Saturday, January 9, 2016

Brick Bucket Review: 75915 Pteranodon Capture


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

75915 Pteranodon Capture is the smallest of the May 2015 Jurassic World movie tie-in sets. It costs £19.99 / $19.99 / 24.99€ and contains 174 pieces.

Verdict: Overall this is a pretty nice set. The pteranodon and minifigs are fantastic. A lack of interesting or useful parts makes this pretty useless as a parts pack; it's intended as a collector's model, and specifically a collector's model for Jurassic World fans. If you liked Jurassic World, I recommend this set to you. Everyone else can pass. 

(image from Brickset)

Overall, this set does a pretty accurate job of capturing the relevant scene from Jurassic World (with a few minor exceptions which I'll cover later in the review). It is the smallest of the sets LEGO made for this movie, and it's a pretty good set, so if you wanted to get something from this line but didn't have much cash on hand, I'd recommend getting this.

And for the record, I did enjoy Jurassic World. I saw it on opening night with a couple friends, one of whom is a massive Jurassic Park series fan... and he might also be joining The Brick Bucket blog team rather soon... (?)

OK, on with the review.

I don't generally like it when LEGO makes the smallest set in a release have such a (relatively) high price point, especially when it's a "one-time-only" theme release, as is the case here. I think there was a Jurassic World polybag, but I didn't know how to get it and I'm sure it was pretty unexciting. But I wanted to have something to remember this theme (and the movie) by, and this didn't look like a bad set, so here we are. 

I should first say that if you aren't a Jurassic Park fan, there's very little reason for you to get this set. It's certainly a nice-looking, well-built little model, but the price and the sheer lack of interesting pieces don't make it very enticing as a parts pack, army builder, etc. etc. On display on my shelf, as a collector's model, I think it's great. 

I'll talk first about the unboxing of the set and the build process, then move onto the aesthetics and accuracy to the film, then minifigs and other "bells and whistles", and finally talk about pieces (although frankly there's not much to say there). 

Unboxing and build
I don't care too much about packaging and the like, but I must admit the box for this set was pretty cool (I know people are into box-collecting and whatnot, I don't have the interest or the space!). The instructions, also, were very high-quality, as expected. 

There were two bags inside the box, each with a smaller bag inside. There were also two cardboard boxes: one contained the net, and one contained a plastic tray which held the two rubbery pieces of the pteranodon's head. 

At left is a picture of the sticker sheet. There are seven stickers total and I think all of them enhance the look of the set.

This is one of the cardboard boxes, containing the pteranodon head elements

I took a few minutes looking through all the pieces and putting the minifigs and pteranodon together. The pteranodon is made up of five separate pieces: a body, two wings, a jaw, and a head. The upper head, not the jaw, is actually the hinged part, and it's attached via a pretty commonplace connection, like the one used in many LEGO helmets and visors on minifigs. The lower jaw is far more interesting: it's molded entirely in rubber, so it can move pretty freely, but it's connected into the main body by a simple bar connection. Consult the picture at right to see what I mean. 

It's not a particularly unstable connection, but it does come out a little bit after time, producing an awkward gap between the upper and lower head pieces. I'm not sure why the jaw couldn't just have been molded as the same piece as the body. 

But besides that, the pteranodon looks very nice, with some fancy "swirly" injection molding on the wings and very nice printing and shaping overall. 

After getting the pieces sorted out, I started building the helicopter. 

It was a very simple build, in fact it would probably not have been hard to do it without the instructions, just using the box image as reference. But it was enjoyable, and not too repetitive, which is how I like my builds. 

The sole interesting part came when it was time to build the tail. The tail is 1 stud wide, but the body where it is attached is 2 studs wide. Therefore some jumper plates and a pair of blue 2x2 coupling plates are used to attach it, as seen at left. This whole understructure is covered up by some SNOT work that attaches slopes stickered with the Jurassic World logo.
Overall appearance and accuracy to movie
There are a few key differences between the helicopter in this set and the one in the movie. Note that I do not think these differences have much to do with the overall quality of the set; I acknowledge the constraints LEGO's designers would've had working at this price point, as well as the limits of the LEGO system itself (yes, unfortunately those exist, to some extent).

Below I have compiled a few images of the movie copter, for comparison to the set:
The four key design differences between the movie vehicle and LEGO's model seem to be as follows:

1. Cockpit shape - the "real" version's cockpit is more bulbous and curved, rather than the more geometric element used in the set (which also leaves gaps on the sides). There isn't really a LEGO part that would accurately capture this cockpit.

2. Doors - the movie copter has sliding doors on the body, which the LEGO version lacks. Parts are undoubtedly available to make this happen, but maybe not at this scale or price point, without risking the aesthetics of the set. I believe the doors were mostly left open in the movie scenes anyway; I never noticed them.

3. Tail rotor - LEGO used a classic rotor/propeller element for their tail rotor, which is the standard for almost every other helicopter they've done (save for maybe Technic sets). The movie copter has a rounded end of its tail with the rotor sort of embedded inside. This is actually the difference that sticks out to me the most and I think from the design perspective it would have been logistically and parts-wise the easiest to correct...

4. Net shooter - ...well actually that's not quite true. The easiest difference to correct would be the gigantic net shooter added unglamorously to the side of the LEGO model. What gives? When will LEGO make a movie set that doesn't sacrifice some aspect of its aesthetic appeal and movie accuracy to a giant weaponized gizmo? I'm willing to bet that almost every person buying this set is indifferent to the play features - they just want a nice model. The stud shooter doesn't really have much of a negative impact. The net shooter does. There was nothing like it in the movie, and it just looks so darn ugly on the LEGO model, attached to the side by a mini ball joint. The actual playability is mediocre - just push the lever to fire the net. It should be noted that the net doesn't even come close to being able to ensnare the pteranodon.

Of all these differences, I'm slightly bitter about the tail rotor one, but the only one that really damages my liking for this set is that dumb old net shooter. I mean sheesh.

Minifigures and accessories
There are two minifigures in this set, and from a visual standpoint, both of them are excellent. Simon Masrani is likely one of the main reasons many fans would purchase this set, and I find it interesting that this "chase figure" is exclusive to the smallest set in the wave - but I'm not complaining. Perhaps LEGO thought fans wouldn't be going after the "businessman" character and would instead prefer one of the "action heroes." But I'm a Masrani fan! The printing on all parts is excellent, and the head and hair are certainly generic enough to use elsewhere. I would have liked a Masrani variant with his trademark spiffy suit, maybe in a different set, but the inclusion of the flight-suit variant in this set is obviously fitting. 

The ACU trooper is no less well done, although as a generic character (fated to die some grisly death via dinosaur) he's not the chase fig of this set. My one complaint with him is that he only has one side to his face, and it's the terrified side! It's sort of a mystery to me why this is. I guess this guy just never calms down. 

The only real minifig accessory is the tranquilizer gun. It's the newer mold, introduced, if I'm not mistaken, with The LEGO Movie sets in early 2014, and I like it. Another syringe (lime green) is also included as an extra part. The set doesn't really need any other accessories. 

I covered the pteranodon earlier in the build process section and I reiterate that it's an overall fine model with some odd design choices that detract from it a little bit. 

Overall, the set scores excellently in this category. 

You'll find this amazing if you've read my other reviews, but I really don't have much to talk about here! The minifigs and tranq gun have some nice parts, but really the only things of interest on the 'copter are the cockpit (only in 9 other sets) and some various blue curved slopes. Here's a link to the Brickset inventory so you can have a look. 

Besides minifig parts, the rarest element appears to be, interestingly, the blue 1x4x3 window frames, which are only in two other sets. 

Overall, I think this is a fine set for the Jurassic Park/World fan. If you aren't a fan of the movie, this set is probably not for you. I really enjoyed building it and it has a nice spot on my display shelf. 

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