70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg! Review

Theme: The LEGO Movie 2
No: 70840
Release Year: 2019
Cost: AU $499.99
Pieces: 3178 (with 12 minifigures)

One of the biggest sets to come out this year was Welcome to Apocalypseburg (or as my 2 year old daughter now calls it “Big Lady with the Ice Cream”). It was very well received, with an abundance of sand green in many different elements, and a unique set that included 12 excellent minifigures. It was one that I definitely wanted to build! It’s a massive set and took my wife and I the better part of a weekend to finish. Is it worth it though? Read on to find out.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

The box is enormous and imposing, which just heightens the excitement factor. I’d not had a set in a box this size before, so I was pretty pumped. Inside the box are 29 bags numbered 1 to 18. A centimetre thick instruction book is included, as well as a sticker sheet with 66 stickers. It seems like a lot, but they’re not overly visible in the set, and add some nice little details.

Inside the instruction book, the first few pages are dedicated to interviews from the designers and creators which made for an interesting read later on.

Firstly, there’s the minifigures. Let’s break them down into groups of four. Let’s start with Emmet, Larry the Barista, Roxxi and Scribble Cop. All of the minifigures (except for a couple) have double sided faces.

Ah, Emmet. You’re the same in every single set. Although I think this one has some slight scratches (on purpose) on his print. He’s good if you want an army of construction workers, but he’s just not exciting any more. I’m sorry Emmet.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Larry the Barista, however, looks very different. I love the apocalypse variants of characters in this set. It must have been fun creating the new versions of them! Larry has a much more hardened look about him, with a fair few graphics changes on his uniform – the tattered apron looks great, as well as an awesome mohawk, spiked shoulder armour and a respirator – as nobody else has one, I’m guessing the smell of coffee has also increased in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Roxxi‘s prints in particular are brilliant – some of the best in the set. The belt and necklace made from cogs is very clever. I love the overall aspect of making things out of whatever is found, and this is a perfect print example. The single shoulder pad looks good, and the printing on the face is nice – the headband is a nice touch.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Scribble Cop has always been a favourite of mine, and he’s gotten better with age! He’s now got a much cooler leather jacket, complete with spikes and metal pads. On the back he’s got a very cool Scribble Cop logo, and some silver shoulder pads to finish the look off.

Next up is Fuse, Chainsaw Dave, Mo-Hawk and Batman.

The noticeable thing about Fuse is his flame welding mask. It looks awesome! These are not common at all, so having a printed one is excellent. He’s got a tan singlet and leather braces to hold his pants up, and underneath the welding mask he’s got a brilliant face print – a handlebar moustache and a metal eye patch covering what looks like a pretty decent scar.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Chainsaw Dave, formerly known as Surfer Dave has been forced to reinvent himself, due to the lack of surf in Apocalypseburg. He’s still got his bathers on, but also has a very minimalist chest armour on, as well as some great tattoos on his arms – a broken surfboard and a chainsaw – I’m guessing one was helped to break the other! Dave also carries a brick built chainsaw, and has two angry looking faces on his head.

Mo-Hawk is rocking a very Mad Max style get up, with painted face, eponymous mohawk and some pretty great looking body armour. There’s armour plating on her legs and she carries a spiked club, using a dark orange plant stem as the spiked head. It looks fantastic and totally suits the overall feel of the set. It’s great getting another mohawk in the set, and there’s four in this set, as well as lots of other great hair-dos.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

If there’s a minifigure that defines this set, it has to be Batman. LEGO has released a plethora of different Batman costumes over the years, but this has to be my favourite. First of all, there’s that enormous armour made out of tyres. The beauty of this is that it’s actually a dual plastic mould. The tyres are rubber! There’s a scratched red bat logo at the top, and the ripped cape underneath just accentuates the minifigure. It’s a beauty. The costume underneath the armour and cape is just as good, with a shoulder plate made from metal and leather. The overall costume has now also got sections of brown in it, and there’s even some printing on his arms, to extend the armour. His face has the usual scowl, plus a confused look on the reverse. I love this minifigure. LEGO Batman has always been a favourite of mine, and this just takes the cake.

Lastly, there’s Lucy Wildstyle, Where Are My Pants Guy, Harley Quinn, and Green Lantern.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Lucy Wildstyle has been seen in this costume before, in one of the recent sets I reviewed – 70829 Emmet and Lucy’s Escape Buggy!. It’s a nice costume, and I like the scarf and goggles. The tan sections that accentuate Lucy’s hips don’t look that great, but it’s intended to blend in with the desert behind, so it’s passable.

Where Are My Pants Guy is back and still looking for his dacks! His shirt is a little different, with some of the flower colours changing to black and white. What’s also discoloured are his underpants, which have changed from white to a light grey. I guess washing isn’t a thing in Apocalypseburg? He’s got a great face, with a stern look, and the classic WAMPG face on the reverse. He’s also got a big warhammer.

Harley Quinn is, to me, a welcome addition to the set. Suicide Squad didn’t get the greatest of reviews, however I really enjoyed it, and I’ve wanted a Harley Quinn in my collection for a while, so it’s great to see her in the set, and in the matching costume from the film too. The printing is just brilliant, and beats Batman as the favourite for me in the set. There’s a couple of minor differences in this version to the movie version – there’s a metal patch on her knee, and her baseball bat has got a crack in it which has been repaired with metal plates as well.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Lastly, there’s Green Lantern. He also looks excellent, and has a single left shoulder pad and cape over his right shoulder. There’s also a bit more Apocalypseburg-esque printing on his legs. The best bit about this character, though, is the face. The alternate face is one big manic smile, and it’s brilliant!

Phew, that’s it for the minifigures! There is so much awesome in this set element-wise, I’d be here forever picking up on it. Not only is there all that stunning sand green, many elements never before seen in this colour like the sand green sausages, but there’s also a bunch that haven’t been seen in a while, like 2×4 plates, 2×2 tiles and more. One of my favourite parts in this set is the 1x6x5 corrugated panel. It’s just a pretty looking element. There’s also two barbed wire coils, 1×1 pyramid tiles, and much, much more. I’ll get into them more later. This set has an incredible amount of new or hard to find elements. It’s amazing to see.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

One more I want to note though, are the spikes in Lady Liberty’s crown. I’d never come across these before, but like Batman’s armour, these are also a dual plastic mould. They’re also quite prolific, appearing in many other sets in lots of colour combinations over the years. From Legends of Chima and Exo Force, to Atlantis, Power Miners, Nexo Knights, DC Super Heroes, LOTR, Ninjago, The LEGO Batman Movie, and even in this year’s San Francisco from Architecture, they are quite a versatile element.

The tip of the spike, extending down almost an inch, is soft, with the rest as hard ABS plastic. It looks excellent, and must be very safe as well.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

The incredible build process starts with the base. Instead of working off a baseplate, this build sits on a split section, reinforced with Technic beams. The base is also actually two layers of plating, with some Technic bricks in between. It leads to a very secure platform, which I was pleasantly surprised about. After the first half of the base is complete, work starts on the first section of container buildings. These are a lot of fun to work on.

Some look like proper structures, whole others appear to be sea containers, and even a broken down train carriage (it’s a shame this one is hidden on the back of the set). The bottom floor of this section contains the cafe and police station, with other empty buildings taking up the floor, for strength. The cafe looks awesome, and it’s had a name change.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Coffee Chain is now Coffee Unchained (very clever), and it serves everything you could want from an apocalyptic cafe – rats, and two types of coffee. One that costs a reasonable $3, and the other at the standard LEGO Movie rate of $37. They’re both served out of petrol pumps, and they look great. It’s a shame the doors aren’t clear here, as it would be nice to look inside, but nevertheless, the cafe is a great place to start the build.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

The police station, where Scribble Cop hangs out, is much more simple, but does contain a play element. To satiate Scribble Cop’s passion for throwing chairs, the chair in the middle of the room can also be thrown by pressing on a pipe extending from the base. It’s a nice little nod to the movies. It’s also in this area that it’s noticeable that the set appears to be made of random parts, giving it an unfinished look, but I guess that’s the point of the set. Look at it from a distance and it just works.

Outside the police station is one of my favourite little details of the entire set – the barbed wire basketball ring! It’s such a minor detail, but it just shows how much attention Justin Ramsden put into designing this set. It looks like there’s a skeletron head in the bin, just for basketball!

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Once that half is done, focus moves to the other side of the base, where there’s two broken down vehicles – a truck front end, and a kombi. The truck front end holds a bath and a shower.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

This truck front end has a number plate on it’s front mudguard, and like all LEGO vehicles, the number plate is also the set number. This truck appears to be a slightly downsized version of 5571 Giant Truck. The little details like the running water out of the shower, the soap, bubbles and even a rubber ducky frog, are fantastic.

Around the front of the truck is a little sand castle, with access to possibly the sewer, given the manhole cover. Maybe this is where the sewer babies hang out?

The kombi appears to be the home of Chainsaw Dave. His dilapidated surf van is now holding up a section of Apocalypseburg. He hasn’t broken all of his surfboards though – a couple are visible (complete with some nice stickers) in a very cleverly made surfboard rack.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

The fun bit in this part comes in connecting the two sections together. It’s very satisfying and it fits perfectly. The geometry of LEGO never ceases to amaze me. It ends up being pretty solid, which is important for a huge set.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

The core of the fallen Statue of Liberty is made with Technic, coming in at strange angles, and it’s covered in loads of sand green panels and bricks, with some olive and light bluish grey bricks thrown in for good measure.

The height starts to be realised when the large Technic beam that supports the outstretched arm and torch is added. It’s connected to the internal Technic structure of the statue, as well as the smaller neck support, with a selection of sand green elements thrown in for decoration and to hide the Technic internals.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Next up we move back down to create the support structure for the tabula ansata (the tablet that Lady Liberty holds), as well as the tablet itself. Again, it’s very sturdy, being reinforced by Technic pillars and beams. It ends up creating a ramp for the rest of Apocalypseburg, so no text on this one! While there’s a lot of Technic beams included in this set, very few of them are actually visible – the execution of this set is incredible. The fingers wrapping around it also look brilliant.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

The focus moves away from the statue and back to the containers, this time moving to the ‘upper floors’. They connect in the same way as upper floors connect on modular buildings.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Tucked in the side of the statue is what looks like a storage area for Batman’s merch, next to the radiator grille of 70905 The Batmobile. It’s a very nice little nod to another set that Justin Ramsden has designed. On the back side of the set, on the second floor, is a little kitchen. I’d not recommend eating there though – the sausages look like crossbow bolts. The chip fryer is a nice touch. Also on the second floor is a barber shop. While there is a barber’s pole on a sticker, it would have been better (and very simple) to have a brick built version instead. There’s also a weapons/trophy room, and has a Justice League shield in there as well. This room is the most confusing of the lot!

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

Lucy’s room, complete with lookout spot on the roof sits at a bit of an angle and looks excellent. There’s a nice fabric curtain and lots of little odds and ends that make Lucy’s room homely. I love the binoculars with Emmet’s house stickered on them, as well as the under-bed storage.

The third floor also houses a little workshop. The floor is an 8×8 grid plate, and the workbench is made upside down – there are two studs on the underside (the top when building it), which allow it to connect to the grid – it’s very clever.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

The last few steps are dedicated to finishing off the statue, and for me, they were the best part. The head is easily the drawcard feature of the set. It’s incredibly intricate and looks absolutely spot on. I’m honestly staggered at how good this is, and the build process was a masterclass in LEGO techniques. As an added bonus, inside the crown is a small bedroom for Where Are My Pants Guy. The back is detailed and shaped as well, and while you can see some of the substructure behind the arm, it still works.

70840 Welcome to Apocalypseburg!

The outstretched arm is simple and elegant, and the added bonus of the ladder work is also great, but the party topper is that torch. It’s stunning. It looks like the real deal and is a bright pop of contrasting colour. The grasping fingers around it look fantastic. (Unfortunately I neglected to take a decent photo of it! Sorry…).

While the set is brilliant to both build and play with, it’s not easy to play with it, as a good chunk of the sections need to be removed to get access. Now, I understand that this is the case for modulars as well, but in this case it negates the need for ladders. It’s honestly the smallest thing, but I had to try to find a flaw somewhere!

The other flaw I have noticed, and I’m certainly not alone, is the price. At AU $500, this is crazy expensive. It’s totally worth it, don’t get me wrong, but that is not affordable for a lot of people. However, the parts and minifigures included, the build process and what you get at the end is nothing short of phenomenal. My wife and I spent the better part of a weekend piecing this together slowly, enjoying every minute of it. There was not one part where we thought it was tedious or repetitive, and my goodness, just look at it! This is a keeper for sure.

BUILD: 20/20

OVERALL: 98/100

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.

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