Monday, July 20, 2015

Minifigure Museum: Gladiator (Series 5)



Gladiator:  LEGO Series 5 Minifigure
The Gladiator is a Series 5 minifigure that comes with a helmet, shield, and sword.

I am always a sucker for historically based minifigures so the Gladiator is right up my alley.  Even better, I've actually been to Rome (and the Colosseum) once before - so the Gladiator is even cooler to me than it might otherwise have been!

The gladiator comes with a gold helmet (used by the murmillo class of gladiator according to my research (wikipedia)).  The helmet has lots of small, circular openings in it - it's an odd design for sure!  The gladiator also has a small sword and a plain shield - neither are anything special...clearly the helmet is the main draw of the minifigure!

As for printing, the gladiator has a lot of nice printing on his front (both torso and legs).  He also has some gold armor printing on his right arm (but not his left arm).  There is no printing on the back of the figure however.

Overall, I like the Gladiator quite a bit - though I will admit that I don't see a lot of uses for the helmet pieces outside of a ancient Roman scene.  Even so, I actually like it when LEGO makes some specialized pieces for the Collectible Minifigure line!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Minifigure Museum: Lizard Man (Series 5)



Lizard Man:  LEGO Series 5 Minifigure
The Lizard Man is a Series 5 minifigure that comes with a mask/helmet and a tail piece.

Using the labeling on the figure sheet that comes with each minifigure, the Lizard Man is #6 in the series.  All things considered, I found Series 5 to be a fairly strong entrant in the Collectible Minifigure line - and the Lizard Man is definitely one of the top figures of this particular set!

For me, I've always loved dinosaurs - I had tons of toy dinos when I was a kid, Jurassic Park came out when I was a teenager, and then this year we had a reboot of both the Jurassic Park movie series AND dinosaur sets within LEGO.  That's pretty cool - and it definitely adds to the appeal of the Lizard Man figure.

After all, if you were to build your very own LEGO Jurassic Park MOC, surely you'd want some mascots running around said park...and who better for the job than Lizard Man?!

Although I do love the figure a lot, it must be said that you don't actually get much with this particular figure.  In fact, you get a tail piece (that attaches at the neck) and a face mask piece...and that's it.  There is no printing at all on the legs of the figure nor on the back of the figure.  The front of the torso does get some scaly stomach and abs printing but that's it!

All told, sometimes simple is still pretty cool - and in the case of the Lizard Man, I'd say simple works well!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Everything is Awesome (Ferris Wheel Edition)

I haven't had a chance to write up a proper review yet (it takes a lot of time to photograph the set) but I will give you a sneak peek of one of my next sets to review.

And, yes, I can report that the set is AWESOME.

Monday, June 15, 2015

LEGO 60023: LEGO City Starter Set - REVIEW

Note:  I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago but it kept getting moved down thanks to the Jurassic World stuff.  Now, finally, it's time for the review to shine!

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I have quite a few sets from last Christmas to review on my blog still - so let's get to one of the stranger sets (at first glance anyhow):  Set 60023:  LEGO City Starter Set.

The LEGO City Starter Set is designed to be (you guessed it) - a starter set full of all sorts of things that any good LEGO city would need.

You get a cop on a motorcycle and a crook for that cop to chase.

You also get an ambulance with a medic and a kid on a skateboard who presumably gets hurt quite often.

Finally, you get a firetruck with a firefighter and a small box to set on fire.


The back of the box shows off some of the play value of the set in a fun way!


While each of the individual components are alright on there own, none are particularly difficult to build (which is perfect for a starter set)...except for the stickers.

So many stickers in this set - TWENTY-THREE stickers in total.  That's insane for a set of this size (and with the targeted age range).  So, is the set worth your dollars?  Let's take a closer look at each of the individual parts and then you can make up your mind.

I'll go in the order of the manuals.  You get three manuals plus two different sticker sheets.  You also get a comic book that would be fun for kids I guess (but not so much for adults).

Moving onto the actual build, the first manual and corresponding plastic bag of parts provide everything that you need for the cop and the robber portion of the set.

Here, the cop gets a nice police bike plus a pair of handcuffs (along with an extra pair).  The robber gets two $100 bills, a gold bar, plus two gems.  The robber actually has more look than he can possibly hold - especially if he keeps his handy red crowbar with him!  Another nice touch to bag #1 was the LEGO provided a brick separator.  It's nice to see that those aren't only available in the biggest, most expensive sets!

Moving on to the second manual and back, we get the ambulance plus the skateboarder.

The ambulance looks ok except for the fact that there are no doors for the driver!  I don't particular care for the brick "pretending" to be a door.  You do get a pair of large doors on the back of the ambulance for the stretcher to fit in.  I also like the fact that the paramedic gets a black briefcase - presumably some sort of medical bag for on-the-spot treatment.  The kid skateboarding is as basic as it comes - though I think he needs a dual sided head to make this scene work...the other face should be one with tears!

Finally, we get to the third bag - the fire truck!

I am pleased to report that the firetruck does have doors for the driver (unlike the ambulance) - and as such, this is definitely the better vehicle.  You also get a ladder plus a section in the back for storing the firefighter's equipment.  Finally, you get a single small crate plus a large flame so that the firefighter has something to do with his time!


Overall, I'd say this starter set is nearly perfect.  I wish the ambulance had actual doors and I would have preferred more printed tiles rather than all the stickers (especially for the age group that this set targets).  Otherwise though, it's a great set.  You get five minifigures - plus plenty of accessories.  The two main vehicles fit right in with similar vehicles from the City line (meaning this set would be a nice complement to a LEGO hospital set or a LEGO fire station set).

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  6
Overall:  9

It's hard to find much to complain about here in terms of the ratings.  The adult value is the only thing that is low since the set doesn't really come with much in the way of unique pieces - and none of the minifigures are of a rare design (though all are certainly useful figures to have)!  This set is highly recommended for all!

LEGO 75916: Dilophosaurus Ambush (Jurassic World) - REVIEW

Ever since I heard that there was going to be a new Jurassic Park movie, I was excited.  When I learned that there would be a full series of LEGO sets to go along with the movie?

Well, that made me ecstatic.

Flash-forward to the movie's release (I'm going to the movie this coming weekend) and here's my first Jurassic World LEGO set.  Before I get to the specifics of this set, let's review the entire Jurassic World LEGO line of sets for a moment.

This time around, LEGO created six dinosaurs for everyone to collect.  Two of them are raptors ("Blue" and "Delta") which you can get in set #75917.  There is also a sweet Pteranodon that (unfortunately) comes in the helicoptor set (#75915).  The Dilophosaurus comes in the set that I have in hand and then there are the two big baddies of the movie.  The T-Rex is available in set #75918 while the star of the movie, the fearsome Indominus Rex is only available in set #75919.

Note:  Upon doing a bit of further research, there is a set called Raptor Escape Set #75920 which has two more raptors (named "Charlie" and "Echo").  You also get two minifigures in that set that aren't mentioned in the manual that came with my set (the vet and Barry).  It appears that set might be a Wal-Mart exclusive (while also available at LEGO.com).  There was also a polybag exclusive from GameStop which you could only get if you pre-ordered the LEGO Jurassic World video game (which unfortunately I did not do).  That polybag has yet another dinosaur - the Gallimimus.

On the one hand, it's great that the dinosaurs are all spread out among all the different Jurassic World sets (at all price levels).  On the other hand, it does mean you can't just buy one set (say the biggest set) and get the full assortment of dinos.  That's a shame - and it doesn't end there because all the movie characters are also spread out across the various sets.  It's sort of strange to me that you can only get the Owen (the character played by Chris Pratt) in a single set...likewise with Clair, Dr. Wu, and the rest of the gang.

So, all that said, how does this particular set stack up?  Is it worth the $30.00 price tag or is it a set that should be avoided (much like a dino in the wild)?

First, a word about the box.

This is one of the better box designs that I've seen from the LEGO Company lately.  The front looks great - especially the scaly design at the top of the box (nevermind that there should be more feathers on the dinos given what science tells us now).

The back of the box isn't a slouch either - plenty of exciting looking scenes...which is impressive given how limited this set actually is in terms of parts!  I like how you get to see the other dinosaurs that are available in different sets - good marketing for sure!

Of course, you don't buy the set for the box - you buy it for the pieces (and the sweet dinosaur)!  Opening up the set, you get a pair of numbered bags with a total of 248 pieces.

With a price of $30, this set definitely doesn't meet the "standard value" ratio of 10 cents per piece.  Instead, this set is basically 12 cents per piece.  I suppose that can be forgiven here though because of the dinosaur mold plus the gyrosphere pieces - but more on that in a moment.  In addition to the numbered bags, you also get a bag containing the dino parts (in separate pouches) plus a sticker sheet.  The best news here is that the sticker sheet "only" contains eight stickers.  I had no trouble applying them (they are all small stickers so that makes it easier) but really you could get away with only using the three larger blue stickers and still end up with a nice looking truck.

Looking at the first manual's build, you assemble the two minifigures, the dilophosaurus, the gyrosphere, the two crates, plus the base of the truck.  As you can see, there are a few extra pieces here, nothing spectacular but the transparent red squares are always useful!

From other reviews that I read, I was expecting the gyrosphere to be a letdown in the set.  Happily, I was surprised by it - it worked exactly as advertised (you can roll it along and the Gray minifigure will remain sitting upright).  I also feared having to put those blue stickers on the sides...but those are actually printed on so thank you LEGO!

Moving on to the second bag, you get to finish off the vehicle.

The vehicle is pretty simple though there were a few clever / different uses of parts.  For starters, you get a pair of blue crowbars which are used to create the roll bar for the Jeep.  I don't have any particular use for the flick-fire missiles but I get why they are on the car...play value and all that.

I might be getting old these days...I was a kid when the original Jurassic Park movie came out...but even I couldn't help "playing" with the set a bit after I built it.

Yeah, it's fun!

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  7
Overall:  8.5

I had to dock the set a touch for the price - $30 is a bit steep (even with the dino) for only 248 pieces...especially since the majority of those 248 pieces are quite small.  The minifigures are also really boring in this set.  I haven't yet watched the movie (as of when I wrote this review), so I have no idea how big or small of a character Gray is, but the ACU guy is just dino fodder.  All that said, as I built the set I couldn't help but have fun...and really that's the biggest compliment I can give the set!  I will also say that I did a bit of research trying to figure out which Jurassic World set seemed to be the best value and I ended up choosing this set (which was still a bit short on the price-per-piece count).  Don't buy the Jurassic World sets for piece value, instead buy 'em for fun value (and, in the case of older people like me, nostalgia value)!



Monday, June 8, 2015

Continuing the Minifigure Want List Assault!

I've made some decent progress in terms of knocking LEGO collectible minifigures off of my want list lately.  My latest minifigure haul might be my best in over year's worth of time!  This was another eBay auction - one of those listings with three specific minifigures.  Luckily for me, I happened to need all three - and the price was right.  I think I got all three figures for less than the normal cost of two of 'em.  Even better, the figures are from Series 4 or older!

Let's begin with the oldest of the minifigures:  The Series 1 Spaceman.

This is actually my first Series 1 minifigure!  That means I only have 15 more to go!  Hah.  Seriously though, I have always loved the Space theme so this was an instant winner in my book.  LEGO has created a bunch of Space themed minifigures in the Collectible Minifigure line but this is the original - and now it's all mine!

Continuing chronologically oldest to newest, the second minifigure hails from Series 3:  the Mummy.

The Mummy is my fourth minifigure from Series 3 - I'm obviously doing much better with that series than I am with Series 1!  The Mummy figure is kind of cool - lots of printing on the figure (including on the back and on the arms and legs).  However, the mummy doesn't come with any sort of hair piece or hat which is odd for a Collectible Minifigure.  The scorpion is a nice addition though - and that's actually my first such LEGO scorpion!

Finally, we end with the newest of the three minifigures - and yet this one still goes all the way back to Series 4:  the Artist.

The Artist is my sixth minifigure from Series 4 - and it is definitely a nice looking minifig!  I will admit that this minifigure has lost a bit of its "coolness" factor with the release of the Parisian Restaurant set since that set contains an artist's studio complete with the painter's palette and paintbrush.  No matter though, this is a proper artist that would be at home in the aforementioned artist's studio!

I'll have much more to say about each of the minifigures individually when I feature them in my ongoing Minifigure Museum Collection.

I'd say that was a successful eBay lot purchase for me.  Three minifigures from older series (1, 3, and 4) - all three of which I needed.  I love when that happens!!  If you happen to have any extra minifigures available for trade, you can find my full want list here!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Minifigure Museum: Medusa (Series 10)



Medusa:  Series 10 LEGO Minifigure

I've always loved Greek mythology so when I learned that LEGO was creating a Medusa figure I was instantly intrigued.  Happily for me, the actual Medusa collectible minifigure is even better than I could have imaged!

A quick look at the entire checklist for the Series 10 LEGO Collectible Minifigures will show you why the Medusa character is highly sought after - it's one of the best minifigs in the entire set (probably alongside the Bumblebee Girl which is a figure that I currently don't own - at least as of the time I wrote this post)!

Turning our attention back to Medusa.  Legend has it that if you look at her you turn to stone - so Medusa comes equipped with two faces.

The first is a slightly ornery look, perhaps someone is ignoring her at the moment.

And then, when that person turns to look at her?  A super pissed off face turning that person to stone.

Yikes!

The minifigure itself doesn't come with any accessories - but with the long, snake-like tail plus the hair piece (soft rubbery plastic) that looks like a bunch of snakes, I would say the figure feels complete as it is!

By my count, Medusa's hair piece has eight different snakes in it (you can see five faces from the front plus an addition three snake heads from the back).  It's a nice mold for sure - though I don't think it has a lot of uses outside of Medusa (although perhaps Series 13's Snake Charmer could somehow be used with Medusa's hair piece)?

All told, I love this minifigure!  As I noted already, it might not be the most useful figure for various MOCs or other layouts - but the sheer novelty of the figure is worth it for me.  Plus, I love Greek mythology so this figure happily joins the Minotaur and the Cyclops (male and female) in my collection!