Avengers: Endgame is upon us. But before seeing it, I thought I should have a look at Captain Marvel, the second last film in this phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I saw the film a month or so ago, and was excited to build the set, featuring several of the main characters and a quadjet [Think of it as the precursor to the quinjets we subsequently see in the Avengers films].
I’m not going to focus on this set in a traditional review, but rather look at the techniques that the designers have used to get LEGO studs pointing in directions other than up. We often refer to this style of building as SNOT (Studs not on top).
One of the things that makes working with LEGO in all directions is that the bricks are not based around a cubic element. A Brick is 3 plates high, but 2 1/2 plates wide (or 5 plates is as thick as a 2xn brick is wide. There are a number of elements that exist and, in part, reduce this limitation, potentially allowing squarely placed elements to have as little as half a plate of offset from an adjacent element. Such an element is the headlamp/washingmachine/ Erling Brick. First appearing in 1980 – and providing you with an advanced hint of one of next year’s Anniversary Themes for this blog – this brick has a stud on the front, recessed back 1/2 a plate’s thickness, and a square antistud on the back. The lip at the bottom of the brick is also half a plate thick.
Typically, this brick is placed vertically, but here it is placed horizontally on top of a plate, providing a red breakup to what is otherwise a big wall of light blueish grey/ medium stone grey bricks. It becomes obvious looking at it here that the brick is 2 plates thick from front to back:
Next to this brick, we see a couple of the relatively new 2x1x1 2/3 brick, with 4 studs on the side. Released in 2016, they rapidly went on to prove the mainframe of many of the Brickheadz figures. The studs on the side line up with standard spacing for a 2×2 stud layout. as you can see here, the studs line up nicely with the red stud next to them.
Above those bricks is a black plate, 2x2x2/3 (ie 2 plate thick), with 2 studs on the side. released in 2013, these studs line up with those on the bricks below, maintaining the standard spacing for the placement of a brick or tile in this place.
Our next few steps see the outline of the cockpit take place, and placement of further SNOT elements including a 1×2 upward bracket at the front, and a 1×1 downward bracket (my favourite new element of 2018) on the side. We also place another 2x2x2/3 plate with studs on the side.cockpit windscreen in place.
So what do all of these elements do for the overall look: They allow placement of the tiles on the side (curse those annoying stickers), as well as the intakes for some of the jets on the side, riding over those tiles. We then place some wedge plates to complete the sides of the cockpit. The 1×1 downward brackets remain uncovered, but provide half a plate offset between next to the wedge plate, giving the illusion of a slightly curved side to the plane.
In bag two, we complete some under wing assemblies which have two 2×1 technic bricks, with two holes in. putting these elements above each other does (NOT) provide a perfect square to allow placement of a tile over flick fire missiles, which we install in the last step.
Step 75 brings us to the aft tailgate of the plane: clipping into a tile with clip, the studless surface faces out. The 2×1 with 2 clips at the ends prevents losing the tailgate into the plane.
As our building continues, we commence work on the tail assembly, and a couple of rocker bearings, with 2×2 rocker plates inset one brick from the edge provides for an easily fixed angle. We will return to this later.
We add the ends of the wings. These are attached by clip hinges, and are designed to fold down slightly. (1 click = 22.5º)
We next work on the rear jets and tailplanes, with tiles placed on the sides (over bricks with studs on the side) – these tiles surround the grille pattern brick, making it look well and truly like a jet intake. The rear of these modules has another 2×2 rocker plate arrangement. The tile planes attach to these, and then the jet intake attaches to the angles rocker plates on the main body of the plane.
The final examples of SNOT work are to be found around the cockpit. The cockpit windscreen is a 4x3x3 windscreen, laid horizontally. At the front, 2 trans black cheese wedges complete the forward slope, while stickers are used to complete the windscreen detail.
Attaching to the ‘lower’ 2 studs are two ‘Stafford slipper’ joined by a single rocker hinge. attached to the plate on this rocker are dome rounded details, possibly associated with the vehicle’s sensors. Once the windscreen is in place, the plate tilts down, completing the inverse slope on the front.
And before you know it: our ship is complete. All up, I counted studs pointing in 16 different different directions. Some of these studs were covered…
This jet is an awesome vehicle, and incredibly swooshable! The variety of angles achieved, with minimal curved elements is quite remarkable, but that’s not all we get. It turns out there are also some minifigures included.
We get Carol Danvers/ Captain Marvel, Nick Fury – Funny how Samuel L Jackson in a film set in the 90’s (made in 2018) looks remarkably like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp fiction. We also have have Talos, a Skull, and Goose, probably a cat. There has been much discussion about the hair piece used here for Captain Marvel. It can probably be improved on. Or the comic could be drawn differently.
The torso printing is great, but I find it odd that we have no arm or leg detail in the form of printing or dual molding. The Marvel Cinematic Universe reaches its 10 year climax this year, and I would have expected more detail to have been applied to these minifigures (of course, it is also Batman’s 80th, Steamboat Willie’s 90th, the culmination of the Star Wars saga…so many more. It just seems a little odd that such figures have not had the chance to be as detailed as they could be.
Overall, this was a very satisfying build, with enough interesting techniques tucked into it to make it interesting, as well as a good tutorial in these SNOT techniques. I recommend this set as a fully brick built aircraft, and give it 4 our of five arbitrary praise units. At $AUD49.99/ USD29.99 and 308 elements, it is in a reasonable price point, particularly considering the minifigures included.
What do you think of Captain Marvel and the Skull attack? What hairpiece would you give to Carol Danvers here? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,
This set was provided by the LEGO Group’s Adult Engagement Team for review purposes. All opinions, however, are my own.
While you are here, have you heard about our building contest, where you can win a set of Disney Series 2 minifigures? You can read about it here. Entries close May 12th 2019