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.
One of the reasons I still love this show is that it is one of the greatest “skeptic” shows of all time. And what I mean by that is actual skeptics, the people that ask the questions of why and how and what are the reasons… not the people that like to use the title and think there’s a conspiracy behind everything (they’re better called doubters… because when you answer the why question they usually counter that they still don’t believe you). It wasn’t ever really ghosts… it was a guy in a mask, it was someone using special effects. That was something unique, and unfortunately, still is, on TV; we have “Ghost Hunters” presented without a laugh track and Ancient Aliens being sold as history. Scooby-Doo may have been entertainment, but it had more useful information as any of that garbage.
We get Scooby and three minifigs, Fred, Shaggy, and a Zombie named Zeke in the set. Scooby and Shaggy aren’t a surprise, as they’re in every set. Scooby I get, but I really wonder why we get so much Shaggy. I miss Casey Kasem too, but there are a lot of opportunities for variety here. I mean is it too much to ask for at least one Scrappy-Doo, even if he’s the Jar-Jar of the cartoon?
This is the “Scared” variety of Scooby, which, until I built this set and the Mummy Mystery I didn’t even realize there were multiple versions of the figure. There are apparently four, with variations of a standing or sitting body and a smiling or a scared head. The head isn’t fixed to the body, which is nice, but the character is pretty hard to position to do anything. I get using the fixed mold for a certain size and look, but a movable tail would have been awesome here.
Here’s a comparison of this figure with the smiling face variety. I’ve only picked up two of these sets thus far, so I can’t compare it to the sitting body. I vastly prefer the version we get in the Mummy Mystery set, and I’ll get that review out in the near future.
As a kid, I never got the appeal of Shaggy. Maybe it’s because I was pretty young when I saw them, so most of the drug and slacker references went over my head, but he was just a boring character to me. As a minifig, you have to love the printed sleeves, though one of the problems with fleshy arms being used here compared to the yellow, especially on lime green, is that the defining line between them is a lot less defined. That black outline on the collar looks odd in contrast, because you sort of expect it to be on the sleeves too.
That little smirk look is the alt-face, and there’s a regular confused/scared face to this figure. Like Scooby, there are multiple versions of this figure, with the faces being swapped around. You have to love that shag pompadour hairpiece to this guy. I’m not sure how you use it without a figure looking like Shaggy, but given the number of these guys that are going to show up, it’ll be an interesting challenge.
The Mummy Mystery set includes the other variety of Shaggy, and the only difference is the face. The scared face and the smile fit the figure more than the confused one. I mean, Shaggy often was confused, but that’s because he was an idiot and a pothead, not because the questions were particularly hard.
Our ascot-wearing leader, Fred, is one of the most underrated characters in the show. He’s usually the butt of jokes about the show (well, him and Velma), and he certainly was a bit underdeveloped. But he was also the level-headed and competent one that was always asking the questions. As a figure, he’s just a stellar representation of a character.
He does have a scared face, which is a bit weird overall, since often he was the character trying to get things under control. He gets a unique hairpiece here, and this is the only set he shows up in, so if you want more of them, you’re going to be buying a lot of Mystery Machines. The members of the gang not named Shaggy and Scooby all get the short stick… Velma only shows up in one set as well, and Daphne in two.
Our last minifig, the zombie named Zeke. The Scooby-Doo wiki (there’s apparently a wiki for everything) says that Zeke Harris was in one episode in the 70s… so wow, that’s an obscure reference even by my standards. From the front, he looks like a fairly standard zombie, just in green instead of gray. If you’re in to monsters, that’s a pretty solid look.
The real Scooby-Doo feeling to the figure, and the part that I have to give a huge thumb’s up to LEGO on, is the back. The head features buttons, representing that this clearly is a mask. I love that part to the figure, and that they made it so adding a bit of hair would clearly hide the buttons, if you wanted to use him for something else.
Our boy Zeke apparently tries to get the gang by creating a haunted tree. The front is a full sticker, which is a bit of a shame, since that seems like a solid part to print, but I get it on a $30 set. This is just suck a sticker-heavy set that it hurts some of it. The tree itself is kind of weird and stout, but it makes a lot more sense why when you look at the back of it…
It’s clear that someone at LEGO understands what made Scooby-Doo so cool, because the tree is really a robot designed to hide that little gem. There’s a lot to love here, like the computer screen, the Mixel ball-joints and some tree points. It’s basic, but it just works for this theme.
Of course, I don’t think anyone out there bought this set for the tree. If you really need Mixel joints, you probably are better off buying Mixels for them. Nope, we got this for the Mystery Machine, because every LEGO connection needs a vehicle that’s one flashy paint job away from being featured on To Catch a Predator.
If there’s anything that I’m going to knock this set on it’s that it is just lousy with stickers. For those who don’t feel like counting, there are eight stickers on each side of the van, and as you will see later, more inside. All of the stickers make this set kind of a paint to build, since it’s tough to get them lined up and looking okay (especially since related stickers are applied during different steps a lot of the time). The only printed part are the dishes used for the hubcaps. The hubcaps are kind of weird, because they don’t rotate with the tire. I guess the Mystery Machine got some spinners in the later years to keep it fresh with younger kids?
The back is blue and green, and not a whole lot else. I’m not sure it’s legal to drive around rolling probably-cause like this without a license plate, but I suppose this kind of paint job gives you a certain level of confidence that the ticket for invalid tags is the least of your worries. That little gap in the back reveals the big “feature” of this set…
In that the van opens into some sort of elite crime-fighting station and/or serial killer creepy picture wall. Also, there’s a sandwich, because Shaggy and Scooby are in every set. The Mystery Machine had a magical ability to have almost anything they gang would ever need when they were out walking, but I don’t remember them having computers or radar back there.
That’s right, radar. The flashlight makes sense, and there were a few times where they showed kitchen stuff and cabinets in the back, because when I see a van like this I think “comfortable sleeping for four people and a great dane.” I like how they have radar and flat screens, yet also a reel-to-reel recorder and speakers on the back. Look, sometimes analog is just better, okay?
When I see pictures and computer screens like that, along with the camera, I’m starting to wonder if Zeke is just a confused cosplayer that the gang is getting all sorts of obsessive with. The real knock on the setup inside is that there’s very little room for a minifig, especially if you put Scooby in the spot he’s supposed to fit, which is between the surprisingly large stove and sink.
It really highlights the issues with the Scooby statue like it is. He looks nice, but he’s very precise in how you need to add him to those plates, and he’s really easy to knock off. I guess it’s a kid’s toy, so they have little hands, but apparently you need very little hands to put Scooby back there, and then he’s the only one who can use the computers.
Ultimately, though, those things really don’t really affect that this is just an awesome little set, especially to us AFOLs who grew up watching the cartoon. I was excited to put it on my shelf with some of the other iconic vehicles we’ve gotten lately, and it looks great hanging out with Ecto-1 like some sort of nerdy car show. This is a solid, and happy, five out of five.
What I liked
- It’s the Mystery Machine… what isn’t there to like?
- I got to make a lot of bad jokes in this review, which is fun for me
- Fred is one of the best LEGO minifig representations to come along in years. In fact, the set just does a lot o
What I didn’t like
- There are eleven million stickers in this set, give or take a few, and it makes for some frustrating builds
- The interior is very cramped, and Scooby doesn’t fit in there all that well
- I would have loved to see a way to get more of the gang in the set, even if it was a bit more
Verdict: 5 out of 5. You should go buy this set right now on Amazon.com!