Monday, June 23, 2014

LEGO 40108: Balloon Cart - REVIEW

In June 2014, LEGO 40108:  Balloon Cart was given out for free if you spent at least $75 at the LEGO Store.  I spent my hard earned cash on Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, Spaceship! but it was back ordered.  Luckily for me, LEGO was nice and actually shipped the free set to me about a week before I was to receive Benny's Spaceship.

As for the set itself, the Balloon Cart contains 66 pieces which includes a pair of minifigures (one young boy and one cart worker).

The young boy comes with two different faces - a super happy grin for when he has a balloon in hand and a crying face for when he inevitably lets the balloon go.

The cart worker has only once face but he comes with a nice torso piece which includes a printed vest, watch with chain, and a bit of back printing as well.  I think the cart worker would fit in well in a hotel setting or even an old timey train station.

Since this is only a polybag set, the build itself is quite quick.  However, for a free set the finished product is quite nice.  In the end, you end up with four "inflated" balloons (in four colors) plus 4 "deflated" balloons (but only in two colors).  The deflated balloons are simple 1x1 round stud pieces that are stored in the cart - but it works well within the world of the set.  Technically, the cart is only supposed to come with two of the 1x1 pieces (one red and one orange) but you get two addition studs as extra pieces - plus an extra nozzle for the helium tanks.

The cart also contains a pair of helium tanks which helps to complete the look (otherwise it might be confused with a cotton candy cart I guess).

Overall, I like the Balloon Cart - and for a free set it's hard to complain much about it at all.  If I could offer up two complaints/suggestions it would be that the cart and balloons don't seem to match the scale of the minifigure (and I wish LEGO would have given four different colored 1x1 studs that match the four colors of the inflated ballons).

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  8
Play Value:  8
Kid Value:  9
Adult Value:  5
Overall:  8

A solid set - especially for a free throw-in!  Getting two minifigures is a nice bonus (and greatly increases the playability factor of the set).

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Minifigure Museum: Ocean King (Series 7)

Ocean King:  Series 7 LEGO Collectible Minifigure

I started collecting the LEGO Collectible Minifigure Series a few years after they were first released (which helps to explain why I still need so many figures from the earlier series)!  In fact, it was Series 7 which was one of the first series where I was able to purchase packs new from the store!  Not coincidentally, Series 7 was also one of the first series in which I managed to track down all 16 figures!

As for the Ocean King, I like him a lot.  In fact, when Series 7 came out the Ocean King joined the bagpiper and the tennis guy as my top three figures to acquire in the Series 7 checklist!  Now that I have the entire series, I can also report that the Red Riding Hood figure is also quite nice - but even that can't match the majesty of the Ocean King.

The figure itself comes with a golden trident, a hair piece with a crown molded onto it, a beard, a tail piece, and a nice torso.

While the printing is quite nice on the figure (despite no back printing), I found the difference in the gold color of the crown and the trident to be the main disappointment with the figure.  I also wish the crown was able to separated from the hairpiece - perhaps LEGO should have waited for the Ocean King figure to be made until after the new hair pieces with the hole in the top (to which a crown could have been attached).

However, despite those two minor complaints the overall figure is still one of my all-time favorites.

I wish LEGO would do more Greek/Roman gods in minifigure form - they make for fun figures that can be used in a variety of dioramas or vignettes.

Monday, June 16, 2014

LEGO 6270: Forbidden Island - REVIEW

Today marks the second straight "old school" Pirate set that I'm going to review here at Legend of LEGO.  However, unlike the Crocodile Cage set which was the subject of my previous review, today's set is not one of my old sets.  Instead, it's one that I picked up off of eBay last fall (it took me this long to finally build the set)!

Back in the day, I didn't own a lot of large Pirate sets (those were all pretty much owned by my brother).  I did have a collection of smaller sets though - and I did have my own version of a pirate's shipwreck hideout that I'm sure I'll review eventually.  However, before all of my Pirate sets came along there was the original bunch of Pirate sets - of which Forbidden Island is part of the collection.

The set itself was released in 1989 and contains only 182 pieces despite its large appearance!  In fact, the set itself is built on a beautiful island base plate that is quite large (32 x 32 studs) with a printed island on it (complete with a bit of water in the middle).

Since I bought the set off of eBay, I wasn't sure if the base plate was correct or simply marked up by the previous owner.
The entire base plate didn't quite fit on my scanner but you can see the white dots at least.

As it turns out, it appears LEGO actually specifically marked the studs where you start the building of the fort (thus saving a lot of time of counting studs and referring to the instructions)!  It was disconcerting at first, but after building the model I can attest that the marked studs save a lot of time!  They are also only barely marked which means you could still use the base plate for MOCs and not have to worry too much about the white markings.

Once the build gets going, it's fairly easy sailing (pun intended).  The instructions are mostly clear (and more concise than current LEGO practices - if this set were re-released I imagine LEGO would make the instructions at least five to seven steps longer)!

The fort itself comes with a small prison, a staircase, a suspension bridge, and a tall mast with a crow's nest at the top.  In a surprise to me, there is actually a trap door where unsuspecting intruders can fall into the prison if you remove a technic pin.  The prison actually has two identical jail doors, one on each side of the cell.

If you pull on that technic pin, the grey plate at the top will swing down and drop an unsuspecting visitor right into the jail cell.  Pretty cool little play feature - I know I always loved stuff like that as a kid!
Aerial shot!

In the end, the fort looks pretty awesome for it's small piece count!  You get a ton of green foliage, plus four minifigures (including the captain complete with a hook for a hand), a shark, a parrot, and a monkey.  You also get a cannon, a row boat, and a treasure chest full of gold.  Heck, there's even a green whip included (which is used as some sort of vine in this set) and a full-sized palm tree!  The only downside to the set is that the stairs lead directly into the water - I guess pirates never took engineering classes in school.

The cannon is on wheels so you can move it around wherever you wish (though there really isn't much room to put the cannon in the fort structure itself).  This set also provided me with my first suspension bridge piece - something that I always yearned for as a kid when I wanted to make my own forts!  You might think it's a little too late...but maybe someday I'll mix some of my sets up and try my hand at some larger scale MOCs once again!

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  8
Overall:  9.5

I think LEGO knocked this set out of the proverbial park.  Four minifigures and plenty of other cool play features make this set an instant winner for kids.  The play value is off the charts as well with the animals, the prison (with trap door), and the boat and wheeled cannon.  For adults, the value is also there (though not quite as high).  I think it would be a fun challenge to try and design some other fort type with the pieces in the set - there are a lot of large pieces which don't lend themselves to creative uses nearly as well.  On the other hand, there are also a lot of fairly unique pieces (including the suspension bridge, large ladders, stair case, two prison doors, large pirate flag, and all the greenery).  The Forbidden Island set definitely earns my full recommendation!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LEGO 6246: Crocodile Cage - REVIEW

When I was a kid, my two favorite themes were definitely Castle and Space.  From there, I was also interested in the Town/City line (though I didn't own many sets from that theme).  The fourth theme of interest to me?  Pirates.  I wasn't as into the Pirates theme as my younger brother (he had more of the awesome Pirate ships and forts - something I did not have) but I did have a fair number of small and medium sized Pirate sets.  Today's set for review is one such Pirate set - this one from the Islanders subtheme.

The Crocodile Cage (LEGO 6246) is a 56 piece set that comes with two different minifigures plus a crocodile and a red parrot.  The set comes with one Islander (who has a bow, shield, quiver, and spear at his disposal.  The second figure is a pirate prisoner complete with a peg leg as well as a rifle and a sword stored (conveniently for the prisoner) right outside of the jail cell.  Despite being a small set, there is a lot weaponry included (the jail cell itself is made up of another four spears)!  As a kid I distinctly remember loving the fact that one set provided so much in the way of weapons.

As for the build itself, the entire set is built on a 6 x 12 green base plate.  Other than the plethora of weapons, there aren't a lot of other pieces included of note (besides the lovely green bush of course).

It shouldn't be surprising that the build itself is quick and easy since the set contains a mere 56 pieces.  You begin by constructing the base of the jail cell, plus a rock for the plant to sit on and a small fire pit of sorts.

After that, you construct the jail door (which is four spears on top of a hinged piece that allows the entire jail door to open wide so that you can get the pirate in and out of the cell easily).

The finished set is great looking for its size!  The top of the jail cell even has a little bit of decoration (plus a red parrot who is supposed to sit on one of the spears).  There is also a "shrunken head" on a stick included with the set - sort of creepy but I guess the Islanders were cannibals?

In the end, I can't recommend this set highly enough!  The pirate even fits into the jail cell perfectly if you sit him down (the side pieces allow for the pirate's arms to fit in without anything being too squished or fitting sideways.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  7
Overall:  9.5

I loved it as a kid (it was released in 1994) and I still love it today.  I did dock a few points for my "adult value" score simply because there aren't a lot of unique pieces or clever building techniques used.  However, for the cost of the set you do get a ton of weapons plus the bush, parrot, crocodile, and the white bone pieces.  In addition, both minifigures are quite nice - the pirate having a peg leg adds even more adult value to the set (plus it sends the kid value through the roof)!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Three More LEGO Minifigures (2 from The LEGO Movie, 1 from Series 9)

It's been a bit quiet here at Legend of LEGO but I'm hoping to fix that now that I'm back from a week long vacation and a three day work trip!  Although I haven't had the opportunity to buy much in the way of LEGO products lately, I have managed to procure three new collectible minifigures for my collection.

The first is the Mermaid from Series 9.

I was happy to get the Mermaid since my Series 9 set is still in some serious need of figures.  In fact, I still need 6 of the 16 figures in the set - I'm missing classic favorites like the Chicken Suit Guy and the Plumber as well as the Waiter, Fortune Teller, Battle Mech, and the Roller Derby Girl.

Amazingly, my LEGO Collectible Minifigure series is doing exactly as well as Series 9 - despite the fact the the Movie figures are much, much newer!  Thanks to my two newest additions I now only need six more from the LEGO Movie series as well!

My newest additions include Wily Fusebot.

He's a funny little critter - isn't he?  The beard piece is separate - and it looks incredibly goofy on a robot!  I do love the detailing on the torso and legs though - good stuff.

The second figure is one of my most wanted figures after I saw the movie.  Who doesn't love Good Cop / Bad Cop (or as he's known here:  Scribble Face Cop).

Besides the scribble face (which is my favorite), the cop also has a more regular face too.

I'll be displaying him with the scribble face however - it's much more unique!

The two LEGO Movie figures came in a swap with my brother - the other came from either eBay or Listia (I forget which now!).  As usual, if you have any other figures that I'm looking for, I'd love to work out a trade.  I have a slew of extras from various series!