21 January 2015

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Fresh from his adventures in Sector Eleven, Exo Suit designer, bestselling author and talented voice actor Pete Reid rejoins us for an exclusive look at a brand new LEGO® DC Superheroes set, 76026 Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas.

The box art is very exciting. There's all sorts of stuff going on. An invisible aircraft is about to smash into the ground, a fruit truck is being torn apart by a furious gorilla, the Flash is jaywalking really quickly between the legs of the Bat Mech. I can only hope there are no civilians nearby. It's a health and safety nightmare.

The set comes with four numbered bags, plus Gorilla Grodd in a separate bag. It also contains two instruction books, a tiny sticker sheet and a comic.


The set costs £49.99, which seems quite a lot of money (especially given that it is $49.99 in the US). The thing to bear in mind is money is just an abstract concept. If you're a LEGO® superheroes fan, and you like the figs, it's a must have. As everyone knows, it's all about the minifigs these days, and the people in this set are gorgeous. There are five minifigs and a bloody great big gorilla in this one. Let's take a closer look.


Apart from Truck Driver, they all have double sided head print. All the figs have back printing on the torso. The figs these days are really beautifully made. I'm not much of a photographer, but these little guys really give good face when you get in nice and close.

Superheroes 


Batman - I'm probably a bit out of touch, but the new cowl piece is a definite improvement, and I really like the new cape material. I used to love Batman when I was a lad. In my day there weren't many superhero films. Richard Donner's Superman movies were all we had, till Burton's Batman arrived, and everyone on the planet grooved to the Prince album. On vinyl. Nowadays, there are too many superheroes, and not enough Prince albums. Kids have it so easy these days.

The Flash - To be honest, I'm not that familiar with the Flash. The character was created in 1940, and moves very quickly or whatever. There have been several versions of the Flash in the DC comic verse. I'm not sure which version the fig is meant to be. The last one, probably. Whatever his name is, he looks great. Look at his lovely face.

Wonder Woman - All new print. She's pretty. She's also scary sometimes.

Legion of Doom


Grodd - It turns out Grodd was once a normal gorilla. In 1941, a spaceship crashed in Africa, and some gorillas got bigger brains. Grodd is super intelligent and has telekinetic powers. Why is he smashing the banana truck? Couldn't he use his telekinesis to get the bananas? Or his intelligence to play the stock market, make millions and buy lots of bananas? Why is he a bad guy? Because gorillas and aliens don't mix? What's the lesson here? Gorillas are evil? That's a really good thing to teach the kids. Well done, everyone.

Grodd is the same size and articulation as the Hulk. He's got a different body sculpt, with Hulk's arms and hands in black and grey, respectively. Points of articulation are the shoulders and wrists. He cannot turn his head, which might explain his anti social behaviour.

Captain Cold - My half arsed, drunken research suggests he might not be a real captain. Apparently, Captain Cold's real name is actually Leonard Snart. I'm not making this up. In 1957 he put on a parka and declared himself to be Captain Cold. He's got a new parka headpiece, which is nice. His gun is much too big and heavy for him to hold, unless he's standing on studs. I don't do studs.

I do wonder if they're scraping the bottom of the barrel with these Z list superheroes? I hope I'm not offending the massive Captain Cold fanbase out there. Freeze a jolly good fellow.

Truck Driver - possibly the least well known DC superhero. Truck Driver (real name Chuck D. River) was struck by radioactive lightning at a roadside diner in 1953. The force of the lightning blast froze his face, and gave him unique powers, allowing Truck Driver to safely and legally operate any vehicle on the interstate. His first appearance was in Amazing Tales #17, and his popularity resulted in a short-lived comic of his own, which ran from 1956 to 1959.


Let's move on from the minifigs now to the models and the new parts... although this first one is sort of a minifig accessory.

Super jumper


It took a few goes before I got the hang of this strange new part that TLG call the Super Jumper (Element ID 6093683  | Design ID 18663). You put a minifig on the studs (which are extremely clutchy...I think LEGO might have gone a bit too far with the clutch on this element), then you do the jumpy frog thing, for exciting jumping play action. It looks like something a dentist might put in your mouth, before pouring in some horrid pink goo, which makes you throw up. And eat your own sick.

To the 'Invisible' Jet!



The 'invisible' jet isn't entirely transparent. It's a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act, but I'll let it pass for now. A core of grey and white elements hold the 'invisible' jet together, including some of those new fangled brackets the kids are always harping on about along with their clone troopers and chimas and myspace. It's also got those new shooty things. I can't really get into them as a play feature, because I'm not six years old, or mentally deficient. When they're loaded with the trans blue laser bolt they look stupid, and it makes me sad that LEGO is for children. The 1x4 launcher brick might have its uses as a detail piece for the dedicated AFOL builder. Look, it's a play feature, and wholesome, safe fun for the kids. I am not the target audience.

So many lovely new Transparent [TLG]/Trans-Clear [BL] elements! I reckon builders will find all sorts of interesting ways to use them. We've got the following in Trans-Clear in this set, for the very first time: three 2x6x4 tails (6097515 18989), two 2x2 curved slopes with lip (6100761 47904), two 4x4 wedge plates (6100764 43719) and two 2x12x5 tails (6097549 18988). I think this is the first wedge plate we've ever had in Trans-Clear.

I was surprised and outraged to see Trans-Clear/Trans-Light Blue large flames (6055858 85959) stuck into Trans-Clear headlight bricks. I thought putting the clear 3.18 thing into the hole of the other clear thing was strictly forbidden, design wise. Polycarbonate elements tend to fuse together at a molecular level, causing parts to break, and children to have a bad play experience. This is why we can't have entirely Trans-Clear figs.

Banana Delivery Truck


This kind of vehicle is called a tuk tuk. It has a play feature where the cab and body are on a click hinge, so Grodd can smash it down and blow the transaxle, making bananas spill everywhere (with hilarious consequences). I've done a bit of design work for LEGO, and they don't generally approve of wheeled vehicles that can't be rolled with the aggressive downward pressure of an idiot child. It's also got a deliberately poorly attached cab roof, for improved monkey smash fun times. Curious.

There are some recolours in Bright Blue [TLG]/Blue [BL] in the tuk tuk. We've had the old style 1x4x6 window (with shutter tabs) in Blue a long time ago but this is first time we've had the current style (6097556 60594). There's also a 5x2x1 1/3 bracket (6033353 11215).

Bat-mech


I really don't know what to make of this. A handsome, charismatic man, piloting a great big mech? That's a stupid idea.


I'm not aware of the Bat-Mech ever appearing in the DC comic universe, but I don't really read comics, and I've done enough research for the moment. Maybe it's in one of those early morning cartoons I never watch, or tucked away in a dusty corner of the Batcave? I'm not entirely sure the Bat-Mech fits with the universe. It's like the Spidercar, you know?

The Bat-Mech actually poses fairly well, and I quite like the left hand. The right hand has been replaced with a deadly combination weapon: dual shooters and a push out net. The shooters are the style introduced last year but they're in a new form here - a modified 1x2 plate with shooter (6102734 15403).

The Legion of Doom are terrified of the Bat-net. It could flop out at any moment, and the baddies would be all like "oh no, I'm trapped". Most exciting!


'You're my muse, Kenny'


I've got a non-AFOL friend called Kenny. He was sitting beside me on the couch when I made the alternative model for the Getaway Glider review. You ever encounter people who you can just hang out with and make a cool model next to? Someone who contributes something just by being there? Kenny's like that. I wanted to repeat the experiment with my alternate build of this set, and he came to visit and just gave off this spaceship vibe. I was all like, yeah, let's do this. Smash the bricks together. This is Kenny on the right, checking out a spaceship I made twelve years ago. Isn't he a dreamboat?

I don't think my microscale Armoured Freighter quite meets Space Book building quality standards, but I did what I could, and managed to use the stickers. It is common knowledge that photoshopped backgrounds are totally allowed, to enhance presentation.
Once I'd finished the ship, my beloved Yvonne made a Batboat from the remaining pieces. Little trans and blue bits were used for the spume. Spume is a good word, which everyone should use more often. Spume.
Did I mention the Space Book? If you haven't got the Space Book yet, you should totally buy a copy. Seriously, it's best book in the world, which my team and I spent two years crafting. Your life will be incomplete and meaningless without the book. I am in no way biased.

This review has been lots of fun, but I have to return to outer space now. I'm getting reports of hostile activity in the Philangi sector. Apparently the Quazmodian Alliance have invaded the third moon of Trinia, and it's all kicking off.



Special thanks to Jeremy Williams for the photoshopping, and Kenny for projecting that vibe. I'd also like to thank our LEGO community support overlords for providing the set.

76026 Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas retails for £49.99 / $49.99 / €69.99. Consider using our affiliate links to buy it (or anything); this helps support New Elementary!



45 comments:

  1. Card-Carrying President of the Captain Cold Fan Club22 Jan 2015, 00:38:00

    I'm offended.

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    Replies
    1. And Truck Driver is a way underrated series, long overdue for a complete collection.

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  2. Those two 2x12x5 tails (6097549 18988) should make for some nice plane/spaceship (spaceship! SPACESHIP!) display stand designs.

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    1. Nice! I hadn't even thought of that application for them... but you're right, they'd be pretty much perfect!

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  3. This was...an interesting read. I don't mind the intentionally drunken, haphazard efforts at humor, but if you look at what is actual review content vs what tangential stupor, it's a little heavy on the fluff in my humble opinion. I love my copy of LEGO SPACE, so thanks for that. I also love the new 1x4 "shooty things" just because I hate flick-fire really, but am neither six or mentally challenged.

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  4. "they don't generally approve of wheeled vehicles that can't be rolled with the aggressive downward pressure of an idiot child."

    This is the part where I got offended. Mocking non-neurotypical children is entirely uncool. Suggesting that any kid who pushes too hard on a Lego car is an "idiot" is also uncool. I expect better from this site.

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    1. Just to be clear, I meant all children are idiots.

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    2. Not really much better. It's that kind of perverse attitude that The Lego Movie tried to satirize with "The Man Upstairs" and the mental gymnastics he had to perform to justify his passion for playing with a toy. I guess there are still AFOLs who haven't gotten the message.

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    3. It’s called humor. There’s no need for people to try to find offense in every little thing they can. We get enough of that in the big bad world outside without bringing it to a lighthearted review (aimed at adults) for what is essentially a child’s toy (even if it is played with by adults).

      Children ARE stupid. That’s what makes them so great. My three year old daughter recently shouted “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy….. Look!” When I looked she was showing me how she could point her feet together. This is totally stupid and something I have seen a human do before in my 42 years on this planet. But did I also love it? Yes.

      Great review – and I also love Peter’s book. Thank you for the Exosuit, too.

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    4. Lol. I agree, this isn't something to get offended about, it's just funny. I laughed so much at the truck driver profile.

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    5. Come on, that's not nice.

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  5. This is the BEST review I have ever read, so hilarious as right to the point. You aced it! That mech is just stupid, ridiculous, and I didn't even build it. Looking forward to more reviews from you like this!

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  6. What's that chest piece on the mech?

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    1. It's exclusive to the set, David. 6103121 20058. TLG call it the Super Chest

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    2. A lot of people were disappointed by the blue used for the Ultrabuild Batman set, so I'm sure we'll see at least one Bionicle builder attempt a Batman MOC using that part.

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  7. Great review.

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  8. Yeah, while this did take a decent look at the new parts and such, I have to say I was extremely put-off by the "humor". Starting off with mocking the "Z-list" superheroes and villains (when in fact DC fans are excited by this wave precisely BECAUSE it is the first to use less well-known heroes and villains instead of focusing almost solely on Batman and his well-known foes), then getting into mocking the play features of the set (including infantilizing people who actually PLAY with their Lego as intended, or suggesting that adults who do so are not all right in the head).

    This is a fantastic-looking set with great parts, but honestly this review is the first I've read on this site that leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach. I expect much better from this site in the future.

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    1. I honestly can't even call it a review, nor dignify it by writing an actual comment other than to say I agree with you completely.

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    2. I also agree with this completely. I respect Pete Reid as a builder but this one review was enough for me to lose pretty much all respect for him as a person. I hope this self-righteous and condescending attitude is his sick idea of humor and not how he is in real life, because I have no time for people who readily insult not only every single child but also every single AFOL who doesn't share his half-baked pretensions.

      You know what? I LIKE launchers and other play features. You know what else? I am an adult. And do you know what else? I do not take kindly to being called "mentally deficient".

      I'm a little ashamed that Tim would agree to publish this slop. I suppose after making the mistake of sending a free set to a person who would go on to write a review this vile, he didn't have much choice...

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    3. Dude - you REALLY need to get out more. I hope you're feeling better soon.

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  9. I laughed far too much during this review. Honestly we FOLs sometimes take everything too seriously and forget that Lego is supposed to be fun. Great job, you brightened my day!

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    1. Meh, I'll take humor that is self-deprecating over humor that is condescending and mean-spirited any day.

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  10. As a review its ok, but the attempts at humor just make it a chore to read through.

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  11. (PicnicBasketSam)
    The humor is a bit... unfunny. But great pictures though, and on the Truck Driver, I can't quite tell if you're joking! I do like this set quite a bit... it has three superheroes, a giant gorilla, an even bigger Bat-mech, a semi-invisible jet, and a random banana truck. The price sucks though.

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  12. The hood on Captain Cold is not a new piece, it was used on the Collectable Minifigures ice fisherman, among other places. Although it IS new in that color.

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  13. I thought the review was great and humorous, but the comments made me despair. I was trying to think of a reply to them, but cannot think of anything that will not further offend the oh-so easily offended other than this; please research the term 'tongue in cheek'.

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    1. There's a difference between "tongue in cheek" humor and just being mean-spirited. Unless Pete Reid is trying to hone a Stephen Colbert-like alternate persona who hates children and chlidren-at-heart, I fail to see any humor in implying that all people who like action features are "mentally deficient"—particularly as a learning-disabled AFOL who DOES greatly enjoy Lego's recent shooter designs.

      Some of his jokes were funny. The little diatribe about what sort of message Gorilla Grodd sends was funny. The Truck Driver bio was funny. But soon after that he started insulting his audience and generally being a prick. That sort of attitude does no favors for him, and as a high-profile AFOL it'd reflect badly on all of us if he started talking about how "all children are idiots" in an interview or similar article.

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  14. refreshingly hilarious and tongue-in-cheek, which should have been obvious in the "handsome man piloting a mech" comment..hmm, where have we seen one of those before? if I hadn't already bought this set (hello, Wonder Woman!), I'd be buying it now. and maybe I even will buy a second one. you can never have too many invisible jets.

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  15. Oh my sides, this is the "Look Around You" of LEGO® set reviews! (and btw i would watch that show if you make it)
    Thanks, Peter and Caperberry.
    Theterberry.

    (also everyone who's being 'triggered' by this needs to relax a little! I seriously doubt there's anyone reading or writing this blog who's not an AFOL and self aware enough to realize that it's ok to be interested in kid's toys/action figures as well as 50yr old scotch and a good game of bridge. No one is attacking you, it's A JOKE, stop projecting your own self esteem issues onto others trying to have a chuckle. /PSA )

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    1. I read it and I'm 12.

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  16. Wow. Despite the fact some excellent ripostes have been made in the comments I am very sad that others are such vindictive, vitriolic personal attacks on Pete.

    Well I'd be the first to agree that this is not the 'norm' post here at New E - indeed, that's partly why I was happy to publish it. I take things oh-so-terribly seriously here most of the time so was happy to have a satirical post for once. I knew it would not match everyone's sense of humour, but that's no reason to not publish it. If the result is that some people's expectations of this site were not met, too bad.

    The 'harmless fun' argument aside, I agree in hindsight that "mentally deficient" was in borderline taste. Here I can understand how offence was taken and I've always believed you cannot tell someone to not be offended when they already are. I can only be honest and state that for what it's worth that I know Pete (and his kind, accepting heart) well enough to know that no offence was intended. Nevertheless as editor I should have considered how the line could be perceived - yes, it did cross my mind at the time but given the obviously tongue-in-cheek tone of the article I left it in, and so I do apologise that it was offensive to some.

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    1. Fair enough. I am glad to here that Pete is not such an awful person after all. It does well for my faith in the AFOL community to know that the person they hold in such high regard is not genuinely such a pretentious snob. I apologize if my response seemed vitriolic, but calling readers "mentally deficient" was tasteless and insensitive even if no cruelty was intended.

      The "all children are idiots" in the comments and other statements to that effect (I'm reminded of the "little Timmy" straw man some AFOLs use to put down the LEGO Group's actual target audience) also drive me up the wall. Part of the reason the LEGO Group has become such a successful company is that they are a brand that DOES respect children. They understand that if a child does not enjoy a toy the burden of responsibility is on the toy, not on the child. And their lasting appeal with AFOLs comes from the recognition that play and creativity are not things people "grow out of", and that kids and adults alike have the intelligence and good taste to appreciate a quality design.

      All in all, this was pretty rough for the site's first dose of "humor". As you can see from the comments, this particular brand of humor is nothing if not divisive. I can definitely appreciate a humorous review! Many of the reviews on BZPower, one of my favorite online LEGO communities, are packed with humor, but that humor is playful and fun, not condescending or mean-spirited.

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    2. I think this was the funniest review I have ever read. I don't like reviews of sets really (I rarely like sets as a MOC builder) but this made me laugh out loud, it could be taken as slightly offensive, but only if you take it at that angle. I have known Pete for a few years now and he is a really nice guy. I was surprised that this was his review. Surprised and impressed. I don't think it's very appropriate to personally insult him here. If you don't like the review then post a comment about the review. Not about the reviewer.


      I was recently asked if I would do a review of a set for a blog. I turned it down as I didn't think I would be able to be objective, I now regret this as I think humour in reviews is FUN, and if I get the chance again I will jump at it.

      I have always held this site with high regard and Tim is a fantastic blogger. His decision to publish this article should be applauded. I loved it and I would read more of the same.

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  17. I never realized this before, but there are three different designs for bigfig hands. The first were for the Fantasy Trolls, which came on five different varieties based on the exact same body molds. Next up was the LotR Cave Troll, which got repeated for the Hobbit Goblin King (these ones don't have built-in pins). And third is the Superheroes bigfig hands, which started with Hulk, and has seen reuse with other-Hulk, Ultimate-universe Green Goblin, DC's Darkseid and Gorilla Grodd, and even Chima's Mungus. I have to wonder why they've made three different styles, and if the triple-theme use of the Superheroes hands indicates that they finally settled on one they like.

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  18. Those of you who find this sort of vitriolic nonsense offensive should know that you are always welcome over at our LUGNuts blog where your sensibilities will be nurtured and protected. We truly understand the difference between good, clean fun and the sort of offensive drivel spewing forth from the writers of the New Elementary.

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  19. I have noticed (filtering out the attempts at humor and rebukes of said attempts) that there is more discussion--and more worthy discussion--of new parts here in the comments than in the actual review.

    While some of the review was clearly in poor taste, I think my biggest problem with it (and the reason for my earlier comment*) is that it doesn't really review anything, especially not what TNE has made its name as: a place to find overviews of new parts and interesting ways they might be used.

    I get the need to plug for your own book, but the whole last section of the "review" is about things which have nothing to do with the set, something that's actually pretty characteristic of the whole article. Reread the Batman paragraph as an example. Lots of fluff, and only a mention of two new parts. And what does he say? "I really like it." For all his ridiculing of what idiots he thinks children are, the author's depth of expression seems particularly shallow.

    It's not as though this set was lacking opportunity for an actual discussion about new parts, either: what about the new bigfig, how does he compare to others? How did the illegal build make its way into a set? What about the super jumpers, which have reportedly broken some minifig feet? How is the new cowl an improvement, why do you like the new cape? I was hoping these were the kind of questions that would be answered, but instead we got "some horrid pink goo, which makes you throw up. And eat your own sick."

    Fair enough.

    - - - - -
    *which I realize I am contradicting now, as I post an 'actual' comment. Whatever.

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  20. Great and funny review! Good job guys.

    And let's all settle down, people. What I really like about New Elementary is the variety of opinions and posts - minutia and geekery all jumbled up with reviews and humour .There's room in the world for more than one style of writing. If you didn't like this maybe there'll be something more to your taste tomorrow.

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  21. Thanks for the continued thoughts everyone. I was tempted to close comments yesterday because I really dislike the nasty "stop being offended" style of comments coming in, but I'm glad I didn't because many worthy points are still being made.

    I would make the observation that this is not the site's first foray into humour. And that many posts - some of the most popular even - have contained no reviews of sets or indeed parts.

    Yes, New E has a style but I would hate for it to become homogenous and predictable. That's a primary reason why I have guest reviewers and suggest they bring their own voice. For set reviews I do expect all new parts and recolours to be mentioned, but that's it.

    Pete's post does not invalidate the views of other reviewers or readers!? Yes, it was an extreme change to the usual. That isn't so dissimilar (in terms of extremity) to the way I threw the site over to Chima, Bionicle and the LEGO Movie for many, many weeks last year. I appreciate this situation is different, but hopefully you get my point that I'm prepared to take risks sometimes.

    I certainly don't subscribe to the attitude, which I find sanctimonious and offensive, that there are somehow established standards to New E that I need to abide by!

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  22. Good review, very "Look Around You"-esque. I'm surprised no one's commented on the Bluth Banana logo likeness on the truck driver.

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  23. For what it's worth, I enjoyed the lighthearted nature of the review. It was something different. It's not often I chuckle while reading a New E article. Thanks Pete!

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  24. I'm not sure what I enjoyed more, the review or the comments! Everyone is entitled to their views; mine is there should be fewer figs and more bricks in sets.

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  25. Liked the humour (that's humour, with an 'o' in it) but would have liked a little more discussion of the set. But comments saying the review made you 'sick to your stomach' is a bit dramatic isn't it though?

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  26. I think it is a fantastic review and extremely funny, we are all laughing away here in the office. Knowing Pete personally as I do I can confirm that this is entirely tongue in cheek, even the comment about all children being idiots. People are free to voice their view that they are offended, but some perspective is needed - did this truly make you 'sick to you stomach'? People being beheaded, people spouting hatred, insane levels of greed - these sort of things make me sick to the stomach, not a bit of tongue-in-cheek banter about a children's toy. To be clear, the review is not offensive in and of itself, offense can only be taken not given, i.e. if you choose to find it offensive then it is. Given that there are far too many sickly sweet and unhelpful set reviews out there perhaps a check against this every now and again is no bad thing. So I guess the message is, please adopt a more balanced perspective about these things.

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  27. This is one of the best set reviews I have ever read ! - I have known Pete practically my entire life, and he is a big hearted lump, with a dark sense of humour.

    Somebody will always be offended, that's what makes us different !

    People being kept in poverty makes me feel sick to the stomach, not tongue in cheek LEGO set reviews.

    Lets face it, this is a pretty poor set - the only highlights are the trans pieces ! - and I want a Truck Driver HBO series NOW !!! :)

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