Build Time: 1.5-2 hrs
Now I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm more of a DC fan than Marvel, but Marvel has been absolutely crushing it in the cinematic stakes since 2008. So I've ended up reading a few more Marvel books over the last couple of years than I might have previously, and I've gained a newfound appreciation for offbeat characters like She-Hulk, Spider-Woman and the soon-to-be-the-big-bad-in- the-movies, Thanos. So when I saw this set, it instantly became a must-have. Was it a good investment? Read on to find out more...
The set includes an impressive five figures -- Thanos, Iron Man, Captain America, Captain Marvel and Hyperion. Thanos is of course a bigfig, not a minifigure per se. He's been rendered in a pretty impressive style, though I'm definitely in two minds about his floaty boot attachments with missile launchers. Sometimes characters don't need silly accessories to force a play pattern. But the only real disappointment is that he doesn't have the Infinity Gauntlet, though with the impending release of Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 & 2, I suspect we'll see more of the self-proclaimed ultimate nihilist in Lego form -- and the Infinity Gauntlet will probably be released as a clip-on piece to avoid molding an entirely new arm or hand.
Iron Man is an Iron Man figure. The astronaut-style colour scheme is novel, but I already ended up with a regular Iron Man minifig when I bought the Hulkbuster last year. He's fine, but I'm not a major Iron Man fan -- I would have preferred to see another character instead, but considering it already includes the impressively obscure Hyperion (see below) I should probably quit my whinging. He's got two Tony Stark faces beneath his mask, one with a smug smirk and the other angry.
Similarly, Captain America sure is another Captain America, but I didn't have this character in collection as yet, so he's a welcome addition. The movies have really made me a fan of ol' Cap. He was never a big presence in my comic-reading youth, but the Ultimates and the movies both helped put a more...ah...human(?) face on him for me. Non-essential if you already have a Cap, though the addition of a space air-tank is pretty fun.
Captain Marvel comes with two heads, both masked and unmasked. I like both about equally, but when I bought the Marvel Legends figure about a year ago, I ended up primarily going with the unmasked face. Here I've gone the opposite route, possibly because her unmasked face is identical to Wonder Woman's. The paint app works well, but it would be nice to see Lego mix it up a little more.
Hyperion is a character I know virtually nothing about, save that he seems to be some kind of evil Superman parody (in fact, I'm pretty sure the tampos on his faces are taken from Superman) -- but in some continuities he's a good guy, heading up Squadron Supreme. The box art depicts him as a villain, but is he under Thanos' control against his will? The fact that he also has a sedate face in addition to his "laser eyes" one would seems to suggest so. It's your set, so play as you wish -- Thanos is certainly a match for these guys combined. If nothing else, it's impressive that Lego have delivered such an obscure character in such a mainstream format.
Lego's space-based sets have been a major contributor to its international success, though they have let them fall of the radar a little bit over the last few years. But it's good to see them return to it here, even if it is in a somewhat roundabout way. Y'see, this is a classic 80s Lego spaceship that just happens to have been released under a Marvel Comics theme. The shape sort of reminds me of a Klingon Bird of Prey, though it's obviously a lot smaller in size. The front cockpit can be angled in a variety of different ways, but the correct way is to have it pointing downwards just slightly. The wings are similar, giving it a very modern and cool -- if perhaps not entirely aerodynamic -- look. Though of course in space you don't have the same issues affecting drag, wind resistance, etc.
The upper cockpit is detachable, and can turn into a nicely swooshable spacecraft on its own merits. It's reminiscent of the Galaxy Squad sets from a couple of years ago, which were almost entirely based around having a core build, which then had removable elements. It was a a decent theme, but the villain sets were pretty weak, which may have been part of the reason it didn't turn into Ninjago 2.0 success-wise. It's good to see the mechanic revisited here though.
Iron Man can be stashed underneath this cockpit, by clicking him onto a stand that swivels down. It works slightly better in theory that practice; some protruding bars mean that he bangs his head when you swivel him up, which could lead to some paint or figure damage in the long run. But as a longer-term storage position, it's not a bad idea.
This set came out quite a few months ago -- I think I picked it up around March or April, but didn't actually get around to building it until now. However, it still seems to be reasonably readily available from Kmart, Target and Big W.
The Avenjet really is a thing of beauty. It's not terribly complex in design or execution, but these shouldn't be seen as strikes against it -- rather, it's a great way to introduce younger kids to Lego, while still providing them with a challenge. And the final result is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I wish Lego would build Space sets along these lines again -- and perhaps they will someday -- but in the meantime, this is a great substitute. Builders more capable than I could no doubt replicate the set in more traditional Space colours too, which would be fantastic.
For adult collectors, it's well worth purchasing for the impressive selection of characters -- Thanos in particular is a must-own -- and the retro feel of the Avenjet itself is great. Hopefully we'll soon see Adam Warlock make his Lego debut too!