Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 2:51pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
This review has been a long time in the making, but it's finally time to share it here. Today we're taking a look at 70816 Benny's Spaceship Spaceship SPACESHIP! from the LEGO Movie line of sets, and the largest one that's not part of the D2C range. Is this nostalgia-filled, meme-inducing, interstellar transport worth its weight in ABS, or should you pass on it in favor of other options? You'll have have to 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.
This is a big set, and it comes in a big box. The front has all the LEGO Movie branding that we would expect, with the majority of the space being taken up by the spaceship itself. The three different launchers it has are shown off, as well as a couple of the other play features. The bottom right corner highlights the four minifigures and one cat-unicorn-hybrid contained in the set. The back has another shot of the ship, but most of the action has been taken to the ground, with the characters fighting it out mostly on foot. Along the bottom with its film reel look are images showing off the rest of the action features and an ad for the LEGO Movie videogame. All in all its a very effective packaging... package.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
The set took me about ninety minutes to build - it contains 940 pieces after all! It's split across seven bags, with the first building the Super Secret Police fighter and two 'wing-tip fighters' and the other six focusing on the ship itself. The set makes use of some SNOT techniques and has a lot of Technic construction in its frame, helping to make it very solid. There's a lot of symmetry in the build too, so if you're smart you can build both left and right sections at the same time. I wouldn't say it was a very challenging build, but it was certainly engaging and will keep you at it for a good long while.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
To me, there weren't a whole lot of standout parts in this set. Overall, you get a lot of blue and light gray, with a smattering of yellow, black, and other colors for highlights. Above are some of the pieces that the Internet tells me are exclusive to the set or appear in few others ones. My personal favorites are the printed pieces - you get two printed black 2x2 slopes with control panel designs and a 2x4 blue slope with the classic space logo printed on it. The 2x4 slope didn't exist back in the days of classic space, so it's really cool to see the logo on a new piece. Other standouts are the UCS X-Wing canopy in trans-yellow, the laser-etched 1x4 tile (anyone know the signifigance of this?), the Piece of Resistance in silver, and the 1x2x1 L-shaped tile. Overall there's a good variety - this is a spaceship made out of all sorts of pieces, not a castle or building with a lot of basic bricks.
We'll start off by looking at the Super Secret Police ship. It's a single seat snub-fighter with a pretty basic design. It does make use of some SNOT on the nose to give it a streamlined look, but apart from that there's nothing overly special. The wings have stickers with the Octan logo modified to give it a 'spacey' look and there are some warning stickers on the fuselage as well. While it's nothing too impressive, it's a decent showing to give the other side some representation.
Next we've got the 'wing-tip fighters' that, oddly enough, attach to the wing-tips of the main spaceship. They are both identical, so you don't have to worry about mixing up the left and right ships. It's definitely reminiscent of classic space designs from the 70s and 80s, with the color scheme, folding wings, and open cockpit. The canopy opens and has a sticker on it with a heads up display for the pilot. The inside even has its own control panel, which is a welcome touch. The fighters are simple, but get the job done.
As a child growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, I don't want to think about how much time I spent looking at LEGO catalogs poring over the awesome spaceships of the M-Tron, Blacktron II, Space Police II, and Ice Planet 2002 lines, but I never was able to get any of the really big, really cool ones. So this set really fulfills a childhood dream of mine, and the designers did their best to press all the right nostalgia buttons. The most obvious is of course the color scheme, hearkening back to the classic space sets of the late 70s and early 80s. The stickers even say 'LL929,' which is coincidentally one higher than 928/497 Galaxy Explorer, which bears 'LL928.' Looking at that older set, you can clearly see see how it was a source of inspiration for the designers. But that was 35 years ago, and LEGO sets have changed in a lot of ways since then. Looking back at the Galaxy Explorer now you might be surprised at how simple it looks. I would argue that Benny's Spaceship looks in reality like how we remember those classic models looking in our head.
The set is pretty awesome if you ask me. It has a sleek, streamlined look overall, but nearly every inch is crammed with details. Nostalgia aside, the color scheme works great, with the yellow and trans-yellow highlights complimenting the blue well and the two shades of gray balancing everything out. The spaceship is also very big, but the designers have ensured that it's still sturdy and playable by using Technic elements to give it support.
Like I said, there's lots of details here! The main cockpit has controls (both printed and stickered) and has ample seating for three minifigures. Thankfully, Astro-Kitty is not forgotten, as she has her own section further back that is specifically designed for a cat in a spacesuit, complete with controls and greebles. The section flips open, revealing the engineering area, where minifigures can stand or be seated to work on the engine. In addition to some tools and controls, there's also a 'warp core' or 'hyperdrive' or whatever they're calling it, although it's difficult to photograph it was a really cool detail to build and add in there. Behind the engineering section is a flip-up radar dish and two little repair robots, which are some great details that help add to the classic space feel. Finally, the wing-tip fighters we saw above connect to the wing-tips (go figure!) and fit in really well. The stickers really add to the look, even if they can be a pain to apply at times.
Time for the minifigs! First up we have the Super Secret Police fighter pilot. While the head is only printed on one side, the torso has front and back printing and is unique to this set I believe. I love the incorporation of the Octan logo and the shirt and tie visible underneath the flight jacket. It's a very cool fig!
Emmet is a bit of a head-scratcher. He's wearing his tin-foil disguise that is only seen earlier in the movie - in fact he was never on Benny's Spaceship, and only showed up afterwards! In my opinion, it would have made more sense to include this fig in Lord Business' Evil Lair, but I am glad we got it in any case. The torso is the same as in other sets but with gray hands (why not silver?) instead of yellow. At first the legs look the same too, but they have additional tin-foil printing on the front and sides - a very nice touch! He only has one face, but his head is printed all the way around with a tin-foil pattern that captures the scene from the movie well. The helmet/hair piece is the same as the one in the Collectible Minifigs line, but we do get the Piece of Resistance (1x1x2 brick with a hole in the side) in silver. Definitely a solid figure even if most of the parts might not have a lot of reuse.
Next up we've got Wyldstyle clad in her spacesuit. Feel free to correct me, but I don't recall her actually appearing in this outfit in the movie. That doesn't change the fact that the fig is awesome though. The head and hair are the same that we've seen in other sets, but the torso and leg prints are brand new and the hood is seen here in blue for the first time. The print is pretty cool and is a cross between Wyldstyle's main outfit and a classic space suit. The colors work perfectly for that blend between futuristic and graffiti.
And of course, Benny's spaceship wouldn't be complete without Benny! Benny is what happens with your classic space minifigs when you play with them too much. The chinstrap is 'cracked' and the classic space logo on his chest is partially rubbed off. There's no back printing, because classic space minifigs didn't have back printing, duh. He does have a two-sided head though, with one side having the classic smiley face and the other a super-excited grin. He takes the line between retro and washed up and blows it up with his giant spaceship. What I mean is, while I never had any figures break/wear the way he did, he gets the idea across and it's really cool.
Next up is Astro-Kitty, aka Uni-Kitty in a spacesuit. The build is the same as Uni-Kitty and Bizness-Kitty, but with different colors. This is the first time we've gotten the tail in blue, as well as 1x1 plates in gold. The 1x3 blue arch with the classic space logo is obviously unique to this set, as is the 1x3 blue brick with Astro-Kitty's face. Like Wyldstyle, I don't remember this outfit appearing in the movie, but it's still really cool if you ask me.
Also included are the two repair robots, which remind me of similar robots from space sets in the late 70s through early 90s. Obviously they didn't have cheese slopes back then, but the retro feel is still there. They're a nice little addition that are more than welcome in the set.
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?
There's a lot of play features in this set, and because of the size some of them are difficult to photograph. Be sure to check them out in the video though, as I do my best to capture them all there.
One cool thing is that all of the minifigs fit in the set (except the Super Secret Police pilot, but he has his own ship). The main cockpit seats three minifigs, and while you have to pop off Emmet's Piece of Resistance, I find it a minor inconvenience to make it work. Behind the main cockpit is a spot for Astro-Kitty, who fits in there fairly loosely, but is held securely in place with a battle droid body that folds down onto her tail. This solution works really well and I also like the lack of gaps in her little seat area - it makes it feel airtight like a spaceship should be.
Other play features include the opening cockpit and engineering area, allowing easy access to the interiors. Also, one of the cooler features is that when you push and pull the main engine on the back, the wings go in and out, exposing the rubber-tipped spring-loaded launchers. This was a cool feature to build and it works really well. Speaking of launchers, in addition to the rubber-tipped ones, there are two of the new 1x4 brick spring-loaded launchers and four flick-fire missiles, making it armed and dangerous.
The set includes a big spaceship and two little spaceships for the good guys, as well as a small spaceship for the bad guys. This allows for lots of role-play fun and tons of scenarios you can use your imagination to come up with. It's a bit unbalanced towards the side of the good guys, but there's still plenty to do!
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Captures the classic space-retro feel
- Sturdy and swooshable design
- Lots of details and play features
- Great minifigures including four exclusives
- Good role-play opportunities
- Wide variety of parts
What's not to like?
- A little on the expensive side
This set retails for about $100 and contains 940 pieces. As of this writing, you can pick it up at Walmart (in store only) for $80. For that price, this is a no-brainer, but even at $100 I think it's a great value. It captures the nostalgia many older fans have and boxes it up into an awesome spaceship that anyone can enjoy. There's tons of details and features that make it fun to play with or to display. I whole-heartedly recommend this set!
Thank you all for reading and watching this review - I hope you enjoyed it. Questions, comments, and other feedback are welcome in the Talkback topic and I'll do my best to address them all. 2015 is almost here, which means you can expect to start seeing 2015 reviews rolling in soon (we've already done all the Bionicle ones!), along with other LEGO news, right here on BZPower!
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