Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review: Avengers Lego!

As The Avengers finally opens in North America we all face the very real possibility of being crushed by a deluge of tie-in merchandise. In this storm of plastic masks and re-released Hulk Hands, I became a man with a dream. And that dream was not equality, or world peace, or eating a giant marshmallow. It was assembling my very own set of Lego Avengers! Thanks to modern science and Danish ingenuity, that lofty dream has just become a reality.

Assemble, my noseless, stunted, plastic brothers! ASSEMBLE!

Assembling your own team isn't going to be cheap though. You'll actually have to purchase three sets: LEGO Hulk’s Helicarrier Breakout #6868, LEGO Captain America’s Avenging Cycle #6865, and the granddaddy: LEGO Quinjet Aerial Battle #6869. There's another small set too but it's all repeat figures and a truck you don't need. Although it does have the cosmic cube.

I'll review all three of these freshly released (and quickly selling out) sets... after the jump!

(Mild movie spoilers to follow).

LEGO Hulk’s Helicarrier Breakout #6868

My original intention was to just grab the Quinjet but the lure of the uniquely sculpted Hulk minifig became far too strong. The focus of this set is a large scenic piece from the SHIELD helicarrier which is not super exciting but it does serve as a decent backdrop for your assembled force. It'll probably end up in a spare part box for me for when I next need to be thrashed by J. in a Lego building challenge.

Loki can be be contained in the central transparent holding cell where he can call people "mewling quims" and seductively lick the glass. But we'll talk more about him later. First, take a look at the computer screen at the top right...

Yes there's a Space Invaders sticker. No it's not Galaga as referenced in the film, but it's pretty close. Although why would that SHIELD guy be playing Galaga in the first place? It's 2012, Joss. Farmville all the way!

Speaking of SHIELD guys they are sorely missing. It would have been the perfect set to include a Coulson, a Maria Hill or even just a random troop to sit up there top there and work the screens. And what about Nick Fury? Doesn't he own this thing? Although teaser images of his minifig are out there, he is suspiciously absent from any of the currently available sets. I would have liked to have seen him included instead of Thor who is also available with the Quinjet. 

That said, the new minifigs are amazing and what everybody is really buying these for. Both Hawkeye and Thor have extra faces printed on the backs of their heads so that Thor can be angry or neutral and Hawkeye can be displayed with sunglasses or without. But much like the film, the real star is Hulk who is a uniquely sculpted piece and much bigger than you're expecting:

An interesting side note - the Hulk's arms aren't permanently affixed. You have to click them into place using a separate standard Lego connector.

The set also comes with a decently sized SHIELD fighter plane:

Lego is obsessed with firing missiles these days and this jet has four of them. It also forcibly ejects the bubble canopy when you slam down on that yellow handle in the middle. In the absence of a generic pilot I've put Hawkeye at the helm. He controls the plane with a flimsy single joystick that looks like it's from a skilltester.

I'm guessing that most people would rather have a massive complete helicarrier set rather than a small piece of its interior, but a well-placed scenery piece is good for a display. I guess it's as close to an official headquarters as the Avengers get. You're kind of stuck with it if you want the Hulk, unless you want to get gouged on ebay. I'd rather be gouged in the friendly atmosphere of a toy store. 

LEGO Captain America’s Avenging Cycle #6865

I wasn't going to pick this one up either, but after coming this far I'm going to need Captain America. This is a smaller, cheaper set that contains the Cap on his "avenging cycle" (not seen in the film) and two Chitauri (yeah I said it) soldiers, one with a cannon and one on a chariot.

This set takes only a few minutes to build but does have some nice unique pieces. I especially like the gold blades on the sides of the chariot. Captain America was my least favourite character in the film and he's also the worst looking here. I will quote fellow Lego enthusiast J. Tagmire upon seeing my tease of these on twitter. J. says: "With all of the fancy sculpting Lego is doing now, Captain America's nubby head sticks out like a sore thumb. Or sore nub." And he's not wrong! Just look at this nubbin:

It would have been better with a flesh coloured head and a separate sculpted helmet. Also he's the wrong colour blue, he should have been lighter. I won't be surprised if there's an updated version in the future. I do love his shield though and it clips onto the back of his bike.

LEGO Quinjet Aerial Battle #6869

And finally this is the big one and the one that I originally set out to buy...

The Quinjet is much larger than I was expecting. It has a cockpit for a single figure, seats for two more in the section behind, firing missiles, rotating and folding wings, and a small flying drone that can be ejected from its belly. And it's so big that a kid couldn't lift it. And is in constant danger of being crushed by it. It's an attractive rendition of an iconic vehicle.

The set also includes Loki (the exact same version as before) on a larger chariot that is being pulled by a Chitauri soldier:

Loki's helmet is another fantastic new piece and is surprisingly rubbery.

We get Thor again (also the exact same figure as before, so I now have a spare Thor and Loki) but also an Iron Man and a Black Widow (the latter of which is exclusive to this set). Lego Scarjo for the win.

Both Iron Man and Black Widow have angry/neutral faces and you have to be impressed at the way Tony's tiny helmet flips open. He's been given the royal treatment, unlike Cap.

Overall, I think these are pretty great. Lego is one of those perennial things that has been around all my life and looks locked to remain for the future. Any kid, anywhere in the world, will be happy to receive some Lego. Yes, you pay for the quality but Lego retains its value and is forever sought after on the secondary market. And if you get sick of a set you can always pull it apart and rebuild into something else entirely. Lego has done an appropriately admirable job of adapting the Avengers into block form, and the team will always have a place on my shelf. 

1 comment:

  1. As much as I want to hold on to the classic Lego minifig style, it seems like Lego themselves are unsure if they want to hold on to that style. Or they are forced to pull away from it by either the licensed properties, or the potential sales of those licensed properties. The shift from yellow to flesh color was the first sign, then there was a shift from solid color legs to the painted leg pieces. Now we're seeing a head without a hair piece look out of place. It really just looks incomplete with the current lego mold.

    I'm really curious to see how long Lego will hold out with the yellow minifigs for unlicensed sets. The minifig world has grown so much with the 6 series of awesome figures, but they look so out of place when you try to mix them in with something like The Avengers line.

    That inconstancy is the one thing that worries me about the secondary market. I have hundreds of yellow faced minifigures, and I feel like the value is dropping more and more as they shift to skin tones.

    Otherwise, these sets look great. I want the big Hulk so bad. I haven't seen them in stores at all, and I have no clue if they haven't shown up here in NJ yet, or if they are sold out.