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Nick Martin | August 27th, 2015 | LEGO Super Heroes, Marvel Comics, Reviews

Review: 76041 The Hydra Fortress Smash

76041 Hydra Fortress Smash Full Set

In all my years following LEGO or writing for FBTB, I’m not sure there’s been a set that just refused to stay in my memory than the Hydra Fortress Smash. I think I probably picked up this box on three different occasions while I was at the LEGO store and thought “huh, I don’t remember this.” I even remember being slightly annoyed when we learned that Quicksilver was going to be in an exclusive set (and more annoyed when that exclusive retailer was revealed to be TRU, because no one likes shopping there).

Yet the set ended up nearly as forgettable as the scene was in the opening for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Lots of flashy things, little substance, and of little impact to the rest of the film. It was a scene I remember enjoying, but I have to go look up what happened in it just to recall it with this set.  Unfortunately, this was going to make reviewing 76041 The Hydra Fortress Smash that much more difficult, because it feels like I’m Dori in Finding Nemo while I’m working on it.

We got some explosions, a Code Green, and lots of explosions, and this set tries to encompass all of that. At $49.99 and only 405 pieces, we’re not starting off well. If you are unfortunate to pay the TRU tax for it, that price climbs to at least $54.99 (online, though I’ve seen it for $59.99 in a couple of stores). We get four minifigs and a Hulk bigfig, and three of the four are unique to this set. So there may be some things going for it… wait, what set was I talking about again?

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Nick Martin | August 21st, 2015 | News, Star Wars

Did You Feel the Latest Force Awakening News?

Star Wars Episode 7

As Force Friday and the eventual release of The Force Awakens in December draws nearer, more and more previews and rumors start flying around. This week, we get a couple of exclusive covers from Empire showing off the First Order and the Resistance. Not a whole lot of new information here, but it sure does look cool (via io9).

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Nick Martin | August 21st, 2015 | LEGO Scooby-Doo, Reviews

Review: 75902 The Mystery Machine

75902 - The Mystery Machine Full Set

There will always be a fond place in my heart for Scooby-Doo. While I was born after it’s initial explosion (it started in 69 and had several seasons in the 70s), I grew up in the 80s, when Saturday Morning Cartoons and afternoon syndication were what dominated our childhood brains. It’s sad that the idea of Saturday morning is no longer a thing, thanks to stuff like Netflix, YouTube, and kids doing too much stuff, because highly unlikely we’ll get another show that can have the broad influence and sweep to a whole generation (or two) like Scooby did.

Of course, when you watch the show, there’s probably nothing more iconic in it than the Mystery Machine that the Scooby gang drove around (often with the Harlem Globetrotters). It was a glorious testament to drugs + art + cars being a wonderfully terrible combination, and as much a part of the show as Shaggy and Scooby were. There’s a part of all of us 80s kids that sees a van and wishes it could be painted one of two ways… A-Team or Mystery Machine, so there was a whole ton of excitement when this set was first revealed. Given this love, I jumped at the chance to review 75902 The Mystery Machine, mostly because I always need another vehicle from my childhood in the collection.

This set continued a few LEGO trends, both awesome and unfortunate. At 301 parts and $29.99, it’s awesome to see the iconic vehicle in the line at a low price point. We’ve seen more of LEGO trying to get the recognizable vehicles into lower-priced sets, so I really like seeing the Mystery Machine at this price. The unfortunate part is that this line continues the whole “can’t get the female characters in those low-priced sets” trend. Velma and Daphne are just as important as Fred is, so I would have loved to see them all show up along with this. That being said, there’s hopefully a lot else to like in this set, and some real Scooby-Doo features for the fans in us all.

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Ken Robichaud | August 20th, 2015 | LEGO Ghostbusters, LEGO Ideas, News

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Hits 10,000 Votes On Ideas

Brent Waller has hit the trifecta with his third Ghostbusters themed set concept to hit 10,000 votes on LEGO Ideas. This time around it’s the completely harmless (unless you’re a church or a pencil-necked EPA stooge) Mr Stay Puft.

I loved both Waller’s original Ecto-1 submission and the huge firehouse build, but if I’m being totally honest I’ve never really felt this one. It’s just seems off to me and that is mostly the usual issue of trying to fit a round build into a square brick. I’d love to see Marcos Bessa’s take on Brent’s design, but I also think the overall size, even if the parts count was cut nearly in half would be too prohibitive.

I’ll admit though, amongst Brent’s other builds he does look right at home. If this does see the flickering florescent light of store shelves, I would absolutely love a Louis Telly minifgure. We miss you Rick.

One way or another, we won’t have long to wait for a Stay Puft minifigure and I wish all the luck possible to Brent on trying to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time.

Nick Martin | August 19th, 2015 | LEGO Ideas, Reviews

Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

21302 - The Big Bang Theory Full Set

In the sake of full disclosure, let me be up front about one basic fact: I do not like The Big Bang Theory. I’ve watched it… in fact, I used to watch it all the time, but it’s a show that gets cheap laughs by making fun of nerd culture in a terribly way. Nerd culture is easy to make fun of, and there are a lot of funny things about it… but this show relies instead on absurdity and stereotypes to get the laughs. Basically, it’s a show that needs to “punch down” to get laughs, and those types of shows only survive as long as it’s acceptable to make fun of those groups (shows that do things like this to a religious view, a minority, or an orientation get criticized into oblivion quickly).

That’s kind of a shame, honestly, because there are some legitimately funny moments and writing in the show, things that get honest laughs without stupid (and wrong) stereotypes. Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock comes to mind (and I own that on a shirt)… that is still probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on TV. The show has also done a lot to grow and change characters, and it has a far more balanced cast after adding Amy and Bernadette in later seasons.

And, like the show or not, there are a whole ton of people that do. It’s consistently in the top for TV comedies (it’s been #2 the past couple of years), so the market makes sense. Given that it’s a Warner Brothers show, it’s another set that points to a pretty cozy relationship between LEGO and WB (who also owns DC Comics). Since LEGO also has an equally close relationship to Disney/Marvel, I’m starting to wonder if they are our best bet for negotiating world peace. At $60, this is the most expensive ideas set we’ve gotten thus far. It also comes in at 484 parts, but that is one of the most deceitful part counts ever… maybe in a good way. It carries a whopping seven minifigures, though, so there may be some value here after all…

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Ken Robichaud | August 18th, 2015 | LEGO Dimensions, LEGO Scooby-Doo, News

Scooby-Doo Trailer Continues To Build On LEGO Dimensions

I hope there’s a line where Batman says he’s worked with these kids before, but either way we now have a good look at the expansion for Scooby-Doo in the upcoming Dimensions game. I’m already sold, but every little bit helps and the animated trailer showing them building their portal is a really nice touch.

September 27th needs to hurry up and get here…

Nick Martin | August 17th, 2015 | LEGO Star Wars, Reviews

Review: 75089 Geonosis Troopers

75089 - Full Set

After some wildly impractical camouflage in the Commando Troopers battle pack, there’s something oddly refreshing to see Geonosis troopers in what seemingly makes a lot more sense in a world made primarily of dust and what the easter egg dye looks like after the first couple of eggs. Geonosis popped up a few times during the Clone Wars cartoon, even though we saw the seperatist armies trying to evacuate the planet at the end of the movie.

The set also gives us a walker, which I’ve been known to love, and revisists the rather classic clone walker design from other battle packs. The twist is obviously giving us the new gattling-style barrel on the front to go with our troopers, along with flick-fire blasters for our troops.

This is the last battle pack to review for the 2015 releases, and it’s been a pretty good year for army builders. While we’re still lacking just a plain clone pack, we’ve gotten Shadow Troopers, Smurf Commandos, and Death Star troopers. Next year we’re likely going to see more of a focus on new stuff, so here’s to First Order troopers and rebels from Rebels showing up in our packs. At $13 and 105 parts, it’s got a few more parts than your average pack, but otherwise… it’s mostly just orange.

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Ace Kim | August 17th, 2015 | LEGO Ideas, Sales News

LEGO Ideas 21109 Exo Suit Sunsetting

21109_box

LEGO is retiring Peter Reid’s Ideas project 21109 Exo Suit and lowered the price to clear remaining stock. The $34.99 set is now just $27.99. The price is effective at every major retailer (except Walmart) carrying the set as well:

Nick Martin | August 15th, 2015 | LEGO Star Wars, News, Rumour Mill, Star Wars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Set Images

Update: Images removed at the request of TLG. No matter. We’ll be able to get our hands on the sets soon enough on Force Friday.

Well, let’s see how long these are around before we get the request to un-ring a bell. We’ve seen bits and pieces show up for things. All of the Star Wars LEGO sets for Force Awakens (that we know of) are supposed to hit on Force Friday (September 4th). I’m going to be honest… there is a whole lot of awesome on these sets. I was already fairly excited to see the movie, but now I’m excited to see the movie and get the toys! See all of the images and some comments below the fold, because there are a couple of reveals in here.

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Nick Martin | August 15th, 2015 | News, Star Wars

Star Wars News at D23

Star Wars Episode 7

Yes, I plan on getting a lot of mileage out of that graphic I spent sixteen seconds making the other day! Disney’s D23 Expo has been going in full force, dropping hints, news, and previews of the eighteen-thousand Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, and Pixar projects that are currently in progress.

Force Awakens Official Poster

The first “official” poster for the movie is out, which is curious, since I’ve seen about a half-dozen different posters for the movie at one of the local theaters. Not a whole lot here, but it certainly does look Star Wars-y. (via Super Hero Hype).

Star Wars Rogue One Teaser

More more exciting in my book is the teaser for Rogue One, the first spin-off movie. This is probably the project that has me the most excited, and not just because it’s a female-led film that’s going to have a gratuitous level of space battles. This has a kind-of Firefly vibe to it, which is fitting, since it was revealed that Wash himself, Alan Tudyk, is doing a “performance capture” part of it. Here’s money on him being a sassy protocol droid that dresses like a pirate and speaks with a French accent.

We also get some more details for the film as well…

Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe,” says Kathleen Kennedy. “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Warsfeel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for ‘Rogue One.’”

Veteran ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll, who shares a long history with the Star Wars movies, dating back to the mid-1990s, originated the idea for the movie.

This is the movie that has some of the most promise to bring back some of the good bits of the EU, and the Rogue Squadron series (even if that was set later on) is part of that. We could also see some tie-ins between Rebels here, so perhaps they’re going to give us some familiar faces mixed in. (via io9).

Jurassic-World-logo

Next up: Star Wars Episode IX “officially” has a director, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow. I’m sure that this is the news that has Ace out drinking right now, since he was such a fan of Jurassic World. I haven’t seen it, so I can’t really speak on his ability as a director. Episode IX is also four years out, so this is something that could easily change.

Disney Amusement Park

Disney also announced that there are Star Wars-themed lands coming to Disneyland and Disney World theme parks. While I doubt they can get something quite as awesome as what the concept art shows… but let me tell you, if they build a life-sized Millennium Falcon that I can walk around in and sit in the cockpit of… well, let’s just say that a future family vacation is now planned.