Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lego Kit 9461 - The Swamp Creature

Recently I have been over at Flatbush Avenue Target which is next to the college that I go to, and inside the store when I was passing by the toy department, I decided to stop by the Lego isle to see if they had any open stock minifigures. These open stock minifigures have been produced for quiet some time now, maybe 2-3 years, and every 3-4 months they introduce a series of 16 different collectible minifigures. After 6 or so months, they retire the given series at the time and you don't really know what Lego minifigure you will get because all of them have the same packaging, but if the part or an accessory to certain minifigure is large enough or unique, then you can "feel" it and hopefully get what you want. They did not have these minifigures in stock, as always, because I think whenever they get them in-stock, they all get sold-out within a day or 2 due to the scarcity, high demand and value. In the past several years, I only caught these minifigures once at Target, and they only had 3 packs of them in stock, so I bought them all. Generally they are mostly available at the B&M Lego shops/boutiques, but the prices for them are $3.49+tax. Since I did not found the open stock minifigs, I browsed around to see if they had anything for cheap under $10.00 and I found this "The Swamp Creature" kit for $6.99 [plus tax]. It is part of the Lego's new theme which is called Monster Fighters that features minifigures of popular monsters and team of "monster fighters" minifigures. In this kit the minifure of the Swamp Creature alone was the deciding factor for me to buy the kit, because I think that it is super-awesome all by itself. By looking at the box art I, there was also an Elvis-kind-of-guy minifigure, whose name I learned later to be Frank Rock [I get the Lego catalogs every once in a couple of months that I use as bathroom reading material] and he is pretty much one of the monster fighters. Frank's unique minifigure part is his hair/wig, which is very Elvis-like. To tell the truth I really don't know the whole story to the Monster Fighters theme, but what I do know is that Lego recycles their old themes every once in some years and in 1997-1998 there was a theme called Time Cruisers that had a set in it which was called Twisted Time Train. I remember it because I got it as a gift for my birthday, and now they recycled this idea of train into Monster Fighters, which is made with more parts and is priced at double the price of the 1997 train kit, which was around $35-$40 if I remember correctly. They also added a bunch of new parts to the new train kit. So back to the Swamp Creature kit: it includes the Swamp Creature, Elvis, swamp-sickle and Elvis' swamp craft. The parts/pieces that I thought of to be worthy from this kit are: Swamp Creature minifigure, Elvis' hair, 3 revolvers/pistols, toad, fish and what seems to be somekind of a "seaweed crystal" that seems to be related to the Swamp Crature minifigure, because from looking at the Lego catalog, every monster minifigure seems to have a crystal of their own, so this must tie-into the whole Monster Fighters theme somehow, probably as a gimmick to "collect them all" or something like that.

From the back of the box there is some suggestive mini story/strip of Dracula minifigure and Swamp Creature being mad at Dracula for stealing his seaweed crystal in order to launch some kind of a moon-like haduken.

Another graphic strips in the back which suggest the minifigures that are part of the Monster Fighters theme.

Back of the box.


Contents of the kit.

Swamp Creature minifigure.

Frank Rock [Elvis] minifigure.

Assembled kit.

I think that this is very good kit that well worth the $6.99 price. Lego increases the prices of their kits every once in a couple of year or so, to keep up with the inflation, and this reflects on price per piece/part. The only issue that I have with this kit is that the propeller of the swamp craft touches the surface. I rate this kit at 4.2/5.0 with a value rating of 4.0/5.0. I also googled for the Swamp Creature minifigure, and found the following art and graphics by the minifigure's designer Alexandre Boudon:

Concept art by Alexandre Boudon for the Swamp Creature minifigure.  Click the image for full size.

Swamp Creature's production graphics. Click the image for full size.

You can also check this interesting video; National Geographic's Lego factory documentary here.

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