Drax (in a vastly different form) and Gamora (who was less 90s and more killer), as well as Adam Warlock, Thanos, etc.

Guardians of the Galaxy was a very different comic from a lot of the typical fare that’s fed the MCU up to this point. It’s made up of a bunch of imperfect characters that have dark histories and do messy things. Unlike the other properties that have been in the MCU, GotG is a big unknown even in a lot of comic circles… but I can tell you, the trailer looks like it has the team and the characters just spot-on, especially Star-Lord and Rocket from the looks of it.

Lego, for its part, is giving us our first movie tie-in sets since the underwhelming Iron Man 3 lineup. Of course, there’s a danger in sets in giving away some of the plot of the movie (which, luckily, the IM3 sets didn’t really do, since they had very little to do with anything in any of the movies). 76019 Starblaster Showdown is the $20 set in the lineup, and gives away only one thing that we haven’t really seen in the movies (but has been in a lot of interviews or details on the movie)… that Sakaarans are in the movie. Otherwise… we get a small set with a Nova Officer, Star Lord, and 196 pieces. So, how does it hold up in what is getting to be a crowded Super Heroes shelf?

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Nick Martin | June 6th, 2014 | LEGO Ideas, Reviews

Review: 21108 Ghostbusters Ecto-1


21108 - Full Set

We geeks toss around the word “iconic” a whole lot when we describe the things we love (or hate). We’ve had whole discussions on the forums about what is and isn’t iconic, and we’ve all had that moment of nerd rage when we think something iconic isn’t being treated as such (like, say, my feelings about the new Jabba’s Sail Barge). The real problem with all of these discussions is that our idea of iconic and what iconic really is…

iconic (adjective): relating to, resembling, or having the character of an icon

Icon is the big thing there, because that’s what people recognize… it’s the thing that represents the absolute core of the concept or thing you’re looking at. It’s why I have to admit that Jabba’s Sail Barge really isn’t iconic. Neither is the B-Wing, the A-Wing, or pretty much all of the sets I really love. The Death Star and Falcon, sure, absolutely. You see those and you think “Star Wars.” The same probably isn’t true for a lot of people (not us, though) with the SSD, Imperial Shuttle, or even the Ewok Village. They’re all cool (well, except the Lego SSD… that thing is just awful), and while the Ewok Village gave me a whole bunch of fun memories, it’s more of a curiosity to someone that sees it on display.

The Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 set, on the other hand, could be put as a picture next to the dictionary definition of “Iconic.” I dare you to pick up this set and keep from whistling or humming the Ghostbusters’ theme song. If you don’t, I question if you are perhaps some sort of soul-less robot unknowingly waiting to take over the world. I got the set yesterday, built it almost immediately, and I’ve been humming the song since then. I posted a picture of the box on Facebook, and have a bunch of my friends humming it to. We could be looking at the most insidiously powerful set that Lego has made.

It’s far and away the best to come out of Cuusoo and ideas, and may be one of the best sets Lego has made in a very long time. That’s saying something…

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Ace Kim | June 1st, 2014 | LEGO The Simpsons, Reviews

Review: 71005 LEGO Minifigures – The Simpsons Series

71005 The Simpsons - 1

The Simpsons licensed line is a strange one. There is some potential in having The Simpsons be the first licensed, location-based theme (vs a vehicle-based one like Star Wars). 71006 The Simpsons House set would just be the starting point into the town of Springfield. Other locations could be made into sets like Moe’s Tavern, the nuclear power plant, the school, the town square complete with Jebediah Springfield statue, etc. They all could have been great sets to own and be something that Town and Train fans could incorporate into their layouts. But what we get instead is just the Simpsons’ house and a line of Collectible Minifigures. Each minifigure’s likeness is spot on to their on-screen counterparts. No duh. That’s really not surprising considering they each have a custom molded head, so how could they not look like the characters they’re supposed to portray? Gone is the familiar minifigure head element and any accessories; it’s replaced by a single molded element. They look great, the heads. Spot on in fact, like I said earlier. But they are so spot on that the head looks it was taken directly off of an action figure than a LEGO minifigure. And that’s what they actually end up looking like: heads taken off of an action figure and stuck on top of a LEGO minifigure torso. And this is where I have a huge problem with these things: the head. The head is so un-LEGO like and so gigantically disproportionately large, it actually turns me off to the idea of LEGO licensed themes a little.

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Nick Martin | May 27th, 2014 | LEGO Star Wars, Reviews

Review: 75042 Droid Gunship

75042 - Full Set

The May the 4th sales this year were a strange thing for me. I couldn’t quite swing getting the Sandcrawler, yet I owned almost all of the other Star Wars sets. After some deliberation (read, random clicking through products on Shop@Home), I realized that I really wanted the new Chewbacca figure, and I don’t really like buying them on the aftermarket anymore (inflated prices, scalpers… pick your reason). So, I settled on a pair of prequel sets that I hadn’t picked up yet… the Droid Gunship and the Droid Tri-Fighter… otherwise known as the “expensive set with Chewie” and the “dark blue parts pack” in my initial impressions.

I actually owned the original Droid Gunship, released all the way back in 2008 as part of the first wave of Clone Wars sets. Back then, it was a $30 set with 329 parts that was a big reason why most people had the initial impression that the Clone Wars sets were just… bad. It was just an awful set, with awful parts and only a few battle droids, and one that I had no interest in digging up to do a comparison. I know I usually like to do those, but I really disliked that set.

The new set brings along over 100 new parts (439 in total), loses a couple of battle droids, adds a Super Battle droid for some reason, along with Chewie and a Kashyyyk clone. I don’t even remember this thing being in the movie, so given the choices, I’ll guess it was either part of the battle for Kashyyyk or some desperate attempt to get us to buy an overprice set because it includes Chewie. Okay, that last part might be me projecting, because I totally fell for it, but this set is going to have to go a long way to convince me it’s worth $50…

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Ace Kim | May 24th, 2014 | DC Universe, LEGO Super Heroes, Reviews

Review: 76012 Batman: The Riddler Chase

76012 Batman The Riddler Chase-1

I really wanted to like 76012 Batman: The Riddler Chase ever since it debuted at San Diego Comic Con last year. But it sucks.

Read on to find out why.

Ace Kim | May 9th, 2014 | DC Universe, LEGO Super Heroes, Reviews

Review: 30300 The Batman Tumbler

30300 Batman Tumbler-4

I’m sure you’ve seen the glowing reviews elsewhere but let me set you straight: this thing is a piece of crap.

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Ace Kim | April 25th, 2014 | LEGO Star Wars, Reviews

Review: 75059 Sandcrawler

75059 Sandcrawler-50

The second UCS set to get a remake, 75059 Sandcrawler, arrived at my doorstep last week. The review was to be embargoed until May 3th, the official on sale date of the set, but it miraculously got lifted a few days ago. This was both good and bad. The good? Good because I’ve always believed that if reviews, good or bad, can be published ahead of the street date, they should. It helps those people who were on the fence to decide on way or another if they’re going to pull the trigger by providing a preview of what to expect. And as a side benefit it helps the site(s) out by driving traffic. The bad? Bad because I was counting on the lead time to the 4th to get my review done. I won’t bore you with the details of my life, but that one week before May rolls around was the only free time I had. I managed to rearrange my schedule a bit to get this review done sooner rather than later and here we are.

One of the things I had planned was to rebuild the original set so I can do a side by side. But not having the luxury of time from an accelerated review schedule prevented me from doing so. I may still go back and rebuild it anyway for giggles. I tried to remember some of the details from the first Sandcrawler but couldn’t remember much. But no matter because 75059 Sandcrawler is really nice.

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Ken Robichaud | April 17th, 2014 | LEGO Star Wars, Reviews

Review: 75030 Millennium Falcon Microfighter

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Now we’re talking.
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