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Showing posts with label polybag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label polybag. Show all posts

Set Review - Decorating the Tree 40058

I do not know why trees are so subject to my discerning and particular eye.  I am mostly an architectural builder.  But it seems a good tree is hard to find.  I found this particular set at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) marked down from $8.99 to $5.99.  At 110+10 pieces (minifig parts included) this would be a great deal even at full price.


I understand the exaggerated height of the tree for drama and detail's sake.  But it stands 27 studs tall, not including the star shooting out of the top.  Dad, in comparison, stands 13 studs tall.  If we assume he is 6' tall then we are looking at a tree over 12' tall.  That tree wouldn't fit in my yard.  Good thing it's not going in my yard... it's going in my living room!



I do appreciate all the little extras.  The gifts, the train, the ladder for dad to fall off of.  Not only that, but with all the extra pieces you can create a few small gifts including a vial of yellow liquid.  Maybe that one's from the dog?  Ew.  But the nice touch is that Belville princess wand for the star on top of the tree.  Much better than a creepy upside down starfish.  So. Not. Christmas.

And the dark green 1x1 plate with tooth at the top with no other dark green pieces is a little out of place.  I'd like to see this part in green someday but the tree would be better without it.  Maybe some green cheese to finish off the top instead.

The best part about this tree is using the 3-way technic plates to achieve other than 90° angles.  You'd think it would limit you to a 60° offset but because of the technic axle hole through the middle you can overlay that with a 90° offset.  The instructions were a little complicated to follow since the axle hole was not always visible.  I decided to take advantage of the 90° offset and add every level of branches at 15°.

So how does this tree compare to previous years?  A brief synopsis:

2002: 10069, well shaped but very plain.  No accessories.
2009: 30009, 3-way technic axles, nice ornaments.
2009: 40002, flat and bugly.
2010: 40008 and 40009, Cute little tree, precursor gifts.
2011: 40024, much closer to our review tree
2011: 3300020, just no.
2013: 30186, inverted slopes, mixed green/dk green (shown in picture)
2013: 850851, squee!

Result, four out of five angels would agree to sit on top.  Moving the star aside first, of course.

 Merry Christmas from Dag's Bricks!

Set Review - Orangutan's Banana Tree 41045

Who would have thought that Friends could generate such an intense study of biology?  I had my doubts that this animal was properly labeled.  Though Friends animals tend to be a bit more bubbly and cutesy than their City counterparts.  Look at the dogs and cats, for instance.  So when it comes to primates, a salt lick should be offered as well.  Orangutan, really?  Those eyes, so far apart.  I could compare this to a chimpanzee since we got to see one of those in Collectible Minifigs.  But this ape is a bit bigger even if it does otherwise have the same pose.  Personally, I'm leaning towards a gibbon.

Whatever it is, I am deeply disturbed by the need to place a hole in its back in order to plant a ribbon on the creature.  These poor things.

I barely got to see this set.  My middle daughter is becoming a proficient LEGO builder and took over construction fairly easily.  She let her little brother add a few pieces but took the lion's share herself.  Simply, this set is a tree with a bunch of lime and a few magenta pieces.  I just. don't. get it.  Can a set not qualify for the Friends subtheme if it doesn't have at least three of the psychedelic colors?  Just to be on the safe side, some dark pink flower studs are included.

The coolest part of this set has got to be the curved whip element in green.  This piece is highly flexible and the TLG designer used this to great advantage.  The piece curls around the tree allowing our primate to swing to a new bunch of bananas.  Bonus points for including an extra whip (just in case you break the one from overplay).


Click the pics for products on LEGO Shop@Home:


Set Review - Macaw's Fountain 41044

Here we are again entering the Christmas season full swing with... Friends Animal Series sets.  I've already pitched the Star Wars Advent Calendar.  Somebody named Bricks Bothans is finally getting around to it.  Copycat.

Up to Series 5 now with the Animal Friends.  I think Mixels is going to catch up.  On top of that Mixels seems to be a little more cohesive as a theme.  Hard to tell.  The animal series are all about 40 piece color explosion mignettes with an animal fed from a platter.  It seems like there's been a little break since series 4, maybe things have changed.  Although series 5 quietly snuck up on me and appears to going out of style.  Series 6 coming soon?

Our first review for this mini-series is the Macaw's Fountain.  A macaw is just another pretentious name for parrot.  The mold is that of previous birds including a parrot and a sparrow.  This bird is painted very well to match a blue and yellow macaw.  The coloring and ruffles around the eyes are very well done.  The issues with the TLG mold are the severe lack of a majestic yellow tail, and tridactyl toes instead of zygodactyly.  It's a thing, look it up.

The bird's habitat comes with two pieces.  First is some sort of glorified shrine flanked with a fence and fronds.  I think it's supposed to be some kind of aviary.  The fronds are growing cherries (what?! no plate!?) and the parrot is given a stump to perch on.  The build includes the required lime and medium lavender colors with a nice amount of white and bright light yellow thrown in including a couple of 1x1x3 bricks in the pasty tone.  My only confusion is the trans green Bionicle eyes sticking out of the fronds.  Spotlights?  They seem a bit unnecessary and maybe were added for piece count.

The second prop is a fountain that is quite stellar.  Three dishes and a cone sit inverted in a round tile with a trans blue flame coming off of the top.  I like mini builds that are well done and this one seriously ranks up there.  The medium lavender round tile is a little distracting though but if they didn't include it, it couldn't be labeled a Friends set.  Apparently.

Despite the foibles, I like these little sets.  They have part value, variety and, like most LEGO sets, infinite ability to build something that looks similar to the main set.  These little sets are still hanging out around US$3.99 which seems about right.  Series 5 is either sold out or "Call for availability" on S@H.  Maybe you need some different... Friends?



Click the pics for products on LEGO Shop@Home:


Set Review - ARC 170 Starfighter 30247

I've had some other projects going and this is getting typed up last minute. To save you from any endless drivel that could result, I'll keep this short.

I picked up the ARC-170... a while ago at... a retailer.  Or something.  Maybe it was a big haul of polys at TRU online.  Or maybe it was Target.

Rear view.  Never enough of these in blogoland.

 I was smitten by the white and dark red contrast.  Wait, I've said that before somewhere.  Well apparently it's working on me.  Especially the dark red plain minifig heads.  Nom, nom.  This looks like it lands somewhere between a Headhunter and an X-Wing.  Wookieepedia agrees with me.

Apparently I'm out of touch with legal connections for TLG designers.  The heads stuck studs first into a technic pin hole.  Is this okay now?   I thought the clutch was too tight and would deform some of the pieces.  Perhaps it's different with hollow studs.  I'm a little disappointed that the bulk of the engine isn't carried through the wings nor does the front intake (?) line up with the rear exhaust (??).

The stand for the bottom is a little annoying.  It's too short to allow the lower stabilizing wings to be extended to any appreciable angle.  Either two more plates or a trans brick under the front of the nose would be stellar.








Today being Cyber Monday and all, you could probably get a pretty good deal on some LEGO sets:


Set Review - Arctic Scout 30310

This little polybag (like so many others) evaded me for months.  Finally one of my LUG buddies found them and bought one for me on speculation.  His speculation was pretty good as I was more than willing to trade some other City polybag I had laying around.  I was pretty thrilled to get this one.

Something seemed odd about the set.  After a while it struck me.  While the rest of the Arctic explorers all come with fur lined hoods, this guy lacks one.  Despite the fact that he flies through the air creating his own wind chill in an open cockpit aircraft.  This is a bad case of hypothermia waiting to happen.  Then the crash and the polar bear feast.  Sounds like a major fail.  There is at leat a little bit of fur printed on the front of the torso.  Whether it's his uniform or from a polar bear escape, we are not told.

Overall I would give the craft maybe a 3.5 out of 5.  It's cute and fun but not highly sturdy and could have been designed a little better.  My 3 year old son helped me build this craft but it kept falling apart with his play.  He knows how to be careful and could be, but generally it will only tolerate gentle swooshing.  There is one printed piece, an orange 2x2x2/3 double half bow.  I rarely if ever see stickers in polybags so the printing should be expected.  It has the Arctic logo on it which is four pointed star over the northern bit of the globe.  It's a generic enough graphic that it could fit with several themes.

New with several other items are the landing gear.  These are like the minifig footgear but way bigger.  They are 1x6 in size with a Technic pin connector and two studs on the back.  Because the front half is flared a bit, a minifig cannot wear them.  These same skis are used throughout the subtheme on several of the models.

One last thing of note is an interesting connection that is rarely used.  A 1x2 brick is stuck to the underside of a 2x plate.  But instead of a normal connection, the brick studs connect to the bottom tubes of the plate.  Not revolutionary or breakthrough, but certainly rare in official LEGO models.


More Arctic Items from LEGO Shop@Home:

Set Review - Batwing 30301

Again with the Toys'R'Ours.  This one came out of the blue.  I found a 3 day only 15% off coupon, plus they were offering the Batwing polybag free on in-store purchases of $30 or more.  I've got a target set right now that I'm trying to amass so this seemed like a good opportunity.  I walked up to the register with $100 worth of LEGO in my hand.  She rung it up and told me that I qualified for the free Batman polybag.  "Well, alright, I'll take it!"  Next I presented my 15% off coupon.  Price came down to $85.  Finally I presented a $5 Rewards'R'less-than-the-other-guys and ended up knocking my purchase down to $80.  For $105 worth of MSRP stuff.  Not bad.


I had been lusting after the mini Batwing for a while.  Of course, the same was true of the Batmobile and Tumbler, but those are other stories.  I could never figure out where the Batwing was going to land.  There'd be web rumors here and there.  Target was a bust.  Finally I saw it as a TRU promo and had to act (despite my feelings on the retail chain).


And I must say, I'm impressed.  The cockpit reminds me exactly of the Jedi Interceptor.  The shape of the bat-symbol is well done, despite the angles.  I'm going to give it a pass since curves are not an easy task for TLG's designers.  The attempt was fairly well made.  What's really missing though is not as forgivable.  Much like a fighter jet, the Batwing should have a vertical tail (double in fact) rising behind the cockpit.  Two more stabilizers should be underneath.  A fender piece is used to start to simulate some of this idea, but it's really not adequate.

The major test though is whether or not this looks right in the spotlight.  As we all know, Batman ends his movies by flying off into the sunset (or the moonlight).  Just before the screen goes black, he pulls hard on the stick and heads straight up, silhouetting his craft against the heavenly body.  The bat-symbol is then burned into our retinae as the theater lights come back on.  Everywhere we look for the next several days, the bat-symbol appears.

Now that's marketing!

Set Review - Worriz' Fire Bike 30265

LEGO S@H finally tempted me enough to make a purchase.  The Mini is cool but not something I could justify buying yet.  The promo mini Mini was not very Mini looking to me so I passed.  But the Star Wars Advent calendar came out and I decided to jump.  I'm always a sucker for tiny ships.  But that's for another review.  In getting my order to $50, I was able to get a free Chima polybag thrown in.  While the deal sealer was really the classic spaceman re-release at $99, the polybag gets the first review.

When I first saw pictures of the set I was reminded of Robin's Redbird Cycle.  On further review, I now realize that these are a bit different.  Robin's bike takes on a more traditional approach of forks on either side of the wheels.  Worriz' bike, not so much.


I like box art.  They always show you the best side.  Rarely do you get to see the rear side of a build, despite the 6 box panels on which to display copious amount of logos, figure shots, and other eye candy.  On a polybag, there's really only one side that's used.  The back side usually just has a free LEGOLAND kid's ticket with adult ticket purchase, the bar code, and dramatic language about not feeding the LEGO parts or the polybag to your babies and children.  No word on teenagers.

So when I built the bike, I was a bit disappointed.  When I was in Junior high (those amazing years), I was really into Kenner's M.A.S.K. vehicles.  It was an amazing and amazingly short lived toy line.  I'm still trying to finish up my collection.  (N.B., if you have a complete Wolfbeast that you're thinking of throwing away, call me).  There was a vehicle named Buzzard that was sort of a foreshadowing of the Split Seconds line.  Buzzard was an Indy car that broke into two sidecar type motorcycles and a small drone.  Worriz' bike reminds me of the motorcycles.  Very lopsided in that all the wheel support was on one side.  I'm almost inspired to get another one to build a mirrored version.


But now we get orange Chi!  Fire Chi, I assume?  Does this mean we can look forward to more elemental Chi in the future?  Maybe some Wind Chi or Dirt Chi?

Overall, perhaps I'd let a 3.5 out of 5 slide.  The back side of the build is terrible but the dish over the wheel is a neat touch and there's a couple of orange half baby bows.  Plus a 9L liftarm.  And it's a solid build and the bike is stable when you run it downhill.  So I guess the odd build isn't that bad.  But without any mudguards, Worriz is going to get a terrible line of road grime up his back.


Buy more fire! (Click images to go to product pages):


Set Review - Imperial Shuttle 30246

Lo and behold, after weeks and weeks of looking, Target finally stocked a new point of purchase set.  The Imperial Shuttle was very exciting to see hanging on the shelf, crowding out a few City helicopters and Chima sets.  Though my nerd cred is a bit low, Star Wars is still one of my favorite themes.  Aside from the Advent Calendar mini, this would be my first little shuttle.


I know that I've generally been a little hard on these small sets in the past.  And well I should be.  There's no reason not to get every bit of value out of a $5 set as you do a $50 set.  Thankfully, this set has many more positive things to say about it than negative ones.  First off, it's a great white parts pack.  There are several standard pieces plus some nice little greebles and functional bits in the staple color.  Also a few nice basic dark and light bley bits.  But this is only the beginning.

The shaping is very impressive in a small model.  I only have a few small complaints.  First, it's not stable to set down with the wings out.  It'll need a stand if you want to display it in flight mode.  This is more difficult than it sounds since the bottom is all but plastered in boat studs.  Second, the wings don't really show the small bit of an angle near where they connect to the body.  This, really, is minor.  Finally, the cockpit looks a little flat.  The slope piece from the BrickMaster version was perfect but any slope on this model would be a touch too big.  Ideally, there would be a 3x2x2/3 slope.  That would nail it.


But that's about it for the low points.  For the high points it has a nice design, sturdy build, and play features!  That gigantic tail (back?) wing is a big mass of white pieces that is spot on for the real thing.  Maybe missing a few lines of color here and there but the shape is perfect.  The wings are the same basic shape and design as used on many other Star Wars miniatures, just turned 90° or pieces on top of instead of underneath other pieces.  But everything is solid and highly highly swooshable.

And what about the play feature, you ask?  Well, should your tail wing get blown off in space (which is not improbable when swooshing this around; that connection could be tighter), you can launch the cockpit with your top classified crew members and get out of Dodge.


Set Review - Jungle Boat 30115

The latest subtheme of the Friends theme appears to be revealed.  It's jungle.  Or animal rescue.  Or jungle animal rescue, not sure.  Think Go, Diego Go with less Spanish and more lavender.  Or in this case lime.

I've started to wonder if the Friends theme is getting too broad and disjointed.  Maybe TLG is just trying to populate Heartlake Metropolis with as much variety (and more) as City.  I mean, really, is there anything so far that Friends CAN'T do?  A bar came to mind but there's the juice bar.  That's probably the grey line there because anything seedier wouldn't be appropriate for TLG or this (mostly) family friendly blog.

To the rescue boat!  From the start I am disappointed.  Not a good way to start a review but there it is.  After a couple of steps I found that the connection between the front and back of the boat is weak.  Even though it's three plates thick, each connection only overlaps by a stud and nothing back-laps (re-laps?) to lock the connection in place.  So Olivia can hit a rock or a frog and the thing will break in two.  Blub blub blub, now who's rescuing who?  What I DO like about the boat is that the extra lever can be used on the left side as well as the right.  This gives very much the appearance that our little can do, will do friend is riding a morph or a tribute to Kermit the Frog.  Now THAT is awesome!

Ree... deep?

Most of the pieces here are kind of blah and nothing I would use (except for a few pieces in the hundreds).  There is one exception that caught my eye the moment I saw the leaked pictures of this set.  Ever since 1979's classic space we've had the humble walkie-talkie in black.  The Jack Stone era gave us dark grey/bley and then died out.  And then of course the short-lived green.  It's as if TLG threw caution to the wind.  Not only did we get a new color, but one so soulfully different from black that it almost seems like a clone brand.  Bright.  Light.  Orange.  Not just orange, not even red or even lime.

There are a surprising amount of bricks and plates in this odd color.  Mostly it's been taken over by Friends, DUPLO (we are here to destroy you), and Bionicle.  Such an odd match.  It makes me wonder how long the B.L.O. walkie-talkie will last.  Or if this is just the beginning.  Prepare your eye sockets, the doors are about to be blown open.  Dark purple?  Bright light blue?  Trans anything?  That would be cool.

Now retitled "Swamped Frog Rescue"

I wish I could tell you where I got this set.  I thought it was TRU(ly overpriced) but they don't have it in stock.  Nor does Target and I know I didn't ping Wally World.  It seems to be a pretty hot item on the aftermarket, going for $12.  Wish I'd bought more.  But I'm pretty confident that as we roll through August, this will once again become available and will inundate the shelves.  It probably was $3.99 which for 31+2 parts is a bit steep.  Not even an extra radio!  If you're planning to spend more than that you're either a serious collector or have a serious impulse problem.

More Friends Jungle Boogie (clicking the pics will help support this site):