Set Review: 70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!
Saturday, July 27th, 2019 at 4:30pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Nuju Metru]
It's been quite a while since we've done a set review on BZPower, and this one in particular has been a while in the making - both in how long it took to create and how long it's been waiting for me to post. So without further ado, let's check out the largest set from The LEGO Movie 2 - 70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg! BZPower staff member Nuju Metru has done a fantastic job looking at the build from every perspective and is ready to share his thoughts, so let's read on!
Hey guys, and welcome to BZPower's review of LEGO set 70840, Welcome to Apocalypseburg! As always, I'd like to heartily thank TLG for giving us at BZP free stuff... I love my job and I love my free LEGO. Read on to see my thoughts - captured for you in both a video and a text/image format - on the biggest set from the TLM2 range. Will you fall in love, or will it make you Mad (Max)? Let's find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
It's your classic huge LEGO box. Box size here is, I think, the same as Ninjago City (a comparable, direct-to-consumer product based on one of the LEGO movies).
The image on the box's front, like most LEGO product images, shows off the model quite well. We get a clean frontal view of Apocalypseburg, with the set's dozen minifigures peppered all over its surface and around its footprint. Batman, ever adventurous, swings from a dangling chain! The top part of the box looks like others of the TLM2 line, with film's logo, plus the expected headshots of Rex, Emmet, Lucy, and Sweet Mayhem. The space/bricks motif that backgrounds them also claims the bottom corner of the box.
On the back of the package, we get a rear view of the model, plus a dozen smaller highlight boxes, arrayed like the frames of a comic book. From right to left, top to bottom, these contain: Emmet and others standing in line at Coffee Unchained; Emmet and Lucy atop the lookout point on Lady Liberty's torch; Emmet saying hello to an aggressive Chainsaw Dave; Batman wailing on a Duplo-themed punching bag at the gym; the DC superheroes bringing Harley Quinn into custody; A closer look at the road sign/intersection marker; Emmet and Lucy enjoying some food-on-a-spike; Scribble Cop kicking a chair; the "Where Are My Pants" Guy and Green Lantern running a bath; Surfer Dave getting a tattoo; Lucy's under-the-bed storage; and a closer look at 70840's twelve included minifigures.
But that's enough of the box. Let's have a look at what's inside!
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Upon opening up the box, out pour a few things. In a second, smaller white cardboard box, we find the earlier half of the numbered bags, as well as a monster of a sticker sheet and the hefty instruction booklet. The later numbered bags, which aren't similarly insulated, pour out loosely.
Here's the deal: I'm not gonna show you pictures of the build process. This is something I choose to omit in my reviews for several reasons, the most important of which is that I - as an AFOL and MOCer - delight in the discoveries that come with building a LEGO set for the first time. Even a smaller set can sometimes surprise me in terms of how it achieves a particular function or look, and I'd hate to have these surprises spoiled for me before I got to the set myself. So I practice the golden rule and keep these details from you, too.
Here's what you do need to know about the Apocalypseburg assembly: it took me, a speed demon, around four/five hours total; it was architecturally varied; it employed some modern and clever building techniques; you apply loads of stickers; there's a lot of sand green involved. The instructions highlighted all new parts in red outlines, which I found hugely helpful especially when working on a color-blocked area. In many of the steps, you attach numerous more parts than you'd normally do in a run-of-the-mill LEGO set. I'm guessing that was necessary to keep 3100+ parts' assembly printable.
Anyway, the set comes together. Let's dive right in and find out what's inside.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Before we critique the set from every angle, let's take a look at the new and interesting elements included in 70840. As I opened each new set of bags, I took stock of the notable elements which popped up, and when I finally disassembled the set I took pictures of these bricks separately. Note that part counts specified below cover that piece's occurrences throughout the entire set, and do not include leftover bricks. Also, some of the parts aren't, strictly speaking, new, but might be ones I just like and are new to me. There are LOTS, and I've probably forgotten or missed a few in these pictures/lists!
Here's a bunch of new bits in one of the most prominent colors in the set: sand green (with guest appearance by its cousin olive green).
- 4x16 wedge slope, in sand green (5x)
- 2x2 "bowl" piece, in sand green (5x)
- 3x8 curved slope, L, in sand green (7x)
- 3x8 curved slope, R, in sand green (7x)
- 1x2x3 inverted slope, in olive green (4x)
- 2x2 plate with SNOT attachments, in sand green (7x)
- 2x6 plate with SNOT attachments, in sand green (7x)
- 4x4 curved balcony, in sand green (4x)
- 2x4 double wedge slope, in sand green (3x)
- 1x2 Technic brick with +-hole, in sand green (4x)
- 2x2 wedge plate, in sand green (8x)
- 1x2 plate with horizontal bar attachment, in sand green (8x)
- 4x4 3/4 circle plate, in sand green (4x)
- 1x2 curved slope with corner cutout, L, in sand green (2x)
- 1x2 curved slope with corner cutout, R, in sand green (2x)
- 2x4 wedge plate, L, in sand green (2x)
- 2x4 wedge plate, R, in sand green (2x)
- 1x2x2 brick, in sand green (6x)
- 1x3 curved slope with inset plate attachment, in sand green (8x)
And here are some other parts I like!
- Window bars, in nougat (11x)
- 2x2 round brick with spikes, in yellow (1x)
- 1x2 SNOT brick with studs on two sides, in dark tan (4x)
- 4x4 circular plate, in dark tan (2x)
- 1x3x2 1/2 arch, in keetorange (3x)
- 1x2 brick with vertical bar attachment, in sand blue (8x)
- Lipstick, in black (1x)
- Mohawk, in dark brown (2x)
- Pitchfork, in light bley (1x)
- 1x3 jumper plate, in white (1x)
- 1x1 double-studded SNOT brick, in dark blue (6x)
- 1x2 bracket with 1x4 side, in dark bley
- 1x1 pyramid slope, in reddish brown (11x)
- 6L bar, in dark tan (8x)
- 1-sided spiked pauldron, in gunmetal grey (2x)
Let's look at the minfigures next. The first three here are protagonists from TLM2: Emmet, Lucy, and Batman. Emmet appears exactly like he has in the past, all the way back in TLM1 (and his lack of change is a major part of his character in TLM2, so this makes sense). I like the apocalypse-ified Lucy. Her new scarf is definitely the highlight here, a slick part that fits over a standard quiver and looks great. Batman seems to have really taken the "apocalypse" of Apocalypseburg to heart, sporting a ridiculous(ly awesome?) shoulder piece, wrapped vambraces, and a tattered cape. The tires embedded on the shoulder piece are made of actual rubber, so they both look and feel like LEGO tires! A classy touch, that.
The next three minifigs are Scribble Cop, Harley Quinn, and Green Lantern. Scribble Cop looks a lot like his TLM1 self, but there are some subtle changes: his leather jacket is unzipped now, and he has new kneepads, shoulder armor, and brown gloves. Harley Quinn is, on the other hand, totally new and totally swell! This minifig is clearly based on the Suicide Squad version of the character, which is splendid - I doubt there would have been any other recourse for Margot Robbie's Harley to appear in Minifig form (I'm not holding my breath for Suicide Squad sets for a handful of reasons...). The printing all over her looks lovely, especially the wraparound fishnet print. Green Lantern looks a little beaten up, sporting ripped sleeve, pant, and cape.
Here the first three of the Apocalypseburg residents. Chainsaw Dave, formerly Surfer Dave, looks absolutely shredded, brah. His swim trunks seem to have suffered a shark attack, and his arm tattoos - one of a broken surfboard, the other a revving chainsaw - indicate clearly that his interests have changed since TLM1. Ro08i and Mo-Hawk are new characters. These tough ladies have some fun detailing. I particularly appreciate Mo-Hawk's silver torso, which could be easily repurposed for all manner of sci-fi or fantasy characters.
The last three characters in 70840 are: Larry the Barista, who has gone totally Mad Max on us with a respirator and Mohawk hairdo; Fuse, the resident engineer/strongman (with sick flames painted on his welding mask); and the former celebrity, the "Where are My Pants?" Guy who, tragically, is still without his pants. Poor thing!
And here's the finished main model! As you can see, it's very large, very cool, and blessedly three-dimensional. It would have been so easy for this set's designers to make Lady Liberty a 2D facade. But instead, they've opted to manifest a 3D version of the statue, ringed by myriad post-apocalyptic structures, built from old cars, shipping containers, and other detritus. The overall effect is one of controlled chaos, a build with just enough commonality across its diverse structures to come off as visually appealing. The artfully tilted Lady Liberty really does wonders to tie this design together.
Some of my favorite exterior details are:
1) This cute "cafe table" setup, with one of the chairs wrought from a discarded tire. Notice as well, behind this arrangement, the little fire lit dangerously close to some gas tanks...
2) The wrecked, hollowed-out VW-looking camper van underneath Lady Liberty's tablet. I approve of the rusty colors this sub-build manages to employ without losing sense of the original red-and-white design. The only bummer about Chainsaw Dave's new abode is that we're not provided with an easy avenue for looking/playing inside of it (although the design does provide some interior details, like stickered speedometers).
3) The directional marker/road sign. Capped with the head of a robot skeleton from the Super-Secret Police, this simple structure uses LEGO skis to perfect effect. I also appreciate how the sign pointing to the Look Out could just as easily be read (as I initially read it) to mean "look out!"
The bit of wall/ledge devoted to Batman, where the old fender of his Batmobile and boxes of unclaimed "Bat Merch" sit. Also on display here is an ingenious basketball hoop, which uses barbed wire for its hoop and a pair of brackets to make its backboard's box.
4) The little machine shop above the Batman zone, which includes a few hanging tools and a work bench. The work bench, by necessity, is built upside down, with jumper plates' studs fitting into the latticed surface of the 8x8 grille plate.
5) The back side of the statue, in the shadow of which are nestled a little shack and the old front of an 18-wheeler truck. The truck's engine has been long-since removed; some piping feeds water into the cavity under the hood, making the only bathtub in Apocalypseburg (complete with soap and a rubber ducky!). Meanwhile, above the shack sits food-on-a-spike, the local grub spot. Its deep-fryer is an engine, maybe taken from the aforementioned truck. Condiments sit on the floor, since table space is limited.
6) Lady Liberty's face, which - in my opinion - is one of the best parts of 70840. The sculpting on display is absolutely wonderful. I really appreciate how her lips are offset by a less-than-one-plate height from each other, as well as the macro braids of her hair and the deft way her eyes have been suggested using 2x2 round bricks and sand green sausages.
7) The lookout point at the top of the torch. The torch itself is well-wrought, using a clever technique to fix the 4x4 round plate in dark tan which holds the "fire" at a fixed off-90-degree angle. The lookout itself is super cool, too; I'm so satisfied that the platform sits level, and that it adds significant play value to the highest point on Apocalypseburg.
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Speaking of playability... 70840 is, primarily, a display model. The most play value I got from this set came from putting it together. However, there are nevertheless fun storytelling areas of the build that aren't apparent without removing a few layers. In the style of other large D2C structures that TLG produces, Apocalypseburg features interior details that are only accessible by lifting off certain modules of the design. Let's have a look at these!
Inside of "Coffee Unchained" are a couple of neat details. My personal favorites are the gas-pumps-turned-coffee-dispensers and the rat behind the counter's glass.
The only traditional "play feature" of 70840 is inside Scribble Cop's police structure. By pressing a disguised lever outside the office, the chair within gets "kicked," in the style of TLM1. Besides the chair, the office is disappointingly barren though. Ninjago City, perhaps because it was far more compact, felt like it used its space better than 70840 does.
On the story above, we get two different rooms: an armory/weapons outfitter, and a barber/tattoo parlor. The gear outfitter's comes with some new helmets, homemade junk tools, and even uses a Super-Secret Police skeleton robot as a mannequin for some armor. The tattoo parlor features a big reclining chair, a "needle" made from a welding piece, and a few robot heads to display and store alternative, short-cropped B.A. Baracus style Mohawks for the denizens of Apocalypseburg.
Lucy's abode stands atop these other piled rooms, set at a casual angle. I appreciate the details on its exterior, especially the cloth door and musty old armchair up top. But the inside, packed as it is with Easter eggs, steals the show here. There are some drawings of Emmet and Unikitty - Lucy's family, essentially - on the wall above her bed. Atop her mattress is that old relic locator that guided her to the Piece of Resistance in TLM1. Underneath the bed is the really fun stuff: a third sketch, this one of Batman; an old letter addressed to her from the same superhero; a poster for A Popular Band; and the black marker with which Lucy colors her cotton candy hair. Scandalous items, all!
On the other side of the statue, beneath the food-on-a-spike, there's a small gym. The dumbbells above the bench press are playfully mismatched. My favorite bit here is the punching bag, a red-and-yellow spikey thing with a Duplo-style eye stickered on. Although there's plenty of evidence of the giant monsters that turned Bricksburg to Apocalypseburg across the ruined city, I think this is the best nod of that sort.
A pleasant surprise for me was discovering that there's a little room beneath Lady Liberty's crown! Inside her head, a small bed, telescope, and a few stickered posters decorate the place. One of these, a brooding poster for "Where are My Pants?" suggests that this zone might be the favored hangout of the eponymous former TV star.
Last of the spaces enclosed within 70840's various layers and structures is a small nod to the Sewer Babies, who get their own little hole in the ground. Although no such babies come in this set, it's a welcome, affectionate nod to those little ones.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
Well, that's my piece. Let's tally things up...
What's to like?
- Loads of minifigs, including several exclusive to the set and likely to become collector's items
- Huge set with tons of pieces, also feels quite sizeable when assembled
- A large variety and quantity of new and interesting parts
- Build experience enjoyable and long
- Exterior design of model is the perfect balance of chaotic and cohesive
- Distinctive, iconic silhouette for display
- Fun and playful details pepper the build
- Remove sections of the build to access still greater detail, Easter eggs, etc.
What's not to like?
- Some spaces on the build inaccessible (camper van) or underutilized (police HQ)
- Low on play features beyond "access other areas"
- LEGO is expensive and this set contains a lot of LEGO, ergo it is expensive
I think 70840 makes for a pretty great set. It's a striking display piece clearly aimed at the TFOL/AFOL market, packed full of well-thought details, masterful brick geometry and delicious parts. The minifigure selection is large and - as it includes several exclusive characters - valuable to collectors. While this direct-to-consumer mega-set may not have the same level of complexity or cohesiveness as my personal gold standard for LEGO products of this kind, Ninjago City, it's definitely worth picking up if you can afford to!
Many thanks to LEGO for providing this set. Just a reminder that the opinions expressed in this review are those of the reviewer and do not reflect any opinions or influence from The LEGO Group. Hopefully you found this look at 70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg! enjoyable and enlightening. I'm not sure when our next set review will be, but until then, keep reading BZPower for all sorts of other LEGO news!
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