VIDIYO is back with the second wave and this time we’ve got actual sets to build!
I know, I know, a lot of us are thinking the same thing: why oh why didn’t they just release these in the first wave?
I have no idea. But the team behind VIDIYO did tell the attendees of the LEGO VIDIYO Awards (the private launch party for selected reviewers back in Feb) that there were large building experiences coming and so here they are.
The LEGO Group calls these VIDIYO sets “Stages” and there are 5 of them in this series: Candy Castle Stage, Robo HipHop Car, K-Pawp Concert, Punk Pirate Ship and The Boombox. Each stage has playable features that affect the scenery and lighting in the app.
VIDIYO is for 7-10 year old kids so I’m keeping that in mind for this review but also with a focus on the minifigures, since that’s what tends to excite the Brickcentral community most.
These sets will be available June 1 everywhere except the US where it will be in stores on August 1.
Metal Dragon BeatBox 43109
At $19.99 Metal Dragon is a pricey minifigure in a box with some tiles. Unfortunately, this wave of BeatBoxes carries the same retail price as the first wave and so it’s going to to receive the same criticism.
The Metal Dragon has a special molded head and new dragon wings that have spikes going down the back a little ways. The torso, legs, and even the length of the arms have some really nice printing all around.
I can see people using the head and wings for different characters and in MOCs so I would rate this as highly useful. The torso and legs are not going to be nearly as useful since the red dragon skin is in the design.
Folk Fairy BeatBox 43110
The Folk Fairy is amazing and in my top 5 of the entire VIDIYO theme. The new wings are just fantastic! I love the new shape and the print on them.
It being in the VIDIYO line, I accept that the fairy is ultra colorful but of course, I would have loved something that looked more woodland. The concept art for this was released by LEGO and I have to say, I liked the sketch much better. She looked more hippie folk whereas this one is more fiesta folk, know what I mean?
But VIDIYO gonna VIDIYO so this is still good considering. I love her expression and the new color of this hair piece.
Again, at $19.99 I think this is going to be too much for anyone to buy at full price. But I think she will be hard to resist at a discount.
Candy Castle Stage 43111
Candy Castle Stage is a fun little set. It’s got a lot of details that make this set pretty sweet: a chocolate cascade in the back, ice cream cones on the sides, a chocolate cake stage, and a gingerbread man up top.
Backstage, you’ll find a dresser and a cupcake station, but also some wrapped candy floormats.
Candy Ballerina’s got good detail and the same hair as the Candy Mermaid but in a different color and without any print. Her tutu is in a new color. Prints are all new of course but nothing really special.
Compared to the other minfigs in this music genre, she’s the most subdued.
Blue-bear-y Guitarist is a bit of a miss for me. It looks like LEGO might have been going for a Gummy Bear but didn’t fully commit to the idea: the hands, hips, and head should have been translucent like the legs are for that to work.
$29.99 isn’t a bad price to pay for this set. I think it’s good value.
Robo HipHop Car 431112
Robo HipHop Car doesn’t transform but it looks like they did sneak a Transformer in there: is that Optimus Prime? It’s probably not because of IP issues but it sure does look a lot like him.
The lowrider with the big speakers and ostentatious hot tub in the back looks pretty decent. I think the giant robot heads steal all the attention away from the rest of the build though.
The minifigs are just ok. I think the female minifigure is the more exciting of the two to me because she looks the most robotic and she’s got that cool new hair piece. Her attire leaves a lot to be desired — look at me rapping! — and I think there could have been more imaginative circuitry or cabling.
The male minifig is like the iPhone version of the first wave Robot Breakdancer with the white cables and cleaner look overall. But it does look a bit off to me, maybe because the pearl gold head and hands coupled with the clothes make him look too human.
Robo HipHop Car is also $29.99 like the Candy Castle Stage and has about 40 more pieces but somehow feels less worth it to me.
K-Pawp Concert 43113
Why is this genre loaded with animal minifigures? Oh… because it’s “paw”-p! Honestly I just got that when I built the paw print section that is prominently displayed in the center of the stage.
Unfortunately, neither K-pop or animal minifigures are my thing so this set is the least attractive one in the wave for me.
Also I think it’s the least imaginative: it’s really just a stage. It’s not a castle, car, ship, or boombox. It’s a stage.
However, I did have fun building this set! I especially liked how the kitten and unicorn heads were designed. I also like the dancing arcade game in the back.
The minifigures included are Bunny Guitarist, Kitten Keytaris and Flying Unicorn Singer, the latter of which has a new wing mold that is kind of iridescent! A very useful part!
At $49.99, I don’t know if this set is worth it.
Punk Pirate Ship 43114
This is a really great set for me! I love the punk look and I love pirates.
The front of the Punk Pirate Ship contains two stacked 10 x 12 bow bricks in reddish brown which makes this a sturdy base for a stage. I really love the punk skull and shark heads on the mast. They were fun to put together and I like the way they look.
It’s not a complete pirate ship though, which makes me wonder why the designers didn’t go with a shipwreck instead. Theme-wise, it would have been a perfect match for punk.
Maybe I will have the Rebel Punk Pirate (sold in a separate BeatBox) and Shark Guitarist smash it up a bit with their anchor axes!
The Shark Guitarist is my least favorite minifig of the three here. The Squid Drummer and Mermaid Violinist are both superior to it.
The Squid Drummer’s head is made of that rubbery material, not ABS plastic. I like that his legs don’t have any of his spotty magenta skin in the design so I can use it in custom minifigs.
The Mermaid Violinist is fierce! I love all her tats, her new hair in coral, her smirking expression, and that she is wearing a fishnet. A character that wears a trap as a fashion accessory is just completely bad-ass. She’s easily in my top 5.
Punk Pirate Ship will retail for $59.99 which I think is a fair value.
The Boombox 43115
The Boombox is the largest of the 5 stages and comes with 4 minifigures, 4 random BeatBits and 4 special BeatBits.
As someone who grew up in the 80s, I think this is such a fun set to look at! I love the bright funky colors in the accent and how it closes up nice and tight: the front folds over and connects to the rest of the boombox via two studs.
You can actually pick this boombox up by the handle but being LEGO, I don’t think it will stand up much to swinging around as kids might want to do with a toy that looks like this.
In the back, you can store a couple of the minifigs that came with the set, but not all of them. Well, maybe all of them if you strategically position them. I just pushed a couple in there and stood the other two on the top knobs.
The minifigs are a selection from a few music genres that don’t already have a dedicated set: Alien Singer from ETDM, Leopard Guitarist from Tropicon, Fairy Singer from Fantasy Folk, and Vampire Guitarist from Monster Metal.
The Vampire Guitarist is my favorite with the Gene Simmons-inspired tongue-sticking-out expression and eye makeup.
The Fairy Singer is also a favorite because she’s so similar to the one in the Folk Fairy BeatBox. I think her torso and legs are a bit more magical because of the purple.
Then the Alien Singer comes in third because he’s got a cool head. Last is, of course, a furry animal minifigure, the Leopard Guitarist.
At $99.99, I think the Boombox is a really good deal. There’s a lot in here to like.
UPDATE: As of June 10, the app is very buggy. I’m presented with an error message saying something went wrong with my login, so I have to go through welcome screens and set up every time I start the app. If you read my last review of the first wave, you know how long that takes. Then I just get stuck on the info screen advising players to be respectful when choosing a location. The app is even more terrible than it was in the first wave.
This review doesn’t include the app experience because I have the sets in advance of the global release on June 1. The app will be updated just ahead of that date, I’m told.
But maybe the app experience isn’t important. It’s not to me. My kid enjoys turning the knobs and turntable heads regardless.
For many AFOLs, these new sets provide an essential building experience that was missing from the first wave. I think a lot of people will change their minds about VIDIYO now that it feels more “LEGO”.
The price points of the sets feel good to very good but the BeatBoxes are still overpriced at $19.99.
The minifigs however are pretty cool. Here’s how I shot some of them for the featured image of this post:
Behind the Scenes
I wanted to create a concert-like scene with the Boombox with 4 different colored lights targeting different sections.
In this final image I have red, blue, and yellow colored lighting in the middle ground, a flash in the background behind the Boombox, and another flash lighting the the Alien Singer.
While I have enough flashes to do this in a single shot, I don’t have enough snoots for all of them. Nor do I have space in my studio nook to place all of the lights together. That would make for a very crowded workspace and cause a lot of problems with lights crossing anyway.
So to solve all those problems, I decided to use just 3 light sources per shot and take 3 different exposures that I would stack and blend together later in Photoshop.
Two of the lights would stay in the same place for every exposure: the main light which is the flash in a small softbox over the Alien Singer, and the bare flash that is hidden behind the Boombox to light the mist and create some form.
The flash with the snoot and grid would be moved for the other shots, each time with a different colored gel inside and pointed at a different section.
The 3 shots would look like this:
I also shot a baseplate image (without the minifigures and wires) so I could easily mask those wires out in Photoshop. All that needed to be done for the composite was to align the photos and just mask out the different areas of light. Really nothing complicated in Photoshop so this took a few minutes.
Once saved and back in Lightroom, I locally boosted the exposure and toned down the highlights as well as increased the texture of the mist to end up with my final image:
That’s it! It probably took around 30 minutes to create this from shot to edit.
Sometimes it’s more practical to create a composite than it is to work with several lights at a time.
In this case, I used 3 lights but I could also do this with one. It would take more time because it would mean taking more shots, but if you know how to create a simple composite in Photoshop using basic techniques like masking and blend modes, you could do a lot with one light:
Go check out my other videos on lighting and toy photography too if you would like to see how I work.