Hi FBTB, it’s me, Casey aka cas! That’s right, it’s the guy you’ve completely forgotten about or never really knew! Anyway, after becoming overwhelmed with a series of “other things,” which alternatively may be called “reality” or “life,” I’ve finally broken free for a moment. Free enough to hold the brick again and to do some sweet, sweet reviews. Well, enough about that, let’s get straight to it, shall we. For my first review of 2013, I’ve decided to start with a set I’ve wanted since 1996. 1996, as you may recall (or not, if you are reading this and you weren't yet born – yikes!) was the year LEGO debuted the Western theme. It was a marvelous theme, and since it’s retirement, many fans, including myself have clamored for its return. Well, it has returned. Sort of. Thanks to Disney’s The Lone Ranger, we finally have our hands on a stagecoach, and some other western themed sets, but honestly, I’m not nearly as interested in those as I am 79108 Stagecoach Escape
I never saw Disney’s take on The Lone Ranger and probably never will. I think it looks all around dreadful, but that’s beside the point and I’m not here to rag on a movie I haven’t seen. The wonderful thing about this set is while it may come with characters from the movie, it works as a standalone piece based on, but in no way reliant upon the movie, meaning it translates beautifully into the old western sets or custom western-themed creations. It’s awesome to finally have an icon of the old American west in LEGO form, since LEGO neglected to include one in their 1996 theme (instead, saddling us with a covered wagon, which wasn't bad, but was not stagecoach).
As you may notice when this set is next to minifigs, it looks strangely massive. Visually, without minifigs near it, it doesn't look as odd, but given the chassis and suspension on this thing, its size is understandable.
And I was genuinely surprised by that chassis. Initially, it seems a bit excessive and over-designed, but it works. The rear suspension flexes, the front wheels turn, and it allows the horses considerable range of motion. I thought it was a bit much, if not over-complicated for something that could have easily been much, much simpler--and in previous LEGO carriages and wagons, has been--but again, it works and the stagecoach glides effortlessly over most surfaces (carpet, couches, tables, dirt roads).
The cab is accessible through the roof and it has a typical sparse LEGO interior, well, almost typical. For added detail, stickers adorn the backs of the seats. Four stickers total. It beats nothing. Two minifigs can fit with relative comfort with their cowboy hats, massive hairpieces, guns, and in the case of Ms. Harrington, her dress. She’s a bit of a challenge to fit in, if you leave her dress on, but that’s easily solved by flipping it up (though, perhaps, not too ladylike).
On a quick side note, I typically like to snap a quick pic of the sticker sheet, but in my haste to put this set together, I neglected to do that. The stickers are pretty obvious, though in case you were curious, the stickers are limited to the brown and gold adornments on either side of the cab doors, the word "Stagecoach" emblazoned on the top, the seat backs, and the head rests. Quite a few stickers and mostly unnecessary (Stagecoach? Really?). Oh, and on side side note, yes, that trans-yellow piece is not supposed to be there. Why it's there, I don't know. Unsolved mystery.
The rear of the cab features a space to store a suitcase or two. It’s designed so you can launch the case when you press down on the two tow ball pieces. It works occasionally with varied results. Sometimes it gets launched a few inches. Sometimes it gets stuck. I guess it’s better than a flick fire suitcase (actually, on second thought, a flick fire suitcase doesn’t sound half bad).
For a $30 set, five minifigs is very impressive. Even more impressive is the inclusion of three horses. You'd think this was a $100 set considering this level of generosity. I can't speak to the necessity of each minifig in terms of the scene this set may or may not be based on, but they add quite a bit of value to the overall set.
Since this is The Lone Ranger theme, of course, The Lone Ranger is present. I’m not going to go in to much detail, other than to say I love the hat. It's an excellent update to the old standard. The rest of him is a fairly generic, though decent representation of the movie character. What I don’t love are these new revolvers. I hope they never appear outside of this theme. The “old” style of revolver worked just fine. These are too action figure-y, and apart from the grip, don’t look or feel LEGO at all. I don't plan on ever
using them again.
Tonto is basically an alt. version of Captain Sparrow. Besides the fact they’re both portrayed by the coasting Johnny Depp, Tonto is in nearly every set (minus one or two) and showcases a large hairpiece. He’s a mildly quirky minifig with his subtle smile (or unsubtle scream, depending on his point of view) and dead crow headpiece. For me, and I imagine a few others, my favorite part of the figure is the medium dark flesh arms and hands.
Red Harrington is exclusive to this set, though I seriously doubt it’s a selling point for anyone. She has hot pink lips and I like that. There aren't too many other minifigs with hot pink lips. Purple and green, sure, but I think hot pink is new.
Like Tonto, she gets a headpiece in the form of a hat. My biggest problem with the hat is it only fits on hairpieces with the hole, limiting its usefulness. It’s not a big deal since this particular hat probably only looks good on those type of hairpieces anyway and those type of hairpieces are becoming more prevalent. Though, I’m not a fan of the flexible, rubbery hairpieces, which she and Tonto both have.
Like most of the other minifigs in this set, her torso printing is well detailed. In case you were wondering why she has a white leg, it’s my understanding it’s representative of the character’s ivory leg, which also happens to be a gun. I’m not keen on the asymmetric details like this, since there’s no left leg companion, but it’s defined by the character, so there isn’t much I can do other than write a sentence expressing my dissatisfaction.
Then we have Jesus. That’s right, Jesus has finally arrived in LEGO form, granted, he has a gun and dynamite and doesn’t look happy about something. I’m going to assume it’s either because his name is pronounced "Hey, Zeus," or it's the tear in his chaps. I’d be disgruntled if my chaps tore, that is, if I had and wore chaps.
In my mind, Jesus is a stagecoach driver and he’s there to take the reins and save Ms. Harrington from falling out of the cab to be crushed by the rear wheel (as the box art suggests). Good on you Jesus. Overall, the fig is generic enough to work outside the theme, which is a big plus.
Lastly, there’s Barret (again, according to the box. All these names are basically meaningless). He wears a black hat and has an angry face, so he must be a bad guy. Why is he the bad guy? It can’t be because he brought a knife to a gun fight, can it? Or maybe it’s because he lost a button on his coat. Like Jesus, Barret’s printing works elsewhere, making the fig highly useful. Given the detail on the fig, he’s easily the best of the bunch.
There’s also the safe. It's a cool little safe that could hold six bars of gold if it wanted to. But it doesn’t. You get one silver bar. Uno! Ein! I don’t know if that’s relevant to the movie, but I don’t care. It’s one bar and for an exciting stagecoach scene that is epically lame. I need something more to make this safe worthwhile! What's my motivation to rob this thing?
In the end, this is a set I’ll be keeping together indefinitely. When the first images of it popped up on the net, I couldn’t help but smile. LEGO did the stagecoach justice and they managed to keep it reasonably priced, especially for a licensed set, at $30.
What I Liked:
+ Finally, a LEGO stagecoach!
+ Five minifigs. Most can be repurposed outside of the theme making them very useful.
+ Three horses. It’s a great way to stock up on the new style horse in black and brown.
+ Well-designed set. It’s a surprising and satisfying build.
+ An excellent value at $30.
What I didn’t Like:
- The stagecoach is huge, like really huge.
- The luggage flinging mechanism rarely works, but then again, it doesn’t get in the way.
- One bar of silver? Come on!
Get this set. Whether or not you have any interest in The Lone Ranger, this is a great representation of a classic mode of transportation and it works great as both a display piece and a play piece. At $30 it’s extremely hard to go wrong, and given that the film came and went, chances are you'll be able to find it sub-$30 in the near future. It's already less than that on Amazon