One of the little “Easter Eggs” that Pixar hides in nearly all of their movies is the Pizza Planet Truck. Since first appearing in the first Toy Story movie in 1995, it's popped up in A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, WALL-E, Ratatouille, Up, and the other two Toy Story movies. In short, every Pixar movie made since 1995 (with the inexplicable exception of The Incredibles). So when I received the LEGO Pizza Planet Truck Escape set for my birthday last June, it was like getting a little piece from all of those other Pixar movies combined.
Recommend this product?
The 225-piece set is one of the larger Toy Story sets, with a lot of play value—some inspired by the movies and some not. It also includes a bonanza of rarer Toy Story character minifigures, including Buzz Lightyear, the bashful dinosaur Rex, Hamm the piggy bank, and one of the Little Green Aliens.
Obsessed as I am with LEGO minifigures, the four characters that come with the set would have been reason enough alone to be excited to get the Pizza Planet Truck Rescue. I didn't have any of the four characters yet (my son had a Buzz Lightyear), so they were all new to me.
Buzz Lightyear is the only one of the four that uses a standard LEGO minifigure as a base, although even Buzz has a lot of add-ons that distinguish him from the norm. His head is molded with Buzz's likeness, sporting a cheesy grin and jutting chin. A large torso piece snaps on over his shoulders, giving him the barrel-chested look that the character has in the movies. This includes a half-bubble for his helmet, and purple and red wings that extend out approximately an inch from his body. They can be removed, but we just leave them snapped into place for normal play. The details are impressive for such a small figure, including his Space Ranger logo, printing on his legs, and the little “lights” that blink on each wingtip.
Rex is the largest figure of the bunch, taller and longer than Buzz by more than an inch in each direction. His smooth green body has a scaly belly, and rear legs that snap onto LEGO bricks to help keep him upright. His face is nicely detailed, with a big grin exposing sharp teeth, but an almost worried expression in his eyes that completely fits Rex's character. His tiny front arms are jointed so they can move a bit, but are pretty useless.
Hamm may be the biggest departure from LEGO figures we've seen before, but again, the details make him more than he could have been. His beady black eyes and face have a skeptical but friendly expression, and his pleasantly peachy color is accurate for the character. He's got an open Piggy Bank slot in his back, and a removeable cork in his belly that accommodates small LEGO coins. His feet are small, but are situated so they can stand in between LEGO studs on a brick, not snapping into place, but fitting neatly astride six studs.
The Little Green Alien fits into the scene perfectly—in the movie (Toy Story 2), Buzz, Hamm, Rex, Slinky Dog and Potato Head use the Pizza Planet Truck to race to the airport, trying to head off Big Al and save Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye. There were three of the Aliens hanging down from the rear view mirror, and they gave the other toys a primer in driving the truck. A nit-picker would say “there should be three of those aliens!” included in the LEGO set, but I'm content with the one. He's got a standard LEGO minifigure torso and arms, in blue with lime green hands. He's got shorter legs than Buzz has, making him much larger than he'd be “in real life,” but still shorter than anyone else in the set. His head has the pointed ears, three eyes, and knobby antenna that are the trademark of the Little Green Aliens, and his smiling face looks like he's in the middle of saying, “you have saved our lives, we are eternally grateful!”
Pizza Planet Truck
The truck itself is a very cool vehicle—based on a Toyota truck with a shell on the back. It's one of the larger LEGO trucks I've ever built, partially because it's so out of whack with the usual LEGO minifigure scale. As built, the truck is 8 inches long, 3 1/2 inches wide, and 4 1/2 inches tall. This is undersized compared to how it would appear in the movie, but still oversized compared to the four LEGO figures that come with the truck. The truck ends up very detailed, and I enjoyed how the different angles of the chassis were achieved with different slopes and LEGO pieces. The trailer hitch, the side mirrors, and the little Pizza Planet rocket on the roof were all some nice details, although my favorite one is the “YO” on the tailgate.
Building the truck was easy, with step-by-step instructions that were clear enough that I don't think I had to backtrack a single time in the half hour or so it took to build it. The most challenging part for a child would probably be a rubber band that activates an action feature: it needs to be threaded through a small window of LEGO bricks and then held in place while you build the next step on top of it. That part wasn't bad for me, but I can see where it would be frustrating for smaller hands.
Action Features include opening side doors and hood, and a pop-up section of the camping shell that lets Rex stand inside it like he's using the Pizza Planet rocket as a gun. The most interesting feature (one that my boys can't stop playing with) is a pizza launcher—you load the six pizzas into a cone inside the hood, and then pull back and release the trailer hitch. The rubber band-activated launcher fires the pizzas forward from under the front bumper, firing them about two feet in front of the truck. It's a cool feature, and even though it has nothing to do with anything we saw that truck do in the movies, it makes the truck more fun.
My one gripe about this excellent little playset is something that's outside of LEGO's control—and that's the missing minifigs. Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog are such an integral part of Toy Story, but it looks like they weren't allowed to be included in the LEGO license. I worked my around that with Slinky, because the Toy Story Buddies have a good Slinky Dog that's the same scale as the LEGO minifigures; but Potato Head isn't included with the Toy Story Buddies, either. Hasbro wants to keep Potato Head with their family, which is their right...but it's breaking up the Toy Story family for some of their biggest fans.
Aside from that quibble, I love this set. It's probably my favorite Toy Story set so far, and shows what great potential this line has. Hopefully LEGO will continue to have a friend in Pixar for a long time to come.
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Amount Paid (US$): 39.99
Type of Toy: Blocks
Age Range of Child: Kids to Teens