Monday, January 11th, 2016 at 7:45pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It's time to look at another LEGO Ideas set. Last month saw the release of 21304 Doctor Who, based on the popular BBC TV series, to much fanfare and excitement. Will this set take you to the outer reaches of time and space, or will it abandon you in 1969 with no way of getting home? To find out the whole story, read on and check out our review and video!
We tried some different things with our review this time, so let us know what you think - do you like this or the old way better?
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Keeping with the LEGO Ideas standard, this set comes in a very nice, premium box. The Doctor Who logo and the TARDIS are front and center, while the bottom right corner lets us know this is the eleventh Doctor Who set (and conveniently includes the Eleventh Doctor). Of course taking up most of the box is the set itself - the main interior of the TARDIS, with the console and time rotor. On the back, we get an overview of the Ideas process, a closeup of the console, a callout showing that the TARDIS exterior detaches from the main set, and pictures of all the minifigures the set contains.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
With 623 pieces, the set will take you a little bit to put together, though not too long. The majority of it is studs-up, and what isn't is still straightforward. The main part of the set isn't repetitive at least, although the TARDIS exterior is essentially just a box. The build is small enough though that you're done before it gets boring.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Earth blue is the color of the hour here, as you might expect. There's a good bit of medium and dark stone grey as well, with some nice variety. It's definitely a good selection that's quite useful for MOCs.
Thanks to LEGO Dimensions, none of the pieces in this set are exclusive, but some of the rarer ones are as follows:
- Sand Yellow 2x2 Plate - Available in 1 other set
- Warm Gold Sonic Screwdriver - Available in 1 other set
- Earth Blue 6x6 Plate - Available in 2 other sets
- Transparent Light Blue Wedge-Belt Wheel - Available in 2 other sets
- Earth Blue 1x3 Plate - Available in 6 other sets
- Transparent Back Plate w/2 Studs - Available in 7 other sets
- Medium Stone Grey Disk - Available in 8 other sets
- Medium Stone Grey 2X2X1 45 Degree Roof Tile - Available in 8 other sets
As with all the other LEGO Ideas sets I've encountered, there are no stickers in Doctor Who. This results in quite a few printed pieces, which are all pretty awesome, even the ones I missed taking pictures of. I particularly like the 2x2 dish for the Dalek head and the signs used on the TARDIS console. All the printing is sharp and looks just as you'd expect from the show.
We'll start things off with the twelfth Doctor, as portrayed by Peter Capaldi. The purple coat is something he wore, but it's not his most common outfit, which makes it seem like an odd choice. The face and hair are pretty spot on, although I wish he had a secondary face.
Next up is Matt Smith's eleventh Doctor, who remains a fan favorite. The outfit is perfect and of course includes a bow-tie (because bow-ties are cool) and a fez (because they're cool too). He does have two faces on his head, which captures his silly and serious moments pretty well. Above you can see him with his sonic screwdriver, which is very detailed for such a small piece and looks about as perfect as you could expect.
Finally there's Clara Oswin Oswald, the Doctor's companion played by Jenna Louise Coleman. Her legs are dual-molded with red and black, and between that and the printing, the skirt looks great. The torso is a sweater which is fitting for her character. I feel like the hair is too light though and the face is lacking something to make her character recognizable. I feel like you could put some red hair on her and almost call her Amy Pond, for as generic as the face is. Speaking of which, I would love to get more of the companions and past iterations of the Doctor.
Of course Doctor Who is known for its varied collection of enemies that he faces on a weekly basis, and this set has a solid representation. First up we have a Weeping Angel, who looks like a statue you'd see in gothic architecture. Until you blink! The designers captured the angel very well, with the two faces, the hair, and the printing. My only complaint is that the bracket used to hold the wings on is transparent, which looks out of place with all of the medium stone grey.
No Doctor Who set would be complete without his mortal enemies the Daleks! You get two of them here, based off of the more recent gold design, which makes sense even if some would have preferred a more classic look. The use of dark tan instead of gold on most of it works well I think and adds some contrast. They capture the shape as best as I think you can at that scale, and the result is definitely recognizable.
The TARDIS may be one of the most iconic science fiction vehicles out there, alongside the USS Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon. It's good, then, that the blue police box here is just about perfect. It has the sign along the top, the windows, the 'Pull to open' sign, and the doorknob, and the shape is spot on. If I had a complaint, it would be that the door doesn't open, which is just about the only play feature you'd expect in a model of a box that just sits there while people go in and out.
As most of you know, of course, the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. So here we have the control room, complete with the console and time rotor. I love all the different switches, buttons, dials, and readouts on each panel, which capture the complicated and cluttered look of the controls in the show. Obviously it would be impossible to make a set of the entire interior, but this is where most of the action goes down anyway. Without giving us the walls, I think this is a pretty decent representation - you know what it is and it looks cool - what more do you want?
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?
So the Doctor Who set comes with the exterior and interior of the TARDIS as two separate models, right? Wrong! Pop the top off the police box and you can open it up and attach it to the interior, completing the 'bigger on the inside' effect. And you can even fit a minifigure inside when you close the box up. This is a great play feature that really sells the whole set for me. It makes it feel very complete and sharp, and it even hints at the walls of the inside, even if they don't go all around.
With two Doctors, a companion, and three enemies, there are a plethora of scenarios you can play out with this set. It really deepens the play value for younger fans, which is great. I don't think most people will be buying the set to play with it though, which is just fine because it looks great on display too.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Sonic screwdriver!
- Looks awesome and accurate
- Bigger on the inside!
- Good selection of parts in earth blue
What's not to like?
- TARDIS door doesn't open
- Clara could use a different face and hair
- Can't travel through time and space
If you're a fan of Doctor Who, this set is a must-buy. It's pricy at $60, but you do get 623 pieces which turn into two Doctors, Clara, two Daleks, a Weeping Angel, a police box, and the main console. That's a lot of stuff, and it all looks great. If not for WALL-E, this would be my favorite LEGO Ideas set to-date, and it's definitely one of the coolest sets from 2015.
Thank you all for reading and watching the review! We'd love to get your honest feedback, so please leave your comments in the Talkback and on YouTube, where we'll be sure to read them. We'll do our best to answer any questions you might have too. And don't forget, we have more set reviews and LEGO news coming up, so make sure you subscribe to our channel and keep coming back to BZPower!
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