As most regular readers know, I am a big fan of LEGO space. Like most fans of 80s LEGO space, I loved the character Benny in the LEGO movie, and was excited to see that his ship would become a set. Even better, fellow Brother Brick Simon found this set for sale at his local LEGO store, ahead of the launch date for my part of the world. He kindly sent me a copy, so that I could bring you this review. First, let me get the obligatory “spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!!! out of the way.”
I have to admit that it has been a long time since I built an official LEGO set. I tried to build and review the Palace Cinema, but only managed one floor. Sifting through bags of parts to find the right one is something of a chore, compared to my sorted collection. Coupled with that, I’m no great fan of following instructions. The instructions for this set did recall a bit of a peeve, which is that LEGO seems fond of putting multipliers for assembly instructions at the end. The first few pages of the instructions are for the detachable little ships on the wing, and at the end, an exciting “X2″. Fortunately, it wasn’t the nightmare that the same treatment in the original ISD caused. None of this was enough to keep me from building this entire spaceship, though, and I must say that it was worth it.
Space builders are going to want to pick up a few copies of this set, which is sure to kick of a new frenzy of Neo Classic Space creations. First off, we’ve got three new pieces in transparent yellow. All three are great windscreen parts (I never thought I’d see the UCS X-Wing canopy in another color!), or useful to build large enclosures. There are a lot of new elements used throughout the ship, though I don’t think most are exclusive to the set. We also get three slopes with the Classic Space logo printed on them, which look fantastic. Speaking of that logo, we also get it printed on four stickers with clear backing!! Here’s a shot of an original printed logo next to the new incarnations. The sticker sheet is just outstanding, as it also includes sticker versions of classic space computer screens and buttons. It does rain one complaint, and a bit of an idiosyncrasy for the set. That is the placement of stickers on slopes. I never feel like stickers adhere well or long to most LEGO slopes, due to their textured surface. I suspect that LEGO may feel the same way, as they printed the logo on three slopes for this set. Even so, I’m generally happier with clear-backed stickers than I am with printed parts these days, so I’ll take it. In fact, I didn’t apply most of the stickers, because I want to use them on my own creations.
This set doesn’t skimp on the figs. Most of the figs are unique to the set, and they’re all awesome. I’m going to consider astronaut Unkitty a minifig, but we should remember that she’s made of parts, which include a 1×3 arch printed with the CS logo, and gold 1×1 plates. That arch has tons of potential for use in space creations, and I hope they end up being affordable on Bricklink, though I rather doubt it. This set’s Emmet has wrapped his face and the Piece of Resistance in foil, which makes for a pretty bizare looking minifig head, and a pretty awesome silver brick. I don’t remember Wildstyle changing into a different outfit for the spaceship scene, but it’s pretty cool seeing the graffiti style applied to a classic space uniform, and it gets us her hood piece in blue. The bad-guy robot has a pretty cool space suit, with an Octan logo in the center.
Finally, we have Benny, now available outside of the Sea Cow. I don’t have the budget for the Sea Cow, and hadn’t actually seen a Benny fig in person yet. While I love the Character for nostalgia, the fig himself doesn’t wow me. The scratched up logo on his chest is in worse shape than anything from my childhood collection, and I’m not sure I can see myself using it in a creation. I’m also not sure I see much utility for the “broken” helmet, though the cover of Inherit the Stars springs to mind. LEGO went all out with Benny on the nostalgia factor, though, and printed a classic smiley face on one side of his head. Bravo!!
This is another spot where this set really shines. First, it’s very strong, built with technic frames locked in place by plates. This means I can swoosh it with one hand. I feel confidant that I could let my three year old play with it, and while I’m sure some fins and antennas would come off, the main body of the ship would probably be fine. I’ll have to remove all the shooters, so his baby sister keeps her eyes, though (they sure plaster the don’t shoot your eye out emblem everywhere, don’t they?). Second, the set has many of the play features we expect in Classic Space sets. There are little robots to deploy, single-fig fighter/scouts to detach and fly away, rotating radar dish, and an internal lab. Of course, the set also has four spring loaded projectile launchers (two are the new 1×4 brick launchers, which are surprisingly strong), as well as the ubiquitous flick-fire missiles. Finally, you can push one of the engines forward, to open the wings wider, revealing two of the guns. The motion of this feature is quite smooth, and the mechanism is simple and effective.
The set also comes with a little bad-guy fighter, so you can play out your own dramatic battles. It’s small, but has a nice shape to it, and a fairly clever SNOT technique in the nose. Compared to Benny’s ship, it’s rather tiny, but it got enough attention that it’s not merely a throw-away model. It’s swooshable, and has a few lasers, so you can fly both ships around and go “pew pew pew!” Honestly, what more do you need?
My overall impression of this ship is that it was a fun and interesting build, with plenty to hearken back to the Classic Space sets of my youth. The ship has the gray engines, gray wings, blue body, and trans yellow windscreens we all love. It has a little lab inside, a radar dish, and some helper robots, just like old times. The set has tons of play features, some interesting construction techniques, and is SWOOSHABLE. It’s a bit pricey ($100) but the 980 part count helps with this, as do the bevy of unique figs and elements. I intend to buy a few copies, and if I ever catch it on sale, I might go nuts.