Saturday, 20 October 2012

Fabuland Unleashed [aka Legends of Chima]

If that title made you chuckle slightly, I like your style. If not, read on to see what I mean. As well as making silly comparisons this article will check out those new images of Legends of Chima, the theme that will replace the ridiculously popular Ninjago. Will Legends of Chima be able to replicate that success and be the next winner for LEGO?

LEGO are learning from what has worked for them with Ninjago, and have two types of products in the LEGO Legends of Chima range. Replacing the Spinners are Speedorz, which feature mini-figures on bikes and a ripchord. These have more of a building element than the spinners, which makes them feel a bit more like a LEGO product. They may be popular again with young fans, but are clearly not targeted for us old people wanting a building experience.

There are a couple of ‘starter’ Speedorz sets like the previous Ninjago releases, which include two bikes and a larger assortment of bricks. These Speedorz sets almost have a self-contained game element to them, as the bike and build interact (with Ninjago two spinners are required to play the game). Legends of Chima cards are included which presumably adds an element of chance to the game.

The story behind this theme is that the world of Chima has been unsettled, and war has come to the previously peaceful land. Warring factions of creatures are fighting over Chi, the life force of Chima. In order to fight this war, the armies have built some rather pumped up vehicles (a little reminiscent of Ninjago again) to battle with.

What’s a bit clever about these vehicles is that they are designed to look life different animals, and this has often been done in a clever way. Eri’s Eagle Jet (70003) is a particular highlight of this first wave.

Another awesome set is Cragger’s Croc-Boat Centre (70006), which is a crazy mix of some sort of aircraft carrier with these mystical elements added to it. The strange juxtaposition makes this theme really interesting, having a typical fantasy setting invaded by this huge technology with treads and giant wheels.

The mini-figures themselves in this range immediately reminded me of Fabuland mini-figures, hence the title of this piece. What I find a little strange about these characters is how cartoon-like they appear. Perhaps it is the large eyes rather than dots, but there is something that just makes them look less like LEGO with no regular mini-figures in there at all. This is likely a personal taste thing and other fans will love them.

The theme overall looks to have followed the template of Ninjago, and will be fascinating to see of captures the imaginations of young boys in the same way. No doubt the TV advertising campaign will make sure that there will be no chance in hell of them being unaware of it!

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