Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I Want My Mummy !

Here's another posting which falls into the "Better late than never" category.... When I first saw pictures of the Pharaoh's Quest line up many moons ago, Set 7307 Flying Mummy Attack was the early stand-out for me. The plane looked great, the Flying Mummy minifigures looked great, the obelisk looked neat, and I was really looking forward to getting my hands on it.


So I picked up a copy of the set as soon as I was able to get one at a decent discount (old habits generally die hard, however badly I want the set), but in time-honoured tradition I ended up getting stuck into other LEGO-related projects and the set never got built. Until now. Recent heavy discounting of the Pharaoh's Quest theme reminded me that I should really dust it off and get it built before the theme disappears forever (or until the next reboot at least). Admittedly a year late, then, but better late than never....


I do like the Pharaoh's Quest branding, which features a very agreeable colour palette. The front of the box for Set 7307 (above - click to enlarge) focuses on the biplane, which is predominantly a delicious dark red colour. The back of the box gives more prominence to other elements of the set, notably the hieroglyph-laden obelisk and the three minifigures.

Opening the box reveals three bags of parts, a sticker sheet and the instruction booklet. The front of the instruction booklet carries the same image as the front of the box. In addition to the building instructions, the 52-page booket contains an inventory of parts, a nice panoramic view of all the Pharoah's Quest retail sets covering two pages (pics below - click to enlarge) and advertising for the Pharaoh's Quest micro-site. Despite the sets themselves no longer being on sale direct from LEGO, the site is still up at time of writing and provides some back-story to the theme along with games, quizzes, character bios, wallpaper and unlockables, not to mention details about the sets themselves.





















My sticker sheet (below) was curled up on itself in time-honoured fashion, although I've tried to flatten it out for the picture as best I could. It's bad enough having to apply stickers in the first place without the stickers themselves seemingly being set to self-destruct mode on top of everything else.... I'm sorry to go on about it, but I think back to some of my old Adventurers sets such as Set 5978 Sphinx Secret Surprise where the hieroglyphs are printed on the pieces and it's a real shame to see how LEGO are now taking short cuts with this kind of thing. Similarly, the roundels on the aircraft's wings would have been printed onto tiles not too long ago rather than stickered.


The complaints pretty much stop on opening the bags however thanks to all the interesting parts in delicious colours....dark red, dark blue, dark orange, tan and dark tan, plus some pearl gold. You can see a selection below (click to enlarge). The dark red 1 x 2 x 1 panel is unique to this set, while the dark red tail and 4 x 3 wedge  without studs only appear in one other set in addition to this one. A number of others such as the dark blue 2 x 2 tile with one stud in the centre, the dark tan 75 degree 2 x 2 x 3 slope and the dark red 4 x 4 corner plate only appear in a handful of other sets. Overall, therefore, a big thumbs-up for the parts.


The set contains three minifigures. Aviator Jake Raines (below) is pretty standard Adventurers fare. His torso features a flying jacket, back-printed with an appropriate logo and the initials 'SMH' which I suspect are probably the initials of the person who designed the set. He has a suitably stubbly, grizzled face which, I was surprised to note, isn't reversible. Jack doesn't appear in any other retail sets, but did make an appearance in the Desert Glider promo polybag (Set 30090) which was given away free with the now-defunct News of the World newspaper last year.



Jack has to face off against two Flying Mummies. These minifigures are intricately detailed and frankly superb in my opinion, featuring printed legs, gold-detailed back-printed torsos, reversible heads, decorated helmets and of course magnificent sculpted wings. The Flying Mummy minifigure is included in three of the Pharaoh's Quest sets including this one, and so impressed was I on seeing it for the first time last year that it was one of my nominations for the "Best Minifigure of 2011" award, although it eventually lost out to Captain Jack Sparrow.




It can't have escaped your notice than LEGO have been quite active on Mummy front over the years, producing a number of variants. You can see three of their most recent efforts below. On the left of the picture we have the Mummy from the third series of Collectible Minifigures and on the right is the Mummy from the 2012 Monster Fighters Set 9462 The Mummy. I love them all - you really can't have too many Mummies - but the spectacularly-decorated Flying Mummy surely represents the high point. The Daddy, if you will. :-)

The Three Amigos...
Once the minifigures are assembled, the next task is to construct the obelisk. The use of dark blue, light and dark tan, dark orange, and pearl gold pieces, together with the hieroglyphs, gives the structure a very exotic and almost authentic feel. You can certainly see this structure fitting very nicely into a Pharaoh's Quest diorama alongside other themed sets.


Obelisk completed, it's time to build Jake's biplane, presumably named "Spirit of Luis" as an homage to Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" which completed the first solo New York to Paris run in 1927. OK, so that was a monoplane, but it's the thought that counts... It was the biplane which initially attracted me to this set and it doesn't disappoint.






















Even aside from the lovely dark red colour scheme (can you tell that I love dark red LEGO ?!) the design of the biplane hits the spot for me - compact, chunky and eminently swooshable. I also like the engine and twin machine guns; my only gripe is really the need to apply six stickers in order to add the finishing touch, and if that's the worst I can say about it then you know it must be pretty good.... You can see how all the different elements of the set come together in the picture below.


There's even a rudimentary 'play feature' built in to the set - the biplane features a grab arm on the underside which can be swivelled downwards in flight. This allows Jake to swoop down over the obelisk and grab the precious gem as illustrated below in the instruction manual (click to enlarge).


The overall verdict ? Put simply, it's an excellent set. It was the standout set for me when I saw first pictures of the Pharaoh's Quest theme, and it's robustly lived up to all my expectations.

Sad to say the Pharaoh's Quest theme is now on the way out. No longer available at S@H, on clearance or gone from LEGO Brand Stores and being purged from other stores, its days are numbered. At time of writing, Amazon in the UK and the US still carry some of the sets, and you can check them out here and here respectively. You may even find the Pharaoh's Quest sets at a clearance discount if you look around, although I'd wholeheartedly recommended this particular set even at the original £14.99 / $19.99 MRSP, such is its allure...





9 comments:

  1. OMG i'm first!
    besides that, this looks like a nice set from a nice line.
    i myself had the scarab attack set and it was really cool :)

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  2. I had the small Scarab set and the scarab shell is printed. Recently I went to a local toy store and picked up from the bargain bin, this particular set for 12.99 euro and also Golden Staff Guardians for 9.99.

    The only one I've not been able to get for a reasonable price is the Pyramid. The sphinx I got lucky with as they were selling it greatly reduced and while is not a great set has a load of tan pieces and a fair few of the dark tan, dark red and dark blue as well.

    I like the theme but I have to wonder why it was cancelled.

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    Replies
    1. It doesn't surprise me that the Pharoah's Quest theme only got one year - it was jostling for shelf space with so many other themes (many of them licensed) that it was aways going to struggle to get a second wave of sets. Same goes for Alien Conquest, and I suspect it'll be the same for Dino and maybe Monster Fighters.

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    2. I was also surprised at Alien Conquest. The sets are quite nice and I managed to pick them all up for a bargain. The 7066 Earth Defense HQ is a great build and was pleased that I got it for over 50% off too - probably explains why though.

      My issue with the new themes is they seem to overprice the sets and concentrate on larger sets which are often out of people's budgets - 90 GBP/120 EURO is like a christmas present price whereas 20-30 GBP is more a birthday present price and probably sell more. This is probably why city does well as they generally have plenty of sets around that price range and a few smaller ones too, pocket money sets if you like.

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  3. As a fan whose LEGO mindscape was forever altered--for the better--by the original '98 Adventurers, I was super-excited by Pharaoh's Quest. By and large, I think they outdid themselves in the minifig department, though the sets are not, generally, QUITE as good.

    This set was the chief exception to me. If anything, it's better than the Adventurers equivalents. The mummy-wings and different mold headdress show that LEGO's moved forward rather than stood still with the passing years, and the plethora of new colours work really well here, but would still jive nicely with the older sets.

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  4. Good review as always! I would also like to menchon that I really like you pictures. You always take good ones.

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  5. Kih-Osh14/7/12

    Jake appears in most of the PH sets.. I assume you're referring to this variant, though?

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    Replies
    1. Correct - the version of Jake Raines in this set only appears in one other set, the Desert Glider poly.

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