Three years ago we got our first LEGO taste of Guardians of the Galaxy, but will the new range live up to high expectations?
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Having previously reviewed the mid-sized playset from the new Guardians of the Galaxy range (which you can read here if you missed it), I was eager to see what the theme’s highest priced model would have to offer. Much like the 2014 collection, the biggest set you could obtain was Star-Lord’s super-swooshable, fancy-angled, bird-like spaceship; the Milano. This time around it has a lower price point, meaning it also comes with a lower parts count too, but does that make it less appealing for potential collectors?
In The Box
Again, we are provided with the mini ‘comic’ that appears in all three Guardians sets along with two instruction booklets, four main numbered bags containing the LEGO and a small sticker sheet with 15 stickers to add further detail to your model. I think I was slightly taken aback that no orange brick separator was included (not that I need any more) given this is the biggest set of the range, but I believe they only come in sets worth £50 or more which would explain its absence.
When it comes to licensed themes, the LEGO Group loves to take those minifigures and split them across the entire range, making you fork out more hard-earned cash in order to complete the collection. Whilst this is an annoying strategy for those who can’t afford every set, the great news is that in this particular one the minifigures are fairly appealing.
We get four minifigures (and a quarter) which includes Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax and Nebula, along with the teeny tiny and ever so cute Baby Groot. All five are exclusive to this set, although we got alternate versions of Star-Lord and Baby Groot in Ayesha’s Revenge.
Star-Lord and Gamora both use identical torsos, which is slightly disappointing, but probably makes sense within the film if they’re both flying the Milano. It looks like a printed flight suit/body armour on a dark grey torso with printed buckles on black legs; nice printing, but nothing more.
Gamora has green hands to match her skin tone and a pink streak in her black hair. Her face is double-sided with a smile on one side and a more menacing look on the other.
Star-Lord’s face is the same as in set 76080, again, smiling one side, angry the other, but he does come with a cool mask/hair mould to swap with his hair, so you can make him explore foreign planets and not suffocate.
Drax might be my standout minifigure of the set. He features a more imposing facial print with a tattoo on the back of the head. There is detailed leg printing on the blue trousers but his torso is the best part. It shows his abs just about visible underneath the extensive red tattoo design that adorns the entire front, back and arms of the upper body.
If you look really closely you’ll even spot a multitude of mini LEGO skulls hidden within the design. Ink-redible work by the LEGO graphics team here.
Nebula also only has one face printed due to the lack of a hair piece and she looks pretty hacked off about something. Probably her lack of hair piece. Her cyborg printing looks terrific though and does extend to the back of her head too. She’s wearing a purple costume of some sort and is meant to be wearing handcuffs as far as the instructions tell us.
Last, but not least is a micro Baby Groot, this time au natural as opposed to his red uniform. He has little clip arms for attaching accessories and I’m still massively impressed by the level of detail on such a small piece.
It’s worth mentioning that there are several accessories that come with each minifigure, including a jet pack for Drax and Star-Lord, an assortment of weapons, some annulax batteries (Yep, I’m not sure either…) and a boom box for Groot.
There are two models included in this set, which means that the piece count for the Milano is even smaller than the box indicates. The first is for the Abilisk, a multi-dimensional tentacle-wielding monster that manages to really stand out in pink.
It has opening jaws and a creepy eye with the use of stickers helping give it some texture on the upper and lower jaws. It’s a fairly easy build, but has a nifty base on which it’s mounted that uses Technic gears to give it some tentacle-waving action. I’m a sucker for movement in play features but was slightly surprised by the lack of a more remote trigger to spin the beast, instead relying on your fingers to turn the gears with the tentacles on. It’s a neat little model, but I think I’d rather have had a larger Milano with the pieces at its expense.
The Milano itself is a really enjoyable build and felt that it only got better as it went on. Starting with the base, you then build outwards and add the beak-like nose, which I thought was a great exercise in building at odd angles.
I loved the way it was constructed, and once secured on looks great. With two wings you know that there is going to be some repetition, albeit with a mirrored twist. Saying that, I found the wing to be fairly involved so by the time one side is complete you don’t mind starting again for the other one.
There are more stickers on this model but ones that I think do actually add quite nice detailing, especially at the front.
My favourite one has to be of the ‘Awesome Mix Tape’, which can be seen at the back of the cockpit. The cockpit has a large bubble canopy piece that folds up and down and features printing rather than a clear sticker, which I’m very thankful to the LEGO Group for.
The stature of the ship in general may not be massive, but at least there is space for four minifigures to sit properly – although it’s a bit of a squeeze.
It has movable fins on the sides and back of the wings and, like any decent spaceship, features an array of weaponised defences, including twin-mounted stud shooters on top and push-activated bombs to drop underneath. Nothing complicated, but I appreciate the discreet nature of the missiles on the model, which are still fun to deploy.
The main thing that bugged me was a lack of storage compartment, which feels like a necessity. The minifigures are equipped with a plethora of accessories from swords, daggers and plasma guns, to Star-Lord’s helmet and Baby Groot’s boom box. Unfortunately these will all have to get left behind when you want to stick the Guardians inside the cockpit and swoosh them to their next destination.
Yet another set that is made up of bright and slightly less common parts, which will definitely help it stand out on the shop shelves. The inclusion of an Abilisk seems like a bit of a waste of pieces when the Milano feels so small, although some may find it’s one of the appeals of the overall set. I suppose it does give the Guardians something to defeat with all those weapons. Compared to the original Milano set 76021 we have a darker orange and blue ship that looks great at a fraction of the price of the original, but pales in comparison size-wise. It’s a highly swooshable model, with some fairly advanced building techniques in order to achieve the angle of the nose and wings, demystifying some very useful things for builders to try in their MOCs.
I think the minifigure selection is also going to be a big reason for picking up this set, but if you’re more interested in the set for the Milano then you might want to seek out the original if you can. An accomplished and entertaining build overall, but you can’t help but feel it would have been vastly improved with another 200-300 pieces at a slightly higher price.
This set was kindly provided for review by The LEGO Group.
76081 The Milano vs. The Abilisk is available now from shop.LEGO.com. You can help support Brick Fanatics’ work by using our affiliate links.