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Showing posts with label set review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label set review. Show all posts

Set Review - Pop Star Red Carpet 30205

Often, if you want retina piercing colors, you'll get a Friends set (or Cloud Cuckoo Palace). For the month of August, you can change that up a bit. Through August 31, TLG is offering the above mentioned polybag with $35 worth of mini-doll sets. That's Friends, Elves, and Disney Princess (presumably not DUPLO but who knows).

Why is this set different? For one, the LACK of colors. Usually these smaller Friends sets are a nauseating palate of limes, azures and several shades of pinkish purplish.  I estimate about 100 studs worth of neutral colors and only 43 of Pantone technicolor. That's WAY different indeed!

The set has a few fun touches like the enhanced video camera and the um.. uh.. enhanced video camera. Other than that it's very routine stacking and, quite frankly, makes up for the lack of color with its overwhelming ennui. A mini-doll, a stack of plates, and an enhanced camera. This is so- hey look, Galidor!

So droll in fact that I had to try for an alternate build. My alternate builds use all the pieces, even the extras. Inspired by FriendTRON (a mashup by a fellow lugger) I decided to create some sort of hovery spacey craft for the little stage walker. On a related note, this is probably only the second set that I will be dismantling and distributing into my builder's stash, never to see the light of day as an actual set again.


Set Review - Space Utility Vehicle 30315

SPAAACE!!! I know how all you space heads get. All that sci-fi stuff really rocks your boat but it's a completely different breed that gets in to the true current space stuff. Y'know, boring things like NASA and Hayabusa. TLG understands this crowd too and has brought back the City Space (Not to be confused with Space City) for another round.

The last go around was pretty cool. We had a more advanced Shuttle Adventure/Expedition to augment the series. This time they've given us four small sets to kick it off (5 with the promo poly). I'm hoping we get an ISS to spice (space?) things up a bit.

I'm a little late with my SUV review, the promo period being over and all. I ordered late in July and then missed last week's deadline. At first I was excited about the set then some real life work opportunities set in and I got distracted. That'll happen.

But now that I built the thing, I'm a little disappointed. Yes, overall it's a cute little vehicle but there are some inherent issues. First, if this is to be any sort of off-roader for lunar environments, the ground clearance sucks. The new wheelbase 18892 is poorly chosen unless this is tricked out to be a lowrider. One moon pebble and this poor guy will be high-centered.

"Houston?"

Oof!
Second, there are two cool pieces of equipment that adorn the vehicle. One is a radar dish which I'm guessing is used to pick up the scurrying noises of subterranean lunar life forms. The second is some sort of scanner which grabs their heat signature so our intrepid spaceman knows which setting to apply his fry-gun on. But unless our spaceman loses some height (or girth) there's the constant threat of being whacked in the head. I can mitigate the radar dish by not letting the bar be completely submerged on either end.

The last disappointment is the instructions. Here was the perfect opportunity to advertise the rest of the Space Port theme and yet it's adorned with... Swamp Police. Really?


Blast off with some new sets (click to see on Shop@Home):


Set Review - Cute Kitten 30188

Yeah, this was last year's set. But I found a few at TRU and have a soft spot for the polybags so I grabbed it anyway. I didn't do much research into it beforehand but was thinking maybe I'd finally get some of the newer ball and cup connectors.

Disappointed I was.

Unlike a real cat's head, this one can only rotate side to side. As you know, a real cat can turn their head in at least 5 dimensions including inside out.

If you like cats, you'll love this little set. If you don't then just imagine that it's a manifestation of Groucho Marx in felinoid form. The two levers used for whiskers don't quite translate and look more like a mustache. Them big eyes are a dead ringer for a set of coke bottles.

Overall the sculpting is reasonable but what can you do with 54 pieces? I guess my biggest complaint (other than the lacking ball and cup joints) would be the unfinished look at the tops of the legs. An extra little cheese slope on top of them all would go a long way towards completing the look.

I dunno, I think there could be an overall improvement on this set. But what they hey it's a good value for pieces.

Set Review - TIE Advanced Prototype 30275

Once again the fates protected me from Toys'ARE'Us. On promo week I went to buy my $30 worth of LEGO and get the free poly. Upon checking out I was told I needed to buy $30 worth of construction sets. I said 'yes, here they are'. Apparently a Creator polybag (despite the fact that it has multiple pieces, no minifigs, and instructions) is not a "construction set". I left my would be purchase on the counter and walked out. I tried again at another store to no avail. Fine. Thy name is now TFU.

Back end plus useful use of extra piece
But I learned something. I learned that if you wait a week, TFU (er, TRU) will still have so many polybags left over that they will NOW sell them for their MSRP. So I still got my TIE poly (and Creator poly), but T'WTF'U lost out on at least $30. Corporate karma.

I would like to award this set a prize. That prize is the most repetition for the least amount of parts. When I dumped out the parts it seemed like a pretty legit set. I opened up the instructions and built steps 1-6. Imagine my surprise when I turned the instructions over and saw the EXACT same pieces and Step 1 all over again. I flipped back and forth a few times before I saw the difference. It was just a shocker that steps started over at '1'. No '7' and beyond?

"Yes Lord Vader, we'll get it clicked together in 3 parsecs!"

Once both halves of the hull were built I then sandwiched them together with the suggested Technic axle (out of color scheme, of course). Then repetition and I stared each other in the face again as I built not one, not two, not three, but fi- I mean, four copies of another sub assembly. These would be the wing tips of course. The whole thing immediately came together after that.

All bedded down for the night.
After building the craft I checked Wookieepedia for reference. Holy womprats this model is chunky! The wings don't exactly have a continuous look to them and the craft itself looks more like Jabba the Hut than your average Kaminoan. Plus, there's this funny loopy scripty font on the package that says... Disnep?

At 47+1 pieces in 14 lots, this set has a larger piece to lot ratio of 3.4. This number usually hovers around 2. But at $3.99 it's a heck of deal for bulking up on small wedge plates, curved slopes and 1x2 plates with top clips. Because you can never have enough of those.

Set Review - Microfighters Homing Spider Droid 75077

Whereas we now end our review of the Microfighters' 2015 season. Stay tuned next year for round 3 of Chibi goodness from a galaxy far, far away. Or, if we're lucky, maybe this August.


Much like the advent calendars, there's so much more ground to explored with these cute widdle crafts. Hopefully they don't kill them after round 3.5 like they did the planet sets. You know what would be really cool? An oversized chibified R2-D2 being ridden by Kenny Baker. Now that would rock my socks.


But for now, the Homely Spider Droid.

In a world of advanced technological warfare, we get a droid riding a spindly droid. I believe it was one of the Brothers Brick who called this out as madness. Sure, you get a great vantage point but you're also a sitting duck. Perhaps the droid isn't so much controlling the droid as he is hitching a ride to add firepower. To that I say, "Why not just add more firepower to the spider? Or a web?" It's a bummer to end this streak of reviews on a downer, but it really is.



Then there's the question of mobility. This set might almost be labeled as Technic since it's chock full of those fiddly parts. And despite the technical nature the legs, technically, suck. They don't move up and down. They just rock back and forth. It's almost like it's relying on the power of a cephalopod instead of an arachnid.

But the shaping of the hull is nice. You get eight 45° 2x2 3-facted corner slopes to help build the spherical shape. The design is a little gappy but well affected. Another interesting bonus is the single flick-fire missile where the pod's cannon would be anyway. Not only is it a single flick-fire but it is more well-built out than just a cone on a stick. It's a cone on a dish on a dot on a cone on a stick! Oh and a dark orange droid without any dots. Does dark orange mean he's rusted?

Set Review - Microfighters AT-AT 75075

Talk about squee. Chibi factor nothing. Add in some articulation and you've got lots to love. I've never owned a full size proper AT-AT so can't compare (or take adorable AT-AT/at-at pictures) but I can at least have a little fun with this one.

First off, let me just say that this set's a keeper with only two major flaws. (Three if you count a partially sand blue trooper). We'll get those out of the way before launching all the cute photos.

The back end. What? This is how LEGO left it. A little... unfinished. For such a stellar model there needs to be one more piece back here. Thankfully the set comes with a few extras for greebling.



Second is the head. The hinge connection used only allows up and down motion, nothing side to side. What a great opportunity this would have been to use the newer ball and cup joints! Especially since I still have none, dagnabbit.

I largely let my 3.8yo FAFOL build this. I gave him the parts and showed him the pictures. He did stellar. Once it was done he had loads of fun playing with it, especially once I showed him how versatile it was.



Of course sometimes little at-at has to do things like purge his extra oil.





Then there's playtime...



Nap time...


 And of course he can change into wheeled turbo mode, largely when it's not expected. Whee!


Little at-at sure does have some adventures eh? If I were that guy I would buy like a dozen of these and have all sorts of fun staging dioramas and making them play with each other and putting them into puppy piles. I may not be a big dog fan but I'd own an at-at-ling any day!

Set Review - Go-Kart Racer 30314

Some things are just so obvious, eh? But first, some history. When I was younger, I built a bunch of little midget race cars. The basis was always the same; 2x8 plate with a 1x4 bumper front and aft, a 45° slope front and aft and a 1x4 plate for the spoiler. Sometimes I'd change it up a little but mostly they were formulaic.

Imagine my delight when I saw this little set. The pieces are quite updated and the build is slightly different but the formula is there. Squee! The bag art didn't fully show the engine on the back but I'm impressed at what it is. One of those little Chima fists stuck on a travis brick looks kind of like a manifold. And a new space gun on the other side kind of looks like an exhaust. But the manifold only has three ports. These must be little tiny quarter midgets or something.


Cool idea and I can see some variation on the theme. Maybe a fist on either side for an implied 6 cylinder and the exhaust in the back. A 1x1 round plate or tile on top for the air filter and now we're talking!

But what really struck me was that despite the Octan livery, this thing looks like such a knock-off from a popular video game that it almost seems obvious. This, my friends, is how you rip-off a license. Create something under your own sub-brand that reminds the end-user so much of another property that lines are blurred. And yet there's no basis for a suit of any kind. I wonder how the K'nex execs or looking at this. Brand-washing? Or maybe they're hoping the confusion will help their properties.

I'm sure TLG would deny any intention but someone in a back room has got to be sniggering over this. Let that set your bias for buying this. Available at Target in the US, other European locations at Brickset.com.

Set Review - Microfighters Snowspeeder 75074

I've always wondered about the intelligence of bright orange splashes on a white speeder, especially one that's supposed to hide in the snow from the enemy. Sure, if you go down, it would be easier to find you. But isn't that what radar is for? Or beacons? Or just follow the smoking fireball, right? If you have to eject, the orange jumpsuit would make you easy pickings for the enemy. Or a wampa.


The snowspeeder is a nice return to familiar territory. Star Wars. OT. Good times. (For a couple weeks here at least). I was pleasantly surprised by this build. Sure it's small. Sure maybe I don't have much exposure to the bigger sets. Sure maybe I don't have ROOM to build bigger sets. But I get some good exposure anyway.



What I liked:

The nose uses some wedges in a somewhat unique way to get that prong shape. I'm not used to voids in official builds. Unfortunately that has colored how I build MOCs as well. I try to fill every cubic LDU with ABS but usually end up with an ultra heavy display model. If it's for display I shouldn't be wasting all my bricks if it isn't even swooshable.

The blaster design is nice and solid with good greebling for such a tiny piece. The use of textured round bricks and technic pins makes it pop a bit.

The printed nose piece is the same one from the planet set snowspeeder. The price has come down a bit to a solid $1.50 now that the market has been saturated.

Technic gear racks for the rear grill.


What I didn't like:

Several minor points. First, the rear windshield seems like it should be a plate higher. It's even with the front which is correct, but it sits lower than the sides next to it and is way low on the pilot's back.

More clip plates on the back of this ship. What? Why?

Flick-fire missiles. *sigh*

The use of a dark tan 3L axle with stud in the back detracts a little from the overall look of the ship. Two better options come to mind. Either give me a couple of trans-orange 1x1 plates to cover it with (for booster flare) or use a newer 2L pin with axle. The 3L axle is used to go through two pin connections and then secures into an axle hole in the round 2x2 brick. This 2L pin-axle connection (or even the pin-2L axle) could have been done with a dark bley piece that would have blended better. The build sequence would have been a little different but not a problem.

Using a lever for the rear gun. It doesn't even go *pew-pew*. I used the extra lever to balance the greebs on each blaster and then took the pilot's handgun to use for the rear gun. Better.

I struck on a cool deal at Wally World. I bought 4 ships. Two were selling for $9.97, two were selling for $7.99. (another was selling for $7.77 but I had already bought it elsewhere). I got all four for $9 each. But wait, there's more! I used Ebates to earn 2% cash back on the purchase PLUS my Paypal credit card to earn another 1.5% cash back PLUS I used in-store pick up to avoid shipping fees on the $36 order. In total I got all four ships for $8.67 each which is like 13% off. If you're interested in swinging these kinds of deals for yourself, stay tuned for the release of my upcoming Seller's Guide ebook. You can even guide the writing by giving your input!

Set Review - Microfighters Vulture Droid 75073

I finally used the Toys'R'Us in-store price match feature. It was easier than easy. Even though I still own a flip phone (total Neandertal, I know) I was able to get to LEGO S@H and show that the actual price for the Microfighters is $9.99, not $10.99. No prob, and I'll take this here hot dog guy for $3.99 as well. Two days later, I was in a Bi-mart and they had a couple o' the Vulture droids for $7.99. Wrong price match I guess.

And at only 77+4 pieces, $10 is still a bit high. At least the set doesn't feel like it has any extra pieces. Except for the droid pilot. Really? Why would a droid need to pilot a droid? Maybe, just maybe, the droid is merely getting a ride on the droid. That doesn't explain the blue vestment on the droid though. The funny thing is, the droid doesn't actually stand on the aircraft anywhere. It's more like he hangs on with his one arm for dear life while shooting a blaster at nothing in particular. Since there is an extra of each arm type, You can customize him to be a sw300 or sw360. Or make your own unique droid with TWO straight arms!

So even though I'm paying like 12.5c per part and there's an unnecessary droid, this is still one of the cooler Microfighters. It actually has functions! If my 7111 were anywhere near accessible, I'd pull it out and compare the two. On second hand, that parts list tells me everything I need to know. On the original set, it was the "head" that swiveled back and forth to change from walking to flight mode.

On this set, both sets of wings are on their own independent rotational system. They can each flip down for walking mode or forward for flight mode. Since this is a chibified version, the height is about the same either way. This is the newer clone wars version (dark blue, not brown) and has a rather unique color scheme. Rather than being largely blues, it's mottled grey with 6 dark blue 1x2 tiles for trim. All the left wedges are dark bley and the right wedges are light bley. This is going to cause a disturbance on the force, at least in the secondary market parts distribution and availability.

Go to Bi-mart and pick one up. Don't live in the Pacific northwest? Well then go to TRU and have them price match. No TRU? Well fine, don't get one. And I'll keep my flip phone.

Set Review - Little Foal 41089

*sigh*

Another run of the mill animal. If we're doing the farm, how about repainting the bird as a duck? Or having a piggy? Milking goat? I guess those aren't fantasy animals in a little girl's dream world. "When I grow up, I want to raise EMUS!"... said no little girl ever.

Except this one...


It's not just the animals, it's the impractical setup as well. You cannot contain a horse in a two feet tall non-locking enclosure. Not even a foal. Maybe a one-legged baby horse would have trouble getting out. Actually, this enclosure looks suspiciously like the rabbit enclosure from just a couple short weeks ago. Wait a minute... where's the ramp? I got robbed!

Honestly, are they even trying anymore?

Furthermore, there's no ribbon. I see a hole at the base of the horse's tail... but nothing to stick in there. Something must be terribly wrong.

Notable about the horse: unlike so many of the larger animals, this one is done in a single mold. Not three parts that are glued together. Being a baby horse, it's at least 2/3, possibly even 6/9 of height in legs. The doors to its enclosure barely come up to its ankles. Tripping hazard?

What really gets me are the 2 brick bricks that are worked into the enclosure. Everything's all tan and magenta until suddenly they slip in a few medium dark flesh brick bricks. Just like the bunnies, it reminds you of some old world paddock with stones. Except there are only two.

Whatever.

Next week, STAR WARS!!!

Set Review - Puppy Training 41048

What. The flip. If the bunnies were a vague memory, this is certain past. It's like set 41025 all over again except the house exploded into some little bits. This makes no less than 6 Friends sets devoted to dogs. The LEGO taxonomy is seriously skewed. Things were just starting to get awesome with Series 5 (bears and monkeys? Totally!). Here in the US we were shafted out of Series 6 which includes a seal and a panda. Instead, we're back to bunnies, dogs and (spoiler alert) horses.

I swear, the part to microbuild ratio on this set is over the top. I got 65 parts, 10 extras (woo!) and there are no less than 9 microbuilds. That means all sorts of stuff that needs to be contained, not connected to the main build. All those parts are tiny too. Seeing the bags was highly amusing. Oh look! Have you ever seen a baggie with 9 large parts in it? These aren't the extras by the way.


I let the 3 year old boy build it. He nailed it except he didn't really want to play with it afterwards. Neither did I. Apparently I'm more into the dioramas that many of the other sets have been. With that, I'm going to take a pass on any more of this review. Will next week's review be even shorter?

Set Review - Bunny and Babies 41087

What, seriously? Did we not already deal with this back a few series ago? Apparently I am some sort of glutton for punishment because rather than take a pass, I am actually going to open the box (tiny box, not a polybag anymore) and build it.

Even though the pictuers show me I already spent money on this set before.

Maybe TLG didn't like the earlier bunny sets so they mashed them up. I see so many familiar elements here: the fence, the single door, a bunny, some brick bricks, 7 pastel colors and a ramp. Apparently bunnies like ramps. Who knew? Wait, lemme ask Mrs. Dagsbricks, she knows everything... Nope, no clue on her end either.

*tear, tear* *shake shake* *crinkle crinkle* *pieces spilling onto the floor* *sigh*

"He was like that when I got here"
Oh squee! There's baby bunnsies! And a brand new jumper in reddish brown. Y'know, the type with the central stud holder. A 6x8 lime plate, that's new. Oh and a magenta baby bow (1x2 curved slope). Finally, a useful part in that color. Lavender, medium azure, bright pink, light aqua, GAH MY EYES!

So really, of note is those babies. This is a bit of a first for LEGO. Sure there are baby horses but those are larger animals. TLG has taken an already small animal and made an even smaller version. What's next, baby puppies and kittehz? Apparently these little buggers are quite popular. TLG is currently sold out of them. The average price is about $1.20 each but folks have been buying them up by the 50's and 100's for between $0.60 and $0.90 each. I sense some incredible MOCs coming, least of which would be a Monty Python one. Or maybe folks want real litters, not just two little survivors.

Mug shots
Digression, digression, back to the moulds. In the spirit of realism, dimensional continuity has been sacrificed a bit. Their width is the typical 8mm wide of a 1x brick. Depth, a bit more. Those fuzzy cotton tails stick out a bit behind and the twitching noses stick to the front. The calipers tell me that they are 11mm from front to back. So that's a quarter brick width each end. The height is nearer to 12mm. Four plates in height is 12.8mm so they'll just squeeze under that. And, they've got a hole in the head so you can torture them with ribbons. From dead on, they kinda look like rats.

This is so totally an Animal Series set even though there's no longer any number on the box nor is it even in a polybag anymore (as noted earlier). But there's three of these sets at the $3.99 price point and they reek of the former setup; animal, 40-50 pieces, some food to eat (no longer in a dish), inane pretties for the head (even at risk to the animal). Yes, there are two more. Stay tuned for the next couple weeks of eye socket reaming fun.

Come closer. No, really.
The irony of this set is that I just got some rabbit hutches set up in my backyard to start producing my own herd of coneys. Oh, what kind you ask? Probably New Zealand Whites. Why? Well, they're one of the largest breeds and they dress out real nice. It'll be some cheap, delicious, organic meat.

Mmm... wab- I mean, rabbit...

Set Review - Jungle Accessory Set 850967

Tent camping has come a long way since the dawn of the motor age. From "don't touch it!" canvas to space age polymer fabrics, from hunting and campfires to MRE's and watching a campfire on the 50" TV in your Winnebago, it appears to have only gotten more expensive.

LEGO has an interesting foray into textiles. Mostly ship sails, they also create capes and flags. The tent first appeared in 1998 in the Sphinx' Secret Surprise and Extreme Team Challenge. It came around again briefly in 2008 for Indiana Jones. Now it has made another brief cameo via both the Arctic Explorers and Friends lines.

If you're like me, you probably always go camping in a skirt and share your loaf of bread and chicken leg with your dog. Or maybe this is glamping where off screen we could see the cameras and bed-n-breakfast sign. No, this set is a little creepier than that.

First let me rag on the tent a little. This set had an initial sales price of $15 but TLG couldn't seem to sell any. No wonder, there are only 39 pieces and no freaking extras. You would assume a price of $5, right? Not here. Then the price dropped to $9 and I got suckered into buying one for this review. Shortly thereafter, the price has been stuck at $7.48. Still too high. Even at 10c per part, We're talking $3.70 for that piece of cloth.


Really? Better yet, my 6 year old asked why it looked like vomit. True story. Here's a challenge: find all 13 of the studs in the LEGOflage.

Here's where it gets creepy though. The instructions appear to be incorrect. When you build the set correctly, You'll see that Naya is wearing a black hat to protect her from the Blair Witch. Meanwhile, her cornstalk friend is conducting surveillance to locate and kill that cameraman once and for all. The dog appears to be guarding the food but it's really a trap. Don't go near that mutt. The tent is pretty empty, but that's only because they just removed the bodies.



Gave me the shudders.

Set Review - Garbage Truck 30313

Tomayto, tomahto? When I first read about a Garbage Truck polybag I thought it would be kind of cool. I envisioned a Creator style mini truck. Then I saw the pictures and realized it was a little glorified golf cart for the Parks and Rec department. Oh joy, another stripped down vehicle.

But really, it's not that bad. Oh sure, the parts count is low and some features are mere tokens. For instance, the only thing protecting the driver's knees (or feet, I guess) in a head on collision is the steering column. But since he will probably only be driving on foot paths and across vast expanses of grass, it's likely the worst of his worries will be bicycles and baby strollers. Maybe an occasional tree.

The coolness comes in with the garbage can mechanism. It's just a couple of droid arms hooked to a bar, but the whole setup allows for a (what can be imagined as pneumatic) system to keep our trusty city employee from filing an OSHA complaint. The arms can lift and lower the cans from the ground and even tip the full cans into the back end of the cart. Would that it was a dumper! I suppose there will be some manual shoveling out of debris otherwise.


And speaking of debris, that's included as well. Not only do you get two lime green dots (hmm...) and two brown dots (total eww) but you get one extra of each! Woo-hoo baby, overtime! Plus an extra trans-yellow tile dot (where's ma hose?). Droid arms have become standard fare as extras, so it makes for a spare or central liftarm, or an extra grabby claw for picking up random garbage that the broom won't grab.

As a test, I gave my 3y8mo old boy the set and told him to build the whole thing. He was really excited about the wheels but only got to putting the bed on when it got too hard without oversight. He put the man together and was happy enough rolling the chassis around in a child's fantasy world that I vaguely remember.

These can currently be found in store at Target as an Easter promo. Only $3.49 (plus tax) makes for a great price point. With 48 pieces I would have expected $5. The wise BrickOwl tells me that these parts are worth at least $8-9. They've also got the previous TLG promo, Friends Mini-Golf with half the parts for $3.99. Go figure that economy.

Set Review - Swamp Police Helicopter 30311

First, I am intrigued by the variety of Police subthemes that we have had versus the Fire themes. We've had Police, Wave Police, Forest Police, (Space Police; I, II, and III), and now Swamp Police. Meanwhile, we've had Fire, Forest Fire, and um... hm. No Swamp Fire? And no Space Fire? There's a missed opportunity.


Swamp Police is a Louisiana bayou based theme aimed at catching moonshiners in their swampy like hideouts. Lots of pontoon craft and offroaders (even a half-track?) and a hovercraft. TLG needs to make more of those, period. I don't see a whole lot of bonus in the Swamp Police vs. the Forest Police. More mud maybe? What I do see is a chance to show off a new piece.


The 2x2x2/3 round brick with side holes was introduced to us last year as part of C1-10P in the Star Wars Phantom set. It was decorated, but now we get it plain in both light bley and yellow. It works well as part of a pontoon. It sort of reminds me of the older octagonal bricks that were used as pontoons for the Hydronauts. Then again, I'm using about 22 of them in tan for a commission so of course they're fresh in my mind.


Behind as I am with the promos alone, this is no longer available for purchase. Target just recently cleared the rest out for like $1.48 each. They're now selling some Easter promos which I'm sure I'll get to in about April...

But you might like to buy some more Swamp Police? (click through for Shop@Home)