REVIEW Nexo Knights 70331 Ultimate Macy

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Nexo Knights is one of The Lego Group’s best original themes in years. The combination of medieval knights and sci-fi technology is gloriously fun and bombastic. I’ve been keen to get my hands on some of the new sets and characters, and right at the top of my list was red-armoured Macy.
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Set 70331 Ultimate Macy is one of a new range of ultimate packs, which inculde a minifigure, three sets of weapons and three “nexo powers” (shield crests which act as QR codes for the Nexo Knights app, which unlock in-game powers when scanned) and a simple base to display everything.

 

The Build

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The base isn’t much to look at. It takes seconds to put together, and forms a sort of triptych display for two sets of weapons and shields, with the middle spot for the minifigure to stand, holding the third set of weapons.

 

I have two grievences with the build. Firstly when you go to pull the shield pieces off, the hingled plate underneath almost always comes off with it. I’m sure the designers could have come up with a better way to display the shields which allowed you to remove them without pulling other blocks off with them.
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Secondly, this set comes with a treasure chect to store attitional trans-green studs for Macy’s six-shooter cannon. But there’s no convenient spot to attach the chest to the base. Other ultimate sets like 70335 Ultimate Lavaria have storage for ammo studs better integrated into the base. Here the chest feels like an afterthought.

 

I feel these triptych displays aren’t designed very well. They’re included as a way to justify charging $15 AUD for a single minifigure, but I would have preferred something better.
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The other part of the build is the aforementioned six-shooter cannon. This oversized weapon attaches to the four studs on the back of Macy’s chestplate, becoming an over-the-shoulder cannon like something War Machine would use.
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You fire the cannon by turning the black technic cog at the back. The gimmick works well, and the studs shoot surprisingly far. I’m always wary of this sort of play feature, as I don’t like the idea of propelling tiny lego bricks across the room to be lost, but it has been fun shooting my wife in the butt as she’s walked past me.
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This set also comes with a little bonanza of spare parts, many more than I was expecting.

 

The Minifigure

Macy is great. Her red colouring, expressive face prints and trans-armour make her very eye-catching.70331 Ultimate Macy-3

Her torso and legs have very detailed printing, even down to her toes.
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Similar to most movie-licenced minifigs, Macy’s head has two prints, an inquisative smirk, and a battle-hardened expression with scratches or bruises on her face.
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She comes with a transparent red chestplate and knightly-vizor that swings down over a standard minifig space helmet.
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The chest-plate features four studs on the back, to attach the oversized cannon that’s part of the build.
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Atop her helmet sits a dark red crest of hair (which is apparently Macy’s hair as it matches pictures of the character in Nexo Knights media). Unfortunately it’s made out of the softer plastic used in Friends and Disney Princess minidolls’ hairpieces instead of ABS, and it’s too easy to knock it out of its hole.
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I think they should have included a hair piece for Macy for when she’s not wearing her helmet, but you can use the crest piece as her hair.
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Macy gets three sets of weapons, one for each Nexo-power shield. The first is a tough looking mace, which makes great use of five of the new 1 by 1 pyramid stud pieces.
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The second is golden double-sided flaming axe. This is the coolest one in the pack by far.
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The third weapon set is pretty lame in comparison, a double set of green vines, which I think might be whips as well, but I can’t be sure. The instrucions say to put them in the two studs on top of the shield piece, along with the green nexo-power crest. I’m not sure what they thought they were doing with this one.
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Each Nexo-Knight Ultimate pack comes with three power shields. Macy features a yellow crest with spiked maces,
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a white and orange crest with a flaming sword (my favourite),
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and a green and white design with some sort of serpent/plant creature.
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As part of the green weapon set, Macy also comes with trans-green studs as alternative ammo for her cannon.

 

The Verdict

Build Appeal: Low, there’s very little to build here. There are some interesting parts and colours I could see MOC builders being interested in, but as a collector there isn’t much here.

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Minifugres: Macy is red-armoured little female badass. A great minifigure with lots of colour and personality, shes cool.

 

Price: This is difficult for me to judge here because, just like the Lego Dimensions sets, you’re paying for the blocks as well as features you get access to within the Nexo-Knights game. I’ve only played it a little bit, and it seems like a fun distraction for kids (it plays like a simplified touch-screen version of Diablo) but I doublt it would hold any adult’s interest for very long. If you really get into the game, and you have to collect very power, then the $15-$16 AUD pricetag (depending on the store) probably isn’t bad value. But I think if you don’t care about the game, the price is too high for just a minifigure and a glorified weapons rack.
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Display Appeal: I’d say high. A bright red knight with a flaming golden axe or metalic grey mace looks awesome on a desk or a shelf. She looks great either standing still or posed for action.
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I bought this set at a 10% discount, and while I think it’s great, the price means I can only give it a rating of GET IF DISCOUNTED.
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REVIEW Castle 6020 Magic Shop

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Set 6020 is one of my oldest sets. Released in 1993, it comes with the now iconic minifigure Majistro. The set is a hollowed out tree that the blue wizard uses as a magic shop.

 

The Build

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The tree is simple but fun to build. Two large brown peices at the back form the majority of the structure. The interior is bare but for a single light-grey two-by-two brick, which acts as the wizard’s table. Majistro can sit behind the brick and dispense his wisdom to visitors. A brown ladder piece can swing down to cover the space, and allow the wizard to climb up the tree.
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The Minifigure

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According to Brickpedia, Majistro was the first minifigure with magical powers. The beard, pointy hat and wand peices were all designed for him, and are all still being produced today.
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I love this minifigure, there’s something totally charming about his simple design. The tree could easily look sinister, with its black pieces and shadowy interior, but the bright colours of the wizard let you know he’s one of the good guys.
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He comes with a wide range of accessories, including a wand (that glows in the dark, this blew my tiny child mind), a sword, a scroll, a goblet, a barrel, a pet bird and red and green studs.
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You can use the studs (and the fire peices) to make the wizard look like he’s casting his spells. The barrel could be where he’s mixing his potions.
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Sadly my scroll’s printing has faded over the last 23 years.

 

The Verdict

Build Appeal: It’s done in less than a minute, and more of the structure could be brick build, but it’s still a fun little build.

 

Minifigures: An iconic and I would say historic Lego minifigure, he’s a star.

 

Price: Originally this set cost $4.50 USD. I’m sure my parents bought if for less than $10 AUD. Back then it was definitely worth it. Nowadays to get an unopened one off Bricklink you’d be paying at least $30 USD, or $25 EURO (as of 09/01/2016, none were available in Australia). As a collector’s item I’d say those prices are probably worth it, but there are larger and more glorious sets with Majistro, which might be better value.

 

Display Appeal: It’s a friggen’ magical store in a tree! I feel it’s display appeal is huge.
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I’m giving this set my second highest rating, a GREAT SET. It’s one of my childhood favourites.
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REVIEW Star Wars 75132 First Order Battle Pack

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Set 75132 is one of four new battle packs being sold in early 2016. This set and 75131 are from the latest movie The Force Awakens. As I loved the movie I’ve been keen to get my hands on minifigs of the new characters, especially the sleek new Stormtroopers.
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This set consists of one regular Stormtrooper, one heavy Stormtrooper, a black garbed Officer and a Gunner.

 

The Build

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I’ll be blunt: the build is disappointing. It’s a stubby little turbolaser turret made of various shades of grey and black pieces. I can’t remember seeing anything like it in the film.
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Two side panels swing down to reveal hidden features: a control console for the Gunner minifigure, and a spot to keep the “ammunition” green and red transparent studs.
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The barrel of the turret is a stud shooter, and has a surprisingly wide range of movement, with it able to rotate fully 360 degrees and tilt from pointing almost completely down to above horizontal. If you had one of these on your desk at work, I could see it being great fun shooting your co-workers with it.
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I know battle packs aren’t designed to replicate scenes from the films, but I’m still annoyed at how generic the build is. I feel the Resistance set has a much better build with its speeder.

 

The Minifigures

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Who buys battle packs for the build though? The minigifures are where it’s at. I’ll start with the good.
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The Stormtroopers are great. The new helmet piece is spot on, and there’s plenty of detail on the rest of the body.
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They have the standard angry clone face any Star Wars Lego fan will be familiar with.
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The heavy trooper is also very nice, with its black ammo vest printed on its torso.
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Unfortunately I had an issue with the printing on one of the stormy helmets, with the line below the “mouth” part clearly misaligned. I’ve seen other people mention the same problem, hopefully it’s not too wide spread.
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Now the bad. This set should have come with four Stormtroopers. Collectors want as many stormies as possible for army building, and I feel this is a case of Lego trying to keep Stormtroopers scarce so they make other sets more attractive.
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The two First Order officers are pretty dull. They both feature identical chest and legs pieces.
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One has a nice hat with the First Order’s logo on it, and its great to get a new racially diverse head (with an awesome grumpy expression that I can see being very useful).
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The other officer has a Gunner’s completely black helmet, with a determined looking face underneath.
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The figs each have their own stud-shooter blaster.
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I’m not a huge fan of these things, and would have preferred the more movie accurate blasters appearing with stormies in other TFA sets. But I get that these packs are aimed mostly at children, and the stud-shooting play feature works pretty well.

 

The Verdict

Build Appeal: Low, it’s a fast and easy build with a dull result.
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Minifigures: Two great ones, and two not-so-great ones.
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Price: This sells for $22.99 on the Australian Lego store website. I’ve seen it in stores range from $22 to $19. It’s the cheapest way to get your hands on some new Stormtroopers, but I feel it’s a tad overpriced.
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Display Appeal: It has decent display appeal. The stormies are very posable and look great whether they’re just standing still, or posed for action. The all-black officers are pretty dull.
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I’m a pretty big Star Wars fan, and when Lego is combined with Star Wars it makes my brain happy. I had to have the new Stormtroopers. But aside from them, I can’t recommend this set. My rating is: ONLY IF YOU’RE A FAN.
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REVIEW Doctor Who 21304 Lego Ideas #11

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Set 21304 is the 11th Lego Ideas set, and the first I’ve had the pleasure to own. The console is based on the interior of the TARDIS as it appeared in the 2013 Christmas Special The Time of the Doctor.

 

It comes with four very detailed minifigures; Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, companion Clara Oswald and a suitably menacing Weeping Angel. It also includes two brick-built Daleks, the perennial enemies of the Doctor.

 

The Build

I found the build very enjoyable (possibly because I was doing it while watching Christmas carols on Christmas eve, with my wife and a bottle of wine). It starts with the base, and really starts to come together when assembling the railings and the central panels.
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The hexagonal consoles are very cleverly put together, using some fun SNOT (stud not on top) techniques. I love the little details in the controls, like the lever mechanism (a piece I’ve seen used for pullies and minifig flying foxes before) and the circular Time-Lord symbols on the screens. Thankfully there are no stickers in the set, with everything printed.
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The transparent blue core of the console is connected with some technic pieces, and does a very good job of replicating the look in the show. I would have liked it if there had been alternative yellow pieces included, so it could be built as it currently looks on the show. I may bricklink the appropriate pieces in the future.
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But of course the star of the show here is the big blue box. I have to say the designers have done a fantastic job of faithfully replicating the look of the TARDIS. I love every detail, from the clear studs for the light at the top to the printed window pieces for the panels.

Doctor Who Review-29That’s not to say it’s perfect. The black signs on the top have been created using two separate printed plates, meaning there’s a noticeable gap between the letters in PUBLIC CALL. This is necessary on three sides due to the way the box opens up, but I wish they had found a better way to accomplish the same result.Doctor Who Review-2Also, in the set I received there were a few issues with the quality of the printing on the window panels, and on the white panel with the iconic Police Box writing on it. I may contact Lego to get replacement parts.Doctor Who Review-4The TARDIS opens up to reveal a space where one minifigure can hide. It can also attach to the console to become the entrance, with two transparent blue cones to represent the lights on the walls of the time machine. I love this feature, as it lets you make the TARDIS bigger on the inside.

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 The Minifigures

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I love minifigures, and I’m very impressed with the selection in this set. The 12th Doctor is a pretty good likeness to actor Peter Capaldi. He’s printed wearing the purple coat he was wearing when he regenerated from his previous iteration. I would have preferred the dark blue outfit with red lining that is on the minifigure in the Lego Dimensions set, but with this one you can at least play out the regeneration scene.
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The Doctor’s imperious eyebrows are spot on. I’m less enamoured with his hair piece, I think it’s just not quite right. Overall I think this minifig version of the 12th Doctor isn’t quite spot on, but it’s pretty damn close, and I’m so happy to have a Lego representation of my favourite version of the Doctor that I hardly mind.
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On the other hand, the minifig of Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor is perfect.
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From the hair piece, to the intricate printing and colouring on the body, to the grinning and smirking facial expressions, it’s instantly recognisable as the 11th Doctor.
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Clara Oswald’s figure is pretty close as well. She appears as she was dressed in the same Christmas special. Her legs have been moulded with two colours of plastic, to represent her red skirt and black shoes.
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Like the 11th doctor, Clara has two expressions, a happy face and a more concerned look.
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The Weeping Angel minifigure is fantastic.
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My only criticism is that the piece around her neck with studs on the back should have been the same colour as the rest of her body, instead of clear. But I’m nit-picking. This minifig is now one of my absolute favourites.
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Technically the Daleks aren’t minifigs, but I’m putting them here anyway. I love their details, especially the use of studs to represent the semi-hemispheres that cover their casing, and the unique printing on the cone pieces on their heads. A minor concern is that it’s very easy to knock their heads off.
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The best thing about the Daleks is that there are two of them! You can create your own scenes of the Doctor surrounded by his enemies. Also because they are brick built, it’s fairly easy to build more with the right parts.
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The set also comes with two sonic screwdrivers (a nice surprise as there is only one shown on the box) and a small red cone piece that’s supposed to be the 11th’s favourite head gear, a fez.
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The Verdict

As an adult fan of Lego, I’ll be reviewing sets based on criteria I consider important to adult collectors. Therefore I’ll rarely take things like playability into account.

 

The things I look for in a Lego set are:
BUILD APPEAL: meaning how enjoyable it is to build;
MINIFIGURES: because Lego to me has always been about populating creations with characters, and I enjoy collecting and displaying minifigs;
PRICE: because nobody wants to waste their hard earned money, and;
DISPLAY APPEAL: meaning is it worth having out on display, how good does it look as a finished product, can you make interesting poses and situations out of the set.

 

After these criteria I’ll give my final rating, which will be from:
MUST OWN SET
GREAT SET
GET IF DISCOUNTED
ONLY IF YOU’RE A FAN
PRETTY POOR VALUE
AWFUL
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

 

BUILD APPEAL: Full marks here, a very enjoyable build with a solid end result.

 

MINIFIGURES: Almost full marks, love the selection and love having my own mini Peter Capaldi figure, but I wish a few minor details were different.

 

PRICE: At $79.99 AUD, this set is definitely expensive. However I feel it’s worth it in this instance, considering the quality of the build, the excellent instructions booklet and extremely nice box, and considering it’s an Ideas set. Hopefully it makes a ton of money and we get more Doctor Who sets out of it.

 

DISPLAY APPEAL: I feel this set has amazing display appeal. Having two different ways to display the TARDIS it great flexibility – you can just have the big blue box on your desk (and hide your favourite Doctor inside), or if you have a bit more room have the whole thing connected and recreate scenes from the show.
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The great strength of Doctor Who is that the characters can conceivably interact with a huge range of other minifigs from different themes.
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You can have your Doctor riding a dinosaur, or being chased by cowboys, or hiding from Spyrius robots, and it won’t look out of place.
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So, it’s no secret that I love this set. I’m giving it my highest rating, a MUST OWN SET! Even if you’re just a casual fan of Doctor Who, you won’t regret grabbing it.
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