To get this party started lets take a look at that Forestmen wagon. Full disclosure, this is my favorite castle theme, and I am pretty sure I'm not alone in that opinion... I mean have ya seen the asking prices for sets in this theme? This wagon was the pinch point to make this triple acquisition complete... I waited until I could score one for a price I thought was reasonable and the condition was... well it was acceptable. There is another version of the wagon with 1 more Forestman that was sold in the U.K. -source Brickset.
The wagon, which is called Crusaders Cart-(clearly it has been stolen) has a neat little stowaway function to boosts its appeal, which is good because I think it's rather plain on top.
What Crusader would question a forestman about hidden forestman passengers... the one implies the other... the jig is up. Oh well it was a nice gesture.
The hay comes off and the pitchfork makes for simple past times of baling hay and feeding Chester the pale white stallion his victuals... And since these Forestmen couldn't bother to bring along a Forestman shield we get a handy dandy trashcan lid instead, and I'm not feeling grouchy about that at all. In fact I really like the inclusion of this shield.
The key highlights besides the 2 minifigures are this dark grey round shield and the old brown pitchfork. They're highlights for me because as a kid nothing on the shelves had that shield and I didn't really know what sets it came in... I only knew that I needed it... not really, but that's just how being a kid is... ooh shiny, find me a find, catch me a catch and then my collection will be complete!! Similarly the Pitchfork was a scarce commodity, but I didn't build much that would require it... partially collection limitation... partially prefer other themes.
There's quite a lot to this model and several ways to take it. The horse gets the requisite three way back brick/saddle/cart, and the pitchfork lets you make hay with the set.
For whatever reason new Lego molds don't grab me like the old ones do... I think it's really a product of the time, we're once young, fresh, impressionable, we have to scratch the early itch... some of us move on... I never got over the early itch and the price is that no other thing can scratch that longing. I have the shield now... it's been a year and I haven't done anything with it til I put the saddle on the horse and popped it into this guys hand. Getting older means more divides the time and even my favorites get short shrift in the question of what must needs be done.
'Nothing' can approach the earliest longing... But Forestmen are nearer to my earliest memories than most other things. My youth and they are forever entwined. It's apt to say my childhood daydreams were often of a world where these characters exist... and the more well defined the newer themes became, the less comfortably they could mold themselves to my subconscious. Castle was a theme with 5 subthemes when I first knew it... Black Knights, Black Falcons, Crusaders, Forestmen, and Wolfpack. Lest I be a spoilsport and call everything since then crap... I really liked the Fantasy Era Castle and Kingdoms; which followed... I have quite a bit of these newer themes from my College period, but as I was telling Zoli... I don't have a strong Castle Builder under my skin. I most benefited from Castle sets by turning the pieces toward Steampunk purposes.
It's a fine cart. Technically a Forestman in peasant disguise would make it a more convincing sneaking model, but I get two forestmen... what complain? Me? Nah, I'll take this.
Let's now move on to the town set: Soil Scooper. This one comes with the big technic wheels used in Futuron, and the big town wheels used in the last batch of Classic Space.
The truck has a large greenhouse of glass all around and a sunroof up top. The front has a pointy exhaust on the hood and simulated engine bay using 1x1 cylinder bricks.
Soil Scooper was very easy to come by in great shape for a song... memo to self... town is the budget conscious collector's theme. For all the love the internet denizens, namely us, may shower on the Forestmen... this set is the aesthetic gem of the 1675 triple pack. The cab is austere with a steering wheel and a backrest... par for the course in 1990.
This model comes with 2 Construction workers and a shovel. The blue shirt appeared in quite a lot of sets and has a long history from the dawn of the minifigure up til the legends line of the early 2000's. The black coverall shirt only appeared 14 times from 1985-1994 and appeared in a board game in 2002.
The digger bucket is a large size which I'd never really realized was different from the smaller 4 wide element. I think this digger bucket is a much better size, especially considering the 6 wide scale the modern city theme uses these days.
I'm rather pleased that the digger came with this clear 1x4 brick. It appears to have had a long and illustrious career, from the 1960s to '91 but this set is probably the only model I'll get with it, and it was one of the last sets to appear with the color. For Space collectors it would make an interesting element in Classic Space or Unitron theme MOCs, where the clear color saw some use.
Finally we come to Meteor Monitor, which is a cross between gen 1 and Future Generation,
please kindly note the usage of yellow in the model... insofar as how there isn't any. What have they done!
I guess they threw in whatever they had lying around and what they had lying around was excess Futuron and Space Police stock. OK. I like the white color better anyway... but we could've had yellow rocket bricks and they would've been special.
For what it is - the free model that comes with this set, this is a good little add to the Blacktron forces. The parts are a solid mix of Classic Space era rockets, chair, wings and dishes. Its only weakness besides the recolor is its lack of a finished rear.
Extras for the blacktron Line-up are mostly the 5 types of white pieces,
2 White Camera Bricks... these were found in 6 sets and are not as widely available as I'd expect them to be. They're slightly more common than the blue color.
The White hingetop shows up in a lot of Classic Space and Futuron sets, so its inclusion here doesn't add much to the collection... but hey, you get 4 of them, and if there's one thing I had to learn as a kid... sometimes having more than 1 quantity of a part color is the difference between a decent MOC and a really good one.
2 1x2 white plates, there are a lot of these in the Space theme.
1 1x4 white plate
2 two finger hinge plates in white
the black wings are a cool addition to Blacktron gen 1 though they are also found in M:Tron and Space Police. You get 2 of these.
The back of the box shows various ways to recombine the individual sets.
Here's what I did with the whole lot of em.
First up we have this fun drag racer complete with a wheelie bar. I had a bit of fun slamming parts together to see what would happen.
And there was the concern with Blacktron not being properly colored... there's something closer to what I'm expecting. The trans yellow is still not quite accurate to the theme... but I like how this Hover Dozer turned out.
My final impression is that this is a really great town set with some interesting underdeveloped extras. The other two models lack that eye-catching appeal, though they do have good parts or play features to overcome their aesthetic deficiencies. There are some areas where expansion on the original idea could have made them better, but if you have other sets these deficiencies are a simple remedy. These are starter toys and collection extenders not really meant to stand alone, but capable of providing a small taste of the models we'd all have rather gotten. I will add, of the collection oriented boxes from the time I've always liked the looks of this one. I don't think anything else in the mixes quite rivals Soil Scooper for all around good looks and part selection.
Pros: Digger Truck is an A rank model, a good selection of useful pieces, The trashcan lid shield, the pitchfork, clear 1x4 brick, 5 minifigures including three popular vintage figures.
Cons: Wagon lacks character, Meteor Monitor is recolored to half gen 1 half gen 2 Blacktron mashup. Digger could use some grey 1x1 plates to simulate broken concrete and increase play value
Sincerely I bid thee adieu until I regain my composure and compose the final Blacktron codename* BIG 1.
*kidding, we all know it's Mess- communication intercepted