It’s important to understand as you read this review of the new LEGO 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System that I never owned an NES myself as a kid back in the 80’s. But I wanted one. After all, it felt like nearly every one of my friends in the neighborhood in Japan where I lived had a Famicom, or later the true NES launched in 1985. As I went over to my friends’ houses and played Super Mario and the very first Legend of Zelda, I so very desperately wanted one! But I never did, partly because I was told that I had enough toys in the form of all the LEGO underfoot in my bedroom. Now, I can buy my own (US $229.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £209.99) and build it for myself from LEGO, which seems even better. Does this marriage of my favorite little plastic bricks with the big plastic brick of my dreams live up to 35 years of pent-up expectations? Let’s find out…
The Summer 2020 LEGO Technic wave has had a surprisingly high level of controversy surrounding it. The 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey got cancelled, and the 42114 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler can’t move without being paired with a smart device. That just leaves the 42112 Technic Concrete Mixer Truck to try and put a positive spin on things. This 1163 piece set will be available in North America starting September 1st, and is available now in the UK from the LEGO Shop Online (US $119.99 | CAN $159.99 | UK £89.99). Technic fans have been asking for a concrete mixer for ages… Can this offering satisfy that demand? Or will this set finish off the season’s offerings with some cement shoes?
With the cancellation and controversy around the Technic 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, the Technic Summer 2020 wave has taken a bit of hit. The skies may be empty now, but on the ground, there’s still plenty to talk about. The 42114 Technic 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler will be available September 1, 2020 from the LEGO Shop Online for US $249.99 | CAN $319.99 | UK £229.99 It’s part of the “Control+” line, LEGO’s next generation of remote-controlled vehicles. That sounds pretty cool on the surface, but is it really? We take a look at this hefty 2193 piece set from multiple angles to see what sort of “construction” we’re dealing with.
Last week, LEGO has officially announced that one of its upcoming Technic sets, the 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey is canceled due to its association with militaries. Since the set was slated to go on sale August 1, a number of the V-22 Osprey sets have already been distributed to retail stores in several countries. Some smaller retailers have even listed the set on their webpages, making them available for purchase, allowing a small number of them into the wild. The set consists of 1,673 pieces and contains two Powered Up electric components for motorization. The retail price of the set is $119.99 / 139.99€.
The appearance of “The Child” (immediately nicknamed Baby Yoda) at the end of the first episode of “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ last November caught the whole world by surprise, including merchandise and toy licensees like LEGO, who had to scramble to produce products based on the show. First revealed in February, right before Toy Fair in New York, where we got hands on with both LEGO Star Wars The Mandalorian sets, preorders for the 295-piece LEGO BrickHeadz 75317 The Mandalorian & the Child immediately went on back-order from the LEGO Shop (US $19.99 | CAN $24.99 | UK £17.99), but has begun showing up “in the wild” ahead of its August 1st release date.
As we continue our reviews of summer 2020 LEGO Star Wars sets, we’re moving on from The Clone Wars and Original Trilogy to the third wave of sets from the final movie in the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker. 75284 Knights of Ren Transport Ship includes 595 pieces with three minifigs, and will be available September 1st (US $69.99 | CAN $99.99 | UK £64.99). The set rounds out the full group of Knights of Ren minifigures, but is it more than a cash grab for minifig collectors?
With beloved minifigures and generally excellent vehicle designs in the LEGO Star Wars theme, location-based playsets often get a bad rap by comparison. Back in 2016, I described 75137 Carbon Freezing Chamber as half-formed, oddly over-engineered, ugly, and ultimately baffling — one of the worst LEGO sets I’d reviewed in recent memory. Then in 2018, we argued that the $350 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City doesn’t even live up to LEGO’s own product description, despite some stellar mid-scale vehicles and improved carbon-freezing chamber. Given that history, we were skeptical of 75291 Death Star Final Duel (US $99.99 | CAN $139.99 | UK £89.99), which includes 775 pieces with five minifigs and will be available starting September 1st (with the now-standard caveats about COVID-19 shipping). But has LEGO exceeded our low expectations?
The summer 2020 lineup of LEGO Star Wars sets has added a number of sets inspired by Star Wars: The Clone Wars, including 75283 Armored Assault Tank with Ahsoka Tano and one of her unique Clone Troopers. 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers adds the elite infantry that Anakin Skywalker leads into battle as part of the Grand Army of the Republic. The set includes 285 pieces with the four Clone Trooper minifigs and two battle droids, and is scheduled to be available in the US starting September 1st from LEGO (US $29.99 | CAN $39.99 | UK £24.99), though actual availability may vary significantly due to COVID-19.
Before we dig into the details of the set, it’s important to briefly correct some earlier reporting, which indicated that this is part of the minifigure-centric Battle Packs line of sets within LEGO Star Wars. Although the set does include four “army builder” Clone Troopers and a pair of battle droids, the inclusion of two substantial vehicles places this within the realm of standard LEGO Star Wars sets, not Battle Packs.
(And yes, I inverted the torsos on a couple of the nearly identical Clone Troopers as you can see in some of the overall photos, but thankfully we caught it during photography and the detailed minifig photos are correct.)
Season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars concluded on Disney+ recently, converging the storyline from the long-running animated TV series with the events portrayed in Revenge of the Sith. The season also wraps up a key storyline about Ahsoka Tano, connecting to her appearance as “Fulcrum” in Rebels. Because of this, LEGO fans have been excited about the inclusion of a new Ahsoka minifigure alongside a special “Ahsoka Trooper” in 75283 Armored Assault Tank, announced as part of the summer 2020 wave of LEGO Star Wars sets. The set includes 286 pieces with two minifigs (plus two battle droids), and will become available in the US on Sept. 1st, but may be available already in other regions (US $39.99 | CAN $49.99 | UK £34.99) due to logistics and supply chain challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’ll have to wait until July 2021 to see Minions: The Rise of Gru in theaters, but in the meantime we can at least play with the LEGO sets. We’ve already taken a hard look at 75549 Minions: Unstoppable Bike Chase and found a lot of problems there. But what about the other currently available offering? 75551 Minions: Brick-build Minions and their Lair retails for US $49.99 | CAN $69.99 | UK £44.99 and spans 876 pieces including three Minion minifigures. That sounds pretty good on the surface…but is it? Let’s find out!
Here at The Brothers Brick, we’ve explored all the summer 2020 Ninjago sets…all but one, that is. There…lurking in the corner…it’s 71710 Ninjago: Zane’s Mino Creature. And, spoiler alert, this one is a little different from the rest of the wave. Part of the “Game Experience Inside” group, this set has odd build choices that make it feel like either an early version or a late addition to that sub-theme. Available now for US $49.99 | CAN $69.99 | UK £44.99, is this 616 piece set worth your time and money? Read on and see!
The summer 2020 Ninjago line contains a lot of big sets, but what if you’re on a budget? Coming in at 401 pieces, 71717 Journey to the Skull Dungeons is currently available, and pretty affordable at US $29.99 | CAN $39.99 | UK £24.99. Can it keep up with the excitement present in the rest this wave? Read on and see!