Monday, July 28, 2014

LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 12: First Look & REVIEW!

The image for the entire set of the LEGO Series 12 Collectible Minifigures has been making the rounds on the internet which means it's time for a first look and review!

Here are the 16 figures in all their (non-licensed) glory:

The list of figures along with my initial review of each:

Battle Goddess:  The goddess is rocking an awesome shield with a Pegasus on it (a must have for me) and I really like her helmet/hair piece as well as the toga-esque dress.  Notice the bottom of her feet even have a bit of printing to indicate sandals.  This is a must have figure for me!

Dino Tracker:  Another female figure (the LEGO Company has been doing a better job of evening up the gender gap a bit in the Collectible Minifigure Series).  I like the Dino Tracker's crossbow but I wish that sleeping dart (tranquilizer) could clip to the bow somehow.

Fairytale Princess:  I guess the green frog is nice enough but honestly this figure doesn't excite me much at first glance.  It could be fun to play "damsel in distress" with your Kingdom/Castle sets but even that is considered chauvinistic these days I would assume.

Genie Girl:  Was there an overwhelming need for I Dream of Jeanie figurines that I missed?  I don't mind strange and goofy figures (in fact, I often love them) but the Genie Girl seems unnecessary considering we've already gotten a (male) genie in a previous series.

Hun Warrior:  Each Collectible Minifigure Series seems to have at least one army-type figure.  For Series 12, that figure is definitely the Hun Warrior.  While the figure is nice enough on its own, the figure doesn't really have any other LEGO branded sets to fit in with...maybe Castle, maybe Lord of the Rings...but basically he's a homeless Warrior.

Jester:  Pretty colors and a fun figures - I definitely want one of this guy.  Unfortunately, I have no idea what I'd do with more than one so hopefully he is a rare figure.

Lifeguard:  Does LEGO City need even more lifeguards?  It feels like this figure could have had some many other professions to better populate a LEGO city (think along the lines of the previous plumber and judge).

Piggy Guy:  LEGO has a long-standing tradition of including a dressed up or costumed figure in each series.  The Piggy Guy is hilarious - and a definite win on the design front (the green apple prop tops off the figure for sure)!

Pizza Delivery Man:  Believe it or not, the Pizza Guy is one of my favorite figures in the series!  This is the type of figure that LEGO needs to do more of in the Collectible Series - useful figures for a LEGO City that might not necessary fit into popular selling sets.

Prospector:  The prospector has a kind of creepy looking grin to him and he has boring accessories (pickax, really?).  I can't say I find this guy too exciting.

Rock Star:  The Rock Star figure is nicer than some of the previous, but again I find this particular subtheme annoying...  Do people create minifigure concerts?  Is there a LEGO-a-palooza out there somewhere?

Space Miner:  The requisite space figure is a pretty cool miner - something different on the space front is always appreciated (and with the success of The LEGO Movie and Benny in particular, I expect we will see a return to more Space themed figures and sets in the near future).

Spooky Girl:  I have no interest in goth, nor this figure.  This is an easy choice for my least wanted figure in the series - and frankly, one of my least wanted figures in the entire collection.  That said, if you make a custom mall or shopping center for your city this figure would fit in perfectly in a Hot Topic type store.

Swashbuckler:  He seems too happy to be a proper swashbuckler but it's still a fun figure.

Video Game Guy:  I would think the cross between video game players and LEGO fans is fairly high which should make Video Game Guy a popular figure indeed.  His Player 1 shirt is funny and I like the printed video game controller a lot.

Wizard:  Last but certainly not least, the Wizard is a nice looking figure (and you could use it as a substitute Vitrivious if you didn't get a chance to track down one of those figures in the past).  For pack searchers, the Wizard and the Princess will feel pretty much the same except for the Wizard's staff (telling the difference between the frog and gem could be possible as well but probably tricky).

Overall, I think this is a solid Series of figures with very few truly boring/bad characters (the life guard and the Spooky Girl are my two least favorites).  On the other hand, there aren't a lot of "must have" figures for me either (besides, you know, one copy of each since I like to collect full sets of the figures)!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

NEW BLOG ADDRESS - PLEASE UPDATE YOUR BLOG ROLLS!

When I started this blog, I didn't realize the rather strict rules that the LEGO Company has in regards to the use of the word "LEGO" and the corresponding trademarks.  While my blog is certainly too small for them to care about (for now at least), I want to act in good faith and so I'll be trying to change over any and all instances of poor or unallowed trademark use on my blog.

The biggest change that I have to make is that my blog will now be called Playing with Bricks and can be found at the domain http://playingwithbricks.blogspot.com.  I hope it doesn't mess up people's blog rolls but if you would, be sure to add the new blog address now!  

Thanks!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Minifigure Museum: Scarecrow (Series 11)

Scarecrow:  Series 11 LEGO Minifigure
The Scarecrow is an awesome minifigure from Series 11 of the Collectible Minifigure Series.
In actuality, I found most of the Series 11 figures to be quite nice - but the Scarecrow stands out (to me anyhow) as one of the best of the best!  For starters, the front printing on the scarecrow is tremendous - the patches on the torso and legs are great - and there's even arm printing with more patches!

The figure also comes with a farmer's old hat (complete with a crow sitting on it) and a pitchfork.  The pitchfork isn't the most common element (though it has been around for a long time) so it's a nice inclusion as an accessory.

The crow stays on the hat via a small pin sized hole in the top of the hat.  While that makes for a slick setup for the minifigure, it completely eliminates most of the crow's re-usability in other builds or MOCs. 
Overall, I was incredibly excited when I first saw this figure on the initial Series 11 sell sheet and I still like it now that it is in hand.  Other than the crow lacking any real way to be used outside of the figure itself, this figure is perfect.

Ok, there's one more flaw.  I don't think he'll be scaring away any birds from my actual garden anytime soon...


Monday, July 21, 2014

A LEGO Mail Day!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been busy perusing eBay looking for various great deals (and not-so-great deals) on all things LEGO.  Since I'm still working my way toward completing the full run of collectible minifigures (you can see all that I still need here), I decided I should try to whittle down my want list a bit!

My latest acquisition is the Female Scientist from Series 11.

I happen to like the figure quite a bit but I never managed to pull one of her when the blind packs were still in stores near me.  I will be sure to talk more about the scientist when I feature her in my ongoing Minifigure Museum series of posts!

For now though, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the final three figures that I still need from Series 11:

  • Lady Robot
  • Saxophone Player
  • Barbarian

Who knows, maybe I'll have another eBay LEGO mail day to show off in the near future (hint:  I will - but the next one might not involve collectible minifigures)!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Minifigure Museum: Cowgirl (Series 8)



Cowgirl:  Series 8 LEGO Collectible Minifigure

When I was a kid, LEGO had a full western theme that I always thought was pretty cool.  Unfortunately, that particular theme was released right around the time I stopped buying LEGO and moved on to other "older kid" toys.  The Cowgirl would have fit right in with that old Western theme.  Instead, she now resides in the Series 8 edition of the Collectible LEGO Minifigure Series.

The Cowgirl comes with a lasso (made of soft, flexible plastic), and a hat/hair combo piece.

I like the lasso quite a bit (wish I would have had that piece back when I was a kid)!  I also like the look of the hat/hair piece when it's on the minifigure (the silver star is a nice touch) but I don't like how it looks when it's off the figure.  All of the sudden the poor cowgirl is bald!

As for the front printing, I think it looks really nice.  Unfortunately, there is no back or side printing though.

In the end, I can't say that the Cowgirl is my favorite minifigure that I've ever owned (or even within Series 8).  That said, it is a decent figure - and it would probably have fairly high play value for kids which is something that shouldn't be overlooked (even with the so-called Collectible Minifigure line).

Monday, July 14, 2014

LEGO 60059: Logging Truck - REVIEW

Each year, LEGO releases a new edition of CITY themed sets.  For me, most of the City sets are ultimately forgettable.  However, occasionally a set is released that jumps to the top of my "must have" list.  The Logging Truck (set #60059) was one such set.

The Logging Truck was officially released in December 2013.  The set contains 228 pieces and is rated for ages 5-12.  The set includes a pair of minifigures, two small pine trees, and two large tree trunks (in addition to the logging truck).

The real question is:  Does the set live up to my (admittedly) high expectations or will this come crashing down in a yell of "timmmmmbbbeeerrrrrr"?

Before getting to the set, let's take a quick look at the box itself.  I ended up buying the set online so I didn't see the official box until it arrived in my mailbox!

The front of the box does a fine job at showing off the main features of the set.  I don't think it's the most exciting box front that I've ever seen - but I will admit that the green of the truck does stand out when compared to some of the other City sets from the same release period.  I can't help but wonder why this set wasn't released back when the Forest Police subtheme was in vogue though.

While the front of the box was sort of tame, the back of the box does its best to kick the action up a notch.

Unfortunately for the box art designers, the Logging Truck simply doesn't have a lot of action (besides the articulating logging claw).  I guess when in doubt you can always slap on an advertisement for other City sets!  If you look at the top panel, you'll see that the set comes with two plastic bags (numbered) in order to make putting the set together a snap.  This is good since the age range begins at five years old!

Other contents in the box include an instruction manual and a sticker sheet.  The set uses a total of six stickers - which isn't as bad as some City sets but it's still too many for me.  I HATE stickers so I'd love to see the day when I no longer have to open a box and pull out a sticker sheet.  As for the instruction manual, you only get one but it weighs in at a whopping 80 pages!!  That's crazy given the relatively small size of the set...but I guess that was LEGO's way of making the box heavier...

As I mentioned already, the set comes with two minifigures which should be the bare minimum for a $20 set.  In this case, I don't think a third minifigure would have added much so I'm satisfied.

Both minifigures are different takes on the classic lumberjack.  The figure on the left is an older gentleman who is shown operating the large logging crane in most of the set's official photos.  The other lumberjack is noticeably younger - and he gets a brick built chainsaw which is quite nice.

In addition to the two small pine trees, you also get to build a pair of larger tree trunks.

For me, I think the set definitely needed one more log.  I also would have liked to see a bit more in the way of greenery to add to the trees (and then use the chainsaw to "cut off" the extra branches).

Moving on to the main build of the Logging Truck, you get to start the main chassis of the truck with the first bag of pieces.

From there, it's on to the second and final bag to actually complete the truck.

I love the color scheme of the Logging Truck.  The green looks good - and the bright yellow for the claw works really well.  Even the two grey chains fit perfectly in terms of making the truck look fairly lifelike.

The claw and seat portion of the truck can be rotated 360 degrees.  In addition, the hanging claw itself can also be rotated completely around.  Finally, there are three points of additional articulation within the arm of the claw which allows for high levels of playability.

Unfortunately, when you begin stacking the two included logs in the truck, you can quickly see that one more included log would have been so much more ideal!

The finished set does include a fair number of small extra pieces (including an extra pair of the relatively new ear protector/headphones which is a nice inclusion).  The downside is that the one lumberjack's helmet is not compatible with the new ear protector/headphone piece.

The bottom line:

Fun:  8
Play Value:  8
Kid Value:  8
Adult Value:  8
Overall:  8

Overall, I gave the set an 8 across the board.  For everything the set does right, there's a tiny bit more that could have been done to push the set over the top.  The two minifigures are nice but if you are going to include an extra set of ear protectors, why not use two hats that are compatible?  If you are going to make the truck hold three logs with ease, why not include three?  If you are going to include special pieces to mimic branches, why not include some actual greenery to attach to those branches?

The one thing that cracks me up is the two small pine trees.  I guess that was LEGO's way of saying "hey, we support the environment so replant what you cut."  Also, I didn't mention it yet but if you were worried:  Yes, the set comes with a single red coffee mug.  You'd hate for this to be the one city set without the requisite coffee mug!

Monday, July 7, 2014

LEGO 6057: Sea Serpent - REVIEW

The Sea Serpent set (set #6057) was released in 1992 and contains 142 pieces along with five (yes, five!) minifigures!  Two of the minifigures are part of the Black Falcons faction while the other three minifigures belong to the Black Knights.

This is another set from my childhood - and as a kid the biggest draw for me with the set was the huge assortment of men and weaponry!

Luckily, my original set has survived mostly in tact - I have the original instructions and all of the original pieces except for the rope used to tie the sail down.  According to brickipedia, the set contains part 6066 which you could only find in this set (in the particular shade of blue).  In addition, this is the only set that contains the cloth sail (and happily my sail has survived the passage of time quite well)!

We shall begin our review of the Sea Serpent with the two enemy soldiers from the Black Falcons.

Each Black Falcon soldier is easy to spot since they sport the Black Falcons crest on their torso.  One soldier also holds a shield with the crest while the other Black Falcon comes with a bow and quiver full of arrows.

Moving over to the Black Knights side of things, you get three different soldiers - and each soldier is different (unlike the two identically outfitted Black Falcons).

The first soldier sports a sword and shield (with Black Knights crest) and black arms with a chain mail breast plate.  The second solider also features the same chain mail breast plate but this time comes with blue arms.  The directions show the second soldier as the grunt man - he has the distinct "pleasure" of rowing the boat for the other soldiers.  The final included minifigure is (presumably) the captain of the ship who comes with a shield and crossbow.  I'm not sure how easy it would be to load a crossbow while holding a shield...but I guess that's why I'm not a ship captain.

The ship itself is a relatively simple build though it can be easy to miss a piece here or there since the majority of the ship is made up of only blue and black pieces.

Only the red bottom and the flags/shields provide a bit of a splash of color.  Speaking of the red bottom, I loved the fact that LEGO outfitted the ship with six of the floor runners - it made sliding the ship over carpet easy as a kid and greatly increased the set's play value.

Unfortunately, not every design was great by LEGO.  For example, while I LOVE the fact that the set comes with five minifigures, the truth is that the five figures don't fit "nicely" on the ship at all.  I guess that's ok since two are enemy soldiers...but as a kid I always thought the lack of space was a major disappointment with the ship.

In the end, the Sea Serpent set is a great army builder set with a great selection of minifigures and equipment.  The cloth sail is also quite nice (as are the yellow and green pennants and the Black Knights flag).  I also love the look of the ship from the front - the small dragon coupled with the shields and sail make for a rather imposing force given the set's small size.

Unfortunately, the small size of the boat does end up detracting from the set as a whole since you can't comfortably fit all five figures on the vessel.  Even worse, you can't really have any fun battles on the ship as there isn't much room to line figures up to fight each other (something that the set is otherwise begging for with two different factions included).

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  7
Play Value:  7
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  5
Overall:  7

For kids, this set comes highly recommended.  Five figures for the price (at least back when you could buy the set in stores) was a steal.  For adults, the set does offer a few unique pieces (and a great chance to army build) but there isn't a lot else you can build with the set itself (perhaps someday I'll try to do an alternate build with this set if I really want to challenge myself).

The set was never my favorite castle set - but it was unique in that it was a fairly large castle nautical set which makes the set novel enough that it is worth tracking down if you can!