By now, nearly everyone is familiar with BrickHeadz: the chubby cubic caricatures of various pop culture franchise icons. Introduced in 2016 with four limited edition sets, BrickHeadz didn’t become widely available until last year, but in just that short time the theme has spawned 40 different characters. All BrickHeadz are numbered in the same sequence, regardless of the franchise they belong to, and the lastest lineup of superheroes hail from Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War and are numbered 35-38, slotting in right before Han Solo and Chewbacca that we recently reviewed. The four sets have part counts ranging from 101 to 136, and each retails for $9.99 USD.
The box contents & parts
Each of the boxes shows a nebulous, starry backdrop befitting the universe-ending peril that Marvel has been teasing in all the preceding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films. Two of these characters are from the Guardians of the Galaxy wing of the MCU (and Thanos arguably so), and it’s cool to see Iron Man joining them. It’s this cross-over nature that makes the MCU so exciting. It’s a shame that this wave doesn’t include any of the other superheroes from Infinity War like Black Panther, Doctor Strange, or Spiderman, but hopefully we’ll see those in future waves. (All three have appeared as Comic-Con exclusive models, available only to a few guests at the convention, or to those with exceptionally deep pockets to afford their ridiculous secondary market prices.)
The basic elements used to make a BrickHeadz are very standardized, with only variations for color, hair, and a few other small tweaks, and that uniformity is what makes them look great lined up next to one another. So it’s no surprise that the box contents of most BrickHeadz looks the same except for color: two unnumbered bags of elements, a loose black 6×6 plate for the base, and an instruction manual.
As with other BrickHeadz, there are no stickers, but each character has a small selection of uniquely printed elements. For Iron Man, this is a smattering of his Mark L armor, including the iconic chest arc reactor printed on a 1×4 dark red tile, and printed bits for his torso and forehead. The trans-blue 1×1 tiles for the eyes are the same as those used in previous Iron Man BrickHeadz.Thanos has a printed dark blue 1×4 brick for his upper torso, along with a printed medium lavender 1×4 tile for the distinctive chin ridges. And of course, there’s the Infinity Gauntlet, printed on a 1×2 pearl gold tile. Thanos, along with Gamora, uses the standard BrickHeadz eyes.
Star-Lord doesn’t get much in the way of printing, with only 2 elements total. The dark red 1x2x2 brick has the front of his leather jacket, and the dark tan 2×2 tile shows the front of his mask. While the printing on most of the elements is quite nice, the tile here looks very rough and jagged.
Gamora also has minimal printing, with another 1x2x2 brick for her jacket, and a lime green 2×3 tile printed with her silver facial markings. This is the first time the 2×3 tile has appeared in lime green.
The builds & models
41604 Iron Man MK50, 101 pcs, $9.99
We’ll skip over the construction of Iron Man, as he follows a completely standard BrickHeadz design. This is the third Iron Man BrickHeadz, following a Comic-Con exclusive set, and then a regular release BrickHeadz last year. The bits of trans-blue on the torso for the light-up sections of the armor look great. Iron Man’s left arm is outstretched, one of only a couple of BrickHeadz characters to have arms that do something other than hang directly down. Disappointing, however, is LEGO’s decision to use dark tan for the Mark L’s armor highlights, instead of pearl gold or even yellow, as the 2017 model did. The dark tan looks good, but is simply inaccurate.
Of course, one of the biggest upgrades to Iron Man’s Mark L armor is the thruster arms on the back of the suit. Made with a pair of dark red 3-way Technic propeller plates (a first in this color) the arms are a simple solution that adds minimal parts to the model, which fits the BrickHeadz aesthetic.
41605 Thanos, 105 pcs, $9.99
Thanos’ body immediately keys us into something unusual going on, as instead of 1x2x2 bricks with four studs on one side to make up the arms, we get this complicated bit in the middle of the torso, attached via the red 1×2 bricks with studs on the side.
This leaves the four studs for the arm connections indented into the body about 1/3 of a plate.The final result is that Thanos’ arms sit marginally closer the body–a distinction without a difference. I cannot distinguish any particular advantage to this method over the simpler, traditional Brickheadz method, except perhaps that this design prevents tiny gaps of color from the underlying parts showing through. If that is the impetus behind this change, then I applaud the LEGO designer’s attention to detail. As a complete figure, Thanos looks excellent. The medium lavender color is a perfect match for the character’s skintone, and the highlights of pearl gold here are precisely what Iron Man lacked. Pearl gold bricks and plates have always had in a very limited selection, and sadly Thanos doesn’t expand that offering, with only five unique elements in pearl gold, including the printed gauntlet tile. For example, LEGO has yet to produce a pearl gold 1×2 plate, and while Thanos uses 15 pearl gold 1×1 plates, all but three are used in multiples where you’d expect a 1×2 plate. It does include five 2×2 pearl gold plates, however, which currently appear in only two other sets.The actual gauntlet is a great design for adding detail to such a blocky hand as BrickHeadz have, even if it does leave the stones facing forward instead of to the side. We can just imagine that Thanos is clenching his fist and drawing it toward himself. The look is spoiled a bit, however, by the black bracket–again, we encounter LEGO’s reluctance to add new elements to the pearl gold lineup.From the back, with his dark blue tunic extending below the legs a bit, Thanos looks a bit plain. Because Thanos is bald, the BrickHeadz head shape has not additions other than the ears, so Thanos ends up looking even more cube-like than his counterparts.
41606 Star-Lord, 113 pcs, $9.99
Star-Lord has a standard body design, largely made of dark red with some dark brown trim. The head is a little different, with brackets making one row of studs stand out a little further. This helps the curved slope that sits on top of them be at an even height in relation to the tile that goes above it for the front of Star Lord’s helmet.
Star-Lord’s helmet is, of course, his most prominent feature, wrapping around his head but leaving his hair uncovered. The nougat-colored hair is unkempt, made of lots of 1×2 curved slopes (aka “baby bows”). The front of the mask employs the printed tile for the facial details, with a minifigure handlebar for the breathing apparatus and trans-red 1×1 round tiles for the eyes. The dark grey elements used throughout the helmet suffice, but would have looked much better in pearl silver or pearl dark “gunmetal” silver. Star-Lord carries two pistols, the minifigure space pistols developed for Star-Lord in the original Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in sets. He’s also got the heel thrusters, made of a pair of minifigure binoculars mounted behind each leg.
41607 Gamora, 136 pcs, $9.99
As befits a female green-skinned warrior from space, Gamora breaks a lot of stereotypes. Her torso construction is radically different from the BrickHeadz standard, sitting on a 3×4 base instead of the typical 4×4 base. This is to accomodate stacked brackets facing backwards, to which her cape attaches.
On the head, we again encounter oddities, with the head using a combination of both 1x2x2 and 1x1x2 bricks with studs on the side, in an alternating pattern around the head, to achieve specific placements for a few outward-facing studs to support her long hair.
Once complete, Gamora blends right into the BrickHeadz lineup, the unusual construction resulting on a very good looking model. A lock of black hair dangles above one eye, obscuring her silver facial markings on the right side. The lime green seems a good facsimile of Gamora’s alien skin, and provides an excellent contrast to her magenta highlights.
And speaking of the magenta highlights, Gamora’s hair is stunning. An intricate weave of black and megenta elements, including lots of 1×1 quarter circle tiles and a variety of curved slopes, the flowing locks easily rival the Joker for best BrickHeadz hair. It’s easy to see where the 20+ surplus elements she has over the other three characters in this wave were put to use.
In her right hand, Gamora carries a sword, which is a standard minifigure katana. The cape fills out the gap in the back of the torso, and employs a pair of brown shield tiles, one of only two sets to use that element/color combo (the other being the Fantastic Beasts story pack from the now-defunct Dimensions game).
Conclusion & recommendation
Each of the four characters comes with a display base. However, unlike previous BrickHeadz, there’s no printed BrickHeadz tile, which is disappointing for those wishing to display these characters alongside all the previous ones. Nevertheless, the characters look great. Gamora is the clear standout, both as an interesting build and as a finished model. Star-Lord and Thanos are both solid entries to the BrickHeadz pantheon, and worthwhile additions. However, Iron Man trails the pack. We expect more from the third iteration in as many years, and the fact that his colors are inaccurate and the design very similar to the previous versions means that unless you’re wanting Iron Man to be a completionist or just for parts, we’d recommend skipping him.
LEGO Avengers: Infinity War BrickHeadz retail for $9.99 USD each, and are available from Amazon and LEGO Shop Online.