After gorging myself on a diet of licensed sets (particularly Star Wars), with their inflated prices and highly specialised parts, there's something very satisfying about picking up and building a Creator set. Maybe it's the more generic parts that Creator sets contain, or perhaps the fact that Creator sets typically contain instructions for building three models rather than just the one, or possibly even just the lack of fuss and hype, but building Creator sets takes me back to my youth
Nostalgia aside, I think that Creator sets have a tendency to be underrated, presumably slipping under the radar in the face of all the noise and advertising that comes with the licensed sets. It's a shame, because there have been some absolute cracking Creator sets over the past few years. with buildings such as Set 4954 Model Town House (below) and Set 5891 Apple Tree House ranking among my personal favourites.
The Creator theme has also featured some superb vehicles, including Set 5892 Sonic Boom which is still currently available, and Set 4896 Roaring Roadsters (below). Thinking about it, we've probably had at least one or two excellent Creator vehicles every year for the past 5 or 6 years, and I think it's telling that many of those sets can still be obtained relatively cheaply and easily from eBay - like I said, underrated and under-appreciated....
Set 4958 Monster Dino (below), a 792-piece beast boasting Power Functions which enabled it to move its arms and mouth, not to mention a sound brick to make it roar. We've also had other interesting reptilian sets such as 2010's Ferocious Creatures, 2008's Stegosaurus, Prehistoric Power from 2006, and 2009's Fiery Legend to name just a few.
Creator Set 6914 T-Rex continues this lineage, and was one of the 2012 sets I was most looking forward to. I was surprised to briefly find it at 30% off on Amazon's UK site so soon after release, and quickly snapped up a copy before the price went back up again.
The box is typical Creator fare, with the primary model taking up most of the space on the front (above - click on pictures to enlarge) while the primary, secondary and tertiary models get equal billing on the back (below). There's also a handy parts inventory on one side of the box so you can see what you're getting before you buy.
The set comes with two instruction manuals (below), one for the primary model and the second for the other two; every year I half expect LEGO to dispense with paper instructions for the subsidiary models and instead provide a link to download them from the internet, similar to some of the Technic sets, but thankfully this isn't the case yet.
In addition to the building instructions themselves, the instruction booklets contain advertising for some of the other 2012 Creator sets and an inventory of parts.
I have to confess that I generally dive straight into the main model and often don't get round to constructing the alternative builds in these 3-in-1 sets. Not this time, however - I was determined to take a look at all three of them 'in the flesh' for once. I therefore started out by building the brachiosaurus. What immediately struck me is the sheer number of articulation points in the finished model, which of course allows it to be posed in multiple positions. You can see it in both the "all fours" pose and also the "rearing up on hind legs" position in the pictures below. I felt that the brachiosaurus looked decidedly average in the official box art and publicity shots, and those pictures don't lie - I gave it all of 24 hours sitting on my desk before I moved on to the next model, so it's clearly not exactly a winner in the eye candy stakes...
After 5-10 minutes spent dissembling the brachiosaurus, I was ready to get started on the pterodactyl. On the basis of the box art I wasn't particularly looking forward to building this one - to be frank, it looks absolutely rubbish in the pictures. The reality ? Thankfully not quite so bad. Once again, the liberal use of hinges and Technic ball and socket joints allow a fair range of movement. The pterodactyl can open its mouth, move its wings, flex and extend its tail, and retract its legs for flight. Tellingly, it stayed built for a few days prior to dissassembly, swooping over my modulars and terrorising my minifigures. Hardly an oil painting, but better than I expected.
And so on to the main event - T-Rex himself. I'll come clean straightaway - I think he looks excellent, with the highlight being his fierce-looking head and huge teeth. The mouth opens and the limbs can be positioned in such a way as to enable some seriously aggressive poses. This guy will stay built and on display for a while yet I think - an excellent rendition, particularly given the relatively small piece count.
My only real criticism is the colour scheme; while I'm not sure anybody REALLY knows what colour T-Rex was in life, I suspect it wasn't red and dark red, otherwise the tyrant lizard would have stuck out like a sore thumb and died of starvation within days.... No doubt those planning to use T-Rex as a parts pack will be thankful for the selection of dark red pieces, but I'd personally rather he'd been green & dark green, or even tan & dark tan.
Creator Set 6914 T-Rex contains 191 pieces and retails at £12.99 / $17.99. While it's nice to have instructions for three models in one set, the alternate builds are really nothing to write home about, and T-Rex himself is the undoubted star of the show; on the basis of T-Rex alone, if you or someone close to you is a fan of dinosaurs then you really can't go far wrong with this one. At the time of writing, UK-based readers can click here to pick the set up from Amazon for about a quid off RRP and free postage; those based in the US can buy T-Rex here, although you'll only save a few cents off the RRP.