12 March 2016

More than just a pricey dinosaur?

Posted by Admin
We have a new contributor today, Simon Pickard (brickspartan), who you may be familiar with from his astonishing work with Brick to the Past collective or his excellent techniques guides in Blocks magazine. For us, he's looking back at a set from last summer; 75916 Dilophosaurus Ambush.

I, like many people, really only saw the original Jurassic Park sets as a way of obtaining more dinosaurs in figure form. Given that the re-sale prices of the last range, featuring such moulded dinosaurs, will put you back about as much as those original sets cost it’s not hard to see why just buying them for the dino-figures alone makes a lot of sense. In such a mindset, this particular Jurassic World set was the standout model for me, as it is the only set to offer a completely new dinosaur species to the current moulded figure repertoire (I’m not counting the fictional Indominus Rex of course) and I have to say that the Dilophosaurus mould is a very nice piece for those building such a collection.

At heart though I’m a builder and, although populating builds with these creatures is very appealing, I was pleased to see that hidden behind the lure of this beautifully sculpted dinosaur exists a range of new colour variations and unique pieces that certainly have potential for builders that should offer uses beyond the theme they were created for.

Spherical goodness

Introduced in the Jurassic World range is a new part called a Deco Half Sphere 5x9x5 1/3 (TLG) or Cylinder Hemisphere 9x4x7 with 4 Studs on Top (BL). Despite the measurements given in the names being so wildly different, they are the same piece! I’ll leave you to have the joy of figuring out who got closest to its real dimensions… meanwhile; the Design ID is 20455 and these pieces currently only come in Transparent (TLG)/Trans. Clear (BL) under the Element ID of 6109903.

Two of these pieces are placed together in the set to create the special pods used in the film to enable visitors safe and motorised passage throughout the park and are unique to the Jurassic World sets, being featured in two sets at time of writing. This Dilophosaurus Ambush set is the cheaper option to obtain these parts.

Technic axle pieces are required to secure both halves together, but given the limited colour variations these axles come in it could limit your choices. Thankfully the construction in the set itself shows that where the black axles are exposed, by the transparent connection point, it doesn’t actually show up too badly. Each half has a 2x2 grid on one side for connection to the main LEGO System and a 2x1 rectangular cutout where its partner’s protrusion of studs can slot into place. I am surprised with this as it doesn’t seem necessary for the model, when they could have split the 2x2 grid between the two sides giving us a way of connecting the pod together using only System pieces as well. This might be a clue to TLG's future plans for the use of this part though…

The connection system of the pod, while very pleasing in both form and look, unfortunately makes it difficult to pull apart. This is because sometimes the axle breaks free of the top piece on one side and the bottom of the other. With the previously ‘awesome’ rotating seat connection now tethering the two axles together the pod twists slightly and jams the axles inside so that you can’t pull it open without risk of damage to the pod or axles. Thankfully TLG appear to have realised this and left holes on the outside of each Technic connection point that allows you to push them free with a bar - which is actually another connection option for this piece. That said, I’m not sure you would want to dismantle it anyway!

The pod is accompanied by a printed variation of the 6x6 radar dish. Sci-fi applications such as a bubble spaceship came to mind when I first saw the pods and seeing that the dish fits so well to the pod we know that the various alternate colours of this piece offer a good range for finishing off your own designs and colour scheme choices.

The printed version is obviously unique to the Jurassic World theme but it’s a good quality print which instantly made me think of applications for underwater themed builds requiring portholes. Thinking more outside of the box I reckon it would make a nice parasol covering for the outside of an upmarket restaurant. With a central hole in this piece you can put them together to create an interesting wheel reminiscent of the iconic Tron cycle design.

Feeling blue? Build a tree!

The colour scheme of Jurassic World has meant that some elements are now available in Bright Blue (TLG)/Blue (BL) for the first time: a minifig crowbar (Element ID 6116798 | Design ID 92585), Windscreen 5 x 2 x 1 2/3 (6116796 | 6070) and the Plate, Modified 2 x 2 x 2/3 with 2 Studs on Side (6116797 | 99206). The latter is no longer exclusive to this set; it also comes in 76063 The Flash vs. Captain Cold and 76064 Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin.

Those who like to build their trees using Technic connectors will be pleased to find that the Technic Axle and Pin Connector Angled #5 - 112.5° now comes in Reddish Brown for the first time. You will also find it in the 2015 Elves set 41176 The Secret Market Place.

Overall impression

All told this is a nice set that can provide both display and play value while appealing to builders for its new pieces and technique ideas. That of course all goes on top of the dinosaur included which I believe is likely to become highly sought after once the sets are gone, so it is well worth picking up one or two before reseller prices take hold.

Products mentioned in this post were kindly supplied by the LEGO Group. All content represents the opinions of New Elementary and not the LEGO Group.

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  1. "I’m not counting the fictional Indominus Rex of course"
    See, you say that, but really the rest of the 'dinosaurs' in the Jurassic Park franchise, are no more representative of a real organism than Indominus is. Velociraptors are the size of chickens, and covered in feathers. Dilophosaurus was only a meter tall, and almost certainly had neither a frill nor the ability to spit poison. And I'm not even going to get started on that 'mosasaur'

  2. You take that back.
    -- The velociraptors are big boned and have a well documented weight problem from years of being fed children in captivity.
    -- The poor Dilophosaurus had one day, 20 years ago, where he was running late for work and couldn't go through his normal morning hygiene routine. Now everyone is saying has "frills" and "spits poison."

  3. Great review! Definitely checking out those half-spheres! And guys, the dinosaurs are from an alternative reality known as the "Hollywood-verse". That explains the paleontological irregularities. :-)
    --Chaz Fairbanks

  4. I've generally had little interest in Jurassic World or its sets, but if I were to get any it'd probably be this one. Not only does it have a new dinosaur (albeit a grossly inaccurate one) and those amazing minifigure bubble-pods (which would be fantastic for MOCs, but that vehicle is just fantastic!

  5. Not strictly related to the bubble pods, but it was interesting talking with Niels Milan Pedersen about the dinosaur molds he designed for this theme. I mentioned to him how a dinosaur aficionado friend of mine really disliked the Jurassic World dinosaurs because of how inaccurate they are. Niels smiled and said "I hate them too". Then he reached into his bag and pulled out a dilophosaurus skull! It turns out that besides sculpting LEGO molds by hand as a career, he also has a hobby of sculpting museum-quality dinosaur fossil replicas. He explained to me how the real dilophosaurus would have been much smaller, with smaller crests and no frill, but when working with an IP partner, you have to work with what they give you. Such a brilliant guy even outside of his amazing skills as a designer!

    Anyway, I'll be interested to see if these bubble pieces appear in any other themes in the future. I've certainly seen plenty of uses for them in MOCs, especially Space-themed MOCs. And they don't seem specific enough that they'd be permanently IP-locked, unlike some of the actual dino molds. Then again, sometimes which molds are IP-locked can be surprising.

    1. Okay, that is so cool. I'm really happy that Niels Pedersen feels that way!
      --Chaz Fairbanks

    2. Some of the things that I felt would be IP locked have turned out not to be and I have also heard that things that seem generic enough not to be IP locked (like those sword holders from POTC) are actually IP locked for some strange reason (sword holders that look like that have been around long before POTC came on the scene)