LEGO has produced many spooky themes which often reprise popular subjects, including sinister laboratories and graveyards. Hidden Side does resemble its predecessors in some respects and seems innovative too. Each set can interact with an augmented-reality app and they incorporate some enjoyable functions.
70419 Wrecked Shrimp Boat therefore appears very interesting, focusing upon a distinctive fishing boat which differs dramatically from any previous spooky models. These minifigures also look superb in official images, hence my considerable anticipation for this 310-piece set.
Almost every Hidden Side set contains Jack Davids and this example features a white hooded jacket with red streaks across the shoulder, matching his design in three other sets. The tassels appear fairly realistic and I love the dual-moulded hood and cap element. Pockets are printed alongside an intricate bone-shaped charm on the legs while the head features smiling and frightened expressions.
Different versions of Parker L. Jackson are available too. This minifigure includes a double-sided head which appears cheerful on one side and frustrated on the other. Furthermore, the torso lacks the bright light blue jacket that appears in numerous sets, instead featuring a black shirt with a great vibrant coral bag! Parker's ripped jeans look marvellous too.
However, my favourite aspect of this minifigure is definitely the unique headgear, comprising lavender hair and a gaudy bright light yellow hat. Both minifigures are equipped with mobile phones during their mission to capture the ghosts which are terrorising Newbury. These printed 1x2 tiles are relatively simple but I think their designs look splendid.
Ghosts feature prominently across the Hidden Side theme but Spencer, Jack's adorable dog, is the only phantom who remains visible without using the app. This dual-moulded element seems suitably ethereal, combining white and trans-clear plastic which looks wonderful. The printed details are quite rudimentary but confer some delightful personality and I like his drooping ears as well.
Two fishermen are included, the first of whom is Captain Jonas. This character features a traditional flame yellowish orange raincoat with tan highlights across the legs. The sand blue jumper underneath looks superb and I like his bushy facial hair. However, the exclusive Sou'wester hat is undoubtedly the highlight of this minifigure and appears quite realistic.
Jonas Jr. lacks that distinctive Sou'wester hat, instead wearing a dark blue knitted cap which seems equally appropriate for gathering shrimp. I like the flame yellowish orange overalls too, although their colour is somewhat inconsistent between the torso and the legs. This terrified facial expression looks good but neither character includes a double-sided head, unfortunately.
However, you can replace Captain Jonas' standard head with a ghoulish alternative! This trans-neon green component features familiar facial hair but looks rather gruesome. Moreover, trans-neon green tentacles attach around the neck, further distinguishing the possessed version of Captain Jonas from his aforementioned human counterpart.
The Completed Model
Alligators have appeared on multiple occasions but this albino creature is unique and looks fantastic. The tan colour scheme works perfectly here and I love its bright red eyes, perhaps revealing that this alligator has been possessed by a spirit. As usual, its upper jaw opens to reveal jagged teeth and the tail can thrash back and forth.
While occupants of the shrimp boat could probably repel this albino alligator, Jack and Parker appear vulnerable aboard their kayak! This component includes some wonderful moulded detail and has only appeared in yellow once before, in 60240 Kayak Adventure. There is just enough space to place Jack, Parker and Spencer on the exposed studs and an oar is provided to direct the kayak.
Rocks also endanger seafarers around Newbury. This structure looks reasonably simple but features some realistic foliage and I am particularly delighted with the dark brown roots suspended underneath. Unfortunately, the model lacks any surrounding water. Some dark blue plates or curved slopes around the edge would therefore have been useful in my opinion.
Further danger is found within the rocks as opening the central section reveals an intimidating visage! The spring yellowish green teeth look brilliant and I love the printed eyes which are intricately detailed. Ideally, the space underneath would have been concealed but this remains an enjoyable function and demonstrates that ghosts can even possess inanimate objects.
Technic axles are situated at either end of the rocks, providing attachment points for the shrimp boat. Connecting its two halves creates an interesting display, although their elevated position seems quite odd. Presumably the tide has abated since this shipwreck occurred, hence the vessel is now perched precariously on top of the rocks. In actuality, both halves feel absolutely secure.
Fishing boats have appeared in previous LEGO sets, although they generally resemble pleasure craft rather than industrial vessels. This example is accordingly appealing and could certainly be integrated with the City range without any modifications. Nevertheless, its ramshackle design seems appropriate for Hidden Side and the model measures 18cm in length so there is plenty of space for minifigures on board.
Consistent colour schemes are integral to constructing an attractive model so this combination of dark blue, reddish brown, white and sand green seems quite muddled. The result looks magnificent though and stickers are used to provide additional detail. These are printed on a transparent sheet so there is little risk of the stickers deteriorating over time, although dust sometimes gets caught underneath.
Even so, the cracked window stickers look marvellous and I like the life rings located beside the cabin. Textured 1x2 bricks are also employed to excellent effect here. Furthermore, the vessel includes black rings which represent fenders along each side and its light bluish grey railings look perfect. However, I think my favourite detail is probably the antiquated lantern hanging askew above the windows.
The internal space is extremely limited, containing some control panels and a steering wheel. It looks nice though and the sand green roof presents an attractive contrast with the remainder of the cabin. A small mast, housing communication and navigation equipment, is placed on its roof alongside another sticker which features an apt shrimp motif.
Technic pins connect the two halves of the boat, ensuring that they remain sturdy when joined but can be separated easily. This function is intended primarily for displaying the vessel on the rocks, although you could position the forward section with its bow pointing upwards, as though the aft has descended beneath the waves!
App integration is important to the Hidden Side range, hence each model includes a colour wheel. This example has been integrated beautifully, forming part of the engine. Turning the wheel reveals medium azure, yellow, dark blue and vibrant coral 2x2 curved bricks which will trigger certain actions in the app. The colourful pieces shown here certainly stand out but the dark blue brick appears consistent with its surroundings.
70419 Wrecked Shrimp Boat attracted significant attention when the Hidden Side range was unveiled and this set does not disappoint. The minifigure selection is exceptional and I think the shrimping craft looks tremendous, striking an ideal balance between realism and fantasy. I am especially pleased with the concealed colour wheel and look forward to exploring its interaction with the app.
The haunted rocks are less appealing from my perspective, although their integration with the boat is enjoyable. Moreover, including an alligator and a kayak further improves the play experience and this set costs £24.99 or $29.99 which represents good value in my opinion. For that reason, I would have no hesitation in recommending 70419 Wrecked Shrimp Boat.
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