Monday, February 11, 2019

REVIEW: LEGO 70841: Benny's Space Squad

When I first heard about the LEGO Movie 2 coming out, I admit that I was excited.  In fact, I don't know what I was more excited for - the movie itself or the many tie-in LEGO sets that would be released alongside the movie.

Unfortunately for me, now that the first wave of tLM2 sets have been released, I've found most of the sets to be lackluster.  Other than the giant Apocalypsburg set which seems cool but way too pricey for a novelty set, the rest of the LEGO Movie 2 sets didn't strike a chord with me.  That is, except for one.

The one set that was an instant "must buy" as soon as I first saw images of it was LEGO 70841:  Benny's Space Squad.

I loved Benny in the original LEGO Movie - and I loved classic space as a kid - so getting a brand new "classic" space pack (complete with a new color astronaut) was too much to pass up.  I may not have bought any other sets from the movie line (at least so far) but I did buy this one the moment I saw it for sale, so let's take a closer look!

Benny's Space Squad is a set that is first and foremost about the four included astronauts so let's start with them.  According to the box packaging, the astronauts are all named.  You have Benny in blue (of course) and then three other astronauts with classic smiley faces including Kenny (yellow), Lenny (pink), and Jenny (white).

According to LEGO lore, each colored astronaut is supposed to represent a specific job or career.  The white space men were explorers, the yellow were scientists, the red were pilots, the blue were soldiers or security personnel, and the black were spies.  Pink was not an original color for classic spacemen and so there is no official (or unofficial) job title.  Based on the wrench accessory, I'm going to guess that the pink spacemen are mechanics or repairmen of some type.

The set isn't only the four minigures though they are undoubtedly the star of the show!

In fact, for a $9.99 set with four minifigures, getting 68 total pieces seems like a pretty darn good value.  That becomes even more palatable when you realize that you get to build three different objects with those 68 pieces!

The set comes with a small 29 page manual and a two clear plastic bags (unnumbered).  I am happy to report that there are exactly zero stickers (the only print in the set is the classic space logo on a blue slope piece). 

The build begins with the four minifigures.  Three of the four astronauts have the classic smiley face while Benny gets his trademarked giant grin face.  It should be noted that Benny's face is dual-sided with the other side showing a much more timid, maybe even scared Benny.  Otherwise, all four astronauts are basically the same - each gets color coordinating legs, torsos, helmets, and air packs along with a single accessory.  Benny's helmet gets the signature "cracked" chin strap but the other three astronauts all get pristine helmets.  There are no visors to be found in this set.

Once the astronaut crew is assembled, it's time to work on the first two small builds.  On the left in the above picture you can see the very simple (but effective) robot while on the right you get a small (but also effective) moon rover of sorts.  One nice thing about the rover is that it has seating for two despite its small size!

The final build in the set is a very, very small spaceship for Benny to zoom around in.  There isn't a lot to say here except that I do love the inclusion of the printed slope piece and I love the old school "chair" piece used.  Simply seeing that piece instantly brought me back to my childhood.  I do think that the spaceship should have had one green light and one red light rather than the two red lights but that is sort of nitpicking. 

In the end, this is an amazing classic space starter set. 

From what I've read online, this set seems to be garnering instant praise from all sorts of people.  Part of that is undoubtedly the perceived value of the set (4 minifigures plus the three small builds for $9.99) but if you break it down into the price per part this set actually falls behind many others (only 68 pieces though you do end up with a few extras pieces as shown above). 

I also think part of the allure of this set is that many people that are around my age actually yearn for classic space.  I can't be the only one out there who really has no interest in Star Wars (or the inflated Star Wars pricing on LEGO) but would love a return to the supremely awesome original space factions (M-Tron and Ice Planet, I'm looking at you)!

If my review of Benny's Space Squad wasn't clear by now, this one gets an instant "must buy" rating for me.  It's so good, in fact, that I hope to get at least one more copy of this set to put aside for my 9-month-old when he gets older.  I want to be able to introduce him to some of daddy's favorite themes and there's no guarantee that LEGO will ever return to the space stuff that I grew up loving.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  10 (or 2 if you don't care about classic space)
Overall:  10

2 comments:

  1. This set is awesome! The four minifigures are worth the $10 price tag by themselves. Throw in the robot and it's a no-brainer.

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  2. I agree, Fuji! I should have noted that the mini robot build is the same as the robots on Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, Spaceship! set from the first LEGO Movie round of sets (another favorite set of mine)!

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