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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Space : Life on Mars : Recon Mech RP

[Purchase Online at Amazon.com] 7314 - Recon Mech RP

Rating: 4 Stars
Pros: Interesting new design; great new parts; not 'Juniorized'
Cons: Martian mini-fig a little weak; few normal bricks
Contents: 194 pieces including 1 Martian
Price: $19.99
Reviewed: 30-Nov-2000
Reviewed by: Gareth Bowler

7314 First Martian Major Antares of the Reconnaissance Patrol patrolled the Red Planet's surface in his shiny red Recon Mech. The extended fuel supply carried in its rear-mounted tank allowed the RP Mech to travel far and wide in search of information before reporting back to base. Just then, Antares spotted a crude-looking white and black space craft of alien design fly across the horizon. The Earthlings had come at last. "Oh shazbut*!", said Antares, "There goes the planet!"

* shazbut - (n) A common martian swear word; a vulgar term for a klerndarp's mynkroin grozzinfrak

Since this is the first "Life on Mars" set reviewed on this site, it will cover some aspects of the theme as a whole. First, the new alien mini-figs seem a little odd. Although it's nice to see Lego produce aliens more unique from humans than just wearing different helmets, these recycled battle droids are a little lackluster. Maybe it's just the one that came with this set, (named "Antares". Apparently all the Life on Mars figures are named.) but between his droopy eyes, arched back and oddly bent knees, he looks like he's half asleep.
Most of the sets in this theme are highly modular and designed to be attached to various components from other sets. The theme has many new pieces and colors and a wild new design style that may not be to everybody's liking, but I think it's great to see Lego constantly pushing its own envelope. Anyway, on to the set at hand.

The set is a mech, designed in response to numerous fan requests for Lego mecha. Although this design, and others in the theme, are a far cry from the traditional Japanese mecha of Gundam Wing and Xenogears, is really pretty snazzy. It consits of a main control pod, a large tank of some kind on the back, and decently articulated arms and legs. One arm features a flamethrower of sorts and the other has a grabbing claw. The legs and tank both dettach from the main body and can be reconnected in other configurations or with other sets. The overall model is sturdy and solid, and remarkably well balanced. The cockpit is very open, but hey, what does Antares care? He's a Martian!

There's quite a lot here that's new. First and most obviously, there's the new pink bricks. The new pink is not, many of you will be relieved to know, Paradisa pink. It is darker and has some gray or brown mixed in. My artist girlfriend says it's mauve and I guess I'll take her word for that. It is used here mainly for decoration since the largest mauve pieces are two 2x4 slopes and the round parts for the tank. In my opinion, it is a decent color and could work quite nicely as a highlight color against white, although I wouldn't build a whole ship out of it. The color used for the Martians' bodies seems to be new also, but I have yet to see any bricks in that color.
There are four new preprinted pieces here including two slopes and a small radar dish with martian-y decorations, a new control flat, and a 2x2 round flat with a picture of a red sphere engulfed in fire. Either this guy really likes Atomic Fireball candies or that's the Martian logo.

Next we have a veritable barrage of new pieces. Of course, the mini-fig's head and legs are new, but there's more. The body contains a 4x6 tub-like brick, with inverted slopes on either side making the bottom 4x4 with a peg hole in the middle. The canopy is, of course, new and appears to be common to several Life on Mars sets. Next on the new list are 2x1 bricks with a clicky hinge knob at one end and a clicky bracket on the other. There is also a new space tube. This one is longer and made of a softer rubber than the older ones, making it more flexible. Instead of having receptacles at both ends, it has a stud at one and a receptacle at the other. The vertical pin piece is also slightly updated, featuring 1x2 "feet" on either side for greater stability. Finally, the grabbing claw halves are new, as is the brace that holds them, which has a clicky hinge bracket at the other end.

Speaking of clicky hinges, if you want them this is the place to get them as this set features 17 parts with either the knob or the bracket or one on each end. There's also a decent supply of flat, lateral swivel hinges in red.

To wrap things up, this set is highly playable and posable, with a bevy of new and interesting parts. Best of all, this set is not at all "Juniorized". (The biggest piece is the canopy.) My only real complaint is a low amount of normal bricks, but all in all a stellar set and a great intro to the Martian theme.

41 readers have rated this set as 4.36 out of 5 stars.
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