Monday, March 30, 2015

LEGO 60072: Demolition Starter Set - REVIEW

I'm still hoping to eventually create my own LEGO City layout just for fun.  As such, I occasionally find myself in the LEGO aisle at my local Wal*Mart (or my not-so-local Target) looking for sets that might make for a fun addition to a layout that I haven't even started.

Enter today's set:  LEGO 60072:  Demolition Starter Set.

I know that a lot of people seem to think rather little of starter sets, but I have to say that this particular starter set caught my eye immediately.  For under $10, you get a small construction vehicle, FOUR different minifigures, plus a couple of construction cones...and a toilet.

Yes, you get a toilet to demolish...  How do you beat that for a fun time?  In fact, LEGO seems to have decided that potty humor was the thing this year as this isn't the only demolition set to prominently feature a toilet (the other being LEGO City Demolition Service Truck - a set that I also purchased but have not yet built (as of the time of this review anyhow).

I like the back of the box as well as it shows a (sort of) alternate build...or at least it show some demolition in progress.

Turning our attention back to the Demolition Starter set, let's begin by taking a look at the real star of the set - the four minifigures.

You get four figures which are all different - an awesome move by LEGO.  From left to right, you get a guy with red tinted safety goggles and a jackhammer, a construction lady with a giant hammer, a driver for the vehicle, and presumably the pit boss with a megaphone.

Looking at the figures from the back you can see that they all have some back printing (none of the figures have alternate faces however).  It should be noted that the hearing protectors on the jackhammer guy's helmet are built in - they are not removable like some of the sets had in previous years.  Also, the female construction worker's hair is attached to her helmet piece as well.  It is nice that LEGO included a female worker - a better gender balance is always appreciate for those who wish to create their own city layouts (like me)!

The set itself only contains 85 pieces but you get two small builds in addition to the four figures.  The first build is the construction vehicle.

The vehicle is a small digger of sorts, though the front scoop has extremely limited movement (mostly a couple of "clicks" up or down).

I do like the look of the vehicle - for such a limited part count I would say this is a successful build.

The other build in the set is the toilet portion which is supposed to be what the crew is demolishing.  I can't quite comprehend why it takes four people, plus a vehicle, to take down a single toilet and a short wall but whatever.

Once again, LEGO nailed the build while keeping things super simple.  It's instantly recognizable as a toilet - and a leaking one at that!  I don't know that a hammer is the best way to fix it though...

The last bit to build is a pair of super, super simple traffic cones - but anything that adds to the play value is a welcome addition in my mind.

Overall, I would say this an extremely successful small set.  The cost is low and the minifigure count is high (much higher, in fact, than some of the larger demolition sets)!  I love the fact that you get four different figures plus the vehicle, traffic cones,and the toilet mini build.

The Bottom Line:
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  6
Overall:  9

For kids, this set is pretty much perfect.  I could see a lot of play potential including different builds with the extra pieces just to then destroy 'em with the giant hammer!  For adults, getting four minifigures is nice (of course) but the construction truck doesn't offer a lot of alternate build options.

Although that competes the review of the set, when I was building the set I happened to notice the following picture at the end of the instruction manual.

I was ecstatic to see the scene - as a kid I LOVED staring at photos like this with all the different LEGO sets "in action."  I recall spending many happy hours looking through my LEGO magazines and enjoying the different scenes.  In this particular scene, there's actually a lot of stuff hidden including a cop and robber chase, a cat on a roof, and some kids hiding in the woods!  It's enough to make the adult collector in me want all the I can only imagine what a kid would think looking at this!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Minifigure Museum: Bride (Series 7)

Bride:  Series 7 LEGO Collectible Minifigure

The Bride was one of the first LEGO Minifigures that I ended up with that had a cloth piece as part of its ensemble.  In the Bride's case, she gets a white cloth veil which is held on to her head by her wedding crown.

Overall, the Bride has a few interesting pieces besides the cloth veil and crown.

The Bride gets a nice printed torso along with a printed dress piece.  Both the torso and dress only have printing on the front however which is too bad.

Finally, the Bride also comes with a bouquet of pink flowers which is mostly notable because the flowers have a different stem piece - notice the bride can hold the flowers rather than the usual "cupping" of the flower piece on top of a minifigure's hand.

From the back, the figure is exceedingly plain though the long, white veil does add some sort of interesting element to look at.

All things considered, the Bride makes for a pretty decent minifigure - and one that is a good fit for the LEGO Collectible minifigure line since a Bride wouldn't easily fit in most CITY themed sets.  In fact, the only set that I own that has a bride figure included in it is the LEGO Modular City Hall set - and now with two brides in my collection that can cause some confusion for the one poor groom!

Decisions, decisions!

Monday, March 16, 2015

LEGO 70818: Double-Decker Couch - REVIEW

Over the past several weeks, I have managed to pick up a few small sets here and there.

Unfortunately, what I haven't had time to do (until now) is actually build any of those sets!

For today's review, I decided to dig into the Double-Decker Couch set from The LEGO Movie line of sets.  This particular set was one of the  three sets from The LEGO Movie released in 2015.  It was also a "must have" set for me since it featured most of the crew of the movie at a nice, affordable price point ($14.99 at Target).

The question is, was it actually worth the price - and is the double-decker couch really as good of an idea as poor 'ol Emmet thought it was?
Vitruvius: We are entering your mind...
Emmet: What?
Vitruvius: To prove that you have the unlocked potential to be a Master Builder.
[Vitruvius and Wyldstyle make chanting noises around Emmet, followed by a big flash of light]
Emmet: [floating in space] Whoa, are we inside my brain right now? It's big. I must be smart.
Vitruvius: I'm not hearing a whole lot of activity in here.
Lucy: I don't think he's ever had an original thought... in his life.
Emmet: [chuckles] That's not true. For instance, one time I wanted a bunch of my friends over to watch TV, not unlike this TV that just showed up magically. And not everybody can fit on my one couch, and I thought to myself, well, what if there's such a thing as a bunkbed but as a couch? Introducing the double decker couch! So everyone could watch TV together and be buddies!
Lucy: That's literally the dumbest thing I ever heard.
Vitruvius: Please, Wyldstyle, let me handle this. That idea is just the worst.

First, the real stars of the set are the actual movie stars.  You get Emmet (with a hair piece and a hard hat), President Business, Unikitty (sitting version), Benny, and Ghost Vitruvius.

Each figure (other than Vitruvius) features double-sided faces.  The Unikitty figure gets a second face as well in the form of a couple of extra bricks.

I should not that all the bricks (including the waffle brick) are printed.  Not a single sticker in this set - yay!

In addition to the great assortment of minifigures, you get two small objects to build.  First, Emmet's car.

The car is exceedingly tiny - but it is an accurate representation of what was shown in the movie.  The car does having opening doors plus a tiny storage area in the back that is just large enough to stash Emmet's hard hat.

The other object is the main focus of the set - the Double-Decker couch.  The couch features two levels of seating plus four cup holders (and four white mugs).

The one bad thing about the couch is that there isn't room for all five included figures to sit on it - poor Ghost Vitrivius has to simply hover nearby I guess.

The Double-Decker couch set goes nicely withThe LEGO Movie releases: Bad Cop Car Chase (in which you get Wyldstyle, Bad Cop, and two Robo Swats) and Batman and Super Angry Kitty Attack (in which you get a different Unikitty plus Batman, Skeletron, and a Micromanager).   For under $50  ($14.99 + $23.99 + $9.99), you can pick up three sets and end up with all of the main characters from the movie, plus an alternate Unikitty version, plus a number of bad guys - and some vehicles.  That makes for a solid deal - and while I would argue that only the Double-Decker Couch set has anything resembling an "iconic" build from the movie, the three sets work wonderfully together.  So wonderfully, in fact, that I think I will have to give serious consideration about picking up the other two sets for my own collection!

The Bottom Line:
Fun:  9
Play value:  9
Kid value:  10
Adult value:  5
Overall:  8.5

For the money, this is a hard set to beat since you get a ton of minifigures.  Of course, if you don't have any interest in The LEGO Movie then this set probably isn't for you since there isn't much the set other than the figures.  I do like the printed waffle piece a lot - and the top of Vitruvius' staff is nice as well (it's bubble gum from a BlowPop in the movie).  The set does come with a number of small extra pieces as well - including an extra 1x1 with a hole in the middle which is a very useful piece to have!

Movie Quote Source:

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Valentine's Day Gift from my Wife (LEGO Edition!)

My wife is the best.  Not only does she put up with my multiple hobbies (LEGO, baseball cards, woodworking, etc.), she oftentimes actively encourages them!

Case in point:  Valentine's Day 2015.

As a guy, Valentine's Day doesn't usually excite me all that much - too much chocolate, flowers, and mushy movies for my tastes.  However, if I continue to have Valentine's Days like this year's, I may rethink my stance on the holiday.

You see, my wife gave me seven unopened packages of LEGO Collectible Minifigure Series 13 packs!  As of Valentine's Day, I only had four different figures from the set (Evil Wizard, Construction worker, Goblin, and Space Marine guy).  So, how did I make out from my gift?

Quite well I would say!

Out of the seven packages, I ended up with four new figures (Alien Trooper, Samurai, Paleontologist, and the hard-to-find, incredibly popular Hot Dog Man)!
The new additions to my collection!

I ended up with two Paleontologists (which is ok since the new Jurassic Park sets are coming out soon)!  I also ended up with an extra Goblin (available for trade) and an extra Carpenter (which I think I'll keep for my city layout)!

My collection for Series 13 now stands at 8 of the 16 possible figures.

You can find my full want list (including all the previous series figures that I still need as well)!  All things considered, this was a great Valentine's Day present!  And, of course, just another reason why I love my wife!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Minifigure Museum: Computer Programmer (Series 7)

Computer Programmer:  Series 7 LEGO Collectible Minifigure

Back when I was in college, I was a mathematics/computer science double major so I have a soft spot in my heart for the Computer Programmer from Series 7.  Oh sure, I never rocked the argyle sweater - and thankfully I never had glasses either (taped together or otherwise).  That said, I'm still probably pretty high up on the "nerd-o-meter" since I write a blog focused entirely on LEGO.

The Computer Programmer is one of sixteen figures from the seventh series of the LEGO Collectible Minifigure line.  Personally, I think the seventh series was one of the better series - I happen to like most of the figures and I even love a few of them!  Series 7 is also one of the few series that I've managed to collect all the minifigures!

As for the programmer himself, he comes with two accessories - a mug with a command prompt smiley face (very dork-a-licious) and a folding laptop.  The laptop piece is particularly nice - I don't think I recall seeing in any actual LEGO sets...certainly none that I own at least.  The minifig's face is suitably (stereotypically) nerdy as well - there's even a bit of white tape holding the programmer's glasses together!  The bow tie is a nice touch too...all that the programmer is missing is a pocket calculator!

All told, this is a fun figure for people like me.  I also think it's good when LEGO includes some "City-esque" figures in their minifigure series since LEGO City is one of the most popular themes year in and year out.  Figures like this are perfect for AFOLs who build custom city layouts as well...something that I am considering doing in the near future!

Monday, February 16, 2015

LEGO 60083: Snowplow Truck - REVIEW

It's been awhile since I had a new update for Playing with Bricks but I'm pleased to say that I'm back!

Not only am I back, but I have a few things in my mind that I hope to do with this blog over the next few months.  We shall see how those plans pan out...but for today, it's time to take a look at one of the newer LEGO releases from the City theme.

The Snowplow Truck (set #60083) comes with 196 pieces and a single minifigure.  I have to say that the 196 pieces is misleading since 15 of those (16 if you count the one extra) are simply 1x1 flat white round tile pieces used to simulate snow.  The actual build of the truck is incredibly easy - though LEGO did spread the build across two numbered bags to make life even easier!

I'm a big fan of the LEGO Winter Village theme - so when I saw LEGO was releasing a snowplow in their City theme, I knew I had to have it.  Unfortunately, the actual truck would be out of place given the other Winter Village sets...but there's enough good stuff here that I think I could manage some sort of customization in order to make the truck work with the village should I choose to next winter!

As I said earlier, the set comes with a single minifigure.

The snowplow worker doesn't appear to be dressed well for the elements - especially when you consider that he is shown on the box art using a shovel to do some digging by hand!  The figure doesn't contain any back printing, nor does he have a second face.  I would have preferred to have seen the minifigure with the big hooded headgear rather than the ball cap but that's a minor quibble.

The real star of the set is the actual snowplow truck.  From the side, I think the wheels look a bit odd but otherwise it's a solid design.  I like that the truck has two minifigure accessories (the brush on this side and the shovel on the other side of the truck).  The green and orange colors scheme works well here too.

Looking at the plow from the front, you can see that the plow itself is substantial in size!  It actually looks pretty good - the bright orange works well here too.  I do think that some sort of solid angled orange pieces would have been better for the "scoop" part of the plow (as opposed to the orange seat pieces that LEGO used here).  You can also see the driver of the truck has his trusty red mug.  It wouldn't be a LEGO City set without that mug!

I was most surprised (in a good way) with the back of the truck.  When I bought the set, I didn't even look at the back of the box so I had no idea that there was an included "salt spreader" on the truck.  You can probably make out the gear on the back of the truck...  When you push the truck along, the gear actually turns the salt spreader which is a fun inclusion!  Unfortunately, the salt spreader itself doesn't actually spread anything - you'll have to use your imagination for that part.  It definitely looks good though - even if that blue arrow is a sticker (which is a shame since LEGO used to make street signs with that exact design as a printed piece)!

The set comes with 15 (actually 16) of the 1x1 round, smooth white tiles which are supposed to simulate snow.  You can easily push all 15 tiles with the gigantic plow which is nice.  The set also contains 12 (!!) stickers to apply.  You can see seven of the twelve stickers in the above photo.

The final bit of "play value" for the set comes with taking apart the snowplow.  You can easily take the plow off of the truck as well as both the salt spreader and the back bucket.  The downside is that the back bucket isn't on any sort of hinge - a big missed opportunity in my book.  It would have been nice to have some sort of dumping action (complete with a hinge on the bucket) in order to dump snow...

Overall, I give LEGO 60083:  Snowplow Truck the following rating:

The Bottom Line:
Fun:  7
Play value:  7
Kid value:  7
Adult value:  7
Overall:  7

That's right, sevens across the board.

There are a lot of things to like about the set (the color scheme, the "working" salt spreader, the large tires) but there are a lot of missed opportunities too (no warm headgear for the driver, no hinge for the bucket, too many stickers for such a small set).  In the end, I'm happy to have this set in my collection...and I definitely hope LEGO continues to do a few snow related sets here and there, but I think with a bit more thought this could have been an excellent set.  Instead, it's simply a good set without any real wow factors.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Five Pack (Video) Rip of LEGO Collectible Minifigures from Series 13

Here's a quick video of me ripping five packs of Series 13 Collectible Minifigures.  Can you guess which five figures I ended up with?  Can you guess which figure took me (an embarassingly) long time to put together?