Monday, August 31, 2015

A New Line of LEGO for My Collection!

Once in awhile, I fall victim to an impulse buy - and today's latest LEGO set for my collection is definitely one such purchase!

That's right - I bought my first ever LEGO Architecture set.  I actually bought this psuedo-used off of an eBay seller.  The seller said that the box was opened but all the pieces were factory sealed.  You can tell from the above picture that the box has seen better days...but since I prefer to actually open my LEGO sets and build them, I didn't mind getting a busted box if it meant saving a healthy chunk of change on the set itself!

I was a bit apprehensive that everything would be there - but when the box arrived I was pleasantly surprised - not only was everything present (at least I think so) but the manual itself was in pretty good shape.

Speaking of the manual, did you know that the Trevi Fountain manual is super thick?!  Seriously, look at this:

That's a massive manual.  And it's really nice too - there's the usual step-by-step instructions but there are also a bunch of high quality photographs of the subject at hand, namely the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy!

I plan to build this set in the very near future - and when I do I'll be sure to have my actual review.  I simply couldn't wait to take some photos of the box/manual since it just arrived in the mail this week!

And if you are wondering why I made this impulse buy - let's just say I was pining for a return to Italy!  My wife and I visited Italy a few years ago (here's a couple of our photos of Trevi Fountain).

Italy was a wonderful place - albeit crowded!  I would return in a heartbeat if I could...but for now, I'll have to reminisce by building a LEGO replica of one of Italy's most famous cites (now if only there were a LEGO Colosseum to build)!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

LEGO 60077: Space Starter Set - REVIEW

It's been awhile since I've had time to post anything new here at Playing With Bricks.  Not coincidentally, it has also been awhile since I've acquired any new LEGO sets!  Happily, both events occurred this week thanks to a quick grocery trip to Wal-Mart.  My local big box store finally had the new City summer sets (space and underwater)!  I didn't have a lot of extra money to spend, but I did manage to pick up one of the smallest new sets from the LEGO City Space line - set 60077:  Space Starter Set.

The Space Starter Set comes with 107 for about $10 which is right about on point for the usual 10 cents per piece count that many people use to judge a set's value.  Of course, it's already been mentioned many times on other blogs and websites that much of the LEGO City space sets are not good values using that 10 cent metric...the biggest set, in fact, is a horrible value if that's how you judge a set.

Luckily for LEGO (and for my readers), I don't judge a set solely on it's price-per-piece.  Instead, I try to take into account a variety of factors (including price of course).  The best way to judge a set though is to build the thing - so let's get to it!

The front of the box shows off the entire set fairly well - as you can see you get a variety of figures (including a female scientist which is nice).  There is also a small car and a few other odds and ends.

The back of the box tries to emphasize the play value of the set - but ultimately that's probably a bit of a hard sell since there really isn't a lot in the box!  No matter, you don't judge a set on its box any more than you should solely judge it on its price-per-piece.  Let's rip it open and get building!

Opening the box up, you instantly find a pair of plastic bags full of pieces (unnumbered bags) plus the instruction manual.  I was pleased to see that there are exactly ZERO stickers in the set!  Yes!

One of the big questions many people have when trying to decide which new set to buy is "will this set provide any new, unique, or special pieces for my collection?"  For me and the Space Starter Set, that answer is yes.  In fact, there were a few cool or new pieces for me...

The brown piece in the upper left of the above photo was particularly interesting to me - especially since that piece is basically only used to drive over by the included buggy in the set.  I also like the space uniforms and helmets - both of which were new to my collection.  The keyboard tile (printed), wrench, and camera weren't new pieces for me but they were all appreciated since they are such useful pieces to have!

Now that we've taken a closer look at some of the elements, let's put the actual set together!  We begin with the four minifigures.

As I said before, I like the minfigs in the set - a nice variety for a $10 set!  There are two astronauts (same torso) but the one astronaut gets a jet pack and a camera.  The weird thing about the jet pack is that the astronaut has to hold onto the handles - it's not actually attached in any other way to the figure.  The construction worker and the female scientist are also both nice (and useful) figures to have (though I sort of wish the female's torso didn't have the space logo on the back of it).

The little moon rover is fairly nice - a surprising amount of functionality is packed into the small frame!

You get a trans-blue scanner on the front (along with a single red light).  The back has a place to store the astronaut's helmet (though why you'd take your helmet off on the moon is beyond me).  There is also a small satellite dish attached to the vehicle, presumably to send and receive data from the computer terminal.

Speaking of the computer terminal, I guess the idea here is that the computer terminal is attached to a moon-landing training ground - hence the large rocks to drive the buggy over.  I do like the computer itself - and all three of those tiles are printed (the computer monitor, keyboard, and the 1x2 tile next to the computer).

The final two bits to build are super simple - but their inclusion in the set is still appreciated by me.  You get a light stand and a camera - perhaps to fake a moon landing?  There is also a small pile of extra pieces - including a small white bar which I always find useful!

That concludes set #60077:  Space Starter Set.  Overall, I give the set the following scores:

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

You really can't go wrong with this one.  A great selection of pieces, plus four minifigures for slightly under $10 - pretty much perfect.  The buggy is probably the worst part of the set (even if it's the main "draw" on the package)...and even the buggy serves its purpose.  I think this is a great little set for pieces - and personally I cannot wait to get going on my own city MOC and include a space port!