Price: £54.99 / $59.99 / €59.99 Pieces: 689 Available: Now
LEGO Hidden Side is a theme that takes seemingly every day vehicles and settings – including Shrimp Boats, Monster Trucks and Cafes – then gives them a spooky paranormal twist, creating something that looks true to life that’s also immense fun to play with.
70423 Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000 is a perfect example of this. Included within the set is the aforementioned school bus, a transforming porta-loo, workmen signs, cones and five minifigures (three of which are exclusive).
As with every set in the Hidden Side theme, the Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000 feels as though a lot of time and care has been invested in its design and accompanying accessories. The simpler builds like the workman’s sign, built from two 1×4 plates with handles and two 2×2 tiles feels fresh and thoughtful. Even the little details like using a 1×1 half tile rather than a single 1×1 round stud for a door handle gives the impression that every single element has been well thought out.
The haunted porta-loo build is absolutely superb too, not only is it a fairly accurate design but its transformation into a giant toilet monster looks spooktacular, with teeth folding down into the inside and two ominous looking green eyes flipping up from the top. An integrated projectile launcher acts as a play feature flinging brown 2×2 round tiles out of the monstrous porta potty’s mouth – fans can make up their own minds as to exactly what these are supposed to represent…
The two main protagonists of the LEGO Hidden Side theme are two school children, JD and Parker, so to give them a school bus as a ghost hunting vehicle makes perfect sense. Surprisingly, American style school busses aren’t that common in LEGO sets so the opportunity presented here to build a pretty decent version should appeal to a number of fans across the board. What’s more, the additional ghost busting apparatus strewn inside and out the bus gives the vehicle an Ecto-1 vibe, which is never a bad thing.
Nothing about the build is particularly complex, especially in the early stages, but it is still an enjoyable experience. The bus begins to take shape quite quickly, using a basic Technic frame, which is then built upon using a combination of bricks and plates. A lot of exposed studs are left around the sides to which bright light orange 5×5 arches (exclusive to this set) are attached to form the wheel arches at the back and various tiles, plates and grilles are used for the rest of the detailing.
The roof sections are made of two sub assemblies, built onto 10×6 plates and use a mix of yellow and light blue grey 2×2 and 1×2 curved pieces to add the necessary shaping. Paint rollers and 1×2 plates with clips are used for wing mirrors.
Without any of the demon detecting equipment placed on, it looks like a fairly decent representation of a classic school bus, then once all the ghost gadgets and gizmos are added it starts to take on a more adventurous and fun appearance. Ghost traps and canons fold out from either side, a larger canon and giant radar dish (that also contains the multi coloured dial needed for the AR functions) sits on top and stud shooters are attached to the front. The exhausts, made from barrels, 2×2 cones and 1×2 trans neon-orange round 1×1 bricks have a powerful appearance that makes the bus look like it could really pack a punch in the speed department, perfect for chasing down the spooks and ghouls of Newbury.
The spectre spotting control centre from which JD, Parker and their mentor Professor JB conduct their ghost hunting work is a completely separate build that slots into the back of the bus. A monitor is built using two white 2×2 road signs with clips along with stickers used for the screens. To complete the look a printed 1×2 keyboard tile is included and a half 1×1 tile is cleverly used to represent a mouse. A laptop accessory is included and a small brick built microscope with examination bed is also part of the setup.
The finished design has a great mix of looking accurate to a real life school bus while at the same time feeling like a unique and fun vehicle. It is great to play with on its own or of course by combining it with the Hidden Side app to get the full AR features.
The included minifigures are of a high standard with the three main protagonists looking excellent. The dual molded head pieces – JD’s hood and cap, Parker’s pigtails and beanie and Professor JB’s goggles and spiky hair – scream quality, as do all the printed details on their torsos and legs. Prof. JB’s Frankenstein t-shirt is a particularly great design.
The two unfortunate minifigs who find themselves possessed, Nanna and Bill, look fine as road workers featuring some nice printing on the torso and legs, but when transformed into their ghostly form they look amazing. The translucent hair, head and beard pieces are excellent and fans are essentially getting two minifigs for the price of one.
70423 Paranormal Intercept Bus 3000 offers an excellent main build, coupled with some neat accessories and side builds, alongside some really high quality minifigures. The bus isn’t completely without fault, there are a few places that feel a little gappy, however these drawbacks are not enough to detract from what is ultimately a really fun set to play with. Like most of the sets in this theme, it feels pretty good value for money too.
This product was provided for review by the LEGO Group.