Saturday, December 31st, 2011 at 1:12pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's not 2012 just yet, so I thought I'd sneak one more review in before the calendar turns a page. This time it's 7067 Jet-Copter Encounter from the Alien Conquest line. Read on to see if the copter can take down your shields and make its way into your collection.
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
On the front of the box we see the jet-copter and the two alien spaceships included in the set. Oddly enough, the copter is firing missiles in a direction nowhere near the craft. Maybe they're heatseeking? The normal logos, age info, and part counts are all there. There's a strong sense of action and movement that will surely catch the eye of kids. The back shows off the action features - the alien storage pod and the two little ships combining into one. It does a good job showcasing what the set has to offer.
Once you tear the set open you'll find five bags, although only four have numbers, as well as the instructions and some dreaded stickers. The numbered bags are always nice to make the building process easier for large sets, so no complaints there.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
You start out by building the two alien spaceships, which are essentially identical. There's not a lot too these, and nothing will really surprise you. They do join together though! (The connection pins are the only things keeping them from being exact copies.)
The jet-copter is actually a pretty involved build. It's perfectly symmetric, so when it has you building something on one half, you can save time by putting together a mirror version at the same time. It's always interesting when you've been working on a set for a bit and suddenly realize it's backwards/sideways/upside-down from what you expected. Once the flick-fire missiles went on I realized where this was going.
There's a tiny bit of SNOT going on, but for the most part it's good old studs-up building.
About halfway through the copter, you run out of pieces and have to go from the number 2 to the number 3 bags. I see where this would definitely make it easier for younger builders, but let's be serious, they're going to dump them all out in one big pile anyway. The break between the two sections wasn't exactly the most obvious point either.
Alright, we made it! As mentioned before, the wings are SNOT, but it barely counts if you ask me. All told, there's nothing super-complex about the build, but it's a good-sized set so it may take a bit to get it finished.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
At 375 pieces, there's a good selection of different pieces. Blue and light grey are the prominent colors, with dark grey, lime green, yellow, and black providing most of the highlights. There's some nice trans pieces here too.
Without looking things up online, I wasn't aware of any new pieces exclusive to this set. The various canopies are all nice, and I think the trans-black one provides a lot of nice MOCing opportunities. I also really liked the trans-blue 1x4 tile. And where were the 1x3 tiles back in the day when I was a big system builder?! I was confused by the 2x4 piece with the rotor blade attachment, as this can be built with three already-existing pieces. The 1x2 plate with a slope provides some interesting building opportunities. I'm not a fan of the big wing piece, but it's unique I suppose. Finally, the 1x6 brick with the curved bottom just kind of caught my eye.
There are three minifigs in the set - one Earth defender and two alien invaders. The aliens are identical, and have nicely-printed heads, although the plastic is obviously different from the normal ABS. All the figs have detailed printing on their torsos and legs, and the ADU guy has back printing and a second, concerned-looking face. Great work all-around, although some variety in the aliens would have been nice.
Here's what you get, a big copter and two little ships that *whoosh* combine into one. Not a bad package at all.
The alien ships are predominantly grey, with a couple lime green and even fewer purple highlights. It's got a big blaster on the front and a couple engines on the back. The 'wings' fold up and down, although this is mainly to facilitate the combining of the two ships into one. The 'canopy' is a bit disappointing, as it doesn't even reach all the way to the back of the ship. It's more like a windscreen on a convertible. There's a couple stickers on the sides to give it a little flavor.
I think this is really where the ships shine - when you combine them! The canopies look slightly better, and it feels nice and swooshable. The two sets are sturdy on their own and still feel that way when combined which is good.
Onto the main event - the jet-copter looks very intimidating with its missiles, nose cannon, wingtip cannons, and whatever those antenna are supposed to be (lasers?). The stickers add some nice details as annoying as they are to put on. It's very sturdy and you can pick it up from anywhere except the wings with no fear of it breaking apart. The cockpit has a joystick and a control panel, although I think they could have picked a better design. The landing gear/engines are fit well and add some good support when displaying the completed model. One thing I wasn't a fan of was the 'notch' between the missile launchers and the sloped fuselage. I would have preferred a smoother transition. All told it looks like it's ready to take on some alien invaders!
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?
The big play feature in my eyes is the ability of the two alien ships to combine. It's super-easy to do and the ships hold together well but still come apart easily. You can have them connecting and disconnecting all throughout your play session.
The landing gear folds up for a more streamlined look during flight - a very welcome feature.
The stasis pod almost seems like an afterthought, but it connects/disconnects easily enough. I can definitely see where it would add to the roleplaying possibilities for the set.
I've never been a big fan of flick-fire missiles, and these are no exception. The actuator, a ball joint piece, doesn't lend itself to being 'flicked', so you have to push in on it. It's impossible to do this with enough force to get the missiles to go very far though, and the ranges are less-than impressive as you can see above.
The cockpit comes off, yay! I would have preferred a hinged design, or better yet, an ejection mechanism.
The set is obviously conflict-centric, with good guys and bad guys facing off for control over the planet. That's probably the biggest play feature, one that I thing most kids will make the most of.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Sturdy designs
- Good piece variety
- Cool play features
- Almost a fair fight
What's not to like?
- Flick-fire missiles
- Canopies on both ships
- Identical aliens
Overall, I'd say this is a good buy if you're interested in the Alien Conquest theme. It's got ships from both sides, a good amount of play features, and for $40, it's not a bad deal. It has a nice selection of parts too for adding to your collection. With 2012 almost here, you can probably pick this set up on sale, and if you can, I recommend it.
And this should conclude our 2011 reviews - it's been a good year for LEGO sets I think. I look forward to seeing what 2012 will hold though! As always, please leave any questions or comments in the Talkback and before to keep checking BZPower for 2012 set reviews and LEGO news!
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