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There can't be anyone unaware of Lego or its popularity amongst both adults and children. We are huge fans of it in our house and our children play with not only my childhood Lego, but my husband's and my cousins' too. This year my daughter (6) has become a huge Star Wars fan and we are inundated in Jedi talk and requests for anything Star Wars. So this Brickmaster set seemed like the ideal present for Christmas this year-especially as I picked it up as part of a special Star Wars bundle with three other books for £17. Usually retailing at between £15.99 and its RRP of £18.99 its currently (Jan 2012) at £11 on Amazon.
So for the best part of £19 you get a hardback book which opens up to reveal a box of 240 Lego bricks on the left and a book of instructions on the right. At this point you are going to need a box or container to put the bricks into. Don't choose a plastic bowl for this job as 1) your child will knock it over and you will lose at least one vital part and be forced to rake through all your existing Lego for an acceptable substitute and 2) any younger child in the house will be drawn to it like a magnet and be found gleefully running bits through their fingers (and clothing) leading to you searching through your existing Lego for an acceptable substitute. So yes...something with a lid. All the bits are tiny, there are no chunky bits here and whilst not all bits are required for each model, you are going to need them all at least once. The container that comes with the book is just a cardboard flap and once the Lego pieces are freed from the plastic bags then they will just fall out all over the place, leading to another 1) and 2) scenario.
The two minifigures are a Clone Trooper and a droid which are nice, but we have approximately 8 million of these already so not a significant addition to ou....her Lego collection. Once they have been assembled you can start on the 8 Lego models. We began at the beginning and it quickly became clear that my daughter wouldn't be able to do this on her own. There are lots of fiddly bits and the instructions aren't quite as good as normal Lego instructions. My daughter is experienced with Lego and so am I but even I struggled a little and made a few mistakes (and I'm 30). After making the first one my daughter wanted to make the next one but the number of bricks supplied means you have to do some disassembling before you can make the next. I managed to make two models by fiddling a bit, but then my daughter wanted to play with them, bits fell off, got mixed in with the normal Lego and that was that, we couldn't make any more of the models in the book without doing some serious searching for the original pieces (did I mention we have gallons of Lego here).
The models themselves are ones that I don't recognise, they aren't the most famous ones so no AT-ST, AT-AT, no speeder, no mini Millenium Falcon or X-wing, Y-Wing, Tie Fighter, Boba Fett Slave 1, Jabba the Hut barge, none of those. There is a mini walking gun thing, a transport ship, a blue gun turret thing that's on the front cover of the Brickmaster and some other little ship things. None of them are particularly interesting or scream Star Wars (cynically I suppose that's what the Clone Trooper and droid are for). The book has lots of little bits of information in boxes explaining where the ships appeared and about Star Wars, but they were either very simple or very random and uninteresting (like the models then). To be fair there are some cool bits, the gun swivels and the wings on the red ship I made fold up. They do look very good but they also use some very specialised and tiny bits which are hard to find and replicate. My daughter is very happy with the two models she had briefly and has happily incorporated the recognisable remains into a bizarre amalgamation thing, which I suppose is the true purpose of Lego.
I wouldn't buy it again for my daughter or indeed any of her friends. The individual sets like the Speeders and the Mandalorian Battle Pack are excellent for adding a bit of Star Wars into ordinary Lego play and you can get both of those sets for the same price as the RRP of the Brickmaster. This would suit a child who would faithfully put the bits into the box, would play nicely with the models and likes disassembling things neatly and carefully. My daughter is none of those things so this was a short lived novelty that has merely added to the mass of tiny Lego pieces on the floor that seem to exist merely to cripple me when I stand on them.
But if you live to create a minor transport ship that once dropped someone off at a battle one time...in a galaxy far far away, then this is the set for zzzzzzzzzzzzz.