Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 at 10:03pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
Tonight I present you with a 2011 set review, but not of a Hero Factory set. Blog Assistant Nuju Metru picked up one of the new Atlantis sets, Angler Attack, and decided to share his thoughts. Should you consider this creature of the deep? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
I picked up this set at my local Toys "R" Us recently. Luckily, my TRU is one of the cool ones that obtained 2011 sets in 2010. Score. As soon as I saw 7978 Angler Attack on the shelf, I plunked it into my cart immediately. This was mostly because I already knew that it was a set I wanted, having seen pictures before then - however, my eye was drawn to it quickly regardless of this.
As you can see, the box is framed by typical Atlantis-theme designs and lettering - neo-Greek in appearance, quite cool. Like every other set of the line, the scene on the front is underwater, so blue is a dominant color in the background here as it is everywhere else. However, unlike other Atlantis sets, this box has a massive, toothy fish diving out at its viewers. It's an action shot, with the little fish-man and Angler Daddy rushing at a poor bespectacled diver with nothing to protect him save a measly harpoon and a camera. He isn't gonna last long.
The box's back looks pretty similar to the front, but less active. It demonstrates the snapping-jaw action of the Anglerfish and gives some differently angled views of the little sub and pillar base. As what feels like a space-filler to the left, there is a frame with a view of the fish-man figure inside it. The box is square, but feels thinner than usual - the strategy here being more shelf demonstration space for the same amount of cardboard. It's a nice-looking, clean box. Shame that, like the outmatched diver, it won't last long.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The moment of utmost ecstasy is, as always, tearing open the box and dumping out what was inside. Three bags, an instruction book, and a sticker sheet tumble out with a few eager shakes of the package. The instruction manual has the same image on its front as does the box. The steps within it are easy to understand and simple to execute. Angler Attack's parts pile feels sizable enough once it's all been lumped together. This pile includes a number of gems, including recolors and new 2011 molds. More on these pieces later.
The first thing built is, as always, the figures. These ones go together easily, and don't take more than about fifteen seconds of sifting and piecing. Next up after that is the little piece of ocean floor, in which lies a crooked pillar and some seaweed. Also included is a golden treasure chest which contains a golden fish helmet.
This base complete, the succeeding minimodel is a small sea scooter for the diver. It's red, like every other Atlantis vehicle from last year - but now, instead of lime green being the secondary hue, the bright red is complimented by yellow. It looks pretty nice as a scheme. The scooter has a claw on one side and a harpoon holder on the other. Overall though, it feels sort of incomplete and slapped-together as a last minute thought.
Last to build is the Anglerfish, the main attraction and largest component of the set. Starting with the framework of the body, the fish is built from the inside out, being completed by the addition of its signature jaws and bulbous eyes.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Ta da! All done. Enjoyed yourself? I did. But building this set is only half the fun. Now we get to examine the finished product.
First on the platter of critique are our figures. In a small set like this, the minifigs included can be a make-or-breaking point. In Angler Attack are two figures, both new to the 2011 line. Firstly is the new yellow diver.
He's seen above next to a 2010 diver. As can be seen, they are identical in parts - just not in color. Where there once was green, now is yellow; the flipper and arm colors are changed to suit the refreshed color scheme of 2011. The two divers also have different printing on the torsos and legs. However, it surprised me that, given the recent superbly detailed minifigures of, say, Kingdoms, or Pharaoh's Quest themes, that the new diver actually seems simpler than the old one in design. His printing is less ambitious and less complex than that of his predecessor.
Most notably different, though, are the helmets. The first one has his in dark bluish gray, the second one in light bluish gray, and their visor colors are different, too. Personally I like both, and, with the recent introduction of white helmets and gold visors to come out later in 2011 (see new NASA sets), the Atlantis helmet piece feels a lot more versatile than it did before.
The other figure of the set is an Atlantean (Atlantisite? Atlantish?) Fish-man. In suave sand-green (one of my favorite LEGO hues), with a headpiece as big as the rest of its body combined, our angler-fish-man is really a very interesting figure to look at. Funnily, his torso is printed with a mouth smack dab in its middle - this is to fill in the background needed in the back of its mouth. It's hard to see without taking off the headpiece, and is really a tiny detail - the smallness of which makes me applaud LEGO all the more.
The headpiece is all that's new here, and is what makes the Fishman figure different. It's slightly rubbery and very large, as I said, and situates itself almost to the ground on both sides of the figure. The anglerfish-reminiscent head's massive under-bite is comically filled with two Barraki spines/teeth that go into rod holes there. The printing of the eyes and designs on the side is well done. The only flaw here is really the thing's size. Its fins and chins continue too far down on either side for Mr. Fishie to really be able to move his legs at all without bending the part.
Since the ocean floor thing and the sea scooter don't really do anything (except the sea scooter's propeller spins and makes a great whizzy noise if blown air into... Hours of enjoyment right there), we'll skip right to the Anglerfish. With a scheme of chiefly dark green, accentuated by lime, some red, and a big mouth, this fish is really very visually appealing. It looks solid from every angle, even the bottom, and is, too. This is a tough fishie, who doesn't need any delicate handling, except for his lure. That tends to fall off rather easily, as do the diver-flippers-turned-fins that are attached to it.
One of my favorite parts of the fish is simply the aura it has. With those massive googley eyes and toothy mouth (with one gold tooth, such a good touch on the part of the designers), the fish is at a balance between intimidating and funny, which is ideal for an "evil" fish toy. The fish is also well-proportioned.
Now, one of the main attractions of the set is its pieces. For a small set, I feel like Angler Attack includes a good number of new and/or recolored parts. Above are some of the ones that were most obvious to me (I'm not sure how many of the dark green parts on the Angler are recolors). I know that the blue dome and the golden helmet parts aren't new, but they were to me, and I think that they're beautiful, so I included them in this picture. Also, the golden helmet wasn't available in any smaller set than the Portal of Atlantis until now, which I found to be exciting.
This is clearly a new piece. It's an upward-facing claw part, but with an extended base. I can already think of plenty of useful applications of this piece.
This is the new fluted column part. It's just like a normal cylindrical part of the same shape, only that its sides are notched - that way, when stacked on top of others parts of the same type, it represents a Greco-Roman column. I like this part, and, while it isn't as poly-functional as the extended claw part, is a great mold.
I love these claw pieces. Now it comes in gold. Much rejoicing was had by me upon this realization.
The new silver hue is seen here. On the right is the new color, and the left is the old pearl silver. The new silver looks closer to the silver we had pre-2006 than it does to pearl silver we've had for the past few years. Upon comparison between the above harpoon part and a 2004 Toa Metru tool (Nuju's; I would.), they look identical in hue. Makes pearl silver feel like a fluke of some kind. I'm not sure if I like that. It feels like it disrupts all the rest of my pieces.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Angler Attack isn't a very functional set. The only action it can really execute is the Anglerfish's snapping jaw, which is attached to rubber connectors so that, when pulled open, it will swing shut again upon release. This is ideal for snagging divers.
Otherwise, the playability of this set is, like everything LEGO makes, limited only by the imagination of the child in question. It includes numerous new MOCing parts for a decent price, looks great, has fun characters (especially the Anglerfish), and I think it'd make a great gift. Lots of discovery to be had.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Good new parts and recolored pieces
- Price-parts ratio is about 10 cents a part - 201 pieces for 20 dollars, it's a far better ratio than some other LEGO sets these days
- Anglerfish is sturdy and looks cool
- New diver colors and brand-new fish-man make for a new minifigure selection.
- New silver
- Fluted columns
- Gold tooth. <3
What's not to like?
- Sea scooter is boring
- Fish-man's legs can barely move
- Low functionality
- New silver
- Anglerfish's lure is fragile
In the end, I'd say that the pros of Angler Attack far outweigh its cons - first off, there are more of them, and secondly, the good things are cooler than the bad things are uncool. Not to mention, a majority of the cons listed above are only about the set itself, not its pieces, so if you just don't build the thing, it'll definitely be worth your precious money.
And so concludes another 2011 set review - hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to thank Nuju Metru and leave any questions and comments in the Talkback. We should have another 2011 set review for you all soon, so keep checking back on BZPower!
« Return to News