LEGO

Lego Ninjago- Ultimate Ultimate Weapon

I think that my family have been huge fans of Legos since the very beginning of Legodom, and I’m excited to see a time where my children have become attached to them, as well. My youngest son is five years old and can’t read but can list the proper names of entire collections of Lego sets, will teach himself to memorize the advertisement flyers they send in the boxes, and will persist for weeks until he’s gotten every set he’s asked for. His most recent collection fixation is on the Ninjago movie sets, the biggest set he has is the Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon (70617).

Temple-of-Ultimate-Weapon-1It would be easy to assume that this set is overly time-consuming being that it’s so large, but the structure of the temple is only one-sided. It is over 1,400 pieces, but what I mean is, on one side of the temple you see the brick outside, with a drawbridge-style set of stairs. The other side of the wall is a carved-out version of the temple, showing the inside entrance of the temple, and four additional rooms that have something unique to have fun with, such as a room of hidden snakes, a working wrecking-ball, a skeleton in the basement, a library/scroll room, and two large temple guardian figures that resemble tigers.
The Japanese-style sticker and color details are rather impressive, the scrolling roofs and scorpions that decorate the rooftops are fun details to the outside of the temple, that correlate to the dragons, red and gold colors, and overall ninja theme inside. There is a weird bondage-style man cage that is hung outside, and sword chopping ‘booty traps’ inside to help the ninjas defend their territory. The set comes with a treasure chest, which is every child’s favorite Lego piece. We know it’s empty, but it’s still mysterious and exciting to pick up. I’m an adult with children in grade school and I still get set off by empty Lego treasure chests. No, you grow up.

LEGO-70617-Temple-of-the-Ultimate-Ultimate-Weapon-Structure-Back.jpg.11a4741515309c41acd9d6669a5fa648
The set includes seven minifigures, including Kai, Nya, Loyd, Cole, Zane, Jay, and a four-armed Garmadon that comes with a jungle coat accessory. They come with a plethora of weapons, and endless ways to position, assemble, and battle amongst themselves.
It took about two days to build everything, considering we didn’t begin early either day and we took our time doing so. The instructions are famously simple and great for kids to learn how to do themselves. If step-by-step instructions aren’t your thing, there are plenty of instruction and suggestion videos you can find on Youtube. I would never NOT recommend any Lego set. I hope if this is a set you decide to go for, that you enjoy it as much as we do.
Happy building.

LEGO

Welcome to Jurassic Park (Well, LEGO Jurassic Park…)

With Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opening today, marketing for the film is in full swing. Toys, specialty Dr. Pepper cans, video games, and yes, new LEGO sets are available or soon to be available at retailers. This is the second “wave” of Jurassic Park LEGO sets to be released, the first being released in 2015 and retired in 2016. That wave included six sets, and for this wave they have expanded the line significantly to include regular sets, Junior sets, and Duplo sets. The regular series is composed of eight sets. It is important to note that even though they are in the regular line, they are still for the 8-12 age range, so there are no complex builds here.

That being said, lets dive into the largest set, Indoraptor at Lockwood Estate. This set is comprised of 1019 pieces and retails for $129.99. There are three dinosaurs in this set; Blue, an unnamed “baby dino”, and the set-exclusive Indoraptor. Blue is a Veciloraptor who has appeared in several of the films and has become a character unto herself. This set also includes six minifigures, including Claire and Owen from Jurassic World and Maisie Lockwood from Fallen Kingdom. The set itself is a three-story “house”, and I use that word loosely. It is basically one side of the house with part of a wall sticking out on two sides. Lockwood Estate is one of the locations of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and without having seen the film it is hard to put the scene into context. After some online digging, there is supposedly an auction of dinosaurs that takes place at the estate which is where this set comes from. My guess is that the auction doesn’t end well (chompy, chompy). It will be interesting to see if that is indeed the case once the film is released. Anywho, the house is three stories and includes some details such as a fold-up bed, a lab, and windows that can be released by pulling a rod (probably to be able to recreate a scene in the film). The set also includes a motorcycle.

The house is sturdy, and considering the number of pieces, the details are pretty neat. Most of the building of the set comes from building up the wall of the house. As I said. It’s not very complex, but it does make for a nice relaxing build, and is just challenging enough for the target 8-12 range.  The minifigures are nicely detailed and look really nice set up in the different rooms. The dinosaurs are the stars of the show here, and they are fun to build and are scaled nicely to the house. The entire set is basic and nice, and that is why I continue to have mixed feelings about the Jurassic Park LEGO sets as a whole.

I love Jurassic Park. The original film is one of those films that never gets old to me. I have seen the film many times and still get a lump in my throat when they play the music and pan over the field of Brachiosaurs’ for the first time. I remember first seeing the film in an after-school program when I was a kid. I have had a countdown to Fallen Kingdom since it was announced. Needless to say, collecting the Jurassic Park Lego sets is something I feel drawn to do. I have the entire first wave and am working on the second wave. Here is my problem with the sets: they do not feel like sets. They are bits and pieces of the franchise that get bundled and sold together as sets. Usually a dinosaur or two, a vehicle and a few minifigures.  The sets lack the cohesion of some of the other franchise sets, such as the Simpsons and Ghostbusters sets. I would love to see them take the risk of doing one large set, such as the visitor’s center. Jurassic Park has a lot of fans that I am sure would enjoy tying the individual sets together with a larger, more complex build.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that they made Lego Jurassic Park (World), but I wish they would expand of it to capture the older fans of the franchise. Maybe by the time the next film comes out?

LEGO

Roller Coaster (10261) – A Review In Parts

roller coasterRoller Coaster (10261)
Released: June 01, 2018
MSRP: $379.99
Pieces: 4080
Minifigures: 11
Shop: LEGO

In the event that you don’t know me personally, and I thought that you would let me talk for more than ten minutes throughout the past year, then you’ve probably heard me utter the words, “LEGO Roller Coaster! It’s comin’ dude! Bank on it! I promise!” give or take an expletive. When the aptly named Ferris Wheel (10247) appeared on shelves, rumblings began to whisper and quickly disappear about a roller coaster set. But then it was quickly dismissed, because there would be no possible way that LEGO could make such a thing img_2133without compromising their product quality standards. It was unimaginable!

And then, Carousel (10257), arrived and it was clear that amusement park themed sets were here to stay. What could be next? A goddamned roller coster, that’s what! But again, that was just a theory. And then Joker Manor (70922) came to fruition, and while that has a roller coaster as part of the set, that wasn’t enough. But! BUT! In that set, they showed us that they had been working on a new system, a way of making a LEGO roller coaster possible. All that needed to happen now was a stand alone set where the train of the coaster made it up the hill without direct human interaction. And then, more roller coaster elements appeared in other sets: Rhino Face-Off by the Mine (76099), Ferrari Ultimate Garage (75889), and a Friends set or two. All we needed now was some sort of chain system, like those used in the Ice Tank polybag set that came out at the end of 2017 for The LEGO Ninjago Movie.

Coming in at 4080 pieces, Roller Coaster (10261) was released to LEGO VIP Members on May 16th, in the year of our President Business, 2018. The official release date is June 1st. Bags are numbered One through Eleven, with generally three bags per “Step,” with Step 11 being reserved solely for the 200+ links in the chain. There are eleven minifigures, two trains with three cars to a train, and yes. You CAN motorize the set into full-on automation. Over the next however img_2135long it takes us, we’ll be sharing with you our experience in constructing this massive set.

STEP ONE:

Bags 1 through 5 construct the taller end of the roller coaster ride. The entire base sits, roughly, on a basic baseplate and a half (48 studs, give or take) by three baseplates (96 studs, give or take). With the first set of bags, you set the base for the taller end, build a cotton candy cart, and build three of the eleven minifigures. The three minifigures are named Child (twn322), which is also featured in the beach themed minifigure pack, Child’s Grandfather (twn327), and Cotton Candy Vendor (twn320). These two adults consist of parts and colors that have been released already in various sets, except the hairpiece for Cotton Candy Vendor. The short tousled with side part hair comes in bright light yellow, and has only been released in this set and the brand new City Hospital (60204).

The cotton candy cart is a fairly studs-on-top build with the newer trans-clear wheelchair wheels, trans-dark umbrella, and the new beehive element in bright pink coupled with a bright pink minifigure head to complete the cotton candy. The cart also as a 1×1 light bluish gray printed calculator tile for minifigures to swipe their credit cards for their purchases.

Along with laying out the large green plates, connecting them, and setting up the base for the coaster, this end of img_2137structure also has a small body of water consisting of trans-dark blue tiles. A green frog calls this small pond home. While on the other side of the tracks, a brick built bench utilizing two 1×4 on a 1×2 base vehicle spoilers, a brick built tree with the newer six stemmed plant element introduced in 2016, and the new three leaf green plant piece. Also, in the same area, there’s a simple map using a couple of 1×1 round bricks and a panel piece, to hold a sticker displaying the aforementioned Carousel and Ferris Wheel with the Roller Coaster.

The base of the structure itself is pretty basic studs-on-top construction consisting of plates, tiles, and modified plates. It sets the stage for some fairly redundant building in the future, a drawback that we’re probably going to touch on a few times while discussing this set, but LEGO did their best to break up the monotony, by having you move around the structure while you build. Also, building this set in stages, rather than in one shot, appears to help break up building the skeletal structure. Because of the monotony of some of the building and the starkness of the construction, we’re also going to be combining some of the steps, or numbered bags. Make sure to check back often and soon as we continue to cover various LEGO projects and so much more!

LEGO

LEGO Collectible Minifigure Series 18 – Cowboy Costume Guy – (15 of 17)

71021-15Minifigure: #15 of 17 – Cowboy Costume Guy
Released: April 1, 2018
MSRP: $3.99
Pieces: 7
Shop: LEGO

So, here’s why we cover the collectible minifigures so much. First of all, they’re plentiful and collectible. So, it gives us a lot to talk about and we love collecting things. Secondly, they’re always full of new parts or new colors of parts, and while the list of new things is continuously growing to immeasurable lengths, we want to show that there’s more to LEGO than just the big and blunt red bricks. Also, variety to your collection makes what you have unique. So when you’re showing off your displays, img_2072all of your firemen could be from space, or all of your hospital staff could be Disney characters.

Cowboy Costume Guy wears a tan cowboy hat. How’s that for a transition? It’s a fantastic new element, and we’re excited to get so many more cowboy hats in so many other colors, in the future. The minifigure head is similar to Race Car Guy’s in that it has the hair coming down the sides. But instead of fuzzy muttonchops, these are manicured reddish brown sideburns. There is no alternate face due to the lack of coverage from the hat.

The front half of a horse hangs from the torso stem like so many of the backpacks, air tanks, and whatever else. The horse is reddish brown with black and white printing for the eyes, hooves, and a patch of white hair between the horse’s eyes. It’s an interesting element with two clearly defined front legs. We’re not sure what exactly, but we have a feeling that there’s something that can be MOCed using this piece. Maybe a western themed restaurant where the horse is leaping out of the front wall of the building, or something.

The dark turquoise torso is a great contrast to the bright yellow arms and hands, as well as img_2073the great print on the front and back. The black and white cowhide print with a tan fringe are great. There’s a little bit of red to represent a bandana, which we would have loved to have seen continue a bit on the back. And a hint of yellow is on the front to show off the cut of the shirt. While it doesn’t cover the entire torso, and why would it due to the horse head you’re going to hang there, the print is just about perfect. The costume tail hangs from the hips and legs assembly’s studs as most minifigure tails do. The style of the tail is new in reddish brown to match the hips and legs. However, these hips and legs are exclusive to this figure because there’s black print on the feet to represent the rear legs of the horse.

While we understand that there are budgets to these projects and this figure already has a lot of new parts and prints, we would have liked to have seen one more thing. Maybe the minifigure could have had a revolver, despite LEGO’s aversions to implements of realistic violence. Perhaps a lasso or some other sort of rope to wrangle cattle could have finished it off nicely. What you get is perfectly fine and really well executed. We just would have liked this particular minifigure to have an accessory to hold.

LEGO

LEGO Collectible Minifigure Series 18 – Flower Pot Girl – (14 of 17)

LEGO-Minifigures-Series-18-Flowerpot-Girl_553xMinifigure: #14 of 17 – Flower Pot Girl
Released: April 1, 2018
MSRP: $3.99
Pieces: 5
Shop: LEGO

Between the weird print choices and the large parts, we find it hard to believe anyone’s really going to want anything to do with Flower Pot Girl, beyond completing this series. That doesn’t mean we don’t like her. Let’s check her out!

Look at that ridiculous headgear img_2042element. Look at that weird thing. Look at it. It’s dual-molded in green and magenta. Don’t get us wrong, it fits just fine with this particular minifigure, but what’s going to happen beyond this? It’s so big and such an odd shape, there’s no way that this part is ever going to be used ever again. So, maybe that’ll drive the collectible value up in the secondary market. It just seems like a waste to us.

The minifigure head has printing on both sides. On the one side the face is happy and bright, which fits this ridiculous costume of hers. However, it is unclear what the secondary face is supposed to be. The eyebrows and freckles are done in dark orange, and there are pink lips printed on either side.

The torso and arms are molded in bright green and come with lime hands. The printing is in dark green and black, and it leaves a little to be desired. It’s of a single vine growing up with leaves, leading into the head piece. Because it’s a plant, you see. And while the vine printing doesn’t reach all of the way to the edge, that pretty much gets hidden by the flower pot element.

And that’s exactly what that is. A big dark orange flower pot looking element with two img_2043holes for the hips and legs to fit through. We dare anyone to find another use for this element that looks aesthetically pleasing and makes sense. We’ll pay you a dollar if you can!

The hips and legs assembly are molded in reddish brown. Orange baseplate.

While we acknowledge that this review was written to sound completely underwhelming, we can’t gush for the sake of gushing when it isn’t warranted. Flower Pot Girl is a great minifigure. She comes with two pretty big molded elements that LEGO designed for this character and this character alone (bank on it). And to look at her from a distance, she’s unmistakeable.