Minifigure Monday – Cruising to the Radio

After a month’s hiatus due to the April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge, Minifigure Monday is back! This week’s original poem was inspired by one of my favorite Minifigures of 2018 (so far). It also gives you a hint at what this week’s LEGO review will be…

Cruising to the Radio
(An original LEGO inspired poem from True North Bricks)

A song comes on the stereo,
While cruising to the radio.
It’s my favorite tune, you know,
A beat that makes your shoulders go.
I belt the lyrics apropos.

DSC_0551Web

This poem was inspired by the LEGO Rock Star Minifigure and his pink Cadillac from the Downtown Diner set.

LEGO Review – Duel on Naboo [75169]

While this is not my first LEGO Star Wars set, I think it actually is my first LEGO Star Wars set review. The last time that I bought a Star Wars set was actually before I started blogging (not counting advent calendars of course). I decided to pick this one up because Darth Maul has long been my favorite Star Wars character. Say what you will about the prequels, Darth Maul was awesome in the movie, and I was thrilled to have him back in the Clone Wars and Rebels. This set seemed like an inexpensive way to finally get my hands on a version of the Minifigure that was not dressed like Santa Claus (from the 2012 advent calendar). Darth Maul was also the only character on my list of requisite Minifigures from last April that I had not gotten yet (click here to read my list). So, now that my 2017 list of must-have Minifigs has been completed, how does the rest of the set fare?

DSC_0128web

LEGO Duel on Naboo box art.

Set Summary

NAME: Duel on Naboo
SET #: 75169
THEME: Star Wars
COST: $29.99 CAD
BRICK COUNT: 208
MINIFIGURES: 3
RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017

DSC_0129web

LEGO Duel on Naboo box contents.

Summary Review: 68%

VALUE: 80% (At $0.14 per brick, it has a close to average value.)
BUILD: 60% (Apart from one clever mechanism, this is not too impressive.)
MINIFIGURES: 92% (These are the reason to buy this set.)
ENTERTAINMENT: 40% (Really expensive build time, uninteresting set.)

DSC_0126web

LEGO Duel on Naboo

Review

VALUE: 80%
Duel on Naboo costs $29.99 in Canada, and comes with 208 bricks. That means that each piece will cost you $0.14. That is not a great value, but it is not a bad on either. It is close to the current average that I have calculated using the LEGO catalogs. I give Duel on Naboo 4/5 (80%) for value.

DSC_0125web

LEGO Duel on Naboo

BUILD: 60%
This set is not all that impressive in terms of build. There isn’t anything that I hate about it, but there isn’t a whole lot to love either. There are a few play features that kids might enjoy, like the Minifigure launcher at the bottom of the central shaft. It doesn’t work phenomenally well, but it does work if you hit it just right. The laser barriers have an open and close function too, and I did think that this feature was built in a clever way. Pulling on a rod causes the laser barriers to swing open. It’s one of those build techniques that made me pause and appreciate the ingenuity. Definitely one to keep in my back pocket for the future. I won’t deduct points from Duel on Naboo, but I will also only add one for the aforementioned clever mechanism. This set earns 6/10 (60%) for build.

DSC_0123web

LEGO Duel on Naboo sealed laser barrier.

MINIFIGURES: 92%
This set was purely a Minifigure purchase for me. I wanted Darth Maul most of all, but Qui-Gonn Jinn was an added bonus. And, of course, you also get a young Obi-Wan. Qui-Gonn and Obi-Wan each come with a hairpiece and a double sided face. Darth Maul does not have a double sided face for obvious reasons, but does come with a Dathomirian set of horns to place on his head. My set actually came with two of those, so my Christmas Darth Maul now also has a set. Each Minifigure has a front and back printed torso, and front print on their legs. Additionally, they all have light sabers, with Maul’s being the bo-like one from the Phantom Menace. I give these guys 38/45 (84%) for design.

 

Duel on Naboo has a brick count of 208. With three characters, that means a brick-to-Minifigure ratio of 69:1. That is pretty good in my humble opinion, and earns this set a score of 5/5 (100%). Averaging this ratio score with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 92%.

ENTERTAINMENT: 40%

Duel on Naboo costs $29.99 in Canada, and it took me 35 minutes to build. That means that each minute cost me $0.86. That is really expensive, and earns 2/5 (40%). I would also not keep this set built. There just isn’t enough to it. Some hardcore fans might be able to incorporate it into a bigger recreation of the scene from the Phantom Menace. Some kids might get a few hours of play out of it. But, for me, everything will be re-purposed. I give it 2/5 (40%) for enjoyment as well.

DSC_0124web

LEGO Duel on Naboo with laser barriers open.

Overall: 68%

Duel on Naboo has a decent value per brick, but suffers from an expensive build time and largely uninteresting build. The saving grace of the set is the really nice Minifigures, and excellent brick-to-fig ratio. I bought this set exclusively for the Minifigures. I don’t collect LEGO Star Wars for budget reasons, but I still like to have my favorite characters as Minifigs. This was a cheap way to get the Darth Maul that I was waiting for, and I got Qui-Gonn as well.

For those of you who are following me in the A-to-Z blogging challenge this month, let this post serve as little taste of things to come in my post tomorrow! As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Until next time.

-Tom

LEGO Colouring Page – Lloyd

For your colouring pleasure this week: Lloyd Garmadon from the LEGO Ninjago Movie! This is the hooded variant from the Ninjago Minifigure Series. Click here to download your free PDF (it will open in a separate window). Happy colouring!

LloydPin

This is a sample of the Lloyd Garmadon colouring page. It is not print quality. Use the link above to download a printable copy.

Minifigure Monday – Halloween Was Yesterday

Halloween Was Yesterday
(An original poem from True North Bricks)

At the shopping mall today,
As I wandered through the fray
Of the hoards fighting to pay,
I found Christmas in full sway.
Halloween was yesterday,
But it has been packed away.
Gone was the corpse with decay,
In its place, Santa and sleigh.
It’s over a month, I say,
To this merry holiday.
My brain screams out to delay,
My inner child says “give way”.
Couldn’t hold myself at bay,
So, at home the carols play,
And Christmas is here to stay,
At least until New Years Day.

DSC_0658web

“Wasn’t yesterday Halloween?”

Just Take My Money – I Just Blew My October Budget!

What a month for LEGO sales. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the best LEGO deal on the Canadian market (click here to read it). We’ve had double points at the LEGO Store, and Bricktober at Toys R Us, in addition to other sales around the market. I was very tempted by Bricktober and the 50% off sale on the Volcano Exploration Base at Toys R Us two weeks ago. I was so tempted, in fact, that I actually went to three different Toys R Us locations trying to get one. They were sold out already on Saturday morning. 50% off sales on LEGO don’t happen often. I was super disappointed, but decided it was probably best for my wallet.

VolcanoBase

LEGO’s Volcano Exploration Base (60124)

My goal for months has been to use double VIP points as an opportunity to get Ninjago City, and I did just that. I got $35 worth of VIP points, and the free VIP set. I can’t say how excited I am about it. But, quite the quandary faced me when I went to do my groceries at Walmart this past weekend. There, literally in the middle of the aisle, in the liquidation section of the toy department, was the Volcano Exploration Base. Just one. Naturally, I scooped it up just to see how much it would set me back. Imagine my glee when a quick calculation revealed that the deal was almost as good as the one from Toys R Us from two weeks back. Granted, it was 47% off, and not 50%, and there were no Bricktober Minifigures with it, but over 40% off on LEGO is rare. A quick text home to my wife, a promise that I do in fact love her more than LEGO, a solemn swear that November would only see the use of my VIP earnings, and the set was mine.

NinjagoCity

LEGO’s Ninjago City (76020)

Do I have a little guilt? Yes, I totally overspent this month. Will my enjoyment outweigh my guilt? Most certainly. Now, I just have to find the time to build it all… Work just keeps getting in the way of my fun! I would love to hear about your LEGO purchases this month in the comments below.

Until next time!

-T.N.B.

DSC_0621web

My awesome October 2017 LEGO haul.

LEGO Review: Killer Croc Sewer Smash [76055]

Killer Croc Sewer Smash was one of those sets that I was on the fence about for a long time. I really wanted the Minifigures that came with it, but I had little interest in yet another Batman vehicle. The price point was also way too high for my liking. But, I found it on liquidation at Walmart not too long ago, so I decided to pick one up. My rationale was that I would end up paying close to the same amount to buy the Minifigures on eBay or Bricklink, and this way I would get some spare parts. So, is Killer Croc Sewer Smash more than just extra bricks?

DSC_0473web

LEGO Killer Croc Sewer Smash box art

Set Summary

Name: Killer Croc Sewer Smash
Set #: 76055
Theme: DC Comics Super Heroes
Cost: $99.99 CDN
Brick Count: 759
Minifigures: 4
Of Interest: Killer Croc big-fig and motorcycle
Release Date: August 1, 2016

Summary Review: 66%

VALUE: 80% (At full price, you pay an ok $0.13 per brick.)
BUILD: 35% (The Bat-Tank is ok, but Killer Croc’s vehicle is just crap.)
MINIFIGURES: 84% (Nice Minifigures, and a good brick-to-fig ratio.)
ENTERTAINMENT: 65% (Build-time value is not great, but the Bat-tank is nice.)

DSC_0455web

Top view of Killer Croc’s chomper-mobile

REVIEW

VALUE: 80%
Like I said in the intro, on first glance, this set has a really high price point for what you get. If you break it down to a cost per brick though, it is not that bad. With a full price tag of $99.99 in Canada, and 759 pieces, you are looking at $0.13 per brick. That is a touch below the current average of $0.14, and on par with other Batman sets advertised in the Summer 2017 LEGO catalogue (click here for more on that). It is not the best value, but it is certainly not bad either. At full price, I give this set 4/5 (80%). Now, if you were lucky enough to find this set on liquidation like me, then you may have paid considerably less. Walmart liquidated Killer Croc Sewer Smash for $65 (35% off). That brought the cost down to $0.09 per brick, which is an amazing value, and earns 100% in my book.

DSC_0454web

A look under the hood…

BUILD: 35%
There are two builds included in this set. The first instruction manual is for Killer Croc’s chomper-mobile (or whatever it is actually called). I rarely say this about LEGO, but this thing is a piece of crap. I don’t like anything about it, starting with the overall look. It looks like some spare bricks were haphazardly thrown together to make a junkyard version of one of those wind-up tooth things the Joker uses. The teeth are flimsy, and not nearly secure enough for this vehicle to pose any sort of threat. The jaws are supposed to open and close when the vehicle rolls along the floor, but I find that this play feature only works on certain surfaces. Then there is Captain Boomerang’s lifeguard chair. What is up with that? I don’t think I have ever disliked a LEGO build quite this much. It earns 0 from me.

DSC_0452web

Killer Croc’s chomper-mobile

The other build is a sort of tank-like vehicle for Batman. One of the reasons that I was hesitant about this set is the fact that I don’t need another Batman vehicle. But, if I put that notion aside, this one has a pretty sleek and interesting look to it. It is way to big for Minifigure scale, but I do like the design. There is machine gun style stud shooter on the front, and turning the jet engine on the back causes the whole front of chassis to pop forward like a shield. That is a rather uninteresting feature in my opinion, but the mechanics behind it are clever. I do like the cockpit design, the tank treads, and the exterior detailing though. I do wish the back area, where the jet engine is, had received a little more of the black detailing seen elsewhere in the design (like some panels, or more fins, or something). So, it gains some marks for likeable design features (overall look, cockpit, tank treads, detailing), but also loses some for less appealing features (rear design, being oversized). Overall, I give the Bat-Tank 7/10.

DSC_0451Web

LEGO Bat-tank interior view

If the scores for both of these builds are averaged, I would give this set a really poor build score of 35%. The Bat-Tank looks nice, but it only just meets my expectations. The chomper-thing is just a disappointment.

DSC_0440Web

An overhead view of the LEGO Bat-tank

MINIFIGURES: 84%
For a Batman/DC Comics fan, the Minifigures are the real draw of Killer Croc Sewer Smash. This set came out around the same time as the Suicide Squad film. Along with the Gotham City Cycle Chase (click here to read my review), it provided the only opportunity for fans to assemble their own, partial Suicide Squad. Still missing in LEGO form from the movie are the Enchantress, Rick Flag, El Diablo, Slipknot, and Amanda Waller.

DSC_0433web

LEGO Batman

First up for review is Batman, who is identical to the one in Gotham City Cycle Chase. Despite being a repeat Minifig, I give him 13/15 (87%). He comes with the standard, newer cowl design, and underneath he has a double-sided face. He has a front and back printed torso, as well as a cape. His legs have no printing, but he comes with two Batarangs. I think a slightly different variant of Batman would have been better, but for those who don’t already have this version, it is a pretty solid Minifigure. I rated him a little lower (80%) in my Gotham City Cycle Chase review, but have changed my evaluation criteria a little since then (click here for details).

DSC_0435web

Rear view of all Minifigures in Killer Croc Sewer Smash

Next up, we have Red Hood. As a Batman fan, I am happy to have this Minifigure. But, whether you liked it or not, Suicide Squad was a financially successful film. So, putting more characters from the film into this set would probably have been a better choice. Red Hood does not have a double-sided face, but the headpiece is printed on both sides. His torso also has front and back print, but his legs are just plain black. As accessories, he comes with two submachine guns, and a red motorcycle. Red Hood also earns 13/15 (87%).

DSC_0434web

LEGO Red Hood

Of the Suicide Squad members, the first I will look at is Katana. While she does not resemble the movie version, she remains true to the comic book and television (Arrow) adaptations. She comes with a black hairpiece, and a double-sided face (neutral and angry). Her torso has a well detailed front and back print, and one of her arms also features an armoured design. Katana’s legs are grey with red boots that are printed all around. She comes with two ninja swords as well. I give her a full 15/15 (100%). Katana is a really nice Minifigure.

DSC_0432web

LEGO Katana

Captain Boomerang also comes in Killer Croc Sewer Smash. Like Katana, he is the comic book version, and not the film variant. He wears a blue beanie with a boomerang logo. While he does not come with a double-sided face, he does have pretty detailed front torso print, and a little rear printing as well. His legs have some detailing on the front, but not the back. As his name suggests, Captain Boomerang comes with two boomerangs. he earns 13/15 (87%).

DSC_0430Web

LEGO Captain Boomerang

Last up is Killer Croc. Unlike the other characters in this set, Killer Croc is a big-fig. He has some scale-like molding on his back, and a detailed face print. The front of his torso is nicely sculpted and printed. As with other big-figs, Killer Croc’s legs and torso are one molded piece, and he has pants printed onto the legs. His arms are attached to the body with technic pins, and can rotate 360º. He also has articulation around the wrists, which also rotate. He doesn’t really have any accessories. He’s a bit hard to rate with my standard Minifigure scale, but I would say he’s about 12/15 (80%), and could have been made a little better with an accessory.

DSC_0428web

LEGO Killer Croc front view

Overall, Killer Croc Sewer Smash earns a Minifigure design score of 88%. For the purposed of this review, I will count Killer Croc as a Minifigure. So, with 759 bricks, this set as a brick-to-Minifigure ratio of 152:1. That is a decent ratio, earning this set 80%. Averaging out the design and ratio scores give Killer Croc Sewer Smash an overall Minifigure rating of 84%.

DSC_0429web

LEGO Killer Croc rear view

ENTERTAINMENT: 65%
This set took me two hours to build pretty much exactly. At $99.99, that means that each minute of build time costs $0.83. That is not the greatest value, earning 2.5/5 (50%). In my case, since this set was on liquidation, the cost was considerably lower. I paid $65.00 for this set, so the cost per minute was only $0.54, which is amazing and earns 100%.

DSC_0445Web

Side view of the LEGO Bat-tank with Minifig size comparison

In terms of my enjoyment of this set, as I mentioned before, I strongly dislike Killer Croc’s vehicle. It is poorly designed, and I really don’t think kids would enjoy playing with it either. The Bat-Tank looks really nice and has some play features that work well. I think kids would get a lot of enjoyment and play time out of the tank. It also looks nice, so even as a display piece for adults, it works well. Given that the tank is the main build in this set, and the Minifigures are really nice, I could see myself keeping most of this set as is, and just scrap the chomper-vehicle-thing. For that reason, I give this set 4/5 (80%) for enjoyment. Averaging the build-time value and enjoyment at full price would earn this set 65%. On liquidation, it earns 90%.

DSC_0448Web

Rear view of the LEGO Bat-tank

Overall: 66%

If you can find this set on liquidation (35% off), it is a great value per brick as well as in terms of build time. At full price, it is not as good a value. The per-brick cost is good, but the build-time is a little expensive. The Minifigures are fun, and come with a good brick-to-Minifig ratio. The biggest drawback of Killer Croc Sewer Smash is the horrible design of Killer Croc’s vehicle. It really pulls down the score of this set. At full price, I rate this set at 66%. If you find it on liquidation, I rate it at 77%. I don’t really recommend this set at full price, unless you just have to have the Minifigures. Even on liquidation, it is still only worth it if you want the characters. The Bat-tank is cool, but Batman vehicles are a dime a dozen in the LEGO universe, so unless you really like this one, it doesn’t add much to the set.

If you have an opinion on this set, I would love to hear it in the comments below. The more opinions people give, the more informed decision others can make! Until next time,

-T.N.B

DSC_0449Web

LEGO Bat-tank with Bat-shield/smasher deployed

Minifigure Monday – The Way of the Warrior

The Way of the Warrior
(An original LEGO inspired poem from True North Bricks)

Have keenest senses of the bear,
Of your surroundings be aware.
Have heart as open as a flower,
Seek not lust, greed, fame, or power.
Have swiftness of the fastest steed,
But pass not those who are in need.
Have the strike of deadly snake,
But other life, don’t lightly take.
Have the strength of ancient rock,
Fall not prey to those who mock.
Have wisdom of the elephant,
Speak smartly and be elegant.
Have the flare of brightest spark,
And bring a light into the dark.
Have the patience of the snail,
Live for the telling of the tale.
Have the force of river strong,
Changing course when path is wrong.
Have your sights set for the skies,
And as a warrior you will rise.

DSC_0274Web

My muse for this poem was Nya from the LEGO Ninjago Movie Minifigure series.