Saturday, December 26, 2015

LEGO Collectible Minifigures: Series 14 - A Two Pack Christmas Surprise Rip!

Right before Christmas, I received a gift in the mail from Duff, one of my baseball card blog friends.

 Included with the Christmas card was a pair of unopened LEGO Series 14 Collectible Minifigures.

Now, this was an exciting gift for me because I have yet to open any of the Series 14 figures.  In fact, before I show off which figures I got, let's take a look at the entire checklist for Series 14.

Looking at the checklist, there are a few figures that I'd definitely like to track down including the guy dressed up as a carnivorous plant, the gargoyle, and the two ghostly figures.  I'd also like the trick-or-treater and the big foot figure.

So how did I do with my two packs?  Let's find out!

Pack #1:

Woo!  The first pack that I opened contained the Gargoyle.  In a series full of monsters, the Gargoyle is one of the few figures that could potentially find itself used in a custom City set-up (perhaps as a decoration on some gothic-themed building).  I particularly like the wing piece on this figure, very cool!  I actually wouldn't mind getting at least one more Gargoyle figure...because if I ever were to build a custom building there's a very good chance I'll want at least a pair of Gargoyles to flank the entrance!

Pack #2:

Sweet!  The second pack contained Big Square Foot.  LEGO had fun with this figure naming him Square Foot and giving him a camera to capture his movements (or is the Square Foot finally about to capture rare footage of the yellow minifigure)?!  Either way, it's a fun addition and he'll pair nicely with my Yeti figure from a previous minifigure series.

I'm really pumped that both packs provided me with a figure that I really wanted.  Heck, since I didn't have any figures I'd have been happy with any of them...but to get two of the six most wanted figures from the set?  That's pretty darn cool - and a great Christmas present!

Thanks Duff!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

LEGO 31014: Power Digger - REVIEW

Judging from my blog stats, people generally only seem interested in reviews of large LEGO sets.  On the one hand, I can certainly understand that because the large sets are much more of a financial investment (and the risk/reward is higher given the high cost of the set).  However, I would also wager that more small LEGO sets get sold every year as compared to large why not try and hold the small sets to the same standards as the large ones (keeping the lower cost in mind)?

Today, we go to one of the very smallest sets that you can buy - LEGO 31014:  Power Digger.  The set contains a mere 64 pieces but it does include instructions for three different models which is impressive given the small piece count.

As I mentioned already, the set is one of the 3 in 1 LEGO Creator sets - and amazingly, LEGO managed to make three distinct vehicles using only the 64 pieces included in the set (and in two of the the three cases, substantially fewer than the 64 pieces)!

Based on my ranking, let's start with the least impressive of the three builds:  The Bulldozer.

The Bulldozer isn't a bad build, but it looks too much like some type of farm equipment rather than an actual construction vehicle that you'd see on working on highways.  I also think of bulldozers as having treads rather than tires which obviously wasn't going to be possible with a set of this size.

While the bulldozer may have been a disappointment (and notice all the unused pieces), the next two builds are much better.  Continuing with the worst-to-best ranking, the Dump Truck places right in the middle of the three builds.

Unlike the bulldozer, the dump truck actually looks pretty close to its real-life counterpart.  You can even actually use the truck to dump out stuff held in the back (though admitted the back of the truck won't actually hold more than a stud or two worth of LEGO bricks)!  I also think the dump truck is a bit squatty looking - though with the rather poor selection of leftover pieces I'm not sure that the LEGO designers could have done much better.

That leads us to our final build, and yes, I saved the best for last!  The Power Digger.

Since the set is called Power Digger, it's really no surprise that this is the star of the set.  The truck definitely looks the part - the main part of the truck even spins around 360 degrees and the digger arm is articulated in three different spots.  The only downside to this build is that the scoop of the digger doesn't actually hold anything - it's a flat plate.  Even so, for a build this small that can be overlooked.

I give the LEGO designers a lot of credit for packing three completely different builds into a set with under 70 pieces.  Each of the three trucks is instantly recognizable and I'd say that two of the builds are actually really nice.  In fact, I could see picking up a second set #31014 so that I could have both the power digger and the dump truck working together!

So how does the set fare overall?  Well, let's take a look:

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

While I did like two of the three builds quite a bit, the set suffers from a lack of play ability for young collectors and a lack of interesting or new pieces for adult collectors.  For the young collectors, this set would have benefited from about four 1x1 round brown pieces to serve as dirt for the trucks to push around, dig up, and haul away.  I don't think four round studs would have added much (if anything) to the cost but it definitely would have made for a lot more play value.  As it stands now, you either get a digger with nothing to dig or a dump truck with nothing to haul.

For adults, I think the set mostly suffers for its size.  It's much too small to fit into any LEGO CITY style layout and yet it's much too big to work for any microbuilds.  I will say that I had fun building all three models but with such a small piece count it's hard for that to affect the bottom line much (since any one model takes less than two minutes or so to put together)!  In the end, I gave the set a rather low score of 5 but I'm still impressed by the pure variety of the three builds given the limited number of pieces.  There's certainly no harm in buying this set as an impulse purchase...and it definitely makes a fine addition to any LEGO gift you might give someone (which is how I ended up with this set thanks to my brother)!

Pull out a few extra "dirt" pieces from your own collection to use with your trucks while you play and you've got yourself a winner of a mini set!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

REVIEW: LEGO 850617: LEGO City Police Accessory Set - REVIEW

Last month, I had a birthday and with that came a large assortment of LEGO sets.  One of the sets that I was given was set 850617:  LEGO City Police Accessory Set.  This is a simple set (34 pieces) that's basically a collection of four minifigures, a dog, and some accessories.

The question is, how does the set stack up for someone who owns quite a bit of City stuff already?  The four minifigures are all quite nice - I especially like that one of the four officers is a female since female minifigs are a bit rarer.  However, it should be noted that all four minifigures have the exact same torso (and legs) pieces so really the only difference is the face, the headpiece (hair or helmet), and the accessories.

Speaking of accessories, you get quite a few including two megaphones, 2 walkie talkies, 2 pairs of handcuffs, a pair of binoculars, 2 flashlights, and a metal detector.  The metal detector is an odd choice but I suppose it provides something rather unique to this set.  You also get a dog (with a dog bone) and a small, one-piece barrier for official police work.

For me, I'd say this is a solid set to pick up if you need to expand your police force.  The four figures all have a bit of a SWAT team vibe to them, perhaps it is the dark helmets with visors that really hammer that feeling home.  The one thing that I didn't like is that the minifigures all felt cheaper than those you'd get in a "regular" set.  The hair pieces in particular seemed extra loose fitting...something to keep in mind if you are thinking of buying this set for small children I guess.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  5
Play Value: 5
Kid Value:  7
Adult Value:  4
Overall:  5

I would be remiss if I didn't note that you don't actually get anything in this set for the police officers to do.  There are no criminals (or even innocent townsfolk to interrogate for fun).  I think had one of the two helmeted officers been a criminal instead that this set would have had much more play value.  As it is, it's a solid set to bolster your police department but that's pretty much it.  I like though since one of my other birthday presents was a new police station!