Posted by: Draddog | January 4, 2013

Review: Laval’s Royal Fighter (#70005)

70005-1

Legends of Chima is the new big theme for 2013 and was originally suppose to replace Ninjago. However, LEGO recently announced that they would continue to produce Ninjago (at least set wise, no word on the cartoon). LEGO has made a bad habit of discontinuing popular sets (Bioncle for example) to roll out new themes. I’m pleased to see them finally come to their senses and keep producing popular lines, though I’m curious to see how they will support both Ninjago and Legends of Chima at the same time.

Legends of Chima (LoC from now on) focuses on “animal tribes” who use CHI to power their weapons and vehicles. The vehicles are fashioned to resemble the animal of the tribe – Lion heads and Eagle talons are abound. The mini-figs come with ‘masks’ which cover over the normal round mini-figure head.

We are attracted to this line for several personal reasons as well. LEGO Universe (which I worked on) was originally going to have a Chima expansion (at least as far as I knew). It would have made a really cool addition to the MMO.

Also, two sets in the initial release were designed by a close, family friend – Primus of Brickcommander.com. Primus actually worked on LEGO Universe with me and now is a full time set designer at LEGO in Billund. Having built many of his ‘Mechs and star ships, I have been looking forward to building and playing with his first “official” LEGO sets.

The first of his sets is Laval’s Royal Fighter. Laval is the main lion character (and likely one of the main characters in the cartoon). You can also check out this Designer Video featuring Primus himself!

Co-Build Rating: 4/5

This was an okay set to build together. One builder can work on the chassis (mostly technic parts), while the other can build the head, back and gun. The set is fairly modular and goes together well.  The bags are also numbered and the instructions spans two books. It’s a relatively small build, two people just make it that much quicker.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Cracking open bag one starts you building the mini-figures. The first thing that may throw you, if this is your first LoC set, is the fact that the round mini-fig heads are printed on two sides but are then immediately covered with animal heads. It didn’t make sense until I realized that kids will lose the animal heads. This keeps the mini-figs playable. I also have to call out Laval’s sword, which is simply really cool. I have a thing for cool looking swords though.

The rest of the build is fairly straight forward. Most of the Fighter is technic, with a very cool brick built lion head. A small gun platform which spins, raises up from the back. I thought maybe the spinning motion would fire some missiles, but it’s just there for effect. We also found the tension on the treads to be a little tight – they did not want to spin without a good deal of effort. With a bit of fiddling, I suspect they can be loosened up.

There are not a lot (if any) new pieces in this set – I couldn’t identify any at least. There are a lot of orange pieces, if you have the need.

The set is okay but feels like it’s lacking in details overall.  I would have liked to see more going on in the back of the tank, or at least re-positionable treads.  I suspect that some features were cut to make a price point. The set rings in at $39.99 – around .09 cents a piece which is normal, so we’ll just have to take what we can get.

While nice, I know Primus’ other set is so much better. Wait until it drops in price some or has a discount, then pick it up to give Laval his sweet ride.

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