The latest Lego Ideas set is the Dinosaur Fossils, and just like most of the Ideas sets we've seen in the last couple of years, it's a very nice set indeed. Praise must be given to Lego's Ideas initiative; it's a wonderful way for us to get an interesting assortment of sets that wouldn't normally fit in the main Lego line-up. This latest set is a 910-piece set aimed at adults (it's 16+), with a price tag of £55. For a set with nearly 1,000 pieces, that's quite a steal – but bear in mind the majority of the pieces are very small.
I can see you...
The Lego Dinosaur Fossils set is made up of three separate models: a T-rex, a Triceratops and a Pteranodon. There's also a "human" skeleton (i.e. a minifigure) and a palaeontologist minifig who comes equipped with a magnifying glass and a box of junk. Sadly, I don't think his name is Ross Gellar. Each model by itself is rather impressive, but the three together make this set a real showpiece.
"And here's how you used to look."
These aren't models that can be played with; they're very much for display-only, and their construction warrants the "16+" tag on the box. They are not easy to put together. They're quite technical, using certain pieces and methodology that you'll have come up against if you've built any Lego Technic models. Since most of the pieces are rather small, too, you'll find it quite a fiddly and slow process. Not one that younger kids will want to be part of. And of course, the vast majority of the pieces are white, which makes finding that one tiny stud that you need much harder than it otherwise would be.
These ribcage sections, although effective, are particularly fiddly to get just right.
Since the Dinosaur Fossils have been made to be displayed and not played with, it means they don't have the structural integrity of other models. In other words: they're pretty flimsy. Not a problem when they're sat safely on a shelf (ideally behind glass...) but when you need to have your hands on them to add more pieces, it becomes a problem. Numerous times did I accidentally send a part I'd already built flying when I was trying to attach another part. The instructions also aren't particularly clear at times; it can be hard to see exactly where something is supposed to join on. Needless to say, if you enjoy Lego but patience isn't your strong point, then this may be a set you're best avoiding.
The minifig and "Lego Sapien" included in the set.
That said: if you do have the patience to put together all three models, you'll be duly rewarded. The three models will take you somewhere between two and three hours to build. The Pteranodon is the smallest, took me no more than 15 minutes to put together. The T-rex and Triceratops took just over an hour each. Handily, each model has its own instruction booklet and their pieces are in individual bags, so it's a good choice if you want to build it alongside someone else. And of course, since it's a smaller Lego Ideas set, it comes in one of the lovely folio-style boxes. Hooray: no ripping tabs from the side. It's only a box, but it makes a big difference!
The T-Rex - with his larger, fleshy friend.
Once finished, the three models look phenomenal. There are still a couple of studs left visible, but for the most part they look like faithful recreations of dino skeletons. There's a great amount of detail, from their feet to their claws, and the T-rex's tail is a particular highlight (although was a particularly fiendish part to put together!). Along with the base plates and museum labels (annoyingly, these are stickers), they look extremely effective.
The details on the feet are particularly effective.
All three of them have numerous poseable joints, too, allowing you to customise your display somewhat. The Pteradon's wings can be fully oustretched, for maximum wingspan, or twisted and folded up or down to take up less space. Both the T-Rex and the Triceratops have poseable heads, mouths and tails, but you need to be careful not to flex them too much. Bend and pose the models a little too far and you're likely to break something off. Heads are secured by ball joints which offer more support, but some joints are held together with simple hook clips, which means too much pressure one way or the other will send it pinging off.
But as long as you're careful and don't fiddle with them too much, the three Dinsosaur Fossils models make a wonderful display piece – especially if you're a palaeontology buff. Even if you're not, they make up an eye-catching and unique set that kind of makes me want to create a full-on Night at the Museum-style diorama...