Tuesday, April 2, 2013

REVIEW: Lego Monster Fighters - The Mummy

Produced by Lego | Released 2012
Lego Monster Fighters
The Lego Monster Fighters line is a range of sets and kits themed around classic monsters and the brave souls who fight them - hence the title. Released in 2012, the Monster Fighters line appears to be one of Lego's ''once and gone'' concepts - in other words, the dozen or so sets released in 2012 will be the only ones to hit retail. It's a shame to see such a novel concept receiving such a limited run, especially as the kits are of such a high standard. But we're getting ahead of ourselves there...

9462 The Mummy
Priced at around $11.99, The Mummy is the next-up level kit from the entry level Swamp Creature. Given that kit featured 70 pieces for $6.99 (although some stores are now selling that set for $5, in which case if you haven't already purchase it you should do so now!) you'd expect The Mummy set to include more than the 90 pieces it comprises. However, before you get too disillusioned, let's take a closer look at just what's in the box, starting with the Minifigures.

Ann Lee
Ann Lee is the Monster Fighter team's only female member but given her accuracy with a crossbow (and her mastery of an assortment of close-combat styles) she's just as able to kick monster butt as the guys are.
Ann sports the standard Lego Minifigure body which is - as ever - modified to create the new character. In this case it's through a very cool, unusually rubbery hairpiece (which, as you can see from the above image, doubles as crossbow bolt storage) and some really cool tampo work, including corset detail on the body piece and an assortment of anti-monster accessories hanging from her belt. 

Ann Lee also sports a reversible head tampo and although there's not a huge difference in the two expressions, it's nice to have options!
I'm not sure if Ann Lee was originally going to sport a ''solid block'' skirt (as seen on some of the other female minifigures), as the tampo work on her body piece does look more suited to her wearing a dress rather than a shirt and pants combo. That would have been a really cool look for the figure but at the same time it would have meant sacrificing the figure's lower body articulation, so I'm pleased Lego took the route they settled upon.

As you can see, Ann Lee comes with a crossbow and two spare bolts (which also double as hair accessories and anti-vampire stakes!) 

The Mummy
The second figure is the titular Mummy.
Again, he's a standard Minifigure modified with some cool tampo work, in this case representing his bandaged form. It's a very cool-looking, effective application that gives him a unique, immediately-identifiable style, although I believe some of his parts are recycled from the Pharaoh's Quest line of 2011. Which isn't a big deal, as the core concept of Lego is recycling, re-using and re-purposing parts!
The Mummy also comes with a rather wicked-looking sword. It's a shame Ann Lee doesn't come with a close-quarters weapon, as it would be fun to pose them locked in combat but that's a very minor point.

Ann Lee's Gyrocopter
According to the Lego Monster Fighters Bio Page, Ann Lee is an expert pilot so it comes as no surprise to see her at the helm of a flying vehicle - in this case, the Gyrocopter.
The vehicle is a fun little build, with a spinning set of rotor blades, landing skis (parts I have to admit I've never seen anywhere else (yet!)) and a surprisingly functional-looking engine to the rear. I'm also guessing the two red/burgundy cones that flank the engine are intended to be missiles, although neither feature the ''flick firing'' functionality of other such projectiles (maybe the designers had to make some budgetary cuts to get the kit out.)
I personally display Ann Lee holding her crossbow but there's a c-shaped grip on the copter's front into which the weapon can be slotted when not in use (just be warned that it's a little bit of a precarious affair and you may find it popping loose) and behind Ann's piloting position there's a tile into which you can slot the spare crossbow bolt. It's a small but neat but of design and I appreciate that the folks at Lego give us options.

The Mummy's Chariot
The real meat of the kit comes in the form of the Mummy's Chariot.
Based upon an ancient Egyptian chariot, the vehicle includes some very cool-looking design features. For starters, there's a definite Egyptian feel to the whole thing, with pyramid-shapes, horns, spears and even a gold scorpion all evoking that ''age of the Pharaoh's'' look. But then it's given a monster make-over, with the twin lamps upon the chariot having a really sickly glow to them and - best of all - the skeletal horse, complete with flaming eyes and glow-in-the-dark bones.
The horse is really the Big Feature here and although it looks cool (especially in the dark, as the glow effect is superb) it's a little disappointing to learn that it's not articulated in any way. My guess is that this piece is also responsible for the lower parts-to-price ratio of the kit: I've not seen this skeletal horse in the past and so my guess is it's a bespoke piece created for this set.

Final Thoughts
The Monster Fighters line is a range I really like. I've always been a fan of supernatural/scary stuff so this line really speaks to me and I'm saddened to see Lego isn't planning on moving forward with the Monster Fighters range (here's hoping they make a return in some form down the line). It may have been the monster/fantastical side of the line that initially caught my attention but it's the quality of the builds and attention to detail that's brought me back for more. Like the Galaxy Squad line, the Monster Fighters sets are aimed at a slightly (albeit only slightly) older audience than something like, say, Lego City. And as a result the builds tend to be a little more involved, slightly more complex and generally a little more ''grown-up.''

Most Lego fans will broadly fall into one of two camps: those who primarily enjoy the building process and those who primarily enjoy the sets as toys. If you're a member of the former then you may find The Mummy set a little disappointing. Whilst it's hardly simplistic it does lack the complexity and piece-to-price ratio of some other kits, primarily - I believe - due to the inclusion of the skeletal horse. But if you're somebody who enjoys your Lego toys as, well, toys and for you it's all about playing with or posing the figures and their vehicles then you'll love this set.

For both sides there's a lot of good here: the Minifigures are great (Ann Lee especially), you get both a good guy (or girl) and a bad guy, two very cool character-themed vehicles and - despite the relatively low piece count - there's a lot of content within the box.

It's just such a shame that horse isn't articulated.

Final Score: B+

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