Have you ever been putting together a set, something that you know the look and feel of outside of LEGO form, and hit a point where you know that the build is just wrong? When I started the build before reviewing 76081 The Milano vs. The Abilisk, I hit that point on page 27, when I clicked on the two dish winglet things and realized that the ship was far tinier in the build looked on the box… and it looked awful on the box. Of course, as bad as that was, when you snap the first wing into place on page 34, you realize that wrong doesn’t even begin to describe what’s wrong with this set. If you don’t remember snapping that on the first time, don’t worry, you’ll have to do it again when it falls off later, and then several more times after that when it continues to do so.
There are a few things going for the set at the outset, mostly that it’s 460 pieces only run us $49.99. Beyond that, it includes all of the Guardians except Rocket, and it does get the color of the ship right, and that was a big miss of the original. After that, though… I’d be pretty hard pressed to come up with a lot of good based on my first impressions. Honestly, that was only made worse after I watched the movie. I will discuss some spoilery aspects of the movie in this review, because we love talking about things in a movie that’s long since come out in theaters and video.
Ultimately, the scariest thing about this set is that it might be even worse than it looks, and, outside of the color, it looks just terrible.
So, funny note. When I wrote the review for the original Milano set, lo those many years ago, I had this to say: “There aren’t a lot of vehicles in the Marvel lineup, and in this release, we’ve gotten two (along with the X-Men blackbird)”… I was so young and naive back then. To have such a comment back, one that LEGO seemingly took to heart, and ask them to build us more playsets and stop with the stupid jets already.
After having seen this movie, it feels like Nebula should have been pulled from this one to put into Raveger Attack, and… well, someone else put here. I’m not for certain who it should be, since the opening credits featured all of the Guardians and no one else. Probably Chris Pratt in a dancing robot costume.
You can’t unsee it in all of its majesty.
None of the characters here have changed all that drastically, other than the outfit choice (which is to add jetpacks). Gamora is first up, and I have a question as to why she didn’t get a jetpack, while Drax and Quill do. For the sake of the scene, she should also have a gun as well as a sword, but I somehow doubt that LEGO got to see the opening when planning the set.
She gets a printed-on jetpack, which is cool, but one of the main jokes of the opening is that Drax isn’t wearing the suit or jetpack because of a certain sensitivity on his part… Gamora is. Yes, we can obviously move it, but it seems like an unfortunate miss (the concept art for the scene shows all of them wearing jetpacks, FYI). The figure itself is fine… I like it more than the original thanks to the armor choice; there are some slight differences on the hair and head, but you wouldn’t really get them at first glance.
In the movie, Nebula plays no part in the opening scene, but she does play a part right after it. Much like Gamora, a fine figure, though obviously has one-too-many hands. All new printing for the head and torso are great, and you have to love that silver arm that she has.
There are obviously gaps for the figures in this movie, and I would have loved one more set that could fit in the “original Guardians” or * bleep * Ego, or perhaps just moving her over into the Ravager set (which didn’t need a ship, it should have been a playset).
I’m pretty sure that at least 10% of all LEGO minifigures are now Chris Pratt. Okay, not quite, but I have several of them between the Guardians sets and the Jurassic World stuff. I like this figure with the new armor, and I love the inclusion of the hair and the helmet. I really wish they would have come up with a “spacesuit” helmet to use as well… if you’ve seen the movie, basically a trans-blue forcefield.
One of the problems with all of the figures, thus far, is that these are just redos of characters from a few years ago. I don’t know how much kids were into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, given that it was a movie for adults, but I don’t really remember seeing a big merchandise push outside of LEGO. The original sets were decently popular, but I know that the figures themselves weren’t the “must have” in the Marvel lineup. This is a good figure, but if you have the original, it’s good enough.
Like Gamora and Nebula, this Drax is new, with much more elaborate pants and some new head printing, but that’s a lot harder to pick out than the other ones since the torso is basically the same.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that the characters were available again… it just feels like LEGO went a very lazy route with the character selection in this, and in fact, all Guardians of the Galaxy sets.
Baby Groot, on the other hand, is what made the opening scene so amazing, so I love seeing him here. I wish he was a bit more interactive or bricklike, say, like the baby minifigure, but not terrible to have. He’s just small and will be very easy to misplace.
The Milano (and the other thing)
This might be the first LEGO set we’ve ever gotten based on the opening credits of any movie… but most movies don’t have opening credits as fantastic as Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 were (Deadpool was probably better because it mixed the humor of the movie into the text and, for the first time in decades, got people to read something on the screen that wasn’t a Star Wars crawl).
That is to the detriment of the set in a very big way… the start of the movie is one of the most memorable things in a movie that is just full to the top of memorable things. I absolutely understand that LEGO is targeting this set at kids, but kids saw the movie and saw the intro… and they are not dumb. The ship wasn’t involved at all in the fight with this monster, and the monster looked nothing like what we get in the set.
While I may criticize how a rehash set compares to the original version, I normally don’t let that affect the review score all that much. If someone missed that set, or was too young, or simply wasn’t into LEGO at the time… this may be the only one that’s available. The problem here is that the original was available for some time, and isn’t especially hard to get on the aftermarket. While it was an awesome set, one that a lot of us really liked, it was also one that went on sale a lot and sort of languished.
The new one does fix the biggest quibble most people had with the original, in getting the color far more accurate. The problem is that in pretty much every other way, this is a worse build. And it’s the kind of bad that is apparent just looking at it. This… just isn’t a good set or a good build. Even discounting the original set entirely, the ship itself just feels uninspired and compact.
While I’ll admit that I’ve gotten increasingly hard on all the ships built in the Super Heroes line (and that makes up probably half of all the sets, so there’s been ample opportunity)… this one just feels awful to hold. It feels like something I would have built when I was just starting out with MOC-ing, and I’ve never been a particularly strong builder.
That would be fine if this was a MOC or creation for something… but this is an official LEGO set, and so much of it feels just like throwing brick on brick. The winglets are all single wing plates on a peg, or maybe a couple of tiles, and they just don’t look right. The front V is nice, but feels a bit too compact and squat.
More than anything, it’s ultimately size that undoes this set. If it was a Ravager ship, it could have probably gotten by with things, but we see that the Milano is a fairly large ship. The cockpit sits above a lower deck, and there’s clearly spots for several people to sleep on it as well. The old set had some faults, but it did have that back section which this one forgoes entirely.
The set also doesn’t really fix the problem that there’s not enough room for three people to have seats in the cockpit, but that’s mostly because it gets rid of the seats for more of just spots to place figures. You can kind of cram them in there, but it doesn’t feel all that right. And there are some other curious parts as well, like the little bounce-up spots that knock out bombs, or the stud shooters, but they’re minor compared to the problem of size
Probably the most telling picture I took is when I put the old set on top of the new one. It shows the color looking right, but pretty much everything else going wrong with it. The shape of a set for several years ago looks better on all fronts, and there is just so much more style and substance.
If there was a Super Heroes set that was deserving of something UCS scale, this would most certainly be it. The Quinjets are mostly disposable at this point, and ships in general are props. In Guardians, the Milano was something more… not on the level of the Falcon or anything like that, but certainly more iconic than a ship or vehicle in any other Marvel movie. It just feels like it deserved better than it got in this build.
Of course, this is all sort of ignoring the fact that this set is called “The Milano vs. The Abilisk,” and apparently the pink sarlaac knock-off that’s in the set is supposedly the giant extra-dimensional space monster that was at the beginning of the movie. The monster in and of itself wasn’t overly special in the movie… it was more the jokes that it set up that made it work.
The problem in the set is that it tries to add some movement, which was done really well in the Doctor Strange set, but doesn’t work at all here. There are many things you could have added to it to fit with the opening. Drax getting eaten, a way to pop out the side, more of a spiral pattern for the teeth. This does none of that, and instead slaps a head on a small wall of bricks. It’s just… awful.
This set, in the end, is just lazy. It feels like the least possible amount of effort to make a set. I really wonder if LEGO has just built up an algorithm that’s designing sets via computer, instead of people doing it. This feels like what happens when you punch in criteria to a program to generate something… like part count, price point, and some colors based on a design.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was one of the best comic book movies this year (and there were several this year in Logan, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok)… and it deserves better than this set. The original Milano is one of the best Super Hero ships ever made, and this one is worse on every front that isn’t color. Your money is far better spent finding the original. The slight updates to the figures simply isn’t enough to justify this set at all. This is a 1 out of 5, even at the price point.
- Price is lower than the previous version
- Easy way to get Nebula and Gamora
- Color was much better than the original
- Everything else about this monstrosity. The scale, the feel, the Abilisk
- Minifigure lineup only makes sense from the “LEGO wants you to buy other sets” point of view
- I know I said Abilisk above, but the awesomeness that was the opening credits deserved a far better representation of the monster
- A Gallon size, most certainly… probably with the other forgettable sets.
If me hating on this review, something that took me months to get the ambition to finish, didn’t dissuade you from picking up this… ship… you can grab it at Amazon.com. At the time of this writing, it has a pretty healthy discount, dropping it down to the $35 range.