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…