Hidden Side was revealed during New York Toy Fair and elicited an incredibly positive response from fans, due primarily to its popular ominous theme. I think 70423 Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000 seems particularly interesting based upon its appearance in official images and some nice minifigures are included too.
Outfitting an ordinarily mundane school bus with fantastical equipment for detaining ghosts is undoubtedly an interesting prospect and appears reminiscent of the Ecto-1. Moreover, the possessed portable toilet is quite distinctive! For those reasons, I have been looking forward to assembling this enticing set.
Two different Jack Davids variants are available across the Hidden Side theme. This example sports an attractive red jacket with metallic silver buttons. His specialised hood component looks superb and the cap features some decorative streaks. However, this hood was presumably created for integration with the white torso that appears in several other sets so I think it looks somewhat odd here.
Parker L. Jackson also wears an intricately decorated jacket, featuring several embroidered patches across both sides. The corresponding bright light blue jeans look fairly realistic and I like Parker's new dual-moulded hair and hat element. Medium lavender and bright light yellow is a lurid combination but appears effective in my opinion, especially for an outlandish theme such as Hidden Side.
The teenage heroes are supported by Professor J.B. in their quest to vanquish ghosts from Newbury. Once again, this minifigure includes an impressive dual-moulded hair piece, comprising white goggles and lavender hair. The double-sided head is similarly unusual as one side displays a huge smile while the other seems to combine determination and frustration!
I am equally pleased with the asymmetrical details on her torso and legs, both of which seem perfectly appropriate for a scientist. Numerous accessories are fitted in a belt around her waist while a delightful Frankenstein's monster motif adorns her pink shirt. This design takes evident inspiration from previous minifigures, although none share this precise appearance which is slightly disappointing.
Each minifigure includes their respective mobile phone. They exhibit ghoulish apparitions which have become visible through the Hidden Side app and the professor has augmented her phone with a pink weapon. This component has only appeared once before in 75973 D.Va & Reinhardt so I welcome its return here.
While many ghosts haunting Newbury are exclusively apparent through the app, Spencer possesses physical form across the whole theme. This dog ingeniously combines white and trans-clear plastic to create an ethereal effect but maintains some notable canine features, including drooped ears, a black nose and an adorable little tail.
Certain ghosts instead prefer to announce their presence by possessing minifigures and objects. Two road maintenance workers, named Bill and Nanna, are their unfortunate victims here. Each character wears dark tan trousers with staining across the front and they are similarly dressed in orange jackets with metallic silver reflective strips for visibility while working on the road.
However, the most interesting aspect of these minifigures are probably their respective shirts beneath the high-visibility vests. Bill's shirt features a white crocodile or an alligator, perhaps making reference to the albino alligator from 70419 Wrecked Shrimp Boat, while Nanna's torso is nicely printed with the famed Blacktron emblem. These designs become partially obscured following their possession.
Trans-neon green heads are provided for both minifigures and these feature angry facial expressions. Bill's spring yellowish green beard includes brilliant texture while Nanna's hair piece is replaced with a dual-moulded spring yellowish green and trans-neon green alternative. Both minifigures look excellent when possessed and they are equipped with deadly drill gauntlets and a pickaxe.
The Completed Model
Portable toilets have appeared remarkably frequently within LEGO sets. This model is reminiscent of that found in 60073 Service Truck, featuring a similar blue colour scheme with a light bluish grey door. Its interior is highly detailed, featuring the toilet bowl beside a roll of toilet paper, but its exterior seems relatively bland, lacking any signage. The separate road work sign looks great though and two orange cones are provided.
Of course, the portable toilet can be possessed by ghosts too, transforming it into a waddling monster! This creature seems absolutely spectacular, featuring teeth which fold down from the roof while spring yellowish green eyes emerge on top. I love their intricate designs and the accompanying equipment is equally important, forming static legs for the toilet.
Some articulation would have been welcome here but the model looks perfect from the front. Its back seems less detailed, although an interesting function is included. A disc launcher has been integrated with the rear wall and fires reddish brown 2x2 round tiles to represent the contents of this toilet. I think possession would be preferable to being struck with one of these dubious projectiles!
Despite their prevalence within North America, yellow school buses are comparatively scarce across the LEGO range. On that basis, this rendition is appealing and I love how ghost-capturing equipment has been connected to the model. It measures nearly 30cm in length so seems enormous beside the minifigures, although that has enabled the designer to capture its distinctive shape with extraordinary accuracy.
Black bullbars protect the radiator grille and the bumper is decorated with two Newbury High stickers, matching 70425 Newbury Haunted High School, while the number plate references 4940 The Granite Grinder! I love the headlights of varying sizes and the golden mascot looks brilliant too. Stud shooters are positioned on the bonnet beside twin wing mirrors, making ingenious use of black paint rollers.
The front wheel arches appear fairly rudimentary, leaving considerable space above each wheel that reveals the internal structure. Nevertheless, that works effectively here, as though bodywork sections have been removed to reduce weight and provide more room for ghost-catching equipment. I am less satisfied with the trans-clear door that looks unrealistic to me but the sign above the windscreen reads 'Cool Bus' which is fun.
Only two studs secure the curved roof so this section is easily removable, although it feels sufficiently robust. There is plenty of space for the driver inside and a superb sticker adorns the dashboard. Even so, I think more detail may have been included, especially towards the right side as this section of the vehicle lacks decoration. On the other hand, there is adequate height for a minifigure to stand in here, perhaps directing the driver.
Storage compartments are located behind the driver, containing two different weapons for restraining ghosts. Lime green and red 1x2 inverted curved slopes are found here for interaction with the Hidden Side app and both weapons include trans-purple pieces so correspond with the equipment distributed across the exterior of the model.
While these cannons certainly look impressive, the internal space has not been used efficiently in my opinion. For instance, its centre is occupied entirely by a 2x6 brick which appears awkward and offers little structural value. The dark azure tiles on the outside of each compartment look marvellous though and I like the neighbouring ladder for accessing the roof.
Dark azure highlights continue here and match those on the dramatic rear wheel arches! The rotating forward cannon looks nice and is controlled by a minifigure on the roof, albeit without much protection from the attacking ghouls. I also appreciate the adjustable detecting dish, although that is presumably controlled from inside the bus where detection screens are found.
Rotating this dish uncovers four 2x2 curved corner tiles that display light bluish grey, yellow, medium azure and vibrant coral colours. These will trigger certain actions in the Hidden Side app and another colour swapping function is hidden within the forward cannon as its centre twists. Unfortunately, there are no projectile launchers here but I like the printed 2x2 tiles that were created for 21311 Voltron.
Powerful exhausts dominate the rear of the Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000, although it also features some trans-red lights and a small Rock Raiders emblem. Presumably the designer of this set worked on the Rock Raiders theme or was heavily influenced by that series! The rear window lacks glass but some interesting details are visible inside. However, this section of the roof cannot be removed.
Instead, the whole rear compartment slides out, revealing the command centre. Reddish brown seats are provided for two minifigures while another can sleep on the nearby bed, suggesting that the bus is equipped for extended missions. I like the orange can beside this bed and the microscope looks lovely, examining a trans-bright green 1x1 round tile that might represent supernatural ectoplasm.
Two computer monitors are placed towards the back of the command centre and they are particularly interesting. One screen is tracing ghosts while the other displays the unreleased BIONICLE: Legends of Mata Nui video game! This is an enjoyable reference and I like the laptop which is also included for hunting nearby phantoms and can be stored on a single 1x1 clip beside the chairs.
Hidden Side focuses upon two teenage heroes so constructing their paranormal investigation vehicle around a traditional school bus seems perfectly suitable and 70423 Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000 is outstanding. This model looks fantastic on display and incorporates numerous enjoyable functions for play which are further augmented when combined with the innovative Hidden Side app.
Its interior could probably have been improved, especially near the front, but I am otherwise delighted with the bus. The accompanying portable toilet is equally superb and the minifigures are excellent too, maintaining the high standard that seems consistent across the Hidden Side theme. Moreover, I think the price of £54.99 or $59.99 seems reasonable so consider this among my favourite new sets!
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