The Wizard Battle addresses one of the biggest gaps in the Lord of the Rings sets (Eowyn and Faramir are both still MIA) by giving us Saruman, as well as some hair for Gandalf. This is the iconic scene from the first film where we learn that the greatest of all wizards has basically turned to the dark side (this was before we knew that he was also responsible for setting up the Clone Wars). It also features the Palantír, and gives us an excuse to have wizard battles while making little sound effects.
And to top it off, it’s only $13, the least-expensive set from the summer Lord of the Rings wave, and we have to ask, can it live up to the first impression we get after seeing all that Christopher Lee goodness?
This set seemingly came out of nowhere. Either that or I haven’t been paying that much attention. Soon after I posted about the LEGO Architecture event at select Barnes & Noble stores and the mysterious exclusive set they were touting was it pointed out to me that the set was 21050 Studio. It’s exclusive to Barnes & Noble, so you can only buy it at BN stores and online right now until August 1 where it will be more widely available at Amazon, LEGO Shop@Home, and LEGO Brand Retail.
The Iron Man Malibu Mansion Attack set (otherwise known as the one that doesn’t look like junk at first glance) stands out in the line of Super Hero sets, since it includes Pepper Potts (her first figure) and gives us a full Tony Stark figure, instead of just his face and his body. Of course, we also get to see what only could have been the ultimate battle in the movie, between Iron Man and the Mandarin that led to his house getting blown up, right?
At $40, this set is the top of the Iron Man line (and mid-range to low compared to other sets). You can read up on the reviews of the other two sets, the Mandarin Ultimate Showdown and the Extremis Sea-Port battle, and see how these stack up in comparison. While I didn’t write them, I can tell you that I was fairly underwhelmed with those two but excited for this one before I saw the movie.
After seeing the movie, how did this one stack up? Read on to find out. And obviously, there will be spoilers in here. I used up all of my snarky spoiler comments in the Man of Steel set reviews, so I welcome you to make up your own and put them in the comments section!
One of the biggest problems I had with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was that the violence in the movie was just dished out like any other action movie. This sat in definite contrast to the book itself, where violence was always with reluctance. And while who kills who in the this battle is fairly accurate, it all felt too aggressive from the good guy side. After all, they were sort of intruding there, and forced the issue. This is a whole lot less of a battle, and more of an escape / aggravated breaking and entering.
The Goblin King Battle is the biggest set from The Hobbit series thus far, and features said Goblin King (otherwise known as the Great Goblin, and never called a king), a few more of our dwarf company, and several goblins to push around. Like everything else from this particular theme, this is a playset, and designed as a place for you dwarves to run about while falling from distances that would kill pretty much anyone.
At first glance, this isn’t a set that really impresses when you first see it. The box is big, but sitting next to things like An Unexpected Gathering or the Lord of the Rings sets, Mines of Moria (same size and $20 less) or Battle of Helm’s Deep (much bigger and $20 more), it seems a bit puny. It’s really not, weighing in at 841 pieces, 8 minifigs, and $100. More than that, the three dwarves in the set are only available in this set.
So, does it stack up to the price tag, or should you look elsewhere for your minifigs?
While I was fairly hard on the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in my review of the movie, and wasn’t particularly nice to the the last set I reviewed, Escape from the Mirkwood Spiders… An Unexpected Gathering and it’s feature of Bag End wowed me when I first saw pictures of the set from Toy Fair early last year.
More than that, this scene, along with the interaction between Bilbo and Gollum, that actually felt like Hobbit movie should feel. Instead of wide-eyed adventure and way too much action, we have a hobbit that’s turned upside down trying to figure out why a bunch of dwarves are eating all his food and playing with his knives. It was a good enough that a mini version was turned in to a San Diego Comic Con exclusive this year, for people with more money than good sense.
Make no mistake, the bar was set extremely high for The Hobbit sets when this set was first revealed. It’s visually striking, has a bevy of unique parts, and finally gives us something other than a mess of light grey or black parts. It’s not a cheap set, coming in $69.99, the second highest in the line.
So the question remains, does it live up to its promise? (more…)
When I watched Man of Steel, I was overwhelmed by the fact that somehow, a “small town” had that much stuff that could get tossed around and blown up. Sure, it was effectively like a small town drag that absolutely litter the midwest, but it wasn’t accurate in the least, since there wasn’t a Walmart or Dollar General to be seen and most of the shops looked to still be open and in good repair. That and thinking that a bit of destruction could only serve to upgrade any place in Kansas (seriously, the only good thing to have come out of that state is the Interstate to somewhere else).
Really, the battle was almost overwhelming, at least until you saw the whole Metropolis scene at the end of the film and realized that this set should probably have been called “The Smallville Dust-up.” This set is the most expensive of the Man of Steel sets (thus far), and features the closest thing to an “iconic” ship that we saw, the Black Zero Dropship that transported people who had suits that could fly. I know, I don’t get it either.
At $50, this set is certainly more of an investment than either of the other two sets (combined), and has a bit going for it at first glance. The question is, does it keep that going for it when you break it down?
Of course, there will be spoilers in here. So don’t come crying when you found out that Braniac killed a couple of polar bears while breaking in to the Fortress of Solitude during the Battle of Smallville.
In more than one thread on our forums, I’ve called out 2006′s 6210 – Jabba’s Sail Barge as my all-time favorite Star Wars LEGO set. It was a crown jewel of any collection (at least until the UCS Falcon came out), and has held up remarkably over the years. If for no other reason, it finally gave us a reason to embrace the Fleshy figure transition by giving us both Lando and Slave Leia.
Of course, now seven years later, we’re getting a new Sail barge set, the fourth in what is almost a mini-theme of overpriced Jabba the Hut sets. It begs the question: are the new Jabba the Hutt figures painted by blind Tibetan monks? What else would justify the high prices for these sets… wait, the Rancor set was high too. Maybe there’s some secret deal to charge fans of the OT more for these things, I don’t know.
At $120, the new Sail Barge represents a 60% increase in price over the previous set, and adds a whopping 69 extra pieces. Of course, we do get three brand new figures, including the much-requested Max Rebo, along with an updated Slave Leia and the same Jabba from the palace and R2-D2 with a plate.
Inflation since 2006 has been about 16% (thanks, internet), so we have to ask the question… does this set justify the other 44% of wallet shock?
I’ve already received flak for expressing my negative reaction to the set. So you should be forewarned that if you were one of those people that were offended by my previous opinion, you should stop reading right now.
Boy, how excited were we when Masashi’s DeLorean model not only garnered the 10,000 votes needed to achieve review status on CUUSOO, but that it was actually approved by everyone that needed to sign off on it? That was a happy day indeed since NO ONE thought it would make it as a set. Months went by between the time that the CUUSOO team announced their decision and recently when leaked images of the set began to surface. LEGO has been sending out kits to media outlets for review purposes and set an embargo time to coincide with San Diego Comic Con Preview Night. Now that the embargo has lifted, I can share with you my opinion and some pictures I took to better give you an idea of what to expect.
Anyone who’s been on the forums for more than a few years can tell you that about every six months, a new thread pops up (or the old one is revived) that asks a fairly basic question for collectors: “What is your favorite Star Wars set?” There are a lot of variations on the thread (favorite minifigure, least favorite, set you’d most like to be stranded on a desert island with), but it always ends up back to that same question.
And there are always two sets that dominate the list in the LEGO Star Wars line… 2006′s Jabba’s Sail Barge and 2008′s Republic Gunship. Both of these sets are showing up in the second-half of 2013, and share the same $120 price point. Apparently, LEGO has declared war on our wallets (especially since the Tower of Orthanac is here and the Ewok Village is coming soon). I have, and love, the last version of the RGS, and that’s saying something since it was a Clone Wars set.
I never cared for the Clone Wars sets or the demonic Clone Wars faces in general, but I can respect the 2008 RGS for being a very good set. When I first saw the previews of this set in the FBTB Toy Fair coverage, I came to the same conclusion that a lot of our readers did: “just another rehash to make some money.” While LEGO has proved that they can remake a set and greatly improve it (see the Second Slave I, the latest X-Wing, the B-Wing/Y-Wing remakes, etc), they’ve also had some mindless cash grabs with them (the last Slave I, umpteen million Jedi Starfighters).
So the real question is, at $120 (US), does the first Republic Gunship in five years fit into column A or column B?
Oh, and before we get started… I realize that I have a couple of pieces reversed on one of the engines. I’d popped it off to take it apart to check out the interior again, and put it back together wrong. Oops!
This is a hard one to write an opening to. I could talk about how Iron Man 3 is now one of the highest grossing films of all time, taking in well over a billion smackeroos. I could prattle on about my view of the film and how I feel that jives with box office totals, or predict how Tony’s journey through the film could have lasting consequences for the future of the MCU. I’m not going to do any of that, because I’d prefer to not think too hard about the movie at all. It’ll be better for me that way. Instead, a novel idea…
Let’s take a look at the set!