24 July 2014

Make me Smilodon

Posted by Admin

We have another Legends of Chima set for you today: 70143 Sir Fangar's Sabre-Tooth Walker. On reviewing duty is Jeremy Williams (Bricking It) who, on top of building stunning Neo Classic Space ships and scenes, also composed the music for the recent Exo Suit reveal video and you may have seen his Beginner's Guide to BrickLink tutorial video.

Since I’m a space builder I spend most of my build time immersed in blue and various shades of grey, with the odd bit of trans-yellow to spice things up (more please, Billund!) So it’s a genuine pleasure to review a set in an entirely different theme, with strange and exotic colours (Dark Orange! Trans-Light Blue!) to pore over. And it’s an eye-catching set, too - one that I suspect will have bucket loads of appeal for fans of all ages (even my three year-old is clamouring to play with it).

Unboxing and exploring the elements

The box contains four bags and two instruction books. Inside these is the usual visual warning to empty and build only one bag at a time. Does anyone actually demonstrate this level of restraint, I wonder as I eagerly tear into all four to pick over the enticing new elements. I’ll leave the Trans-Light Blue pieces until last.

The first to tumble out is this 3X2X1 axle connector in Pearl Dark Gray [BL]/Titanium Metallic [TLG] (Element ID 6022718 | Design ID 11272). This element only rarely strays outside of Constraction sets, and it’s a lovely greebly shape - perfect for microscale spaceships...

Next to be spotted (with some delight; greebling again!) are four White lightsabre handles (Element ID 6040333 | Design ID 64567), only found in three other sets.

A brace of the new double-bevelled Technic gear wheel in Black (Element ID 6093977 | Design ID 18575) is welcome, as are the new half-bows - both single-width (Element ID 6047276 | Design ID 11477) and double-width (Element ID 6053077 | Design ID 15068).

We’ve also got a new flame element, a fiery pole (Element ID 6083865 | Design ID 16768) that is found throughout this year’s Chima sets, including 70135 Cragger's Fire Striker as reviewed by Tim Goddard recently.

There are a few elements in nice colours: the barrel piece Tim referred to in his review (Element ID 6071683 | Design ID 98585) appears uniquely here in Dark Orange, along with a 2X4 half-bow (Element ID 6071236 | Design ID 93606), the delightful inverse bow - I’ve been itching to pick one of these up (Element ID 6065039 | Design ID 13547) and a 3X3 corner plate (Element ID 6071231 | Design ID 2450). There are also 2X3 wedge plates in left (Element ID 6070135 43723) and right (Element ID 6070136 | Design ID 43722) and a plate with bow and wing end (Element ID 6066332 | Design ID 47456), which are all pretty rare in this colour.

But it’s the Trans-Light Blue [BL]/Tr. Lt.Blue [TLG] that marks out the new Chima sets, and there’s plenty of it here. Unique to this set is an angled liftarm (Element ID 6064825 | Design ID 32348), of which there are four. Hmmm. Not sure how useful it’ll be for general building, unlike the rotation joint socket (Element ID 6032798 | Design ID 48169) which is excellent, and there are four of these, too. These will be wonderful for the glowing interiors of ion engines (did I mention I build spaceships?) especially as they could accommodate the tiny LED bulbs from third-party suppliers such as LifeLites and Brickstuff.

The minifigures

Sir Fangar is excellent - the use of Trans-Light Blue for his arm, leg and armour add real distinction, and the printing is superb. Note too the torn white cape (Element ID 6076594 | Design ID 17824) which is unique to Sir Fangar. His hefty staff incorporates the large claw/tooth piece 11089 which is soft and flexible (presumably to protect small eyes and hands) and also appears on the Walker’s head and the chopper bike.

Gorzan (the ape) and Stealthor (the wolf, below) are also excellent, though the outsize staff each carries does tend to overbalance them when posing. However Gorzan also comes with a small stand including an 'ice cage' (Element ID 6065032 | Design ID 15091) which props him up (and presumably keeps him nicely chilled).

The build process

The build was fairly straightforward, first constructing Stealthor’s chopper bike and the hidden ramp that drops it down from the back of the Walker, then moving on to the legs and head, finishing with the shoulder armament (flick missiles, naturally). And the beast stands complete. I’d say it’s not a taxing build, helped by a liberal sprinkling of distinct colours including Dark Tan [BL]/Sand Yellow [TLG] and small amounts of Red [BL]/Bright Red [TLG] and Medium Blue.

As someone who doesn’t collect many sets, it’s interesting to see how brackets are used to strengthen the structure and provide new stud directions. This technique isn’t new but is used generously on this set, especially around the hip joints. It’s both space- and parts-efficient.

The finished model

The overall poise of the Walker is great - it’s suitably menacing, with powerful shoulders and lithe hind limbs. For such an impressive silhouette, the biggest disappointment is the meagre tail, which almost seems an afterthought. A long swishy tail curling up and over the back would have given balance and interest to the rear half of the Walker. The eyes are also understated (Blue [BL]/Bright Blue [TLG] 1x1 round plates); a good trans colour would have added more menace. The jaws are very well done, using a mix of tooth sizes to great effect.

It’s a shame that the head doesn’t articulate - instead it’s fixed firmly to the body with two friction pins. This limits its poseability considerably. Possibly the weight of the head would have proved too much for a standard ball joint. Similarly the legs aren’t jointed enough and the use of click hinges limits the range of movement (having just played with an Exo Suit, I feel somewhat spoilt in this regard). However the rotating shoulder discs are great for playability, allowing more precise targeting of those flick missiles.

The special trick is the launch of the chopper. This is achieved by rotating one of the gear wheels which drops the ramp allowing Stealthor to roar off on his way through the gap between the hind legs. I’m a huge fan of such play features, and this one works smoothly and consistently. The chopper is simple but has a pleasing outline, aided by those gleaming white super-fangs.

That rounds off this review. But I have more to come from Sir Fangar…

Our thanks to LEGO's Community Events and Engagement Team for providing this set.

70143 Sir Fangar's Sabre-Tooth Walker retails for GB£34.99 / €39.99 and will be released on 1 August in the US for $39.99.


  1. Wonderful review Jeremy - my only problem is that it makes me want to buy a set that I wouldn't normally look at!! There are some very nice pieces in that set - I haven't seen the 3X2X1 axle connector before - very interesting. Thanks

  2. Well, I certainly build one bag/group of bags at a time when the instructions tell me to! It reduces frustration, lets me check to make sure I haven't missed any pieces at the end of each section, and gives me an opportunity to take a break midway through the build (valuable with larger sets, especially when building with my parents and siblings).

    I'm not tremendously fond of this set — it's a bit bony for my liking — but it's definitely a nice design with some great parts. Dark Orange is a color that hasn't appeared much in constraction (or Technic in general) since the early days of BIONICLE, so the weapon barrels in that color are welcomed. The other Dark Orange elements are also more than welcome. The thought of using the Tr. Light Blue click joints as thrusters on a spaceship is brilliant — something that hadn't even occurred to me, particularly in combination with that jet engine piece!

    I'm surprised to see no mention of one of this set's newest elements — the claws on the toes (http://brickset.com/parts/6071312), which are a brand-new mold. Tr. Light Blue ones only appear in this and two other Chima sets. The larger claws used on the shoulders and tail (http://brickset.com/parts/6029237) are not as rare, appearing in four System sets and two constraction sets. But I'd also consider them noteworthy, particularly because with eleven of them, this set offers the greatest quantity found in any set.

    Another piece I'd consider noteworthy is the feet (http://brickset.com/parts/6056379). They are not brand-new, but this is only the second non-constraction set to include them. If the half-bows (which appear in over 16 sets each) are worth mentioning, I'd think these would be as well — even if they're not nearly as versatile when it comes to System models.

    But on the whole, good job on this review!

  3. The head is awesome, and there's a very NPU with a Friends handlebar piece inverted and used as a steering yoke. But most of the rear half of this thing is a joke. Great parts, though, and I could probably find some use for that trans-blue Technic.

  4. Very good review!

    I was surprised that there was no mention of the Trans-Lt Blue 6x1 slopes as they only appear in 2 other sets, including last year's Lion's CHI Temple. This is only the second trans version of this part, after Trans-Black/Trans-Brown was last used in 2008 in the Ferrari FXX set (set 8156).

    I particularly like the trans-light blue lift arms, as those are a rarity in itself. Off the top of my head the only other sets featuring transparent lift arms of any length or shape is the Anakin's and Sebulba's Podracers set of 2011 (set 7962), which contains 6 1x15 lift arms in trans-clear and 4 trans-clear 1x11.5 (Double angular beam as TLG calls it). With the podracers, the lift arms are used as stands (stands are built in the set) and I presume as play handles, as they are long enough to accommodate a fist holding it.

    Despite the look of the rear of the tiger, I just may get this set and the Mammoth Stomper just for the pieces. After all, it's not very often we get transparent lift arms or parts in dark orange. I have very few dark orange pieces, notably those in the Council of Elrond set and a set or two of the Speedorz sets from last year.

  5. Great review! Just a side note- Stealthor is a Smilodon as well as Fangar and Gorzan is a gorilla (although it doesn't detract from the review at all)

    Thanks for the great review! Now I have to decide between this and Cragger's vehicle...

  6. The ion engine is an absolutely fantastic idea. We just had to build it out and put one of our lights inside to see what the effect looked like. Check out the results: http://youtu.be/-AMnCcIkv8Q