Lego Atlantis: Atlantis Exploration HQ (#8077)

I’ve featured a fair number of the Lego Atlantis sets here on FigureFan, but they’ve all been small to midsize sets. Today we’re finally looking at one of the meatier ones. I’ve actually had this set built and sitting on my shelf for quite a while now, so today’s entry is long past due. Let’s take a look at the Atlantis Exploration Headquarters.

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It’s a big box, and it’s practically bowed out on the sides from the contents. Ok, so at 473 pieces, it isn’t exactly top of the line, but it certainly falls into the hefty high-mid range category. The box contains two instruction booklets, one sticker sheet and four numbered baggies of bricks. The first bag builds the minifigs, a one man sub and the support structure and the other three bags all go into building the HQ itself. Keep in mind this set only has three minifigs, which seems a little light for its size, but it seems like the bricks were well invested back into the set. This was a fun and satisfying build, taking me about an hour and a half.

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The minifigs aren’t bad, but they aren’t anything special either. You get two divers and a Manta Warrior. One of the divers is the same Dr. Fisher we saw in one of the previous sets, the other is the Captain, whose name I can’t remember right now. They’re basically the same figure with different heads. They each come with a helmet, oxygen tanks and flippers. The Manta Warrior comes with a weapon. You also get a yellow Atlantis treasure key. Needless to say Manta Warrior is my favorite minifig in the batch.

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The playset itself breaks down to three basic parts. You have the base, you have the little one man sub and you have the HQ itself, which transforms into a submarine. Let’s start with the base first. It’s more like a skeletal support or superstructure than anything else, as it’s main function is to hold up the HQ when it’s deployed in HQ mode. It does, however, have a couple of cool play features. There’s an articulated crane with an operators station where one of the minifigs can sit. There’s also a raised platform where you can park the minisub, or any of the other smaller Atlantis vehicles as well. The only downside of the base is it tends to be a little on the fragile side, so if you’re planning on moving the set, I recommend converting the HQ to the submarine and carrying the two pieces separately. I learned that the hard way!

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When deployed in HQ mode, there’s two wings with workstations for the divers. The one on the right has a computer terminal with a fish to analyze. The one on the other side has more computer banks and a clip that holds a metal detector. There’s a central tower that has four articulated spotlights, and the walls of the HQ feature two flick-firing missiles and two double harpoon cannons. The harpoon guns can also be removed and equipped by the minifigs. Cool! In typical playset fashion the front of the HQ looks like the exterior and the back gives you access to the inside. The HQ mode looks great viewed from either side.

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Of course one of the recurring themes for the Atlantis series has been vehicle transformation, and in this case the HQ transforms into a submarine. The HQ is designed so that it just rests on the three supports, so you can just lift it right off of the base. The transformation is simple enough, as you just fold in the sides and peg them together and fold down the top. Even with the simple transformation, the resulting submarine looks awesome. The front dome opens up so you can put in a pilot figure. What’s really nice is how solid this thing is when it’s in sub mode. You don’t have to worry about it falling apart when you handle it. Now the divers can prowl around the sea and come back and dock at the superstructure when they’re done.

All in all, this is a pretty amazing set and definitely my favorite addition to my Atlantis collection. Not only was it lots of fun to build, but the playset aspect has the potential for loads of fun and the transformation gimmick works great. It’s also a fantastic set to have if you own a lot of the smaller subs and want some place for them to dock and hang out. The HQ cost $45 at Walmart and I’m more than pleased with what I got.

Lego Atlantis: Typhoon Turbo Sub (#8060)

[I’ll impose upon you to endure one more Legos feature today before I go Lego-Free for the rest of the week. I’ve actually got one more big set I wanted to look at, but I’m saving it for next weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy doing this stuff all week, but I really want to hit some areas that I’ve been neglecting so far this month. With that having been said, bring on the bricks! -FF] I’ve put together my share of tiny little subs from the Atlantis line, and now it’s time to finally tackle one of the bigger ones in the series. This time around it’s the Typhoon Turbo Sub, a one man submersable with some heft to it, not to mention some pretty cool armaments. Let’s take a look.

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The box contains one instruction booklet, one sticker sheet, a baggie with a pair of 3D glasses, a couple of loose engine parts and three baggies containing a total of 197 pieces. Actually, it’s probably 195 if you subtract the two loose engine parts. The 3D glasses are a gimmick that allow you to go online to the Lego Atlantis site and see some 3D stuff. It’s probably cool for the kids, but mine went right into the trash. The 197 pieces consist of two minifigs and the Typhoon Sub. There’s nothing else in the set so you know right away that most of the parts are going straight into the sub.

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The minifigs include one Shark Warrior and a diver. The Shark Warrior is the exact same figure we saw in the last set I looked at (Wreck Raider) and the diver is, well, they’re all basically the same with different heads. The Shark comes with a trident and a Treasure Key, the diver comes with his mask and oxygen tanks and a set of flippers.

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The Typhoon itself is pretty big with lots of cool gimmicks and features, and it’s overall design reminds me of the Naboo Fighters from Star Wars. It has a fairly complex build to it, mostly because of the mechanism that allows you to automatically rotate both engines 180 degrees just by working the lever on the bottom of the sub. By flipping the engines, you expose a capture arm and a huge missile launcher. The way the whole system works is pretty cool, especially since I had no idea why I was building it until the whole thing was done.

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Besides the hidden missile launcher, the Typhoon’s armaments include two flick firing missiles on the front, there are four headlights, an antenna, and the tail engine rotates to allow the sub to change heading or pitch. I really like that I’ve finally got a sub in this line that actually has an enclosed cockpit and not just a set of handlebars that the diver hangs onto.

Despite having just a tad fewer pieces than the Angler Fish Attack set, I definitely had more fun building this set than any other Atlantis set I own. The engineering in the Typhoon’s gimmick is cool and the whole thing looks really great on display. It may not be a fair comparison, since I like the vehicles better than the beasts, but either way, I highly recommend this one. I got it for just under $20 and it was well worth the price.

Lego Atlantis: Wreck Raider (#8057)

With Pharaoh’s Quest out of the way, now I can concentrate on catching up on all those great Lego Atlantis sets that I’ve missed out on. Today, we’re taking a look at one of the little guys. The Wreck Raider is another one of the zillion little one-man submersables that populate this line. Whether on their own or part of a bigger set, there’s been a lot of them. Does it have what it takes to stand out of the pack? Let’s see.

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The Wreck Raider weighs in at just 64 pieces and comes in a standard Atlantis themed box. Inside, you get an instruction booklet, a sticker sheet, and two unnumbered baggies of bricks. The 64 pieces include the Wreck Raider vehicle, two minifigs and a Treasure Key. There are a lot of really tiny pieces in this one, but it didn’t take me very long to get it sorted out and built.

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The minifigs include a diver and a Shark Warrior. I’ve come a long way since I first started building the Atlantis sets and wasn’t all that thrilled with the fish figures. Now I’m really digging them and the Shark Warrior is one of my favorites. He comes with a trident. As for the diver, I forgot his name and, and let’s face it, if you’ve seen one of the Atlantis divers you’ve seen them all. This one has a green tinted visor on his diving mask and green flippers. He’s a great figure, but these guys are getting more than a little redundant for me now.

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The Raider itself is easily my favorite of all the small one-man subs in this line, but then it’s also a lot beefier than Atlantis’ other efforts. Unlike the Ocean Speeder set that is about the same brick count and also includes two minifigs, this set doesn’t come with the extra scenery pieces, so instead all of those bricks got invested in the vehicle itself and it shows. The design is both cool looking and functional, with two pivoting propellers on the back and a pair of flick missiles on the front. I would have liked if this sub had an actual seat instead of just a pair of handlebars to hold onto, but I’m getting to the point where I probably have enough Atlantis themed bricks to make that happen if I want to customize this baby. Either way, this is an awesome little no-nonsense sub that’s ready to raid some wrecks.

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This little Wreck Raider set is a great example of how to do one of these little sets right. You get a great vehicle, a couple of minifigs and an artifact for them to fight over. Maybe it’s a little unfair to Mr. Shark Warrior that he’s got to contend with a missile-firing submarine, but my point is that there’s still plenty of play value here in such a tiny little set.

Lego Atlantis: Angler Attack (#7978)

[My humblest apologies if you’re getting tired of the Tron-and-Legos-Marathon that’s been going on here lately. I’ve tried to pepper a little Transformers and DC loving around too. As always, this place reflects what I’m into on any given day and lately I’ve just been focused on completing my Tron Legacy collection and getting my Legos fix on as often as possible. Fear not, it can’t last forever. Sooner or later new Transformers or Doctor Who or something else will start showing up to mix things up around here. In the meantime, just be thankful that there aren’t any Tron Legos sets. -FF]

So, if you haven’t guessed yet, I’ve commited myself to the Lego Atlantis line. Or at least I have now that I’ve picked up one of the beefier sets. I tend to prefer the Lego vehicles and buildings, rather than being a big fan of the Lego beasties, so I really wasn’t sure how much I was going to dig this beast-centric set. But the images on the box convinced me to give it a try, so let’s see how it turned out.leg7978a

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And there’s the box. It’s decently sized and contains one instruction book, one sticker sheet, and three unnumbered baggies of bricks. Those bricks include two minifigs, a little Atlantean ruin with a treasure chest, a one man sub, and the Mr. Big and Ugly himself, the Angler Fish. Now keep in mind, while this set does tip out at just over 201 pieces, the majority of the pieces in this set are TINY. Yes, there’s a few sizeable bricks, but for the most part you’re dealing with a lot of really small bits. If nothing else, this was a really interesting build, especially for the size and price point. To the minifigs!!!

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You get one diver, Dr. Fisher, and you get the Barracuda Warrior, which is easily the best minifig I’ve seen in a while. I haven’t been all that smitten by the bad guys in this series, but I still gotta give props to the design on this guy. His head is huge and puts his mouth right in the middle of his chest. You also have to put on his teeth, as they are separate pieces. I dig him. I’m actually surprised they through a bad guy minifig in the set at all, as Fisher seems to have his plate full already what with having to deal with the Angler Fish.

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The little patch of ruin looks like it would be right at home on the bottom of an aquarium. It’s got a treasure chest that opens and closes, a couple of sprigs of seaweed and a piece of ancient column that sits on an angle. There’s a couple of jewels and a bronzed helmet to put in the chest. It’s a cool little accent piece for the set and it gives our hero something to battle the Barracuda Warrior and the Angler Fish over.

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Fisher’s little sub is ok, but nothing special. The Atlantis line features a lot of these little one-man submersables. I’ll at least give kudos that they’ve all been unique so far. This one has a little grabber arm, a clip to hold a harpoon gun, and a spinning propeller on the front. It features the same kind of handlebars as the other subs we’ve seen, so the pilot hangs on, rather than actually sits down. I’m not crazy about the prop being on the front, though, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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The Angler Fish is a obviously the real draw of the set. He’s a really cool piece and made for a fun build. There’s some really clever stuff at play here. My favorite thing is the complex joint for the bottom of the jaw. I had no idea why I was building it the way I was, and it’s the first time I’ve used those rubbery pieces in a Lego set, but in the end it lets you pull down the bottom jaw and it’ll snap back. Like I said, it’s really clever. His teeth are awesome, and he’s even got a gold tooth! His bait tendril has a jewel on the end, which is pretty funny as it suggests he’s trying to trap the divers and not other fish. The overall design of this guy still looks more robotic than organic, which is a pretty unavoidable failing of a lot of the Legos beasts, but I still like him a lot. I think the only downside are his little top two fins. They’re the same pieces used for the divers’ flippers so it looks kind of cheesy. They’re also blank on one side, which makes the detail two-dimensional.

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Overall, I’m happy with this set. I’m getting a little tired of the diver minifigs, but even if I consider Fisher and his sub as bonuses, the Angler Fish and Barracuda Warrior make this set a worthwhile purchase. I had a lot of fun building it, and there weren’t a lot of redundant steps like in some of the sets I’ve been building. At just under $20, it’s a fair deal, and it’s also one of the few Atlantis sets left on the shelves in my neck of the woods.

Lego Atlantis: Ocean Speeder (#7976)

As promised, I’m stepping back a notch in the Atlantis series to look at one of the impulse sets, before moving forward to the bigger sets. This one is called Ocean Speeder. It’s about five bucks and contains 54 pieces, so I tempered my expectations a little.

The set comes in a tiny box that contains a folded sheet of instructions, a sticker sheet, and two unnumbered baggies of bricks. The pieces build one minifig, a one man submarine, and a little platform to hold the treasure.

The minifig, Lance Spears, is pretty good, but if you own any of the other Atlantis sets, he isn’t anything you haven’t seen before. He includes a helmet with oxygen tanks, flippers, and a harpoon gun. The paintwork on the figure is pretty awesome and adds a lot of detail. He also has a double printed face. Not much else to say here.

The platform is designed to look like a small chunk of ruins on the seabed. It has a little pedastal that holds the golden chalice and there’s a sprig of seaweed that comes up from the corner. There’s also a little red snake, which seems really out of place to me. Are there really snakes like this slithering around on the bottom of the ocean? Ah well, even so, I won’t gripe about a free snake.

The little sub is simple enough. It has two spinning propellers that can pivot up and down, and a set of grabber claws on the front. Like most of the smaller subs in this line, there’s no seat, instead the diver just hangs on to a set of handlebars. The wings are hinged and can fold down into different positions while the craft is in use. A pair of stickers provide some cool details along the top. Overall, this isn’t a bad little vehicle, but there are a couple of things that bug me. The handlebars should stick out farther and the grabber arms are a little too stubby to be much use. Still, I’m glad to get as many of the small subs in this line I can get for when I finally pick up the Exploration HQ.

Impressive or not, it’s tough to complain a lot about these impulse sets. You still get a bunch of cool stuff for five bucks. It’s a fun build and the finished product certainly has play value. Although, if this is your first Atlantis set, you won’t have any bad guys for the diver to fight, except for that snake. Ocean Speeder is a good way to get introduced to the Atlantis line, but if I didn’t already have the next larger set, this one wouldn’t have won me over.

Lego Atlantis: Seabed Strider (#7977)

I promised myself I wasn’t going to dive into the Atlantis line unless it was an absolute last resort for my Lego fix. But right now the only set on the shelves that I’m really after is the Pharaoh’s Quest Pyramid and $100 just ain’t in my budget for Legos this week. [Next paycheck, though, it’s going to be a sure thing! -FF] Anyway, I was really jonesing pretty bad, so I caved in and picked up this little set to tide me over. Ha ha.. I said dive and tide and it’s an Atlantis set and it’s all about water and stuff.

Seabed Strider comes in a little box that boasts 105 pieces. The box contains two unnumbered baggies of bricks, an instruction booklet, and a small sticker sheet. The 105 pieces include parts for two minifigs, a pedastal holding the Golden Shield treasure, and the Strider vehicle. At over a hundred pieces, it may seem like a lot for such a small and inexpensive set, but keep in mind that a lot of these are really tiny pieces. That having been said, this was a surprisingly complex build for such a little set, possibly because the vehicle involves a number of articulated parts and a simple little transformation gimmick.

The minifigs consist of diver Axel Storm and the treasure guardian Hammerhead. Axel has some amazing painted detail on his body, including little gauges and stuff for his dive suit. He also has a set of oxygen tanks, flippers, and a dive helmet. The Hammerhead figure features a cool translucent red head that the rest of the head fits over for a pretty neat effect. He also comes with a trident weapon. These are the first minifigs from the Atlantis line I’ve actually seen and I’m fairly impressed by them.

The Seabed Strider is a cool two-legged mech. Axel doesn’t actually sit in it, but rather he holds the handlebars and floats along behind it. The minifig grips it tight enough so that he will hang there in mid air, making it seem like he’s actually underwater. The vehicle includes cips for the two included harpoons and two grabber arms, along with a couple of jewels to put in them. I like the red, black and gray coloring on this thing and the stickers go a long way to give it detail.

By folding back the legs and the feet and folding up two wings, the Strider converts into a little one-man sub, which is presumeably how the Strider travels to and from the surface or a larger mother ship. It’s not the most complex transformation, but it is a really cool little gimmick that certainly shows some thought went into the the design.

I’m actually kind of miffed that I like this set so much. I meant it strictly as a little fix to get me through another week or so until I can buy a proper set in one of the lines that I already collect. Up until now I was pretty indifferent on this Atlantis line, but now I’m rethinking whether I want to check out any more of these sets. I may have to sample some of the other small ones and see if the appeal still holds. Afterall, I’m running out of the sets that I do collect, so I’m going to need to branch out or just wait for the new 2011 Kingdoms and Pharaoh’s Quest stuff.