Eh, it's a lengthy review for what boils down to an exclusive mask. But hey, another chance to post black light photos on the front page!
Eh, it's a lengthy review for what boils down to an exclusive mask. But hey, another chance to post black light photos on the front page!
Brainiac Attack is $24.99 USD, the second cheapest DC Super Heroes set out this winter and the cheapest one to get Superman in. And you wouldn’t be amiss if you got this strictly for the figs; technically they’re all unique, although that’s slightly misleading. Superman’s head, hair, and torso are all reused from previous versions, although not necessarily all from the same fig. The only main difference is the cape, which is a new softer fabric material, unlike the paper-like capes of old. On one hand, it doesn’t fit around the necks quite as nicely, but it feels much better to touch. The new cape style is seen with the other figs too. Martian Manhunter is also not exactly new, as he showed up in a polybag last year, but he does have some more-obviously updated printing, plus the two part cape. Brainiac is completely new, with a new lime green head and tubes printed on his torso. But, honestly, he’s kind of boring. The real reason to get this set would be the unique Supergirl, who comes with a nice female torso printing, a printed skirt on her legs, and a soft fabric cape. Don’t get me wrong, the other figs are nice and certainly help build out a child’s Justice League. But since I got Sups and MM already, Kara was the one I was after.
Then there’s the actual build, because they need to include bricks with their minifigs nowadays. It appears to be some skull UFO manned by Brainiac. I confess, I’m not that deep into DC lore, so I have no idea how comic-book accurate this is. I guess it’s seen in the latest Batman game, so that makes it worthwhile. The bulk of it is pretty meh; it feels just like another standard UFO from Alien Conquest. The tentacles at the bottom are a neat touch, and I like the use of the technic beams to attach them to the craft. The most interesting design feature, however, is the skull on the front, which has some neat SNOT (studs not on top) usage, especially with the cheese slopes on the nose. Piece wise, there’s not a lot here that’s of interest. The silver tentacles elements are relatively rare, haven’t only appeared in, wouldn’t ya know it, Bionicle playsets. This is also the only set to get the 8x8x3 dome in trans neon green. Oh, and it has that new super jumper thing, which you can attach to a minifig and use to make them leap. I’m not a huge fan of it, so it’s probably not going to get used much. . . ever.
Honestly, I’m a little disappointed in this set. All on it’s own, it’s not too bad, because it comes with a good cast of character, a decent build, and all at an affordable price. But it feels too repetitive, from the UFO build to the reused figs and not enough interesting pieces. For a more dedicated fan, I might avoid this one and try for one of the others. (I mean, the Green Lantern set definitely delivers, and it’s even cheaper than this one.) Unless you want Supergirl, like I did. Since she’s currently going for $10 on Bricklink anyway, might as well get the full set with her for just a little bit more.
Anyway, last month I was in a BrickLink store and saw they had like half the pieces to this set, which was one I’ve considered for a while (out of Galidor sets.) But then I found a store that was selling the original set for less than buying all the parts individually, so I just went with that. And even though we know the theme failed miserably, I’ll review it to find out why!
Allegra was the second human of the Galidor characters and only female. Um, that’s all I know about her background. I guess the two human characters, her and Nick Bluetooth, were warped to some alternate dimension, where they could swap out limbs between a cast of alien allies and fight evil. I don’t know why the show failed as badly as it did, cause that premise is not bad, per say. I’ve never watched the show so I can’t really comment on it, but I guess it wasn’t very appealing. (But I would’ve said the same about Chima, and that show lasted for a few years.)
Anyway, onto the set. Allegra is a tall character (closer in scale to Gali Masters). She’s only made up of nine pieces, and I guess originally sold for $10, so that’s a pretty horrific price per piece value. (Oh, she also has two pieces for her robot worm pet.) Most of the joints here are click joints, similar to those used in the Bahrag and later in Knights Kingdom figures. They offer a fair amount of posability; heck, she even has bendable knees, and she came out a full year before the Rahkshi! Unfortunately, her arms don’t have elbow joints, even though her wrists do rotate. While the leg pieces can easily be switched from left to right, the design of her arms doesn’t allow for switching sides, which is unfortunate. She has another click joint in her neck, and also comes with a hair attachment. This is probably the most interesting piece here, because it has a standard axle connection. True, it is rubbery, so it doesn’t fit in standard axle holes quite as well as it should, but it allows for some more versatility. I’ll need to find a way to use that piece eventually. All in all, the pieces are very detailed (and large) but then this also makes them a little too specialized, in a way that even Bionicle never quite achieved.
The main play feature of Galidor was to swap around the limbs, which doesn’t sound like a terrible idea, but for Lego fans we were certainly hoping for some more options. The joint connections do fit into technic pin holes, where they’re a little loose, or even in the technic click hinge pieces like that came with the Bahrag or Knights Kingdom (or Exo Force robots or most modern mech sets. . . that click hinge design has not exactly gone away.) Granted, swapping out limbs between Allegra and Gali Mata didn’t produce the most desired effects, but it shows off what can be done.
She does come with a pet, to make up for the lack of anything alien or robotic about her appearance. I don’t know what it’s called, but it seems to be an orange worm that has robotic legs. The head has a connection point and can be detached (and connected to Allegra’s torso, for example) but overall it seems to just be a silly addition.
As an action figure, she’s not terrible. Her arms could’ve used elbow joints (I think some of the other characters had them, so she just got neglected) but she has otherwise decent posability and plenty of detail. However, as a Lego set, it’s flawed, partially for having too few pieces, but mostly because those pieces are not very compatible with standard system or technic bits. Even when they do connect, the style of the Galidor pieces is just too organic. It’s a Lego Brand action figure, and let’s just keep it at that. They improved their character buildings later on with things like Knights Kingdom, Ben 10, and this other theme called Bionicle, which both predated and outlasted Galidor. Still, Galidor has the knee joints first. Sorry, Rahkshi, you were a year too late.
The Disney Princess theme has reused the Friends Mini-doll design, but while the characters were recognizable, I never really got into the theme last year. But then they released an Alladin set, 41061 Jasmine's Exotic Palace, and since itwas one of my favorite Disney movies, I decided that I should pick this one up.
There are quite a few small builds, and most are fairly unimpressive. There’s a tree, a stand for the lamp, a fountain, the magic carpet, a shopping stand, and a palace entrance. Most of these are small landscape builds, and while they’re not particularly bad, I felt they lacked substance. (But maybe it works for the target audience, of which I am not.) The palace entrance has a somewhat decent build, and I wish some of the other parts had been sacrificed to make that part a little more impressive. However, my favorite part is the magic carpet, which has a basic flat design but some lovely printing. (Stickers are used elsewhere in the set, which I didn’t apply, but the tiles used on the carpet are printed.) The original carpet has the slot for Jasmine to wedge her legs onto, and a stud for the tiger, but I revised it a bit in the image above.
Jasmine is a decent mini-doll figure, although the generic face seems a little off to me. The hairpiece is excellent; it’s rubbery but highly detailed, and looks just as good on a standard fig too. The torso and legs also have printing to really pull off the character’s look. She also comes with her tiger, Rajah, but he is was too small to be the fully grown tiger from the movie. More likely this is the tiger cub version after he got transformed, but since that was not a fun time in the movie for them, let’s just pretend that this predates the events in the movie and he’s only just a cub. (Oh, I think it’s just the same tiger mold used in the friends jungle sets last year.)
The set comes with 143 parts for $19.99. It’s not an amazing value, and there aren’t any spectacular pieces here either that demand such a price, so it must be entirely the licensing cost. There are a fair amount of pieces in tan, medium lavender, and gold. Interesting or unique pieces include the 1x2 foot plate in blue, 2x4 blue printed tile for the carpet, 4x4 plate and 1x2 plate with clips in Keetongu orange, 1x2x5 medium lavender brick, medium azure 4x4 round plate, speckled trans purple 1x1 round cone, gold 3x3 quarter dome, gold cream top, gold lamp (probably not THE lamp, just a replica), and a white inverted dome. So while a fair amount of rare recolors, the set does seem a little costly for what you get. Maybe if they had made it $10 more and made the palace most substantial, it would’ve been nicer. Or, alternatively, get rid of some of the some of the smaller models (or the palace bit entirely) and have Jasmine and the carpet for $10 less.
Overall, I don’t think it’s the best set you could pick up, especially compared to some of what the Friends line has to offer. But the character is recognizable and popular, so that’s what will probably make this set sell. Maybe we can look forward to a larger palace set in the future with maybe Aladdin and the Genie included? Wishful thinking, maybe.
Today I’m looking at 75090 Ezra’s Speeder Bike. This is from the new Star Wars Rebels cartoon, which is actually pretty decent. It features Ezra, the main character and a Jedi-in-training, along with ally Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian, against a generic Stormtrooper. Ezra and Stormy have appeared in last year’s Rebels sets. (In particular, this exact Stormtrooper, who I guess has some slightly different printing, including blue vents, that makes him stand out from others.) Sabine, however, is the last of the Rebel crew to appear in minifig form. While Ezra’s character looks close enough to the cartoon version to work (although maybe a little taller than he should be. . . guess they don’t want to give him short legs) Sabine’s character looks a little off. The hair piece especially seems too large for her (and I do believe it is a new mold?). Maybe the slenderness of her character didn’t translate into fig form very well. Normally that doesn’t bother me, but it does this time. She also doesn’t have her colorful Mandalorian helmet, but it sounds like they’re saving that for a pricier set this summer, so maybe she’ll look better then.
As for the bikes, my first reaction was disappointment when I realized both have the same designs with just different colors. Like, it’s not even a Toa Inika kind of thing where the structure is the same with some different armor and weapons; these bikes are completely identical, with only color differences to set them apart. But after building the bikes, I find that this doesn’t bother me too much, because they have some excellent builds. There’s a lot of interesting SNOT designs (studs not on top) and a bunch of curved slopes that really makes the vehicle have a smooth exterior. I know I’m not a very knowledgeable Lego Star Wars fan, since I really only started collecting a few years ago, but these are the best Speeder Bike designs I’ve seen. (And I’ve bought like 3 other sets that came with one, so at least I have some experience on the matter.) As it is, I’m totally fine having the same design repeated twice, because it’s a good design. (Like the Bohrok. . . although I won’t be buying twelve different speeder bikes just for a completion’s sake.) Anyway, they’re stable and relatively swooshable, and having two of them means you have a fairly even field as far as the chase goes.
As far as pieces are concerned, you get 253 in a $19.99 USD set. That’s actually a pretty good value, as far as Star Wars sets are concerned, even if a lot of those are small detailing pieces. You get a bunch of SNOT bricks and brackets, and a fair amount of curved slopes, including a few exclusive ones in dark green. Plus, the trans bright green 1x1 studs for Ezra’s stud launchers, which are still a fairly uncommon piece. Oh, and Ezra has a light-sabor coming out of some binoculars; this makes absolutely no sense unless you’ve seen the show, but there is a reason for it. IMO it looks cooler in the show.
Anyway, it does seem like kind of a niche set for those who watch the cartoon and not so much for those who only follow the movies. (But hey, they’ve been doing Clone Wars cartoon sets for a while too, so nothing new there.) Still, good characters (or passable, in Sabine’s case, even if she could be better) and great bike designs make it worthwhile. If you’re interested in the material anyway.
Let’s start with 41097 Heartlake Hot Air Balloon from the 2015 Lego Friends line. This is cool because we haven’t seen a hot air balloon since the days of the Adventurers line, and this one gets some new pieces to help pull off the look. While the balloon pieces are obviously designed for one purpose, they offer enough connection points that I could see them being used elsewhere, and look forward to what creative uses people will come up with. (I currently don’t have any ideas off the top of my head, I think I’ll just keep it as a balloon.) You also get two of the inverted done pieces in lime (used as the weights on the balloon) which is currently exclusive to this set. While there’s a fair amount of good pieces in tan, green, medium azure, brown, and such, there aren’t really any other new molds or unique colors here. Looks like all the new piece allotment for this set went into the balloon itself. And can’t really complain about that.
The mini-dolls included here are Andrea, one of the core cast of characters, and her friend Noah, who is one of the rarer male mini-dolls (oh, they do have a slightly different torso mold) and is exclusive to this set. There’s nothing really remarkable about him except that he comes with Kai’s hairpiece, which is fairly uncommon. The balloon itself has a nice basket that can fit multiple characters, even if it’s a bit snug. Granted, it is way too large for the balloon (or rather the balloon is too small for the basket) to realistically float, but I can ignore the realism for the otherwise great design. The set also comes with a little landscape bit, which I think is just filler to add to the piece count and boost up the set’s price. This includes a little hill with a stream, a picnic area, and a campfire complete with marshmallows to roast. I guess it’s fairly substantial for an outdoor landscape piece, but it just looks lackluster next to the balloon. Still, it offers a destination for the balloon, and adds to the play value.
The set is 254 pieces at $29.99 USD. Not exactly a great value, but the balloon totally makes up for it, so I think it’s fair. It definitely stood out to me as the Friends set to get in the winter 2015 wave, and it’s not too pricey either. Now I want to see if I can fit the entire cast of Friends characters in that balloon; it could squeeze in four without a problem, I think, but five might be pushing it. Somebody might have to hang on the outside!
First off is Gali. My first reaction is that she needs more of that lovely dark azure. I might buy a second just to get more of those armor pieces. The thing that really bugs me about her is her shoulder armor. They attached it to the rotating beam that’s supposed to be her gear function. WHY? Not only does the armor look kinda meh (seriously, what’s the need with shoulder armor that extends above the heads?) but now it also messes up the arm functions. It has since been removed.
I’m also not a big fan of her trident. Sure, it’s a somewhat decent design, but it’s waaaay too big, especially considering she’s one of the smaller Toa. I instead broke it down into hatchets, more similar to what they wanted me to use on Lewa. (But I refused on him.) I think the new axes closer resemble her original hooks, of which I was always a fan of. Plus, their size is more manageable for her. I also took out one of the extra gears that was used in her function. She initially came with two in order to provide the friction to hold the trident, but when I got rid of that, it was a little too much friction, so I took one out to give her a little more room. (As fun as those added friction gears are at keeping things straight, they totally take away the fun of quick arm flailing by spinning the gears on the back, which is something I liked. . . but maybe that’s just nostalgia again.)
Without the bulky shoulder armor or giant weapon, Gali feels more properly slimmed down and looks quite good. Heck, I’m even getting used to the mask, which I guess invoked more of the MoL Kaukau shape. I mean, it’s still a far cry from the Kaukau and Kaukau Nuva, but it feels recognizable. (Lewa’s, however, is still a far cry from any of his previous appearances.)
Next I picked up Kopaka. I was always used to the tall and narrow versions of Kopaka, but I can dig the muscled-up version too. I do like their shoulder design for him, which fills in the gaps nicely but also doesn’t really affect his gear system at all. On some of the other Toa, I was disappointed when there was only a gear function for one of the arms, but for Kopaka this method makes sense. I do wish he had a slightly better sword (or rather a spear, I think) and shield. The pieces are good and all, but I wish his shield was more circular. (It reminds me more of Glatorian Mata Nui’s scarab shield, which is not a bad design, just for me it’s not Kopaka. Again, I think that’s mostly nostalgia.)
The elephant in the room is Kopaka’s legs. They used those 3L beams with a ball joint in the center to position armor on the front and back of Kopaka’s lower legs. I like the attempt, and the pieces are great, but gosh it looks ugly when viewed from the wide. The porportions are just entirely wrong. I quickly just put the front armor on straight to the leg joint. He’s not as armored, but it flows better. Also, his upper leg armor comes with stickers, which I regretfully applied, since armor in that style only appears in white here. But the design looks great on Kopaka, so the stickers stay. Oh, and the mask is great, probably the one that closest resembles the original. (Granted, it doesn’t quite have the circular look of the original Akaku, but looks like the Nuva. And really, if the three lenses are there, it’ll be an Akaku no matter what. Those seem to help make all of Kopaka’s masks recognizable.)
Then I bought Tahu, who is again the Toa who’s hogging all the limelight. He again has his shoulder armor attached to his rotating shoulder, which I dislike. It was easy enough to switch it around a bit so it’s connected to the front body piece, but is still kinda annoying that they designed it that way. The connection for the gold swords on the back is pretty nifty, although I preferred them angled down instead of up. His swords are a great design, resembling Lhikan’s quite a bit. It was always a shame the original Tahu didn’t have his own lava surfboard, and Tahu Nuva’s doesn’t quite compare to this new style. They make for good melee swords too. However, like Kopaka, his lower leg armor is pitiful. Those giant torso armor pieces look good from maybe one angle, but from the side or back they just look too empty. Not a bad Toa, and his mask is clearly based off the Hau, but I guess not quite my favorite.
Finally, I come to Onua. Man, Onua’s been hulked up. Like, seriously, that chest piece was originally used on the Hulk. I like their method for extending the arm functions, and adding function to it with the socket piece on the back. It slows down the motion considerably, but when he’s holding onto his massive hammer, that helps, and makes it feel like there’s some force behind his swings. I do like the design of his hammer, with the Ben 10 foot piece fitting in quite well. Meanwhile, his weapons are very versatile. I like how they act as claws and armor individually, but their combination into the hammer is very awesome. Onua does come with four, but I could definitely use more. Speaking of the shoulder armor, its design allows it to cover the shoulders and gear function quite well without actually disrupting it.
Onua’s color scheme is a little out there. I love the inclusion of purple, although it would’ve been nice to see more of the trans purple limb elements included, since they appeared on the legs but not the arms, where the gray version of the piece was used. The gold armor is supposed to fit with Onua’s gold, powered up form, but I still think those pieces would look better in silver. As soon as I can get some extras, I’ll be switching them out. His torso piece also uses a sticker, unlike any of the other Toa’s torso designs, but in this case I’m fine with it, since I don’t see myself repurposing that torso armor anytime soon anyway. His mask also closely resembles a Pakari is design, but seems way too small for such a large character, especially since the original Pakari was a sizeable mask.
So all these Toa definitely have their ups and downs. The colors are all great, including a fair amount of rare shades, even if that does make MOCing in that color very difficult. The gear functions work on all of them, pending some shoulder armor redesigns. I think I have made slight modifications to all of my Toa, some more than others, because each one tended to have something about their design that I didn’t like, and also making it really hard to pick a favorite, because I have issues with them all. Still, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of collecting and building a Toa team again, which I haven’t really done since Tahu and the gang last appeared in 2008. So worthwhile sets, and now I have all six Toa on display, guarding my apartment.
I should also mention that the Skull Spiders are nice. I kind of wish the green ones had been in a more common shade, or that made of them had included stinger tails like the ones that came with Pohatu. They’re kinda meh on their own, but now I’ve got my own small swarm collection, and they’re trying to take over Benny’s Spaceship now. See, fun! I’ve also built a simple display stand for the gold masks, although having seen better ones posted online, I might redesign it.
I’m still considering purchasing the Lord of Skull Spiders and the Protector of Earth, and then maybe an extra Pohatu and Gali for their pieces. And then I need to think of some cool ways to MOC with these new pieces. (Maybe, my Toa might not come apart for a while.)
First things first, did I either not read the Lewa reviews closely enough or did none of them mention all the new technic goodies that he came with? +oo rods and 1 length rod spacers? First one was from last year and relatively uncommon, and Lewa has four, and the spacers are new, I believe!
Since I already started... Lewa seems fairly well done. I was especially impressed with how they did the shoulder spikes, which I expected to just be another random ball joint connection, since Hero Factory did that a few times. But the proportions, weapons, general colors... all Lewa. Except for the mask, which totally ruins it. I also wish he had longer handles for his axes; I'll probably throw in a rod myself to make them that way, but the official version just seems to have him gripping them too high up. They don't quite look as good as wings as they could, but it's a nice attempt, and the duel swords work. Wish he had more green; it could totally replace the Keetongu orange without issue.
Pohatu's a nice combination of armor and lack of armor for sleekness. While his mask looked like one of the best in promo images, I think it's a little too small. The trans neon green and burnt orange isn't my favorite combo, but I like the pieces in those colors. (I again wish we'd seen more of the primary color. You could've replaced those silver shells with burnt orange.) The Boomerang weapons are fantastic and I'm tempted to buy another Pohatu just for more. (Oh, yes, and in the picture I flipped him upside-down so his hips are wide and have the gear joints.)
Speaking of gears, I generally like how they did it. The big, Boxor gears are used for the direction change of the spins, but the smaller gears do a wonderful job of stabilizing it. Plus, I like that a different technique was used between the two, and I know that some of the other Toa have different designs too, so props for multiple creative uses and not just one-size-fits-all. Although Pohatu should've been allowed to move both his arms. Or, you know, had his motion translated to his legs. But I guess that doesn't work quite as well as it did with the original sets.
Another thing that does bug me; the masks seem to fall off way too easily. I know that's supposed to be a function, but it seems the connection is just really unstable. And I feel this is the same across all the masks; skull spiders,
And now that I have four of em, I want to MOC with the dark blue spider masks. I'm more of a fan of the scorpion spiders that came with the stone characters; it's a shame that none of the others seem to have tails. With the tail, they seem a bit imposing, less so with just the legs.
I guess I also got the protectors. Decent characters, I guess, but mostly parts packs. Like the flame pieces in different colors as their weapons. Not a huge fan of the Gatling guns, but they serve their purpose. The masks are nice in the two tones, although that will make MOCing with them a bit harder. Plus, 4 burnt orange shells with the stone protectors. Sadly, the shells are trans green on the jungle protector; could use more shells in bright green. Seriously, if they're going to introduce a new color into constraction, they need to give it more parts! (Technically I guess they're doing that with Lewa since Green Lantern Ultrafig has CCBS parts first... but still, I want more of them if I'm going to MOC in that color.)
I'm aiming next for Onua and Gali, although I'll eventually grab Tahu and Kopaka as well. Maybe also the purple Earth Protector, the other three don't really appeal to me, besides their masks, and currently the sets aren't worth the masks alone.
And that's my ranting about the new Toa. They still have to grow on me some more, but they're not half bad.
[i]Click for Review
Well, THAT was more work than it was worth. I mean, I don't know if anybody's really excited for these anymore / wants to know how to feel for them. But then, I kind of feel the same about all reviews I do lately. Like, is it really worth stressing out to get these done quickly when other sites have done the same thing already and nobody here really gives a care anyhow.
Granted, it's the only time I seem to do news anymore, so I guess I need to do it if I want to keep my job here? (Unless that's also against the public consensus )
I'm going to go back to sleep now and get ready for my real job tomorrow.
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Who Would Want Custom Printed Toa Minifigures?xccj - Oct 30 2017 05:14 PM
Who Would Want Custom Printed Toa Minifigures?Lyichir - Oct 30 2017 04:32 PM
Now I Have Four Ways To Punch You In The Facexccj - Oct 19 2017 12:17 AM
Ninjago City ArrivesTa-metru_defender - Oct 17 2017 08:36 PM
Ninjago City Arrivesxccj - Oct 15 2017 12:41 AM
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~ Owl City
Lisztomania, think less but see it grow. Like a riot, like a riot, Oh.
I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight.
~ Foster the People
Birds sing for you, you can make this blue sky blush
~ Oh Land
On the other side of the street I knew, stood a girl that looked like you.
I guess that's Déjà vu, but I thought this can't be true
But even the sun sets in paradise
~ Maroon 5
Crazy how that shipwreck meant my ship was coming in
~ Train (Again?)
So make now your ally, and leap before you look
~ Nothing's Carved In Stone
I'm just too much a coward to admit when I'm in need.
~ Passion Pit
Just believe in far away, ikiru tame ni sore wa
~ Song Rider
Everything that drowns me makes me want to fly.
~ One Republic
I live my life in shackles, but I'm borderline-free.
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Silver Lake, Mercury Mining, This Mistake, No Silver Lining.
~ Alkaline Trio
I now control your mind.