James Cameron’s Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all time. Additionally, it is one of my favorite movies. Imagine my glee when the LEGO® Group revealed sets based on the franchise at LEGO® Con 2022. Over the last few months, the fanboy in me required the purchase of a few sets. While it has taken a little while to get around to them, seeing Avatar: Way of the Water inspired me to take my first look. And what better set to begin with than the first one revealed at LEGO® Con? Today, we delve into Toruk Makto and the Tree of Souls (75574).
SET SUMMARY FOR TORUK MAKTO
- NAME: Toruk Makto and the Tree of Souls
- SET #: 75574
- THEME: Avatar
- COST: $199.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 1212
- MINIFIGURES: 4
- RELEASE DATE: October 1, 2022
QUICK REVIEW OF TORUK MAKTO
- VALUE: 76% (Bricks are a bit pricey, but you get a good amount of build time.)
- BUILD: 85% (Several builds come together nicely to create a recognizable movie scene.)
- MINIFIGURES: 79% (Nice character prints, but the set needs more minifigs and accessories.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (I love it as a display piece, but I question wide-scale appeal.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 80% (Good set.)
|WHAT I LIKED||WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE|
|The Tree of Souls is beautiful.|
Toruk is an awesome creature build.
The set is so colorful.
The scene is immediately recognizable.
|There is too much going on. This set should be two sets, each with a little more detail.|
Too few Minifigures.
The cost/brick is not great.
I’m on the fence about the Na’vi head/hair designs.
FULL REVIEW OF TORUK MAKTO AND THE TREE OF SOULS
From the first wave of Avatar sets, the Tree of Souls is the priciest. It costs $199.99 in Canada and consists of 1212 bricks. Consequently, the cost/brick is $0.17. Since this is the first Avatar set I have ever reviewed, I have no theme specific data to share. However, if we compare that to general LEGO® sets, the Tree of Souls is pricey. Based on all the sets reviewed at True North Bricks over the years, the average cost of a LEGO® brick is around $0.14. The value-per-brick you get with Tree of Souls is not the worst I have ever seen, but it is far from the best. I rate the cost/brick at a barely satisfactory 71%.
With that said, the set provides a decent amount of build time. I spent four hours and five minutes assembling this kit. The resulting cost/minute of build time is $0.82. That is average for a set in this price range. For that, the Tree of Souls earns 81%. Averaging this with the cost/brick score gives an overall value grade of 76%.
You assemble a few pieces of scenery in this set, as well as Toruk (the Great Leonopteryx). The first bags go towards a rock arch and some colorful plant life. I have no problem with that, except the scale of the build is not right. The rock arches in the movie are massive. Granted, that scale is hard to produce in a LEGO® set. Also, I’m glad the LEGO® Group included the concept in one set in the theme. Afterall, the rock arches are an important world-building clue in the film. They help explain the science of Pandora and how mountains can fly. However, I’d sooner see a nicer arc in a separate set that really focuses on the details. Toruk could still be in that set, while the Tree of Souls could have focused on a different scene that took place at the same location.
Conversely, the Tree of Souls is beautiful. It uses some nice techniques that create a curved trunk. The use of transparent elements really captures the tree’s alien-willow look. I love the application on flex tubing to create a twisted, vined trunk as well. If you change out the colors, this technique works just as nicely to build Earth-style willow trees for your custom projects. This tree was the main reason I wanted this set, and it did not disappoint. The Tree of Souls is an excellent design.
The Tree of Souls was the main reason I bought this set, and it did not disappoint.
I can’t complain much about Toruk either. The leonopteryx looks great. Rather than the cloth used on dragon wings in the past, Toruk uses flexible plastic. You need to be careful about folding it in storage, but otherwise I like it. I like cloth wings too, but the plastic captures the membranous, insect-like look of Toruk’s wings in this case.
However, I was most impressed with Toruk’s legs. You assemble them at an odd angle. But I had an “a-ha” moment when I finished the first one and flipped it into place. It was only then that I really saw what I was building. The design is light-weight and looks good. Additionally, it lends itself well to use in other creature builds. Sadly, the hip joint is too loose and the main body too heavy for the legs to actually support Toruk on their own. You need to use the creature’s wings to support its weight on the ground. You cannot pose it standing with wings outstretched.
With that said, the rock formation built earlier in the set features a transparent stand with some floating rocks that can support Toruk. Consequently, you can position the leonopteryx with wings outstretched in flight above the arch and Tree of Souls. Thus, you also recreate a pivotal scene from the movie when Jake reveals himself to the Omaticaya as Toruk Makto. In the end, all aspects of this set come together very nicely to create a very recognizable scene from the film. Despite not liking the arch too much on its own, it serves well enough as part of the package. I rate the build for this set at 85%.
The Tree of Souls comes with four Minifigures. They are all Na’vi characters, including Mo’at, Jake Sulley, Natiri, and Tsu’tey. Each one comes with a specially molded head that includes ears. Additionally, they all have unique face prints, front and back torso printing, leg printing, and a tail piece. The hairpieces are new as well. Each includes an attachment point so characters can form Tsaheylu (the bond) with their animal friends. However, you don’t get a lot of accessories in this set. The kit includes four extra tail pieces (though I don’t know what I’ll do with those) and two bows. Additionally, you acquire a pa’li (direhorse) figurine. The characters are nicely detailed and colorful, and I like them overall. I rate the designs at 92%.
With that said, I am on the fence about a couple of things. This is my first exposure to the longer Minifigure legs. While the LEGO® Group first produced legs like this for the Toy Story line in 2010, I did not have any prior to now. I think they work for the Na’vi characters. However, I do not want to see wider use of these. Perhaps I am simply too accustomed to the regular Minifigure proportions, but the longer legs look a bit off to me. In this case, the Na’vi are aliens and are supposed to be taller than humans. Their body proportions are different too. So, like I said, the longer legs work here. The LEGO® Group also proportionally lengthened the arms so they don’t look funny. But the use of this design needs to be careful in the future…
Use of this Minifigure design needs to be careful in the future…
My second issue is the head mold. I am not sure that was the right way to go with these Minifigs. Essentially, the LEGO® Group extended the chin area of a regular Minifigure head down and added ears. So far, I see two different hairpieces to go with. One for the male characters, and one for the females. I think these characters would be cuter with regular Minifigure heads. Additionally, having the ears as part of the hairpiece would have allowed for more diversity in hairstyles. The rubbery hair might look less rigid as well. I’m not taking any marks off for these issues with proportion and head molds though. They are more of a personal preference based on my familiarity with the regular Minifigure.
In terms of character count, you get the four Na’vi and the direhorse. Of course, you build a great leonopteryx, but I don’t generally count buildable characters in this score. Five characters in a 1212-piece kit means you get 242 bricks/fig. Again, this is my first Avatar set, so I don’t really have any theme specific data to compare that to. However, compared to LEGO® in general, it is not a lot of characters for a set this size. On average, a LEGO® set gives me around 172 bricks/fig. The Tree of Souls really needs more Minifigures, especially since this particular scene from the film involved a whole tribe. I rate the character count in Toruk Makto and the Tree of Souls at 66%. Averaging this with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 79%.
Despite too few Minifigures, Toruk Makto and the Tree of Souls is an immediately recognizable scene from the movie. I love that you can position Toruk in flight over the Tree of Souls. Additionally, the tree is beautiful. As a fan of the films, this set makes a great display piece on a shelf. I find myself wanting to build a little Pandora jungle scene around it. While I have too many project going on at the moment, I also have a sense of FOMO. I want to buy these sets to ensure I have enough Na’vi and Pandoran-like bricks to build a scene should I chose to some day. I can’t tell you how many other themes I’m upset I didn’t or couldn’t collect back in the day and dream of owning now…
However, I am not sure how much play value this theme has. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of inherent playability in this set with that epic Toruk build. However, kids today probably have no idea what Avatar is. The movie came out in 2009. This set is based on a film older than many children currently playing with LEGO® bricks. Again, I love it. I am so happy to have this theme available now because I am big fan of the first film. But kids today? Will they want this? I don’t know… I can see kids being drawn more to the Way of the Water sets. The second installment is doing amazing in theaters after all. I rate the entertainment value at 80%. It is niche interest set without wider-scale draw.
OVERALL SCORE: 80%
Toruk Makto and the Tree of Souls is a great set for colorful bricks and tree design. You learn to build a willow-style tree that has applications beyond just the Avatar theme. Additionally, fans of the franchise get nice Na’vi Minifigures and a wonderful Toruk build. However, I don’t think this set or theme will appeal to a wider audience. Perhaps now that the sequel is out, more people will delve into these sets. However, even then, I think the second wave of Avatar sets will be more popular given they relate to the current film. Finally, the value is satisfactory, but not great, so you might want to wait for a sale. As an Avatar fan, I love it. So, if you loved the first film, you might love this set too. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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