Note: This entry was originally published on my other blog. Thanks to this entry (plus my ever growing pile of LEGO sets and figures), I decided to launch my own LEGO-themed blog. Enjoy!
This Christmas, my brother gave me a LEGO set knowing that I recently got into collecting the LEGO minifigures (and that I always loved dinosaurs as a kid). I'm not sure yet if he managed to get me hooked on larger LEGO sets (and not just the minifigures) but I do know that I'm willing to trade for LEGOs of all types and sizes at this point...
...so yeah, I'm addicted.
Anyhow, he sent me "Raptor Chase" which is one of the middle sized sets from the Dino theme that LEGO published in 2012.
When I was a kid, I had tons of LEGOs - and my brother and I would play with our little creations for hours on end. However, I gave up LEGO sets about 18 years ago so it had been a long, long while since I've actually assembled a LEGO set. You'd think it'd be the same as I remember it from back in the day, but alas, it was not. It was, in fact, much easier! The box opened up to reveal numbered bags.
Basically, you open one bag at a time and follow the directions. This makes searching for the proper piece a much quicker endeavor than it was when I was a kid - I could see this new feature to be a great time saver for a large set (this set had 255 pieces which isn't exactly small). As you can see from the above picture, the raptor comes packaged in his own plastic bag (each piece gets its own plastic "pocket" even). Extremely solid packaging!
The raptor is a nice looking (and feeling) figure. The tail portion is made out of a softer rubber that allows for a little give in the tail. The rest of the figure is cast in hard plastic. There are four plastic bumps on the raptor's back that can be used to seat a minifigure (or some other contraption) on the dino's back ifyou are so inclined. His jaw snaps nicely and both the hands and talons on the feet can hold LEGO supplies if you wish). All told, I am extremely impressed with the dinosaur.
Once you assemble the dinosaur, you move on to assemble the two minifigures. The first minifigure is the driver who has two faces, scared and smug.
He has printing on the front and back of his torso (the back being a large, ugly "D" for Dino I guess. I like his helmet - and his scared face is perfect for this particular model. After all, trying to capture a raptor would probably be a fairly scary process!
The second minifigure is decidedly cooler. He's got a rare hat (in fact, according to this site you can only get this particular hat in the Raptor Chase set).
He also comes with a gun and tranquilizer dart which is perfect for the Dino motif.
After assembling the minifigures, you use the rest of the first bag to construct the little outpost that the set comes with:
The outpost is kind of neat, but it's also a strange throw in. You get a nice plant plus two palm leaves. The crate holds a red crowbar, a pair of binoculars, and a syringe. There are four of the protective knives (which you can swing out to keep the dinos further away). There is also a printed block showing a radar and then there is a yellow radar dish. The two pieces of the outpost are connected by a single hinged piece. Again, I'm not sure what good the outpost is (I'd be sure to stay in the vehicle if I was hunting raptors)...I suppose the outpost makes the set "feel" like a larger set instead of just being a single vehicle.
After building the outpost, you begin to build the first portion of the big vehicle while still using bricks from the first bag.
There are also a bunch of stickers in the set (which I hate) but you almost have to use them - otherwise you'll have flat yellow pieces all over with no printing which would be pretty dull!
At this point, the vehicle doesn't look like much, but after opening bag two and finishing off the instructions, you end up with a great looking truck. I have no idea why LEGO used that big 'ol blue brick in the middle of the truck - it definitely hurts the aesthetics if you were to use the same pieces to build some other item! That said, the blue brick ends up completely covered in the final model so if all you are planning to do is follow the given instructions it doesn't matter at all.
The finished model has a crane contraption with a rope and a chicken leg (used to lure the raptor in). There are also a pair of flick missles (which seem out of place to me given the use of tranquilizer guns). There is a wrench and an axe attached to the sides of the vehicle, plus two more large blades in the front. The rubber tires are quite large - the vehicle feels like a monster truck of sorts! The platform with the crane rotates (and the crane moves up and down of course). It's a fun vehicle, though I would have liked to see some sort of compartment or engine underneath the hood space (instead it's just empty space which is weird to me).
Putting it all together, you get a pretty fun set. The driver's facial expression is priceless in photos like this if you ask me!
For the first actual LEGO set that I've built in almost 20 years, I have to admit I was impressed from start to finish. The individual bags made assembly easy - and for the most part, the assembly was fun. The outpost is sort of lame, but I think you could easily redo it in such a way to make it cooler.
Speaking of redoing things, the set comes with a dozen extra pieces which seemed like a lot to me - but I still found that to be nice. I especially was happy to see the extra rope and the extra antenna. If I ever build something different out of the truck, the duplicate pieces will make a symmetrical build possible.
In terms of redoing things, the obvious thing to try was to attach one of the light pieces to the gun in order to make a scoped weapon.
I know if I was a kid playing with this set I'd probably have my LEGO minifigures decide the tranquilizers weren't quite good enough...
However, I suppose if you use the chicken bait trap as it was intended, you can keep the tranquilizers!
The bottom line (out of 10):
Play Value: 9
Kid Value: 9
Adult Value: 6
I had a great time building the set - it brought back so many happy memories of my childhood. That said, I'm not sure that the Dino theme is the best LEGO set for adults...it's high on the playability factor however! As a kid, this would have been one of my favorite sets - I'm sure of that. I think the pieces are interesting enough that you could make a few other fun models just using the pieces from this set, something else that I always enjoyed doing as a youngster.
For my first foray back into full LEGO sets, this was a great initiation. I have to admit, I kind of want to get some of the other DINO sets now...
Once again, a big THANKS to my brother for the gift!
Golden mech deserves a medal
1 hour ago