Ugly Black Plane – LEGO Super Heroes, Shuri’s Sunbird (76211)

Last week was a bit of a mess. I had two days of Internet outage because some construction worker shredded a optic fiber cable and had to make do with my rather limited mobile access and then I head some struggles with my health issues. That’s why I only now got around to actually writing my review for the LEGO Shuri’s Sunbird (76211) set.

LEGO Super Heroes, Shuri's Sunbird (76211), Box

Pricing and Contents

As you might have guessed, I don’t particularly care for the Black Panther – Wakanda Forever movie and haven’t seen it yet. It’s nothing I would go to the cinema for and I’ll wait for it to run on TV some day. It also kind of came and went without making much of an impact here in Germany. It’s almost already faded from people’s consciousness again and while it was profitable in the grand scheme of things, it probably wasn’t the hit Disney had hoped it would be. Viewer numbers dropped pretty sharply after the first week. Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with my ponderings and should probably re-open my old blog to do film reviews.

Regardless of my limited interest in these types of flicks, I often get hooked by some of the story concepts and design work and that basically is what happened here. The idea of a black jet just appealed to me and as someone who rarely buys those Star Wars sets with the Imperial shuttles or TIE Fighters containing lots of Black pieces the prospect of adding some notable ones of those to my collection also had some value to me. Of course I didn’t want to overstretch my budget, so I had to wait a bit as the original price of 50 Euro really seems a bit much. It’s not necessarily bad because there are smaller sets for that same price and they don’t even contain as many minifigures, but you have to keep it reasonable.

I picked up my package for 37 Euro and currently prices have gone as low as 34 Euro. That’s still not the best price ratio when you consider that there are only 355 pieces, but at least some of them are quite large, which offsets the cost a bit. There are also some unique parts and within the whole Super Heroes series the price is still okay, which also balances out the equation.

LEGO Super Heroes, Shuri's Sunbird (76211), Overview


With any big movie the character based minifigures are inevitably a big part of the appeal. the ones you get in this set are (from right to left) Nakia, Ironheart, Shuri and Attuma. The latter apparently is part of the opposing faction and bad guys, Namor‘s army, and it’s easily my favorite one. This has a lot to do with the head piece, which is modeled in part after a hammerhead shark’s skull and it so happens that sharks are some of my favorite animals. The others are okay, but feel a bit generic in the sense that these embroidery like fine patterns of the super hero suits become a bit too common. That’s not LEGO‘s fault, but rather that of the film’s production designers, yet it still feels all to samey. You could put minifigs from different movies in a line and without knowing the finer points you could mistake Nakia‘s body as that of one of the Eternals.

LEGO Super Heroes, Shuri's Sunbird (76211), Minifigures

The Plane that never was

One thing we need to get out of the way is how the model does not at all look like what can be seen in the movie. I haven’t seen the whole film, but what can be determined from trailers and freely available snippets on the web this is a major miss. The actual jet is a small light interceptor type plane that accommodates a single person whereas the model makes it look like a stubby small bomber/ ground attack aircraft. Clearly the proportions are completely out of whack and don’t match minifigure scale. Of course this can be explained away with the designers working off concept art that may not have reflected changes later during the actual production of the movie just like it can simply be blamed on the scale.

In the latter case it would probably have made more sense to go even bigger and omit minifigures entirely to not even give people ideas. In the other case this plane would/ should have been part of a different set and used different building techniques. See where the problem is? This set is neither fish nor flesh, as they say, and therefore comes across as an inane attempt at a cash grab in the sense of “We have to have something ready.” just to be part of the game. That’s typical corporate thinking for you and sadly one of the reasons why many people get a bit tired of LEGO hanging their own success too much on licensed IPs.

The Model

Since it is nowhere near representative of the genuine article, we have to view the model in isolation from the movie and how it holds up on its own merits strictly as a LEGO creation. As such it is just fine and in its blocky appearance rather reminiscent of some Nexo Knights designs of aerial vehicles. It just lacks the glowy orange and green elements those sets had. The standout feature are of course the two big round “fan” hubs, which are actually “magically” powered hover units. In the film this allows for some interesting visuals as they swivel around with every steering motion. On the model they feel out of place, though, and get in the way of grabbing the model in that area.

The wings are not actual aerodynamic wings, but rather just another kind of engine emitters for forward propulsion. In the film they smoothly transition to the vessel’s main body by ways of some elastic skin/ nanotec coating and that includes when they change their angle. This is of course impossible to represent sufficiently with LEGO, so you’re basically stuck with the default position as the only reasonably “good” one. In the end it might have been better to construct the whole thing with rigid, plate-based connections and just leave it at that. The movable wings really don’t add much otherwise.

The model doesn’t offer too many details with the jet engine being basic and the cockpit rather void. This is another of those things where a more realistic representation of the movie original would have allowed for more finesse. It’s actually an elongated cockpit where the pilot has an backward inclined, almost laying position and there would have been plenty of space to add little bits and bobs to this long cockpit with a curved (!) canopy. so even that part is not correct.

There are a few special pieces in this set, which is of course something that always gets my attention. Most obviously are the rings based on the new element introduced one and a half years ago for the Porsche 911 (10295) in White. They’re exclusive to this set in Black for the time being. That also applies to the roller door slats in Trans Satin Purple and of course the cockpit piece is unique as well. A hidden gem are the two angled wedges/ dumpster tray walls in Black. This long-existing element has seen a resurgence in the Monkie Kid series recently and with only a few of such “studs on slope” elements even existing in LEGO‘s parts catalog, it’s always good to have those options.

As you can see the model is quite compact even if you slick back the wings and you can fold it up to an even smaller package. This facilitates storage or just stowing it away in a box after play.

Concluding Thoughts

Ultimately this set is kind of a fail. It does not bear the slightest resemblance to the vehicle in the film and as it stands once more one can only wonder who signed off on this in Disney‘s licensing department. On the other hand, and that’s one of those bittersweet irony things, it would have made for a nice Nexo Knights or Ninjago hover jet on its own with the necessary modifications, namely a different color scheme and some bling-bling. Otherwise it does not deliver on what it promises to be. It’s still okay as a generic play set, but then naturally we’d have to open up an endless discussion about the price being too high and how the minifigures figure into the overall value.

With all that in mind I would only recommend this to people who have a special connection to the film and want to own all the paraphernalia associated with it or if you are a minifigure collector who has a desire for a complete line-up. I’m not in either of those camps, but at least I got something out of with the exclusive parts and I still think the hammerhead shark head piece is genius. That’s about it, though, as the rest feels like a minimum effort on LEGO‘s part that doesn’t live up to expectations.

Blue Jet or what? – LEGO Creator 3in1, Supersonic Jet (31126)

I used to do a lot of plastic scale modeling in my youth and while I eventually gave up the hobby in favor of other things, I retained that interest in (military) aviation and try to keep up with latest developments as well as discovering new pieces of info about older aircraft types, their development and operational use. That’s also of course one of the reasons why I love it when LEGO come out of the woods and release sets that at least somewhat resemble contemporary fighter jets, even if disguised as something else. It’s been a while since they had such a model in their range, but now here we are, talking about another one after almost two and a half years by ways of the simply titled Supersonic Jet (31126)

LEGO Creator, Supersonic Jet (31126), Box

Contents and Pricing

The set officially comes with 215 pieces and is supposed to retail for 20 Euro which is within the normal range of what you would expect for a Creator 3in1 set. Here it could be considered a good deal already based on the fact that the package contains several rather sizable parts such as the four Orange fins and the large wedge plates used for the wings. On top of that you get a good number of the triangle tiles along with other notable Dark Blue pieces plus even bits for a stand and overall the model is reasonably large. This gets even better once you consider the discounts out there in the wild and you can’t go wrong buying it for the 14 Euro that now have pretty much become the standard price. This is really good value, even if admittedly a few things could have been done differently.

LEGO Creator, Supersonic Jet (31126), Takeoff, Front Right View

The Model

Much has been made of the shape of the plane and which exact type it is meant to represent, but that’s a discussion that can be had better elsewhere and even then it’s slightly pointless. Given how similar modern combat jets have become in appearance simply due to identical mission requirements resulting in nearly the same technical solutions, this could indeed be an endless, yet unproductive debate. From an old F-16 to an Eurofighter to modern stealth types like the F-22 you can see anything here if only you wanted to and squint your eyes hard enough, yet you’ll never be able to pin it on an exact model simply because LEGO don’t want you to and keep the illusion alive of not doing actual military stuff.

That being the case here, it’s also the single biggest issue I have with this set: The color combination is just a bit weird. Usually Dark Blue elements are very desirable as they can be used nicely for many custom builds, but here things just don’t click in combination of Orange and White. The model feels drab and ultimately the color scheme poorly designed. Things just don’t “pop”. Now of course LEGO never would give us a plain Light Bluish Grey/ Dark Bluish Grey/ White combo, cool as it would have looked here, but at least using some different colors would have helped a lot. Using for instance Coral instead of the plain Orange would have made things more vibrant and lively. Likewise, using Bright Light Orange for the fuselage while retaining the other colors would have looked better. there’s a number of ways this could have turned out, but I feel the option they went with is not the best choice.

The assembly is pretty straightforward with the fuselage being built around a central core of a few long Technic bricks and layers of plates onto which a slew of tiles and curved slopes are shimmed over. On the sides this is apparently done with brackets, but this follows the recent trend of not covering every gap with a stud, so a few areas will only mutually stabilize once everything is complete. I can see why they are doing it this way to minimize stress on some of the angled areas and to keep the walls of the air intake as thin as possible, but occasionally it feels odd and really only begins to make sense when a certain step in the building process is finished. On that note, another serious oddity is the nose cone based on a square roof slope piece. While it contributes to the stealthy appearance and is simply plugged on in one of the final steps, I really would have preferred a more elaborate construction e.g. based on a few of these wedge pieces.

The landing gear is serviceable in that it’s robust enough to hold the model, but due to the thick Technic beams used still feels rather inelegant. In the end I’d gladly have sacrificed stability in favor of a slicker construction using the wheel elements from City airplanes, bars and minifigure android arms, especially if you leave the model perched on its stand and there are no forces on the struts. Another such thing that bugs me is the lack of wheel well covers. For the sake of argument those wouldn’t even have needed to be functional with hinges. Simple slot-in replacements like some pre-built blocks that could be plugged into the pin holes instead of the gear elements would have been fine. Even if they’d gotten in the way of the ratcheted hinge construction for the wings (you can actually make them droop down with anhedral), this would have been better than staring into those somewhat crude openings.

LEGO Creator, Supersonic Jet (31126), StandAs a bit of a novelty this set contains an actual stand for the plane so it can be displayed in an airborne position. It’s the simplest possible solution using a few Technic connectors and a large dish, but it works and looks acceptable if you’re not looking too closely. Somehow I think using the new tail piece would have looked awesome and much more dynamic, though.


Alternate models – Are they worth it?

As you can see from the absence of some photos I haven’t actually built the alternate models, but allow me to share my thoughts, regardless. One of my reservations that also factors in here is of course the color scheme. It’s acceptable for the helicopter, but a Dark Blue racing catamaran? I don’t think so, for the simple reason that this would just not provide enough contrast for these ocean racers and the ship kind of disappear against the water. Also, judging from the promotional photos and the instructions the build process is very similar and I’d probably be bored out of my skull repeating nearly the same steps as I did on the jet.

The helo on the other hand would be just fine in this regard, but it’s a tiny build by comparison and doesn’t use a major chunk of the pieces. I feel that this would have been better relegated to its own little set and instead a more complex build be included in this one. In light of these things there would apparently also be little motivation to buy a second or third package to build all models – that is, unless you really also want the leftover parts for your other projects.

Concluding Thoughts

This is an odd set that unfortunately wastes its potential with a few rather dumb decisions. The color scheme is a bit of a turn-off and in fact this isn’t helped by the atrocious package design with its all too apparent fake stadium in a very unattractive toxic green. On the shelf this looks very unappealing. The jet plane itself could be interesting, but is apparently falling short in a few areas where fixes would have been easy to implement. The consolation here is the very acceptable pricing for this set, though it’s not enough to warrant multiple purchases, at least in my opinion, since the alternate models don’t hold up. Perhaps it’s really one of those sets where you would emphasize the play aspect and at least that seems possible, given how sturdy the builds are…

Explorer-ing… Aviation – LEGO Explorer Magazine, February 2022

Due to the unfavorable timing of last year’s Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays has messed a bit with the publishing dates of some magazines and I don’t know whether these changes will be permanent, but at least for the LEGO Explorer magazine a fourteen day delay feels unusual.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2022, Cover

The February 2022 issue is all about aviation and as someone who was heavily into military aircraft scale modeling up to a certain point I definitely have something to say about the matter. As you likely would have expected, I find that there’s way too much content crammed onto way too few pages. For an issue that ultimately ends up showing helicopters and contemporary passenger and cargo jets going back to the first attempts with hot air balloons feels unnecessary. It could be its own issue as could pretty much any of the other sub-topics.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2022, Info Page

I know I’m boring people to tears with this, but again most of the content is based on archival materials from LEGO and stock image libraries, making for a very inconsistent experience. The comic is okay in that it is bright and colorful, but I don’t get much out of the story. It’s just trying too hard to be funny without real substance.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2022, Comic

The poster depicts a very random selection or airplanes and choppers with the only discernible commonality for some of them being that they are the largest types in their class. Not a stringent logic here, either, though and it feels very thrown together.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2022, Poster

There’s a crafting page explaining the two most common folding patterns for paper planes, something which our grandparents taught us in kindergarten. It would probably have been more useful if they had focused on a more advanced type and explained it a cross two pages. Those two basic variants are okay, but don’t have the best flight behavior. A more glider-friendly pattern might have made kids happier.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2022, Crafting Page

The extra is one of those “dime a dozen” helicopters you find in commercial LEGO City polybags or small police and fire patrol sets. It’s a formula they have been using for ages with only minor variations and enhancements added every now and then as needed. One could probably do a line-up of them all and you would see this even more. For getting it free with a magazine it’s not that terrible, but not particularly exciting, either. And not too point out the obvious, but the absence of a minifigure really makes the empty cockpit stick out even more.

This is an okay issue, but quite removed from some of the better ones from last year. It’s very average and somehow feels like LEGO Explorer already has lost all its momentum and is caught in a repeat loop where everything feels the same after a few months. From what it looks like, the next issues isn’t going to be that great, either, so one can only hope there’s something more imaginative coming down the line this year… 

Another Pistol Jet – LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736)

Right after I had finished my review of Red Son’s Inferno Jet (800019) another not quite dissimilar model found its way in my home. The Boulder Blaster (71736) is a remake of the 2015 model of same name (70747) which apparently was prominently featured in series 4 of the LEGO Ninjago animated TV series. That’s why this modernized and optimized re-issue appears under the Ninjago Legacy sub-theme.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Box

Before you think I have gone completely OCD over those pistol-like planes I have to clarify something: No, I haven’t. The only reason you even get to see a review of this set is because I won it in a raffle in the run-up to the Easter holidays. Aside from this super-weird coincidence, both in the timing and subject, there’s really not much more than that to it.

Contents and Pricing

As just mentioned, I got this set for free, so the pertinent question becomes whether I would actually ever have bought it and if so, at what price. The set officially retails for 40 Euro. Within the Ninjago universe that is not a bad price for 450 pieces, but not exactly a bargain, either. There have been sets with a better price-to-part-ratio when you break it down to each individual element. In addition you have to consider that it’s just a remake of an older set that people who may be interested in also purchasing this new variant may still have floating about.

That’s why right off the bat I think 35 Euro would have been a better price. With discounts that could have brought the cost further down to around 25-ish Euro as opposed to the 29 Euro which at this point appear the best discount you can get anywhere. As usual this is of course quibbling over something that you can’t control, anyway, and all things considered 40 Euro plus whatever rebate you get that is still not really terrible in the weird world of LEGO. Still, the plane may not be attractive to many people and aside from the totem pole there is not much else except for the four minifigures. It’s the old gag of the set missing that little bit extra that would make you feel okay or good over what you pay for it.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Overview

The Minifigures

While four minifigures isn’t a bad deal for such a relatively small set at first glance, the not so great news is that none of them are particularly special. If the Kai figure wasn’t golden and thus coveted by collectors looking for a complete set the metrics would be even worse. Lloyd, Cole and Eyezor have either been featured in other sets or don’t deviate much from their standard appearance if you don’t count the specific vest prints. far be it for me to complain too much, but maybe they could at least have included some exclusive weapons or another little gimmick. On the bright side their ordinary nature means that the minifigures will be available in abundance on Bricklink and similar sites for minimum cost – except for the golden boy, of course. On the merits of the figures alone this set would not be worth buying even for a die-hard collector.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), MinifiguresLEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Minifigures

The Totem Pole

The only extra build is a basic totem pole/ cage contraption. The black disk is supposed to have a sticker with a shield pattern, which obviously I did not use. You are supposed to “shoot” at the shield/ snip you finger at at, so it tips over and unlocks the bars. this works well enough and you can place a minifigure behind the ladder in the closed position, but it does not have any studs for fixation.

The Jet

The bulk of the set is of course the model of the eponymous Boulder Blaster jet. in terms of design it is based on a Canard style plane, with smaller fins, the actual canards, in the front and the wing moved far aft. There are advantages to this design, but equally as many disadvantages, so it never made huge inroads on actual aircraft (like so many other things) if you don’t count super-sonic planes with delta wings like the Eurofighter and a few others. For sub-sonic planes I more or less only remember the MiG Utka and some experimental Italian  Piaggio planes. I’m sure if you research it a bit you could come up with a few more examples, scarce as they may be overall.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Front Left View

The proportions are credible and the whole layout even makes some crude sense from an engineering point of view, though the plane would probably be terrible to fly in the real world. The pistol-like nature of the thing is disguised a bit better, not least of all because the large main wings obscure some areas that otherwise would be more visible and also visually distract by themselves.

The grip handle and the extra bits for the firing mechanism of the arrow shooter array only become noticeable at certain angles and otherwise blend in more or less nicely. Of course there’s still room for improvement and LEGO could easily have substituted the few grey pieces for black ones as well. Still, within reason perfectly acceptable the way they are.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Aft Left View

One of the areas lacking a pinch of finesse is once more the main jet exhaust on the tail. At least its in Pearl Gold and being a proper wheel hub/ rim element it has some structure, so it doesn’t entirely come across as a non-effort like the one on on the White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), but there could definitely be some more details to spice things up.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Aft Right View

The front section is extremely bulky, which only in part feels like it’s owing to the design. It’s just as much a limitation of the mechanism and the gearbox having to fit in there and the way the shooter array is constructed. In that regard Red Son‘s jet offers the better solution, though with not nearly as many shooters. Admittedly even if they had opted for a similar approach the likely could only have squeezed in four shooters, not eight. There would only be so much room even in the largest cowling.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Front Right View

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Front View

The wings are built surprisingly simple, yet effective by using the relatively large 4 x 10 plates on the undersides and the large curved slopes on the top. In addition with the Orange trim line this provides a nice “frame” for the whole area and a believable structure. After all, the smooth sections could be ailerons, air breaks or some other type of the many flaps you find on an airplane. The wings are plugged into the fuselage using pins and locked in place using two 4 x 4 plates on each side, with the new pauldron-like wedge element behind the cockpit sealing everything off. 

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Top View

The underside view once more underline the odd decision to use grey elements on an otherwise almost completely black model. Swapping out those bits for Black versions would not be much of a problem if you have the parts and most likely I would take it one step further even and get rid of the T-shaped Technic liftarm that is part of the wings’ socket construction. I’m confident I could come up with something that’s a bit less obvious and would allow me to create something smoother, including also removing the 16 units long Technic bricks. I know why they did it this way for strength, but I would gladly sacrifice the shooter functionality and some stability for a better look.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Bottom View

On that matter: I found the arrow shooter rather unsatisfying, not only because it makes the front section look so bulky. The mechanism is a case of “It works sort of, but not very well.” the rear ends of the arrow are supposed to “ding” against the small wheel hub piece underneath the big golden one so they are released from the spring-loaded bricks, but this doesn’t really work to a degree where you would feel happy. There is too much resistance and overcoming it comes at the cost of poor targeting. This is yet another area that would need major rethinking and re-engineering.

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Detail Arrow Shooters

The cockpit is a minimalist affair, but serviceable for what it’s supposed to represent, but not more than that. And now for the big one: For the time being the new canopy piece is exclusive for this set. Before you get too excited, however, here’s some news for you: According to leaks of the upcoming next summer wave of Ninjago sets it will be used prominently there. The series has an underwater theme and on the images I have seen, this canopy/ windshield piece is literally in every set, be that on a small submarine or another vehicle. So certainly there is no rush to get this set just to get the cockpit element. Still, it’s a nice one with its integrated, dual-molded golden frames and should proof popular (among other things like an actual black & white Manta Ray based on the new mold from last year).

LEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Detail CockpitLEGO Ninjago, Boulder Blaster (71736), Jet, Detail Engine

Concluding Thoughts

If I hadn’t been lucky enough to win it, would I have bought this set? It’s still a tough question to answer. This is by no means a bad model, but at the same time it doesn’t get me excited enough that I would have lost sleep over it. This one is more or less “for fans” who actually watch the animated series and may get a kick out of seeing the vehicles shown there as real counterparts on their shelves.

For most others it will be too much of a “your mileage may vary” thing as once you strip out the shooting functionality, you have a nice, but imperfect model that could use some work to bring it up to code. I might have only picked this up during a really good sale if nothing else was around and/ or I really wanted to scalp it for parts, but even in that department it doesn’t do much for me. It relies mostly on established standard pieces and does not include highly desirable exotic new parts or color alternates. At least it netted me 17 more of those sexy 1 x 2 ingot pieces in Pearl Dark Grey and some Dark Bluish Grey minifigure pirate pistols.

From where I’m sitting this is not an essential model and unless you want to relive the nostalgia of the old Ninjago days you could easily ignore it and save your money for what’s coming now that you’ve been told about it…

Red Pistol – LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son’s Inferno Jet (80019)

Everybody loves free shipping and pre-Easter I figured it would not be the most terrible idea to get an extra Easter Bunny carrot house on top, so of course when I ordered the White Dragon Horse Jet (80020) it wasn’t the only item in my basket at the LEGO online store. Red Son’s Inferno Jet (80019) found its way into my home as well and we’re here to have a look at it.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Box

Contents and Pricing

Let me cut right to the chase: Out of the two jets this certainly is the less attractive option. As usual I got it “for reasons”, but if you are looking for a good bang for your buck this is not necessarily the way to go. Between the ultimately relatively small actual jet, the limited selection of minifigures and barely any extras this isn’t the best way you could spend 30 Euro. Point in case: This set has officially 299 pieces, making for an almost exact 10 Cent per piece price, which these days is nothing to write home about, especially when many of those items are just smaller standard pieces. Even some of the larger pieces feel more like they had to reuse leftovers of stock from production runs for other sets.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Overview

With that being said, the value here really feels more like 25-ish Euro at best and if this were sold through regular retailers it could then drop even lower. This would certainly help to bring it to a level where at least it feels more in line with typical Ninjago offerings.

The Minifigures

As already mentioned, the choices for the minifigures are anything but exciting as they’re all ones you’ve seen in previous sets in the series already. There’s another grunt, Red Son and of course Monkie Kid. The figures are not at all done bad in any sense of the word with their complex and elaborate prints based on unique designs, they just lack that extra magical touch and within the series already feel repetitive. It feels like a non effort to just grab some existing figures and slightly modify them without advancing the story or tailoring them more specifically to the set. In particular this set would have benefited from having at least one mechanic for instance, the reasons for which I’m going to explain a bit more later.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Minifigures

The Rock

The small rock piece is just that – a section of the many mountainous areas Monkie Kid comes across in his journey. This probably would look just fine next to the The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain (80024), but otherwise I don’t quite know how it fits into a set with a jet unless you interpret it as being the tip of a mountain high up in the clouds with the jet zooming by. It just feels a bit random and arbitrary and the pieces allocation could have been used for something that would fit the topic better …like some maintenance equipment. See a common thread here?

The Jet

To get it out of the way, allow me to resolve my ominous hints at that “mechanic-ing up” right away: The one thing that attracted me to this set is its boar-ish appearance in the sense that in particular the front section is reminiscent of old cylindrical piston engine designs from the World War II era, the Korean War and even the Vietnam War. Think Thunderbolts, Corsairs and Skyraiders. That’s why I regret that the set doesn’t build more on this with open cowlings and oil-covered mechanics.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Jet, Front Left View

The other reason that also furthers my point and becomes apparent at certain angles is that the plane isn’t level/ parallel with the ground. As such it would have made 1000% sense to have it perched in some sort of launch rig or maintenance platform. This, again, would have been a perfect excuse to include a mechanic and, coming back to my earlier point, use the pieces dedicated to the small rock for workshop details and the scaffolding/ trusses of the actual platform. This to me would have made a lot more sense and I’m sure it would actually result in some better play fun as well.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Jet, Aft Left View

A lot of these considerations of course would be totally unnecessary if the vehicle had not been designed in such an obvious way as an arrow shooter pistol. This is even more tragic since the shooter functionality with only two arrows is kind of useless and not much fun in an age where you can buy your kid a rapid fire Nerf gun with 60 shots. I don’t quite get why LEGO keep adding these features where they can’t compete with toys that do it better and safer, even more so when it has the ill effect of affecting and limiting the rest of the design.

I feel this is pretty much what has happened to the placement of the wings and engine cones. Everything had to be spaced far enough apart to allow the little rascals to wrap their hand around the handle at the bottom and pull the trigger. This makes for flimsy attachments and is not particularly plausible in terms of engineering and the underlying physics as well. Guess how strong those wing spars would have to be to transfer the thrust to the fuselage. makes no sense!

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Jet, Aft Right View

From the side the pistol shape is even more recognizable, though in fairness it looks rather elegant at least. This is yet one more case where with a little bit of effort (well, quite a bit, actually) you could build on the basic design and transform it into a proper plane by adding proper wings, getting rid of the handle and trigger and re-arranging the engine exhausts. If I were to do it, I’d bring them in closer to the vertical tail fin and, to make it look cool, I would love to have more of the thick metallic tubes connecting up to them. You could even insert some transparent colored 2 x 2 round bricks to hint at some sort of “plasma flow”. Does that sound like an idea? I’m almost tempted to really try this one day.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Jet, Right View

The front section is the stronger area of the model as already mentioned. Mind you, it’s nothing in the way of introducing some super cool new technique you wouldn’t be able to come up with yourself, it’s just done rather well. Inevitably some of that has to be attributed to the use of the new 3 x 3 rounded bricks with curved surface, here in Dark Pearl Grey for the first time. This makes for a strong, smooth “lip” of the cowling that previously would have been difficult to render with its color also reminding me of the metallic rings in this area used on some real planes, either for decorative purposes or to minimize damage to the actual cowling.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Jet, Front View

The forward prongs for the flamethrower feel a bit weird, but perhaps it’s just my scientific-oriented mind getting in the way and thinking “This could never work!”. Still, it’s an odd choice to bulk up the model in this region so much, when it barely even doesn’t have any wings. On that note: I had to redo some of the photos a number of the times because the small tail wings are attached using regular hinges, not ratcheted ones, so they change angles at the slightest touch. Yet another design issue that speaks against this model.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Jet, Cowl open

As mentioned earlier, there is an arrow shooter mechanism well hidden inside the model, but with only two arrows available it really doesn’t do much. This is even more so the case as reloading isn’t that easy. Either you fiddle around and try to insert the arrows directly via the hole in the front cone if you have small enough fingers or you open up the cowling, which is attached with clip hinges. This is in its own way clever, but has the distinct disadvantage that it will quickly wear out if you need to use it too often or the clips even break.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Jet, Cowl Detail

The underside is extremely barren due to the open shooter mechanism. They didn’t even have a few inverted curved slopes to spare to continue and emulate the curvature on the 4 x 4 plate, much less anything to create a smoother transition.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Jet, Bottom View.

Unique Parts

As mentioned here and there, there are a few new parts in Pearl Dark Grey in this set such as the rounded elements. The ingot/ gold bar in this color, already mentioned in the white jet review last week, also makes an appearance here. The dual molded flame piece with the Trans Orange transitioning into the “smoke” Trans Black is not exclusive to this set, but overall somewhat rare and having four of them is not a bad thing. The round brick with the spikes takes the cake, as I indeed thought this would have been widely available in some older Ninjago or Nexo Knights sets that I never had, given that the mold has been around for a few years, but no, it’s actually the first time we get this one in Pearl Gold. some people are probably drooling over that already.

LEGO Monkie Kid, Red Son's Inferno Jet (80019), Unique Parts

Concluding Thoughts

Sadly this is one of those LEGO sets where an interesting concept presumably has been trimmed and bent into something entirely different, less attractive. That whole gimmick with the pistol shooter functionality feels mandated by some higher up because of course the had to have some “play feature” other than swooshing the model around, but integrating it came at the cost of the overall appearance, which could definitely have been more refined and complete.

It has its strong points and if you build on them, you could end up with a rendition of something akin to a classic propeller plane, but it would at least require a minimum of work to fix the most glaring issues, let alone a full redesign of critical areas. I would only recommend it if indeed like me you have an inclination for Ninjago aerial vehicles and have exhausted most of the options there and/ or are looking something nice that blends in with an existing line-up of these aircraft.

Most others will very likely end up unhappy and dissatisfied. There are better “shooters” even in the LEGO world just as there are better planes at lower cost. That and of course you are a Monkie Kid completist who has to have every set. That, in my opinion, pretty much covers it and I can’t really see where this fits outside that. It’s simply not compelling enough otherwise.

Edgy Jet – LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020)

While I can’t judge the situation elsewhere on the planet, it seems to me that LEGO‘s Monkie Kid isn’t really taking off in a way the company would like. For my taste they are trying a little too hard to promote it through their LEGO Ambassador Network (LAN), throwing out free review examples left and right, yet the overall reception seems lukewarm, judging from comments. This lines up with my own feelings about the matter – would love to love it more, but something always feels off and it doesn’t help that some sets are a helluvalot expensive. However, there are some things I still like and that’s why the White Dragon Horse Jet (80020) still ended up finding its way into my home. Ironically it does so for feeling more like Ninjago instead of Monkie Kid, but more on that later.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Box

Contents and Pricing

As I mentioned already, the price policy for these sets is a problem – for me, anyway. That’s why I’m always extra wary when deciding whether to get them or not and this means that a set has to have either some desirable specific items or enough bulk so an investment feels justified. Since the sets at this point are exclusively distributed by LEGO themselves, there’s no wriggle room for discounts, making that an even more important consideration. In this case I’m happy to say that the math does add up. The set has 565 pieces and while many of them are small ones, there’s just as many larger ones evening out the balance. The overall usefulness and perceived value to someone like me is also greatly helped by the fact that many elements are unique to this set. There are some notable recolors, some entirely new parts and a good selection of standard elements that you can never have enough of. Always a good thing to have this stuff handy for your next MOC.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Overview

With all that in mind, I feel that 40 Euro is more than a fair price. This is on a level with some of The LEGO Movie 2 sets – after discounts – that weren’t all that bad, just pretty underrated because the film bombed so hard. In other words: You do get some good value for your money, both during the construction process as well as with the finished result.

The Minifigures

Unlike other Monkie Kid sets that are overflowing with custom figures tailored specifically to the series, this is perhaps the weakest part about this particular offering. The point here is that with Si, the leftmost figure, we get “generic guy no. 703” from the overall LEGO minifigure mix & match repository, with the individual parts having been used elsewhere already. Similarly, the spider army huntsman feels like every other generic Ninjago evildoer, with the effect being amplified due to the current jungle island series also having purple enemies. The distinction between Medium Lavender and the lighter regular Lavender after that becomes a minor one. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time, should your kids decide to mix figures from the different series. It could be confusing!

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Minifigures

Mei feels a bit like she actually doesn’t belong in this set with her clothing feeling a bit too traditional for a jet pilot. In fact this is a point where they perhaps should have included her twice or offer an option to swap out parts so she could be built with a fashionable flight suit or in this more traditional sword fighter outfit. Finally there’s Lu, Sandy‘s cat, that now also has already been included in several sets. I’m not complaining as it’s my first, but they may need to come up with a new mold or some different prints/ colors to keep it interesting.

The Hoverboard

Speaking of Lu – he comes with his own little hoverboard/ aerial drone. Apparently it’s armed, if only with two stud shooters, to fend off the spider army. It’s a cute and hyper-efficient small build consisting only of a handful of pieces, but does the trick quite well. It might have been a good idea to add a small launchpad or hide this in a small truck, though. It seems a little far fetched that this would appear out of the blue with no technical support anywhere to be seen.

The Spider Drone

The opposing faction does of course have its own little drone arsenal as well and so there’s this spider-like version in this set. It is similarly to the hoverboard built only with a limited number of parts and ultimately that’s only even possible because a new type of clip/ bar element has been introduced. Without the 90 degree bar piece constructing the legs would have been nowhere near as simple and stability would not have been that great if this was bashed together using multiple hinge bar/ clip combinations using existing elements. That being the case I’m pretty sure we are going to see this new element used a lot in no time.

The Vending Machine

Both Red Son’s Inferno Truck (80011) and the Monkey King Warrior Mech (80012) contain small extra builds of kiosks/ shops and sections of buildings as they may be typical in some densely populated Asian cities and many reviewers loved them to the point of lobbying for full building-themed standalone sets in this series. I can certainly see the appeal and would be all for it, so it’s nice that LEGO also have included one of those cutesy models here. It’s a somewhat generic vending machine, in this case one allowing you to purchase glass jars with fancily printed lids (Perhaps to capture spiders?), but it’s a welcome addition nonetheless. This literally could be standing at many a streets corners. As so often, of course the single biggest regret is that none of the tiles are printed. Especially the large banner on the side, represented with one of the new 2 x 6 tiles, would likely have been an extremely popular item for people looking to deck out their own LEGO Chinatown. Alas, ‘t wasn’t meant to be.

The Jet

The meat of the set is of course the jet itself. It immediately caught my eye the first time I saw pictures of it due to its color scheme and overall appearance. Clearly the LEGO designers were aiming for something completely different from the done-to-death standard designs we’ve seen over and over again in the Ninjago universe. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but the formula gets a bit stale after you’ve built your third plane with sweeping wings or spreading “feathers” (swords), respectively. In that regard it’s really nice to see something that hasn’t been noodled out as much. Arguably of course soem will recognize a bit of Nexo Knights in here with some typical elements being featured and the general faceted look, but even then at least the overall impression is still something else.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Front Left View

Despite its brute-ish appearance the plane is in fact not that large with only slightly above 20 cm in length and just shy of that in wing span (depending on the inclination of the wings you chose). Point in case: The plane looks large, but really isn’t. This impression is furthered by how much weight the thing has. This is kind of inherent in how it is built: The cockpit area alone consists of multiple rows of the 2 x 2 plate modified with studs on the side and those add up, minor as each individual piece’s weight may be otherwise. Likewise, the model uses a lot of other small plates and bricks in many places to create the necessary staggering for all those wedges and slopes to be plugged on or to create specific patterns with differently colored elements. This also includes a few extra parts used to connect the left and right halves of the tip and other such directional changes.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Aft Left View

The exhaust/ speed streak is an element should be familiar if you even remotely have had an eye on one of last years cyber-themed Ninjago sets where they were included in almost every set in Trans Neon Green and Trans Neon Orange. The new version is Trans Bright Green, matching the rest of the color theme. Usually I wouldn’t make much of it and the blade element is easily enough removed, but once you do so (well, actualyl already during the build) you realize that it is just a cheap disguise.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Streak detached

Yes, while recognizably a lot of love went into detailing the rest of the plane, the jet engine is a non-effort on the part of the designers. Exactly zero energy was spent on it other than walking to the storage drawer, taking the old wheel element out of it and plugging it onto the rear end of the plane. they didn’t even bother to at least build a recess/ some panels around it, much less anything that would seriously resemble an exhaust if a contemporary jet plane. The funny thing is that, given the overall style of the vehicle, it would have been simple to just use the spiked coverings of e.g. an F-22 Raptor‘s slit-like thrust-vectoring engines as an inspiration, blatantly obvious as it may have been, but it at least would have been a lot better than what we got.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Aft Right View

The lackluster engine is particularly painful to see due to the stark contrast with the surroundings, which have been meticulously detailed. the “gills” on the back of the engine on a real plane likely would even have small hydraulics pistons or servos to change their angle in order to regulate cooling and airflow. Or they could be some extreme form of air brake… The large 1 x 8 slopes for the vertical fins is okay, all things considered, but of course I still would have preferred if they were build up from smaller elements. That might in fact also have helped with covering up the atrocious engine with some transitional pieces.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Gills Details

The cockpit area uses an existing canopy, but mounted in the reverse direction, a tactic which lately LEGO have used a number of times to add a bit of originality into existing parts usage. Interestingly, for this part the Trans Bright Green coloration is also a first, something which I wouldn’t have expected. In my mind it feels like I’ve seen this a ton of times on Nexo Knights and other sets, but with so many different types of windshields out there it’s easy to get them mixed up.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Front Right View

The cockpit interior is parse and doesn’t really make a lot of sense functionally. The most apparent shortcoming here is the odd placement of the singular instrument panel and the awkward flat, lying position the pilot is supposed to have. This would never work, both in terms of battlefield awareness and sustaining g-forces. You know, there’s a reason why pilot seats in combat aircraft are almost always mounted at a very specific angle that has proven the most efficient. For a play fantasy it’s acceptable, though.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Cockpit Detail

One of the reasons for the very bed-like seating arrangement undoubtedly is the extremely recessed canopy not allowing enough headroom – literally. This is one are I feel could have been improved just as well with a more conventional mounting point higher up instead of placing the hinge directly under the wedge bricks constituting the tapered area in front of the cockpit. If I were serious about it and planned to keep the models around for longer I would likely seriously dedicate some time to changing and fixing this.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Front Right Lower View

The other thing that becomes apparent from this low viewing angle is the complete lack of an undercarriage. I would not consider this essential for a model that is primarily meant to be swooshed around, but it would have been nice and given the structure there would have been room for it to the point that it might even have been integrated so well, that it could have been hidden under some panels and then only unfolded/ deployed if and when needed. This is yet another area I definitely would look into if I were to customize this model.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Front Left Lower View

In all of this I have one more peeve with the model: It looks awfully militarized by LEGO‘s own standards. The thing is that as someone who is still proactively interested in military aviation and occasionally also watches some gameplay footage of shooter games I do not strictly have an issue with weapon-laden vehicles in the general sense, but here it just doesn’t feel right. This is a kids series, after all and yes, Ninjago has cannons and rockets, too, but here I feel they overstepped that fine line between tolerable and too much. If your entire wing is a gun array and then there’s extra stud shooters something is wrong. If this were another manufacturer I wouldn’t be surprised, but for LEGO, who like to endlessly go on about their toys being creative and kids-friendly it comes across as if they operate on inconsistent rules and will break them if only it serves as a means to an end.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Underside

Finally a small little gripe with the underside, also slightly related to my comment on the landing gear: It would have been nice to have at least the central fuselage section covered with inverted slopes. While it’s not that visible and the colored stripe pattern is done well enough, it might just have been nice to add that little extra touch and in fact it might have been a good opportunity to do a version of this element, just with straight angled faces to match the overall style.

Unique Parts

As mentioned already here and there this set comes with a good selection of new and not so common parts that boost the value for potential alternate uses later on. As a structural part that solves many construction problems the 90 degree clip/ bar is perhaps the most noteworthy. The “cosmetic” items, however, don’t disappoint, either. as such the shield piece in Bright Light Green is exclusive to this set for the time being, but I have no doubt it soon enough will be used more widely elsewhere as well more important to me are the Metallic Gold grille and the ingot piece in Pearl Dark Grey. Both components will be extremely valuable to anyone occasionally building vehicle and machinery stuff.

On that note, of course I also like the new 1 x 2 tile with the control panel print. The clearer, more generic graphical style may not be everyone’s thing, but it’s always good to have options. That extends to the round 1 x 1 tiles as well. thanks to them being used as the lids for the glass jars in the vending machine you get a good selection of them that you would have had to source elsewhere otherwise. The golden eye so far only appears in the Monkey King Warrior Mech (80012) and the ladybug has been included in the respective collectible minifigure. The spider symbol is the mark of the evil guys and appears in other Monkie Kid sets as well.

LEGO Monkie Kid, White Dragon Horse Jet (80020), Jet, Unique Parts

Concluding Thoughts

All things considered this is a good enough set, if a bit of a weird one. The overtly militaristic look and feel is definitely going to rub some people the wrong way and takes some getting used to even for me. I also can’t shake the impression that within the Monkie Kid series this doesn’t quite fit into the general design aesthetic and story. Mind you, it’s not bad, but I view it strictly on its own merits decoupled from the rest or at best as a different spin on what potentially some Ninjago aircraft could look like. If you can see it the same way, you might enjoy it. The build is reasonably complex and satisfying plus it looks interesting. The price point is acceptable, too. It’s not perfect, mind you, but you definitely could do worse. If you have those 40 Euro and feel like killing a bit of time with an enticing model, this could be your thing.

Retro Future – Futuristic Flyer (31086)

Due to the lack of certain types of slopes and panels for flaps, rudders, wing edges and the like LEGO certainly isn’t the best way to pursue an aviation model hobby, but of course that doesn’t stop the company from trying just as it doesn’t stop me from almost instinctively buying every reasonably looking set of that type, especially since they are still relatively rare (not counting the many City helicopter and airplane sets here). The Futuristic Flyer (31086) set is no exception.

LEGO Creator, Futuristic Flyer (31086), Box

Admittedly this model wasn’t particularly high on my list. It has a distinct appeal, but at the same time there are some glaring shortcomings that were clear to me even just by looking at the package and marketing photos. I was quite a bit hesitant and only committed to the model after Jangbricks did a review on his YouTube channel that alleviated some of my concerns as well as showing some of the interesting technical details.

Naturally, the most stand-out feature are the forward-inclined wings. As a longtime  aviation aficionado I could chew your ears off explaining the pros and cons of such a configuration, but suffice it to say that there are reasons we don’t see more aircraft of this type and it was and is more or less relegated to experimental planes like the old X-29 or as Jang mentions, the Sukhoij S-37 Berkut. On the model this is implemented quite ingeniously by locking the wings into place between some angled place using those small ball joints. The added benefit here is that the wings can be easily taken off for transport and clicked into place again when needed, allowing to use a smaller storage box.

LEGO Creator, Futuristic Flyer (31086), Overview

The extra pieces depicted in the above photo are meant for the secondary and tertiary build, a sort of generic space fighter and a small Gundam-like mech. I haven’t really bothered with either, but at least the space vehicle seems on par with the jet in terms of complexity and quality while the robot really feels like a throwaway idea they just crammed in to get three overall models at all. It really doesn’t look that attractive and feels a bit out of place here.

Speaking of quality – that’s of course a relative term for a set with barely 150 pieces. That’s also why this set wasn’t a top priority initially. Unfortunately once you move on from the cleverly constructed middle section holding the wings, the rest of the model doesn’t really live up to that standard. To say it has been grossly simplified would be an understatement as it really feels like the nose and aft were just lumped on after the fact without much consideration. The nose is particularly disappointing as you just can feel how simple it potentially might have been to shape a gently sloped tip from a few different wedge plates and curved slopes.

LEGO Creator, Futuristic Flyer (31086), Left Side View

The same can be said for the engine exhaust using the old plastic wheel. It completely ruins the otherwise sleek appearance. You know, it’s not like this hollow cone doesn’t exist, not to speak of even better solutions like dual exhaust pipes. Keen observers will also have noticed that the model sits terribly low. It’s simply propped up on some standard small wheel plates as commonly used for three-wheeler vehicles in City and Friends. It’s acceptable when you see this as a play item as it’s at least a stable solution, but of course could be improved.

LEGO Creator, Futuristic Flyer (31086), Right Aft View

My main takeaway from this set is that it offers some good ideas and inspiration, but the technical execution could have been done better in places. It’s once more a matter of 150 pieces vs. perhaps 200 pieces where those 50 extra parts could have made a huge difference for the better. Don’t misunderstand me: I understand this this is aimed at kids for playing first and foremost, but the missed opportunity of making this also a better displayable showcase model is still highly regrettable.

Racing Frog – Rocket Rally Car (31074)

Odd as it may sound, but sometimes there’s this lull where I just can’t seem to find something LEGO that would make for a nice diversion after having exhausted other options. That is of course something within my budget, given that many more expensive sets are out of reach for me, anyway. Therefore the Rocket Rally Car (31074) was kind of a filler in an order of three smaller sets.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Box

Even though in this case it wasn’t on top of my list, this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have bought it in the long run eventually. I have this odd thing going where I basically still want as many different parts in as many different colors as possible just in case I might ever need them for a custom build. This model has a few of them and the rest of the pieces also appeared useful, so I knew regardless of the sets own merits I’d get some value out of it.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Left Side View

Let me cut to the most important point right away: the color choices. Say what you will, but this is perhaps not the most attractive color scheme they could have come up with. In my view it’s some sort of bastardized Mia-themed vehicle as you would find it in the Friends series (minus the orange bits). That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing when viewed from the other side, as currently there isn’t such a vehicle in that series and this presents an easy option to expand the play value, but for a Creator 3in1 model it’s perhaps not ideal.

This can be spun in a million ways, of course, but something is off. Just like replacing the Lime Green with another color like Red would have worked, using indeed Orange in place of the Dark Azure pieces would have been an option. Personally this reminds me of photo editing work where you have accidentally inverted a single color channel and therefore the complementary colors appear.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Front View

The build turned out more elaborate than the marketing photos and other materials suggested and for me that’s always a good thing, be it just to extend the enjoyment of building by another five minutes. It’s nothing too complex or challenging, but you have to pay attention and keep track of things to not maneuver yourself into a snag. Keeping those brain cells stimulated is always a good thing in my opinion.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Front View with open Doors and extended Engine

The set builds into a reasonably robust model and offers a good selection of movable/ playable features. The doors are built from multiple plates and hinges and are actually quite large, so access to the interior through them is easy and unlike with other models there is no need to remove the roof. In fact the set offers no specific contingencies for this, so removing the top would drag along other items and damage the model. Using the doors is way to go.

The air scoop on the front can be pushed out using a simple mechanism hidden underneath the front bumper or pulled out manually. Unfortunately it never is fully flush with the rest of the hood, so it always looks kinda odd and not aerodynamically optimized as it likely would be on the real thing. I think if I were to build this again I’d simply forego the insert and cover the hole with some parts from the spares box.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Aft View

The rear comes with a fully openable trunk and in its basic form this offers a ton of stowage space. Should you decide to get this set as an ancillary model for some Friends fun, you could stuff a lot of things in there. One of the alternate uses is to tilt down the jet engine at the top and “hide” it inside, which again opens up some play scenarios like a transforming super hero/ secret agent vehicle or in more ordinary terms the engine just being tucked away for safety during transport.

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Aft View with open Trunk

Interestingly, while I’m still critical of the selection of color, the Dark Azure parts such as the spoiler wings and the spoked wheel caps are rather unique and more or less exclusive for this set. I have no idea yet what I’m going to do with them, but I’m sure they’ll be handy one day. You could likely even just hang them as decorations on a wall in a Mia-themed house indeed. 🙂

LEGO Creator, Rocket Rally Car (31074), Aft View with Jet Engine inside

In its entirety this turned out a better experience than I had anticipated. The model comes together nicely and due to its play features would be an adequate choice for kids. It’s not worth the 20 Euro MSRP, but in most places you can get it for 15 Euro or lower and that checks out, given the size of the assembled model and perceived volume of stuff. I haven’t built the secondary models, but if I were to guess the Jeep would be quite similar structurally, just with a different outward appearance. the little quad doesn’t seem worth it at all, though, and sure wouldn’t be a reason to get this set.