March is Women’s History Month, and this year the LEGO Group pay tribute to Jane Goodall, the ethologist who spent decades studying primate interations in Tanzania. The set, a small vignette depicting Jane Goodall in the jungle with a 3 chimpanzees, is the Gift with Purchase from LEGO.com from March 3rd to 15,2022. You will need to spend $120USD; €120 euro or £120. I am unsure of the price in other markets at this time. [UPDATE FOR AUSTRALIANS: I have heard from LEGO Australia that stock will not be available until after the 8th of March, so we can expect the promotion to runn a little later in the month. The set will be available across the Certified stores, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and LEGO.com] I am grateful to the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group for sending me a pre-release copy for review. All opinions are my own.
This is the second set honoring women’s History month, the previous being Amelia Earheart, the pioneering aviatrix, released last year. Join me as we take a look at the life of this remarkable woman, as well as this Tribute set.
The instruction manual opens with a 3 page introduction to Jane Goodall, telling of her childhoohd love of animals. She was born in England in 1934, and travelled to Kenya, having been invited by a school friend. While there, she met Dr Louis Leakey, a paleontologist and archeologist, who sent her, ultimately, to the Gombe National park in Tanzania, to observe the behaviour of wild chimpanzees. She was accompanied by her mother, as it was not felt that it would be safe for a young woman to be travelling alone to such a remote area.
They lived in a tent and after several months of quietly observing the chimpanzees and taking notes, one of them came to trust her. she observed the behaviours of the family units, and went to complete a PhD on the Behaviours of Free Living Chimpanzees at Cambridge in 1966. She observed that Chimpanzees exhibit a lot of human-like behaviousr: they kiss, and hug, as well as make and use tools. She also observed darker aspects of their behaviour – hunting other smaller monkeys for food (they had previously been thought ot be vegetarian), as well as demonstrating aggression and violence.
While continuing to study the Chimpanzees, it became apparent that both the habitat was being destroyed, and the Chimpanzees were being hunted, and so in recent decades, she has dedicated her energies into helping preserve habitat, rehabilitate chimps orphaned by the bush meat trade and educating peropls about the envoronmental challenges faced. She has also founded Roots and Shoots, a global humanitarian and environmental program to empower young people to get more involved in their communities.
As such an inspirational scientist, who has contributed so much to our understanding of primate societies, is is appropriate that she is honored by the LEGO Group in this way.
But what of the set?
The elements include some 4×8 black plates, and some curves, which go towards making up the base. Other the majority of elements are in ‘natural colours’ – tan, dark tan, browns and greens. and just a hint of medium azure and transparent light blue.
Traditionally, we do not see new elements in the extended line. In this set, we see new recolours and prints for the minifigure: hair, face and torso. The hair element is white and has a ponytail, while the torso is sandgreen and has appropriate details for a shirt printed on it.
The Chimpanzee element reappears 10 years after its last appearance in collectable minifigure series – including the Series 7 Zookeeper (2011) and Series 9 Jungle Boy (2012).
The model itself is a marvellous introduction to landscape construction:
We start of building a base for the model: it is just 2 plates thick, but consists of a layer of black plates,lined by a layer of tiles. The layer of plate here reflects the activity going upward/l the azure marks out where there will be some water
In our second layer, the azure plates are covered by transparent light blue tiles, and some transparent clear DOTs, representing turbulence in the water. Layers of mud and low lying land fill out the base.
Next, we build up the river banks, defining the shape of the river using various wedge plates and curved elements. The mud layer remains low, but the ground is starting to take shape. the river is starting to look as though it has carved out the landscape
We start to add the bases of our trees, as well as flowers and rocks. If thinking about how you might build your own landscapes: consider the fact that there are typically clumps of grass or wildflowers in beween the roots of trees, or close to rocks – where they might be partially protected from the elements (and possibly elephants)
We start to build up the trees with: the larger arch elements are installed at right angles, and secured to each other with plates… and repeat.
The foliage is added, and held in place by plates over the top. There are cascading curved plates to give some more vertical ‘body’ to the otherwise flat foliage.
Once we have completed the tree trunks and foliage, we hang some vines (upside down sea grass)from the leaves.
This is a beautiful example of how to construct an interesting landscape, over a relativelty small space:23 x 8 studs. I love the way the water flows through the forest, and we have lots of ares for both Jane Goodall and the chimpanzees to stand or sit around, and study each other.
The final result is, I believe, even better than the images on the box (or indeed, my photos) might suggest. The jungle just flows around our group. The multilayered approach to the landscape is a really effective technique, and one worth considering if you are looking to up your building game. I give this set 4/5 Arbitrary Praise Units. The build design is really effective. The overall cost of getting this set is, however, not cheap.
It’s a fun build. It will be popular, no doubt, but the buy-in is relatively high. Especially if you just spent your discretionary money while S@H was offering double VIP Points last week It will probably make its way only Bricklink in limied quantities in the near future, but expect it ti retail for around $50 or so (Currency deliberately left vague).
I feel that this set is a fitting followup to Amelia Earhart from last year, but in a significantly different style: I am intrigued to see how the series progresses in the future. We have seen ever increasingpurchase thresholds prices for desirable Gifts with Purchase lately. I wonder at which point the public will say ‘ENOUGH?’
Are you saving up your wish list while waiting for a desirable Gift with Purchase? Is this that set? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,