Review: 21308 Adventure Time

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Adventure Time has become exceptionally popular since the animated series began in 2010 and the show made the transition to LEGO towards the end of last year as three Dimensions packs became available. However, this was preceded by the success of aBetterMonkey's LEGO Ideas project which was announced in March and has now resulted in the release of 21308 Adventure Time, a 495-piece set which is priced at £44.99 or $49.99.

This is the sixteenth LEGO Ideas product and is perhaps the least interesting from the perspective of most adults, in contrast with something like 21307 Caterham Seven 620R, but may be one of the most appealing for children. It will therefore be fascinating to see whether this set proves successful over the next few months, particularly given the overwhelmingly positive reaction received by the Dimensions content during 2016.

Box and Contents

LEGO Ideas boxes are consistently attractive but this is one of the best yet in my opinion, presenting an idyllic panorama of the Land of Ooo which is populated by the eight figures included. It is interesting to note that Gunter's size has been reduced in relation to the other characters in an effort to make him appear more in scale with the animation model. This seems slightly disingenuous to me and I hope LEGO does not continue to manipulate scales as they have here, although it may have been a simple mistake.

The box opens to reveal three numbered bags and an instruction manual which contains 84 pages. This is not made from the higher quality material seen in previous LEGO Ideas sets but includes the standard information about the original project and its creator as well as some Adventure Time character profiles.

21308 Adventure Time

The Completed Model

Adventure Time follows the exploits of Finn and Jake, two friends who embark upon heroic quests across the Land of Ooo. Most of the figures included follow a design based around a body which is three studs wide and these characters follow that implicitly. I think it looks quite stylish on the whole but the flexible animation which defines Adventure Time means that these blocky designs take some getting used to. I consider Finn to be one of the best models in the set as his attire is recreated quite faithfully despite the simplistic style of the figure and I like his printed smiling expression very much, particularly since a couple of teeth are missing just as they are in the show.

21308 Adventure Time

He wears a green backpack and is equipped with Scarlet, Finn's trusty sword, which is designed to match the blocky style of the figures. I think Jake is less impressive, due in no small part to the fact that his rounded body is so recognisable and that this is lost in the brick-built figure. Nevertheless, his face looks splendid, with a printed 2x2 slider element and a pair of new eyes which also appear on some of the other characters included.

21308 Adventure Time

BMO is a living video game console who lives in the Tree Fort alongside Finn and Jake. This is the smallest figure in the set but includes some interesting pieces, most notable of which are three sand green jumper plates and two black sausages which represent arms. The screen displaying BMO's face is formed using a printed 1x2 tile while the controls underneath make use of a red tile, a yellow flower and a couple of exposed studs which is quite effective in my opinion.

Time 421308 Adventure Time

The instructions suggest that the flower should be attached with the petals facing diagonally but I prefer to display the model with the petals matching the orientation of a real directional pad, as shown in the image below. I wonder whether this was intended but could not be shown in the instructions as an update to the original submission shows BMO with an angled flower.

21308 Adventure Time

Two video game controllers accompany the figure and these are simply constructed using just three pieces. I favour the BMO figure which appears in 71246 Adventure Time Team Pack as its proportions are a little more faithful to the animated series, although this version maintains the width of three studs which defines the style of the brick-built characters in the set.

21308 Adventure Time

The Ice King rules over the Ice Kingdom and periodically comes into conflict with our heroes during his attempts to abduct Princess Bubblegum and force her into marriage. His character design is relatively simple and I think this building style therefore suits the king quite well as his robe looks appropriately rotund and he sports an enormous beard which almost reaches the floor. A 1x3 slope represents the Ice King's prominent nose and a printed 1x3 brick forms the eyes and eyebrows which are accurate to the show.

21308 Adventure Time

A pair of trans-light blue snowflakes are fixed to the Ice King's hands to demonstrate his magical abilities and these have only appeared once before in this colour so are very rare. These powers are granted to the king by his crown and it looks quite impressive in my opinion, with three points on top and a trans-pink pyramid at the base of each point. The crown is adorned with rubies in the show so trans-red would have been a more accurate colour, although it looks good even in its current state. It is worth noting that the official image of the Ice King shows his crown topped with three yellow horn elements but that these are not included. This is probably for the best as I think the crown looks too tall with them attached.

21308 Adventure Time

Gunter accompanies the Ice King as his servant and is another small figure, although the level of detail captured is quite impressive. I like the pentagonal tiles used to represent Gunter's flippers and the blocks of yellow look great against the black and white colour scheme. However, this figure is slightly fragile as the white section at the front is only connected to the black bricks by a couple of studs at the base and another behind the forehead so they might detach during play.

21308 Adventure Time

Marceline the Vampire Queen is a close friend of Finn and Jake who loves travelling the Land of Ooo in search of adventure. She wears a simple outfit consisting of a grey shirt, dark blue jeans and red boots which is nicely replicated by this figure, as are her sharp teeth printed on the face. Aqua elements are used for her skin which is nice to see and I like her voluminous hair as well, although the angled slopes mounted on the front look slightly awkward.

21308 Adventure Time

She comes complete with her axe bass guitar which is a welcome accessory, although I am not entirely satisfied with the shape of the body as it does not curve outwards from the centre as it should. This could easily be resolved with some minor modification and I like the details of the strings which run the length of the neck but it would have been nice to see an entirely authentic design.

21308 Adventure Time

Princess Bubblegum is overwhelmingly dominated by varying shades of pink, only relieved by a purple sash and bright yellow crown. This is topped by a turquoise gem and surrounded by bright pink hair which closely resembles the character model while her smiling expression matches the princess' typically cheerful personality. The light and dark bluish grey colours of the ball joint components detract from the appearance of each figure but Princess Bubblegum suffers more than the others in my opinion.

21308 Adventure Time

Her long hair continues onto the back of the figure, revealing some discolouration of the dark pink bricks which is disappointing. I think this is one of the weaker figures included in the set given the monotonous colour scheme, although that is not the fault of the designer and the accuracy of the model is again restricted by its brick-built design.

21308 Adventure Time

Lady Rainicorn is a close friend of Princess Bubblegum and offers a dramatic departure from the style of the other figures in this set. The model is only two studs wide for most of its length and incorporates far greater articulation as each section of her body is attached to the next using hinges, allowing you to create a flowing movement as she flies through the air. I love the use of Unikitty tail elements to represent her billowing mane and a white horn protrudes from her head, just like in the show.

21308 Adventure Time

The legs can be posed as though Lady Rainicorn was walking and her tail is mounted on a hinge so may also be articulated. The bright colour scheme looks marvellous and I appreciate the attention to detail which has ensured that the colours are arranged in the right order from the top of her body to the bottom.

21308 Adventure Time

Overall

One's enjoyment of this set depends entirely upon an interest in Adventure Time and an appreciation for the unique style of the figures included. I think some are more successful than others, with Finn, the Ice King and Lady Rainicorn being my favourites, but would have preferred to see the brick-built design cast aside in favour of more accurate shapes using a selection of curved slopes.

21308 Adventure Time

Furthermore, it would have been nice to see alternative expressions printed on both sides of the 1x3 bricks included and greater poseability would have been welcome as most of the figures are limited to ball-jointed arms. Nevertheless, for fans of Adventure Time I think this is a worthy purchase as the set look great on display and also offers reasonable play value given the number of major characters included.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

39 comments on this article

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By in Denmark,

It is not stated, however, I assume no stickers are used for the faces.

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By in United Kingdom,

I ordered mine this morning. Shame they omitted the yellow unicorn pieces from the crown.

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By in Puerto Rico,

Fun fact, this show takes place on a post apocalyptic Earth. Nice review but this is one where I am not interested.

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By in United States,

While the audience for Adventure Time certainly skews younger than the audience for the Caterham 7, I don't think it's realistic to say that more adults would be interested in the Caterham 7 set than the Adventure Time set. At least from my experience, the Caterham 7 is fairly obscure here in the United States, while Adventure Time has much more mainstream relevance. I've seen loads of Adventure Time merchandise (including adult-sized clothing and other teen- and adult-targeted merchandise) at specialty stores like Hot Topic and Spencer's, and even sometimes at normal department stores, whereas I'm not sure I've EVER seen any Caterham 7 merchandise other than the LEGO Ideas set.

The manipulation of characters' scales on the box art is surprising to me, since LEGO style guides for licensors that I've seen in the past specifically say not to do this. So it's surprising to see this on an actual LEGO product. I do not necessarily feel like it's deceptive, but it seems to fall short of the LEGO brand's usual standards for consistent presentation.

Even for somebody like me who has never seen an episode of Adventure Time except for brief glimpses while flipping channels, the character designs in this set feel extremely recognizable, and I don't feel like the blocky style detracts too much from this. Even with more curved pieces, I'm not sure the character designs could have been made much more accurately curved without increasing the scale (and consequently, the price point). It might also have made any non-curved parts of the build that much more apparent, whereas here they fit in with the set's overall style.

I've seen a lot of griping about the grey joint pieces, but I don't find them especially distracting.

Overall I have no plans to get this set, but I can see it becoming quite popular. I hope it might help pave the way for future Cartoon Network collaborations in the future. Steven Universe in particular is one of my favorite TV shows, and it would be fantastic to see its characters translated into LEGO (whether as minifigures or brick-built figures, though I think brick-built would stand a better chance of capturing the show's diverse character designs).

Thanks for the review!

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By in United States,

The Lego Dimensions model of BMO looks so much more accurate, that I'm surprised they didn't just duplicate it here.

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By in Denmark,

@bok2: As the review writes: printed... ;-)

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By in Germany,

I thought i was gonna pass on this, but i changed my mind: the fun will never end, it's Adventure Time!

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By in United Kingdom,

@Aanchir - I was referring to the proportional popularity of the two sets. I think 21307 Caterham Seven 620R will have been purchased by a relatively high number of adults in relation to the number of children and expect the opposite to be true for this set. However, the market for 21308 Adventure Time is certainly much larger overall, as you suggested.

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By in United Kingdom,

I bought the Caterham and this set :-)

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By in United States,

Just received the set in the mail today, and I'm not even an Adventure Time fan... yet I bought it anyway. Haven't built it yet either, but thanks tons for the review! Looks awesome.

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By in United States,

I find the overall design overly simplistic and even basic in contrast to previous ideas sets.

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By in United Kingdom,

Got this on day one, but then I am a big fan of the show. It's actually got a sizeable adult following, so you may find a fair few AFOLs picking it up...

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By in United Kingdom,

Lady Rainicorn looks like the highlight of it to me, and I'd like to have just her.

My problem with this set is I just don't see how it's 500 pieces. I know it is, but looking at those models I just don't see it adding up.

However, it was a good review!

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By in United Kingdom,

I like the set as the figures remind me of those at Legoland parks. Blocky but recognisable. I like Adventure Time too, just not as much as Star Wars

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By in United States,

Thanks for the review. I've only seen bits of the show, so I am not too familiar with the characters, but I understand enough. I am more of a minifigure person, so the dimensions sets will likely get my money before this set. My daughter might actually like Princess Bubblegum, so that might be something to build later on.

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By in United States,

Probably the worst LEGO Ideas set. I watched JANG's review and it just made it so clear that this is awful. They just look horrible, the blocky-ness doesn't.. doesn't look good, it's only good for the printed pieces and the black sausages.

Oh well. I'm glad we got the Dimensions figures.

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By in Canada,

I don't know the show and can honestly say I have zero interest in this set. Sad, but true considering I love the Ideas Theme. Not appealing at all and I am willing to wager that this is a set that doesn't sell well and is on sale very quickly. After all the great sets being released, ie. Lego Batman Movie, this one appears to be a dud...

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By in United States,

"Minidolls aren't blocky enough." "These are too blocky." It seems like AFOLs got their life lessons from Goldilocks.

I've never seen the show and will not buy the set, but I think these look fun. I find their simplicity endearing. I think these would be a nice dressing for an office desk--fun but not too distracting.

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By in United Kingdom,

I really like the show but personally just can't find any interest in the Ideas set, the Dimensions sets are much more my thing.

On the other hand I have no interest in cars as I can't drive and never will be able to but I love the Caterham.

Good review though, thanks.

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By in United States,

^ This is a severe underestimation to make. Many will be buying this simply because it's LEGO Adventure Time, ESPECIALLY kids. I'm actually willing to bet it will be one of the best-selling sets from the Ideas line. And don't be surprised if it spawns later sets based on that potential popularity - a la Minecraft.

I have just finished building all eight figures and I have no clue where all the hate is coming from.

Like I said, I have never seen a full episode of the show in my life (though I would love to - curse time restraints). However, I see that a lot of care was put into making sure the characters were accurate, had all the little details, and most importantly be small enough to not hike the price up $20 or so more.

Take Jake, for example. Making him more rounded with curved pieces or slopes would have increased the size, as would have more articulation. It would not have worked with how small Jake is supposed to be; this is especially in comparison to Finn, who is a perfect figure in both shape and scale. And for those who still hate it even while acknowledging the limitations, it's not like it's your only way to get a LEGO Jake at the moment. He comes in TWO OTHER SETS; one as a minifig like most would want, and one as a car. All of the pieces from these three sets gives you the option to make any kind of LEGO Jake you desire! That's the beauty of our hobby: if you don't like something, you can change it.

Basically, this set, much like the Minecraft minifig-scale stuff, and yes, Mixels, takes everything identifiable about these characters and puts them in an affordable package for fans to collect and, if not a fan, gives you a plethora of useful parts. I haven't even counted how many colors, including rare shades, have found their way into this set... but it's a lot. Overall, the spirit of both LEGO and Adventure Time are represented greatly. @Aanchir and @ericjohn, you understand!

Furthermore, the price-per-piece ratio is pretty close to typical, especially considering the fact that a lot of larger bricks are used as well as small.

When you get right down to it, this set is a win and I am glad to own it. Being an animation fanatic and hoping to major in the subject as well, I couldn't be prouder.

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By in United States,

I agree with TheBrickPal and Aanchir, Adventure Time is pretty popular. With mostly kids and some adults. Where as a lot of the other sets, like the Caterham, Big Bang Theory, etc. appeal more to adults than kids. And keep in mind, kids are LEGO's primary audience.

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By in Australia,

Good work Lego! You are doing an amazing job.......by helping me save money by not buying sets like this.

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By in United States,

Despite being an Adventure Time fan, I think I'll be skipping this set. AT does allow for great Lego potential, as evident by the exceptional Dimensions figures, but considering all the awesome location-based sets that could have been, this feels rather boring and uninspired for me.

I also find the grey joints fairly annoying. Granted I've been annoyed that Lego has only them in grey since Mixels series 1, but as a brick-character builder, the in-your-face grey joints just drive me crazy.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm a fan of Adventure Time but am not so sure about this blocky style so I might get it on sale at some point. I just wish the set was based around minifigures.

Thanks for an excellent review!

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By in United Kingdom,

Maybe they are a bit blocky, but they're very characterful. Too expensive for me, but I know the characters from the comics (still need to try the show) and I think they'll have wide appeal.

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By in United Kingdom,

Although I'll happily acknowledge that Adventure Time is a big licensed property and this set will sell well, I've never quite understood where the popularity has come from. I can only assume that people like the unique brand of offbeat and surreal humour.

As for the set's final design, I really like the Ice King, Finn and Rainicorn too. If I liked Adventure Time I would certainly consider buying as the brick built character style is a pleasant change. Still a fairly steep price though.

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By in United States,

Black sausages though.

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By in Ireland,

Have all ideas sets and I tend to be a bit of a completionist - will pass on this though. Just don't care for it at all.

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By in United States,

These have got to be the ugliest LEGO set and cartoon on the planet.

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By in United States,

This set doesn't appeal to me greatly--not a surprise as I've never watched the show--but I see no reason to insult it either. Ideas is such a catch-all that I don't expect to like every set that passes review. I do see why TLG thought Adventure Time was a good fit for a Lego set, and I am sure this will be a popular and (dare I say it) collectable addition to the Ideas theme. (I might even BrickLink Lady Rainicorn and/or the Ice King because of their off-beat designs!)

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By in United Kingdom,

To all of you that say they have never watched Adventure Time - go watch it. It is completely nuts, generally makes no sense at all, but is very good fun!

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By in Canada,

This looks awful, the original that was posted on Lego Ideas looks way better.

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By in United States,

Just goes to show how big the world is that I find this set to be the most interesting of the Ideas projects so far.

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By in United States,

LEGO's Facebook post about this set has mostly positive comments. The biggest complaint/negativity comes from its price.

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By in United Kingdom,

Love the show (of course I have to watch it as the kids do) and this set represents the characters really well, even if there are minor scale issues with some of the characters I think Lego and the designers have done a great job. Will I buy it? Not sure, I buy to display, so I'd like to put these characters into a diorama maybe a 16x32 baseplate with a background built up would make a really nice display.

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By in Germany,

Hate the show, hate the set, hate that it was chosen instead of some of the other offerings at the time. Understand though why Lego saw the market potential, at least in some countries. Over here, no one I know has ever heard of AT, nor is there merchandise around in abundance. And having seen Jang's review just confirmed me that this is not a Lego Ideas set for me. Easy pass, thank you.

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By in United States,

TBH these look like knockoffs.

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By in Germany,

I do not see many kids buying this set, simply because the Ideas set do not even appear in stores, at least the ones I go to (which are all of the stores that sell Lego). The only set I ever saw in stores in Germany was the one from the TV show I forgot the name of.

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By in United States,

A bad set for a bad show. Seriously, the show is overstimulating nonsense

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