Indiana Jones: Escape From The Lost Tomb (#77013) by LEGO

I don’t have a heck of a lot of regrets in my decades of toy collecting, but one that I do have is not getting in on the previous Indiana Jones LEGO sets, because if you haven’t looked lately they go for a lot of monies. So, when LEGO announced some new sets to launch in advance of Indiana Jones 5, I jumped on board as quick as I could. There are three sets up for sale right now, two based on Raiders of the Lost Ark and one on Last Crusade, with a fourth based on Temple of Doom that mysteriously disappeared and may have been cancelled. I’ve already built two of the three sets, and I’m starting today Escape From The Lost Tomb!

Oh God, it’s so good to see Indy themed LEGO packaging again! It makes me want to bust out my Nintendo DS and re-play some LEGO Indiana Jones. I don’t know what kind of tortured PR rationale goes into naming these sets, but clearly The Well of Souls was off limits. Maybe the word Souls isn’t cultural sensitive enough in some countries. But whatever the case, this set depicts the final resting place of the Lost Ark of the Covenant from Raiders, and gives you everything you need to recreate the recovery of the Ark and the subsequent escape from The Well of Souls. At exactly 600 pieces and only one thick instruction book, this set is a fun and satisfying build that gives you the playset, the Ark, and four Minifigs. Oh, and also a whole lot of snakes! Why did it have to be snakes? Let’s start with the Minifigs!

The set includes four Minifigs: Indy, Marion, Sallah, and a Mummy and each of these is excellent. Indy looks as iconic as can be with his printed leather jacket, satchel and fedora-hairpiece combo. He even has his holster printed on his belt. He comes with his coiled whip, and I actually got two of them in the set. They did a great job on the whip, as it’s flexible and the end can even be plugged into a stud. Marion has her printed dress with hairpiece and she comes with a torch to fend off all those snakes. Each of these figures have two printed faces.

Sallah and the Mummy are also really well done. I do feel like they skimped on Sallah’s printing a bit as there’s nothing from the waist down, but he still looks good. He has a turban on his head and just the one face print. He doesn’t come with any accessories, which is a shame. They could have at least thrown in a shovel from some other set. The Mummy is suitably gross with some really intricate printing both front and back.

And here’s the Well of Souls all built and ready to be explored! I think the scale here is really good for a set of this size, as it recreates all the basic beats of the movie set without skimping. Even Kenner’s old Well of Souls playset didn’t include the two statues. There’s some excellent detail in the wall in the back with different textured bricks, some gaps to show it’s crumbling down and lots of stickers with hieroglyphs. There are a pair of sarcophagi on the back wall, flanking the alter that holds the Ark, and a little archway leading up to it. The statues are on swiveling bases, and the one on the right has a handle for a play gimmick we’ll see in a minute.

It’s worth noting that my set included two of the wrong pieces, for building one of the statues. If you look close you can see the two gray pieces that are holding the hips on the statue on the left, whereas the statue on the right is built correctly. It’s a lucky coincidence that the pieces they included were still able to be used in the build, even if it throws the coloring off a bit. I even went back through the instructions to see if I had used the wrong ones earlier, but nope. Anyway, I really dig the build on these statues and some of the creative uses of pieces for the abs and the face. Each uses three stickers to add some detail.

Speaking of detail, the hieroglyph stickers are fantastic, and one even recreates the R2-D2 and C-3PO cameo in the movie. I remember seeing that image in one of the books I got about the movie and thinking it was the coolest thing ever.

The Ark itself is a pretty neat build. The pieces they used to recreate the angels on top is really creative and there are some stickers on each side to give it a little more detail. You also get the carry bars, so Indy and Sallah can transport it. Just don’t open it!

The back of the playset is a little unfinished, and you can see where some of the gimmicks are set up. I do like the little raised platform and covered hallway as it offers a little more play space for figures. On the right you can see a little chute that can be used to drop snakes into the front of the playset using the lever. They drop out to the left of the Ark alter right where the snake is coming out of the wall. It’s funny because I had no idea what that was going to be even when I was building it. Each of the snakes on the floor come with clips to keep them in place.

The main play gimmick in the set has the right statue fall back and knock down the wall, so you can recreate the scene where Indy pushed it over to make their escape. It’s very simple engineering and works well, but you have to hold the statue and wall in place if you transport the playset because there’s nothing holding either up. Some kind of catch might have been worthwhile. Still, I’m impressed how well everything holds together even after I knocked that wall down about a dozen times.

The final feature recreates the scene where Marion goes through the fallen wall and the Mummy springs out and scares the shit out of her (and 12yo me as well!). The Mummy Minifig hides under the raised platform and when you pull on the technic piece the platform swings out to reveal him. Again, a very simple bit of engineering that works beautifully. I also dig the creepy sticker in the alcove which features some spiderwebbing and mysterious eyes glowing in the darkness.

At $40, this is one of the few times I can say that a LEGO set feels like a decent value. This is a fun build, although there is some redundancy here as you are building the same statue twice. Still, with four Minifigs and some solid play gimmicks, this set recreates the sequence of the film very well and offers a bunch of fun display options when its on display on the shelf. It also reminds me of just what a perfect fit LEGO and Indiana Jones really is. If you aren’t up for the big challenge and price tag of the Temple of the Golden Idol set, then this is an excellent pick up. Or do what I did and just get both! I’ll be checking out the larger set when I revisit with this line in a couple of weeks.


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