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Showing posts with label Planet Series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Planet Series. Show all posts

LEGO Finds - Calendar Week 40

Just a small mish mash of big things this week.  A complete Endor IV planet, a small Pick A Brick cup, and a couple of DUPLO pieces.  Pro-tip: In a pinch, a 4x12 LEGO brick will suffice for a 2x6 DUPLO brick.


Then there were these other pieces that I finally decided to grab.  After some interweb-surfing, they appear to be DIABLOCK.  Is that Die-A-Block or Dee-A-Block?

LEGO Finds - Calendar Week 21

This week, more unique finds than usual.  The first thing I saw was a baseplate!  Green, 40x40.  Yeah, this is Samsonite era.  But it's a wreck.  It's missing a 5x8 piece out of one corner, a 5.5 x 13.5 chunk from another corner, has a few blown out studs, and several weak spots.  And the bottom is terribly scuffed.  Much as I hate to, this might be a candidate for cutting down to 32x32 size.

A more pleasant find was the lid to last week's tub.  Now my 6 year old can have her own complete pink LEGO tub.  Half of Hoth was also discovered as well as the rear end of either the new A-Wing or the Home One Cruiser.  I'll be keeping my eyes open next week just in case Lando shows up.


Set Review - Snowspeeder and Hoth 75009

I've been trying to stretch it out but I'm already on the second of 3 planet sets from series 4.  Continual thanks to varko.cz for their brilliant service on my previous order from them.  Ice planet Hoth is my eleventh planetish form.  I rather like the look of this planet.  It appears that the planet is completely covered in ice save for the at the equator where they might be some liquid water.  I'll bet it's (relatively) toasty there.


I'm immediately reminded of the original mini Star Wars series 10 years ago.  Well before we had to worry about the Clone Wars and the Disney factor, we had pure Star Wars.  And planetless minis.  Those sets had 2 mini vehicles and no minifigures.  The one with the snowspeeder also had an AT-ST.  An AT-AT would have been a little more accurate but that had it's turn in a single pack.  But the point of this paragraph was the comparison between this snowspeeder and the original mini snowspeeder.

My original mini is unfortunately packed away in my garage loft where only the mice and ants visit.  One of these days when I have space I want to pull all those minis down and play with them again.  But I do remember that snowspeeder being amazingly cute.  One of the stunning connections was the single bar (not singles bar) to which two clips attached; one from the wings and one from the body.  To me this was brilliant.  I would have expected a hinge plate.  Even to this day I have a hard time remembering to use the clip and bar as a solution for angled conundrums.

This snowspeeder has the same basic color scheme and is roughly twice as big.  The connection of the wings to the body uses a modified red headed stepchild between a pure hinge and the clip/bar system.  Two 1x2 plates, one with a closed end handle and the other with 2 clips give the wings their pitch.  Is this proof that even LEGO designers can't stand the click hinges?  This is not a new idea.  We also saw it on the Republic Assault Ship among others.  Unlike the Assault Ship though, the Snowspeeder has no stops to hold the wings at an angle.  You could lay them straight out or straight down.

In a rare instance, The LEGO Group biffed on one of the parts.  I received two white 6x3 wings left instead of a left and right wing.  The advantage of having a cache of parts and a store is that I can pull stuff out when need be.  I remembered selling some of the right winds recently.  Murphy's Law would dictate that I would have sold them all.  Murphy must have been on vacation because I was lucky to have not one, not two, but FIV- er, THREE of the parts in my inventory.  It's not worth bothering to have TLG send me a new one.

None of the snowspeeder parts are unique or rare save for the printed nose slope.  If you weren't able to get this set and want to piecemeal your own speeder together, that slope alone will cost you $2-4 depending on where you're willing to order from.

This is only the second planet series minifigure to NOT carry a blaster.  If you don't count R4-P17 who can't hold anything anyway.  Prior to this was Sebulba holding a wrench in his, um, paw.  This guy has binoculars.  It's a nice little departure but I would have liked to see a few of the other characters holding something slightly different.  Perhaps Lobot could have been carrying a cool drink or the Naboo pilot could have had a shrunken Gungan head.  Just a thought.

The set has 65+5 parts plus a minifig.  That's a little light on what would usually be a $9.99 set.  Maybe adding more parts to the speeder would have just looked funny.  But you won't get this set for $9.99 anyway.  You'll be spending around $25 to have it shipped from East Asia, maybe $20 from Europe if you're lucky.  It's hard for me to make a recommendation when you'd be laying down so much cash.  I expect only the hard core collectors will be the ones looking for it anyway.  If that's the case, you don't need my word for it.  You'll just go and get it.

And to those that have fought from Europe to Asia to Hoth, thank you for your service.

Set Review - B-wing Starfighter and Endor 75010

Many thanks to varko.cz who was able to ship me this and other Star Wars planet sets for a great price.  I was excited to sink my teeth into these sets, not simply because they weren't slated for US release, but also because I love me some Star Wars and mini mashups.  I'm sad to see this line ended.  We'll see how the new recruitment line fares come 2014.
 

The B-wing intrigues me.  Primarily because of any lack of a B shape whatsoever.  The X-wing makes sense.  Maybe that's the only one that does.  A-wing is a name only but Y-wing's namesake could also be contrived in a top down view.  But I digress.  I'm also intrigued by the fact that this is a starfighter.  I'm so used to the myriad of Jedi Starfighters that have come out that I just can't see this as belonging to that family.  The shape is all wrong.  I was also intrigued in this set specifically at how the ship was going to be attached to it's display stand.  I didn't pay very close attention to the packaging before I built it.  That'll come up again I assure you.

This was one fun build.  I was sent for an unexpected turn right away with the interesting shapes and connections.  Nothing extraordinary, all legal and boring but generally not what I would expect.  At first it seemed like I was just stacking a bunch of stuff together with no rhyme or reason like my kids do.  It slowly began to take shape and only a small amount of asymmetry was involved.  The single wedge plate causes some studs on one side and not the other.  But one portion of one side is beautifully mirrored by using a newer 2x2 inverted tile where the other side uses a standard 2x2 tile.

One portion of the build uses two 1x2 plates where it would appear that a 2x2 plate would actually be a touch more stable.  But then it was clearly revealed that the anti-stud under the 2x2 would have caused problems.  Instead, the bars under the 1x2's were used to settle into some hollow studs underneath much like the use of an otherwise pointless 1x1 technic brick in the AT-ST that comes with the Endor planet (not to be confused with the eponymous moon in this set).

I was disappointed with a few things in this set.  First, the cockpit is quite rigid.  It doesn't swing around when the ship is rotated.  Sure, you can simulate this by turning the cone on it's only connection, a single stud.  But why bother?  Both the cone cockpit and the rear round brick can accept an axle inserted into them.  Why not break out a few technic pieces and really make this thing spin?  That's why you invite the B-wing over for a few drinks, right?  To watch his head spin?

The other disappointment was the pilot's visor.  It doesn't sit quite right on that helmet.  It's sort of half up, half down.  If you try to push it down then it springs off and goes down the heater vent.  It's more like a ballcap and less like a catcher's helmet.

I'm a big stickler for following the instructions, especially when a polarized part is used.  So I made sure to be extra careful that my daughter put the lightsaber hilts on to the telescopes just right.  Then I checked the package.  Wait, oops, did she do it wrong?  No dear reader, your eyes do not deceive you.  Somewhere between the engineers and the marketing department, things got a little confused.  As usual.

Alternate build!

Given TLG's recent generosity with extras, this set contains enough parts to make a whomping blaster that makes the official one look like a 3" water pistolino.  You get an extra hose nozzle, lightsaber hilt, 1x1 plates (square and round), and a cheese slope.  Mr. Halfvisor needs to lean way back in order to actually hold this thing level to fire it.  Is that a mega blaster in your pants or are you, well, you know.  The only other extra is another visor which I still don't know what else to do with.

"Say 'hello' to my littl- OOF this thing is heavy!"

At this point I would make some sort of recommendation about purchasing it based on the number of parts.  Let's throw that metric right out the window.  If you're not European, you will only be purchasing Planet Series 4 sets due to an obsession.  I felt extremely lucky to have only spent about $15 each for these, including shipping.  That took weeks of research, several emails, and a little bit of organization.  I spent some time on the French and Spanish Amazons and came out around $18 each but last I heard those outlets were dried up.  Amazon.com will yield one for $25.  You can expect to spend at least that much on one from ebay as well.  Best bet is still at Varko.cz where shipping to the US is cheap.

Set Review 75008 - TIE Bomber and Asteroid Field

This review wraps up planet series 3.  Can't wait for series 4!  According to my previous posts I should enjoy this set very much since I instantly recognize the ship from the original trilogy.


I've seen some griping on the interwebs about this planet.  "This isn't a planet", "It should have been an actual asteroid", "Asteroids aren't round".  On the one hand they did create a unique mold for the Death Star.  On the other hand, how many infinitely unique molds do we need to satisfy some peoples' OCD?  That's the beauty of LEGO.  You get as close to a representation as possible with what's available.  I rather like what they did here.  They used the existing mold for continuity but printed an asteroid field pattern on it.  Which field?  Oh, who cares.

For the first time we get the droid head dome piece in a solid color without any printing on it.  Bricklink hilariously places it in Brick, Modified and calls it a Truncated Cone.  I hope they get around to doing a tags system soon.  This round truncated brick cone starts at 2x2 at the base but then tapers to 1.5x1.5 at the top.  It is essentially the bottom half of a 2x2x2 cone with a stud on top.  The biggest difference is that a cone has 1/2 plate of straight at the bottom whereas this piece has a full plate height of recessed straight.  Not a perfect match but might be kind of nice for use in a post-apoc diorama to show wear, stress, or damage.

The build leaves me with mixed feelings.  I enjoyed the well integrated technic and system pieces and the thought behind the hinge attachment for the wings must count for something.  But there are two parts to this ship that I feel were not well done. The first is the wings attachment.  The click hinges are a well done solution except for the fact that they are wobbly.  And the wings have a tendency to click out of place with any amount of swooshing.  Maybe I'm just clumsy.  A bracket or travis brick solution may have been a bit sturdier.

The other disappointment was the bottom of the ship.  Getting an anti-stud for attachment to the display stand was executed well but operates less than ideally.  It works fine if it's just sitting on your shelf but if you should happen to bump it or look at it or sneeze in another room it falls off.  Not sure why but the stud of a 2x2 jumper plate into a round 1x1 plate doesn't seem to hold a TIE bomber in place.  I think the failure might be in the stud of the 2x2 jumper plate which I've found to have slightly less clutch power than other elements.

The use of a towball socket for the targeting sensors is a nice touch.  At least I think that's what they were getting at.  That's the only reason I could figure for having a blob of ABS hanging down from the bottom of the ship.  Maybe a 1x2 plate with arm up would have been a little mo' betta'?

The minifig?  Oh, right, there's a minifig.  The TIE Bomber seems to be commanding about $8 and up on Bricklink.  I'm sure this is due to you gotta-have-every-Star-Wars-minifig-evAR collectors.  The head is a typical trooper head with balaclava.  But the torso and helmet have some cool silver printing on them.  Unfortunately my eyes can't quite figure out what is on the helmet.  To me it looks like it says "AMISH".  Wha?

If you're a minifig collector, buy the set yourself.  No use spending $8 + S&H when you could walk into a local store and purchase the set for $10 or less.  If you need an army of TIE Bombers then I'm not sure which would be the best route.  Unless you can figure out a way to use dozens of asteroid planets.  Hey, maybe you would end up with a whole field...

Set Review - 75007 Republic Assault Ship and Coruscant

As I mentioned with the Jedi Starfighter and Kamino, not everything in the second trilogy (meaning I, II, and II) has stuck in my head like the classic trilogy.  I do remember Coruscant, the planet that is one big city.  As a map fanatic I always wondered how big the planet actually was and how many streets there are and what their names are.  Is it all urban or are there any rural bits?



The ship however is completely unmemorable to me.  When I first saw this set online I thought maybe it was an early Star Destroyer.  A quick search on Wookieepedia shows that that is a correct assumption.  While not much into the earlier timeline films, I am interested in the developments of characters and ships, etc.  (BTW, it took me a while to figure out that the clone armies were the predecessor to Storm Troopers.)  While the basic shape of the ship and tail looks like images of the real deal, it still doesn't even strike a spitting image with me.

With the exception of some white 1x2 with closed handles, this set is not much more than a light and dark bley parts pack.  On the plus side, LEGO now considers the lightsaber handle to be an extra part so we get one of those in addition to the 1x1 plates and cheese slopes.  These are handy for some tricks as I wrote in this post.

This was a quick build by myself without any help from my KFOLs.  It's always mildly amusing to snap parts together according to instructions but I didn't get much else out of the build.  I do love me some mini ships so this was fun to look at.  It also seems rather big compared to some of the other planet series ships.  Of course that makes sense since it's a star destroyer, right?

If you like the Planet Series, find a deal and pick this up.  If you're into the clone wars and eps I, II, and III pick it up.  Otherwise save your bucks for something else.

Set Review - 75006 Jedi Starfighter and Planet Kamino

Though not a polybag, these little Planet Series sets appeal to me in so many ways.  And really if it weren't for the gigantic sphere these would certainly be polybags.  I'm really a sucker for itty-bitty Star Wars spacecraft (or itty-bitty any LEGO thing) especially ones that I recognize.  For the record, Star Wars is Episodes IV, V, and VI.  The I, II, and III that came out later were epic in and of themselves but difficult for me to reconcile with the prior later movies.


The biggest draw for me in this set is that I recognize the spacecraft (and that the set has such a great part out value).  Dark red makes my pupils dilate.  Though lime tends to make me squint so I'm not totally sure of the end result here.  The planet is dark azure and is probably the closest we've come to an Earthy looking planet (so far...).  Some of the parts are in new colors such as the dark red 18° slope and the 1x1 round tile with Republic logo on it.  All in all it's a good parts pack with multiple quantities of several of the pieces.  The droid is obviously new and very desirable based on it's Bricklink fetching price.  Apparently some people gotta catch 'em all.

The build of the ship employs some nifty little SNOT techniques.  I was impressed by the design of the hull.  Placing two slopes bottom to bottom means a total of 6 plates.  The 2x wide assembly of the ship is only 5 plates wide.  But adding the brackets on either side with their half plate wide brackety parts brings it 6 plates.  Simple genius.

The stand appears to be of a new design.  I haven't looked at the other 2 series 3 planet sets yet but I'm wondering if this new base is due to complaints.  The previous design was with a technic pin connector and always struck me as a little flimsy.  The ships would swing around at will, knocking their poor pilots in the head before crashing over on their sides.  My daughters and I would test to see which ones were most (or least) resilient.  The new design consists of a 2x2 round brick and a 2x2 jumper plate.  The ship snaps into this static stud and moves nowhere.  If you really like the whirly bird routine then retrograding is no big deal.

I was a little underimpressed with the miniature droid on the starfighter.  What you are given is a flat silver round plate on top of a dark red 1x1 plate.  I was stymied as to this feature until I looked at a picture of a larger version of the set.  In my opinion (and I have lots of them) the droid would have been better represented with a dark red round plate over a white 1x1 plate.  For comparison, just look at R4-P17 itself.  Am I wrong?

For collectors this set is a must.  For minifig enthusiasts this set is a must.  For a parts pack this set is a must.  If you hate minifigs then sell off the droid to some Jawas and your parts end up being free.  Being the parts hoarder that I am I bought a dozen and spun off the droids.  Must have been the dark red.