Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 22

With only three days left, the battle is coming down to the wire. Who will grab top marks today? Let’s find out.

Day 22 – MCU

Steve: Day 22 and the slog to mediocrity continues for the MCU Calendar

Door #22 is another fraction of the rocket sled – as we feared, we are facing the first 3-day build to appear in a LEGO Calendar. The colours are nice, and it’s good to see the sled taking shape, but it’s hard to feel excited about a build that doesn’t appear in the movies, isn’t in the Christmas special, and after 2 days is still incomplete. 

Day 22- SW

Pat: After years of awkward micros and infamous weapon racks, I struggle to imagine a built-up, non-minifig advent calendar gift Star Wars has produced that compares to getting a minifigure. Minifigures are just so usable, versatile, collectable, and such a huge part of Lego’s brand image – I’d buy an advent of 24 minifigures in a heartbeat! However, I think Star Wars finally produces something almost equally as appealing as a minifig, and something I’ve been suggesting for years – an accompanying minifig vignette.

Day 22 for the Star Wars advent gives us a small build of a Hoth Wampa Cave. The build is significant for an advent gift, building off a 2×6 plate and creating a larger footprint than two 1x6x5 wall panel bricks. The build is mostly white bricks and modified angled bricks, with a couple toothed pieces used to simulate icicles, and a 1×1 tan clip to hold a bone. This build is clearly the Wampa Cave from Episode 5 on Hoth, where Luke is taken back after being attacked by the Wampa and strung upside-down on the ceiling. This is a build we’ve seen a couple times before from Lego (once in 2010 and once in 2016, both appearing with the Luke minifigs discussed in yesterday’s review) but this is a super effective downsizing of it.

On it’s own, this isn’t exactly considered a minifig vignette – it doesn’t have a plaque or display stand insinuating it as exclusively a minifig vignette, but that’s clearly what it’s intended to be. It comes the day after we get the Luke Skywalker minifig wearing his outfit from the Wampa Cave scene, dangling by the icy ceiling with his lightsaber encased in ice out of reach below. In addition, there’s a couple of white studs exposed, where the backs of Luke’s legs can be attached, and by removing the tan bone, there is a perfect spot to connect a lightsaber. The resulting scene is a PERFECT little scene for a minifig. 

These displays could be stacked, connected modularly, and come with every calendar, or even every minifig in every calendar, annually. I would happily take 5-6 of these in a calendar instead of 5-6 more micro builds, and they could make weapon racks obsolete by simply attaching the minfig’s weapon to a clip on the build. I half think that’s what the star wars advent calendar started soft-running last year, with every minifig appearing with an accompanying build – vehicles for the Scout Trooper and Grogu, but weapon racks built up off small plates with room to pose the minifig – some examples include the Tusken Weapon Rack for the Tusken and the Imperial Weapon Rack for the Stormtrooper. This is clearly an improved version though – I hope its a sign of good things to come from the Star Wars advents!

Day 22- HP

Matt: After failing to retrieve top marks yesterday, HP is looking to capitalize over the next couple days as they typically bow out on Day 24. Let’s see what they have today.

Behind door 22 is a microscale rendition of Gringotts Bank and the Dragon. This hearkens back to the scene in Deathly Hallows where Horcrux-hunting Harry and Co. escape Gringotts on top of the dragon. I don’t know the exact species of this dragon, but a little research tells me it’s a Ukrainian Ironbelly, which sounds pretty awesome. 

The build is one of the more parts-intensive of the calendar at 22 parts. I like the use of the white telescope pieces and white dome to evoke the Gringotts facade. But the highlight for me is the dragon itself, built around a Travis brick. While the dragon’s head design leaves something to be desired, the wings are great and offer some functionality. The highlight for me is the use of the dark grey cattle horn as its tail. This is a rarer part to come by, and we actually get an extra here today, which will come in handy.

While microbuilds are not high up on our tier list, I tend to judge them based on their design and if they are instantly recognizable. I feel as though this one accomplishes both. While I still prefer The Burrow as the best micro of the season to date, I think this is runner up, edging out the Knight Bus. 

Overall, I may not keep the Gringotts facade assembled post-season, but the dragon could have a use as the mini-dragon popping the popcorn in the Weasley’s diagon alley shop, or perhaps one of the four dragons drawn by the Triwizard Champions prior to their 1st Task.

Verdict

Today’s matchup was one of the more debated matchups of the year. Ultimately, the majority felt that HP (slightly) beat out SW for top spot, as the gringotts/dragon micro edged the wampa cave (without minifig). In second place, SW, with its mini Wampa cave-frame to host Luke Skywalker from Day 21. In third, it’s the same old song and dance for MCU, still working its way through a complete sleigh build.

With the win, HP gains an additional point up on SW to give it a two point lead late into the season, and the scores are now: 

HP- 27

SW- 25

MCU- 14

To be continued…

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