20 December 2020

LEGO® Super Mario review: 71386 Character Packs – Series 2

We will be examining some 2021 LEGO® Super Mario sets over the coming weeks, starting today as Tim Goddard (@tim_goddard928) analyses the 10 blind bags of 71386 Character Packs Series 2, which are priced £3.49/ US$4.99/ 3.99€. Buying these when they are released on 1 January 2021? Consider using our affiliate links: USA LEGO Shop at Home|UK LEGO Shop at Home. New Elementary may get a commission. The products in this article were provided for free by LEGO; the author's opinions are not biased by this.

I did not pick up any of the little Super Mario impulse polybags from Series 1 so I was not sure what to expect prior to reviewing the Character Packs from Series 2. Now that I have, it seems that I’ve been missing out!


I have been a casual Super Mario player in my time. I played a couple of games on the GameCube (showing my age there) and enjoyed some handheld adventures along with a bit of Mario Kart but I am not by any means a hardcore plumber nut. Even so, every bag I opened was a joy. A combination of nostalgia, great design and a flurry of interesting parts poured out of each one.

So what do you get in this box of lovelies? There are 20 bags with 10 different designs and I am delighted to say there were exactly two of each character in the box.

Inside each bag is a well-folded leaflet sealed with a bit of tape, presumably to stop the parts damaging the leaflet in transport or for when keen-fingered consumers try to feel which bag contains which character. The leaflet is double sided with instructions on one side and a checklist of each Series 2 character on the other. The instruction side reveals that each character has its own 7-digit ID as well as the normal LEGO set number which encompasses the box as a whole. Interestingly these numbers are not completely sequential and not in the order of characters shown on the leaflet. Sites like Brickset tend to differentiate between multiple bags in a box like this with a suffix such as 71386-1, 71386-2 etc. but in this case there is an official LEGO designation for each. 

Unfortunately the leaflet does not show the Element ID or Design ID and, as these sets are not released at the time of review, it means that these numbers are not readily available to share. However the Design ID is embossed on the element somewhere.

Each bag comes with a LEGO Super Mario barcode tile and at least one new printed part.

This lack of numbers will not stop us sharing part information though, oh no! Here is each character with their name, unique number, anything noteworthy about their build and the thing we are all here for - their new, interesting or rare parts. Where an Element ID is currently unknown I have recorded it as xxxxxxx.

Huckit Crab, 6356178


This doleful crustation uses a cube technique similar to several others but modified to build in a poseable snappy claw, to pinch any nearby Italians.


Interesting parts include:

  • 2x Black Brick Special 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with 8 Studs on 3 Sides (6308883 | 67329). Introduced this year and appearing in Black in 5 sets so far. If you do not have this part in your collection yet I recommend acquiring some as they are sure to become a staple piece.
  • 1x Bright Yellow/ Yellow Feet, 2 x 2 x 2/3 with 4 Studs on Top (6302719 | 66858). This part has appeared in several Mario sets now. The cross axle hole is sure to be useful for MOCs.
  • 1x Bright Blue/ Blue Plate Round Corners 4 x 4 x 2/3 Circle with Reduced Knobs (6308879 | 66792). These bases are suddenly very common, appearing in over 10 colours. Common so long as you have been buying Super Mario sets, that is.

Spiny Cheep Cheep, 6356280


A purple fish with some rather nice purple pyramids. I only say fish because I have done my research – it does look rather bird-like to me.


Interesting parts include:

  • 2x Medium Lilac/ Dark Purple Bracket 1 x 2 - 2 x 2  (4277936 | 44728). Only seen in the mini Harry Potter bus before.

Recolours include:

  • 1x Medium Lilac/ Dark Purple Hinge Brick 1 x 2 Base (xxxxxxx | 3937)
  • 3x plus 1 spare Medium Lilac/ Dark Purple ‘pyramid’ Slope 45° 1 x 1 x 2/3 Quadruple Convex (xxxxxxx | 22388)
  • 1x Bright Bluish Green/ Dark Turquoise Plant Plate 1 x 1 Round with 3 Leaves (xxxxxxx | 32607)
  • 2x Medium Lilac/ Dark Purple Brick Special 1 x 2 with Vertical Clip [Open O Clip] (xxxxxxx | 30237)

Para-Beetle, 6356282


A flying version of the shelled insects that frequently beset Mario.


Interesting parts include:

  • 1x plus 1 spare Spring Yellowish Green/ Yellowish Green ‘apollo’ Plate Round 1 x 1 with Open Stud (6256092 | 85861). This debuted as part of a Unikitty figure and is the part’s fifth outing; always appearing in low quantities.

New mould:

  • 1x dual-molded Bright Red/Red and White shell with bar holes (xxxxxxx | 73715). Similar to the element 67013 which first appeared in Series 1, this new version allows you to attach wings with a 3.18mm hole at a 45 degree angle.

Foo, 6356285


Even the clouds are out to get Mario. Foo hinges down from the top a nicely built cactus to attack.


Recolours include:

  • 2x Brick Special White 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with 8 Studs on 3 Sides (xxxxxxx | 67329)

Ninji, 6356286


This stealthy character is also built using the aforementioned cube form, making good use of this year's premier SNOT brick: the Modified 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with Studs on 3 Sides. 


Recolours inclde:

  • 1x Medium Nougat Brick Curved 1 x 2 x 1 No Studs (xxxxxxx | 37392)
  • 1x Black Feet, 2 x 2 x 2/3 with 4 Studs on Top (xxxxxxx | 66858)

Fly Guy, 6356288


This bag gives you by far the most brick for your buck. And hidden away is a brand new mould, in 3 colours!


New mould:

  • 1x of each Red, Dark Brown and Medium Nougat Plate 2x3 with 1x1 cutout (xxxxxxx | 73831)

Interesting parts include:

  • Bright Blue/ Blue Feet, 2 x 3 x 2/3 with 6 Studs on Top (6294714 | 66859). Previously only in one Super Mario set from the first wave.

Recolours

  • 1x plus 1 spare Medium Azure Propeller with Pin (xxxxxxx | 54568)


Plate 2x3 with 1x1 cutout is sort of a POOP - that is, Part Out of Other Parts. In this set it could easily have been replaced with other plates with no real effect on structural integrity. In fact a non-flying version of this very character was already released in Series 1, and in that case the body was essentially the same but built with previously existing plates. It is a nice addition to the family of other non-parallelogram plates but there are surely going to be limited times when you really need one.

Poison Mushroom, 6356290


An evil version of the normally beneficial mushroom. This one has an interesting build technique...


...a standard hinge brick rests on a jumper and a 1x1 plate to give a slightly jauntily angled top, all nicely hidden away under the mushroom cap.


Recolours include:

  • 1x Medium Lilac/ Dark Purple ‘mushroom head’ Brick Special Cube with 2 x 2 Studs on Top and Bright Purple Circles Print (xxxxxxx | 66855)
  • 1x Medium Lilac/ Dark Purple Plate Round Corners 4 x 4 x 2/3 Circle with Reduced Knobs (xxxxxxx | 66792)

Parachute Goomba, 6356292


This most common of Mario’s enemies comes with a nicely designed parachute, cleverly using a white flower stem to give the impression of supporting strings.


Interesting parts include:

  • The white 3x3 dish printed with blue stripes is worth highlighting due to its possibilities for reuse.

Recolours include some parts that are going to be useful for those who enjoy adding a bit of nature to their creations:

  • 1x plus 1 spare White plant, Flower Stem with Bottom Pin (xxxxxxx | 24855)
  • 1x plus 1 spare Dark Green/ Green Plate Round 1 x 1 with Open Stud (xxxxxxx | 85861).
  • 1x Reddish Brown Feet, 2 x 2 x 2/3 with 4 Studs on Top (xxxxxxx | 66858)

Thwomp, 6356294


This wonderfully descriptive lump of rock is the one you want to look out for if you’re after loads of grey pyramids. Nothing thrilling beyond that in this bag.

Bone Goomba, 6356296


Teal feet anyone? What else can I say.


Recolours include:

  • 2 Brick Special 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with 8 Studs on 3 Sides (xxxxxxx | 67329)
  • 1 Bright Bluish Green/ Dark Turquoise feet 2 x 3 x 2/3 with 6 Studs on Top (xxxxxxx | 66859)
  • 1x unprinted and 1x printed with teeth double jumper in Bright Bluish Green/ Dark Turquoise (xxxxxxx | 34103)

Easy techniques using parts from Super Mario

I have been interested in exploring several of the parts from the Super Mario selection for a while so here are a few tablescraps.


There is a 4x4 Mario base (66792) in each bag. These feature rounded corners with the same diameter curve as a 2x2 round brick or plate. This makes them ideal for getting away from a harsh square edge in your builds, should you want to. 


Here the curve has been used to add an interesting shape to a transport container, on the left.

On the right, a cargo pod also seemed like a good way to demonstrate this year's most exciting new SNOT brick, the Brick Special 1 x 2 x 1 2/3 with 8 Studs on 3 Sides (67329) which can form a perfect cube with studs on all sides (although 2 sides only have 2 studs) when two are put back to back with one upside down.


Finally, seeing the new 2x3 Plate with 1x1 Cutout, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another of Nintendo's famous brands...

Conclusion

This box of bags impresses with the interesting selection of parts and general playfulness of the designs. Even without the electronic Mario they are fun and engaging. The price does seem a little steep when you look at the part count; perhaps the added value obtained when the characters interact with the rest of the line go some way to justify that, but as a parts pack it would be better to cross your fingers and hope they appear on sale at some point.

Excuse me while I go searching for some character packs from Series 1... 

Will you be buying these when they are released on 1 January 2021 priced £3.49 / US$4.99 / 3.99€? Consider using our affiliate links: USA LEGO Shop at Home|UK LEGO Shop at Home. New Elementary may get a commission.


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5 comments:

  1. Great article as always. Just a heads-up: Tetris is not a Nintendo brand, and the U shaped piece is not in Tetris, you can tell right away cause that piece has 5 units and all of Tetris pieces have 4.

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  2. Minor correction—the tiny Thwomp variant in this set is actually called a Thwimp!

    A lot of good recolored parts in these but otherwise not a ton to remark on. The shell with added attachment points will mostly be useful for figures like that that need both wings and a tile to scan, and the 2x3 plate with 1x1 cutout will probably prove useful, if mostly in weird edge cases where a combination of 2x2 corner plates and 1x2 plates would be less sturdy.

    The white 67329 will be great for building the "Build-a-Mini" stations at Lego stores!

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  3. Buzzy Beetles and Para-Beetles aren't meant to be insects, they're just smooth-shelled Koopa turtles who got their name from their shell texture.

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  4. Re: the Parabeetle shell. It's too bad the holes for wings are not open studs. The upcoming Parakoopa Troopa uses that shell, but with a slightly awkward wing arrangement. Having those wing holes also be studs would allow for some good customization.

    Anyway, my sister-in-law got us the Starter Course for Christmas, and now I'm obsessed. I'll be staring at your photos until I can get some of these neat little sets.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, after getting the maker kit for Christmas I sort of feel the same about the shell. It works well for the Parabeetle but the solution they used for the Paratroopa is both awkward looking (with the wings sticking pretty far off the shell) and awkward to pose (since they hinge along two axes instead of one).

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