LEGO Avatar 40554 Jake Sully & his Avatar [Review]

The BrickHeadz line has expanded to cover a wide range of pop culture in the past two years, so it is not at all surprising that the wave of sets coming with the release of the second Avatar movie includes one. 40554 Jake Sully & his Avatar features the main character Jake, both in his original human form and as his Na’vi avatar. It contains 246 pieces and will be available October 1st and retail for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The contents

Inside the box are two instruction manuals and four small numbered bags, two each per BrickHead. Photos of numbered bags can give a useful sense of what you get with larger sets, but for small ones like this, it’s lots of glare and plastic. Without committing our fellow reviewers, especially on larger sets, to anything, we knolled the pieces for each figure for this review.

Jake is a relatively bland figure, and that’s reflected in the parts here – the yellow for the wheelchair pops, as does the usual pink “brain” piece, but other than some more internal pieces that’s it. On the other hand black, greys, tans, brown, and sand blue are useful colors to have basic plates and tiles in, so the parts pack value is there.

The Avatar form seems to be labeled “Jake Sully”, which Neytiri does call Jake sometimes, though she also calls him “skxawng”, or “moron”. It seems a thin distinction, though it’s better than “Jake in avatar form”. Swap the yellow for more medium blue, and the palette here is not too different, though we do get three printed tiles for some of the body/clothing details, along with a new eye tile. (The sheer variety of round circle eye tiles these days is amazing, isn’t it?)

The build

These are standard BrickHeadz. Start with a core, add arms, a head, hair, and then legs. For Human Jake, we appropriately get a wheelchair with the suggestion of legs in a seated position, and it is easy to remove him from the chair, though there’s no easy way to have his legs extend if you wanted to lie him down in a link unit. This is the first assistive device for a BrickHead, if you don’t count The Child’s hoverpram…

They look pretty true to the movie, with one glaring exception – the avatar form should be much taller! With Na’vi standing nine to ten feet tall, and Jake seated in his wheelchair, the avatar should be at least twice the height. We make compromises of scale all the time in LEGO, and BrickHeadz is its own form, true, but the avatar figure doesn’t really even suggest greater than average human height. The braid isn’t as elaborate as some BrickHead hair has been, but looks accurate and good. Jake’s human hair… well, if anything he could be balder – buzz cuts are tough to make interesting. He does have a bit of a beard later in the movie…

There are also a few unfortunate bits of color that leak through – the blue bricks underneath the avatar’s hair, a blue bracket next to the front of the left arm, and a yellow bracket on Jake’s wheelchair. The blue doesn’t have an obvious solution without recoloring elements, but the bracket could easily be black. It’s also not clear why there are two different colors of wheels on the chair. In fact looking at the movie, nearly the whole chair seems yellow other than the wheels; maybe swapping the 2×4 tile for yellow would be a better fix. The minifigure-scale wheelchair that comes with the other Avatar sets is all yellow so some of LEGO’s designers seem to agree.

Conclusion and recommendation

Quibbles aside, the builds are recognizable and it’s pretty much a pocket money purchase for either BrickHeadz or Avatar fans. Almost 250 pieces, in largely useful colors and elements, isn’t bad value either. To be a little contrary, though: why not include Dr. Grace Augustine instead of human Jake, or make the Na’vi figure Neytiri? Sure, Jake is the main character, and having multiple Na’vi wouldn’t balance right either, but a different human could. Grace has much more interesting hair, a vest to add some contrast to the body, and Sigourney Weaver surely deserves more LEGO forms! And including Neytiri as the Na’vi with human Jake would be a nice nod to the finale of the first movie. But this is LEGO, and BrickHeadz, after all – we’ll just have to build those ourselves!

40554 Jake Sully & his Avatar contains 246 pieces and will be available October 1st from the LEGO Shop and worldwide for US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99 or from Amazon. It may also be available from third-party sellers on eBay.

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.

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