Review: 70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg (Part 1)

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70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg is the latest in an impressive series of large sets based upon the LEGO movies. This model received a broadly positive reaction when it was revealed, although notable criticism has been levelled at its price of £279.99 or $299.99, particularly when compared with the exceptional 70620 NINJAGO City which appears to offer far superior value.

Nevertheless, I was immediately enraptured by both the imposing scale of this model and its striking subject matter. The apocalyptic setting is undoubtedly spectacular and it would seem that thorough detail has been maintained too based upon official images. Furthermore, a marvellous selection of minifigures are included. Part one of our review is focused upon those minifigures along with the building experience.

Box and Contents

Apocalypseburg is packaged in an enormous box, corresponding with 71043 Hogwarts Castle or 75159 Death Star. The structure looks absolutely fantastic here, standing out against its arid surroundings and the sky. Several smaller images exhibiting the interior details are found on the reverse beside a gallery that shows the twelve minifigures.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

The box contains 29 bags which are numbered between one and eighteen. A single instruction manual is included as well, containing 452 pages. Extensive interviews focusing upon The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and 70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg occupy the first several pages and information is provided about the minifigures too. I was particularly interested to learn about the concepts created by Joel Baker, although no images are provided.

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A large sticker sheet, featuring 66 stickers of various sizes, is packaged together with the instructions. That does seem like a substantial total at first glance but the model is not heavily reliant upon stickers. Instead, they simply add some interesting details to the set and each sticker is relatively easy to apply so their considerable quantity does not concern me.

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Minifigures

Many characters have been updated quite significantly for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part but Emmet remains nearly unchanged, wearing the same construction overalls as the original minifigure. The metallic silver strips across both sides of the torso and the legs now feature some scratches and the belt includes similar details. The double-sided head is new too and Emmet carries a white coffee cup.

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Lucy, on the other hand, has clearly updated her attire to reflect the barren environment. The heroine wears a reddish brown scarf and goggles to protect herself from the sand and her dual-moulded boots appear similarly rugged. Familiar designs are also found here, including some magenta and bright light blue graffiti which continues on both sleeves and looks marvellous. I am less pleased with the tan areas around Lucy's hips that really stand out beside the black clothing, although they may look reasonable in a desert.

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Over fifty different versions of Batman have been produced since 2006 but the latest minifigure for The LEGO Movie 2 is perhaps the most outlandish version to date! An enormous armour element slots over the torso, featuring a red bat emblem on the front and tyres which cover each shoulder. I was surprised to learn that these are actually made from rubber rather than plastic, presumably introducing additional complexity to the manufacturing process.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

The resultant design looks fantastic and I am similarly impressed with the tattered cape underneath. A pair of dual-moulded arms distinguish this minifigure from the similar design appearing in 70836 Battle-Ready Batman and MetalBeard and they are decorated with metallic armour plates too. Similar panels appear on the legs and Batman wears the yellow utility belt which was originally created for The LEGO Batman Movie.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

Removing the shoulder armour reveals some lighter leather armour and muscle definition underneath. The head includes a determined expression on one side while the other seems bemused, presumably in response to the bizarre appearance of Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi which has been shown in the trailer. Batman is armed with a black batarang, as usual.

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Suicide Squad elicited a mixed response when the film was released in 2016, although Harley Quinn has proven very popular. This minifigure, which takes inspiration from the DC movie, was accordingly subject to considerable praise when this set was unveiled and it looks wonderful. Harley's distinctive hair style has been replicated with reasonable accuracy, featuring red and medium azure pigtails as well as matching hair bands.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

Her head is similarly faithful to the source material and includes two smiling expressions, as one would expect of a character like Harley Quinn! The dark blue and red jacket looks perfect and I am impressed with the reddish brown straps printed on the arms. Moreover, the minifigure includes dual-moulded legs which are decorated with a black belt and fishnet tights, matching the movie precisely. The only area in which this minifigure diverges from Suicide Squad is the addition of a metallic silver plate covering her left knee.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

That detail corresponds with other residents of Apocalypseburg and Harley's baseball bat also differs from the 2016 movie, featuring a large crack that has been secured with metallic silver patches rather than the written motifs which are found on her live action weapon. This accessory looks superb in my opinion.

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Green Lantern made a memorable appearance in The LEGO Movie, trying to assist Superman with limited success! That version of the character was based upon the exclusive minifigure produced for the Comic-Con events in San Diego and New York but this design is unique, incorporating spiky shoulder armour which has been created for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and looks brilliant.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

The dark green uniform is highly detailed and I love the decorative skull on Green Lantern's right knee. However, my favourite aspect of this minifigure is the double-sided head which features a manic smile on one side and a calmer expression on the other. Furthermore, his domino mask has been damaged and the hero now sports an olive green cape over his right shoulder while the other forearm includes a printed vambrace.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

Bad Cop was among the most popular characters from The LEGO Movie and dispenses justice in the lawless city of Apocalypseburg. The character is now known as Scribble Cop based upon his crudely drawn facial expression which appears severe here, corresponding with the alternative face that looks very angry and includes a pair of metallic silver sunglasses.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

Scribble Cop's black uniform has been updated with some spikes and armour plating that was absent from the original minifigure. He therefore looks suitably hardened for the apocalyptic setting and looks very intimidating, especially at the rear where his jacket features a golden emblem of the officer's own design. This minifigure comes with a motorcycle helmet and a pair of light bluish grey handcuffs.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg

Several minor characters from the original movie also return here, including the 'Where Are My Pants' Guy whose desperate search seemingly continues! The minifigure still wears a colourful shirt, although its design has been altered slightly in relation to the previous Collectable Minifigure. Moreover, his white underpants are now light bluish grey, reflecting the demanding apocalyptic environment, while the head includes two facial expressions which convey a great deal of personality.

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Larry the Barista has also been affected quite dramatically by the apocalypse, although the need for coffee shops has not. This reddish brown apron appears overtly similar to the design from 2014, even including the same name badge. However, the logo for The Coffee Chain now includes a skull and the gently rising steam on the original symbol has been replaced with raging flames!

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In addition, Larry's hair style has been updated and this minifigure wears a respirator. A reddish brown hammer is included for the 'Where Are My Pants?' Guy and both characters wear heavy armour which protects their shoulders. This spiky element was designed for the Prince of Persia theme and has only subsequently appeared on the Frightening Knight from the fifteenth series of Collectable Minifigures so its return is welcome.

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Desert environments are decidedly unsuitable for surfing and Surfer Dave from The LEGO Movie has therefore rebranded himself as Chainsaw Dave! This minifigure wears the same swimming shorts as its predecessor but does not include dual-moulded legs, unfortunately. Nevertheless, they do include printing on each side and both arms are decorated with tattoos, displaying a broken surfboard and a chainsaw.

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Mo-Hawk is evidently named for her dramatic hair style and definitely resembles characters appearing in other post-apocalyptic movies, such as the Mad Max series. Several reddish brown straps cross her chest while the legs feature strips of metallic armour. These incorporate a subtle chequer plate pattern which looks wonderful, especially where this design is highlighted by a dark red cross.

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This minifigure only features a single expression and carries a spiked club, making ingenious use of a dark orange plant stem. Chainsaw Dave, on the other hand, includes a double-sided head which looks rather angry from either side. Naturally, he comes with a brick-built chainsaw and I wonder whether he uses this accessory to break surfboards in frustration at no longer being able to surf.

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Several minifigures wear unusual clothing in this set but I think Roxxi is probably the most interesting, including a belt which consists of cogs and another gear wheel around her neck. This may prove quite useful in an apocalyptic setting where machinery would often require repair. The head features a smile on one side and a grimace on the other while her dark brown hair piece is only available in a few other sets.

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Roxxi shares the same printed legs as Fuse, whose most notable feature is a pearl dark grey welding mask which is decorated with red flames. Removing the mask reveals some impressive facial hair and an eye patch, suggesting that Fuse suffered particular misfortune during the invasion of DUPLO aliens. He wears a tan vest with leather braces, perfectly suiting his rugged surroundings.

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Construction

Apocalypseburg stands on a robust Technic base which is assembled in two large sections. This phase of construction feels remarkably similar to 71043 Hogwarts Castle, as one might expect given that both sets were designed by Justin Ramsden. Technic bricks form the core structure but they are secured by plates on the underside and across the top. Moreover, a few vibrant coral 1x2 plates are hidden inside the frame.

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The buildings which occupy the ground level of this structure consist primarily of wall panels. However, several items of furniture are also found here, making interesting use of brackets and bricks with studs on the side to create some intricate texture along the front of the serving counter. The resultant design looks marvellous.

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Scribble Cop's office is similarly reliant upon substantial wall panels, although its exterior is ingeniously constructed. The rounded corners beside the door are assembled sideways and feel reasonably fragile until they are complete as each structure is only connected to its base by a single stud. Fortunately, the corners are properly secured by tiles on top.

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Technic beams support the centre of the structure but the exterior is highly detailed. A dilapidated train carriage is situated beside the Statue of Liberty and its frame is constructed using windows, forming a model which appears appropriately ramshackle while also feeling sturdy. Furthermore, the carriage is integrated with neighbouring walls which further improves its structural integrity.

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Once the train carriage is completed, attention shifts to the other side of the Technic base. This section appears almost identical to the first and makes similar use of Technic bricks which are fixed in place by a layer of plates on each side. Some more vibrant coral 1x2 plates are found here which is pleasing as this element is only otherwise available in 70828 Pop-Up Party Bus.

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Two additional decaying vehicles are placed on this section of the base. Their construction is similar to the train carriage, although the truck is not directly integrated with the Statue of Liberty which is unique. In fact, this model is assembled separately so loosely follows the building process of a standard LEGO City vehicle, albeit without axles.

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Each section of the base includes an angled edge and these clip together which is very satisfying. This demonstrates the ingenious geometry of LEGO pieces and the resultant structure is remarkably sturdy, especially when a couple of hinge plates have been fitted on top. This rigidity is of vital importance as the completed model is fairly heavy, as one might expect.

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Apocalypseburg is constructed around the toppled Statue of Liberty, consisting primarily of sand green panels which envelope a Technic frame. Neither the 1x6x5 wall panels nor the 1x6x5 slopes appearing below have been produced in this colour before and the 3x8x2 shell components are extremely rare as well. They were last available in 6209 Slave I which was released during 2006 and retired a year later.

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A substantial Technic beam forms the core of the Statue of Liberty's outstretched arm. This feels quite sturdy and is fixed at a diagonal angle which is rather unusual for an official LEGO model. The neck is similarly designed and these two segments are situated at different angles, deriving from the shape of the base.

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The famed tabula ansata held in the Statue of Liberty's left hand employs a similar building technique as the whole structure is suspended between two Technic pillars of contrasting heights. Moreover, the tablet is joined to the body of the statue using a clip, ensuring that it will remain absolutely rigid during play as the tabula ansata will eventually form a ramp that links the separate levels of Apocalypseburg.

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Stacked containers occupy the area in front of the statue and these are constructed together. The walls are simple constructed on the whole, although dark blue plough elements form the front of the armoury which is rather clever. These are connected to studs and generate some interesting texture. Sand blue wall panels include a corresponding textured design and they have not appeared in this colour before.

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The uppermost container is fixed to the roof of those underneath, incorporating two different turntables which provide a secure connection. The smaller of these turntable pieces has only been introduced for the 2019 range and fits into the underside of a 4x4 round plate which could prove useful, matching the 4x4 turntable that was created more than a decade ago.

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Bags fifteen and sixteen contain the pieces for the Statue of Liberty's head. This is probably the most intricate section of the entire model and it includes remarkable detail. I was especially impressed with the construction of the chin which is mounted on a ball joint and the cheeks are ingeniously designed as well. Moreover, the sand green sausages that form the eyebrows have not appeared in this colour before.

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I also enjoyed building the windows around the crown. These are fitted on light bluish grey 1x1 plates with bars which are spread evenly and the spikes are similarly arranged on hinge plates. Furthermore, the Statue of Liberty's crown rests at an angle and slots perfectly around two 3x8x2 shell pieces which looks marvellous when viewed from any angle.

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The hair is constructed in five segments, consisting of four cylindrical curls on either side and a wavy section at the rear. The latter component is particularly impressive, using ball joints to connect angled panels which disguise most of the Technic elements inside. Furthermore, several of these sand green pieces are fairly rare, only appearing elsewhere in a couple of recent NINJAGO sets.

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An intricate series of brackets and bricks with studs on the side form the core of the Statue of Liberty's torch. Its shape therefore looks fantastic and I love how the torch flame has been attached at an angle using another 2x2 turntable and some pearl silver 1x1 round plates. The platform beside the torch has also been cleverly constructed, corresponding with the arm, neck and tabula ansata that each employ similar building techniques.

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Several smaller platforms are assembled during the final stages, where attention shifts frequently from one area of the model to another. This seems rather unusual as larger sets often conclude with uniting major sections, such as the two halves of 71043 Hogwarts Castle, or attaching a relatively small detail at the top of the whole structure.

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Overall

Larger models usually offer an enjoyable buildings experience and 70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg certainly follows that trend, exhibiting numerous unusual techniques and some wonderful pieces. I was particularly impressed by the design of the Statue of Liberty's head which is incredibly intricate and the rigidity of the arm is impressive too, demonstrating exemplary integration between System and Technic elements.

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Furthermore, the set contains an excellent range of minifigures. Several central characters are present along with numerous generic residents of Apocalypseburg, some of whom also appeared in The LEGO Movie from 2014. Batman and Harley Quinn are probably my favourite minifigures, although they are all highly detailed.

You can read the second part of our review here.

This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.

39 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Amazing review so far! Hanging on tight for the rest.
(The set does need more Spaceballs though...)

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By in Belgium,

Any information on the weight of the set? I could't find it (yet) in any review and it's not included in the info provided by Bricklink/Brickset/... I would consider the weight as well as piece count valid indicators for the value of the set and I wonder how it might stand out from other similarly priced sets.

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By in United States,

Really cool set! Can't wait to see the next review! Did you realize that there is a Skeletron disassembled and placed around the model?

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By in United Kingdom,

I’m quite keen on seeing this in the Lego store, but I think it will need a bit off for me to think about buying it. I like it... it just does not fit in with... well anything really!

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By in United Kingdom,

Brilliant set, And i love the latest versions of Batman Harley Quinn and Green lantern..

This could easily be used as part of the scene from X-men where they battle Magneto the toad and sabretooth..

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By in Norway,

Absolutely everything is awesome about this set!!! Omg! I love it!!

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By in Netherlands,

I just hope Where are my Pants Guy finds his pants.

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By in United States,

Augh! The agony for waiting for part two! Oh the pain.

I like the head of the statue the best. Genius use of sausages and slopes.

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By in France,

It’s growing on me

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By in Spain,

I actually really like that Chainsaw Dave doesn’t have dual-moulded legs, given that they match his original collectable figure. Cheaper for Lego and a bizarre extra bit of continuity.

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By in United States,

I just returned my Hogwarts castle (71043) after it sat unopened in my Lego room for months. This one I've already started - a very unique and fun set.

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By in United States,

I just finished building this last night! I really enjoyed how diverse and non-repetitive the building experience was, much like the natural comparison of Ninjago City. I think this set charmingly captures a sprawling apocalyptic dystopia as well as Ninjago City encapsulated a dense cyperpunk utopia. It's great to see another set that's so enjoyable to build, look at, and play with! Another trifecta!

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By in United Kingdom,

Being honest, I like the design, the idea of Statue of Liberty is awesome but seriously, the price is ridiculous.
I know people will say will piece counts equals to it etc but when Lego / other retailers can discount the price, it is nowhere near worth the price tag that they are asking for.
Find the set cheaper, pay less for it and then Lego may not shaft customers as much in the future.

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By in Sweden,

So many great details, like the fingers of the statue - seeing as the right hand has five fingers, is the thumb of the left hand hidden by the tablet, or is that missing?

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By in United States,

I don't care about anything until the HP sets are revealed.

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By in United States,

I just parted out 1 set...... really wish I wouldn’t have.... can’t wait to get 1 to build!!!!

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By in United States,

Am I the only one that noticed MoHawk's torso design? Go back to the picture highlighting her minifigure and pay attention to the portion of her torso that is yellow (a.k.a. minifig flesh). Then notice the bandoliers, and the detailing of her torso around said bandoliers....

Or is she simply made of metal and wearing a yellow camisole?

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By in Netherlands,

Thanks Capt! You live up to expectations!

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By in Portugal,

The head of the statue is amazing... How realistic can you get with Lego bricks? The more I look to this set, the more I like it... It would be hard to fit in my city, however, it is a terrific display model... Great minifigs as well!

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By in United States,

@MrJackson I think she's supposed to have painted her body silver for... some reason? I agree it's strange

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By in Australia,

The only part of this whole thing that actually interests me ... is the idea of giving Chainsaw Dave some red speedo legs, and thusly, you have a He-Man minifigure.

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By in United States,

I really like the look of this whole set, but as others have said, I don't know how this would fit into my (already tight) city layout....but I'm sure between part 1 and 2 of this review and Jang's review, I will find a way to make it work. Regardless, I think its a great design, and a brilliant nod to post-apocalyptic material. Well done!

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By in Italy,

They should have done the head of that Statue following the minifigure head style.
This is incongruous, completely nonsense.

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By in Canada,

I just don't get this set. Something about it is off balance. It's big, yet feels like a small set. Too complex as a play set for a child, and not so displayable for an adult. I'm sure it's fun to build, but what will you do once it's done ? The high pricing is also a consideration, but weirdly I don't find it the set's biggest con.

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By in United States,

@ Beestingvision: Wait all you want for the magical discount to happen, but it wont. I just built this set and it has an epic presence that is well worth the price. Lego is not going to bend on the price of a set like this because undoubtedly demand is high and it's bulk substantiates the price.

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By in United Kingdom,

Throw some brown pants on him and give him the chainsaw, and the Where Are My Pants Guy would make a pretty good Bruce Campbell / Ash from Evil Dead...

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By in United Kingdom,

@dtobin123 when Lego can sell sets to employees for a big fraction of the price, is it still worth £279.99?

I’m not trying to deter anyone from buying LEGO, at the end of the day it’s a cool hobby.
I’m just saying, wait for discounts and in the long run, the company may consider decreasing prices, which would save you money and then you can get more Lego for your money.

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By in United States,

@Peanuts:
Every new printed element means they have to give up one new minifig element (of which there are about 30 in this set alone), or one recolored element. For something involving this much sand-green, priority has to go to making sure they can actually build the statue, both in terms of getting the detail right, and creating a sturdy model that will clear the Design Department. After that, minifigs, especially unique ones, are known to be a huge selling point on sets. Decorated signs, not so much.

@Beestingvision:
They've been shrugging off inflation for at least 40 years, mostly by streamlining the process or shifting production to Eastern Europe where wages are lower. Presenting a united front isn't going to suddenly reverse their own rising costs to the point that they can start lowering prices. It's an impressive feat that they're still able to offer this at the $0.10/pc price point that so many people refuse to go above, but expecting them to go significantly lower for a set of this nature is silly. For the Taj Mahal and Ghostbusters firehouse that was only possible because you got such a massive volume of a few individual pieces that bulk discounting actually kicked in. For this...not so much.

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By in Canada,

Probably the closest thing we'll get to an official post-apocalyptic theme! I'd love to add this to my collection, but the price point is beyond my reach at this point...

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By in United States,

great review, and as occasionally happens in these, a vocabulary lesson too! i'd no idea the statue's tablet was a "tabula ansata"

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By in Finland,

And in part for explaining the slightly higher tag price, one should remember this set also carries some licensing fees.

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By in United States,

@Balthazar Brannigan:
Yes, even though it's totally different, it does remind me quite a bit of Ninjago City - both highly non-repetitive sets, both LARGE D2C sets based off one of TLG's movies, both fun, very well-designed but also very cool, different sets from what TLG normally makes.
And while some minifigures and things may be licensed, most of the actual set is all LEGO's ideas. I must admit IMO it shows what amazing sets and original concepts LEGO can come up with without a license. (not that licensed sets are bad, by any means at all, but what I'm trying to say is that I think this is a great example of LEGO coming up with a great, original, non-licensed idea and executing it wonderfully.)

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By in United States,

The price is quite an interesting issue, though.... The price to part ratio, is still under 10 cents per piece, so that is still good; although look at other large sets like modular buildings, and they have a much better PPR. However those sets have a lot of small pieces, and this set actually has a lot of larger ones. Also, you have to factor in the licensing fees that @quixotequest mentioned.
But it the end I'm quite divided. On the one hand I'm like, that is totally worth it for a huge set like this, on the other hand I'm like, the price is still too expensive...

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By in United States,

It is too big for me to buy, but I still love it!

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By in United States,

@MrJackson:
It looks like she's wearing a metal cuirass under a sports bra and some... random straps of some sort. I thought someone had noted that a pre-apocalyptic version was included in the carded pack with the Sewer Babies, but it turns out that minifig features the same head as Mo-Hawk, the torso from Roxxi, the legs from Maddox, and a black hairstyle that's not worn by any other characters in this movie. She's still post-apocalyptic, but someone must have picked up on the face paint and assumed it was the character and that it must mean she's a pre-apocalyptic version.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review Chris. A lot of work has gone into that. Looking forward to part two.

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By in Germany,

When I saw the MT7751 sticker I wondered how much of this set is in the apocalypse burg set?

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By in United States,

@heikoloogi:
There's definitely a lot more to the movie set than there is in the LEGO set, but aside from what you see in the trailers (mostly Emmet walking around, or the giant bay doors that Star gets trapped in), they don't really explore Apocalypseburg very much. That I can recall, the coffee shop and the torch platform are about the only parts of this that get any major screen time, and even then the torch platform is mostly just closeups on Emmet and Wyldstyle.

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