When the LEGO® DREAMZzz theme was first revealed, the images for Dr Oz’s Spacebus were the ones that really grabbed my eye: Could this be the iconic LEGO® spaceship for a new generation of kids? And what about Dr Oz, whose torso print onscreen features a blue woollen jumper incorporating a Classic Space Logo. As a LEGO Space Fan of a certain age, I feel that this COULD be the one figure I really want, and the one LEGO Character I have ever felt a desire to Cosplay as…
How will this work out for me?
- What’s in the box?
- The Manual Shines
- Little Guys *unofficial title*
- The Build
- Choose Your Build:
- In conclusion:
What’s in the box?
The front of the box displays the model, and reminds us that it is a series to watch online. On the back, we are presented with a couple of alternative final builds, and asked ‘Which will you choose?’
With 878 pieces, this is the third-largest set and the largest vehicle in the inaugural wave of LEGO DREAMZzz.
On opening the box, there were nine numbered bags, a loose cockpit windscreen , ‘a long green thing with some lumps along it’ and a cardboard envelope containing the instruction manual and the sticker sheet.
As you can see, there is a preponderance of Black, white and Azure elements for the spacecraft, along with possibly fewer bright yellowish-orange bricks for the ‘bus’ walls. We do see multiple instances of the ‘Little Guy’ bodies – as New Elementary has christened the small character elements for the series, as well as 2 regular minifigures: Mateo and the eponymous Dr Oz.
I’m not going to lie: I am feeling a little excited by how the sticker set pays homage to the old Classic Space logo – substituting an hourglass for the golden moon, but excited nonetheless. Couple this with a few small jokes here and there, and a bunch of spares, printed on transparent sticker material, and I am cautiously optimistic.
The Manual Shines
I am delighted that the instruction book follows the trend seen on the cover of other DREAMZzz sets and has NO rendered images on the cover. Instead, we are presented with picturebook line art of the characters and vehicle.
Internally, we see illustrations designed to accompany the story as the set is built. A massive improvement on other instructions we have seen in the last 12 months. Here are some of my favorite pages:
There are two minifigures included in this set: Mateo, our artistic soul. -student by day, dreamer by night; and Dr Oz – Mateo’s Middle school Science Teacher by Day, and member of a clandestine, super-secret dream realm protection organisation by night.
Mateo appears much as he did in Mateo and Z-Blob robot – same clothes and face prints – along with the addition of a bright green serrated cape. It is unclear in the gallery below, but he has a patch of paler skin around his right eye – which, I presume, is an area of vitiligo. Previously seen in ‘flesh coloured’ Minifigures and Minidolls, this is the first time we have seen such things with a regular ‘yellow’ minifigure. I am intrigued by the splash of yellow on Mateo’s hairpiece, but i’m sure I will come to understand it in due course.
Dr Oz looks great; he has an armoured torso element, onto which we place a Dream Chasers hourglass dot over the chest plate. He is wearing medium nougat trousers, printed with with fine pocket details, and reinforced shoes or boots. His reddish-brown torso is printed with a jacket, open over a dark blue jumper. Unfortunately, the hourglass emblem covers the centre, where in his daytime clothing, we might have seen the Classic Space logo.
I am devastated. It is a good-looking torso, nonetheless. Oz has a single-sided face print. Unlike the on-screen images, the right side of his glasses is merely opaque with some reflection line, rather than yet another hourglass. He has only one face print. His beard and moustache are light grey, with streaks of silver present, and the moustache has a fine black outline, so you can see just how bushy it is. He has a grey hairpiece combined with his beard and moustache. Overall, I think it’s a terrific minifigure. I sincerely hope we get these figures in their civilian/real-world clothes in the next wave.
Little Guys *unofficial title*
The Little Guys: based around a new element – 1module deep, 2 wide, and 4 plates high up to the start of an elongated stud identical to a minifigure neck, these characters have a notched anti stud underneath, and there are 2 x1.28mm clip connections under their arms. While this means that they cannot pose with weapons or accessories in a normal way, they can do so in a comical fashion. The figures can stack – the spacing between the clips is 4 plates vertically, and one module horizontally. While the figurines appear to have a tiny belly, they do not extend over the boundary of a single brick front and back. There are 7 little guys included in this set – some good, some evil.
Z-blob: this little green guy started out as one of Mateo’s comic creations, manifested in the dream realm and somehow made his way to the waking world. He has several different appearances between sets. On this occasion, he takes a green li’l guy core and adds a head with printed eyes. The transparent bright green wig element is reused from the slime guy in Vidiyo Collectable figures (but without the radical sunglass printing). He wields a bright green string element, tucked under his arm, and connected to a stud/pin piece. While I was looking at Z-Blob’s body, I turned it upside down, and a flower accidentally happened.
Albert: a chimpanzee with a white torso (and printed details on the front); he has a black head, as if he is wearing a balaclava, and printed details on the front. He wears a transparent ‘bowl’/helmet to protect him in space. Just why a chimpanzee is flying the spacecraft is beyond me. Albert comes with a spanner. I will acknowledge here that the printing on his face is pretty clear – particularly when compared with Mercy from the Overwatch range, where the ink did not seem to stick so convincingly.
Logan is the token jock amongst the creative dreaming kids. When Mateo’s sister Izzie demonstrated her ability to dream up a new appearance, Logan demonstrated himself to be a little short of imagination, and manifested as a bright blue blob! He has a double-sided face print and a slicked-back hairpiece.
Susan is one of Night-hunter (and the Nightmare King’s) Minions. She has a brightly printed torso, and carries a spear. Her head has many eyes, looking in different directions, and of different sizes. She has a dual moulded black and transparent purple headpiece, representing a flame. She is accompanied by a number of different Grimspawn (a term which I choose to use as a collective noun)
These Grimspawn have a black body , as well as a black head, with 2 yellow eyes, a furrowed brow and a scar on their right cheek. These characters provide some lovely callbacks to classic themes – all while clad in black. Several have propellors mounted in the pinhole of their hats – Flight Knight (comically large sword) and Captain Bed beard (moustache, cutlass and flintlock). Denny (related to Benny, Kenny, Lenny and Jenny from the LEGO Movie two set 70841 Benny’s Space Squad) is wearing a thick chinstrap Classic Space Helmet (otherwise only seen as Mickey Mouse’s nose in 43179) and black airtanks (which have been hanging around in a few places since 2021). He carries a ray gun! Finally there is Topper Chopper – wearing a black top hat and carrying a cleaver. He has a small neck bracket, attached to a pole with a propellor on top.
These Little guys are full of character, and I can see there will be a bit of potential for some interesting parts usage here. However, these figures have a small footprint, and while they stand up well enough on their own, as soon as you give them an accessory such as a sword or hockey stick, they fall over. I think it might have been preferable to include a little bit of brick-built landscape in this set to mount them on, or else to provide small transparent stands, as we have seen in the past for Dementors and other flying creatures. Even 2×2 offset tiles would be an improvement for those who are landlocked.
Bag 1 gives us Mateo and Z-Blog, as well as the makings of a small buggy. It feels VERY Classic Space in its nature, with a variation of the Classic space logo (a shuttle cruising around the Dream Chaser’s Hourglass.), as well as two claws which can fold back.
Next, we start the build of the spacebus. We start with a straightforward core: it sets up the main cockpit with screens and colourful dots,
Our second stage sees us add triple-layer wings, with large sloped bricks on their side at the front. The overall shape gave me a gentle feeling akin to putting together the original Galaxy Explorer 928.
I was a little disappointed by the use of the white-azure gradient stickers over these black slopes, as the colour of the brick bleeds through the white, which I feel could have looked quite brilliant here. Normally, I don’t have problems with white stickers on darker elements . The stickers for this set are on transparent stock, but I found myself wondering if the sheet feels a little less thick than other transparent stickers I have used in the past. Overall, the stickers in this set are easy to apply.
We add a cabin onto the rear of the fuselage, with a comically oversized tail. There is room to drive the buggy (from bag one) into the craft, although the ramp is raised a little above the ground, which means that it does not roll in perfectly. That said, we are in a dream world: the rules of physics from the waking world do not all apply here.
Next, we build up the sides of the bus: the orange is in keeping with school buses in New York, where the real- world part of the Dreammzzz Story is based. We build up 2 panels which have technic pins on the bottom, and they slot into technic pinholes next to the fuselage.
The graphics on the School Bus have been adjusted (in crayon?) to Space Buszzz; and the destination taking the kids to Snooze Street. the two panels include internal clips for the characters accessories, and there is plenty of seating in the space ship for both minifigures and little guys alike.
We build the sides of the cockpit up with layered plates facing outwards, and attach the cockpit, with closes virtually seamlesslesly.
This gives us the Core Spacebus.
Choose Your Build:
Three-in-one builds are a bit complex, somedays, and it can take too long to pull a set apart and build the alternate before its time to go to dinner/bed/school pickup. DREAMZzz is different: every set presents you with 2 possible ways to complete the build – generally only using one or two bags of parts. As such, changing between the alternates should not be too onerous.
This set presents us with a couple of options. Option A: We can add a smaller gun/probe array along with a collection of novelty jets.. OR (Option B)We can build a Flyer for Mateo and Z-blob, a satellite for Albert and install a Big Gun on the roof of the bus
Let’s try both.
The first option adds large engines next to the tail section of the craft, as well as the wingtips. We also add smaller rockets with rapid-fire stud shooters to the wingtips. This version gives me strong Galaxy Explorer Vibes.
With option two, we build up some rotating stud-shooters, with seats on either side of a great big engine. the studs are launched by rotating the jet nozzles behind. With seats for Mateo and Z-Blog, physics and atmosphere containment don’t really matter: we are living in a dream. The red and green lights for the right and left sides of the craft are a nice touch. In the meantime, Albert gets a satellite to fly around. Finally, on top of the craft and looking a little like a reversed engine is a rotating gun, with the blue leaf serving as a brilliant flare from the muzzle. These builds are subtly different to the similar components in the other alternative -enough to be considered an alternative build for someone, while not taking the same effort as rebuilding the entire set.
There are some neat features in the bus: one is seating for all of the characters included,plus some more!e can carry all of the figures included, and then some.
Both versions of the final model are quite fun, but there are a couple of things that I think could have been improved on: some form of landing gear would certainly improve the feel of the model (even 2×2 round bricks in black would give the feeling of the ship floating above the ground), and the issue of the stability of the Little guys, especially when carrying their accessories. I was a little disappointed with the translucency of the stickers on the front part of the wings.
The final Spacebus, however, was fun to handle and swoosh around the room. I love the small buggy, and the way it can be parked in the back of the bus. Overall, I love the figures. I would appreciate being able to get Oz in his non-Dream Realm jumper. Any excuse for more Classic Space. [TBH, id be happy to get all of the characters in their ‘Real World’ form.]
Compared with recent space shuttles from the LEGO City Space range, I feel this is just that little bit more rooted in fantasy, and has the possibility to capture the imagination of not just space fans, but almost anyone.
Compared with the Galaxy Explorer…
Could this set be the Galaxy Explorer for a new generation?
I do need to admit that, despite these niggles, the build felt reminiscent of the original 928 Galaxy Explorer from 1979: it may not be perfect, but it does what it says on the tin. In fact, it is about the same size as that literal icon. And it has a buggy in the back!
this new ship is just as easy to hold, and also comes with a clutch of Grimspawn to create drama. Unfortunately, it is missing the moonbase long with the landing gear.
Throughout the build, there are ‘Dream Chaser’ variations in the Classic Space logo, with a shuttle flying around the Dream Chaser hourglass. This gives me a warm glow every time I see it pop up. Dr Oz’s Spacebus is swooshable, has loads of play options and lots of bad guys to evade or even play skittles using the buggy.
It deviates sufficiently from a ‘real world’ shuttle to be quite fun to build and play with, so you do not need to be distracted by real-world problems, such as physics. Both of the alternative builds are fun and satisfying builds.
BUT this set has exactly the same RRP in USA and Europe as the LEGO ICONS Galaxy Explorer reimagining from 2022: in USA and Europe: 99.99USD/99.99€. In Australia, it is 159.99AUD (compared with 179.99 for the Galaxy Explorer.) That set outperforms the Spacebus on size, part count and nostalgia value. But every time I lift mine up by the top of the fuselage, the walls of the cabin start to lift out. 71460 Dr Oz’s Spacebus is far more robust, and brings us a wider selection of characters to build, and tell stories with. 10497 brings a more satisfying build experience. 71460 brings a better play experience. It is certainly much more swooshable.
Ultimately, they fill completely different niches in the product portfolio. It depends on what you are looking for from your purchase.
Despite my caveats above, 71460 is a fun set to build, modify and play with. Every problem I listed can be easily fixed [except, perhaps, for the white stickers], so I still feel it is worthy of being awarded four out of a possible five (4/5) Arbitrary Praise units. The overall build experience continues to cement DREAMZzz as a theme worth keeping an eye on over the next couple of waves.
And to return to my original question: could this be the same to the kids today as the 497/928 did to my generation? It probably depends on whether the new theme is embraced by the target audience. It might. The set will be released on August 1st 2023, but the series is available to watch on both the LEGO Group’s Youtube channel and Netflix NOW.
I’d love to know what you think of this set. Is it for you? Would you leave it as it is, or redo the orange bus in matching colours for a more…coordinated experience?
Does the combination of Space and Major Mashups hold appeal to you? why not leave your feedback below.
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This set was provided by the LEGO Group for Review Purposes. All opinions are my own!