The Marvel Cinematic Universe has inspired an impressive range of sets over the last few years and 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers seems to be among the best of them all. Not only does it include an interesting vehicle but also three of the most important characters from Ant-Man and the Wasp.
However, some of those minifigures have been subject to criticism based upon the perceived inaccuracy of their helmets. This certainly feels warranted as both Ant-Man and Wasp could be improved quite significantly, although I have high expectations for the set as a whole, especially following the tremendous precedent of 76039 Ant-Man Final Battle which was released in 2015.
Ant-Man wears an updated suit in relation to the 2015 minifigure which includes far superior detail and looks brilliant when compared with the film. I particularly appreciate the simulated fabric texture on his chest and this pattern continues across the hips and onto the legs. Removing Scott's helmet reveals a face which has only previously appeared in 71042 Silent Mary and suits the hero perfectly, featuring a smile on one side and a frightened expression on the other.
Unfortunately, Ant-Man's pearl silver helmet is the weakest aspect of the figure as this vital component remains unchanged since 2015 so suffers from the same inaccuracies. The breathing apparatus is the wrong shape, more closely resembling the comic book incarnation of the character than that from the movies. I like the trans-red visor though and the moulding on either side of the helmet looks superb.
The light bluish grey helmet worn by Wasp is perhaps even more disappointing. This component was originally created for 76077 Iron Man: Detroit Steel Strikes and has already proven versatile as it also appears in 21314 TRON: Legacy. However, its shape is inappropriate for this character and while I applaud the efforts of the graphic designer to disguise that fact, a new piece should definitely have been introduced here.
Wasp's torso is more impressive, featuring an attractive metallic gold design which matches the source material as well as a few dark red highlights. The trans-light blue wings are fairly accurate too but I think they would have benefited from a little texturing. Wasp carries a vial containing a trans-red substance while Ant-Man is equipped with a sonic weapon and a pearl gold trophy, leaving me to wonder what role the trophy might play in the film.
Ghost first appeared in 1987 and is typically depicted as a male character, although the version from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is female. She wears a light bluish grey suit which allows her to phase through solid objects and looks very intimidating. I love Ghost's piercing red eyes and can imagine this head element will prove popular in the creation of other minifigures as it could be adapted to suit many different characters.
A light bluish grey hood would have been more appropriate than this dark bluish grey one and it could have included some printed detail too, matching the intricate designs on the torso. The arms and legs also appear plain by comparison but I do like how reversing the head will reveal Ghost's human face beneath her mask. Two trans-light blue Power Blasts accompany the minifigure and can be launched by pressing on their tails.
The Completed Model
LEGO has produced many different kinds of vehicle over the last six decades but this Quantum Realm exploration craft is unique, featuring a spherical cockpit, landing skids and three enormous engines. It measures 15cm in length and includes some lovely red and dark red highlights that present a striking contrast against the predominant colour combination of light and dark bluish grey.
Two robotic arms are situated in front of the cockpit sphere. These are remarkably poseable, including two separate hinge joints as well as rotating claws for gripping items the width of a standard LEGO bar. Furthermore, the vessel is equipped with twin forward-facing stud shooters which launch trans-clear 1x1 round plates, perhaps representing sonic blasts.
The bulbous cockpit is constructed using three trans-clear components which line up perfectly to form an attractive spherical shape. The edge of the central canopy is visible through the 6x6 hatch pieces on either side but this is only a minor issue in my opinion. I like the detailed printing on the cockpit and the canopy opens very neatly in three sections, revealing a single seat and two control levers for the pilot inside.
Mechanical detail dominates the rear of the vessel and looks marvellous, consisting primarily of small parts such as binoculars, bucket handles and roller skates. The latter component has only appeared in pearl silver once before and I was pleasantly surprised by the durability of the model as using so many tiny pieces sometimes compromises structure. This example feels sturdy though so is brilliant for play.
Three cylindrical engine nacelles provide most of the power to this vehicle but it also includes a pair of smaller thrusters, each of which is mounted on a ball joint. These thrust pods possess a wide range of motion so they can be adjusted for steering or in preparation for landing. Six stickers are used across the entire model and I am particularly impressed by those applied to the top of the vehicle, depicting exposed wiring which looks very realistic.
The entire Avengers: Infinity War range was excellent and I think this set might reach an even higher standard! Not only does it include three of the most important characters from Ant-Man and the Wasp but the Quantum Realm exploration vehicle is thoroughly impressive, including tremendous detail and offering a great deal of play value. The innovative design of the cockpit sphere is particularly delightful.
However, there is room for improvement with regard to the minifigures. Both Ant-Man and Wasp sport helmets which bear little resemblance to the film, especially in the case of the heroine. A couple of new pieces here would certainly have been beneficial. That having been said, 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers is still a wonderful set and its price of £19.99 or $19.99 seems very reasonable so I would highly recommend adding it to your collection.
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