Monday, October 27, 2014

Dragon Ball Z minifigures by Lele (set 78045)

Our eight heroes : Yamcha, Vegeta, Son Gokū, Son Gohan, Kame Sennin, Piccolo, Krilin, Tenshinhan

I finally get it ! It took 22 days to come home, but now it's in my display case. So, what's up with this third Lego bootleg Dragon Ball set ? First, new characters : Tenshinhan, Piccolo and adult Son Gohan. Secondly, new clothes : Vegeta dropped his armor and Yamcha wears the suit he had the first time Son Gokū met him. Finally : here come the Dragon Balls ! Oh yes ! The exact center of the manga, the things that made the whole story begin finally come to bricks : the seven balls. Yes, there are eight of it here, but there are eight minifigures. One couldn't have no ball. Maybe Lele could have chosen another accessory, like a small Saiyajin spaceship for Vegeta. Anyway, the most important thing is that we have the seven Dragon Balls, and this set has a very good quality !

A better view of the Dragon Balls

The first thing we notice is the Dragon Balls, with their strange machines. It's a funny way to hold them. There are four different machines. Then, the minifigures bases. I don't like it, I prefer the simple Decool ones that copy the original Lego Minifigures bases.

As always, we have three classic characters : Vegeta, Super Saiyajin Son Gokū and Kame Sennin. Why Kame Sennin/Muten Roshi ? Just, why ? He comes in every set but he's not a major character in the series. I don't know why chinese knockoff brands love him that much. It's not a criticism, I like him and it doesn't disturb me, but I don't understand.

Yamcha, Kame Sennin, Krilin, Tenshinhan

It's made of good quality plastic. The pieces interlock well. The printing is good. Sometimes, the skin color on the torsos is different from the head color, but I know it's difficult to get the same color. The hair are about the same as in the Decool set, but with less details. I think Lele took a mold of Decool hair pieces to create their own hair pieces, that can explain the difference in details. Something can be shocking : Piccolo's arms are beige. But look at a drawing of this character : there are a lot of pink things. So Lele chose to take this color for his arms. Not a bad choice.

The backs are not printed : no details on torsos backs and no alternative face expression. Still not an issue for me. Maybe some minifigures collecters will be disappointed, I'm not. They're cool as they are, it's enough for me.

Vegeta, Son Gokū, Son Gohan, Piccolo

What about the accessories ? It's about the same as in the two other sets. Son Gokū has his Nyoi Bo on his back. It's a Gokū accessory, but he doesn't need it anymore since he knows how to become a Super Saiyajin. Kame Sennin has is typical stick. This time, his stick is better done than in the other sets. There is a special piece at the end of it to make it really look like the stick he holds in the manga. He wears a turtle shell too. Yamcha has in his hand the swork he uses in the beginning of the manga, when he was clothed this way.

Well, now, the bad accessories. Krilin has two knives. Like in the Decool set. But why ? I never saw him holding knives ! Tenshinhan has a transparent neon light green stick. Maybe to symbolize his energy wave, but I think there are better ways to symbolize this. Next, Vegeta. He holds a Star Wars Lightsaber. I just don't want to try to find why he has this accessory. Son Gohan has a gold chainsaw. I'm laughin' IRL, next ! Piccolo has small transparent dark green things in his hands. To symbolize his energy waves. OK it's over this time for accessories or I will get nervous.

The worst-made faces in the set

It's really a cool set, but there are still some issues. First, I was shocked when I opened my bags with the minifigures in it and notices that Kame Sennin's legs were orange, whereas in all the pictures of this set I saw, he has purple legs ! Well, maybe an error when they put the pieces in the bag.

All hair pieces are good except one. Actually, Yamcha wears the suit he had at the beginning of Dragon Ball. But he doesn't have the long hair he had at this time. He has the hair he had during the Androids and Cell saga. It's good to choose rare clothes, but it would be better if Lele were consistent and gave him the right hair.

Then, four minifigures have a strange face printing : Vegeta, Son Gohan, Piccolo and Yamcha. Not really ugly, or bad, or not unsimilar to their real faces. But it's not a big issue. Just a little disturbing, especially for Piccolo.

The last issue is about Gohan's and Tenshinhan's torsos. Lele invented new muscles ! Sooooo disturbing ! They never saw a human being body or what ?

Were there muscles sales in Lele's office ?

OK, so to conclude, I will say that it's a good set. Maybe less oddball than JLB set, but there are new characters and new clothings. So now, with the three Dragon Ball sets, I have 15 different characters : Super Saiyajin Son Gokū, Super Saiyajin Son Gokū with ripped clothes, Super Saiyajin 3 Son Gokū, Super Saiyajin 4 Son Gokū, young Son Gohan, adult Son Gohan, Vegeta with armor, Vegeta without armor, Yamcha with his debut clothes, Yamcha wearing the Kame suit, Kame Sennin, Krilin, Tenshinhan, Piccolo and Majin Buu. Not bad, isn't it ? 15 different characters on 20 minifigures in total. I begin to have a pretty good Dragon Ball minifigures collection !

I admit that I was not confident when I ordered this set, because I read articles in blogs telling that Lele quality was not good. I can tell I'm surprised by the quality of this set. It's not as good as Decool, sure, but not bad. Much better than JLB ! I will buy other sets by Lele.

Next time, I will write about... Actually I don't know. If I get my other bootleg minifigures sets soon, it will be a knockoff article. If I don't, it will be an article about genuine Lego sets. See you next time, bros !


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Space series Star exploring vehicle by Enlighten (set 508)

Front of the box

So here comes a set I really wanted to review. I bought this box in Seoul too and I didn't open the pieces bags until now. What I can tell you is that I'm not disappointed at all !

The rear of the box with alternative buildings

The first thing I told myself when I opened the bags containing the pieces was "wooo it's almost official Lego quality !". I can claim that the quality is very high !

All the pieces look like real Lego bricks (except the Lego tag). The first thing you notice when you look at the illustrations on the box is that it really looks like Lego Space sets from the 1990's. It's a real inspiration with proofs : the logo on the Star exploring vehicle is the Lego Exploriens logo (1996~1997), the astronaut torso is the same that Exploriens minifigures, the helmet visor is the same that Lego Space port astronauts (1999) and the minifigure's head is the same that Exploriens and Space port astronauts. The 2x2 tile with changing illustration according to the light color comes from Exploriens too.

So this is a pure copy ? No ! First, this vehicle doesn't exist in genuine Lego. This is an Enlighten creation. What about Exploriens and Space port inspiration ? Well, as these subthemes are discontinued for at least 15 years. So Lego doesn't want to lose time in suing knockoff brands.

Inside the box

I was so excited when I saw these Enlighten boxes on a stand in the middle of a Seoul pedestrian street ! There were different themes, but the one that attracted me instantaneously was Space series. Because, you know, I love Lego 1990's Space sets, including Exploriens !

The built vehicle

This Star exploring vehicle reminds me of Lego 1990's Space vehicles. This is my first Enlighten set and I'm sure I will buy other ones. It's worth a shot !

As you can see, the minifigure on the bottom right corner wears a Space port astronaut suit, but inside the box, it's really an Exploriens torso ! As I noticed several times, it looks like illustrations on Enlighten boxes can sometimes not reflect the reality of the set inside. In other Elighten sets, some minifigures faces look bad, but as this set is terrific, I will try without a doubt !

The Exploriens/Space port astronaut

To conclude, this set is brilliant, Enlighten is brilliant, I love Lego bootleg and I love you all !

Exploriens logo on the vehicle's hood. Very identical to the genuine one !

Next time, I will review a bootleg minifigures set ! I know you love it, so that's what I'll do ! However, I didn't receive the sets I ordered yet, so maybe it will take a little time.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Super Heroes Iron Patriot by Decool (set 0110)

Korean box of Iron Man Mark 40

Wait... What ? The title of this article is "Iron Patriot", and I show a picture of the box of the "Iron Man Mark 40" by Decool ? What the... ? Let's observe the back of the box !

Back of the Korean box of Iron Man Mark 40

Well... Still Iron Man Mark 40 ! There's a problem somewhere, ain't it ? So, open the box !

Iron Man Mark 40 box with Iron Patriot in it

OK OK, I see ! There's a mistake, the Iron Patriot minifigure is inside the Mark 40 box. So, what about this error ? As you can see, it's written in korean on the box. I bought this box when I was in Seoul in early May. It costed KRW 3,000 (about USD 3). What a surprise when, back in Paris, I opened it and noticed that the minifigure wasn't the good one ! But I don't care, I don't know anything about Iron Man, it was just to buy something. And actually, it was my first encounter with bootleg Lego. It drove me crazy when I saw all those Decool, Lele, Enlighten and Oxford boxes. The first three were cheap, but Oxford is very expensive ! And the sets are so interesting. But sadly I couldn't take one with me.

What about the minifigure ? It's Decool quality, so very good quality. The legs use the Decool technology to assemble it with the torso. As I hadn't the box that fits to the figure, I didn't know how to build the base. So I looked for it on the Internet. There's just a small issue with the figure : there's a scratch on the back. A factory defect !

Some pictures of the Decool Iron Patriot minifigure

Next time it will be a knockoff review again of a set that comes from Seoul too !


Friday, October 17, 2014

Ice Planet 2002 Ice Tunnelator by Lego (set 6814, 1993)

An Ice Planet astronaut with his Ice Tunnelator

Last time I was talking about one of my favorite Lego themes, Aquazone. If I had to choose only two themes, I would pick Aquazone and Ice Planet 2002. I think I love transparent neon reddish orange pieces LOL. If I had to choose one between these themes ? Well... It's a very difficult question you're asking me ! I would say... I don't know !! Aquazone is a more developed theme, with different factions in it. The good guys, the bad guys, the worse guys, the strange good guys and the even worse guys. Ice planet is a small Space subtheme, with only three kinds of minifigures. But they are related with other Space factions : their foes are Spyrius and Space Police II helped them to quiet to keep on their science research. So, my final answer ? I would say Ice Planet 2002. Because it was released sooner than Aquazone, so it's more fixed inside me. Even if I don't know which sets I had as a kid. I know I possessed the outstanding set Space Explorers, the best mix of minifigures ever in my opinion. I'm not sure I had another set with Ice Planet astronauts in it. But back in september 2012, when I came back to Legoness, the first two sets I bought were Ice Planet 2002.

The astronaut is on board !

So, what about this set ? It's the second smallest set from this theme. It features a small vehicle with the typical Ice Planet 2002 white wheels. We have a complete figure with skis and an ice chainsaw. The color scheme of the subtheme is present : neon reddish orange, blue and white, with a trace of black. This set is the perfect one if you want to try Ice Planet 2002 with a cheap set. It has all the basis for understanding the essence of the subtheme. And you can play with the Tunnelator, it rolls ! So now, if you get stuck in ice, you know who to call ! The Ice Planet 2002 astronaut will be happy to help you !

Handsome, isn't he ?

In the next article, maybe I will get back to knockoff... Isn't it what you want ? :-P

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Aquazone Sea Sprint 9 by Lego (set 6125, 1995)

Aquazone Sea Sprint 9

So this is my first genuine Lego review ! Why starting with this set ? Because it's the only vintage set I have both mint in box and in loose. And Aquanauts is one of my favorite Lego themes of all time. The original subthemes, Aquanauts and Aquasharks were released in 1995 and 1996. Then came out three new factions : Aquaraiders in 1997 and Hydronauts and Stingrays in 1998. Even if I was still playing Lego at this time (I was 10 in 1997), I prefered other themes like Western and Adventurers. Maybe I was thinking the only real Aquazone factions were the first two released.

Why did I love the Aquazone theme ? I actually still love this theme. I think it's because of the futurist neon style of the sets. I love all Space themes until Exploriens in 1996. It remains the same, something happened in 1997. I didn't love space sets released after 1997. The same for Castle, I finished buying boxes after the Royal Knights theme in 1996. At this time I was more interested in more modern and realistic themes. Maybe I can explain this by the fact that I was turning 10 and my look on the world changed.

The construction in front of its box

Let's go back to Aquazone. It's like a Space theme, but undersea. However, it's not fun to say that if Aquanauts go up to the surface, they will meet City minifigures. I prefer imagining that it takes place on an afloat planet. So, in my opinion, Aquazone is a Space theme !

So, what's in this box ? There's one minifigure, the commander Jock Clouseau, with his red headband. He wears the Aquanauts specific diving suit with the special helmet that allows him to move on in the water. But, unlike his team members, his helmet has a neon blue visor. It makes him more attractive than his friends. But it's normal, he's the leader ! He has two shiny iron knives and his swimming fins.

Jock Clouseau

The Sea sprint 9 is a small submarine (20 pieces) with a short grabber. The four neon pieces are two elements of the grabber, the back propeller (orange) and the submarine top shell (dark blue). The mix of orange neon, dark blue neon, yellow and black defines the Aquazone theme identity. On the top of the submarine there's a round tale with Aquanaut's symbol printed on it.

Is this set worth buying ? Sure ! It's the second smallest set of the Aquanauts subtheme (excluding the two minifigures and accessories only sets), but the first featuring a real submarine. The Crystal crawler (set 6145) and the Crystal explorer sub (set 6175) a bigger and more interesting, but the Sea sprint 9 is interesting too. And in comparison with the Crystal crawler, you will have Jock Clouseau, the best minifigure !

The back of the box with alternate build ideas

When I was a kid, I used to possess the Crystal explorer sub. It was the only Lego set that I didn't dismantle (I don't know why I kept this one intact). It was in my glass bookcase. But one day, for his birthday party, my brother (who was 5 or 6) invited his friends. One of them took my Crysal explorer sub behind my back and destroyed it hidden behind the sofa. Sad ending for a great set. I have to buy it again someday.

I think I will review again a Lego set in the next article.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dragon Ball Z minifigures by JLB (sets 5901 to 5906)

Super Saiyajin Son Gokū, Majin Buu, Super Saiyajin 3 Son Gokū / Vegeta, Super Saiyajin 4 Son Gokū / Kame Sennin

As I promised in the last article, I will now talk about the JLB Dragon Ball Z minifigures. I received this set at the same time as I receveid the Decool one. It was very pleaseful to get in one time all these DBZ characters. Some were in both sets (Super Saiyajin Son Gokū, Vegeta and Kame Sennin), but this allowed me to do comparisons. Decool minifigures were a brilliant success. What about JLB's ?

Gokū's theory of evolution

The first time I saw these minfigures, I find it original and botched. Mixed feelings for this set. It was a very good idea to put different Gokū in the same set. It makes me think of the Bandai Super Battle Collection Son Gokū pack with interchangeable heads. You may think more Gokū means less other characters. Nevermind, JLB will put other Dragon Ball characters in their next set ! Kame Sennin is a rare character in the latter part of the manga, it's interesting to notice that chinese brands like him, as he appears in the Decool set too. I was very surprised the first time I saw Majin Buu in a minifigures set, he wouldn't be one of the first characters I would put in a set. But he's the best made character from this set.

What about accessories ? First, what is the black and yellow construction on the left of the plate ? I have no idea. I think all JLB minifigures have this, but... I have no word for this, it's beyond me. And the hand accessories ? Not a bad idea but that doesn't do it. Five minifigures have two 1x1 round plates symbolizing their energy waves. Three of them have a blue energy wave (Super Saiyajin Son Gokū, Majin Buu and Super Saiyajin 3 Son Gokū) and two of them have a red one (Vegeta and Super Saiyajin 4 Son Gokū). I talked of five minifigure. What about the sixth one ? It's Kame Sennin holding a kind of iron stick. Well... Isn't he the creator of Kamehameha ? He would have deserved an energy wave more than the other characters !

Kame Sennin, Super Saiyajin Son Gokū, Super Saiyajin 3 Son Gokū, Vegeta, Super Saiyajin 4 Son Gokū, Majin Buu

I tried to make the minifigures stand up. I didn't manage it, so I used Decool plates to take the picture. OK, so bad news for the players. Then, the pieces fit bad together. Sometimes a hand doesn't want to be hitched, another time the legs bend on their own. It's not a good quality ! The hair are made with a disgusting soft plastic. Vegeta wears kneepads, but he never wore it.

The printing is not that bad. Sometimes the colors don't fit (Son Gokū Super Saiyajin 3 and 4's chests have not a fitting color with their skin. The faces are quite good. The best three faces are Vegeta, Kame Sennin and Majin Buu. Unfortunately, Kame Sennin's face is printed too low, so his beard hides a major part of it. The three Son Gokūs' faces don't really look like Son Gokū. Super Saiyajin 3 Son Gokū has eyebrows whereas he doesn't have it in the manga.

In comparison to Decool minifigures, Kame Sennin is as tall as the other characters, whereas he is smaller in the Decool set. It's not really an issue. This character wears a turtle shell too, the same as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael.

Kame Sennin, Super Saiyajin Son Gokū, Super Saiyajin 3 Son Gokū, Vegeta, Super Saiyajin 4 Son Gokū, Majin Buu

To conclude I will say that it's not a bad set, but the quality isn't present. Some characters are well done, the other are cheap. The best character is Majin Buu because he doesn't have one of those terrible hairpieces. Fortunately I had no piece missing unlike a friend of mine who had a JLB One Piece set with one leg missing. If this brand releases other Dragon Ball Z sets I would be happy, if they don't it's OK.

Next time I will talk of a Lego set. And then a new Dragon Ball minifigures set when I'll get it !


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dragon Ball Z minifigures by Decool (sets 701 to 706)

Son Gokū, Son Gohan, Yamcha, Kame Sennin, Krilin, Vegeta with accessories

I begin this magnificent blog with the mix of two things that represent my childhood and made me what I am today : Dragon Ball Z and Lego. Actually, it's not really Lego, this is a minifigure set made by a Lego bootleg brand : Decool which is the best Lego bootleg brand I know. They make really good quality minifigures.

Let's fight !!

Now let's talk about the set and the minifigures : it is composed of six of the major characters from the manga Dragon Ball. Super Saiyajin Son Gokū, his son Son Gohan, his rival Vegeta, his sensei Kame Sennin and his mates Yamcha and Krilin. The choice of these characters is very good : we have three Saiyajin warriors, the most important characters in the "Z" part of the manga and three important characters from the beginning of the series who become less and less fundamental as enemies get stronger. Everyone is pleased : fans of the adventure and funniest part of the manga and fans of its action and most violent part.

It's pleasant to notice that minfigures backs are illustrated. Figures are very complete. Kame Sennin has a turtle shell on his back. Decool designers could just print a shell on the torso back but they are meticulous. The shell used here is the same as Raphael wears in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lego sets.

Son Gokû and Kame Sennin
the only two minifigures with back accessories

The haired characters have reversible faces. The player can choose the expression he wants his minifigure has. It's a very interesting possibility. However, two characters (Yamcha and Son Gohan) have their hair too short on the back so we can see the bottom of the second face.

About Gohan's hair, the plastic used is different from the other character's. It's a mat soft plastic that looks more fragile than shiny hard plastic. Secondly, Gohan's haircut doesn't look like the one he has in the manga.

Gohan's legs are normal legs so the minifigure is as tall as Son Gokū, Yamcha and Vegeta. But in reality, Gohan wears these clothes when he's a kid, so he shouldn't be as tall as adults. Krilin and Kame Sennin are short-legged and so should Gohan be. Maybe I will buy another set to give Gohan the legs he deserves to have.

Son Gokū with Son Gohan as he should be

What about the accessories ? Only one is consistent, Kame Sennin's stick. The other are either understandable or completely absurd. Son Gokū has his nyoi-bō on his back. Well, I'm OK it's Gokū's most typical accessory, but at this time of the manga, he doesn't need it anymore. Can you imagine Super Saiyajin Son Gokū fighting against Freeza or Cell with his stick ? Then we have Gohan and Yamcha with swords. It's the same thing that for Gokū : they once had it, but they don't need it anymore. Yamcha had a sword when he was a desert bandit and Gohan had it when he was trained by Piccolo. But they weren't dressed like this at this time. What about Vegeta's lightsaber ? I think Decool designers wanted to represent his final flash. Not a bad idea in my opinion but it's not very convincing. I finish with Krilin's knives. Seriously, Krilin using knives ? I never saw it in the manga or the TV series. But what is Krilin's typical accessory ? I don't think he has one. Decool people wanted to give each minifigure an accessory. Maybe they could find some trick to represent kienzan. That could be an idea.

Son Gokū, Kame Sennin, Son Gohan, Vegeta, Yamcha, Krilin

As a conclusion I will say that these minifigures are perfect (or almost perfect if you are demanding). I really hope Decool will create other sets. I would like to have enemies (the big ones : Freeza, Cell and Buu), Son Gokū with black hair, Super Saiyan Vegeta and Gohan, Gotenks, mirai Trunks, Piccolo and Tenshinhan. And for fun I would love to have rare characters like Chaozu, east Kaio Shin, Raditz, Great Saiyaman etc.

Rendezvous in the next article for the review of the Dragon Ball Z minifigures by JLB !