Another year, another wave of Minecraft – however, the boxes I have here are a little different to the norm. These are not minifig scale playsets, nor are they inanimate Brickheadz. So what are they exactly? Well, they are called Bigfigs – only they're not the sort of Bigfigs that the LEGO community already know.
The boxes say Bigfig Series 1 – and there are 3 to collect - so quite easy to get them all, but equally worrying about how many series there may end up being. All 3 are priced at £12.99 / €14.99 / $14.99 and I'll be kicking off with 21148 Steve with Parrot.
We'll start with the box – quite a diddy little thing, shown here with a minifig for scale. I have a reservation about the front cover image which I will explain later.
And here's the back showing the features.
Inside you'll find a small instruction booklet and three bags.
Let's empty them out and get a look at the 159 pieces contained herein.
There are some new pieces, prints, recolours and rare elements – the most interesting of which is the 2x2 tile with vertical 1x2 plate bracket. I can see this being a really useful piece indeed. There's a good smattering of Dark Azure. The 1x2 Brick with Axle Holes, 4x4 plate with 2x2 cutout and 2x4 tiles are recolours, the 1x1 bricks have only been in 2 sets prior and the 1x1 plates, while not rare, are useful if being picked up as a parts pack on clearance. The pair of Medium Azure Technic Liftarms are also lesser spotted. To finish there is a new printed 2x4 tile and a huge axe. That's quite a speciality mold – so I wonder what other sets it will end up in.
There's just under 20 minutes build here, and this is what you end up with – Steve, standing at 135mm high and a parrot. I have to say it looks pretty good to the source material. The grey ball joints across the hips are a necessary evil but don't look out of place - almost like Steve is wearing a belt.
It sure isn't pretty from the rear though. This view gives a clue to a small mechanism within the torso - operated by moving a pair of technic liftarms which I'll show shortly.
Here it is with a minifigure for scale. The 6x6 baseplate is quite essential for stable display, and because of this it does rather limit the leg position options. The new 2x2 tile with 1x2 vertical plates are used for his feet.
As far as articulation goes, the model is quite limited – though to be fair this is partly due to the source material. The arms can be moved back and forth – they are attached on Technic Axle Pins. Each leg is attached to the torso by means of 2 ball joints and the head is on a single ball joint meaning it can rotated a full 360 degrees and dropped side to side limited only by the shoulders.
If we take him off the baseplate, Steve can be put into more interesting poses.
Sitting down provides a better look at how the new pieces are used for Steve's feet.
The parrot is quite well done with articulated wings, head, tail, claws and crest. Again, a new 2x2 tile with 1x2 vertical plate is used for the base. I hope someone soon comes up with a snappy title for that element.
Now for the play feature. On Steve's back there is a simple push mechanism that moves his axe arm upward. Then release it to drop the arm again. This mimics his in game action quite well swinging the axe up and down.
Because the arm always drops back into it's lowest position by means of gravity, the pose shown on the front of the box can't actually be achieved without keeping your finger there. However, grabbing a 1x4 plate from my parts bin soon solved that. Placing it across the back holds the mechanism down...
… so now his axe arm can be held upwards to enable more poses. It must be noted that without the base to stand on, the figure is not especially stable. It needs to be placed on a decent surface and the limbs have to be set in certain positions to prevent toppling.
The eagle eyed will have noticed a SNOT connection on Steve's head. Steve doesn't come with any armour but that doesn't stop you making your own, or indeed, purloining the headgear that comes in 21150 Skeleton with Magma Cube. Here's how he looks wearing it.
And finally, here's Steve as the centrepiece of the whole series.
So what conclusions can I draw? Well, I think I've kept the review quite upbeat, however I can't get past the fact that it's all just a little bit dull. Brickheadz were often criticized as they were display pieces that couldn't be played with, and I appreciate that this goes beyond, achieving a larger format toy that can be both played and displayed. The features are quite limited though, and you'll likely need 2 of the 3 to get the most out of play.
They don't go with normal Minecraft sets nor are they Constraction figures. They seem to be answering a question that nobody was asking. They occupy a niche within a niche. So who are they aimed at?
I'm guessing Minecraft collectors who have to have everything. Possibly they're pitched at Minecraft players who haven't bought into the minifig sets before – and possibly parents and grandparents who will see these on the shelf and buy them because it has the brand on it. If you didn't like 41612 Steve & Creeper Brickheadz then this could well be the shelf ornament you're looking for.
I built these Bigfigs before I knew the price, and the RRP reveal is pretty much what I'd guessed at. It's not outrageous for an IP based set, but I can foresee discounts coming quite quickly. As an AFOL, previous Minecraft sets have given me a surprising amount of enjoyment. Unfortunately, I haven't felt the same amount of reward and satisfaction here and this will be in my parts bin pretty quickly.
I'd say that the majority of people can safely let this one pass by, but if you adore Minecraft then it's a worth a glance.
Thanks to LEGO for providing the set for review. All opinions expressed are my own.