Review: LEGO 70435 Hidden Side - Newbury Abandoned Prison
The LEGO Hidden Side wave has been something that we’ve been keeping an eye on since it’s first initial release. The entire first wave introduced a new adaptive way of gameplay and interactivity, and the sets introduced a variety of new parts and cool looking new enemies to collect… But now that we are three waves of sets in, does it still hold up?
The Hidden Side sets, to my knowledge, have been silently cancelled, with no new announcements coming from the LEGO Group for a 2021 release of new sets. We are fortunate enough to have a few sets already from all three of the Hidden Side waves, so we thought it would be best to look at a set we wouldn’t normally buy, a more urban-based Hidden Side set.
The Newbury Abandoned Prison set 70435 follows a seemingly reoccurring trope with some of the newer sets of late; having one long straight edge, and then a 45-degree bend at the ends with some sort of structure. They did it for the Harry Potter Quidditch Set, Hidden Side Graveyard Mystery set, Spider-Man Bike Rescue… honestly, look up $25-$75 sets on LEGO.com and you’ll see it.
This particular set follows this same sort of trope, now there is nothing wrong with that, but it does get a little old quick. We’ll be honest, this layout is probably one of the reasons why we were expecting that this set, at face value, may not be worth the money.
But our opinions changed, and we’ll explain why;
We are honestly surprised are the sheer amount of detail that they snooker away in this set. Each cell on the sides has sliding door access at the front, using the somewhat rarer light grey 2x8 plates with curve found normally in the Creator Modulars, as well as even an abandoned bed, the basic idea of using a 2x2 corner tile to really give it an ‘unmade’ feel.
Despite the very-obvious towers that adorn the build on the box-art, the build also hides away a few features you don’t see on the box, such as the toilet with rag-on-a-stick, a few glasses and bottles hidden about, and even the newspaper articles spread across the walls.
Now, this set is stickers GALORE. If you don’t like stickers, you probably won’t like this set. It feels like almost every second wall has a sticker, and those stickers have stickers, but this is what conveys the abandoned aesthetic of the set. Unfortunately, we are impartial to stickers, and especially like the use of stickers for the basketball hoop on the right-hand side of the build.
Speaking of which, the use of the orange round piece for the basketball rather than the basketball ball part LEGO have is a better option between the two, as it doesn’t roll around when moving the model, and it looks slightly deflated on the ground – perfect!
Moving back to the centre of the build, what is immediately eye-catching is the huge burnt orange rusted prison door central to the whole build that opens and reveals the HIDDEN SIDE of the build. Huehuehue.
Spin around the two towers atop the build, open the door and flip up the haunting new eyepieces (love these!), and you have a monstrous jail! Nobody is going to want to be locked up in here!
Being fans of some of the classic HS sets, it seems unfortunate that the app’s interactivity with the set now comes down to a small rotating dial on the left-hand side of the set, instead of hidden panels scattered throughout the set. It just moves that little bit away from what the Hidden Side sets once were.
But alas! As far as being locked up goes, if this is an abandoned prison… why are there so many people here? Let’s move on to the minifigs!
And the first minifig to look at isn’t a minifig! It’s a dog! Spencer is the ghost-dog that appears in every single Hidden Side set, and if you have collected any Hidden Side set since release, you have this figure.
However, what you may not realise is that the other dog in this set is actually exclusive. The chihuahua in this set comes with an exclusive puzzled/grumpy expression not seen before and might be the first expressive dog we have ever gotten!
Now this version of Jack, one of the titular heroes, isn’t exclusive for this set, but exclusive for this wave of Hidden Side. The new backwards cap/hair combo and facial expressions are a great way to mix it up from the previous years, and even gives us his hoodie piece in a nice solid-white colour.
El Fuego, or as most onlookers would see him, the weird-skeleton man, was such an odd addition to this set that I had to look up this character and see what was going on. He appeared previously in other sets as a human, but now as of 2020, he died? Hold on..
The official backstory of this character is that he sacrificed himself to stop a big-bad, and literally died. Oh, and he’s also not a skeleton, but a ghost possessing a high-school plastic anatomy skeleton, so he can do wicked stunts. How whack is that?
Well, despite the crazy backstory, this fig has an exclusive faceprint to this year’s release, but otherwise, not much else to say!
Another small detail that we almost missed with this set’s figures is the security guard, Nate Lockem, and his exclusivity as well! Though the headpiece is uncommon, it isn’t exclusive; but the torso and legs are exclusive to this set, as well as the ghoul head.
It is very easy to miss at first glance, and we honestly didn’t notice either until Tim thought the moustache looked a bit different.
And Lastly, there is Rami, who has an exclusive leg printing and an awesome new face (with alternate face) to really convey the look of shock and horror. This guy is also apparently an Easter Egg for one of the Hidden Side designers who inserted his sigfig into the build. Neat.
Overall, initially seeing this set, we were coming into it honestly being ready to tear it apart but found ourselves blissfully surprised. We wouldn’t go as far as saying that this is the perfect buy for a birthday, but the set is neat, nonetheless.
If you have some extra cash to splurge or manage to find this one on sale, I would actually recommend picking it up, but if you’re tight for coin, hold on to it a little bit longer and go for some of the bigger sets of this wave.
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This set was provided by the AFOL Engagement team of the
LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.