With all the hype and noise surrounding the 2012 launches of the Super Heroes sets, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings sets, and the Friends theme, another of the new 2012 themes - Dino - has kept a significantly lower profile. For me, however, this is one of the new themes that I've most been looking forward to. After all - it's dinosaurs, right ? What's not to like ?
Hot on the heels of a recent family excursion to the the UK's magnificent Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs (of course) it was really no surprise that I subsequently picked up a couple of the new Dino offerings including Set 5882 Ambush Attack (below) on a trip to a LEGO brand store.
I love the bright, bold branding of the theme which immediately brings to mind the vibrancy of the outgoing Alien Conquest sets. This isn't the only thing that Dino and Alien Conquest seem to have in common, as I'll get to later.
The instruction booklet (above) is unremarkable - 28 pages in length and featuring 20 building steps, an inventory of parts, and some advertising for the rest of the Dino range and the LEGO Club. DSS haters rejoice - there are no stickers in this set.
You can see some of the more interesting pieces that feature in this set in the picture below (click to enlarge). The dark tan leaf cluster has only ever appeared in this and one other (Pirates of the Caribbean) set, while the yellow 1 x 1 brick with stud on one side is new and can currently only be found in this and 2 other Dino sets. The pearl dark grey tranquilizer gun is also unique to the Dino theme, as is the lime green syringe.
The highlight for me was always going to be the LEGO coelophysis dinosaur itself. Not to be confused with the smaller but better known velociraptor (made famous by that scene in Jurassic Park) coelophysis is a suitably formidable adversary for our Dino heroes. The LEGO version of coelophysis is moulded in one piece and is somewhat more rubbery and yielding than standard LEGO bricks. Interestingly, he comes not only in his own sealed poly bag, but also held within a transparent, disposable plastic restraint. I've never seen LEGO elements protected with quite this level of care before, which did get me wondering if my rubbery dinosaur might be somewhat fragile.
I would seriously LOVE a large herd of these guys.... I'm just thinking of the mayhem they could create when my City layout is complete !
The set includes just one minifig, described as "Hero - Tranquilizer Belt" on Bricklink. He's far from exclusive, appearing in 4 of the Dino sets, and he can be seen below with and without his aviator cap. And before you ask, no - I have no idea why he should be wearing one of these either. If you tire of his cocky smile and are feeling suitably sadistic, you can rotate his head and give him a terrified expression instead....
The Dino vehicle is suitably chunky and rugged. As soon as I saw it I was reminded of the vehicle in Alien Conquest Set 7050 Alien Defender. As you can see from the side-by-side shot below (click to enlarge) they share the same wheels with the same yellow rims and have identical mechanisms for securing and aiming their flick-fire missiles, not to mention a similar judicious use of dark blue grey 2 x 1 slopes with slots, and of course a few flashes of neon for good measure. It's my understanding that at least one of the Dino design team previously worked on the Alien Conquest sets, so the shared DNA between the 2 themes really isn't a surprise. Anyway - as a big fan of Alien Conquest I'm certainly not complaining.
The set is completed by a small vegetation feature. I struggle to see the point of such incidental extras; indeed, I suspect that the vast majority of purchasers would rather that LEGO drop them from the sets and instead reduce the RRP, given that extras such as this have little incremental play value.
Overall, it's a decent set, and with an RRP of £8.99 for 80 pieces I think it's reasonably priced. I particularly love the coelophysis, and can't wait to get the T-Rex, Triceratops and other dinosaurs from the rest of the sets in the range.
At the time of writing, UK readers can buy the set here at the £8.99 RRP and with free delivery; US folks can get it here at 9% off RRP ($10.97).