One of the challenges, when LEGO Sets come out a couple of months ahead of a cinematic release, is the lack of context for the sets. Some might be alluded to in the trailer, others portraying part of a massive set piece in the action while others might represent a scene that never occurred, but provides an opportunity to include figures and dinosaurs that were featured in the movie.
An advantage of the sets coming out well in advance is the way that people are unlikely to have had their opinions influenced by the actual critical reception of the movie.
I have just come home from seeing Jurassic World Dominion, and while it was a passable film, it seemed a little unsure of its identity: Family Drama; Bond Film; Action; Monster Movie; conspiracy fodder or an ethical fable. Yes to all. And possibly also no. The Story was passable, and ultimately made sense, but there was none of the wonder that we had when we first saw Jurassic Park. Perhaps they have just become so good at their job that we have become complacent: Of course that creature looks like a dinosaur. If it did’t, we wouldn’t be doing our job.
Ultimately, Jurassic World sets are about providing an opportunity for consumers to pick up LEGO Dinosaur toys. Sticking to the film is not too important.
Today we take a look at set 76950: Triceratop Pick up Truck Ambush. This set has 210 pieces and has a list price of $79.99AUD/$39.99 USD.
So, while the star if this set is the Triceratops, what else do we have, and what’s missing?
For those who are interested, here are the elements involved:
This set is inspired on events at the start of the film, and provides us with pretty good context: Clair Deering and her friends are exposing illegal dinosaur breeders – and while this scene is depressingly deplete of baby triceratops models, the adult in the set represents those seen in the source material fairly well.
In this set, we get Claire Deering and Franklin Webb figures – dressed in black to facilitate those great little covert activities – and they are riding a quad bike (In the movie it may well have been a white van.) As a way to entice the Triceratops to follow them, our heroes have a carrot on a bar, with a clip attached. this may not have actually happened in the film, and brings a little humor in to a tense scene.
They are being chased by a black pickup truck, with a couple of generic thugs who have taken a leaf from the Harry Potter dress code. One is driving the truck and the other riding in the back, wielding a tranquiliser gun! There is a neat spotlight mounted to the side, while the truck has a bullbar attached at the front.
The truck has a terrific play feature, where pressure on the bullbar will result in a shift in a brick under the bonnet, causing the bonnet element to fly off. I love this aspect of the set, with the play feature generating the damage you would expect if you crashed into a 5 tonne dinosaur. The sloped brick in the engine effectively wedges the bonnet off, even at modeate impacts.
The Triceratops torso mould is in two halves: the lower part is tan, while the upper part is dark stone grey, with some dark red colour patches, and some tan wounds scratched into the upper part. The front two legs are tan, with some dark grey printing at the ‘shoulder’, while the rear legs are dark grey, with some tan details printed over the top.
The dinosaur’s horns and beak are a softer, rubber like material, in tan. There are some aspects of the printing that leave a little to be desired: where tan spots are printed on the dark grey plastic, they look quite washed out, particularly compared with the tan legs, with grey printing over the top (where similar spots are created by leaving gaps in the grey prints. Similarly, the edges of the crest appear relatively washed out. This is in contrast to the eyes, along with the scratches printed around the beast’s face appear to be far better saturated in their printing. similar fade is also observed with the toenails on the back foot.
If we compare the photo of the model with the rendered vewrsion used on LEGO.com, the relative fade around the edges becomes more obvious. I was also unable to recall the sale level of ‘red’ detail in the head:
As far as movement is concerned, the Triceratops’ legs are on click hinges, and rotate back and forward. The head is on a rotating hinge, as well as extra articulartion to allow nodding. The tail is immobile.
At a recent roundtable meeting with some of the Recognised LEGO Fan Media, the design team mentioned that the colouring of the dinosaurs are based directly on references sent through from the IP partner. (the exceptions being Duplo and 4+ sets, where there is a little bit of liberty to give younger builders brighter colours.) Of course, the colours used are within the best fit for the existing colour palette. We also discussed the used of the rubbery material used for the horns and beack – this is typcally used to improve the level of safety with the toy – ABS molded into a spike can be pretty sharp!
How does it compare with the source material [spoilers follow]?
Claire and her colleagues are identifying illegal dinosaur breeding facilities, and rescuing baby dinosaurs. Their race with the baby away from pursuing forces is lost in the set – the adult triceratops entered the fray as our heroes attempt to face across their paddock to get the baby to safety, knocking the pursuing guards’ vehicles down hills, and so forth.
Its hard to work out the colour palette in play from the trailer, where the action is in the dark, with trucks zooming around with spotlights. There may have been a quad bike. But there were certainly several pickup trucks, while Franklin and Claire (and another like spirit) were riding in a white van, carrying a baby triceratops. This is perhaps a lost opportunity to re-use the mold previously seen in 75939 Dr Wu’s Lab: Baby Dinosaur Breakout. In the absence of this baby, the context of the set is lost.
Was there an ambush? Not really. Break in and pursuit: Sure. But the absence of the baby prevent the title ‘Baby Triceratops Breakout and Rescue’ from being used.
Despite its flaws, this set brings a lot of fun: 4 figures, an articulated dinosaur, a quad bike as well as a pickup truck with play features. I am disappointed that the issues of printing lighter colours on darker plastic remain, despite being brought up time and again. This problem sees me reduce my score to 3.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise Units.
I’ll bring a few more of the Jurassic World sets, along with some movie context, up for review over the next few weeks.
Have you seen Jurassic World: Dominion? What did you think? Does the lack of consistency between the source material and LEGO Set matter, especially when the hero of the piece is a dinosaur, and everything else is ancillary to that? Leave your comments below, and until next time,
This set was provided by the LEGO Goup’s AFOL Engagement team for review purposes. All opinions however, are my own.