71426 Piranha Plant: Hands-On Review

The Piranha Plant first appeared in Super Mario Brothers, back in 1985 and has been a stalwart enemy of the franchise since that time. We have seen several of these gigantic carnivorous plants crop up in the LEGO Super Mario sets, but they have been a relatively small scale models, designed to be used in the Gamer Mode for LEGO Super Mario. This 540piece sculpture looks like it might promise to bring a little more joy to a bookshelf than previously encountered Piranha Plants. I was delighted when the LEGO Group sent a copy of this set over: it feels that while we have had an onslaught of LEGO sets aimed at adults in recent years, there has been a relative paucity of sets that might come at less than $100 AUD, not releated to flowers, Star Wars or Super Heroes while still leaving enough room on your shelves for other things. This set does both with a RRP of AUD94.99 (59.99USD). This is just shy of the $99.99AUD shelf price of your standard botanical Collection set

So, is this set worthy of your time, real estate and hard earned funds? Lets take a closer look…

This set comes in a similarly sized box to the Star Wars Helmets, but slightly smaller than much of the botanical collection. It is decked out in the familiar classy, black background of the sets directed at an adult audience.

What’s in the box?

The instruction manual gives us a guide to the Piranha Plant, and where it has been over the past 33 years or so, since it Deut in the original Super Mario game.

The elements come packed in 5 bags, and as you can see here, a lot of theme are bright green curved slopes, used in the construction of the pipe/pot. There are two surprise inclusions: coins, printed on bright yellowish orange 3×3 round tiles. Other printed elem ents include eight 4x4x3 quarter domes, with a collection of white circular marking.

The Build

We started work on the pipe, a 6×8 module box, with ever so many studs on the side. We built this up from a base, that included a trap door. The 1×4 x 1 2/3 curved slope is used to great effect around the SNOT base of the pipe.

We build up the side of the pot with tiles and curved slopes, bringing us the expected pipe shape, while at the top, we have a 4×4 pivoting frame which I suspect will allow the plant to be positioned on a variety of angles.

Moving onto the plant, we start with the stem – a relatively simple construction including an offset plate acting as a stopper. At the top end is a ball socket, ready to attach the head of the plant, while two grey mixel ball connectors poke out on either side.

The varigated leaves of the plant are put together using a variety of SNOT techniques, incorporating brackets, hinges and bricks with studs on the side. The grey socket of the ball joint is disguised by a 2×1 3 way slope. These joints allow the leaves to be moved on different angles, while the hinges also contribute to the organic form of the leaves.

We start work on the internal surface of the flower – with a pink ‘tongue’ surrounded by teeth, while the roof of the mouth is made up of a red technic frame: top and bottom are joined together by two red Technic/Bionicle ball joints. We attach a collection of 2×2 round bricks: straight, maxaroni bricks, and finally top them off with a couple of conical elements. These bricks form the most amazing lips on the plant.

The outer surface of the plant is made up of the 4x4x3 quarter dome elements, with cartoonish spots printed on them. they are seperated by a 1x4x3 curved slope, to increase the size slightly, while maintaining the illusion of circularity.

Finally, we attach the flower to the top of the stem. The ball cannot supprt the weight of the head, so while it it stable and secure, the flower can only really rotate around this axis, rather than face upwards. I attempted this even with the addition of the ball joint stiffener element, but the chin was still quick to droop.

But does this matter?

Finally, we take the two coin elements and drop them in between the plant and pot. There is a secret panel on the side of the pot that springs the trap door open, dropping the coins as it goes.

To be honest, I really love the way this model looks. There is enough posability to give the plant a bit of character – from the stem and leaves through to the flower.

While this set is recommended as an 18+ set, I consider this to be a mark of a set being worthy of display rather providing an intense play experience. It is probably well within the reach of a child who is experienced with building contemporary sets, although there might be aspects of the build they find a bit repetitive.

I put the set together in about an hour and a half, pausing to marvel at it as I went. It looks great on its own, or posed next to. other 18+ Super Mario Models. I’ll take a moment to note this is the only Super Mario set to date without any ‘action tile’ that might allow the Super Mario smart brick to engage with it. I don’t think this is a big drawback. I suspect such features are used a couple of times, before those sets are left to their own devices, displayed on the shelf.

I recommend this set to anyone who wants to add a little Super Mario decoration to their space, without breaking the bank. It is priced within a reasonable range for it to be considered a present for many, without totally destroying the family budget. Even though it is not technically part of the the LEGO ICONS botanical collection, the Piranha Plant does not look out of place when surrounded by other LEGO Frlowers. I give it 4 out of five Arbitrary Praise Units.

It is refreshing to see adult focussed sets in this price range, that are not restricted to Disney. Marvel or Star Wars Franchises, and I hope we can see a few more incoming years from other game franchises such as Sonic ( licensee permitting)

But what do you think? Have you been hanging out for the opportunity to grow a piranha plant on your bookshelf? Or is it another LEGO Paper Weight? Why not leave your comments in the section below!

You can pick it up from 6th November at LEGO.com – why not consider using our affiliate links: the Ramblingbrick might receive a small commission, and it wont cost you anything extra.

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Play Well!

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