Series 13 of LEGO's super-popular blind-bag Minifigures has just hit retail! And where better to start that with the new wave's Evil Wizard? Well, probably the Alien Trooper, as he looks like the Star-Spawn of Cthulhu. But I was in a hurry and didn't have time to weed him out, so here's the next best thing!
The Evil Wizard, like all LEGO Minifigures, uses a variety of pre-existing and original parts. In this case he's using the same ''robe bottom'' slope piece as we've seen in past figures, plus the standard body and head pieces, augmented with some neat accessories and - most impressive of all - some really cool new tampo transfers.
As you can see, the overall effect is pretty impressive and imposing. There's certainly no mistaking that this guy is Evil, with a capital E (and V, I and L if truth be told!)
Here's a quick rundown of the parts included in the set: head, beard piece, body, leg ''skirt,'' flame piece, staff (upper), staff (bottom) and display stand. He also comes with two ''cloth paper'' pieces they form his cape and collar. The process is pretty simple, with the pieces sporting two holes in each, which are ''layered'' one atop the other and then placed over the neck peg, before being held in place by the head piece. It's a really effective yet simple process and I like how much it adds to the figure's silhouette.
I was initially concerned at how many pieces would be at the figure's neck - that's two cape/collar pieces plus the beard - but they fit well and there are no problems regarding the head coming off or feeling as if it's all about to break into pieces when you play with it. Indeed, the only minor gripe is that the beard does somewhat limit the amount of movement you can apply to the head and still keep it aligned with his features.
The staff is a pretty versatile piece. I like that there's a ''grip'' at the top (the piece is actually the part often used as a telescope) and it's good to see these pieces being used in a creative way. The staff being in two parts does, however, mean it can be a little fragile, especially when you try to pose it as I have in the above image. But as you can see, it's entirely possible to do - it just takes a delicate touch.
What really sells the figure is the tampo work. It's awesome. From his evil red eyes (complete with dark bags) and furrowed brows to his skull-buckle and flame cape, the transfer work really pops and does a great job putting over the idea of him as an evil wizard.
And even though the cape is only printed on one side, there's enough ''bleed through'' to stop it being dull or uninteresting. I also appreciate that it's a really good color-match for the figure's plastic pieces.
The LEGO Minifigures are always a lot of fun but once in a while there are a few figures that really stand-out in each wave. For me, the Evil Wizard wasn't one of them. That is until I assembled him and saw just how good the figure was. Or rather, how good the tampo transfer work is, because without that he'd probably be a pretty plain-looking figure and it's a credit to whoever designed the transfers that this figure manages to avoid being the generic figure it could have been.
There's nothing here, brick-wise, that will surprise you. We've seen these pieces used before in equally creative ways and it's certainly all very well done. And yet, once again, the designers manage to pull out a few surprises and tricks to take what could be a run-of-the-mill build and make it something special.
And the cape/collar combo is superb.
Again, like most LEGO pieces and sets, the Evil Wizard can be used in a variety of settings. He's, of course, a great addition to the Castle line. But he could just as easily be a supervillain for your Iron Man or Batman figures to battle. He could be a Space Wizard that the Ultra Agents could tackle. Or he could be a Necromancer allied with Lord Vampyre against the Monster Fighters. And of course, he's a dead-ringer for Flash Gordon's nemesis, Ming the Merciless. But whatever you choose to do with him, you won't be disappointed.
A figure that may fly under the radar of a lot of collectors but definitely deserves to be added to your collection.
Oh, and those codes? Right here: