Eternally deviant? – LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154) and Eternals’ Aerial Assault (76145)

Full admission: I’m not great on anything related to comic super heroes. I can barely keep them straight except for some main characters and I think that in particular the Marvel movies are so overblown and full of ridiculous plot twists that they annoy the heck out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I like some moments in pretty much any of these movies, yet the way they are crafted overall can barely motivate me to sit through them when they’re running on TV, let alone drag my lazy ass to the cinema for a new release.

There’s a tiny chance that this may change, though, as somehow the upcoming Eternals is oddly appealing in that it appears more grounded and “realistic”. Maybe it’s also triggering some other impulses in me like my sci-fi obsession. Who knows? I guess we’ll find out once the film releases! For the time being therefore let’s focus on some of the accompanying LEGO sets, specifically the Deviant Ambush (76154) and Eternals’ Arial Assault (76145).

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154), Box

Pricing and Contents

In this age of supply shortages everywhere even with the most ordinary LEGO sets sometimes I decided to not mess around too much and pretty much bought the sets as soon as they were listed on Amazon two weeks ago. In hindsight this seems to have been a good decision, as the first wave of stock is already sold out again at some retailers. This should level off in the long run, though. It may just not be easy to get some of this stuff in the craziness that is pre-Christmas shopping season. So if you’re not in a rush, early next year may be a better time to buy these things.

With that said of course I pretty much paid the full suggested retail price, which is 20 Euro for the Deviant Ambush (76154) set and 10 Euro for the other. You can definitely expect them to drop to around 13 Euro and 7 or 8 Euro, respectively. There are already some discounts, I just didn’t have much of a chance to go to those retail stores and had to resort to ordering them online. Would I have preferred to spend less? You betcha! However, I strangely enough really don’t mind that much with the larger model really having enough volume/ bulk to be okay by me and of course there’s also three minifigures. The smaller package definitely feels overpriced, though and in an ideal world I’d really have picked it up from a 5 Euro sale somewhere.

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154) and Eternals' Aerial Assault (76145), Overview

The Minifigures

One of the big appeals of the Eternals is their somewhat ornamental design which can also be seen in the trailer(s) if you care to watch them. With the protagonists literally having watched over humanity for thousands of years and them having arrived a long, long time ago their weapons and armor are inspired by designs and shapes that are reminiscent of classic Greek and Roman looks, of course with some references to other cultures mixed in here and there. this means there’s lots of fancy curves and arches in the shapes as well as intersecting circle patterns referencing planetary and stellar formations. On the real costumes those are often embossed or metal etched structures, giving them a light and lofty feel.

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154) and Eternals' Aerial Assault (76145), Minifigures

For the minifigures this has been carried over with pretty elaborate prints, most of which use black outlines and accents in metallic colors. The figures themselves are otherwise simple, which also reflects how this plays out in the movies: The heroes have internal super powers and don’t need to rely on technology, gadgets or mystical trinkets. If you will, this will very likely play out more like Superman or the X-Men than Tony Stark building yet another Ironman armor or propping up Spiderman.

Now LEGO are being sneaky little bastards on the best of days, so of course inevitably some of the figures are exclusive to these two sets and cannot be found in In Arishem’s Shadow (76155) or Rise of the Domo (76156). These are Sprite (leftmost) and Gilgamesh (second from right) and effectively this means you would have to buy these sets or source the minifigs from Bricklink if you want a complete team.

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154) and Eternals' Aerial Assault (76145), Minifigures

One thing you will notice is the weird color of Thena‘s spear and Gilgamesh‘s gloves. These are supposed to be mixed/ marbled color items, but due to the limitations of the production process their colors can be all over the place. they should basically be Pearl Gold with flaming tips in Trans Orange, but as you can see from the photos this doesn’t always work out. The spear is massively on the transparent side while only one of the gloves has a nice delineation of the materials, with the other being too much gold. I haven’t quite decided yet whether to put in a replacement request with LEGO service, but just be aware that yours could look completely different in terms of color distribution.

Deviant Knowledge (or lack thereof) ­čÖé

Naturally there’s a whole encyclopedia of lore for how everything relates to each other in the Eternals universe, but suffice it to say that┬á this is of limited relevance to me. I more or less bought these sets based on their visual appeal and what I could see in the trailers.

Apparently the Deviants are the antagonists to the Eternals, intentionally designed this way by the Celestials to balance out things and then at some things inevitably tipped over and a war between the two factions ensued and they have been battling it out for supremacy ever since – throughout time and different places in the universe. Stuff then gets real when they come to Earth and trigger an awakening of the Eternals that have been living there in hiding or hibernation. That’s basically the premise on which the film bases itself. In the trailer(s) the Deviants are depicted as the bad guys, though I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than just this quick synopsis I gleaned from reading articles on fan sites.

Visually the Deviants are rendered as creatures with dark blue muscle flesh and no skin plus various colorful appendages and an overall iridescent rainbow color or oil film effect introducing even more color variations. Anatomically each one of the Deviants is unique, which is by the Celestials design as apparently they evolve/ mutate at such a rapid rate, no new creature is like one of its progenitors. That alone could be used to derive a multitude of LEGO models from it, each one being different. There are a few more to be seen in the trailer, but I doubt they are really showing more than those “hero” creatures in the actual movie as well. The logistics of animating so many different types just for a few shots would be a nightmare and cost-prohibitive, as I know all too well as a 3D artist.

The ones they picked for the sets are a “Brute”, a creature that looks like a cross between a bull or boar and a crab attacking you and one which I call the “Angelic (Deviant)” due to its wing-like structures. They likely have some other descriptive names, but for the purpose of this article this should do the trick.

The Brute (Deviant Ambush [76154])

The Brute is the most massive Deviant, at least as far as the trailer(s) let on. Most others appear way more skinny and fragile, though that might not make them any less dangerous, just different in their fighting styles.

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154), Front Left View

The idea of its weight is most notably conveyed by the massive front legs/ claws and the rather larger head with the huge horns. On the model the volume is created by using quite a number of wedges (or shells in official LEGO speak) along with some mudguard elements, shields and those “duck beak” slopes in Dark Red. So for all intents and purposes despite looking voluminous, the actual construction is pretty lightweight. This is of course also pretty much a necessity or else the small ball joints couldn’t hold everything together.

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154), Aft Left View

In contrast to the front leg pair, the rear ones are kind of slinky and also constructed much simpler. Unfortunately that combined with the fact that there are six legs overall makes it difficult to pose them in such a way that all of them have ground contact. Most of the time the model will lean on the front legs and only one or two of the aft legs also touch the floor, but often only as a point contact, not resting with the entire “foot”. Aside from the typical attack stance you really don’t have that many alternatives.

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154), Aft Right View

One thing that really disappointed me is the color of the Dark Turquoise elements. I can admit that my cheap camera is garbage and screws up the colors, but even on the official LEGO marketing photos these parts look more like Medium Azure because they did not pay attention to apply proper color corrections. In fact I thought it was so wrong that I was ready to file a complaint with the advertising council for misleading marketing. So consider yourself warned! That said, the cyan color looks okay and may be appropriate to the shifting colors of the creatures in the movie, but I still somehow would have preferred the lighter, more friendly version.

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154), Front Right View

As you know from past articles I never use stickers, so the slope with the eyes is indeed a print. Interestingly, it is symmetrical and generic enough that it could also be re-used as some decorative element elsewhere, which is always a good thing. There are some additional decorations for the shield shapes and wedges that also look oddly appealing. Personally I feel that applying those decals would not add too much to the model, though, as somehow there’s this weird disconnect between the super fine muscle structures and the relative crude build. This is a case where cheating can only get you so far and adding more genuine detail would have been preferable even if it meant to create the model at a larger scale with a lot more pieces at a higher price.

LEGO Super Heroes, Deviant Ambush (76154), Front View

One of the reasons why for once I wasn’t that pick-ish about price is that this set contains several unique or at least somewhat rare parts that could be useful in the long run. I already mentioned the Dark Red “duck beak” slope, but similarly there’s the curved plates with the inner cutout in that same color. Many of the Dark Blue elements also have only been in a few sets like the 6 x 4 wedge last found in my beloved Deep Sea Creatures (31088) or its smaller 4 x 4 counterpart. There’s also the mudguard wedge from the Ford Mustang GT (10265). And finally, of course, there’s ten (!) of the new Dark Turquoise round corner plates.

The Angelic (Eternals’ Aerial Assault [76145])

I included this model here because otherwise there wouldn’t be much point in doing a separate review of such a small set and it fit thematically, anyway. So this is kind of a “one & done” thing for me because I didn’t want to drag this out forever.

LEGO Super Heroes, Eternals' Aerial Assault (76145), Box

The Angelic is one of the more humanoid Deviants and judging from the trailer is around 2.50 meters tall (or even bigger). It’s definitely larger than a regular human. Of course it leans heavily into other mythical creatures with its Phoenix wings and the head looking like that of an Anubis.

LEGO Super Heroes, Eternals' Aerial Assault (76145), Front Left View

This being a low cost set of course you cannot expect too much, but even by that standard the model looks flimsy and slinky with the joints looking way too prominent among those few regular bricks. As such it is difficult to even get it to stand up straight, even more so with the wings affecting balance.

LEGO Super Heroes, Eternals' Aerial Assault (76145), Back View

What also doesn’t help are the many different colors. This really reeks of leftovers recycling and while I didn’t expect LEGO to go out of their way to produce recolored parts for everything, it would at least have been nice to get some more Dark Blue or Dark Turquoise instead of Black┬áand Sand Green.

LEGO Super Heroes, Eternals' Aerial Assault (76145), Aft Right View

The wings are a bit of a funny thing which first confused me as someone who tends to obsess about accurate physics, but the “feathers” are indeed spaced apart even on the movie creature instead of being dense plumage. For the LEGO version they just cut down the number to fit the scale, apparently. Due to how it’s constructed using a rigid hose and a ton of golden clips it is somewhat difficult to get it looking nice, though. The blades move at the slightest touch and throw off your wing curvature. Said blades are in Trans Black with a pearlescent effect or Satin Trans Black, as Bricklink calls this color.

LEGO Super Heroes, Eternals' Aerial Assault (76145), Front Right View

Concluding Thoughts

Without the movie being available for viewing it is naturally nearly impossible to make an assessment about the accuracy of these models, but based on what limited info is out there they appear just fine. The LEGO designers seem to have had some pretty good concept sketches to work from this time and their interpretations are valid. However, I feel that the small size/ scale they went for is less than ideal. Both sets could have benefited massively if the creatures were built larger, apparently with the smaller one being primed for looking a lot better.

The popularity of those sets will definitely see a bump once the movie comes out, but outside that I don’t think they’l lever reach the levels of some Ironman sets or similar. At the end of the day they simply don’t offer enough that would stand out and like so many sets they have this sense of being figure packs with models thrown in to justify the price like so many other Super Heroes sets. The Brute at least captures the sense of dread and danger and could also serve as a template for similar creatures, but the Angelic is mostly forgettable.

With all that in mind you’re probably not missing much if you jump on the bandwagon right away. Unless you are a die-hard Eternals or generic Marvel fan for that matter there is certainly no rush here. From a pure LEGO perspective these sets are kind of too simplistic and you can find better ones that offer more challenging builds and are more detailed…

Got some Hunny? – LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326)

My brother and I are and have been super fans of Disney‘s Winnie the Pooh. As to how and why it happened is in itself strange, given that we grew up in a former Eastern block country and only both got to watch this stuff when we were teenagers, but I guess somehow we took a liking to this quirky, peaceful and naive world. Even today we buy all kinds of paraphernalia such as calendars or the occasional toy figure, we regularly watch the Halloween and Christmas specials on DVD and poke fun at each other with quotes and cues from the animated series on our birthday greeting cards. All that considered, it seemed inevitable that one day the LEGO Ideas Winnie the Pooh (21326) would find its way into our homes and thanks to our shared obsession it was also a sharing of costs, making this much more attainable for me, despite breaking my usual 50 Euro ceiling for any given set.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Box

Artsy Instructions

As a LEGO Ideas project this is of course based on the design of someone who may just be as crazy about the little yellow bear as I am and to transport that feeling the instruction booklet has received some extra love by including some custom graphical artwork. The style is more in line with the original A. A. Milne versions, though depicting the Disney characters. On the initial release for LEGO VIP members you could also get some limited edition art prints in the same style, but with the protagonists being minifigure-ized. They go now for insane prices and I almost regret not having ordered this on the first day, but of course it’s easy to say this in hindsight.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Artwork

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Artwork

Pricing and Contents

The set comes in a nice easy to open lid box as they are common for Ideas and Architecture sets, so you can keep it around for later without destroying anything. To my surprise the box was quite a bit smaller than I had anticipated, but at least it meant that carrying it home with public transport after picking it up at the LEGO store was easier. ­čśë Of course on some level the smallness of the packaging is logical with many elements in the set being 1 x 1, 1 x 2 and 2 x 2 despite the overall model building into a reasonable size.

At the heart of such a specially-themed license set based on a popular property of course there are the minifigures of which there are five. That is more or less okay as an average value, but I personally feel that there could have been at least two more. Let’s face it, half of the ideological and real monetary value are the figures. It wouldn’t even be that hard to come up with candidates, as outside the original canonical characters there have been a few notable extras over time.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Overview

This set is available from LEGO directly and a few select partners, but in the latter case apparently in somewhat limited numbers. So far this seems to have prevented anyone from granting notable discounts and it costs 100 euro very much everywhere. Hence currently there can be no real discussion over discounts since there simply aren’t any and the only real question is whether those 1265 pieces are worth the price to you.

As a fan I’m biased on the matter and even without my brother chipping in and sharing the financial burden I might have bought it eventually. More realistically, though, this definitely feels like a 85 Euro set or even just 80 Euro. I simply struggle to rationalize the higher price with so many small standard parts being used.

The Minifigures

As already written, the minifigures represent the original cast of characters with Pooh himself, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit and Eyeore. Out of necessity they all have at least completely new molds for the heads with Eyeore having gotten a whole mold for his body. While I think it’s the best way to represent the eternally depressed monkey it has the disadvantage of only allowing a static pose. The head is also molded integrally, so there would not be an opportunity to substitute it for one on the rare occasions he actually has a happy smile.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Minifigures

Of the other figures, Tigger and Rabbit are the better ones. regrettably something is off with Piglet and Pooh, even though I can’t quite put my finger on it. I think Pooh‘s eyebrows are simply a bit misplaced and the top edge too sharp while for Piglet the head is just a tad too round. It should be more elongated and skinny. The fearful little pink guy is of course also the one who suffers most from being represented with a minifigure, even one with the shortest leg.

Point in case: Piglet is many times smaller than the others and also overall more like a slinky rag doll rather than a “fat” plushy. It would have been nice had they included a second version more to scale based on the child minidolls introduced last year in Friends and Disney sets. This might have been a fun experiment, but again, it should have been a redundant figure in addition to the minifigure, not to replace it.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Minifigures

As renditions of characters from an an animated series or comic book there aren’t hat many extra details, molded or printed, but the ones that are there are perfectly fine. The prints are crisp and have sufficient opacity (at least in my set) and a few elements like Eyeore‘s mane are even dual-molded. The complementary add-ons like Piglet‘s scarf or that notorious red balloon are created from standard elements otherwise readily available in LEGO‘s portfolio

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Minifigures

The House

Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends more or less live in houses the represent hollowed out caverns inside and under trees or underground. However, neither of these abodes are ever fully fleshed out in the animated series or any of the accompanying materials that I know. It’s all made up on the go according to the specific needs of an episode or story. That leaves lots of room for interpretation and the way LEGO and by extension the original fan designer chose to design this set is only one of many possibilities.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Front Right View

The layout they went for is based on a Disney interpretation of the original Milne version, where the doorway is formed by two trees that have grown together and behind them a bit of a rough, wood-shingled roof can be seen. That is pretty much as far as it gets “canonical” in this context. Everything else was added or introduced later. on top of it of course to even make it viable to turn this into a LEGO model the tree had to be trimmed down massively or else it would easily have taken another 1000 pieces just to recreate its appearance.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Front Left View

For the tree itself the designers went to some lengths to make it look asymmetrical and organic, but ultimately this is really just limited to the front facade and the disguise quickly falls apart once you move on to the back where owing to the actual house everything is perfectly mirrored. this is no doubt a concession to stability requirements and again not wanting to add yet another ton of parts for building an extra foundation so the building could possibly have been made to look more embedded in the ground and placed at an angle.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Aft Left View

The symmetry is broken up ever so slightly by using different color patterns and arranging a few exterior details differently. Contrary to what you may think the roof is also not the most tedious section of this build, despite the many small slopes used for the shingles. In fact this goes together pretty easily after you have struggled to get the underlying construction right, which in my opinion is much more of a pain because your build it integrally with the tree section to which it is attached directly with hinges. This complicates aligning things and snapping them into place.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Aft Right View

Aside from the main tree house there’s only one small side build, which is a sign post directing you toward Pooh‘s house. As usual I didn’t use any of the stickers, but at least you can place one of the four custom printed honeypots on it.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Way Sign

Speaking of prints, the only other special element exclusive to this set is the Mr. Sanderz name tile, Pooh‘s in-story secret name (which nobody ever calls him, anyway). The front area before his door also alludes to his “Thoughtful Spot” with the tree log he’s sitting on and the small fire used to grill marshmallows. As you can see, on the model this also has been used to add enough studs and jumper plates so you could place all of the minifigures here to pose for a group photo, as I probably should have done for the sake of this article. ­čśë

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Front View, Door

The green mounds on either side use some interesting sideways building and feature a considerable number of those 2 x 2 x 1 corner slopes to create the illusion. Quite generally this set uses a lot of interesting building methods and to that effect also some exclusive parts like the two Medium Nougat curved 2 x 2 tubes, some Reddish Brown curved slopes or the grey variant of the 1 x 1 flower stud in invisible places. The roof also features the largest number of Dark Orange 1 x 2 slopes found in any set so far.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Rear View

As mentioned earlier, the roof is not the most annoying part of this set, but rather the lower section of the tree and the transition to the house. To some extent this can be seen from the outside already, especially on the right side where you might get an idea of how tricky it can be to build arches upon arches.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Right View

the tree itself uses a ton of them in Medium Nougat, complemented by Dark Tan elements for shaping and covering up the rather involved SNOT construction underneath. It’s pretty ingenious in that it manages to construct the angled side faces in a very crammed space. I found this step rather challenging, as due to the lack of room there are many 1 x1 elements and the slightest misalignments will come back later to haunt you when you need to plug the individual chunks onto the studs. You should definitely take your time for this.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Tree, Rear View

The leaf canopy is built up from multiple identical sub-assemblies that use freshly recolored Reddish Brown clips and matching 1 x 1 round hinge plates/ studs. To add volume and density, leaves are mounted onto the coral element introduced two years ago in LEGO Friends, this time in an also exclusive to this set recolor in Bright Green.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Tree, Top

Hidden among the leaves are two bee hives, with the little stingers having been represented as printed tiles. For my taste there could have been a lot more with different designs (including facing in the opposite direction), as Pooh being chased by bees while hunting for his beloved Hunny is of course a running gag throughout the series.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Tree, Bee Hive

The interior is easily the weakest part of the set. It’s terribly crammed and most disappointing for me it does not have the oversized arm chair seen in many pictures and episodes when pooh is slumped in it and dozes off. I guess given the limited space it’s okay, but I really would have loved to see this iconic piece of furniture be represented better. Similarly, the bed should also be much more oversize, though admittedly they at least an interesting building technique using the minifigure candle element in Dark Blue.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Interior

Looking at the details, you can see that the roof indeed is just clipped on to some hinge elements after you finished it, making it indeed less of a chore than you may have thought. On the other hand these interior shots also reveal many more of those pesky arches, many of which stand free for a long time and make your life that more difficult.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Interior, Left SideLEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Interior, Right Side

Finally, the door is a custom build, which is nice not only because it looks more proper from the exterior but also opens up. Without opening the rear, though, it has almost no practical value as there’s not enough light coming through and you still see squat of the insides. You realyl have to make up your mind how you want to present the model.

LEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Interior, Door closedLEGO Ideas, Winnie the Pooh (21326), Interior, Door open

Concluding Thoughts

As a fan of the little yellow bear and his friends of course I’m a happy camper, but even I have to concede that this is perhaps not the most fun set to build. Some things just drag on forever, not least of all because you repeat a few steps over and over again e.g. for the leaf canopy or while building the tree trunk. In addition, the model is difficult to handle – both during the build and after finishing it. I would have much preferred if things were a little more modular and there was some way to plug the individual sections together based on pin connections.

In a similar vein, though on the opposite end, the tree is also problematic. Those leave clusters are built on the limits of what single-stud or single-clip connections, respectively, can hold and will come off easily and frequently when handling the model. This will become an issue latest when you need to dust it off after a while of having it on your shelf. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that this model is rather delicate in many ways and can be annoying to handle.

Based on my experiences I would not recommend this if you are just looking to pass time. There are better LEGO sets that are more pleasing to build and┬á also offer playable features, which this one is simply not meant for. It’s by all means a collectible model with some quirks that can cause aggravation and frustration. You may overlook and forgive them with a happy smile as a fan, but for an average customer there are better ways to enjoy their LEGO addiction.

Explorer-ing… The Desert – LEGO Explorer Magazine, November 2021

Bringing this week’s little LEGO-centered magazines sprint run to a close, it’s time to have a look at the LEGO Explorer November issue. Usually this is not as big a problem, but with four different mags in one week it’s really not easy keeping up.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2021, Cover

This one is about “the desert”, but in my view in a rather weird way. It actually starts out okay by listing a number of animals and plants that inhabit the dry lands of this world, but than strangely enough veers away from that by presenting chameleons and geckos, which with a few exceptions are tree-dwelling creatures more typically found in rain forests or the transition zones at the edge of forests where they can hide in bushes or under dead trees and rocks.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2021, Info Page

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2021, Info Page

This oddness continues with the Egyptian pyramids making an appearance, which factually is also questionable. They may be surrounded by sand now, but it is assumed that once the riversides of the Nile were lush and green and those areas at least had grass and palm trees.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2021, Drawing Page

The poster picks up on this as well. at least it doesn’t add more confusion by throwing even more topics in the same pot and it’s executed well enough to deserve being pinned to a wall of your little nerd’s study.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2021, Poster

The extra is one of the already mentioned geckos and while thematically not at all correct, it is at least cute enough to make up for it. A skink, a thorny dragon or a tumbling wheel spider might have been more appropriate and just as much fun, though. Also if they had gone for a blue or yellow gecko it might have been even cooler already.

The sum of the parts is okay, but one really must view each of them individually. There’s no recognizable stringency in this edition. I don’t know why it seems so hard for the editors to come up with consistent content. I don’t even need to think that hard and could probably fill an issue with double the number of pages just on the subject of actual goings-ons in the desert…

Sinjin who? – LEGO Jurassic World Magazine, November 2021

The logic of the naming conventions of LEGO characters have always eluded me and while I’m willing to accept that not everyone is called Paul or Otto, Sinjin to me as a German is just a bit weird. Let’s see what the fuss is all about in the latest LEGO Jurassic World magazine.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, November 2021, Cover

Compared to what the theme potentially could allow, the comics in this series feel rather bland lately and this is no exception. It lacks all the dynamism I occasionally so admire in some of the panels in the Star Wars and City comics. Here’s not a single one that would come even close to that. The colors are drab, the chosen perspectives just boring like someone who never watched a good movie got to decide on them. In that lieght the ever same chase stories become even more dull.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, November 2021, Comic

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, November 2021, Comic

The poster follows the same style as the last few, but I find it a bit unfortunate that they went with a green pattern. Somehow this begs for a deep, slightly darker red. this would have improved the contrast with the dark grey T-Rex and somehow I always associate it with this dinosaur species, anyway. Maybe the old Jurassic Park movies have done too good a job of ingraining it in my brain.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, November 2021, Poster

On to the oddly-named character and the extra we have yet another buggy/ quad like we’ve seen so many in the City mags in the last few months. Yawn-inducingly uninspired and repetitive. The character, apparently a bad guy from the Isla Nublar sub-series of the animated series is okay and funny enough wouldn’t look too bad next to the adventurer from the City magazine I reviewed just a few days ago.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, November 2021, Extra

Overall this is kind of a *meh* issue to me and somehow it really feels like they really didn’t make much of an effort, which sadly also in general seems the problem with LEGO Jurassic World. You know, aside from new variants of some dinosaurs barely anything really innovative. One can’t help the impression that they are frozen in place because they don’t dare exploring other venues while waiting for the next movie to come out…

Indiana “City” Jones – LEGO City Magazine, November 2021

My calendar was telling me something else and last month’s preview page definitely said this would only come out one week later, so I really got caught by surprise with the latest LEGO City magazine.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2021, Cover

I was looking forward to this of course for its old-school adventurer theme, something which LEGO currently don’t really have a sub-series for in either of their main product lines. Maybe we’ll get some Indiana Jones style sets to see some day again, though. The many new animal molds that came out this year are really begging to be re-used for crocodile-infested swamps and Indian temple ruins overrun by apes.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2021, Comic

The comic at least already plays with some of those tropes, which has the positive side effect of it being very colorful and providing some notable variety in locations. some of the panels are really gorgeous and would make for nice posters.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2021, Comic

Outside that there’s not much going on in the activities department, but I guess some pyramid labyrinth puzzles at least make a little more sense than usual, given the context of this issue.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2021, Poster

The posters take another clue from the Indiana Jones movies (or for that matter others of that ilk), which isn’t the worst of ideas, either.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2021, Extra

The extra lives by the minifigure, naturally and it is a fair representation of what you would expect such a rogue explorer to have looked like some time in the 1930s to the 1950s. The individual components are nothing special and have been used elsewhere in different combinations, but the way they have been compiled here is adequate.

The extras are okay, but nothing to write home about. A golden or transparent Ninjago wizard skull certainly would have been more attractive or for that matter even the scorpion in Pearl Gold. I’m also slightly disappointed that they didn’t include one of the simians from the current wildlife rescue series, despite it being shown on several panels in the comic. Point in case: This could have been even more awesome.

All things considered, though, I can’t complain. This is pretty decent, be it just for the fact that it deals with a different genre and in doing so gets a much needed injection of something fresh. This is definitely something you can pick up without much regret.

Wheely Tank – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, October 2021

I’ve been out of town for a few days, so I’m a bit late with my article, but I guess two days isn’t that bad and there’s still plenty of time to get the latest LEGO Star Wars magazine should you decide that what you see here is to your liking.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Cover

In the main comic Vader once again becomes the subject of ridicule in a weird chase across planets while at the same time being busy with homemaking and his ambitions as the TV star in his own show. Whether you like it is of course up to you, but I’m just puzzled by them taking such liberties even if you concede that not everything to do with the black man needs to be doom & gloom.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Comic

The secondary comic inevitably connects with the extra, the Clone Turbo Tank or Heavy Assault Vehicle HAV A6 as it is called more correctly, even if in fact it is more of a glorified infantry troop transporter like the Russian BTR-80, not an actual tank or truck-based vehicle.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Comic

The poster is one of those situations where the disconnect between the original artwork and the slapped-on text becomes evident. Of course they do so to produce the localized versions for different countries/ regions, but my feeling is that a simple “501st”, possibly with the battalion’s crest would have worked better with the specific point being that the lettering cuts off too much of the helmet.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Poster

Other LEGO magazines from Blue Ocean have been doing it for a while already and it seems that the Star Wars one is now following suit and also offering coloring pages. Whether this will become a permanent fixture remains to be seen, of course. for an October issue it is more than adequate to have a Halloween them and Grievous with his many Jack-O-Lantern buckets is a fitting subject, if a tad on the small-ish side. Your kids will be done with it rather fast and the few simple puzzles on the preceding pages won’t extend the time they are occupied by much.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2021, Coloring

The extra is the aforementioned Turbo Tank in miniature form. The vehicle itself never struck me as particularly attractive, so I never took much interest in the bigger LEGO versions with their somewhat flimsy and lofty construction, making this my first rendition of this vehicle. It can be seen quite a bit in Attack of the Clones and the Clone Wars series and plays some role there, but as a lightly armed support vehicle it doesn’t really do that much.

The model is okay, though I wish they had settled on a different approach for the wheels. Maybe it might be time they produced a plastic wheel mimicking small tires like this one to represent the ones used on the larger models. The Dark Bluish Grey 2 x 2 round bricks of which you get ten (!) just with this model are serviceable, but just don’t look particularly believable. Other than that there is a number of other pieces in greys and Black such as this T-shaped bracket and a bunch of different slopes. All usable stuff, just nothing too extraordinary.

Overall this is a well-rounded issue that manages to convince on multiple fronts, give or take a few minor criticisms. There have definitely been a lot worse editions in the past and you’re getting a good value for your money here, in particular with the model turning out larger than average due to it using some voluminous parts.

Shallow Tournament – LEGO Ninjago, Tournament of Elements (71735)

With ten years under its belt, LEGO Ninjago is certainly that one big hit series every toy maker is hoping for and has become a staple of their product portfolio. The success is going so far that they introduced the Legacy sub-theme two years ago where modernized versions of older kits are re-issued to celebrate the memories and nostalgia. A good example for this is the Boulder Blaster (71736) from earlier this year.

LEGO Ninjago, Tournament of Elements (71735), Box

The Tournament of Elements (71735) falls in that category as well, though more in a hypothetical sense as technically this is not a remake of a previous set, but rather a completely new one based on the central theme of season 4 of Ninjago. There are temple-like sets for this season that represent individual bits and scenarios, but not this exact one.

Contents and Pricing

The Ninjago sets are, with a few exceptions that feel hugely overpriced every now and then, usually very reasonably priced and thus rather affordable even on a shoe string budget. With a recommended price of 30 Euro for 283 this one fits the pattern nicely. At first glance the average price per piece is of course slightly above 10 Cent, but the saving grace here is that you get seven (!) minifigures that already make up a huge chunk of the value. The rest comes down to what the pieces are worth to you for building your own “real” temple or expanding another model. More on that later.

LEGO Ninjago, Tournament of Elements (71735), Overview

Despite the already not too crazy price I took my time and did not rush to buy it. I had it somewhere in the middle of my virtual “Sets I might consider buying one day” list, but this was not an urgent case of “must have” and more an optional “would be nice”. That’s why I only picked it up now for 20 Euro. To me this simply felt more adequate in relation to the overall contents.

The Minifigures

Unusually for me, the minifigures were a big driver for this purchase. I’m still not a minifig collector and likely will never be, so they have to appeal to me with special features and a certain underlying charme. This is definitely the case for the for elemental masters with the guitar-playing Elvis-wannabee Jacob and and the stick-wielding “wild man” Bolobo taking the cake. Gravis is also not bad, be it just for the fact that turbans are extremely scarce and having this headgear piece alone would open up a few possibilities for customizing your little guys.

LEGO Ninjago, Tournament of Elements (71735), Minifigures

All of the minifigs also offer nice production value with some very complex and detailed prints, even the more ordinary Jay and Kai ones. this may not be up to the insane level some recent more exclusive Collectible Minifigures have reached, but is more than sufficient for characters bundled with buildable sets.

LEGO Ninjago, Tournament of Elements (71735), Minifigures

This being a tenth anniversary thing there is also another golden ninja, this time Lloyd. I guess if you really were a completionist and wanted to collect them all this would be a good thing, but by themselves I find that these don’t do much for me and chasing for them seems unnecessarily stressful. You’re probably better off just buying them as a complete lot from Bricklink.

LEGO Ninjago, Tournament of Elements (71735), Minifigure

The Temple

The temple isn’t really much of a temple, but it’s more being alluded to by representing its balconies/ gallery as some sort of panoramic stand for the minifigures and some of the iconic accessories. Stylistically it captures the overall appearance and mood, but it seems that this isn’t rooted in any concrete details from the actual animated series. I never actually watched it, but what trailers and snippets you can find on the internet suggest that this is all much more elaborate and more detailed.

LEGO Ninjago, Tournament of Elements (71735), Front View

The build follows pretty much the same design pattern for each of the three panels and thus the whole process is rather repetitive and boring. By the time you build the third segment you don’t even need to look at the instructions any more. For what it’s supposed to represent this is serviceable, but really not more than that.

Sprinkled throughout are the various elements from the standard Ninjago weapons pack, only this time they are done in Bright Green for the first time after previously only being available in Pearl Gold, Flat Silver and oddly enough most often in Trans Neon green. The green of course is supposed to represent some form Jade. The more interesting aspect to this is that the pieces could come in handy to represent body parts of insects such as mandibles and wings or perhaps could even be used to add some plant-like stuff.

LEGO Ninjago, Tournament of Elements (71735), Front View, Top Section

Unfortunately the temple does not have an actual yard or arena where the contestants could battle it out and that is easily my biggest gripe here. Given how the layout is built already it should have been easy enough to add some more plates, a bit of fencing and perhaps one or two stone benches as seating for the audiences.

On that same note, the back sides could have had preparation areas for the various protagonists or at least some random storage or other facilities like a toilet. I get that they may not have wanted to inflate the parts count unnecessarily, but c’mon! This simply feels a bit too lazy.

In the same vein I completely miss some relation to the actual elemental powers. In the trailers you can see the temple area being transformed into a lava pit and some stuff with water/ ice, so integrating a few of those things certainly would have been a good thing. Ideally each minifigure would even have its own separate little island demonstrating its individual powers where appropriate.

Concluding Thoughts

If you don’t warm up to the minifigures, then this set isn’t really for you. Around 70 percent of the ideological value just come from the characters while the building itself is nothing special. It fits with the underlying story and certainly your could turn it into something if you have another Ninjago temple floating around or a willing to buy this set multiple times and complement it with lots of extra parts from your collection, but on its own merits it’s one of the most basic LEGO builds I’ve seen in a while.

For me it had some minor extra value due to some of the pieces that I didn’t have in my portfolio yet like the modified plate with two studs in Dark Blue or even something as trivial as the ten Black 1 x 2 x 2 slopes, an otherwise common part, but outside that there is very little of value to be had here. At the end of the day they could likely have sold the figures in a different kind of package with even less buildable elements and it would have been just as good or bad.

For my taste there’s simply not enough here and all things considered it would have been preferable to have a “real” building even if the set then would have cost 50 Euro or something like that…

Stubby X-Wing? – LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter (75301)

I’ve always wanted a LEGO X-Wing, but like for so many others there were a few things getting in the way. I never could quite make up my mind which of the different models I preferred and than all too often the exorbitant prices got in the way. some of these circumstances have changed with the latest wave, so I finally took the plunge and got myself Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter (75301) even though there are still several caveats as you will see.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Box

The Non-Solution to a Problem

Before digging into the actual specifics of the set we have to address the elephant in the room – the reason why this model even exists in this particular form.

It used to be that LEGO Star Wars sets always were expensive, but still affordable within reasonable limits. That is notwithstanding that they still exploited the goodwill of the fans, but it wasn’t terrible, especially when the sets were good. In recent years this, however, has drastically changed for the worse. Not only have prices risen in general, but you’re getting less bang for the buck. The average price-per-part ratio these days regularly exceeds that magical 10 Cent a piece and in most sets you only get a minimum of the highly coveted minifigures. Now one could go on endlessly and speculate what aside from general inflation and rising manufacturing cost may be at play here, but certainly Disney and LEGO milking the cow is factoring in, too.

The downside of course is that this policy has made it much harder for many people to either buy this stuff at all or at least keep up with ever new releases. This realization must have dawned on the people in charge at LEGO as well at some point, and so they decided to act upon it and do a bit of course correction. As you might imagine, I don’t really agree on how they are trying to mitigate the issue or else I wouldn’t be writing this. There are inf act even some bullshit “designer videos” on YouTube trying to rationalize their decision, which riles me up even more. Point in case: The have the gall on blaming it on the customer as in “You all want detailed models, but you don’t want to pay enough.”

Now on an idealistic level I’m not even opposed to some of the changes as indeed it has become questionable why you should pay 100 Euro for something like Poe Dameron’s X-Wing Fighter (75273). However, their “solution” of reducing the complexity of the models and simplifying details does not fix the underlying problem at all. You still pay more than that magical average per part and get a lesser model for it. Which I guess is the point. One would instead assume they adjust their pricing or haggle out a new licensing deal to bring down external cost, if that really were the driving factor. That not being the case they chose to put all the burden on you as the buyer.

Pricing and Contents

Regardless of my overall gripes I’m always on the lookout to get my stuff as cheap as possible out of pure necessity, so let’s see how things look here. Officially the set retails for 50 Euro in these parts. That is okay-ish, all things considered, but my previous point is proven once again. Once you figure in the typical discounts from big outlets things are getting better. I picked up my set for 37 Euro and in fact was a bit upset at myself because two days later it was on Amazon for 34 Euro. That’s just my bad luck striking again! This brings things down to a sensible level.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Overview

Still, the model still does not look like it would even contain the number of parts to justify this lower price, which is the crux of it. For all intents and purposes it feels crude compared to most of its more detailed (but also more costly) predecessors. This is only slightly offset by the box containing four minifigures, something you have to be thankful for, I guess. It would not in any way have been surprising had there been only one or two minifigs.

The Minifigures

As you would expect from a set called Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter the eponymous hero is present in minifig form as is his trusted sidekick R2-D2. I have tons of Lukes in different versions, but this is actually my first pilot one, so I’m not complaining. Since all of these figures in flying gear appear to be different, they generally seem to fetch a good price with collectors. That also goes for the version of Leia with the skirt piece in this set, as so far this combination has only been seen in the Tantive IV (75244), a model that due to its undecidedness on whether to be a toy or a collectible didn’t appeal to many fans.

Finally there’s General Dodonna. I actually had to look him up, but it appears he’s only to be seen in a few shots leading up to the attack on the Death Star as a supporting character. Since it’s the first time he’s been translated into this format, he’s also reasonably valuable in case you want to sell the figs. The white hair is also nice (and not that common) and to boot he comes with one of the rarer Flat Silver blasters. With all that being the case, the value of the minifigures is considerable and if you share them with a collector that alone could help to partially refinance the purchase.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Minifigures

The X-Wing

By its nature as Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing of course the X-Wing is the classic T-65 model that has been done a million times already even in LEGO, so there would be plenty of room for comparison. Not owning any of the previous models I have to relay on photos, naturally, but the first thing that stands out is that the model looks and feels more compact than the others.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Front Left View

It’s technically not that much shorter than others, but I guess the lack of details in some areas just makes it look more stubby. You could even browse through the digital instructions and you would find that the front section uses the same building techniques as older versions, it just lacks all the extra slopes and tiles used for additional shaping and making things a bit more elegant. This trend continues throughout and is one area where they started saving on the parts count.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Aft Left View

It becomes particularly apparent on the wings, or more correctly the X-foils (since they have no aerodynamic lift, they aren’t exactly wings). On previous models these tended to be more detailed up with smaller tiles and plates to represent some of the stripes and insignia, whereas here this is left to your imagination or some large-ish stickers if you elect to use them. Interestingly, they again did not do anything to fix the wingspan, which would need to be noticeably wider. This has been bothering fans for forever. I think it is forgivable here, though, given that they aimed for simplification, but they really should get around to it one day.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Aft Right View

The engines fall into the “Let’s count number of ways we can creatively stack round elements.” category. It’s not really terrible, but one wishes they would come up with some more specific pieces for this after having tried all those round bricks, wheel hubs and barrels and settle on one style. On the bright side, they introduced a new piece for the front intakes, a 3 x 3 cylinder. While it’s nice to have a new element and it certainly will come in handy in the future, I feel it’s a step down from what they did in the 2018 X-Wing Starfighter (75218). This really begs for a printed tile to at least hint at the input lips and incidentally also make thinks look more deep.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Front Right View

Another victim of the “optimization” process is the cockpit. Granted, there wasn’t much going on in this section in the other versions as well, but one can’t help but feel that if they could save on even one more brick they would have done it just to prove a point.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Detail Cockpit

The tail section looks okay, though the attempt to mimic the purple-ish red glow of the engine blast looks feeblish. Similar to the front intakes I would have preferred if it was just a deeper dark hole. Or perhaps they could have done something to amp up the “glow” like inserting a white bar. dunno. It just doesn’t look hot, not even against sun light.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Detail Engines

Of course the X-foils can be spread and this is basically the area where the most savings have been implemented be using a completely different mechanism compared to older editions. On the positive side this may be the first time we actually get a mechanism that is able to fully close and at the same time allow for the thinnest possible wings. This not least of all also has to do with this new Technic brick (also see my review of the City Tractor (60284), where it was first introduced) allowing for some space-saving, yet stable construction and how it connects to the central hinge construction. This is particularly important after the much derided “only half a wing” implementation in Poe Dameron’s X-Wing Fighter (75273)

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Wings spread, Aft View

The downside to all of that is that now not only do the wings move, but the fuselage actually splits. Clever as the mechanism is, and I really have to say that as someone who did Technic for a while and also obsesses about mechanical engineering, it kind of ruins the look. The point here is of course that you have no way of attaching conventional bricks to shim over everything to disguise the internal stuff and it also makes the ship look like its twisting and warping in that area.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Wings spread, Front View

Interestingly, the whole thing does not use any rubber bands or blocking elements and the wings are solely held apart by the cumulative friction of the pins and liftarms in the compact block. It also is constructed in such a way that the wings move smoothly and symmetrically when you push the central nub on the top. On the other hand it’s not that strong that the wings would stay opened when you put down the model on its skids. Then the models own weight will take care of automatically closing the X-foils. That is more or less correct technically, but it would be nice if the user had full control. Would have made taking some of the photos a lot easier as well. ­čśë

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Detail Wing Mechanism

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Detail Wing Space

The mechanism is pretty much visible all around the circumference of the aft fuselage section, even from the underside. The interesting observation here is that it is basically all held together by long axles rather than bricks and the single long plate on the bottom is pretty much only one last element to counter rotational movements. Again, pretty smart, just not looking that good.

LEGO Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter (75301), Underside

Speaking of which… The wave emitters on the wingtips really annoyed me. They look okay, but where connecting stuff through axles succeeds on the wing fold mechanism it doesn’t really work here.This stuff rattles around a lot because the wheel hubs and connectors of course have pin holes, not axles holes and thus spin around happily. It’s really odd that LEGO haven’t come up with something better in all those years to avoid this. Perhaps it’s really time for a 8 L pin/ bar or something like that?

Concluding Thoughts

At the end of the day this is a somewhat odd product. I can’t quite see who it is supposed to appeal to. For more seriously minded Star Wars fans it simply lacks too many details that would make it worthwhile as a display piece to put on a shelf. As a toy for kids it would be serviceable and in fact the new wing section makes it very “swooshable” and playable while offering a lot of robustness, but then it would still be on the slightly expensive side. The old “Just buy your kid a Ninjago set!” would certainly apply as most of the models there offer more transformation features for play and you often get more figures.

Funny enough, however, the latter could still be considered the saving grace for this model as well, again more for the connoisseur rather than children. With four minifigures (or three if you count out the repetitive R2-D2) and each one of them being unique there is some decent value here. It’s just that the main sensation, the X-Wing, is not on that same level and its lackluster overall appearance leaves you unsatisfied. The most annoying thing for me is that this set simply does not rectify any of the actual issues with the Star Wars products. LEGO simply seem unwilling to fix construction problems and compromise on their cash cow.

If you have the money for it I would recommend you rather get one of the more expensive “big” X-Wing sets while they still can be found relatively easy even if they have their own flaws and quirks and then only consider this as a complementary addition to your collection later on. I feel there’s just too much left to be desired and unless you are a minifigure collector even at the lower price it doesn’t feel like money well spent. This odd empty feeling of “If only…” lingers on for a while and when you look at the model you always find new areas that feel incomplete or could be improved and then you begin to begrudge the absence of this and that extra piece that would have made things look so much nicer…

Explorer-ing… Energy? – LEGO Explorer Magazine, October 2021

In light of the global climate change discussions about “clean energy” have gained quite some traction in recent years and it seemed inevitable that the LEGO Explorer magazine would tackle this subject one day. So here we go with the October edition.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, October 2021, Cover

As indicated, this one is about all kinds of energy, with an emphasis on electricity and its uses, of course. As usual for me it’s a bit too broad and unspecific, but I guess not everyone was dabbling in experimental electricity kits when they were ten. ­čśë I also all too well remember all the schematics and illustrations in the books I was reading then and that’s why I regret all the more that we’re not getting any here and have to settle on a rather uneven mix of stock photos again.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, October 2021, Info Page


Some room is given to other forms of energy such as sound waves, but it is equally rudimentary and superficial as are the other topics. A little more focus on a single subject would be more productive in my view and would leave opportunities to explore the other stuff more in-depth in future issues.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, October 2021, Info Page

Similar to the Lamborghini there’s a coloring page again this time, but as you can see it only covers a single page and even worse yet, the more interesting perspective drawing is tiny compared to the top-down plan view. My younger self would have preferred it the other way around at least or even better yet a full two page spread.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, October 2021, Coloring Page

The poster deals with wind energy again in the form of various sail ships from around the world and of course they had to include the Pirate Ship (31109).

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, October 2021, Poster

The buildable extra is a tale of two “windmills”, with one being an actual old windmill and the other one of course more accurately a modern pole-mounted wind turbine/ generator. As far as the details go this is super-simplified. Generally there’s nothing wrong with these nano scale builds, but this one feels really bland. It’s funny that on the third page of the mag there is a picture of a similar nano build of a conventional coal/ gas power station that I find much more appealing.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, October 2021, Extra

Overall this is one of the less interesting issues of LEGO Explorer. It’s okay but my feeling is that the editors don’t really know how to structure their articles when there isn’t a cute animal to talk about. Feels like they need to “science up” a little.

Dog Police – LEGO City Magazine, October 2021

I’d need to dig through my minifigure stash and also account for some that I already have given away, but in those short three year that I’m reviewing stuff here on this blog I think I have easily accumulated around 15 personnel without even ever buying a large LEGO City police set. The latest magazine for October adds one more to that.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2021, Cover

But let’s start at the beginning and have a look at the comic, which – surprise, surprise – is just yet another gangster hunt even if it involves a dog. I have no doubt the kids still love it, bu c’mon, there’s so much else you could do with the police topic!

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2021, Comic

Inevitably that also affects the puzzles and activities, which are limited to matching some patterns and solving mazes. They snuck in half (!) a coloring page as well, but overall there isn’t really that much to do.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2021, Comic

I like myself a clean, graphical poster and this time actually both the front and back deliver. the quad panel feels a bit too dark, though, due to the rather copious use of black on top of the Dark Blue.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2021, Poster

The extra is nice and should in particular be attractive to people who haven’t got the dog yet. It’s just the standard German Shepherd that they have used for ages, but that’s just fine. Of course a new print or a different color could have elevated it and made it much more desirable. You know, the “golden” (Tan) with scruffy patches of grey and brown is a very common breed here in Germany and I’m sure many people would love LEGO do it one day.

The police officer is just fine, but of course it’s an American metropolitan police man that’s not necessarily representative of European law enforcement. Would be nice to see that one day, too. That said, of course the funny irony here has to be that the comic in the magazine provides ample inspiration for alternatives. The gangsters alone with their pink and green uniforms or blue hair, respectively, would have been awesome and on one page there is a very British looking mail man with a red uniform that would also have been much more interesting (to me, anyway).

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2021, Extra

All in all this is an okay, but just average issue. I’m especially baffled by how the creators never seem to consider the potential of some of the minor side characters. A little bit of crazy lateral thinking never hurt anyone, you know…