Tuesday, March 3, 2015

REVIEW: LEGO City Arctic Scout Polybag

LEGO Arctic Theme
This year saw LEGO release a couple of new sub-themes to their City brand, including the very cool (ha!) Arctic theme. Today we're taking a look at the first Polybag set released for the Arctic line, Set 30310, the Arctic Scout.

The Arctic Scout Polybag
The Arctic Scout is a 39-piece set that includes a small-scale vehicle and its pilot. Construction is a very simple process, with the entire build being completed in about a dozen steps and the instructions are incredibly straightforward and easy to follow.

Once you've completed the super-fast build you'll find yourself with a single-seat, microlite-esque mini-plane, designed - presumably -for exploration and scouting missions, along with its pilot. Let's begin by looking at him.

The Pilot
The Pilot is, like most LEGO Minifigures, built upon the core Minifigure foundation and then embellished with a few new tampo transfers and character-specific pieces.
The Pilot uses the Arctic theme's orange and blue coloring to good effect and whilst there's not a huge amount here in the way of augment parts, the tampo work is great. I love all the pockets and details on his jacket (and his back patch) plus the harness details on his legs.

Despite being a fairly simple figure, construction-wise, he's pretty striking thanks to the neat transfer work and he fulfills his role as a pilot nicely.  

The Scout 
The meat of the pack comes in the form of the Scout mini-plane. Again, it's a really simple build but it's a pretty cool-looking vehicle with a couple of nice little touches.
As you can see, the cockpit is a simple affair, with no kind of canopy cover or protection for the pilot. That may seem a little odd but microlite-style vehicles do tend to be pretty stripped-down (to minimize their weight) so I don't have a problem with that.
The controls are based around two antenna pieces, used as joysticks. I've sometimes found these pieces can be a little difficult to position in the Minifigures' hands, as they tend to pop off at the base and these ones are no exception. It just takes a little it of wiggling and rotating the pieces to the optimal position to get them to work, so just be patient and you should find they'll fit pretty well once you figure it out.

Flanking the pilot are a pair of spotlights, constructed from the bullhorn/ray gun pieces and held in place with a ''pivot'' grip, which allows them to be moved independently from the vehicle. You could also un-clip them and use them as handheld flashlights or, should you so wish, replace them with other tool or weapon pieces.
The rear, twin skis are mounted on a pivot joint. It's a pretty cool little feature but it's not without its problems. The Scout has a tendency to ''fall'' backward onto the skis when it's sitting on the ground and, when it's in the air, the skis ''droop'' and hang down below the vehicle, which surely would create a lot of drag and play havoc with the Scout's aerodynamics. I wish they'd used a stiffer joint here, as it would be nice to be able to decide which position the skis were going to be held in.
There's also a very cool, free-spinning propeller at the rear, which can be spun to provide thrust/lift. It's a shame there's not a slightly larger engine block but this area is somewhat hidden by the pilot and wings, so it's not that big a deal. And I also dig that there are navigation lights on the wingtips, which is a neat little touch.

Final Thoughts
LEGO polybags are always fun. At around $4, they're affordable and - in some cases - surprisingly complex little builds and whilst the Arctic Scout doesn't really qualify in the latter case, it's still a really fun set.

The floppy skis are a little bit of a distraction (I wouldn't go so far as to say ''annoyance'' though) and the vehicle's engine block does appear a little wimpy but these are really very minor points, as the final build looks really great. The orange and blue coloring is eye catching and the Pilot's tampo transfer work is particularly impressive - the set certainly pops on my display shelf.

You don't really buy the polybag sets for the building process. With most sets featuring fewer than 50 pieces, you're never going to get a long build (that's not to say the process isn't fun or interesting) but even so, the resulting vehicle-and-figure combination here is a great example of how just a few pieces can be put to good effect.

A simple build but a fun toy nevertheless.

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