Non-Float Boat with a Goat – The Goat Boat (76208)

The Vikings are easily one of those people who are the most misrepresented across all media. There seems to be an over-emphasis on their exploits as conquerors and warriors, and while some of their legendary ruthlessness and brutality cannot be denied, a lot of other things like their rich culture and craft skills all too often are swept to the side or only presented in those aforementioned contexts. One of those are there ship-building achievements and while I’m not a fan of the Vikings per se, the elegance of those water-based vessels can’t be denied. That’s ultimately what interested me most about The Goat Boat (76208), as in fact like so often the movie it is based on didn’t interest me too much and I haven’t seen it yet.

LEGO Super Heroes, The Goat Boat (76208), Box

Pricing and Contents

The film this set is based on, Thor: Love and Thunder, barely made a blip on the radar here in Germany with a measly box office of just shy above 5 Million Euro and quite generally this is not Marvel‘s best and most successful movie. It came and went without much fanfare and barely anyone even remembers it. That being the case, the one good thing that comes out of this is that the set can be had at good prices with retailers sitting on stockpile that just didn’t benefit from the movie. I got mine for 32 Euro, which isn’t bad for a 564 pieces set and 5 minifigures. The original asking price of 60 Euro is once more utterly ridiculous, though, and under no circumstances would I have bought it for that. While it’s nice and reasonably large, the boat isn’t worth that much in my opinion for reasons explained later.

LEGO Super Heroes, The Goat Boat (76208), Overview

Minifigures

The figures included in this package are of course Thor himself, his love interest turned substitute Mighty Thor Jane, some Valkyrie (no idea about her actual name), Korg and of course Gorr, the God Butcher. A few special items aside like Jane‘s helm, the figures feel very generic to the point where Gorr looks like just another zombie. Something just doesn’t click here, which isn’t necessarily the fault of the LEGO designers, but rather those odd armor designs of the film not translating that well to the scale. For lack of a better explanation, the prints to me just look noisy, not detailed and interesting. Real fans may disagree and appreciate them more, so I’ll just leave it at that.

LEGO Super Heroes, The Goat Boat (76208), MinifiguresLEGO Super Heroes, The Goat Boat (76208), Minifigures

The Goats

The goats towing the boat aren’t ordinary ones, but rather oversized beasts more alike to donkeys or smaller cattle. They are of course also “magical” creatures rooted in the mythology. The big bummer naturally is that they are built from bricks, not molded items. When the set was first announced it had everyone wondering whether at long last this would be the moment when LEGO brought back the highly coveted and super rare goat or at least a different new version of it. None of that materialized, unfortunately, so likely we will have to wait another eternity before one of those horned animals appears in either a shitty City set similar to this year’s massively overpriced animal farm or a super expensive collector set. The goats themselves are just fine for what they are and at least they have printed slopes for the faces, but at the same time things could of course have been better.

The Boat

As far as I can tell from the trailers and bits of info available the boat itself is mostly some sort of a shuttle/ sightseeing vehicle in New Asgard and a quick way of transportation for Thor, but does not have any significance beyond that. At least the scenes I know are rather tame/ lame. As such, it is almost too elaborate for this mundane usage even if thanks to Asgardian technology it is a flying boat.

The appearance is immediately recognizable as being derived from original Viking/ Norse designs, though perhaps more along the lines of a smaller boat operating along the coast lines, not one to cross large oceans with, since most definitely there wouldn’t fit more than ten or twelve people at most even under best conditions. There’s only eight shields on the sides, after all, and there wouldn’t be that many more people on board if they hadn’t their own weapons at hand.

The construction is interesting as in a way just like on the real boat you build around a central keel with elements attached using sideways techniques. This ensures that the boat stays flat like the original, but at the same time has walls which are credibly thin and don’t take away too much usable real estate from the deck. This is achieved with a bunch of curved wedge slopes and, most interestingly, curved panels mounted upside-down and then cross-connected with each other and the other elements to form a rigid wall. Definitely an interesting technique to keep at the back of your head.

The boat has the typical carved bow and stern reaching very far up. The shapes at the bow appear to be (sea) horses either spitting water or having their tongues out. admittedly in the shots and photos I could find from the movie they look much, much smaller, which could indicate that the LEGO model is based off earlier concept art that later was changed during production.

The small hut/ house is a pretty straightforward build with a few rows of bricks and the roof attached via some hinges and it would also work as a standalone building.

Unfortunately there isn’t much inside, so the ability to fully open it to me is more or less just a side effect of how it’s built or a lucky coincidence, not so much a play feature.

The deck offers plenty of space to put all your minifigures on it (and more), but looks very barren. I know it’s that way in the movie, but this is a point where LEGO should have deviated and added some extra details like a barrel or a rolled up rope lying around. it just looks so terribly boring otherwise.

LEGO Super Heroes, The Goat Boat (76208), Top View

A shot from the side once more accentuates the elegance, but also reinforces the “boringness”. This also exposes one big flaw/ shortcoming: If you don’t use stickers, it all looks like no-one’s home. the irony here is that even some round tiles with a generic wood pattern print (as if they were barrel covers for instance) would have made things a ton more interesting let alone we would have gotten some genuine different crests.

LEGO Super Heroes, The Goat Boat (76208), Side View


Concluding Thoughts

I’m not going to complain too much, because for what it is The Goat Boat (76208) is just fine, but it’s a bit dull, after all. I don’t even see this being particularly appealing to fans of the movie apart from the minifigures, as usual. On the other hand – there’s naturally “that other Viking ship” the Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent (31132) in the Creator 3in1 series and the latest LEGO Ideas vote turned out that we might be getting a Viking village some time next year. So if you put one and one together, buying those two packages now while they are still available and relatively cheap may be a good idea of you plan to get the village set and want to create a little diorama around it or have a general interest in that stuff.

I am Plastic – LEGO Super Heroes, I am Groot (76217)

As I’ve written on numerous occasions I’m anything but a Marvel fan and struggle to sit through any of them once the few “good” sections are over and I had my laughs. There’s one exception from that rule, though, and that is the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I wouldn’t watch it on repeat like I do with some other of my favorite films, but I enjoy it whenever it’s on TV. Regrettably, the second part in the series is nowhere near as good. However, it has hugely popularized Groot thanks to him appearing as a slightly annoying teenager in it right from the opening scene. That’s why it was foreseeable or even inevitable that the pesky adolescent might one day get the LEGO treatment and that indeed happened earlier this year when the LEGO Super Heroes I am Groot (76217) set was released. Everybody just loves the little wooden creature!

LEGO Super Heroes, I am Groot (76217), Box

Pricing and Contents

The set essentially more or less falls into the “just another mech” category. Some people may frown at this statement, but that is what it basically comes down to for me. For all intents and purposes the overall structure is the same and the only difference is that it tries to emulate an organic shell in place of the usual armor pieces. I don’t think there’s an other way to see it, at least in the context of a brick-built model.

This informed of course my expectations in terms of pricing when this was first announced and while I didn’t expect it to be cheap as a Ninjago mech due to the third-party licensing, I was still disappointed at how expensive it is e.g. when compared to the Iron Monger Mayhem (76190). The part counts are pretty close with this set having 476 pieces and the grey bot having 479, so the metrics are comparable. Specifics of the technical details, elements included and so on notwithstanding it therefore just doesn’t feel right that the little wood guy costs 50 Euro MSRP and the retro mech “only” 40 Euro.

What makes this even worse is the discounts being equally askew. Currently Groot firmly sits at around 20 percent off and that’s it. That’s the curse of popularity and in turn high demand for you! I bought my package for 36 Euro or the like in one of those weird surprise flash promos on Amazon that you never know about unless you accidentally happen to check their site, but more or less you should plan having to splash out 40 Euro. That is if you don’t want to wait half a year for prices to drop more noticeably.

LEGO Super Heroes, I am Groot (76217), Overview

Sticker Alert

As unfortunately has become a standard, we’re not spared the sticker treatment. It’s even more regrettable as the only essential stickers, the additional red stripes and the labeling for it could have been printed. The writing could even have been on a single brick and you just flip it over depending on what is your favorite version. Collectors naturally also would love the plaque to be printed, but I find the design done so poorly that I would not have used it either way. The bark elements feel completely superfluous, as this is something where I feel that more actual built details would be a better option, anyway.

LEGO Super Heroes, I am Groot (76217), Stickers

The Cassette Tape

Unlike Quill I’m not a kid of the 1990s, but of course everyone had a Walkman back then. It was one of the few luxuries I afforded myself shortly after the German reunification, being that we did not have access to such technology before here in the Eastern part. The first commercial cassette I ever bought was Jean-Michel Jarre – Live! (later renamed to Destination Docklands) and it ran on a loop for quite a while. I had many more after that.

Oddly enough I was never much a fan of self-recorded tapes, so I never really had an actual “mix tape”. This of course is entirely different in the movie and so the notorious “Awesome Mix” Vol. 1 & Vol 2 make an appearance with many of the 1980s classics allegedly being Peter‘s favorite childhood memories also providing a good chunk of the sound track and framing the action.

I don’t have any actual cassette at hand anymore to verify this, but the size and proportions feel about right and should match the original pretty closely. The details of the actual tape spools are also nice. One omission is the visible tape at the top. I can’t offer an immediate solution, but I think it would have been possible to integrate something like that. It might just have required a different building style. Anyway, one of those things that may be worth figuring out as a MOC.

Groot

The little guy looks the part and arguably even the size is about right if you assume pre-schooler Groot rather than the slightly more grown up version in the film. At around 28 cm tall you could likely even completely re-create that scene from the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie where he’s constantly trying to push the red button to set off the bomb all in LEGO and at real world scale.

The figure itself is rather stiff and has limited posing options, which is common for most of these mech-like builds and in this case not even that much of a disadvantage, as he’s rather rigid in the movies, too. There’s no good way to find too many alternate poses, anyway. The head being so big and heavy tends to get in the way, as things get off-balance quite quickly. You can spread the legs slightly and pose the arms a bit, but that’s basically all she wrote. In order to achieve more freedom of motion you’d have to fixate him by e.g. pinning one of the legs to a custom-built stand.

The building process for the model requires some care and attention. Though many elements are built symmetrically twice as you would expect from such a creature, many of them have minute variations to mimic the irregularities of the bark and it’s easy to get things mixed up. Additional challenges arise from the clips and single stud connections used to hold the vines and leaves plus there’s a whole lot of similar stuff on the head where it’s used to fill in the angled gaps. In the end it’s less dramatic than it may sound, though, and perfectly manageable even with limited experience. As I said, you just need to take your time and check more often.

LEGO Super Heroes, I am Groot (76217), Detail FootA thing that riled me up once again is LEGO‘s unwillingness to recolor structural elements consistently such has in this case soem elements of the large ball joints. why are they in Dark Bluish Grey, when the counterpart just next to it is in Dark Brown? I fully understand that they can’t and won’t recolor every element, but c’mon! This is too obvious and on such a prestigious model mostly aimed at collectors, where they have already introduced so many other recolored elements should not have even required spending a second thought. You just do it!

As mentioned already, the head uses somewhat elaborate techniques to achieve the right look. This includes popping elements onto a SNOT block in the center and filling in the gaps of the resulting octagon with small strips that are clipped on. Similar techniques are used for the eyes and the region around them. This also involves some “invisible” upside-down building as well as the very visible lower mouth of course just being a mudguard piece turned on its head. While it’s pretty clever and perfectly serviceable, the downside to that is that many of those connections are very sensitive to touch. If you grab the head in the wrong places you basically push the elements out of their clips again. Some caution is advised!

Parts Mania

I’ve already hinted at this and it’s really true: The set is a treasure trove of recolored elements. Even better, since many of those are actual visible elements and not some hidden bracket or SNOT brick on the inside, you really can add a lot of pieces that simply didn’t exist before in a given color.

For starters, we have the arch style mudguards introduced with the Speed Champions Mini Cooper (75894) set in Olive Green used here for the eyebrows. Someone at LEGO seems to have recognized the value of this element as lately it has come out in several new colors to be used as intake lips on vehicles, overhangs on windows and so on. I will definitely try to get as many of them as I can for my own adventures as well. The ones in this set already give me ideas for building a small military vehicle. The other Olive Green element that gets me really excited is the triple leaves piece. At long last! Now all we need is Sand Green and Dark Green as well so we can have nice “natural” looking plants and flowers, not just Lime Green salad leaves. ­čśë

The other significant pieces are in Dark Tan, making them suitable for landscaping, all manner of buildings or anything that is supposed to imitate soil, mud and clay. In particular the claw/ rock slope will benefit many scenarios where you want to build a non-hardened road or similar all mucked up by the rain or similar. The smooth wedge element could be useful for some cars, which incidentally could in fact include older models of a Mini Cooper in a subdued contrast livery. The last in line is the other mudguard from the mouth. It’s perhaps the least useful of all the items mentioned, but regardless, it could still be used to build e.g. a car from the late 1970s when somehow people thought those stuffy earth tones looked good.

If you’re building creatures, the printed eyes will please you. They adapt the methodology from the buildable Harry Potter Hedwig (75979), but are executed based on shield pieces instead of inverted round plates.


Concluding Thoughts

It’s hard to resist the charme of this little rascal and one can’t help but think that he’s super cute even if you can’t relate to the movies. It’s also done pretty well as a LEGO model despite some unnecessary sloppiness like the visible grey parts. That reduces the value as a collectible/ presentation piece. That is also not helped by the limited posing options. If that is not a concern, you still get a nice result. At the same time this is absolutely not a play set, not even within the confines of what other mechs would offer. It is far too delicate and fragile and should not be touched too much. Regardless of all the good qualities, the price is still a bit of a head-scratcher. This is the kind of madness that drives me up the wall with LEGO and that is making it harder and harder to even afford the simplest sets. For a company that already makes billions each year this feels so unnecessary and it’s a disservice to fans who may need to think twice about a purchase.

Green Tentacle Ball – LEGO Super Heroes, Gargantos Showdown (76205)

The madness of the Marvel cinematic multiverse still eludes me. Most of the films are so over the top and yet formulaic, it doesn’t at all tingle my brain. I can barely sit through them at any given time. It’s always like there’s around 20 minutes of genuinely good jokes and heartfelt emotional scenes while the rest is just fluff padding with overblown action scenes, clich├ęed one-liners and the heroes making the dumbest possible decisions. Still, it would be foolish not to recognize that they are hugely popular and there’s a reason why there’s a new movie coming out every few months. Next in line is Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and of course there are/ will be a few LEGO sets to go with it. One of those is Gargantos Showdown (76205), the subject of this review.

LEGO Super Heroes, Gargantos Showdown (76205), Box

Pricing and Contents

As should be apparent from my intro I did not get this set because it’s a tie-in to a potentially big money-making movie, but rather for its tentacle monster in the broadest and most generic sense. There just hasn’t been anything like that in a while and not in this particular shape and complexity, anyway. The last tentacle-y thing I remember was the Sarlacc in the Desert Skiff Escape (75174), which was rather simplistic by comparison.

With that in mind I was of course hyper-aware of the potential cost, but lo and behold, this set isn’t actually that expensive. At 30 Euro for a 264 piece package with three minifigures in a Super Heroes set this feels almost generous. The caveat here that the model itself doesn’t turn out that big and some of the cost is driven by some new large elements. That’s okay, all things considered, but there’s no harm in trying to get this cheaper. I got mine for 24 Euro and lately it has dropped as low as 21 Euro.

LEGO Super Heroes, Gargantos Showdown (76205), Overview

This is also good news for people who have set their sights on just the figures, as it would be affordable enough to just buy the whole set and give the parts to someone who may have better use for them for a few pennies. Latest when it drops even lower there is no excuse to abstain from this set if you have any interest in the movie, if only in passing.

Minifigures

The minifigures no doubt will make sense in the context of the movie, but on their own feel a bit lackluster. That may be an inherent limitation since the films costumes also look pretty generic and there is only so much you can do to fancy them up. I guess that’s really more for completionists who can appreciate the differences in details compared to the figures from the first movie. That is beyond the obvious replacement of the cloth-based cape on the doctor with a plastic molded one.

LEGO Super Heroes, Gargantos Showdown (76205), Minifigures

Gargantos

The main attraction is Gargantos itself, a monster living in the space between different bubbles of the multiverse as far as I understand what’s going on. With the movie not being out yet and no knowledge of the comics, either, it’s of course difficult to understand what its exact role is. A few short glimpses can be seen in the trailers, with the creature tearing through the city and wreaking havoc. From those few bits one can also draw a few conclusions about the actual appearance and shape. For the most part these seem to be reasonably correct and the proportions fit. I would assume that the exact number and placement of the tentacles is different, though. ­čśë

The tentacles are a combination of the older dinosaur tail and elephant trunk pieces that should be familiar enough combined with the new dragon tail element I first showed you in my Raya and Sisu Dragon (43184) review, this time in Olive Green, naturally. This provides some visual variety, but make no mistake – posing the whole thing is an entire different discipline. I found it difficult to get everything evened out and symmetrical for my photos and creating an organic/ dynamic pose would be equally tricky. It takes some patience to rotate each segment in a way the curvature of a tentacle looks believable without sharp kinks and you also need to have some support so the eye looks where you want it to look.

One thing that always bothers me is inconsistent coloration of parts and that is also an issue present in this model. LEGO haven’t bothered to offer recolored versions of e.g. the connector pieces or the 1 x 1 studs with hole and in particular the Dark Green sticks out a lot the Sand Green and Dark Tan used in some places are more tolerable. It’s really regrettable that this is a recurring issue and it can only be forgiven in light of the reasonably low price of the set. On the other hand, some Chinese manufacturer likely would have gone out of its way on this, so it’s still questionable why a big company like LEGO can’t manage to pull it off with all their technical and logistical capabilities.

On a similar note I’m also somewhat irked by the lack of effort on making things look more rounded/ curved. Granted, without proper reference it’s hard to judge where the monster may have spikes and pimples, but my feeling is that this could have been better and to me it boils down to them not wanting to do more pieces in colors that they are not currently available yet in. So instead they went with what they had and as a result there are lots of straight slopes and such where there most likely should be curved ones.

LEGO Super Heroes, Gargantos Showdown (76205), Detail EyeThe eye is made up of the new 4 x 4 dome piece introduced in the Harry Potter Hogwarts Icons (76391) set for the potion bottles. Here it comes in Trans Yellow and is placed against a white round plate of matching dimensions. if you feel like it, you could experiment with the color of the plate to get a different feel for the eye. The default combination looks bright, but a bit flat, so some darker color may actually work better. The iris and pupil feel a bit small and likely should be more of a 3 x 3 dish, but that may not have worked out, either.

Some fuss has been made on the internet about the lower lid and how the ball joints are directly attached to it while at the same time those being pushed to the side by the arch of the mudguard piece. People were quick to call it an illegal connection, but technically it is not. The pieces may move to the sides and come off, producing some unsightly gaps, but they are not clamped in/ boxed in and are free to move, thus putting minimal stress on their surroundings. Still, inevitably it is still bad design and one wonders how this passed quality control. Certainly someone should have noticed and inserting an extra layer of plates to get proper spacing would not have ruined the model and not cost much.


Concluding Thoughts

This set is a bit of an oddity not just because of its subject. It is pretty much a display set with zero play value, but at the same time it almost feels a bit too toyish for that and lacks some additional scenery for presentation like in the trailer where the tentacles are plowing open a road. For me it’s just fine as a source for parts as no doubt the tentacle pieces might one day make fine plants and vines, but I wouldn’t keep it around forever in its assembled form. The individual parts are more useful for me and for the right price I might even consider getting a second one. If you’re not in that camp, it may just not offer enough to entice you. After all, it’s a pretty quick build with not much interesting stuff and you could spend the money on something a bit more comprehensive…

Ironman: Grey – LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190)

I have this weird quirk where occasionally get a bit obsessive about things, so after my brother got me Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201) and I started exploring the subject a bit further, that ticking in my brain began again and I needed to resolve it. you know, it’s that weird cycle of pondering how useful parts could be, how much fun building could be, how a model compares to another or whether the minifigures have any value later on. That and of course the ongoing situation where you sometimes just don’t know what to buy because everything you actually wanted seems out of stock and then you compromise and settle on something else. All these reasons contributed to the LEGO Super Heroes Iron Monger Mayhem (76190) finding its way into my home.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Box

Pricing and Contents

Unlike the green Hydra Stomper, this set is not exclusive to LEGO‘s own stores and a handful of retail partners and thus widely available. That doesn’t mean that it comes cheap, though. At 40 Euro suggested retail price it is still a bit of an investment even if for 479 pieces this technically isn’t a terrible price. However, with those mechs you always have to subtract a considerable number of those parts for the underlying structural elements for the joints and such vs. the “real” value of other elements used for actual shaping.

With the set being sold through regular channels, of course there’s the hope of discounts and typically those shave off around 10 Euro, bringing the cost down to a more acceptable 30 Euro. It still feels a tad expensive, but is okay for what’s on offer. Still, it would have been nice if this started out as something like a 32 Euro package and then the discounts would bring it below 25 Euro. The latter is not impossible, but rare and most likely will be limited to special events like this week’s Black/ Cyber/ Whatever week/ day.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Overview

Minifigures and Extras

The minifigures are unique to this set and should garner some interest from collectors, but undoubtedly Ironman himself will be the most coveted of the three. Completists will certainly want him, even if there’s already a myriad of variants out there. Still, I guess there’s always┬á still some mark of his armor that we haven’t seen yet and they can keep inventing new designs. This one is supposedly an Mk. 3 design, though I can’t really say much about it (yes, my general lack of knowledge of the Marvel universe striking again). To my uneducated eyes it looks believable, but I’ll leave that discussion to the real fans. The prints are at least very detailed and of good quality, surprisingly enough even in the white spots.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Minifigures

The Pepper Potts and Obadiah Stane figures are much less elaborate, but also well done. The evil dude hasn’t been done before and should prove popular, plus, which is perhaps something not to be underestimated, both figures look very generically usable with their suit & tie outfits. Having old Obadiah walk around your LEGO city as a regular business man is certainly not a far fetched idea. Same for the lady, give or take a few head and hair substitutions.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Blast Elements

The set comes with a full deck of Trans Light Blue “energy effects” as they are called on Bricklink to simulate the blasts of Ironman taking off or throwing his energy plasma at bad guys. An additional large “pedestal” piece, only introduced this year is also included and you can see the noticeable difference in transparency.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Chest with Studs

A very welcome addition is the Black chest/ crate. The Reddish Brown and Medium Nougat versions are widespread enough, but other colors are much less common, often having been done only for a handful of sets. This Black one hasn’t been produced in over 15 years and only resurfaced this year. It wouldn’t be much trouble to buy some off Bricklink, but it’s still nice to be able add one to the collection this way without the extra hassle. the box serves as a container for the studs and tiles used by the shooters and comes with a number pad keyboard tile in the updated 2020/ 2021 design for the “locking mechanism”.

Piece Mania

To get this out of the way: One of the reasons I committed to this set were the Pearl Dark Grey elements. It’s a nice color to have to simulate all kinds of technical do-dads like cast-iron motors, Steampunk greebles and of course it would also make for a stunning car finish if only LEGO ever got around to produce more elements in this color. This model is at least a start with the recolored wedge piece and windshield. Other items include the 1 x 1 round studs and the 1 x 2 ingot/ gold bar element which I was so excited about to get some earlier this year when they were fresh on the market.

Another highlight are some Flat Silver pieces like the bar holder clip, another 2021 novelty recolor and the droid arms. Again more fodder for building fancy machinery and slowly things are beginning to get a bit consistent and make sense. Really nothing worse than having to settle for greys when you really want that metallic sheen to bring out details, if you know what I mean.

The Mech

Now let’s get one thing out of the way right away: In researching the original Iron Monger from the comics and movies I quickly realized that this mech barely qualifies to be called that. The proportions are all wrong with in particular the body in relation to the head not being bulky enough. The model likely would need to be a lot larger than the about 27 cm it is so it had more room to attach some larger wedge pieces and more slopes to truly give it the necessary volume.

However, that notwithstanding I’m not unhappy with the way this turned out. for one, it makes for a nice generic retro-themed mech and with that being the case it reminded me a lot of the one from the movie The Iron Giant, a truly underappreciated gem of classical animation. Especially the central structure of the trunk with the narrow hips, the rounded head and the exposed mechanical components struck a chord with me and are reminiscent of the film version even if they are not even trying to be exact renditions of that.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Front Left View

Similar to the green mech this one has very limited posing options. This time this isn’t so much about there not being provision for poseability – after all, this one has decent arm joints – but rather again the armor plates blocking each other and on top of it here the fake hydraulic pistons and scissor hinges further complicating matters. Like it or not, this is again pretty much a collectible display model that you should not touch too much after you have found a nice way to arrange everything. The package artwork is really misleading and that’s true for most of these mechs. Actually playing with them would be a pain and not very enjoyable except for a few static scenarios where the big guys are just standing around and firing off studs.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Aft Left View

The detailing around the back is sufficient, with the two large pistons dominating the view. However, there clearly is not enough armor to protect the backside and this quite generally seems to be a problem with this model. If at all, it only represents the Iron Monger in half-finished state with several of the armor segments being missing or wrongly shaped. Most notably the distinct triangular “groin” armor shielding the lower section around the hip turntable is more or less absent on both the front and rear. This should have been easy enough to rectify with some wedge pieces to make it at least more dense and bulky.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Aft Right View

On a similar note, the upper torso is not nearly bulbous enough, either. That would have been more difficult to get right, but here, too, I think just working some magic on the flanks with wedges or curved slopes might have greatly improved the overall look.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Front Right View

Speaking of major omissions – I can’t fathom why on earth the 3 x 3 tile for the arc reactor plate is not printed. not only is it highly regrettable, but it really also makes no sense technically, given that this element is specifically manufactured from Glow-in-the-Dark White just for this set, anyway. Applying the transparent sticker with the frame would not be the end of the world, but this is really a situation where one can only wonder about LEGO‘s strange logic.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Detail Arm

The details on the arms and legs are adequate, but given the overall lack or articulation I feel that there could just have been a bit more in this department as well the large exposed ball joints and rigid knee construction are still very obvious and at the end of the day I’m always in favor of more details over more functions.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Detail Leg

The cockpit is inevitably way too large due to the disproportionate head and lack of volume on the chest armor. Everything should look much more restricted and things get even weirder when you place a minifigure inside. Point in case: The model is already too large for proper minifig scale, but still too small to correctly render many of the critical shapes and details.

LEGO Super Heroes, Iron Monger Mayhem (76190), Cockpit


Concluding Thoughts

A brief tongue-in-cheek summary of this review could be: Was the box labeled wrongly? This ultimately has very little in the way of actually representing the Iron Monger mech// armor suit and as such this comes across as a bit of a misnomer and trying to cash in on fans. I’m not going to say it’s a total rip-off, but fans of the movies and comics will no doubt be disappointed. The irony is that you can recognize some details, but the overall shaping of the central section is just not anywhere close to the real thing.

That said, and I already mentioned it, as a generic mech of a certain type this fares well enough, though even in this case I think most Ninjago mechs do better overall. It would be an interesting challenge to enhance this model to be more accurate and true to the films and that’s perfectly possible. At the same time you could totally go the other way, as somehow I feel oddly tempted to indeed try to use this as a basis for one of The Iron Giant robots.

I think your buying decision will really come down to where you stand on these matters. I can’t really recommend this to Marvel fans, but more generically inclined mech aficionados might get some enjoyment out of this, especially if they plan on fixing soem of the shortcomings.

Ironman: Green – LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201)

The weird times we live in have some odd consequences for my LEGO consumption as well. When you go to the same shop week after week and the stock on the shelves just won’t change much simply because they are hopelessly backlogged on orders due to such short supply, you really begin to ponder picking up sets you otherwise might not have considered. The Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201) is such a set, even though at heart I’m still far from a Marvel fan.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Box

Pricing and Contents

The purchase of this set came about as a dare challenge to my brother, who likes to poke fun at my LEGO obsession. I won’t go into the details of this weird dynamic, but suffice it to say that he sprang the money for it and that afternoon I was a happy boy when we left the drugstore with the package that had been lying there all those weeks already.

This set is semi-exclusive here in Germany, meaning you can only get it from LEGO directly and a few select retail partners. That makes any discussion of price moot on some level and with 30 Euro for 343 pieces it’s really not that much different than what you’re used to with most regular sets. We got lucky that week we bought it and only paid 25 Euro, which certainly helped to commit to this even if i didn’t have it on my radar before.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Overview

I’m sure that with more widespread distribution we’d see even better discounts. While the price-to-value ratio overall feels okay and on paper the usual metrics of price per piece and such add up, at the end of the day my impression is that 25 Euro is closer to what the set really should cost to begin with. The mech ultimately turns out pretty small and it doesn’t feel like there is enough volume to justify a higher price.

The Minifigures

No doubt the minifigures will be attractive to Marvel collectors and they appear all to be exclusive to this set and judging from Bricklink, their price can only go up from an already high base price. If you want all three, simply buying the whole set might be more cost effective. Since I still couldn’t get myself to sign up for at least a month or two to Disney+ to watch all the stuff, I’m still completely ignorant of the actual story threads. Based on the figure designs there seem to be a few things reversed, but not in a completely bonkers way. I’ll leave the details to the geeks that have actual knowledge of the comics and series.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Minifigures

The details are well-executed with some fine prints and in particular Steve Rogers in his regular army uniform before his Captain America days will be highly desirable. Red Skull has been done a number of times, but apparently this is the first time he also has prints on his feet. It’s also interesting that the Tesseract has been represented with a transparent Minecraft figure head. Some people have taken issue with this particular version of Captain Carter only being in this set and not the recent Collectible Minifigure series, but that’s life, I guess (and LEGO‘s usual sneaky tactics of scattering stuff across multiple sets so you have to buy them).

The Mech

The mech follows the mold established by the many smaller Ironman Hulkbuster models we got over the years. Now that blanket statement doesn’t do you much good since I haven’t reviewed any of them , but if you ever owned one of those, you pretty much know where this is going. The individual sub-assemblies are based on standardized building methods you have seen a million times, and to get this out of the way, overall poseability therefore is limited. The main trunk for instance is a solid piece with no turntable separating the hips and the upper abdomen/ thorax, so he can only ever stare forward.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Front Left View

The arms are more moveable on a theoretical level at least, but the massive armor plates easily get in the way. The shoulders are okay, but the elbows never allow to stretch the arms out fully. The legs have rigid knees, so they are always at an angle. This is not the end of the world, but has a noticeable impact on the model’s posture as it always leans forward ever so slightly. This basically can’t be changed as otherwise the mech loses balance and tips over backward. It’s not that its jet backpack would be particularly heavy or any of that, but more the combination of all the appendages somehow interacting unfavorably.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Aft Left View

One thing that bothered me a bit from the outset was the color scheme. Initially I was under the impression that the model would come with Bright Green elements instead of the regular Green. Once I got to grips with that reality, I still wished it had at least a few such pieces and at the same time also a few other ones in Dark Tan or Olive Green. Since this is based on some sort of alternative timeline in which the bad guys from Hydra somehow have managed to assemble this Hulkbuster knock-off back in the 1940s, my theory would have to be that during wartime materials were in short supply and they had to scrape it together from different sources.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Aft Right View

This doesn’t mean everything has to look like it was sourced from the scrapyard, but some color variations would certainly have enlivened the model and broken up the uniform green. It would also have helped to disguise the weak print on the face mask. It’s seriously lacking in opacity and neither the white areas nor the green looks correct. This is even more regrettable as somehow it would have been cool if the eyes would also be a Glow-in-the-Dark element. As it is, only a 1 x 2 plate hidden behind a Trans Light Blue tile on the chest plate is actually glowing. This kind of works, but only if you really have exposed it to a strong light source like a flashlight. Just letting it stand there in regular daylight will barely register.

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Front Right View

The cockpit does not have any extra details and can hold a minifigure in standing position. that’s where Steve Rogers‘ printed on belts and buckles come into play to make him appear strapped in. That’s okay, but I definitely would have preferred some more detailing. Sadly, though, even that would not raise the play value by much as the whole model is simply stiff like a stick and does not offer many ways to set up play scenarios

LEGO Super Heroes, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (76201), Cockpit Interior

All that being the case, the one benefit of this mech being rigid like a frozen fish is that it is also quite robust. It’s easy enough to rip off the lower arms when moving them because they are only attached with ratcheted hinges, but the rest is quite massive and will not break at the first fall.


Concluding Thoughts

While I bought this (or my brother, to be exact) more or less just as a way to fill a gap when there were no other sets I wanted available at decent prices, this is still pretty decent, come to think of it. Compared to other Marvel sets the price isn’t inflated exorbitantly and while the model as a whole feels a bit small-ish, by that weird LEGO logic we have become accustomed to the value isn’t bad. Once you throw the very distinctly unique minifigures into the mix this gets even better. Splitting the investment with a friend who collects them should make this very viable.

On its own merits as in “a mech being a mech” this is not the best option, though. There’s still a ton of Ninjago mechs out there that offer much more complexity, are way larger and much better poseable plus they come with even more figures and better play value. This Hulkbuster wannabe really only works with the Marvel context in mind or if you are looking for a retro-themed, steampunk-ish model that fits into an alternate WW II scenario.

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…

The First Avenger(s)

Full disclosure: I honestly don’t care much for comic hero movies or for that matter the original comics themselves for a million reasons, so take everything I’m going to say about the first issue of the LEGO Marvel Avengers magazine with a grain of salt.

LEGO Magazine, Avengers, September 2020, Cover

Being blissfully ignorant of most of the Marvel movies of course I cannot say much about the merits of the story and lore in this one. I literally just bought it out of curiosity because it’s fresh on the market and I wanted to see how it holds up. The comic seems to be drawn well enough and allegedly it’s a unique story, but I’m totally clueless as to whether there’s any truth to that claim.

Outside that this one follows the same pattern as the other LEGO magazines from Blue Ocean. There’s some puzzles, some “hero profile” pages and a few other little tidbits to keep kids occupied. The posters are at best mediocre, with the Spiderman vs. Venom one being at least bearable. The Avengers one is a complete fail, though, in my view. I still don’t understand why they go through all the trouble of drawing those comics and then don’t use all that graphical fidelity to their advantage on the posters as well.

LEGO Magazine, Avengers, September 2020, Comic

The real value of this magazine is the minifigure. Well, strike that. The actual value are the extra web parts. I don’t have any of them yet and they even included the new angled posing stud. Yippee! This all will sure come in handy if and when I should ever build some old house covered in cob webs or similar. Other than that I guess the Spiderman figure is okay, though it appears the most basic one that they probably have used in a ton of sets.

LEGO Magazine, Avengers, September 2020, Minifigure

With all that said, I don’t quite know whether I’ll be buying this regularly. I suppose it will depend on the extra value I get out of the minifigures and the parts that come with them or whatever they plan on including in the future. It seems an almost sure bet, though, that this will be hugely popular with little superhero nerd kids, which at the end of the day all of them are on some level. So I guess it’s okay to buy this then.