Brickset news archive: March 2011
Series 4 minifigs are now available from the LEGO Internet Shop and priced at GBP 1.99 / USD 2.99 / EUR 1.99.
Update: There's a limit of 16 per customer but my previous experience has been that it's actually a maximum of 16 per order; you can place multiple orders without any problems. Get them here: UK | USA -- Huw
Brickset member VerSen from Russia has their hands on some of the PotC sets and has posted some excellent pictorial reviews on a Russian website, www.phantoms.su:
I can't understand a word of what's been written but luckily the pictures speak for themselves: I can't wait to get my hands on them! (thanks Capt. Thomas Foolery for the news).
A message from Stuart F today reminded me to post something about the deep discounts at Amazon.co.uk at the moment. Some sets, like the Hogwart's Express are 50% off, while Atlantis 'Guardian of the Deep' (the shark) is 75% off, at just £3.80! The Creator log cabin is 30% off as well.
Prices fluctuate by the hour at Amazon so if you want some of the action, head over there right away. Here's a link to the Bestsellers in LEGO store that contains them all (and also Brickset's referral code, so you can help the site while you shop!)
Having a job keeping track of all the promotional polybag sets that are being released these days? That's why you come to Brickset, isn't it, where we do the hard work for you...
Member keithkram sent us images of four new ones today: Two Pharaoh's Quest (30090) and (30091), and two Pirates of the Caribbean: a ship (30130) (which one is it?) and the promotional Jack Sparrow minifig (30132) that I presume is the one being given away in the US with pre-orders of the PotC video game in some shops.
The Brothers Brick is currently holding a LEGO charity auction, "to help out the people affected by the recent earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan." By now, most of us have probably all seen videos and/or pictures of the massive devastation and the continuing crisis in Japan. Per Dan from The Brothers Brick, they're "currently auctioning off MOCs donated by AFOLs all over the world, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Red Cross." You can see their current auctions here. Let's do our best to support them in this wonderful cause. Please also remember to keep Japan and her people in our thoughts and prayers during this terrible time.
What next for the minifig gallery? Well, I'm running out of themes to do now: I plan to add Atlantis, since I have most of them, which will then just leave Star Wars. I've managed to acquire all SW minifigs except Boba Fett from Cloud City so I should be able to do the theme justice now.
There are now nearly 800 minifig images in the gallery, which is pretty amazing given I only started in January! The quality has certainly improved since the first Harry Potter ones, so much so that I need to re-do the HP ones at some point to keep them all consistent.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing the pics as much as I've enjoyed taking them.
Here's a round-up of the snippets of news that have been sent to us this weekend:
- UK: Spend £20 on Star Wars LEGO in Toys R Us and get a 'limited edition Star Wars set' free. Jonny 2 Scarves reported that it was 8033, the mini General Grievous ship, in his branch and bluefox1966 says is was the V-19 Torrent, 8031 in his, so it looks as if it varies across the country.
- USA: PaulTR reports "I recently went to Microcenter, a big electronics chain in America. While I was there, I was surprised to see them selling bags of Series 1 minifigures for $2.99 US dollars per bag. The display was a little unorganized and there were no full-size boxes, but nontheless, they were there. I'm not sure if this is a nationwide thing; the Microcenter I went to is located in Bergen County, NJ." That sounds like a great way to stock up on cheerleaders or clowns!
- USA: Nightfury reports that "The Farnsworth House is on the shelf of the Lego Imagination Center at the Mall of America. It costs $59.99". It would be nice to have a picture of it, wouldn't it -- has anyone seen one?
UPDATE: 21009-1: Farnsworth House is on the shelves of the LEGO Store in Raleigh, NC. Series 4 Collectible Minifigures were also in stock, retailing for $2.99 - Brickapolis.
UPDATE / USA: As advertised in the April store calendar and per Toysnbricks and FBTB, some Series 1 Collectible Minifigure elements have begun appearing in Build-a-Minifigure (BAM) displays at Lego Stores not to mention new mermaid elements. Per Brickset member madforlegos, you can build Clowns, Magicians, and Forestmen (without the accessories) and that there are also Cheerleader and Nurse hair pieces available. Lastly, Brickset member copperwonder96 adds that, per sales staff at his local store, BAM displays, "will be getting different "Series" elements each quarter." Thanks to everyone else for the similar updates - Yellowcastle.
I've also added all known names for the characters which, as we've been discussing in the comments, changed over time and were different in different countries. I'm indebited to the Adventurers.dk website and also Dorling Kindersley's 'The LEGO Book' for the information (and those that told me to look at them).
I've also given Achu his cape: I think you'll like his picture better now :-)
Just Orient Expedition to go...
In the case of LEGO Universe, it seems it can go no lower: Brickset member Zuma, here in the UK, reported that he received a free universe disk and a 1-month subscription with his shop.LEGO.com catalogue that arrived today. He thinks it might be because he's a VIP member, but so am I and I didn't get one :-(
At that price, even I'd be tempted to give it a go!
Passing on a message from the LEGO Community Engagement & Communications team, via the Ambassador programme:
"Please take a moment to fill out the latest survey from LEGO community team.
In the last survey, we found the following results:
- Most comments about why an AFOL would give a positive score involved high quality, more than just a toy, and good experience with the brand. Those giving a negative score commented low interest, high prices, preferred products being discontinued.
- More than half of respondents didn’t attend any events in 2010. Of those who did attend, most attended one or two.
- Fans have relatively low awareness of LEGO related programs with the Ambassador program being the exception. Of those who are aware of each program, only 2 in 5 think that the Affiliate and LCP programs are effective.
- Respondents feel that the LEGO Group is most proactive about sending information on product releases and then product updates, but they don’t feel the company is proactive at all about sending information on sponsorships, changes within the company, or fan-related things like initiatives or events.
- Respondents are most interested in reading about new sets and new themes and then quality control. Less than a third are interested in learning about changes within the company.
- Respondents say they are prompted to collect sets because of the theme or unique minifigures or elements. Less than 10% of fans say they’re prompted to collect sets because of a unique box or a box of a different size. However, when asked if the LEGO Group were to create sets with different box sizes and identical contents would they purchase an additional set, nearly half responded that they would.
The LEGO Community Team"
I'm sure you'll let me know if I've miscategorised any of them...
A German toy shop has pictures of the Hero Factory 3.0 sets. If they carry on at this rate, by 2014 we'll be up to Furno 10.0 and I think the novelty will have worn off long before then...
Sticking with HERO Factory news, a couple of people emailed us about a Hero Recon website at LEGO.com yesterday. I received the new shop.LEGO.com catalogue today and it appears that this will be like Design-By-Me, but for HERO Factory: 'use the hero creator to design and purchase your very own Hero Recon Team Agent including the unique silver chest plate', which I guess is pretty cool if you're into HERO Factory. It launches on 1st April.
The availability date for the Maersk Train set 10219 has changed to 15 April 2011 for all countries apart from the US and Canada where the orignal date of 01 April still stands.
Update: The release date has been returned to 01 April for all countries with access to shop.lego.com except for South Korea where it appears that this set will not be available.
- Receive a Skeleton Chopper polybag (30081) free with any LEGO Ninjago set purchase of $20+.
- Receive an Alien Spaceship polybag (30070) free with any LEGO Toy Story set purchase of $20+.
- Receive an Attack Shuttle polybag (30050) free with any LEGO Star Wars set purchase of $20+.
Valid Sunday 3/27 thru Saturday 4/2 both in-store and online.
So, you've acquired all 64 collectable figs and you want to have them on display, but you hate your LEGO getting dusty... well now there's a solution in the form of these minifig display cases which are sold exclusively in Europe by Simply Bricks. Emma of Simply Bricks has sent me a sample for review, so here goes...
The first thing that strikes you when see and handle these is the quality. They are not made by LEGO but the dimensional accuracy and quality of the plastic is such that you'd think they were. They are very clear and virtually scratch-less, thanks partly to the way they've been packaged. They are supplied with a 4x4 plate upon which the case fits very snugly. For the picture on the left I've added two 1x2 jumpers so that the figure is positioned in the centre of the box. They are 6 bricks high which should be tall enough for even the largest of hats, like the witches'. There are studs on top (minus the LEGO writing, of course) to enable them to be stacked and built into larger models and I would think a 'wall' of these would look very cool indeed.
There isn't anything to dislike about them: they fill a definite need that every minfig collector has, very elegantly. There are other storage solutions, of course, but none that look as good, that are infinitely expandable and most importantly, affordable. I'd like to see a 4x6 version in addition to this 4x4 one to accomodate minifigs with capes and accessories: caped figs will fit in these but it's a bit tight. Who knows, if these are popular, maybe one will be forthcoming in the future.
They are available from Simply Bricks at BrickLink, priced £1.35, which is about €1.50. They can be shipped to most European countries.
Update (just an hour after posting the above...): It seems the 'Brickset Effect' has struck again -- it looks as if Emma has sold out! Hopefully the stock will be replenished soon.
Thanks to Paul, who reports that the Series 4 collectable minifigs have been spotted in Germany, specifically at Müller Markt in Winnenden (Germany). €1.99 per pack
I've spared no expense, or time, in getting pictures of series 4 into the collectable minifig gallery.
I think the categories are holding out, but I think we'll need to split some of them into two or more soon, so I welcome your suggestions.
The discount retailer Five Below is now carrying both Series 2 and 3 Collectible Minifigures. Their normal price will be $3.99 but both series are $2.99 this week. At our local store, I found two S2 boxes and about six S3 boxes. Also, they were selling several polybags including the Creator Jeep (7803), X-Wing (30050), World Racers Jet Ski (30031), Atlantis Octopus (30040), and Atlantis Mini Sub (30042). Each polybag was $3.99.
Just a quick 'heads up', Series 4 collectable minifigs have been spotted in selected Tesco stores in the UK; multiple people have contacted us to report that some 'Tesco Extra' and 'Tesco At Home' stores have them in stock as of today, for £1.97 each.
Update: I've just picked up a box from Tesco at West Quay, Southampton. There are 2.5 boxes left. I'll let you know the mix once I've opened them -- Huw.
Update: The UK box consist is as follows:
- 2: Mad scientist
- 3: Gnome, Viking, Ice hockey player, Ice skater, Musketeer
- 4: Geisha, Surf girl, Frankenstein's monster, Skateboarder, Footballer, Hazmat guy, Painter
- 5: Punk rocker, Sailor, Werewolf
So, bad news for anyone hoping to get 3 complete sets from a box :-(
The first release was excellent, although not without a few errors. I'm sure these will have been addressed and of course the book will have been brought right up to date -- the first edition was published in 2008.
Here's the blurb from the publisher's site:
We are pleased to announce the release of the second edition of the LEGO Collector's Guide.
The new, improved and extended catalogue offers not only information about recently published LEGO sets, but also a lot of new information. The main focus is on the early years of the history of LEGO, and how the LEGO brick became what it is today. The catalogue offers detailed information about more than 9,000 LEGO sets on more than 900 pages.
Every copy of the LEGO Collector's Guide comes enclosed with an exclusive LEGO key ring, which is not available in other ways. The noble-looking packaging of the key ring turns this product into a true eye-catcher.
Here are the key data of the new catalogue:
- LEGO Collector 2. Edition – Catalogue of all LEGO® Sets – from the beginning until now
- Release date: End of April 2011
- Compact DIN-A5 Softcover format
- Around 9,000 included objects on more then 900 pages
It costs €28 and I believe they'll ship anywhere in the world.
Valid Sunday 3/20 thru Saturday 3/26 both online and in-store, the following 10 sets will be 30% off the normal Toys R Us price: City Police Station (7498), City Police Boat (7287), Atlantis Exploration HQ (8077), Atlantis Angler Attack (7978), Ninjago Ice Dragon Attack (2260), Ninjago Garmodon's Dark Fortress (2505), Duplo Deluxe Brick Box (5507), Pharaoh's Quest Flying Mummy Attack (7307), Pharaoh's Quest Scorpion Pyramid (7327), and a 10th set I've so far been unable to identify (Toys R Us p/n 578386). All other LEGO construction sets will likely be 10% off the normal Toys R Us price, possibly including S4 minifigures and LEGO Direct sets in stock online. If you're buying online and want to support Brickset, please click here to buy.
Several Brickset members have bought cases of series 4 figs and have put together dot-code decoders.
NicJ has one at his site minifigcollector.com and achillespdx has posted one on flickr. I haven't compared them closely, but there do appear to be some discrepancies between the two. The dots are so hard to spot that I guess that's understandable. Personally I can't be bothered trying to decode now it's so hard: I just buy a load and trade the ones I don't need...
I've started a new minifig gallery today for Adventurers minifigs. I've added the minifigs that appeared in the first Adventurers sets released in 1998 and over the next few days I'll hopefully add the rest, right up to 2003.
There were some great figs in the series, as you will see. Somehing else you'll notice is that the printing on the torsoes was not as good back then as it is today. On Gail Storm, left, for example, you can see thin lines where the paint has run. Of course when you hold them and view them life-size you don't notice it but at this magnification it's clear to see.
Today a new iPhone/iPod app has been launched that aims to help you keep track of your Star Wars minifig collection. Called SWMinis you can get it in the AppStore for £1.19 or US$1.99.
I downloaded it myself this morning and have been testing it on my iPad. The first thing to note is that it's not an iPad app, unfortunately (Is it really that much harder to make a Universal app than just an iPhone one? I don't know) but it does of course run fine on it.
The figs are listed in alphabetical order, and by year introduced. Clicking on one takes you to a full-screen image of the figure, together with any accessories they came with. I have to say, the photography is excellent and consistent throughout, at least as good as my own efforts in this area.
On this page you can mark the figure as owned or not and once you've done so they appear with gold coloured text next to them in the listings. Reference is made to the BrickLink minifig number and also the sets the fig appeared in. You can also rate the fig 1-5 stars, and rated figs then appear in a 'My favourites' list.
My verdict: This is an excellent app and well worth a few dollars if you have any interest at all in Star Wars minifigs. Of course, it doesn't do anything more than can be done here at Brickset, but if you want to carry your collection round with you, so to speak, it does the job nicely. The pictures are great and until I get my finger out and get the SW figs photographed for Brickset, they are the best that I've seen of them.
I don't really have any criticisms of it, but would like to offer some suggestions:
- iPad native please, with nice big images!
- Combine with a set database (using the Brickset web service, of course) to provide links on the set number listings to images and info about the set, and also a list of all figs that came in it.
- Provide an 'I own them all' shortcut :-)
There's more screenshots and information the app's website.
Cygnet has reported at his Ugly Duckling blog that TRU branches in the USA now have series 4 on the shelves.
He says: 'If you're in the US...Call 1-800-869-7787 , Press menu options 1, 3, and then 2. Ask the operator to check the availability of item 578074"
You can keep track of the global rollout and add your own sightings on his rollout map.
Update: Doh! I've just read on his blog that he got this information from comments made today to a news article here at Brickset. I really shoud pay more attention to my own site! There's links to pictures of the dots in the comments, too.
Update 2: I've taken a snapshot of his U.S. rollout map (as of 3/17/11) and pasted it above for quick reference (YC)
Update 3: They have hit the East Coast (3/22/11)
I've added series 2 minifigs to the gallery so it's now complete. Well, until series 4, anyway...
I've changed the categories around, and I must thank vynsane for suggesting them. I'm sure you'll find plenty to comment on :-)
Place an order over £25 and qualify for free shipping. Offer good in the UK only. Just in time to order the Maersk train...
Several eagle-eyed Brickset visitors emailed to say that the Architecture site at LEGO.com has been updated with a teaser image of set 21009 which is being launched in April. Does the small section that's not under wraps give any clues as to what it is? Take a look and see if you can guess. (thanks sdpevrin, attisb and zaxter)
Update: member Shadow Crawler has identified it as being the Farnsworth House which you can read a bit about here. I reckon he could be right!
The categories in the collectable minifig gallery are holding out OK :-)
There are two 'historical' categories to separate the taller images from the shorter ones to prevent the page layout to going awry
I've made a start on the collectable minifig gallery: I had series 3 handy so I've done them first.
I'd appreciate your feedback on the categories I've used, I'm hoping all figs will fall into one of the 5: present day, present day sports, historical, futuristic and fantasy, but I can tweak them if that's not the case.
There are several deals this week at Toys R Us, most notably Buy One, Get One 50% Off LEGO Series 3 Minifigures. While it's great that the average minifigure price subsequently drops to $2.25, it also seems to reaffirm that we could start seeing Series 4 Minifigures at TRU very soon.
Also, they are extending last week's deals where (1) you receive a free "My First LEGO" set (5932) with a LEGO construction set purchase of $50 or more; (2) Buy One, Get One 50% Off Bionicle sets normally $8.99 or $9.99; and (3) 30% Off the normal TRU price for the AT-AT (8129), Bounty Hunter Assault Gunship (7930) and Slave I (8097).
Lastly, you can receive a FREE Bionicle All Stars sets when you buy any two Hero Factory construction sets. Click here to buy now.
Typical, as soon as I write 'it's quiet for news this week', it starts to flood in :-)
Update: LEGO's Minifig Collector app for i-devices has been updated today with series 4 figs: more evidence that their release must be imminent!
It's been a bit quiet for decent news this week. The most interesting item that's come my way is this from Sann in Singapore, who brought this article at Smashing Bricks to my attention today.
I can't say I had problems building my shuttle or have any stability issues, either. If you are, you can grab the alternate instructions at flickr. But it looks as if you'll need to supply your own bricks...
News may be quiet but there are some very exciting things going down behind the scenes at Brickset Towers which I'll be able to tell you more about soon!
I'm looking to introduce an exciting new feature to Brickset in the coming months. However some of code I'm looking to use does not run on the current server platform. So, are you an expert in LAMP? Are you able to help select and set up a LAMP hosting platform and generally advise and guide me on its use? If so, get in touch and tell me why you fit the bill.
A couple of emails were received today with some interesting shopping news:
* This year's airline exclusive set, 7696, can be bought online from British Airways. When avacadoturban told me this earlier today he said the site was showing 6 available. I bought two shortly afterwards and now it is unfortunately temporarily unavailable. So if you want one, check back in a week or so. The 'Brickset effect' struck before it was even posted here :-)
I've added the Space Police 3 officers and aliens to the Space minifig gallery which brings it right up to date. Well, until Alien Conquest is released later this year, anyway. If the pictures are anything to go by, the minifigs in them are going to be awesome! (Trans clear visors at long last!)
As you'll see from the picture of archvillian Squidman, left, I've photographed both front and side, as I felt their heads were interesting enough to warrant it.
LEGO has just published its Annual Report for 2010; you can read the full Press Release here.
Some of the highlights are:
- In a global toy market making a slow recovery the company succeeded once again in capturing market shares and is now the world’s fourth largest toy manufacturer. Its global market share rose from 4.8% at the close of 2009 to approx. 5.9% at end 2010.
- The result is extremely satisfactory and is due in part to vigorous growth in markets such as the USA, UK, Russia and Eastern Europe, all identified as growth markets for the company,” says CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp.
- The Group has been capturing market shares in all its markets, and although Europe is the part of the world in which consumers already own most LEGO® bricks, growth has been double digit in most European countries, too.
- Classic ranges such as LEGO City, LEGO DUPLO® and LEGO Star Wars™ were especially popular with consumers in 2010 but virtually all product lines sold more than expected.
- The new online game LEGO Universe, which reached the market towards the end of 2010, did not live up to its initial sales expectations and had only a limited effect on revenue.
- During 2010 the LEGO Group continued the process of recent years of expanding its production and warehousing capacity. A new warehouse was built at the factory in Kladno, Czech Republic, and a new moulding shop is under construction at the factory in Monterrey, Mexico. ...
- To meet the needs of increased production and rising sales, the LEGO Group has increased its workforce to an average of 8,365 full time employees. This is a sharp increase of 1,079 full time employees compared with 2009.
- In 2011 a modest growth is expected in the global market for traditional toys, and the LEGO Group also expects sales to increase during the year – although not at the rate enjoyed in 2010.
- Jørgen Vig Knudstorp says: "We expect growth both in our primary markets in North America and Europe and in emerging, rapidly growing markets, including China. Our classic product lines as well as new themes such as LEGO Ninjago have got off to a good start in the new year.”
There have been rumours flying around for a couple of months, but we now have confirmation that LEGO are opening a bricks-and-mortar store in Toronto, their 2nd store in Canada. No news on the opening date, but based on previous store openings, it will likely be around June 2011.
The job advert for the manager for the new store can be found here.
"Store Managers need to have the following to succeed:
At least three years of management experience in a high volume, multi-unit, specialty retail environment."
"Assistant Store Managers need to have the following to succeed:
-At least two years of management experience in a high volume, multi-unit, specialty retail environment."
"Brick Specialists must have the following to succeed:
-A very outgoing, enthusiastic personality passion for the LEGO brand.
-At least 18 years of age and with a high school diploma.
-A full year of retail experience is preferred."
UPDATE - an interesting addendum to this ... the graphics at the beginning of the 2010 Annual Review & 2010 Annual Progress documents show a third store in Canada; in addition to the Toronto & Calgary stores, there is a another store location marked, seemingly to the north west of Calgary. It's not quite in the right place for Edmonton, but it's difficult to be sure given how basic the maps are ... interesting :-)
Valid Sunday 3/6 thru Saturday 3/12, receive a free "My First LEGO" set (5932) with a LEGO construction set purchase of $50 or more.
While I wasn't surprised to find the new AT-ST (30054) in the Easter section at my local Target, I also stumbled across Dragon Fight (30083), a really neat Ninjago polybag. As is usual, each set was $3.99. Additionally, they had a bin set up for a polybag entitled "Fireman" with a price of $3.49. Any idea what that might be? Up front at the registers, they were still selling the Toy Story Army Jeep (30071), the Fire Helicopter (4900), and the Atlantis Mini Sub (30042).
Update: The Ninjago Dragon Fight polybag was actually only $3.49 and the 3rd placeholder was just for the older Fire Chief polybag (30010).
Running today (3/4) through tomorrow (3/5) and valid both in store and online, TRU has a BUY ONE, GET ONE 50% OFF sale for all Hero Factory, Bionicle, Atlantis, Prince of Persia and World Racers sets. Additionally, they are offering the AT-AT (8129), Bounty Hunter Assault Gunship (7930), and Slave I (8097) for 30% off the normal TRU price. They are also knocking 20% off all LEGO board games. This might be a good opportunity to pick up one of the new LEGO games, such as Banana Balance (3853), Sunblock (3852) or Pirate Plank (3848). Click here to buy now.
Another 50 or so instructions have been added to the customer services site at LEGO.com including one for this droid fighter that I think we've seen small pictures of at Eurobricks or somewhere a month or so ago. Here's confirmation, then, that it's a real set which might be winging its way to your neck of the woods soon!
I'll update the instructions database here over the weekend...
Update: As well as these Easter themed polybag sets, three others came to light yesterday: a BrickMaster Ninjago set (20020), Brickley the Sea Serpent (40019), (check out Higgins' pictorial review) who has been found in US brand stores, and Star Wars AT-ST (30054) which looks to me to be pretty much identical to the one released in 2003 in 4486, but without the printed flag for its 'face'.
Gareth M. reports that his 8070 Super Car came with the instructions and stickers sealed in a plastic bag complete with a thick piece of corrugated cardboard to stop them getting bent. Let's hope this becomes the norm especially for the larger sets or where there are several books of instructions.
The minifigures microsite at LEGO.com has been updated with series 4 bios, wallpapers and so on. This might be a sign that their widespread release is imminent! I see that a few enterprising souls have already listed some on eBay in the USA so they must have escaped somewhere already. (thanks William M)
Update: It seems quite a few microsites went live today as well:
- The Pirates of the Caribbean one looks like it'll be slowly revealing the minifigs, perhaps one a day. (via BrickTuts)
- LEGOSpace.com has info on the NASA sets (interesting how it's a domain in its own right, and not a subdomain of LEGO.com) (thanks Roygal)
- The Cars site is up, but there's not much on it yet.