Set Review: 8080 Undersea Explorer
Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 at 6:04pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
It is time for another set review courtesy of BrickFair (not to be confused with a BrickFair set review. Sisen is back once again with a review of another Atlantis set, the Undersea Explorer. Just how awesome (or not) is this transforming underwater vehicle? You'll have to read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
If you are a fan of anything mecha, or even if you are not, the first thing you observe about this box is the Undersea Explorer. The underwater mech is prominently featured on the front of the box in battle with the sea serpent. You'll also notice in the bottom right corner it indicates that the Undersea Explorer transforms. The front of the box also displays the Atlantis theme and LEGO logos, as well as the 'special edition' branding. Also on the box: the age range (7-14), set number (8080), the set name, and the piece count (364). Under this information you'll see a circular space showcasing the collectable red key with Shark symbol inscribed upon it. At the very top of the box, towards the middle you can see a slight dent that made the set damaged and marked half of at the Running of the Bulls.
When you turn the box over you'll see the Undersea Explorer in rover mode, with the sea serpent swimming alongside it. There is a space showcasing the torpedo launcher that the mech is equipped with. Other than the LEGO logo and set number, there is a web address for LEGO.com. On the bottom left corner of the box there is a space that tells you the red Shark inscribed ring is number three of the quintuplet. Along the bottom of the box the Undersea Explorer is shown transforming from robot form to rover form.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
After you empty the box out, you'll find three bags of pieces, an instruction book, and two ribbed hoses. There is also a medium sized sticker sheet to adorn the mech and sea serpent if you want to. When you sort out the pieces you'll notice there is a fair amount of yellow in the set, as well as all the red. Red is one of the more prominent colors in the Atlantis theme, so a fair amount of the red pieces are shared amongst the sets. That being said, there are some new and exclusive pieces to Atlantis and there are some pieces that have only been used sparingly in recent years. There are three large black barb claw-horns, two white large black barb claw-horns, eight black curved round technic pin connectors with fin and hole, an inverted dark bluish gray slope, three dark bluish gray modified technic bricks with a ball joint, two light bluish gray slopes with no studs, two round lime robot body bricks, a trans-bright green windscreen, two trans-bright green Bionicle Barraki eyes, six red wheels, two small red technic panels and a pearl light gray propeller. There are a lot of useful and colorful pieces in the set and they make a nice addition to any collection.
Putting together the Undersea Explorer was a great experience. You start out by building the sea serpent which is a great addition to the set. The sea creature has a moveable mouth, fins, and tail. Its tail practically moves every which way possible and really captures the definition of serpent. The head of the creature is a tad blocky and could have possibly been better integrated with its form. It is still a nice complement to the Undersea Explorer.
The construction of the Undersea Explorer is pretty straight forward. You build the torso/cockpit first, then the legs, and finally the arms. The torso is the most complex part of the set design and has a good look to it, while the arms and legs are fairly simple. It is a lot of fun to build and somewhat of a rush to get to the end result: the transforming underwater robot.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
The Undersea Explorer is a pretty sweet underwater mech. Not only does it have the ability to transform into a rover, it also has a functional hand and torpedo launcher. The design itself is sound and it aesthetically pleasing. You get a nice range of movement with the arms; however the legs lack a full range of movement. While the arms have shoulder and elbow joints, the legs only have hip and ankle joints. Just imagine trying to walk without bending your knees, it leaves the mech with a shambling Frankenstein walk. It would have been nice to have a wider range of movement for the legs, but other than that the set design is great. You can't deny that its transformation capability is awesome, as is the wicked sea serpent.
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?
Playing with the Undersea Explorer and sea serpent is a lot of fun. The transforming robot is a great deal of fun to play with in and of itself, but the sea serpent really adds to the experience. The mech is capable of transforming into a rover or giant robot. It comes with two flick torpedoes located on its shoulders, which can be a tad troublesome to flick due to the hoses and propeller. It also has a torpedo launcher on its right arm. I'm not sure why you need tiny flick torpedoes when you have a cannon arm, but they're both fun to play with. They certainly come in handy when you're facing a ferocious sea serpent. Something else that enhances the playability is while in rover mode the Undersea Explorer can still utilize its arms, pretty handy if you ask me.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
The Undersea Explorer is a great set for anyone who is a fan of transforming robots. It has a nice design to it and a lot of playability potential. The set has two different modes, robot and rover, plus it comes with a sea serpent. With all the great pieces and fun that comes with the set, it surely ranks as a must have.
What's to like?
- Great assemblage of pieces
- Transforming robot
- Articulate sea serpent
- Lots of playability and function
Damaged Set = Half Off
What's not to like?
- The hip bone is connected to the ankle bone
And so another review is concluded - be sure to thank Sisen in the Talkback and leave your comments and any other questions you might have. Of course, you can keep checking back for more set reviews and all the latest Bionicle, Hero Factory, and other LEGO news.
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