Time for the last of the Lego Ninja Turtles movie sets and the centerpiece, the Turtles' Lair. Clocking in at 888 pieces,
this is the largest Ninja Turtles Lego set by far. The previous
lair was one of my favorites and was only half this size. So I can't wait to see what they can do with almost twice
Packaging - 7/10The package design hasn't changed for the Turtle Lair Invasion set. This set does have the advantage of having a rather large box though. So there is plenty of room on the front of the box for a large photo of the completed set. The back of the box has half a dozen photos of the various features. As with the Turtle Van Takedown set, the darkness of the photo on the front means that the banner on the top doesn't stand out very well. But it is not quite as bad as it was for that set.
Sculpting/Design - 8/10This set has a great deal going for it. But it has one giant short coming too. If you are looking for a faithful recreation of the lair a it appeared in the movie, this is not it. It isn't even close. There are a few details that are reminiscent of the movie such as Donatello's work station and the central sparring area. But while the movie may have had the Turtles sliding down a sewer pipe to get back to the lair, but they did not have a fun house style slide. But while the set is quite lacking in accuracy, that doesn't mean it is a poor design. The lair is split into three sections. The smallest is the armory which houses the Turtles weapons behind a portcullis style gate. The second section has the training area, an industrial fan and a vault. The largest section has Donatello's work station, a holding cell, the two story slide and the street level entrance. While most of those areas are not very big, by the time you put them all together you have quite an impressive home for the Turtles.
While the lair is quite impressive, the assortment of mini figures included is slightly less so. The set has six figures: Splinter, Leonardo, Donatello, Shredder and two Foot Soldiers. On the positive side, the set does include three exclusive figures. Splinter turned out well enough. Donatello is more of a mixed bag. The goggles are nice. But the back pack is just looks silly to me. The Shredder mini figure gets new shoulder armor and a new armor pattern on the figure. But it still looks too much like the cartoon version, not the movie version for my tastes. For the repeat figures, there is Leonardo and two Foot Soldiers all of which get new faces. Leonardo has a half sneer and the Foot Soldier have the same masks as the one in the Turtle Van set. On its own, I might have been satisfied with this set. But after the Big Rig set came with six figures, I was expecting more from a significantly larger set like this. Ideally, it would have been nice for this set to come with all four of the Turtles at least.
Paint/Color choice - 8/10This is suppose to be a sewer, so I would expect dark and drab colors. And for the most part, that is what the set delivers. There are a few tan pieces added in a few spots which seem a bit out of place. The designers also like to use brighter colored pieces for the parts to trigger the various features. I guess the idea is to make them stand out and be easy to find. But I would prefer to see them made to blend in. After all, after you have spent all the time assembling the set, you shouldn't need much help remembering how to trigger the features.
Features - 10/10This set is packed with play features. Every level of the set has at least one with the exception of one small platform and Donatello's workshop. There is a portcullis gate that can be dropped to close off the armory. There is a secret compartment under the armory for a hidden weapon. (Though I am curious as to why there is a golden sai included to store there.) The middle section has a vault door with a working latch and a barrel launcher hidden behind it. (Not quite sure why you would be launching barrels into the lair though.) It also has an industrial fan that can "explode" creating an entry point for the Foot and Shredder. The sparring area attaches to the front of this section and has a rotating target for the Turtles' weapons practice. And the entire section can be detached and moved if you prefer. The largest section has three levels. The bottom is Donatello's work station with a large computer setup. Above that is a holding cell with a sliding cell door. At the top is the lair's two entrances. There is a trap door that allows figures to drop down into the detention cell and a hidden door that leads to the two story slide. The slide can either lead all the way down to Donatello's lab or the slide can be stopped at the second level leaving the mini figure stuck in the holding cell. The three sections can either be free standing or connected via small platforms on the second level. If all of that is not enough, the movie lair is also close enough in scale to be compatible with the Turtle Lair Attack set from 2013.
Accessories - 9/10The Turtle Lair Invasion set has a lot of accessories. There are weapons for each mini figure of course. There are also extra weapons included to fill up the armory. There is a dirt bike style motorcycle for the Foot Soldiers to ride and a skate board for the Turtles. (another good reason why they should have included Michelangelo with this set) There are a couple of boxes included to create debris when the industrial fan "explodes." They even threw in a couple of pizzas. Other than wishing that the skateboard was a better representation of Michelangelo's rocket powered skateboard from the movie, there is not a lot more that you could ask for from this set.
Value - 8/10The Turtle Lair Invasion set retails for $100. That is a steep price for a kid's toy. But given the scale of this set and all the parts that are included, the price is not surprising. The one complaint I have is that if a kid just wants the four movie Turtles, you have to buy all three movie sets. And that will set you back over $200. Had they included Michelangelo and Raphael with this set, you could have had a great lair, all the Turtles, Splinter and the necessary villains for one price. And that would still have left April, Vern and Karai as incentives for fans to buy the other sets.
Happy Hunting:The Ninja Turtle movie sets were released shortly before the movie in the summer of 2014. They have been around long enough that finding them in stock should be no real challenge, especially since just about every store that sells Lego seems to have carried the sets. But with the new year resets coming soon, it is possible that these sets may be pulled from stores soon to make room for new sets.