Few characters sweep the world like “Eleven” from Stranger Things. Since its premiere in 2016, Millie Bobby Brown’s immensely quirky character has proven to be iconic in every season. Meanwhile, the feature creature of the first season inspired dread and fear in all of us. Hailing from the mysterious and grotesque “Upside Down” version of our own world, the “Demogorgon” made a perfect Eldritch beast for the beginning of the series. Despite the immediate success of the series, it’s surprising that LEGO took until the third season to release the award-winning set 75810 The Upside Down. With a summer 2022 release still possible for season 4, LEGO seems to be getting ahead of the hype with two new BrickHeadz. The LEGO BrickHeadz 40549 Demogorgon and Eleven will be available from the LEGO Shop (US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99) on February 1.
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.
Box art and special parts
It’s far from the most important aspect of a set but box art like this is perfect for these BrickHeadz. Silhouettes of pine trees frame the characters in the red sky, hazy trees building the atmosphere behind them and extending around the side of the box on both sides. This is a departure from the more realistic background for The Upside Down set but it still matches the ominous ruby sunset of Hawkins, Indiana in the series. If you look above, you can just see an artist’s renderings of both characters, in a style reminiscent of 80’s movie posters, each of them brandishing a menacing look. Inside the box, are two instruction booklets and four, numbered bags. Each figure’s pieces are separated, letting you choose where you’d like to start.
There are some nice printed parts here. This will make the 13th set with a waffle printed stud, which usually works its way into fairytale or bakery sets. The other elements stand in well for aspects of each character that would be difficult to build at this scale. Eleven’s dress print would probably be easier to pull off than the teeth of the Demogorgon’s mouth, but both look great as prints. The teeth specifically would make for great additions to some Kraken-esque creature build.
The order is up to you, of course, but I followed the set’s suggestion and opened up the bags for Eleven first. The bright pinks in these bags are a welcome contrast to the maroons and dark tans for the second phase of the set. To be honest, Eleven makes for a straightforward build typical of most BrickHeadz. Color-blocking does most of the work for identifying the character and without the dress pattern printed brick and the “Eggo” she might not even be recognizable. That isn’t to say the designers didn’t try, or that I didn’t find myself humored, yet again, by the red ‘guts’ and pink ‘brain’ bricks.
The Demogorgon, on the other hand, offered a little more fun in the build. Grill plates are used to make the creature’s sunken ribs. It looks a little odd by itself but the simple technique works well with the final model. The head is a big departure from the usual BrickHeadz though. This makes sense given the creature’s Lovecraftian design. Whatever evolution works on the Upside Down made this guy all mouth. Plenty of bricks with studs on the sides are used within every BrickHeadz figure but where there would usually be a face is just teeth. An octagonal hinge plate provides a place for each mandible section to attach. The printed pentagonal plates are perfect partners with the central concentration of curved teeth pieces. After each mouth plate is properly aligned, the only thing left to do is attach the arms, which use double clip plates instead of the usual single clip for hands. Yet another little detail of the character they worked in.
All around, both figures are recognizable versions of the source characters. Tightened into the restrictions of the BrickHeadz style, Eleven is just a little girl whose complexity comes in the design of her outfit. Thankfully, iconic scenes like the Eggo theft from the episode “The Monster” provide the perfect outfits and props to make them instantly recognizable. I mean, for those of us that watched the series when it came out (a good chunk of the world), that moment with Eleven was extremely relatable. Who can’t relate to the relief of finally getting to stuff your face with something delicious?
What Eleven’s figure lacks in complexity, the Demogorgon slightly makes up for with a pentagonal maw and textured body. Most of the details are cosmetic, as is honestly the case with a decent amount of BrickHeadz (especially those with printed pieces). The mouth is a good use of pentagonal plates and the central teeth make for a great brick-built element to tie in the prints. The monotoned color of the body isn’t super alluring, especially the flat back. Still, the ribs and double hands break it up well while simultaneously staying true to the creature’s design.
Much like the Mandalorian and the Child BrickHeadz, this price point makes some sense. The structure of the Demogorgon takes up a decent chunk of pieces in the set and the printed pieces are also a little more complex. Still, with only 192 pieces, it’s more than 100 pieces short of our favorite adoptive-father-and-son duo with a much less complex build. It seems like LEGO might be going up a little more but it could also be licensing. After all, the 16+ age range is a little odd but likely also has to do with the subject matter. Honestly, that will be the biggest draw for this set in general. Fans of the series will surely swoop this up and collectors will want plenty of those printed pentagon tiles. I see Sarlaccs in the future.
LEGO Stranger Things 40549 Demogorgon & Eleven BrickHeadz will be released on February 1st from the LEGO Shop (US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99), Amazon.com, and is likely already from third-party sellers on eBay and elsewhere.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of these sets for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.