Time for another Lego 250 review. This time, it’s one of the newest sets in my collection, and perhaps a sign of how Lego thinks it’s going to capture the imagination of the next generation of young folk with their ippypads and their hippity hop: the app-interactive 70418 JB’s Ghost Lab from the new Hidden Side series.
When it comes to Lego, I like the weird stuff. Release another police station or x-wing fighter? Meh. I mean, maybe if it’s on special, and I’ve got the cash, and there’s nothing in the house to read, and I’ve lost the will to think…… But tell me there’s a theme involving haunted weird places, and bizarre electric-bolt-sparking machines, and creepy crawlies and monsters…. oh yeah, baby. I’m there with knobs on. (Wait until we get to the Monster Hunters stuff later in the piece!)
So I’m the demographic for Hidden Side: there’s a story, as there are with all unlicenced themes. Something about a couple of teen vloggers and funny goings on and ghosts and hey, I watched ParaNorman already. And there’s an app: hold your phone over the set, and all sorts of extras appear. I’m all for Lego trying to capture new demographics– I love the Friends range, which was an overt (and start them argument about misguideeeeeeeddd……now!) attempt to create/crash/cash-in on a perceived girls market. An attempt to align the product with screen-eyed kids makes sense.
So, I tried it. Downloaded the ridiculously ginormous app, waved it about over my set, had various nostalgic thoughts about my Pokemon Go days, and deleted it again. Turns out, it’s really not my thing: I’m in it for the build. But Lego clearly hope a lot of people a quarter of my age are going to be into it, because it looks like the kind of thing they’ve pumped a whole bunch of money into. The best way to see it is to, well, see it. Check out this:
Yeah, anyway. To paraphrase Artemus Ward, those who like that sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like. For me, the sort of thing I like is the set itself.
Thankfully, this is a fantastic little build. It’s not big, only 160 pieces or so, with three minifigs and a dog. But it’s as close to poetry as Lego can get: every piece has meaning, and maximum effect. Not a single piece is wasted. The level of detail is simply gorgeous, from the James Whale-ish buzzy electrode towers to the hinged keyboard in front of the monitor screen.
Poetry in plastic. Which is also the name of my next BDSM spoken word album…
Parts move around, making it playable. Colours pop: this is an attractive set. And the detail covers both sides, making it a set that can be admired right the way around. There is no back and front, like some other builds, no sense that all the candy has been shoved onto the facia and the rear is simply bare rigging. For such a small set, JB’s Ghost Lab feels solid and complete.
Plenty to be getting on with around the rear, oo-er Missus.
There are eight sets in this new theme, and I’m pretty well in love with five of them already, so the lay-by department at my local K-Mart is going to get a right seeing-to over the next few weeks. Whether you care about the app or not, this looks to be a fun series. JB’s Ghost Lab, while it might be the smallest of the range, fits in everything I want in a Lego set: fun to build, great to look at, a delightful theme, at least one excellent minifig (in this case, a transparent-headed ghost-man in bilious shades of green), and the feeling that it represents real value for money.
Hooked. Take my money!
It is what it is. An interesting shape and that’s it.
The League Table of Awesomeness