18 February 2015

He's a LEGO Brainiac

Posted by Admin
More from them LEGO® Super Heroes today in the form of 76040 Brainiac Attack, examined by Drew Maughan a.k.a. the super anti-hero SilentMode. Amongst many other things, Drew is the founder of minifigure trading site where, rather than buying them, you can get the figs you want by exchanging unwanted ones that you have.

I have next to no interest in Super Heroes, whether they be DC or Marvel, but I decided to try something different and take a look at this particular set, which should be in stores in your neck of the woods right now for £24.99 / US$24.99 / €29.99.

Sets based on IPs are usually the first to have some of the more interesting parts, or those in new colours. One such part is this Tr. Fl. Green [TLG]/Trans Neon Green [BL] 8x8 bubble dome with two fingers (Element ID 6097601 | Design ID 95198), which is currently exclusive to this set. I've noticed Trans Neon Green making a big comeback, as well as Trans Bright Green, which are ideal for Space-related builds. Other parts in these great colours are two 4L bars (4124054 | 30374), a Hero Factory "weapon barrel" (4651747 | 98585) and a single 1x1 round brick in Trans Neon Green, and a 1x1 round cone in Trans Bright Green (6053084 | 64288).

Another interesting part almost looking like a fluorescent tube is this hose with a Lime centre (6059315 14770), which primarily appeared in Hero Factory sets and has made an appearance in last year's 70804 Ice Cream Machine.

Used for the "tentacles" in the main build are these Silver Metallic [TLG]/Flat Silver [BL] tail parts (6097639 | 40378 and 6060833 | 40379), both of which have been resurrected from two Bionicle sets of the past: 8892 Piraka Outpost and 8894 Piraka Stronghold.

Finally, the star of the show (as far as the box tells us) is this new piece, introduced by the Super Heroes theme, called a Super Jumper (6093683 18663). This only appears as Transparent [TLG]/Trans-Clear [BL] and looks like a cool piece in its own right, but its main purpose is to give your favourite minifigures "super jumping" capabilities. If you can obtain a number of them, these would also make cool minifigure stands. It looks like there is enough room on the underside of the Super Jumper to house a 2x2 round plate, unfortunately I was unable to test this theory.

Speaking of minifigures: we get four of them in the set, all of which are currently exclusive or exclusive variants. Making their first appearances as official minifigures are Brainiac (second left) and Supergirl (far right), with Martian Manhunter and yet another Superman joining them. These minfigures are very detailed with both front and back printing on the torsos, and Supergirl has the benefit of leg printing too.

Everybody got along swimmingly, until it was time for their dress rehearsal. Brainiac had been snubbed one time too many by the wardrobe manager, as the other three minifigures were all given capes. Martian Manhunter in particular had special treatment, as he had a cape for his body AND his neck. "I'll show you," Brainiac cried in frustration, preparing to build his most nefarious contraption to date. With the help of a "dreaded sticker sheet", which has five stickers with transparent backgrounds on it, Brainiac took the remaining parts of the set and got to work on his craft.

A clever SNOT technique, using a pair 1x2/2x2 up brackets (99207) and some White "cheese" slopes, forms the shape of a triangle at the front of the craft: this will represent the nose area of the giant skull face. The rest of the skull motif will be built around the nose, with the top half as a hinged attachment.

The pleasing overall shape of the craft is made possible with two 6x6 round corner bricks (95188) and one each of the 10x3 left and right wedge bricks (50955 and 50956), on which the stickers are applied. As it looks right now, the craft is reminiscent of Alien Conquest: one of the invaders would be right at home taking Brainiac's place.

The auxiliary weapon of choice is an old school flick fire missile, constructed using a Technic pin and the Trans Bright Green cone. While these do the job, I greatly prefer the missile launcher introduced by the Ultra Agents and Star Wars themes - however this design is more compact and suited to the craft.

Fear not, as the main weapon is this detachable laser cannon thing, mainly made up of Technic parts. I didn't realise until now that inserting these Trans Neon Green bars directly into Technic pins was apparently a legal technique.
The cannon attaches to the craft by way of one of the hose parts, and will be loosely held by a Technic liftarm. Make sure you pay attention to the instructions, so you won't add the weapons the wrong way around (like I did!)

The finishing touches are the bubble dome and tentacle-like legs. I was very curious as to how easily the model would stand with such small footprints, and it is amazingly stable regardless of the orientation of the legs. In any case the use of tentacles, along with the skull detail and the brain-like dome, makes this a rather gruesome craft; it reminds me of Dr Wily's inventions from the Mega Man games.

So Brainiac has built himself a formidable machine to get his revenge for a lack of cloakage, and the Super Heroes have gotten concerned... but there is hope. Remember the new Super Jumper part? Well Superman has figured out that he can use it to dislodge the loosely connected laser cannon - that is, if he can reach it! It will take some practice to have him or your favourite hero (or heroine) jump up high enough, as I've found the Super Jumper does a better job of thrusting the minifigure forward, but it is possible.

This is definitely a set to get hold of if you're collecting the Super Heroes minifigures, not least because of the exclusive Brainiac and Supergirl. For the builders, Brainiac's machine offers something different in terms of space craft or enemy vehicles, and there are a few great techniques we can pick up: most impressive for me was the way the skull face was constructed, as well as the innovative use of the tail parts.

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Our thanks to LEGO's Community & Events Engagement Team for providing this set. 76040 Brainiac Attack retails for £24.99 / US$24.99 / €29.99. Consider using our affiliate links to buy it (or anything); this helps support New Elementary!


  1. Good review! This is a nice set. Not a whole lot of new parts to discuss, though, other than minifigure parts.

    I don't collect Super Heroes sets, so this doesn't really have a place on my wish list, but it's good to see some heroes other than Batman getting a turn in the spotlight.

  2. Worth noting that the "Flat Silver" dinosaur tails are in fact the newer 315 Silver Metallic, as opposed to the ones in the older Bionicle playsets (which were most likely 131 Silver but MIGHT have appeared in 296 Cool Silver, which was used briefly in 2006 before being replaced with the older Silver once again). Bricklink calls all three Flat Silver, which can be irritating as they're different enough to clash when used together without regard to their differences.

    Silver Metallic is very consistent compared to older silver colors. I recently ordered a large assortment of Silver Metallic Technic panels from Bricklink(only appearing in a single Guardians of the Galaxy set), and was surprised that while they weren't free of "streaks", those streaks were almost all identical in terms of their size and their position on the parts. It's also a lot richer than the previous silver colors, lending it an almost steel-like look compared to the much more plastic-y looking 131 Silver (or 296 Cool Silver, which was even worse).

  3. Re: the bars in Technic pins, there are several pins, and it's legal with some, illegal with a few more, and impossible with others. The half-pin is obviously designed to grip bars, as it has four bumps on the inside of the stud. The 3/4 pin and frictionless regular pin both freely accept bars but don't really grip them. The friction regular pin does provide a bit of grip. The frictionless 3L pin accepts them, I believe, but may have a blockage that prevents the bar from going all the way through. The friction 3L pin has a reduced hole that's rectangular in shape and will _NOT_ accept them. The regular axle-pins have round holes, but I know at least one of them is a bit too snug on a bar and would be illegal in an official set. I haven't had a chance to check either of the new 3L axle-pins, so I have no idea what group they may fall in with, and I don't have any parts on hand to verify what I'm saying (it's all based on memory of past experience, so might not be 100% accurate).