Friday, May 5, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 17 (Complete Checklist)

LEGO officially released Series 17 of their popular Collectible Minifigure line on May 1, 2017.  Like most series prior, Series 17 features 16 different minifigures (of varying degrees of difficulty to find) in the checklist.  However, this time around LEGO chose to make one of its figures a mystery figure (for reasons that I still don't understand).  We'll get to the mystery figure soon, but for now, here's a look at the packaging for Series 17.

As you can see, it's a bright blue - a color that makes the minifigures seem to "pop" when sitting on a store shelf (which is a good thing)!

Like with every other series, each blind bag features a single minifigure and a leaflet showing off all the figures in the series (again, with the exception of the "mystery figure" who is shrouded in black on the leaflet).

Now that the series is officially released, it's safe to report that the mystery figure is the "Highwayman."

Here are the rarities for the various figures (numbers are based on a case of packs - i.e. 60 packs and from what I could gather online.  I don't have the budget to buy a full box for myself!).

Rare:  (3 per box):  
Pro Surfer
Gourmet Chef
Butterfly Girl
Rocket Boy
Dance Instructor
Elf Maiden

Uncommon (4 per box):
Hot Dog Vendor
Roman Gladiator
Battle Dwarf
Retro Space Hero

Common (5 per box):
Circus Strongman
Corn Cob Man

It's interesting to note that the mystery figure is actually one of the most common figures in the set.  You'll also notice that there are a lot more "rare" figures than there are common figures - that will make collecting the full set all that much more challenging!

Let's take a look at each figure in more detail - going in the order that the figures are listed on the leaflet.

Note:  I will add in more images as I acquire the various minifigures*!

*I actually bought 12 packs at the store today but six of them ended up being duplicates...Not great, but that's ok.  If I manage to get the remaining figures soon I'll update this post accordingly.  Until then, enjoy my review as it is!

Note #2:  After three trips to the store, I located the entire Series 17 set - all figures now have a corresponding image!  For what it is worth, the Battle Dwarf was the final figure that I had to locate.

1.  Pro Surfer (Rare)

Series 17 starts off a bit slow with a surfer - a figure idea that we've seen in previous collectible minifigure series.  I do like the surfer's "shark" board quite a bit - but I don't get the feeling that another surfer was necessary.  In fact, given that LEGO includes surfers in its regular CITY offerings, this figure seems like it's taking up valuable space in the Series while offering little to no value.  At least the figure is one of the rare ones which should limit the number of extra surfboards that you'll end up with if you buy blind packs *ahem* blindly.

2.  Circus Strongman  (Common)

The Circus Strongman looks like a combination of a weightlifter and Fred Flintstone.  It's interesting to see LEGO continue to use the circus theme in its collectible minifigure line - are there even circuses around anymore that people can go watch?  Unfortunately for collectors, the Strongman is a common figure with no real useful accessories.

3.  Gourmet Chef  (Rare)

While I may not be enamored with the first two figures in the series, the Gourmet Chef is an instant winner for me.  I love her hat/hair piece and her strawberry pie - but the real prize for me is her whisk accessory (and her chef's torso).  The Gourmet Chef is one figure from Series 17 that I won't be disappointed by if I end up with multiple copies - she'll fit right into my custom city in any number of possible locations.

4.  Corn Cob Man  (Common)

LEGO has recognized that people love costumed minifigures - and so almost without fail every Collectible Series has at least one figure in costume.  For Series 17, the Corn Cob Man gets the costume treatment - and what a treat he is!  With a great corn cob costume (and bushy mustache), he certainly looks the part of a midwestern farmer trying to drum up business for his roadside stand.  I don't know that I need a lot of copies of this figure, but I'm still glad he's considered a common since I am guessing he'll prove to be one of the most popular figures from the series.

5.  Veterinarian  (Rare)

As a dog person, I love the Veterinarian minifigure a lot.  The scrubs printing is top notch, and while I sort of wish the name tag didn't have a paw print on it (so that the figure could double as a doctor or nurse in a hospital setting), I still think the figure is great.  The included rabbit is a nice touch as well.
6.  Hot Dog Vendor  (Uncommon)

The Hot Dog Vendor is the perfect figure for people who have created custom sports stadiums.  After all, you can almost smell the popcorn in the air whenever you look at a vendor like this.  I'm also excited to see what people come up with to do with that tray piece - it's interesting enough that I'm guessing it'll be used in all sorts of unique ways in custom builds.  Finally, I should note that I love the drink accessory - it looks perfect (and I could use about 30 more of those in different colors)!

7.  Butterfly Girl  (Rare)

I have to admit, I don't completely understand the point of the Butterfly Girl.  With wings and "sparkles" all over her, I guess she's supposed to be a kid dressed for Halloween (or maybe a ballet recital)?  I have no idea...

8.  Roman Gladiator  (Uncommon)

I normally like the Roman themed figures a lot - but I have to be honest, this one doesn't interest me much.  I think it's because he's extremely plain with only a trident as an accessory.  This isn't the finest effort from LEGO.

9.  Connoisseur  (Uncommon)

Most collectors probably have enough bread pieces by now - but I for one can't ever turn down additional food items.  I also like the small french bulldog (?) that's included - something that will work with the veterinarian figure as well.  On the other hand, the Connoisseur himself isn't all that interesting - and unless you are clamoring for his accessories I don't think this figure will prove to be popular either.

10.  Battle Dwarf  (Uncommon)

The Battle Dwarf is certainly armed to the teeth with both a mini ax and a battle hammer.  His red mohawk completes his "no nonsense" look - and while the Dwarf isn't for me I do see the possible appeal in a character like this (I would have loved him when I was a kid for example)!  It should be noted that there is printing on his hammer which is a nice touch as well.

11.  Retro Space Hero  (Uncommon)

I always liked the classic Space sets from my childhood, but the Retro Space Hero predates even those sets in his appearance.  For my money, while he is a nice representative of cheesy space movies, I would have preferred something that would have fit in with the old Space Police / MTron / Blacktron sets of yore!

12.  Yuppie  (Uncommon)

The Yuppie has a phone accessory that's hilariously large (and true to the era I guess).  He looks a little bit like Elvis to me too for some reason...otherwise, there isn't much to say here.  He's a perfectly adequate figure.

13.  Rocket Boy  (Rare)

The third costumed character in the series (if you count both the Corn Cob Guy and the Butterfly Girl).  I actually like the Rocket Boy the best of the three - mostly because of his "classic space" hand drawn flag.  The rocket piece itself is also quite nice - I'm sure it'll show up again in custom Jetson's builds or something.

14.  Dance Instructor  (Rare)

The Dance Instructor got the "honor" of being the first figure that I opened up from Series 17.  I went ahead and simply grabbed a big handful of packs from my local big box store - I didn't do any pack feeling or searching.  Once I got my haul home, I grabbed a single pack to open up (again, without any feeling or searching) and I ended up with the Dance Instructor.

As for the figure itself, other than being the first that I got see in hand from the series, it's fairly unremarkable.  The biggest (literally) part of her is her hair piece.  In fact, the hair is definitely the highlight of this particular figure...although I admit it does scream "80s fitness" to me (that's not necessarily anything that I actually want screamed however)!  Her only accessory is a printed transparent blue 1x1 round brick that simply says H20 (i.e. water) on it.  I guess that print could be useful for a grocery store creation or something but I don't think custom builders were begging for a "water" bottle print.

15.  Elf Maiden  (Rare) 

While I don't care for the sloped dress pieces (I much prefer my minifigures to all have the standard leg pieces), I have to admit that the Elf Maiden is quite nice.  She would have found an instant home back in the day when I would spend hours playing with my Castle sets - and with a new shield design she would have been even more valuable to me then!

16. Highwayman  (Common)

And finally, we reach the end of the series with the last figure - the previously mysterious Highwayman.  While I have nothing against the figure, I simply don't understand what LEGO was trying to do by surrounding the figure with a shroud of mystery.  It's not like the figure is that special...and since he's common there isn't even the rare chase like there was for the Mr. Gold figure.  I don't get it...  I will say that I do like the figure's hat a lot - it's from the old classic Pirate set complete with the small hole for the feather plume).

And with that, we've completed our look at Series 17.

I have to admit, I don't think that Series 17 is nearly as strong as some of the previous series.  There are very few "must have" figures for me in this series, in fact, I think my list only consists of the:
Chef, Vet, Corn Cob Guy, Hot Dog Guy, Rocket Boy, and Elf Maiden.  Six out of sixteen isn't a good ratio for "must haves."  On the flip side, I generally don't care for the Surfer, Strongman, Butterfly Girl, Gladiator, Yuppie, or Fitness Instructor.  That's six figures that I find generally uninspiring (again, not a good ratio).

To be fair, not every series of Collectible Minifigures can top the previous - and while this series has more than its fair share of clunkers, there are still a number of nice figures available.  For me, I'd like to see LEGO return to the "odd CITY jobs" for it's regular minifigures (i.e more characters like judges and plumbers and less surfers please).

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