Review: Lego 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina

Pieces: 616  Minifigures: 8  Retail Price: $69.99  Price I Paid: $63.38 (Amazon)

Never has there been, a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Let me first say that collecting Lego Star Wars is a slippery slope. You get a set and then you realize you need another set to complement that one, because you’re missing a few characters or something. Next thing you know… You see some Bith musicians and you’d really like to have them. Not to mention a very nice Greedo.

For a retail price of $70, this is a little light in the piece count – as we often expect from a Star Wars set. I got it from Amazon when for some reason they had discounted it by $10 for preorder, but just got around to building it. The pieces are great fun, I love the tan sand pieces of Tatooine – I wish I’d been around to get some of the Prince of Persia sets for parts. Despite the fewer pieces though, it’s a pretty clever way of building the Cantina so that it can “fold” into a square or be displayed in a long line of rooms.

The Cantina enclosed.


Although the structure is clever, it is quite small, I think this is because of the inclusion of a Dewback and Luke’s Landspeeder. This points to the constant Lego attempt to design sets for children so that they are playsets. I for one definitely did not need Luke’s Landspeeder – there’s not a Tusken Raider in sight and there’s only one Sandtrooper for Obi-Wan to play Jedi Mind Tricks on.

I’m not much a fan of Dewbacks either. They are mostly a product of the modified trilogy.

But we do get Greedo and a very nice setting for the classic showdown.

“Even I get boarded sometimes.”

This is pretty cool. The other things missing though are Wuher, the bartender. They have the whole bar set up – but it’s begging for Ponda Baba at the least.

Like many Earth bars, the bartender is nowhere in sight.

So ultimately, this is a set with some very cool features and great minifigures but it seems like it was cherry picked when it came to what plot points to incorporate into the set, and I think it looses a little bit for it. It would be great to have another set come out with the missing figures, but since this is the Cantina interior, the chance of that happening is beyond slim to none. Since I said a 5 is a set to get on sale – and I think <$60 should be the target price for this set, I'll add one for the great figures - especially the musicians and give it a 6 overall. Check the price on Amazon.

MOC For Your Consideration – the Lego Bat Bi-Wing

Previously, I’ve complained about how ho-hum the Bat vehicles in the Man-Bat Attack and Joker Steam Roller sets are. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and using only the pieces from the vehicles from those two sets I came up with what I’m calling the Bat Bi-Wing. It’s basically my first MOC. I’m not in love with the term MOC by the way, but it’s the parlance of our times, so I guess I’ll use it. Beyond that, the Bat Bi-Wing isn’t that special or beautiful but it is pretty flimsy. It’s a real challenge to build something original after following the directions for so long.

Jet Engines – for a little extra power

The propeller engine is probably the section that looks the most polished(to me at least). The cockpit is not fully enclosed, but in Bi-Planes of old, the cockpit was never enclosed either. I’m not an airplane nut so there are probably lots of other improper design elements, but I tried to do the best with what I had.

Obligatory fins – that require their own wheelbase

Yes – it comes in black (and sometimes very very dark gray)

Real set reviews will return tomorrow – I’ve got an evening of building ahead of me.

Success! Making a Lego Minifigure Display with an Ikea Ribba Frame

For awhile now I’ve been wanting a way to display some of my minifigures but at the same time keep them from getting dusty. My current Lego storage method consists mostly of sets stored in Ziploc bags and it’s not the most crush proof method for the figures when the bags are all piled together – I’ll detail my full Lego storage in a later post. I believe I first came across this pretty incredible looking display. Then, I started to read about using the Ribba frame all over the internet, it works because of its depth. I ended up using this post from Ikea Hackers for reference. (Ikea Hackers is a pretty neat website for all of your non-Lego furniture and decorative needs as well)
For a long time I’d wanted to make the entire case itself out of Lego, using large clear windows for all of the figures, but that is a very costly proposition. The 1x6x5 clear wall element that would be best for this is 90 cents per piece from Pick a Brick – meaning the cost of the display would be about a dollar per figure (if you made the back a different color). So I finally got around to going to Ikea in Stoughton, MA, which is not exactly close. I then bought a large gray baseplate – the reason for going to the Lego store – I was too impatient to wait for one from Amazon – where they cost a dollar less. As you can see from the Ikea Hackers link, you can wedge plates into the baseplate – I was very keen not to be gluing any Lego – the Kragle! The only adhesive I had to use was scotch tape – which has surprisingly held for the last 5 days or so. For a background beyond the baseplate I just left the matte in the frame. To center it I used a ruler to make small guide marks – on the back of the matte, so I could use it for a picture some day if I wanted to. When I couldn’t see the marks any more, it was close enough to centered for me. You want the baseplate to be 6 cm from all sides. I may cover it with black paper to give it a more sleek look, but white is fine for now. In the end, I was very impressed with the results – especially compared to how little effort it took (other than driving to Ikea). You can get the frames online from their website – and they also come in white. So – check it out:

Batmanfigs
The flash reflection on the top of the glass doesn’t do it justice – but in person it is truly breathtaking. Now the only problem is if I want to play with a figure – they’re not exactly at arms length. If you want to zoom in to see the figures in all their glory just click on the photo to visit Flickr.

October- A reason to shop at the Lego store

I just took a look at the October Calendar for the Lego store – there will be double VIP points for the month as there usually are. Additionally, the newest Creator Winter Village set will be released on Oct. 1 and if you spend $100 you’ll get the first free Christmas set. The Winter Village Set – Santa’s Workshop is only $69 this year, but the new minifigures – Series 12- also come out in October (and the majority of the figures this time are good ones). So it should be easy to get to the $100 threshold. The only problem would be if Lego releases the minifigures in the stores early and they are all sold out by Oct. 1. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Here’s a link to the PDF of the calendar.

Review: Lego Set 76011 Man-Bat Attack

Pieces: 184  Minifigures: 3  Retail Price: $19.99  Price I Paid: $17.00 (Amazon)

Pretty boring.

Who’s this Man-Bat fellow? I’ve not heard of him before – is he part man, part bat? Kind of like Batman? Or is he the Bizarro of Batman comics. Maybe I’ll google it someday, but based on how boring this set is, including his minifigure, I don’t think it’s worth it for this review. This is your usual $20 set except it is really only worth getting for the Nightwing figure. The Batman is the same as always and unsurprisingly for this newest wave of Batman sets with Bat vehicles, the helicopter is incredibly boring. First of all, there are only two rotors. Yes I know it’s possible to have a two-rotor helicopter, but Bruce Wayne can afford at least four rotors. This is way more boring than the Bat jet or whatever it is in The Joker Steam Roller set. Nightwing is neat alright but we’re basically buying a $20 set for about $5 value. It’s too bad they have to put Batman in every set, this could have been a cool $6.99 set – or even $11.99 with just fewer parts. But it’s a Batman set so I bought it. That gets it an extra two points, but I’m only giving it 5 total. You’re probably better off just buying the minifigures on ebay or something. Let me know in the comments if you want to see the review score in bold or at the top of the review. I like getting the reader (hypothetical reader) to read to see it other than just quantifying it from the get go.
Check the price on Amazon.

A trip to the Lego store

Even though there is a Lego store in our local mall – (Northshore Mall in Peabody, MA), ever since Lego put an end to Grab Bags I seldom go there. Even less frequently do I buy anything, especially now that they don’t even send out a 10% off coupon every quarter. Today was an exception however, as I recently went to Ikea and bough a Ribba frame and am going to attempt to make a minifigure display. So I needed a big gray baseplate – which I have been wanting for a long time anyway. They had quite a few new things – I saw the Tumbler in person for the first time and it is definitely bigger than I thought it would be, even though I’d previously looked at the measurements. They also had the new Lego Fusion sets, which seem like a good way to pay even more per piece. They also had a damaged box Batcave for 10% – whoa, easy there Lego. But they did have new items on/in the Pick A Brick wall, including horses! So I figured since horses are usually expensive through the online PAB, it was worth getting a large cup, which is now $15.99, up a dollar from about a year ago. (And I just checked, brown horses are going for $5 each online through Lego, but are currently unavailable). I was able to fit 9 horses in the cup, and I probably could have gotten another one or two in but bought some other various pieces, including some bright blue Friends pieces just for the heck of it. They also had red chairs, and I love buying Lego chairs so I got some of those as well. You can try to pick out what else I got in the photo below. The moral of the story though is that I wish they had never gotten rid of grab bags, it was the best way to get various pieces and good various pieces at that. The Classic Spaceman promotion is going on right now, I didn’t ask if they had any left, but I would have needed to spend $70 more to get a mninifigure, which is not worth it.

I just noticed the Lego horses have no personality from the front.

Lego Collecting – My Thoughts Part 1

This is part one in the sense of it being the first part, but I don’t have a predetermined number of parts planned out.
I’ve been collecting for about 3 years now, not counting my childhood when I had a fair amount of Lego but didn’t collect it specifically. When I was a kid there was no internet, so you really wouldn’t even have an idea of what sets were out there, other than the one your parents would buy for you or you came across at the toy store.
Anyway, shortly into my adult collecting I discovered Brickset, which in my realm appears to be the gold standard for a Lego website, with its archive of set images and instructions. I think it was a search for instructions for one of my old sets that brought me there in the first place. With resources like this it was easy to get sucked in to feeling like I needed to collect every set out there, giving in to my OCD tendencies and somehow making up for lost time (i.e. all the sets I’d “missed”). After about a year and a half of feeling this way I was able to start being a bit more rational – the reality of how expensive this hobby is also pushed me in that direction. I decided the only sets I would try to buy every one of was the Batman sets. I’ve bought some Star Wars sets against my better judgment because that puts you on a slippery slope (“I need a Lando, etc.”) and I’ve also been able to relax if I miss a promotional polybag at the store. I have a pretty good collection (I think) but I’m not interested in completing it to 100% (let’s be realistic, that’s not possible). So basically, I just want to say, it’s ok if you miss a set, because the resellers will always sell you one for 3x the price, no in reality the way Lego produces sets, they’ll probably remake it within the next 5 years anyway. It’s a hobby – it’s supposed to be fun, not stressful.

Review: Set 76013 Lego Batman: The Joker Steam Roller (I prefer Steamroller)

Pieces: 486  Minifigures: 5  Retail Price: $49.99  Price I Paid: $40.37

I’ve had my eye on this set since pictures first became available, mostly because of the Batgirl and the Joker in a Fedora minifigures. It was almost a set I bought as soon as it came out from the Lego Store, but I figured it would eventually go on sale as most do. When Target recently did a promotion for $10 off of a $40 online/store pickup order I decided it was time. (Target’s store pickup was ok, but I have a feeling it depends on who is working and how long the line is.) So anyway I just opened and built the set and it’s pretty cool. As I said, the minifigures are a big draw, although I didn’t necessarily need another Batman – but it’s his theme. There is good back printing on Batgirl and the Joker’s henchman (or stooge, whichever you prefer).

Group photo – everybody smile!


You’ve seen Batman’s other face many times by now.


I’m not really a fan of short Robin. I know he’s supposed to be Bruce’s young ward but when I see those short legs, it makes it seem like he’s in elementary school. I do have some nice black adult legs I got in another really cheap set though…

The steamroller itself is very interesting and has big wheel parts I haven’t seen before – check them out in the photo:

Unique.


It all comes together with a toothy and creepy smile.

The Bat flying machine – Batwing whatever is fine, but we don’t need another nondescript flying Bat machine. The Batwing Battle Over Gotham City was a better model. The one cool thing is the wings connecting so they open/close simultaneously:

So the missiles can fire at each other?

But the grooviest part of this set is the Joker Steamroller as I said- it’s got that zaniness to it that as a fan of the Adam West Batman I enjoy. It would fit right in with the Funhouse set from a few years ago. And now for the rating. In the last post I said that a 6 is a buy and a 5 is a buy on sale, I think this is a buy even if not on sale. I am also going to add 2, because it’s from the Batman theme and this makes it a must have for me (and equally I enjoy having it that much more). So it comes in at an 8. It’s going to be hard to get a 10- there may not be any 10s out there actually.

Let the mayhem begin.

Starting small: the first review Lego Set 60011 Surfer Rescue

I know what you’re* saying (or thinking) – here I am on this Lego Batman and Castles blog and the first review posted is of a 32 piece City set! Well, I thought I’d start small, if I can make this review the least bit interesting then I should be ok to write about bigger sets which (usually) are inherently interesting. So without further ado:

Lego Set 60011 Surfer Rescue

Pieces: 32  Minifigures: 2 (+ 1 Shark)  Retail Price: $6.99  Price I Paid: $3.49+tax

The Shark is prominently featured on the box.

Recently Stop&Shop (the grocery store) has had a few sets on clearance 50% off. They don’t carry that many to begin with, and they are all <$25 sets. Even at 50% off I thought twice before buying this set. I mean, c’mon, its only got 32 pieces in it! But there is a shark. And a guy in a wetsuit – I might need a Lego wetsuit someday. Plus I thought, I can put it on my blog! Well folks*, as you can see, I’ve spared no expense for you. Basically this set is ok. If you’re a child (age wise, not just emotionally or spiritually) you’d probably like it. Because as I’ve mentioned, there is a shark. I like the Coast Guard uniform as well. I think for $3.49 is an ok price for it, but I’d be hard pressed to pay full retail.

Look! A shark!

And now for the moment of truth. The rating – how should I rate all the sets. I think a range of 1-5 is too small, but it is simple. I’m going to go with 0-10 where 6 or above is a buy and 5 is a buy if it’s on sale. I’ll develop this more in the future, but for now I’ll give this set a 4. I wouldn’t buy it unless it actually is for a child.

Except, wait – I just bought it and now I’m telling you* not to buy it? Well that’s right. You don’t need it^ – on the other hand, it does have a shark…

* given the newness of this blog any references to readers or people reading this post is purely hypothetical

^ I plan on discussing my views on LEGO collecting in general in a future post – stay tuned

Does it come in black?

Hello there- I’ve been an AFOL for a few years now and have had thoughts of making a LEGO blog or website. Now is the time to finally do it. I wanted to focus on the Lego Batman sets especially since that is the one line I try to collect every set of and when brainstorming for a title I discovered that BrickKnight was still available – that’s with 2 Ks. So now I can easily shift the focus to Lego Castle which is a good bit of fun as well. In reality, I’m not going to limit myself to just discussing Lego Batman sets, or even Lego, maybe I’ll touch on Batman pop culture items or comic books as well. As with every blog (especially at the beginning) there is no one reading this right now, but hopefully in a few months after a few hundred posts there will be some readers and this site will be a positive addition to the Lego internet. Until the next post – happy building!

BrickKnight