All was peaceful in Legoland. Surly road crews perpetually "work" on a road that doesn't need to be fixed. The local pilots, boat owners and divers happily enjoyed their exciting careers. The oversized Legoland police department was crawling with crooked cops and the only local organization powerful enough to stop them was the Legoland fire department. During the battles between fire crews and policemen, a renegade group of homeless motorists would race for thrills and the evil shadow of the Octan corporation loomed even darker in the background.
All was as it should be in Legoland, but no one expected the mad scientist on the mountain to start his experiments and alter the face of Legoland forever.
I read that most people on the Internet disliked the Time Cruisers idea. I can understand that you wouldn't want to have hundreds of the Dr. Cyber and Tim heads in storage, but a few can be very cool. Time Cruisers are not just the stereotype of fun and cheesey 1950's sci-fi, they are the archetype. They don't represent any single science fiction presentation, they represent EVERY sci-fi show!
There's a mad scientist with a goatee and his teenage assistant. Every television show has a mad scientist, and every cheesey movie always has a whiz kid to help him out. It follows the formula perfectly.
Then the Mystic Mountain Time Lab has a secluded setting -- the whole house is built into the side of a mountain, yet a part of the house can fly off (reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz's hurricane scene). Even the specially equipped Time Rowboat looks like something as classic as H.G. Wells's chair in The Time Machine as it looks like the recent Time Tub in Disney's Duck Tales. The spinning spiral element looks just as much like a piece of Back to the Future as it looks like technology from the classic Star Trek. Need I go on?
The lab itself has one large central section on a blue 32x16 baseplate and two hinged sides that swing out on one 16x16 baseplate each. The blue baseplates and the construction of the front porch area almost make it look like a part of a waterfront, but it's unclear where the lab is truly supposed to be. Use your imagination.
The central section is mainly made from several prefab Lego rock formations and a few other pieces to hold it together. Inside there are metal bins for holding the time travel gear, platforms for walking, and a technic gear setup to make a James-Bond-Villain-Control-Chair and the Time Cruisers spiral spin. It's not impressive to look at the spinning chair or the spiral, but it's not bad either.
On the outside there is a front porch, a couple windows, radar dishes, antennae, a palm tree and a central extension from the house that "flys" off. It's not a very large room but it still has cool windows, a control panel, and access through a central passageway in the lab and a ladder from the porch. It also has "flames" to simulate a rocket engine. At first it sounds odd to have a flying room, but they did some crazy things in 50's TV. It fits perfectly.
The only complaint I have with this is the fact that they left one 1x4x2 2/3 section of the wall empty -- you wouldn't notice it unless you built the structure yourself or specifically looked from the minifig's eye level, but it's annoying just the same. I suppose that once the flying room leaves the building that they have a nasty draft through the main corridor as well as that first hole, but I can't get as annoyed about the second hole. At least it can be patched with the flying room!
The 16x16 section off to the left (from the outside) has a neon orange greenhouse with hexagonal windows. These lend the MMTL a futuristic, Millenium Falconesque feel on the outside. I only wish they included more than one corner window, because these would be great for making Aquazone style vessels with orange cockpits.
There is also a lever-action catapult piece that is supposed to send one of two small barrels through a chimney to rain three 1x1x1/3 round red elements onto us, but it rarely works. Maybe it would go through properly one out of every five tries, but so what? I made my Lego pieces fly into the air! Yippie! If I'd wanted that in my day, I'd pick up the Lego pieces and throw them in the air. Not that I'm a crusty old Lego veteran or anything...
The section on the right is the main house section made with many 1x2x5 white pieces, windows, doors and even a jail cell. There are so many ways to escape from the jail doors that they might as well not even be there, but it looks cool just the same. On the roof of this section is a giant Death Ray of Doom that raises, rotates, and has four 1x1x1/3 transparent neon green elements on the front to show it means business. I knew it was only a matter of time before Lego made some ray guns. Also in this section there are two poles designed to store the Lego time travel helmets -- like trophies on a stand. There's quite a bunch of cool stuff from axes, spears, Islander head gear, Aquazone gear, skis, Conquistador helmets, swords and more.
Minifigs: Dr. Cyber and Tim are well known already, but the set also comes with a Lego skeleton, a Lego monkey, and this is the only Time Cruisers set to include the cool little Lego robot. It is constructed with several non-minifig pieces including a vertically hinged 1x2x1 piece, straight mechanical arm pieces, a Spyrius robot head and a 1x1x1 brick with studs on five sides. I named him Hector after the psychopathic robot that stole William Shatner's face in Saturn 5.
A fun thing to do with the minifigs is to switch Dr. Cyber's head with the robot's head and Tim's head with the skull, leaving the rest of their bodies/hair/hats/etc intact. That way Dr. Cyber is REALLY cybernetic and Skele-Tim looks like a happy zombie. You could also store their original heads on those pikes by the jail cell and pretend you're in Lord of the Flies.
My only regret about these minifigs is the monkey's non-removable head. I want to call him Cornellius, put his head on Dr. Cyber's body, and recreate Planet of the Apes darnit! Why won't they let us do that?
Extra Pieces: Five round 1x1x1/3 elements were unused, in red, yellow, black, translucent neon orange and translucent neon green, one extra 1x1 black lever element with a white base, and two unused 2x2x1 gray bricks (I could understand that one could be used to hold the hinged baseplates closed, but I don't know why the other is needed). It's always nice to have too much than too little, but I'd trade in these extras and the barrel catapult/chimney to patch up the front wall. The hole isn't noticeable the way it's in there, but it just doesn't feel right.
There are also quite a few other pieces that aren't necessary for the lab, but they were nice to have. The set includes ten fire elements, a bunch of translucent pieces, a clip for the antenna even though the antenna could just be pushed into another brick nearby, and more. I guess they like to skimp in some places and splurge in others.
The playability of the whole set is what truly makes it great. They designed it as a base for Dr. Cyber and Tim to build the included Time Rowboat (it looks a bit silly, but still 50'sish) and to visit Lego sets from other eras. Fortunately, we Lego maniacs can use our imagination and invent far more exciting play possibilities for the mad scientist's lab.
- A James Bond-like superagent must infiltrate the lab and stop Dr. Cyber's diabolical plan to control the weather with his super ray cannon.
- The big gun is actually used to stop aerial assaults from the Time Twisters (whose evil leader happens to look like Joseph Stalin and a villain from the Wild West Lego sets).
- Dr. Cyber's uses his radar dish and antenna to catch satellite TV shows without paying.
- The MMTL is actually a drug lab, and the Legoland police need to raid he building and confiscate all the equipment. Try putting a backwards baseball cap on Dr. Cyber's head and see if you think he looks just a little like a drug dealer.
- Dr. Cyber and Tim are trying to stop their imported monkey from spreading rare and horrible flesh eating bacteria to the populace of Legoland.
- Dr. Cyber plans to use a regeneration ray to bring his deceased wife (played by the Lego skeleton) back to life. The Legoland police force could be looking out for whoever took her body from the morgue...
- The lab could be renamed "The Killbot Factory" and Dr. Cyber's mad machine friend Hector could be running wild, shooting spare fire elements, and out of control. Who can stop him before he reaches the city?
The possibilities are endless here, and I have to say that this set is a must-have for any Legoland town collector. How can you not want this to happen in your town?
Recommendation: If you can get it on a clearance sale for $35 and want a lot of those extra translucent pieces, flame elements, windows, rocks for pirate mountains and more, you may wish to buy more than one. One is probably enough at $60.