Lego Creator – Fierce Flyer (31004) Review

31004_main

Lego Creator – Fierce Flyer (31004): I’ve been fairly okay with the mindset behind Lego Creator sets, but calling this set fierce flyer when it’s an eagle, beaver, and scorpion just doesn’t seem right. Also as far as beavers go this isn’t a particularly great one. One would hope they would have switched the beaver for another deadly creature and called it something else.

 

Time to Knoll: 11.5 Minutes

31004_knoll

Time to Build: 15 Minutes (Build Eagle)

31004_build1

Time to Build: 7.5 Minutes (Build Beaver)

31004_build2

Time to Build: 9.5 Minutes (Build Scorpion)

31004_build3

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 166 and 28, 31, 25 Steps – Manual for Build Eagle, Beaver, Scorpion (50 and 66 Pages)
  • Price: Retired on Lego and $8.99 on Amazon
  • Weight 74 grams
  • Combo Points: (9X21X2X3) = 1,134 points
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 32mm x 48mm x 86.4mm or 132.7 cm³

31004_blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 1 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 1 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 2 out of 5 Stars

 

Spectrum:

 

What Else?

I first wanted to see the population of eagles (based on how endangered Bald Eagles were) compared against Lego sets of the eagle. Especially since the eagles have made a resurgence, and in the last decade were taken off the Endangered and Threatened list in 2007. Still though with 9,789 breeding pairs and a population of ~70,000 – a Lego set that came out in December 2012 and was only produced for 2 years might come close to that number. Sadly though Lego doesn’t offer those stats (of which I would drool over) and the only hard number I can find is a measly 33 hundred from Brickset.

Dismayed, I started trying to rationalize the name flyers, and since I’m fairly certain beavers have not been able to fly (feel free to prove me wrong), I decided to look into flying scorpions – because it was late and I decided sleep was a foolish action.

First there is a whole order of scorpionflies – called Mecoptera. In truth these are flies, but the male’s.. ‘willy’ in this case is very reminiscent of a scorpion tail hence the name – it doesn’t actually sting you though. Although there is no relation there because as you should know – scorpions are not insects but arachnids. That is good news however, because despite how they look we at least know that for now scorpions aren’t actually going to start flying around killing us.

Unless of course they decide to take coach.

 

Remix: Got all but a single talon into this build, decided with the nice gold yellow and brown to make an Indiana Jones style cthulhu-esque idol (using the white as a more eastern inspired backdrop)

31004_remix

 

Final Thoughts: Overall (at least for now, it was just recently retired) this remains a cheap entry into the Creator line, and while it’s not a great piece hoard there is a good amount of pieces here for your money. I just feel a lack of commitment with the name and the lackluster alternate builds. I will admit though – that eagle is very nice.

Final Score: 2 out of 5 Stars

Lego Creator – Twinblade Adventures (31020) Review

31020_main

Lego Creator – Twinblade Adventures (31020): Another 3-in-1 from the Creator series, but I’m not as enthralled with this one (even among those with winged vehicles) I’ve always said my main peeve with Lego sets are those without a clear audience. This lacks any cool factor, historical factor, or engineering factor – it feels more like it exists because they needed some more aerial Creator sets.

 

Time to Knoll: 11.5 Minutes

31020_knoll

Time to Build: 14.5 Minutes (VTOL Build)

31020_build1

Time to Build: 12.5 Minutes (Plane Build)

31020_build2

Time to Build: 13 Minutes (Helicopter Build)

31020_build3

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 216 and 23, 31, 28Steps – Manual for VTOL, Plane, Helicopter (32, 34, and 32 Pages)
  • Price: $17.99 on Lego and $15.29 on Amazon
  • Weight 153 grams
  • Combo Points: (16X39X3X3) = 5,616 points
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 96mm x 32mm x 83.2mm or 255.6 cm³

31020_blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 1 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 2 out of 5 Stars

 

Spectrum:

 

What Else? So while it’s clear without any sense of motion – the plane offered here has no way to maintain, and would as Toy Story put it ‘fall with style’. Undeterred though I set out to see how possible it would be if this was mechanized. Where my little push of velocity was a constant it could maintain.

Of course NASA is kind enough to provide formulas and understanding on the topic of Lift. Most of this equation is easy enough to figure out, weight, air density, surface area of wings. Of course there was one wrinkle – namely the Coefficient of lift.

Now while NASA does provide info on this, sadly in order to calculate it – you need a wind tunnel. Which as mentioned before I do not have (although maybe I should invest). Now using a nifty calculator (and Worcester’s current temperature) I get a required CL of 51571.41 (which checks out doing the reverse math).

Now sadly I am not an aeronautics expert – so I can’t say whether 51k is a lot or a little, but especially with no motor – it would seem Lego planes were simply not meant to fly.

(For those wondering that comes from 1.068 N for weight from grams of 109g, 7 inch^2 for wing area, 0.284 ft/s from a simple push test, and this chart for air density.)

Of course I am a computer programmer reviewing Lego sets – so I welcome others to correct my math here.

 

Remix: For the remix here, with the past fourth of July, and the return of Battlebots I figured it was good of me to make a little bot myself. (Okay I admit I was watching it during review) Due to the needs to get all the ramps, flippers, and horizontal spinners it does suffer from a bit of rainbow-warriorism though.

31020_remix

 

Final Thoughts: Overall this is my least favorite from the Creator line, and it’s not hard to see why. The color palette is rather drab, each of the creations just doesn’t feel as ‘tight’ as other creator series sets, and I wish the sets were a bit more complex and minifig scaled.

Final Score: 1 out of 5 Stars

Lego Architecture – Eiffel Tower (21019) Review

21019_main

Lego Architecture – Eiffel Tower (21019): Well I wouldn’t be properly back from a summer hiatus without doing another architecture set, and this time we go to Paris. This is without a doubt though the largest of the Architecture line that I’ve done so far. Also despite the intentional Leaning Tower of Pisa or the thinly Space Needle, this feels the most ‘unsecure’ due to it’s unique design which works great visually (and is a joy for those who love sub-assemblies), but lacks rigidity.

 

Time to Knoll: 14 Minutes

21019_knoll

Time to Build: 25 Minutes

21019_build

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 321 and ~47 Steps – Manual (49 Pages)
  • Price: $34.99 on Lego and $31.26 on Amazon
  • Weight 197 grams
  • Combo Points: (7X32X1X1) = 224 points
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 64mm x 112mm x 44.8mm or 321.3 cm³

21019_blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 5 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

Spectrum:

 

What Else? France as you may know was not originally pleased with Eiffel, and the ugly sculpture he placed upon the city. It was considered an unattractive iron latticework that would never be viewed as more than an industrial mess. Of course we know minds and hearts changes, but personally I’ve always loved Ironwork sculptures, and considering the size of this rather large architecture set I wanted to see how impractical an iron version would be at this scale.

So first the density of Wrought Iron is 7750 (kg/m3) whereas ABS plastic used in Lego is a measly 1.07 (g/m3). Now since we’ve already got the weight (which with no force gives us mass) we get an actual volume of 184.11 cm³ instead of the 321 above (because Lego’s are not exactly solid.)

Putting that into our p = M/V function we get an answer of 1426.86g which for those wondering is actually only a measure of 3.14 pounds. Now while that’s not absurd, it certainly makes one hell of a paper weight for your bookshelf.

In fact it’s about 240% stronger. Since our mini wrought-iron tower is about 50.25 oz, and despite there not being a study I could find about the average size of paper weights – Amazon is kind enough to help with a range. Most paperweights seem to fall between 6 and 25 ounces from the first page of results (I don’t count this 2.4 pound behemoth though) but we get an average of 14.75 oz, and hence our mini-Eiffel Tower is a 240% better paperweight than most of what you can get on Amazon

 

Remix: So for this weeks remix I took a bit longer than I normally do – mostly because I knew I wanted a Lunar/Planet lander, but because getting the scale was difficult. This lead to what is far away the weakest (structurally speaking) set I’ve made. There was no way adding 5 pieces would have helped (I did manage to use all the pieces though) so I simply did the best I can – and while I’m pleased with the looks, a simple table bump can destroy this.

21019_remix

 

Final Thoughts: Due to it’s size I feel like if you had to choose only 1 set of the line for your bookcase – you would still not pick this. In part because it’s height would simply not fit, but mostly because while the set is certainly visually interesting – it takes up a certain presence, and makes you wonder that maybe if the design was a bit simpler the scale could be a more manageable size, and whether such a tradeoff would be a good idea.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars