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    • I picked up this set and put it down in the store so many times, I just can't recall. Nothing about it made me want to build it or own it. Clash of the Heroes was not speaking to me. One day I thought of something that amused me. I decided that if I was going to do it, instead of describing the building process, I would tell a story and put the pictures in reverse order to tell it. You'll still see the build in steps, but I'm not going to give my thoughts about each little chunk. I'll give you my reaction at the end of the review like I normally do. For now, I ask your indulgence as I play with my LEGO a little bit.
      To differentiate this from the more serious reviews this (and any others like it) will have an "OUTSIDE THE BOX" title.

      Set #: 76044
      Name: Clash of the Heroes
      Theme: DC Super Heroes
      Parts: 92
      Price: $12.99
      It's sort of interesting, sort of sad that there's a $3 markup on these licensed sets over the unlicensed counterparts. 92 pieces including 2 minifigures for $12.99 seems a bit on the pricy side to me. 
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 unnumbered baggies, a plate, a single sticker and an instruction book.

      BUILD AND EXECUTION: (to see the build in order, you kind of have to look at these pictures in reverse)
      "Hey Bruce, just came by to pick up that DVD I loaned you and . . . Hey, is that Kryptonite?"

      "Hey Superjerk, stop taking my stuff apart!"
      "Kryptonite weakens me!"
      "Yeah, I can tell."

      "You're so inconsiderate keeping your Kryptonite out when I come to  visit. I'm taking back the Bat mirror I bought you as a friendship gift."
      "I'm gonna give you one chance to put all that stuff back."

      "I need to fold this stuff around the Kryptonite to protect myself."
      "It's weird how much I hate guns, yet I keep these things everywhere."

      "All I wanted was my Dances with Wolves DVD back."
      "Hang on, I've got something for you. . . Let's see, Tab A into Slot B . . ."


      "Your turn jerkwad! I was going to loan you Driving Miss Daisy next."

      "Here hold this for me."

      "Man, all my stuff is messed up. I can never keep nice stuff with you around."

      "Heh heh heh, I just remembered, I loaned that disc to Aquaman. My bad."

      Even though I started off with no enthusiasm for this set, I still went into it with the intention of being fair and balanced. Spending all of the extra time to think of a story with these 2 gave me a chance to play with the toy in a way that most adult collectors aren't going to, but some kids might. I can appreciate that the kids might like the flick missile bat shield or the shove bar in the back. Those didn't do a lot for me though. So, apart from the play features that I didn't like or want, we've got a small, uninspired platform. I can't tell if the railing in front was a turret or just a railing with cannons. Regardless, it stays on very poorly. I couldn't get Batman to 2 hand his bazooka, which would disappoint kids.
      Since most people are only getting this set for the minifigures, let's look at them. The minifigures look good. Both of them are unique.

      Superman's only slightly different from the version in 76046. In this version he does not have red boots. To me, that makes his plain blue pants stand out. Unique, in this case, is not better. His hair and torso are shared with the other BvS Superman. The hair is molded in a different color for Captain America in the Black Panther Pursuit. The head is shared with Dimensions Superman and Hyperion from the Avenjet set. His cape is the spongey softer fabric being used recently. The torso and head have printing on both sides. All in all, despite the plain legs, a successful figure.
      Batman is entirely new. Every single piece of the figure is new and even most of his accessories are unique in some way. The head is painted to look like a balaclava which is so much better than the previous sweatband version from most older sets. It's got printing on both sides grim and angry-grim (angrim?) It's also cast in glow in the dark plastic so that the eyes will glow. That seems like a lot of plastic for 2 tiny angrim pinholes. The torso has some fantastic printing on both sides that is almost entirely obscured by the armor and the cape. At least when Johnny and his friends lose the accessories, he'll still look like armored Batman. The leg printing is nice and detailed, I guess being a billionaire, he can afford leg printing. The cowl is the older version, which I guess works best for the armored look. It's never been released in this color. The armor seems a little plain. I guess they wanted to have the option to use it for other characters later on, so no bat symbol. It's got 2 attachment points in back. His cape is a simplified version of the Batman cape. Since it doesn't have to wrap around his shoulders, it only has one neck hole. The top 1/3 is covered by the armor. The cape is also the stiffer cloth that I thought they moved away from. His other accessories are a standard stud shooter, a batarang molded in light silver, that cool little grappling hook launcher that's pretty new and a light grey grappling hook. Batman is far and away the star of this set.

      This set is common as dirt and it's cheap. Every little Jimmy is going to easily be able to afford this one or get it as a gift from a well meaning (but cheap) friend or relative. It has a lot of kid appeal, 2 major Super Heroes and a neat little Batsignal. Will future collectors respond to it and need to get this set? I feel like it is bound to do better than the disappointing Metropolis Showdown. The exclusive Batman is bound to see to that.
      I don't really feel like this set is going to take any major jumps on the aftermarket. This is definitely the cheapest way to get these 2 iconic heroes, and I fear that it will always be. If you can get a significant discount on this set, it's going to hold value and appeal to people who still want a cheap Bat/Supes set. I'm thinking that the upper limit of this set cannot be above $17.99.
      support the site by buying on Amazon
      You get an extra silver batarang, which is cool. I know I can't be the only one that has no use for an extra stud shooter trigger. I mean I get so many sets with stud shooters, I have more extras than I can count (mostly because I throw them in a big bin full of all the small extra pieces and try to forget them.)

    • To differentiate this from the more serious reviews this (and any others like it) will have an "OUTSIDE THE BOX" title.
      It seems like not many people really like this set. Reviewers are down on it, prices are down, heck, I didn't even want it for myself. I found one at a price that was too good to pass up, so I thought, why not? Since it's a set that I wasn't super excited about to begin with,I thought that the Rhino and Sandman Super Villain Team-up was perfect for an outside the box review.

      Set #: 76037
      Name: Rhino and Sandman Super Villain Team-up
      Theme: Marvel Super Heroes
      Parts: 386
      Price: $39.99
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 3 numbered baggies, a large Tile, a comic book, a sticker sheet and 2 instruction books.

      Rhino: All right Spider-Man, time to put your dukes up!
      Spidey: Uh, did you forget something? Where's your Rhino suit?

      Rhino: I forgot, I got a new one. I need to put it together.
      Spidey: Oh, ok. I can wait.

      Rhino: The instructions aren't really clear which of these goes on which side. Urgh.
      Spidey: What? Did you buy that thing at Ikea?

      Rhino: I've got it. This is going better than I expected.
      Spidey: Well, just wake me up when you're done.

      Rhino: Look, if you want this fight to start sooner, you could help you know.
      Spidey: Well, I guess so. After all, I do have a High School science award.

      Spidey: You know, all the money you spent on this thing could have been used to go straight.
      Rhino: Shut it web-head.

      Spidey: I'm just saying, I spend like $35,000 a year on webs and spandex because of you guys, and this elliptical machine must be at least 20X that.
      Rhino: I'm gonna enjoy squashing you like a bug. Get it? Bug! Ha ha.
      Spidey: Spiders aren't bugs Einstein. 

      Spidey: Hey Rhino, you're a sharp one, huh? Sharp as that horn.
      Rhino: Shut up!

      Spidey: What are those holes in the fingers for?
      Rhino: Just these little explosive projectiles.
      Spidey: Rhino's shoot missles?  

      Rhino: Ok, now I turn the key and press this button and Hang on a sec. Nope, I flip these switches and rotate that knob and . . .
      Spidey: Getting bored now.  LATERZ!

      Spidey: Man, that guy's dense. Hey, someone's making a sand castle.

      Spidey: What kind of castle are you making? Princess, Medieval, Nexo-Knights?
      Sandman: Go away bug.
      Spidey: Oh come on, spiders aren't bugs.

      Spidey: I was going to ask if you wanted me to bury you in the sand, but it looks like you're taking care of that.
      Sandman: Leave me alone.

      Spidey: I'm not really getting this abstract watcha-ma-call-it. Did Picasso make it?

      Spidey: You know,I hate sand. It's coarse and gets everywhere.

      Spidey: Hey Mr. Grabby-Hands,  I'm not that kind of date.
      Sandman: I told you to go away, now you're going to get it!

      Spidey: Hey stop with the shaking! All of my change is coming out of my pockets!

      Spidey: Hey look, there's Taylor Swift!
      Sandman: Where?
      Spidey: I'm outta here.

      Iron Spidey: Weird place for a sandbox. Something about it is making my Spidey sense tingle . . . 

      Spidey: Is it my day for meeting weirdos? Luckily I got away from that guy.
      Iron Spidey: Look, it's getting bigger all by itself. The sensors in my Starktech limbs will tell me more about it.

      Spidey: What the, who are you?
      Iron Spidey: I'm Spider-Man.
      Spidey: Hello me, meet the real me.
      Sandman: Now there's 2 of him?

      Spidey: I spy with my spidey eye something with a hammer.
      Iron Spidey: Is it Hammertime? Get it? Can't touch this - oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh.
      Sandman: It's about to be.

      Spidey: Why do I feel like I forgot something?
      Rhino: Hello from the other side!
      Spidey: I should have known that Rhino was an Adelle fan.

      Iron Spidey: Hey, did you notice that not all of this stuff is sand? How's he do that?
      Spidey: Sand-and-other-stuff-man is just way too long to yell in a fight.
      Rhino: Hey, where'd he go?

      Rhino: Get down here so I can squash you bug!
      Spidey: I already told you, Spiders aren't . . . oh never mind.

      Iron Spidey: Hey Mr. Grabby hands, I'm not that kind of date.
      Spidey: Ha ha, I already said that loser.

      I started off unimpressed with this set. I looked at it through the eyes of an adult who wants to display his toys,and not a child that wants to play with them. The entire thing looks like a mess. It's a mishmash of unrelated things that are just supposed to look like Sandman taking over a construction site. The Rhino is entirely disappointing. Why you build him a suit instead of a big figure is beyond me. All of that said, as I played with the set to tell my bizarre little story, I gained some appreciation of all of the play features. They were not designed for me.They were not designed for adults. A kid could have fun with all of the moving parts. But, this set is not for me.
      Let's take a look at the minifigures. This is the biggest reason why anyone buys Super Hero sets, so they should be amazing,or spectacular, or even ultimate.
      First off, there's Iron Spider(-Man). This guy's unique. I mean red and gold is Iron-Man's thing. Anyway, he's got 4 robotic arms attached to a neck bracket, and I think that's inaccurate. I thought he only had 3 in the comics. I like that his back printing looks like the retracted limbs.
      Sandman is boring to look at, but you can't blame LEGO, he's always been boring. He's got a 2 sided head and brown joker hair. The sandy torso and tan limbs show that he's always mid change and sometimes angry.
      I didn't think that there was anything they could do to Spider-Man, but they gave him those 2 tone legs. It looks good, but I am bored of getting Spidey figures.
      Rhino, well, he's just some dude, Pretty sure he's got a clone head. 2 Sided torso printing doesn't make him look any more like a bigfig.

      There's a lot of tan in this set. People like to buy tan parts for MOCs, I think if you get this set cheaply enough, there's a good demand for the parts. The large tile is the same one used in most UCS sets. Iron Spider is the big draw for this set. So he's sure to appreciate a little bit once this set goes.
      I'm stuck thinking about how roundly unpopular this set is. Will it pass into obscurity once it is out of sight, or will people clamor to grab it later on to complete a collection? Not being a fan of this set, I tend to come down on the former. For me, it's a parts set and that's where the value will always lie. If you have a child that likes LEGO and Super Heroes though, this set is a winner for them. Lots of interesting parts, a couple of Spider-Men and some guys for them to beat up. Invest cautiously at steep discounts.
      Help support the site by buying on Amazon.
      Some people might not include the super jumper in extra parts, but that's not me. I definitely don't think it belongs in the set.

    • Lego has some nice offerings planned for May including the annual Star Wars "May the 4th" weekend events and products.  If you are unable to visit a Lego retail store, be sure to checkout their website at shop.lego.com .
      Some highlights...
      Star Wars May the 4th includes a free exclusive minifigure (First Order Stormtrooper) with every Star Wars $50+ purchase   Earn Double VIP Points on selected Star Wars purchases.  A free Force Awakens poster is also available.
      New sets : The much 'beloved' UCS Assault on Hoth will be available. Additionally, an exclusive set is planned to be released on May 18th.  According to rumors, it could be the 10253 Creator Expert "Big Ben" set.  This is famous clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.  The calendar also shows other new sets.
      Polybag promos include a Civil War Captain America’s Motorcycle (May 27-30 with a $35+ order).
      Events for children include a minifigure swamp, hedgehog build, Elves build, and club meetings. Also, Master Your Force event which involves visiting the store to earn character cards: week of 5/9 for Jango Fett card and 5/23 for Zeb card.
      It should also be noted the Disney Collectible Minifigures will be available for purchase. Please review the calendar for more information especially exact dates.

    • In 2003 LEGO released the Cloud City set 10123. For 13 years, there was no representation of the last third of the Empire Strikes Back. People have been asking for new Cloud City sets in the decade since. When information leaked about the Carbon Freezing Chamber, there was a lot of hope, a lot of speculation, and a lot of fans quivering with excitement. When we saw the pictures of 75137, there was an enormous outcry. How could they take an amazingly iconic set of scenes and chop it down to a half of a set with a goofy action feature?
      Well, I was one of the disappointed masses when I saw this set. No Bespin Luke, Leia or Lando. No gantry for a duel. There's not even a torture chamber or a lift arm for the freeze chamber. So, in my review, I'd like to set aside all of my frustrations and disappointments. I'd like to start fresh and view it with eyes unclouded. Let's take a look.

      Set #: 75137
      Name: Carbon-Freezing Chamber
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 231
      Price: $24.99
      I recently gave up on the price per piece calculations. You're all smart enough to figure out a rough valuation based on that. I will say that 3 minifigures seems to be pretty standard for this price range. I'll discuss them later.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 numbered baggies and an instruction book.

      BAG 1: 
      It's hard to tell at first what you are building. this is a guide for the main play feature of this set. Note the tiles that allow it to slide properly.

      The play feature takes shape with a hinged axle. This allows for a different axis of movement.

      You build up the wall to support the rest of the structure and complete the entire play feature here. when you pull on the pin, it rotates down, and you can turn the axle to allow it to rotate. At the end of the review, I'll show it in action.

      We begin to create the greater structure. Throwing up walls to hide the armature and other structures of the play feature.

      Here, you begin to create a deck platform to hold your characters.

      Here, you are creating a play feature. It's supposed to be a prison bed that you can put Han on. At least I think so. It might be a place to hide a minifigure.

      You snap the hide-a-bed onto the hinge on the left and cover it up with a wall panel.

      You add a bunch of decoration here. It's actually starting to come together fairly successfully.

      You add one more partial segment to the right side and throw some tiles on to clean up the edges.

      Here you can see that the outer part of the structure is fairly plain, but obviously better than the inside. The problem is, to utilize the play feature of the raising and lowering bed, you have to look at this side. Without more of a jail cell, I can't imagine utilizing the bed though.

      BAG 2: 
      You start by making a lift. The lift pops into the slot on the pre-existing structure.

      You build around the armature so that you can have a track to raise and lower the lift. The armature even has a swinging arm with ball to "lock" it into place. Notice in the background that there is also a control panel.

      The next thing that you build is a rather impressive looking staircase. You utilize 2 stair pieces and a bunch of tiles. My biggest problem with it is that it's inaccurate. As far as I can recall, there weren't any stairs leading down from the deck, they all went up.

      The last thing that you build is a mounting bracket for the Carbonite block. It's not really anything special, just a way to keep it upright. It snaps onto the pivoting table.

      So, I am not a fan of play features in general. This one in specific takes up far too much space since it has to go out as well as down. The action is smooth, but it's not nearly as discreet as it should be. If it were me, I'd make an elevator with a turntable.

      I actually wound up liking this set better than I expected to. It was a fun little build. I'm actually not overly impressed with the character selection. I've already got Boba Fett and Carbonite Han. I can understand why they used Boba, and this was one of the most dramatic and visually interesting parts of the film. I'd love to try to figure out for myself how to MOD it into a playset that I actually want to display. I don't care about the action features, even though I again understand the need to make it playable for all of the kids that want a playset based on a 35 year old movie.
      The minifigures are interesting. Boba and Han are pretty similar to but not quite the same as 75060 UCS Slave I Boba's torso is new and Han has dark brown instead of reddish brown pants. The Ugnaught is the only fully unique character in the set. We've never gotten an Ugnaught in LEGO form before. He really does tie together any Bespin Freeze Chamber scene. I don't knowwhy they spent the effort to print Boba's back with all the stuff he wears. It does look pretty good though.
      The Ugnaught is excellent. He's probably not going to be worth a ton, but like the Jawa and the Ewoks (until they got released in more sets) he'll have value. People will be making MODs of this set or MOCs for years to come and want more than one. I just wish we could get a little variation.

      Small sets with hero figures seem to be popular. Playsets seem to be less popular. This set will be dependent on a few things. Ugnaught is the first thing to take into consideration. He's a new character that collectors would need multiples of if hey are making a larger scene. The species has been used in the Rebels cartoon, so may see a refresh in a later set. Boba Fett is enduringly popular and Han Solo as a main will attract attention. However I feel like this is the least popular version of Han. 9496 was another small, cheap set with Boba Fett and another main character. Since its retirement, it has done reasonably. People who bought it at retail experienced an increase of about 80% and many bought it for less than retail.
      This set will see sales. It is inevitable that we'll see it for at least 19.99 for a segment of its life. I fear that more Boba Fett sets will come along causing the main impetus for this set to diminish. So, we'll be banking on a disappointing Bespin set and an Ugnaught to drive future sales of this set. If another Bespin set comes along that can be paired with this one, we'll see a lot of aftermarket demand. I doubt that will happen though. Modest gains will probably be made, but not as much as a vehicle.
      You get an entire bag of extra viewfinders. I wonder why LEGO decides to do a baggie full for one figure, but it's standard.

    • I love Captain America. For over twenty years, if you asked me who my favorite super hero was, I'd tell you Cap. When Ed Brubaker introduced Winter Soldier it blew my mind, I loved Bucky as a character, which is something I never had done before. LEGO's Black Panther Pursuit has both of these characters. I was ecstatic when I heard about it. 
      There's something that people probably know about Super Heroes sets. Invariably they will contain some kind of plane, motorcycle, truck, or helicopter. In this review, we'll look at which of these is contained within, and how successful it is.

      Set #: 76047
      Name: Black Panther Pursuit
      Theme: Marvel Super Heroes
      Parts: 287
      Price: $29.99
      I am officially giving up on the price per piece. You're all smart enough to figure out a rough valuation based on that. I will say that 3 minifigures seems to be pretty standard for this price range. I'll discuss them later.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 3 numbered baggies, an instruction book, a comic book and a sheet of stickers.

      BAG 1: So, we're going to start building Captain America's jeep/truck thing. Of course there's a bracket on one end to hold a tile for a license plate.

      Construction is fairly standard so far. I don't know how you could really innovate a truck/jeep thingy to make it more interesting.

      I don't understand the "Taskforce" sticker. I guess it's because SHIELD is sort of disbanded or something. I'd rather some symbol or something instead of "TASKFORCE." Maybe it makes sense after we see the movie. I doubt it though.Heavy uses of blue so that you know it belongs to Captain America.

      Add a spring missile launcher and a couple hinges. The hinges are interesting in their placement.

      So, you build out a grill on the front with another license plate tile.

      The railing makes an interesting window shape. The hinges allow you to cant the window, and you build some side view "mirrors." The black bar 1x4x2 can flip down to act as a battering ram. I don't know if that's intentional, but it's what I thought of first.

      Add wheels and shove the spring missile in. That spring missile makes this vehicle a one seater. I guess you could throw people in back. Maybe I shouldn't have given Cap his angry yelling face.

      BAG 2: Time to start building the plane. Honestly, it almost looks like a boat. I forgot that boats are also somewhat common in super hero sets.

      So, our boatplane is taking shape, including 2 stud shooters and a sticker control panel. A note on colors. I like the use of purple in this set to offset the black. I just don't understand the lime green. Just because Joker sets require purple and green, but Joker's pretty far from this one.

      Time to cover over most of that green. There's a hint here that we're not going to finish the wings in this bag. Only one wedge piece. I like the Dark blue tiles with jumpers. The hinges pointing sideways interested me. I like to speculate what we're going to do without looking back at the picture.

      You build your first wing. I loved that the hinges created a way to hang the wing at a different angle.

      The nose of the plane looks good  The wing sits in an interesting way. More stickers to potentially mess up.

      So, the hinges give you a way to change the shape of the fuselage.

      Bag 3: You start by making Winter Soldier and his motorcycle. Sort of strange considering that the plane is still only 2/3 done. The motorcycle is completely standard, not even an attachment point for his gun.

      Create a mirror image of the wing and attach it the same way. Look, an orange tile for no reason.

      Cover up the attachment points and the tile with more black and purple. It's still very pleasing to see this combo.  Quick fact, I think that the purple is supposed to represent the Vibranium that gives Wakanda their technological and financial edge.

      More lime green. I think it's supposed to represent the thrusters. It's a very understated propulsion system. I can totally appreciate that, in this case, less is more. Add some black slopes for more shaping.

      Finish the tail, snap on the 6x2 wedge and the cockpit canopy, and you're almost done. Don't forget the fire extinguisher that many Super Hero sets have to have. Why do we have to have a fire extinguisher? Well, Super Heroes blow a lot of stuff up.

      Well, the jeep is lame. There's no getting past that. It's dull. It's standard. If it were the main vehicle in the set, I'd be heartily disappointed. As it is, I can't decide whether I should see if I can throw it farther than Crossbones' Hazard Heist, or just smash them together as hard as I can. For now, I'll just stick them on the back of a shelf. Winter Soldier's motorcycle is standard. Nothing special, nothing bad. It can be used for anyone. Throw it in a bin and forget about it.
      Black Panther's jet is wonderful to look at and interesting to build. My problem is that it's just another jet. It's just filler for a set that contains 3 minifigures that I wanted. I don't mind it, but I don't crave it. It's the curse of Super Hero sets. There's very few iconic vehicles that don't have Bat as part of their descriptor. Does Black Panther fly a black and purple jet in the upcoming movie? I really hope so. Otherwise, Pantherplane is going into a box.

      The minifigures are fantastic. For someone with my budget, unmasked Steve Rogers was a no go. A loose one would cost almost as much as this set. To protect the value of the Helicarrier Captain America, this one has different hair and head. He really should have a less red hairpiece. Despite the hair color, I love this figure. It's what I wanted since the first Captain America minifigure. The body printing is the same as all of the AOU Caps. Because of the head and hair, this Captain America is unique. His head is 2 sided, a smirk and an angry yell.
      Winter Soldier is entirely different from the polybag version. I LOVED the polybag version. This version is awesome too. Disappointing that he doesn't have a holster or a knife or something printed on his legs. His arm printing is great. The Russian star is worn and scraped, whether due to damage or an attempt to remove it, who knows? But they printed it to look like it's partially missing. This exact Winter Soldier is also available in 76051 Super Hero Airport Battle. His head is dual sided and is shared with Owen from Jurrassic World and Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy. Does that mean that Winter Soldier is secretly Chris Pratt?
      Black Panther rounds out the set. He's a unique minifigure. He has a unique headpiece. I like the "tooth necklace" mixed in with the angular armor deco on his torso. Dual sided printing on torso and head sort of point up how plain his arms and legs are. I really feel like he should have a set of claws like Wolverine. All of that said, I didn't buy this set specifically for Black Panther. He's more an extra afterthought to me. For me, he serves exactly the purpose I need him to. I'm not disappointed in him really.
      All in all, not a bad set. I would have liked something more interesting for the truck/jeep and/or the motorcycle, but the jet is nice. Speaking of those 3 vehicles, you remember when I said that the hallmark of a LEGO Super Heroes set is that it has either a truck, a motorcycle, a plane or a helicopter? Well, this set almost completely proves my rules. I love it when I can sort of make up a rule and prove it with the thing I am currently working on.

      Super Hero sets are almost entirely driven by the minifigures. The only unique character in this set is Black Panther. Black Panther is not really popular enough to drive aftermarket price. He'll probably hold value, but he's not going to increase it. The Captain America will add some value, especially since the Helicarrier is so expensive in comparison to this one. If the plane is used in the upcoming film, and if Black Panther isn't refreshed, this set could gain moderately well. If the vehicle is not used, well, it'll gain somewhat slowly. Use caution when investing, as with all Super Heroes sets.
      you get a handful of common extra pieces including Black Panther's headpiece.

    • The Brickpicker Brick Index was updated recently. This index gives an indication of the movement in value of each set based upon the previous 6 months of sales data from Ebay.
      You can review the sets by theme if you like, but @Jeff Mack has accumulated the top 20 performers for the last 6 months on the landing page. I'd like to take a look at the data and see what it tells us. First, let's take a look at the data that is presented. Each set is ranked by what percentage of value it has increased in the past 6 months. There's a handy graph of that period of time showing a whole dollar value on the Y Axis and months expressed numerically on the X.
      A cursory overview of the data shows us that this table is very heavily weighted towards Star Wars. 75% (15) of the top 20 are Star Wars sets. 10% (2) are Super Heroes and LEGO Movie, Ninjago, and Creator each make a single entry to close out the remaining 15%. Does this mean that Star Wars is the only way to go to ensure maximum profits? Let's take a look. Data without analysis can lead to bad decisions.
      The biggest earner in the list is 75048 The Phantom. With a monstrous 128+% increase in the past 6 months, it came out swinging. Original retail on this set was $24.99. For many months, it was available at Amazon/Target/Wal-Mart for $19.99. Current price guide value is $46.73. This set is a prominent part of the Star Wars Rebels IP and has one popular character who is only found in this set.
      Rank #1
      75048-1 The Phantom
      Next on our list is a set that was looked down upon for most of its retail shelf life. It lived with an almost permanent discount of $19.99 from a $24.99 retail. Now it lives in the $41+ zone. I think a lot of people put off buying this set always assuming that there would be another time and time ran out. You get an interesting vehicle from a pivotal scene in Revenge of the Sith with 2 hero minifigures. Both of the figures are unique to this set and the Grievous alone is selling for almost the MSRP of this set.
      Rank #2
      75040-1 General Grievous' Wheel Bike
      In a race to the finish between 75054 and 75055, the AT-AT 75054 sold out first. For a time, you could get a slight discount. Within days of selling out at retail it was already selling at 50%-60% above the retail of $99.99. It's now struggling to reach $200, which most expect to happen by summer.
      Rank #3
      75054-1 AT-AT
      Number 4 on our list is the 75038 Jedi Interceptor. This one has 2 hero minifigures in the form of Anakin Skywalker and the updated R2-D2 minifigure. It originally retailed for $24.99 and seems to have been selling for that amount up through retirement. It's now selling in the $48 range. The only reason that it doesn't outrank the similarly priced 75040 and 75048 is because it sold better at retail and was not as discounted. (75135 is bound to drive the price of this set up as people try to complete their hero pairs.)
      Rank #4
      75038-1 Jedi Interceptor
      The Ant-Man Final battle is the first non Star Wars set on our list. This set went under a lot of radars, Within 6 months of release, it was done. It started life with production problems and disappeared without a whisper. The growth of this set is probably not done. Limited production, continued media support for the character, and no forthcoming reissues will keep driving buyers to this set.
      Rank #5
      76039-1 Ant-Man Final Battle
      There's a saying that a rising tide raises all boats. The interesting thing about this set is that since it was already rare and had retired almost 2 years ago. It's value was already much higher than the $9.99 retail price of the set. The movie hype in December appears to have nearly doubled the price again. That tide raised the high as well as the low.
      Rank #6
      75011-1 Tantive IV & Alderaan
      As mentioned previously, the Imperial Star Destroyer 75055 barely lost the race for sold out to the AT-AT 75054. It had a higher price to begin with and also lived with a semi-permanent discount. It is competing neck and neck with the AT-AT on the race to $200. The only reason that the AT-AT is higher on the list is because it started at a lower MSRP. Both of these large vehicles are on the same trajectory, and the Star Destroyer is less likely to be remade as soon.
      Rank #7
      75055-1 Imperial Star Destroyer
      Number 8 is yet another recently retired Star Wars set. The Snowspeeder 75049 was a $29.99 set that could frequently be found with a $5 discount. When it and the AT-AT retired at the same time, demand for one increased demand for the other. Demand has lifted this set up to the $50 range, even with another Snowspeeder soon to be available in the Assault on Hoth set. If another AT-AT returns to shelves without this corresponding vehicle, look for it to return to this list.
      Rank #8
      75049-1 Snowspeeder
      The Microfighters Millennium Falcon was existing somewhat above retail. A lot of people had been dismissive of the entire Microfighters line, but the first series gained some traction. The Millennium Falcon had the distinction of having a hero minifigure and it is the most iconic vehicle in the series. When the Force Awakens was released, people on a budget looked for an alternative to a $150 set. Demand pushed the value up, and will probably maintain the price for a while to come. Kids and fans have come to accept and enjoy the aesthetic.
      Rank #9
      75030-1 Millennium Falcon
      Halfway through the list, we come to a set that surprised many. It's a large exclusive that only really fits in with an unprofitable theme. Not a lot of people were buying this set. Anyone who wanted it put it off because there would always be time later. Large exclusives tend to have a certain cache. The question that remains is, is this increase sustainable? By all accounts it is a fun build. People who want something unique will migrate to this set.
      Rank #10
      70810-1 MetalBeard's Sea Cow
      Wait, a Ninjago set made the list? Did the poles reverse themselves? Are we in the end of days? is Ronin's R.E.X. a sign that everything we know is wrong? Well, probably not. This set is still widely available at retail, so there's no reason for it to sell above retail, and it doesn't. This set made the list because sales were bad.It sold for roughly 40% of retail price and has increased to about 80% of retail in the ebay marketplace. Anyone contemplating buying this set at retail might as well hand $10 to a stranger and walk away.
      Rank #11
      70735-1 Ronin R.E.X.
      The ARC-170 fighter had a short life. It lived on shelves for less than a year. It sold many times for below retail. It was part of the second series and came from the less popular prequel trilogy. It had a lot of things against it, which probably led to less production and less hoarding. It seems like Microfighters are the little engine that could on this list. Frequently overlooked and underestimated. Could this be a sign that the Star Wars Constraction figures will surprise many?
      Rank #12
      75072-1 ARC-170 Starfighter
      Next up, we have a Star Wars playset. The smart money says that playsets don't do as well as ships. Well, that's partially true. Look at all of the other recently retired ships that outpaced this one in % increase. The Mos Eisley Cantina was also selling below retail before retirement (Noticing a distinct trend here.) When it retired, it jumped up above retail and continued to increase. This set has a large number of minifigures (8) with a bigfig creature and a small vehicle. It truly is a nice set, and will likely capture buyers for years unless they make another cantina set.
      Rank #13
      75052-1 Mos Eisley Cantina
      Number 14 on our list is the second Super Heroes set, DC's Batboat Harbor Pursuit. A 66% gain sounds like a good thing. There's some problems with the appearance of this set on our list. This set was released at the same time as Ant-Man's final battle, so is this another early EOL that jumped up big? Nope. This set is currently available at retail. For a long time, sellers on Ebay were selling it for significantly below retail. The jump in value can be attributed to it now selling for almost retail. Is this an indication of post EOL performance? It's unlikely, unless you assume that it will sell for close to retail after it retires.
      Rank #14
      76034-1 Batboat Harbor Pursuit
      3/4 of the way through our list we have the Ghost. This is the single most used vehicle in Star Wars Rebels. This set was easily found on Ebay for a significant discount from retail. It was unpopular with resellers and suffered from not being a set from a live action Star Wars movie. Despite the fact that it had an average length shelf life, its retirement seemed to catch people off guard. With continued support in media, this set should continue to show growth, but it's unlikely to have the significant gain that it received just returning to MSRP.
      Rank #15
      75053-1 The Ghost
      The droid gunship honestly surprised me when I saw it on this list. Sure, it's recently retired, sure it's Star Wars, but it's a non-hero vehicle from a minor scene in the prequel trilogy. Looking at the data, it seems that this set took a significant dip from retail, and all of its gains were just to put it back on an even footing with its original MSRP. 
      Rank #16
      75042-1 Droid Gunship
      Number 17 is an anomaly. Not because of how poorly it was doing before, but because it was a set that had already increased since it retired a year ago. When this Target exclusive set retired in Dec. 2014 it had a retail price tag of $39.99. A year later it was hovering in the $60 range before receiving another boost above $90. In this case instead of the rising tide saw, let's consider the words of Walt Disney "Quality will out." As collectors scoop up 75135 and 75038, they'll remember this one and realize that it's probably not getting a refresh anytime soon. Is it on track to match 7661? Hard to tell, but if the clones taught us anything, fans seem to like a rainbow of the same thing.
      Rank #17
      9494-1 Anakin's Jedi Interceptor
      Approaching the end, 90% of the way through, we find a battle pack. Battle packs are cheap, small, easy to store and frequently found on clearance. This battle pack has the virtue of being composed of screen accurate Original Trilogy troopers. It was the strongest contender of the recently retired battle packs for future growth and it found it. It's the same story though. The starting position of this set was ~20% below retail. Many will have gotten this set from the Wal-Mart clearances, so will realize even better returns than shown here.
      Rank #18
      75034-1 Death Star Troopers
      Number 19 on our list is a true representative of the rising tide theory. This set retired 2 years ago. It languished below retail since it retired until the Force Awakens came along and propped it up. Instead of being somewhere around $5 below retail, it gained $15 above retail. Honestly, not the performance vector that anyone should be looking for. It's a 2 year hold time to gain an actual ~35%.
      Rank #19
      75017-1 Duel on Geonosis
      Our final entry on the list is also not Star Wars. The Creator 3 in 1 Mountain Hut quietly retired without fanfare. The data indicates that its value dipped 25% below retail in the late summer and stayed there all fall long. Post EOL it has recovered the loss and added 20% to its value. I looked at some of the other recently retired Creator 3 in 1 sets and saw a similar trajectory. A low increase in value, but it was there.
      Rank #20
      31025-1 Mountain Hut
      Looking at this list, we see a lot of Star Wars sets that retired a short time ago. Their initial post EOL bump was probably accelerated by the release of The Force Awakens. Many of these sets were living below retail before they retired. It's easy to make significant gains when the first gain that a set makes is to get back to its original MSRP. 10-25% value jump when it disappears from Amazon or Wal-Mart would be standard. We're not even taking into account the significant clearance reductions on most of these sets. I am not discounting the money that was and is to be made on these sets. People buying at discount cleared and are poised to receive greater profits.
      Before I end here, I'd like to give a special nod of the head and tip of the cap to the set that's 91% more influential than Kanye West. For folks who are wondering where their favorite Tumbler falls, I found it in the DC Super Heroes theme in second place behind Batboat Harbor Pursuit. Since this set never really got discounted, that's where the starting value falls and it has since increased by over 50%. I guess it's time to start telling everyone how right you were to buy these at the last minute.
      76023-1 The Tumbler
      In the final analysis, what does all of this tell us? The status is actually quo. Good sets from a popular series that retire will increase. Rare sets and exclusives will increase, and things that routinely sell for significantly below retail will sometimes sell for retail. Most of the sets on the list were not exclusives, and the biggest exclusive retirements were not the largest % gainers. The trajectory of the Sea Cow and the Tumbler are good, but not worrisome as far as the rise of the proverbial bubble. (Does anyone remember pogs or those worthless Billy Ripken f*ck face cards doubling and redoubling in value so quickly?)
      It will be interesting to see in a couple months what the largest increases are. I'd also love to see what the biggest losers for the same timeframe is. I bet it would be the newest things released.

    • Issue 18 of Blocks Magazine is now with subscribers and on shelves nationwide in the UK. This month, we celebrate all things Batman v Superman, with an exclusive series of builds, reviews of the new sets and the lowdown on how to create the perfect Dark Knight Tumbler.
      Elsewhere, MOD Squad member Daniel Konstanski shows us how you can improve your Carbon Freezing Chamber, while we catch up with the Brick to the Past team and find out whether TT Games’ latest effort is worth your time.
      There’s much more besides, including reviews of the latest Frozen sets and a behind-the-scenes look at David Pickard’s Blacktron project. It’s all topped off with an exclusive interview with LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya on his DC Comics exhibition.
      Get your copy now in the UK, and why not subscribe to get future copies early and enter monthly free prize draws? See www.blocksmag.com for more details.

    • I read Captain America comics for at least 20 years. Crossbones was an interesting character to me, a nutcase that idolized Red Skull. With the small number of villains that are not related to Spider-Man in some way, I doubted I'd see him anytime soon. LEGO threw me a curveball with Crossbones Hazard Heist and delivered Crossbones. I felt a lack when LEGO did nothing for Captain America: the Winter Soldier. We didn't get movie Falcon or Winter Soldier 2 years ago. They've made up for that somewhat with other releases. I'm excited to review 76050. I'm excited to get some much needed characters not named Iron-Man, Captain America or Spider-Man.

      Set #: 76050
      Name: Crossbones' Hazard Heist
      Theme: Marvel Super Heroes
      Parts: 179
      Price: $19.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 19.99 the price per piece works out to more than $.11 each. I'm really beginning to suspect that I should not focus on the 3P equation. They're pretty much always between $.09 and $.12. There are 3 minifigures. The minifigures are MCU Falcon, Black Widow and Crossbones. Widow Black Widow is the same one used in 2 other sets, the others are unique.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 numbered baggies, a sticker sheet, a comic book, and an instruction book.

      BAG 1: Apart from the minifigures, the first thing that you build is a little Drone that you can attach to Falcon's back. The drone is most likely the MCU version of Falcon's pet/partner Redbird. It makes sense to have a robotic version instead of having Falcon develop some kind of bird telepathy. But, I digress, that's movie talk, not LEGO talk. As you can see, the drone is enormous compared to the minifigure. It's got a "foot" to prevent Falcon from being overbalanced.

      Next, we build a motorcycle. If you've ever built a LEGO motorcycle, then you know what it's like. If memory serves, Nightwing's motorcycle in 7785 Arkham Asylum had slots for both sticks. Too bad Black Widow's motorcycle doesn't. So she'll have to drive with one in her hand. I'm sure that's safe.

      Uhm, random rocket launcher turret thingy? It's got 2 stud shooters that point way off to the side. It seems entirely inefficient. It's more a fixed gun emplacement.

      To round out bag one, we've got a couple hazardous material boxes. This is the strangest cross section of stuff. There's not a lot of cohesion, just a handful of minibuilds.

      BAG 2: I opened this bag with some trepidation. The previous bag was a strange enough conglomeration that this truck would almost have to be better. So, you start with a sort of boat looking base and add wheel mountings.

      Obviously, something is either going to be flung from or blown off the back of the truck. That's an old standby for Super Hero sets.

      The color choices are interesting to me. I would have expected all black or something to look industrial. The various browns and greens look organic. Sort of woody or dirty. I don't know how to describe it.

      Ah, the first of many stickers for the truck. Most of the stickers show various damage. The random colors might make sense from a ramshackle junk pile that's more damage than truck.

      More stickers including the crossbones. The shape is coming together. It looks terrible. Can I say that at this point of the build? I'm not done yet, and I'm making a judgement? Well, we'll see.

      Strange choice to use the railing instead of a larger windshield. The top of this thing has some modular technique. Plus, there's a random gun.

      Mismatched wheels finalize the build. There's a green suitcase with a hazard logo and transparent tile.

      Crossbones has a flame thrower and a gas mask. The truck looks ugly, but I think it is supposed to.

      So, the random junk in bag 1 snaps onto the truck. The boxes are what blows off the back of the truck. Put the suitcase inside of them. As much as I like having the minifigures, I dislike the set that they came with. I'm disappointed that Falcon is light grey instead of black. Maybe I wasn't paying attention and he wears a light outfit in the upcoming movie.

      The new figures have no leg printing or arm printing. Widow has plenty of printing, but all of the paint apps were already programmed a year ago. The deco that does exist on Falcon and Crossbones looks pretty good. The use of the new hairpiece from Finn is cool. This is the cheapest set to get that part in. Also interesting use of Batman's Grapple gun. 

      The first thing to note is that this is the cheapest set with a Black Widow minifigure. Collectors might already have her, but future collectors might flock to a set with a cheaper Widow and 2 unique minifigures. No one is coming after the build. Minifigures drive Super Hero sets, and this is no different. If these minifigures show up in other sets, kiss the future value goodbye. If LEGO dumps a ton of them on the retailers, forget it. Neither Falcon or Crossbones is incredibly popular like Deadpool, but hopefully it has some cache due to the unlikeliness of this set existing in the first place. I would hope for it to be another Ant-Man instead of a Arctic Batman Vs. Mr Freeze or Superman Vs. Power Armor Lex.
      Keep an eye peeled for an early, quiet exit for this set. I don't think it will have mass appeal, so it might be one of those sets that LEGO just "forgets" to refresh. I don't think a lot of investors pay attention to the cheap sets. Speculators hope for another Deadpool set, but there's too many sets to buy all the cheap ones that might do well.
      You get an extra gas mask as well as grey lightsaber handle. A handful of studs make up the majority of spare parts.

    • If you read my Rebel Alliance Battle pack review, then you know I was relentlessly negative and joyless from the outset. I am going to try to make the Galactic Empire Battle Pack review a little more entertaining. So, hopefully, even if this set is a disappointment, at least the review won't be. Besides, how disappointing can a LEGO set be? Welcome to LEGO STAR WARS 75134: THE EMPIRE STRIKES NEXT

      Set #: 75134
      Name: Galactic Empire Battle Pack
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 109
      Price: $12.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 12.99 the price per piece works out to almost $.12 each. This is on the high side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures. The minifigures are 2 Jetpack Stormtroopers (with enough blaster marks that they must actually be dead), 1 Imperial Technician, and a Shocktrooper Stormtrooper. All 4 are unique to this set (except the jumptrooper who is not unique by the virtue of there being 2.)
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 unnumbered baggies and an instruction book.

      The Empire wants to hold this dismal corner of this dismal planet, so they have sent 4 of their best and brightest unnamed troopers. Yup, these 4 unsung heroes of the Empire are definitely on the fast track, as soon as they pull themselves together.

      The Empire is all about organization and working efficiently. Apparently these fellows didn't get the memo, so their work area is a disaster. At least they are working together.

      On over a thousand planets, a similar scene is taking place today. The Empire is going to protect your home from the Rebels, even if it kills you.

      Social programs and welfare can wait until the Empire crushes the insurgents. These dedicated soldiers will make sure that their weapons are ready to defend your freedom to starve for the glorious  Empire.

      Don't get to close, this equipment is heavy and dangerous, especially to potential Rebel spies. Which you probably are.

      Who said that Stormtroopers couldn't build anything? They are very efficient at building their equipment.

      The technician makes sure that his control area is set up correctly.

      Just wait right there, we'll have the weapon up and running shortly, and we'll give you a firsthand demonstration.

      Now, just hold it right there. If you move even a little, we might miss.

      Well, a Battle Pack is a Battle Pack. These things are never terribly interesting. It's a small build with a lot of pieces used for the minifigures and their accessories themselves. out of 109 pieces, we use 24 for the 4 minifigures, 8 for the guns and 12 for their ammo. This leaves just over 60 pieces for a mediocre gun platform. I'd probably be more enthusiastic if I liked the minifigures, but I'm not really a fan of EU. The Shocktrooper stinks of pandering, and the Jumptroopers would have been nicer if there weren't multiple holes in their torsos, making them dead jumptroopers.

      People like Stormtroopers. I like Stormtroopers too. I just don't like non-movie Stormtroopers. I don't think that they do well in the aftermarket unless they are incredibly limited. These guys are everywhere and will continue to be for the next year. I expect to find these on clearance and debate picking any up. Battle Packs don't excite me, EU Battlepacks even less so. Maybe they're your bread and butter, maybe you make a good return on them, but I see the margins on these not being wirth the time or effort.
      As you can see, lots of extra studs for the stud shooters. Also an extra printed piece for the jetpack and a spring missile.


    • The Rebel Alliance Battle Pack is not based on anything in the Star Wars films. It's a set of expanded universe figures based upon the game Battlefront. I'm generally hesitant about battle packs, the builds are an after thought to the minifigures. The builds are forgettable and look generally like nothing you'd like to have as part of your display. I'm even more hesitant to build a Star Wars set without anything canon. LEGO has given us more of the same. In my review of 75133, we'll see if it's not just that. Hopefully it's something truly interesting.

      Set #: 75133
      Name: Rebel Alliance battle Pack
      Theme: Star Wars
      Parts: 101
      Price: $12.99
      Before we get to the build, let’s talk value. At 12.99 the price per piece works out to more than $.12 each. This is on the higher side of pricing for a licensed set. There are 4 minifigures in this set, all unique.
      Some people may wind up picking up a set that is open box or, want to verify the box contents before beginning a build. For this set, there are 2 unnumbered baggies and an instruction book.

      Speaking of boxes, did you know that these glue sealed boxes have a date stamp on the bottom? This set has a stamp of 50R5. It's strange to me that it took so long for me to realize it.

      I hope that people are amused enough by watching minifigures building sets that they like these pictures. My 6 year old thinks that this type of stuff is really funny.

      It's been years since I built a speederbike, but it turns out, it's kind of exactly like I remember.

      These guys work well together and don't separate by species, so yay for the Rebellion. We're all inclusive here.

      Let me take a moment as an aside about the number of parts in this set. 101 parts sounds like an adequate size for a small vehicle, right? Well, 101 pieces includes the 4 minifigures and all of their accessories. Between the minifigures, jetpacks, stud shooters and ammo, we subtract 37 pieces. More than 1/3 of the set is already X'ed off.

      Several 2x4 tile pieces are a welcome addition for folks who part these things out.

      The body of the speeder is really coming together. Goggle helmet is checking the underside.

      I was curious about the plate with the axle pieces.

      I like the flat silver lances. They're in a lot of fairly new sets, but I think Castle fans will want them. 

      You build some controller rods out of battle droid arms, they actually look nice. Another stud shooter on the back. I really don't like stud shooters.

      All done, time to ride.

      I got this set hoping that the novelty of unnamed alien Rebel troopers would be enough to make me interested. Unfortunately it really wasn't. The printing is well done, but dull to look at. It's basically just the Endor trooper print done on tan. Ugh, tan does nothing to make people interested. The mix and match torsos and legs give the illusion of uniqueness. The 2 person speeder was uninteresting. I could see it showing up in the background of someone's display. It would be more of an afterthought I think. I did like the use of the A-Wing pilot helmet. I just wish that I could have liked this more. As far as it goes, I'm just going to dump all of these guys on ebay and get my money back. The speeder's not even worth throwing on ebay so will be disassembled for parts. I should know by now that battle packs are great for cheap gifts, not for collecting. If they wanted some species diversity, they could have thrown in a Twi'Lek or a mon calamari. Maybe a future battle pack will have those.

      Battle Packs have their place in the universe of Star Wars LEGO sets. They're cheap, you get a bunch of minifigures, and they are easily found. Grandparents, parents, and friends love giving these little sets as presents. 4 army builders usually work well for collectors. The big problem is that unlike 75131 and 75132, this set is not full of characters from a movie or even from a cartoon. These are Expanded Universe figures and that means that they are going to be lowest rung of the collector's ladder.
      I expect to see a good number of these on clearance when the time comes. I do not anticipate them to become very sought after long term. If they double in value before they get to 3 years post EOL, I'd be surprised.
      Pick up one on Amazon
      You get an extra 1x1 printed tile from the back of the jetpack. The extra studs from the stud shooters belong here, even though they are a part of the official piece count. Extra goggles and a black mechanical arm are the only other pieces of real note.

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