Brickset news archive: August 2012
Dan emailed to say "just got back from Tesco in Milton Keynes / have just purchased series 8 minifigs / they had 4x boxes unopened".
They are due on the shelves of Tesco tomorrow, and apparently Tesco has a one month window of exclusivity on them in the UK meaning Argos etc. won't have them until October.
I don't know, you wait ages for a DK LEGO book to be published and then three come along at once. Not only did the Batman Visual Dictionary arrive earlier, but another courier has just delivered this Ninjago Brickmaster Fight the Power of the Snakes, and also the Batman Ultimate Sticker Book (which I won't be boring you with here).
I think I'm right in saying this is the first Brickmaster book to be published this year, the last two being City and Ninjago (skeletons) this time last year.
It's the same size and follows the same format as the others. The thick inside cover contains the bricks and the book contains building instructions for four models. I have to say that none of them look particularly outstanding, but I suspect young Ninjago fans will love them. The design of the cover has been improved from earlier books and is easier to open, close and keep the parts in.
The minifigs are Cole and Lasha.
Here are pictures of the parts; it looks to be a reasonable selection.
This isn't going to be a full review: just my first impressions (I've only had it 1/2 hour!), but enough hopefully for you to decide whether it's worth purchasing.
It's a 96-page book which is the same size as the Star Wars Visual Dictionary and Harry Potter Building the Magical World. Its thick front cover holds the exclusive minifig which we'll get to in a minute.
The book starts with an introduction and timeline of Batman sets, showing pictures of the boxes and models.
It appears to be complete and accurate and even includes the polybag sets that were released earlier this year.
The rest of the book is divided into four sections:
- The World of LEGO Batman covers the original sets and minifigs released between 2006 and 2008. You can see two spreads from this section in my flickr stream.
- LEGO DC Super Heroes covers the 2012 sets and includes Superman and Wonder Woman.
- Beyond the Brick takes a look at the design process and features interviews with the designers.
- Finally, Going Digital covers scenes and characters from the two video games. This accounts for 20 pages of the book and is of no interest to me whatsoever, and its inclusion is somewhat disappointing. I suspect it's only there because there isn't enough material to fill the book otherwise.
Right at the back of the book is a page showing all the minifigs, much like that at the back of the Harry Potter version. It does not include the SDCC exclusive Batman and Green Lantern, or the one that is included with the book.
The exclusive minifig is 'Electro-suit Batman' which is apparently the suit he wears to help him solve puzzles in the LEGO Batman 2 game. It's printed back and front, and even on his arms and cowl. It's very well printed, but as has been the case with other recent DK book minifigs, it's not made in Europe or Mexico.
In summary then, the book is OK. It's not as good as the other Visual Dictionaries, perhaps because the material is a bit sparse. In fact something I haven't mentioned yet is that there are a number of childish and superfluous cartoon strips littered throughout it, obviously more padding to fill the pages.
The photos don't look as good to me, either. They don't seem to 'pop' off the page, perhaps partly because many of them are of black things. In fact, looking through it now, it's a strange mix of real photos and the computer generated images that LEGO often use on the boxes and catalogues these days.
Definitely one for the Super Heroes completest, but unlike most DK LEGO books, not an essential purchase.
LEGO has published a press release on its finances so far this year, attributing its success partly to strong sales of Friends:
The LEGO Group concludes the first half of 2012 with another very strong set of interim accounts. Net sales for the period were DKK 9,134m compared with DKK 7,355m for the same period last year – an increase of more than 24%.
Operating profit (profit before financial items and tax) for first half 2012 was DKK 2,877m compared with DKK 2,030m for first half 2011, an increase of 41.7%. At the same time the company’s equity rose from DKK 4,565m at the close of the first half 2011 to DKK 6,031m. Cash flow from operations was DKK 2,230m compared with DKK 1,703m during the first half of 2011.
Commenting on the financial result, LEGO Group CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp says:
“Once again the first half of the financial year exceeds our expectations, and the financial result is exceptional - especially in view of general developments in the world toy market. However, it is still too early to provide estimates on the expected result for the full year because the closing months of the year are crucial for our business.”
The LEGO Group’s strong result was achieved at a time when the global toy market is declining – it softened by a further 4% during first half 2012.
Astonishing sales on new products
The year’s big launch – LEGO® Friends, a product line targeted for girls – has done amazingly well since its launch in January. The Group sold twice as many LEGO Friends sets as expected during the first six months of the year. It has therefore increased production to meet the demand for LEGO Friends in the important Christmas period.
Reflecting on the launch of LEGO Friends, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp says:
“LEGO Friends is a result of four years’ development, and it has been amazing to experience the enthusiastic welcome that consumers have given the new range. Sales have been quite astonishing. With LEGO Friends we’ve managed to make creative construction toys more relevant for girls – and we look forward to developing the product line further in the years ahead.”
LEGO Ninjago, launched in 2011, maintained its success in all markets in 2012, with the ninja theme selling significantly better than expected. Classic lines such as LEGO City and LEGO Star Wars™ are still the LEGO Group’s biggest-selling product lines.
Broad global strength achieved
So far the weakening toy market has not had an effect on the LEGO Group, which enjoyed double-digit growth rates in consumer sales in virtually all LEGO markets.
The sales increase varies from region to region but is broad based. Sales in European markets rose by an average of just over 10%, while sales in the US increased by 23%. In Asia, sales rose at an even steeper rate, which is a continuation of the picture from 2011. The sharp rise in Asian sales supports the LEGO Group’s long-term ambition for making the region one of its core markets in line with Europe and the US.
Boosted by this growth, the LEGO Group increased its share of the global toy market to more than 8% – one percentage point higher than in first half 2011.
Increased capacity and bigger workforce
The LEGO Group has been expanding capacity in all areas of its business in order to be able to meet growing demand. This has taken place in several countries and the development continues in 2012, with the LEGO Group likely to hire approx. 1,000 new employees.
The LEGO Group’s factory in Monterrey, Mexico, has expanded its facilities markedly in recent years and has significantly increased its production capacity. In March 2011 work began on a major expansion of the LEGO factory in Kladno, Czech Republic, and will be officially inaugurated in autumn 2012. A brand-new factory is also planned in Nyíregyháza, Hungary, to replace the existing, rented facility in the same town. And finally, moulding capacity in Billund, Denmark will be increased in autumn 2012.
Activities designed to increase production capacity are expected to continue into 2013, and in addition the LEGO Group will remain focused on making the organisation even more adaptable.
That strange headline is Google's translation of the title of an article published today on the Danish site Jyllands-Posten. 'Lego skovler penge ind'. I think it means 'LEGO is making loads of money' :-)
The jist of the article, courtesy of Google translate, is that despite difficult economic times, LEGO continues to increase its profit and that LEGO Friends has been a huge success, with sales of the range more than double their initial expectations.
Read it for yourself, through Google Translate. (thanks icey117)
This set will be available free with qualifying orders from shop.LEGO.com in September. I'll publish full details of the promotion tomorrow but rest assured it will be available on both sides of the Atlantic.
Hopefully someone will scan the instructions so those of us not able to get to the event can build one for ourselves, although it looks easy enough to reverse engineer from the photos.
(found via Hoth Bricks)
The game Maya Mystica was featured in the 2012 retailers' catalogue but has not surfaced in any country, so far as we are aware, and was thus thought to have been cancelled. However Hungarian blog Kilkk has published a picture of what appears to be a fresh-off-the-production-line copy of it. So, maybe it'll make an appearance next year, along with the rumoured Phineas and Ferb game...
Back in May we reported that a Canadian retailer had been told that the Friends Advent calendar had been cancelled. Well, clearly that isn't entirely true since it's appearing in the US brand stores now. But it does seem to be in very short supply, and possibly 'cancelled' as far as normal retailers are concerned.
Sherasays found one in his/her local brand store: "Got the Friends Advent Calendar at the LEGO Store in Chandler Mall, AZ. Told they only have 18 and then that is it. "
Sawneboy also in the USA, rang LEGO to find out if it was to be available online, but was told it'll only be available in the brand stores, and also that the likes of Walmart and TRU won't be selling it.
I guess this suggests it is 'hard to find' in North America and you'll need to get to a brand store to buy one, sooner rather than later, to avoid disappointment on 1st December!
In Europe, its status is unknown but it is listed at Amazon.co.uk (£20), Amazon.de and Amazon.it (€20), with a release date of 1st September, so hopefully it'll be available through all normal retail channels.
Normally, like most AFOLs I suspect, I have no interest whatsoever in emergency services sets, particularly police stations and cars, which have been done to death since I was a lad in the 1970s. However this year LEGO has managed to breathe some new life into the police theme by moving them from a city setting to the forest, complete with trees, bears, off-road vehicles and hidden booty.
4440 Forest Police Station is the largest set in the theme and, having just built it, I have to say that it is exceptional both in terms of playability and usefulness of parts. The fun starts as soon as you've built bag 1, which contains the tree, bear, quad-bike, robbers and a female police officer (not shown above). The bag would make an excellent mid-priced set on its own and is one you'd be likely to buy multiples of, for the tree parts and of course the bear.
I'm not normally one for applying stickers but a police car without police markings would look a bit daft. As they are printed on transparent backing plastic and not white (which is prone to peeling over time), I made an exception this time.
The fourth minifig, another police officer, is provided to drive the vehicle.
Although it adds to the set's playability it could be argued that it's a bit superfluous because, unlike recent police station sets, there is no helicopter landing pad on the police station itself.
The pilot is the fifth and final minifig, who has a dark blue torso and legs.
The set would make a great one for a family to build together because each sub-assembly has its own instruction book so they can be built concurrently.
The police station is a good looking structure featuring a small office with desk and coffee machine on one side and a cell on the other. The cell doesn't really need two doors as there's no dividing wall, and I'm not really sure what the red letter-box thing between the doors is for: it slides in and out.
It's built with plenty of useful parts including 27 'Medium Dark Flesh Brick, Modified 1 x 2 with Masonry Profile' and 33 'Medium Dark Flesh Brick, Modified 1 x 2 Log' bricks so once you're done playing with it, it will make a good parts pack for your own creations.
One thing I found unusual was that the set comes with a second tree that is not shown anywhere on the box (or in my photos for that matter). It's not often you get more in the box than you're expecting, is it!
So despite my initial apprehension and normal dislike of police sets, I will recommend this set particularly at the moment because it's 33% off at all of the European Amazons (except France), making it a much more reasonable £40, or €50. At Amazon.com the discount isn't so great but US$70 is still a good price.
As you may have read elsewhere, retailers have been viewing 2013 sets recently, and probably have catalogues. However they have signed NDAs so don't expect to find much information out there just yet.
Having said that, some has leaked already and if you know where to look, you can find it. We won't be revealing any of it here, because we respect LEGO's wishes to keep it confidential, but a piece of 'generic' information has come to light that I will reveal: It appears that LEGO has started to use 5 digit numbers for all sets, not just 'special' ones.
The first evidence to appear that suggested this might be the case was the Hobbit sets that will be numbered 790xx. Now, other 2013 sets that have been mentioned elsewhere also have 5 digit numbers, for example 420xx will be Technic.
Personally I think it's great, particularly because we should see some logic applied to the numbering system, something that we haven't had since the 1990s when the system was clearly defined. Since then, they've just allocated any free numbers they could find and it's all become a bit of a mess.
5-digit numbers have been in use since 2001, but unlike the 4-digit series, they have been applied with a system in mind:
- 10xxx - LEGO exclusives
- 20xxx - Brickmaster/MBA
- 21xxx - Architecture
- 30xxx - Promotional polybags
- 40xxx - LEGO brand retail polybags/small seasonal sets
- 55xxx - Universe
- 65xxx - Super-packs
Let's hope it continues: it should make the job of maintaining the database much easier!
Another statistical milestone was reached overnight when the value of our collective collections -- all 3.6 million sets -- passed $100,000,000 dollars.
The last time I published news about this was in January, when the figure was $79 million. Since then, 7,000 people have started to record their collection at Brickset, to bring the total number of people doing so to 43,100.
So doing the sums, that's an average collection size of 85 sets, worth $2300. This is up from January when it was 81.
The next milestone to be passed will be the 1 billion parts mark. We are currently on 952 million so I think we will pass that before the end of the year.
If I have time this afternoon I will dig through the database and see what other statistical nuggets I can uncover.
A feature that is often requested is to display set inventories. To do so requires a massive amount of data that Brickset does not currently have. There are three sites that do:
- BrickLink: This has the most complete set of inventories that have been collated over the last 12 years. Unfortunately, despite me requesting permission to license their data so I can display it here, I have not been able to reach agreement with their community, some of whom seem to be a little short-sighted in terms of seeing the likely benefit for BrickLink of doing so (it would drive traffic their way and generally raise awareness of the site)
- Peeron: Peeron has been in existence for a similar amount of time and has amassed a large number of inventories independently of BrickLink. Unfortunately it's as good as dead now, and no new inventories have been added since March.
- LEGO.com customer services: LEGO publishes partial inventories on their replacement parts page and this is a source that hasn't been 'exploited' by the fan community, until now....
The LEGO Customer Services replacement parts page is not designed to show complete set inventories and to be honest it's a bit of a PITA to use given it shows so few parts at a time, so I asked super-coder Brent to write something to extract the inventory data from the page, which I could then save in the Brickset database. He did just that and I've run it and the results are shown on the set details pages, top row of tabs.
There are inventories for over 4500 sets. Most are from 1998 onwards but there are few from as far back as 1980. The different parts in a set can be ascertained, but not the quantities. For some reason, it appears that none of the inventories are complete. I have no idea why this is, but if you look at, say, Palpatine's Arrest, it's as if the most desirable/rare parts are missing, perhaps deliberately.
Anyway, the script has run, the data is available and displayed on the set details pages. But is it actually any use? I'm not convinced that it is, but I welcome your views. Could the data form the basis of more comprehensive inventories compiled by Brickset users, using the data that's there and comparing it with that in the back of the instructions? That would not be without its problems and would still be a massive undertaking but it's certainly possible...
I've made a small change to the European Amazon Shopper (EAS) page that I hope will make it even more useful and enable you to buy with confidence and spot bargains even easier.
For some time I've been recording the 'cheapest price ever' at each of the Amazon sites which is shown on the 'For Sale' tab of the set details pages. I've modified the database query that the EAS page is based on to enable it to be shown on that page too. However rather than clutter the table up and make it difficult to read I've used it to colour code the discount:
- If the discount is greater than 25% AND the current price is the cheapest it's been at a particular Amazon, the price is highlighted in orange.
In addition, hovering over a price will reveal what the 'cheapest price ever' actually was, if the current price is higher.
Update: If you're logged in, you can now also fiilter the list to show only sets on your wanted list.
I hope that's of use. If you have any other suggestions for improvements to the page, LMK...
The Shell promotion is gradually working its way west: It started in Hong Kong last month and now, according to Smashing Bricks, it's reached Singapore. Each of the 6 models is available for a two week period and can be purchased for SG$5.95 with every $50 of fuel. The team over there is building and photographing each one as it becomes available so keep an eye out over the coming months to see them all.
We know this is going to be a global promotion, so don't go paying over the odds on BrickLink for them: be patient, they'll most likely be available in your country soon!
Brickset user Xtreme Lego Builder 8968 was able to pick up some of these rare gems in Ontario Canada.
The UK exclusive seems to be coming abroad! If you have spotted Team GB Minifigs elseware in North America please let us know in the comments.
Somewhat surprisingly, Argos has started stocking a few Architecture sets, including Big Ben. Prices are retail, but I can't see them selling particularly well so I'm sure they'll be reduced in the fullness of time. See what's available on our Argos shopper page, select 'Architecture' from the drop-down list.
Megan has sent me exclusive information and pictures to share with you:
When you take a legendary former LEGO Designer, talented AFOLs from around the world and a thirty year-long desire for a sequel to the classic LEGO Idea Book what do you get?
The LEGO Adventure Book: Cars, Castles, Dinosaurs and more!
Megan Rothrock (megs/megzter) has gathered some of the top LEGO builders from around the globe for the unofficial sequel to the classic 6000: LEGO Idea Book, she has even tracked down one of the former LEGO Designers of the original book and the new book features MOCs he has built since retiring!
Former LEGO Designer Megan says “Ever since the LEGO Fan Community started to find each other online many of us have hoped and dreamed for a sequel to the LEGO Idea Book from 1979. For many that little book kicked us into a LEGO building overdrive! Each page inspired and showed so much potential for what could be built at the time with LEGO bricks. My aim with The LEGO Adventure Book is to do the same for this generation, as well as shake up the AFOL builders a little with quite a few challenging builds for them too.”
What is The LEGO Adventure Book about?
Follow mini-figure Megs as she journeys into different worlds, meets awesome AFOLs and explores their LEGO building techniques! Learn some of their closely guarded secrets, read Building Journal entries to gain a deeper insight into how each of them approaches LEGO model design and there's at least one complete model breakdown (photographic instructions might describe this better) from each builder too. There's everything from small brick by brick builds to more complex model breakdowns of hard to build AFOL masterpieces. Whether you are a seasoned AFOL builder or just getting into LEGO, there is something in The LEGO Adventure Book for everyone.
What will the book be like?
This is a 200 page hard cover book chock-full of vibrant illustrations, building guides and featuring well over 200 inspirational models! It is full colour throughout and is printed on high quality glossy paper. It contains NEVER before seen LEGO models from retired LEGO Designer Daniel August Krentz, one of the Designers who worked on the classic LEGO Idea book and features many other chapters from both LEGO professionals and AFOLs!
Where can I get The LEGO Adventure Book?
The book is released in early November and can be pre-ordered from Amazon:
It looks and sounds great, doesn't it -- I can't wait for it to be published!
The rumoured list we published last week has been confirmed as fact at Star Wars Celebration which is currently underway. There are a few more details now as well:
- Clone Troopers vs Droidekas Battle Pack (sniper droideka)
- The Old Republic Battle Pack (2 x sith troopers + 2 x clones)
- A Wing with Ackbar, Han and A Wing pilot AT-RT with yoda, clone trooper and assassin droid
- Z-95 Headhunter with 2 x clone troopers, general Krell
- The Rancor Pit (as revealed at SDCC)
Planet Series 3:
- Kamino with R4-P17 droid and Jedi Starfighter
- Coruscant with Clone Pilot and Republic Assault Striker
- Asteroid Filed with Tie Bomber and Tie Pilot
Also at SWC, there's another exclusive set-in-a-tin available, this time it's Slave 1 and Boba Fett. I haven't seen any pictures of the actual set yet but you can find one of the tin at Hoth Bricks, among other places.
Collectable Minifigures Series 8 should be rolling out in Canada any time now.
If you have spotted them, please feel free to share the news in the comments.
Item number not known so I can't add it to the database yet.
Update: Snowhive reports the set number is 850506, and the price in Germany is € 19.99.
If you're a minifig collector, you've probably hunted high and low to find a decent storage solution but have found nothing that's suitable at a price that's low enough to be able to buy sufficient units to house your entire collection.
There have been several LEGO-branded ones around but they are big, bulky and expensive. There's also the LEGO-style transparent boxes that we reviewed a while ago that are excellent for displaying the figs but work out to be too expensive for storing hundreds in.
The minifigs fit comfortably into the compartments, even with large headgear and when holding accessories, as you can see from my set of Series 7, left. I don't keep mine on their stands, but they fit comfortably in there as well.
What I particularly liked about the case is that in addition to the 16 minifig-sized compartments, there's also a double-height one which would be ideal for housing fishing rods and other long accessories that don't fit in the other holes (not needed for Series 7 though).
The box I have has a Series 7 graphic on the lid which looks great. When you order the boxes, you can specify the sticker you'd like: collectable minifig series 1-7, Team GB, Star Wars, or generic.
The best thing about these units is the price: they are just £5.75 (~$9) so buying one for each CMF series, and perhaps even your entire collection of hundreds of Star Wars figures is not out of the question, as it is with most other storage solutions.
There's nothing not to like about these and, finally, I think I've found the answer to my minifig storage prayers.
I do however have a suggestion for improvement to make them even better. Given you're likely to have a few of these, you're probably going to want to stack them, so a sticker on the front side of the box to match the one on the top would be useful.
I'm not sure if they have been designed specifically for minifigs, but they are so fit-for-purpose that it's as if they have been, so I highly recommend them.
In recognition of this, LEGO has created a special landing page for Brickset at shop.LEGO.com which you can see if you click on the yellow 'Shop today >' box in the right-hand panel.
So, please, check it out and get buying... :-)
 Only if you're in USA, Canada or UK, unfortunately. LEGO doesn't operate affiliate schemes in other countries.
It might still be a couple of months away, but that hasn't stopped the brand stores putting out Halloween sets already.
Doodlebird found this 40032 Witch in his local store, in Austin, Tx, priced $4.99.
Technic brought me out of my dark ages (Air Tech Claw Rig in 1995) and I've bought most of the large sets that have been released since. I'm not much of a fan of super cars and other 'street' vehicles but I do like a good digger or other utility vehicle, so this tractor is right up my street.
This latest one, 9393, like most recent ones, is lime green and is fitted with a farming attachment (that I'd name if I knew what it was called) that can be raised and folded in when not in use. It can also be detached completely.
I find it interesting how the Technic design team make something look a particular colour but actually use very few pieces in the colour, and it's certainly the case here. Out of the 350 pieces, only 10 are lime green!
If you've never built a Technic set before this is a good introduction: there are not too many pieces so it only takes an hour or so to construct, yet it packs in enough 'technical' functions to make it interesting to build and play with.
Being a new release, it hasn't been discounted much yet, although it is currently 20% off at Amazon.de, according to the Amazon price comparator. At shop.LEGO.com it's priced at $39.99 in the USA, £24.99 in the UK, and $49.99 in Canada so for once we Brits are not being ripped off: the current £:$ exchange rate of 1:1.57 has been honoured almost exactly.
A great introduction to Technic and a good looking model that's fun to play with. Read more reviews by Brickset users to find out what others think.
In part 1 we covered the box contents and the minifigs. Today CapnRex101 and I complete our review with a look at the build and the completed model.
Hallmark in the USA is producing two LEGO Star Wars Christmas tree ornaments, a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader. They are priced at $15 and will be available in-store only.
It's hard to tell from the picture how large they are but I would guess 2-3" high.
As I'm sure you already know, Amazon is the place to go if you're looking for current sets at a discount. But did you know that, in most European countries, you can buy LEGO from any one of the five European Amazon sites, that your local site is not necessarily the cheapest, and that shipping costs are usually very reasonable?
To help you find out which is the cheapest, I've set up a new page European Amazon Shopper that lists all sets currently available from Amazon and their prices at each of the five European Amazon sites.
You might have seen similar lists at other sites, but this one features several unique features:
- For many countries, prices are shown in your local currency. If your country is not in our database, I can probably add it, so get in touch.
- Retail prices are shown for most countries that shop.LEGO.com ships to, enabling you to see whether sets are discounted or not. The cheapest price is highlighted in the table, as are prices less than RRP.
- Sets you own/want are highlighted.
- I've determined which countries each of the Amazon sites ship to and those that ship to to you are shown in the side panel. For clarity, the tables only show prices from the Amazon sites that do. (Update: the lists now show all prices due to the unreliable information provided by Amazon)
You do not have to be resident in Europe to order from EU Amazons. One or more of them will ship to the following countries (non-European ones shown in bold):
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg
Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates.
If you view the page from a country not listed above (including the USA and Canada) the tables will be blank, but if you want to view data for a country other than your own, click on the flag icon in the top right corner to change country.
Brickset: Helping you to spend less (or at least, get more LEGO for your money)... :-)
A plea on Reddit asking people to vote on this Cuusoo model of the Mars science laboratory curiosity rover yesterday has garnered the project some 3000 votes in 24 hours and it currently stands at over 9900, so it should reach 10,000 early today. (Thanks Dennis)
Update: 2 hours later... It's achieved 10,000!
I'm sure this is exactly the sort of model LEGO wants to see on Cuusoo, but I guess the only issue is, interest in the Mars rover is high at the moment given it's only just landed, but will people still want a model of it in 6-9 months time when they've all but forgotten about it?
Meanwhile, the Android droid is at nearly 6,000 supporters, so it has slowed down somewhat this week. I'm sure it'll get there eventually...
This, it is rumoured, is the list of Star Wars sets we can expect in the first half of 2013:
Planets series 3:
- Kamino with Astromech Droid and Jedi Starfighter
- Coruscant with Clone Pilot and Republic Assault Striker
- Asteroid with TIE Bomber and TIE Pilot
- The Old Republic Battle Pack
- Clone Troopers vs Droidekas Battle Pack
- A-Wing including Admiral Ackbar, Han Solo and an A-Wing Pilot
- AT-RT including Yoda, Clone Trooper and Assassin Droid
- Z-95 Headhunter including three Clone Troopers
- The Rancor Pit (as revealed at Comic Con)
It certainly sounds plausible, doesn't it. I believe the first edition of the 2013 retailers' catalogue is published about now and if that's the case, that could be the source of the information.
(Thanks to bezetkace and others who emailed)
Here are a couple of newsworthy items that I've been emailed about this week that I've only just found the time to post:
According to this Hungarian LEGO Facebook page, there is a brand store opening in Hungary in September. I can't tell which city it's in but I'm sure someone who reads Hungarian will be able to tell us. (Update: it's in Budapest) (thanks Yellow)
There's some debate and controversy, I believe, about the status of this, which is being called a LEGO 'mono' brand store: it appears not to have any official affiliation with the LEGO company from what I can make out and am being told. If you can read the language, this discussion on Facebook may shed some light. Maybe it's a franchised operation?
LEGO has, at last, launched its own YouTube channel. It has published videos on YouTube in the past of course but they haven't been very well organised. This looks as if it will bring them all together in one place, and ensure they are easily found.
There's already a wealth of mini-movies, TV ads and even fan-created videos, and they are being added at quite a rate, so if you're into LEGO videos, I recommend you keep an eye on it and maybe even subscribe to the RSS feed to keep abreast of new additions.
(thanks Legoman67 and The Mack)
The word on the street is that series 8 minifigs are now available in the USA in Toys R Us. I've had a flurry of reports today including from people in North Haven, CT, and Orlando, FL, so I guess they could be nationwide. (Thanks everyone!)
With Team GB still on shelves in the UK, I suspect those of us there have a little longer to wait.
Maques has scanned the collectors' sheet, which is the first I've seen of it so I've posted it here:
Update: They are now also available in Walmart in Canada. Powerpig picked some up in New Brunswick yesterday.
So, I've teamed up with CapnRex101 again to bring you one.
Part 1 deals with the box, contents and minifigs.
The first appears to be a Monster Fighters 'battle pack' featuring a witch, zombie and ghost, and bricks to build a grave.
The second is another themed collection of collectable minifigs, featuring a rapper, drummer and guitarist, that look to be slight variants on figs we've seen before.
Head on over to check them out.
You may recall that last week I encouraged you to download the instructions for the SDCC mini Sith Infiltrator and build it yourself.
Being a SW mini fan, I did just that. I had to order a few of the new brackets and a couple of other parts from BrickLink to be able to do so.
It's not a bad looking model but unlike the other minis which are built to some microscale, this one is something of a hybrid: it's microscale but it has room for a Darth Maul minifig to stand on the back!
The best way I can think of to describe it is this: I'm sure you've seen 'sit on' spaceships outside supermarkets or in shopping malls for kids to ride on once you've fed it with a few coins. This is a model of one of those: A miniature version of the Infiltrator for Darth Maul to play on :-)
Consequently, in my opinion, it's a bit daft. It probably wouldn't take much to convert the back into something more realistic, though.
So, if you haven't already gathered the parts together, I wouldn't bother, and I certainly wouldn't recommend paying the $100 being asked for it at BrickLink at the moment...
Actually, having thought about it more, I guess it's no worse than, say, 10188 Death Star which is also a less-than-minifig-scale set populated by minifigs.
Two trademarks recently registered by LEGO (1 | 2) reveal what might be the names of forthcoming LEGO themes. We can but speculate what they are but if I had to guess I'd say that Speedorz is some sort of futuristic racing theme and Legends of Chima is a fictional historical theme, perhaps to replace Ninjago in 2014.
A quick Google of 'Legends of Chima' has revealed that there are legends about Chima indians in Trinidadian folklore but whether that's relevant, we'll just have to wait and see...
What do you think?
(Thanks to nori for the news)
Take a look then tell us what you think. Worth £180 or would you, like cavegod, expect more for your money?
MB_Bricks' UCS Sandcrawler achieved 10,000 supporters this afternoon (while I was at Kew Gardens with my wife). It took something like 6 months to get there, but once projects appear in the top six on the Cuusoo home page, success is virtually guaranteed, eventually...
It will be very interesting to see what LEGO do with this. I don't think there will be any licencing issues: the main potential problem is of course the size and cost of it.
If LEGO is to do it justice it would need to be the largest LEGO set ever, with in excess of 10,000 parts and a cost of $1000 or so.
Truthfully, can you actually see LEGO do that for a Cuusoo model? I sure hope they do, but somehow I doubt it. We probably won't know until well into 2013 now in any case: the next Cuusoo review period starts in September, I believe, and we're still waiting on news from the June one.
While on the subject of Cuusoo I'm sorry to see that I'm going to have to eat my words about the Android model. It's just about to hit 4,000 but that's a long way from my prediction of reaching 10,000 by the Olympic closing ceremony :-( I'm sure it'll get there eventually, particularly now it's on the Cuusoo home page. Update: It's gained 1000 supporters in one day and is now above 5000 so, who knows, maybe my prediction was only about a week out...
Today marks the 80th birthday of the foundation of the LEGO company. The offer for the free birthday cake set from shop.LEGO.com in the USA and Canada has been extended until Monday.
However, far more interesting than that is this excellent video that has been released today that tells the story of the early years of the company. It's 17 minutes long but is so informative and well animated that you'll love every minute of it:
Here's to the next 80 years! (Thanks to LegobrandonCP in the forum for bringing this to my attention).
If you're a member of a LUG, or frequent the forum, you'll be aware that on specific dates and times LEGO offers a 15% discount to AFOLs in the brand stores.
The next discount day has just been announced by the LEGO community team and it'll be Saturday 1st September.
The times are slightly different, depending on the store, and are just before normal opening times:
- Bluewater, Stratford, Liverpool, Brighton, Manchester and Sheffield: 8:00 – 9:00
- Milton Keynes and Cardiff: 8:30 – 9:30
- Westfield: 9:00 – 10:00
I believe the only requirement to attend is that you're an adult. There are restrictions on what you can buy but for all practical purposes it's pretty much whatever you want.
There's usually a few AFOLs around at each of the stores so if you're interested in meeting up with fellow Bricksetters, post something in the forum. Unfortunately I won't be at any of them, it's my wedding anniversary that weekend and we're off on a short cruise (I'm not sure if that should be followed by a :-) or a :-(... :-) )
Meanwhile, the dates of the grand opening events have been announced at stores.LEGO.com:
- Manchester: 24th-26th August
- Sheffield: 31st August to 2nd September
The free gifts are similar for both. Be among the first 300 to spend £25 and...
- On the Friday you'll receive a kid's T-Shirt
- On Saturday, 3300003: LEGO Brand Retail Store
- On Sunday, exclusive minifigs
So, it sounds as if Sheffield is the place to be on the 1st September to get 15% off AND the brand store set!
If you missed out on the Toys R Us offer at the weekend, you'll be pleased to hear that Play.com has 20% off all Lord Of The Rings sets for today only. Delivery is free.
You need to use the voucher code LOTRLEGO20OFF at checkout. (Thanks to Andrew for the news).
I'm sure it won't have escaped your notice that over the last 20 years or so the number of different faces and facial expressions given to minifigs has increased considerably, and continues to do so.
Dr Christoph Bartneck, author of the unofficial LEGO minifig catalogues, has published a paper based on responses to an online questionnaire which aimed to understand what emotions the faces of minifig express.
Here's an abstract of the paper:
Toys play an important role in the development of children. LEGO bricks are one of the world's most popular toys and the Minifigure is the centerpiece of every LEGO construction. We investigate and present a summary of the development of the facial expression for all LEGO Minifigures that were released between 1975 and 2010. Our findings are based on several statistical tests that are preformed on data gathered from an online questionnaire.
The results show that the LEGO company started in 1989 to dramatically increase the variety of facial expressions. The two most frequent expressions are happiness and anger and the proportion of happy faces is decreasing over time. Through a k-cluster analysis we identified six types of facial expression: disdain, confidence, concern, fear, happiness, and anger. In addition we tested if the perception of the face changes when the face is presented in the context of a complete Minifigure. The impression of anger, disgust, sadness and surprise were significantly influenced by the presence of context information.
The distinctiveness of the faces was, however, not significantly improved. The variation in skin color did also not change the perception of the Minifigure's emotional expression. We speculate that The children of today will remember LEGO toys not with the same overall positive associations as the current adults do, but may remember the full complexity of faces that act in conflict situations.
I'm not entirely convinced that it was a worthwhile piece of research or that it tells us anything we didn't already know, but if you are interested in scientific analysis it will make interesting reading.
(Minifig images from The Daily Brick)
You may have noticed that I removed the Cuusoo Corner from the home page, and if you didn't, well, that's why I removed it; it was not proving to be very effective for anything other than filling my inbox with requests for projects to be added to it.
It's become increasingly clear that LEGO fans alone struggle to make projects succeed. They need support from other online groups, and the larger those groups, the better. I know I'm covering old ground now, but that is of course the reason why Portal, Eve, Zelda, Minecraft, etc. have had success in reaching the magic 10,000 supporters.
It's also the reason that this project has come from nowhere to 3,000 supporters in just 48 hours (so I read at BrickFanatics). It's a very cute, well made model of something instantly recognisable and appealing to 50% of tech users, which is exactly the audience that Cuusoo and LEGO appeal to. (The other half are Apple fan boys and probably hate it :-) )
Given that it's only one-third of the way to its target, my headline may seem a little bold, but given the coverage it's getting in Android circles, I predict this will reach 10,000 before the Olympics closing ceremony.
If you haven't already done so, head on over to Cuusoo and give it your support, so I don't have to eat my words...
I'm a big fan of Star Wars mini building sets and try to get hold of every one produced. One that I, and most of us for that matter, are unlikely to be able to obtain is this 2012 SDCC exclusive Sith Infiltrator.
I was therefore pleased when Mike Lilly sent me a copy of the instructions in PDF form so that I can at least build my own copy. I don't normally post instructions directly at Brickset because LEGO often objects but in this case I have made an exception given that it is not available elsewhere and interest in it is likely to be high.
So, download and build one for yourself. All the parts are readily available, you probably have half of them already.
This is where Savage Steel's Minifigs comes in. Brickset member Savage Steel has started producing high quality custom minifig torsos featuring any design you can imagine. I'm not a big soccer/football fan but I do like a bit of speedway so I asked her to produce a custom Poole Pirates minifig so that I could see for myself how good they are.
And, as you can see if you click on the image on the left, they are very good. There is an incredible level of detail in the printing, and all the sponsor's logos -- Sky Sports, Draper etc. -- are legible.
Customisation is not limited to the front of the torso: I am told that the back and even the legs can be decorated if the design calls for it.
Right now, with the Olympics in full swing, and Team GB doing rather well, she is giving our gold medal winners the ultimate accolade: forget circular pieces of metal and stamps, she is creating custom minifigs for each and every one of them, and they are great!
My particular favourite is that of Jess Ennis who I had the pleasure of seeing participate in the heptathlon on Saturday at the Olympic stadium. Here she is with her medal and posy.
Want to have your very own Olympic minifig? Visit the competition page at minifigs.me to be in with a chance of winning the one of your choice!
French site Hoth Bricks is reporting that LEGO is recruiting for staff to work in a brand store that is to open in Lille, in the north-east corner of France.
This will be the first brand store to open in the country and the news will surely be greeted with enthusiasm by AFOLs in that part of France, and also those in Belgium, because Lille is of course close to the Belgian border.
Hopefully this will be the first of many in the country. If you fancy applying for the job, here are the details.
I think those of you in Spain, Portugal, Italy and elsewhere in Europe can also be encouraged this news given that it signals expansion outside of the UK, Germany and Denmark which will hopefully continue into other countries.
The collectable minifig microsite at LEGO.com has been updated with bios of the series 8 figs and, for the first time since series 5, a new wallpaper and poster.
This of course means we have official pictures and names for them so I will get them added to the database here ASAP.
So, I'll ask again: which is the Spartan, and which is the Crash Test Dummy of this series? :-)
(Thanks to icey117 for the news)
No word if it'll also be available in Europe, but I suspect it probably will.
The full September store calendar can be seen at Toys N Bricks.
(Thanks to sidersdd for the news, via Toys N Bricks)
It appears to be online and in store: Find out more.
(Thanks to Esbob for the news, and sorry for the delay in posting, I was at the Olympic athletics yesterday)
Read the full article, translated through Google, at Lord Of The Brick.
(Thanks Supersympa for the news)
If you go in store, you'll need to print this voucher and take it with you.
Now they have adjusted their LotR prices to be RRP, you will receive a genuine 20% off with this coupon. Don't bother with Palpatine's Arrest though, it's £80 which is £20 more than RRP so even with 20% off it'll still be above it.
(Thanks minimacwomble for the news)
The 10229 WVC was officially unveiled at BrickFair today. Here's the press release:
10229 Winter Village Cottage
1487 pieces, US $99.99, CA $129.99, DE 99.99 €, UK £89.99, DK 899 DKK, Available at the start of October.
Get cosy in the Winter Village Cottage!
Continuing the winter series, build the Winter Village Cottage for a perfect holiday home. Seat Grandpa snugly by the fireplace with his newspaper as you help Dad to put up the tree, then bake a feast in the kitchen with Mom! When it’s time to stock up the storage shed with firewood, bring the kids for a ride with Dad on the sled watch him cut the wood with his chain-saw deep in the forest. When the snow gets really deep, clear the road with the snowplough, take all of the kids skiing or build an igloo to play in. There’s no cosier place to spend long, frosty nights!
- Includes 8 minifigures: mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, 3 children and snowplow driver with assorted accessories
- Features cottage, storage shed, igloo, street lamp, sled and snowplough
- Accessories include kitten, owl, fireplace with LEGO light brick function, chandelier, Christmas tree, wreath, gifts, armchair, kitchen appliances and bed
- Storage shed features tools and firewood elements
- Igloo features fireplace and removable roof
- Detach the snowplough to store it in the back of the truck!
- Make the fireplace glow with the LEGO® light brick!
- Decorate the cottage!
- Fetch firewood with the sled!
- Drive the snowplough!
- Cottage measures 6.7” (17 cm) high, 9.8” (25 cm) wide and 5.5” (14 cm) deep
- Storage shed measures 4.3” (11 cm) high, 2.7” (7 cm) wide and 2.7” (7 cm) deep
- Igloo measures 2.7” (7 cm) high, 2.7” (7 cm) wide and 2.7” (7 cm) deep
- Snowplough measures 2.7” (7 cm) high, 7” (18 cm) long (with plow attached) and 2.3” (6 cm) wide
- Add the new Winter Village Cottage to other LEGO® Winter Village series models like the 10199 Winter Toy Shop, 10216 Winter Village Bakery and 10222 Winter Village Post Office.
Whung has emailed to say that Ferrari and Shell promotional sets 30190-30195 are available in Shell petrol stations in Hong Kong, and 30196 Shell F1 Team can be obtained once you've picked up the other six. I don't know if you need to buy petrol (gas) to get them or not, but hopefully more information will be forthcoming in the comments.
Update: as suspected, it has (sort of): Here's the page on the Shell.com.hk site (translated through Google) with details of the offer. Spend $400 HKD and get a car for $20HKD.
Update 2: it looks as if this will be a global promotion, eventually: A page on the Shell.com site states "Not available where you are yet? Don’t worry, the collection is being launched all over the world and could be coming to you soon." (thanks SirBen). If that's the case, and they are 'Only at Shell' it seems unlikely that one of them will feature in the forthcoming Sun promotion we reported a week or so ago. Unless of course the offer is not going to be available in the UK...
Update 3: I emailed Shell UK and the reply was positive: "Lego promotion will be available globally. However, we do not have information yet as to when it will be launched in UK. To check upcoming promotions, kindly visit our website www.shell.com."
Pictures of the MMMBs for the rest of the year have been found on LEGO.com by grogall.
The lineup is as follows:
- August: 40045 Shark
- September: 40047 Owl
- October: 40042 Black cat
- November: 40046 Pilgrim
- December: 40041 Moose
Talking of new content on LEGO.com, some 61 new instructions have been added to their customer services portal, including Monster Fighters, Technic and Star Wars. Don't faff about on their site trying to find them: see a list here.
Issue 14 of HispaBrick Magazine is now available for download. The blurb reads:
In this new edition Gary King presents his fleet of Battlestar Galactica ships, Akiyuki Kawaguchi amazes with his GBC modules, Katie Walker shows how to create mosaics using cheese slopes and we interview the creator Bruce Lowell.
We explain how many AFOL projects can become a reality, either through LEGO® CUUSOO or by means of Crowdfunding.
In the section Pillars of the community this time we talk to The Brothers Brick and we tell you about our participation in different events over the last few months, in addition to several reviews and tutorials about LDraw, MINDSTORMS and Pneumatics.
And don't miss the second part of the article on the MILS system, a modular integrated landscaping system developed by a member of our community.
Hispabrick is an excellent publication, you can read why I think so in this old news article. I encourage you to download it, and maybe in the future, contribute to it.
The Hispabrick team has also just announced an event later in the year:
We are pleased to announce that the meeting of fans of LEGO constructions organized by HispaBrick Magazine at the Museu Nacional de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya (mNACTEC) will take place on 7 and 8 December 2012.
Scheduled exhibition of LEGO constructions:
- Friday, December 7 (10:00 to 19:00)
- Saturday, December 8 (10:00 to 19:00)
More information about this event will be available over the next few weeks, but don´t hesitate to contact us here.
If you're in the USA or Canada you can get this 40048 birthday cake when you spend over $50 at shop.LEGO.com between now and 10th August. Click on the banner above and get shopping!
In the UK, and probably the rest of Europe, we have to make do with another opportunity to get the Hulk minifig. However on the plus side, as you'll see from the New at shop.LEGO.com area above, Palpatine's Arrest and Spider-Man are now shipping!
LEGO is also running a promotion to encourage you to sign up as a VIP member. I'm sure everyone here already is, but in case not:
LEGO VIP 1 in a Million: Sign up and register as a LEGO VIP prior to August 31st for a chance to win an ultimate LEGOLAND trip for a family of 4 to any LEGOLAND Park in the world – flights and accommodation included!