Jurassic Madness

The cat, ore more precisely the T. Rex is out of the bag and the long rumoured “big” Jurassic World set has been officially revealed. A lot of people were hoping for a fully decked out Visitor Center build from the first Jurassic Park movie including those fancy Jeeps, but they opted for a super large T.Rex and the equally large entry gate to the actual park ride instead.

And therein lies the problem. To say it’s causing an uproar would perhaps be an exaggeration, but it is definitely divisive. There are of course a few problems with this approach. Even if you discount the disappointment of not getting a building-based set there’s no denying that it will be difficult to get behind the set for many. The biggest issue in my view (and many others’) is of course the gate. It feels for all intents and purposes like superfluous padding. Of the 3120 pieces at least one-third of them appear to go just into this gate and since they are also large ones, they are likely responsible for a good chunk of the 250 Euro price.

What’s worse even are the little miniature scenes crammed into the gate posts and replicating a few iconic scenes from the movie, including the genetic lab, that infamous toilet scene and a few others. In particular this part feels like giving potential buyers that would have been interested in that Visitor Center thing the finger or in other words rubbing salt into their wounds while they ponder what could have been. say what you will, this doesn’t seem a smart decision on LEGO‘s part.

Personally I tend to see things similarly – love the dino, loathe the gate. I’d dig the T.Rex if it was sold separately for around 120 Euro and it would jump to somewhere at the top of my wanted list, but potentially having to buy something at twice the price of which you only really want half the package doesn’t seem like a good prospect. I’d think very hard about buying it even if my finances weren’t as constrained as they are. So overall this is a bit of a disappointment on several levels, sad as it may be…

May Dinos

I love dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures as much as the next guy, having spent hours and hours as a kid looking through the same books on the subject again and again as well as watching documentaries of this sort even today, so naturally, the LEGO Jurassic World magazine specials bring two worlds together.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World Special, May 2019, Cover

Admittedly, I haven’t bought any of the actual big sets. They’re not economical because quite literally there’s pretty much only one species of dinos in each of them and you’d have to spend a ton of cash. That wouldn’t be so bad if the rest of the sets were useful as parts sources, but since they are very play-centric, even that doesn’t add up. Therefore I’ll likely resign myself to buying those magazines and possibly buying a bunch of the creatures from Bricklink. Regrettable, though, as I’d be totally game for a box with just the dinosaurs at the right price.

Anyway, people in a similar pinch might appreciate getting at least the mini version of Blue in this issue. I was lucky enough to snatch the polybag back then due to my little anecdote at the LEGO store, but otherwise you’d have to have bought a set for this little tyke just as well. It’s supposed to pop up from behind a bush in that little contraption you can build from the parts in the bag. It indeed works with the little platform on which the dino sits sliding forward and the wedge-shaped brick pushing aside the leaf elements on their liftarms.

It’s a bit flimsy, though, and to me the “rock” pedestal feels a bit lackluster. They could have included a few more pieces to cover it more fully. The rear ends of the black slide rail bricks should at least have had 2 x 1 tiles or plates matching the Reddish Brown and Dark Orange ground pieces and embedding them fully with some slopes on the sides would have been perfect. Still, good overall value on the parts.

The rest of the magazine naturally ties in with the latest movies and the The Secret of Isla Nublar animated mini series and is on long advertisement for the sets, but at least the comic is drawn well and has tons of images of different dinosaurs, so your kids will be happy and pull out the mag from under their bed and sift through the pages more than once, making this an excellent investment. There’s another issue already announced for October, though sadly it will not feature another mini dino. Would have been nice, but understandably they’ll keep the new prints exclusive to the not even released T.rex vs. Dino Mech Battle (75938) set for the time being. So we’ll have to make do with yet another Owen figure then…

 

Dino Time! (Round Two)

As previewed back then, the second volume of the Jurrassic World movie tie-in LEGO magazine Dino Special came out today here in Germany and of course I had to check it out, though a bit reluctantly.

LEGO Magazine, Dino Special, Cover

As I said in my original article, I would have much preferred to get another dino instead of a minifigure. Now of course this little matter kind of resolved itself in an unexpected way, but I’d still prefer to get one more of those little green goblins or for that matter perhaps even a third variation on the theme. The matter isn’t helped by the Owen minifigure being rather generic and to boot being included in several of the commercial dino-themed sets currently available. This diminishes the value of the mag further for people already owning one of those.

The parts for the surveillance post on the other hand are pretty useful, so not all is lost. There are some Dark Tan plates plus a good selection of brown parts which are easily reusable on other projects. The wedge part in Dark Bluish Grey for the roof is okay, though I would have prefered to build this from slopes, again for better reusability. The operator’s console is a printed part, but an old pattern that has been used a million times.

LEGO Magazine, Dino Special, Poster

A little surprise is the centerfold poster, which actually almost looks like something that I’d put up on my wall. the image composition is interesting and it’s simple and elegant. In the English version the tagline probably reads Tyrannosaurus ROCKS. Overall, though, this isn’t a must-have magazine. There’s simply not enough incentive for the adult LEGO connoisseur because at the end of the day there’s nothing truly exclusive about it.

Honesty Reward!

Sometimes things work out in a weird way and so despite not really having an intention to buy one of the Jurrassic World sets, I still ended up with one of the promotional Velociraptor Play Pen (30382) bags that you would otherwise get if you were to buy products from that range of a certain value. How did I do that? That’s an anecdote so odd, it’s definitely worth telling.

LEGO Promotional, Velociraptor Play Pen (30382), Bag

I was on the road yesterday in the next big city close to where I live, Leipzig, and for a few years now (three or four, I believe), we have our own LEGO store, so I always make it a point to at least stop by and sneak in, looking if I can get something that fits my limited budget, ideally at reduced prices. There wasn’t much in the way of actual sets, but I picked up a bunch of minifigures and shovelled a few hands of loose bricks into a small Pick a Brick cup since it doesn’t happen that often that you get Sand Green 2 x 1 bricks en masse.

I paid my stuff and then left the premises to check out some other shops in the mall and all the while I had this nagging feeling that something was off and I didn’t pay what it should have cost. So when reorganizing the contents of my backpack I took the chance to check the receipts whether I had missed some discount or something like that and there it was – they young lady operating the cash register had missed on checking in my PaB cup and the bill was 10 Euros short.

Since I’d like to think I’m an honest guy, after all, I returned to the LEGO store and in slightly theatrical fashion dug out the unpaid cup and asked, whether I could still keep it even if I hadn’t paid for it. Imagine the stunned looks! After the first moment of surprise had settled, I jokingly said that I would only pay it if I got one of those dino bags. Of course I would have paid either way, but the guys played along and as a reward for my honesty I really got one of the bags, which is great! Now little baby T-Rex from the magazine set has a friend to play with! 😉

LEGO Promotional, Velociraptor Play Pen (30382), Overview

The set itself is simple enough, but what of course stands out are the Dark Blue elements, which LEGO uses throughout the entire Jurassic World series. They also match the little Velociraptor‘s colors since he goes by the name of Blue due to his dark side stripes. Personally I just love those toned down, soothing colors. For my taste the set could have been a bit wider/ have had more depth, but at least judging from photos it seems that even the commercial sets are more built like narrow facades, so this would fit the theme.

In any case, I’m a happy camper and such little funny incidents show that “Life finds a way!”, as Dr. Malcolm always says in the movies. Thanks again to the staff of the store for being game and indulging me!

Dino Time!

This week had a nice surprise by way of a LEGO Magazine dino special as a tie-in to the upcoming second Jurassic World movie.

LEGO Magazine, Dino Special, Cover

As a goodie, the mag comes with a poly bag of LEGO parts, the most important of which is of course the little baby T-Rex. This little critter is/ will be included in some of the thematic large LEGO sets for the movie as well, but since it’s unlikely I will buy any of those (not enough value for money on the parts, though some of the dinosaurs look quite nice), I figured I take the opportunity and get the mag.

LEGO Magazine, Dino Special, Poly Bag

In addition to the little dino it also has two eggs, which unfortunately are not specifically colored or printed like real dino eggs would be (most likely some sprinkled camouflage pattern in earthy colors). A nest for the eggs is provided based on the octagonal “crow’s nest” / sail platform part onto which you are supposed to clip some brown 1×1 hinge/ bar holder parts. The surroundings are created with some grey wedge bricks, some plant parts featuring the newer 2018 flower stem element with a pin and a single leave plus a few tiles. A 6×6 wedge (triangular) plate as the base in Dark Tan.

Other than this ground element, unfortunately neither of the other parts is specifically colored to match the prehistoric/ jurassic theme, which really is a shame. Especially the nest could have looked much more interesting in a natural color or by at least providing a round tile in such a color to put on top. Also the flower stems could have had at least one blossom each. We’re not talking about something exotic here, just some minor parts literally worth pennies. To illustrate my point, I plugged the little tyke onto my doodle plate that I use to experiment with techniques and arrangements.

LEGO Magazine, Dino Special, Dino Vignette

Little T-Rex himself looks very convincing and has a nice printed-on pattern. Of course the scientific merits can be discussed endlessly, but for what it is and for the usual target demographic, this should do just fine. If these kinds of things are up your alley, buying the mag wouldn’t be a bad thing, even more so if you have some use for the other parts.

LEGO Magazine, Dino Special, Dino Detail

Unlike the normal regular LEGO Star Wars and so on magazines with their ever same parts or minifigures, I totally think this is worth it. Grab it while you can still get it, assuming your country has these LEGO-themed magazines! There’s a second one supposed to come out in August, but sadly it won’t have any more dinos and just a minifigure and some parts. I would much have preferred to get the Velociraptor version of the dino baby in grey/ green/ blue, but I guess LEGO are going to keep that exclusive for the retail sets for a while…