Review: 79108 Stagecoach Escape
It’s always exciting to get a sneak peek at a new set before it appears at retail, and I’m particularly pleased to bring you a review of Set 79108 Stagecoach Escape because out of all the Lone Ranger sets, it was probably the one that I was looking forward to the most, apart perhaps from the Constitution Train Chase set.
At 279-pieces, the Stagecoach Escape is one of the smaller Lone Ranger sets in terms of piece count, as it’s a sizeable jump to the next largest set in the theme, the Colby City Showdown set, which weighs in at 587-pieces.
The box is identical in size to that of the Ninjago Golden Dragon set which was the subject of my last Brickset review. Huw has already commented on the Lone Ranger branding and box art in his reviews of the other Lone Ranger sets, and we’re in violent agreement – the bright, bold colours and “in your face” action imagery look great and should stand out from the crowd rather nicely when the sets hit the stores in April.
The back of the box (above; please note that all pictures can be clicked for larger versions) is taken up by a number of panels which highlight features of the set and give us some action shots of the various minifigures. Pictures of the minifigures are also provided on the side of the box (below). Access to the box contents is via a couple of thumb tabs, although as usual, I eschewed the destructive option in favour of slipping a sharp knife around one of the end flaps in order to preserve the box.
Instruction Booklet and Stickers
The box contains one instruction booklet, a DSS and three bags of parts, each of which contains a smaller bag. The bags are numbered from 1 to 3 to correspond with sub-assemblies in the instruction booklet, and as they’re wider than the box, they’re literally crammed in there, providing further evidence of LEGO’s current commitment to smaller box sizes.
The cover of the instruction booklet can be seen above; only the absence of the set name, age rating and minifigure box-out prevent it from being identical to the front of the box. The 76-page booklet has a pretty compact footprint; in addition to the building instructions themselves, notable content includes a 2-page inventory of parts and advertising for the new LEGO Lone Ranger microsite which you can find at LEGO.com/TheLoneRanger and which will no doubt go live any day now (at present there's just a welcome screen). There’s also a warning (below) not to poke anyone's eye out while playing with the set...
The instructions and DSS are unfortunately not supplied in a cardboard-backed bag, the set presumably not being deemed large enough for such treatment; the DSS was therefore floating free within the box and was predictably slightly curled. You can see a picture of it below; all the stickers are fairly small and are to be applied to the stagecoach, if you're so inclined.
The set contains five minifigures, and as you may have gathered from Huw’s reviews of the other Lone Ranger sets, they’re of a very high standard. Red Harrington (below) who’s played in the upcoming movie by Helena Bonham-Carter, is stunning. She has an extremely detailed torso and leg print, a plain fabric skirt of sorts which is held in place between her torso and legs and projects backwards, and spectacular ornate hair with a small decorated hat perched on top.
I’ve removed her hair, hat and skirt (ooerr) for the picture below so you can get a look at the back-printing on her torso and her coquettish alternate expression. What a cracking minifigure – superb ! Red is unique to this set.
The other standout minifigure in this set is Tonto, who makes an appearance in almost all of the first wave of Lone Ranger sets. From my perspective, every part of him, from his printed legs, front and back-printed torso and head with it’s alternate expression, is outstanding, with the highlight being his amazing hair and head dress, topped off with a black bird. Huw has previously photographed and described him in his review of Set 79107 Comanche Camp, so I’ll say no more, save to reiterate that this is one special minifigure in my opinion.
The remaining three minifigures are a little more mundane, truth be told, but still perfectly good, and you can see them below; I took the subsequent close-ups of these three cowboys without their hats on so as to reduce shadowing.
It appears that the Lone Ranger himself appears in all of the first wave of Lone Ranger sets which seems like overkill, unless you’re into building an army of Lone Rangers, of course. He has an excellent printed torso complete with Sheriff’s badge, and the torso print continues down on to the upper part of his legs. There’s also a simple print on the back of the torso. His head features a cool printed mask, although having recently bought my first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set, I was hoping against hope that the Lone Ranger would have a moulded mask similar to those sported by Michelangelo and co…
A quick trawl of the internet failed to reveal anything much about Barrett (below). As an aside, I was surprised how little concrete information I could find about the upcoming Lone Ranger movie, particularly the plot. Indeed, IMDb’s cast listing didn’t even mention a character called Barrett when I looked. It also didn’t help that the minifigure labelled as Barrett on the box is different to the one in the actual set, which only served to increase my confusion... Identity crises aside, he’s got an excellent torso print featuring a crumpled shirt, threadbare jacket and neckerchief, plus a neat leg print including a pair of riding chaps. There’s also a simple back print on the torso. The head print is a rather nice “grizzled with huge sideburns” affair, but there’s no alternate expression.
Finally there’s Jesus (below). Unlike Barrett, IMDb at least acknowledges his presence in the cast list (he’s played by Joaquin Cosio in the movie) but beyond that, his significance is unknown to me at this point. It’s therefore fitting that half of his face and the upper part of his torso is obscured by a huge red bandana, which further heightens the sense of mystery. Like Barrett, he has a rather nice torso print front and back, and also printed legs.
On the basis of the box art, we at least know that Jesus can ride a horse; an understanding of why his horse has dynamite strapped to the side of it (below) will, I fear, have to wait until the movie opens, however.
I’ve highlighted a few of the more interesting parts in the picture below. Just about the only downside of reviewing sets prior to their release is that there isn’t as yet an inventory of parts on Bricklink for me to cross-reference the parts and minifigures with. Given that, I can’t confirm whether the large and small dark tan wagon wheels have previously been available in any other sets, although I don’t recall having seen them before. The reddish brown Technic suspension arm has only previously appeared in this colour in last year’s Sopwith Camel set. The red hinge gate seems to have only previously appeared once before, in a 2007 set, and the red 1 x 4 plate with 2 studs was previously restricted to a smattering of 2012 sets. The pearl gold 2 x 2 tile has only previously appeared in this year’s Ninjago Temple of Light set... I'm particularly partial to the silver ingot; I have a ton of these in pearl gold but haven't previously seen one in this colour.
The build is split into three sections corresponding to bags 1 to 3. In addition to the Lone Ranger and Jesus minifigures, bag 1 contains two black horses and the parts needed to construct the chassis of the stagecoach. The horses (below) are of course of the new, poseable variety which first appeared last year; we got black horses in the Lord of the Rings Attack on Weathertop set, but those had a grey bridle pattern rather than the brown bridle you can see below.
You can see the completed Stagecoach chassis, together with the black horses and their hitchings, below. The reddish brown Technic wishbones, which give the appearance of a suspension, can be seen attaching to the rear axle. The front axle is joined to the chassis in such a way that the front wheels can change direction when the horses do.
Bag 2 contains the Tonto minifigure, and also the parts needed to build the body of the stagecoach (below). It's a shame that the black 1 x 2 x 2 windows aren't supplied with glass panes, and there's also a gaping hole above the doors which, while allowing minifigures to get in and out more easily, lends the body of the stagecoach a rather unfinished appearance.
Bag 3 contains the Red Harrington and Barrett minifigures together with the pieces needed to finish off the stagecoach. This includes the parts for the stagecoach floor and roof, plus the safe which opens to reveal the silver ingot I highlighted earlier. Everything comes together rather nicely, as you can see in the pictures below.
You can see the completed model plus the attendant minifigures in the picture below. I've got to say I had a blast posing the minifigs for the picture and trying to figure out how to get Red Harrington to hang out of the stagecoach window so she could participate in the gunfight. The stagecoach looks great, and is nicely complemented by a bunch of neat details like the mail sack with letter, and the sturdy-looking safe.
I wasn't expecting a huge amount from the Lone Ranger sets to be honest, but I've been pleasantly surprised. On the basis of Huw's reviews, there's a lot to like, and my positive impressions have been reinforced by this set. First and foremost, I'm extremely impressed with the minifigures; the Red Harrington and Tonto figures are particularly good. But it's not just about the minifigures - the stagecoach itself looks genuinely good I think, and there's undoubted play value here for the younger LEGO fan.
According to the Brickset database, this set will retail for $29.99 when it appears in stores at some point during April. At less that 300 pieces, some will no doubt complain about the price, but given that there are five minifigures and three horses, plus some other large parts, not to mention the fact that it's a licensed set, it seems like reasonable value to me. Big thumbs up from me overall then, and I'll definitely be picking up a couple more of the Lone Ranger sets as well.