Review: 70708 Hive Crawler

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70708 Hive Crawler70708 Hive Crawler is the third of four of the new Galaxy Squad sets, and the last one I'll be reviewing for a while because the largest, 70709 Galactic Titan hasn't been released in the UK yet.

This set contains 560-pieces and retails for £50 in the UK, $70 in the USA. How refreshing to see that we in the UK aren't being ripped off compared to the USA for a change...

It contains the largest bug in the theme, three minifigs and two new bug larvae.

Box and contents

As usual the back of the box shows what moves, and provides ideas for play. The main features of the model are moving legs and an egg-slinging mechanism.

The QR code in the corner works (maybe LEGO read my comment earlier in the week in my first GS review?) and leads to http://www.lego.com/galaxysquad/70708. When viewed on a desktop PC, it just takes you to a product page but on my android phone it redirects to a video that shows the set in action. It's worth watching to see how the bug's legs move at it's pushed along.

70708 Hive Crawler

Inside there's four numbered bags, two instruction books and a crumpled sticker sheet. Sadly, at circa 500-pieces, this set isn't big enough to have the stickers and books wrapped with cardboard so this sort of thing is a problem.

70708 Hive Crawler

Bag one builds the minifigs and Galaxy Squad vehicles and contains these two larvae.

70708 Hive Crawler

In the other bags there are a lot of pieces in new colours, mostly lime green, and six of these new parts in olive green which, for some reason, are not listed in the set's inventory at LEGO.com. No doubt we will see it cropping up in many sets from now on, given its obvious usefulness.

70708 Hive Crawler

The minifigs

The larvae look suitably gruesome once fitted with spikes and trans-neon-yellow wings. It would have been better to have the wings fitting on the top though -- I assume the one on the right is the correct way up?

70708 Hive Crawler

They fit neatly into the 'eggs'.

70708 Hive Crawler

The alien bug minifig has a head that is new to this set (it's also in 70709) and I believe its torso print is also new. His weapons are new for Galaxy Squad: 'Tool W. Ø3.2 Shaft, No. 1'. They appear in trans-blue in several sets and in dark red in this (and 70709).

70708 Hive Crawler

His head is made from a rubbery material.

70708 Hive Crawler

This is apparently Billy Starbeam, with his red robot sidekick.

70708 Hive Crawler

Galaxy Squad vehicles

The robot has some sort of winged craft to fly around, which is propelled by the rockets on his back.

70708 Hive Crawler

Billy Starbeam has a sleek craft that looks okay except for the canopy which just flaps about in the wind and looks as if it's been added as an after-thought. It probably would have better without it.

70708 Hive Crawler

When the robot's not using his craft it can be fixed to the back of Billy's ship by way of Technic pins.

70708 Hive Crawler

The bug

The bug chassis is made with parts in bag two and as you can see, it contains a lot of Technic pieces.

70708 Hive Crawler

Bag three adds the abdomen.

70708 Hive Crawler

Bag four adds the head, thorax and legs.

70708 Hive Crawler

This rear view shows the egg slinging mechanism loaded with the two eggs.

70708 Hive Crawler

Here's a side view. The leg movement is cleverly implemented and you can see it in action in the product video. It's not very life-like, though. There are only ever two legs touching the ground and they move far too much. But it's a fun play feature, particularly as it makes a cool clacking noise as it goes along.

70708 Hive Crawler

The head can be tilted to seat the bug minifig behind the eyes.

70708 Hive Crawler

When folded back he peeps out from between them.

70708 Hive Crawler

Here's a view of the underside, showing the leg moving mechanism.

70708 Hive Crawler

And here's the 'bomb bay'. To fire an egg, you push down between the trans-red teeth and let go. Two elastic bands return the sling with some force and the egg goes flying over the bug's head.

70708 Hive Crawler

Everything that's in the box...

70708 Hive Crawler

Overall opinion

When I first saw this demonstrated at the London Toy Fair in January, I was impressed by the leg moving and egg slinging mechanisms and now, having built and played with it, I still think it's a neat set, although the extreme un-lifelike movements of the legs distract from the coolness to some extent.

It's good that we have a new alien minifig and a couple of larvae in the set but it could have done with more. As I said in another review, how is one supposed to build up a colony when there are so few of them in the sets?

  • Parts: 4 -- a lot of parts in new colours, particularly lime green and dark red.
  • Playability: 5 -- kids will have a lot of fun firing eggs and pushing the bug.
  • Building experience: 4 -- a lot of Technic to start with, which isn't to everyone's taste.
  • Value for money: 4 -- it packs a lot of punch in the play department and will provide hours of fun.
  • Overall: 4 -- another great Galaxy Squad set.

I think LEGO has put together an excellent range of models for the Galaxy Squad theme but I fear that it's not going to perform particularly well in the shops. For one thing it has to compete with so many other great models that will be on the shelves alongside and I also perceive that LEGO won't be marketing it much, particularly compared to Chima.

A question for parents: if you took your child into a toy shop and they see these sets alongside more established, or familiar IPs, which would they choose?

32 comments on this article

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By in New Zealand,

WOW! This set looks amazing. At first I thought that galaxy squad looked a bit boring but since I have seen the reviews, I want to get them all. Thank you for reviewing these sets and I hope you do more.

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent review as always Huw. I'm still in two minds about galaxy squad though. As cool as it is, it has too many other great themes to compete against. Also the new bug minifigure is called an alien mantisoid.

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By in United States,

Huw, the inventory shows Dark Tan cheese slopes x2, but I can't see them anywhere in the set, is that accurate? Will be picking this up very soon =D

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review Huw, the problem with Galaxy Squad is deciding which sets to buy and which ones not to due to space and budget and also with other themes. This one does look quite a cool set though.

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By in Belgium,

To answer your question on what kids would pick: I took my 4-year old son to the store when the first half of the range was released in Belgium. He preferred the GS models over SW, but then again we don't have any star wars at home (so he wasn't particularly biased). He loved the squad sets, but was somewhat afraid of the bugs. I love the range, but I can't see it competing with star wars and as you said, Lego is pouring all it's marketing attention into Chima. I don't understand why they bothered releasing GS if they were not planning on supporting it properly.

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By in United States,

I worry a bit about TLG's continuing strategy of massive diversity and market saturation through brand expansion... Lego is appearing now in so many themes, so many characters throughout the toy aisle, it's almost as if they're attempting to replace the traditional action figure formats all together. Ambitious and cavalier to be sure, but sooner or later all of this ubiquitous product and presence leads to the inevitable consequence of Lego competing against... Lego?

I think that's where we are right now-- according to the database TLG has already released and/or unveiled 485 sets for the calendar year. THAT'S MORE THAN ANY FULL YEAR PRIOR TO 2010... And it's only mid-June!! Sure, that number's swelled a bit by the CM's, Friend Pets and surging number of poly bags, but it's certainly reasonable to predict that 2013 will see over 800 sets. That's up almost 100 from 2012, over 200 from '11, 300 from '10, etc etc.

That's a whoooooole lotta Lego.

With so many sets out there, it seems inevitable that full themes are destined to fail in the shadow of bigger (sic. better promoted) self-competition. The licensed themes will always garner more attention, obviously, since it's poor management to neglect what you're spending more money on... But the exception to that rule, and wildcard here, is Chima. If it's a unique TLG brand, why did it launch SOOOO big with so much exposure? I can only presume there was an initial deal with the Cartoon Network that gave Chima such financial priority, but, as said above, how can themes such as Galaxy Squad, Castle, and even City compete against that?! Obviously City is more immune as such an established evergreen brand... But any given family's money can only go so far.

If TLG's saturation manifest continues, we'll be looking at over a 1,000 sets in a single year by 2015. With that many sets being produced, it's likely that AFOL's will eventually be forced to pick what themes they'll be able to collect (because they sure wont be able to collect them all), while kids will likely be drawn the most to whatever they see being advertised between their favorite shows. None of this spells any particular trouble for TLG as a whole... But it could mean DOOM for unlicensed smaller themes like Galaxy Squad, as beautifully designed and strikingly shelf-appealing as they are.

I guess I'm rambling... But I'd love to get my eyes on TLG's long-term marketing strategy and see how they anticipate moving forward, and comparing it to how it actually plays out.

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By in Singapore,

I always have an affinity for LEGO's "evil" sets so I was definitely interested in this one, and it looks great. Thanks for the review and pictures.

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By in United States,

The Lego group is just trying to find way s to make people uglier and uglier.

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By in United Kingdom,

This looks like a great set. I cannot recall a set with so many complicated functions, thanks for the excellent review Huw.

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By in United States,

Great looking set and fantastic theme; thanks for the review.

It seems like TLG always has one of the 3 classic themes every year; City is Town, Castle (and untidy recently, Kingdoms) is Castle, and GS is Space. The proliferation in sets released is almost entirely due to licensing. Other than SW, these will come and go. Anyone remember PoP? So I'm not sweating it, even though the toy aisles seem crowded and there may currently be some over-saturation.

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By in United States,

Looks like another set that i will have to get. I always enjoy these sets. One of my favorites is the claw catcher from power miners. that had some cool functions in it. this set reminds me of this one. i love small sets with amzing features. another great reveiw, and i cant wait for the Galatic titan (if you do it)

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By in United States,

Is it just me or does the crawler remind anyone of a the back of gungan vehicle 7115

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By in Canada,

I think the one with the wings on the bottom is not supposed to have wings at all.

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By in Canada,

This may just be my favourite galaxy squad set! I love the new aliens!

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By in United Kingdom,

^Are they not identical, and just shown both ways up?

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By in United States,

I was wondering Huw. The building instructions on Lego.com state that only 1 of the transparent green wing pieces comes with the set. Did the set come with an extra one or did you own one to put on? Thanks for the review by the way! :-)

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By in Canada,

The larvae on the right is supposed to look like the warp stinger, while the one on the right is a scorpian,which has no wings.

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By in United States,

Huw, in case this sort of thing matters to you: Billy's legs are swapped with those of the robot in your photo. Each of the Galaxy Squad robot's leg pieces have tiny rivets on them and a slightly different knee pattern.

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By in United States,

Those larvae and the bug minifigure seem to be wonderful additions to the theme (I personally hope that there will be more sets that expand upon the Buggoids' army).

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By in United States,

So far this year, this is the set of the year. Perhaps it was my lowered expectations coming off of the disappointing Star Slicer, but this set is just so much damn fun. Different build form near everything else, and the leg functionality just throws it over the top.
I felt like a kid when I was done with this. I was laughing like a child as I pushed it along the carpet watching the legs clack along and scare the cat.
https://vine.co/v/bli0iAYgU6a

It is pricey in price per piece department, but I honestly think it compensates in the sheer glee it creates as it comes together. This will be a hard set to top this year in my opinion. Again, it may be my lower expectations for it that makes it rank so high, but I had so much fun building this the first time, and it was just as fun when I tore it down to rebuild it. Unique and fun.

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By in United Kingdom,

@murphquake, yes there are two used, they are in the 'bomb loading bay' round the back.

@LegoSpy, it came with two, maybe one was a spare although if you check page 5 of the instructions it's not clear whether they are both supposed to be fitted with wings or not.

@Dare_Wreck, thanks, I hadn't noticed that. A very subtle difference easily overlooked!

@Mr. Timms, excellent ramble, which encapsulates my thoughts on the matter as well.

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By in United Kingdom,

Does anybody else hear the names of these Galaxy Squad members and think they might be members of an eighties tribute act in their spare time?

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By in Denmark,


The bug really ROCKS! It's really well executed with a briliant colourtheme.

The packaged (like the last one that was review) really is horrible. I lost the desire to buy this theme, until I read this review. What went wrong in the branding and designprocess? The feel on the box is not close to the nice product inside!

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By in United Kingdom,

^ I seem to be doing something right, then :-)

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By in United States,

@ Huw
Thanks Huw. :-)
I noticed the unclearness in the instruction book too...

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By in Canada,

I like TLG's in-house IPs more and more. I'm getting a little tired of the quest to have all my favourite childhood nerdy properties expressed in Lego. Monster Hunters, Galaxy Quest and Alien Conquest, in particular, have been a breath of fresh air for me.

I've said elsewhere, too, that I would like to see more in-house brands within the City theme. I love the Octan replaced Shell and Exxon. I'd love to see some others come out. The Lego City theme is certainly large enough that it could have more of its private language expressed. Why not a Lego coffee franchise (Cuppa Joe)? Fast food outlets (Burger Baron), grocery stores (Super Mart or Fresh Mart), clothing stores (Red Label), or even car manufacturers (Billund Motor Co., Parazini, Ibex, Audo).

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By in United States,

This looks like a fun set, but I do wonder when we will get a base playset or at least some buildings for either the bug aliens or Galaxy Squad guys to operate out of. They gotta park their vehicles somewhere... Growing up with Futuron/BlackTron2/etc, which had at least one large base each, it's something that I miss. That little bug building that comes with Galactic Titan looks cool, but it's not enough!

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By in United States,

Once I finished my last collection (Pharaoh's Quest) I was looking into getting another series and Galaxy Squad caught my eye. I currently have all the first wave Galaxy Squad except Vermin Vaporizer and really like them all. Super excited about this one, all the alien ships look fantastic. Once this set has a good sale I am going to get it. One thing I would like to see is a battle pack.

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review Huw! I've been a big fan of Galaxy Squad and this is a must-get for me. I'm really not interested in Star Wars anymore. There's so much more imagination in these and LEGO seems to really be enjoying their own IPs for a change!

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By in United States,

@Huw, one suggestion, (and a question, I guess for other readers): maybe think about breaking out "minifigures" as one of your criteria in your reviews. Since it's such a sought-after aspect of sets, and we tend to think of them separately from the rest of the pieces. For example, when you recently reviewed the Genonosis Battle set, you'd commented on how great the figs were. I'm curious if rating the figures were change the score on "parts"?

Thoughts?

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By in United States,

*were = would

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By in United States,

Great review Huw, I always wondered how the leg function worked.

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