Review: 31008 Thunder Wings

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Thunder Wings

There’s fifteen or so Creator sets released or due to be released in 2013, and with this year’s modular, the magnificent Palace Cinema and train offering, the Horizon Express now included in this theme (albeit badged as Creator – Expert sets), there is some serious competition to stand out amongst the crowd.

LEGO and jets, what’s not to love? This is the third jet (not including polybags) to be released in the Creator theme: in 2007 we had 4953: Fast Flyers and in 2010 LEGO gave us the slightly larger and excellent 5892: Sonic Boom.

Seems like LEGO doesn’t want us to go more than three years without a jet fix, because in 2013 we have 31008: Thunder Wings, a Creator 3 in 1 set and one of the medium sized offerings from the 2013 Creator line-up, weighing in at 235 pieces and costing £14.99/$19.99.

I have a feeling that these sort of vehicle-based Creator sets often get overlooked in favour of the flashier Creator houses, certainly something I’ve been guilty of in the past, so it’s great to get to spend some quality time exploring this one in more detail.

Box and Contents

It’s a box! It has a front and a back. Most importantly it has pictures showing what you can build and it opens, what more could you possibly want from a box? Honestly, I’m not sure what else I can say about it, I’d rather get on with describing the models you can build with the contents.

31008 Box Front

31008 Box Back

Four bags, none of which are numbered, but then that isn’t really necessary in a medium-sized Creator set like this. Parts-wise, there’s nothing really that stands out here, it’s all very standard fare and common parts, albeit useful ones. In terms of colours, you’re looking at nice mix of bright orange, bright blue, dark stone grey, medium stone grey, black and white.

31008 Bags

As is customary with 3-in-1 Creator sets, we get three instruction booklets included, one for each model that you can build: Thunder Wings, a Robot, and Futuristic Car. Let’s start with the main attraction, the jet.

31008 Instructions

Jet

The Jet, or “Thunder Wings” as LEGO would have us call it, is the main model in this set and it’s certainly very striking with its bright blue, white and bright orange colour scheme. I have to admit, I’m no aviation expert, and a couple of trips to Fairford Air Tattoo certainly doesn’t make me one, so I’m not certain if this is based on a real life aircraft or not, it looks pretty generic to me. I’m sure some of you out there will be able to set me straight.

31008 Front Angle

The wings are angled via the use of four hinge-plate 1 x 2s and the gaps very neatly filled with sloped plates, it’s a well-used, but never the less clever technique.

31008 Back

The Jet is very solid and it will easily stand up to vigorous play. It is also ridiculously swooshable, as evidenced by me taking it into the office and running around with it (my work colleagues are well aware of my addiction to the brick, so this barely raised an eyebrow). I think it’s a great looking jet with lots of playability, my four year old son certainly thought so, but is it the best model you can build with this set?

Robot

Which brings us on to the robot. It’s a strange one this, I was utterly unimpressed whilst building it and wasn’t exactly blown away when I’d finished either. So I put it down for the night and took it into work the next day for a photo session (big white desks make photographing a little easier), placing him on my desk intent on photographing it during my lunch break. Throughout the morning I must have posed and re-posed this little fellow five or six times, ‘it’ quickly became a ‘him’, and my opinion did a complete u-turn.

31008 Front

31008 Back

Despite initial appearances, he actually has quite a few articulation points and that really helps to give him character and adds great playability. In fact, the only articulation point I feel is really missing is a knee joint, but even so, you can pose him into some pretty cool positions.

31800 Posed

Sometimes first impressions are wrong, and this is one of those times for me. The robot was a real grower, his initially vacant and annoying stare became ‘cute’, and his flexibility helps to add character. In fact, I took to him so much that I even gave him a present, his very own pet turtle (I should point out that Mikey doesn’t actually come with this set, but then you already knew that right?).

31008 Pet Turtle

Car

The last of the three models is a car, or to be specific, a futuristic concept car (according to LEGO). Of the three, this model uses the least pieces and as a result is definitely the smallest, and for me, the least interesting. My 4-year old son however said it was the best one, so what do I know. Still, it is the only one of the three that's considerate enough to make room for a minifig.

31008 Car Front Angle

...or perhaps with a small modification, Dog Pound (who has clearly had enough of the driver in front). Oh, and remember what I said about Mikey earlier, same applies to Dog Pound.

31008 Car 2

Overall Opinion

So, having seen all three of the models, is anyone thinking what I’m thinking? If you’re thinking “Transformers”, then spot on, we think alike. I mean, a jet that transforms into a robot and a car, it all looks very familiar doesn’t it? Probably wishful thinking on my part, but then again, it’s not the only set of this nature that LEGO have released in 2013.

As I said at the top of the review, I often overlook sets like this, and were it not for being kindly supplied one to review by LEGO, I’m fairly confident I would have passed on this one. Well that might be about to change, I was thoroughly impressed with this set and really enjoyed both building it and... cough... playing with it.

From now on, I’m going to give these mid-sized Creator sets a lot more attention in the future, starting by picking up 31007: Power Mech.

To sum up, I’d really recommend you pick it up, it’s good value for money, has great playability, and two of the models are great. Me? I’m off to build the robot again, I’m missing my pal.

17 comments on this article

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By in Canada,

It looked like he was playing air guitar!

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By in Spain,

Thanks for the review, I think creator has some great sets out this year and this is one of them.

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By in Canada,

Great review. It's the first set I picked up in 2013, and I have to say I (and the kids) love it. Just the right size, building time and price point!

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By in Bolivia,

Seems it will be a year in which I'll have tons of System robots to spend in.

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By in United States,

I got this set for the robot.
Mine is currently riding the Technic Quad 9392

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By in Australia,

Oh dear, you got me to add another set to my wanted list.
And here I was thinking this year I might be able to bring my addiction under control! silly me.

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review. The last photo of the robot is adorable. The jet has features similar to the F-14, but doesn't look quite like one. And I don't mean to nitpick, but there was also a Creator jet last year; 6912 Super Soarer.

Also, if you're looking for good mid-sized Creator sets, I highly recommend last year's 7292 Propeller Adventures. The secondary models aren't anything special, but the main model is both very nice and a relatively interesting build.

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By in United Kingdom,

"This is the third jet (not including polybags) to be released in the Creator theme"

- Last year's 6912 Super Soarer surely counts as a jet in the Creator theme?

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By in United Kingdom,

Yep, I missed 6912 entirely, thanks for pointing it out.

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By in United States,

Nice review. The plane is actually very similar to the one on #4953. The wings on the 4953 can be moved to look like this plane. Yet another set to add to my wish list, probably in multiples.

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By in Republic Of Korea,

You forgot to add the blue 2x2 bow brick on the robot's head...

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By in Malaysia,

I got a strong feeling that the official mecha model seems like a deliberately done so that it doesn't look too similar to the competing brand's robot proportion and aesthetics.

Im very much looking fwd to acquire this and the other green one and make a more Transformer-isque robot mode using available parts inside.

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By in United Kingdom,

@woo224, whoops, so I did!

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By in United States,

Almost bought this today because of the great review. Resisted.... at least for today. :-) The robot is really fun.

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By in United Kingdom,

You know, I'm a bit of a fan of the Creator line. But I don't really like the Creator houses and other buildings. The alternative models in the house sets look a bit too similar to one another, in my view. And I don't think Creator sets should have minifigs. To my mind, Creator sets should be vehicles or robots or creatures, not buildings.

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By in United States,

You know what? I have an hour and a half of nothing to do between two classes at community college, and I have a locker that holds my art supplies. Unfortunately, all my friends disappear at that time, and I don't have any technological device. Because of college, I have not been building. Purhaps I should buy this set and just see how many different things I can make out of it during that time on those days I have the wait. That's not weird is it?

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By in United States,

MCLegoboy that's totally awesome, actually.

Leggo My LEGO definitely air guitar

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