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