Boys are predictable. As a general rule of thumb, we tend to like guns, robots, pirates and swords. When you combine all of these elements together into one single entity, the results are spectacular and you can be damn sure that our little man-hearts enter into a state of euphoric adolescent joy.
When The LEGO Movie sets were unveiled, Metalbeard’s Duel instantly made an impression on me and I knew that I had to have it. Details of the movie was scant, but the premise of a Mecha-Pirate decked out in a pegged leg, twin hand cannons (literal cannons, I might add) AND a shark on the opposing hand was impossible to resist.
Warning: Since the movie is out in Australia, I will include some mild spoilers in the review. Take note and avert your eyes if you don’t to read about minor plot details.
Is it worth the hype?
Name: Metalbeard’s Duel
Set Number: 70807
Price: AU$49.99 (LEGO.com link)
Exclusive to: N/A
Minifigs: 3 (I consider it 2½)
Theme: The LEGO Movie
Year of Release: 2014
I had high expectations about the set as I’ve been a huge fan of LEGO mechas ever since I got back into LEGO. Some days I still regret missing out on the Anime-inspired Exo-Force theme where LEGO went all out with brick-built Mechs.
You begin putting together Metalbeard’s Duel by constructing the Micro Manager, a black boxy robotic creation of Lord Business engineered to force the inhabitants of The LEGO Movie into submission and order. Micro managers occupy the role of “villainous constructs”, terrorising in tandem with Lord Business’ legion of robots and skele-bots.
Building a Micro Manager is a lot like piecing a crude mech together. The Micro Manager consists of two main sections, the squarish “head” which has two clawed tentacles erupting from the front, and its legs. The claws are rigid cannot be flexed but that doesn’t stop the Micro Manager from being able to pick up minifigures (at the right angle), like poor Frank here.
The Micro Manager’s “arms” are moderately flexible and you’re able to bend and twist the make it look as menacing as possible. Mr Manager’s legs are a lot less forgiving and I initially had some issues striking the right pose to make it stand up straight given that the Robot Black Box’s centre of gravity is a little wonky. The Micro Managers remind of the AT-STs from Star Wars, which isn’t too shabby a comparison.
There’s not a lot going on in Mr Manager’s head – there’s a hatch that pops up which allows you to fit a lone minfigure as some sort of pilot and two flick fire missile launchers which conveniently fold out from each side like pop-out ears. Strange seeing as how Micro Managers in the movie didn’t do much except manage and didn’t seem to display any sort of ballistics weaponry. LEGO, unless your projectiles are powered by springs, let’s cool off on the forced flick fires, okay?
“He’s a cookie cutter construction worker which may or may not be a good thing”
We get three (well more like 2.5) minifigures in this set, starting with Frank the Foreman. For the life of me, I cannot even remember Frank from the movie so I’m just going to assume that he’s one of the many thousands of construction workers that work alongside Emmet. There’s nothing especially notable about Frank – he’s a cookie cutter construction worker which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your personal tastes.
He has quite the majestic beard on him which can be repurposed for other characters but it’s only an alright minifigure. He has a macho construction torso with offers a small peek at his sculpted chest muscles and hints of chest hair, but like most torso prints, the skin colour is off as per usual. I’d have preferred it if LEGO included a regular non-construction civilian to mix it up a little.
You can’t have a LEGO set these days without some villians and we get a Robo SWAT minifigure in addition to a Skeletron – a lazy portmanteau of Skeleton and Tron? If you’ve been buying LEGO Movie sets, you’ve probably amassed quite a large number of these robotic henchmen. They’re both kinda exclusive to this set with the exception of Robo SWAT who appears in a promotional polybag (available at Village Cinemas) but they are nothing to shout about.
Mr. Swat comes decked out in standard issue Bricksburg police uniform complete with a helmet printed with the Robo Police insignia which is a nice consolation. I’m not a fan of these new skeletons as their arms are rather rigid and boring.
Both Frank and Robo Swat feature back printing which is stock standard these days for most minifigures found in boxed sets. I especially like Robo Swat’s back with the walkie talkie printed behind him. The torso is multi-functional and should easily fit into any City or Law Enforcement-related builds once you switch out the grey hands.
Introducing the supreme commander of the Seven Seas… Metalbeard
“I cannot think of a more apt description than “gloriously bad-ass”.
On to the main course and star of the set, Metalbeard himself. I cannot think of a more apt description than “gloriously bad-ass”. Metalbeard is one of the major-ish characters in The LEGO Movie, a pirate who first attempted to storm Lord Business’ Octan Tower, an effort that proved unfruitful and cost him his “virile strapping young body”. According to his recounting of the failed assault, Metalbeard barely made it out alive, salvaging his head and a few vital organs which he then incorporated into this hodge podge pirate exoskeleton to prolong his life AND increase his awesomeness and raw brick appeal.
At first glance, the first thing that strikes you is how ridiculous this creation is – a theme shared with many LEGO movie sets. That’s a good thing, because I felt that LEGO has been erring on the safe side when it came to designs and I’m glad they were able to let their imaginations run wild when conceptualising the movie sets to deliver this bad ass Robo-pirate-cyborg-killing machine.
Metalbeard is all business, with what’s left of his piratey minifigure head protruding from his chest, held aloft by a metal beard. I love the little details that went into the design of his face such as the metallic eye patch, gold tooth and the modified Jolly Roger flag on his hat, comprised of a minfigure skull and crossed wrenches. Metalbeard is an excellent character in the movie, providing much needed piratey comic relief and overusage (in a good way) of pirate lingo and jokes.
Directly beneath Metalbeard’s face is a functioning treasure chest containing what I assume is Metalbeard’s vital organs. He is also the Captain of a massive pirate ship, The Sea Cow which is one of the main forms of transportation for Emmet & friends.
Opening the chest reveals… a sausage and a bone. I simply cannot look past the innuendo of a bone and a sausage piece being chosen as Metalbeard’s most important organs. I fully believe this was intentional as Metalbeard makes it very clear that he was once a “virile” man in the movie.
Metalbeard packs a boatload of heat on him, one of the biggest draws about the design. On his right arm, he has a shark mounted just above his hand, which I’m guessing is useful to bite his foes and on his left hand, two pirate ship cannons. Two. Not one, because one is lame. Two is cool. It certainly looks impressive and this is cannons down, my favourite part of Metalbeard. The cannons really do work and you can pull the “pin” end to launch 1×1 round bricks around the room.
Metalbeard’s arsenal looks and sounds terrific on paper and in pictures, but when I was posing and playing with him, I discovered that the cannons especially were not fastened to his arm securely, leading them to pop out every time I try and move his arms. They’re held precariously by a lone technic pin which explains the flimsiness.
Another great addition is his pirate’s peg leg. It’s probably a pirate thing keeping a peg leg on his reconstructed body. I guess you lose pirate-cred if you don’t have a stump for the leg. It may look wobbly but it holds up the entire body remarkably well. There’s also an anchor fastened to the back, in case Metalbeard needs to drop anchor in the ocean for some strange reason.
If you thought a shark and twin cannons are enough to satisfy Metalbeard, you thought wrong. He also wields a massive cutlass that is almost as tall as him. His fingers can easily grasp the hilt of the sword but it’s not a perfect fit so there’s a bit of effort in getting him to hold it. When not in use, his giant sword conveniently clips on to his back.
Putting Metalbeard together was a lot of fun. I enjoy putting Mechs together and due to the sheer number of little trinkets and tiny features such as binoculars, a ship’s wheel, pistols and even a chimney attached to his body, it never felt like a generic build. There’s a lot of detail packed into Metalbeard’s body which I can appreciate. Parts-wise, there’s a surprisingly large number of pearl gold elements used which complements the dark orange, brown and grey bits nicely.
That said, the build doesn’t feel as secure or tight as I’d like it to be. I constantly found myself breaking parts of his body off, especially his twin cannons when I attempted to pose or move him about. His head also tends to dislodge itself easily. It’s not a shabby build but I had very high expectations about this set. It doesn’t feel like it will fall apart at any moment but I would caution against vigorous play when it comes to Metalbeard. Treat him gently, like a demure sea wench for best results.
I really liked the assortment of parts in the set, especially the large number of transparent red 2×1 bricks used in the micro manager. The pearl gold elements such as the binoculars and telescope are also welcome additions to my parts pool.
Overall, a generous supply of spare parts promises to greet you at the end of the build, including a printed 1×1 lock til as well as a short chain. Can’t complain about the spread as it’s certainly a step up from assorted cheese slopes or 1x1s.
Final Thoughts: This was a really enjoyable build and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more wacky and zany pirate design. There’s nothing not to like about a pirate-mech. Metalbeard is one of the more popular characters in the movie so if you’re a collector, having him in your stable of characters is a huge plus. For $50, I felt that this set packed a ton of value, both in terms of the final product and the assortment of special parts such as cannons, a shark and other neat little pieces thrown in. I do wish they’d have thrown in more minifigures as I’m tired of construction people and robots but Metalbeard itself is the main draw of the set so I can see why they wouldn’t pack in too much value. It looks fantastic on display like all Mechs. Build sturdiness aside, I still felt that this is one of the top LEGO Movie sets on the market for now.
Should You Buy It?: Loved the LEGO Movie? Definitely pick this up. The minifigures department is lacking but Metalbeard’s hulking exoskeleton more than makes up for the lack of interesting minifigs. If you come across this on sale, you’d be hard pressed to pass up Metalbeard’s Duel. I normally wait till I get a minimum of 20% off LEGO when I pick sets up, but I felt it was fair to drop the full price for Metalbeard’s Duel because frankly: it’s a robotic pirate mech with sharks and twin cannons for arms. How does that not make you want to buy it?
Thanks for reading! Do you own this set or plan to buy it? Let me know what you thought about Metalbeard’s Duel in the comments section or if you have any pressing questions about the set!