Review: 76095 Aquaman: Black Manta Strike

76095-thumb

The latest entry to the DC Cinematic universe – Aquaman – was released in cinemas on Boxing Day, a few months after the release of this tie-in set.

I requested this set for review before I’d had a chance to see the movie so I had no idea how well it related to the content before I got it. I am always interested in how well a movie related set relates to what we see in the movie. Sometimes it works out better than others.

I got a chance to see the movie while I was on holidays and I really enjoyed it, let’s see if I enjoy the set as much…

Build Experience

review-section-banners-build-center

Seaweed and Shark

Is there a minimum part count required for something to count as a ‘build’? If so I think this opening part of the set probably falls short. It’s literally just a few bits of gold and some seaweed, 6 elements if you include the shark.

76095_04

Black Manta Sub

76095_23

This is the real meat of the set – Black Manta’s submarine.

The build here is pretty straight forward. The sub is fairly flat so there isn’t really a lot of opportunity for lots of SNOT work or other complex building techniques. Lots of layering of elements.

There are a lot of angled plates and sloped bricks in use here and they create some nice lines. I like that there are numerous points where the designers have added in various tiles to the build – such as the 1×1 rounded corner tiles – to help keep things looking slick.

Overall it’s not a challenging build and relies heavily on a single colour but I enjoyed seeing the shape and details evolve as the build progressed. Minimal stickers are used and you could probably get away with leaving them out if you wanted.

Play/Display

review-section-banners-play-center

The Completed Model

The Black Manta Sub looks really great when completed. The designers have done a great job of creating something that looks sleek and does actually resemble a Manta Ray. When combined with the minifigure the end result is still a play set, but it wouldn’t look terrible as part of a Aquaman inspired display.

76095_22

Play Features

The sub features a few tried and true play features that you’d expect from a superhero themed set.

First up are two spring loaded blasters that fire off red projectiles. These blasters have some force behind them so it’s easy to knock over a minifigure with a shot. These are nicely integrated into the ‘wings’ of the sub.

76095_0030

Next is the rapid fire 6 stud shooter. I have mixed feelings about these things. On one hand they are a pretty cool play feature, on the other they make a mess if you aren’t careful.

The set also includes several water blast elements that can be fired from a minifigure’s hand. This was the first time I’ve come across these elements and when I was testing them out I managed to shoot one somewhere under my desk and I can’t for the life of me find it. They are surprisingly powerful.

76095_07

The Minifigures

The set features three minifigures.

Aquaman

76095_12
The set features Arthur Curry in his final Aquaman suit with green and gold colouring. The version in the film is more orange than gold but I don’t think any of the LEGO orange colour options would have looked as good.

The head piece features two different face prints, with normal and battle expressions.

76095_13

I like the subtle printing on the hair piece to break up the solid colour.

76095_14

Mera

76095_06
Played by Amber Heard in the film Mera is an Atlantean princess with a great outfit and some interesting powers. I think the minifigure version does a great job of capturing the look from the film.

My only complaint is probably the hair. In the movie her hair is bright red, while this minifigure’s is more subdued.

Mera also has a dual face print.

76095_05

Black Manta

76095_08
The Black Manta suit may look a bit silly but both this minifigure and the film depiction are both very accurate to the comics. The helmet and tank are both a single element with no standard minifigure head underneath.

76095_09

I wouldn’t have minded a normal head that could be swapped out for different play options.

76095_10

Value For Money

review-section-banners-affodability-center

This set was released late last year and unfortunately it was done so as an exclusive. It was released only to Myer, David Jones and specialty toy stores. Myer and David Jones are unlikely to exclude this set from their sales so it should be possible to find it on sale. Neither Myer or David Jones currently have it in stock online.

The RRP for this set is $49.99 so if you can get it for 20% off it comes down to a more respectable $40. Even at $40 I think it’s a little too high. If this had of been released generally then I think it’d be easy to get this at $35 or even $30. At either of those prices I think I’d be more inclined to call it good value. At $50? I’m sorry but that’s a bit too high in my opinion. I cover this a little more in the verdict below, but it does contain very minor spoilers for the film.

I have found listings priced at $40 at I’m Rick James Bricks,  MyHobbies and Build & Play Australia. Obviously you’ll need to factor in postage. You can also get it for $39.99 with free eBay plus postage from Metro Hobbies eBay when you use the code PLAYFUL20 at checkout.

Verdict

76095-verdict

I gave this set ticks for both the build experience and the play value, but I’m giving it a cross for value for money. My reasoning for that gets in to some mild spoilers for the Aquaman movie. Nothing plot critical, but if you are really hanging out to know nothing about the film then turn away now.

While Black Manta is a fun secondary antagonist for the film the sub that he uses is really not a significant part of the film at all. You only see it very briefly in the opening scene. I think if you are spending $50, even $40, on a set that ties in to a film then it should be something that relates better. I do really like the sub, and the minifigures are great. I was really tempted to give this set three ticks but then I started to wonder what we could have got instead and the film features some really crazy stuff. The Atlantis that we get on-screen is packed with vibrancy and LEGO have gone with a very black submarine. If this set was available for $30 or $35 I’d be more willing to look past how well it relates to the movie.

If you are a minifigure collector then you may find it worth it for the lineup here. If you are buying for a younger fan who loves Aquaman then they will probably love this.

One Response to Review: 76095 Aquaman: Black Manta Strike

  1. Christian says:

    Nice improvement with the pictures. They look great!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: