Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Better late than never

I've a terrible habit of buying up sets that I like the look of and then forgetting about them. Probably the best example of this is my Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series X-Wing Fighter which was bought for £50 in the sales back in the year 2000, stuffed in a cupboard, forgotten about, and then stumbled across years later when we were moving house. Anyway, this tendency explains why I bought Set 7592 Construct-a-Buzz from LEGO S@H at the full retail price back in January 2010, and also why it's been stored unopened ever since. Worse still, the set has subsequently been discounted on a number of occasions, during which time I've picked up 2 more copies. And I haven't built those either....

The upside of all this hoarding is however that I have a large and varied stockpile of shiny new sets stretching back in time, and that I'm therefore spoiled for choice when I have the urge to build something. I'm not sure why I had the urge to build Buzz this week, but I did, and there he was, patiently waiting for me (below) wedged between a V-Wing Fighter and a bunch of LEGO exclusives.

Set 7592 Construct-a-Buzz waiting patiently....
It wasn't quite as simple as just diving in and starting to build, however; since the set first appeared at retail a couple of years back the packaging has undergone a change (for the worst, IMHO) as you can see in the picture below (click to enlarge). The attractive "blue sky with clouds" background of the early sets has given way to a plain white background, so which to open ?

It transpired that two of the three sets I own are of the plain white background variety, so it was one of those that got the nod and was carefully opened with a craft knife.

Inside the box were the instruction manual, a couple of bags numbered '1' and '2', and a third unmarked bag containing Buzz's head and the two (carefully packaged) parts which make up his helmet and visor.

The 62-page instruction manual (above) is about the size of a DVD box and features the same artwork as the front of the set box. The construction steps are extremely clear and easy to follow, and there's an inventory of all the parts on the last page. I found the sticker sheet (below) inside the instruction manual, which helped to ensure that it was intact on arrival; I'm not sure if its placement within the instructions was deliberate or just a fluke, but it was very welcome either way.....

The set contains just one minifigure - the three-eyed Toy Story alien (below) - and as usual the first part of the build involves the construction of said minifig. This alien minifig has appeared in a total of five sets to date, including a magnet set and a promo polybag, so it can hardly be considered rare, but it's cute all the same.

Once minifig construction is complete - my 3-year old insisted on doing this - it's time to dive into Bag 1 in earnest. A pleasing selection of lime green pieces and a few fiddly but necessary stickers later and Buzz's torso, head and helmet are complete. Bag 2 contains the parts required to construct Buzz's arms, legs and wings, and after what seemed like just a few sweet minutes the build was complete (pics below - click to enlarge).

First impressions of the completed model are fairly positive, but with some reservations. Buzz is more poseable than I had expected (pic below), with articulation points in his ankles, hips, wrists and shoulders allowing some degree of movement. It would have been even better if he could bend his arms at the elbow, and I don't think this would have been impossible to achieve, but unfortunately his elbows are fixed. In addition. his torso can rotate at the waist and his wings pivot independently. Coupled with a helmet which opens, a head which rotates, and even a flick-fire missile on his right arm which passes for a laser (looks OK, although doesn't work particularly well), we're spoiled with respect to moving parts and play features I think.

On the downside, his proportions don't look quite right to me. His waist is too narrow, and  to my eyes Buzz looks more like a mech than a square-jawed cartoon guy in a flying suit.... I wasn't sure if I was being unfair on LEGO Buzz, so I dug out my son's talking Buzz Lightyear toy and got a picture of 'little and large' side by side (below) so I could compare and contrast.

The wide spacing of the legs, together with a waist just 4 studs wide, really doesn't do LEGO Buzz any favours.... I'm wondering if the spacing of the legs was a compromise to ensure greater stability, but I guess we'll never know for sure. At least his head and torso look good, however - no complaints there - and from the front at least his wings look pretty good too. From the back, however, Buzz looks somewhat plain and perhaps even a little unfinished.

Another criticism is the printed part below which is not up to the quality standards that I'm accustomed to. Thankfully I know I can pick up the phone and call LEGO's excellent customer services people and they'll send me a replacement part, no questions asked, so no harm done.

So in conclusion, LEGO Buzz is clearly far from perfect, but it's still a reasonable effort overall I think. I certainly don't regret buying him, and indeed I've found it rather therapeutic to gaze at his manic expression during times of stress....

At 205 pieces and with an MRSP of £20.99 Buzz is pretty much bang on the 'guide price' of 10 pence a piece. Even so, £20.99 seems on the pricey side for this set, although with all the discounting going on right now you won't have to pay that. At the time of writing, you can buy Buzz for £14.99 (29% off MRSP) from Amazon in the UK (click here) and for $22.00 (12% off MRSP) from Amazon in the US (click here). 

"To infinity... and beyond !"


  1. kevbags7/12/11

    Nice Review Dr Dave. Isn't that spare Green Grocer taking up to much space though ;-)

  2. i'd get rid of those boxes straight to recycling, infact i will give helen a call while your at work and do a deal lol!