Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Review: LEGO TMNT Turtle Lair Attack (79103)

It was a long time coming.

Way back in January Pixel Dan posted a review of the TMNT Lego lair set. As chance would have it, as I hit 'play', my 4yo son appeared. 'I want that,' he declared. 'Um, okay,' I replied, 'but it won't be in the shops for a while yet.' TMNT Lego wasn't due to hit until mid-February, which meant a long few weeks of 'Is it summer yet?' on repeat, for 4yo had somehow got it into his head that it wasn't released until then. Which was fine because once it had been released he would have to wait until the price dropped a bit, Lego being a tad expensive.

Eventually, after threatening to send 4yo to live at Pixel Dan's house so I wouldn't have to listen to him go on and on about it, I found a site which was offering the Lair with £10 off. Deciding this was enough of a discount if it'd quiet my son, I placed an order.

2 weeks later and the Lego still hadn't been dispatched. Despite being available when I ordered, it was now 'out of stock' and showed no sign of being in stock any time soon.

Would the 'is it summer yet?' never end?

With order cancelled, the search began anew. Coincidentally at this time I came across, a website  which claimed to beat the best price for an item you could find online.

Worth a try, right?

By this time Amazon was now offering the Lair with a tenner off the RRP, equaling the price I'd been prepared to pay earlier. Would Flubit be able to beat it? My guess was that they'd come up with an offer a few pence below Amazon.

I typed the URL into the Flubit homepage and waited...

A little over 24 hours later I'd received my offer. Flubit had managed to knock a fiver(!) off the Amazon price. Impressed, I definitely was and will, without a doubt, be using them again in the future.

I paid my pennies (which was the only downside to the whole Flubit experience - the site wouldn't load properly on my Playbook so I had to kick the children off my laptop to pay) and a few days later I had a Turtle Lair Attack to give to 4yo. Now to find out if it had been worth the wait...

While 4yo will happily put smaller Lego sets together, he wanted to play with his Lair now, which meant poor old me had to put the main part together while he sat and did the mini-figures. I wanted to do a little video of building it however 4yo wasn't prepared to wait while I set up the camera.

There isn't a huge amount of pieces with the set. The licensed sets tend to be smaller compared to the completely Lego-owned stuff at the same price point (presumably the license cost is factored in). For the RRP it's a little expensive, however it's a bargain considering what I actually paid.

As I mentioned in my recent Hobbit review, I like Lego sets which build into a single object, rather than a bunch of little bits. The Lair is quite clever in that it builds into a single piece, however a number of parts unclip from the main section - things like the shelves, skateboard rack etc - so you can spread them out for easier play, if you prefer.

There are a lot of little details that you might miss upon first look. A particular favourite is the green 'slime' that drips down the sewer walls and runs through the drain.

Most Lego sets these days come with play 'features' once the model is complete. The Lair includes, amongst other things, a sewer lid which opens by turning a wheel, a 'firing' pizza oven, an 'exploding' wall (with stick of dynamite), and a rotating Shredder dummy for the Turtles to practice their ninja moves on.

Speaking of the Turtles, there are 2 included - Leonardo and Raphael (aka 'the blue one' and 'the red one'). In addition there's Splinter, two Foot ninja and the previously mentioned brown 'dummy', which may or may not be a mini-figure, depending on how you look at it. These are all beautifully detailed. It's amazing how far Lego mini-figures have come in the past ten years or so. I remember having to once paint the details on my Ewok mini-figures since they used to come with zero paint applications and thus looked a bit rubbish. There's none of that these days, with each figure looking stunning straight out of the box.

There's only one downside to our Lair - our Lair, you'll notice the wording. You may have seen from the photos (below, behind the Shredder dummy) that we're missing a gold circular piece that, despite hunting high and low for, we can't find anywhere. It's not the fault of Lego - they're renowned for ensuring boxes always contain all the pieces - as the piece did turn up, briefly, before 6yo put it 'safely' in his pocket...never to be seen again.

6yo putting things 'safely' in his pocket. Now, where have I heard that before? Ah yes, my missing wedding ring...

So did it please 4yo? His favourite bits are the Turtles figures, followed closely by the skateboards, and yes, given the option, I'd have bought those bits separately and not bothered with the rest of the Lair. I think a sewer is something that most children could have built on their own, with whatever Lego bricks they already had at home, without the need for purchasing a special set. Saying that, I do really like the Lair. It looks great, was fun to build, and has a bunch of nice features. For what I paid, I consider it a bargain and both my son and I, TMNT fans new and old, really like it.

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