REVIEW: LEGO MONSTER FIGHTERS 9466 – THE CRAZY SCIENTIST & HIS MONSTER

LEGO MONSTER FIGHTERS 9466 – THE CRAZY SCIENTIST & HIS MONSTER

PM: Welcome, one and all to an all-new, spectacular LEGO review from THE PURE MOOD! I’m pleased to introduce my very special guest for this week’s review, that infamously famous and famously infamous alt-artist, spacedie.

SD: Hello.

PM: We’re pleased to have you here for such a monumental occasion that mayhap just fulfill all of the internet’s potential. She’s joining us here at ever-accommodating Pure Mood Central. I hope the anti-grav bean-bag chair furnishing is to your liking. Spacedie, would you kindly tell our lovely listeners a bit about yourself?

SD: I’m not so sure you used ‘mayhap’ correctly in that sentence. There’s not much to tell, really. I do what I do, and if others don’t like it, tough! You can read my ‘zine SAD GURLS CLUB by visiting anywhere in the Vancouver area that you’re not cool enough to know about. Besides that, you can follow me and my opinions on FUTURAMA at www.twitter.com/spacedie or my photography and art at www.tumblr.com/spacedie

PM: Wow! Seriously folks, if you’re looking for one of the funniest twitter accounts this side of Matt Fraction, look no further. Very intelligent stuff. Anyhow, let’s get to some building, shall we?

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THE SET

PM: So, this evening we’re taking a look at set 9466 from the MONSTER FIGHTERS line, ‘The Crazy Scientist & His Monster’. I’m a huge fan of the CLASSICS line LEGO put out about a decade back, where the sets were inspired by classic monster movies. MONSTER FIGHTERS is really similar to that, except with a steampunk/cyberpunk inspired aesthetic, which I think is brilliant.

SD: Steampunk is a pretty interesting pop cultural movement. It seems to say something about our conflicting desire to go back and forward at the same time.

PM: And it just plain looks cool! And boy howdy does LEGO do a great job with it! Basically, there’s two groups in the MONSTER FIGHTERS line, the monsters and, as you could guess, the humans who fight them. The humans are really where the steampunk vibe comes from, whereas the monster side of things definitely has more of just a spooky horror vibe.

SD: An interesting thing about this set is we’re just supposed to assume the monster is evil. But it’s the scientist who created him for his own purposes. So isn’t the beast just an extension of man’s desire for evil? I mean, the ‘fighters’ seem pretty barbaric to be coming after a being who isn’t even acting by his own free will with guns and other weaponry.

PM: Hmm…that’s a good point. There certainly are a lot of questions brought up in these sets. But we’ll talk about that later. The basic proponents of this set are a hyper-stylized blue car, complete with jet packs at the rear, a radar dish on top, and a hidden compartment for a second rider that slides out and has a rocket attached to it. So, this is the coolest car ever.

SD: The car is very cool. The shade of blue is quite lovely; and there’s a licence plate sticker that really adds a great touch of detail. My favourite part has to be the sliding compartment though – these unique, fully thought out sort of touches is what make LEGO one of the best toy brands on the planet.

PM: I agree completely. Next we have the main focus of the sent, the Crazy Scientist’s underground layer. This is just a fantastic piece of design work. There are two main pieces, connected by a small wall construct. First we have the tower, where the Scientist will gather the energy to bring his monster to life! I was so impressed with everything about the tower; I’m struggling to think of any valid criticism! Complete with wonderfully designed blue/purple electrodes, dials which when turned light up a fantastic B-movie gun to awaken the creature, and most importantly, a roll out bed that you can have your minifigure lay on when the moment of creation commences…this is really a fun set!

SD: There’s also a cage where the Scientist presumably traps monster fighters that get in his way, which also has a chain attached that the car discussed earlier can pull and bring parts of the wall down…that is, if you want those fascists the MFers to win the day.

PM: I love a LEGO set that has a lot of features, and this one just piles them on! There’s even a working catapult on the roof of the prison. And that unified aesthetic we mentioned earlier is applied really well. A lot of dials, mechanisms, and deep brown colour styling’s reinforce that steampunk motif!

SD: LEGO ties in to a lot of the steampunk aesthetic principle. That connection between form and function is something the company practices constantly, and seems to, I’m sure not coincidentally, pop up even more frequently on this set.

PM: It’s unique, fun, and even semi-challenging to wrap your head around just how they engineered the gun and tower to complement each other so well! Now, let’s move on to our experience building the set together simultaneously.

CO-BUILDING

PM: I’m a big fan of LEGO’s relatively new numbered bag system. It reinforces the idea that this is a toy to be played with together! Unfortunately, often one builder ends up with a rather boring piece to build, while the other is left with something really awesome and more difficult, occasionally leaving both parties dissatisfied!

SD: I’d say that wasn’t the case in this set, though. I specialize in building the LEGO cars, and the one in this set was so fantastic that I had just as much fun, if not more, building the car as you did the tower. I did finish first, though. But even that worked out okay, as I was able to build the fortress piece.

PM: Yes, LEGO basically cut up the underground lab into the wall, the tower, and the fortress…which only encourages team-building even more! So the co-building aspect of this set is great. I really recommend it to those looking to build with a friend!

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MINIFIGURES

SD: And the minifigures in this set are lovely.

PM: Oh, yeah. These are some of my favourite minifigures in the whole MONSTER FIGHTERS line. You’ll get four characters in this set, THE CRAZY SCIENTIST, THE MONSTER, DR. RODNEY RATHBONE and MAJOR QUINTON STEELE. Yes, honestly. MAJOR QUINTON STEELE.

SD: Steele is the most representative of the steam punk look of the series. He has the ever popular wrap around moustache.

PM: The James Howlett!

SD: As well as a green, cyber eye patch, as well as great detailed body. He has on a classic explorer’s outfit, except with a string of ammo pellets and an esoteric map tucked in his jacket.

PM: Basically, he’s Robin Williams’ dad in JUMANJI with a cyber-eye patch.

SD: My only complaint is his hat. It constantly falls off. LEGO has been using this hat for years, and I don’t know why. It always falls off and drives me crazy.

PM: His gun is insane. It’s as big as he is!

SD: Rathbone is an interesting one. He’s wearing a white shirt and a red tie. Also, a striped vest and green pants, with a gold-stopwatch tucked into his pocket. One of his legs is cybernetic, and he’s sporting a French moustache and small goatee for facial hair. He also has a classy grey bowler hat. One is tempted to cast him in a Watson type roll, but his expression is much too devilish for it. Though you certainly the impression he has some unrequited feelings for Steele. It could be a classic case of a lustful need to please authority, or maybe it’s a Daddy issue thing.

PM: I love imagining the robot leg can make him jump super high! The Scientist is great. He also has a small French moustache, and cyber goggles. LEGO really understood that facial hair is a big part of the Victorian inspired style of Steam punkery.

SD: The hair is what I love. It’s almost akin to Japanese manga, and it’s made out of a rubbery material, which is rare with LEGO figures. Though I’m annoyed that the Scientist and the Monster don’t have names. Their names are just what they are.

PM: I agree. I mean, obviously we can’t go with Victor Frankenstein…but the Monster Fighters have such unique, fun names that I would have loved to see something for the Scientist. But you can always make your own! Finally, the monster.  Eagle eyed fans will notice this is a new shade of olive green that LEGO has never used before (at least to my knowledge), and it looks great! It really feels like the rotten skin of a creature composed of deceased b body parts! The body detailing is great. His clothes look as if they’re a hodgepodge stitching of other peoples clothing. A scrap for a shirt, a necklace of random pieces strung around his neck, a ripped jacket with patches sewn over multiple areas…

SD: And the brown really compliments that green you mentioned. The most memorable aspect is the removable head piece. To give that authentic Boris Karloff feel, the Monster gets an attachable cranium, detailed with thick caterpillar eyebrows, lustrous black hair and, natch, a scar running across his head. My only criticism is the lack of a second expression for him. We’re stuck with the Monster looking murderous and angry at all times. I would have appreciated the chance to make my monster a victim of male ego-driven violence as opposed to a savage animal.

PM: Overall, though, this is a fantastic collection of minifigures! All of the characters have unique personalities and wonderfully imaginative designs, and the design and colour work is just perfect!

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ACCESSORIES

PM: There are a lot of crazy cool accessories in this set. We’ve got a glow-in-the-dark skeleton in a jar, a big spider’s web, a special light brick for the gun that brings the Monster to life…

SD: And don’t forget the spider and rat. LEGO should include animal figures in every set. They do a great job with them. The rat has a lot of inquisitive, feisty personality in his features.

PM: There’s also some spooky potions and fun dials and switches. There’s nothing here you probably don’t already have in your collection, but for you light-brick seekers, you might want to keep an eye out. All the accessories do a great job of making the MONSTER FIGHTER world feel that much more expansive.

STORY POTENTIAL

SD: This set was fantastic for story potential, specifically because of the ability to remove the Monster’s head piece. After the head piece is removed, you can attach it to any of the minifigures in your collection. As example of the possibilities this creates, we can have the Scientist capture, say, Rathbone in his dungeon. After a long night alone, hungry, and desperately missing Steele, the Scientist hooks Rathbone up to his machine, to turn him into the very monster he’s been trying to destroy. It’s ironic, and highlights the blurred distinction between right and wrong that we’re left to explore in these MONSTER FIGHTER sets.

PM: The possibilities with that Frankenstein head piece really are unlimited. Frankenstein Spider-man, Frankenstein Steven Spielberg, Frankenstein Luke Skywalker…if you’ve got a large minifigure collection, you can have a lot of fun with this! But as far as just this set goes, There really is a lot of story potential, because as spacedie mentioned, the rolling bed and the dungeon just open themselves up to conflict driven, exciting storylines!

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OVERALL

PM: Overall, I think THE CRAZY SCIENTIST & HIS MONSTER is one of the best sets in the MONSTER FIGHTER line. Featuring a ton of exciting features, interesting accessories, wonderfully detailed minifigures, and instructions that encourage team-building…well, this is everything I want in a LEGO set!

SD: I hope to see LEGO continue to explore sub-cultural trends in the aesthetics of their building sets. Their most be a way to integrate the back-to-homemade principles of the knitting trend into LEGO blocks.

PM: Well, I’m not so sure about that one! Once again, a special thanks to spacedie for joining me on this one. I’m glad you came over to The Pure Mood Headquarters to build this set with me. I hope you had as much fun as I did!

SD: Though I contributed nothing of value to the world, but I did keep my mind off of the more depressing aspects of reality, so in that sense, the evening was a success.

PM: That’s all I can ask of any guest on the Pure Mood! I hope you enjoyed our review, and keep building!

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