Friday, May 13, 2011

A Potential Dissapointment...

7065 Alien Mothership
The Chronicler's Rating - 3/5
Price ~ $60.00
Year Released - 2011
For those of us who were collecting Legos in 1997 it is impossible to look at the Alien Conquest theme without memories of its predecessor, the UFO series, coming to our mind.  While not a continuation (like the Pharoah’s Quest sets are to the original Adventurers theme) it draws heavy inspiration.  In the last few years there have been an explosion of sets and themes like this which are modeled after those of the 90s when I (and likely many of Lego’s current set designers) was caught up in the childhood passion of collecting and playing with these plastic bricks which some of us have never stopped loving.

This set is modeled after the darling of the UFO theme: 6975 Alien Avenger.  Back in 1997 this was the must have set of the year.  Comparing the two, highlights this set’s merits and demerits.  Both crafts are intended to be “capital ships” which have 2 requirements: size and fire power.  The Avenger left no question in these departments, the Alien Mother Ship however is a bit harder to take seriously in both.  With only 1 figure and a single cockpit this set has all the hallmarks of a fighter, the only thing “mother shipish” about it is the size of its outer ring (which is roughly proportional to the Avenger), but with nothing in-between the cockpit and the outer edge the ship lacks a sense of “heft” which all of the great capital ships of Lego sets past have had (compare with 6975 Alien Avenger, 6873 Deep Freeze Defender and 6982 Explorien Starship).  More importantly WHERE ARE THE WEAPONS?  What captured the heart of every young boy in 1997 was the fact that the Alien Avenger was, simply put, BRISTLING with guns.  Mounted on turn tables it had several batteries of heavy lasers which dwarfed any armament seen previously on Lego space sets.  With this set we are to believe the independence of the earth is threatened by a little green man armed with… tiny radar dishes?  Seriously look at the picture, the guns on this craft are constructed of the tiniest radar dish pieces.  So while this set does have size and firepower they don’t command the same respect.

Man versus aliens is a winning strategy.  This theme represents the 4th use of this motif in Lego’s history (the UFO theme of 1997 and 2 separate Mars Mission themes one in 2001 and the latter in 2008.  That last theme had an alien mother ship which was, in my mind, far inferior to this one).  Its continued use is testimony to the characteristic which this set does share with its predecessor in equal portion: incredible playability.  This ship can war against other spacecraft, be incorporated into a Star Wars collection or terrorize a city (or for the very imaginative invade a historical world, who says that these guys couldn’t have been more advanced than mankind in say, the middle ages).  The Alien Avenger vanished from store shelves over a decade ago and while this set does not in my mind rise to the same heights, the core of what made that earlier set great is present here.  However, I will warn you that there is a great potential for disappointment here due to the reasons I mentioned above. 

If you love space sets or the City theme and don’t mind its puny guns and relative lack of heft you will love this spaceship.  If you had a much older sibling I would dig around in their collection to see if you have any of the old UFO sets before you buy, but if not this set will allow you to play a man versus alien storyline.

If your family has an Alien Avenger then I would spend your money elsewhere but if not then this set will suffice as an acceptable alternative.  Beware of the potential for disappointment but in the absence of better set this one will work. 

Happy Building
The Lego Chronicler

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