I was supposed to review the 76020 Knowhere Escape set way back when the Guardians of the Galaxy sets first hit the shelves. I had it built up and photographed and everything. My opinion of the set at the time wasn't all that positive: a mediocre set released out of context. It's not so much of a problem for something like a vehicle-based set, especially one where the final model is so aesthetically pleasing and satisfying to play with that context hardly matters, like 76021 The Milano Spaceship Rescue. However, that is not the case for Knowhere Escape. It is such a mish mash of different things that you needed the context to understand why the set was put together the way it is. And unfortunately, knowing the context didn't help the final review score; it just made it worse.
This. This is the only thing that resembles anything from the movie because it was actually in the movie. At some point, the Guardians find themselves on a place called Knowhere, a floating mining colony in space and these pods were used to mine things. The good guys have to try and escape from the bad guys so some of them hop into these pods and a chase scene ensues. Rocket does get into one of these things but I don't remember seeing anything drop out of the back like the set would imply. Other than that it is pretty accurate.
The rest of it had me scratching my head before I went to go see the movie. And after I saw the movie? Yep, still scratching my head. I really have no idea what's going on. I will give the set designers an A for effort as there does seem to be a narrative going on here. You can use the little catapult device to launch the yellow canisters to try and blow up the platform and make the gunner fall down the pit. The whole frame blows up as well. That stuff never actually happened in the movie so while it is nice that LEGO tried to create a location-based set with some play value, it ends up feeling like a wasted opportunity to give us something that actually did appear in the movie. It was filled with a ton of locations and interesting characters that could have easily been turned into a $40 set.
The real reason why anyone would want to get it though is right here: Rocket and Groot. Nick pointed this out one of his previous reviews, but these two figures are really not scaled accurately in comparison to the rest of the team. But you stick Rocket on Groot's arm and all can be forgiven. These two put together look great together and recreates on the of best scenes in the movie.
Rocket Racoon could have been made better. His head and epaulets are a single molded piece which means you won't be able to take his head and just make up any old raccoon minifigure unless epaulets are part of his wardrobe. And I hate that his tails gets in the way of his gun when you bring it up his arm and to level it. It wouldn't have taken much to mold it slightly differently so that it wouldn't get in the way but I'm guessing when the designers were molding the part they didn't take into account any accessories he would be holding. Speaking of accessories, he comes with the orb which is strange since he never really held it, at least not in the scene this set is trying to depict.
Groot is made up of the new micro ball joints and is about the same size as the Sentinel from the X-Men set. I guess we can look forward to all larger figures being the same size as these guys. he's got a little too much green in his construction. All brown with the touches of grey here and there would have looked a little better. His chest and head is all once piece so you can't really turn his head for posing or looking or anything like that. Hopefully LEGO will use micro ball joints for neck joints sooner rather than later. I do like that Groot has a bunch of exposed studs so you can stick plants, flowers, vines, raccoons, or what have you on to him.
There's also Nebula in all her blue glory with a pair of swords. She actually looks really good as a minifig. And another Sakaaran. Another opportunity to build up my Sakaaran army said no one ever. I mean, seriously? I think a generic Nova officer would have been more welcome.
Overall, kind of a lackluster build. Besides Rocket and Groot, there's really no other reason to get this set landing it a score of 2 out of 5 stars. With no other Guardians sets on the horizon, you're better off spending your money elsewhere because once this movie's out of the theaters, you'll probably forget about it unless you're the most dedicated Marvel fan. Even then, I'd suggest putting the money towards parts to make a minifig version of Rocket's Warbird. If you want to try and get the two dudes from Bricklink, currently Rocket can be had for about $9-10. Groot's a little more complicated as he is not listed as a figure but as individual parts. You'll only need his head/chest/torso piece and the two slopes that have the printed pattern since all other parts aren't as unique and they're all going for pretty cheap. Nebula's floating around $7. Other than the minifigs the parts selection is okay. Just try and wait for a good deal, but like always, we'll provide a link below to buy it if you're so inclined.