It is small wonder that the second Lego set on the Scooby-Doo theme, “Mystery Plane Adventures”, features an aeroplane. When you hear the town name Billund (as in Billund, Denmark), what springs to mind? Yes, this is the home of Lego, and the original Legoland was built here. And there is one of Denmark’s busiest airports here, plus a museum dedicated to Danish aviation history.
So having Scooby and Shaggy chasing a supposedly pumpkin-headed horseman with the help of a vintage barnstormer biplane wasn’t too much of a stretch. But does this set work? Let us have a look …
“Mystery Plane Adventures” – First Look
Another sturdy box in the eye-catching, comic-inspired design of Lego’s Scooby-Doo series shows you the contents, a small line-up with glimpses of several Scooby-Doo mini-figures, and links to apps. And upon opening, you find two bags of Lego parts (about 130 of them), a small sheet of stickers, and the instruction booklet. Pretty standard fare thus far. The whole set is based on All based on the gang’s encounter with Elwood Crane, the villain in “The Headless Horseman of Halloween”.
Again, the parts are a mix of standard and unique Lego bricks (technically the finely molded pumpkin is not quite a “brick”, I admit), many of them in quite lurid orange, green and blue shades. This livery is adapted from the famous Mystery Machine (which is also available from Lego), it is a sort of “corporate identity” for the meddling kids. Also included are three mini-figures, Scooby, Shaggy, and the Headless Horseman (plus his fully headed steed) – but unfortunately only two are new to the Lego enthusiast.
Lego’s “Mystery Plane Adventures” contains a new mini-figure of Scooby-Doo, this time in a sitting position. As the standing Scooby, this consists of just of two parts, again with a finely printed medallion on the collar, and with the addition of some aviators’ goggles (also printed).
The Headless Horseman is somehow non-descript (I’d really have liked a Christopher Walken-inspired rendering here, with or without cowbell), but comes with a beautifully done (and very loose-fitting, take care) pumpkin to mask his features. Very evil-looking and Halloween-y, I predict many a seasonal use for this. I am not wild about those fabric capes Lego uses (I prefer the sturdier Playmobil capes in this regard), but it works.
Shaggy, however, is the slight disappointment in the set, as he has been seen before – the figure, with the clever double print giving us two facial expressions, is the same as in the first Scooby-Doo set (“Mummy Museum Mystery”, reviewed here). Okay, he has a different set of clues, but that’s it.
Building the Set
Construction starts with the Scooby-Doo (click, done) and Headless Horseman mini-figures, continues with the horse (which is white, I’d have preferred black … but in the TV cartoon the horse was white indeed), and then it is a moderately simple succession of combining bricks according to the easy-to-follow instructions. There are some slightly challenging steps, but if you know your Lego, and have a modicum of spatial awareness, you should be okay. Though getting the soft tyres onto the wheels was a bit tricky at first, as they should sit within the flanges on both sides, and all around. It took me a about 45 minutes to finish the set.
The part where kids might need some adult help are the stickers, as some of them are split in brick-sized sections and need to be neatly lined up for the best effect. You could always leave them off, obviously part of the 1960s hippie vibe gets lost in that case. Again a word of warning: they stick really well, error margins are minimal (I managed to get one in a position I do not really like). On the plus side – Lego bricks do not come with a thin film of oil, so often the bane of plastic modellers, so you really don’t have to wash the parts before applying the decals (wiping them off with a dry tissue is, however, good practice).
I’d rate the build as an enjoyable one, and the resulting biplane looks fairly realistic overall, is of acceptably sturdy construction, but will not survive a crash. The stylized health and safety warning that the “Hamburger Bomb” should not be thrown at somebody’s head or eye had me chuckling, however … as this seems to be exactly its purpose, when using the biplane in play. There is no warning that, in real life, you should not attach a length of pipe to a chain and swing it at your opponent either – Scooby-Doo goes Sons of Anarchy a bit here.
As usual with Lego (and many other brick systems) sets, you’ll be left with a few random spare parts in the end – storage box fillers are always welcome.
The Good and the Not-So-Good
The clever solution of using clear(ish) bricks to provide stability and a central anchoring point for the upper wing works quite well. Says me, having assembled many an Airfix biplane with a wobbly and, in the end, not quite symmetrical upper wing … so that is really a nice touch.
Cue “Grumpy Old Man” mode – two sets into the series, and I already have two identical Shaggy mini-figures. While the loveable stoner occasionally gets lost in the cartoons, having spares was not high on my list of needs. Maybe a slightly different print would have been possible?
A Note on Versatility
If you want to cannibalize this set, you’ll need to have a very specific project in mind, I guess. Not because the parts won’t be useful for other models, but because their colours are, well, not quite middle-of-the-road.
This will also throw a multi-coloured spanner into the works when it comes to putting the set into a different context.
Of course, every classic adventure scenario from Indiana Jones to North by Northwest needs a biplane. But that would be more than likely beige, silvery grey, or a similar colour … not a flying hippie love shack. So more discerning Lego enthusiasts may have a hard time placing the plane outside the Scooby-Doo context, with or without stickers. Well, maybe as a stunt plane at the Lego City airport …
Having said that … I can easily see the Headless Horseman popping up in many other brick creations. From an obvious Sleepy Hollow build to any Halloween-themed vignette.
Where to Buy?
I may have mentioned before that I always recommend to buy local, from local folks, not from large chain stores. In real life, that might not always be possible. Lego will send you their products via mail order, if you are stuck (see the Lego website for details). And you can always try Amazon – where you will find Scooby-Doo’s Lego “Mystery Plane Adventures” on offer as well.