Thursday, January 31, 2013

Minifigure Museum: Zookeeper (Series 5)

Zookeeper:  LEGO Series 5 Minifigure

The Zookeeper is a Series 5 minifigure that comes complete with a monkey and a banana to feed the monkey.

The Zookeeper is #7 in the Series 5 set.  Based on eBay sales that I've seen and/or been a part of, the zookeeper isn't the most highly desired of figures but even the "lesser" figures are still usually pretty nice in the LEGO minifigure series (something that certainly holds true for the zookeeper).

The figure itself is a female with a nicely designed zookeeper outfit.  In fact, it even says "zoo" above her right pocket (a nice touch that I didn't even notice until I started writing this review).  I also like the little key that's printed on the Zookeeper's outfit.  There is no back printing though.

As I mentioned above, the figure comes with two accessories (a monkey and a banana).  If I were a younger collector and still playing with LEGO like I did as a kid, I'm betting the monkey and banana would both find a home on one of my old pirate ships.  The banana would also be useful in a City landscape if you made a grocery store or outdoor market.

All told, the figure is actually fairly nice (even if it is one of my least favorite from Series 5).  I will say this, it's definitely not the worst figure in the series...and the accessories are probably as useful (or more useful) than those that come with any other figure in the series.

I've been making a habit of including at least one photo per Minifigure Museum post with some sort of prop in the background.  Since I don't own a monkey (or a zoo), I went with the next logical choice - a bunch of bananas!

Monday, January 28, 2013

LEGO 6813: Galactic Chief - REVIEW

LEGO has done three different series of Space Police vehicles over the years.  Today's model "Galactic Chief" is from the second series of Space Police and was produced in 1993.

When I was a kid, I had exactly one Space Police set (and it was from the original Space Police series).  As such, this set (and the other two Space Police sets that I picked up recently) are completely new to me.

The set itself is quite small - only 23 pieces.  On the plus side, the vehicle looks like a fast car - and certainly like something you could imagine a space police force utilizing.

On the other hand, the vehicle has no spot to actually hold a criminal (you know, just in case the Galactic Chief succeeds in hunting down the scum of the universe).  It also, rather curiously, doesn't have any sort of weapons...unless you count the loudspeaker (or loudhailer as Bricklink calls it).

Although the set is extremely small, it does hold the distinction of being one of only two sets to have the actual Police Chief in it (the other set being the much larger Galactic Mediator.  The captain's name is "Captain Magenta" which is weird, I'll leave it at that.

I do like his shoulder piece though, makes him look like an old-timey general or something.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  3
Play Value:  7
Kid Value:  5
Adult Value:  1
Overall:  3

The set is a small set, so it's hard to expect too much.  However, given that the set is all about a police chief, you'd expect either some sort of weapon or some sort of way to transport prisoners.  Since this set has neither, that cuts into the bottom line.  Furthermore, the set itself doesn't lend itself to much in the way of other builds.  Finally, the only moving piece is the windshield - and the poor police chief doesn't even get any sort of steering wheel or other instrument panel.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Minifigures for Trade

I've updated my Minifigures for Trade list with 4 available figures.  At the moment, I don't have anything overly awesome available - but I'm not looking for a heckuva lot in return.  Check them out if you get the chance, heck you might even want the figures for parts!  If I don't get any takers for the four figures, I might end up throwing them on Listia or eBay - but I'd rather trade if I could.  You can find my full Minifigure Want List here - but I'm also willing to accept sets in trade, no matter how big or small!

Once you are done looking at my extra figures, take a gander at some of my featured minifigures - I've done three Minifigure Museums so far:

I hope to continue the Minifigure Museum posts in the future - they are a bit of work to get all the photos but they are also quite a bit of fun!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Minifigure Museum: Tennis Player (Series 7)

Tennis Player:  LEGO Series 7 Minifigure

Before I decided I try and collect every single LEGO minifigure (from all the various series), I chased after minifigures that had some sort of special value to me.  I live in a college town that up until a few years ago had a great bunch of tennis courts.  For years, my wife (at the time girlfriend) and I used to play tennis together in the early evenings (the courts even had lights to use).  Unfortunately, the college decided to destroy all of the tennis courts and stick a behemoth dormitory in their place - but my love of tennis remains strong despite not having a place to play anymore.
So when I saw that there was a LEGO tennis guy, well, you better believe I had to have it!

Besides the tennis guy, Series 7 had quite a few other minifigures that I really liked.  So many, in fact, that Series 7 was the first of the LEGO minifigure series that I managed to complete!

As for the tennis player, he's a great representation of someone like John McEnroe.  I love the detailing of the tennis racquet (you can actually see through the strings).  The figure is dressed up in a white tennis outfit, complete with printing on both upper and lower body.  There is no printing on the back or sides (except for the yellow stripe on the pants which extends to both sides).

The head is made complete by the crazy hair - it definitely reminds you of a typical tennis player!

Despite all of the above touches, the best touch is the head.  The headband goes great with the hair and the half-smile, half-grimace is a perfect expression for anyone who has ever played a game or two of tennis!

Game, Set, Match!

Monday, January 21, 2013

My First Experience with BrickLink

Awhile back, I put an impulse bid on an eBay auction that claimed to have a bunch of minifigures plus two Space Police vehicles (without directions).  The auction owner claimed that he/she "thought" the two models were complete but there were no promises.

As you can guess from the blog title, the sets were not complete - but as a fun little bonus, there were actually THREE Space Police sets included.

I plan to build the three sets and show them off on the blog at some point in the future - but before I can do that, I had to place an order through BrickLink in order to acquire the few missing pieces that I needed.  

I must say, the website is a bit of a pain to use in that I couldn't figure out how to search for sellers that had all the pieces in my want list.  I had to resort to choosing the piece that was in stock by the fewest sellers and then narrow my search from there.  It wasn't fun - but I was able to locate one seller who had every piece I needed with a relatively low shipping price of $2.50.  Since I was busy ordering pieces, I also ordered one of the minifigures that I needed that the same seller was selling (the Rocker Girl).

As a tease, here are the pieces that I had to order* in order to complete the sets.  Can you guess which set(s) I got off eBay?
*note:  I didn't need the second tile with one bump - it was a mistake (on my end) in the order.  Oh well, now I have an extra.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Minifigure Museum: Graduate (Series 5)

As a college professor, the graduate minifigure from LEGO Minifigure Series #5 is one of my favorite figures of all time!  
Graduate:  LEGO Series 5 Minifigure

In fact, each time I look at the graduate's big 'ol smile, I can't help but be reminded of the importance of my job.  Now that's a powerful figure!

Based on the brochure that comes with all Series 5 minifigures, the graduate is one of about six or seven figures (out of 16) that I would say could be used in a typical LEGO City set-up.  It is probably the only figure that would be used on top of a cake for a celebration (such as, you guessed it:  a graduation)!

The graduate comes with three accessories:  a cloth robe, a mortarboard hat with tassle, and a diploma.

The figure itself comes with plain grey pants (no printing), and a top with a sweater and tie printing near the neck.  There is no printing on the arms or back of the figure.

The graduate has only one face - and it's a gigantic beaming smile!

Overall, this is a neat little figure that can be used for a lot of things outside the LEGO world.  Specifically, elementary, middle, and high school graduations - or for a college graduate who used to play with LEGO as a youngster.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Minifigure Museum: Snowboarder (Series 5)

LEGO Series 5 - The Snowboarder Minifigure

Like the rest of the LEGO minifigure series, Series 5 contains 16 different figures from a variety of occupations and time periods.

One of my favorite figures from Series 5 is the snowboarder (number 16 in the set).

The snowboarder comes with a snowboard (as he should) which is nicely detailed.  The mountain image plus the circles make the board look fairly legitimate - and the 48mm measurement is the icing on the cake.

The figure also comes with a blue knitted cap and a face with goggles.  The front of his body contains a dark blue jacket printing (and he has gray hands which represent gloves).  Unfortunately, his pants are plain grey with no printing of any type.

The back of the body is also plain (both top and bottom).  

Even so, a snowboarder doesn't need a lot of extra printing to look the part - and this little guy certainly looks the part!

Heck, he can try his luck in real snow!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

LEGO 5884: Raptor Chase - REVIEW

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... 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):
Fun:  8
Play Value:  9
Kid Value:  9
Adult Value:  6
Overall:  8.5

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'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!

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