Review: 21109 Exo-Suit, part 3

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In this, the final part of my review, I complete the model and let you know what I think of it.

If you haven't already done so, please read parts one and two first.

The final part of the build is the claws, the protective cage for the minifig and more greebling.

One eagle-eyed reader noticed in photos of part two of the review that in my haste to build the model, I'd mounted the ball joints for the the shoulders too high, something I didn't notice until I went to add the greebling right at the end. Luckily it was easy to rectify.

The greebling at the top of the arms uses two 'Holder 16 Mm' arms affixed to a 1x1 'lamp holder' but unfortunately the arms are not a tight fit on the studs of the lamp holder and I found it hard to keep them together. To prevent them coming loose during photography I inserted a small length of flex-tube through the hole which solved the problem.

21109 Exo-Suit

The claws are significantly bigger than on Pete's original. Pete had used a small steering wheel to mount the fingers on but fixing them to what is effectively a curved bar is apparently not a legal connection, so the larger octagonal part had to be used instead. The tan light sabre blade fixes the forearm to the Technic connector inside the barrel.

21109 Exo-Suit

Here's the finished model:

21109 Exo-Suit

21109 Exo-Suit

21109 Exo-Suit

The joints are sufficiently stiff to enable it to stand on one leg, helped by being able to rotate the joint on the heel slightly.

21109 Exo-Suit

Similarly, it can do a handstand no problem!

21109 Exo-Suit

Hey! Put me down!

21109 Exo-Suit

The complete set:

21109 Exo-Suit

Construction is enjoyable, although at times fiddly, as you'd expect given it has so many small parts and bits of greebling everywhere, and prone to error if you're not careful.

There's a lot of articulation in the limbs and it can be posed in many ways, as I have demonstrated above. The rotating heel joints are a mixed blessing: while they make some otherwise impossible poses possible they do sometimes make it difficult to get the thing to stand up straight.

The only minor criticisms I can make concerns the greebling: much of it is attached at one point only and thus 'flaps about in the wind' a bit and can become displaced when handling and posing the model. If some of it doesn't look straight in the photos above, that'll be why. Also, as stated above, there's an issue with the arms used for the greebling which prevents them from fixing tightly on studs. I solved the problem, but it shouldn't be necessary to do so.

Mark has done an excellent job of translating Pete's vision of an exo-suit into something that's stable, poseable, and which doesn't fall apart as soon as you breathe on it. The use of large ball joints has largely been hidden using greebling which is something perhaps other LEGO designers will learn from and replicate in mainstream models in the future.

However, in making it so, much of the appeal of Pete's original model has been lost in translation: the parts density, the barely-legal connections, parts used in ways they were never designed to be and so on. Of course it was inevitable that Mark would have to clean it up, and while the sanitised version is superb, it no longer carries the hallmarks of a Pete Reid model that his fans have come to admire.

In summary, there's no doubt that this is an excellent model, perhaps the best released this year. LEGO has exceeded our expectations in terms of the content of the set which is not something that happens often. We expected the Exo-Suit and a minifig. We are given an Exo-Suit, two unique and very desirable minifigs, a turtle and more. Thank you LEGO, thank you Mark! Well done Pete, you deserve to be proud of your achievement.

If the set appeals to you, do not hang about deliberating whether to buy it or not because it might be in short supply. This is a day one purchase: get it on August 1st or you may regret it. We'll remind you again on the day!

Want to see more? Check out vynsane's review at Toys N Bricks.

Update: Tim Courtney in the LEGO Ideas team has provided more information about the set's availability: "While there’s always going to be speculation, I hope to calm some of the more extreme concerns: Deciding how much of a product to produce is both art and science. For any LEGO product we must balance producing enough to meet demand with not over-producing.

"We (LEGO Ideas team) recognize the popularity of sets like the Exo Suit and make our best efforts to meet demand. We also learn and adapt from experiences where our estimates are off, and we sincerely hope you’re able to secure an Exo Suit or two for your own hangar bay if you so desire."

44 comments on this article

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By in Viet Nam,

There's too much awesomeness in this lego set. I couldn't wait for the day August 1st to come! :D

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By in Australia,

Definitely a must-buy. No build/playability/etc ratings?

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By in United Kingdom,

@ Huw- Looks Like in some of the photo's the Claws appear to be on wrong or is this just how you've positioned them... :P

@ Everyone-does anyone else think the new Mixel joints might have been a more suitable option for the legs...would they stand up to the job... ;P

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By in United Kingdom,

Sigh, its only the 9th July, still three weeks to wait until release . . . . .

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By in United Kingdom,

@S.N.O.T.80 - I don't think the new Mixel joints would work for exactly the reason you question, they just wouldn't stand up to the weight and strain.

Huw, thanks for the lengthy review and great photos - particularly the action shots at the end!
Your thoughts on what was lost of its Pete-Reid-ness are what intrigue me most, and of course the illegal part uses had to be changed, would most of the parts not being used as intended have been lost because of that?

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By in United Kingdom,

^^^ The claws have four fingers and a thumb but can be rotated freely so it's entirely possible that they don't look right, but then the exo-suit is unlikely to have the same physical restrictions on its wrists as us, is it...

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By in United Kingdom,

Loving the one leg pick. Looks like a few to many lunchtime drinks for the Exo ;-)

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By in Australia,

I STILL REALLY REALLY WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By in United States,

This Exosuit and Guardians of the Galaxy movie -- August 1st is shaping up to be a very good day.

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By in United States,

Why doesn't Yve get to drive?

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By in Netherlands,

@Huw
Thanks for another great review!

Do you perhaps also know much this set will cost in all the various countries around the world; such as The Netherlands, or France e.g.???

ps.
I really love those green astronauts. I hope TLG will make more 'neo classic' space sets with those astronauts, but then also in orange, black, purple, and why not pearl silver too! I don't think TLG ever did an entirely pearl silver Minifig? Except of course the astronaut's head that needs to be yellow.

pps.
And the word of the week is: GREEBLING!
Etymology (according to the http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ )
"The earliest recorded use of the term "greeble" found to date was by those working on the special effects for Star Wars — the group who would later become Industrial Light and Magic. They also described this design method as "guts on the outside".

I feel so greebly now! ;) Must have this set!

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By in Netherlands,

Oooh and BTW I think the exosuit looks awesome. The fact that the final version is on many points different from the original design done by Pete Reid does not bother me.

Love the turtle-bot too!

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm not sure of international pricing, I don't think it's been announced. I think the US price is $34.99 so probably something like £29.99 and €29.99 or $34.99.

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By in United States,

Great review and pics, Huw! Thanks for the shout-out, I've linked back round to parts 1, 2 & 3 of your review over there.

@Maxximus - Yve is the pilot in my review, since I decided she looks like she's having the time of her life piloting the Exo-Suit while Pete looks too grumpy to have ever gotten a turn ;)

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By in Netherlands,

Thanks!
I hope so. Because often I am often totally flabbergasted why sets that for instance cost $29,99 in the USA are priced €45 in The Netherlands. Such as e.g. the Mirkwood Elf Army et cetera. Moreover because of the randomness why some sets cost the same e.g. in Germany and The Netherlands and/or France, while others are more expensive here or there etc.
€29,99 seems like a good price to me. I hope they wont make it more expensive than that, I plan on buying two of them for that price.

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By in United States,

Great set, I want it!!!

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By in United States,

@S.N.O.T.80 - micro ("Mixel") joints work fine in small mechas --- look at Legend Beasts; they are mechas. I think it will work on a scale of Exo-suit, but you may need to double the joints, as was done in the legs of 6203.

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice set, but the black ball joints stick out like a sore thumb. The greebling is quite nice, though.

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By in United Kingdom,

Buying this on August 1st and will probably get some other sets to reach £50 and get the Mini Cooper promo. Can August get any better?

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By in United States,

According to the Ideas blog, 21110 "Research Institute" will ALSO be available in August.

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By in United States,

More money to TLG in August! Excellent!

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By in United Kingdom,

In the original design the head of the pilot became the head of the mech due to its prominent position. Whilst the finished model is still very good the placing of the pilot in a ROPS cage has diminished the pilots’ presence and left him/her as merely a driver rather than an integral part of the mechs body.

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By in United States,

@S.N.O.T.80 and swogat, not only would the micro ball joints be a bit too small for this set, Mark specifically stated he could use them for this set at the time. That being said, I think Mark did a fantastic job on this set without them! Definite buy from me! :)

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By in United States,

Oh, sorry I did mean COULDN'T, sorry if that was confusing. Thanks DanRSL!

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By in United States,

@Bricklunch - That's a good point. The profile is definitely different now, though I personally can't say it's a change for the worse. I like them both...this is just a slightly different take on it. (Plus, you gain greeble-spikes!)

I've never handled the original Exo-Suit, but the cage connected solely by pistols really doesn't seem stable or even movable. I assume LEGO wouldn't release a set where you can't easily insert and remove the pilot without parts falling off. Thus, we get this larger, hinged cage. Again, I like it...it reminds me of Aliens.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Modok - Yeah, it’s definitely more Aliens-like now - just needs the power loaders rotating & sliding gripping claws. I also still like it though.
I wonder if the increase in fingers is purely an aesthetic / functional change or whether Lego are being mindful of the cultural association in Japan of people with only 4 digits with organised crime - a problem that has worried toy manufacturers and cartoon makers in the past.

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By in United Kingdom,

I can see why the minifig's head seeming like the head of the mech would be cool, but I'd much rather ride one with a roll cage than one where my neck would be taking the weight of the mech if I tipped it over. It's all about minifigure health and safety! :P

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By in United States,

@Bricklunch I've seen a change in the number of fingers mentioned a couple of times and I don't understand it because the original MOC also had five fingers. See here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/legoloverman/6877342842/

What has changed is that the fingers are more spread-out because they have to each be rotated 45 degrees around an octagon. The hands are also very slightly larger. The diameter of the circular steering wheel used for the hands on the original was 24mm, the diameter of this octagon from center point to center point is 27.2mm. But I think the amount of space between each finger has a bigger impact on the set than a difference in diameter of 3.2mm.

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By in Australia,

Love the handstand pose! Im thinking two sets for me, just so i can have 4 Green Spacepeople.

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By in Australia,

This set will fly off the shelf, its one of those rare ones that's an absolute must buy regardless of the ridiculous price we'll probably be charged in Oz...this set could also set off a spate of increased buying of classic spaces sets on ebay, especially by myself!

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By in United States,

Yeah. It just doesn't feel like the Peter Reid set I supported. I may pass.

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By in United States,

Must... obtain... Exo-Suit....
I called LEGO earlier just to make sure what their hours were for making an order by phone, but the rep pointed out I could go online at midnight. Duh. ;-) Don't everyone clog up the site for me, please!

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By in United States,

I just visited my local store today and the cashier said they will have it in stock on Aug. 1, along with the Research Institute. I will probably try and get them (both ExoSuit and Research Inst.) there instead of online, since I doubt my store will sell out on day 1.
My biggest problem will be convincing my wife that we need $60 more of Lego around the house...especially when I already got some while there today!

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By in United Kingdom,

It's nice, but feels a little too much like an ordinary mech to me. Still, I'm glad we've been given another Classic Space set at last, and the mini figures are great.

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice to see TLG acknowledge and try and address the supply concerns it has put my mind at ease a little, though will still get one ASAP.

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By in Malaysia,

May I know what is the height of the box?

You stated it's 26x19cm, but I would like to know the height. Thanks.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ 6cm or so.

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By in United States,

God I need this set.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Aanchir Good point. I would have sworn the original had 5 fingers. Learnt a lesson on the importance of checking for myself rather than just believing what I read on the internet.

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By in United States,

I wonder, Huw can the forearm joints be posed? In every picture I see of the suit the arms are in their lowest position. Do the arms fall down every time they are moved up? Just want to know the range of posability on this thing, thanks.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ No they don't flap about, the are fine.

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By in United States,

Well then, looks perfect to me!

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