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Showing posts with label micro scale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label micro scale. Show all posts

Set Review - Bricktober Pizza Palace 40181

Always a story with TRU.  After inquiring several times at several different TRU stores, I decided I was not going to be able to purchase the week 2 Bricktober promo straight out.  One store told me their remaining stock would be available for purchase on November 1.  Another store told me that they would sell the extras at the end of each week.  I chose store number 2 as my target.

On Sunday morning I went in and asked for a Pizza Palace.  They were willing to comply but had to radio several associates before the last one in the store was finally located.  There were still tons of Theatres though, go figure.  I added another $55.01+ and checked out, receiving the Fire Station as well.  Easy peasy.

My girls and I set about building.  Actually, my 6 year old grabbed the helm, the 8 year old being more interested in pencil art at the moment.  The 6 year old has historically struggled with building, but went through the instructions just fine save for one or two minor areas that were a little unclear.  Good on her!  Two things struck me about this set.  First, at $19.99 MSRP, it only has 139 pieces.  We discussed this last time but it was even more apparent this time.  This should have been a $10 set.  The only comfort came in the 19 extra pieces.  But what really grabbed me on pouring out the contents was the number of flesh colored brick bricks plus a few extra 1x1 bricks.  Very nice.

I would have a lot more problem with the MSRP if the design was crummy.  While they are small, the detail is very well done.  Attention is paid to all faces, even the rear of the building.  The Theater was nice but not as detailed as the Pizza Palace.  The architectural massing is very well done too.  These are not boring square buildings.  They've got offset portions, little touches, and good color grouping.  The green, white, and red awning of the building is carried well throughout the rest of the build.  The windows all have red headers, there are other white details, and the small lawn out front helps carry the green.  For splashes, the yellow flowers and orange sidewalk stools help liven things a little.  What I assume is a waste can is well done in flat silver which matches the ventilation fan on the roof.  Nice part use, by the way.  That little swirl is coming in handy as all sorts of decorative touches.  The cheese grater on the roof is completely unnecessary but is another one of the great touches.

While the lass was building the restaurant, I put the vehicles together.  The pizza delivery van was called out as an ambulance.  I had to remind the girls what the building was.  The other vehicle is a little odd but I'm guessing it is an SUV that belongs to someone with a pizza craving.  Or their minion.

I'm calling that this is some sort of lead-in.  Much like Jek-14's Comic Con starfighter was a lead in to the other Microfighters, I'm hoping that this promo is a subtle announcement for the Mini Modulars II.  I just know that TLG will be producing that set someday.  I just hope it's not as overpriced as these little babies.

Set Review - The Ghost TRU promo

Toys'Arrr'Us sure has been playing a prominent role in my acquisition program lately. This time it was simple. A LUG buddy picked up a copy of the micro Ghost promo for me. I had seen the ship on the blogosphere the week before and even though I don't care a Bantha's hair about Rebels, I am a bit of a microscale fan. So it was very cool of my friend and very exciting to receive a copy of the build.

Almost a copy.

I have to wonder if this was a well planned promo. I mean, think about it. It's October. It's BRICKtober. It's a ghost. Let it sink in a moment.

The build was nothing fancy, lots of straight stacking with one step asking you to put a plate's underside pegs into the hollow studs of another piece. But despite the simple build, the design is really accurate in aesthetic. I was... impressed. Kudos to the designer. The best part of the build is on the back where you stick a 1x2 plate with a single finger click hinge. You just KNOW there's going to be a micro build of the Phantom to dock up to. The question is, when?

Back that thing up!
So all hail to TLG for this great little design but sucks to your assmar to TRU. I couldn't actually build my ship all the way because they had forgotten a few pieces. All four white 1x1 plates were missing as was the crucial docking apparatus. Apparently TRU is the Empire and they are trying to undermine the Rebels' mission.  More sadly, I didn't have a black one to steal from anywhere.  A click hinge, a click hinge, my cause for a click hinge!

Missed the event or don't have as good of friends as me? Instructions below.

Set Review - Star Wars Advent 75056

Back at it then with part 3 of my Star Wars Advent Calendar Micro Ships Review (SWACMS#3).  Acquiring a Bricktober Pizza Parlor in time for this review was a bust, maybe next week.  The last two weeks, I have been sorely underimpressed by the offering of micro ships for this year.  This week is the possibility of a new hope.

2014 leading the way for 2011.  2003 not shown
First up, Snowspeeder, snowspeeder, wherefore art thou snowspeeder?  2011, that's where.  Oh, and 2003.  This is not a unique ship.  Nor is the design all that unique.  It's been advented before and this is just a rehash of the design.  I think I prefer the mini version from long ago with it's downturned wings.  In fact, the trend seems to be worsening.  Last advent had a nice cockpit.  This year, the cockpit has been snubbed and an enormous gun has been set at the rear.  So enormous in fact that the rear gunner has no chance of getting a visual of what he's shooting at unless it's an AT-AT from 20 feet at ground level.  By then, sadly, it's too late.  Rest in peace, tail gunner.

Next is an AAT.  But wait, why is it all bluey and stuff?  I saw the movie, it was tan!  Oh wait, this is a clone wars thing, isn't it?  Apparently so.  I love that we get a (NEW SHIP ALERT) new ship!  I don't recall seeing an AAT in prior years.  I do wish it was the movie version, not the cartoon version, but I'll still give it a good solid 4 stars.  And here's to guaranteeing that we'll get an almost identical tan version in 1-5 years.

Finally is something completely different!  TLG seems to be on track with including some sort of unique present delivery vehicle each year.  Last year was the rocket sled which looked nothing like anything that Star Wars ever hosted.  This year it's a (NEW SHIP ALERT) real vehicle from the movies!  I was so excited I could hardly contain my build in a bag skills.  A speeder bike!  Long have I awaited thee (or anything new).  The bike seems a little big for a microbuild and there's a big flat 2x2 spot on top of it.  I suppose this is where Santa Vader sits to make his grand entrance.  I don't quite understand the blaster stuck on the back, but I'm guessing it has to do with Santa Vader's naughty list.

All in all I would say I'm fairly disappointed in this year's offerings.  There were too many repeats and rehashes to get anything excitingly new.  Last year was pretty epic with all the new ship offerings.  I guess TLG had better things to do this year.  In case they are reading, here's a non-inclusive list to consider for next year:
  • ARC-170
  • AT-AP, maybe?
  • B-Wing (how has this not happened yet?)
  • Clone Turbo Tank (roller skates would be great with this)
  • Corporate Alliance Tank Droid
  • Droid Control Ship
  • Hailfire Droid (oh, yes please!)
  • MTT, better than the last one, dark blue if you must
  • Pod Racers.  Many designs available
  • Jabba's Sail Barge
  • Skiffs, too.
  • SandCrawler.  Yeah, that would have been a nice tie-in to this year
  • T-16 Skyhopper.  Sure, why not?
  • Swamp Speeder.  Meh, why not too?
  • V-wing
  • V-19 Torrent
  • General Grevious' Wheel Bike
  • Wookiee Catamaran
  • XJ-6 Airpseeder to chase Zam Wessel

This should give at least a couple years worth of ships.  Anything else NOT from the obscurity of the clone wars cartoons?

Set Review - Bricktober Theater 40180

Move over Star Wars, Bricktober is here.  Time to fire up the shield generators and mosey into my local Toys'R'Confused.  Rarely do I make it out of there without an incident.  This time was no different.  All the buzz was that this year Bricktober would be different.  It used to was, you'd spend $60 on overpriced items and get the week's set for free.  This year would be different!  This year you could just buy the set for $20 which is still inflated.  I saw three. period. on the shelf and grabbed one plus an ARC-170 poly.

I saw another guy with a few in his cart and made conversation.  He mentioned also that if you were a Rewards'R'Mediocre member, you could spend $20 and get the Pumpkin poly for free.  Great, I had $23.98 in my hand so I grabbed the Jack o' Lantern as an orange parts pack.

Cue the cash register.  Stacy was very helpful and I can't fault her for her part.  First, the Bricktober set came up as unsaleable (had to buy $75 worth starting Oct 5; well why is it on the shelf then?; I don't know, Margo!) but she got a manager to override that.  Second, the Pumpkin deal was only valid with a coupon that you had to print out online.  She let me use a store computer to log in to my rewards account but, alas, nothing would come of it.  So I left the pumpkin behind.  Stacy also tried to get me to buy some S12 minifigs that were up at the counter but I passed.  She mentioned that she really wanted the pizza guy.  So while I was waiting for the Computer'R'Us to think about letting me log in, I committed mass packomancy and found her dream guy for her.

For the set itself, I'm pleasantly impressed.  The build techniques were similar to, though more basic than, the Mini Modulars.  The model is built on a 6x8 plate (not 8x8) and is about 2/3 the size of its cousins.  This should be obvious by the piece count.  Not to mention that a couple dozen pieces were used in the construction of two micro vehicles.  The theater is a nice subtle art deco appearance with detail on all four sides.  Nice touch.  The vehicles are what I would consider to be boilerplate.  One looks like an SUV or a limousine or something.  The other looks like a pickup truck.  Confusing is the use of a trans clear 1x2 plate on the bottom of the vehicles.  Unless you are Lennie Small, it's not that hard to set the vehicles down and scoot them around without stressing the chassis.  But mostly the trans-clear plate just makes the vehicles look like they are floating or perhaps a game piece.  Completely unnecessary.  Which is good because I hoard those trans-clear plates by the hundreds.

At first blush, 12c per piece for a less than Micro Modular quality set seems high.  Especially since almost all of the pieces have less volume than a 1x2 brick.  There are 164 pieces and 15 extras.  For a total of 164 advertised pieces I would like to pay $15.99.  Include the extras and I might be willing to push a little higher.  But remember set 10230, Mini Modulars?  This was a set with 1355 pieces for only $79.99 or 6c apiece.  Based on this scenario, and adding in a slight price increase, $9.99 should have been a more reasonable price for this set, maybe $12.99 tops.

But add the Bricktober factor, the exclusive merchant factor, and the fact that it's TRU factor and TLG has a solid case for a sturdy markup.  Even though they are supposed to be free with a $75 purchase and you can price match to Target et. al., that just means you need to buy $90 worth of TRU sets just to get your price match at $75.  Every week.  Or just go early, grab the set, and have them override for a straight purchase.

For a collector and micro builder such as myself, I'll purchase them all with a little sigh, knowing I'm bending over every time.  For the random person who doesn't care as much, you can easily build these with pieces from your own collection or a small BrickOwl/Bricklink order.   But the part out value of the Theater is oddly enough, near $19.  Still better than the grey market prices for the set.

Set Review - Star Wars Advent 75056

Welcome back to part two of the Star Wars Advent Calendar Micro Ships Review (SWACMS#2)

Last week I railed on TLG for their lack of creativity.  This week we'll enjoy the fact that they did not outright repeat themselves on three more ships.  Instead, we'll call it plagiarization.  These three ships are technically unique, but likely only in their colors.  Perhaps there is a reasonable design difference from a past micro ship.  Remember, we don't just have previous advent calendars to refer to but also the mini ships from the early 2000's as well as some TRU and other store promos.  Let the scalpeling begin!

First off is the Vulture Droid.  We got this one in 2010.  The basic technique is the same but this time we get dark blue livery instead of reddish brown.  The cockpit design is a little different too due to the introduction of the baby bow 11477.  It's a little sleeker looking but the regular blue jumper plate doesn't quite fit nor does the dark bley tile on the nose.  One or both needs to be dark blue.  But I do love the technique of attaching the wings to the body!

Next is Anakin's Delta-7B Jedi Starfighter (not to be confused with his Eta-2).  Again, same design but different colors as the 2013 Jedi Starfighter.  Though unnamed, I'm guessing that one would have been Obi Wan's.  There are two very minor design changes.  One is that one of the jumper plates was changed to a grill tile to effect a sort of stripes pattern.  The problem is, I don't think Anakin had black stripes on his Starfighter.  Since there's now a missing stud, the geometry of plates and tiles directly above is slightly changed so that there is now a stud showing.  In my opinion, last year's design is better.  Overall the design is a single stud shorter adaptation of the 2003 Mini Jedi Starfighter.  Of course, TLG knows that we will forget about these sets after about 5 years and swoon all over rereleases of the same thing.  Obviously, they're trying too soon.

I suppose next year we should look forward to Plo Koon's blue or Saesee Tiin's green or Mace Windu's white or perhaps Aayla Secura's purple ship...

Finally, a TIE Fighter.  Bigger and better than the 2011 advent calendar version, but with the same cockpit.  Same attachment to the wings as the 2003 polybag.  Same wing design as the Toys'R'Us promo.  This is essentially a hybrid.

Next week: Can we find anything original?

Set Review - Star Wars Advent 75056

It's that time of year again, back to school, where TLG puts their Christmas Advent Calendars up for sale.


I was a bit sad to see Christmas lights available already in my local department store.  Technically it's still freaking summer.  WTH, Kroger?

But, if you remember last year, you gotta get these quick.  By the time Halloween rolled around, these were on the grey market for $50 and up.

Also from last year, I only focused on the micro ships and broke it into two reviews.  This year, for reasons that will soon become obvious, I'm breaking it into three.  And, in the interest of saving the best for last (and TLG's face), I'll start with the crappers.  I'll also be building in the little polybag, if that matters.

Star Wars Advent Calendar Micro Ships Part 1 (SWACMS#1):

This first review will focus on everything that's wrong with the calendar.  The Star Wars Universe is pretty doggone huge.  Granted, the EU is no longer supported by Disney but it's still a large galaxy.  So why, oh why, would we be subject to repeated builds.  I am deeply saddened.

First disappointment, the Y-wing.  This little ship is a ver-ba-tim copy of the 2011 Y-wing.  Not one single difference.  Except that the white and yellow colors have more of a tendency to be "off".  I don't even feel like building it.  Instead, I feel ripped off.

Second disappointment, Imperial Shuttle.  Again, a knock-off of the 2011 version, not quite as verbatim.  The major (and only) differences are the color change for the ship side clips, the booster hanging off the back with a bracket (instead of studs up) and a new boat slide on the bottom.  This is all technical.  Essentially, it's the same ship.  I will admit that the new one is a little more accurate though.

Third disappointment, Luke's Landspeeder.  This is the exact same ship as the 2008 glued keychain/bag charm.  I've already improved the design but TLG went with their old version.  But now it's dark red!  Don't get taken in by the "new hat!" hype.  Other insignificant color changes may be present as well.

Next week, we'll look at the ships that aren't complete ripoffs, but have a very, very, very strong inspiration from previous years.  It's a shame I'm not interested in some of the mini builds because the micro Hoth Command Base is kind of cute, if not overly simplistic.  All in the name of part count, I guess.

Set Review - Mikey's Mini Shellraiser 30271

When I first discovered this set on Brickset many months ago I was thrilled.  The TMNT line has done nothing for me.  But microfy anything and I'm in.  So when I received an alert that this was available, I was thrilled that I hadn't missed it.

So I ordered a few and started building one.  As soon as I dumped the pieces out I felt disappointed.  Of course, I could see right away how it would look like the full size set.  But as I mentioned in my last TMNT set review, this new Nickelodeon series is not at all what I was expecting.  I wanted more old school stuff.  Does that give away my age?  Sit down kiddies.  'Bout the time ol' grampa Dag was in junior high, I used to come home from school (uphill in the snow, both ways) and sit in front of my television, manually turn on the machine, manually turn the knob to channel 13 and watch me some heroes in a half shell.  And we liked it that way!  It's all different now and different is bad! </old man rant>

So anyway, the real disappointment was seeing how simply the Shellraiser was put together.  The main body consisted of a pair of 2x2 yellow bricks.  The big set has so much more bling and blang on the front that I figured a couple of plates with some olive green in the middle would have been appropriate.  And maybe the designer lobbied for that.  But given that the part count was already up to 47 there wasn't much wiggle room left for more parts.

But if they'd been looking to shave pennies, they could have lightened up on the extras.  All the expected 1x1 pieces are extra'd, but so is the red tap and the small wheel.  Maybe they have been in some other sets but I'm not familiar with these pieces as extras.  There's a total of six extras, could have been four.

But what's really missing (if you want to microfy the whole set 79104) is Dogpound's pizza delivery truck.  I slapdashed one together to give Michelangelo something to ram his little RC toy into.  A total of 22 more pieces, not quite enough to make another worthwhile polybag.  So maybe it needs another vehicle but I ran out of inspiration.  Or my muse ran out on me.

If I'm counting correctly, this is only the second TMNT polybag.  I don't count the Flashback Shredder promo.  In that regard, this might be a hot item to pick up.  That coupled with the micro aspect (in my mind at least) make this a must have set.  Plus, you get a turtle for less than secondary market value.  If you can't find the set at retail, then you'll have to settle for $10+ on the grey market.

And if minis aren't your thing then maybe you'd like to check out the latest releases from LEGO:

Set Review - Microfighters Clone Turbo Tank 75028

At long last, we've reached the end.  My goal was to start the reviews of the Microfighters with an awesome set, finish with an awesome set, and bury the rest in the middle.  Overall I'd say I succeeded.  The Clone Turbo Tank is a set that we haven't seen in a while.  The 2005 release was pretty cool.  Then it went downhill.  In 2006 we got a slightly awkward looking micro version.  Then in 2010 was the even more awkward spindly thing that looked like a Chinese knockoff of a Hasbro toy.  Now we got another micro.  I figure at this rate we'll get a full size re-release sometime around 2021.  Assuming TLG hasn't run out of new stuff with VII-VIII-IX coming around.

The Microfighter Clone Turbo Tank (CTT) is a very sturdy little vehicle with one design flaw.  No steering.  I'm frankly a little disappointed.  The main carriage is created with two 1x10 technic bricks.  I would have preferred the rear six wheels be stationary with this setup while the front four get their own independent platform on a turntable.

The build itself has all of sorts of SNOT.  Pretty neat way to get the exterior texture and variation.  At one point you place a headlight brick and a bracket next to each other.  The side studs become exactly one plate of thickness apart.  It was just screaming for something cool.  Instead the headlight brick was left untouched.  It could have been a normal brick and not lost anything.

I checked some source material and was reminded of the size of this thing.  At 64' wide, 162' long and 100' tall this could crush several houses at once.  It even dwarfs the AT-AT (camel walkers) which are only 66' long and 74' tall.  The CTT can cruise at 99mph which means it could easily overtake the 37mph AT-AT, crushing it like a melon without even noticing.  I have to wonder how the clones, with their wheeled vehicles were not able to keep the Empire from taking over.  Or rather (as I understand it) how the Clone vehicles degraded even more to clumsy walkers when it became a key part of the Empire.

Er, but you were here for a review of a set, not my commentary on the Clone Wars.  Yeah, it's cool.  Even though some of my fellow bloggers give it no love, I'd pay full price for it, flick-fires and all.

All the Microfighters:

Or get 'em all in one shot:

Set Review - Microfighters AAT 75029

Moving along again in the Microfighters subtheme of Star Wars, we come to a very large couch straight from the 70's.  This comfortable settee features a windscreen, turret, and dual flick-fires.  The color is a beautiful tan Naugahyde.

Wait, not furniture?  But it looks like an overstuffed sofa!  I wondered about the weaponry bits.  In that case, I suppose this will be a very different sort of review.  I wanted to dislike this set.  I saved the AAT for near the end of the series, partly because it came from the I-II-III trilogy but also because it didn't appeal to me.  But now that I've built it I like it even worse.

There are a few minor building techniques that are nice.  The 1x3 curve top arch over the 1x2 curve top brick is a neat little maneuver though it was more of a necessity.  The 1x3 curve top brick has not yet existed in tan and apparently running a new color through the mold was not worth it.  That and perhaps some extra connections were preferred.  It was also refreshing to see a straight stacked connection at a 45° angle.  On the sides some sort of greeblies use standard bricks but they are turned on the stud.  The ubiquitous flick-fires use telescopes on the ends which as far as I know is a first.

Beyond that I find this to be a weak set.  The telescopes pop-off of the flick-fires and the flick fire bases are not well secured.  The turret on the top is very loose and would have benefited from some sort of clicking turntable.  The gun uses a red 2L axle in an otherwise black assembly.  Don't they still produce black axles?  And shouldn't the gun be grey and tan anyway?

Last but not least is the connection of the 2x2 dish on top.  This connection is made with a 1x1 round plate sitting betwixt the studs of the plates below.  Generally this is an OK connection when the studs below or all on a single plate.  But when there are multiple pieces, this connection becomes weak.  The slight tolerance and give of two pieces next to each other no longer provides a good clutch for the single anti-stud.  In this case, given that the connection is only holding a dish, it's passable.  Otherwise I would probably spend a whole paragraph complaining about it...

Oh and there's a new droid *yawn*.

The bright side of this set is the tan quarter round domes.  Apparently these pieces were important enough to produce in tan for the first time.  They might come in handy for my little Micros Eisley Cantina if I can ever get around to finishing it.

At $10 for 90 parts and a battle droid I might otherwise pass.  Maybe at 20% off I'd consider it.  The series collector is going to buy it no matter what but for the rest of you, I'd check into a bedroom set first.

All the Microfighters:

Or get 'em all in one shot: