When Lego came out with their fantasy-themed castle sets a few years back, my enthusiasm shot up greatly. Finally...Orcs and Dwarves, very cool.
When I saw the Alien Conquest line roll out I felt that same elevated enthusiasm. First of all, it's not crazy out there future space stuff, for the most part it's modern day (or near future) Earth with regular citizens.
Mind you, these citizens are being abducted and terrorized by alien invaders! Defending humanity are the soldiers of the ADU, the Alien Defense Unit.
I had collected the UFO space range in the mid-nineties, which were cool, a bit less campy, and a bit more sinister. But the setting alone for the new line edges out those old ships. Speaking of ships, this one was a fun build (and comparatively more solid than its predecessors). It's high-tech enough, but also has details that lend it a sort of retro feel.
Lights on Lego sets are nothing new, but the light element of this set is pretty darn clever. A red light in the canopy of the saucer is focused through a pinhole in the floor of the ship and out through the bottom. Next up are 'claws' or pincers built into the bottom of the ship, when the light passes through these it forms a targeting reticule on the surface below. Perfect for zeroing in on some unsuspecting civilian!
Soft rubber tines grab your victim and hold them fast making it easy to swoop down from the sky and performing a quick human snatch-and-grab. Like I said, the ship had some interesting build techniques but nothing out of the ordinary. The ship is why you get this set, other than the human figs, the other little doo-dads are forgettable.
The barriacades, meh, they've got new stickers I guess. The "flick-fire" mobile missile platform...what a piece of junk. If you flick it hard enough to actually fire the missile you'll be sending the whole unit across the room. I would've much rather seen a third human figure (civilian or ADU) thrown in here and leave out the extras altogether. The farmer and his pitchfork were a nice touch.
You get a couple of cool pistols, the new bi-barreled ADU pistol and the gyro-jet pistol that came out recently with the collectible series of mini-figs. You also get an alien pilot, which is cool if you're into the figs with molded heads, but he's a good one, not too goofy, not too serious. Finally is the ADU fig, which is pretty standard except for the head, which makes him the grizzled veteran "old man" of the ADU, complete with huge, Miyazaki styled 'stache.
All in all, this is a set worth picking up. I don't do scales a lot but I'd give it 8.5 out of 10 stars. You'll like it, you get cool figs and a solid model with the saucer. The light mechanic is neat, but the build itself doesn't offer anything new. I think the junk pieces like the barricades and missile launcher (instead of a fourth fig) hold it back just a bit.