Set Review: 70812 Creative Ambush
Saturday, January 11th, 2014 at 3:45am by Jason, BZPower Reporter
You know what The LEGO Movie needs? A Creative Ambush. Oh wait, it already has that in 70812: Creative Ambush, where the Flying Kebab Stand and the Saloon Biplane fight off a Micro Manager. Is this a set to go out West to get, or should you toss it like a bad kebab? Read BZP Report Xccj's review, or watch his video, to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the box shows off the creative ambush in progress. A Saloon Biplane and a Flying Kebab Stand are attacking a biped Micro Manager. Since this is a European box, it doesn't have the piece count on the front, but it's 473 for those who are wondering. (The box is also really shiny, but that's apparently different from American boxes. It may be because LEGO sent these to us directly to review. Thanks LEGO!!) The back of the box shows off some other scenes. Unfortunately, there are no alternate models for the saloon or kebab stand, so they are not featured on the back.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
There are three models to build from this set; the Micro Manager, the flying Kebab Stand, and the Saloon Biplane. There's nothing overly complex here, although there's some good use of SNOT (Studs Not On Top) on all three models. For a sped up version, watch the video!
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
As I mentioned earlier, there are 473 pieces to this set, and that's a good value for $39.99 USD. There aren't a whole lot of new pieces here, but a few stand out. Pieces like the bucket, whips, window shutters, exhaust pipes, cannons, golden tap piece, and brown support pieces are relatively rare, and this is the first for the dark brown 2x4 curved slope. But the exciting piece is the round 2x2 tiles with a hole in the center, which is a new element that appears 4 times in this set. The interesting thing is that it's placement in the set doesn't even utilize the center hole, so there wasn't a real need to include the element, but four of them were put here anyway. Other than that, you get a bunch of pieces in browns, tans, and gold to match the western theme, as well as a good selection of black, white, yellow, and red from the other models. As a parts pack, it's not too bad.
There are some cool minifigures here, with a mix between City and Western themes. First is Executive Ellen, who I imagine to be a business rival of Lord Business. That must be why the Micro Manager is after her, and she gets to play the role of a damsel in distress. She has a nice female business suit in dark blue, and the hairpiece is new in dark brown. She has two faces: serious and frightened.
Next is Kebab Bob, or Bob Kebab, however his name's supposed to go. His uniform includes an olive green torso and lots of food stains on his shirt and apron. He also comes with one of the new hat molds, with a kebab printed on it. He makes for a good fast food worker fig.
Then we have Sudds Backwash, who is likely the owner of the saloon which he tore down and rebuilt into a biplane. He looks straight out of any western, complete with a brown bowler hat (I believe that's a new color for it) and a nice mustache.
Finally, we have Rootbeer Belle, who is the second female fig in the set and the second western themed fig. It's nice to see a set with an equal amount of males and females, and it's more exciting to know that Belle is not just another damsel in distress. She has a blue saloon style dress, although the yellow on her torso is faded, which is disappointing. Her hair piece, again, is new in that color, I believe. And, the same as Bob and Sudds, she only has one face printing.
Now we have the main villain of the set: the Micro Manager. On one hand, it's not the most exciting villain. I mean, it's a black cube, right? But it has plenty of functionality, like arms and legs, clawed hands, and flick fire missiles! So in a way, it has a kind of ruthless efficiency that probably fit well with Lord Business's schemes. And it's also nice that there's some uniformity between all the Micro Managers in the various sets, but also that they all have unique features. Plus, instead of a few meager enemy figs, we get a villain with some substance, which is a plus.
Onto this Micro Manager: He comes with two legs and two arms, which are jointed using the click hinges. It's not quite as articulate as ball joints, but good, solid connections that offer decent stability. The clawed hands actually can grip a minifig pretty tightly, although it takes some effort to squeeze one in. And, as I mentioned earlier, the 2x2 round tiles with a hole is used on the feet. The back has a clip where you can store the flick fire missile when you're not flicking and firing it. Overall, it would be a pretty menacing thing to see stomping down the city streets.
Then there's the Flying Kebab Stand. This model is… unusual. It doesn't appeal to me like some of the other "transformed" city vehicles seen in other sets. It's not that the design is bad, but it feels very lackluster, especially when compared to some of the other models. That doesn't mean there aren't some nice detailing; there are stickers on the wings that show off Kebab Bob's menu, as well as an advertisement for "Octan's Taste Meat." I thought Octan was a gasoline company, so what they're doing in the fast food industry is beyond me. (Although I guess Octan owns everything in The LEGO Movie, so the company's surely expanded its reach.) Another nice touch is the ketchup and mustard dispensers on the side, not to mention the kebab flick fire missiles! It's an interesting model idea, but it's just not as good as some of the others.
The Saloon Biplane is the star of this set. The overall design creates a very nice plane, but there are plenty of great saloon elements on it that really add to the flavor. The biggest detail is the piano in the back, complete with a music sheet. Other cool parts usages are the window shutters on the wings, the bucket used on the propeller, barrels on the back boosters, bottles clipped to the wings, and dart boards attached to the wing tips. Plus, there's an excellent color scheme of browns, tan, and gold, which have a very western or steampunk feel to them. The cannons that are attached in the middle of the wings do seem a bit out of style for a western saloon, but they're a great function so that can be forgiven. My biggest grievance, however, is the seating compartment is rather deep. Belle, in her dress, is tall enough to stand comfortably at the controls. But it's a little too deep for Sudds to stand up, and he just barely manages to attach his feet to the bottom. He can just kind of sit in lightly, unattached, but then if there's some turbulence on the plane he could easily get thrown out!
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?
The best part of this Creative Ambush is that you have three parties to play with as you act of the scenes from the movie preemptively. And better yet, one side isn't a throw-away model, although the Micro Manager is a bit outgunned. But perhaps Kebab Bob is secretly an agent of Lord Business, and he turns on the Saloon Biplane! Then things just got interesting!
There are plenty of play functions too. In addition to semi-articulate arms and legs, the Micro Manger has a flick fire missile. Because it wouldn't be a set without them. It would be funny if they have some bit in the movie where they make fun of the flick fires, like by having them not travel that far when flicked, but I digress. And, as mentioned earlier, the clawed hands can hold onto a minifigure… or a suitcase, in case the Micro Manager decides to start a career handling luggage.
The main function on the Kebab Stand is the gears that turn the oven thing. I suppose it's an okay function, but it was kind of a let down, since I was expecting more substance from it. If turning the oven also made the wings flap, now that would've been a cool function! The wings do flap, but only because they're clipped on. The Kebab Stand also has flick fire missiles, but the missiles are actually Kebabs, so Bob is really just shooting free food at the Micro Manager!
The Saloon Biplane's primary functions are the duel cannons in the middle of the two wings. The cannon pieces are nothing new, but they're spring loaded and shoot far better than any flick fire missiles. (They're so fast that I had trouble filming them!) Some 1x1 round bricks are included for ammo, and you can also shoot the bottles on the front. Next, the treasure chests on the back are situated in such a way that when you open them, sticks of dynamite fall down and drop on the Micro Manager below. It's a nifty feature, although the treasure chests are easily opened when you're gripping the back of the plane, so you might prematurely drop the dynamite. Finally, the Biplane is also fairly swooshable and sturdy enough to hold onto.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Good minifigures
- Nice amount of pieces, good for Western or Steampunk builders
- Micro Manager has some substance to it for the set's villain
- Saloon Biplane model is well done
- A fun mix of City and Western
- Cannons are a great function
- Lots of role playing potential
What's not to like?
- No alternate builds for the Saloon or Kebab Stand
- The Flying Kebab Stand is just underwhelming in general
- Well, the Micro Manager is just a cube with arms and legs
- The models aren't as iconic as the other sets in the theme
- Faded printing of Belle's torso
Overall, this is not the most iconic set from The LEGO Movie lineup so far. None of the characters or vehicles have appeared in the trailers, so we don't know how big a role these models will play, but they seem a little lacking compared to some of the other spectacular sets in the theme. The Saloon Biplane is well done, but the Flying Kebab Stand is a bit bland and the Micro Manager doesn't stand out from any of its other companions. If you want something based on the movie, I might suggest going for one of the sets featuring the main characters. Or if you're interested in a zany build, one of the other vehicles that has an alternate model might be a better buy, since the Saloon and Kebab Stand are unfortunately lacking in official alternate builds. (Of course, that's not to say they you couldn't make them on your own with the pieces included. LEGO is, after all, about creating anything out of blocks, be it a saloon or a plane.)
However, this set certainly has its upsides. It has a bunch of good parts at a good value, and the elements are ideal for builders of western or steampunk themes. And the figs are also a great mix of City and Western characters, all with some decent printing and new headgear. And if you choose to ignore the Flying Kebab Stand and the Micro Manager, the Saloon Biplane is still an excellent model. In the end, it really depends on what you're looking for. This set isn't for everybody, but it's not a bad set. (Additionally, this set will probably be a store exclusive model, because it's marked as "Hard to Find" in the LEGO Catalog.)
And here's one more use for this set: BZPower is hosting the Caveat Scriptor Comedies Contest, where you need to write a comedy scene that could fit into The LEGO Movie. You can draw inspiration from the characters in this set, or characters from the other sets, the wave of movie collectible minifigures, or just anybody who's appeared in the trailers! The winners will receive tickets to go see The LEGO Movie in theaters, so get writing! But you better hurry; the contest ends on January 18, 2014.
Thanks again for reading this review, and thanks again to LEGO for providing us with these sets to review in a semi-timely manner! Stay tuned to BZPower for more LEGO news as well as the rest of The LEGO Movie set reviews!
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