LEGO 80014 - Sandy's Speedboat - Monkie Kid
Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores.
The LEGO Monkie Kid Range seems to have split the AFOL community right down the middle, whether it be the parts-per-price ratio or the weird and different aesthetic of it all, with die-hard AFOLs having plenty to say about this theme.
Monkie Kid is about a kid and a....blue guy fighting...uhh...we aren't completely sure...
Now we've been pretty afar from the whole conversation, never really putting our foot in the door, it's not been a range that interested us, and we aren't people to rip on or judge a theme for not being for "us".
So what happens when we are given a chance to review one of the Monkie Kid sets first-hand? Well, let's take a look!
What's In The Box
The Monkie Kid sets follow the traditional LEGO set format of having "Conflict in a box", a good summary of characters with enough story elements for kids to come up with their own narratives.
Although the theme is based around the legend of Sun Wukong, the great monkey-king warrior of legend, LEGO take their own twist with the theme by adding whacky and different characters to the story to make their own version.
It is clear that there is a large boat-based vehicle coming to the rescue, alongside a hoverboard, to rescue our chef-in-distress from a Spider-Queen. That's clear. That's awesome.
So forgive us in saying this, but we don't actually know what the story is here, linearly, if there is one. Take for example this:
Ninjago - A group of Ninjas stopping some threat that has arisen.
Hidden Side - Two kids taking on the haunting of the undead.
Monkie Kid - About a kid and a....blue guy fighting...uhh...we aren't completely sure.
We are sure there is a story as far as theme goes, but for someone on the outside of the narrative, or a kid who isn't actively expecting this as a gift and gets one, it's very confusing. It's tough to tell the correlation of the characters on the good side to be able to get the gist of the theme, without looking into it further.
Enough ramblings on the general Monkie Kid aesthetic, how does it hold up as a set?
Sandy is our signature big-fig of the set, and is responsible for our main play-feature of the set - the boat! This giant swamp-skiff-like vehicle is eye-catching, takes focus, and shows that Sandy is not messing around. It's cooky, whacky and a bit of fun. Heck, there is even a turret on top manned by a cat, with LEGO's 6-barrel stud launcher primed and ready to go!
Set upon wheels so the kids can skirt it across the living room floor, LEGO seems to have thought of everything.
But unfortunately, they haven't.
The boat is big and impressive, but it also has some big problems too. When Sandy is removed from the boat, it leaves a huge uncomfortable gap in that space, and exposes a lot of the "secret sauce" of the build. This is a common problem with any big-fig build, so we can't discredit LEGO too much here. But the fact the turret on top is only forward-facing is surely going to leave a few kids a little saddened.
Also, the boat is the same colour as the driver, Sandy. It isn't really a negative, because it seems to work, but it is weird to be driving a flesh-coloured vehicle.
There isn't all that much to talk about in regards to the hoverboard. It follows the same trend as most hoverboard-related builds go to as of late (such as Gwen-Stacy's hoverboard in the recent Marvel sets), but the new cloud piece, that seems to be exclusive to this range, is actually really cool. It is a shame that this piece is not more common across other themes, as it would well with other cartoon-y like builds.
The Spider build in this set is a little underwhelming by comparison to LEGO's own spider builds in other themes, such as Harry Potter or LOTR. It is very clear to kids the purpose it serves, being able to open up and release more little spiders to battle, but we feel like if the legs were changed to something similar to the Aragog set of 2019, this would have had more of an impact. It serves its purpose, but nothing to write home about.
The Web Diorama
The final facade of the build is a small diorama for us to tack our hero-in-distress onto. It a quick and easy way to convey the story and give a little backdrop to it all, but there isn't anything here that stands out.
As far as the Minifigures go in this set, we have four characters and one cat. We'll address each of these below.
Sandy, our main big blue guy of the set, is probably the oddest figure we have ever come across in a LEGO set before; and this is the same set that comes with the pig-chef.
It's clear from looking at the top half of the character that the design is Buddahist-Monk, and he has quite the majestic beard going for him, but the awesomeness of the character is betrayed by the sports jeans and sneakers of the lower half.
We can see the blue skin done for the originality of the character, but the overall aesthetic of the outfit just doesn't quite work in our opinion. This would have been awesome for some sort of Dungeons and Dragons inspired enemy, and now we have a character that oddly enough, feels out of place even in their own universe. And that's not even mentioning the large weapon he carries with him, being too large for him to strike down within a vertical motion, without it feeling clunky or unnatural.
The Monkie Kid for this set is the most common across the wave, but is our first time having a hands-on review. We both really like that this character can easily stand out on their own, or easily blend into urban environments. The headphones neck accessory is really cool, and we hope to see that in more colours. Almost anyone who has got their hands on this figure has mentioned the new hilt piece on his weapon, which is ironically been referred to as "Darth Maul's Lightsaber in Gold". The Bandana and hair combo piece is also a welcome edition.
Pigsy is quite the odd figure. We don't know why there is a pig, and god forbid if he cooks any form of pork. His figure uses the new medium legs to allow leg movement, and his torso is lightly detailed with standard chef-attire. It would be quite easy to be able to simply swap out the head of Pigsy and use him in any cityscape.
The Spider Queen is honestly the best figure out of this whole set, and might actually be the most alluring thing out of the whole box. Her overall aesthetic, intimidating demeanour and awesome new headgear make the inner Dungeons and Dragons nerds in us stir with excitement. Her weapon even re-uses the old Uruk-hai blades of LOTR days, and ultimately makes this fig a solid 10/10. If there is one thing that the Monkie-Kid sets manage to get right across their whole theme, it's the bad guys. They are awesome.
Mo the cat, named of course, after his mohawk, is a delightful quirk. Normally exclusive to the largest set of the wave, we snap him up in this little set here quite easily. The sheer ridiculousness of the cat makes him that much more desirable, and really conveys the quirkiness of the Monkie-Kid Range.
Summary and Final Thoughts
Our closing thoughts of this set is that, unfortunately, there is a lot to be desired. The Monkie-Kid range does show a lot of potential, and LEGO seem very keen with trying to develop this theme, but there does seem to be a little bit of misguided focus with this particular set. We can at least see what they are trying to do with the theme, but as new Monkie-Kid set owners, we need a little more context to really, "get it".
If you are looking at collecting the theme, then this set is really good for getting most of the main cast cheaply, versus the large $200+ sets, but if you are looking to see what the range has to offer you, it might be best to start with a different set.
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Review sets and new release announcements are provided by the
AFOL Engagement team of the LEGO Group for review purposes.
All opinions are my own.