(Written by William)
When I first heard about the #76108 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown, I was immediately interested. A LEGO Super Heroes set that features a substantial building – what’s not to like? However, when I found out that the price was only $99.99, I tapered my excitement. Even the smallest LEGO Creator Modular Buildings are in the $150 range, so it seemed that the #76108 LEGO Super Heroes Sanctum Sanctorum wasn’t as big as I was hoping…
After building the set, I can say that it’s definitely not as big as the LEGO Creator Modular Buildings, even if the style looks similar. The footprint is 16×16 studs, which then shrinks to 16×12 studs because four studs are taken up by exterior building designs. Still, when you close up the building, it can fit with the LEGO Creator Modular Buildings quite well. So, while the #76108 LEGO Super Heroes Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown is a play-set with a hinged dollhouse-like opening, in the closed position it can also appeal to older LEGO fans who prefer more realistic buildings. You can see some example layouts with the Sanctum Sanctorum lined up with the LEGO Creator Modular Buildings here: LEGO Sanctum Sanctorum Modifications
➡ LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – INTRODUCTION:
The #76108 LEGO Super Heroes Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown set is divided into eight bagged steps. Each step is relatively small with several steps only consisting of a single bag. Combine this with the age rating starting at eight years old, and the set turns out to be a refreshingly simple build. That’s not to say that the build is simplistic. There is some nice detailing both inside and outside the building, along with interesting action elements. This is a particularly unique feature of the set, as most LEGO structures that look like full buildings don’t come with action features. So, this set attempts to appeal to both kids (mostly with the action features) and teen and adult LEGO fans (with the realistic building).
➡ BUILDING THE LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – BAG #1:
We start the building process with the Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange himself. Both the front and back of his torso is printed, and he also got two facial expressions – both rather serious. The coolest part of this minifig is that he comes with a host of accessories that I can only describe as magic spells. The building instructions suggest that you put two of these on the minifigure, but you can also swap them out for some of the other weirdly shaped pieces.
Using pieces from Bag #1, we also build a triangular outside area with a garbage can, pizza slice, folded box, Spider-Man web with a cellphone, and a newspaper stand. There are lots of stickered parts in this set, and one of the trickiest instances is the 1×2 tiles that are used as newspapers. Looking at the image on the newspaper, it appears to feature an all red character with horns and a red staff. I’m not sure if this is some sort of demon, or if it’s actually Dare Devil.
Lastly, we work on the first half of the first floor of Dr. Strange’s Sanctum by building the doorway, a big armchair, side table with chain and lamp, and a bit of the wall. As far as interesting parts, it was nice to see that the Doctor’s cape is a soft cloth, while his high collar is a more rigid material. Attention to detail like this in an official LEGO sets is always great to see. And all those magic spell elements are also very nice.
➡ BUILDING THE LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – BAG #2:
This bag has the rest of the first half of the first floor. We get windows, walls, and some stickers. We also decorate the walls with an axe and a sword, which gives the Sanctorum that appropriate arcane feel. The nicest part of this section is how the brickwork comes together at the front of the building. If you have built the #10251 LEGO Creator Brick Bank, you’ll find the use of light-bluish-gray ingots on the outer wall familiar. What I found particularly interesting is that LEGO designers broke up the symmetry by throwing in a jumper-plate on each section to prevent the wall from looking boring. Couple this with the occasional plate with bar over the window and we get a rather attractive front facade without a whole lot of effort. More stickers are added as well; a portal to the outside, a scroll on the interior, and a street name that puts this building on 110th street.
➡ BUILDING THE LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – BAG #3:
One of the highlights of this set is the big-fig Cull Obsidian (we just talked about big-figs the other day!). I’m not sure who he is, but he sure looks awesome. While his design is the same as the other recent big-figs, he comes with a unique shoulder-piece that is moulded into his torso. His weapon is a pair of brick-built hammer nunchuks with some interesting new pieces, like the 1×2 rounded plate with hollow studs. It is also worth noting that Cull doesn’t hold the hammers like you’d expect. The studs at the two ends of the chain snap into the hands from the bottom.
Continuing on the Dr. Strange side of the building, we start to build the first half of the second floor. There are some pillars and windows – one of which is recessed. Personally, I love it when LEGO designers use a small panel to fit on the inside of an arch to make it look like the arch has glass. The interior of the second floor is now bursting with arcane items. There are a spear and a staff on the wall, a chest filled with two daggers, a mess of ancient texts on the floor (unfortunately only the top one has any sort of writing), and a bookcase with a couple of surprises.
The bookcase has simulated books and a statue showing on one side, while the back hides a secret compartment. Behind the books is a green gem which I imagine might be the Infinity Stone of Time. The shelves also feature an action element which can knock out a wall, thereby revealing the gem from the outside. The only thing I don’t like in this section is the fact that the action element is hard to miss if you look through the window from the outside. Plus, why would anyone put a bookcase in front of a window? I think the window would work better on the opposite wall and just have a solid wall section that breaks off.
➡ BUILDING THE LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – BAG #4:
This is where we get the second badguy, Ebony Maw. All I can say is that I’m going to be learning a lot when the Avengers: Infinity War movie gets released later this month. Along with some sweet printing, Maw comes with Spider-Man’s web-shooter pieces but in transparent-yellow, so energy blasts maybe? I really like having obscure superhero characters in my collection.
Now it’s finally time to build the second half of the first floor. This entails putting together Pepe’s Pizza. It features a counter with a pizza and register, a brick oven in the back corner, and some sort of machine that I’m not sure what it could be. Stickers include a sign for the inside that says Pepe’s sells pizza, burritos, and burger and fries… each for $1! The outside features some graffiti and flier for learning web design. Oh, the puns… We also sticker the door with an open sign, a street sign claiming this to be Bleeker Street, and a sign on the front window claiming this to be Pepe’s Pizza.
Inside the building, we get a repurposed paddle for putting pizzas in the oven and a fire-extinguisher on the far wall. And we also build an interesting two-part mechanism. The idea of this mechanism is that you push the stopper from the outside and then the front window blows out. In practice, it works fantastic, but it’s not the prettiest looking thing on the outside of the building.
➡ BUILDING THE LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – BAG #5:
This bag includes pieces to build the second half of the second floor, with part of Peter Parker’s apartment. It features a desk with a computer and a few office supplies like paper and what could be a sketch of Spider-Man dropped on the floor. On the right side, we get a stack of boxes that say “Pete’s Stuff” on the top-most box. There is also a sticker on the left inner wall with a pinned up map and other bulletin board stuff. The outside of the building features some webbing as well as a simple window design. We also see another mechanism handle which kind of ruins the outer face of the building. This mechanism operates a trapdoor, which empties out into the room, or possibly closet, that contains Peter’s boxes.
➡ BUILDING THE LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – BAG #6:
Dr. Strange needs some reinforcement, so enter Iron Spider-Man. The name more or less just means that it’s Spider-Man with Iron Man technology in his suit. So, there is the fancy printing, along with an attached piece that fits around his neck and includes four bar for clipping on extra limbs. Give Spidey his web shooter pieces and he’s ready to join the fight!
As for the building, we get the third floor and roof of Peter Parker’s apartment. The right side is mostly empty because of the trapdoor mechanism. The left side has Pete’s bed along with a sticker on the wall. The sticker features a Captain America poster, report card, and some photos.
Behind Pete’s bed is another breakaway wall section. This one is operated by a hanging web lever off the left side of the building (left side if you’re looking at the interior of the building). On the outside, we get more windows and a strange perch that allows a minifigure to stand up there. The perch also partially hides another action element that can be used to knock off the minifigure.
At this point in the building process, you will notice that this whole building comes in two flavors; one version is a nicely built townhouse, and when you activate the play-features they reveal the other version with lots of battle damage. This definitely provides an interesting way to set up multiple scenes for both play and display purposes. However, if you like the damaged version of the building, it might be worth taking the time to make the blown out sections realistically ragged.
➡ BUILDING THE LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – BAG #7:
Now it’s time for more Dr. Strange goodness. This bag has most of the third floor of the Sanctum Sanctorum. We build the left and right walls along with Strange’s desk and two shelving units. Both shelves feature brick-built books, along with a skull on one side and two goblets on the other. Plus, there is also a cute little candlestick.
The outside of the building gets slopes to create the roof section, along with two windows framing a large hole. And we also build a few connection points near the desk, that will be key in a further step. And, there are more stickers; on 1×2 tiles for envelopes and 2×2 tiles for some arcane writing.
➡ BUILDING THE LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – BAG #8:
The final minifigure in this set is Iron Man. To my surprise, he also got one of those interesting 1×2 rounded plates. It is used to help mount some flame boosters to his feet. And it was also nice to get another collection of those interesting little accessories – this time in translucent-blue instead of translucent orange. It seems like that for Dr. Strange these pieces represent magic, and for Iron Man, they’re unibeams and repulser blasts. They look awesome and very useful, so hopefully, LEGO will include them in other sets.
As for the building, we get the awesome rounder window for the third floor. Thankfully, it is printed, and it clips in right by the desk to the connection points we built previously. Then we build a round frame to go around the window, which clips into the other supports we built from the previous bag. The frame is exceptionally nice, using four 4×4 wedge plates with an internal curve. If you put these plates together, you can fit a perfect 6×6 shape inside the hole they create (in this case, that’s where the round window goes).
To finish off the building there are a few more exterior embellishments, like the fire-escape on Spider-Man’s side of the building, and a bit of trim on Dr. Strange’s side. We also finish the rooftops on both sides with more slopes and a water tower. The water tower has a very interesting play element with a long string piece. Run this string through a hole at the top of the building, and you now have a way for Spider-Man to repel down the side of the building. And when he wants to come back up, simply turn the water tower like it’s a giant reel because, well, it is!
➡ LEGO SANCTUM SANCTORUM – FINAL THOUGHTS:
This set put me on a rollercoaster of feelings. I was excited to have a complete building in the Marvel Universe. Then I was sad to see it was just two facades. Then I was happy again that when these facades were folded together, they created a great looking complete building.
I was a little unsure about the play-features of the set, and I do feel that the ones on Peter Parker’s side don’t make the building look great. With that said, they’re really fun to play with. I can go from a pristine townhouse to one with heavy battle damage in seconds. It’s sort of a case where LEGO gave me something I wanted, but I didn’t realize I wanted it until I had it. I’ve built many LEGO sets over the years that went too far in being a play model and others that went too far in just being a display piece. The #76108 LEGO Super Heroes Sanctum Sanctorum is one of those rare sets that strike a near perfect balance between the two. Same goes for the actual construction. It is simple to put together, but it doesn’t look plain or childish. Overall, this set delivers in a ton of areas and is well worth the price. I think the biggest complaint from LEGO fans will be how many stickers you have to apply, but I found even these to be quite charming.
What do you think? How do you like the #76108 LEGO Super Heroes Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown set? Are you planning to get it? Or do you have it already? Feel free to share your thoughts and own reviews in the comment section below! 😉
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