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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Nick Martin | February 3rd, 2014 | LEGO The Hobbit, Reviews

Review: 79013 Lake-town Chase

79013 - Full Set

My feelings on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug are on the record, and my feelings about two other sets, Mirkwood Elf Army and Dol Guldur Ambush were about as varied as you could get for two sets. I actually built this set around the same time as the other two, and shortly after watching the movie in theaters. But the review hid from me, because we were overwhelmed with the amzingosity that is The Lego Movie (and I had a whole bunch of sets to review for it)… so this sort of got forgotten.

This was actually the first set we had as a preview for the upcoming sets, revealed at San Diego Comic Con in-between all of the minifigure gnashing of teeth. It was a bit of a letdown, if for no other reason than it wasn’t as amazing as the reveal the year before, An Unexpected Gathering, unquestionably the best set in the theme. Once you get past that though… it’s still a little bit of a let-down.

At $50, the price isn’t as high as Gathering was (that’s reserved for the “not even in the movie” Battle of Dol Guldur), but when you look at the pictures for this set and, say, Mirkwood Elf Army, they look almost identical in size. They’re not, but it’s hard to shake the impression tha the set doesn’t give a whole lot. And yet, there is one thing that you’d think could redeem any set, and something that could certainly make me buy a set I’d otherwise be inclined to ignore. Three simple little words…

Lego. Stephen. Fry.

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Ken Robichaud | January 3rd, 2014 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70813 Rescue Reinforcements

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OK, so maybe the Flying Flusher didn’t blow my mind, but how about a set that has not only the largest “Micro Manager”, but a helicopter cobbled together from a windmill and a giant fire mech? This is more like it.
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Ken Robichaud | January 3rd, 2014 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70811 The Flying Flusher

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I’m late to the party with my reviews for sets from The LEGO Movie and Nick already picked up the Glider and Cloud Palace sets, so I’m going to dig right into the two I have left. Starting with the Flying Flusher. This set seemed more interesting for the tongue in cheek aspect then the Ice Cream Machine or Trash Chomper which to me looked like more fun, but the Flusher did have those plungers… is it worth picking up for those parts alone though?
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Ace Kim | January 3rd, 2014 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70804 Ice Cream Machine

70804 Ice Cream Machine - 1

As far ice cream trucks go, I can say without a doubt 70804 Ice Cream Machine is the BEST ice cream truck set that LEGO has ever released. Of course it’s probably the ONLY ice cream truck set they’ve ever made so the bar is set really low but don’t let that color your judgment.

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Nick Martin | December 29th, 2013 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70809 Lord Business’ Evil Lair

70809 - Full Set

There are some sets that make pegging value kind of hard, especially when they’re put up against other stuff in the same line. The Batcave in the DC lineup was like that. It wasn’t a bad set in its own right, but when you put it up against other things in the line like Two-Face Escape or the Batcopter, was your money best spent there? My favorite set from The Avengers was like that too, Hulk’s Helicarrier Breakout, the set with the best sticker ever. It was a set in a price range that made it hard to justify compared to how good the sets below and above it were in the lineup.

Lord Business’ Evil Lair is like that for me. I honestly picked it for review for a couple of things, the wrestler and the unicorn kitty, and didn’t notice some of the little details that would have absolutely blown my mind if I’d been paying attention. It’s an odd set, one that doesn’t seem all that impressive when you look at it in the lineup as a whole, and that’s a shame, because it just does so many little things right.

At $70, this is one of the most expensive sets (Rescue Reinforcements is the same price), but at 738 pieces and seven minifigs, it’s certainly not hurting for justifying that price. It’s also a rare set that has you build things that just get you to stop and play with them, or remove from the finished set to use somewhere else.

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Nick Martin | December 29th, 2013 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70800 Getaway Glider

70800 - Full Set

I’ve covered this in reviews before, but small sets are the hardest ones to review. It’s pretty easy to figure out if a larger set is worth the money, either through the number of parts or exclusive value. Small sets, on the other hand, can be tough, since there are fewer parts to draw it, and an “exclusive” figure loses a bit of the polish when getting him costs as much as a couple of combo meals at McDonalds.

Getaway Glider is a glider that includes a couple of robots (one named “Not-a-robot”), a horse, and the glider. There are some interest parts at the first glance, like a rooster in flat silver and small dark brown rounded slopes. It only runs $13, the same as 70801 Melting Room, but is quite a bit smaller, or at least it feels smaller. It has 104 parts, which makes it one of the few sets in the line that dips below the mythical, arbitrary (and often unfair) 10-cent magic number.

So the real question is how does it fit into the line that is going to be begging for so many of our dollars, and is it worth grabbing this one over one of the other sets like it.

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Nick Martin | December 29th, 2013 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70805 Trash Chomper

70805 - Full Set

When the alternate builds dropped for The LEGO Movie sets, there was one set that just grabbed my attention: 70805 Trash Chomper, the $30 set with an impressive 389 pieces. The actual chomper set was fairly “eh” for me, since I’ve never been a big one for flying dumpster monsters. But when it comes to city trucks, I absolutely adore sets with things like garbage trucks (or recycle trucks, tractors, construction… basically non-Fire and Police stuff).

Part of that is because sets like that are always so different. A frequent complaint of mine in recent years is how much Lego themes seem to rely on setting up some kind of conflict. Obviously, that conflict exists in some things (pretty much any licensed theme), and even makes sense in their original stuff (Space Police, Ninjago, Chima). But I never get why things like Castle and City have to have a bad guy tacked on to create something like that. It’s especially stark when you look at some of the best sets in the line and how often they just ignore that other half, focusing on one thing and executing it well.

Okay, to be fair, there’s obviously a conflict in the Lego movie, but in the best sets, it seems like it’s more about the build than it is that conflict. Trash Chomper seems to really drive that home, giving us a robot that’s maybe 30 parts and then focusing all of its efforts on the trash chomper. Better than that, it’s a full 2-in-1 set, which means it gives you a second instruction book for building a traditional garbage truck instead of the chomper. The real question is does the set manage to live up to my, what are typically unrealistic, expectations based on a couple of pictures online?

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Nick Martin | December 29th, 2013 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70801 Melting Room

70801 - Full Set

First impressions can be important. It’s why you should never lead with the offensive joke (save that for the hook), why everyone wanted to strangle Jar-Jar the first time he opened his mouth, and why some Lego sets can sort of languish after you see the previews. Sometimes, though, a first impression is just flat-out wrong. My first impression of the latest Republic Gunship was “this looks like the old one… meh.” And yet, in my review, it ended up being one of the best high-end sets I’ve ever put together.

My first impression of the Lego Movie sets was “those look somewhat silly but nothing all that special.” Sure, there was some stuff that held mild interest for me, like the minifigs, but none of the sets really popped out. Then, I saw some of the alternate builds, and I decided that, yeah, I’ll be getting a few of those sets. When I went to see that the Michael Bay presents “The Hobbit” I laughed at The Lego Movie setup out front that featured a Classic Space minifig with a broken helmet, something that anyone who had these sets in the 80s recognized immediately.

Now, after I’ve gotten these sets, and started to put them together, starting with the $12.99 small set, 70801 Melting Room, I can say that Lego has done two things:

  • They’ve made it so I absolutely want to see this movie, because just looking at the sets up close make it look insane and fun
  • In the first two pages of the instructions, they’ve made it a certainty that I’ll be buying multiple copies of The Melting Room…

Well played, Lego, well played.

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Don "Solo" Reitz | December 29th, 2013 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70807 MetalBeard’s Duel

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After watching the various teaser trailers MetalBeard definitely stood out. How can you not like a steampunk pirate cyborg with a shark arm? Without knowing much more about the cast, I can easily say he’s already my second favorite character (after Benny of course).

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Nick Martin | December 29th, 2013 | Reviews, The LEGO Movie

Review: 70812 Creative Ambush

70812 - Full Set

Lego movies have always been a little bit tongue and cheek, with self-referential jokes, puns, and silly references only fans of the source material and Lego stuff in general would get. But that’s usually just a little bit of the overall film, like building jokes in the Star Wars movies. But usually, the puns are directed at the Source material more than it just being Lego.

With The Lego Movie, we’ve now in that perfect meta superstorm of self-referential jokes and puns where it’s all about Lego. None of us have seen the movie yet, but you only have to see the promotional material and the sets to know this movie is going to have Lego puns about the Lego puns. The preview pictures don’t do justice to how crazy these sets are once you see the boxes and start to build the sets. Sure, I absolutely loved The Melting Room, but the craziness that this movie represents didn’t hit me until I started to put together the $40 set, Creative Ambush.

This set is effectively an official set that represents every crazy build we did as kids. We all built that house with wheels and a cannon, admit it. Or what we called a ninja death robot that was also a surfing champion, but really was mostly that wind-up motor and a bunch of blue parts and those yellow bricks with the eyes and smiles. Walking down memory lane? Good. Creative Ambush is a set that consists of a death robot (named Micro Manager), a flying meat truck that shoots kabob missiles, and a biplane made out of parts of a Wild West Saloon.

And that is just awesome.

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