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Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

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Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby Staff » Sat May 12, 2012 8:04 pm

6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Every once and a while, there comes a LEGO set I can’t put down. There is something about it that feels right, whether in the way it looks or its substance. I get this feeling that reminds me of that day in May way back in 1999 when I opened my first LEGO Star Wars set, the X-wing. As I built it, I knew it was something special, and once it was complete, I thought I’d never take it apart. It deserved to stay together because those pieces came together into something that worked. 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle is a set that awakens those feelings of nostalgia and memories of a simpler, less cynical time. It’s a set that captures something that’s been missing from so many sets in recent years.
6869 Box Front

For starters, 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle feels like a much better value right out of the box compared to similarly priced sets of $69.99 (£69.99; CA $89.99; 79,99€). A few examples include 3368 Space Center (494 pieces), 6860 The Batcave (690 pieces), and 7961 Darth Maul’s Sith Infiltrator (479 pieces). Frankly, each of those three sets feel like rip-offs at $70. It’s gotten to the point I expected to see a half-empty box when I opened it and peered inside. I expected to see air. Instead, what I saw was reasonable. The size of the box made sense. A good first impression.
6869 Stickers and Instructions

The good impressions didn’t stop there. Dumping out the contents revealed the plastic and cardboard wrapped instructions and stickers. Thank you, LEGO. I know protected instructions/stickers have appeared in several sets for a while now, but I can’t tell you how many times in the past year I’ve opened a set to find bent or curled stickers. With an increased reliance on stickers, this type of packaging needs to be used much more than it is.
6869 Box Back

On a side note, not once did I ever hear the sounds “shlkk” or “faazooom” while testing out the Quinjet’s advertised features. They’re more of a “ftick” and “ptunk.”
6869 Loki's Chariot

Poor Loki. The Avenger’s get a sweet, state-of-the-art ride and he’s stuck with a dinky chariot. It’s a little one-sided. What's worse is this vehicle does nothing for me. It’s boring and forgettable, but I’m giving LEGO a pass. It basically looks like its on-screen counterpart. I guess. I never had an opportunity to get a solid look at it to make the determination.
6869 Loki's Chariot Side6869 Loki's Chariot Back

It’s also awkward to hold and fly around. The click-hinge connection is weak enough that it tends to flop around and in play scenarios, that’s not good. I still give points to LEGO for including it in the set, though. The bad guys in the film were seriously lacking in vehicular matches for the heroes (in terms of translatable to toys, I don't think those big flying worm dudes would make good a LEGO set), so at the very least, it’s something. And dark tan!
6869 Quinjet

The Quinjet, the real star of the set and arguably the entire LEGO Marvel line, is a mighty craft on its own. The futuristic, pseudo-military craft managed enough screen time and stable shots to actually get a good look at it. It’s sleek, improbable, and most importantly, it translates into toy form with remarkable ease.
6869 Quinjet Rear Detail

The build reminded me of the 9493 X-wing. The Quinjet’s construction is varied, it uses a considerable amount of SNOT-work and it’s insides are colorful. The entire set is sorted into five numbered bags making it an organized and easy to follow process. What makes the build interesting is the wide assortment of parts. Each bag contained a fair share of surprises. I found the experience oddly engaging, looking forward to the next bag, eager to see how it all going to come together. That may sound like a strange thing to say, but after so many rehashes in the Star Wars line (which I primarily collect), it’s refreshing to not have that element of predictability.
6869 Quinjet Red Button

If you’ve seen The Avengers, then you may have noticed the Quinjet’s most apparent omission. Rotors. It’s not a big detriment. There just won’t be any vertical take-offs or landings. I’d rather have rotors over the big SHIELD emblems. Well, I’d rather have both.
6869 Quinjet Fuselage

In all likelihood, rotors would compromise the Quinjet's sturdiness. As it is, the Quinjet is a rock and has a satisfying weight. This is both good and bad. It’s good because it allows you to swoosh with confidence. It’s bad because it makes this thing a tub, a big flying tub. From one angle, the Quinjet teases you with sleek sophistication. You take it home, put it together with a childlike grin on your face, and then you hold it up before your eyes and realize there’s more to it than the glossy exterior. This thing’s got guts and needs structure to hold those guts.
6869 Quinjet Drone Deployed6869 Quinjet Drone Left the Nest

Some of those guts include the drone launch mechanism. It takes up a lot of space for something that does relatively little. Press the red “button” on top and ptunk, the drone holder drops. It takes a good amount of force to press the button in order to get it to work properly and the result is underwhelming. I had hoped the mechanism would launch the drone like a flick-fire missile, but no, it’s all manual labor from that point on. It is more interesting than throwing the drone in the back, so points for trying.
6869 Drone Closed6869 Drone Flight Mode

Was the drone even in the film? I don’t remember it. I’m assuming it was cut during the production process. In the context of the set, I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to do. Fly around and…
6869 Quinjet Iron Man Chills

Here’s a fun fact about the passenger compartment: Thor can sit in a chair with his cape on. I don’t know why Thor would need to sit in a chair on a plane, but it’s an option. Also, I didn’t try to fit Thor in the seat until long after I took these pictures, so you get to see Iron Man instead. Because that’s thinking ahead.
6869 Quinjet Seating

You’ve probably asked yourself, “Why is there a fire extinguisher? What mysterious purpose does it serve?” Some men want to watch the world burn, the Avengers are here to put that fire out. Wrong. It has no purpose. For one, it’s not a real fire extinguisher. And two, the way the Quinjet is designed, the fire extinguisher is impossible to remove without first removing the closest armrest. You want to pretend there’s a fire aboard the Quinjet? You might as well pretend to abandon ship while you’re at it, which won’t be too difficult with the included Avengers, Iron Man and Thor. Black Widow, on the other hand, is so screwed.
6869 Quinjet Cockpit Detail6869 Quinjet Cockpit with Black Widow

This cockpit is undoubtedly the most complete cockpit I have ever seen in an official LEGO set. It’s not at all accurate to the film, but I don’t care, not when there’s a rather comfortable looking seat (and a sticker representing controls). After so many vehicle-based sets (see: Star Wars) with limited, pathetic, or no seating/control interface whatsoever, this feels like a huge leap forward. All I had to say was, “Finally!” And Black Widow deserves a nifty cockpit, given she has no other purpose in this set other than to sit there.
6869 Quinjet Hold

The remaining interior structure is the cargo hold. It’s spacious enough to carry Loki or additional, sold separately Avengers as long as that Avenger isn't 6868's Hulk.
6869 Quinjet Top Hatch6869 Quinjet Top Hatch Open

Just be sure whatever you throw back there is secured before heading into battle. The top hatch doesn’t like to stay closed in swooshy conditions. It can get very annoying.
6869 Quinjet Maneuvering Foil6869 Quinjet Maneuvering Foil Tilted

Another thing that doesn’t stay put are the maneuvering foils. The click-hinges hold the angle well enough, but the Technic pin connection needs more friction. The result is wobbly, often uneven wings that the obsessive compulsive (me) will be constantly fixing.
6869 Quinjet Side

Back to the exterior of the Quinjet, you’ll notice a few details that, while essential to the structure of the model, completely disrupt the flow, mainly in the rear. That’s the price of building semi-realistic (eh) aircraft out of LEGO. It holds together wonderfully, but you pay for it with unappealing aesthetics. At least we didn’t get another Siddeley.
6869 Quinjet Front

Of course, this is no Siddeley. This set is in a completely different league than the Cars sets, and many other license themes sets, for that matter. From the top down, this set flows, I mean it really flows. I may have complained about certain unappealing aesthetics, but those are easy to overlook when the top of this craft is considered. I can’t remember the last time a set flowed from front to back like this.
6869 Quinjet Thruster Detail

The thrusters are the crowning element to this slick achievement. They’re well proportioned, angled, and shaped. I’d go as far to say, they’re my favorite part of the Quinjet.
6869 Quinjet Back Top

The heavy use of transparent pieces, blue and red, was initially a concern. Transparent pieces can be extremely tricky to use, especially with liberal abandon. Here, the transparent blue grilles accent and complement both the grays and the dark blue. The pieces add a glossiness that works without calling too much attention.
6869 Quinjet Underside

The transparent red plates, while not entirely inappropriate, lack the subtlety of the blue pieces. They seem more overused despite being fewer in number. This is particularly noticeable on the underside of the craft.
6869 Quinjet Under Wing6869 Quinjet Under Wing   Flickfire Missiles

It’s easy to complain about the underside of a LEGO vehicle. They’re typically rough, filled with questionable color choices, and in this case, where the flick-fire missiles are located. Luckily, they can be somewhat concealed. Like the blue grilles on top, the blue pieces down under don’t clash with the overall color scheme of the set, but the red has to go. It’s bad enough it’s so glaring from the bottom, but you can see much of it from the sides as well. This will be unquestionably modified and once it is, this is a set I’ll display for some time. It’s not an iconic vehicle, it’s not even very unique, but it looks good. Better than that, it looks cool.
6869 Chitauri Foot Soldier

The minifigures are easily the weak links of 6869. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re bad. It means the main part of the set, the Quinjet, was designed well enough that LEGO didn’t need to add superfluous minifigures to make up for any shortcomings (or add to the pricetag). Let’s start with the weakest of the bunch, the Chitauri foot soldier. It lacks personality and is scrawled with meaningless patterns. Like Loki’s chariot, I don’t blame LEGO. These guys are flick-fire fodder for our heroes and that’s all they’ll ever amount to. Generic and forgettable. Next.
6869 Loki

Loki. He's been on Earth's bad side ever since he cloned Colonel Jack O'Neill and was caught by SG-1. Oh, wait, wrong universe, sorry (I'm not sorry, I've been dying to use this reference for weeks). This Loki, though still pale-skinned, has some impressive attire and of the five minifigures, he's the most screen-accurate. Except his face. His face doesn't work at all. He lacks the actor’s sliminess and the delicate subtly of his features not captured by this Lex Luthor repeat. Oh, and I was gravely disappointed to see he lacked a double-sided head. It would’ve been the perfect opportunity to show off Loki’s wicked smile which would have been nothing short of beautiful under the Helm of Overcompensation.
6869 Black Widow

Black Widow. Could’ve fooled me. Out of context, this is a fantastic minifigure. The torso and leg design are top notch and are my favorite of the set, but this isn't a review for out of context. In context, this minifigure is a mess. If LEGO only had concept art to work with, I’d be more lenient, but we know that’s not the case. The character has already appeared on-screen prior to The Avengers. We know what she looks like. The facial expressions don’t suit the character. They may have worked for Catwoman, but here, they’re slightly too expressive. The hair piece fails more obviously. It looks like it’d be more appropriate on Thor. While it’s nice to have a wide selection of LEGO hair, this minifigure demanded dark red hair. It’s one of the character’s defining features and LEGO inexplicably messed it up. I want Black Widow, not generic lady hero.
6869 Thor

Thor. What mortal poured butter on this guy’s head? Yeah, this minifigure would’ve looked much better with dark tan hair rather than Paula Dean’s secret stash, but at least this minifigure gets the overall look right and he has a great looking Mjölnir. Though, I'm not entirely sure what Thor's doing in this set. He only interacted with a Quinjet for about a second and long before the Chitauri showed up. I can think of a handful of other characters who would’ve made more sense, such as Agent Coulson and Hawkeye.
6869 Iron Man

Iron Man. This is the Mark 7 version, which, while in the film, is only seen for a short time. During that time, I don’t recall if Iron Man ever interacted with a Quinjet while wearing it. But, hey, at least LEGO didn’t go Loki on us and include a duplicate Iron Man from 6867 Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape.
6869 Big Hat No Cattle

Most people have already made up their minds about this minifigure. Most of them arrived at their conclusions without ever holding these four centimeters of plastic, myself included. I’m still in the camp that a printed head piece would’ve been the better route to take with this character, but this isn't so bad. I dig the opening faceplate revealing Tony Stark underneath and that function makes it worth it. Looking at the helmet up close, it’s clear it couldn't be any smaller without compromising the plastic. So, for what it is, it’s ok. It’s better than Batman’s cowl.
6869 Tools of Heroism and Villainy

+A great value. At 9 cents per part, this is a $70 set that actually feels like a $70 set.
+It’s a well-balanced set. Unlike recent Star Wars sets that have placed more emphasis on the minifigures, this set delivers a solid primary model complemented by the minifigures, even if the minifigures aren't all spectacular.
+It looks cool. It’s as great for displaying as it is playing.
+Excellent cockpit, decent interior. I hope LEGO makes this trend.
+A great part selection for MOCers.
+New brick separator. Because it’s there!

-For a set called “Quinjet Aerial Battle,” it’s weak in the “battle” department. Unfortunately, there are limited film-based options to remedy this.
-While the Quinjet is swooshable, there are a few flaps that won’t stay in place without aftermarket modification.
-Flick-fire missiles. It’s a cliché to call them lame by now, but these flick-fire missiles are awkward to launch given their position under the wings. They can be folded up out of the way, so there is a silver lining.
-Black Widow. She just doesn’t look like the character.
-Reused facial patterns. This problem has been prevalent throughout the entire LEGO Super Heroes line. We’re lucky Tony Stark and Thor have facial hair.

This is a remarkable set for being in a licensed theme. It oozes a quality not seen in so many licensed sets, whether they’re from Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, or Harry Potter. It’s a rare set among the mediocrity. It works beyond its license, while maintaining the characteristics that make it part of the Marvel line. It is by no means an iconic vehicle, but LEGO managed to make it one of the most accurate Avenger’s sets in respect to its on-screen counterpart.

What makes this set truly unique, however, is its value. I frequently end reviews saying to wait until a set is on sale or clearance before picking it up and out of habit, I’m going to again. 6869 is currently the highest priced LEGO Marvel set, so it may be out of many fans' price ranges. If it is, then yes, wait. This is one of those sets kids save up for doing miscellaneous chores all summer and when they open it and put it together, realize it was worth it. It's not quite the X-wing from the inaugural wave of Star Wars sets, but it's exists in the same vein. This set has substance, it has the look, it works, and is a set worth owning.

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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby MrCRskater » Sat May 12, 2012 8:41 pm

Nailed it! I just finished building mine this evening and I must say, great review, cas. You are spot on with pretty much every point. The figs are what spurred my interest, but the jet is, as you said, a remarkable model. Such a treat to put together and pretty impressive when finished. My only quips are the floppy foils on the end of the wings (very easy to mod), and the goofy drone. While the drop mechanism is well-engineered and quite nifty, it takes up a lot of space and the payback is virtually nil (not to mention that the drone was never shown in the film).

As for the figs, they didn't seem as lackluster to me. Yeah, the Chitauri soldier is kind of a throwaway (thought so when I built Cap's cycle before seeing the movie, and thought so building the Quinjet after seeing the movie). Loki's head is probably the greatest disappointment. But I really dig the hero figs. Thor would look better if the beard color matched the hair - either both blond, or both dark tan - but still a great figure. You make good points about the Black Widow figure, but it didn't put me off at all.

All in all, a great set and well-worth the price tag, no question. Seems like we're seeing an up-tick in worthwhile sets this year.
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby orkyd » Sat May 12, 2012 9:57 pm

I was seriously considering building my Avengers collection with the smaller, cheaper sets. But your review may have swayed me to buy this set.
I'm intrigued. Its been a while since I've felt that "magic" of a set. Great observation.
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby Oky Wan Kenobi » Sun May 13, 2012 12:37 am

Ha! Helm of Overcompensation. That's a good one. But that's not Lex Luthor's head underneath it, it's Bruce Wayne's. You know, the driver of the Overcompensationmobile? :lol:


Anyway, good review. I agree with pretty much everything you said about the set. It sure is a great set, especially for the price, even though the minifigs are a bit lacking. But what's this about the quinjet not being iconic? In the comics, it's almost like the Avenger's Batmobile (or for a more appropriate comparison, Fantasticar)! And there may not have been a better substitute for the chariot from the movie for a set of this price class, but I think they could have easily pushed the price of the set up to $100 or more and included a (underscaled) model of the flying serpent ships from the movie. Now that would have made for an epic battle!

Oh, and I'm actually kind of glad the fire extinguisher isn't removable. BURN, YOU UGLY BLACK WIDOW IMPOSTER, BURN! >8(
(Okay, she's not that bad, but come on, she doesn't even have her signature hour glass logo!)
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby CaptainFordo » Sun May 13, 2012 2:26 am

Great review. I agree the chariot is kind of underwhelming, but I think it's more accurate to the craft we see in the film than the one in Cap's Avenging Cycle (and at least the gorram thing gets a name =P)

I remain a staunch supporter of Iron Man's helmet though. Without it he would look very undersized next to the other Avengers, considering that his helmet is less close fitting than Cap's. I ould also disagree with people saying it would be better with a chest piece; I put the helmet on my galaxy patrol just for a laugh and he looked hilariously top-heavy. Like Mr. Incredible top-heavy.
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby mikado » Sun May 13, 2012 1:44 pm

thanks for the great review and I agree about the widow looks more like they slapped together a catwoman rather than go out of their way for a good widow. I kinda wish they gave hair for iron man and loki but maybe we can get those in future sets. wonder if anyone will mod the kit so it has the rotors instead of giant shield logos
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby majortom » Sun May 13, 2012 4:12 pm

@mikado: In the build-up to the film I started building my own version of the Quinjet, and the wings/rotors have been the part keeping me up at night. I've been thinking of a few possibilities, but with my finals coming up and my LEGO collection so far away (I'm in university), it remains unfinished. I managed to take a few pictures over the weekend and I'm considering putting them up on flickr, but they're pretty bad quality.

But with regards to the review, it is bang-on. I bought this a couple of weeks ago to abate my LEGO withdrawal-symptoms, and I was not disappointed. You definitely get your money's worth, which was surprising considering that this is a licensed-theme set. I bought this primarily for the figures, but this attraction turned out to be one of the less appealing aspects of the set, in the sense that they are totally overshadowed by the jet itself. Some nice play features and an interesting build, which are things that a great deal of LEGO sets (licensed at least) seem to be lacking recently.

LEGO seems to insist on including flick-fire missiles in their models without a thought for practicality. I've noticed this with the Quinjet and Loki's cosmic cube effect. In the former, more often than not, the flight of the missiles is impeded by the front of the wing, and in the latter, they're almost inaccessible to even be able to flick.
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby dWhisper » Sun May 13, 2012 7:12 pm

Built this a month or so ago when they first hit, and on impulse, I picked up the entire line. Not a bad ship, but I liked the Helicarrier set a lot more. Just had a lot more features and things that captured the set well. Just me though; this set isn't bad, but also didn't think it was great.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby CaptainFordo » Mon May 14, 2012 3:21 am

I do love the look of the QUinjet, but I think I'll wait on the polybag for 3 reasons. 1. Price :P 2. I love minis 3. ability to swoosh without the terrifying concern of accidentally dropping it.

Also, RE hairpieces, I've had a hard time figuring out what hairpiece would suit Loki best =S I ended up going with the widows peak one. It's not accurate to Avengers, but it's close to his hair in Thor. I feel Thor's hairpiece is far too front-heavy for Loki and the only alternative is the basic female hair that used to be used for Snape, but that just looks strange these days...
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby eli_77 » Fri May 18, 2012 7:23 pm

Excellent review. For me the quinjet set is the flagship of the Avengers wave and I'm sure kids everywhere are bugging their parents to buy this set! I'm disappointed though that there isn't any decent unique minifigs in this set except for the rather plain Black Widow and the slightly different Torso of Iron man.
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby Nemesis243 » Sun May 20, 2012 3:10 am

What is that orange thing that comes with the set? I noticed it came with the Hulk playset and was wondering what its purpose was.
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Re: Review: 6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle

Postby mikado » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:17 pm

the orange thing is just a tool to take off stubborn bricks but it makes a great swishing handle for lokis chariot
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