Friday, April 17, 2015

Brick Bucket Review: 70410 Soldiers Outpost


Appearance - 3/5
Construction - 1/5
Pieces - 4/5
Playability - 3/5 
Minifigs/accessories - 3/5
Value for money - 2/5 

70410 Soldiers Outpost is one of the sets from the March 2015 reboot of the Pirates line. It retails for $19.99 and has 164 pieces, for a cost-per-piece of 12.19 cents.

Verdict: I had high hopes for the Pirates reboot, but unfortunately this set is pretty underwhelming. There are some good parts included, especially for Pirates/historical MOCers, but the main model's small size and highly questionable design aspects make it a shadow of what it could be. I don't own the other 20-dollar set from this release, 70411 Treasure Island, but judging from other reviews I've read, that seems to be the better set. That said, it might be hard to pass up a cheap set from a classic theme that at the very least will add some more parts to your collection and provide a little "soldiers vs. pirates" playability. 

Welcome to The Brick Bucket's first look at one of the new 2015 Pirates sets! Pirates is one of my favorite themes and I was pretty excited for these new sets. From looking at the images online, the two bluecoat-centric sets (this and 70412) appealed to me the most, so I got both of those (I'll be reviewing 70412 in the near future as well). 

To the left is the just-opened-up set. There are two numbered bags and one instruction booklet. 

Bag one builds the pirate minifigure, octopus, and pirate's raft. Bag two builds the soldier minifigs and the outpost itself. 

The build was straightforward; a lot of brick-on-brick/brick-on-plate construction. I thought the raft build would be more complex, but in reality it's just some simple SNOT, as seen below: 

I like the raft overall; it's not flashy but it provides a platform for the pirate to attack the outpost with, and the set would be rather boring without it. 

But the outpost itself... that I have some problems with. 

It's very small, which is not a huge problem in itself, but almost all of the interior space is taken up by the stored treasure chest. Even worse, the chest is positioned so that it blocks half the entryway and just looks out of line with the back of the model. You could just take it out, but then you just have those two ugly gray 2x2 jumper plates there. I don't think this feature should have been added at all, to conserve space and preserve the look of the model. (Another question: why is that 2x2 brick sticking out of the wall against the treasure chest? There's no reason for it to be there! At all!)

My second complaint also has to do with space, but on the upper level of the outpost. The cannon takes up so much space that there's barely any room to put a minifigure up there. There are only 164 pieces in this 20-dollar set; making the main model a little bigger wouldn't be unreasonable, and it would really improve its overall appearance. 

How about the minifigures? 

I like these new figs - the pirates and soldiers both - though I don't understand why a new bandana mold was necessary; the old one was fine, right? Regardless, these are very nice minifigs. I'm particularly happy with the soldier torsos and new white epaulettes, considering I like to build historical MOCs and always love some good historical minifig parts. 

Of course I can't do a review on a MOC blog without talking about some of the set's interesting pieces. The octopus part (part #6086) is great, and it's my first... and to make it even better, this is the only set in recent years that has one in black! (A 2005 Harry Potter set does contain one.) That's right... if you want a black sea monster octopus, this is the set to buy. Another nice larger piece is the lime-green leaf (part #10884); this is found in a lot of Friends and Chima sets recently but it's a nice bonus part in this set, even though there's only one. A crab (part #33121) and green glass bottle (part #95228) help set the pirate scene; there's also a new small soldier flag (part #19525), exclusive to this set, and FIVE dark brown barrels (part #2489), which are useful for almost any historical MOC. 

It's hard to really recommend this set. As much as I wanted the new Pirates sets to be at least pretty good, this one isn't there. It does have a few redeeming aspects, but the main model is really low-quality for what we expect from LEGO. 

We'll have a review of this set's companion set, 70412 Soldiers Fort, coming soon, so stay tuned to see if that offering is any better. I'm hoping it is!

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