I can’t help it. Every time I look at this thing at first glance I have that thought. It just looks too odd for words. And it’s not just me. This morning when my 4 year old saw it he said, “Daddy, the Lego set you built last night is too silly.” The structure looks awkward, like a duck that didn’t know it was supposed to be a pigeon. This set was released the year after my dark age began, back in 1996. So while I was skateboarding in the streets and Marilyn Manson was shocking people on TV I never even noticed this quaint little theme ever existed.
After my dark ages ended I started going back through old catalogues. I wondered where I left off. Whenever I saw pictures of Time Cruisers I had a “what were they thinking?” reaction. The parts usage is so bizarre, like they just mashed up a bunch of themes. I get the idea. Build a crossover for kids who had Lego from various themes, as most likely did, and allow them to connect. Lego is all about building connection.
So when I got this set for a great price I thought I was just going to use it for the parts. There’s a lot in there for classic Space, Castle and especially Pirate collectors such as myself. But it was while I was building it that I realized that this set was so much more than a mash up. A lot of love went into this weird little build, which I now call Duckie.
Duckie isn’t a mashup at all, it’s an homage. And not just any homage, it specifically honours the years that I was Lego obsessed as a child. As a time machine it’s a Pirate ship with Space wings and jets with a Train cockpit with Dragon bow and stern. The story is of an equally awkward trio, an eccentric man, a curious boy and a saucy monkey. What new mischief will they find exploring the Lego timeline?
It also has amazing play features. The wheels are geared to turn the propellor and flap the wings, something I hadn’t ever noticed in pictures. It has a rotating telescope, classic Space lasers, a look out, and classic Castle mounted crossbows. Also included is storage with costumes for the two in each time period. How cool is that? It even includes time period weapons to equip your crew for any adventure. Ice Planet, Explorians, Pirates, and Dragon Masters all get big nods. In many ways this set is exactly what I want to come from Lego now, a set that is almost exclusively built for play.
In many ways I feel like this line was wrapping up a specific time period of Lego themes. Most were soon after discontinued for long periods. This was a series that sort of said goodbye to a generation by tying them all together for one last hurrah. And it was my generation!
As part of our new Monthly Newsletter initiative, longtime LUG member and Star Wars fanatic Patrick Barnes has written an extensive in-depth review of 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina for out LUG website. Read on!
“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars (1977)
Patrick: For almost half a century, the Mos Eisley Cantina has been captivating die-hard Sci-Fi fans, as well as introducing new ones to the galaxy far, far away known as Star Wars. The shady characters and aliens, the iconic jazzy Cantina theme and the events that take place within have all become synonymous with Star Wars, and it’s hard to imagine the universe without Chalmun’s Cantina on that dusty, backwater planet of Tatooine. Naturally, with such prominence in the original Star Wars movie, toys would soon follow the film release, and kids and adults alike could finally bring a piece of the Cantina home. This originally appeared in the form of the 1977 Kenner Action Figures, where Cantina patrons could be purchased under aliases like “Hammerhead” and “Walrus Man”.
In 2004, Lego tried their hand at their first Chalmun’s Cantina with set 4501, most notably featuring the original Greedo minifigure with arm-printing, as well as the first Dewback build (reptilian beast ridden by Imperial troopers in the movie). The Cantina build itself was considered quite poor, even for the time, though subsequent Cantina builds (75052 in 2014 and 25205 in 2018) drastically improved on the original structure by including more booths, as well as Cantina band members and the bartender, Wuher. It wasn’t until 2020, with the title set 75290: MBS Mos Eisley Cantina, that Lego finally released an accurate, large, figure-filled set, and in my opinion, finally did the iconic scene justice.
Weighing in at 3,187 pieces and 21 minifigures, the 75290 Cantina comprises of everything seen above; Chalmun’s Cantina, two separate Tatooine buildings, two speeders, two moisture vaporators and the Dewback. The build was super enjoyable, much more like building a Creator or City set than a Star Wars set, as much of it comprised of brick-on-brick building rather than the pin/beam/Technic nature of most modern Star Wars sets. The build also came together really nicely, being assembled in large, individual portions before being combined together. Once the initial structure was done, adjoining sections were attached, such as the Dewback pen and the other buildings. *Tan background baseplates and plates holding figures NOT included*
On note of the initial structure, isolating it from the minifigures and other buildings shows an imposing but accurate depiction of the Cantina. Nice angles are used to show how the structure is not just a square, and contrasting light and dark grey elements against the tan and dark tan building add believable detail to what a run-down bar on a seedy planet could look like.
Removable roofs, ratcheted dome pieces and sliding doors provide excellent access to the interior, which is now visible with a significant bar assembly, booths, tables, and a stage for the band. All roof sections are either fixed via one or two studs, or simply laid on; However, once the roof sections are removed..
The Cantina can open up! Multiple hinges allows the Cantina to open from both sides, leaving the bar in the middle and providing lots of playable/usable space to display figures. I included the figures to flesh out the build and give an idea what it looks like occupied; I really love this angle!! All booths can now be accessed, including a booth with launching mechanisms for Han and Greedo, as well as behind the bar and in Wuher’s back room. The build re-combines with only a single pin, meaning transporting the structure between rooms might be dangerous, however once reassembled it feels very solid and sturdy.
Moving away from the Cantina, above we see both side structures, as well as their interiors. The structure on the left is supposed to be a small house of some kind, and while it does not have a full back or a closable door, the house is still very effective and looks like something seen on screen in Episode 4. I especially like the greebling on the removable roof sections, implying some air circulation or conditioning in the building below. The structure on the right, however, feels more complete, and can also open via hinges, with a sliding door and a ratcheted dome. This structure is implied to be a Jawa shop, and while I don’t know if a Jawa shop is seen on Tatooine, other than the Sandcrawler, it definitely feels like something that could be found on the planet, and it could just as easily be a shop for someone else. There are less surface-level details on this hut, but it uses a nice cloth piece as an overhang for the shop window below, which I think gives it the edge out of the two for better assemblies. Both structures can attach to each other via clips, which can then attach to the larger Cantina. Initially, I did not like the inclusion of smaller buildings as it felt like an excuse to bump the pieces- and therefore the price- up, but I actually think they add a lot to the build and the overall scene, it also allows the Cantina to have a sort of “courtyard” outside, where figures and speeders can be placed, as seen below.
Finally, the set also includes three other, smaller builds in the (L to R) V-35 Courier Landspeeder, the Dewback with Sandtrooper saddle assembly, and the Ubrikkian 9000 Landspeeder. All three are seen on Tatooine and therefore are valid, welcomed inclusions in the set, though a personal favourite is the V-35, as it’s the first time we’ve received this in Lego, and it has a super slick design. It can seat two people, with a windscreen that needs to be completely removed for access to one. The Dewback is new for this set because of a SLIGHTLY updated eye print and slightly different saddle build, otherwise it would exactly like the one found in 2014s Cantina- which is totally fine, its very effective. It also includes a small, olive green back build (not pictured) you can swap out the saddle for, which I guess allows you to have off-the-clock or wild Dewbacks. Finally, the Ubrikkian 9000, which contains more stickers than the rest of the set combined, is a fine inclusion. It is slightly updated from its 2018 variant with opaque black windscreens instead of clear, and also dropping the stud-shooter. I’ve always found these a little silly, not really resembling a speeder at all, but I have to hand it to Lego, it looks exactly like it did in the movie.
As stated previously, the set includes 21 minifigures. I have divided these figures into categories based on rarity for review, as well as valuation purposes- more exclusive figures in a set, more desirable those figures, and therefore that set will be!
The five most common minifigures of the set are found above, which are (L to R) R2-D2, C-3PO, a Jawa, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca. Now, these figures being here does not imply they are not desirable, nor are they not necessary inclusions in the set. They just use existing prints and designs from previous figures, meaning they are not new and less valuable. Surprisingly, the rarest of the five above is R2, utilizing a new print introduced in 2019/2020. C-3PO, Luke and Chewie are all pretty common, as the most accurate versions of these characters, and the Jawa can be acquired from the new Luke’s Landspeeder and the Tatooine Battle Pack. I guess standout figs of the lot are Luke and 3PO for the accurate printing, though I’d like to see another 3PO with side leg printing.
The following lot of minifigures I have deemed “pseudo-rare”, where they can be acquired from another set but maybe only one or two others. Left to right, they are the three Bith Musicians, Wuher, Greedo, Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The least rare of the lot is definitely Han Solo, who has appeared in other sets, and even in the 2018 Cantina. However, he is an essential inclusion in the set and contains the desirable newer head and hair combo, giving him the edge. Wuher and Greedo are identical to their 2018 appearance in the 75205 Cantina, but are found only in that set otherwise (in this version at least. This is Greedos third iteration). Greedo appearing identical to how he did in 2018, which was even a step down from 2014, was a bit disappointing, as myself and other fans expected arm-printing as a callback to his original 2004 figure, but he is still an effective figure and necessary counterpart to Han. Obi-Wan utilizes the new hood piece, and is exclusive to the Cantina other than his lowkey appearance last year in 75246- Death Star Cannon. Finally, the Bith Musicians (of which there are three in the set) are identical to how they appeared in the 2014 Cantina, but this is an acceptable compromise as a) if you own both sets you can create one, larger band, and b) the 2014 design for the Bith Musicians was excellent and worth reusing. Therefore, the standouts of the lot are the Biths, and Obi with the exclusive hood.
Finally, no good Star Wars Ultimate Collectors Series or Master Builder Series set would be complete without some exclusive figures, and in this set there are nine. From left to right, they are Sandtrooper Squad Leader, Sandtrooper, Hrchek Kal Fas, Ponda Baba, Dr. Evazan, Momaw Nadon, Kabe, Labria and Garindan. Other than the Sandtroopers, all of these characters are brand new for Lego, which, as a Star Wars minfigure collector, I couldn’t be happier! These are all valid and necessary inclusions for a large Cantina set- what kind of bar would be complete without patrons? The Sandtroopers are considered new because of updated backpack builds, as well as head variations below their helmets. All the figures otherwise utilize brand new head prints, new head molds, new torso prints and new leg prints (in the case of Momaw). The standouts for me out of this crew have got to be Garindan, as we’ve been overdue the Imperial Spy in Lego for YEARS, as well as Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba. The duo were also long overdue, and if a mid-sized cantina set was made between this size and the older, smaller ones, I had always hoped it would include at least those two. Finally, I really like the printing on Momaw especially, as well as Kabe’s torso, which just SCREAMS 70s. Overall, fantastic figure selection.
I preface this with; everyone knows Lego is expensive, its synonymous with the brand itself at this point. That being said, its still polarizing, for me at least, to drop $449.99 on a Lego set; that is no insignificant chunk of change. However, I’m happy to confirm that this set FEELS like hundreds of dollars worth of Lego. It FEELS like a premium product, with instructions containing facts and blurbs about the characters, vehicles, and settings the set is depicting. They give you plenty of figures to occupy the Cantina, and its designed to be opened and occupied. The set functions as both a play and display piece, which is where I think the line is drawn between this set and others in a similar vain such as set 75098 UCS Assault on Hoth and set 75222 MBS Betrayal at Cloud City. From any angle, both exterior and interior, this set looks concise and whole, as if every detail was meticulously considered to ensure all boxes are checked. And other than a minor gripe about exclusive minifigure selection (or there lack of), it checks every box for me too.
I rate this set a slimy and villainous 9.5/10, and it appropriately takes its place in my top five Lego sets ever!
A big thanks to Patrick for writing this thorough review!
With the battle now concluded, our reviewers share their final thoughts on this year’s advent calendars:
Stephen Churchill (SW Reviewer): Final thoughts on the whole thing- Both Matt and I went into December expecting an easy overall win for Star Wars, and we were both wrong. Thanks to some lucky/strategic matchups, Harry Potter kept the score interesting and it was a nail-biter right to the end. Looking back, an overall tie actually feels right. Both Calendars have had good days and bad this year, and overall 2020’s Star Wars calendar turned out to be a middle-of-the-road offering – neither the worst nor the greatest.
Patrick Barnes (SW Weekend Reviewer): As someone who has been getting the annual Star Wars advent since 2011, I was really happy with this years calendar. The majority of the vehicle builds were great and I’ll likely keep them built, which is more than I can say for a lot of previous advent builds, and the calendar came with a whopping 10 figures, so days with gifts like the Battle Droid and Porg didn’t feel like a wasted slot. I would have liked to have seen more Mandalorian and Clone Wars builds, as those media have been staples of Star Wars this past year, but it was nice to get stuff over all three trilogies regardless. I think the highlight of the calendar has got to be Poe and Vader in their Christmas sweaters!!
Matt Zwicker (HP Reviewer): This is the second year for the Harry Potter Advent Calendar, and first year that we’ve run a seasonal “battle” (for fun) on NewfoundLUG.ca. I had previously run this in the comments section of Brickset (a popular LEGO Fan wesbite) and it was well received, so together Steve and I thought it would be a fun competition to bring in-house, and run on our LUG’s website. I’m glad we did.
I think overall HP’s inaugural 2019 calendar was better, maybe just based on the figs or the novelty at the time. My initial thoughts upon seeing the 2020 box art was that this year’s calendar was going to be far weaker. Despite my initial take, I actually welcome the strategy of sticking to Year 4 (Goblet of Fire) as the overall theme for the calendar. I think that’s a smart play by TLG and gives them a strategy moving forward. There’s so much content in each novel/film, that sticking to a single one for each HPAC is pretty cool. That said, while the Yule Ball does take place around Christmas, I felt like it hemmed us in a little bit in terms of daily offerings. Getting multiple mantle/windowsill days as well as two halves of an ice sculpture felt a bit cheapened. I would prefer if each HPAC told a visual story of the novel/film as we worked our way through December month. That said, the “coherent scene” theme that’s come to define the HPAC’s from both 2019 and 2020 might suffer under that strategy I just mentioned. It’s always give and take with these things.
The 4th novel is my favorite although ironically, my least favorite film. That said, there were a lot of missed opportunities in my opinion. How about a Quidditch World Cup Viktor Krum in Bulgarian colours? A microscale Hungarian Horntail? Something from the 2nd Triwizard Challenge? Mad-Eye Moody/exclusive Barty Crouch fig? Fleur or Madame Maxine? So many possibilities. And as mentioned in the Day 24 review, I would have liked the last couple days to be both festive and HP related, with a definite Dumbledore/Voldemort presence (If SW can get its main antagonist, why can’t we?!).
In the end, as Steve mentioned, HP pulled off some strategic wins where it mattered and were able to secure 12 days worth of points, which came as a definite surprise to me. All’s well that ends well.
That’s it folks! I’d like to take this time to thank both Steve and Patrick for their insightful reviews and commitment to the Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars on NewfoundLUG.ca. I hope that you, the reader, enjoyed following along with our daily matchups for a laugh, and if you have any thoughts or suggestions of your own, we’d love to hear the feedback!
On behalf of my fellow reviewers and the rest of NewfoundLUG, we’d like to wish you and yours a safe, relaxing, and brick filled holidays!
With SW down a single point, can they complete the comeback to tie the overall seasonal battle, or will HP secure it’s final point for the win? It has all come down to the final day of the season. Let’s see how the battle concludes:
Harry Potter- Day 24
Matt: After giving back a point on a very close decision yesterday, HP still requires one more to secure the overall seasonal victory. Behind Door #24 is the Triwizard Cup. While faithful to the on screen version, I am reticent to grant this entry a passing grade, especially on the final day of the calendar. Although it is a critical item at the end of the 4th film, acting as a portkey to the graveyard scene, it really doesn’t have that festive, HP vibe I was hoping for. I’m surprised that we haven’t seen a Santa Claus Albus Dumbledore for the second straight year, or maybe a festive Voldemort (yeah, I said his name) on the final day of the calendar. Or any fig for that matter. I do enjoy the overall design, and the snake pieces on today’s entry but find the inverted trans-light blue 2×2 round brick to be a bit bulky. A shame for HP to finish off the calendar in such a mediocre fashion, and I’m sure most fans were hoping for a better finish. It’s definitely a bit of a head scratcher. Today’s entry leaves us on a ho-hum note, and certainly can’t match SW’s entry today. I’ll touch more on this year’s HPAC in the final thoughts section, but for now, this is the way (wait, that’s a SW thing).
Star Wars- Day 24
Steve: The final door for Star Wars isn’t a surprise, we’ve seen him on the box so he had to show up today – It’s Darth Vader in a Holiday Sweater! Needless to say, this is a unique fig, depicting Vader in an appearance in the 2020 LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. The printing on the torso and legs is clean (no arm printing, though). The helmet is the new ‘split’ style, which is always appreciated, and the face underneath is a good print with scars printed around the entire head. Overall, this is easily the best fig that Star Wars has had for the calendar, and easily takes the day.
With a bizarre final HP build versus an exclusive and festive SW fig, it’s really one of the more lopsided wins of the season with SW cruising to an easy victory today. With the win, SW goes back to back to tie the overall battle, and the score concluded as a tie with:
Stay tuned for our concluding article later this evening, where we will recap the seasonal battle and our reviewers will share their final thoughts on this year’s advent calendars!
With only two days to go, HP has already secured an overall tie in this year’s calendar. SW needs to sweep the last two days in order to secure an overall tie this year. Can they come back or will HP grab the win? Let’s find out:
Harry Potter- Day 23
Matt: After Hermione came to the rescue yesterday, HP needs to grab a point today or tomorrow to secure the seasonal victory. Behind Door #23 are festive Hogwarts house presents. Owners of last year’s calendar will recognize today’s gift as the 2019 calendar also offered 4 gifts representing each of the Hogwarts houses (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin). Worth nothing that the shapes of each gift are different than their 2019 counterparts adding to the variance from year to year, which is nice if this is your 2nd annual HPAC. The main difference, however, is the wrapped Firebolt as the Gryffindor house gift. I think this is a cool addition, and it is synonymous with the 4th novel/film, as Harry gets an upgrade to his Nimbus 2000 at Christmas time by receiving the Firebolt from an anonymous sender (his godfather Sirius Black). I think the gold and dark red work best here on the broomstick, unlike the dark yellow/dark red Gryffindor present colours last year. The main knock on today’s entry are the use of 1×1 clips on the presents. With all the accessories now available to us via Clickits and Friends theme lines, they could have instead gone with pieces such as bows, flower, star, heart, quarter tiles, etc. It’s a minor gripe, but I definitely think this would have improved today’s offering. Overall though, a solid to-scale, festive and themed gift today. Could there have been better options for the 23rd of December? Yes, no doubt. But the gifts today certainly aren’t among the lower tier entries this year and I look forward to tomorrow’s offering.
Star Wars- Day 23
Steve: Star Wars needs the ‘W’ today to stay in it. Behind door 23 we have a microscale version of Darth Vader’s castle! This is a well designed build, a great example of microscale – it evokes the shape of the original in just a few well-chosen pieces and techniques. The model itself may not be iconic to more casual fans, having only appeared on-screen for a brief shot in ‘Rogue One’ but we’ve seen it in many games and other media before and since. Accompanying the castle is the smallest (nanoscale?) TIE Fighter I’ve ever seen. Ideally, this should be Vader’s custom TIE, but the twin hulls mark this as a TIE Bomber variant. It’s hard to criticize at this scale, given it manages to say ‘TIE’ with only 3 pieces! Darth Vader can feel the presents of today’s HP build, but takes the win today to force the contest down to the wire for Day 24.
While HP provided a to-scale, festive, and on theme build today, it was SW that came out on top with a microscale rendition of Vader’s castle with nanoscale TIE fighter. With the win, SW keeps their hopes of a seasonal draw alive, and it comes down to the last day of advent. With the win, the score is now:
With only THREE DAYS LEFT (can’t believe we’re here already), HP has a single point lead over SW by a score of 11-10. Can SW complete the comeback and even the score, setting us up for a dramatic finish, or will HP clinch at least a seasonal tie? Let’s find out on a critical Day 22:
Harry Potter- Day 22
Matt: Oh HP, the up and down roller coaster continues until the end. With only 3 days left, HP needs a single point to clinch a tie, and two for the win. Can they pull it off? Behind Door #22 is none other than Hermione Granger! It wasn’t a stretch to imagine that she’d show up at some point, given her presence in last year’s calendar and the fact that both Harry and Ron have shown up so far in 2020. Furthermore, the Yule Ball is where the star Gryffindor student really shines and cleans up well (to say the least). Her dashing appearance at the ball was the salt in the wounds of one Ronald Weasley on that night, and it’s no wonder he was so sour. At least she enjoyed the evening with Bulgarian Quidditch prodigy Viktor Krum. But alas, back to the fig. This variant of Hermione appears only once before in a $120 dollar set, making her presence here that much more welcoming. Her Yule Ball attire looks fantastic, with superb printing adorning her light pink torso and dark pink/magenta leg piece (1×2 brick). I also like how the fuchsia 1×2 plate looks to cap off the fig. The hair piece is true to her appearance in this scene, and there is a small hole on the top of her head to place an accessory, if desired (although none are included here). She carries her typical dark tan wand and again, we’re treated to an extra sprue. Apart from the exclusive figs we received in this year’s calendar, I think this one is the next best offering in the minifig category. Once again and true to form, Hermione shows up to save the day for the HP calendar assuring that it can do no worse than a tie this holiday season. Clutch.
Star Wars- Day 22
Steve: Minifig vs. minifig battle! Against a very nice Hermione, Star Wars puts up…. an Imperial Stormtrooper. It’s the new dual-molded helmet outside, but the old “angry clone face” inside. I’m not a huge fan of the newest helmet mold for Stormtroopers, as it limits the ability to rotate the head for posing. There’s nothing wrong with this figure, it’s just not particularly exciting. Harry Potter wins the day and secures at least a tie – Star Wars needs to sweep the last 2 days just to even it up.
Hermione takes a commanding point today over the stormtrooper. With the win, the Harry Potter Advent Calendar is the first to reach the magic number of 12 points- meaning it can do no worse than a tie this holiday season. Although it struggled to find consistency throughout, it managed to secure enough head to head victories to get it this far so it should be commended for that. The final question is, can HP grab any of the remaining two points or can SW take back to back days deep in the calendar to tie the battle up? We will find out tomorrow. For now, the score is:
Kicking off the week with only 4 days left to go, it’s HP with a two-point buffer over SW. But anything can happen in the battle. Today could determine whether HP secures a tie overall, or if the competition remains up in the air. Let’s check it out:
Harry Potter- Day 21
Matt: You’ve got to hand it to HP. They’ve gotten this far despite some really mediocre offerings. Can they capitalize on their momentum to secure an overall tie in the battle? Behind Door #21 is a microphone and music stand. I’m not sure this is what HP fans were expecting today, especially at this juncture in the advent season. This is presumably for the Yule Ball scene and to pair with the piano we received earlier. I think it’s a pretty weak offering today, although I do appreciate the 2×2 printed music tile. That part is fairly rare, having only appeared in a few other sets prior to now (thanks Bricklink). Like many builds this season, the link to HP is weak at best, and the focus on the Yule Ball scene has resulted in some thin HP-based offerings. I’ll touch on this at the end of the calendar battle on the 24th so stay tuned. For now, we get a really nice printed tile, but that’s about it. A bit of a letdown in my opinion, and I think SW will grab the point today if they put up anything festive/on theme at all.
Star Wars- Day 21
Steve: It’s Christmas Week and Star Wars is down by 2 – can they come back? Today’s build is a “Snow-Gonk Droid”, continuing a tradition of a festive-themed droid in Star Wars calendars. This figure is seen briefly on screen in the 2020 LEGO Star Wars Holiday special, and the model here is very accurately that appearance. While I’m sure it’s not going to win over any Star Wars purists, it’s a fun little build and goes great with the other Holiday-themed figures we’ve seen so far. This figure is a winner in my books.
With a festive and on-theme build, SW grabs today’s point over HP, who submits a fairly weak offering for such a late date in the calendar season. With the win, SW keeps HP within its grasp, preventing HP from clinching at least a tie. Tomorrow’s matchup will be critical, but for now, the score is:
While it may be a cold Sunday evening outside, the heat is on for this season’s battle. With only 5 days remaining, every point is massive from here on in. HP has a one point advantage but based on the entries this year, no lead is safe. Let’s see what awaits us behind Door #20:
Harry Potter- Day 20
Matt: With yesterday’s superb minifigure, HP managed to grab a one point lead late in the calendar battle. It’s far from over though, and I believe HP has won some strategic days to get their current lead. Behind Door #20 is the second and final half of the ice sculpture Yule Ball table. After Day 18’s half-table with 1×4 technic brick, we had a hint that this half was just around the corner. Again, we are treated to more ice sculptures topped with 1×1 trans clear pyramidal bricks which are the highlight for me. We also get 1×1 trans clear plates with vertical sticks, used to create the drinks on the table (pumpkin juice perhaps?). I actually think this half of the table looks cleaner, if not as vibrant as its predecessor. The key point of today’s build are the technic pins which now allow us to connect and complete the final round table (see extra picture below). I know we’re usually hard on “rehash/repeat” builds within the same calendar, but I actually believe the final result is far better than the mantle/windowsill “scene” that was spread out over 3 days in the mid-calendar. Bear in mind, we get a “to-scale” table that can be used as an accessory, even across multiple themes (City Christmas layout, anyone?). Overall, I can’t get as excited about builds that have a thin HP vibe to them, and “near duplicate” builds can be disappointing, but I believe the final model is pretty robust. I just wish it came behind one door rather than two.
Star Wars- Day 20
Patrick: As we approach the end of the advent, one would think the caliber of builds would be elevated, finish on a high note and whatnot. So what iconic vehicle, character or scene from the Star Wars saga will we kick off the 20s with… some plates drying? Or like a spring? Ohhhh, its the Rebel’s shield generator from Hoth… sure. Its probably the weakest build we’ve gotten in the advent, with the “disks” representing the separate rings, but otherwise theres very little going on. If they had used some of the newer 1×1 quarter-circle tiles to cover the studs it might’ve worked a little better, but the build still uses a random blue plate that ruins the whole grey/white colour scheme. Even though the SNOT (Studs Not On Top) technique was well executed at this scale, its not enough to redeem this unremarkable build in an otherwise great advent calendar.
With precious few days to go, we expect great things from both calendars. Unfortunately, SW did not put up a great Day #20 build today, and while HP’s is a near duplicate, it completes a festive, to-scale Yule Ball model, and the result is solid. By those metrics, HP grabs another point in back to back days, and has opened up a two point lead late in the competition. It needs only ONE more point to secure a tie, and two for the win. But anything can happen. Heading into Monday, the score is now:
Patrick Barnes is back with our weekend SW reviews!
With just 6 days left, the battle is reaching a boiling point, with both calendars going day for day. The final week is critical for both calendars, and we will ultimately see which one comes out on top. Let’s see the results for Day 19:
Harry Potter- Day 19
Matt: After giving up the lead (yet again), HP really needs to impress this week if they want any shot at winning the overall battle. Behind Door #19 is Parvati Patil! The twin of Padma who we received on Day 15, she is also the last minute date of Harry Potter for the Yule Ball. This is the first iteration of Parvati Patil in brick form, making her an exclusive as well. Like her twin sister, she sports a similar colour attire, although this time her dress colours are the inverse of her sisters, with a coral torso and printed magenta 1×2 brick as her dress. She also shares similar highlights as her sister including the gold bindi on her forehead and her facial expression (dual sided). Upon closer inspection, there are some very slight differences in the silver printing on their dresses, which adds to the exclusivity factor, however I’m not 100% sure this was intentional. She also sports a dark orange wand, with an extra sprue. With today’s entry, we now have two Yule Ball exclusive Patil twins. On a side note, I often felt bad for the twins because Harry and Ron weren’t exactly great dates that night, as both of them wished they were there with someone else. Overall, these are the type of gifts we want in HP calendars- new, exclusive, festive, and HP related. HP is ticking all the boxes today, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.
Star Wars- Day 19
Patrick: Entering the final weekend of the advent calendar, door 19 reveals the advents second animal, a mini Tauntaun! I guess he’s a Rudolf the Red-Nosed Tauntaun due to the addition of the stud, which was probably unnecessary, I would’ve been happy to simply get the Tauntaun build, but appreciated regardless. This little guy has a pretty complex build to achieve the right shaping of the body, tail and legs, and the inclusion of a 1×1 brown plate for the saddle was a nice touch. The head doesn’t look great with the big tan clips used to hold the horns on but I can’t think of a better piece they could’ve used instead either. In general this is a nice attempt at a Tauntaun at this scale that will have a hard time beating an exclusive Harry Potter character.
With its third exclusive minifigure of the season, Harry Potter takes today’s point form Star Wars, and retakes a one point lead deep into the season of advent. The matchup is razor close and heading into Sunday, the score is now:
After 17 days, HP has fought its way back to a tenuous, one point advantage. Will SW tie things back up again or will HP break out into its first two point lead since Day 6? Read on to find out:
Harry Potter- Day 18
Matt: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a bit surprised that HP has the lead. I think with a string of mediocre builds in the mid-calendar, they are lucky to be here at this point. But I’ll take it. Behind door #18 is half a yule ball ice sculpture table with food and potentially drink. Whew. That was a mouthful. This build is presumably based off the movie scene as I don’t recall this item being a main fixture in the novel. The build is essentially half complete as the 1×4 technic brick with holes suggests that the other half of the table is yet to come. There appear to be food and drink of some sort adorning the table, but I’d be hesitant to outright label the exact type (if anyone knows, feel free to chime in). The main highlight for me are the 1×1 trans clear pyramid bricks, which are rare in my opinion. I also like how the “bubble” forms in each brick near the top. Usually, this pattern is random in trans clear pieces, but is rather consistent in this mold- at least, on the pieces I received. All in all, it’s a build that may contribute to the Yule Ball festivities, but again, loses marks for not screaming Harry Potter or being “inherently magical” (thanks Patrick). In conclusion, I don’t feel this is the strongest entry this deep into the calendar but there have been worse builds to date.
Star Wars- Day 18
Steve: Day 18 from Star Wars is a micro-scale Snowspeeder. This is a really great example of the scale, evoking the classic shape in just 15 pieces. No rare or unusual parts, just clean design. Looking at HP today shows us… half a build? Literally half. No contest. SW takes it.
While HP’s build included interesting elements, it provides half a build and doesn’t evoke anything magical or “on theme”. With that said, SW grabs today’s point with a clean microbuild. With the win, SW prevents HP from gaining any ground, and the battle is tied up once again as we head into our final week of the calendar. The score is now: