Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aquazone Breakfast News: 107

There's an extra AqBN up today! Advent and December both start on Saturday, and I plan to go into daily, Advent-style, posting that day. In the meantime, however, I figured I needed a two comic bridge to go from the hiatus back into the swing of things, so the daily posting starts today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

8057 Wreck Raider

Just a smaller post today, but 8057 Wreck Raider is a smaller set. I'm actually kind of surprised I never posted about this set before--I took the picture below over a year ago, last summer when I posted about a few other Aquazone sets in my collection, but somehow it never translated into a post of its own.
For being the smallest set of the line, Wreck Raider is surprisingly robust. It features a powerful submarine vehicle. For a set of its size, it also has a fairly decent collection of parts, including a number of curved red pieces. Ultimately, though, the highlight of the set--as with so many sets--is the minifigs, who belong to both sides of the theme's conflict: explorers and Atlantis fishmen.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

9469 Gandalf's Cart

It's been about two months now since I cashed in my accumulated LEGO VIP points to add a couple Lord of the Rings sets to my collection, but as that happy day took place in the middle of my computer's convalescence, it has taken until now to post about theme--but we'll only cover the smaller one today. Indeed, 9469 Gandalf's Cart is the smallest set in the Lord of the Rings line, barring polybags. It features Gandalf driving a cart full of fireworks and Frodo Baggins. In reference to the Movies, it belongs to the earliest part of The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf arrives in Hobbiton for Bilbo's 111st party.
Unlike most of the sets in the theme, however, it does not include any "stationary" elements such as landscaping, buildings, walls, or trees, and I kind of like that, since although it does draw on a single scene from the movie, the set does not feel limited to this particular scene. The most limiting elements in the set are the fireworks, but Gandalf is supposed to have a wide reputation for fireworks--though I daresay I don't imagine him going into places like the Necromancer's dungeons with them. Of course, the ever-present problem for me with LEGO's licenced themes are the flesh-toned minifigs. As I've done with previous sets, I've tweaked the minifigs in Gandalf's Cart to be more compatible with my old-school minifig collection.
Gandalf has not only had his flesh-coloured parts removed. He's also had his hat changed to blue and his beard to an old-school Majisto white. The main impetus behind these two changes is to be more faithful to the books. The first description of Gandalf from The Hobbit says:
All that the unsuspecting Bilbo saw that morning was an old man with a staff. He had a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, a silver scarf over which a white beard hung down below his waist, and immense black boots.
(J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party") This also brings my new Gandalf more in line with the "traditional" LEGO Gandalf I used to make, as seen in the picture below, though the Iceplanet head I used before has been updated to a "Triton" from the Collectible Minifigs Series 7.
Frodo did not get quite as rigorous a treatment as Gandalf, but the final result is rather nice--I think the face works well as a Pippin. Note, however, that I've switched hairpieces with Merry's from 9472 Attack on Weathertop.
Overall, I am quite happy with Gandalf's Cart. It's not a ground-breaking set, but it is a solid one--though expensive. More so than the other sets I have, the licensing felt noticeable.

News Update, Thanksgiving Edition

My computer is back in business! This means that, all things being somewhat equal, Grandfather's Tales is back in business. I plan to put up a regular, set-reviewing post later today, to get back towards the swing of things, and I should have a new AqBN up next Friday. I'm not sure how I'm going to make up the lost time (about twelve weeks) of AqBN, because I'm also not finally sure what I'm doing for Advent this year. I have not acquired an Advent Calendar and I'm not sure I really want to, but I *DO* want to do Advent on AqBN again this year. What will probably happen is that I will not attempt to recover the lost AqBN weeks in any way, in favour of getting right into the Advent, more-than-one-day-a-week routine.