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# Sunday, 14 March 2010

Although I am rather "junior" in my Lego experience, I have learnt about a few "under water" sets that Lego had released in the past, while I still haven't opened the Aqua Raiders sets I own, I was lucky to get a wonderful 1997 set under the Town-Divers theme: 6441 Deep Sea Refuge.

Despite being an incomplete second hand set, since the price is rather reasonable, I see it as a very good deal, especially after finishing the build and seeing the finished product, it was quite a hassle to find replacement parts (which are more than what the seller mentioned but I think it was a honest mistake) and I had to settled with using parts of different (but seemingly compatible) colors, but I think I was able to come up with something that can reflect the value of the original set.

This decade old set contains a lot of unique types of parts not seen in recent years any more, such as the winch, portholed and various shapes of panels, there are many printed parts too. The attention to the details is also amazing - x-ray machine, storage area for equipments, knives.

The lab structure is built on two 16 X 32 Tan baseplates (which are very useful) hinged together, and can be fold and unfold to work on the interior, there are so much playability there.

The submarine itself is also already an excellent piece of vehicle by itself, the driver is seated inside a hinged dome, and the cabin doors can also be opened, equipped with the arms, it is very realistic as an undersea explorer that can collect specimens.

You also have a boat with winch, which can be hooked to the base. Please note that the back of the boat was originally a blue plate, but it was missing from the set when I got it, so I replaced it with a white one.

I think a lot of people looking at this set would focus also on the sharks and Stingray, in this second hand set one of the stingray and a shark is missing, it is still ok as I got enough creatures to keep the ocean floor busy. By the way, how easy is it today to get a Lego Stingray?

 

Please note the Underwater Scooter that the divers can use to move around, this is also a cool part of the set!

The porthole are very cool, making the interior lighting extremely realistic for an undersea feel.

The minifigs shown here may not be equipped as the same from the original set (I think even the cast is not correct either), according to Peeron there should be 4 clear diver masks in the set, but I got only 2 here, but overall this crew with the set as I got it is acceptable to me.

Comparing the Atlantis sets to this Deep Sea Refuge set, I think that Lego has not been exerting best effort in the new theme, having great minifigs/creatures like the Squid Warrior is not enough, the attention to details and being generous in enriching the content would be necessary to come up with a great set, if the quality of 6441 can be found in the Atlantis set, it could easily be one of the best Lego theme in 2010.

Sunday, 14 March 2010 19:07:48 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 13 March 2010

I built the 8056 Monster Crab Clash tonight, and feels better about this set than 8061. Although The crab is still not very realistic (the body is relatively small), but it is quite well designed in coming up with the claw and legs.


The diver is the same design as 8061, but with a different two faces minifig head.


And from this set, you get the yellow key ring!

One observation on the diver's helmet though, not sure if that is a defect or something by design, I found the same crack in all three diver's helmets. Anyone can comment on this?

Saturday, 13 March 2010 01:07:22 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 10 March 2010

After completing 8061 Gateway of the Squid, I would say the overall impression is not really that good, the minifigs, which includes the Squid warrior and divers, are quite impressive, especially the very cool Squid warrior, but the squids and the temple are disappointing.

The design of tentacles in one single long piece is not ideal but still acceptable, but the squid body and claw do not appear realistic to me, same for the smaller octopus, I understand it may not be easy to design these two sea creatures, but in such forms I just feel that they look odd, the octopus looks more like a white spider to me.

The color mix of the temple is a strange contrast of gray and tan, which does not look harmonious. The mechanism to open the gates through rubber band is hard to use, wouldn't using technic parts provide a smoother movement?

I think Lego is very smart in providing the colored keys, many would be tempted to buy more Atlantis set to collect all 5 colors, but I feel that there are poor designs in some elements, which would weaken the value of the Atlantis theme despite having some very cool minifigs.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010 22:25:47 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 06 March 2010

Finally seeing the Lego Atlantis series available in Toysrus Hong Kong, only one or two of the smaller sets were previously sold at higher price at some small shops (which were probably imported by them on their own and not through Lego Hong Kong), I was expecting the official channel to release the theme, but it turns out that the pricing is extremely agressive:

Set No Hong Kong pricing (HKD)
8056   78.90
8057  118.90
8058  188.90
8059  188.90
8060  298.90
8061  498.90
8072   34.90
8073   34.90
8075  748.90


(Please click on the image to see a higher resolution image)

I was not expecting to see them on shelf and was not prepared with information, although Atlantis is not quite a favorite theme the way I see it, I still purchased a set to experience it, from the boxes I instinctively feel that 8075 is a good set, but the pricing is really too high here  with a 160% markup compared to US Pricing (at 1 USD = 7.8 HKD, this set is sold at USD 96 here!), really a big turn-off!

So I looked at 8061 Gateway of the Squid instead, at HKD 498.9 (~USD 64), the markup is still 160%, but the squid looks quite interesting, so I decided to get 8061, well, I opened the box and built the Squids (bag 1) last night, I would say I am not too impressed so far.

Yes, the Atlantis theme is quite special as it introduced a whole bunch of interesting minifigs/creatures, such as the Squid warrior included in 8061, but I still need to see good designs and good values in the theme, with such aggressive pricing, good value is an unlikely thing that I would say about the theme.

Saturday, 06 March 2010 13:24:44 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)