LEGO MINECRAFT: The Desert Outpost 21121 REVIEW
Set number 21121, $99 from Big W at roughly .19 cents per brick
519 x pieces
5 x mini figures
4 x total bags
1 x instruction booklet
1 x brick separator
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Like most other LEGO Minecraft sets, Lego has gone to the effort of including a total of five mini figures here. The Wolf, Skeleton and Skeleton with armour plus we have Steve and finally, Alex a character/skin newly introduced to the Minecraft game.
Beginning with the Wolf, I was sold as soon as I noticed him/her on the box. Only recently in the game, I’ve managed to befriend a few pet Wolves myself. I noticed the red collar in the game and LEGO carries that over into the mini figure. Made of roughly nine bricks of various shapes and sizes, the Wolf has made up of mostly grey bricks with a red collar piece and the head itself. Using the familiar block design of the game, the head has some wonderful printing on it with two large eyes and a mouth/nose. I’m a little down that it doesn’t have more play features other than the tail on the back, however it does fit in line with the other mini figure animals in the Minecraft LEGO line. So I’m cool with it.
When it comes to the Skeletons, we get two here, one of which is different from the other. The first is your standard Skeleton encountered throughout the game. Plain white in colour, I have always been a big fan of the bone type of body piece on offer. The arms and legs are nothing special, but I do like the feet. They have individual toes and it’s just a tiny detail that works so well. The head-piece is a square which is perfect for the Minecraft look, and has zero printing on the back, with only eyes, mouth and nose on the front. The look may seem plain at first, but it does come across so well. The other Skeleton mini figure is exactly the same as the first, but has two different accessories; an iron helmet and iron body armour. The colouring is a little off, for both because its more of a shiny grey look, but ends up coming across just a little dirty. Even from the pictures, you can see the armour has a look which shows the ‘seams’. Even with that, both Skeletons come with a brown bow and arrow, and everything fits on so well.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Skeleton mini figures and this is my first time having any sort of armour accessory piece. Although they colouring hurts the look a little, the fit is snug and doesn’t hamper the movement at all.
Steve returns in all his glory. I’ve discussed the Steve mini figure in great detail before, and nothing changes here. Purple pants and a plain light blue body piece are the same as before. Only a tiny bit of printing is on the collar but apart from that, nothing else. The head-piece is a square piece instead of rounded, and is mostly brown in colour, safe for some face printing on the front. Purple eyes and light brown nose, with a big black smile. New to this mini figure, is the two accessories included for Steve. An iron helmet fits over the head-piece and allows you to see Steve’s features without covering any up. And he even gets an iron sword to fend off those nasty Skeleton mini figures. Out of all the weapons in the LEGO Minecraft range, this sword has to be my favourite in colour, and look.
Finally we have Alex, the new Minecraft character introduced for the first time here in mini figure form. Right off the bat, this is an exact replica from the game. The brown pants and light green body piece carry over and look so good. We get some printing on the body, which is a dark green belt (carries over to the back) and has an open collar at the top. The orange ponytail that hangs over her shoulder is also evident on the back too. The head-piece is spot on with the bight orange being the most prominent colour on display. It stands out perfectly and even has a fringe at the front. Printing on the front is clean and looks really good with bright green eyes and a small mouth. Alex even has an iron pickaxe to go mining, and again, the look is phenomenal.
Overall, I’m a big fan of the mini figures provided. Both Steve and Alex look utterly amazing with all the colour and look from the game brought to life in mini figure form. LEGO spared no expense in giving us new accessories too. The Skeleton with armour and even the Wolf looks good.
While the five mini figures were an outstanding point of sale, I have a problem with the main build. The Desert Outpost is a large set. It is broken into three numbered bags with a fourth bag left unnumbered but containing most of the larger tiles pieces which house the Outpost.
Most, if not all of, bag one is used to furnish The Desert Outpost set. You build torches, an oven and crafting table. You’re even tasked with building a small boat designed to hold one mini figure. Although most objects from the game carry over into LEGO form quite well, the boat is a little off. It is square here when it should be rectangle in design. These tiny little things all add up over time.
Continue on and you’re eventually building a door which is made up of tan and brown bricks. I’m a big fan of the design here, and once the hinge is put in place, the door swings around perfectly. This adds some welcome playability to what could otherwise be a dull set. Most of what you build, including a TNT block made of red and white printed pieces, aren’t used until later on, but as I should have mentioned before, bag one really does lay the ground work for the Outpost.
One of the best bits has to be the exploding sandstone (four blocks) which eventually comes to rest at the front door. By using a hinge piece, you’re able to flick the four blocks in the air as if the TNT has exploded. Sadly, the TNT never lands near the hinge, and even if it did, the weight of the TNT block isn’t enough to press down. So while good in theory, out of the ten times attempted, it never really works.
And that’s the main underlying problem with this Desert Outpost, it’s just doesn’t work.
Bags two and three build up the remainder of the actual set. Real estate wise, you’re looking at a fairly substantial build. It covers a lot of ground with plenty of sand coloured large tiles making up the ground. Since it’s a desert, it only makes sense for this colour to be used in large numbers. The underside of the build uses a lot of large blocks for not only support, but also in raising and locking the whole set together. Like always on these types, it’s a smart decision to keep it locked together, and thankfully The Desert Outpost does that well, for the most part.
Like all Minecraft builds, to replicate the blocky look of the game, LEGO uses lots of square bricks to build the Outpost. When it comes to the structures themselves, you’re mostly using light grey blocks to build up the walls, while some darker grey pieces are used to give some much-needed detail. All around the structures are stone fences which uses dark brickwork blocks. It’s a very nice touch and looks utterly fantastic against the usual plain-looking LEGO bricks.
Of the two structures, only one has a roof that can be easily lifted off to reveal the inside. I’ll refer to this one as the living quarters, considering it has a bed inside. Best of all, the way the flooring works and thanks to hinge pieces on the walls, you’re actually able to open the whole structure to get a peek inside. Well done, LEGO. The brown roof isn’t the best detail, but it does resemble freshly planted dirt from the game, so it does lend a bit of credibility to the design.
The other structure is a bit of a downer. A ladder on the side is a smart detail, but the roof resembles that of a fort and looks boring. The TNT launcher, as mentioned before, is great in theory but fails to activate the exploding sandstone below, however it does work with quick push of the pole. Consider dropping the TNT on the armed Skeletons below, and forget about anything else. I tried to make it a game and got a little carried away.
Scattered just down by the water area is a tiny garden for Alex and Steve to tend too. A few carrots have grown and I’m always a fan of these little touches by LEGO, but sadly its all a little too late to safe this build.
I can’t help but feel it’s all too lazy. The structures are too small to actually put more than a mini figure in. The falling TNT block doesn’t work with the exploding sandstone and the opening segments of the build just make it all feel a little too flimsy. I would’ve preferred more effort spent on making the structures, one single place and larger. However as it stands, I’m not sold.
Considering the prick per brick cost, it is overly expensive for no real reason. And to be honest, after taking the photos for this review, I broke The Desert Outpost down and packed it away.