27 August 2019

LEGO® Hidden Side review: 70425 Newbury Haunted High School

We interrupt your Parts Festival to bring you the first of our reviews of LEGO® Hidden Side sets, of which we will examine five over the coming weeks. Jonas Kramm takes reviewing duties of 70425 Newbury Haunted High School.

Hidden Side is the new LEGO® theme in town, and brings us eight new play sets. To start we’re exploring the biggest one: it’s not a new Elementary School, but Newbury’s Haunted High School.


Opening the box reveals nine bags containing 1474 pieces, one big instruction booklet and two sheets with 44 stickers to apply. The biggest interest for me is always what new parts are included so let’s take a look what treasures are buried here.

First Class: Recolours

New pieces in Dark Red are the lightweight construction Wall 3X3X6, Wry 45 Degr. (Element ID 6267407|Design ID 87421) and Brick W/ Inside Bow 1X6X2 (6267406|15254). Brick 1X3 (6264025|3622) is one of the most basic elements in the LEGO system but wasn’t available in this colour. Until now.

To make the façade of the building, three elements were colour changed to Medium Stone Grey/ Light Bluish Gray. Two of Fence 4X4X2 (6267405|21229), two of Pavilion 6X3X5 (6267402|19063) and four of Iron Fence 1X4X2 W/ 4 Studs (6267404|19121) get used. The latter comes in seven colours now (Black, Lavender, Sand Green, White, Warm Gold/ Pearl Gold, Bright Bluish Green/ Dark Turquoise and Medium Stone Grey).

Completely new are the recolours of Brick With Bow 1X3X3 in Dark Brown (6177917|13965) and Plate W. Bow 1X4X2/3 in Medium Nougat/ Medium Dark Flesh (6273854|93273). Plate, W/ Half Bow, Inv. 1X2X2/3 in Reddish Brown (6172922|24201) already came in the LEGO Ideas Treehouse and now appears in the School, twice.

For fans of brighter colours the Hidden Side theme brings Tile 2X2, W/ Bow (Design ID 27925) in two new colours: Bright Yellow/ Yellow (Element ID 6275508) and Vibrant Coral (6250024). But both only once each in this set.

New pieces in Spring Yellowish Green/ Yellowish Green here are six Claw 7 Modules With Cross Axle (6267418|15362) and two Plate Half Circle 3X6 With Cut (6267416|18646).

Second Class: Prints

With 44 stickers there is not much call for printed elements so they are mostly limited to the minifigures.


As in every Hidden Side set, the two teenagers come with their ghost hunter smartphones; the Black one (6271133) for the boy and a Vibrant Coral model (6275078) for the girl.


Exclusive to this set is a Mini Teddy Bear with a new printing in Spring Yellowish Green (6279100). As I learned from the app, it’s some kind of artefact.

Third Class: Minifigures


The High School comes with seven minifigures, and just the four on the right are limited in their availability to this set.

Three have additional heads and hairpieces to visualise when they are befallen by a ghost.

All three headgears are new moulds that come in solid Spring Yellowish Green or a Multicombination, with Transparent Fluorescent Green/ Trans-Neon Green.


Two figures also wear a new wing mould (6275612) in Transparent Fluorescent Green but as you see they are not quite as transparent as normal pieces in that colour. They are more flexible and made of a dimmer material.

Einstein Break!

The ghost that haunts Tim immediately reminded me of Albert Einstein, which of course fits with general school theme. And with further investigation I could find some other very obvious hints to the famous theoretical physicist on the sticker sheet.

Decal 21 on the right shows a portrait of Einstein with vampire teeth and on decal 23, the chalkboard, his popular E=m*c² formula gets recited.

While I didn’t apply the stickers to my copy of the set, I took a closer look and found more clear references. So appears the mentioned teddy bear on the stickers 4, 13 and 19.


The second sticker sheet is rather boring in comparison. I only wonder what the letters in the wood mean: “I K”?

Fourth Class: The Building


The colour scheme on the outside is really spot on. The Dark Red walls, Brick Yellow/ Tan windows, Medium Stone Grey detailing and Black roofs work perfectly together. I wouldn’t call the architecture particularly complex, but the different elements make it a quirky and interesting façade.
I especially dig the window section. The colour change of three elements to Medium Stone Grey creates magic.




Turning the model reveals the school’s interior. But is it actually an interior? Sure, the scenes show the rooms in the building, but they are actually not in it, only behind the façade. We are used to not having back walls in sets to increase the playability, though here it seems a bit extreme. Also there are now walls between rooms just the two floors that separate.




Regardless of that there is a lot to discover here. The bathroom, complete with school-like recycled toilet paper, is a fun build. I also appreciate the brick-built details such as the different trophies and the bookshelf.

The fact that I didn’t apply the stickers is clearly visible in the upper story. The many plain surfaces are intended to be covered.

Fifth Class: Functions

The reason for the interior not being in the building is that it’s packed to the top with spooky features that transform the school into a haunted house. From the beginning of the instruction onwards, it was fun to build the different play features and see how they work.

Claws extend from the side building when the interior (bathroom or bookshelf) gets pushed.


Evil eyes appear with a clock turn.


The entrance opens in a predator-like mouth.


Note the clever use of System pieces with clips to achieve the function.


Raising the bell allows for the secret door to disclose the hidden teddy.


Lifting the roof reveals spooky green tentacles and slides precious 2x4 Tiles in Medium Nougat out of their compartment.


The haunted bench uncloaks a fearsome monster inside.

Sixth Class: Augmented Reality

Hidden Side comes with an augmented reality (AR) app to add further play value to each set. For a complete review I of course had to use the software as well and I got help from my girlfriend. After choosing the set you bought within the app, you start by scanning for ‘gloom’. To do so you have to interact with the physical set for the first time and select a colour by turning the wheel. Then we had to target and shoot an AR ghost and activate one of the haunted features of the set.



We actually expected to interact with the set much more when playing. The instructions made us build various features and cover coloured bricks (that the app scans for) with flaps but we only got tasked to turn the wheel and activate the claws. No other features like lifting the roof were necessary.
Also we were a bit disappointed that there were no more insight in the story of Hidden Side through playing the app. Why is there an oddly coloured teddy bear for example? Overall it was mostly tapping the screen to shoot ghosts.
All of this could also be cause by us being untalented players. Maybe things have to get unlocked first and we didn’t get far enough.

In technical matters, the game worked well. Only the coloured sections under the bathroom and the bookshelf were hard to scan and we got an error sometimes.

Nonetheless it was a lot of fun to try this new feature!

Grades

All in all I like Newbury’s Haunted High School. The build has a simple exterior that shines with good use of simple pieces and a pleasing colour scheme. Behind the walls lay clever features, which are not something for every AFOL I guess, but for me were interesting to build and fun to play with.

Anyone who intends to get the set to modify it and make it part of their layout should keep in mind the missing back to this façade. Still, a good inspiration and a parts pack for recoloured pieces in practical tones for sure.

No gloom detected here!





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10 comments:

  1. Small fix: the macaroni tile isn't new in yellow, because I have a couple for quite some time now. Checking Bricklink, it was in a 2017 set.

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  2. Wasn't the middle hairpiece used in The LEGO Ninjago Movie sets? New colour for it though.

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    1. Yup, Kai's hair.

      I actually appreciate them using both new and old hairpieces for the possessed figs—should allow for even more variety of haunted citizens going forward!

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    2. Or more glammy, ravey hair for the sci-fi spacers. Some of those hairstyles might be too over-the-top for space base personnel, but I'd guess they could still work for the occasional extraterrestrial...

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  3. I K: Maybe a reference to I Know What You Did Last Summer (or similar horror movies)

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    1. I believe that "arrow" symbol on top of the letters is meant to represent an umbrella, and that I and K are a couple tightly standing under the umbrella. And then I guess there are two options, A.) I and K are an in-universe couple possibly to be revealed in the animated series or B.) It's an in-joke by the designers where I, K or both have been working on the set's design.

      (I believe this tradition usually uses the first names rather than the family names, but it could possibly vary…)

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    2. Hmmm, looking up YouTube videos, it seems as the main designers for the theme are Murray Andrews and Luis Gómez Piedrahita (although it's possible there are others who have worked on the design who are less media-savvy and communicative). But I guess that's an indication that I and K is an in-universe reference.

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  4. The lack of interior walls makes sense when it comes to the app features—removing interior walls both allows more visibility and more even lighting for the phone camera and removes potential stumbling blocks when playing with the phone in one hand and the set in the other. It doesn't really bother me so much because I've never been much for building "layouts"—for me, the facade-style structure of many sets works not just by making the "interior" easier to access but also to view from a "fig's eye view" (instead of a top-down view like in buildings with removable roofs or floors).

    It's a shame that you chose not to sticker the set, given how great the various stickered details in this set are and how far they go toward fleshing out the school setting, but it's understandable given the relative rarity of some of the stickered parts. It's nice to see that while the interior loses a lot of detail without stickers, the main transformation feature still looks good either way (though I think you built the eyes wrong—most of the set pics I've seen have the "pupils" closer toward the center for an angrier, more focused appearance).

    The recolored grey parts are certainly excellent. I think this might be the first set to pair 19063 with 19121, which is surprising since the detail on both parts complement each other nicely. I almost consider it a shame that the front "balcony" uses 87421 instead of finding a way to use the newer 41823. Admittedly, it might be harder to implement due to its rare 3M radius, but it would be amazing to get all three parts in the same color!

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  5. Very curious as to if the Newbury High Banner stickers would work well if they were cut and put on the Nexo Knights shield pieces.

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