Review: 76178 Daily Bugle (Part #2)

Posted by CapnRex101, 08 Jun 2021 16:30

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The scandalous Daily Bugle newspaper appears routinely throughout Marvel Comics, arraigning Spider-Man and several other heroes. While this newspaper has maintained unaltered views, the headquarters building has experienced copious adjustments between comics.

Varied sources have therefore influenced 76178 Daily Bugle, which seems comparatively modern alongside Modular Buildings. That decision has proven somewhat controversial, although I think the excellent design overshadows such concerns. Additionally, interesting details are available to explore, including many references.

The Completed Model

Substantial towers have become increasingly common throughout the LEGO range, although none match the Daily Bugle Building in sheer scale. This model measures 82cm in height and appears consistent with the architectural designs found across New York City, where the Daily Bugle is located. However, the structure does seem relatively bland without minifigures placed on the exterior, lacking elaborate architectural features.

76178 Daily Bugle is compatible with Modular Buildings so features similar pavement outside, comprising dark bluish 2×2 tiles and light bluish grey kerbs. These are interrupted by a simple chequered pattern around the entrance, flanked by two colourful plants. This design contrasts perfectly against the predominantly grey building and I appreciate the accurate Manhattan fire hydrant, although flowers appear out of place.

An attractive green newsstand is situated on the pavement, selling various postcards, the Daily Bugle newspaper and a business magazine. The printed magazine is particularly interesting as Wilson Fisk appears on the cover. Hopefully this menacing villain, commonly known as Kingpin and opposing Spider-Man and Daredevil, will soon become available in physical form.

The pavement becomes increasingly cracked and damaged behind the Daily Bugle, as studs emerge among the tiles. I appreciate this transition into neglected alleyways and the requisite dumpsters are included, beneath an air conditioning unit. These two dumpsters feature yellow crates and removable lids, containing cans, cherries and a rotten hot dog inside!

Black paint rollers support the lamp outside an emergency exit. This building technique has appeared previously but works effectively here. Moreover, the emergency exit door displays interesting graffiti on a sticker, apparently indicating that both Green Goblin and Eddie Brock have visited recently. Green Goblin’s unique tag represents Goblin Nation, from the Superior Spider-Man comics.

Peter Parker frequently needs to stow his Spider-Man costume, ready for use should danger arise. The model accordingly includes a backpack which is hidden behind a web, referencing Peter’s traditional method of concealing the suit. This web component is attached using a clip, allowing it to open and revealing the reddish brown backpack underneath.

Medium nougat boxes and an electrical utility station disguise the Technic components where Modular Buildings can connect with the model. Unfortunately, the electrical station is one stud further back than it should be, although that is easily resolved. The neighbouring maintenance cover features a realistic sticker and some intriguing cracks are present across this wall. Mark Stafford has stated that the rat makes reference to the animal from Avengers: Endgame.

Sandman’s unique physiology enables the character to transform his body. Marko sometimes employs this ability to surprise opponents by bursting from the ground and that is successfully represented here. Various tiles and wedge slopes are joined using ball joints and hinges which create the impression of broken pavement, with Sandman emerging between them. The figure looks marvellous, although several hinges remain visible.

Minifigures can enter the Daily Bugle Building through a sliding door. This mechanism is very simple, without an external control, but functions smoothly and the undecorated door appears consistent with the surrounding windows. In addition, I like the Daily Bugle branding above the entrance, integrating three stickers and matching details on the different newspapers provided.

While minifigures can access the ground floor easily, human access is more challenging! The upper levels are removable, akin to Modular Buildings, but reaching inside is relatively difficult. Ideally, the front wall could be removed to match other levels, although that would compromise the building strength because no internal walls or columns are positioned within reception.

The relative inaccessibility is disappointing because some appealing furniture is placed inside. Curved tiles form the two-level reception desk which looks marvellous and awards are placed behind the desk, belonging to the Daily Bugle. The handcuffs connected beside this reception desk seem strange, although these may prove helpful given the regularity of villainous attacks against the newspaper!

Three seats are available for visiting minifigures, with newspapers placed behind them. Four copies of this ‘No Crime’ newspaper are distributed throughout the model, hence that is likely the new issue. This vending machine contains ‘Web Juice’ cans which seems quite surprising because I doubt J. Jonah Jameson appreciates any references to web-slingers. The machine looks good though, despite not functioning like previous LEGO vending machines.

Unwanted visitors are deterred by the functioning security barrier, above which an impressive television displays a news programme. Morbius, the Living Vampire has reportedly been seen on the New York subway system, coinciding with an unprecedented scarcity of garlic. I believe these unusual events might be connected!

Important newspapers from the Daily Bugle’s history are displayed inside reception, including the famous ‘Spider-Man: Threat or Menace’ issue which initially appeared during the Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15, released in 1981. That design has been transformed into a minifigure here while the neighbouring newspapers record minifigures walking on the Moon and the new Daily Bugle building, where this skyscraper is pictured.

The aforementioned cracks in the wall reveal a removable segment to represent minifigures breaking in! The irregular edges look splendid and I am impressed with the integration of the removable panel, particularly because its appearance seems consistent with other walls. The slopes and inverted slopes do not tessellate perfectly, but that appears unavoidable.

Several large screens are positioned above the ground level, corresponding with various real buildings throughout New York City. The first such television screen displays four members of the Sinister Six, apparently abandoning their criminal activities during a press conference. The caption, branded with the Daily Bugle logo, fittingly questions this dubious admission.

J. Jonah Jameson appears on the neighbouring screen, interviewing three Marvel characters who appear during the famed Clone Saga storyline. Dr. Curt Connors, whose name is spelled incorrectly on the sticker, frequently transforms into the Lizard while Professor Miles Warren is better known as the Jackal. These characters look excellent in minifigure form and the Scarlet Spider reflects his minifigure depiction from 76057 Spider-Man: Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle.

Norman Osborn, also known as the Green Goblin, maintains a threatening presence across the Marvel universe. This curved billboard, promoting his mayoral campaign, shows the industrialist sporting a campaign badge and his severe expression looks great. However, my favourite detail is definitely the distinctive horizontal lines in Norman’s hair, matching his comic hairstyle.

The skyscraper appears less vibrant when viewed from behind, where textured rail elements separate enormous window panels. The design is extremely basic but resembles buildings of the International Style, which seems appropriate for the Manhattan skyline. Furthermore, I like how angular accents are situated above these decorative rails.

Contrasting against the predominant light bluish grey structure, this red fire escape comprises six platforms which are connected using ladders. Unfortunately, they are inaccessible from the interior and minifigures cannot move between platforms because there are no gaps in the floor. Increasing their size would have provided space for such gaps, so I think the fire escape could have been improved quite easily.

Each level of the Daily Bugle building can be removed, corresponding with Modular Buildings. However, an ingenious system of removable walls is included too, providing far easier access than the Modular Buildings have achieved. Detaching the front walls reveals marvellous detail inside, particularly on the first floor where the bullpen is situated.

Three realistic desks are arranged around the central column, featuring computers, beverages and untidy stacks of newspapers. The environment certainly befits stereotypical journalists and the stickered computers feature splendid detail. Moreover, I like the alternating televisions fixed above the desks, displaying male and female news anchors reporting different stories.

Four printed newspapers also decorate the column, presumably relating to important stories uncovered by these journalists. Those on either side feature Electro and Rhino, two common enemies of Spider-Man, while the newspapers situated on the front and back speculate about the web-slinger’s hidden identity. The foremost ‘Who is Spider-Man’ headline takes inspiration from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, where the same newspaper appears.

Light bluish grey jumper plates represent drawers in each desk and I love the traditional lamp, needed for illuminating late-night investigations. Newspapers are scattered around this larger desk, including a copy of the Law Times which documents Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock’s latest legal victory. Of course, Matt Murdock also combats criminals outside the courtroom, as Daredevil.

Three recognisable newspaper headlines are mounted on the wall. These originate from Sam Raimi’s popular Spider-Man trilogy, with the alarming ‘Times Scare’ headline appearing during the original film while ‘Spider-Man No More?’ and ‘Doc Ock Still at Large’ both make reference to the sequel. The latter newspaper appears particularly enjoyable as 4855 Spider-Man’s Train Rescue featured a similar printed tile.

An outstanding shattered window interrupts the otherwise monotonous exterior, where Green Goblin is escaping. Capturing such dynamic action is unprecedented within an official product and the explosion looks superb, making exceptional use of ball joints to support the shattering windows. Additionally, this may be reassembled to construct a standard wall, should you wish.

Numerous renditions of Green Goblin’s glider have been produced. This design is noticeably simple, lacking the dramatic decoration which sometimes appears and instead focusing upon aerodynamic shaping. The angular bodywork certainly seems appealing and this predominant sand green colour looks reasonable, although I would have favoured brighter shades.

The building narrows somewhat at this level, creating room for a spacious balcony. The door appears suitably mundane and another external light is connected to the wall, corresponding with that on the ground floor. I think some additional detail could have appeared here, maybe referencing another character or linking with the neighbouring fire escape.

Unlike those above and below, this window section is also secured vertically as the exploding panel moves its centre of gravity forwards. These additional attachment points comprise trans-clear headlight bricks, producing a sturdy structure. Otherwise, removing this window matches those on other levels and considerable detail continues inside.

Dark bluish grey 2×6 tiles form lift doors on each floor. These appear realistic and the dark red buttons look perfect, although no lift is actually present. Space is evidently limited and omitting the lift was sensible from that perspective, although I wonder whether enlarging the skyscraper in footprint would have improved the entire structure.

Otherwise, this foyer contains a filing cabinet, some boxes and an excellent photocopier. This machine appears remarkably authentic, including the exposure glass and an opening lid. I am pleased that Peter Parker’s camera is provided beside a pizza box, while multiple newspapers are stacked on the floor. These include The Conspirator, which shows an alien spacecraft.

Peter Parker frequently provides photographs for the Daily Bugle, although he rarely works in his own office. Nevertheless, this space includes reasonable detail, dominated by the unusual photograph on the wall. This makes reference to a famous moment from the 1967 Spider-Man animated series, during which the hero hides beneath a desk with that photograph behind him.

Despite lacking dramatic explosions or signage, the uppermost floor includes four important flagpoles. These form welcome connection points for displaying the many minifigures. I think additional exposed studs throughout this model might therefore have proven helpful and they could have been integrated surreptitiously, as part of the architectural aesthetic.

The reverse does incorporate more conspicuous features, including a gigantic billboard which advertises ‘Just the Facts’ with J. Jonah Jameson. This radio series appears during the recent Spider-Man video game and the billboard design takes direct inspiration from the game. A nice bird’s nest is located here as well, employing the same building technique as 10270 Bookshop.

J. Jonah Jameson supervises the Daily Bugle from his office on the top floor, which is easily accessible by removing the front wall. Once again, the arrangement works nicely and avoids interference with the Spider-Mobile, driving on the neighbouring wall. I wonder whether some similar removable walls would enhance the Modular Buildings.

Betty Brant’s desk is suitably positioned outside J. Jonah Jameson’s office, opposite another entrance to the lift. Strangely, the instructions display an arrow pointing upwards above these doors, even on the top floor. Nevertheless, this space looks good and I love the colourful floor, contrasting with the bright green and flame yellowish orange pieces employed below.

The desk is constructed sideways and its shape appears remarkably modern, with a rounded space accommodating the chair. Betty’s computer is depicted by a trans-light blue book cover and shows almost one hundred missed calls from Eddie Brock. Presumably this sinister villain has been attempting to contact the Daily Bugle to apply for a job, since he is a journalist when not terrorising Spider-Man.

Another desk occupies J. Jonah Jameson’s office. This example seems more traditional, which suits the wrathful editor and I appreciate the dark colour scheme in here. Two golden statuettes are displayed behind the desk, perhaps representing the Daily Bugle’s two Pulitzer prizes, while the adjacent glowing rock could have brought the Symbiote to Earth.

Jameson is known for frequently firing and then quickly rehiring staff, depending on his mood and requirements. The computer therefore displays an email to Peter Parker, while an almost identical message appears on Spider-Man’s computer in 76175 Attack on the Spider Lair. The newspapers include another reference, with one headline demanding photos of Spider-Man so reflecting the 2002 Spider-Man film.

An enormous Daily Bugle sign dominates the building, measuring 28cm across and extending beyond both sides. I was initially unconvinced by these simple letters, although the design has gradually become more appealing. The block capital letters appear appropriate here and some exposed studs among the letters are welcome, providing attachment points for minifigures.

However, I dislike the asymmetry between the words, which may have been avoided by using another font and alternative construction methods. Furthermore, certain letters seem awkward, notably including the ‘B’ and the ‘G’ because their shapes are somewhat inconsistent. The bold colour looks wonderful though, complementing the aforementioned fire escape.

The decorative bugle emblem of the Daily Bugle is cleverly constructed and accurately points towards the left, matching the comics. This structure looks brilliant, although the neighbouring sign overshadows the bugle. I think integrating a black circle or similar background behind the bugle emblem would have considerably enhanced its visibility.

Water towers have appeared on Modular Buildings and other models, varying in design. This rendition appears relatively large and comprises two wheel components, creating appropriate texture around the tank. The support structure seems equally accurate and two stickers adorn the water tower, exhibiting another Goblin Nation tag beneath Miles Morales’ unique symbol.

An enormous antenna stands beside the water tower, featuring various communication dishes. The base includes a decorated slope which only otherwise appears in 60284 Roadwork Truck and provides excellent detail here. However, I think the antenna should have been fixed more securely because it feels relatively fragile, without supplementary support.

Four articulated dishes and an aircraft warning light are mounted on the antenna. They seem appropriate for the Daily Bugle building and the alternating red and white stripes are attractive. Furthermore, another connection point is included for displaying Firestar, whose flying ability is portrayed by stacked trans-orange energy blast accessories.

Spider-Man’s considerable vehicle collection has become increasingly outlandish, including an array of strange conveyances. However, the character has frequently employed vehicles in the comics and the most famous example is the Spider-Mobile, which is attached outside the Daily Bugle. The buggy is mounted on a turntable and looks fantastic here, replicating its wall-driving ability from the comics.

The vehicle takes inspiration from the Meyers Manx and its characteristic shape is immediately recognisable, even though the model only measures 8cm in length. The forward rake is perfect and I love the accurate blue and red livery, complementing Spider-Man’s costume. Stickers are placed on the bonnet and either side to form headlights and web patterning, each looking good.

There is space for one minifigure inside which is sufficient, given the scale. The continued blue colour looks excellent while the contrasting light bluish grey windscreen frame and roll bar both also correspond with the source material. Furthermore, mechanical detail appears between the rear wheels, completing an impressive rendition of the nimble Spider-Mobile.

While the appearance of the Daily Bugle Building commonly differs, its New York City location remains consistent. An attractive yellow taxi accordingly accompanies the model, featuring the colours traditionally associated with these vehicles. This example appears rather old-fashioned and resembles the famous ‘Checker Cabs’ which populated New York City for decades.

The model measures 13cm in length which seems appropriate beside minifigures. I appreciate this appealing wheel arrangement and the black accents look superb. Unfortunately, the famed black and white chequered stripes associated with these taxis are missing, although integrating such decoration here may have necessitated compromises in bodywork shaping.

Six stickers are applied across the taxi, including two number plates which make reference to Amazing Fantasy #15, where Spider-Man was originally introduced. The headlights and silver radiator grille appear reasonably accurate and I love how Technic ‘cross blocks’ are integrated here. The narrow slits in these elements resemble indicators on the original New York taxis.

The transition between the bodywork and cab section appears somewhat awkward, although enhancing the design is difficult at this scale. Interior space appears noticeably limited but the roof is easily removable, providing access to place two minifigures inside. Moreover, I love the realistic taxi sign which is mounted on the roof and the asymmetrical door mirror looks brilliant as well.

Impressive detail continues towards the rear, where various trans-orange, trans-red and trans-clear lights adorn this vehicle. These are correctly positioned when compared with the original taxi and the metallic silver 1×1 round plate represents the fuel cap. The exhaust, formed using one flintlock pistol element, is superb too. I appreciate this consistent attention to recognisable details, despite the modest scale.

Overall

76178 Daily Bugle appears unlike any previous LEGO model, encapsulating the natural chaos associated with comics! Despite lacking the architectural detail of Modular Buildings, the tower combines realistic mundanity with outlandish action and looks attractive on display, particularly when populated by the minifigures. The addition of several exclusive characters is welcome, of course.

However, potential for enhancement definitely remains, in my opinion. Augmenting the footprint would have provided greater interior space and certain details seem unusually basic, especially around the roof. Nevertheless, I remain delighted with 76178 Daily Bugle and I think the price of £274.99 or $299.99 represents fair value, given the inclusion of 25 superb minifigures and 3772 pieces which comfortably exceeds previous Marvel sets.

Our complete review of the minifigures is available here.

This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review represents an expression of my own opinions.

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