For today’s Lego 250 review we’re going to do something slightly different.
Just before Christmas, I headed into my local Woolworths for some seasonal cinnamon-flavoured things that aren’t normally cinnamon flavoured shopping, to discover a large stand of Karen-Overordered-Again polybags lurking in the corner at a massive discount.
Having picked four of them up, and built them together, it makes sense to review them together, too. Four cheap polybags from four different themes, all crammed together by a shopping coincidence. That, kids, is the story of Jesus.
First off is 30529 Mini Master-Building Emmet Polybag. I’ve whined before about the charmlessness of the Lego Movie 2. It’s a sadly cynical cash grab, with none of the innovation, delight, or whimsy of the original. It also continues a tradition started by the original Lego Movie: waaaaaay too many sets centred around the lead character, Emmet. Emmet’s whole gig is that he is the ultimate Lego everyman– so featureless and generic that nobody remembers him, even when he’s in the room. It’s ironic, then, that so many of the movie-based sets include him. You’d think an army of Emmets is the exact opposite of what anyone would want.
It’s also ironic that this is the only one of the four polybags to have a minifig. In truth, it doesn’t need him. The crane itself is a cute little build which manages to include a level of playability in its 45 pieces. The hull rotates, and the arm rises and falls, which is an impressive flexibility for such a small build. Toss the Emmet in the minifig tub with the rest of them — I don’t know, maybe you can build a clone army or something — and this is a nifty little set indeed.
A nice little build. Just lose the boring minifig.
30572 Race Car Polybag is the weakest of the four. It’s a generic Racers style dinky car. I’ve got a bunch of these, and they’re so interchangeable I’m including them all in one large review rather than say the same thing over and over. It sports a nice-enough colour scheme, but the truth is, if you’ve built one of these you’ve built them all, and this does nothing to change the zeitgeist. It’s the very manifestation of the Artemus Ward quote, “Those who like this sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like.”
Honestly, I’m kind of annoyed I used up the word ‘generic’ on the last review…
I always expect something nutty from Ninjago. In that sense, 30533 Sam-X Polybag is a slight disappointment. It’s a standard NinjaMech from the theme that made them a thing. It’s not particularly complex– which is, perhaps, a bit much to expect from a set that’s only 56 pieces large — but neither is it innovative or even particularly attractive. It does use mini-hinges to good effect, creating a figure that is both poseable and moveable. In the end, it’s about what you expect from a polybag: something quick, and disposable. I just like my Ninjago sets to make me giggle in disbelief, is all.
Good. Just not Ninjago-mad-as-a-cut-snake-on-acid good.
I’ve left the real hit of the selection until last. 30408 Tulips Polybag comes from the Friends line, a controversial-amongst-sexists-and-idiots theme that introduced “girl-specific” ideas to Lego (for, like, the third time) as well as a whole raft of new colours, shapes, and characters. The particular brilliance of this set is that it takes all the thematic resonance from Friends and applies it to something that isn’t a typical set for the theme. In truth, this design could have come from a Creator set just as comfortably. But the colour palette is bang-on, and by creating a distinct object and aiming it at this demographic, the polybag widens the building mindset for the girls the theme is aimed at, which is a clever piece of guerilla marketing if nothing else.
And the set itself is very clever. The tulips and box come together as an ornament: not something you see a lot of in Lego sets, if ever. It’s stylish, manages three component builds in less than 100 pieces, and uses parts in a series of imaginative and exciting ways. Taken as a set in its own right, it’s a very, very good piece of design. As part of this particular quintet it’s way above the standard of its partners.
A clever, stylish, innovative build. As good as a polybag gets.
Four polybags. Taken separately, I might have picked none of them up. But flush with cash, engorged with pre-Christmas bonhomie, and faced with a whole rack of them at Ludicrous% off, it was a matter of whim to sweep them into my shopping bag. One excellent, one quite good, one not bad, and one meh-okay is a pretty good hit rate, all things considered.
30529 Mini Master-Building Emmet Polybag
30572 Race Car Polybag
30533 Sam-X Polybag
30408 Tulips Polybag
The League Table of Awesomeness