I’ve still only seen bits and pieces of The LEGO Movie 2. I’m simply too lazy to go to the cinema “for that kind of movie” and always wait for them to come out on DVD/ Blu-Ray or run on TV. Since it tanked at the box office and will likely even accrue losses for Warner, I guess it’s a moot point, anyway. My few bucks wouldn’t have saved them.
It’s a good bet that now we’re not going to see some tie-in sets that may have been planned and obviously the early releases from the beginning of the year didn’t do much to get people interested, either. Incidentally this quite fittingly also matches my “I just don’t care much” stance in the matter – I kinda like some sets that were designed for the movie while a good chunk of the rest just doesn’t interest me because they too apparently play on nostalgia and are trying to milk the subject as it were. There’s also that fine line in-between where you think “Cool idea, but…” and Ultrakatty & Warrior Lucy (70827) fits into that narrow corridor.
Initially I was quite reluctant to even get the set until I came to the realization that it actually contained some unique parts that somehow might be useful for one of the projects I have rattling around in my head, those in particular being some of the spiky parts being available in Red and Reddish Brown for the first time. Even better yet there are quite a few of them, so buying this set possibly means a little less spending on Bricklink for those parts if and when the time comes to build the model I envision. Funny how things sometimes coalesce by sheer coincidence.
Anyway, after that decision was made, it was time to wait for prices to come down and on a lazy weekend this set could be had for 17 Euro, so I jumped the chance. Not to sound like the eternal cheap skate, but to me this price feels right. Would I ever have paid the official price of 30 Euro? Very likely not. Point in case: There may be around 350 parts overall, but most of them are simply too small to warrant a price higher than 20 Euro for the whole set in my opinion. If it wasn’t for the exclusivity of some pieces the set could be rebuilt with standard parts from other sets quite easily at low cost.
For the price I mentioned as my preferred choice you get some okay content. At the very least it feels like there’s enough bang for the buck. The assembled Ultrakatty is weighty enough and the rest of the set feels like there are sensible additions. Again, though, a lot of the real value is in the details and therefore the more expensively you buy this set, the less favorable this may turn out since the parts are sometimes rather specific. You’d hate to think you paid too much just to get that printed “Don’t Stop” shield on Lucy, if you get my meaning.
The Duplo “invaders” are one of the funnier ideas in the whole film and re-creating them using regular LEGO bricks is equally cool. In fact I think it would have been fun to have a whole set just with these little critters in the various forms and colors they appear in and at the same time include some of the Plantimals (those other weird creatures with the leaves and pink elephant trunks for legs) as sort of an “adversary battle pack”. or whatever you want to call it.
That would also have allowed some more consistent world-building in the truest sense of the word and perhaps been a little less frustrating to people like me. With the necessary colored parts being scattered across multiple sets, some quite expensive and others that I’d never buy, anyway, it’s a bit difficult to scrape the components together as obviously they wouldn’t be cheap on the second-hand market, either.
Ultrakatty is of course Unikitty in rage mode and all bulked up. The basic similarities are there by ways of the recognizable facial style and how the head is built, but it pretty much ends there. The rest is of the model is more akin to the tried and tested skeleton builds used on mechs and dinosaurs, which is another reason for my initial reluctance. I just don’t need another ton of those joints in my life. Buying too many sets of this type can easily clog up your storage boxes with those parts if you don’t use them that much…
As presented in the set, Ultrakatty is a trimmed down version from how she actually appears in the film. There’s a designer video on YouTube explaining the rationale behind the reduction as a necessity for keeping things playable (and the set in a specific price range, too, most likely) but to me this seems like a lame, somewhat nonsensical excuse. You can spin this however you want, but this is not a traditional play set. The model is reasonably poseable, yes, and you could likely do your own brick film with it, but it’s nowhere stable enough to be constantly changed around.
Some parts will always come off like for instance the spikes on the back of the legs. Therefore I would strictly consider this a showcase set that you may arrange in a little vignette e.g. next to your Apocalypseburg model if you are lucky enough to be able to afford that big boy. In light of that assessment of course they could have kept the original fully spiky version intact and sold it in its full glory. In a way this reminds me of the situation with the green Ninjago dragon, where the commercial set ended up being quite different from the actual movie creation, yet wasn’t much better off in terms of overall playability.
One of the most talked-about features of this set is the new 5 x 1 x 2 brick used for the face. The main motivation behind this is pretty clearly to get the face printed on a single contiguous surface as per LEGO‘s self-imposed rule of not printing across multiple bricks, at least not in that manner. It shows that they can introduce new, sometimes much-needed new parts if only they want to and they solve a specific problem, yet they are most of the time simply too reluctant, hesitant or cautious about it. That’s at the same time perfectly understandable (it’s a cost factor, after all, you know), but also kind of sad when you think of how some sets still require awkward workarounds just because some parts don’t exist.
In this case we can only hope that this isn’t a one-off thing and the mold for this brick will be used in other sets as well plus we also eventually get the 5 x 1 and 5 x 2 plates to go with it. Five unit long plates are even more necessary than the brick, as this covers a ton of scenarios where you currently have to piece things together with 3 x 1 and 2 x 1 plates. It would simplify things a lot. At the same time, though, I don’t think we need more than that, meaning seven or nine unit long plates like for example COBI has them would be a bit redundant.
The prints on the face are nicely executed with sharp detail, good opacity and perfect saturation. Personally I wouldn’t have needed swappable faces and the “more than slightly aggravated” one I used in my images would have sufficed. If at all, a face printed on a differently colored brick might have been more interesting like the sickly green one from the Unikitty Collectible Minifigures series along with matching green horns. Overall it’s okay, though. you have to stop somewhere and not every crazy idea can be put in one set.
The construction of the body is pretty straightforward and captures the bulked up aggressive pose nicely with the broad shoulders and the extremely tapered aft. It’s basically all built around a single 8 x 2 brick to keep it slim with most of the protruding parts simply being plugged onto the sides. This also furthers my point about this not being an ideal play set because the slopes are still easy to break off accidentally.
All four legs are built almost identically with the upper section being shaped as strong, thick thighs using some bricks and a brown wedge piece. In contrast to that the lower extremities appear almost fragile with their ratcheted hinges, but as I said, poseability is still good. As usual it will just take some time to balance out the individual positions so she doesn’t topple over.
The shin parts use some curved slopes with a flame print which is barely noticeable. The print quality isn’t that great, the slopes are narrow and so the flames blend in to a degree they could have been left out completely without much of a negative impact. It seems more than a bit weird, especially directly compared to the superb prints on the face. They probably shouldn’t have bothered. I’m not even sure if I would ever use those slopes on a car with flame stickers. That’s how poor they are.
Overall this set turned out okay despite my original reservations. Just don’t assume it is in any way a play set. It can look quite impressive when posed and viewed from the right angle as a presentation model. Then fiddling with the spikes and orienting them correctly can pay off. However, if you mess with it too much and too often, it can look weird and re-attaching elements that fell off while you were handling it will become frustrating after a while.
Most importantly, see to it that you get it cheap. This is one of those sets where being a Scrooge can really amp up your satisfaction. Again, I’m not saying that it would be super expensive to begin with, but the many small parts will almost automatically make you feel that you shouldn’t be paying too much for them in the first place. The better the price-per-piece ratio, the happier you’ll be.