Yes, it has been quite a while since I looked at a Lego set. In fact, I’m pretty sure the last time was also one of the Alien Conquest series. I’ve actually been hankering to build a set for a while now, but there’s been an awful lot of stuff out their vying for my toy buying dollahs. But, this past Sunday morning as I was out hitting Wally World early to get some snacks for the Super Bowl I decided to pick up a new set to give me something to do while waiting to see the Giants kick the Patriots’ collective asses. [Why yes, I am a prophet! -FF]
I promise I’m getting back to the Playmobil stuff soon, but I’ve had a tight schedule this week, so I’m forced to run some of the content I’ve already finished first to buy me some time to catch up. So, today we’re going to climb another rung on the ladder of Lego’s Alien Conquest series by looking at the next larger set of the line: Tripod Invader. I don’t have much of a preamble for this one, so let’s just get to it.
It’s been slim pickings around here for Legos lately. I’m still waiting for new Pharaoh’s Quest sets to show up and I’m not terribly keen on the new Kingdoms sets that I’ve seen exhibited this year. I have been curious about the new Alien Conquest line, as it’s a bit similar to the Space Police series I love so much and I dig the way the vehicles and ships draw from the whole retro 50’s theme with plenty of saucers and tripods and whatnot. So when I went out today hunting for Mattel’s fabled DC endcap that is supposed to be turning up at Walmarts I came up empty and instead took home a couple of these sets. I’ll start off today with the smaller of the two.
The set comes in a standard, serviceable box like all Lego sets. I like this line’s logo with the B-Movie silver saucer as it really captures the vibe Lego is trying to do achieve with this series. At 105 pieces, this one is about a step up from the little impulse sets. Inside the box, you get an instruction book, a small sticker sheet, a base piece for the vehicle, and two baggies of bricks. The 105 bricks builds two minifigs, a human attack vehicle and a little alien attack flyer. As always, let’s start with the minifigs!
The two minifigs consist of a human defender and an alien attacker. The human has a printed outfit that looks like a cross between a space suit and a SWAT outfit and includes a helmet with a clear visor. Why is he wearing a space helmet? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just supposed to be for combat. The bright blue plastic used on this figure and a lot of other pieces in the set really pops. I like it. He has a double printed face with both an angry and happy expression. While it doesn’t show it on the instructions, mine came with a little pistol. The alien figure is pretty cool, although Legos alien designs are really starting to blur together to me. He’s got a squat head with bug eyes, although I am really fond of the pink veins on the back of his head. His outfit is black and purple, which looks really good. He comes with a very cool ray gun. These are both solid figures, but I was surprised to find I liked the human better.
The alien flyer is kind of the throwaway construct of the set. It’s the typical “small piece count, one-man vehicle with a control stick” that we’ve seen in various lines from Space Police to Atlantis. In other words, it’s not much to write home about, but it does give the human defense vehicle something to shoot at, and that’s cool. I will give the Lego designers credit. It can’t be easy to keep coming up with new designs for these simple little vehicles, and they always manage to give each new one a little unique flair.
The Earth defense vehicle, on the other hand, is very cool. It’s a one seater with a rotating turret on the back equipped with dual ray guns (recovered alien tech, maybe?) and a couple of rotating flick-firing missiles on the sides. The mounted ray guns in the turret can also be used as BFGs for your minifigs, which is always a nice plus. It’s a fairly simple build, but the finished vehicle feels a bit more substantial than what I’m used to getting in sets around this piece count. The vehicle rolls along great and should compliment some of the larger alien ship sets very nicely.
The Alien Defender set retails for about ten bucks and it feels like a pretty good deal. The build won’t take most Lego veterans much time at all, but when you’re done you get the basic ingredients needed for some alien fighting fun and it seems like a good sampling of what to expect from the rest of the line. In a couple days I’ll take a look at the next size set in the series, which includes an alien tripod!