The Minions: The Rise of Gru movie has been pushed back to a 2021 release date, but don’t count 2020 out just yet: LEGO managed to release two themed sets before the cinematic world went into a holding pattern. Today’s we’re looking at the smaller of the two: 45549 Minions: Unstoppable Bike Chase (US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99) This 136 piece set is available now and comes with an exclusive Gru minfigure, two Minions and two small vehicles. These Minions sure are cute, but are they enough to build up some hype? Read on and see!
The box and contents
This set comes in a standard rectangular box. There’s a clear product image on the front, with a smattering of non-LEGO artwork in the background. The blue and yellow color scheme matches the Minion colors, making it a bright spot on LEGO shelves.
The back of the box has some action shots, but as the bike has no play features to speak of, it’s mostly just character poses. Still, you get a good look at the build from several angles. Bob and Stuart are already stealing the show, as they seem to be having a great time.
Inside the box are three numbered bags, a sticker sheet, and 59 page instruction booklet.
Considering these sets are based on a film called “Minions”, it’s no shocker that LEGO has put some time and effort into recreating those characters. It really worked out well – the figures are are built from some entirely new elements that nicely bring the Minions’ unique shaping into the minifigure world. Based on the standard dome brick, LEGO has added goggle designs and stud connections to make the heads, created a new overall-clad body element, and created new minifig-hand compatible arms. Printed 1×1 round tiles with eye designs can be attached to further identify the characters, and you get enough spares in the set to make use of them elsewhere if you want.
The set is listed for ages 6+, so there aren’t many complex building steps here. Bag one contains Bob, Stuart, and a rocket sled. (This bag by itself would have made an awesome polybag offering from LEGO. Too bad they didn’t go that route.) The use of centered bracket plates allows for a bit variation, but otherwise the build is just plate-on-plate stacking. Bags two and tree contain Gru and the Unstoppable Bike, breaking up the build into more or less equal halves. A couple more centered bracket plates break up the build direction, and there’s a small smattering of Technic parts in the wheel assembly.
I should also mention that sticker sheet. Considering the high cost-per-part of this set, it would have been nice to see these as printed elements. Both the skull on the 2×2 round tile and the wheel cover decorations feel like something LEGO could have reused in non-licensed sets in the future. Maybe they blew the budget on the Minions themselves. I guess I’m okay with that.
The finished model
After finishing the build, I wandered over to YouTube to watch the trailer and see if the set was represented in it. And, yeah, Gru’s bike is indeed in the trailer. But it doesn’t look anything like this set. Oh, there are some elements that match up – the skull-face on the seat back, the rocket engine, the curving handlebars…but in the trailer the bike is a tiny souped-up bicycle, a far cry from this clunky beast. Maybe there’ll be a “Mark II” bike in film itself that will be closer. Seems kind of unlikely, though.
Unless this is indeed based on something we haven’t seen yet, there are some very odd design choices in the LEGO build, too. The front fender has a 1×2 cheese slope at the front that feels like it’s facing the wrong way, and the chain that attaches to the rocket sled thing hangs awkwardly off the side. And there’s something very wrong about the handlebar build. (More on that later.) The trailer shows a bunch of Minions hanging off of the bike, and this set allows for that by adding a couple of 1×2 hinge plates to stand extra figures on. Personally, I think some 1×2 modified plates w/rod would have achieved the same effect and let the Minions grab onto them and hang off the bike at more interesting angles.
As mentioned in the parts recap above, the stars of this set are the Minions, Bob and Stuart. Composed of several entirely new elements, these two figures are bright, vibrant, and full of character. The decision to make the eyes printed 1×1 round tiles means that you can easily change them out, and if you’re building your own army of Minions that can help give each one a bit of uniqueness. Both Bob and Stuart should be available in other sets in the theme eventually.
Gru, an exclusive to this set, is more of a mixed bag. As stand-alone minifigures go, he’s fine. His tousled hair is pretty uncommon in black, and he has dual sized printing on his torso with a film-accurate scarf design. He has two expressions: a cocky grin or a more concerned look. But without any indication of Gru’s trademark pointy nose..it really doesn’t look like him. Also, this incarnation of the character is very young – and those are standard “adult” minifigure legs. It would have been better to see mid-scale legs or even kid legs to help scale him correctly.
Conclusion and recommendation
If you like Bob and Stuart and want to add them to your minifigure collection, you’ll want to pick up this set. Those two are great. Otherwise…well, let’s run down the list.
- Does Gru look like he does in the movie?
- Is the vehicle film-accurate?
- Does the set contain cool building techniques?
- Is it a good price-per-part value?
- Are there lots of useful parts?
If you answered “yes” any of the above, were you looking at the same set as I was? Because, wow, do I feel LEGO missed the mark on this one. Other than the Minions themselves there’s very little in this set that looks like it’s from the film, and the set itself is expensive and bland from a building and customization perspective.
To put it another way, let me share one last image. See the bike’s handlebars? No matter how you angle them or Gru, they don’t quite reach. This set had some great potential, but it just doesn’t quite work.
I’d recommend waiting for this one to hit clearance, or to completely redirect your Minion funds to the other planned sets in this theme as they’re released. There’s some good Minion-related building to be had, but sadly not here.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
Check out our full gallery of images