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Lego Maniacs' Guide: Reviews: Space : Life on Mars : Red Planet Protector

[Purchase Online at Amazon.com] 7313 - Red Planet Protector

Rating: 3 Stars
Pros: Good design; highly modular; interesting parts
Cons: Martian mini-figs a little weak; few normal bricks
Contents: 194 pieces including 1 Martian (Centauri)
Price: $9.99
Reviewed: 3-Dec-2000
Reviewed by: Gareth Bowler

7313 Lieutenant Corporal Centauri of the Martian Defense League strolled across the arid landscape in his RPP-47-C, admiring the scenery. "Ah, there's nothing quite like the red dust storms rising off the red mountains as the red clouds roll down over the red plains... the red rocks glimmering bright red in the red morning light. How lucky we are not to have our beautiful featureless wasteland spoiled by pesky water or trees..."
Just then, Centauri's mech crossed a hillock and an alien construction, set up next to an alien shuttle. Humans, and to make matters worse, they had begun terraforming! "Well, we'll soon put a stop to that!", he said, firing up his mech's photon emitting dismemberizer...

If you haven't read the review of the Recon Mech RP (7314) go read it now, because, this is really the same set. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but the two sets really do have an awful lot in common, including an identical part count. If I were short on cash, I'd never even consider buying both. Similar or not, both are good sets, but I believe this one is overall a little weaker than its cousin.

Why, you ask? Well, the Recon Mech has some nicely articulated arms, whereas this mech has some odd-looking guns mounted on its sides. The main body on the other set is slick and compact, whereas this one is somewhat pudgy and awkward looking. The legs on the other mech have slightly better range of movement, whereas the balance on this one is awkward and prone to tipping over. While the two gun-like shoulder attachments on this mech are pretty cool, its hip-based fan-gun attachments are rather weak. Are they supposed to be cooling fans? Jump jets? Just decorative? They might be cool if mounted in the right place, but in their default position on the hips, they just look awkward and surplus. This one is more modular that the red one, having eight modules to the other one's three.

This set debuts a new blue color of brick. In person, it doesn't look quite as purple and fruity as it does in the catalogs and on the box. Like the pink Recon Mech RP (7314), it appears to be somewhat mixed with gray. It'll be interesting to see if these new colors in the Mars theme are continued later on. New pieces include the Martian canopy, a gray one of those yellow vents from Anakin's pod, and a dark gray piece with a 4x4 round base and a 2x2 round top. 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 new space tubes from several 2001 sets are also included.

All in all, this is a good, fun set with an interesting design. I don't think it's as good as the Recon Mech, but it'd be unfair to give it a bad review just because I happened to open the other set first. If you're only looking for one Martian mech to buy, I'd probably recommend the other, but this one is quite a good set in its own right.

28 readers have rated this set as 3.45 out of 5 stars.
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