Lego Indiana Jones & the Lost Tomb

My son has developed a love for all things Indiana Jones, and of course, I had nothing to do with it.  Really.  I might have suggested he watch the movies.  And sure, I've bought him the Young Indy dvd's, started putting together his Indy Halloween costume, and showed him the new movie trailer the first day it was up on the web, but I had nothing to do with his fascination with the character.

In my attempts to not indoctrinate him, I also bought him all the Lego sets released so far.  We've been putting them together slowly but surely, and I thought I'd cover one of the cooler sets tonight.  This one is the Lost Tomb set, based on Raiders of course.  You can pick this set up at most mass market retailers, like Target and Toys R Us, and this set runs around $20.  However, Toys R Us stores have this set (and the others!) on sale 20% until the 23rd!

Packaging - ***
Lego packaging always does a grat job whoeing off the set, and this one is no exception.  You get a feel for the adventure right from the front of the box.

Unfortunately, they still seem to pack all the pieces into a bunch of different bags, with no seeming rhyme or reason to the organization.  With a set like this, with only 277 pieces, it's not much of a problem, but if you assemble one of the 1500+ sets (and I have), it can certainly be a royal pain in the butt.  Some of the other Indy sets (including the biggest) actually have the parts separated into numbered bags, making it much easier to find the parts and put them together.

There's not much in terms of text, but they do have little photos showing how each of the action features work.

Design - ****
In recent years, Lego has been producing more and more unique pieces, designed specifically to handle unique licenses and situations.  While this might annoy traditionalists, it opens up the range of playsets they can do.

And yet, even with a set like this that is so license specific, they managed to design and develop a playset using predominately the same sort of pieces they've used for years.  Sure, there's some unique items, but most of what's here are standard items with new paint jobs.

The set isn't huge, with just 271 pieces.  It stands 5" tall, by 4" deep, by 7" wide.  And yet, they've added a bunch of cool play features, and created a scene that you'll recognize from the film immediately.

Indy looks terrific as well.  While the gun belt, jacket, shirt and pants are painted on - more on that in the next category - the bag and hat are sculpted separate and look terrific.  He also comes with his whip, which is a bit oversized but fits in his hand well.

Marion isn't quite as attractive.  Lego isn't exactly the most attractive medium for ladies, and this one is no exception.  That blocky, wide hipped body design doesn't do much for me, and you might not recognize her at first, but I'm glad they included her nonetheless.

Paint - ***1/2
Because of the unique location - inside an Egyptian tomb - Lego had to do a bit more with the paint than usual.  Instead of the blocks simply being cast in various colors of plastic, they've added some interesting Egyptian designs to the walls, as well as eyes for Anibus.

The paint work on Marion and Indy is excellent, at the quality level you expect from Lego.  Marion has two faces, one on either side of the head.  There's the smiling version, and the scared version, which you can use depending on the situation.

Indy has a ton of detail in his painted clothes, as well as details like the stubble on his face.  While these are largely tampos, they are done cleanly and evenly, with nothing applied crooked.

The cool designs on the walls and outcroppings are great, done in a subtle yet striking manner.  They add a ton of visual quality to the set.  Of course, they're stickers, but they are very well done and are attached by the factory, rather than you.

And I didn't notice this til a reader pointed it out, but the sticker below the 'snake pit' has R2 and C-3PO on it!  Isn't that cute?

Articulation/Features - ***1/2
The figures have the usual Lego articulation - cut neck, shoulders, and wrists with pin hips.

The set itself is also 'articulated' to some degree, with several cool play features.

First, there's the falling snakes.  You can put all the snakes (and there's a ton!) in the ceiling above the ark. Press on a Lego lever, and the snakes drop down!  And we know how much Indy hates snakes.

Both Anubis statues are also hinged.  Pull a pin out and the statue falls backwards, crashing into a special break away section of wall.  Hidden behind one of these walls is a hanging skeleton, just waiting to pop out.  Aaaaahhhhhh!

Assembly - ***
The set was relatively easy to assemble, due in part to the wider range of colors for the basic blocks.  Instead of just black, gray and brown, you have a greater difference in the colors, making it easier for us color blind folks to read the instructions.  On top of that, they decided to print the pictures in the directions on lighter colored paper, also making it easier to read.

Most kids 7 or so and up will be able to handle this set with very little help.

Fun Factor - ****
The set is GREAT fun.  All those nifty action features work well, and add to the play value.  Like all Lego sets, the only annoying factor is when the damn things fall apart, but at least with this set, it's easy to put it back together.

Value - ***
When it comes to Lego sets, you often have to go in with the attitude that money is no object.  These are generally expensive toys.

This one will only set you back twenty bucks though, and considering the play value AND the special decorations in the set, it's a pretty good Lego value.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not a thing.

Overall - ***1/2
I'm really happy with this set, as is my seven year old son.  It seems like most of the companies involved with the Indiana Jones license this year are really stepping it up with the products they are releasing.  Lego has designed some terrific sets, and I think that the Tomb is my favorite of the four released so far.

I'll probably be covering the others though too, or have a guest review or two.  In fact, I think Indiana Jones reviews just might take over a lot of my time this year, whether it's Lego or Sideshow or Hasbro or Gentle Giant or Kotobukiya...but I don't think that's going to upset my son too much.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Design - ****
Paint - ***
Articulation/Features - ***1/2
Assembly - ***
Fun Factor - ****
Value -  ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Hit your local Target and Toys R Us, and on top of that, Toys R Us has them on sale right now for 20% off.

- Related Links -
Other building set reviews include:

- I reviewed one of the Batman Lego sets awhile back.

- Art Asylum's C3 line didn't have as nice of building toys, but I much preferred the actual figures. Here's a review of several recent mini-flyers, the older Flash Javelin, and the first series Chemical Warehouse.

- and if you like building toys, do NOT ignore the Mega-bloks, especially the Pyrates series. My son adores these things, and spends countless hours with them. The quality and detail is really amazing.


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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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