Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: Lego TMNT - Kraang Lab Escape!

As the universe embraces/endures what is probably the 300th relaunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the last thirty or so years, the ingenious Danish maniacs at Lego have decided to get all up in this barely-legal reptile action! A whole line of TMNT Lego, based on the new computer animated series, have finally hit shelves in Australia, and although I don’t often delve into the sets themselves, I am curious enough about these new minifigures to pick up the smallest offering.

I have set 79100 Kraang Lab Escape, containing a prison, a futuristic vehicle, and THREE new minifigs. It’s a total steal, even at the CRAZILY INFLATED AUSTRALIAN PRICE! (Lego still hasn’t passed comment on this, or shown interest in forging a tighter relationship. Lego is the hot girl who keeps rebuffing us at the party).

It’s blocky cowabunga pizza time... after the jump!

These things certainly stand out, infusing the shelves with some refreshing eighties gaudiness...

Most notable is the introduction of purple. The box is purple, the bricks are purple, and it made me want to listen to Prince’s Purple Rain while watching Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. (Maybe this is why Lego doesn’t take us seriously). I will concede that this is one of the most visually appealing relaunches of TMNT in a while - it’s nostalgic but it still feels contemporary.

My god... look at all the fun they’re having!...

How can so much fun be possibly packed into this small box? I haven't had that much fun in my entire life!

Look, I'm not going to be a blocktease, I'm just going to skip straight to the very best part. Feast your eyes on this grinny bugger:

Yes, that's official Lego Michelangelo complete with official Lego nunchuks. Seriously, when I was a kid I had plenty of Lego but I never had Lego nunchuks. WTF, Lego?

I think that in these bold, modern times Lego is excelling at keeping their signature look but combining it with unique and character accurate sculpting. Other lines - such as Star Wars - have taught us that you can whack a sculpted character head on a standard minifig without any compromise. And these turtles are some of my favourite minifigures yet.

Aaaaaw look... he even has a Lego pizza! Because teenagers SURE LOVE PIZZA! That meme is still fresh after thirty odd years...

The shell is pretty ingenious... (I'd expect no less from ingenious Danish maniacs)...

It's a sculpted piece that fits over his neck peg and rests on his back. It's a clever solution which, once again, doesn't mess with the overall integrity of the look. I'm phrasing it that way so I sound like a cutting edge journalist and not a grown man who bought a set of ninja turtle Lego.

Of course the other main figure in here is Kraang (now spelled with two "a"s. Some weird trademark issue perhaps?). Here he is in all his pink, squishy glory...

Now I haven't seen the new cartoon, but from the Kraang robot designs my guess is that there are a lot of these guys (as opposed to a single maniacal villain) and that they have mixed the "utroms" of the orignal comic book series (look, you either know what I'm talking about or you don't) with the Kraang of the hideous eighties cartoon series. 

I'd be happy with just Mikey and Kraang but Lego sweetens the deal with this high-tech robotic vehicle to protect all those icky tentacles...

It's a lot larger than I expected and has a few action features. The top part swivels around and those missiles on the side "fire". Because extensive research has taught toy companies that, if there's one thing children love, it's blinding each other.

Oh, and of course the dome closes too...

So already this is all pretty cool but then Lego goes, "But wait! There's more!" and reveals a handy ninja Foot soldier who is so stealthy that he is almost impossible to photograph on a black background.

He's got this weird ninja mace thing that looks like its suited for not just cracking open shells but also cutting up pizzas. Notice the weird foot symbol in the centre of his forehead? Why not just have a small sign saying, "Please kick me".

Oh - one more cool thing about Kraang. In his sensitive underbelly there's a pink Lego head. Which means you can do wacky stuff like this...

Now I have no idea if Kraang inserts unsuspecting victim's heads into his body in the cartoon, but if he doesn't I would love to write the episode.


You also get this futuristic (crooked) laser prison!

This is so that Kraang can capture all those meddling turtles and... um... turn them into gold?

Maybe that was the smurfs.

Look at that goofy idiot Michelangelo standing in there obliviously....

It's like he doesn't give a crap. You lose, Kraang. Try harder next time.

So look, I have to give this set a double thumbs up because Lego appears to be having more fun here than they have in a while. I also imagine that TMNT gives them a fair bit of freedom too - it's not like Star Wars where they go... "Hey look! It's... an A-Wing!". TMNT allows them to throw in skateboards, pizzas, mutant, ninjas, weird robots and all sorts of silliness. Looks like it was a blast to make and a lot of fun to collect. If you have kids, hook them up with this stuff! 

1 comment:

  1. They love that "clear prison" gimmick lately! I picked up the "Arctic Batman and Aquaman vs Mr. Freeze" set the other day and they gave me an ice prison that's essentially the same design, but with ice instead of uh...lasers :D