LEGO Stranger Things: The Upside Down Review

I would like to start this review by thanking my grandparents who surprised me with this set as a gift. This review would not be possible without them. Now, I have a set and it is still relatively relevant. What are the chances of that? The Stranger Things hype train is going at full speed as a new trailer was recently dropped and the next season is released on July Fourth. I am really excited to review this set because it quickly became one of my favorite sets that I own. So, let us get into this!

This set retails for $199.99 in the United States and comes with 2287 pieces. This makes this set the largest one I own, beating out my 2014 Imperial Star Destroyer. 

The box is massive and upon opening it you get a bag of plates and a smaller box with some of the numbered bags in the set. There is a total of eleven bags in the set. (Coincidence? I think not.) The two instruction manuals in the set are covered in classified stamps and have fun facts about the series sprinkled throughout them. One booklet represents normal reality while the other represents the Upside Down. 

It took me five-ish hours to build this set, and I did it in one session with no breaks. You begin by building the stand and Hopper's car. Then you build both versions of the houses and then the trees that connect them together. I had a ton of fun building this set, this was some of the most fun I have had all summer. 

Hopper's car is not at all to scale, which isn't a surprise. The colors and proportions do match the actual vehicle. The car uses a small LEGO car bottom as the base and builds upwards from there. The interior is a bit sparse; there is a steering wheel for Hopper and a pumpkin in the back of the car. The pumpkin is a newer mold and I like it quite a bit. There are three stickers on the car; the two on the sides mark this as a Hawkins Police Vehicle and the back sticker is the license plate. I like the build of this SUV and I wish LEGO made more like it. The car also has a technic connection to allow it to stay connected when the build is flipped.

The build of this set is quite genius. The normal version of they Byers' house is above the mirrored version from the Upside Down. Two large trees connect both of the houses and create a stand while smaller ball joint pieces hold the bottoms together. 

The exterior of the Byers' house is absolutely phenomenal. The yard is just the right size to place figures or even Hopper's car. There is a small path leading up to the porch. There is a pile of rocks with a technic pin that allows Hopper's car to stay attached.

The porch has a chair with a small table next to it. The builds for both of these are fairly nice and they both are well attached to the base. There is a sticker with the house address on one of the poles. There is a bench which is partially integrated into the wall. There is porch swing on the far side of the porch as well. Some of the windows are covered with newspapers, which is a nice touch. 

The interior of the set is the probably the best so far. On the far left is Will's room. It has a excellent bed build and a table with a boombox behind it. The wall has a stickered piece that shows some of Will's drawings. The far side has a poster for the movie Shark, which totally isn't the Jaws poster. Above his room is the camera used in season two. 

The living room area is great as well. The couch uses a great subdued yellow color and seems to fit three. The table has a stickered 2x2 tile that is a missing child poster for Will. Funnily enough, the height is 1.5 inches. The alphabet on the wall is a stickered element. There is a rope piece with lights dangling on as well. There is a light brick at the top of the roof. A 1x2 trans-clear printed piece filters the light so that it appears individual lights are going off.

There is a bear trap in the middle of the floor as well as an ax off to the side. In the final room, there is a chair, which is a small assembly. Behind it are some boxes, one of which is labeled X-Mas. On the floor is probably one of my favorite parts of the set. It is a blue 2x2 Stickered tile that says rules. This is obviously a Dungeons and Dragons book from the earlier versions of the game. As someone who recently started playing D&D, I really love this part. Above this room is a wizard hat as well as a stack of papers. The top paper is a drawing of the Mind Flayer from season two. 

The next section that is built is the Upside Down version of the house. The lawn and roof are covered in plant elements resembling the vine stuff of the Upside Down. The builds are mostly identical on the porch, except for the obvious palate change. There are whip pieces crawling up the posts of the porch as well as ooze (or something similar) sliding down other posts. The widows with newspapers in them are a different print on transparent panes.

Will's room features all of the same objects, but with a color change. There is also a plant thing hanging from the ceiling. The Jaws poster to the side is in grayscale and slightly beat up. 

The living room has all of the same depressing colors. The couch is all black and the lights are overgrown with vines. Some of the lights hanging from the string are missing their bulbs. 

Lastly is the room with the chair, which has the D&D rules in a gray color. The plant is actually a horn element, replacing the green plant from the normal house. 

On the outside of the house are two trees. One set is from the normal reality, the other is from the Upside Down. These trees kind of mirror each other as best they can. They look fantastic and they are really stable. The whole build rests quite safely on them. On one set there are stickers for Barb's missing poster. 

The stand has a great sticker on it, but unfortunately it can only hold half of the figures in the set. 

Now we get to the figures. (Finally)

Jim Hopper is a fairy decent figure. He is probably the least accurate figure in the set. I think the  head print doesn't capture his face that well. He comes with a mug as his accessory. 

Joyce Byers is really accurate to the actual actress. She uses Hermione's hair piece from the latest Harry Potter sets and has a new torso and head print. She has both a flashlight and a 2x2 printed tile with Will's drawing of a wizard on it. 

Speaking of  Will, he is also a great representation of the character. He had a new hair piece which is great to get. His jacket print is phenomenal and I really like it. He has two expressions; one is scared the other is kinda ambivalent. The best part is that he uses the new mid-sized legs. I absolutely love that these are now a thing. He also comes with a bicycle, which is the usual mold. 

Mike Wheeler also comes with the mid-sized legs. His torso is a great new print, that yet again seems like it was directly taken from the show. His two expressions are one of surprise and one of anger. His hair is a bit off, but I think it works just fine. He has both a radio and a flashlight as accessories. 

Eleven is also pretty well done. Unfortunately she does not have her short hair, but rather the wig she wears in the first season. She has a waffle as an accessory, which is a great piece to get. She also has a cloth skirt, which is something I haven't seen in a while. She has no alternate face, which is a bummer.

Dustin Henderson is probably my favorite character from the show. I am really glad he got a hair/hat combo piece that is dual molded. It works perfectly for him. He has both happy and disappointed facial expressions. His accessories are a compass and a radio. He is probably my second favorite figure of this set. 

Lucas is also a great figure. His hair piece is a bit off though. It is supposed to be used as a bald head with a bandanna and not as hair. It kind of works, but it leaves a ton of his head without hair. It also means he doesn't get an alternate face. He gets his slingshot, which is a great element. He also gets a flashlight.

In general, all of the human characters are realistic and accurate to the characters. But one figure shines more than the rest. The Demogorgon is absolutely fantastic. It has a htead print with the closed face. There is also a headpiece to with the open mouth. The mold is perfect. It has all of  the teeth and the mouth printed on a very odd shape. The torso is well detailed and he has the Wolverine claws to simulate his claws. The legs are the faun from the Collectible Minifigures series. They are less articulated than the normal legs, but fit this figure. 

This is probably one of my favorite sets from this year. The build is super detailed and it was a great joy to put together. The figures here are great and I love the new molds introduced here. Even if Stranger Things isn't your cup of tea, there are a ton of sand blue and dark blue parts that only show up in relatively few sets. At 2287 pieces, the price per part ratio is right where it should be for a $200 dollar set. This model makes a great display piece and I would definitely recommend it if you are a fan of the franchise. Considering the effort that LEGO put into this set, I would not be surprised if another set came out with the characters missing from this set. I would love for that to happen.