Review: 70423 Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000

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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.

Minifigures

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.

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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.

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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!

70423 Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000

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.

70423 Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000

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.

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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.

View image at flickr

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.

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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.

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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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

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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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

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.

View image at flickr

Overall

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.

View image at flickr

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!

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your opinion of the set in the comments.

54 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I swear within five years LEGO won't even be putting printed instructions in the boxes - you'll have to 'check the compatibility of your phone' and 'download the app' for everything.

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By in United States,

@Joefish How so?

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By in United States,

It's the battle bus from Fortnite, or at least 95% of kids will build it into the battle bus from Fortnite. For me, the real question is why the highway workers are working for Blacktron. Could the company be responsible for all these hauntings, somehow?

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By in United States,

Hit it Liz!

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By in Canada,

Might have to buy this set just for the Possessed Porta Potty...that's something that should have occurred in Ghostbusters.

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By in Netherlands,

This set includes a walking portable toilet monster that spits poop at ya. Pretty cool.

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By in United States,

@CopperTablet

The logo emblem appears on the worker’s shirt, not the company attire. This and a few similar occurrences suggest that Blacktron has a fan following in LEGO’s Earth. Perhaps via a film series? Heck, I’d love a Blacktron movie.

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By in United States,

Although the Hidden Side theme as a whole appeals to me, the repeated minifigs are a real turnoff. That said, I am wondering how easy it would be to mod this into a regular school bus.

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By in United Kingdom,

good review! it look's good!

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By in United States,

Because of my Lego Ideas bus project I'm conflicted in seeing this set. I think it's a really cool design but it may lower the odds of my relaunch being successful. However my design is a normal bus and so in that way is still very different. Good review!

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By in United States,

Oh this is already in my cart, I am.going to build it as it is and have it like a scientific Bus for my City with paranormal equipement and that is very useful to both the light and dark side.
Edit: the first LEGO school bus and it didn't premiered on the CITY theme just like the first Taxi I saw in on that huge bridge set.

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By in Germany,

@Joefish: the moment LEGO stops putting printed instructions into their boxes I will stop buying sets.

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By in Hungary,

@AustinPowers: Should've checked out since Dimensions then, haha.

Anyway I like the set! Keeps reminding me of the Hypno Cruiser from Time Cruisers as the wacko trademark hero vehicle.

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By in United Kingdom,

References to Rock Raiders and Bionicle within the same set? Two of the most nostalgic themes for me: Lego is really spoiling me here x3

On the other hand, can't say I care much for the shooting toilet, but... to each their own ^^ And it does look like a pretty nice set in general; albeit not one that I could personally see myself buying.

I will admit, I didn't even think that yellow school buses like this actually existed; I thought they were just another one of those stereotypes you see in media that had no basis in real life. It was only when I was visiting my girlfriend in America last year that I was surprised to see they were actually a real thing xD;

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By in United States,

I'm just here for the poop launcher.

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By in United States,

This is my least favorite Hidden Side set but the possessed port-a-potty is A+!!!!

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By in United Kingdom,

I love the school bus because it can be tweaked abit to use for a spiderman creation, Simpsons creation and even lego friends..
Also im gonna buy the fishing boat n use it in an aquaman build n add a lighthouse..

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By in Germany,

@Thunbaer: the sales "success" of Dimensions speaks for itself I think.

About this set, it's not something I really need that much. The shrimp related sets as well as the lab seem far more enticing to me.

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By in Norway,

Awesome set and a great review! This will go right into my Apocalypse District <3

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By in United States,

Small kids will see this and instantly think it’s the Fortnite bus... which I can guarantee is what LEGO is going for. It kinda bugs me because I hate Fortnite more than anything else on this earth at the moment, but I understand why it was done.

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By in United States,

It looks like a roughly built bus with gaudy modifications to me. I guess it's just not my style.

And to those surprised about yellow school buses in the US, I was equally surprised to find only we have them.

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By in United Kingdom,

One thing not mentioned is the box art for these sets is atrocious - it really doesn't represent what's in the box at all.

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By in United States,

'Cool Bus' indeed.

EDIT: @Joefish, please explain. I look at the box art here and the bus is there, the minifigures are there... Do you not like it because they are showing the sets in a dynamic/cartoony way? Or because they are showing the normal/haunted dichotomy on the box? I mean, either way, the pictures show what's in the box just fine if you actually look at them though.

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By in United States,

Onua, is that you? Seeing Blacktron, Bionicle and Rock Raiders all get a shout out in one set is pretty awesome!

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By in United States,

man that porta-potty seals the deal, must buy for me!

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By in United States,

I hate the big gaps above the front wheels. Nice set otherwise.

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By in Australia,

All the cool kids here to say how much they hate Fortnite *rolls eyes*

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By in United Kingdom,

I’m loving this theme. Can’t wait to get them. Minor nitpick that’s not the classic Blacktron logo, that’s the Blacktron 2 logo.

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By in Sweden,

In general I'm not that interested in vehicles, there are tons everywhere. But as I'm not the target audience... That said, I might buy it. If I like the other two I've ordered from the series. ;)

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By in Latvia,

@Fizyx I think the problem is if you go to the store or you buy online, if you don't look closely you can be really confused which set it is. Of course, if you zoom or take the set, you will understand which one it is. But I think it's mostly that we aren't used to such box arts

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By in Netherlands,

As far as the lego is concerned it's a good and thorough review as always.

However why is there no mention or reference to the whole phone part? This was also "missing" in the previous hidden side review?

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By in Poland,

The more I look at the Hidden Side sets, the more I miss Monster Fighters...

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By in Poland,

I want to like this set but I don't.
Its a great partpack though and great base to start your own schoolbus!

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By in United States,

Has anyone shown how the functionality of the phone stuff looks in their reviews of the theme?

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By in United Kingdom,

@Darth TNT - We are intending to publish a separate article about the Hidden Side app so will hopefully avoid repeating the same comments about the app during reviews.

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By in United States,

Honestly I don’t see much of a Battle Bus resemblance (outside of the thrusters and stuff). Not that this means I like the set any more or less; I’d love to use it in some of my stop-motion videos, and I’m glad that there’s finally a (stand-alone) LEGO school bus. And of the course, the portable toilet monster. I did *not* realize that the projectiles were supposed to be... uh... “dung”. Officially my second favorite Hidden Side Set (the Shrimp Shack is #1).

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By in United States,

@Joefish: Atrocious? I think you mean "gorgeous". The boxart not only features a "traditional" look at the set contents on the back (along with a demonstration of its physical features) but the front shows a much more dynamic, artistic scene that evokes the app gameplay as well as the characters and "story" each set is meant to represent.

I swear, for fans of a creative building toy AFOLs often show zero appreciation for anything more creative or imaginative than a "WYSIWIG" ("what you see is what you get") depiction of a physical set's contents. Even things as subtle as more evocative poses for the collectible minifigures are occasionally lambasted as "false advertising" as if anybody with any semblance of critical thinking wouldn't understand that that was an artistic interpretation of the solid plastic figures, rather than indicating actual flexibility. It honestly bums me out as a fan of this sort of creative Lego artwork that previously tended to be relegated to comics or trading cards that when it gets showcased in such a prominent, eye-catching way people don't show any appreciation for that either.

Regarding my own opinions of the set itself, which I coincidentally built yesterday morning, I had a whole long comment typed out but when I tried to post it it disappeared into the ether. It's always frustrating when that happens. I don't know whether it's a problem with my browser, the website, or something in between, but while I can try my best to remember to copy my post before it's submitted in case of it disappearing it's still frustrating when I forget and lose all of my thoughts that I took the time to write out.

Here's a brief recollection of the points I made:

-I think Jack's hood might be meant to be the same hooded sweatshirt as in the other sets, just with a red jacket over it.
-The Rock Raiders and Bionicle references are cool and it's neat to see the '90s themes I grew up with getting those sorts of easter eggs, instead of just references to '70s and '80s themes like Classic Space and Blacktron (not that those aren't cool as well!)
-The oversized scale of the bus is cool and sets it apart from "ordinary" City-type subject matter, along with allowing that many more features to be packed inside.
-I too wish Lego had a narrower "double door" piece that could be used in these same frames for things like bus doors or french doors in buildings.

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By in United States,

I’ve know I’ve used Porta-Potties that certainly felt haunted by something... usually the “aura” of the person who used it just before me

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By in Germany,

@lordofdragonss: why is it a good parts pack for a school bus? You should add "in the US".
Over here, no school bus looks anything like a typical US yellow school bus. The only reason any kid here would associate this with a school bus at all was if they had watched the Simpsons.

And as for the box art. Over here the sets are already stuffed in the last corner of the toy shop. Bodes well for the theme.

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By in Netherlands,

@CapnRex101 Okay, thanks for clearing that up. I look forward to reading it.

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By in United Kingdom,

Son saw these sets online and is excited by them. He enjoyed the scan aspect of the nexo series. SW sets don’t interest him at all because they are too straight forward with few play features. For an adult it seems too close to ghostbusters idea but for a 7 year old, these sets will be a lot of fun.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Lyichir: There is no doubt the box is pleasant and it's an attractive box. But it's a toy box not a piece to admire in a gallery and as such it falls down. All of the Hidden Side sets boxes look like the same; a prominent purple swirly mist that obscures the product. That's an issue - they look like small/medium/large versions of the same thing, not distinct products.

If you're looking for a yellow bus, it's too difficult to find. You certainly can't scan the shelves for boxes. Quite a few people have countered with "it's ok, just look at the back of the box". That's quite annoying if you're searching for something, and it's something casual buyers may not do when they see 6 purple swirly boxes of different sizes.

So it's not about being creative. Creativity only works if it also does the job, and I am not convinced that these boxes do. I'm happy to be proven wrong, but I suspect we'll see wave 2 with different box designs.

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By in United Kingdom,

Almost picked this one up for the cool figs and potentially to mod into a 'regular' school bus. The back wheels could easily be downsized and all the add-ons removed but thought the scale would be way off compared to other lego city vehicles. But great looking set as is.

Anyone after a review of the app, Jangbricks and others have done videos on YouTube for some of the sets. But still looking forward to bricksets take on it.

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By in Latvia,

This toilet, the new Series 19 Dog walker piece, what poop is going on?

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By in Greece,

Get the bus, swap all those annoying teal with reddish brown (rust etc) and overhaul its interior. Then build a moc with zombies all over and voila! You have a splatter movie, Lego style!

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By in Germany,

I am not impressed. A US style school bus is not something you find in Europe at all, it is not a vehicle that is recognized outside of TV shows. The minifigs are nice, but not enough of a reason to buy, especially if you already have the main characters. Also - why does every single character have to be named? Even the road workers? Leaving nothing to imagination, giving a clear order of how things have to be like in a TV show. Completely contradicts the original idea of Lego, does it not?

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By in Germany,

@Mickitat: absolutely.
LEGO has strayed very far from their origins in terms of flexible play in recent years.
Sure, you can play with the bricks and pieces any way you like, but introducing named characters is just another way in the direction of unnecessarily limited thinking. Kind of like a TV show, as you said.

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By in Hungary,

@Mickitat @AustinPowers not surprising as it is 2019 and not 1959 - hate to break it to you but kids are different these days.

Quite happy with the set - it's a good basis for MOCs once the Hidden Side magic runs out. In about 3 minutes.

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By in Germany,

@csiramokus: perhaps your kids are different. Mine aren't. Sure, they use smartphones and other gadgets I didn't have when I was their age, but when it comes to play, they are just as creative as I used to be back then.
And even I used to watch TV shows back in the Eighties and recreated scenes from such shows as The Fall Guy, Knight Rider, Airwolf, A-Team as well as movies from the era in LEGO Form, but most of my Legoland Town and Classic Space layouts were just generic city and space worlds without any constraints like those artificially created by modern LEGO sets. But it's ok, if kids nowadays like to be that limited, so be it. I know I prefer creativity to pre-determined stuff though and I am happy that at least all the kids I know have the same preferences.

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By in Hungary,

@AustinPowers: there you go - it is not TLG who is going to make the difference here, it is the parents. My kid likes to give names to even road workers / regular city folk as they are actual people but I cannot imagine a situation where I would tell them off for not using the TLG prescribed name of a minifigure.
Yet from an app perspective it is given that all characters have names and not just be a bunch of NPCs.

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By in United States,

Kids aren't different, but LEGO got smarter. Kids like named characters. It suggests a story and helps LEGO extend that story beyond the set itself and into comics, cartoons, games, etc. Obviously this helps them make money but it does nothing to limit the creativity of children or the value of the set itself. They've been doing this for 30 years - longer than the length of time when they had unnamed minifigures. It hasn't caused children to stop coming up with their own stories, remixing parts to make new characters, giving them new names, or reinventing their relationships.

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By in United States,

@Mickitat: Naming characters doesn't prevent imagination. I grew up with all sorts of series like Bionicle or Harry Potter that inspired all sorts of "fanfiction" around their named characters, putting the existing characters into new situations or even completely reinterpreting them according to the preference of the writer. For kids who end up loving Hidden Side and its story, having named characters is more likely to inspire that sort of imagination than to prevent it. And for those who would rather the characters instead represent different people or generic figures, there's nothing preventing that either—nobody is going to knock down your door for playing with your sets wrong.

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