71374 Nintendo Entertainment SystemTM

Reviewed by Chris McGee (SAFOLs Member, jhbLUG Member)

Nostalgia in spades

So… 2020 has been an interesting year so far, and the world of LEGO® is no exception. In fact, we have seen the campaign of adult targeted sets dramatically increase and almost take away from the standard children’s set dominance. Walking through our local LEGO® Certified Store these days (with mask on and sanitiser at the ready) now looks like something altogether different with a quarter (at least) of the store’s shelf space being dedicated to the sets aimed at 16+ (includes Technic® and the Architecture themes), the Ideas theme and the new line of 18+ sets. Including not having space for other themed sets released only 6 months prior. It’s a bold move for a company in the “toy” business, and the set in this review is very much targeting the nostalgia factor of us big kids.

In the most positive form of critique from the release notes and set description, the 71374 LEGO® Nintendo Entertainment SystemTM (NES) is a set that will “trigger nostalgic memories”, and as a fan of video games of old and fond memories of those many hours (too many from my parents perspective), I really wanted to project myself back and experience the magic. Although I had the “Family Computer” variant of the console growing up and am not sure if we got this version of the NES into SA, I wanted to see if it still strikes home on the nostalgia front.

The beginning:

The set contains 2646 pieces across numbered bags (thank goodness), with the instructions split into two separate booklets, one for the NES console and controller and the other for the retro TV, so can be a build for a couple of family members. The instructions also have some handy facts about the history of the console, the games thereon, and some facts about the set design and the team behind it. I can really appreciate this focus on the designers and set design as it adds more to the effort and love given towards the development process.

The console:

So, the partnership with NintendoTM has apparently been on the go for the past 4 years, which makes me wonder if this was originally on the cards or something that came later. But one thing is for sure, they really went to town on getting the accuracy factor there. The shaping and details around the outer casing is near identical to the original console, including printed parts for the specific written components. I love that they even bothered to make the plug receivers for the controllers and the connections through to the television (and with some nice techniques to boot). The consistent finishing using tiling for the edges and some nice building of the cartridge loading cover make for a product that brings the device to be the blocky heart of the set.

The console is accompanied by a single built up game cartridge, obviously using the Super Mario Bros sticker of the first 8 bit game variant as it’s label. This in itself would have been a great extra, but the cartridge loader on the console actually works, including a locking in feature of the loading which is amazing in how it is built. There is even a hidden easter egg built into the side of the console for those who dared venture into the warp zones. The simplicity and effectiveness of the mechanism is fantastic and a highlight of the set.

Moving on, you get the controller, which is also heavily decorated with printed parts giving that added grace to a device where your fingers begin to get some muscle memory thereon with the A and B, and directional buttons in place. This controller would drive forward generations to come for home gaming consoles, after the older consoles focusses on controllers like the arcade joysticks. The controller comes with a pneumatic pipe as its wired cable, and actually slots into the console port, and the connection friction is just right for easy removal and placing for a firm hold.

The television:

I can only guess, but my thought is that the console was the first point of focus for the team since it is more directly linked with the new Super MarioTM theme, so this makes the retro TV the “gravy”. So much so that it could easily be seen as the star of the dish, giving the flavour and energy needed for the set.

Built into it is a lovely screen rotation of a section of the first level of the Super Mario Bros 8-bit game. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time on this level growing up, but I think it is the right choice for all, being recognisable to all who have any knowledge of the game. The actual method used in scrolling the level, is done using the larger track pieces in 2 levels connected through long plates and then finished with tiles and some plates. There is a lever to the right of the television which is used to rotate the tracks. The special prints stand on different 1×1 shaped parts on top and provide character to the environment in the form of the gumba, koopa shell, star, question mark block and coin. You also get an extra of each of the printed elements.

Then comes the specialised Mario modified plate. This is a unique part both in the print and it’s construction, able to connect on an anti-stud to the bar and trans-clear dish piece which helps guide Mario in navigating the level as the screen scrolls across. A key to this is the use of a microphone piece just providing less friction for easy movement. Handy hint: don’t push the dish piece too close to the tiles as it tends to get stuck easily on the plates on the screen.

All this in an amazingly detailed adaptation of an older television, complete will stand. The channel changing dial, volume and display settings all represented with prints and the channel dial having a cool mechanism to add a resistance and clicking noise to the experience. Even the panel to the left of the screen comes with some building for the speaker cover with the receiving studs showing to lovely effect.

To the back of the television and we get only our third sticker for a neat and tidy finish for the back of the television providing the actual specifications. A fun little easter egg comes through now as the specifications thereon are actually for the set build itself. Considering that this section would normally not be seen on display, it is great that they finished it so well, giving the right shape and smooth design. To top it off, a small arial can be clipped down or set up to display.

The other function:

So once finished building, scrolling and admiring the set, there is another option available, although a critical component does not come with the set itself, and that is interaction with the LEGO®  MarioTM from the upcoming Starter Course set (71360). It allows you to play the famous music and sound effects triggered by coloured tiles within the colour sensor of the Mario figure. All this comes from simply scanning the provided coded tile. Now initially when I received the set, I didn’t have the LEGO®  MarioTM but I was still able to get what I wanted from the interaction of scrolling the screen around and watching the jumping and general interaction (all the while having the music play through my head).

I did receive my pre-order a bit earlier than expected and so then tried out the new Mario figure and the interaction it provides, and yes, having the music and sound effects did add to the experience.

I do feel that this is more of an enhanced inclusion rather than a necessity, but can understand why people would be upset at not having a “complete” set when this inclusion is offered but you need to have a key device to effectively use it. That and the set would cost you an extra thousand rand over and above the current price tag for this set.

The final product:

This set is perhaps a great indicator of what can expect from LEGO® going forward – sets targeting a growing market of adults wanting a combination of build and display value. And what a way to do it.

It rings all the right bells for me with regards to nostalgia, build quality and experience, and really does look phenomenal when displayed. A must I would say for big Nintendo fans, a great display piece for those wanting that point of focus. The mechanisms used for the play features are well thought out and well-built to give an experienced builder some fun and these are a fair accompaniment to the set.

On a price point, at R3,799.99 (recommended retail), the set may be bordering the higher price point, and we can probably get an actual NES for half the price, and play it (didn’t check but I doubt it would scale up to this price). But honestly, this is meant to be built and compared with LEGO sets, and in that, I feel that the price is fair for what comes out and the experience with the building, considering the new moulds and great prints we also get.

The added feature with the integration of the starter course set is nice to have and add some pep but is not necessary if you would rather not get the starter course (price or otherwise), and I don’t believe have added to the price point given that the price to part ratio is still quite low.

Overall, a great set, and I hope the partnership with Nintendo does continue as I know many are looking for those elusive minifigure based sets.

Official Images

10269 – Harley Davidson® Fat Boy®

By Bianca Preusker (SAFOLs Memeber. CapeLUG Member)

An unexpected delight

I am no motorbike fan. So, I admit a certain amount of surprise at just how much fun I had with this build. I particularly enjoyed the mix of Technic and system techniques. The high reliance on system bricks made the start a little fiddly, and bits seemed to keep coming apart from a hard stare to start with. After a while everything came together in the most surprising ways and the final product was sturdy and robust. It is not only an iconic display piece, but also delightfully playable. The word swooshable springs to mind.

LEGO® designer Mike Priaki made magic happen, with mostly conventional parts put together in some innovative ways to create the unique and instantly recognisable shape of the Harley. I like the simple design, not too cluttered with unneeded greebling and, being a bike, a lot of the beautiful engine design is visible in the final product.  

As an AFOL I was especially interested in the instruction booklet, which contained an interview with Mike Priaki. It is fantastic to read a little more about the process of making a design like this one. The timeline of the company also made for interesting reading.

One of my favourite aspects of the build was the use of the light blueish grey barrels in the exhaust. Brilliant! And the wheels… The tyres and the rims were especially designed for this set, and really look great.


  • Creative parts use
  • Beautiful eye-catching design
  • Interesting Instruction Book


  • Bit fiddly in some stages
  • “only” 1023pc – I would have enjoyed a slightly longer build

In summary: I really enjoyed building the Harley. The techniques were interesting and varied and the final result is a beautiful rendition of an absolute icon. I highly recommend it.

Images from the official press release.

70705 Galaxy Squad Bug Obliterator

By James Burnett (SAFOLs Member, CapeLUG Member)

After building my first Galaxy Squad set (70702 – Warp Stinger), I immediately went looking for my second (and third and fourth…) sets. I managed to find the Bug Obliterator (70705) released in 2013. For those unfamiliar with the theme, it is centered on humans and robotic sidekicks that are protecting worlds against an invasion by an alien insect-like race. The humans are divided into four teams, each with a unique colour (red, blue, green and orange) and speciality. The humans have various vehicles designed to survive in outer space. The vehicles of the aliens look like animal hybrids.

The set’s name is derived from the large human vehicle which makes up the bulk of the set and belongs to the Orange Team. The main strength of the Orange Team is their fire power and this is certainly the case with this vehicle. The aliens have a small vehicle, who in all honesty will be completely obliterated should they go head to head with the aptly named Bug Obliterator.

The Build

The build starts with the alien vehicle. Even though it is a relatively small build, the use of parts is creative and the trans-neon green, trans-purple, lime and dark red colours make for a very interesting and appealing colour combination. The trans-purple cocoon attaches to the back of the alien vehicle and is used to trap members of the human teams.

Figure 1: The Alien Vehicle

The human vehicle is made up of two parts, a land vehicle and a space vehicle, which combines into one larger vehicle. It is a fun build that makes use of a lot of interesting building techniques.

Figure 2: Combined Human Vehicle
Figure 3: Separation of the Land Vehicle from the Space Craft
Figure 4: Land Vehicle using the Missile Torrent

The Minifigures

The set comes with four minifigures. The first is Jack Fireblade. He comes with a nice torso print (front and back). I appreciated that all the human figures have an alternate face with what looks like an oxygen mask.

The second minifigure is Ashlee Starstrider. I am glad to see a female member of the Orange Team and she is exclusive to this set. I am however disappointed that she has the same torso and legs and that she did not get a unique print. Although I understand this was either a cost saving decision or it was decided that all space suits would look the same as in real life, irrespective of gender. She does have a nice blue lip print.

The third minifigure is a orange robot sidekick. The minifigure does not have a traditional face, but rather the helmet serves as the head. The head of the robot sidekick is different to each team, giving some variety to the look and feel of the sidekick.

The fourth and last minifigure is the winged mosquitoid. The mosquitoid is dark red and olive green. The trans-bright green wing accessory creates the look and feel of real wings. The dark red antenna is separate to the head and requires fine motor skills to insert as it is extremely fine.


What stands out for me about this set (and other sets in this theme) is the attention to detail and the interlocking design of the various elements and vehicles to create larger vehicles. This is something I have not seen in any other theme. Overall it is a fun and interesting build.

Harry Potter 2020 sets (75966, 75967, 75979)

By Barry Kay (SAFOLs Brick Boss, CapeLUG EXCO, Batman … Ssshhhh!)

Once again LEGO® has brought out a new range of wonderful Harry Potter sets, which allow children and adults alike to build, recreate and relive treasured scenes from the Harry Potter books and movies.

This review introduces three of the smaller, but no less enjoyable sets, that have been released in the second half of 2020.

Hogwarts™ Room of Requirement (75966) – 193 pcs / R349.99

Help Harry teach Hermione and Luna the charm to conjure their Patronus, in order to defeat the dark Dementors.

This set features the entrance wall to the room with a sliding wall panel that reveals the door. Turn the wall around and you are inside the room with a warm fire raging in the fireplace. The minifigures included are Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, all with dual face prints to change the mood of each character. There is also a Dementor practice dummy.

Some great new parts in this set are the glittery Trans-light blue hare and otter with are the Patronus forms for Luna and Heroine. You can add Harry’s stag to the mix that was bought out previously in the Expecto Patronum set.

The set doesn’t have printed tiles but does come with a sticker sheet. One sticker being the noticeboard with a photo of the original members who formed the Order of the Phoenix and another photo of “remember Diggory”.

The set is fun and easy to build with great play-ability. It is also built to be able to connect and integrate onto other sets to form part of the greater Hogwarts Castle.

Forbidden Forest: Umbridge’s Encounter (75967) – 253 pcs / R549.99

Have your revenge on Delores Umbridge in yet another set featuring a scene in the Forbidden Forest. The minifigures include Harry, Hermione and Professor Umbridge (dressed in her out of place shocking pink dress suit). All three have dual printed faces. We also see the introduction of two Centaurs. Both with exactly the same face and torso prints with bow and arrow. The new horse body torso is a great addition not only for this set, but for any fantasy MOC builder who would like to create their own Centaur variations.

We have built “BigFigs” in other LEGO® sets before and we get to do it again. Hagrid’s giant half-brother Grawp is a nice little build. Designed to function the same as a standard minifigure, the only difference is that his arms can move forward, backward, up and down. A particularly nice touch is the use of a 1×2 jumper plate as his belly button.

We get to build another sturdy tree similar to the one we built in Aragog’s lair, but this one is bigger and not only half the tree. The tree opens up to reveal Grawp’s hidden stash of items he has collected.

The set has lots of playability with the changing faces of the minifigures and the fact that you can use Grawp to catch, bash and throw the awful Umbridge.

Hedwig™ (75979) – 630 pcs / R699.99

LEGO® has given us a different Harry Potter set compared to all the other scene recreations sets. We get to build a sculpture of Harry’s beloved Snowy Owl, Hedwig. Not only is this a wonderful display piece, it is also a kinetic model with wings that gracefully flap up and down by turning a crank at the bottom of the perch.

We start with building the stand and perch which is quite a sturdy design, considering it needs to hold the owl in place while the wings are flapping up and down. The perch is cleverly angled to give the model the look that Hedwig is taking flight.

The mechanisms inside have also been very well thought out in order to reproduce the fluid motion of a bird’s wings. You need to turn the crank slowly for better fluidity. Turning it too fast causes the wing to flop down fast due to the weight, so if you are going to use power functions to automate the movement, make sure you run it slowly or you could cause the mechanics to dislodge if you go too fast. It is very interesting to see how it all fits together and watch the motion while still a skeletal construction.

The wings are well detailed, and the separate parts are manoeuvrable to make the sculpture look like it is in motion when being displayed as a static piece.

The head fits onto the body with a Technic connector pin allowing you to turn it and give the owl a tiled head look, which is rather quite cute.

Hedwig carries a letter with the red Hogwarts seal. The letter folds and seal are stickers that come on a sheet along with a Hedwig name sticker for a tile that fits on the base.

The set comes with one Minifigure of a young Harry Potter in uniform with a Gryffindor scarf that “wraps” around him with printing in the front and back of the torso. As with the other new sets, Harry has dual face printing for happy and scared. There is also a new mini Hedwig Owl with wings outstretched. They can both be placed on a small stand with Hedwig on a pearl gold telescope as a perch. This stand can be placed either next to the sculpture or clipped onto the 2×2 jumper plate just behind the Hedwig name sign on the base. This is more of a display set than a playable one, apart from the mobility, but all in all, it is an amazing set and highly recommended.

The BIG Aquanauts series review

Reviewed by Johan Kruger (SAFOLs Member, jhbLUG Member)

I fondly remember the year 1993 and 1995, because in my opinion, the two greatest LEGO® series came out and this is of course “Ice planet 2002” and the “Aquanauts Series”. Maybe it was the great colour pallet that was used, but they captured my imagination or sense of exploration.

This review will focus on the Aquazone series.

Firstly, there was a great TV advert, so for those who missed it here it is:

The first, and best wave of the Aquazone theme had two faction competing in deep sea mining operations of so-called Hydrolator Crystals. The Aquanauts were the good guys with yellow/black scheme, transparent parts in dark blue. The bad guys were called the Aquasharks with black/blue color scheme with transparent neon orange pieces with shark teeth and eyes prints on them, this most likely the best part of the series.


As far as minifigure design goes there were only 3 good guy variants and 2 bad guys. They did not have the best torso or face printing but could be equipped with scuba gear featuring two different face shield colors for the Aquanauts and red and black for the Aquasharks. They have great small details and a clip for the chromed knives or spears. The only one minifig with a name was the chief of the bad guys, Thresher with his hooked trans green arm. They also had diving fins in either blue or black

Parts use

Another stand out feature was the use of a real LEGO® compass and it does work mostly pointing in the right direction. This come in 3 of the bigger sets but just really reinforced the exploration sense of the series.

Now back to the rest of the LEGO® parts, for a start there is no stickers to be found anywhere, stickers used today can add a lot of details to a set but back then all the details had to be done with bricks and a small collection of printed parts. Outside the amazing printed trans clear orange parts there was also great flexible arms that could lift the crystal containment units using magnets similar to those used in earlier train sets to connect wagons. The crystals themselves were also chromed and this is such a great effect not used in today’s sets. The series had a number of very interesting parts including 2×4 Side SNOT bricks (6061) , hexagonal cylinders (6043,6037), with SNOT sides (6042), old style finger hinges(4275,4531), a small spring loaded Technic brick (2605c01), Modified Facet bricks in blue and yellow (2463), Hinge Window Frame 1 x 4 x 3 with Octagonal Panel (2443) and Propeller Housing (6040). Actually there is a lot more but can’t just talk about parts.


The instructions for some was only one paper folded up but what made it cool was the back page full of Pirates or Castle sets that would lead to envy to own them as well.

The instructions for others has a few pages at least, but I just have to pause on the excellent cover page art. These feature hand drawn backdrops which
just make you want to dig into the sets . For more reading on this, I found a small post by the art director of the series just called Faber (http://faberfiles.blogspot.com/2014/03/aquazone-my-art-direction-debut-on-LEGO®.html). The instructions were also not like today and did not really highlight what parts was needed for a step or what was added. A lot of time was spend playing spot the difference between the steps. This is something I do kind of miss and was part of the experience. No hand holding here…


Small (1749,6125 and 6115)

Lets start with the smallest sets. The biggest only having 35 parts which is small by today’s standard of small sets, yet they still have character. All of them had one minifigure. The range was Shark Scout (6115), Paravane (1749) and Sea Sprint 9 (6125)

Medium (6135 and 6145)

These had up to 88 parts, which is still actually not that many, but with big wheels and the printed screens they do look a bit bigger. This range was Spy Shark (6135) and Crystal Crawler (6145 or 1728 who knows??) Again, both sets only had one minifigure and one small plant element. Set 6145 featured the great Technic mechanism(2605c01) to lock the arms in one of two positions

Large (6155, 6190, 6175,1822 and 6195)

Deep Sea Predator (6155) is the smallest of the large sets. This set had one minifigure, one plant and one shark outside of the submarine. This was the most streamlined of the Aquasharks and really looked menacing. With both the front and rear printed parts, it looked like it could glide through the water at great speed (and steel all those crystals). The rear compartment also had place to store the container. Strange to think this set also still only had 95 parts.

Crystal Explorer Sub (6175) was the biggest of the Aquanauts stand alone subs and as the name suggests, this was an explorer sub to look for crystals but also collect and bring them to the Neptune discovery lab. This set only featured the sub, two minifigures, one plant and a black octopus. It has 152 parts and featured a yellow and trans blue color scheme and looked exactly like something Jacques Cousteau would use to explore the sea. If you think of yellow research submarines, the earliest picture that comes to my mind is the yellow diving saucer used in documentaries by Jacques Cousteau. They were yellow as this color is clearly visible over great distance under water.

Shark’s Crystal Cave (6190) was the biggest of the Aquashark sets. This set features the base with shark cage and the big submarine. This sub had a smaller sea glider hidden within it as well as two minifigures, two plants and a shark. But one of the stand out features was a classic space crater baseplate but in the Aquanaut’s color scheme with craters but in black and dark blue print. The base has a place for the sub to launch from and this also doubles as a cage to keep sharks or good guy Aquanauts. The set has 244 parts and most of these goes into the submarine. The striking use of the trans clear orange, black and blue color create a beautiful looking set along with the brick fins it really drives the underwater theme home. Without asking it is clear this is the bad guy vehicle with one intent and that is to steal crystals.

Sea Claw 7 / Neptune III (1822) is the only set that I don’t own. It seems like it had late release and wasn’t part of the initial wave of sets. This set almost looks like it was designed by a different person. It features a large claw that uses a rubber band and also had a small deploy-able sea glider.

Neptune Discovery Lab (6195) was the biggest of the sets from this series with 480 parts and two big raised blue base plates. The set had three minifigures, a few plants, a black octopus, a small mobile sub and the big undersea base called the Neptune lab.

Let’s start with the small submarine. This again had the yellow and trans blue color scheme. It featured a big rear compartment to store all sorts of things. This could be a whole heap of containers with crystals or anything that the explorer finds under the sea. Again the sub had two mechanical arms one with a claw and one with a magnet attachment to pick up crystal containers.

The base itself has a truly impressive size. The raised printed baseplates are extremely well used here. With these types of baseplates now out of favor by LEGO® and mostly being replaced with brick-built landscapes, this one really has a soft spot in my heart. The prints really add to the character and with the addition of a few more plants this could maybe even in future find a place in one of my MOCs.

The base is made of 3 main parts.

The front refueling skid, for oxygen or fuel. The main processing plant at the back and a small control tower to the right. The main base had a Technic mechanism with a chain belt to move crystals either to a container right or to the plant to the left. The chain was moved by a round knock at the back and really added to the play-ability of the set. 

On top it featured a crane that can lift the crystals from submarines to the conveyor belt entrance. Moving them left they would go to a stop small collector bin on a 4×4 hinge plate. This can then be dropped to the small space behind the yellow bar grille. The rear of the base has two very large 10x6x11 trans dark blue panels that led light into the main building. This building is assessable via two smaller minifig size entrances at the side of the building with one even having a keypad to enter the right code to get in.

The front of the building also feature two big 1x9x11 trans dark blue doors that can open to reveal the inside of the base.

The huge box itself was also a marvel of that era, with a front cover that lifted to reveal key big parts from the set, including the base plates. The top panel had further pictures of the set to complement the front and rear of the box.


Note that some smaller modern sea creatures sneaked into the review and wasn’t part of the set. These were mostly thanks to my co-reviewer but these sets still capture the imagination of my six year old just proving how timeless the design is.

PS. There were other waves of aquanauts sets but they just lost the nostalgia and even color scheme of the first wave. There were also the semi OK Atlantis sets of 2010. But at least I think this series led to the excellent City diver’s series 1997 and the newest deep-sea explorers (2015 and 2020) although I do wish they would bring them back one day…..

Friends Summer 2020 sets

By Barry Kay (SAFOLs Brick Boss, CapeLUG EXCO, Batman … Ssshhhh!)

I have never really been into the Friends sets but have always like the parts and animals that came with them. I was privileged to get my hands on some of the summer 2020 range and have to say these builds have some great techniques and part usage. The sets are also designed in such a way that they are very playable and not only meant for display.

The target audience is definitely young girls who love to play with a dolls house type environment.

As with the new City sets, we see some of the great collaboration between LEGO® and National Geographic in this range.

Expert from the LEGO® press release

Billund, Denmark, 25 June 2020: Today, the LEGO Group and National Geographic unveil their most recent partnership. New LEGO® City and LEGO® Friends sets have been developed to create awareness about exploration and the protection of endangered species in the world’s jungles and oceans. To support the launch and engage children even further, a campaign has been developed in collaboration with National Geographic to encourage children to explore the world and maybe even develop their own creative ideas on solving the real-life challenges our world is facing. The campaign site is now live in English on LEGO.com/exploretheworld and will launch July 1st in additional languages. The LEGO Group is also announcing a contribution towards the National Geographic Society to fund grants in ocean exploration and species conservation.”

Baby Elephant Jungle Rescue (41421) – 203 pcs / R349.99

The first of National Geographic sets in this range. In this set we have rangers Stephanie and Emma who need to rescue a baby elephant trapped in some rocks. The set has a charming little car and trailer that is nice and sturdy with great play / driveability. The rock trap is designed to slide open and closed so that the team can rescue the baby elephant. It is a fun and easy set to build.

Panda Jungle Tree House (41422) – 265 pcs / R549.99

This NG set features rangers Olivia and Mia and some really cute baby pandas. The tree house is a solid enough build that a child can play with the characters in and around it. They will have fun letting the pandas slide down the slide and having the Mini-doll wash the dirty panda that is cleverly printed with muddy patches. There is also a little seesaw to build that works nicely for the pandas to sit on and play. The set has some other clever details such as a pull cart, chains holding a tyre swing and computer with tea station in the treehouse. All in all another fun and very playable set.

Tiger Hot Air Balloon Jungle Rescue (41423) – 302 pcs / R699.99

The next set in the NG line has rangers Andrea and Emma rescuing white tiger cubs from a waterfall in their hot air balloon. The waterfall build is simple and elegant but still a solid play build. The curved trans-light blue parts give it a very unique running water look and feel. The balloon is very much like other we have seen. Easy build with a round basket and attachment box for the tigers being rescued one at a time.

Jungle Rescue Base (41424) – 648 pcs / R1,399.99

Another NG set with rangers Andrea, Mia and Oliva. This set has similar aspects to the 41422 Treehouse with great details and play ability with the ranger stations and fun slide for the animals. This set introduces a cute sloth to the mix of Friends animals. There are two included. The two treehouses are connected by a cleverly designed rope bridge that has 2×2 modified plates so the mini-doll can be played with walking across or standing on it. With more “technology” being used in the latest LEGO® sets, we see some solar panels and also get to build a drone with this set. It must be one of Olivia’s creations. There is a lot this set has to offer with regards to building and playability.

Olivia’s Flower Garden (41425) – 92 pcs / R169.99

Here we have a quick and easy build. It has a growing station with small potted plants. There is a unique quad scooter to build that Olivia can ride and transport her plants. A cleverly designed but simple to build farmer bot adds some extra character to the set. What would a friends set be without including an animal? We get cute squirrel in this one.

Heartlake City Park Café (41426) – 224 pcs / R349.99

This set is your basic dolls house playable type set. We have pastry chef Stephanie selling her goods at the café and Mia with her skateboard coming to buy. The shop setup it easy to build with some nice details like an ice-cream machine, waffle maker and display rack. The shop has large “glass” doors that can swing open and closed, and there is an outdoor eating area which allows for extra game play ideas.

Emma’s Fashion Shop (41427) – 343 pcs / R549.99

This set will go very nicely next to the City Park Café in the Heartlake shopping district. Also a dolls house type set, we have an easy to build shop structure with lots of extra details such as a changing room, upstairs lounge to play tea party with Andrea and Emma before shopping and trying on the clothes, which are provided in the form of additional torsos and capes.

Beach House Building Kit (41428) – 444 pcs / R859.99

Lovely easy build of a typical Friends dolls house type set. You can vacation with Mia and Andrea. Take them surfing or boating along with a friendly baby dolphin. They can relax in the hammock under the palm tree after a lovely burger and fries lunch in the kitchen. At night flip up the roof to reveal Andrea’s DJ station and party until morning. Other pieces of interest in this are the flamingo and buildable sandcastle.

Heartlake City Aeroplane (41429) – 572 pcs / R1,199.99

While Mia and Andrea are partying it up at the beach house, Stephanie and Oliva are jet setting elsewhere. This easy to build aeroplane has a removable cockpit, Cabin and storage area covers, so you can get Captain Ashely the pilot (who is also the ticket sales lady) into the cock pit, settle the girls into their seats in the main cabin, load the cargo hold, close up and jet off into the sky. The plane is quite solid when all closed up and has very nice swooshability.

Summer Fun Water Park (41430) – 1001 pcs / R1,699.99

Join Mason, Olivia, Emily and Stephanie for some water park fun. This set has a very fun design of a large swimming pool with different slides and the base is nicely rounded off. I especially like the trans-light blue tube slide which is quite different to your standard slides that they have in this set. There are lovely underwater details such as the coral decorations, fish tanks, a flamingo and sea horse. Along with the park itself you also get a little ice-cream van to serve the characters on the hot day. As with the other sets in this range, it is very easy to build and has great playability.

76139 – 1989 Batmobile™

By Allan Taylor (SAFOLs Member, CapeLUG Member)


Black… All important builds start with a bag of black bits. And music! Edgy, scary music that would make a parent, or studio executive, nervous. And thus… with Danny Elfman’s brilliant score for the original 1989 Tim Burton classic setting the correct, sombre tone, I reach for my knife and open the huge box of shiny new LEGO® that has been haunting my dreams this past month. Welcome to my review of LEGO® set #76139!

The box art for this set is just next level superb, and that’s saying something given that LEGO® has historically produced some pretty epic pack shots and box art. A matte black finish is embossed with glossy images of what many consider to be THE quintessential Batmobile. Also included are images and a logo indicating that this set is to celebrate both the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s rendition of Bob Kane’s creation and 80 years since Mr Kane first released images of the Dark Knight.

One of the first pleasant surprises is that there is nice art in the form of a schematic style rendering of the Batmobile on the (usually plain) white box containing roughly half the parts. I am always grateful for these boxes as not only do they add support for the bigger boxes but they also help to keep manuals and sticker sheets from being misshapen or deformed open opening. I am pleased as punch that mine are in perfect nick!

Unnumbered bags include the rims and windshield (is this the most expensive piece I now own??).

The first bag is a hefty one to get us started.

The manual is super swish! Exactly what I would expect from a UCS build and it has info about the actual Batmobile as well as the creation of this particular LEGO® design.

Perusing the preamble it seems Burton himself had some final say in design choices with the work being submitted directly to him from the LEGO® design team.

The notes in the manual indicate that this build has over 3300 parts and weighs in at around 3.5kg. This is going to be EPIC!

Danny Elfman’s score for the original movie jamming, snoozing cat and a much bigger kitchen table secured! I’m finally ready to start.

The Batman minifig included with this set is simply mind-blowing! The new cowl element is first to be found as I snuffle through the pile like a hog hunting truffles! It does NOT disappoint! (THAT is now the most expensive piece I own!).

I can already tell that there will be a LOT of Technic support structure here, as with previous UCS vehicles, and this makes sense given the weight which will need to be supported by the final build.

SO many pins… my fingers begin to cramp.

Already this thing is almost longer than the manual and I’m still adding to the length with every step!!

End of bag one and that’s about as much excitement as I can handle on night one! I look at the start of this huge chassis and ponder where I could find an even bigger kitchen table.


It has quickly become evident that this is definitely not a build for amateurs. Having never assembled a steering column type setup before, getting this right was challenging to say the least.

So much of this shaping is truly next level! Such clever use of parts to sit seamlessly flush whilst creating amazing form.

Such ingenious use of jumpers and half stud offsets that I can’t even keep track anymore. Just following those instructions to a “T” and trusting that everything will work out. A mad man designed this I tell you, a mad man!!

There are modified plates used in strange new ways (to me anyway) helping to maintain a flush fit whilst keeping those half stud offsets in line, incredible!

Staring at the bones of the front end assembly I can’t even imagine how much thinking and rethinking just this part of the design must have taken.

As with the smaller version, creation of the wheel wells is just outstanding, fascinating to watch as the shapes all come together.

I keep glancing at that functional steering column and wondering about the possibilities for Power Functions. Might have to put a call into our good friend Alfred if I ever have the balls to rebuild this beast.

Awe inspiring detail with such clever use of freely available parts! The angled “gouge” on the side behind front wheel well!!

As the sun sets on day two, I find myself hopelessly addicted to this build now. Every time I tell myself “that’s the last step now, must go be productive” I find that I cannot help adding a few more bits as the excitement of seeing this beautiful piece completed grows.

Seriously classy having the Batman logo on the horn (Bat horn?), and… they give you a spare!

Six bags down and there are some very interesting mechanical systems built in.

Really love the gas and brake pedals, and I’m very excited to see the fully realized cabin


With my wife heading off to work and my child still sleeping, I get to work JUST like Batman! Alone… in the dark…

134 pages and almost 200 steps in. If you ever wanted a serious stash of silver roller skates… this is the set for you! Step 193 requires me to pick out 12.

There is very clever use of gunmetal grey in the form of some studs and ingots to add subtle contrast against the black.

Pondering the build so far I note that there are a fair number more new pieces in this build than the smaller version. New triangular tiles, modified brackets and the trusty 1x1x2 brick with studs on the side as well as 1×3 jumper plates in black. More variety of new pieces but not excessive use indicates this is still potentially mostly doable from sourced parts, but many more stickers add crucial detail which would need to be sourced to get the look right.

Despite one side effectively being a mirror build, it’s not repetitive or boring as they work through both sides with each step as opposed to having you build one side first then turning it around for the other. This is extremely challenging though as often the far side of the build is not clearly visible in the instructions and it is necessary to build and place parts on the right side to work out exactly how they should fit on the left. Gotta pay attention folks!

As I pass the 200 step mark officially, I’m not even sure what I’m building but I’m LOVING it! I can only hope that I retain a fraction of what I’m learning for future MOCs but there is a LOT of genius to appreciate here.

Outstanding use of macaroni curves in gunmetal grey to simulate parts of the exhaust system on the side.

Second cup of coffee, second cigar, quick BrickLink order, check on snoozing cat and then back to work in a style that would make Alfred smile.

My return to “work” is rewarded with the inclusion of a new minifig in bag 9. Miss Vicky Vale now joins the Dark Knight to supervise construction. Just like the original actress, this minifig comes with a fairly standard hairpiece in blonde and a face print that borders on generic, but the sand green outfit is accurate and the telephoto lens on the camera is very clever!

Simple but effective use of aeroplane support struts to create fins.

Some of the smaller parts are so hard to place with my fat fingers that I find myself reaching for my tweezers on the regular.

The exhaust vents are not only an incredible design, but the mounting points and angles are almost incomprehensible to my mere mortal brain.

Opening bag twelve there is a very real sense of accomplishment at having made it halfway. I take a moment to reflect on life and then get back to detailing the cabin.

The dashboard detail is utterly jaw dropping! Good use of stickers but excellent use of curved slope 2×2’s “backwards” to get that sleek, flush curve and slight overhang, amazing!

Completion of the cabin detailing yields spectacular results! The entire console and dash is perfectly accurate and has me gagging to build a Batman figure which would be the correct scale to pilot this beast.

By the end of bag twelve the shape and volume of the model is starting to really become apparent, this is one beautiful behemoth!

Another indication that this is not a build for amateurs is that I MUST check the parts list for every step.  Usually I just “spot the difference” and find the parts I need but there is so much going on here that my usual method is clearly ineffectual.

This mechanism at the back that raises the guns is BLACK MAGIC I tell you!  Also… did I mention? The guns pop out of the bonnet, discarding the panels that hide them completely just like in the movie!

Bag 14. After mucking about with various support elements in garish colours, this bag seems to have us “back in black”

Modified 1 x 3 Inverted Black Tile with a Hole ?!?

16 black arch bricks anyone?!? And all this only for one step (365)

Turns out those 16 arches make up the bulk of the rear wheel well arches… and it is truly beautiful to behold.

Back on the front end and those classic lines are starting to show as I clad the support structure with smooth curved slopes.

As the front end comes together and the turbine is installed the effect is awe inspiring.

The lights are in and they deliver perfectly given the parts available and concessions that needed to be made for the format. The curvature on the front end as the final panel sub builds are installed is a LOT more sleek than it appears on the box art, natural light makes the progression between the slopes a lot less noticeable than the heavy spot effect evident in the pictures.

Having prepped the surface area of the bonnet, I excitedly begin construction on one of the most recognizable and key elements of this movie vehicle recreation!

The bonnet quickly takes shape and looks exquisite.

Taking the windshield element out of its plastic is almost a holy moment. Is that a choir of angelic beings chanting softly? Nope, still just a bunch of gargoyles having a smoke while they natter on a nearby rooftop.

Assembling the windshield and roof I start getting that feeling of awe deep in my bones as I slowly realize that this thing SLIDES open! It also appears at this point to flip back to open as an option but only completing the final bags will tell if there will be enough space left to retain that feature.

Day three was by far the most productive day to date. With a large portion of the build now under my belt, I decide to rest my head and my throbbing fingers for the night. Tomorrow shall be the final day, and I seriously cannot wait!


Like a kid on Christmas morning I awake and my excitement levels are off the charts! Grabbing a fresh coffee, I eagerly head to the table to finish this amazing build.

Getting myself ready for the day I see that I have seven bags left to get through and that elusive little trickster, the Joker, seems to be my prize for getting to the final bag. Holy holidays Batman! Let’s get to building.

At this point it’s worth noting that manoeuvring the main build around to match the orientation of the instructions is getting trickier and trickier. Whilst stunningly beautiful, this behemoth is most unwieldy so I would really recommend a LOT of space for building.

The headrest design is surprisingly a highlight. Simple yet effect use of parts once again, and such beautiful end results!

This build has been challenging the whole way through, but as the model nears completion I seriously cannot stress enough how this is NOT a set for beginners. Some of the sub assemblies are quite fragile in places until they are in position on the main build and the construction of them is often devilishly clever and mind bending. I say this as someone who has many hundred hours of experience building both with and without a manual, so you know… use it, don’t use it.

Working on the back end and it seems there could be enough of a cavity to fit a motor for the real axle, my mind is a flutter as I have almost no experience with power functions, but for this guy I’d be willing to learn!

The back end of the canopy is a pleasure to build. As more of the sub assemblies are fitted I realize now that the ability to flip the hood and windshield up is definitely no longer an option. This saddens me slightly but honestly if I had to choose one method of opening the cabin area it would be the rail system with the more authentic sliding action, amazing work from the designers.

Excellent use of sideways construction for the panels leading from the back end to the lower elevation either side of the cabin.

Once the petrol cap stickers are applied there is only one of the 13 left, and it’s the big‘un.

The rear end still seems to have enough clearance inside to take a battery pack and motor, and the panels creating the various shapes are elegantly genius.

I really like how the rear carapace takes shape!

Bag 22 exists JUST for wings. The wings are cleverly constructed from two main sub assemblies, one being built completely upside down and then clipped in with 1×1 modified bricks with bar protrusions.

It’s taken four days to get to the final bag, and it seems it was definitely worth the wait! Not only does the first representation of Nicholson’s Joker in minifig form await my grubby mitts, but it also looks like there is a stand yet to be built! And just like the smaller version I built earlier… this one seems to rotate as well.

As I croon over the final build, silently gliding around in a 360 arc on its stylish base, I feel blessed just to have it in my life.  The price point, as I’ve pointed out before, is relatively high but I can say without a doubt that whether or not you are a Batman fan it is worth every single cent.  This set is jaw droppingly gorgeous both for the exterior shaping as well as the underlying form which keeps it structurally sound and accommodates all those tiny offsets and interesting angles.  There is a little something here for everyone, from the amazing minifigs to the clever use of Technic parts and techniques.  I feel very confident in my recommendation that this is a LEGO® set of the highest quality currently possible.

Press Release Images.

21319 – Ideas Friends™

Review by Troy Chelin (SAFOLs Member, jhbLUG Member)

Set number 21319 FRIENDS™ THE TELEVISION SERIES is #27 of the LEGO® IDEAS range and was released on the series 25th Anniversary. The first LEGO® Ideas or Cuusoo as it was known was released on the 17th of February 2011. This is not the first television series Ideas set to be released the first was The Big Bang Theory set number 21302 which is #10 of the LEGO® Ideas range.

If you are new to the LEGO® Ideas range it basically works as follows, you build your own LEGO® idea and share it on the LEGO® Ideas webpage, if it gathers over 10 000 supporters, it will then go to the review panel for approval and if your project is approved it becomes a new LEGO® product of which you get a 1% share of the sales.


The American sitcom had 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004 following the lives of 6 friends who spend most of their spare time hanging out in a coffee shop. This set has many Easter Eggs hidden around the set. An Easter egg is an undocumented reference to popular culture or in the case of friend’s fans favourite television moments.

Box Art Work

The cardboard box is the standard LEGO® ideas box that flips open showing you the contents inside. The front of the box has the iconic friends TV series name with the full set pictured in the centre and the minifigures pictured below with their accessories. The sides of the box have fantastic graphics and drawings drawn in black depicting iconic sayings and images for the TV series with splashes of orange, yellow and blue on a white background and in the centre is the Central Perk coffee shop logo. The art work folds around to the inside of the box which is black inside. On the other side of the box you see the minifigures pictured in windows and again the white background with the black graphics and iconic sayings like “How you doing” a pick up line used by Joey with coffee cups, umbrella’s, Phoebe’s guitar, the fountain and taxi cab with the iconic orange couch randomly displayed in the foreground.

What’s in the box?

There are 6 bags in the box marked 1 to 6, 155 page instructions manual and with 5 stickers. This set comes with 1067 pieces and includes 7 mini figures. On page 4 of the instructions you will find a brief overview of the friend’s television series. On page 5 you will see photos of the 6 main characters in the set with background descriptions for each character unfortunately Gunther is not mentioned. On page 6 & 7 Meet the fan designer Aymeric Fievet from France who was full of joy and pride when his submission which he altered several times reached 10 000 votes. On page 8 & 9 you get to meet the LEGO® designers Milan Madge the designer and Crystal Bam Fontan the graphic designer and they share their thoughts via a question and answer session. On page 10 and 11 you get to see the how many bags there are and what bag completes the section of the build. From page 12 onwards the instructions begin all the way to page 149. Pages 151 to 153 are the piece counts and part numbers.

The Minifigures

In bag one you build: GUNTHER

Gunther is the manager of Central Perk coffee shop and a great inclusion in the set, he has a bright lime green torso with a colourful tie and black pants. He has a white hair piece and face prints on both sides which have been used before on Luke Skywalker mini figures. His accessory is a reddish brown push broom.

In bag two you build: RACHEL

Rachael is in her waitress outfit with a sleeve less light blue blouse with an apron print on the top half of her black pants. I do wish the apron was a cloth piece. The torso has nice lines for the back of the blouse. Her hair piece comes from series 17 the Veterinarian CMF mini figure series and it does justice to Rachel’s character. Her head has two different facial expressions, the first being her normal face and the other an annoyed smirk.  Her accessory is pearl silver serving tray and white tea cup.

In bag three you build: JOEY

Joey is wearing a red button up collared shirt with a very light red shirt underneath and it has pockets on either side which is a really good torso print with plain black legs. The black hair piece really captures Joey’s character well and the two different face prints are keeping with Joey’s attitude. His accessory is a reddish brown “mans bag” and it’s a reference to one of the episodes in the series were Joey carries the bag in hopes of it helping him get an acting job. The set includes food items for Joey of a pizza slice and box, which is a fan reference in the series. The pizza box is a white 2×2 tile with printed red and green stripes on either end with pizza printed in the centre. The pizza slice is a quarter round 1×1 stud tile piece with printed pizza toppings.

In bag four you build: Chandler

Chandler has a black waste coat over blue collared long sleeve shirt for his torso and tan pants for legs. He has a very Chandler face print and the alternate face print is of an annoyed Chandler. The brown hair piece has very good detail. Chandler comes with a black laptop which is difficult to open and close and I have a feeling if you open and close the laptop to much it will end up in two pieces. In my opinion this is my least favourite mini figure out of the 7.

In bag five you build: Phoebe and Ross

Phoebe has a lovely gold leafed vest torso with which sparkles in the day light. The vest design is based off an episode called ‘The one with the blackouts’. She comes with dual face prints, one of shock which really looks fantastic with her blonde hair that flows down from a pony tail and the other is a just breaking a smile. Phoebe comes with her guitar.

Ross features an exclusive dual printed head that really depicts his character well, with a concerned and smiling expression.  His torso print is a tan jacket with a striped tie with light brown legs. His black hair piece has good detail. Ross comes with a. Ross comes with a piano which was in one of the episodes that included Phoebe singing together.

In bag six you build: Monica

Monica does not have an exclusive head piece but it does justice to her character, she is wearing a white shirt with suspenders which also relate to her back with dark tan legs. The mini figure design relates to the very first episode of Friends where Monica reconnects with her childhood best friends while getting ready to go on a date and wearing a pale yellow jacket with suspenders and khakis, hey it was the 90’s. Monica has a chocolate brown cup cake piece for her accessory.

The Build

Central Perk is a coffee shop and what do you expect to find in a coffee shop but coffee and coffee mugs and this set does not disappoint with 15 in total, 3x yellow LEGO® mugs, 2x white LEGO® Mugs, 2x red LEGO® mugs, 2x pink LEGO® mugs, 2x transparent LEGO® mugs, 1x transparent pink LEGO® mug and 3x white tea/coffee cups. If you like the iconic LEGO® coffee mugs this is the set to buy. It includes 2 umbrellas a pink and a black one at the entrance of the shop and above the umbrellas is a red city workers cap.  

The coffee machine built with the gold pieces is very simple but very effective and fits in well with the well angled shop front counter with nice build for the cash register and the biscuits in the glass bowl are a cool addition. There is a print of the golden gate bridge in the back of the set which was also included in the Big Bang Theory set I think that’s a good way of linking Ideas sets.  

I like the carpet modules that you can pull out (look like islands) and place your mini figures where you want them and you can put it back or leave it in front of the set. You build the carpet inserts like a wall and lay them flat to place the furniture and figures where you can in relation to the studs that are placed in convenient places, you can customise this for better placements if you would like.

The iconic orange chair is a good build but you can only fit three figures and Phoebe’s mini figure’s blond hair protrudes out so you cannot sit her flush against the couch she has to sit one stud section out. The table that is placed in front of the orange couch as a nice use of tan and bright green with inverted studs to be able to put a newspaper, coffee cups, flowers and the reserved sign with black background and white writing is a sticker which is placed on a angle transparent piece and looks exactly like the TV series sign. Now we know how the Friends characters were always able to sit around the same table in busy New York City, maybe Rachel placed the reserved sign at the table?

The set has great angles and at the outside of the front entrance is a sticker placed on a 2×4 tile showing a advert that Joey worked on for a lipstick advertisement.  On the opposite inside of the wall is a sticker on a black 2×4 tile promoting Phoebe Live tonight! I like the arrow pointing to the coffee counter with a printed service tile. Another printed piece is the coffee menu with great pastel blue, pink and yellow colours which is representing chalk. The Central Perk logo is printed on a window piece and is a very nice addition.

In the area where Phoebe usually setup to sing is another section that can be removed and is secured in place by two black 1×1 clips. A red chair with brown sides and a round table with flowers are placed in this area and it includes a black microphone and stand for Phoebe to sing into.

My pick from the pieces for this set is #6289117 the dark green 2x2x7 lamp post.

Final thoughts

I really appreciate the time and effort the fan designer has put into the build of the set, he has really captured the iconic Central Perk coffee shop scene and has included many memorable moments from the ten year running series. I have read a number of other reviews where the reviewers are complaining about the lights on either side of the set; however you can remove those lights and the lighting grids if you don’t like the inclusion of the lights. You have to remember this was a TV series filmed in a TV Studio but I don’t think that this distracts from the set as they can be removed. This is a play or display set either way it’s well worth the money.

I did find one alternative build for this set which I thought was very interesting you can copy the link to find out more. https://rebrickable.com/mocs/MOC-33700/beewiks/LEGO®-frame-friends-central-perk/

4095 Room Copenhagen

By Rakesh Gosai (SAFOLs Brick Deputy)

If you didn’t know by now, LEGO® has a division called Room Copenhagen.


They are a specialist within brand extension, who design and produce home, storage and lunch solutions on behalf of LEGO® and a few other companies.

This particular storage rack #4095 has three drawers in three different colours, which are semi-transparent. Each drawer has a 3032 black plate 4 x 6 in front, which if used for storage, can display the part in the drawer.

I think the purpose of this storage rack was to make it easier to build a set with the pieces being kept in the drawer, that way no pieces would fall on the floor. The storage rack also comes with a loose baseplate 32×32 which slots in on top of the rack.

I really like the idea of having this, but LEGO® could have made these stack-able, then you could have a few on top of each other. Perhaps they would look at this in future. Available in red and blue, though I have only seen blue available locally.

70423 Hidden Side Paranormal Intercept Bus

By Rakesh Gosai (SAFOLs Brick Deputy)

I was fortunate to get some of the LEGO Hidden Side sets, the Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000 being the first I chose to build.

The set is an American Style School Bus with a twist. Even before getting these Hidden Side sets, I was looking forward to including it in a scene with my other Monster Fighters sets. These two themes will work so well together, I wonder if that was the idea for this wave.

Onto the build, firstly, the colour scheme is perfect!

Bag one has the portable toilet which changes into a brown-tile spitting haunted ghost monster and the pull out pull out command centre.

Bag two until five contains the bus build. There are many ingenious ways of using pieces for items like the mirrors of the bus and the massive exhausts. I can only imagine how cool it would be to drive a school bus with a turbo and these massive exhausts!

This set has five minifigures, two of which have ghost heads. The minifigures are: The two heroes Jack Davids with a smart-phone and girl minifigure Parker L. Jackson with a smartphone. Tech genius J.B., workers Nanna and Bill, and David’s ghost-dog figure, Spencer.

Three things that I would change on this set, is to make the bus a right hand drive, more space for the bus driver and a way to access the pull out command centre from inside the bus. One thing that I did not like at all was the bus driver’s door, on a normal bus, the door folds into two, whereas this is just a normal trans-clear door.

I have not installed the augmented reality app on my mobile, but from the video’s I have seen, this looks to bring a whole new play experience to these sets. I also have not applied the stickers to this set as I plan to make some of the above changes before applying them. Overall this is an amazing build, the internal space in the bus has not been used effectively but the accessories on the bus make up for this.

Looking forward to reviewing the next set in this wave.