Set Review: 70804 Ice Cream Machine
Sunday, January 5th, 2014 at 1:50pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
The LEGO Movie set reviews continue to pour in! This time, Forum Assistant Nuju Metru takes a look at 70804 Ice Cream Machine, the final 2-in-1 set in the first wave. Read and watch on to see if you should listen for the ice cream van and rush out to pick it up!
Hey guys, and welcome to the BZPower review of set 70804, "Ice Cream Machine," from the LEGO Movie line! As always, I'd like to thank both TLG for giving us at BZP free stuff and Andrew for passing some of it on to me. Read on to see my thoughts - captured for you in both a video and the traditional text/image format - on this 2-in-1 model. Will this set be enjoyable like a soft serve cone, or will it melt in the light we shed on it?
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
"Ice Cream Machine" comes in a box of the same display-space dimensions as the rest of the LEGO Movie 2-in-1 sets. The theme/film logo occupies the top left corner of the box front, emerging diagonally. The corner of the box opposite the logo demonstrates the 2-in-1 nature of the set, showing the ice cream truck that can be made out of the pieces within.
The other model takes up most of the display space; the "creative" model (quotation marks here employed to label the non-traditional model as such, not to imply the reviewer's scorn) - in this set a sort of double-decker Ice Cream Machine - pursues one of Lord Business's evil Micro Managers that is, in turn, flying in the wake of Cardio Carrie, the real hero of the set. Popsicle flickfires rain down on the Micro Manager, giving it a taste of frosty vengeance.
The upper portion of the back of the box is more evenly divided between ice cream truck and Ice Cream Machine. The ice cream truck image is the same one from the front of the box, but larger and on a different backdrop; the Ice Cream Machine is given another dynamic diorama, this time with the Micro Manager as hunter and Cardio Carrie on board the Ice Cream Machine.
The bottom of the box employs a larger-than-life filmstrip to house the images demonstrating the set's functions and other details. From left to right, they are: the multi-missile firing contraption housed in the Micro Manager, the ice cream truck's removable roof, the set's figures (Ice Cream Jo, Cardio Carrie, and Ice Cream Mike), the popsicle projectiles I mentioned above, and a preview/ad for the upcoming and unrated "The LEGO Movie Videogame."
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The 2-in-1 sets offer much more building time (twice as much, actually) as other sets of their price point. I like this; building new products is fun, and for these, we get double the experience. Both models come together slower than one might expect, as they are made up of mostly small parts (which offer more potential versatility, after all).
Speaking of piece versatility, I wondered during the building process how the 2-in-1 sets were designed... Which model came first in the design process? Which model was prioritized for its brick needs? My suspicions that the "traditional" model - the ice cream truck, in this case - came first, and that the "creative" model - the Ice Cream Machine - came second were reinforced especially when I was building the creative model, which occasionally used smaller pieces stacked together or alongside one another to make up for a lacking larger piece. However, some considerations had to have been made for the creative model, too, since occasionally the ice cream truck employed similarly superfluously complex constructions, like under the hood, where 1-to-2x4 modified plates, used on the wings of the Ice Cream Machine, are stacked in alternating left/right arrangement.
"Ice Cream Machine" includes three instruction books: one for the ice cream truck, one for the Ice Cream Machine, and one for the minifigures and Micro Manager. To my happiness, the Micro Manager's component parts were not required for building either of the set's two main models, meaning that our adorable villain can remain built regardless of whether you want to play with rolling truck or flying Machine.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
We get a few interesting parts in this set. Of course, there's plenty of ice cream-related ones (three new colors of scoops, including keetorange; lime-green popsicles, and cones), but there are some other interesting parts here too. We get 1x4 plates with smooth middles in lime green, (a new color), a 2x2 dome part in a softer Friends green, and a SNOTty part that's probably appeared on some city set or other, but doubtfully ever in pink. My favorite part here is a recolor of the Power Miners drill head in tan, which on this set simulates an oversized display ice cream cone.
Here are our three figures: Ice Cream Mike, Ice Cream Jo, and Cardio Carrie. Isn't it convenient how in LEGO world, everyone's profession/hobby is part of their official name? It must make introductions so easy. Mike and Jo both have pretty uniforms that go with their truck, resplendent with torsos in ADU (Alien Conquest good guys) blue and attractive printing that's detailed enough for them to get legible name tags. Both have some "ooh, ice cream!" faces on, with Mike's being especially enjoyable. His sideburns go with her hair; I wonder if the Ice Cream Machine is a family business, and they're siblings or something. Mike wears a cool service industry paper hat, which I think is a new mold.
Cardio Carrie takes the cake, though. The details on her are pretty great; she has an iPod, she has a headband, and she has subtle beads of sweat running down her face print. The black/pink scheme has just the right attitude for such a serious fitness buff as Carrie. I think the legwarmers are my favorite part of this figure. They're adorably '80s.
The back view of these figs is also pretty good. The ice cream crew gets ties for their aprons, and Carrie's strong shoulder blades complete her aura of health. Her face, like those of the other odd-one-out characters in the 2-in-1 sets I've reviewed so far (Sharon Shoehorn in "Castle Cavalry," Dr. McScrubs in "The Flying Flusher," comes with a distressed reverse expression. The beads of sweat and headband carry over onto this side, which is nice.
"Ice Cream Machine" might have the best figures of the 2-in-1 sets I've seen. The set itself - an ice cream truck - is an unlikely candidate for normal LEGO City already, making its crew similarly novel. Cardio Carrie is an even less likely character to get in another set any time soon, and with her iPod, she's a playful nod to current culture. The colors on these figs are great, especially on Mike and Jo, whose pink/white/ADU schemes are lovely.
While the gimmick on the Micro Manager in this set is cool in principle - a gravity-loaded magazine of flickfires, which has been used successfully by TLG on past products - the compactness of the design sabotages its functionality. The flickfires are too close together for the bottommost one to be effectively dispatched, and the bottom/feeder portion of the magazine is too short, so that a flick vigorous enough to launch a missile outside of the Micro Manager's chamber usually joggles the whole thing out of its housing.
Aside from the disappointing (and swoosh-sabotaging) play feature, this Micro Manager, like its companions, is cute. This one is also notable for its employment of 4x4 plates with 2x2 square cutouts in the centers, which I forgot to cover in my "pieces of interest" portion of the review (sorry, not sorry).
The first model I built was the traditional one: the ice cream truck. It's a beautiful truck, and something quite different than what we usually see. Aside from its purpose - an ice cream truck, which I'm pretty sure TLG has never given us - this vehicle stands out visually. It's not every day we get a pink City automobile, and the ice cream truck is unabashedly vibrant, accented with lime green, keetorange, ADU blue (in sticker form only), and pale Friends green. It couldn't be a happier vehicle if it tried.
The colors aren't the only pretty things about the ice cream truck. It's soundly designed, too, tall enough for minifigures to stand inside and equipped with various assortments of frozen goodies (the freezer design, see above, is very clever); the mongo vanilla cone on the roof is genius, and the speakers are perfect touches.
The second manual gives us the Ice Cream Machine. This machine is heavier than I had anticipated, due mostly to its dense core made up of mostly smaller elements. I'm not crazy about this model, overall. Maybe I was spoiled by the excellence of "The Flying Flusher's" creative model, which was extremely cohesive and clever, because the Ice Cream Machine, which vaguely resembles a plane, seems by contrast more thrown-together. Some constructions from the traditional model, notably the speakers and the mongo cone (here, inverted to be a laser or ice cream hose or something), are preserved through the transition, but they feel tacked on, rather than integrated like the pipes and toilet seats of "The Flying Flusher."
The Ice Cream Machine has two decks; there's the glass-fronted cabin, and an open-air place that reminds me a little of the bed of a pickup truck. Ice cream scoops dot the front of the vehicle, facing front. The blue and green ice cream containers in particular, hooked up to Hero Factory semi-transparent tubes that weren't used in the traditional model, give me the impression that these cold desserts are weapons. The tubes and the ice cream accessories reduce any aerodynamic appearance that the plane had initially, cluttering its silhouette.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Insofar as play features go, "Ice Cream Machine" doesn't have many. The flickfire popsicles on the creative vehicle and the flickfire magazine of the Micro Manager are the only ones not related to the set's 2-in-1 construction.
The real play feature of a 2-in-1 set isn't its flickfires, of course. The main attraction is that you get two models for the price of one. Admittedly, one of the two looks a little hodgepodge when held up against TLG's usual wares (and even against other 2-in-1 models), but I don't think that's too important; I can complain all I want about the Ice Cream Machine model's appearance; what I can't ding it for is creativity. It's refreshing to see models that are more about creative liberty - the legacy of the brand, the really unique thing about LEGO - and less about accurate representation of something or other which, though the company has gotten even better at over the years, dampens some of the toys' intangible magic.
In a similar vein, the 2-in-1 designator is actually something of a misnomer, because like all LEGO products, this one is really an "infinity-in-1" set. The building possibilities that come inside any LEGO product - including those designed only to make one thing - are practically limitless, which we often forget. Just six 2x4 LEGO bricks can be combined a whopping 915,103,765 different ways - if they're all the same color! The 2-in-1 product does something really great: it reminds us, as consumers, of the potential inherent in the LEGO system. These sets in particular invite invention. Why should a ice cream truck be limited to becoming just one other thing, after all?
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
"Ice Cream Machine" is, all said and done, a decent member of the 2-in-1 collection, where the strengths of the traditional model manage to overcome the weaknesses of the creative one. The traditional-versus-creative discrepancy was larger here than in either of the other two 2-in-1 sets I've looked at; the traditional model of "Ice Cream Machine" was my favorite one of the three, but the titular model was almost as incoherent as the Pod Racer in "Castle Cavalry," which had the excuse of having been derived from a non-vehicle in the first place.
Of course, the creative model - by virtue of its mere existence - deserves at least some commendation; however, when compared to more successful executions of the 2-in-1 concept (i.e. "The Flying Flusher"), "Ice Cream Machine" feels like a missed opportunity. Since I've written this review, "Ice Cream Machine" has been taken apart for scrap pieces. I hope to find a use for the pink.
What's to like?
- Awesome product concept
- A few new parts, some fun recolors
- Two sets for the price of one
- Micro Manager is cute, can exist with both models
- Price-to-piece ratio is good
- Ice cream truck pretty in design and color
- Traditional model explores uncharted LEGO City territory
- Figures best of the 2-in-1 sets
What's not to like?
- Ice Cream Machine model lacks focus
- Discrepancy between traditional and creative models is unfortunate
- Micro Manager function isn't functional
- Stickers are more abundant here than on other 2-in-1 sets
Though there are more pros than cons listed above, the cons (aside from the sticker one) are pretty big. If you've got your heart set on owning a well-wrought LEGO ice cream truck (and who wouldn't!), then this is a good set for you to buy. If you're more attracted to the 2-in-1 functions, I'd recommend "The Flying Flusher."
"Why can't it always be like this?" Jo asked. "Business smooth, nobody trying to scrap our nice truck to build a mysteriously airborne contraption..."
"We can dream," Mike replied.
Big thanks to Aaron for taking the time to put this together, and of course thanks to LEGO for sending us the sets. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the Talkback. And of course, keep checking back for more LEGO reviews and news, right here on BZPower!
« Return to News