It’s time to grab your awesome mixtape because the Guardians are back for volume two of the galactic adventure. The sequel to Marvel’s surprise 2014 hit is just a couple of months away and while fans eagerly await the return of Star-Lord and his motley crew on the big screen, LEGO has released a trio of new movie tie-ins to ensure the excitement doesn’t dull.
Set Number: 76081
Minifigures: Star-Lord, Gamora, Nebula, Drax, Baby Groot (Tiny fig)
The first thing I always find myself asking when movie tie-in sets are released is, “Are there any spoilers for the movie in here?”. Time and again they’ve fooled us, the Ant-Man set had an aged Hank Pym in the suit, Doctor Strange’s set saw a tentacled monster attacking the Sanctum Sanctorum, neither of which actually happened in their respective movies. Could the new Guardian’s set give us any hints? Or just another red herring?
Three sets have been released to tie in with the upcoming Marvel blockbuster, but as soon as the official announcement came out, there was only one set that I was gagging to get my hands on, the premium-priced set from the trio, The Milano vs. The Abilisk. We’ve already seen both sides of the headline versus battle in the trailers and with a good portion of the main cast included in the set, there’s plenty to get excited about.
So here’s your line-up of minifigures, a cast of star characters, four of which make up the original Guardians of the Galaxy – though one a little smaller than he was in that first movie. Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax and Groot, that alone is impressive from the one set, but we also get the blue-skinned cyborg Nebula in all her glory. There is definitely a good deal of collector value here, especially if like me, you missed out of the first movie’s sets. What’s more is that each of these characters is a unique variant.
Starting with the star of the line-up, the aptly named Star-Lord (I doubt anyone will be asking, “Who?”, this time around). While the minifigure does come with a new hairpiece depicting longer hair, the head is the same piece used for all of Chris Pratt’s characters over the last few years (apart from Emmet, of course), basic face with light brown stubble. The same can be said about the mask piece he wears, matching the last outing for the Guardian – it’s unique to the character, though, so a worthy addition if you’ve missed out previously.
The helmet piece fits over the top of the head, requiring the removal of the hair in order to fit in place. Predominantly dark grey, it features a gold visor area with red-bordered eye holes and a printing for the ridged mouth-piece. Similar to Ant-Man, the breathing apparatus just above the neckline is three-dimensional. The helmet even comes complete with hair sticking out of the top, a fantastic recreation of the character’s movie look.
Moving down to the body and an ‘L’ shaped neck clip allows for a rocket pack to be attached to the back, constructed rather simply from a binocular piece. The torso print is very different from Quill’s previous LEGO incarnations, a two-tone grey space suit replaces his more recognisable dark red Ravanger outfit. It’s a little disappointing that we don’t get the character’s iconic look in this set, but it’s difficult to deny that the torso design isn’t impressive, a large chest plate covering most of the body, with a tiny hint of gold. On the back we get a fantastic printing of the rocket booster, looking a little more detailed than the model piece we end up covering it with sadly. The design continues down the legs, with straps and pocket outlines. The minifigure is topped off with his signature dual laser pistols.
This figure might not be to everyone Marvel fan’s taste, from the neck down very little says, “STAR-LORD”, and yet it still looks great thanks to the accessories that come with it. It’s going to be down to personal taste, but I’m a fan.
At least I was until I put together the Gamora minifigure and realised that the torso and legs print is identical, seriously? Gamora even gets the jet pack printing on the back despite the lack of binocular model. To me, this is a real disappointment, two huge characters from the movie, and they’re pretty much identical from the neck down – well, apart from the different coloured hands, that is.
Focusing on what separates Gamora from Star-Lord and basically, it is everything from the neck up. The light-green head features two faces, as is the norm, one happy, one angry. Both faces feature bold eye outlines and subtle markings on the cheeks and forehead, similar to her on-screen counterpart. The hair is the one highlight with this minifigure, the shape of which matches that seen on countless other characters such as Poison Ivy, it’s the colouring, though, which stands out with light purple highlights on over black.
There’s not a massive amount to get excited about with this minifigure given the similarities to Star-Lord, but Gamora does get an awesomely large sword to play with.
Despite the disappointment, there’s still plenty to love about this minifigure line-up. The new Drax variant is a great addition. He doesn’t need a space suit in space, he’s a former WWE champion so logic doesn’t apply to him. Instead, the gentle giant shows off his muscular frame with another topless design – will the big reveal of Volume 2 be that Drax can actually wear a shirt? We’ll have to wait until May for the answer to that pivotal question.
Anyway, back to LEGO and this new design features a darker tone of greyish skin with more defined red body markings compared to the previous minifigure variant. The designs on his body do a far more accurate job of matching his on-screen counterpart, a significant improvement on the last version, clearly defined and covering a far larger portion of the character’s torso, including the arms. His face also has the unique markings around the eyes and a large arch-like design on the back.
Opting for blue legs this time, the designers have added a thin belt print along the join when the legs and torso meet. It’s a subtle addition that adds a great deal to the overall look as the character’s design transitions from the grey skin to the dark-blue jean-like legs. There’s printing here too, an interesting mixture of light blue and black outlines add the layered design of the trousers worn by the character in the first movie – surely he’s had time to get some new jeans?
Like Star-Lord, Drax also has a rocket pack made from a binocular piece, though where the human carries blasters, the Destroyer opts for dual daggers.
Nebula, a returning villain from the first movie is obviously in a little bit of bother given the handcuffs which come with this figure. Not to worry, though, because she is also one of the major highlights of the volume 2 range of minifigures. Ignoring the plain purple legs, the torso is a delightful array of colours, featuring one blue and purple arm, one metallic silver arm, and dark purple as the primary colour for the rest of the body.
The torso printing is extensive, covering both front and back and with very little space wasted. The characters body armour shines through, with battle damage as it is clear to see a large number of individual tears – not surprising given that the last time we saw the character she fell out of a crashing spaceship after cutting off her own arm.
Moving up to the head and I think it is safe to say that you won’t have anything like this in your collection. The bright blue skin is covered in extra detail with the rather angry-looking face surrounded by cybernetic designs. The back of the head also features additional detail, including the striped metal plate featured on the characters movie version. Overall, this is definitely my favourite of the sets figures.
Apart from everyone’s favourite tree that is. He may be tiny, but even Baby Groot plays his part in this set. Much like the micro figure used for Ant-Man, Groot is a one-piece mould with a one-stud bottom to connect to other LEGO. While he has no printing on the back, his front is surprisingly detailed given his size – he’s about a centimeter tall, ahhhhhhh. My only worry with the tiny tree with a smaller vocabulary is that he could be easily lost during playtime, parents keep your eye on this one. He even comes with a little blue boombox speaker.
First impressions said to me that the Abilisk was going to be a simple, less interesting build, the kind that you occasionally find in sets of this size which add a little value and provide a setting for the main event. While some of that is accurate, constructing this monster is anything but uninteresting, it helps that it’s most likely, unlike anything you may have built before.
Yes, it’s the warm-up act and so isn’t too piece heavy, but it is still a decent twenty-minute build with a design that utilises every piece to create something that could have been so static and bland. Instead, what we get is a great scaled down version of the space-dwelling beast we see Drax leaping into the trailers.
A number of things make the design of this model a great toy in its own right, the base, for example, is actually constructed vertically stacking bricks rather than building a flat platform meaning that you can stand it up and connect it to a larger base plate with ease. The Abilisk, itself, sits on three interconnected cogwheels which are attached using a number of technics pin connectors, allowing them to fully rotate. The main body of the beast is split into two individual blocks which attach via clips on the base. This means that both pieces can be levered to open the monsters large mouth.
There are a number of stickers used on the Abilisk, and while I’ve never been a massive fan of their use in LEGO sets, they are unintrusive, adding minor detail without being pivotal to the overall look. What this means is that if you prefer to go sticker-free, you’re still going to have a very good looking model with plenty of play value for the younger fans looking to recreate scenes from the movie.
The Guardians primary choice of transport is, of course, the main draw of the set and also where most of the build time (and likely play time) is going to come from. Long-time fans of LEGO will likely be aware that this isn’t the first LEGO Milano to come out, with a set released back in 2014 for the first movie. As I’m sure you’ll remember from that film, though, the ship was destroyed and a 2.0, slightly modified design was introduced as the credits began to roll.
While this new design appears to take inspiration from both versions of the Milano, one thing is clear, it’s smaller than it’s LEGO predecessor. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, though, enough Millenium Falcon designs have taught me that, and this new ship design is a great example of that.
Getting the biggest drawback out of the way first, the cockpit only has room for the minifigures in this set, so sorry Rocket, but you’re walking. It’s not the worst design problem in the world, you could ditch Nebula for the furry Guardian should you choose to, but the previous Milano model had ample room, even including a separate compartment. The cockpit is compact, but the tidy design includes a couple of stickers to enhance to look, going as far as adding an awesome mixtape at the back.
That’s the main negative out of the way, so let’s focus on the greatness of this new Milano. There’s a lot of value in this ship, even if you’re not a huge Marvel fan. With such a huge catalogue of sci-fi sets out there, it’s rare to see such a unique-looking spaceship which doesn’t follow either the standard Marvel jet template, the TIE fighter look or just come in really dark grey. The Milano is a colourful beauty with a bird-like design which includes feathered wing tips, individually constructed and attached to the main body using ball clips.
One thing I would say is that this ship’s construction isn’t plain sailing and will definitely require some adult supervision at certain points in the build with a few fiddly bits and clips that require a mixture of precision and strength. This is mostly down to the wing construction, which produces the multi-angular shape by using an array of different triangular pieces clipped and wedged in place. The end result is superb, but the order to the construction doesn’t always make it easy to reach that end.
Outside of the cockpit, there are a few stickers on the hull, minor things such as additional stripes and, of course, the ship’s moniker, much like the Abilisk, though, they won’t be too much of a nuisance for those who dislike the mundane task of LEGO stickers.
Looking at this ship from a collectors view, the stunning ship is definitely a new gem in my ever-growing LEGO Marvel collection and the dynamic wing design does give you a few options for poseability. The use of ball connectors for all addition wing pieces means that you can pretty much angle bits to what suits you. My kids, on the other hand, see very different value from the Milano, with the dual stud launchers either side of the cockpit and the bomb drop function hidden in the wings.
The Set Overall
Overall, The Milano vs. The Abilisk isn’t the perfect Guardians set, but the headline versus battle is still delivered spectacularly thanks to two impressive models.
The minifigure lineup is impressive, with a good portion of the Guardians included, but sadly with Star-Lord and Gamora sharing an almost identical body, a couple of design decisions will leave collectors disappointed. Drax and Nebula are the clear highlights of the minifigure cast in this set, with significant improvements made to the Destroyers and a stunning outing for the blue Cyborg.
The Abilisk is a wonderful creation, with a design that not only looks the part, has huge play value for what is essentially the setting build of the set. The Milano model is similarly stunning, though opinions may differ depending on if you own the last iteration of the ship. Despite being smaller than its predecessor, with less inside space, this is anything but a downgrade. What the ship lacks in space, it makes up for in a far superior design in terms of detail and play functions.
A few minor disappointments are easily ignored thanks to the gloriously intelligent and stunning designs of the two builds.
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.
- Superb lineup of Guardians minifigures, including an adorable Baby Groot
- The Milano, while it lacks the seating space of the previous model, improves greatly on the exterior look
- The Abilisk model makes a great scaled down version of the monster we’ve seen in the trailers, with an interesting mechanical element which rotates and moves the tentacles
- It’s disappointing that the Milano only offers enough room for the figs in this set, no room for Rocket sadly.
- A few more stickers than I’d like to have seen
- The minifigure designs are a little bland in places
"Welcome to the frickin' Guardians of the Galaxy!"
The list of minifigures is impressive, though, a couple of the actual designs aren’t. The minor disappointments are more than made up for by the two main builds. The Abilisk is an ingenious small design with plenty of play value. The Milano, while smaller than the ships 2014 counterpart, makes up for that shortcoming thanks to a refined and more detailed design. Play or display, there’s value in both from this set.