I don't buy as much LEGO as I used to - it's good, but it's almost a lifestyle. I couldn't pass on the 5981 Raid VPR because it was basically the Vic Viper from Gradius as a cop car, for ten bucks, and with a Blacktron alien figure. You can put it together quickly and the box has a lot of air in it, but it's cool. We don't get a lot of space-for-the-sake-of-space sets, but we got a few neat ones like Alien Conquest in the last few years. "Classic Space" homages pop up here and there, especially in the blind bag figure lines.
The figures are good. The Space Police Commando has two faces, just rotate it around to change his mood. The red visor reminds me of the original Space Police sets I had as a kid, but the dark grey uniforms are new. They're also not really specifically referencing any particular police uniform of which I am aware - it works as an adventurer too. There's a badge brinted on his torso, plus you'll see tons of pockets on a printed-on belt. The figure has a black air tank, plus printing on both sides of his body. It's a good one - the same parts were used for some other blind bag space figures later on.
The aliens in this line got names! Rench is a squiddy fellow with big black eyes, an open mouth, and big teeth. It looks amazingly animated - the flow of the face and the appendages hanging off the head make it seem like he's running or riding a bike, and the costume it pretty awesome. It has a "Blacktron II" B on the vest, and for some reason a wallet chain hangs off his hip. The figure has knee pads and a skull belt buckle, making it look like a cross between a variety of different figure outfits. There aren't a lot of Blacktron tributes, so I was really pumped to see this when it came out nearly ten years ago.
The ship is arguably the reason to buy it. If you're familiar with the Vic Viper from Gradius or Life Force games - or possibly Solar Assault but probably not - you'll recognize the mandibles forking out front, and the wing sticking up from the back. The game publisher Konami doesn't do a lot of Vic Viper merchandise, so something like this and the little fighter in the Alien Conquest Earth Defense HQ are nice little nods to something that would've made for an amazing LEGO kit. Here, it has an opening cockpit, lots of "lights," and flick rockets on the wings. The price-per-piece wasn't exactly a wonderful value, but it was a fun enough build for the asking price. Even if it does have - gag - stickers you have to apply.
I'd love to see more ships like this - even if it's the same silhouette. Especially if it's the same silhouette. The LEGO Movie series gave us some classic Space coloring, and I'd love to see them make another full theme for Benny and his pals that have more ships like this. Heck, if it worked for Unikitty, maybe there's room for this too. If you can get this nifty starfighter, or replicate it through parts in your bins, you should. Fans used to do tons of ships based on this basic form factor over the years, and I hope they keep doing a lot more. There are a lot of toys I get and look at ten years later and go "Oh, that's nice" and put it back in a storage box. I dug through some shelves to get this one out again so I could play with it, and then review it for you. The review was an afterthought - I was just enjoying it so much that I figured it was wasteful not to showcase it here.
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