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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lego 1476 5 Set Bonus Pack

In the olden days it was common for the Lego company to release multi-set packs with a variety of themes to sample.  Most collectors don't give them a second look because they are diminutive and lacking in refinement.  Previously we looked at 1974 3 Set Bonus Pack  and I raved about the quality of those particular sets as being fine examples of the era from whence they came.  Let's dive into that merry box of bricks where all Lego themes gather together.

This then will be our second foray into the dungeon aisle of cheap collections that were lost in many a child's bucket of bricks.  Here is 1476 5 Set Bonus Pack. Large images for this particular collection are hard to come by, and the alternates are currently MIA so we'll have to make do for now.  If you've got a better image pass it along to Brickset so they can upgrade it.

As this is part of our ongoing series for M-Tron I shall lead out the gate with the requisite mention of 1478 Mobile Satellite Up-Link.  Otherwise known as unnamed.

This small car has a twist-plate assembly in the middle and can be quite fun to twirl around on a table.

It contains few elements and none which don't already appear in any other M-Tron set.  As a model it is entirely disposable, yet funnily enough has rather stiff Ebay prices for its size.  Beacon Tracer and Pulsar Charger are easier to buy cheap, and have more distinguished features.  I do like the double disk assembly though.

The design gets a big black mark for leaving a big black mark open in the back, and lacking any particularly good parts.  Outside of collection 1478 Satellite Up-Link is a waste of time for builders and one of the blots upon this collection's pedigree.  Even worse; this was 'the' most expensive part of obtaining the collection for me.  Do yourself a favor and part it together.  Nothing special about these bits.

At least its miserly construction leaves room for some play options.  Grab cargo from one of the larger M-Tron sets and it can transport it with that empty space.  I do rather like the transparent satellite dish cluster.

I have not seen any alternate images of the set online

Here's an alternate I assembled with the parts.


Now for a bit of rummaging in that bucket of memories.  

M-Tron was released as a theme in 1990, and so it's inclusion here was something of a final farewell. In many ways M-Tron was an obvious toy of the 90's, from its neon color, even down to its advertising, but despite its campy commercials and radioactive goo colors it's remained a stunningly handsome theme.

This is one of the fascinating diorama's the old catalogs were filled with.  There were many silly things we like to forget about the 90's, but M-Tron isn't one of them.

Due to the non M-Tron/Futuron nature of the following sets I will only make passing mention of interesting parts, rather than everything that would add variety to the previous themes.

Here is a set I dragged out of some Lego pieces my friend gave to me.  Yep, the same friend I got scraps of 1974 3 Set Bonus Pack from.  Based on its lonely incomplete presence I assume he received it as 6509 Red Devil Racer.  Which you can get with a blue box that adds System, or a yellow box that does not.  This is a simple, classic looking racer that adds a bit more technical construction to the basic design with offset building techniques.

This particular set was available as a promotion for joining the Lego club, which was known as Brick Kicks back then.

All that to say this set had a way of getting around.  I bricklinked the missing parts and requisitioned it for 1477 Red Race Car Number 3.  If you like the old Lego racing theme, this is a great example of the period.

Here's a selection of Lego Race's 1991 range.  6646 Screaming Patriot, 6669 Diesel Daredevil, 6510 Mud Runner6510, and 6528 Sand Storm Racer.

Recently the Lego company has returned to the unlicensed racing theme with a vengeance as well as revamping their town catalogue into something resembling the good old days.

They've unleashed this beautiful modern day race car complete with a moveable spoiler. For the first time in a long time I 'm actually enthusiastic about the direction Town is going again.

Visually Red Devil Racer is a good little car with a move-able spoiler, a nicely detailed engine, and the number 3 printed on a slope.  I'm a fan of the shirt pattern, and the red could be quite useful in the M-Tron theme.  This set has the most pieces in the collection; 39.

Its selection of alternates are simple, but evocative of the go-carts it's inspired by.

Here's a forklift I assembled from the parts.

Hearken thine ear knave and behold this delightful 1480 King's Catapult from the Castle Crusader theme of yore.

This little Catapult is actually a very attractive example of the tiny structural catapults the Lego company liked to produce throughout the 90's and early 00's.  I would argue it's the best of the batch among the installed catapults, and the best toy in this collection.

It's a stone structure built on the land with a slot for weapons and banners.  The 1x3 arches gives this model some serious aesthetic upgrades.

Here are some other examples of the mini catapults. Circa 1993.  The Black Knight's 1917 King's Catapult...hey, wait a sec... that soundeth familiar?

Note that this set's structure makes no effort to approach the finnese offered in 1480, but is rather blocky, and uninspired.  It would later be re-released as 2890 Stone Bomber.  Compared to what followed it at least looked the part.

Circa 2000, Lego's Castle revival...ahem, Knight's Kingdom released this uninspired Kabaya promotion in Japan. Crumbs; why are there so many red pieces???  1289 Catapult.

Finally, this Knight's Kingdom II set with ye olde purple knight contained another dismal catapult structure, but a beautiful horse barding.  I hate this set...but I own it because I had to have that horse barding and the store where I worked was flushing them out the door for under 3 dollars many years ago.  8777 Vladek Encounter.

Thus salvaged Vladek's scorpion barding was donated to the glorious Black Knight, most feared progenitor of fear and fear, and more fear!!!!  Please note the use of a black feather from 1974 three set bonus pack!  Even a crappy set could be a good set if you had an eye for pieces.  That was how I survived the malaise of 1997-2003.  Lego Dark ages?  What dark ages?

I was that rare Lego enthusiast who never actually went might say my dark ages are happening now because I'm not keeping up so much with getting new sets.  I'm all about the old school.

But where was I.  Oh yes, 1480 King's Catapult.  The catapult is cleverly attached via a flag pole stuck through clips, which runs through a 1x2 technic brick.  It's a bit loose, but quite effective both visually and functionally; something the newer sets above all failed to balance.

The Lion shield is the blue background, which I favor over the yellow background version.

All in all 1480 King's Catapult is a classy model, and one of 1476's highlights.  The grey and black elements would blend nicely into M-Tron.  All in all; a great sample of the 1991 product line.

The current Castle theme reinvigorates the age old feud between Crusaders and Black Knights.  It's aesthetics skew a bit on the junior side for my tastes, but it's better than either of the Knight's Kingdom much better.

I've not found an alternates image for this 1470 King's Catapult.  But no matter, Our guardsman will stand just as long as it takes.

In 1989 the Lego company introduced a Pirate theme, and skipped a year before adding more sets to the line in 1991; including this little number.  1481 Pirate's Desert Island.

Pirates was the first theme to provide chrome plated pieces. Notably the coins in denominations of 10, 20, 30, and 40.  The theme also introduced Sharks, and parrots, and blunderbuss's, and vegetation, and pirates.  And we get all of those things in this set.  But it's severely lacking in anything else.  This is the second lesser set in this collection.  Though I didn't own any parrots prior to nabbing it, so there's that.  It's a good starter to whet the appetite for more Pirate Lego...and nothing more.  When we inspect the part count it has the least at 24.

In hindsight many of the tiny Pirate sets were not particularly good sets, but I look back on them fondly for their association to some rather beautiful examples of the era.

As we move along here's a re-imagined island with a hidden treasure.

Finally we come to the second Space set.
Black-Tron II 1479 Two-Pilot Craft.

This set is heavily loaded with big pieces, and so looks bulky though its build is quite spare.  Notably; it is the only set here with two minifigures, making it comparable to Smuggler's Hayride from 1974. The model is an intriguing design, and it contains a black part which is not at all common.

Black-Tron II is the arch nemesis of M-Tron, and the do-badders populating Space Police II's prison pods.  This is a great example of the theme's muted color scheme and oddball styling.  Like M-Tron it utilizez the neon green transparent bits, but in my opinion the black and white color scheme fails to be as eye catching compared to the red, black, and grey of M-Tron.  On this model I especially like the engine configuration.

In three places this toy seems unfinished to my eyes.  Take a gander, see if you can find them.

This is one of two Black-Tron sets which contain this crows nest plate in the rare color variant; black.

This piece was originally designed to seat in the masts of the Lego Pirate/Imperial Guard ships and clip onto the rigging.  Overall it's a great, if fragile, piece with good pedigree.

The other Black-Tron set with a black Crows Nest Plate is 6878 Sub Orbital Guardian.  You can use this set along with two others to complete a super model that also utilizes the Crows nest plate.

Due to its numerous clips it's common to find partially broken examples of the Crows nest plate for sale, and due to rarity, they're worth holding onto even when damaged.

Besides the crows nest plate Two Pilot Space Craft contains fairly ordinary pieces.  It's a nice sample of the epic bad guy redux Black-Tron: Future Generation.

I have not uncovered any alternate images for 1479 Two Pilot Space Craft.  In the meantime, here's something from me.

As with 1974 I did not find particularly great condition examples of these sets, in fact, just finding any at all was a chore.  But I still paid through the nose to complete it.  Sellers prefer to separate these models and sell each of them for a markup.  At the moment there are no complete copies of this bundle on Bricklink; 1476 5 Set Multi Pack.  The red racer is easiest to come by due to its wider release.

If you have the time, and you're inclined towards getting this set it may be worth parting together via Bricklink, during any big orders you might make, instead of hunting down the individual sets.  I completed the collection for about $40 which is a steep price for the given components, but 'worth it?' for the time savings.  Coincidentally only one of the M-Tron sets cost me more to obtain, as much by dumb luck as by timing and condition.

1476 is not something you'll come by easily, so I guess that means it's, GASP!, actually rare...unlike a certain 6862 secret space voyager.

I'm sure this set was once very common, but by its nature it's a children's starter pack and I bet a whole lot of them were lost and damaged over the years, so it is a bit more of a collectible, and less desirable for the parts themselves.  On their own they aren't much to display, but if you pair them with larger kits they might give some added value.

I've combined the kits to demonstrate the M-Tron and Black-Tron color scheme.
Here you see a Black-Tron mining rig and an M-Tron car with mechanical claws for grabbing hazardous materials.

So I put it to you, the reader.  What do you think of these old bundles?  Were they the best thing ever, or just another gimmick that has since lost its shine.

Final Score C
Pros: King's Catapult is a standout, Red Racer is solid, Black-Tron's set contains a rare piece, 6 Classic minifigs, loads of accessories, Insane part variety
Cons: M-Tron set lacks any special parts, and its design is lacking, Pirate set is little more than Pirate accessories. Black-Tron set feels incomplete, Hard to find and expensive for ordinary parts.