Brickset news archive: Miscellaneous
You will recall that we reviewed this excellent new book a couple of weeks ago. A Facebook page has been set up for it and I'm told that there's going to be some announcements there relating to the book and the work within it in the next couple of weeks, so please visit and 'Like' it so that you're kept in the loop.
All you have to do is answer one simple question on the competition form.
Important: Entry is open to UK residents only. Entries from others will be discarded.
A couple of people have emailed to ask us to help publicise their crowd-funding projects:
Josh Hanlon is raising cash on Kickstarter to create a DVD at Brickworld Chicago: "Help us create a high quality DVD featuring builder interviews and creations from one of the largest LEGO conventions in the world!"
Mike Dolley is also hoping to make a movie "My goal is to create a short film that tells the story of an AFOL. There have been a few great documentaries about the AFOL way of life, but I am unaware of any original stories that tell the journey itself. I hope that the story I have written will have elements that appeal to every AFOL."
"The short film isn't going to be a huge Hollywood blockbuster, but even low-budget film-making has expenses. To help raise some initial funding, I am using a T-shirt service called Teespring to produce screen printed AFOL T-shirts. For $20 (plus shipping), AFOLs are able to get a T-shirt showing off their proud status as an Adult Fan of LEGO, while at the same time supporting a fan project. More information about the film project - An AFOL Story - can be found at http://www.anafolstory.com"
Further to our news article about the KickStarter project that proposes to produce silver, gold and platinum minifigs, Jonathan Brady has been in touch to say that he's added a 'stretch goal' to the project.
If met, he'll produce bronze versions of the three minifig designs, which, going by the comments in the previous article, would be highly sought after.
If you haven't done so already, consider pledging to the project to make these a reality.
The raffle has only being going a few days but already over £1000 has been raised!
Now, this morning, kevbags has announced that the prize pool now includes a Mr. Gold that's just been donated by an anonymous benefactor, which should get the total even higher!
All the prizes have been donated by Brickset members, and proceeds will be used to buy LEGO for childrens' wards in the following hospitals:
- Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, UK
- Glasgow York Hill, UK
- Indianapolis Peyton Manning St Vincent, USA
- Canberra Hospital Foundation, Australia.
Tickets cost just £1 (multiple tickets allowed), payment via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your Brickset name (main site or forum) in the comments and use 'I'm sending money to family or friends' or the 'gift' option so we are not throwing money away on fees, or if that option is not available in your country, please add a little more to cover them. Please do not mention 'raffle' in the payment text.
Anyone can enter -- wherever you are in the world -- but you'll need a PayPal account which means you have to be over 18 (I believe).
Update: Kevbags has now firmed up a closing date for entries which is 20th May 2013 23:00 BST (British Summer Time).
Find out more in the forum, and good luck!
If you're fed up hunting for a cheap plastic Mr. Gold or, once you've found one, you're disappointed with its quality, you might be interested in this KickStarter project that aims to produce fully poseable silver, gold and platinum minifigs.
The solid sterling silver version can be yours for $475 which is a lot less than some people are paying for a plastic Mr. Gold. The 14ct gold version will set you back a cool $4250, but I bet it will look stunning...
It's been a while since the Master Builder Academy level three kits were released so news of the level 4 ones is overdue.
LEGO has published a PDF with full details of the level 4 'lessons' which cover a number of subjects:
- Inventions -- SteamPunk contraptions
- Architecture -- techniques and mini-models
- Models inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci
Sadly, there is still no sign of these being available outside of the USA and Canada, more than two years after their initial release :-(
The BrickBrats family is auctioning one on eBay, with 100% of the proceeds going to the American Lung Association in California, which is a charity that's helped their son with his asthma.
It sounds like a very worthy cause and I applaud them for auctioning it in this way, so please bid as much as you can. The current high bid is $355.
Here's a heart warming story that proves that, despite all the issues around Goldgate, it could be you...
Brickset member bodybomb3 emailed to say he'd found one: "I bought it from a "Toy Barn" in Worthing, UK. I went there after being disappointed after Argos had no series 10 minifigures. I went in and picked eight bags at random; just grabbed them from a box in the LEGO aisle.
"When I went to pay, it turned out there was a loyalty card promotion: buy 5, get the 6th one free. So I got 8 for the price of 7. I didn't feel them as I just wanted a bit of old fashion luck and a surprise like I did with series 1. Later, I opened 4 and nothing special, then the fifth of the eight packets I pulled out a double bagged gold plated Mr Gold minifigure and I'm still in shock!"
LEGO's official Mr. Gold tracker is now live. 19 have been registered so far.
It's interesting to note that the auction description states "Have noticed a small scratch on torso. Came out of the package like this, could have been caused by other parts moving around" which is not the first time such imperfections have been noted.
It's therefore worth reminding ourselves before going to ridiculous lengths to find one, that these are cheap Chinese-made minifigs and you are likely to be disappointed with its quality if you do manage to find one.
I've recently heard of more instances of Goldgate bringing out the worst in people:
- A Toys R Us in the USA has "warned the customers all of their packets have been checked for Mr. Gold before they made it to the floor."
- Someone bought seven whole cases from their local WalMart, rummaged through them at home, failed to find a Mr. Gold, and then took them all back for refund.
I can only hope that someone senior in LEGO reads about this sort of behaviour, and asks whether it's something they want their brand to be associated with, and then thinks very carefully before pulling a stunt like this again.
There would have been so many better ways to have done it without causing upset and frustration among loyal fans and customers.
- Someone suggested that 'golden tickets' should have been added randomly to packets which would have been impossible to feel for, which you then sent away to get Mr. Gold.
- Andrew emailed to say "LEGO should just have made it possible for people to buy them like the MiYu stones my sister collected. There are rare stones, and when you make a picture of your collection (maybe with yourself) then you were able to buy one of the rare stones."
I quite like the latter idea: send LEGO a picture of your collection of, say, 100+ CMFs and they send you a Mr Gold as a reward for being a loyal customer and dedicated collector.
Any other thoughts on the matter?
For the record, personally I am not fussed about getting one, but I know a lot of you are so I'm using these articles as a means of highlighting the issues Goldgate has caused and to provide a way for you to vent your frustration and anger!
"Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to enter our little competition and tell us about their dream LEGO minifigures, sorry the results have taken so long to be revealed, it’s been super busy here lately!
"We had a great response and LOVED reading through your suggestions. There were so many amazing and outlandish ones, it’s got our creative juice flowing! We’re quite likely to make some of them in the coming weeks, so even if you didn’t win, please keep an eye on our facebook page and website for some new additions. And don’t forget you can order whatever minifig you like in our shop, either from your own design or using our ‘based on a photo’ premium service.
"However, we had to pick a winner: Congratulations Jess Grant! – who was one of a couple of people who suggested Scout minifigs, which we felt fitted well with the types of minifigs we like to be associated with. We’re not sure where Jess is from, but we made a UK Scout minifigure (and a LEGO Beaver and a LEGO Cub!). We’ll add Scouts from other countries by request. If you'd like your own Scout minifig you can order them from our website.
"Congratulations to our winners, and thanks once again for your support of Minifigs.Me. Nick and I are keen to keep the business going so we can continue to make the little plastic men that LEGO refuse to make!"
More cool pictures after the break...
A job listing has appeared on LEGO.com for the store manager of another new LEGO Brand Store. The new store will be in Guilford Town Centre.
There's no word yet on when we can expect the store to open, but I would hazard a guess at a soft opening sometime during the Summer with a Grand Opening in September/October.
Is this good news for you? Where are you hoping for a new store?
All About Bricks is reporting that the LEGO Games range is set to be discontinued due to poor sales. The article states: "The news is as yet unconfirmed by LEGO, however the 2012 line up of LEGO Games products will be the final sets released. The current range will be available until all supplies are depleted, however the Games that were due for release later this year are all cancelled." You can read the full article by clicking here.
Thanks to prevere in the forum for the tip.
Update: It's possible that they've been cancelled in some markets only, since they are already for sale in Germany.
I have the results of the Confessions Part 3 polybag competition for you. Each unique person (all 214 of you!) that commented on the article was assigned a number, and I then generated seven random numbers between 1 and 214 to determine the winners, so without further ado:
Runners Up - @davedude, @kartoffelviking, @MAGNETOBOB, @ProfessorBrickkeeper, @tjyeldon1, @zipsforbananas who each win a 30088: Rattla.
Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for taking part. Can all of the winners please contact me through my profile providing their full name and address and I'll get your prizes sent out as soon as possible.
Thanks again to @supersympa for kindly providing some of the prizes for this competition.
How to get the most parts in a PaB tub has been a topic of discussion among AFOLs since the first brand stores opened in the early 2000s. In fact, LEGO even published a press release about it back in 2003.
Now, new AFOL Michael Bradford has written a paper on the subject, considering such things as how to pack the parts, whether a large or small cup is better value, and also how the brand store cups compare with those available in some Discovery Centres.
Personally I haven't the patience to stack the bricks in the shop and, surely, once they've been stacked they are not new any more, right? (or is that just me?...).
I'd be interested to hear what lengths you go to to maximise your PaB purchases or whether you just pile 'em in and hope for the best...
A few weeks ago the team at SkyScanner  contacted me to say they were building the Death Star as a team building exercise and would I like to see and share the video they've made of the build.
I suspect many of you reading have already built it yourself, given it's been available for 5 years now, but nevertheless I thought it might be fun to post it here, if only to watch how non-AFOLs approached the task:
Matthew, the, er, 'project manager' wrote this about the experience:
Drew Maughan's, (aka SilentMode) Kickstarter project, Project Swapfig proposes a website that enables you to trade collectable minifigs with others and still needs your support. Take a look at the video and you'll get a good idea of what's being proposed:
Drew has set up a demo website that you can try for yourself, to see how cool it'll be when it's finished and live. He is attempting to raise a modest £3000 to get the project off the ground. £1000 has been pledged so far and there are just 6 days left now to raise the other £2000, so please, if you can, pledge today.
We've teamed up with our favourite custom minifig creator, Minifigs.me, to bring you two exciting competitions, which there's still time to enter!
Here's the blurb from Caroline, Chief Minifig Geneticist at Minifigs.me:
"Minifigs.me is a little company, who make custom minifigs to order. We take any kind of commissions, from simple "Happy Birthday" minifigs, to multicoloured, multifaceted creations based on your photos.
"One of our favourite things is hearing your great ideas for minifigures, and what we really, really like is making people smile with our creations. We think the best way to do that is to run a competition so you can tell us your fab ideas for your dream custom minifig, and the one we like best we'll make and send your way!
"And don't worry if you don't have any ideas just now, we'll be happy to just make you smile by sending you a custom minifig of your choice from our website.
- A prize draw: just give us your name and email address so we can keep in touch with our latest creations (we won't sell your email or do anything evil with it, just the odd email to say hello and maybe even some special offers one day!). Someone will be be picked at random and will receive a Minifigs.me gift voucher for a custom minifig of your choice.
- What minifigure would you like us to make? Tell us about it, send us designs if you like, or links to pictures of the person you'd like to see created. The winner will have their dream minifig made for them.
"To enter either competition, fill in the entry form with as much info as you'd like. Our email is also on the form if you need to send more details about your ideal custom minifig.
"We'll close the competition in 4 weeks (Sunday 14th April) and let you know then who the winners and the winning minifig are!"
A couple of people, including Tomas over at GrooveBricks, have recently asked how I take the photos for the reviews. A while ago I wrote an article about how I photographed minifigs which will be of interest, but since then I've changed my 'studio' to make it more permanent, so I thought I'd share a couple of photos.
The LEGO CEE team invites you to complete a short survey.
"We want your help to understand how we can best support and improve the LEGO fan community" says Jan Beyer, Community Operations Manager. "To learn more about the adult LEGO fan community, we distribute a survey 4 times a year. The surveys help us understand what you and your fellow AFOLs are engaged in, what you think of your LEGO hobby, and how you perceive the LEGO brand. Survey results guide our team at the LEGO Group as we work to better support of the fan community. As such, the surveys help us decide where to spend our time and money."
The latest edition of the excellent Hispabrick Magazine has just been published and is now available for download.
I haven't read it all yet, but the articles that caught my eye whilst flicking through include an interview with Richard Lockwood, creator of myBrickset, a clever leaf weaving technique, and interviews with Megan Rothrock, author of the LEGO Adventures book, and Jamie Berard.
It just keeps going from strength to strength...
You will recall the ridiculous claims about Jabba's Palace made by a group of Turkish Muslims a few months ago.
It now seems, according to press reports such as this in the Daily Mail, that they are claiming victory because LEGO is going to cease production of the set in 2014.
What absolute rubbish. Don't they realise it'll be discontinued 2 years after it was released, like virtually every other normal retail set LEGO makes, anyway? Oh well, at least they are happy and LEGO comes out of it smelling of roses :-)
Thanks to multiple people including MattD and TheBrickFan for the news...
There's discussion in the forum about someone having found a real 14ct gold 'Mr Gold' minifig in a box of series 10 minfigs in Hungary, and something about a ticket for a LEGO factory tour.
No, I didn't believe it at first either, but it appears to be true. Check out the thread in the forum.
Forgive me Brickset readers for I have sinned, it has been over three months since my last confession. Did I say these articles were going to be monthly, what I meant to say was of course quarterly. Life sure does have a habit of getting in the way sometimes, I have been utterly consumed with family, Brickset commitments, work and my LEGO room project (notice how I actually put the most important thing last). I wish I could say the end was in sight, but it isn’t, so I’d better just stop complaining and get on with it.
Wow, what a crazy few months in the world of polybag collecting! With the ushering in of 2013 we got a sneak peak at some of the 2013 polybags that we could look forward to. This is always an exciting time for polybag collectors, since these are often just descriptions at this stage rather than pictures, we can use our imaginations to conjure up all sorts of great little sets we’ll be keeping them in their bags. It’s also an anxious time, where and when exactly will these polybags be available, how will I get hold of them and most importantly, exactly how much is this going to cost me??
In particular I think the Star Wars polys thus far revealed look excellent, with not a rehash in sight which is always welcome news.
A lot of these polybags have now been released somewhere or other in the world, and it’s been as challenging and fun as ever tracking them down (which is a great part of the appeal for me). This job is made so much easier by you guys sending us in news of sightings, so a big thank you for that and keep it coming.
I have made some great contacts and friends through this hobby, and in particular through my collecting of polybags which really seems to bring the best out of the community in my opinion. I’ve had countless offers of help from all over the world, with people going above and beyond what could reasonably be expected. I’d like to think that I try to repay this kindness and I’m a big believer in what goes around comes around, so if I haven’t repaid your kindness yet, I will I promise! What can I say to you people other than a massive thank you, and know that your help is always appreciated.
So what can you expect this month? As well as the regular features, I’ll be taking a look at what it means to be a completist and what this has to do with the Ninjago theme. I had planned to review 30243: Umbaran MHC but Huw somewhat stole my thunder on that one on that one, so instead I’ll be reviewing two little owned Creator polybags: 30184: Little Helicopter and 30185: Little Eagle. You can still read my review of 30243 though as I've published it on Brickset.
There’s also another competition, and this time around I’m not going to make you work very hard at all to enter, read on to find out how you can enter and what you can win.
So grab a hot drink, if past experience is anything to go by, this may be a long one.
If you're a Wordpress user you might be interested in this Brickset plug-in that's been developed by Nate Jacobs.
It provides easy ways to embed links to, and information from, Brickset into your Wordpress blog, using the Brickset API.
I'm not a Wordpress user so haven't tested it myself but it looks to be fully featured and well documented. Nate would love to hear from you if you use it and have suggestions for improvements, or encounter any problems.
As you will probably know by now, TheBrickStop Kickstarter project failed to reach its goal. I think there were many reasons for this, but one was that the people behind the project were not known in the community and therefore didn't have the level of trust that such a project needs to succeed.
That is definitely not the case with the latest LEGO-related project to be launched on KickStarter. Project Swapfig proposes a website that enables you to trade collectable minifigs with others. The man behind it, Drew Maughan, aka SilentMode, is a Brickset regular and known to me personally.
Take a look at the video and you'll get a good idea of what's being proposed:
I have backed this project and I encourage you to do the same. It doesn't 'tread on the toes' of other sites, because (a) there are no other (decent) ones out there that offer a swapping platform for minifigs, (b) the amount being raised is not totally out of reach, like it was for TheBrickStop, so it has a reasonable chance of achieving its goal, (c) progress has been made already and there are screenshots etc. to prove it and (d) Drew is a good guy :-)
So, head on over to KickStarter and pledge your support today.
You may recall that just before Christmas I created a page showing all LEGO books of interest to AFOLs that are available from Amazon. I've just updated the page to include those that have just been, or will be, published in 2013. There are a surprising number in the works. Here are highlights:
Christoph Bartneck has updated his 2011 and Star Wars minifigure catalogues, and has completed the 2012 minifigure catalogue. The three books are available now. I have copies of these and I'll be reviewing them later this week.
May sees the publication of the first of two Brickmaster books: Legends of Chima The Quest for Chi, and Brick City: LEGO for grown-ups by Warren Elsmore who many of you will know or have heard of, and Build you own Vehicles by another AFOL, Joachim Klang. DK's LEGO Minifigures Character Encyclopedia is also due at the start of the month.
In June, a very interesting book about LEGO, the company, rather than the product, is due: Brick by Brick: How Lego Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Toy Industry.
The Yoda Chronicles by DK is due out in July, as is The LEGO Build-It Book, Vol. 1: Amazing Vehicles by Nathanael Kuipers who is an ex-LEGO designer and well known AFOL, and Mattia Zamboni who I believe is currently a LEGO designer.
August sees the publication of the second Brickmaster, Star Wars Battle for the Stolen Crystals and also Beautiful LEGO, a 'curated gallery of mind-boggling, awe-inspiring, and masterful LEGO creations'.
In September, the Dorling Kindersley Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History, is due. This is the book that some of us have been helping source minifigs for.
In October, Megan Rothrock's second volume of The LEGO Adventure book is out, as is The LEGO Build-It Book, Vol. 2: Amazing Vehicles (more from Nathanael and Mattia) and Lego Galaxy: Build Your Own Universe which is also written by a group of AFOLs.
Finally, in November, Sarah Herman's second book Extreme Bricks: Spectacular, Record-Breaking, and Astounding Lego Projects from Around the World is due.
Expect to see reviews here as they are published. But first, I'm off to Ikea to buy another Billy bookcase to put them all on :-)
The book list page will provide links to enable you to order them from your local Amazon. If that's not enough, there are 'hundreds' of kids' books due too, which you'll find listed on the Kids' book page.
Brickset member nyk has sent us these great photos of him.
I haven't yet found out which retailers in the UK and other European countries will be offering it when it's released here on 8th April. Do you know?
We've teamed up with our favourite custom minifig creator, Minifigs.me, to bring you two exciting competitions.
Here's the blurb from Caroline, Chief Minifig Geneticist at Minifigs.me:
"Minifigs.me is a little company, who make custom minifigs to order. We take any kind of commissions, from simple "Happy Birthday" minifigs, to multicoloured, multifaceted creations based on your photos.
"One of our favourite things is hearing your great ideas for minifigures, and what we really, really like is making people smile with our creations. We think the best way to do that is to run a competition so you can tell us your fab ideas for your dream custom minifig, and the one we like best we'll make and send your way!
"And don't worry if you don't have any ideas just now, we'll be happy to just make you smile by sending you a custom minifig of your choice from our website.
"So in conjunction with Brickset we're going to run 2 competitions:
- A prize draw: just give us your name and email address so we can keep in touch with our latest creations (we won't sell your email or do anything evil with it, just the odd email to say hello and maybe even some special offers one day!). Someone will be be picked at random and will receive a Minifigs.me gift voucher for a custom minifig of your choice.
- What minifigure would you like us to make? Tell us about it, send us designs if you like, or links to pictures of the person you'd like to see created. The winner will have their dream minifig made for them.
"To enter either competition, fill in the entry form with as much info as you'd like. Our email is also on the form if you need to send more details about your ideal custom minifig.
"We'll close the competition in 4 weeks (Sunday 14th April) and let you know then who the winners and the winning minifig are!"
It wasn't long ago (actually, 9 years ago) that the LEGO company was in dire straits and there were fears that it might be snapped up by a competitor like Hasbro or Mattel. However, an article in Bloomberg earlier in the week reports that LEGO has taken the top spot as the most valuable toy company in the world and is now worth more than Mattel. I'll let you read the report and watch the video for yourself, but the headlines are:
- Revenues were up by 25% last year, and have tripled since 2007.
- Earnings of $1bn were made on $4bn of sales last year.
- The company is now valued at $14.6bn, marginally more than Mattel.
- The three children of Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who is Denmark's richest man, are now billionaires.
That's quite a turnaround from the company's 'dark ages' in the early 2000s when its bank stopped lending it money because of the losses it was making. The road to recovery is well documented, but I believe we have Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, who took over as CEO in 2004, to thank for the impressive turnaround and I think the company is in safe hands.
Now, if only they'd reduce the prices a bit...
It's a slow time for news... since the Simpsons bombshell was dropped last week, all the RSS feeds I monitor have been dormant and my mailbox is empty: there's nothing happening worth reporting at all...
So, what better time, then, to introduce you to a new online store that specialises in custom minifigs: Minifigures.co.uk.
"We launched the Minifigures.co.uk shop in January 2013 to sell Premium Custom Minifigures from top designers around the world such as eclipseGrafx, Christo, Minifigs4U and Green Pea Toys. We also sell custom weapons from Combat Brick." says Brickset reader Andrew Clapham, who helps run the site. "What might interest your readers is that we try and source new polybags and sell them at reasonable prices. We currently have polybags from the LEGO Super Heroes, Lord of the Rings, Ninjago and Star Wars themes, and are on the look out for all the 2013 releases."
Sounds like it's worth checking out...
The Dorling Kindersley book LEGO Minifigures Character Encyclopedia is due out on May 1st. DK has recently published example spreads from the book so we can get a feel for what it's going to be like.
Images of the exclusive minifig that will come with it, a toy soldier, have also been posted online, by Asian website minifigs.net.
It's 208-pages long and will probably include series 10, so with the exclusive soldier figure, that will make the total number of figures to be featured either 161 or 170, depending on whether the Team GB figs are included. I wonder what'll be on the other pages?
I've been in denial of this story all day, and didn't want to believe it, hence not posting it until now. Everywhere else has reported it, and I guess it's likely to be of interest to many of you, so, here goes...
"LEGO will produce Homer and Marge" claims the Danish newspaper website DR.dk. I guess, thinking about it, it would seem a natural fit given their skin colour, and it's a wonder they've waited this long to acquire a license for the hit TV cartoon.
It's rather surprising that news that negotiations are taking place has become public as normally such things are veiled in secrecy until the contract is signed. But, "LEGO marketing director, Mads Nipper, confirms that the company is negotiating with the people behind the Simpsons, but cannot say anything about when an agreement is expected to be in place."
I can honestly say I've never watched an episode of it and it doesn't appeal to me whatsoever, but I suspect I'm in the minority.
Does this fill you with dread or excitement?
Here's an interesting turn of events: LEGO has ended its partnership with The Sun, partly in response to pressure from parents.
From The Guardian:
"Lego confirmed on Wednesday that its association with the News International title had come to a "natural" end – officially denying the move was linked to a 12,000-strong online petition against the partnership.
"However, a senior Lego executive had previously acknowledged concerns about its association with Page 3 in an email to campaigners."
Read the full article at The Guardian website.
I wonder what the future holds for UK polybag promotions? Let's hope it returns to The Mirror or another slightly less trashy rag (although I concede that in the Mirror's case, that is debatable...)
Thanks to Mark for the news.
There's the chance to get hold of a Chris McVeigh (Powerpig on flickr) designed T-shirt today, and today only, at The Yetee, for just $11. The 'Just Build' design was inspired, Chris says, by the old What it is is beautiful print ad.
International shipping, at a reasonable price, is available.
I do like a nice LEGO T-shirt, so my order's is in already...
Here's the press release announcing the club's formation:
Announcing the launch of Brickshire.org.uk; the home of Brickshire: The Yorkshire LEGO® User Group (known more informally as Brickshire). Brickshire is the first LEGO® User Group in the United Kingdom to be set up at a regional level.
Brickshire is a group aimed at Adult Fans of LEGO® (AFOLs) based in and around Yorkshire, who would like to meet like-minded people, display their LEGO® creations locally and get involved in events across the region. Application is open to anyone over the age of 18 who would like to meet and attend events in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Richard Lawson, Chairman of the Brickshire said “We want to provide a friendly forum for our members and offer them regular opportunities to meet and display LEGO® models locally, with as much support from The LEGO® Group as possible, which is something that hasn’t been available until now.”
Richard Hayes, Brickshire’s LEGO® Ambassador and Secretary added “It’s important that we build a strong and direct relationship with The LEGO® Group, and that’s where I come in. “As a LEGO® Ambassador, it is my job to liaise directly with The LEGO® Group’s Community Engagement & Events Team and make sure our members’ voices are heard, and that Brickshire continue to be able to positively promote the LEGO® brand with the support of The LEGO® Group.”
Brickshire’s first public display will be at the Northern Modelling and Engineering Exhibition in Harrogate from 10th until the 12th of May 2013, and now that the official Brickshire website has been launched at www.brickshire.org.uk, the group hopes that it will attract new members to display at many more events in the future.
Back in 2010, I was loaned a number of Bricks and Pieces, the magazine for the UK LEGO club back in the 1970s and 1980s, which I scanned and made available here at Brickset.
I am grateful to Peter S for sending me scans of another issue, from autumn 1979, which I've just added to the archive.
It's an interesting read, and harks back to a bygone, lost age. The article on the front cover about a shortage of LEGOLAND Space sets, which attempts to explain why there's a shortage, but not in a condescending way, is particularly interesting.
I also wonder whether they managed to organise the trip to LEGOLAND Billund by ferry, for £50 a person. Unfortunately we don't have the spring 1980 issue to find out...
As I said once before when discussing old B&Ps, the kids' models in the centre pages are actually quite good, and not the thrown-together bolocs models featured in today's issues. The model of the class 47 diesel loco is pretty good given the palette of parts available at the time, and the winner of the mosaic competition on the back page would not look out of place among AFOL creations today.
Update: Peter S has provided scans of the spring and summer 1980 issues. I'm pleased to see that a club trip to Billund was organised (they flew from Luton, cost £75, which is about £300 in today's money) and had a wonderful time, according to the report in the summer issue!
Here's something rather cool: Will Wiggins is an illustrator/designer based out of NYC in the USA. He creates illustrations of people as minifigs. For $5, he'll create original artwork of a person or character as a minifig, and for an extra $10 will make a physical minifig to match.
He contacted me a month or so ago and offered to do an illustration of me, and here is the result, which is based on this picture of me at LEGOWorld. A pretty good match, I reckon!
You can commission your own artwork on Fiverr (the world's largest marketplace
for small services). I'm thinking of getting the forum admins one each for use as our avatars. What do you think, guys? :-)
As you may recall, Dorling Kindersley is publishing a book about minfigs, LEGO Minifigure Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle, later this year.
The authors have asked for your input:
"As one of the book's features, we are hoping to create a themed spread which features interesting questions to LEGO about their minifigures, and it would be brilliant if you could help us with any questions that you might have!
"Questions could be about something that you've always been wondering about minifigures, such as how they are made, their history or any quirky facts you would like to know. If you have any ideas it would be great if you could get back to me by Wednesday [6 March] if possible. Please note that we can't guarantee that LEGO will answer all the questions, but we hope it will make a nice feature in the book. "
You can contact Ruth Amos (ruth.amos [at] uk.dk.com) directly with your questions, or leave a comment here and I'll collate them.
BcP Juegos BRICKARMS Contest
BcP Juegos, along with HispaBrick Magazine, give you a chance to win some fabulous minifig accessories from BrickArms showing your talent in a contest.
There are two competitions which involve building a small vignette which must include at least 1 BrickArms part:
Minifig contest : A minifig with accessories, on a base of 6x6 studs maximum.
Display contest: Maximum 16x16 studs. No height limit.
Good luck if you enter!
There are hundreds of LEGO fan sites out on the Internet and dozens more are launched every month. Many tend to be 'more of the same' and regurgitate content created by other, more established, sites. However, every now and then a new one comes along which brings something new to the table, and looks much more interesting. LEGO Answers is such a site. One of the moderators there is Brickset user ambo100, and this is what he has to say about it:
"LEGO® Answers is based on the popular Stack Exchange Q&A site, which also hosts Stack Overflow, the Q&A site for 'professional and enthusiast programmers'. The Stack Exchange format encourages questions and answers from a audience of experts and enthusiasts.
"The site so far has been running for just over year and is still in a Beta stage. We're looking for like-minded individuals to vote, add, improve and share content. Questions range from storage and shopping to techniques and programming."
Having taken a look just now, there appears to be some useful and interesting discussions going on, such as What is the smallest LEGO component?, How does LEGO handle the breakage of Hero Factory sockets? and Are all the Magnet minifigs now glued on and how should I remove them?. There's even a question which was prompted by something I wrote: Why does LEGO state the number of parts on US boxes, but not in Europe?
Go and check it out: I think you'll find it worthwhile visiting. I've added it to my RSS reader and will be keeping an eye out with interest and may even chip in from time to time.
A week or so ago a project was launched on KickStarter which aims to create a new LEGO parts trading website.
It could be argued that there is a perfectly good platform already for buying and selling LEGO but, it has to be said, it is a little dated, and unfortunately has suffered from a lack of investment and development recently.
I would also argue that to the new or casual LEGO buyer, working out how to actually use the existing site is very daunting. It's OK for you and I who have been using it for 10+ years but imagine if you stumbled across it for the first time today, what would your opinion of it be?
It's also incredibly difficult to perform certain tasks on the site, like take a list of parts you want, perhaps to make a model that someone else has designed or to reconstruct an old official set, and then work out the most efficient and cheapest way to buy them. Or find out what the cheapest minifig available is. Or know, before you place your binding order, how much the seller is going to charge for postage and other fees. Sure, they can be done, but it's hard work. The site is extremely functional for sellers, but not so much for buyers and, surely, that's the wrong way round.
TheBrickStop aims to address these, and other issues. You can read the proposal, and watch a video about it, on its KickStarter page.
One of the features they are proposing is to have zero selling fees. That sounds great, doesn't it, particularly if you're a seller, but it does of course mean they'll need to raise revenues in other ways, mainly by selling advertising it seems, which for everyone else could soon get annoying (that's why you all love Brickset, right, because it has very little advertising!). It also means that the site itself won't be able to operate an affiliate scheme and thus probably won't get marketing assistance from established sites, like Brickset, which could result in a very slow takeup of buyers and sellers.
Needless to say, there is some concerned discussion going on at the other site about having a competitor, but from what I can gather they (at least, those that are vocal in the community there) are largely dismissive and are planning on resting on their laurels, safe in the knowledge that they have a huge user base, a mass of data, and a well established website, all of which will take some beating. That sounds a bit dangerous to me...
Competition in any marketplace is a good thing, so although I have a few reservations about the proposals, I welcome this initiative and I encourage you to read the proposal and pledge your support if you do too.
I'd be very interested to hear what you think about it in the comments.
I'm back from my travels, and will be catching up on emails and news over the next day or so.
LEGOWorld was excellent and I'll be posting various reports over the next few days. All I'll say for now is that, once again, the LEGO City team added some 'Easter eggs' to their display and as a result I will be revealing a forthcoming City set that will be appearing later this year. It was so unexpected and different to most other City sets that I didn't spot it among the myriad of custom builds made just for the display: one of the City designer team had to point it out :)
Big thanks to atkinsar for posting the X-Wing annoucement at the right time yesterday in my absence. I was there at the unveiling and I'll be posting a few pictures and observations when I get time (but first I had better spend time with my wife, having been away for 3 days, right? :-) )
It was unfortunate that a Taiwanse site leaked the pictures ahead of time, and that they then appeared in the Eurobricks forum earlier in the day. It's even more unfortunate that another site republished them and, despite being asked by LEGO to remove them, refused to do so and has allowed personally offensive comments about the LEGO CEE team to be posted in response to the article.
It was perhaps also unfortunate that the CEE team broke the embargo as well: Jan published pictures on their blog some 45 minutes or so before 9pm GMT, which muddied the waters somewhat!
Reputable LEGO fan sites, like Brickset, are happy to work closely with LEGO and do as asked to maintain a positive relationship, to both sides mutual benefit . But, there are some sites out there that seem more interested in first bragging rights in an attempt to boost their traffic and, presumably, affiliate revenue. I'll certainly not be republishing anything they post and sending traffic their way in future. Luckily the site in question is of little interest to the majority here, so it won't be a major loss. Personally, I'd advise you to steer clear of them.
I see Rich at BrickFanatics has had a similar rant about this very same thing :-)
 I got my knuckles rapped last night for posting the blurry photo of the confidential image that Sears.ca posted, which I was slightly take aback by, but I understand the issues now and won't be doing it again. It's OK to link to sites such as Sears that publish them (but not fan sites hosting scans from retailers' catalogues), it seems, but even blurring them out and posting as I did is not...
"We are a worldwide community of Friends fans: Our members are AFOLs, TFOLs, Parents, Sisters and Brothers -- some seasoned LEGO fans & builders, and some newly discovering the love of building through Friends bricks. Our core purpose is sharing creations, reviews & news.
"Since the January 1st, 2012 launch of LEGO Friends, Heartlake City life has been inspiring us. Stop by www.FriendsBricks.com and join in the Friendship! "
Belkin, manufacturer of tech products including phone cases, today announced it had struck a deal with LEGO to make 'buildable' phone cases, initially for Apple products.
I'm sure this will be a dream come true for many: those who are both LEGO and Apple fan boys, of whom there are quite a few on the Brickset staff :-)
I don't think this image is necessarily a picture showing what we can expect because it was taken at CES last month, before the announcement. But if they are anything like that shown, they'll be pretty cool...
"Up for charity auction is my all new custom built LEGO Technic 2013
Pittsburgh Steelers® black & gold themed super car.
"This model was constructed from over 1,800 brand new LEGO parts.
"The scale of this model is 1:10, 17.75" long x 8" wide x 5" high (45 cm long x 20.3 cm wide x 12.7 cm high)."
The auction ends today at 14:00 PST. Here's the link to place your bid: Crowkillers Custom Lego Technic Pittsburgh Steelers Themed Supercar. Happy bidding! It will be interesting to see how much it goes for.
Update: the auction has finished, it fetched $1,160.00 !
The LEGO Madhouse is a blog about LEGO Super Heroes and in particular about planning and building a large model of Arkham Asylum.
So, please go and check it out and leave Chris some constructive comments and encouragement on the site.
I do like a good LEGO movie, particularly when they are packed with exclusive minifigs.
Earlier in the week it was announced that Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out, which war originally shown on Cartoon Network in the USA last year, will be available on DVD (and hopefully Blu-Ray too) in March on both sides of the Atlantic. It will be packed with a limited edition exclusive Darth Vader minifig, who's sporting a celebration medal.
Yesterday, news of a second one emerged: Batman the Movie: DC Super Heroes Unite. It will be available mid-May and comes with a very cool looking Clark Kent/Superman minifig.
They can be pre-ordered from Amazon, although they are not both listed at the moment:
(via Idle Hands)
A number of you emailed me with links to press articles (such as this one in the Telegraph) concerning racist claims about Jabba's Palace. Frankly I thought it was all a lot of nonsense so wasn't going to mention it here, but now it seems LEGO has taken them seriously enough to publish a response so I'll mention it now and hope it stops the barrage of emails:
"All LEGO Star Wars products are based on the movies of the Star Wars saga created by Lucasfilm. Jabba's Palace appears in Star Wars Episode VI and appears in a famous scene on the planet Tatooine. The building is the palace of Jabba - a fictional movie character.
"The picture shown above depicts the building from the movie scene. The LEGO designers try to reproduce all buildings, space ships and characters from the movies as close as possible when creating a new LEGO Star Wars product.
"This is done to allow both young and old Star Wars fans to act out the scenes from the movies at home. The LEGO Star Wars product Jabba´s palace does not reflect any non-fictional buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque.
"The LEGO minifigures shown on the box and found inside the box (Jabba, Salacious Crumb, Bib Fortuna, Gamorrean Guard, Oola, Han Solo, Princess Leia disguised as Boushh, Chewbacca and B'omarr Monk) are all modelled after fictional characters from the movie.
"The LEGO Group regrets that the product has caused the members of the Turkish cultural community to interpret it wrongly, but point out that the design of the product only refers to the fictional content of the Star Wars saga."
I suspect it was rushed out because it's riddled with spelling mistakes and errors, which I've corrected. Hopefully, though, that will be the end of it...
(via Hoth Bricks)
I did say that part 4 would be the last but it seems I've upset a number of people by completely ignoring Hero Factory, Chima buildable figures and Duplo.
So for the sake of completeness and to keep everyone happy, here goes...
In this final Toy Fair report, I will cover Star Wars, Friends, Games and anything else I can remember. So, read on...
This is an interesting 3-dimensional mural of the Kingdom on Chima that was also in the foyer of the exhibition hall.
However, I'm sure what you want to read about is the return of Castle...
Yes, Castle is back, and it's called Castle, not Kingdoms. There will be five sets which, just like the reversion to the name 'Castle', are a true return to the theme's roots. They feature two warring factions. The lady telling us about them didn't know if they had names, but I can tell you they are blue and grey knights, with lions on their shields -- the King's forces -- and black with red dragons on their shields -- the baddies. It doesn't look as if there is any new armour, helmets or weapons, they all looked familiar to me.
As we all know, Legends of Chima seems to be receiving the lion's share of the LEGO marketing budget at the moment so I guess it was no surprise that Craggar (left), and Laval, were 'guarding' the entrance to the fair.
Anyway, on with the survey of what was on show, starting with Legends of Chima...
I'm back home after an exhausting day at the show, and a quick trip to the brand store at Shepherd's Bush afterwards. The weather in the UK is absolutely appalling still but luckily not bad enough today to disrupt transport.
As I said earlier, the exterior of the LEGO stand was much plainer than in previous years and there wasn't much to photograph around it. However, this guy, Laval, and Cragger, were in the foyer.
I met up with 'Big' Pete and Gary Davis, Ambassador of the Brickish Association, and we were taken round the stand by Nigel Warway from LEGO. Part of the reason for the escort is to ensure that we didn't surreptitiously take any photographs. However we did take notes (at least Pete did), and also Pete had his phone voice recorder going throughout so we should get some useful nuggets of information from that once he's transcribed it later.
So let's go through the themes one at a time and I'll recall what I can about the sets. First, it should be noted that the show is targeted at normal retailers, so LEGO exclusives and other 'power' items are never on show.
I'm at the toy fair, I'm taking a look round before my appointment on the LEGO stand at 1 pm. Usually, it's possible to see into the stand from the gallery above but this year, they have covered the ceilings with cloth so nothing much is visible. Unusually, there is no fancy artwork or large models in sight around the outside of the stand either, so it's looking like there will not be much to photograph.
Through the cloth ceilings, I can see that The Lone Ranger sets are on display, along with Galaxy Squad.
I'll try and update this article later, after my visit, but will wait until I'm home before posting a full report.
The first of three toy fairs starts tomorrow, in London, at Kensington Olympia.
The London toy fair is very much a trade only event and is the first opportunity of the year to view the summer 2013 sets 'in the flesh'.
I am going and I will be meeting 'Big' Pete from FBTB there, and we'll be on the LEGO stand early in the afternoon. We will be telling you what we see but, unfortunately, LEGO does not permit photography at the London show, preferring to wait to unveil new sets to the public at Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair, Nürnberg, which this year starts on 30th Jaunary, or at the New York Toy Fair on February 10th.
So, keep an eye out here and at FBTB tomorrow for our reports. If you're going tomorrow too, do get in touch, as maybe we can meet up.
How many times have you heard people make such comments, or even made them yourself?
When looking at the price of current sets it's easy to see why people think they are expensive and cost more than ever. But is that actually the case?
Andrew Sielen wondered the same so set out to find out if there is any truth in it. He extracted information on pieces and prices from Brickset, then analysed it and wrote a very interesting article on his findings. The article, The Price of a Brick, considers the price per brick, the average price of sets, the number of pieces in sets, and so on, over time, and draws conclusions that might surprise you. As well as the hard facts and calculations, he also considers why there is a perception that it's expensive these days.
It's an excellent thought-provoking article. Read it, then let us know what you think, either in the comments here, at the source article, or in the forum, where the article was first brought to my attention.
Back in December, I ran a small competition to win some rare polybags. I was planning to announce the winners in my next Confessions article but unfortunately, I’m a little behind schedule on writing it (coming soon I promise!) but rather than make you wait any longer, I thought I’d announce the winners now.So without further ado, I can reveal that the winner is...Fikko3107 from Indonesia who wrote a very thorough and informative review of 30090: Desert Glider and as a result will be receiving both 30170: Ganrash and 30182: Santa. At current Bricklink prices, these two polybags are worth over £20.The runner up is JaseTJ for their review of 30213: Gandalf at Dol Guldur. You will receive your choice of either 30170: Ganrash or 30182: Santa.I’d also like to give an honorary mention to CamberbrickGreen for their humorous and inventive photography whilst reviewing 30211: Uruk-Hai with Ballista. Technically you wrote your review prior to the competition even starting, and I was looking for new reviews, but I feel efforts like this should be rewarded, so I’m going to send you a ‘surprise’ prize (hint - it will be a polybag).Congratulations to all the winners and thank you very much to everyone that contributed reviews, even if you didn’t win, you can sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy glow of knowing that you are helping to make the best LEGO site around even better with your reviews, so keep it up!I’ll be contacting the winners shortly to arrange delivery of their prizes. Make sure you keep an eye out for the next confessions article which will include another competition with some great prizes.
The LoC TV series has kicked off in the USA, and now also in Canada, I believe.
As I've mentioned before, it won't be shown on UK TV and I suspect licensing agreements with the Cartoon Network will prevent LEGO from posting the episodes online for some time.
Thankfully, they can be watched on the Internet, although they are a little hard to find, too hard for me, in fact :-) But, thanks to a couple of respondents in the forum, they've been found on a site called Dubbed-Scene.com. It's a pretty awful site to look at and to use, but thankfully the videos themselves are embedded in iframes from another site and they can be played directly from the links below:
The bit rate is pretty poor and they certainly aren't in HD but you can of course get the gist of them. I've watched Episode 1 which explains how the 'war' started. It's definitely worth watching if you have an interest in the Chima back story.
It also settles the argument -- if there ever was one -- about how CHI and Chima are pronounced. It is Chee and Cheema, and not Ch-eye and Ch-eye-ma.
The competition has ended, and you are invited to now cast your vote. Over 100 designs have been whittled down to the top 10, which you can see, and vote for, here. Voting ends on the 22nd. January.
Jan from the community team says "So far more than 1000 people have already voted in the contest. The more votes we get in there, the better the chances are that we can do something like this again."
Thanks to MartinZ we now have a great scan of the City Advent calendar window-backs to add to the Star Wars and Friends ones we published last week.
Dorling Kindersley has published details of nine forthcoming LEGO books that will be available later this year:
Brickmaster Legends of Chima - The Quest for Chi (May)
The LEGO Play Book (Sept.)
Brickmaster Star Wars - Battle for the Stolen Crystals (Sept.)
LEGO Minifigure: Year by Year (Oct.)
LEGO Minifigures Character Encylopedia (May)
Amazing Minifigure Ultimate Sticker Collection (Jan.)
Friends Ultimate Sticker Collection (March)
LEGO HERO Factory Ultimate Sticker Collection (Aug.)
LEGO Legends of Chima Ultimate Sticker Collection (May)
The Star Wars Brickmaster "Contains Clone Commander Gree and Commando Droid minifigures to bring the excitement to life."
More details are available in this PDF at the DK website.
Thanks to legolijntje for the news!
If you didn't actually buy last year's Advent calendars but fancy building some of the models, you will find these scans of the instructions handy.
Brickset reader Dave C contacted LEGO to ask for PDFs of the instructions but they could not provide them, so being community minded, he's scanned the insides of his two calendars and sent to me to publish for the benefit of everyone.
If you missed out on the 2011 Star Wars calendar as well, you can still download its instructions, too.
She's recently teamed up with Eric Albrecht to produce instructions for one of her most popular, the JCB JS220 track excavator, which can now be purchased from Crowkiller's website for just $20.
The 164 page PDF is in two sections. The first 40 pages give an in-depth technical introduction that compares functions and features of the real excavator with the model. It's well illustrated with some great colour photos.
The rest of the PDF consists of the instructions, all 500 steps of them, which have been rendered at a high resolution to enable them to be printed successfully.
It's a complex model which features pneumatics and electrics and is built using studded technic beam methods. The instructions are on a par with those created by LEGO so constructing it should be straightforward enough once you've mustered up the required 1700 parts, most of which are commonplace.
Here are a couple of spreads, showing a page from the introduction and one from the instructions, which shows the parts inventory:
If you have an interest in Technic and/or diggers this is a worthwhile purchase, even if you don't actually build the model: there's a lot to be learned about how to approach modelling a real-life machine, and how to translate it into Technic.
This week, the Legends of Chima microsite launched, and very nice it is too. As well as all the the designer videos, promotional videos, Speedorz tutorials and so on, it has a cool selection of desktop wallpapers and posters, although why they insist on only producing the wallpapers in 4:3 format when surely everyone now has widescreen 16:9 monitors is a mystery.
Also this week, three video games were announced: a mini game for LEGO.com and iOS, one for Nintendo 3DS and PSP Vita, and a free-to-play online game. You can read the press release at Model Building Secrets.
Furthermore, according to that site, the TV series will be starting on Cartoon Network on 16th January (in the USA, in the UK we won't get to see it). View the trailer at LEGO.com. And that's not all. There's even a music video (which is not to my taste at all) but which must have cost a few bob to pull together.
Anyway, back to the video games. I downloaded the iOS game Speedorz yesterday. I was expecting great things but I was disappointed.
It's a pretty standard pick-things-up-while-racing game, and it looks good enough but unfortunately the steering is accomplished by pressing the left and right arrows on the screen! This makes it pretty much unbearable to play given every other racing game uses tilt-to-steer. You can give the vehicle a boost by swiping down on the rip-cord on the right, but it's difficult to do so while steering. So great concept, but poorly executed.
I haven't tried the online version as it needs a hefty plug-in to play it by the looks of things.
The other thing of interest in the video games press release, is that one of the games is going to be a MMOG:. "In autumn 2013, LEGO Legends of Chima Online, a free-to-play, online world developed by WB Games Montréal, will provide kids with a safe and incredibly immersive connected game experience. Players will be able to build and customize their kingdom in the world of Chima, explore massive environments like the Falling Leaves Forest, take on missions to help Laval and his friends, uncover hidden secrets and treasures, earn rewards, and use LEGO bricks to build weapons, gadgets, and more!"
Do you get a sense of deja vu reading that? Let's hope the lessons learnt from the failure of LEGO Universe have been applied to this and that it doesn't end up being another expensive flop. I can see one lesson has been addressed already: it's free to play...
So, what do you make of all this? Way over the top, or money well spent?
271 instructions and 123 set inventories have been added to the LEGO Customer Services pages today, including ten hitherto unknown polybags (4 LoC, 2 Creator, 2 Friends, 2 City) which you can see in the 'new in the database' area above.
As always, our latest instructions and latest inventories pages exclusively list what's been added, before any other LEGO fan site. I'm sure it won't be long before they are all reporting them, though. Remember where you read it first ;-)
An interesting addition to the instructions is 10250, Year of the Snake. Not much is known about it, although it's likely that it will only be available in China. It's thought that it's the same as last year's Creator T-Rex (6914) but with additional pieces for the door.
Also, inventories for this year's seasonal polybags have been added (sets 40051-40059) but not their instructions, so we still don't know what they look like.
My UK LEGO Club magazines arrived today. The boys' one is heavily pushing Chima, what with this fold-out image on the cover, a mini-comic and a lenticular 3D sticker.
It appears to be a terrible place to live, doesn't it, what with all that squabbling going on! The comic sheds more light on the story. Apparently the lions store the 'power of the CHI' inside their temple and share it out equally to all the other animal tribes. But, it seems, Cragger, the crocodile prince, has planned a revolt against the lions. There's no reason given as to why he's planning it other than 'he wants to control all of the CHI in Chima'. Here are images of the comic's cover and inside cover for your perusal and edification.
We haven't conducted our own awards ceremony here at Brickset as you will have noticed. We did talk about it but then never got round to it. So, once again I will direct you to our very own DrDaveWatford's blog, Gimme LEGO, where you can read which sets and themes he thinks are the best of the year and also vote for your favourite.
Dave tells me that he's just clocked up his 500,000th page view, which works out to about 7,000 a day since the site was launched two years ago, which he's very pleased about.
LEGO's Community Team have today shared the top line results from their third quarter 2012 survey with LEGO Ambassadors, and you can see the results below. It's interesting to see some data pertaining to specific LEGO-related sites this time round, including Brickset.
"Dear LEGO fan community,
We hereby share top line, aggregated results of the last quarterly LEGO Fan Survey which was conducted in Sept/Oct 2012. This survey was much shorter than the extensive May 2012 survey. The goals for the survey were to gauge fan social engagement and activity online."
Issue 15 of the excellent Hispabrick Magazine is now available for free download. Here's what the team has to say about it:
"A little later than usual, but here we are again. This issue has had to wait for our annual event to finish, images of which you will find inside, but be assured that it has not affected the work we have put into HBM 015.
"In this issue you will find several articles related with flying machines and their history, as well as tutorials on POV-Ray, MINDSTORMS and the MILS system.
"We will tell you about our experience at events like the LEGO Fan Weekend 2012 or BrickCon 2012 and there are several reviews of sets and books."
The aim of HeartlakeFriends.com is to "take an unbiased position to look past the noise of any perceived controversy and celebrate all the positive aspects and outcomes from LEGO Friends."
To help the launch, there are a couple of competitions on the go which you can find out about at FBTB.
Copied from the LEGO Message Board:
"Calling all Ninjago fans!
"Gather round! Beckon all of your friends to gather round, too! We have important and exciting news! Not just any news. Not news about the weather or cats stuck up trees or the price of milk! No, this is news about Ninjago!
“But, what news? What news could be so important? Isn’t Ninjago being discontinued in 2013?!”, we hear you exclaim! Ah yes, young ninja, we sense you are eager to learn more and so shall the news be revealed…
"Because our message boards fans are so awesome and because we know you love Ninjago more than anyone else in the entire world, nay universe, we are giving you guys this information first and exclusively! Check the internet; see if anyone else is mentioning this! They won’t be right now because you’re hearing this from us first and you’re the first to know!Ninjago will continue into 2014"
Here's a chance for you to get involved with a forthcoming DK book on minifigs.
Calling all LEGO fans with large collections of minifigures!
Dorling Kindersley, publisher of many bestselling LEGO books, including The LEGO Book and LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, is seeking collectors with substantial collections of minifigures.
We are looking for collectors who would be willing to lend their minifigures to be photographed for an exciting new book created in collaboration with LEGO.
The photo shoots will be at the end of January and February in London. All minifigures will be treated with the greatest care and all expenses will be paid. Each collector's name will feature in the credits of the exciting new book.
We are seeking minifigures from sets released in 1978-2000 from the following themes: Town/City, Castle (including Ninja), Space, Sports, Pirates, Train, Aquazone, Freestyle, Time Cruisers, Western, Adventurers, Rock Raiders, Studios, and 1999 and 2000 Star Wars minifigures. We are also looking for any LEGO Brand Store exclusive minifigures.
We are also seeking non-minifigures from sets released in 1978-2000 from the following themes: Duplo, Fabuland, Technic, Basic, Belville, Primo, Scala and Mickey Mouse.
If you can help, please contact Helen Murray at email@example.com and Lisa Sodeau at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let us know roughly how many minifigures you have within the different themes and sub-themes and then we can take it from there. Thank you for your help!
Well, it seems you didn’t hate it, and so as a result, I’m pleased to bring you part 2 of confessions of a serial polybag collector.
Last month I took a look at what classified as a polybag in my eyes and reviewed Ganrash. Since then I haven’t been resting on my laurels, I’ve had quite a busy month cataloguing, purchasing and concluding some trades. I’ve also devoted quite a chunk of time to getting my polybag wanted list on to BrickLink, which wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be, especially considering I want over 450 of the things! I achieved this using the fantastic Advanced Query Builder right here on Brickset and in a future article I’ll let you know how I did it.
In this edition, as it’s both Christmas and nearing the end of 2012, I thought I’d take a look at some of the best and worst polybags of the year and bring you a polybag Santa showdown review. I’ll also be starting what will be a regular feature where I’ll be sharing what I’ve picked up in the previous month, I may even share how much of my soul I had to sell to obtain it, this is a confession after all. Finally, there’s a competition to enter to win a rare polybag, so keep reading until the end.
Before I go any further, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone that took the time to comment on my first article, send me an email, or offer to get stuff for me, seriously, you Bricksetters are the best!
Thanks to everyone who's clicking through on our links to Amazon and eBay over the holiday season. Your support will help ensure Brickset remains on-air for the next 12 months and beyond, and encourage me to continue to upkeep and enhance it.
Unfortunately revenue from the affiliate links doesn't quite stretch to the £170,000 needed for a real Ferrari 458 Italia, so I was very pleased to receive the LEGO version, and the other Shell polybags from Andrew in Singapore, who runs the excellent blog Smashing Bricks, recently.
Checking who on BrickLink has them for sale to get an idea of where they have made an appearance suggests that it's still only the far east and Italy so far, but we know that it will be a global promotion, so we should all be able to get our hands on them in 2013.
I was going to do a bit of a review of it, but I see that Orthobotrex has done an excellent job of reviewing all seven of them, so I needn't bother. Here's his review of 30194 Ferrari 458 Italia. You can find the others in the list of all his reviews.
Here's a quick summary of news I've been alerted to over the last few days:
- The next Architecture set will be Imperial Hotel, as revealed by Amazon.fr. I imagine it's going to be the Imperial Hotel Tokyo designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but I might be mistaken. (Thanks Alexis)
- Amazon.co.uk has just listed a lot of 2013 sets including thirteen Legends of Chima sets. There's no release date given, but we now have an idea of prices.
- The Brick Show team has four of the six TMNT sets and has posted video reviews on YouTube
- LEGO has updated the retiring soon list at shop.LEGO.com (US). It's now quite a long list, which includes Imperial Shuttle 10212 and Diagon Alley 10217. (Thanks dreisbaugh)
- ASDA in the UK has 25% off all LEGO until midnight Monday (Thanks Andrew H)
- TMNT sets are now available from Toys R Us in the USA .
- There's a new brand retail shop opening in Yorkdale Mall, Toronto, Canada. There's a picture, and some discussion about it, on flickr.
- A temporary LEGO store has opened in Stockholm in the Skrapan shopping centre. More info on Facebook.
- ShopForMe has opened a bricks-and-mortar store in Australia at 506 Lygon Street, Brunswick East 3057. More info on Facebook
- If you're in Australia you can enter a competition on Facebook to 'Win a blockbuster LEGO Gandalf Statue'. There's only 10 entries at the moment, so you're in with a good chance of winning! (Thanks altaris100)
This is the claim made by the LEGO senior brand manager in the UK in an article in this month's Toy News magazine.
The article goes on to say that LEGO expects Chima sales to be 30% more than Ninjago's was in 2012, although "Ninjago still remains one of the most successful and popular IPs to date for us [which we] fully expect to continue next year."
The Chima line is said to "include construction play-sets, social game Speedorz, six Hero-Factory style buildable figures and board games, with the latter two arriving in August".
LEGO UK will apparently be embarking on a nine month roadshow known as the 'Chima Challenge' which will include Speedorz contests with national league tables, pop-up cinemas showing the cartoon and chances for kids to meet Chima characters.
The article also sheds some light on the back-story: "a conflict between six tribes -- three good (Lions, Eagles and Gorillas) and three bad (Crocodiles, Ravens and Wolves)."
All in all, it sounds like they are very excited and are going overboard both in terms of the number of products and on promoting it. It looks as if anyone wanting to be 'Chima complete' will need very deep pockets, I believe there are around 36 Chima products due in 2013 alone.
By popular demand, here's a 1920x1080 version of my Company of Dwarves photo that will be suitable for desktop wallpapers.
Now I have all the Hobbit sets, and there's publicity around LEGO giving the cast of the movie their minifig equivalents, I thought it would be fun to line up the Company of Dwarves for a photo-shoot. I took my inspiration from this photo of the cast.
Thorin Oakenshield, their leader, is not in that picture for some reason, so here's one, like this one, where he is:
For the final installment of our Holiday Gift Guide, we'll be recommending sets in the rarefied air of $150+ price tags.
Although we should remember there are many other things to be grateful for during this time of year, there is still something to be said about receiving this much LEGO goodness. One's great fortune will likely not be lost upon anyone lucky enough to receive LEGO in this price segment.
For Children: 10188: Death Star (US$399.99, £274.99)
I thought about selecting a LEGO train here since there is a nearly universal love of trains among children and there aren't many more natural holiday pairings than a toy train circling a Christmas tree.
However, train sets have come and gone, and there will always be some version available in the LEGO product line. The same can not be said for the colossal, truly epic set that is 10188 Death Star! If I were a betting man (and I am), this is the last holiday season for the Death Star. Even if that ends up not being the case, whomever gets this due to its selection here can thank me for the extra length of ownership!
Spanning four levels are 14 rooms which depict memorable scenes from the Star Wars movies. Each room is chock full of action elements for the use of the 24(!) included minifigures. The round nature of the model is conducive to multiple children playing at the same time, which should further add to the interaction with the set.
The set is available for purchase at all the usual places. At $399.99, it is tied as the most expensive of any current set, but it's worth every penny. Of course, you don't have to only trust my word, you can reference the flawless ratings by fellow Brickset users here.
For adults: 10225: R2-D2 ($179.99, £149.99)
I apologize if you're choosing a gift for someone that simply has no interest in Star Wars, but there was only a slight moment of deliberation in choosing 10225 R2-D2 over the other sets in this price range. I gave some consideration to 10228 Haunted House or 8043 Excavator, but ultimately it came down to many of the same reasons atkinsar listed when choosing the VW Bus: R2-D2 is iconic, accessible by the general public, and the set is a great build and charming display piece.
If it's not clear what I mean when I say accessible, I can best explain it by the following: if I brought it into work to display at my desk, everyone would recognize what it is, what it was made out of, and want to take a closer look. It would undoubtedly be seen as cool and stir up conversation, which is precisely what a great model should do.
There have been character models given the UCS Star Wars treatment in the past, but IMO they left something to be desired. The LEGO designers absolutely got this incarnation of R2D2 right and there is very little I could think of to improve the model.
Happy holidays and Play Well!
OK, Bricksetters – it’s survey time again… The LEGO Community Team has asked for our help in bringing a new survey to your attention. This one’s quite short and sweet, taking only a few minutes to complete, and focusing amongst other things on your LEGO online habits.
Please click on the link below, and thanks on behalf of the LEGO company for your participation.
Day 5 of our Gift Guide, and I'll be taking a look at sets in the $100-$150 price bracket. Despite the strain most of us feel on our wallets, especially around this time of year, LEGO don't actually release that many sets in this price bracket so the choice is more limited. Any child or adult can consider themselves very lucky to find a set that costs this much under the tree.
We are firmly in main present territory here, and possibly even Christmas and birthday territory! As an aside, the trick to negotiating a good Christmas and birthday deal with your parents is to ensure that there is a large enough gap between Christmas and said birthday so that they've forgotten all about the deal by the time your birthday comes around :-)
So without further ado:
For Children: 9450: Epic Dragon Battle (US$120, £90)
In my opinion. there isn't much competition in this price range for children. 9474 - Battle of Helm's Deep, whilst a good set is I think more appealing to adults than children, and some of the larger Star Wars sets just don't deliver on value for money (e.g. 9515 - Malevolence and 9516 - Jabba's Palace).
For my money, the choice is an obvious one and that's Epic Dragon Battle. I think we're all aware what a great success the Ninjago theme has been, a lackluster (but well received by kids) first wave was followed by some great sets in the second wave that were well received by many.
This set depicts the final battle between the Great Devourer and the Ultra Dragon that takes place at the end of season 2 of the cartoon series. The Ultra Dragon is actually a combination of the Fire, Earth, Ice and Lightning dragons that were released in wave one and were easily the stand-out sets from that wave. For those that haven't seen the cartoon, this set is actually a massive spoiler to what takes place the final showdown of season 2!
Plenty of minifigs are backed up with the huge snake, a massive dragon and a smaller building that will provide hours of fun for a child whilst they recreate the final showdown. I do have some concerns over how the dragon will stand up to vigorous play, if it's anything like my son's Earth Defence Dragon, it may require a fair bit of patching up after each session, but that aside, I have little hesitation in recommending this set for children. This set has seen significant discounts in the UK, including at Amazon where it is currently available for £49 which is a stone cold bargain. In contrast, it is currently out of stock at LEGO Shop@Home in the US, but it can still be ordered and has an outside chance of being delivered before Christmas.
My choice for adults was actually my set of the year for 2011. I loved it when I first saw it, I loved it when I built it, and I still love it every time I walk past it. I'm fairly certain this set will remain on display in my house until the day I die.
The VW T1 Camper Van's only real competition in this price bracket came from the 10223 - Kingdoms Joust which lost points because it really sits somewhere between a play set and a display piece and doesn't quite nail either in my opinion.
The T1 Camper Van on the other hand is firmly in the display piece category and what a display it makes. It has great crossover appeal outside of the normal AFOL channels, a fact brought home to me just yesterday when a large LEGO box turned up in the office and shockingly, it wasn't for me! A work colleague had bought it for his son's Christmas present and I know for a fact he isn't into LEGO (yet!).
What really sets the T1 apart for me is the interior detailing, it's almost like building one of the modulars, you get all the fun little features of the inside of a building, but it's contained within one of the most iconic and classic vehicles that has ever graced our roads.
This set is a LEGO Exclusive and is currently available at LEGO Shop@Home in the US for immediate dispatch. In the UK it is on back order until the 28th Dec but you can still order and they will fulfill the order as soon as they can.
As if I need to ask, but let me know if I chose wisely or poorly in the comments, what would you have chosen in this price bracket?
Day 4 of our Gift Guide, and I'll be considering sets in the $50-$100 price bracket. Sets of this price are likely to be a childs's main present from parents or grandparents, so they need a lot of 'bang for their buck' in terms of playability.
The price range is also likely to appeal to AFOL spouses that want to buy their other half a LEGO gift, but without going overboard. So with these scenarios in mind, here are my choices today...
For Children: 4440: Forest Police Station (US$80, £60)
Having considered them all, in the end I chose the forest police station. 'Police' is an evergreen LEGO theme that, based on the fact that hardly a year goes by without a new police station of some sort, must be very popular. The forest theme added an interesting twist to this year's police sets and instead of more-of-the-same, we got something quite different and appealing.
There's no shortage of playability in this set as I noted in my review earlier in the year. It's packed with vehicles, minifigs and even a bear. It's likely to be popular with boys and girls and will provide hours of play.
For adults: 79003: An Unexpected Gathering ($70, £60)
You will already know from my recent review that I consider this to be the one of the best sets ever, so it should come as no surprise that it's my choice for a gift for adults.
Whatever type of AFOL you're buying for, they will appreciate this set: MOC-ers will find a great selection of pieces, minifig collectors will adore the six figures, and those that simply enjoy building a well designed set and proudly displaying it afterwards, will love it.
It's a no-brainer, nothing comes close. But, if you think I've made the wrong choice, take a look at the list and let us know in the comments what you'd have chosen.
Tomorrow, atkinsar, will look at $100-$150 price range, so come back again to find out what he has chosen.
'Twas 3 weeks before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a polybag mouse. :o)
At first glance, I imagined that I would be overwhelmed with potential candidate sets in the $25 - $50 price range. However, even with 80+ sets from which to choose, I found myself continually peeking both higher (Attack on Weathertop 9472) and lower (Garbage Truck 4432).
That being said, it seems this is the "Retailer Exclusive" range as I counted at least a dozen in the lot, some of which are "must haves" for the avid collector. And it is from these 12 finalists that I have made my choice.
For Adults: 6857 The Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape ($39.99 / £39.99)
For a licensed set, the price is very reasonable so long as you're not shopping at Toys R Us. The price/piece ratio is good. The set comes with five iconic minifigures along with a plethora of interesting and rare pieces. The track pieces alone had me desperate to get this set, if not multiples of this set.
Besides the great pieces, figures and price, this set offers a ton of playability. Additionally, it stands well on its own as a display piece for those of us "big kids" who like to keep a set in the office for those quiet times at work. :o)
Whether you're shopping for your nephew or simply nudging the spouse, this is one set you don't want to miss.
The Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape is currently available from LEGO shop@home.
For children: 6141 My First Farm ($24.99, £19.99)
As a first time father, I have quickly been introduced to (and fallen in love with) Duplo. Throw in our affinity for animals and it was an inevitability that my son would have this farm. :o)
I'm not yet a Duplo afficionado, but I've so far been very pleased with the price points, especially this one. Besides the four animals and great fence pieces, you get a farmer, tractor and a couple of swivel doors/windows. Apparently, the set also came with several flowers but we mostly leave those be. ;o)
One of the great things about this set is the variety of play possibilities. Some days, it's all about stacking as many animals as possible on the car platform. Other days, we're building space ships with fence post wings and swivel door/window cockpits for the pig pilot. As much as we're looking forward to getting the Zoo and Photo Safari, we're honestly never bored with this set.
One thing to keep in mind though, is that once you go Duplo, there's no going back. Like Cheetos and discount Blu Rays, you can't stop at just one. In the wise words of Yoda, "Farm leads to Panda, Panda leads to Hangar and Hangar leads to Safari-ing." The farm set is the path to the Duplo side. ;o)
My First Farm is currently available from LEGO shop@home.
What would you have chosen from this list?
If you're looking for something to occupy the kids (or yourself) over Christmas, have a go at building this Santa and fireplace model that was available in a Toys R Us 'Make and Take' event in Australia over the weekend.
Jason, who attended his local branch, has kindly scanned the instructions which you can download as a PDF. A parts list is provided and all the parts are common so you'll probably already have them in your collection.
Arkham Asylum was revealed 'in the flesh' at an event in Portugal on Saturday. Alexolim, who built it for the display, has posted a great pictorial review over at comunidade0937.com.
It sounds like it's another 'must have' purchase for the New Year...
He has a complete box, and it appears that there are only two complete sets in a box which he seems to think is a good thing. Personally I think it's terrible. I like to buy a box, keep two sets and sell on another. It looks as if this won't be possible this time.
The box contents are, apparently, as follows:
2: Waiters, Hollywood starlets, roller derby girls, fortune tellers, forest maidens, plumbers
4: Roman emperors, Chicken suit guys, Judges, Mermaids, Battle mechs, Mr Good/evil
6: Cyclops, Knights, Policemen, Alien avengers
So, completing three sets will be difficult
There's no doubting that series 9 is an excellent set of figures, but with the news that distribution has been messed with, maybe it's time to stop buying them. What do you think?
In the second part of our gift guide, I'm going to pick two sets in the $10-$25 price range, the sort of thing you might buy a nephew, or maybe even a not-quite-an-AFOL friend who needs a bit of encouragement to become one!
So I've picked a set for my imaginary nephew and one for my imaginary 'on the brink of becoming an AFOL' friend.
For children: 9441: Kai’s Blade Cycle ($14.99 / £12.99)
At first I didn't 'get' many of the sets but once I'd seen the cartoon it all clicked and I found myself wanting, and buying, most of them. If it had that effect on me, I reckon boys in the target age group will be very pleased to receive this set.
A few of the sets don't get much air-time in the cartoon but the four vehicles that the Ninjas morph into for transportation certainly do, and Kai's motorbike is one of the coolest (along with Cole's 4-wheeler).
It's a sleek looking thing, full of interesting angles, and a neat 'big blade attack function' activated by pressing down just in front of the handlebars.
Rattla and his Hypnobrai staff in a 'shrine' complete the set to give Kai a serpentine opponent and provide hours of play opportunities.
For adults: 4434 Dump Truck ($19.99, £14.99)
There are so many excellent sets in this price range (this BrickList shows them all) so it was very difficult to choose one set that would appeal to my not-quite-an-AFOL friend.
An obvious choice would have been a licensed set, of which there are plenty in this price bracket, but in the end I chose this City truck.
Licensed sets are great, but they are expensive for what you get in terms of number of parts, and are not necessarily the best introduction to LEGO due to their specialised nature.
This truck, on the other hand, is one of the best City sets to have been released in recent years and showcases everything that's good about LEGO: realistic; recognisable to everyone; lots of parts (222); interesting and not too difficult to build; fun to play with and great to look at and display. For that reason I think my NAFOL will soon become a AFOL once he's built this...
What would you have chosen from this list?
Perhaps the only thing more joyous than receiving LEGO during the holidays is gifting it!With that in mind, we've compiled the Brickset Holiday Gift Guide, highlighting our picks for the best offerings from LEGO to help repair your reputation from the ugly sweater you gave last year.We've chosen various price points to suit your gift giving needs, from stocking stuffers to sets so large you'll run out of wrapping paper! Within each price segment, we'll identify two sets: one appropriate for children, and one appropriate for children-at-heart.
"Stocking Stuffers": $10 and underFor Children: 3936 Emma's Fashion Design StudioIf you're operating under the misguided notion that a small set can't be big on fun, Emma's Fashion Design Studio will set the record straight.Though it has just 79 pieces, the majority are in rarer pastel colors and the unique elements such as the laptop, camera, and printed tiles are going to be standouts in a child's burgeoning collection.Don't be surprised if this stocking stuffer steals the show from all the larger gifts under the tree.The set is currently $9.99 USD from LEGO shop@home, and to absolutely cement this pick as a winner, there's currently a promotion for a free 30101 Skateboarder Mia ($4.99 value) with this qualifying Friends purchase.For Adults: 9676 TIE Interceptor & Death StarI didn't quite know what to make of the Star Wars Planet Sets when they were first unveiled; the planets seemed gimmicky and yet another redirection of cost towards non bricks that I could do without.But if ever there was a LEGO set that could pull double duty as an awesome tree ornament, it would be this Death Star "planet"!Nearly as iconic as the Death Star is the TIE interceptor, and the included mini-model is well-executed and dare I say "cute".Completing the triumvirate is a sinister looking TIE Fighter pilot, who again, is every bit as adorable as the vehicle he commands.What better gift can you give a Star Wars fan than an instant rebel-scum-ridding kit for them to make swooshing noises through the froth of their hot cocoa on a glorious Christmas Day?Do you have other gift suggestions in this price segment? Feel free to share them with everyone in the comments section. And tune in tomorrow for our picks in the $10-$25 range!
Organiser Nannan says " We have raised over $7,000 so far and there's only 5 days left in the fundraiser. As it is Cyber Monday, it would be nice if people stopped by the store and bought most of the MOCs that were donated this year.
"The prices have been reduced to their lowest for all items in the store and we still have over 70 unique items awaiting a new home! "
So, head on over to the C4C store on BrickLink to pick up a unique LEGO model and help underprivileged children while doing so.
Many of you will have come across Rich, aka bricksan, either here at Brickset or at his own blog Brick Fanatics.
Rich has recently taken up running and has set himself a challenge, both to keep fit and to raise money for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a UK-based charity).
If you'd like to support this worthy cause and find out more about what he's planning to do, head on over to Brick Fanatics. Good luck, Rich!
(While on the subject, personally I can't run more than a mile or so before I'm puffed out, but I can do a 30 km cycle ride without breaking a sweat...)
My name is atkinsar and I collect polybags, well not just the bags (because that’d be crazy, right?!) but also the LEGO goodness contained within. There I said it, and I know I’m not alone, there are loads of you out there just like me that have embraced polybag collecting and I thought it was high time to turn the spotlight towards this niche within the LEGO hobby.
Some of you will know me from the yearly polybag Bricklists I used to create and maintain from 2008 onwards. Ever since Huw introduced the fantastic Advanced Query Builder, I have stopped doing so since it’s so easy for you to create your own lists tailored to exactly how you want them, that the time effort to maintain the Bricklists just wasn’t worthwhile any longer.
Each month I hope to explore a different aspect of polybag collecting, and alongside this I will provide mini (or maybe even micro) reviews of any interesting polybags I’ve picked up during the previous month, discuss interesting polys announced and showcase any hard to find/super rare polybags.
Whether this monthly feature takes off or not will be down to your feedback and comments, so please let me know what you think.
Last week the LEGO community team asked me to find out if there were any members in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania that were active on the online AFOL scene, or a member of a LUG in their country. So, I took a look in the member database and found there to be around 50 registered members in those countries. I took the liberty of emailing them to ask if they knew if there was a LEGO 'scene' in their country.
The replies were generally the same: "not that I know of, but I wish there was and if you find out that there is, do let me know."
Unfortunately then, there doesn't appear to be any LUGs in those countries but the will to start them looks like it's there.
So, I wondered whether posting something here so that like-minded individuals could get to know of each other's existence might be a good catalyst to get things moving. If you're up for it, post something in the comments -- there might be more AFOLs around where you live than you know! I don't know for sure, but I suspect the LEGO community team are keen to work with you for mutual benefit.
This is my latest polybag acquisition: 30059, MTT. It cost me an arm and a leg to buy on BrickLink from a seller in Japan, which is the only place it's known to be available.
Now, excluding the 7 Shell sets that will be hitting UK shores any month now, I need just 6 polys in the 30xxx number range, one of which (30036) has only been sold once in the last 6 months on BrickLink so I guess there's little chance of getting it any time soon.
It got me thinking, why do many of us go to great lengths to buy and trade polybags? Often the sets are not that great, and this one certainly isn't worth the 30p per piece I paid for it. I have my own theories but I'd be interested to hear yours.
King of the polybag collectors among Brickset staff, atkinsar, will shortly be contributing regular articles about this aspect of the hobby so look out for his debut article in the coming days.
If you're a polybag collector you've probably had trouble finding this one, unless you're in Benelux or Iran. So you'll probably be pleased to hear that it's now available packaged with a selection of three DK books. It's available in WalMart in the USA, and also from Amazon.co.uk (for about £11). The only picture of it I can find is at Penguin Books Australia.
The three books are:
- The LEGO Book: (Excerpted Edition)
- LEGO City: Emergency Services Ultimate Sticker Book
- LEGO City: Busy Workers Ultimate Sticker Book
(Thanks to bobj21 for the news)
It's not often that the picture on the instructions differs from the actual instructions, but here's a case where what was presumably an earlier colour scheme of the model is depicted, showing nearly every part in dark grey.
It certainly looks more uniform, but which do you prefer?
Thanks to psymon for bringing this to my attention.
Aanchir rightly suggests that I should watch the cartoons to remedy that. Unfortunately they were never shown on UK TV because the rules here state that kids' TV programmes can't be about pre-existing toys. (the cartoon must come first before the toys, not the other way round as is the case with these: they are, after all, just long adverts).
They are available to view at ninjago.LEGO.com, but in Flash format which of course means they can't be viewed on an Apple device. There are some episodes on YouTube but the ones I found have been ripped from TV and have massive channel logos etc. on them which is unacceptable to me.
It's not much fun sitting in front of a PC, even a laptop, watching videos, so I looked round for a technical solution. There is one, that works well, but it will cost you a few bucks. I figured others might be interested in how to do it, so I'm documenting it here for you. Here goes...
- Fire up your FireFox browser and download and install FLV Movies downloader
- Go to the UK Ninago site (the 2012 cartoons are not listed on the US one for some reason)
- Start to play the first few seconds of each of the 13 episodes. This is enough for the downloader to detect their URL
- On FireFox's menu: Tools | Download flv | Show detected movies. You should see a list of at least the 13 episodes with names like E0110_1080p_480x270.f4v (which is episode 10)
- Click on each one in turn and click on the Download file button on the right
- All 13 movies will be downloaded to your PC. They are about 120Mb each.
Now, on your iDevice, download GoodPlayer video player, which'll cost you £1.99 or $2.99. There may well be free ones around that will work, but one great thing about this one is that you can transfer the video files to it over wifi without needing to faff about with iTunes.
So, I renamed the downloaded videos to something consistent and copied them via wifi to my iPad and I'm now all set to enjoy them and become enlightened :-)
I hope you found that useful. Our normal LEGO news service will be resumed as soon as possible...
Creations for Charity is an annual fundraising event to give new and official LEGO sets to underprivileged children during the holidays, which is organised by top MOCer Nannan.
The charity raises money by selling custom LEGO creations made by LEGO builders from all over the world.
Since 2009, they have raised about $17,000 and donated over 1,100 brand new LEGO sets to organisations like Toys for Tots, Make-A-Wish, and children's hospitals across multiple cities in the US.
This year, they are expanding their donations to two countries outside the US: Chile and Croatia, and they need a lot more funds to to make this happen.
So how can you help?
- Buy custom models and other donated items in the CfC BrickLink store
- Donate a model to be sold there
- If there's nothing there that takes your fancy, you can commission a model to be made just for you, or simply donate the sum of your choosing at Indiego. There are a number of incentives available, some of which are very cool indeed.
Find out more in the forum, or head on over to the official CfC site. This is a very worthy cause and I encourage you to, in Nannan's words, "Join the crowd and take part in the LEGO community's annual tradition of giving back!"
There are 10,000 available and one can be yours for just £2.49, from here. Offer is only available to UK residents, unfortunately.
A promotional code is needed to be able to place an order, which is presumably printed in the magazine. I'm not going to publish it here -- it would be wrong of me to undermine the offer --however less scrupulous sites have done so, so head on over to this one to find out what it is.
Thanks to Lunchie for the news.
Gaming news site GamerKitten has teamed up with Bricktrader (run by Brickset member TyoSolo) and is running a competition with LotR sets and video games up for grabs. All you have to do is make a 2 minute movie using LEGO that depicts a scene from a video game.
Head on over to GamerKitten to find out more...
Posted on behalf of LEGO's community team:
You are invited to take part in the most exciting competition in LEGO Technic history!
Design a special top for our new 9398 4x4 Crawler!
You can do it!
New to LEGO Technic? Or a seasoned veteran builder with a basement full of elements? Not important. We’ve got the chassis, so if you have a great idea for an awesome design to go with it, don’t let anything hold you back!
Upload a picture of your design to the LEGO Technic Co-Creations Gallery.
You can draw a model, use paper, sticks and glue, LEGO, or something completely different.
If you win, you can call yourself an honorary LEGO Technic Designer! We help you get the complete Technic design and building experience perfect. And the best part? We produce 20,000 of your unique model as exclusive collectibles!
You can find all the details on how to enter, tips and inspiration, and pictures of the chassis you need to use on lego.com/technic .
The competition is open until midnight, December 31, 2012. But hurry -- you need time to get enough votes to make the top 100 and be considered for the final!
We can’t wait to see your creations! -- The LEGO Technic design team.
Now that it's out 'in the wild', a couple of other reviews have surfaced that will help your buying decision:
- Ace Kim has posted a nice pictorial review at FBTB, with some 90-odd images on flickr. I'm not sure about the curtains, but it sounds as if he has a good excuse :-)
- James over at Star Wars news site Jedi News has also just published a lengthy pictorial review
Between the two you should be able to determine if it's the set for you. The reviews are actually mixed: Ace's review as an experienced LEGO builder and owner (I suspect) of most SW sets, finds flaws in its design and build, whereas the Jedi News review is more positive, perhaps because to the reviewer, all LEGO Star Wars is cool regardless of any minor niggles. Read them both and make up your own mind.
Do you have it? What do you think of it?
I'm still undecided whether to buy it or not. I don't usually buy the large UCS models because (a) I find I can't be bothered to build the ones I do have, and (b) what do you do with them once they are built, other than let them gather dust??
The LEGO Inside Tour dates for 2013 were announced at midday (London time) today, and registration is now open.
The dates are as follows:
- May 29th – 31st
- June 12th – 14th
- June 19th – 21st
It's an expensive event, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience that shouldn't be missed. If you're thinking of going you should register for a place right away: there are only 25 places on each tour and they sell out quickly.
The cost is 13000 DKK which is approximately £1300 / US$2400 / €1700.
The 'expanded and fully revised' version of Dorling Kindersley's The LEGO Book is out now and I've just received mine from Amazon.
The original was published in 2009 and I reviewed it here. This new edition is 50 pages longer than the original and is now 256 pages in total.
A lot has happened in the LEGO world since 2009 and the book has been updated to reflect this. The 50 new pages cover topics that didn't exist when the first edition was published (HERO Factory, LEGO Games, Ninjago, Alien Conquest, Friends etc.) and all other relevant pages have been updated to include content from the last 4 years.
It looks as if all content in the first edition is included in this one, although due to significant reorganisation in some places I can't be 100% sure.
The book is up to date and covers all themes that have been released the second half of this year (LotR, Monster Fighters) but not The Hobbit, unfortunately :-)
The original edition was packaged and sold with a book about minifigs, Standing Small. That's no longer included but I wouldn't be at all surprised if we saw a much larger book about minifigs published in the near future.
It's a superb 'coffee-table' book that's a pleasure to dip into when you have a spare moment. If you buy just one LEGO book, make it this one. Even if you have the first edition there is enough new content in it to make it a worthwhile purchase.
Remember the charity raffle that Kevbags organised a few weeks ago? Thanks to the generosity of Brickset users, a grand total of £300 was raised which Kev used to buy LEGO for his local hospital's children's cancer ward.
He took it there today and this picture shows five year old Rohan, currently suffering with pneumonia, with Karen Foster, a Hospital Play Specialist.
"The LEGO will provide hours of fun for the older children who have to stay in hospital. As well as bringing children together socially in small groups this will benefit children who have to stay in their rooms." said Karen. "We would like to say a big thank you to all who have donated to provide us with the LEGO and bringing hours of fun to the children."
Kev added "Rohan, who can't leave his room at the moment, decided to keep hold of The Batcave to build this afternoon..."
You can read more in the forum, including the list of sets Kev bought -- quite a haul by the looks of things!
So, a big thank you to everyone who contributed, and especially to Kev for organising it. We will have to do it again!
The latest AFOL survey is now live and you're invited to complete it, before 5th October.
This one seems to be focused on your use of social media and AFOL sites, so be sure to indicate how much you use (and love :-) ) Brickset.
The Hungarian 'Monobrand' store opened today in Budapest. Brickset user maques arrived 1/2 hour after opening to find it packed out, with hundreds queued outside.
It appears that this is a franchise operation and not run directly by LEGO Brand Retail. However as you can see, it looks just like any other brand store with the PaB wall at the back.
Were you there too? Tell us in the comments what you think of this new store.
It's located in Nusajaya, Iskandar, Malaysia and is 20 minutes' drive from the Senai International Airport in Johor. It features 40 rides and attractions, so says Shuen, who's been to a preview event and will be there again tomorrow.
I remember going to the LEGO Club preview weekend at LEGOLAND Windsor in March 1996. The first year of opening is always the best time to visit a LEGOLAND park, before the models have had a chance to fade and weather, so if you get the opportunity to visit, do so!
It saddens me that much of the miniland models at Windsor are the original 1996 ones and they are in a right state. It's a shame that Merlin doesn't invest in their upkeep rather than opening attractions here, there and everywhere. I guess doing so is hard to justify in terms of return on investment. It's not likely to attract more visitors, is it?
If you didn't manage to get to a brand store opening event but fancy your own Brand Store model (which I reviewed a while ago), you will want to enter the raffle that kevbags is running in the forum:
"I've been lucky enough to visit both the Manchester and Sheffield Grand Openings and therefore I have two store models. I have had requests from friends and strangers about if my spare is available for trade. I couldn't think of a fair way to offer it to one person and I'm not comfortable selling something I picked up for nothing.
"So after getting the go-ahead from Brickset management I'm starting a raffle here with the one and only prize being a 3300003. All proceeds will be used to buy LEGO which will be donated and built by children on the cancer ward at my local hospital."
It's for a very worthy cause so I encourage you to buy a ticket (£1 via PayPal) and support this great initiative. Find out more in the forum.
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)
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!
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!
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.
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)
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).
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)
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!
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.
Personally I thought it was pretty good -- if a little quirky -- but why they dug out Paul McCartney to sing some dreary 1960's song at the end is a mystery, it spoiled the whole event, IMO. They should have ended with the lighting of the flame, which was spectacular.
Anyway, to keep this more or less on topic, James Sutton, who has created many instructions for us in the past (CubeDudes etc.), has built an MOC of the Olympic rings and he's made the instructions available exclusively to Brickset readers.
So, if you get bored between the women's beach volleyball events, download them and build some for yourself...
An article in this month's Toy News trade magazine states that Friends is such a success that LEGO can't keep up with demand. Apparently, it sold 'twice as much as anticipated' when it was launched and is now 'bigger than Sylvanian Families'.
I guess this means we won't see the sets deeply discounted any time soon, and that the summer sets will be in short supply during the run-up to Christmas. So, if you have daughters that you need to buy them for, it'll probably be as well to do so now.
LEGO UK MD Drew Brazer states that they will not be saturating the marketplace in the short term to solve the problem but that "[Friends] will be with us for years and decades to come".
The trade magazine doesn't usually contain much worth reporting here but this month there are several interesting articles and statistics related to LEGO:
- LEGO minifigures are at the top of the chart for UK retails sales this year, both by volume and value of sales, beating Moshi Monsters, Hot Wheels, Match Attax and other pocket-money toys.
- A survey of 500 children commissioned by the magazine revealed that 92% have played with LEGO compared to just 58% who have played with with M???B???s. They probably didn't need a survey to find that out, did they...
- The UK construction toy market was valued at £280 million in 2011, a growth of 12% over 2010. I think we can conclude LEGO take the lion's share of that based on the previous statistic.
The August edition isn't available online yet but it should be soon. Keep a look out for the digital edition of the magazine if you want to find out more.
So I'm back from my travels and, finally, the weather has improved significantly and it looks as if the UK will have a summer after all. For those that don't know, the jet stream has been at a much lower latitude than normal and as a result the UK has had virtually constant rain since April. This week it's sunshine and in the mid-20s and I believe it's going to stay relatively warm for the Olympics next week.
The jet stream's position has affected the weather in many countries including two of the places I visited. Iceland was abnormally warm (20c) and sunny and the Faroes, which are normally very wet, have been suffering a drought for several months, to the extent that their traditional grass roofs have been drying out.
What has this got to do with LEGO I hear you ask? Well, I suspect one positive thing has come out of the rubbish weather: if we can't go outside to do normal summer activities we are more likely to stay in and play with LEGO or read Brickset. The site's Google Analytics figures suggest this is the case: Last May there were 41,000 visits from UK users. This May there were 80,000: nearly a 100% increase, compared to an overall increase in site traffic of around 30%.
My travels were not completely LEGO-less. In Iceland I visited a TRU Express, as mentioned before. It was surprisingly well stocked, with all the new SW sets on the shelves. Prices were not too bad either, Jabba's Palace, for example, was just £10 more than it is in the UK.
In the Faroes, which are a part of Denmark, I found a well stocked toy shop in Klaksvik, the second largest town on the islands, that, in addition to a good range of this year's sets had a large selection of LEGO-branded backpacks and other bags, which I have not seen elsewhere. I even managed to get a 8" Jan-Jun 2012 retail catalogue which is something that's virtually disappeared from UK shops.
According to Google Analytics, the site has received 3000 visits from people in Iceland and 61 from people in the Faroes this year. If that's you, please make yourself known in the comments!
I stumbled upon a toy shop with a lot of LEGO upstairs near Bryggen in Bergen, Norway. There are plenty of Norwegian visitors here so I won't bore you with details: they will know far more than I. However I will just say that I was pleased to pick up a July-December retail catalogue there, which for some reason have been virtually unheard of in the UK over the past few years.
Anyway, that's enough random rambling... if you're in the UK what are you still doing indoors reading this? Get outside and enjoy the weather while it lasts!
Here's an interesting article by Christoph Bartneck about weighing CMFs to determine their content without opening them.
A lot of scientific analysis has gone into it but it lacks a conclusion so I will draw my own: the differences are so miniscule that unless you have a highly sensitive set of scales and use them in a controlled environment you are unlikely to be able to use the method successfully...
I'm currently on vacation, which you may have noticed from the lack of news posts from me recently. However, thanks to the rest of the team, you've been kept up to date on the big stories that have emerged this week.
I'm currently in Gerainger, Norway. Three days ago I visited what might be the northernmost branch of Toys R Us, in Akureyri in Iceland. Here's a picture https://foursquare.com/view_photo?id=4ffed55de4b07827a7857bfa. It's situated just below the Arctic Circle. As with everything in Iceland, LEGO was not cheap although it wasn't overly expensive compared to say, Denmark.
It got me thinking, are there any shops that sell LEGO north of the Arctic Circle? In Canada or Alaska maybe?
The LEGO community team has published an analysis of the survey we were asked to complete in May. Here it is verbatim:
We hereby share top line, aggregated results of the LEGO Fan Survey which was conducted in May 2012.
Over 6.000 LEGO fans over the age of 13 participated in the survey. A majority of you who participated in the survey were above 18 of age with seven out of ten being between 18-44 years old. 14% of the respondents were women. When we compare this figure with previous studies, it indicates that more adult women are entering the LEGO hobby. The main occupation among you who took the survey were “computer/engineer/technical”, then “arts/design/media”, followed by “business/financial operations” and “education/training/library”. Close to half of you have a bachelor degree or more.
blueduck37 has uncovered evidence that suggests that a
Captain MarvelShazam minifig will be available at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con. From this schedule (3:00-4:00):
"Join ever-informed, fancentric WAC Podcast hosts George Feltenstein, Matthew Patterson, and DW Ferranti as they give fans a look at the upcoming DVD release of the popular 1970s series Shazam! The series’ own Billy Batson, Michael Gray, will be on hand, and an exclusive, limited-edition Shazam! LEGO figure will be awarded to a lucky number of fans in attendance."
I didn't even know what Shazam! was until I Googled it, but it appears that the central character was called Captain Marvel (but isn't any more--see the comments), pictured. Despite his name, it seems this is a DC property. Confused? I certainly am, but I suspect you'll put me right in the comments...
LEGO has confirmed, in the forum, that there 'will be exclusives' and that they will have an official presence at both San Diego and New York Comic Con this year.
Here's a round-up of news that emerged while Brickset was down:
The Team GB minifigs are now available at shop.LEGO.com in the UK. It states that "A maximum of 9 minifigures may be ordered per address, per household." however if previous experience is anything to go by when they've specified similar restrictions, it won't be enforced. (thanks to thedailybrick)
Loads of people have emailed about BuildWithChrome which will let you populate Australia and New Zealand with 32 x 32 base plates, and build virtual models on them using the Google Chrome browser. It's not something that we'd normally cover in the news but I'll mention it now to stop the emails from flooding in :)
Similarly, news has emerged that LEGO is going to try its hand at another MMOG which is surprising given the fate of their last effort. Hopefully they will take lessons learnt from the failure of Universe and make this one a success. One thing that Universe didn't do but should have, and which it sounds as if this one will, is tie it in with physical products, the collectable minifigures by the sounds of things. I guess this means they will be around for a good few years yet, then... (thanks TooMuchLego)
Given the site was down for a while yesterday and today, I will extend the competition to win a signed Dino set courtesy of ToyAddict.co.uk until Friday at midnight. If you're in the UK and haven't already entered, visit the competition page to do so now.
Finally, from now through July 8, 2012, ThePlasticBrick.com is offering Free Domestic Shipping to all orders over $49.95 in the USA. They have lots of recently added sets that are looking for collectors and playmates. Visit ThePlasticBrick.com and save on your order today.
Here's a round-up of various snippets of shopping news I've been sent this week:
- UK: City mining sets are now available at Toys R Us, and are exclusive to TRU until 21st July (thanks kez)
- UK: Smyths has the summer Star Wars sets in stock now, and I believe they have an exclusive window on them for a while, possibly until early August. (thanks various)
- UK: The new LEGO store in the Meadowhall centre, Sheffield will be situated opposite the Disney store and Body shop at No.1 Park Lane. It will be opening at the end of July. (thanks Meccanotwitch)
- AUS: New Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings, Cars 2 and Creator sets have arrived in Mr Toys/Toyworld, Brisbane, Queensland (thanks Targetonmyback)
Finally, Amazon.fr and Amazon.es have the summer Star Wars sets listed now, and Amazon.de lists them but states they'll be available at the beginning of August. They are very cheap at Amazon.es, who will ship them for a very reasonable price (about €10 for any size of order) to anywhere in the EU, so it is currently the best place to buy them wherever you are in Europe. Here are some examples:
Yes, Jabba's Palace really is just €99, which is the equivalent of about £80, or £40 cheaper than it will be in the UK when available. Get your order in now!
Update: unfortunately, the 'Brickset effect' has caused Amazon to sell out so the prices have gone up due to the stock coming from 3rd-party sellers now.
Answer just one simple question on the competition page to enter. The competition is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Wednesday.
Answer just one simple question on the competition page to enter. The competition is open to UK residents only.
Translucent bricks and plates are nothing new: it's been an intermittent problem for several years, in particular white plates, some of which look translucent when held up to the light. The reason for it, apparently, is that insufficient dye is introduced as a cost-cutting measure.
However, it looks as things have taken a turn for the worse. Chris McVeigh (Powerpig) sent me this picture and writes "I just picked up Monster Fighters 9466 (Crazy Scientist and his Monster), which I was excited about because of the new/rare parts in medium blue.
"Well, that excitement was short-lived. Upon opening the set I discovered that almost all of the medium blue bricks were of poor quality.
"The bricks seem to weigh less, have more sheen, are much less opaque, and the colour is slightly warmer than standard medium blue. I suspect these bricks were made in China. It's very, very disappointing, and I can only hope this is a one-off, and not the start of a new trend.
"As far as I can tell, the only medium blue bricks in the set that are of standard quality are the 1x2x2 slopes. Everything else is the poorer plastic."
Now I don't have this set to see for myself, but if you do, did you notice this problem? Does it worry you?
Update: This has proven to be a hot, emotive, topic! Clearly the quality of LEGO is something we are all passionate about.
An unofficial LEGO spokesman has explained in the comments why the bricks may look like this: "Current 2x4 bricks are thinner walled then those made about 5 years ago, this led to more consistent clutch power and in natural light they are supposed to look the same, but of course if you back light them they will be more transparent - in any colour. I'd like to know if the 1x2 or 2x2 had similar issues. Either way if you are not happy, call consumer services. One thing though - not one of these is made in China."
A couple of news stories caught my eye in my Google News 'LEGO' alerts this morning:
- The Independent has an excellent article about the current profitability of the company entitled We just click: How Lego keeps building on its success. You will be familiar with much of what is said, about how the company was losing its way in the mid-2000s and had to refocus to survive, but something that I don't think I have seen written anywhere before is that 'Adults made up nearly 5 per cent of Lego's customers last year, a number that is increasing annually' (here's a link to the easier to read print version)
- The other one that caught my eye is M**a Brands to battle with Lego in construction toy aisle with new products. It seems the Canadian copy-cat company is bringing out a range of construction sets for girls next year, with a Barbie license. Their CEO says "If we have the right content, whether they're interested in Lego or an action figure or a vehicle, we think they're going to choose M**a B***s." Yeah, right...
The last LEGO Inside Tour ended yesterday, so I have reinstated the photo of the set attendees were given, 4000012. Please, no complaints this time!
Since then LEGO has continued to up its game, and we've had more excellent figures, including the Elite Clone Trooper in this year's battle pack.
Now, with the release of 9496 Desert Skiff, LEGO has improved Boba, as you can see by comparing the new Boba with the old version, right. The helmet and torso are identical, as far as I can tell, but the main criticism of the old one -- that the legs weren't printed -- has been addressed. His blaster looks more convincing too.
Surely then, this has to be the best minifig ever? Can they get any better?
I think I'll crack open 9499 Gungan Sub next to see if Queen Amidala, who must take the prize for the most anticipated fig ever, surpasses it...
The location of a second brand store to open in the UK this year can now be revealed: It will be in the Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield.
There are a number of job vacancies listed at the LEGO recruitment site.
We've heard rumours there may be another two coming to the UK before the end of the year, too...
(thanks to martyn for posting the news in the forum)
Update: There will also be a new store opening in Essen, Germany this year, too. The manager's job vacancy is here. (thanks Eiffelturm)
LEGO is looking for a graphic designer and has asked us to post this:
Do you have a keen interest in the LEGO Group’s products, toys and cartoons? And would you like to be part of the team responsible for developing the graphics on our models, minifigures, decorations and labels from start to finish?
If so, then the Graphic Designer position in Billund, Denmark is probably what you are looking for. Check out LEGO.com and if you are interested then feel free to apply as soon as possible.
Good luck if you apply!
If true, it's a real shame as I was looking forward to opening three windows a day in December!
We've teamed up with LEGOLAND Discovery Centres (or Centers if you're in the USA!) to bring you an opportunity to win a family ticket to either LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Manchester, UK, or LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Chicago, IL.
All you have to do is answer a simple multiple choice question on the competition entry page.
The competition is open to residents of the USA and UK only. Entrants in the USA will be entered into the competion for tickets to Chicago and entrants in the UK will be entered into the competition for tickets to Manchester. Please only enter if you are able to get to Chicago or Manchester as travel, accomodation etc. is not included.
One of them will be the first in Canada, in Toronto, at Vaughan Mills. More information is available via Google News.
The other is in Yonkers, New York at Ridge Hill - just outside of New York City. Again, find out more at Google News.
These two new LEGOLAND Discovery Centers will join existing North American LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City.
(thanks to alicialego and jackmap for the news)
I received mine today. It was a bit of struggle knowing what to buy at full price in order to get it (I went for SpongeBob 3818 in the end) but I think it was worth it. It's bound to be sought after in future and pricey on the secondary market, and of course I need it for the upcoming Super Heroes minifig gallery :-)
I should apologise for the lack of news and updates this week: after 6 weeks of cold and rain, the UK is having something of a heatwave at the moment (temperature jumped from 14c last week to 28c today) so I've been making the most of it instead of working on the site.
I still have pictorial reviews of Shelob Attacks and Mines of Moria to do, and I hope to get them posted over the next few days. I will then do a LotR minifig gallery before I return the sets to their owners.
I'm also putting the finishing touches on an exciting new feature, which you may have read about in the forum, so look out for that over the next week or so -- once it's cooled down a bit!
Anyway, to get back on topic: if you want a Hulk you have until next Thursday to get your order in at shop.LEGO.com. Click on the banner above to do so and to find out more.
Bricks for Good (www.bricksforgood.org) is a brand new charity fundraising feature of GlobalGiving (www.globalgiving.org). Through Bricks for Good, donors receive special limited edition building sets containing LEGO elements in exchange for donations to select charitable projects. There are three sets available (build a school, plant a tree, build a well), each corresponding to a set of three GlobalGiving projects that receives the donation.
When you make a donation you can get a set to build a well, school, or tree using LEGO elements and we'll use your donation to support projects that actually dig wells, build schools, or plant trees in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. To receive a custom set, donations of $50, $100, or $150 are required; shipping costs are included (US locations only).
How Bricks for Good Works
GlobalGiving has designed three custom brick sets to allow users to build a well, a school, and a tree. The brick sets are a free thank-you gift in return for a donation to the Bricks for Good Fund. Based on your selection, GlobalGiving will disburse your donation to several top-performing projects in Africa, Latin America, and Asia that are focused on providing clean water, expanding basic education, and promoting reforestation.
About the sets
The sets were designed by Justin Rupp, an employee of GlobalGiving, AFOL, and member of WamaLTC. Each set has been designed to contain techniques, elements and opportunities for play that will appeal to both adults and children. Each Bricks for Good set includes all of the pieces required to build each set and step-by-step instructions to assemble the set. All of the parts in the sets are official LEGO elements, with the exception of one custom set of stickers in the well set.
About GlobalGiving Foundation
GlobalGiving is a fundraising platform that gives social entrepreneurs and nonprofits anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities. Since 2002, GlobalGiving has raised nearly $66 million from 267,000 donors who have supported more than 5,500 projects around the globe. Find out more at www.globalgiving.org.
It sounds like a great idea, and a worthy cause, so if you can please support this initiative by a fellow AFOL.
Here's today's polybag set free with The Sun newspaper in the UK, 30161 Batmobile.
There's no minifig, but as a result there are a lot of pieces, including some useful and rare ones (the 2x4 curved slope on the front).
WHS is always worse on the Sundays of these offers because a lot of people can get into town for the 10am opening time. I was there about 10:05 and there was a queue about 20 deep outside the shop. I'm not sure why because I went in and took my papers to the self-checkouts, which for some reason nobody was using. The attendant gave me my sets when he saw I had some Suns and was out again in 5 mins.
When collecting yours today, please be considerate to others and don't take more than you need: leave some for the kids who pitch up at WHS this afternoon...
Here is today's free set from The Sun, 30160, Jet-ski. I hope you've all been down to your local WHS to pick up, er, one of them, while leaving plenty for everyone else...
I was at my local branch at 08:50 and there was a brisk trade in them already. I even witnessed grannies, who were obviously not eBay or BrickLink sellers, walking out with handfuls. Luckily the shop had something like 8 cases of them so I suspect they will have lasted until at least 11am :-)
As you may have noticed, Batman is sporting a new mask: the different ears are clear in this picture when compared to the blue one from 6857. It's slightly surprising that LEGO has made such a small cosmetic change, given they need an expensive new mould to do so.
Tomorrow's model, 30161 Batmobile, has not been found in the wild anywhere yet so be sure not to miss it! WHS open at 10am!
I do now have my copy and it's loaded onto my iPad. I've been working my way through it and when I think I've read enough to write a review I will do so. There is, however a lot to read at over 2000 pages!
To give you an idea of the content, as well as the depth of Gary's research, he has made another chapter available for free donwload exclusively for Brickset readers. This time it's chapter 48, OLD PRINTED & PAINTED LEGO ELEMENTS (1955-1986) which is an extremely specialised area and as you will see there is a stunning amout of detail and some excellent pictures of rare elements included in it.
The guide contains 73 chapters that are all as detailed and as well illustrated as this. It's an essential purchase for everyone interested in LEGO history. If you haven't already, I recommend that you go and buy a copy.
LEGO has been in touch to ask us to remind any Bricksetters who haven't yet completed the latest LEGO survey to please do so before the May 17th deadline. The survey is more comprehensive and wide-ranging than usual, and the company is very keen to get as many responses as possible from the fan community.
If you're aged 13 or over and have a few spare minutes, please click the relevant link below. As previously stated, LEGO have promised to share the main survey findings once they have analyzed the data, and I’ll post the results here when I get them.
Thanks again !
The show, which welcomed 9,500 people over the bank holiday weekend (5 – 7 May), enlisted the aid of visitors to the show, and a few celebrity friends, to help build the 143.91m2 image, which contained 660,000 LEGO bricks.
In keeping with the sporting fever that is gripping the UK during 2012, the mosaic’s image showcased sports related LEGO minifigures from some of LEGO’s series of collectable minifigures.
In total more than 2,000 squares were completed at the show, with lots of visitors sharing their mosaic squares on Twitter, delighted to have been part of a world record.
Warren Elsmore, show director, said: “We have enjoyed a fantastic weekend at the LEGO Show 2012, and breaking the world record has just topped it off. I’d like to say a big thanks to all the visitors who have helped throughout the weekend, and the celebrities who made squares prior to the show.”
Celebrities included star of Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory Wil Wheaton, comedian Peter Kay, C4 Sunday Brunch presenter Tim Lovejoy, former Olympic athlete and TV personality Iwan Thomas MBE, and the Breakfast show team at Key 103. Plus European medallist hurdler Andrew Pozzy, World Champion hurdler Dai Greene, Commonwealth Silver Medallist Eilidh Child, European Junior Champion Lawrence Clarke, and Rory Stewart OBE MP.
The record, officially entitled ‘the largest image built with interlocking plastic bricks’, previously stood at 112m2, and was made by DK Publishing House (UK) in London, UK in 2010.
The image shows Warren Elsmore and a local schoolgirl adding the last tile. So you can see the finished mosiac a little better I've corrected the perspective on the version on the right.
I had little part to play in its construction: all I did was correct a tile or two that had been done incorrectly :-)
Yesterday, LEGO contacted Ambassadors for the various LEGO user groups asking them to encourage their LUG members to complete a lengthy new online survey. The company appears to be particularly enthusiastic to maximise the number of responses this time round, so if you’re aged 13 or over then please take the time to complete it if you can. They estimate completion time to be around 20-30 minutes, and the closing date is 17th May.
LEGO have promised to share the topline findings from the survey with the Ambassadors once they have analyzed the data (approximately end of June 2012) and I’ll post the results here when I get them.
You'll find a brief message from the LEGO Community Team plus the survey itself at the links below. Thanks for helping !
BrickJournal has revealed the exclusive minifig that comes with this book. It's...
Harry Potter in a suit.
Frankly I think it's a bit boring. However the book won't be. The photography will be top-notch, up to the usual DK standards, and I know that without even seeing it because I contributed several hundred images to it :-)
The book blurb reads "Meet the minifigures from the LEGO[registered] Harry Potter' Magical World. "LEGO Harry Potter Characters of the Magical World" is an exciting character encyclopedia featuring every minifigure and creature from the LEGO Harry Potter range of toys.
"From Harry, Hagrid and the Hungarian Horntail to the first ever reversible LEGO minifigure heads and the glow-in-the-dark figures, there's an exclusive Harry Potter figure minifigure to collect.
"Each minifigure has a full-page profile, full of fascinating Harry Potter facts and never before seen photos. It's the ultimate guide for Lego and Harry Potter fans."
It's to be published on June 1st and you can pre-order at Amazon:
Gary Istok (istokg in the forum) is the world's authority on the history of LEGO and its products, as anyone who's read his posts in the forum will attest. He's just finished work on the second edition of his Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors' Guide 1949-1990s, published on DVD, and it's now available for immediate worldwide shipping from his BrickLink store for US$30.
My copy is on order so I can't fully review it yet, but I have seen some sample chapters and they are excellent. Gary has agreed to make a sample chapter available, exclusively through Brickset, so you can judge for yourself the quality of the information and images, some of which are from this site.
- Download the sample chapter, LEGO Trains 1980-91
If you have any interest in LEGO products , particularly those made during the early years of the company (which are not covered here at Brickset, yet) this is an essential purchase. Expect to see a review here when I have my copy.
 so that'll be everyone reading this, surely!
I don't normally run news stories based on rumours but this one has cropped up from a number of sources, so it's looking as if there may be some truth behind it.
It appears that LEGO is to release a series of minifigs to tie in with the London 2012 Olympics.
The story broke in the forum yesterday, and is based on information given by LEGO to several UK retailers who have then discussed it with customers.
It's said that there will be 6 figures including a judo team member, swimmer, archer, and a runner. I have no idea if these will be a UK exclusive, although it might make sense if they are, or whether they will be 'blind packs' like the collectables, but if I had to guess I'd say it's likely that they will be.
(Thanks to Redbullgivesuwind and everyone who has contributed to the thread in the forum)
We've teamed up with LEGOLAND Windsor again to bring you another exciting competition!
Up for grabs this time are eight family tickets to the park, valid until November this year.
This is your chance to take the whole family to see the Star Wars Miniland Experience for free!
To enter, simply answer the question on the competition page. The competition is, unfortunately, open to UK residents only. The closing date is midnight UK time on Easter Monday.
Up for grabs this time are eight family tickets to the park, valid until November this year.
This is your chance to take the whole family to see the Star Wars Miniland Experience for free!
To enter, simply answer the question on the competition page. The competition is, unfortunately, open to UK residents only. The closing date is midnight UK time on Easter Monday.
A short while ago I was contacted by Lluis from HispaBrick magazine about contributing an article about Brickset for the 'Pillars of the community' series. The article appears in the latest edition, issue 13, which has just been published and which can be downloaded for free from the HispaBrick website.
I have to confess that, prior to this, while I was aware of the publication, I hadn't read many of the recent issues. So to remedy this I loaded them onto my iPad 3 (on which they look stunning, BTW) and read five or so issues while on my cruise to Spain (which was appropriate given that's where it originates :-) )
Having done so, I have to say, it truly is an excellent magazine. It covers such a wide variety of topics, such as interviews with creators of great MOCs; AFOL event reviews; model instructions; in-depth technical articles about Technic, Mindstorms and LDraw; set reviews and, in this latest issue, 'A day in the life of Jørgen Vig Knudstorp' which is quite a coup!
I hesitate to say it, but in many ways it surpasses BrickJournal in the quality and depth of the material covered. To think that the whole thing is put together by a handful of volunteers and is published in Spanish and English, is quite remarkable.
I encourage you to download the latest copy then, if you haven't already, work your way through the back issues. It'll be time well spent.
When news broke yesterday that this model had hit 10,000 supporters at Cuusoo, I was on a cruise ship in Le Havre on the last day of a week's cruise to northern Spain and France. During the week I had 25Mb of data per day while in port via my phone before it started to cost silly money. I was able to skim the site and the forum but not do much else. So, yesterday's post was a bit hasty but worth mentioning given the significance of the story.
I'm now up to date on this and as you will probably have read, thanks to Simon Pegg mentioning the model on a US chat show (which you can see on YouTube), within hours the number of supporters increased by some 5000 and hit the magic 10,000.
What happens now then, I wonder? Will LEGO make it or not?
Let's consider the themes of the model for a moment: zombies, comic violence, death and just as significantly in my mind, drinking and alcohol, which aren't prominently featured in the R rated movie, but they are nevertheless what pubs are associated with.
It can be argued that many themes feature comic violence and we've certainly had zombies and the undead before and LEGO has said in its comments at Cuusoo 'that the zombie theme does put this project at the edge of what we produce, however we recognize that the LEGO Group produces other products where themes of violence and death play a significant role' so I suspect they will be able to cross this hurdle.
But what about the pub itself? Fairly innocuous to most of us, but I know from conversations with a LEGO Certified Professional that LEGO does not want to be associated with alcohol and drinking, for obvious reasons. I think that their internal discussions about whether to make the model will consider this just as much as the violence aspects.
If it doesn't pass review, what would the decision mean to the Cuusoo platform? Maybe if models never stand a chance of passing review due to being against LEGO's principles, or being associated with a licence they could never acquire, they should be removed from the site early on. What do you think?
What message would a 'no' decision send out to Cuusoo contributors and voters? Discuss here or in the forum.
(I'm back on dry land now and normal Brickset service has been resumed. I'd like to thank bluemoose, yellowcastle, LegoCoastGuard et. al. for minding the shop in my absence).
I'm away from home at the moment so I don't know the full story but I believe a TV appearance or mention has helped the model reach the required number of votes for a LEGO review. It's great news, but I wonder what LEGO's response will be given the subject matter? Check out the model at http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/7451.
I'm back home tomorrow...
Established member of the worldwide LEGO fan community Heather Braaten (HeatherLEGOgirl) is missing. From flickr:
Hi, sorry to bring such startling news but our close friend and staple of the LEGO community is missing. Her name is Heather Braaten and went by HeatherLEGOgirl here online. A couple of months ago she removed her flickr, facebook, and MOCPages profiles but now her mother has called a fellow LEGO fan this morning stating that she was missing and has been since last Tuesday. Police are on the search but her family would like to know her whereabouts any way possible. Here is a photo of her.
If anyone knows her whereabouts or knows when you contacted her last, please chime in here. And if Heather you are out there, please let us know. You have a lot of people worried about you, honey.
Any knowledge of her well being would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Lino, Dave, Stacy, and the rest of the AFOL Community.
P.S. You can contact us here via comments or Flickr mail. [This refers to flickr comments - LCG]
Our thoughts are with her family at this time, and we all hope she is found safe and well.
Christoph Bartneck, author of the Unofficial LEGO Minifigure Catalog, is organising a LEGO show in Christchurch, New Zealand:
The LEGO Annual Brick Show (LABS2012): REBUILD
The LEGO Annual Brick Show (LABS2012) will take place on July 14-15 in Christchurch. The event is sponsored by the University of Canterbury and it will take place at the Jack Mann Auditorium at 53 Solway Ave, Christchurch.
The show will exhibit amazing LEGO models for all age groups. Enthusiasts and collectors will show their designs, collections and contraptions. The theme for this year is: REBUILD. The exhibitors will include their visions of the future for Christchurch. Children will also have the opportunity to go hands on with dedicated LEGO activities. Extensive parking places are available right in front of the buliding and the show is easily accessible from there.
Find out more, and apply to exhibit, at the LUG4x2 website.
I'ma bit late with this news, but it's still worth mentioning: Preorder LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes - to receive an EXCLUSIVE Bonus Lex Luthor LEGO pack.
The offer is only good in Australia at the moment but can't imagine it'll be confined to there, so keep an eye out at your EB Games local site.
This Lex Luthor certainly looks a bit meaner than the one in 6862, Superman Vs Power Armor Lex!
While we are on the subject of super heroes, the Marvel Super Heroes microsite is now live at LEGO.com. It's a bit light on content at the moment but I'm sure will be forthcoming when the sets are released... which if you're in Europe is in about a week's time! You can pre-order them here.
(Thanks to everyone that emailed...)
One of the perks of being a LEGO Ambassador is that you get sent copies of the LEGO in- house magazine “LEGO Life” which gives some interesting insights into the company and contains nice little snippets of information.
One of the things that caught my eye in the current edition (March 2012) is a listing of the Top 10 best selling LEGO sets of 2011, and I thought Bricksetters might be interested.
Top spot goes to City Set 7498 Police Station; while AFOLs might grumble about a new Police Station appearing every couple of years, LEGO’s younger core demographic clearly doesn’t share the same reservations….
Second place goes to Star Wars Set 7965 Millennium Falcon. For the Falcon to reach second place is itself an impressive achievement given that it wasn’t even available until the Summer of 2011…. It’s one of four Star Wars sets in the top 10, reinforcing the popularity of this enduring theme. It’s also interesting to see a couple of Ninjago sets in the list, which reflects the runaway success of this new theme. You can see the full list below.
1. 7498 Police Station
2. 7965 Millennium Falcon
3. 7913 Clone Trooper Battle Pack
4. 7929 The Battle of Naboo
5. 8547 Mindstorms NXT 2.0
6. 7914 Mandalorian Battle Pack
7. 2507 Fire Temple
8. 2260 Ice Dragon Attack
9. 7288 Mobile Police Station
10. 4842 Hogwarts Castle
Note that the Top 10 listing is compiled on the basis of revenue rather than units sold, and hence the number of larger sets in the list.
(Reproduced with permission from LEGO Life editors)
ReBrick is a social media platform, hosted by LEGO where adult users can share and discuss user-
created LEGO content online. We've mentioned it before, when it was launched before Christmas, but because it deals primarily with an aspect of the hobby that we don't cover here (MOC-ing) we haven't said much about it since.
Today LEGO has released a video in which Peter Espersen, the online community lead and the man in charge of ReBrick, explains the platform and what it sets out to achieve, that I think you'll find interesting, particularly if you've never visited the site before:
Although the site's focus is very much MOCs, there's no reason why content from Brickset can't be submitted there, and I encourage you to do so. In fact there are several entries there already.
I think it's great that LEGO is providing the service, providing a 'hub' to link fan sites and expose their content to a wider audience. As Peter says in the video, there are not many companies that do this.
Have you visited the site? Do you think it provides a valuable service? Or, do you prefer to visit a site that editorially controls the MOCs that are featured, like Brothers-Brick, so as to ensure only the best are shown?
Many thanks to everyone who has voted for this model at Cuusoo!
When Eurobricks, Brickset, Toys N Bricks and other sites started promoting this model at the start of February it had just 1500 votes. Now it has over 5000 and today LEGO has posted a congratulatory message:
"Congratulations on passing this milestone of 5,000 supporters on LEGO CUUSOO for the Modular Western Town. You're halfway there!
"Over the coming weeks, veteran designer Steen Sig Andersen, the same designer who built the final Shinkai 6500 and LEGO Minecraft Micro World models, will investigate your Modular Western Town model and build our own concept. We will post the results here with our comments once that is complete.
"Best wishes as you continue on your journey to achieving 10,000 supporters on LEGO CUUSOO."
This is absolutely fantastic news, and takes it one step closer to becoming a Cuusoo model! But, it still needs about 4500 votes and that's where YOU come in. If you haven't already supported it, go and do so now! Remember, anyone 13 and over can vote. Help make it a reality!
I've posted some pictures of the hotel's reception and bar/restaurant areas on flickr to give you an idea of what it's like. Check out Dr. Sinister's photos as well, as he photographed some things that I didn't.
I won't say much about it here other than that it looked absolutely fantastic, just as good as the hotel in Billund and I'm certain that staying there with youngsters would be great fun and they'd thoroughly enjoy it.
Unfortunately my girls are 17 and 19 now so I don't think they'd be interested, but I'm sure I'll find some excuse to take the Mrs. there one day...
Make sure you check out the photos of the framed collectable minifigs. What a great idea! I might have a go at that myself.
One of my guests on Saturday, flump6523, videoed the displays and has now posted them on YouTube. Here's the first:
There are 8 more in the playlist. They should give you a good idea of how dark, how noisy and also, how cool it is!
An article has now appeared at Pocket-Lint.com and Stuart, the author and photographer, managed to get some great pictures by the looks of things, and didn't moan about the darkness, although he does note that it is dark.
Yesterday afternoon, the competition winners and Brickset staff and friends met up at the new hotel at LEGOLAND Windsor for a preview of the new Star Wars Miniland expreience at LEGOLAND Windsor. There was around 50 people in total in the party, including people from the Brickish Association, FBTB, Jedi News and Pocket-Lint.com.
The hotel warrants a news article to itself but for now I'll concentrate on the Star Wars display, which is in what used to be the Creation Centre/Racers ride building at the top of the hill, behind the Big Shop and cafe. We had a long walk from the very bottom of the park, where the hotel is, to the top of the hill but thankfully it was a warm spring afternoon so it was very pleasant and a good opportunity to talk shop with the members of the other online communities.
Unlike similar SW displays at the other LL parks, this one is totally indoors which has its advantages but also disadvantages: more on which later.
It's divided into seven 'clusters' each in a separate room which are organised almost cronologically:
- Clone Wars (out of sequence): Christophsis battle scene
- Episode 1: Naboo, City of Theed/Hangar Duel and Battle of Naboo
- Episode 2: Battle of Geonosis and the Arena
- Episode 3: Kashyyyk & Mustafar
- Episode 4: Tatooine, Mos Espa
- Episode 5: Batle of Hoth
- Episode 6: Endor
And, finally, let's not forget, the gift shop at the exit which is stocked exclusively with Star Wars merchandise.
Loitering around the displays were various troopers, assorted Jedi, and none other than Darth Vader himself!
The models are built at miniland scale, so are of course much bigger than regular minifig-scale sets. They are full of large impressive models as well as many small details to add interest, and are instantly recognisable as scenes from the movies. There are many interactive features, activated by buttons in front the displays that, when pressed, change the lighting or start something in motion like, for example, the Milennium Falcon rising out of docking bay 94.
I said earlier the display is indoors which has allowed for the use of creative lighting that, in some areas, is constantly changing. While this no doubt adds to the atmosphere it was a nuisance from a photography point of view and that brings me to my main criticism of it: it's just too dark! There are so many cool little details but half the time they are impossible to see and appreciate because of the low lighting levels. The Clone Wars one was particularly disappointing in that respect. I don't remember any of the movies being particularly dark or set at night so it's a mystery why it is so. Hoth is the only exception and even that was plunged into darkness every so often.
Photography is virtually impossible: on-camera flash just results in reflections on the shiny LEGO surfaces and ugly shadows, the ceilings are matt black, so bouncing a flash gun from them isn't possible, so I had to resort to using f1.8 at ISO3200 and still had shutter speeds of more than 1/30 sec. most of the time. A tripod no doubt would have helped but there wasn't really time to muck about with one.
However, despite that, it is very impressive and it is definitely worth a visit for anyone even remotely interested in Star Wars.
Rather than post all of the hundreds of blurry photos I took, I've chosen just a couple from each cluster that were the best I could manage under the circumstances. I think they'll be sufficient to give you a feel for what it's like and provide encouragement for you to go and see it for yourself!
Finally, I'd like to thank Justin and Zoe for organising the trip and making us all feel very welcome.
It's that time again.... LEGO is requesting your feedback to help them better understand the LEGO fan community. The survey, which you can find at the link below, is shorter than usual in preparation for a more substantial survey in March, apparently.....
Here's a round-up of news and site updates that don't really warrant separate articles:
- There's a strange entry at Amazon.cn which translates to 4207 Car Park. Mah4546 who told us about this wonders whether it's '6394 Metro Park and Service Tower re-imagined' as a result of LEGO's recent request for ideas for sets to re-release (more info in the forum). It certainly comes in a big box: 58x37cm.
- The LOTR microsite is now live at LEGO.com, featuring character bios (thanks Rockman Xtreme)
- I've updated the wallpaper repository with the latest ones at LEGO.com, including HERO Factory, Collectable minifigs series 4 and 5, and Technic 2011. It seems to me that LEGO is not issuing so many wallpapers these days. Many of the themes don't have any (e.g. Ninjago), or they haven't been updated for years (e.g. Star Wars). If you know of some I haven't added yet, please let me know.
- I've replaced nearly all the images of the Orient Expedition sets with new scans provided by WilliamH which means they are now a consistent size and quality. William sent them to me months ago, but I'd forgotten all about them until now!
Eight days ago we asked you to vote for this western-themed Cuusoo model. Nearly every other LEGO fan site did the same and almost two thousand of you voted. The model is now over 1/3rd of the way to getting 10,000 votes!
If you haven't voted yet, read on and please do so...
The Western theme from 1996/7 was incredibly popular but also very short lived. Wouldn't it be great if it were to make a return? And wouldn't it also be great if it were to consist of modular buildings that were designed to fit together just like the current modulars?
Brickset is teaming up with Eurobricks to see if we, the online LEGO community, can get it to LEGO Review status at Cuusoo by achieving 10,000 supporters. If the Minecraft community can do it for their chosen model, so can we!
All you have to do is go to the Cuusoo site and click on the big green 'support' button. If you don't already have an account there you'll need to create one but it only takes a minute or so to do.
This site gets 400,000 visitors a month, so if just 1 in every 40 of you vote for it, we'll reach 10,000 votes in no time. What are you waiting for -- VOTE NOW -- and let's see the 'Brickset effect' again in action! Remember, anyone 13 and over can vote.
Looks like the online coverage kicked-off while I was out shopping...
I'll keep this article updated with links to photos and reports as and when I'm alerted to them.
- Action Figure Insider has pictures of pretty much everything, including Monster Fighters, Star Wars, LOTR and Marvel.
- The Brick Show will be posting videos over the next few hours and days on their YouTube channel. Currently there's a teaser video of The Mines of Moria up.
- LEGO Systems Unveils 2012 Collection at American International Toy Fair, article at MarketWatch.com
- LEGO Systems Introduces Most Versatile LEGO® DUPLO® Collection Ever, article at Virtual Press Office
- Sir Steve's Guide has loads of SW pictures, including an excellent one of Queen Amidala. It's a bit difficult sorting the wheat from the chaff at that site so head on over instead to Hoth Bricks which has republished the interesting ones.
Updated 19:00 GMT:
- More LOTR images at Comic Book Movie (shame about all the stupid ads all over them...)
- Super Heroes at the same site.
- 300 images at Toy News International
The Marvel sets have been officially unveiled today at Marvel.com where they've posted pictures of four of the expected five sets. There's still no sign of the Spider-man set and details have been omitted from some of the photos (like who Capn. America is 'avenging' on his cycle).
Still, there's a lot to see and take in, so head on over to take a look then let us know if they meet your expectations.
(Thanks to everyone who emailed)
The guys over at The Brick Show snuck in a day early and grabbed some photos from the LEGO stand. However, as you can see from this picture and others on their website it looks as if LEGO is displaying prototypes and not the finished models!
In this picture we can see a white Jabba instead of the lovely olive green, printed, one seen in Germany and many of the other images show unfinished minifig protoypes.
I can only guess that LEGO hasn't sent the models shown in Germany to the US and they are instead showing earlier versions already in the country. Wwe'll have to wait to see more pictures to see if this is the case of if the real ones are hidden away somewhere.
The western theme from 1996/7 was incredibly popular but also very short lived. Wouldn't it be great if it were to make a return? And wouldn't it be great if it consisted of modular buildings that were designed to fit together like the current modulars?
Brickset is teaming up with Eurobricks to see if we, the online LEGO community, can get it to LEGO Review status at Cuusoo by achieving 10,000 supporters. If the Minecraft community can do it for their chosen model, so can we!
All you have to do is go to the Cuusoo site and click on the big green 'support' button. If you don't already have an account there you'll need to create one but it only takes a minute or so to do.
This site gets 400,000 visitors a month, so if just 1 in every 40 of you vote for it, we'll reach 10,000 in no time. What are you waiting for -- VOTE NOW -- and let's see the 'Brickset effect' in action! Remember, anyone 13 and over can vote.
We have mentioned LEGO Muji sets in the news several times before (here and here). If you don't remember, they originate from the trendy Japanese lifestyle brand Muji and consist of paper, LEGO bricks and a hole punch to make holes in the former so it can be joined with the latter.
I've always fancied seeing what they are like and, now, thanks to Brickset member iadams, I have three of the sets and the punch. Actually I've had them since October and he's been badgering me ever since to add them to the database :-)
So, I finally found time to do so today, and you can see them here. I've also added scans of the box contents inventory so you can see what's inside.
There's a bag of pre-punched paper, the LEGO bricks in a ziplock bag, an inspiration booklet and, along the top, a card printed with the shapes needed for making the animals in the booklet.
One thing is clear: to get good results you'll need a very sharp knife, a steady hand and a lot of patience.
Because it looks too good to spoil, I probably won't ever make mine so I won't know how hard it is or whether I possess the necessary skills to do a good job :-)
There'll be four more play sets, all of which are weird and in their own way, wonderful. The largest features a four-headed dragon, apparently because last year's dragons were very popular. It's predominantly white and green and when you lift it by its handle, its wings splay out. They also come with a large variety of snake-like minifigs, with new tail and head pieces in several colours.
City: The only sets being released in the summer are the mining sets, of which there are five. They looked OK, but I thought some of them were a bit juniorised, and not as good as the other 2012 City sets that have just been released. These'll be out in August.
Advent calendars: This year there will be three: Star Wars, featuring two unique minifigs, Darth Maul in Santa garb and a R2 snowman (with carrots on his body!); City, which this time is fire themed, and Friends which contains two of the girls in Christmas outfits and a host of accessories and mini-models.
Hero Factory: Didn't pay any attention...
Cars and Dino, no more sets on the way, Alien Conquest, Harry Potter and PotC 'exit' in July...
Games: A new Heroica set 'Ilrion', which seems to be water-themed, and Maya Mystica were the only ones slated for release later in the year, in August.
Creator: Three new sets, a helicopter, a pick-up truck (both so-so) and Seaside House which looks every bit as good as last year's lighthouse! It's light blue with a red roof and looks like an idyllic place to live...
Technic: Only two previously unseen sets were on show, although the catalogue shows a third. 9393 tractor was not on display but 9396 helicopter and 9398 4x4 crawler were. The helicopter is huge (60cm long), red and yellow, and features new blades whose pitch can be adjusted. It's not motorised but it can be, there's space in the body for the battery box. The 4x4 crawler is a IR-remote-control vehicle which had half-black and half-white bodywork which looked a bit odd, and odder still I suspect if you don't apply the stickers.
However, more importantly it comes with new motors and a new servo motor. The two axles were driven by separate motors which were squarer than those we've seen before, although it was difficult to see their geometry exactly. The servo motor would have been used for the steering and it also was a different shape to current PF motors. I don't get too excited about wheeled Technic models, there are too many of them, but I'll definitely be buying the Helicopter which looked to be the best Technic one ever!
Friends: I've left the best until last! There are another eight sets on the way: three more £10 ones: Mia's bedroom (she plays drums, it seems), Andrea's Bunny House, Olivia's Speedboat; Heartlake Flying Club (£15 I think) and four outdoor/horse themed ones. The horses are new, and different to those in LOTR. They are designed so the girls can ride them. They have a new saddle and holes for the attachment of rosettes, bows and so on. Their back is the same profile as the 2x2 rounded-top brick.
Three of the sets feature horses: Emma's Horse trailer (one white horse, trailer looks like a light blue version of the City one from a few years back), Heartlake stables (2 brown horses) and the largest, Summer Riding Camp (3 horses and an open-top VW-like camper van). It seems that, at the camp, Steph and Em have made new friends: Theresa and Ella!
The last set is Adventure Camper which is also similar to the old City set, but in pink and lime green -- it looks a bit of an eyesore to be honest!
So, I think that's just about it. There were no trains, no exclusives, and I didn't see series 7 and 8 figs, partly because there was a crowd of people round the display when I was there.
While there I met up with Pete Croxon, the UK correspondent for FBTB, who was going onto the LEGO stand later in the afternoon. I'm sure he will have remembered some details that I haven't so be sure to check over there for more Toy Fair news and views!
(Please excuse any typos in these reports, I'll get and correct them when I have more time...)
I won't go into a lot of detail about the set names and minifigs because we already know it from the faux-pas at Hamleys, so instead I'll tell you what I thought of them.
The three Planets sets are the same concept as those in series one. The X-Wing looks cool, the Cloud Car is orange, and not red as might have been expected, and the AT-ST is a new design, although similar to old micro-scale ones.
The Malevolence is a long sleek ship, dark blue and grey. I'm not that familiar with the ship, but I'm guessing that it's nothing near minifig scale (a bit like 6211 in that regard). The minifigs all appeared to be recycled Clone Wars ones, so it may not have any unique figs in it. If that's the case I'll probably pass on it.
The striker-class starfighter is a bit strange. It's red and dark red, with wings that can be rotated to be forwards-facing or 90deg. to the fuselage. Saesee Tin's starfighter is similar to other starfighters but with a different cockpit design. The Fury class interceptor is a big black and grey thing with interesting shaped wings that rotate in various places. These four are so-so and if it weren't for the minifigs I'd be happy to pass on them. However things get interesting with the next three...
The Desert Skiff is more substantial than the 2000 one and comes with Scarlacc. Lando looked good, different to the one in Jabba's Sail Barge, and I think Boba may have been slightly different to the last version of him as well.
The Gungan Sub is far far better than the previous effort and features an escape pod that detaches from the back. It comes with 4 figs including Queen Amidala. We have waited 13 years for Queen Amidala and I tell you, it was worth the wait! She is stunning! She has a custom-moulded skirt piece, not the usual 2x2x2 slope, white head and ceremonial headgear, exactly as she appears in this image as Wookiepedia. I can't stress enough how excellent she is!
But it gets better: Jabba's Palace. Yes it will cost £120 (or £150 in Hamleys :-) ) but it is fantastic and actually looks like a proper, solid building. I think Jabba is the same mould as used before but he's a different shade of green, possibly the olive green we've seen in the Dino sets, and also finely printed. Salacious Crumb was small but perfectly formed and printed and the other minifigs were all absolutely stunning. So, well worth the asking price, IMO!
Year on year LEGO push the boundaries with the SW minfigs, they just keep getting better and better!
All the minifigs on display appeared to be the final versions and looked excellent. Iron Man's mask does indeed hinge up to reveal his face.
Some of the sets were not on display in their entirety: LEGO was not allowed to because doing so would provide spoilers for forthcoming movies, so while Captain America was on his 'avenging cycle' in set 6865, the other character and vehicle in the set was not on display. There was only five sets on display: the Spider-Man one wasn't there so perhaps that will be a store exclusive.
Other than thinking they all looked great, I can't remember much about them! They are to be released in April.
Update: Pete from fbtb, who I met up with at the fair, recalled more information than I did about these so I'll copy it verbatim here:
6865 Captain America’s Avenging Cycle … this was the only set on display to feature Captain America, who was sat astride a motorbike. The rest of the set was missing, because Marvel had asked Lego not to show it, because it would spoil part of the movie?! Anyway, there’s another un-named minifigure and vehicle … one can only assume it’s an enemy of some sort. Priced at £11.99, so a bargain whatever!
6866 Wolverine’s Chopper Showdown … Comes with Wolverine, Magneto and Deadpool … the figs were all pretty amazing. Wolverine has normal hands holding the claw pieces, rather than anything moulded like the collectable minifig boxer, as we feared. I can’t actually remember the vehicles included in the set, sorry! Priced at £19.99.
6867 Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape … Comes with Loki, Hawkeye and Ironman. Hawkeye is driving a jeep type vehicle with Loki in the flatbed at the back … he comes with a custom headpiece and staff and the “Cosmic Cube” (a 1 x1 clear brick!). I spent most of my time drooling over the Ironman figure, which was brilliant. My fears over the head being too large were instantly eased and I was amazed to see that the front of the helmet lifts up to reveal whichever of the double sided printed head you’ve got facing forward. Priced at £19.99, this set is a must buy purely for that fig!!
6868 Hulk’s Hellcarrier Breakout … I think this was Bruce Banner’s lab? Not sure … but anyway, the set comes with Hulk, Hawkeye, Loki and Thor. The Hulk figure was pretty damn cool, articulated and I liked the fact the head was in the shape of a normal Lego minifig head, albeit it bigger to be in scale. The Hawkeye figure seemed to have a new bow & arrow type weapon. Priced at £49.99
6869 Quinjet Aerial Battle … A pretty substantial set, with the Quinjet being pretty large, very sturdy and eminently swooshable. Quite a bit of play features (moveable wings, cockpit, pop out undercarriage thingy) and minfigures Black Widow, Ironman, Thor and Loki. Priced at £69.99, I think … although I don’t seem to have written the price down!
You can read more of his reports at fbtb.
Although photography was not allowed on the stand, there was nothing stopping photos being taken of the stand: the sides and, for that matter, from the balcony above. This picture was decorating the side of the stand and as you can see it shows the whole Fellowship of the Ring.
So, what was on display inside the stand? Everything. Or at least everything that LEGO will let normal retailers sell. Of particular interest to us was the Marvel Super Heroes; LOTR; Summer Star Wars, Technic, and Ningago; Monster Fighters and Friends.
In this article I'll tell you about LOTR and will discuss other themes in later articles.
First, to answer a quesion I can see has been asked in the comments of the article below, the ring IS a real gold-chromed ring with a hole big enough for Frodo to grip it in his hand. All seven sets were on display and I'll tell you what I remember of them. Actually, before I do that THERE IS A NEW HORSE! Yes, the minifig horse has been redesigned and its hind legs now swivel so it can be made to rear! I'm not sure if all the horses in all the LOTR sets were like this but the ones in Attack on Weathertop certainly were.
9469, Gandalf Arrives: 2 minifigs: Gandalf and Frodo, Gandalf on horse and cart with fireworks and snake in the back. I think the price was £9.99.
9470, Shelob Attacks: 3 minifigs: Frodo, Samwise and Gollom! Gollum looked great, hunched over with movable arms, a bit like skeleton arms but different. Shelob the spider looks fantastic and scary!
9471, Uruk-Hai Army: 6 minifigs: Eomer, Rohan soldier and 4 Urak-Hai. The set consists of a small section of wall, a horse with moving legs and a small siege machine. The wall can be joined to the Helms Deep castle, apparently, so this will make a great battle pack to extend the castle and build your armies.
9472, Attack on Weathertop: 5 minifigs: Frodo, Merry, Aragorn and two Ringwaiths on horseback. The set builds a small section of Weathertop with spiral staircase and ruins at the top.
9473, The Mines of Moria: 7 minifigs: Pippin, Gimli, Legolas, Boromir, a cave troll and two Moria orcs. The set builds a selection of sub-assemblies for mine walls, doors, pedestals etc.
9474, The Battle of Helm's Deep: 8 minifigs: Gimli, King Theoden, Haldir, Aragorn and 4 Urak-Hai warriors. The castle itself is fairly substantial, complete with the 'side door' used to gain entry
9476, The Orc Forge: 5 orcs with a forge, various metalworking tools and weapons.
Overall I was VERY impressed with these sets. Legolas' ears were attached to his hair like the elf in the collectable minifigs but looked to be slightly bigger and better quality. The sets were well designed and highly desirable. As was pointed out to me by the stand guide dressed as Gandalf, you need to buy every set to get the whole Fellowship but I suspect many of us can't wait for the day when we can! They are to be released in August.
Last year's Ninjago spinners were a real turn-off for me. I had no interest in the game, I didn't like the skeletons and, worse of all, the majority of the parts, including the minifig, were made in China.
While in Argos today I picked up 9562 Lasha on impluse to get my spend over £30 so as to get a free £5 voucher and I'm pleased to confirm earlier reports that this year it's a different story altogether.
The minifig is made in LEGO's own factories from high-quality materials. The snake head 'hat' piece comes in a polybag, indicating Chinese origin, but as with most other heads and hats that come packed like this, there's nothing at all wrong with it, perhaps because it's not made from ABS (as far as I can tell).
Last year's spinner piece was pretty poor, too. I only have one but its base is all scratched up and the metal weight is visible through the transparent top cover. This year's have been redesigned completely and are much higher quality.
On the way to the till in Argos, I noticed they had the three booster packs so I grabbed a Kendo Cole (9551) as well, purely for research purposes of course, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it, too, has a non-Chinese minifig in it.
So, it's not all bad news about LEGO quality: the company IS improving it in some areas. As a result, I suspect I'll be buying more of this year's Ninjago: the weird snake-things are growing on me :-)
LEGO has noticed the negativity generated by the launch of Friends, which I think most of us here agree is totally unjustified and unnecessary, and issued a statement on their website: LEGO Group commentary on attracting more girls to construction play.
It's an interesting read, in particular: "We want to correct any misinterpretation that LEGO Friends is our only offering for girls. This is by no means the case. We know that many girls love to build and play with the wide variety of LEGO products already available. LEGO Friends joins this global collection of products as yet another theme option from which parents may choose the best building experience for their child’s skill and interest."
I hope you like the picture I took to accompany this article, Olivia stroking her, er, cat...
(Thanks to Gary D for posting about this in the Brickish forums)
Now, this year, we're getting one at Windsor. We've been sent this image and a press release to whet your appetite:
March 2012 will see the opening of LEGOLAND Star Wars™ Miniland Experience at LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort.
The new indoor fully themed Star Wars Miniland Experience will painstakingly recreate seven of the most famous scenes – six from the beloved Star Wars films and one from the smash hit animated series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, using around 1.5 million LEGO bricks.
Planned in close consultation with Lucasfilm Ltd, Star Wars Miniland Experience will follow a chronological path through the Star Wars timeline and feature around 2,000 LEGO models in 1:20 scale from the planets Naboo, Geonosis, Kashyyk, Mustafar, Tatooine, Hoth, Endor and Christophsis. Created by dozens of model designers and builders, landscapers, animation electricians and technicians, the area will also feature authentic Star Wars sounds, actions and lighting effects further immersing visitors into the Star Wars saga and bringing the experience to life.
Sue Kemp, Divisional Director of LEGOLAND Windsor Resort commented, “We are delighted to have Star Wars as a permanent part of LEGOLAND, having successfully tested the water with our extremely popular Star Wars events. The Saga’s universal story about the battle between good and evil has transfixed adults and children over many decades and we expect it to be phenomenally popular with our visitors of all ages.”
LEGOLAND Star Wars Miniland Experience will be located in the centre of the Resort, which is set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland. The park features 55+ interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and attractions and a LEGOLAND themed hotel which is opening in March 2012.
Find out more at www.legoland.co.uk.
We hope to bring you more news and photos nearer opening time!
In what will probably be regarded as a controversial move, LEGO has started issuing different versions of the club magazine to female members. I know this because I enroled my wife last year so I could get the exclusive Max minifigure :-)
So yesterday, my 'male' version arrived featuring Ninjago, Super Heroes, Star Wars, Creator, City, Dino and Technic and today my wife's 'female' one landed on the doorstep featuring Friends, City, SpongeBob, LEGO Champions game and a 'cool creations' page featuring just girls. The only common content is the City (forest) spread.
What do you think? I understand totally that no self-respecting 7-year-old boy would be seen dead with a Friends set, but what about the other way round? Does this move reinforce stereotypes and dictate what is acceptable for girls to play with? Or is it a sensible and acceptable marketing move?
If you missed out on the calendar but want to have a go at building the mini-models using parts in your collection, Robert K has helpfully created PDF instructions showing the images on the backs of the windows which should make it much easier.
I've asked a guest FAFOL to write a review of the set, so stay tuned if you want to find out what they are really like, after all the hype and backlash.
LEGOLAND Malaysia is on track to open in the final quarter of 2012. You can read all about it at http://www.legoland.com.my/
This will be the sixth LEGOLAND when built, and will be the first in the Asia region. It will also be Malaysia's first international theme park and will be located only a 20-minute drive from Singapore. This is good news for international visitors to Malaysia and Singapore.
Thanks to weelean for this exciting news!
As regular readers will know, Brickset staff member DrDaveWatford runs his own blog Gimme LEGO.
He's just posted a review of the year and highlighted what he thinks are the best sets and themes, and also the worst. When you've read his opinion you can vote for one of ten nominated sets in the 'Gimme LEGO Reader's Choice Award'. If you have a favourite set of the year, go and see if it's listed and vote for it. The more votes cast, the more credible the award, so get voting!
(The Alien Conquest Earth Defence HQ, pictured, wins the 'Best Non-Licensed Set' award)
The dot codes for series 6 have been decoded by the team at Better Than Tomorrow blog. Personally I find them too difficult to read in a retail environment and thus not much use for identifying contents before you buy. Have you ever used them successfully?
My copy of the first catalogue for 2012 arrived today. I don't think there is anything new in there about which we don't already know, but it at least tells you when the various waves will be released (in this part of the world anyway).
There will be another catalogue released later to cover the second-half of the year.
The set names for the Disney Princess Duplo sets are included, so I have added them here to the database.
This morning's press release came with several images, most of which we have in the database already, but this one is new and I thought it quite interesting as it shows the difference in size of the mini-doll figure when compared to minifigs.
The fact sheet states that "the new mini-doll figure stands roughly 5 millimeters taller than its minifigure sibling, yet features similar constructability, shares the iconic “claw” hand to hold the same accessories, can wear the same hair and headpieces..." so if nothing else, fans of the female minifig will now have a great selection of hairpieces to adorn them with.
Update: to prove the point, SkaensKeep has posted a photo on flickr showing minifigs with Friends' hair.
From Variety, published at 8am GMT today:
Lego has found its next precious
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has awarded the toymaker the rights to create action figures and playsets based on "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the two upcoming films based on "The Hobbit," the first of which bows at the end of 2012.
The multiyear deal grants Lego access to the library of characters, settings and stories of "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," all helmed by Peter Jackson.
The first toys Lego plans to produce will hit store shelves in June, tied to "Lord of the Rings," with new construction sets planned for the weeks leading up to the Dec. 14 bow of "An Unexpected Journey."
"Only Lego, with their expertise in the construction category, is capable of doing justice to the incredibly imaginative environments depicted in the world of 'The Lord of the Rings' and the two films based on 'The Hobbit,'" said Karen McTier, executive VP, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "These films give life to amazing worlds and characters and we are thrilled to bring fans these products that deliver an imaginative play experience befitting of these beloved properties."
Warner Bros. has a long history with Lego.
Lego has produced toys around the studio's "Harry Potter" franchise, the Batman and "Speed Racer" pics and now the entire DC Comics library. Lego also has tied toys to Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Toy Story," "Cars" and "Prince of Persia" pics, and has long had the "Star Wars" and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" license.
Warner Bros.' Lego-made DC toys are also expected to hit store shelves next year, the same time Lego will also release its Marvel line, tied to Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man" and Disney's "The Avengers."
"Our collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products has delivered numerous worldwide successes in the construction toy aisle, introducing us to loyal audiences who love great stories, strong characters and the toys that they inspire," said Jill Wilfert, VP, licensing and entertainment for the Lego Group. "It's particularly exciting to now be able to create sets based on the fantasy worlds and characters from 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy and 'The Hobbit,' not only because we know they will foster collectability and creative play, but also because these are two properties that our fans have been asking us to create for years."
Going after film franchises has paid off for Lego, with "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars" helping the toymaker top $1 billion in sales in the U.S. for the first time in 2010, a figure it's confident to repeat again this year. Altogether, sales are up 106% for the fourth-largest toymaker since 2006, the company has said.
This year, shipments of Legos to stores between August and October are up more than 65%, according to Panjiva, a New York-based data firm.
Has there ever been a better time to be a LEGO fan? There's so much cool stuff coming our way that I really think we are in a new 'golden age' of LEGO, one that surpasses that which many of us remember from our childhood.
Update: LEGO has already published a teaser page for the theme (thanks to everyone that emailed about this)
Update: Here's LEGO's press release:
Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group build on Partnership to Produce Construction Toys for THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ Trilogy and the Two Films Based on THE HOBBIT
Building Sets Based on Epic Film Trilogy and Forthcoming Theatrical Release Slated for 2012
BILLUND, Denmark and Burbank, CA – December 16, 2011 – Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group announced today a partnership that awards the world’s leading construction toy brand exclusive rights to develop build-and-play construction sets based on THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT™. The multi-year licensing agreement grants access to the library of characters, settings, and stories for THE LORD OF THE RINGS property, as well as films The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
LEGO® THE LORD OF THE RINGS construction sets are slated for a rolling global launch beginning in June 2012 in the United States, with LEGO THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY scheduled for later in the year.
“Only LEGO, with their expertise in the construction category, is capable of doing justice to the incredibly imaginative environments depicted in the world of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and the two films based on THE HOBBIT,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
"These films give life to amazing worlds and characters and we are thrilled to bring fans these products that deliver an imaginative play experience befitting of these beloved properties.”
The LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS collection will translate into LEGO form the epic locations, scenes and characters of Middle-earth as depicted in all three films, including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
In late 2012, LEGO THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY will give fans of all ages a chance to build and play out the fantastical story and new characters of the legendary Middle-earth adventures depicted in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, slated to premiere December 14, 2012.
“Our collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products has delivered numerous worldwide successes in the construction toy aisle with lines like LEGO HARRY POTTER and LEGO BATMAN, introducing us to loyal audiences who love great stories, strong characters and the toys that they inspire,” said Jill Wilfert, vice president, licensing and entertainment for The LEGO Group. “It’s particularly exciting to now be able to create sets based on the fantasy worlds and characters from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT, not only because we know they will foster collectability and creative play, but also because these are two properties that our fans have been asking us to create for years.”
Information about the sets and collectible minifigures from both collections will be unveiled at a later date at http://TheLordoftheRings.LEGO.com
There's an excellent article at Bloomberg Businessweek (that's actually easier to read on their mobile site) about the forthcoming launch of the Friends sets. It provides an interesting insight into how the theme was developed, how it caters for the different ways that girls play and why the sets have different-sized figures, 'ladyfigs' it calls them, because, apparently, "Let’s be honest: Girls hate [the minifigure]".
It states that they will be available "Dec. 26 in the U.K. and Jan. 1 in the U.S", although as you may have read in the forum, people in some European countries have been able to buy them already.
I like the quote at the end: "Oh, we’re going to buy Lego Friends," says Joe Meno (when asked about AFOL's view of them), “but we’re going to buy it for all the wrong reasons. We want the sets for the new colors. One of the colors is ideal for a Perry the Platypus I want to build.” The lady minifig, he predicts, “I’ll probably toss aside.” I think that pretty much captures my thoughts exactly!
The number of toys LEGO is donating to Toys For Tots currently stands at 352,000 which is fantastic given the figure was around 1000 when we started.
However, there's been some disappointing developments (possibly as a result of this). To discourage people sending loads at once, LEGO first limited it to three per 'From' address but given that was easily worked around, they've now used senders' IP addresses to restrict them which is much harder to get around.
Ace at FBTB has had his IP address blocked completely so he can't read anything sent to him any more, which is a bit heavy-handed: it's almost as if LEGO don't want to donate the 1 million toys...
Nevertheless, I still encourage you to send all your friends and family greetings from LEGOSantaYoda.com and let's see how close we can get to that 1 million mark by Christmas Eve.
BILLUND, Denmark – A project backed by Minecraft developer Mojang has become the first user-sponsored project to reach the 10,000 vote threshold on the new global version of LEGO® CUUSOO, opening the way for a LEGO set featuring Minecraft to become a reality.
It took the project only 48 hours to gather votes from 10,000 fans of the project from around the world.
“We’re really excited to see the fantastic enthusiasm of the Minecraft community. This is what LEGO CUUSOO is all about, connecting people’s passion to the LEGO brick,” says Paal Smith-Meyer, Head of the LEGO New Business Group. “It is still too early to say whether a Minecraft play set will become a LEGO product as it still needs to go through a review and approval process to ensure it meets our usual LEGO standards, but it is certainly a lot closer.”
A go/no-go decision should be reached within the next few weeks. Assuming it is given a “go,” then development on any new sets will begin. During this time, LEGO model designers refine the product, while packaging, instructions, and marketing are developed ready for a production run. This will take several months.
LEGO CUUSOO is an idea collection system that asks the Danish toy manufacturers’ consumers to submit and vote for their favourite ideas for new LEGO products. It can be found at http://lego.cuusoo.com . The site is currently in "open beta" and has been well received by fans and niche interest groups eager to see their ideas become official LEGO products.
CUUSOO, which means 'imagination' or sometimes ‘wish’ in Japanese, has been developed with CUUSOO SYSTEM, a subsidiary of Japan-based Elephant Design that has worked with open innovation and crowd sourcing for more than 10 years.
The LEGO Group has worked with CUUSOO since 2008 on a Japanese site that has attracted hundreds of ideas and seen thousands of votes cast by a 35,000-strong community. Now the time has come to test the concept internationally.
The first Japanese product, the Shinkai 6500 submersible, went on sale in Japan in February 2011. The next Japanese LEGO CUUSOO model will be the Hayabusa unmanned spacecraft launched in the first quarter of next year.
It took the Shinkai 6500, 420 days to reach 1,000 votes in Japan. Hayabusa took 57 days to 1,000. With the launch of the LEGO CUUSOO worldwide site the threshold was raised to 10,000 to reflect the larger audience.
On LEGO CUUSOO, ideas that are supported by enough votes will be examined by a LEGO jury that will check that the models meet LEGO standards of safety and playability and support the LEGO brand. Consumers who have their ideas chosen for production will earn 1% of the total net sales of the product.
In the case of the Minecraft project, Mojang and the collaborators have offered the 1% CUUSOO royalty to a charity of Mojang's choice.
Now, it's pretty amazing that this has happened, but surely I can't be the only person who thinks the model in question is a bit rubbish?
Actually I think Paal Smith-Meyer does too, if you read between the lines of his quote: "It is still too early to say whether a Minecraft play set will become a LEGO product as it still needs to go through a review and approval process to ensure it meets our usual LEGO standards, but it is certainly a lot closer."
What do you think? What's it even supposed to be?
Thank you everyone who sent me greetings from LEGOSantaYoda.com. I received about 100 in total which means that's 100 more toys that LEGO will donate to the charity Toys For Tots.
The winner of my little competition sent both the winning message and the runner up. So congratulations to Steve (messybass) who wins this exclusive Brickset minifig.
His winning messages were:
- Runner-up: Huw, I know what you have got for Christmas.... I felt your presents! Merry Christmas Darth Vader.
- Winner: Wishing Huw a Very Merry Christmas! During the festive period should the bricks we love be re-named EGO, as it’s the season of Noel?
They are probably as old as the hills but they made me chuckle!
Now that's over, I need to encourage you to send as many greetings as you can to get the number of toys LEGO is going to donate even higher! When doing so you could win one of a number of exciting prizes that Ace at FBTB and myself are donating, including a General Grievous Starfighter.
All you need to do is...
- Go to LEGOSantaYoda.com
- Click on one of the three greetings videos
- Enter FBTB and email@example.com in the To boxes
- Enter your name and email address in the From boxes
- Enter the message 'For the tots'
- Press Send card
- Press the back button on your browser
- Press Send Card again
- Repeat the last two steps as many times you can!
The more times you send, the more chances you have of winning, and in fact there's a prize for the person who sends the most!
Read more at FBTB. As I write, the figure stands at just over 30,000. Let's see if we can get it to 100,000 by next weekend!
The Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone, 2012 sets are already on the shelves in the USA, there are unlikely to be any new product announcements until the New Year, so we could be in for a few slow news weeks.
The only thing I can find of interest, if you're in North America, is that the 2012 Ninjago sets are now available at shop.LEGO.com. These look to be very interesting indeed, but unfortunately we'll have to wait a few more weeks for them to appear here in Europe and the rest of the world...
LEGO is donating up to 1 million LEGO toys to the charity Toys For Tots, and will donate one every time someone sends a holiday greeting from LEGOSantaYoda.com.
What's more, they are also running a competition, LEGO Star Wars "Spread Holiday Cheer" Challenge, with a grand prize of a 2'-high model of Santa Yoda. Find out more at the website.
Given this is for a good cause, I'm going to hold my own little competition. To enter, simply send a holiday greeting from LEGOSantaYoda.com to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the the person who sends the most humorous seasonal message by next weekend will win an exclusive Brickset minifig -- one of only three I have left.
Creations for Charity is a fundraiser organised by Nannan (of The Brothers Brick) where LEGO fans sell their original creations to help a charity organisation. It's an opportunity for builders to donate custom creations to raise money to buy LEGO for underprivileged children during the holidays.
This is the third year it's been running and there are now just ten days left to secure one of the excellent MOCs and custom minifigs that have been donated this year.
If you're looking for something unique for yourself or as gift this holiday season, take a look in the charity's BrickLink store where you'll be able to buy models made by some of the biggest names around and help make a difference for those less fortunate than yourself at Christmas.
LEGO seems to be getting a lot of coverage of in the mainstream media these days. Two articles at newspaper websites were brought to my attention this week:
MrFootball found a piece in the Wall Street Journal titled For Some Grown-Ups, Playing With Legos (SIC) Is a Serious Business which is an article about LEGO Certified Professionals making money from the hobby.
lbh1876 pointed me at an excellent write-up and video about building the ultimate LEGO car (the Mercedes Unimog) at The Telegraph's website today, which you can watch below:
(I've embedded the script but it's not showing for me, if it isn't for you either, click here to view it).
It makes quite interesting viewing seeing how a non-AFOL tackles the build. Tipping all the parts on the table like that for starters is a sure-fire way of increasing the build-time considerably. I can't remember how long it took me to build but it certainly wasn't 9-and-a-half hours!
I suspect if you've been wondering whether to buy it or not, after watching the video you may well be going out to get it tomorrow!
More bad news from LEGO, I'm afraid:
The LEGO Group is closing that part of the Design byMe customization service that allows consumers to order digital models in real bricks. We will be accepting orders until January 16, 2012.
Consumers will still be able to design what they want with LEGO Digital Designer and upload models into a public gallery as before. All existing models will be transferred to a new gallery on the LDD website. Consumers will also be able to download the instructions generated from LEGO Digital Designer.
The HERO Recon Team Hero Creator will be unchanged and consumers will still be able to build and buy their own customized Hero. Bricks can be bought separately, using the Pick a Brick service http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Pick-A-Brick-ByTheme .
This is not the end of customization for the LEGO Group, but a revision. We believe in the future of customization, but the service we offer has to be right for our consumers and Design byME has proven to be too complex for children.
The original Design byMe vision was for a unique customization service, where consumers could design whatever they imagined, display it and get the model sent to them in their own LEGO box. Design byMe as a concept attracts several million people each year to build a huge range of amazing creations using the LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) software. Despite this success, the overall Design byMe experience has struggled to live up to the quality standards for a LEGO service.
Over the years, we have also added other simpler customized building experiences like Hero Recon Team. The feedback from Design byMe users has taught us that we would need to rebuild the entire setup of Design byMe to fix this. This would only make the service too expensive.
First Universe closing and now this. I never used the service -- I felt it was prohibitively expensive -- but I know a lot of people that have and I'm sure a lot of you will miss it.
It's time for another LEGO Community Engagement & Communication Team community survey... follow the link and let LEGO know what you think: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AFOLOct2011
The Dorling Kindersley books The LEGO Ideas Book and the Star Wars Character Encyclopedia are now shipping from Amazon.co.uk. I don't have either yet but when I do I'll review them here. In addition, Brendan Powell Smith's new LEGO bible book is out as well, a couple of months early.
You'll notice from the 'new additions to the database' ribbon above, that I have just added the same set, #4032 Holiday Jet, quite a few times; I thought I'd make a little post here to explain why ...
This set was originally released back in 2003 as an airline promotional set - these are sets that are usually only available to buy on-board aircraft during a flight. LEGO has a long history of producing these types of sets; they are usually, if not exclusively, models of aircraft and sometimes feature sticker sets exclusive to the particular airline that they are being sold on.
This particular set was unusual in that it was available on a large range of different airlines, and was available in 13 (known) variants; the boxes are identical in all cases (featuring "Specially made for Airline Companies" text on the front), but a sealed clear plastic pouch on the back of each box held a different set of stickers depending on which airline it was bought from.
Previously, we only had a single generic entry for all the different versions of this set; I've broken that out into the 13 different variants known. The original entry (4032-1) has now become the 'LEGO Air' version, which is the most common version in circulation; if you are amongst the 169 people who have previously marked this set as 'got', you might want to check which version you have and adjust as appropriate.
You can check the full set of airlines in the database; the rarest version seems to be the 'ANA' (All Nippon Airways) version, although the JAL (Japan Airlines), Aeroflot and several others seem to be quite in demand by collectors too. The most unusual version is probably the 'Snowflake' version; Snowflake was a SAS-owned low-cost airline spin-off that folded in 2004.
Anyone know of any other variants of this set?
It's not long now until this highly anticipated Dorling Kindersley book is published (mid September in the USA, early October in the UK) so now's the time for me to start promoting it and build up the excitement even more :-)
If you're not familiar with the book already, these sample pages will give you an idea of what an excellent book this is going to be:
As some of you will know if you've been reading the forums, I took around 100 of the photos that are featured in the book, which I was very pleased to be asked to do given the high regard in which DK books are held. Most of them were secondary small images, such as that of Yoda's back in the third example above, athough I think I contributed a few of the larger ones too. I won't know for sure until I've seen the book...
It's available for pre-order from Amazon for very a reasonable price. I can't wait to get my hands on it!
LEGO is asking consumers ages 6+ to design a LEGO themed postage stamp to be featured on the Late Holiday Catalogue.
For each country there will be 50 finalists selected to receive a copy of 10222. 25 will be for ages 6-14 and 25 will be from ages 15 & up. From the 50 finalists, 1 grand prize winner will be selected per country. In addition to a copy of 10222 – Winter Village Post Office, grand prize winners will have their stamp design featured on the late holiday catalog for their country along with a professionally designed and framed LEGO mosaic of their design.
- Where: The US/UK/Germany. These are the only countries that mail a late holiday catalogue.
- When: We will be accepting entries for the contest September 1-30 and selecting the finalists & winners for each country the first week of October.
- How: Consumers must simply visit http://shop.LEGO.com/Design-Challenge in the US and UK, or http://shop.LEGO.com/Designwettbewerb in Germany to download the official entry form. They or their parent/guardian must complete the form and email it along with their stamp design to the email address designated for their country. No purchase is required and there will be no physical entries collected.
As some of you already know, Brickset staff member DrDaveWatford has his own blog, Gimme LEGO, at which he eloquently writes about the trials and tribulations of being an AFOL, his favourite sets, and reports progress on his LEGO projects.
Well, today, it celebrates its first birthday, and to mark the occasion he's recently added some new features, including a Bargain Hunt page that I've mentioned before.
Apparently the blog was started for a bet with one of his mates, who thought nobody would read it and it wouldn't last. Clearly Dave's well and truly won the bet on both counts!
Congratulations Dave -- let's hope you can keep it going for another year and beyond.
A few weeks ago I met up with the UK's only LCP, Duncan Titmarsh of Bright Bricks, at his workshop in Surrey to find out. Read my exclusive interview for the answers to these questions.
Once you've done so, check out Bright Bricks' website where'll you'll find more photos of Duncan's excellent work and details of how to get in touch to commission your own masterpiece.
From Lego -
"Let Your Imagination Run Wild in LEGO® Universe: Free to play launchesThe Battle has Begun!Team up with friends to Save the Universe as Gates Open to Unlimited Free to Play ZoneAugust 15, 2011 - LEGO® Universe, the MMOG (massively-multiplayer online game), is now welcoming new players to traverse the LEGO brick-building digital universe with its newly introduced Free to Play Zone. Fans will be able to enjoy the game for free for as long as they like, with the option to upgrade to a membership account at any time (for $10 USD per month) and receive full game access.The LEGO Universe free-to-play experience offers a selection of game content, including two adventure zones and one player property area for building your own virtual LEGO models as well as access to thousands of other players’ properties. Paying members will have access to all areas in the full game, along with membership benefits such as competitions and community events. In addition to the 15+ robust adventure zones and instances as well as 5+ property worlds currently in-game, access to new expansions, like major Ninjago content coming later this year, will require players to register for full membership.Here’s a list of all the cool stuff Free to Play players can do in LEGO Universe:· Custom build one LEGO hero· Interact with in-game friends· Collect up to 10,000 coins· Earn Universe Score to level up· Play through The Venture Explorer· Play through Avant Gardens· Join the Nexus Force· Sample Faction Gear· Play the Survival mini-game· Claim the Avant Gardens Block Yard Property· Fight the Spider Queen· Place LEGO models you have collected· Build LEGO models of your own· Bring LEGO models to life· Visit thousands of other players’ PropertiesAnd here’s the list of full membership benefits:If you haven't played LEGO Universe yet, now is the time! Not only can you play for free, but the game is now easier to access; available via free digital download only. Log in today, and see just how far your creativity can go to save Imagination in LEGO Universe. Read more in the full Free to Play announcement, and answer the call at:
...not too far - but it could be a little revolution!
According to serious sources inside LEGO Germany, the LEGO Group plans to open the first LEGO Store in Eastern Germany (beside Berlin). Although there are no hints as to the the city, it is expected that only the state of Saxony could be the correct place for this, because it has the most international importance and the best economic structure (both are very important in connection with the right purchasing power according to LEGO). In addition to this, Saxony is home to Leipzig and Dresden - two cities with each more than 500,000 inhabitants.
Personally, I would prefer Leipzig (and not just because I live there). The city has a clear and efficient structure (short distances), great traffic infrastructure (e.g. one of the biggest train stations in the world and the Airport Leipzig/Halle is an important carrier place in Central Europe, particularly with cargo) and lots of international and business flair (e.g. the Leipzig Trade Fair is the oldest trade fair in the world) - not to forget the many, many tourists!
To its credit, Dresden (as capital of Saxony), similar to Leipzig, has lots of cultural attractions and rich industrial infrastructure.
Both cities have much more to offer than for example, existing LEGO Store "cities" Wiesbaden and Oberhausen together. So it now seems only a question of time before the LEGO Group focuses on Eastern Germany.
So what do you think? Is it justified that Eastern Germany has been waiting so long for its own LEGO Store while Western Germany has aready eight LEGO Stores? And which city do you think will win the race to be home to the first LEGO Store in Eastern Germany?
Fancy doing something interesting during the southern hemisphere summer? Chrstoph Bartneck, author of the Unofficial LEGO Minifigure Catalog emailed to say that he's been able to organise a scholarship for a student to work on a taxonomy for minifigures. The student would spend the summer (November-February) in New Zealand to work on it. The University of Canterbury has allocated 5000 NZD for the project. He adds that 'I hope that a younger AFOL, who is still studying, might be interested.'
If you fancy combining your love of LEGO and software (like I do) this could be the ideal opportunity for you.
Find out more at the university website.
I'd like to thank the other admins and news correspondents for keeping the news fresh whilst I was away and for all of you for emailing it in. I'm not going to post much of it here now since most is time-expired but if I come across anything not already posted in the comments to the article below I'll do so.
LEGO's Community Engagement & Communication team have asked us to pass on details of the latest community survey, so here it is -
If you get a chance to fill it in, please do so and let LEGO know what you think!
Exciting news broke overnight on the Variety website, on the eve of ComicCon: LEGO and Warner Brothers have expanded their relationship giving LEGO access to the complete DC Comics character collection including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and villains the Joker, Bane, Harley Quinn and Lex Luthor.
I know that this will be very welcome news for many of you who perhaps missed out on Batman first time around.
Although the first wave of sets is not due out until next January, expect to see the first pictures of them once ComicCon gets underway. Unfortunately none of Brickset's staff will be there but Ace from FBTB will be, so keep an eye out for the sets over there.
Update 1: Check out http://www.legosuperheroes.com/ for pictures of Superman, Batman and the Green Lantern!
Update 2: (I can't keep up with this!) Now it seems LEGO has a Marvel licence as well!
Update 3: DC and Marvel minifig pictures now on flickr: Check out Wolverine, Iron Man, The Hulk, Wonder Woman and more!
Update 4: Buildable super-heroes (like Ben10) at Eurobricks.
Keep an eye out at FBTB for more.
(all via FBTB and your comments)
I mentioned last week that I'd received a copy of this brand new book to review. I'm just putting the finishing touches on the review and I'll be publishing it very shortly. Suffice to say now that it is excellent and a must-have for minifig collectors.
I've just had word from the author that is is now available at CreateSpace, and will be listed at Amazon in the next few days. You can find out more about the book at its official website, http://www.minifigure.org/
London is set to get another brand store in a few months, at the new Westfield shoppping centre in Stratford. As has become the norm, we first get to hear about forthcoming shops from their adverts for staff, and this is no exception. AnseltheCat found this advert for a store manager on the LEGO jobs site. The post starts in August so I guess the shop will open September-ish, ready for Christmas.
I don't have my copy yet (it's on order) but it would appear to be bang up to date because it's revealed two sets that we don't yet have pictures for here that are due out later in the year, the VW Camper Van and the Winter Post Office. Check out the scans at EuroBricks.
I believe the only place the book is currently available is from the publisher's website. Click on the image to order. It's €27.95 and I think they'll ship anywhere in the world. It even comes with an exclusive key chain.
Thanks to typo for tipping us off in the forum.
Whilst on the subject of books, I do however have a proof copy of The Unofficial LEGO Minifigure Catalog which I'll be reviewing very shortly, so watch this space!
Please take a moment to fill out the latest survey from LEGO community team.
(For the purposes of the survey, 'Brickset' counts as a LUG)
I had a great LEGO-related day yesterday. In the afternoon I was invited to visit Duncan Titmarsh, the UK's only LEGO Certified Professional at his workshop in Surrey to find out more about LCPs and the work that he does. I'll be writing an article about that in a few days time.
Then, myself and DrDaveWatford went along to the evening session of the Eurobricks Event 2011 at a hotel near LEGOLAND Windsor. I'm not a big Eurobricks user myself but I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet some of the members and admins over there, who had come from all over Europe, to strengthen the ties between our two communities.
After a swift beverage in the bar, at 7pm we headed off to a fancy conference room for a presentation by root admin bonaparte that included the history of Eurobricks, how they deal with underage users, how their classic Pirates forum's 'parts wish-list' produced a couple of years ago appears to have influenced LEGO (e.g. we now have LEGO globes in PotC), the reviewers' academy, and what plans they have for the future of the site. copMike, who represents the site as LEGO Ambassador then did a presentation on the role of Ambassadors.
What impressed me most was how the the current admins have managed to turn the site around from being the scurge of the online community a few years ago and the source of virtually every new product leak to being highly respected by its users, peers and, more importantly, by the LEGO company.
During the evening I had an opportunity to chat to one of the tutors in the reviewers' academy, Rufus, about how we can improve the links to thier reviews from here and we came up with a plan that will make it possible for academy members to maintain the links themselves. I'll also be making some other changes, such as showing who the reviews were written by.
So, I'm really glad I went and was able to put some faces to names, and to learn from their experiences of running a massive online forum. You can consider the ties between Brickset and Eurobricks well and truly strengthened.
Finally, during his presentation bonaparte asked those present what they liked most about Eurobricks and what they didn't. I thought it would be interesting to ask you the same question here. If you're a EB member what do you like best about it? What needs improving? If you're not a member, why not? I'm sure he'd be interested to know.
There's been a slew of new LEGO Harry Potter books released this week, the best of which is this Building the Magical World book which includes an exclusive Harry Potter minfig.
There is also not one but three sticker books, which are like the Star Wars and minifigure ones that were released last year. I received mine last week and two of them appear to be a subset of the third, the 'Ultimate sticker collection'.
My Building the Magical World is currently in the post so I'll write a review as soon as I have it.
The Community Engagement & Communication team have asked us to share the May 2011 Public Survey with our members, so please take a moment to fill out the latest survey & let them know what you think ...
There are a couple of issues with the wording & functionality (particularly on the "How would you rate your satisfaction with the following ..." page, which won't let you select the same response for different questions, so be aware), but please do your best to fill it out.
Some feedback from the CEC team about the last survey -
"In the last survey, we found the following results:
- We found a regional difference in our ratings as the rating in US/Canada are higher than in EU and Asia
- The results show that many don’t feel like sharing information with others about the hobby as those that are interested in the hobby are already in the hobby
- Quality and customer service were given high marks by the respondents
- Only half the respondents noted that they belong to a LUG"
I've been away for a few days so I'm just catching up on all the emails that came in while I was away...
- PDF copies of PotC instructions are now available at LEGO.com. They are linked to on our latest instructions page.
- The Alien Conquest microsite at LEGO.com is now live, at http://alienconquest.lego.com/en-us/Default.aspx
- New Creator, Alien Conquest and Kingdoms sets are hitting the shelves in TRUs and brand stores across the USA
- POTC sets have reached European Mainland. I spotted them today in Antwerp Belgium, in a "Bart Smit"-store, says klaas.
- legowerba was told by his local brand store in the USA that 10218 Pet Shop will go on sale on the 10th of May.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
About time too, I hear you say! Most LEGO boxes could be half the volume and still fit everything in with room to spare, so it's very encouraging to read this article at Toys N Bricks about smaller box sizes hitting the shelves in the USA. The example photo, taken by TNB forum member cowbug shows 8093 Plo Koon’s Starfighter in a box that's about 3/4 of the height.
If you had the choice, seeing the two side by side on the shelf like that, which would you buy and why?
"Hey out there, LEGO Club and LEGO BrickMaster members! Here at The LEGO Group, we’re busy getting ready to launch something new that we think you’ll really like: the LEGO Master Builder Academy!
"The mission of the LEGO Master Builder Academy program is simple: “Take Your Building to the Next Level”. And what do we mean by that? We want to help you use the expertise and official techniques of the real LEGO Master Builders to discover how to create better, stronger and cooler-looking models that you design all by yourself!
"LEGO MBA will be a multi-level LEGO training experience. You know how in martial arts like karate, there are different colored belts that signify a level of achievement and rank? LEGO MBA will be like that too, with multiple levels of achievement. Each level has its own special color, but instead of a belt, you’ll receive a new exclusive MBA Minifigure in the color of the latest building skill level that you’ve achieved!
"The first year of the LEGO MBA program features two skill levels – green Level 1 and yellow Level 2 – with more to come later on. You’ll master each level through exclusive LEGO MBA building kits and technique-filled Design Handbooks, three per level, each including pieces and instructions dedicated to a famous theme like space, robots, cars and more.
"You’ll be able to find additional challenges and building ideas on the LEGO MBA website, along with skill tests to level up your building even more. As you meet and beat each challenge, your friends and family will be amazed at how much your building skills and creativity have advanced!
"So what do you say? Want to take your LEGO building to the next level? Get ready, because the all-new LEGO Master Builder Academy launches this June in the US with plans to expand to other markets next year! "
Now, I have to say, it sounds really worthwhile: teaching kids how to build things other than the model in the box using exclusive MBA kits, and with minifigures as a reward. What's even better is the last statement: plans to expand to other markets next year, which will hopefully mean those of us in Europe and elsewhere will be able to join in the fun!
Remember this book we mentioned in November that was given away to LEGOshop.com customers in the USA? Well it appears that the very same book (without the white Boba Fett minifig, unfortunately, or holes punched down the side) is being given away in Argos stores in the UK at the moment.
A friend of mine at work went to the local branch to collect a LandSpeeder for his son today. When he did so, he was told he was a 'lucky random winner for a data book' of which there was one in the store, and was given it by the store manager. Luckily for me, his son is only three so has no use for the book, so he gave it to me. You might well be asking 'what's your friend doing buying a three year old a Star Wars set?' Well, between you and me, I think he's a closet AFOL :-)
It's a very nice book: it's printed on glossy, thick card, around 12 pages long and features full page head-shots of some recent figs, line drawings of figs from recent sets and pictures of the sets they came in. I'll post some photos later. It also has the number '385' printed on the back. I don't know whether that indicates it's number 385 of some limited run, or something else. I guess we won't know until someone else gets one. Thanks Matt!
Update: The Argos website now indicates that you'll get one of these when you buy certain Star Wars sets 'via a leaflet', presumably available in store, until 22nd March, so what are you waiting for: reserve online and get on down to your local branch this weekend before the 'Brickset Effect' strikes again! Thanks to the article commenters for this information.
More evidence surfaced today that suggests that LEGO Universe has flopped big time. First we had the halving of the cost of the software, then it was halved again. Now, today, news has emerged that NetDevil, its developers, has laid off most of its staff (in a not particularly pleasant way), which can only mean one thing as far as I am concerned: Universe is a flop.
I suspect the main reason is, as others have commented here before, that the subscription costs are too expensive. But it may also be because LEGO fans would rather be spending their time playing and building with real bricks rather than virtual ones. I'm sure most of you fall into this camp.
Universe was only launched in October following something like 4 years of development, so its failure after just 5 months won't be good news from a financial perspective. It was a huge risk for LEGO to create a MMOG and it looks like it hasn't paid off.
I guess the company had better stick to what they do best, what they do better than anyone else and what we all love them for...
Update: I've re-worded the headline because it seems that development of Universe is being transferred to LEGO and many of the development team are now working for LEGO (source article) so maybe it isn't the flop the initial facts suggested. (thanks jamesster for posting this link in the comments)
(read first on A Modular Life)
As promised, I've developed a Cheat Sheet for the new dimple / dot patterns on Series 3 Minfigures that I recently found at Target. As discussed in previous articles and due to the various different "batch codes", it is still unclear how helpful this or any cheat sheet will ultimately be for Series 3 and beyond.
Do you own an NXT 'Intelligent Brick' with a flickery or non-working display? Steven Canvin, LEGO's Community Manager for LEGO MINDSTORMS, has asked us to pass on this message -
"Unfortunately, some of the NXT Intelligent Bricks manufactured in-between 2006 and early 2008, may have a faulty display, resulting in a flickering or non-working display.
"LEGO Corporate Management has decided that any NXT Intelligent Brick manufactured with this malfunction of the display will have an extended guarantee beyond the standard guarantee. The LEGO Group offers to replace NXT Intelligent Bricks with the above-mentioned faulty display.
"The NXT Intelligent Bricks would be found in:
- Retail set 8527 (version 1.0 and 1.1)
- LEGO Education set 9797
- Item 9841 NXT Intelligent Brick (or similar sold through LEGO Education distribution)
"If a user wants to have a NXT Intelligent Brick replaced based on this quality issue, please ask to contact LEGO Consumer Service, contact information available on the web for your country. Please note that the display needs to be defect."
Steven has asked that if you think your NXT suffers from this problem, please check the battery first before contacting LEGO customer support, as similar issues are seen when the battery is running low on power. Only NXTs with a genuinely faulty display will be replaced.
The Ambassadors have been asked to share this with our communities, so ...
Are you a passionate architect who loves to express your craft in LEGO® bricks? We’d like you to join forces with the LEGO Architecture team and Adam Reed-Tucker to develop and endorse new LEGO Architecture products in Europe.
Show us your building and architectural skills by building an existing architectural masterpiece as a small-scale LEGO model. Then we’d like you to present your model (or several of them) to the LEGO Architecture design and marketing team. We expect you to have a background in architecture and the necessary presenting skills to make your subject come alive in English and another European language.
The right candidate will be asked to work on commissioned tasks, so you can work from home, with some travel in Europe.
Email your application to Jan Beyer email: jan@LEGO.com - telephone: +4579504285.
You are welcome to contact Jan if you have any further questions. The deadline for applications is February 15th.
If you think you've got what it takes & have the professional experience to back it up, Jan will be very happy to hear from you!
LEGO regularly run surveys with the Fan community, and the latest one has been launched today; please check out the post below from the Community Engagement & Communications Team, visit the link & let them know what you think ...
Please take a moment to fill out the latest survey from LEGO community team.In the last survey, the results from the question “How likely would you recommend LEGO to a friend or relative” saw a positive jump of 5% from the last survey meaning that more people are more likely to recommend LEGO products to a friend or relative.The question “How can the LEGO group best improve your needs?” saw some interesting results. The seeded answers quickly got displaced by write-ins. AFOL are looking for quality first and foremost. In addition, they want old sets rereleased, greater selection in Pick-A-Brick, and exclusive AFOL sets. Among the LEGO-seeded ideas, 32% want greater presence in their geographic area, and 30% want dedicated services for fans.We also asked about your use of the LEGO ID on the LEGO website. 2/3 of AFOLs use LEGO ID. They primarily use it to make purchases or to join VIP, whereas TFOLs use LEGO ID to play games, then to make purchases and to contribute to message boards, reviews, and builder galleries. Though usage is high and 91% report that creating and signing in to LEGO ID was a smooth and easy process, AFOL experience with LEGO ID is poor.Thank you,The LEGO community Team
It's been a bit of a slow week for news after the New Year. I guess that's understandable: the new sets are out in most places and we're not expecting any product announcements or any more new sets for some months. Thank you, however, to everyone who's been emailing us with sightings: we do appreciate it, but we don't always post them here.
Things will pick up once the toy fair season begins at the end of January. London Toy Fair will be the first. News will no doubt emerge from that, although they have a strict no photography rule so we'll have to make do with descriptions until the New York and Nuremberg fairs in February where they are more relaxed.
One thing that did catch my eye, however, on Toys N Bricks is that the Muji-LEGO sets (Muji is a trendy Japanese housewares brand) are going to be available outside of Japan soon, which is excellent news. They consist of bits of paper and LEGO bricks which you can combine using a hole punch to make animals and things. Find out more at http://www.muji.com/lego/.
Here's a roundup of news we've received by email recently:
- Most of the first wave of 2011 sets are now listed at ToysRUs.com in the USA (thanks everyone who told us about this)
- All NinjaGo sets are available in Belgium in Dreamland, Bart Smith and Intertoys, but the prices are shocking: the small sets with one fig, spinner and a few cards (e.g. 2111) are €9. I suspect that'll translate to £9 in the UK! (thanks Darth Brick)
- The Pirates of the Caribbean sets are due out in May and the sets are, with UK prices, as follows: (thanks legoc10)
- 4181 Isla De La Muerta - £ 21.99
- 4182 The Cannibal Escape – £ 30.99
- 4183 The Mill - £ 40.99
- 4191 The Captain's Cabin – £ 10.49
- 4192 Fountain of Youth - £ 21.99
- 4193 The London Escape – £ 49.99
- 4194 Whitecap Bay - £ 71.99
- 4195 Queen Anne's Revenge - £ 102.99
I am indebted to member David Q in Australia who reminded me about an article we published back in the summer about LEGO jewellery. He points out that the range is now available from Selfridges in the UK and you can see most of it in their online store.
Now, unless I'm missing something, the prices of these would seem to be astronomical. £16 for 2 pieces of LEGO? No doubt they come in a fancy box but even so... Clearly the rings come with a functional jewellery element: the ring, which is silver, which might justify the £50 asking price but the rest just seem to be charms that you can 'Attach to your favourite necklace for a playful addition to your look this season' so how they differ from something you or I could make with a few parts is not clear!
Googling the designer's name (Lisa Taylor) I found her website which has a few more pictures, but no more details to justify their asking price. There is however a competition that might be worth entering!
Would your wife or girlfriend be pleased to receive one of these at Christmas? Or would she be just as happy with something you'd made yourself?
We don't get sent many press releases here at Brickset Towers and those that we do aren't usually worth passing on. This one, however, looks as if it is:
COMCAST BRINGS CUSTOMERS POPULAR DESTINATION FOR LEGO ENTHUSIASTS: LEGO TV
LEGO Fans Can Catch Tips, Behind-the-Scenes Footage, Movies, Competition & More
Comcast announced the new season premiere of LEGO TV, an On Demand destination dedicated to the world-renowned LEGOR brand, featuring building tips from LEGO Master Builders, how-to videos starring LEGO characters, LEGO-themed animations and behind-the-scenes access to the family theme park that celebrates it all, LEGOLAND California.
Available On Demand under "KIDS" > "LEGO TV," viewers can choose from more than 90 individual LEGO TV segments, which run three to eight minutes in length, including tips from LEGO Master Model Builders on how-to build boats, planes and cars to the exciting adventures of LEGO Harry Potter, where fans can unlock the mystery of the Sorcerer's Stone. For those read y for fast-paced action, jump onto the brick-covered slopes with LEGO Skiing or all-out champion soccer match with LEGO Soccer. LEGO enthusiasts also get the chance to go behind the bricks of the Toy Story movies with Pixar animator Angus MacLane and take a look at the new LEGO store in New York City's Rockefeller Center.
LEGO TV On Demand is just one in a long line of signature programs available to Comcast digital video homes such as Activity TV, 4Kids TV, Kabillion and more. Catch exciting videos starring your favorite LEGO characters, learn the best tips and go behind the scenes with Master Builders all with a click of the remote under "KIDS" and then "LEGO TV."
I guess this is pretty exciting stuff if you're in the USA but it doesn't mean a lot to me: I've never heard of Comcast and we don't have it in the UK so someone'll have to explain it, and whether this is a big deal or not.
Here's a great idea... Cygnet at The Ugly Duckling at BrickLink has created a Google Map to track series 3 availability across the USA, and eventually the world. Everyone is encouraged to contribute, so why not head over to the map and add a pin to where you've found them.
The LEGO Ambassadors have been told: "All Extended Line minifigure magnet sets will as of Jan 1st 2011 be glued.
"Based on new requirements, the magnet base and the minifigures will have to be permanently fixed together on LEGO Star Wars magnet sets. To ensure a consistent consumer experience across all LEGO minifigure magnet sets we have chosen to permanently fix the minifigure to the magnet base on all magnet sets moving forward from Jan 1st 2011 (incl. Pharaoh’s Quest launching Dec 1st). This decision has been carefully considered and was not taken easily as we know that many consumers will obviously not like this change."
The Brick Comic Network Advent countdown has begun today. Over the next 24 days a runner up will be revealed and on Christmas day the overall winner will be announced. As you know, I was a judge and it was great to see so many entries to the contest, some of which were very good indeed. You can see the winners revealed on the BCN website.
I've just been catching up on reading my RSS feeds and email received yesterday while I was out at Milton Keynes building display models for the Cardiff brand store with DrDaveWatford and others. Here are some stories worth mentioning here:
- AModularLife has posted descriptions and prices of the forthcoming Pirates Of The Caribbean sets, which I think may have originated from EuroBricks, having been found at Play.com.
- It seems Play.com have listed many of next year's sets. Legoplasticman1111 found a picture of the 3365 Space moon buggy there.
- There's a Pharaoh's Quest battle pack available, and reviewed at BrickHorizon.
- The iPhone Minifig Collector app has been made iOS 4.2 compatible and has been resubmitted to Apple. Expect to see it in the AppStore in a few weeks.
Check back later for more news: I have at least two more articles to post today.
Today is the last day to get your entries into the Brick Comic Network Advent Contest, so if you're intending to enter you'd better get a move on. Remember, the prize is a 10216 Winter Village Bakery, so it's definitely worth making the effort.
I, along with 3 others, will be judging the entries in the next few days and the Advent countdown will, of course, start on December 1st.
I've just checked the entries submitted so far and there are some great ones, but as I said before, I'm sure that you can do better!
"Recently announced at the Skaerbaek LEGO fan weekend, AFOLCON is a brand new event for the UK and Europe in 2011. Located in central Manchester, AFOLCON will comprise of a two day conference for Adult Fans Of LEGO, with exclusive content from LEGO, TT Games and more. After the conference days, AFOLCON will open its doors to the public for three days.
"AFOLCON is a new style of LEGO event for Europe. Based on the US style of conventions, AFOLCON will give fans the 'inside track' to the LEGO company and licensing partners.
"AFOLCON aims to bring the best of Billund to you! Think Comic-con, but for LEGO! The two private days will include a number of speakers, who will be showing exclusive information not available anywhere else! These include:
- LEGO set designers, showing early set mockups, designs and how a LEGO set is brought to life
- TT Games designers, detailing the process behind creating models for games such as LEGO Harry Potter and LEGO Indiana Jones
"Many more great speakers are yet to be announced. As well as getting the inside track information, AFOLCON attendees will receive a limited edition souvenir brick and a number of other special benefits throughout the whole conference including discounted LEGO!
"We want your MOCs! AFOLCON attendees are also encouraged to bring their LEGO creations to show off throughout both the private and public days. Following the private conference days, the doors will be opened to the public for a long weekend to showcase the best AFOL creations around! The public days will be widely advertised in conjunction with LEGO to encourage thousands of people to come to the show and see your LEGO creations."
AFOLCON will be held on 28th - 29th April 2011 (conference days) and 30th April - 2nd May 2011 (public days) at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, UK
Brickset is a silver sponsor of the event and we've negotiated a special deal for Brickset visitors: if you are among the first 20 people to register and quote brickset20 when you checkout, you'll receive 20% off the registration price!
This is going to be a great event, definitely not one to be missed, and I'm sure the whole Brickset team will be there. If you've never been to an AFOL event, make this your first!
Find out more at the official website: http://www.afolcon.com/
I've just created the database entries for both 'Monthly Mini Model Build' (MMMB) models for this month - the US/Canadian "Turkey Dinner" model, and the UK/Germany "Fire Place" model. For those who aren't aware, these 'MMMB' models are available free of charge as an in-store promotion in the LEGO Brand stores on the first Tuesday (North America) or first Thursday (Europe) of every month - details here.
Bill 'TooMuchDew' Toenjes has once again posted scans of next month's in-store event calendar for the US stores; you can see the front here and the rear here. He's also posted instructions for both of this months MMMB sets on his flickr account, as well as providing us with the image of the US 'Turkey Dinner' card. Many thanks Bill, you're a star!
You've probably read on other sites about this new partnership, which I believe involves a LEGO model of a shuttle going into space in a real space shuttle (NASA press release)
Now, we have pictures of two of the sets destined to be launched (!) next year: the shuttle shown here and a model of the international space station. You can see this and read more at CollectSpace.
The team over at the Brick Comic Network are holding a competition with a grand prize of a 10216 Winter Village Bakery and a host of other goodies for 24 runners up. All you need to do is make a small Christmas-themed set out of 20 parts or less. The competition is open from now until the 28th of November. One runner up will be revealed every day during December before Christmas day, when the grand prize winner will be announced.
I've been invited to help judge the entries and I'll be looking for originality, unusual use of pieces and whether it's something I'd like to find in an official LEGO Advent Calendar set.
You can read the rules and find out how to enter over in the BCN forums. Good luck!
I'm sure many of you will have read on other websites that BrickLink founder and owner Dan Jezek died recently, aged just 33. Ten years ago Dan founded what was to become the most important LEGO-related site on the web. Without it the hobby would not be what it is today. I never met Dan but I did correspond with him fairly frequently. He was always willing to help me here at Brickset by making his data available and it is thanks to Dan that we are able to display minifig information. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on for many years to come, I am sure. You can read a eulogy to Dan at BrickLink
Thankfully BrickLink administration continues to be in good hands: Eric Smith, the new admin, also hosts Brickset at his company Northstar Computer Services and I am confident we will be able to continue to collaborate to the benefit of both sites.
People who pre-ordered all the Harry Potter sets in one go from LEGOshop.com in the USA were promised alternative building instructions for 4840 The Burrow.
These have now been emailed out and they are for a 'Harry Potter Cottage'. I've put an image of the cover on flickr, but I won't be undermining LEGO's offer by posting the full set of instructions, so don't ask. I suspect you could build it yourself just from that, so have a go! (Thanks Dustin!)
We know that LEGO are going on a bit of a new store opening frenzy over the coming weeks, with two new UK stores & the first proper LEGO store in Denmark (Copenhagen), but there are two imminent "Grand Opening" events, one in Germany (Nuremberg) and the other in Arizona (Phoenix).
The 'Grand Opening' sets sound interesting, a version of Nuremburg Castle & a Rattlesnake. If you are lucky enough to get a copy of either set from the grand opening event, a high-resolution scan of the front of the instructions would be very much appreciated for the database :-)
Opening event details below ...
Nuremberg - "The LEGO Store is opening soon! Join us for our Grand Opening Celebration weekend October 21-23!
Come to our LEGO Store Grand Opening weekend beginning Thursday, 21st October through Saturday 23rd October and enjoy great LEGO building fun for the whole family. Every of the 3 days you can learn how to build an exclusive LEGO mini model, and take it home – fro FREE!
Thursday, October 21: 11:00am - 7:00pm
Friday, October 22: 11:00am - 7:00pm
Saturday, October 23: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Plus, on Thursday and Friday, be one of the first 200 customers to spend €25 in the LEGO Store and you’ll receive an exclusive, limited-edition LEGO Minifigure T-Shirt! Shirts are available in child’s sizes only.
On Saturday, the first 300 customers to spend €25 in the LEGO Store will receive an exclusive, limited-edition LEGO Nuremberg Castle set."
Phoenix - "The LEGO Store is now open! Join us for our Grand Opening Celebration weekend October 22-24!
Help a Master Model Builder construct an 8-ft tall model of Yoda™ out of LEGO bricks during the LEGO Store Grand Opening weekend beginning Friday, October 22 through Sunday, October 24!
Friday, October 22: 11:00am - 7:00pm
Saturday, October 23: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday, October 24: 11:00am - 6:00pm
You’ll get a free LEGO Star Wars™ Certificate of Achievement for helping, while supplies last! Visit the LEGO Store during the event to enter for a chance to win a $50 LEGO Store Gift Card! No purchase necessary to enter.
Plus, on Saturday, be one of the first 300 customers to spend $35 in the LEGO Store and you’ll receive an exclusive, limited-edition LEGO Rattlesnake set!
On Sunday, the first 300 customers to spend $35 in the LEGO Store will receive an exclusive, limited-edition LEGO Minifigure T-Shirt! Shirts are available in child’s sizes only.
This Fall, LEGO is giving you a chance to win the Top 10 sets on your wish list. To enter, you need to complete an entry form and then mail it back to LEGO or drop it off at your local LEGO Store. The promotion began 10/1/10, ends 12/10/10, and winners will be chosen via random drawing on/about 12/15/10. You are limited to one entry per person and one winner will be chosen per each of the following 5 regions: U.S., Canada, UK/Ireland, Germany/Austria/Switzerland, Netherlands. You must be a resident of one of the above regions to enter and for those of us thinking big, the prize value is limited to $1000 USD/CAD, 1000 pounds, or 1000 euros. Lastly and only if your are a resident of Canada, you will be required to take and pass a math test if you win. I have no idea why, but I thought it was pretty funny. :o)
At the BrickCon event in the USA at the weekend, it would appear that Brickmaster's replacement was announced. It's to be called Master Builder Club and I'm hearing that it will be available globally and not just in North America, like Brickmaster was.
If you were there, and saw the presentation, can you tell us what you know?
Here's a round up of the news that broke while I was at GWLS:
- 10199 Winter Toy Shop is available again from LEGOshop.com in the USA, priced $59.99.
- The latest bunch of instructions added to LEGO.com includes the Harry Potter sets and AT-AT 20018
- Lots of small Christmas themed polybags are now out, including 40008 and 40009.
- The Star Wars Visual Dictionary with Luke Skywalker minifig is 48% off at Walmart.com
- The 10217 Diagon Alley designer interview is now available on YouTube, and I've added all the images from LEGO's press release to the additional images section here.
Thanks to everyone who emailed to keep us up to date!
A number of LEGO-related applications for mobile devices have been released this week.
First up is a minifig barcode scanner for iPhone, called Mini Collector, which unless I'm mistaken is the first native one for the platform. The interesting thing about this one is that it won't reveal what's in the packet unless you want it to: if you don't, it'll just tell you whether you have it or not. It's now for sale in the AppStore (UK | USA) for a nominal fee. I don't have a iPhone to try it on but it certainly looks very polished from the screenshots.
Next up are two Android applications: another minifig barcode reader called LEGO Minifig Indentifier (we probably have enough of those on the platorm already...) and, by the same author, Star Wars LEGO Guide, which purports to be a complete guide to every Star Wars set and minifigure.
I've downloaded it and tried it out: it's not bad but, unlike the iPhone app, it lacks polish. It works offline without a network connection, so scores one up on Brickset Mobile, and will let you record the number of each set and minifig you own. It doesn't seem to associate set ownership with the corresponding minifig ownership, as far as I can tell. There doesn't seem to be a way to export the data anywhere, either.
If you collect Star Wars and nothing else (how many people do that?) then you might find it useful, but apart from the offline working, it doesn't really do anything over and above Mobile Brickset. Also, the UI badly needs tidying up: the font is a bit strange and unreadable, some of the buttons are a bit wierd, the images are pixellated and sort by set number doesn't! But it's a promising start. There's nothing wrong with it that can't be sorted out in the next release. (Thanks to the Ugly Ducking for the heads-up on the Android ones)
If you're hoping to get early access to LEGO Universe on October 12th, before the official launch date of October 26th, you need to get your order in before 28th September to ensure you have the necessary software delivered in time.
Just in case you've been living in a cave for the last 4 years: "LEGO Universe is the first massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) for LEGO fans! Adventure awaits in endless worlds of creative LEGO fun where you can safely build, play and connect online. Build your custom LEGO Universe minifigure and join the Nexus Force, an elite team of heroes united to defeat the Maelstrom, a dark menace trying to destroy imagination! Tap into your unique abilities and save imagination by uncovering the secrets to overcoming the Maelstrom. " (so says the blurb on LEGO.com)
I've just about finished going through the emails you all sent me last week. Here's a round-up of the most significant stories:
- Toomuchdew has posted the October U.S. brand store calendar to flickr.
- He's also posted instructions for the September monthly mini model build (a boy with backpack)
- Unbelievably TRU in the UK has reduced the price of some of last year's Star Wars sets including Home One 7754, £20 off, now £79.99, Swamp Speeder 8091, £10 off, now £29.99, Venator Class 8039, £5 off now £94.99. They are still offering the chome Stormtrooper free with sales over £29.99 too. (thanks goldfish)
- All the Harry Potter sets are on the shelves at LEGOLAND Windsor. Just mind the wasps when you go... (thanks cllmkrr)
- If you order all 6 Harry Potter sets from LEGOshop.com in the USA you'll receive alternate building instructions for The Burrow. (thanks natro220)
We have suffered a strength 7.1 earthquake here in Christchurch, New Zealand. There has been much damage caused to city buildings and services such as water and sewerage. Roads and railways have also been affected. Note that the earthquake that hit Haiti in January this year was strength 7.0 but thankfully there have been no deaths here in Christchurch. (Very low population density in comparison).
Luckily my LEGO set collection has not suffered any major damage. My Model Team set 5563 fell to the floor, and I have spent this afternoon rebuilding that set and also checking the rest of my 2700+ sets checking for any more that may need to be rebuilt.
There have been lots of after-shocks; one of these this morning was strength 5.3
I'd like to introduce you to a new LEGO blog: Gimme LEGO - the musings of a LEGO obsessive. This is not the sort of thing I would normally mention in a news article but I'm making an exception because its author is none other than DrDaveWatford who, as you'll know if you're a regular here, is a vocal and valued member of the Brickset community.
Writing a blog is hard work (which is why I don't do it!), so I encourage you to head on over and give Dave the support his efforts deserve. If you use a RSS reader to keep up to date with the myriad of blogs out there, like I do, you can subscribe to posts via the Atom feed.
Further to the article below about the excavator's mechanical problems, if you ordered one from LEGOshop.com you may well be receiving an email from LEGO's customer service soon:
"You recently ordered our LEGO Technic Motorized Excavator 8043. In the last few days we have received calls and emails from consumers reporting that this set doesn’t meet the high standards they expect from our products.
"Our Quality team have investigated and it appears that the digging arm itself (specifically the ‘linear actuator’), which works perfectly well in our other sets, is not strong enough to lift the arm of our Motorized Excavator 8043. The piece itself is not faulty or unsafe, but gets too strained in combination with all the gear-wheels used in this particular set.
"We are extremely sorry that this has happened and realize how disappointed the LEGO builder in your household will be. We are usually so proud of the quality of our models and know that when you buy a LEGO set you expect it to be 100% reliable.
"Of course you have the option of returning the set for a full refund or credit with Shop @ Home. If you’d like to do that, please get in touch with us and let us know.
"However, we also realize that this is a unique set and so you might not want to return it, you just want it to work properly. Because of this, we have created a second option: We are having a new replacement part made which we will send to you as soon as it’s ready. We’ve only just started the design and production of this new piece, so it may not be available until early October.
"In the meantime, if you choose not to return your set but to wait for the replacement piece, we'd like to offer you a GBP 10.00 credit with our apologies and we will send the new part as soon as possible."
I've posted this in its entirety because as well as it being good news for the set's owners, it also goes to illustrate why LEGO's customer service is world-class. When you buy LEGO, you don't just get a top quality product...
Umeed and his team at iXtentia have been hard at work addressing your comments about this iPhone app and have released a new version. Even the Duplo bricks on the splash-screen have been changed :-)
If you have it installed I suspect you've been prompted to update it but if you haven't yet tried it, do give it a go. Search for 'iBrickset' in the app store, or find out more at this page on iTunes.
We're aware that there's news of 2011 sets on other sites, based on the sighting of a retailers' catalogue.
While we like to read it as much as you do, we know that LEGO do not appreciate it when leaks like this occur so early in the year and are propagated by sites as popular as this. One reason being that it could potentially enable a competitor to bring a similar product to market beforehand. So, for that reason, we won't be reporting on it here, or providing links to it, until much later in the year when it becomes 'common knowledge' and is not based on priveleged information (e.g. the retailers' catalogue), and we'll be deleting comments that mention it, too.
I appreciate your understanding on this.
Building upon Brickset's Web Services, the app, aptly called iBrickset, provides facilities to search the Brickset database and, if you log in, view and record your collection as well!
I'm grateful to Umeed and his team at iXtentia for developing this and persuading Apple to add it to the App Store, which was no mean feat it seems :-)
So, if you have a compatible device, download it and give it a go. You'll find it by searching for Brickset in the AppStore, or from this page on iTunes. By all means comment here, but for support, please use the link provided on the iTunes page.
- The Winter Toy Shop is sold out in the USA and on back order until 18th December in Europe (thanks Zack)
- Eurobricks has some blurry images of the Star Wars battle packs and Power Miners sets from Amazon.jp
- Chad at MostlyBricks continues to buy and review 2010 sets: his latest is the 5866 Creator helicopter
- 2010 sets are becoming more widely available in TRUs in the USA. A visitor to one was told to check back on the 24th when more would be available.
- Coles supermarkets in Melbourne has Racers sets 8124,8125 and 8126 $3.79 (the rrp is $25). Sounds like a bargain!
- LegoHeinke in Holland writes to say "All the Atlantis sets are spotted in the Neterland by Warehouse V&D" which appears to be the first sighting in Europe. There's more information in the LowLug forums.
- The January store calendars for the USA are available in TooMuchDew's flickr stream: front | back (thanks Bill), Update: Scans of the UK one are available now as well: front | back
- 10210, the Pirate ship, is now listed at LEGOShop.com, and will be available from 12th January in Europe. (thanks Keith)
- The LEGO Harry Potter game is due to be released in March: video clips can be seen at The Leaky Cauldron. Let's hope that LEGO have learned from their previous mistake of not having Batman sets on the shelves when the Batman game was released by having HP sets available this time! (thanks Rob)
- The US LEGOShop.com is giving away a 4899-1 Mini Tractor (a $1.99 value) with any purchase of $50 or more. Use the code USTR at checkout. (thanks toa_of_justice)
- The department store David Jones has 25% off all LEGO in Austraila (thanks Wade)
This is actually old news, but it's new to me: MOCLug have posted this screen capture from the Toy Story 3 trailer on flickr claiming it shows what appears to be a Western-style train made from LEGO. It's all a bit grainy to be sure but the model certainly has LEGO-like features.
After LEGO apparently refused Pixar permission to use LEGO in Toy Story 1 and 2 (much to their subsequent regret I suspect) could it be that it will feature prominently in 3? It's a fair bet that it will given the Toy Story license, and perhaps as well as LEGO releasing sets of TS characters and scenes we'll also be able to buy the actual LEGO models featured in movie!
I don't think we'll see LEGO versions of Slinky dog, Mr. Potato Head or Tour Guide Barbie any time soon though...
Roberternst has found a gallery on an Austrian toy trade website which features loads of photos of new sets including the second series collectable minifigs. See how many you can identify!
In response to discussions on another thread about Star Wars minifigs I thought it would be useful to list those that are included in the August sets:
8098 Clone Turbo Tank: Anakin, Clone troopers (2), Battle droid, Cad Bane, Aayla Secura, Ahsoka
8095 Grievous Starfighter: Grievous, Nahdar Vebb, Caretaker droid
8097 Slave 1: Bossk, Boba Fett, Han Solo, Carbonte cast for Han Solo
8089 Hoth Wampa Cave: Luke, Zev Senesca, Wampa, skeleton
8096 Palpatine's shuttle: Palpatine, Anakin, Clone pilot, Medical droid
8093 Plo Koon's Starfighter: Plo Koon, R7-F5
Here are a few items of news that have been brought to my attention over the last few days:
- Prince of Persia sets are now available from LEGOshop.com in central Europe, including Germany.
- Toys R Us in the UK has many of the new train sets and the 3221 truck in store and online.
- Sainsburys in the UK has a buy 2 get one free offer on City sets.
- The shuttle 10213 will be available from LEGOshop.com on June 30 in the US and a week later in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
- Marketing Magazine has an article about the marketing of the collectable figs.
Thanks to everyone that keeps us updated so we can keep you updated.
Fancy seeing your LEGO creations in print? LEGO is holding a competition in the USA only where you can win LEGO vouchers and see your model on the cover of the Holiday LEGOshop.com catalogue.
Build your model using a maximum of 100 parts and submit a photo or image of your creation along with a brief description of it. You can build it using physical bricks or you can develop your creation virtually, using LEGO Design by ME.
Read all the rules and find out what the prizes are and enter on the LEGO website (page is only viewable if your country is set to USA at LEGO.com)
Good luck to all that enter!
Brickshelf.com is back, until July 31st. After that, it will be shutting down, for as near as I can tell, permanently. This may be the only time you have to save your files, so save them fast, before they are lost forever.
Details are sketchy at present, but it seems that, to tie in with the release of the LEGO Batman game, McDonalds Happy Meals, in the USA at least, will feature LEGO toys. You can read all about it by searching using Google.
bsmarthen reports that there will be 8 'sets': The Batboat, The Joker Helicopter, Batman and Batarang, Mr Freeze, The Batmobile, The Penguin and Submarine, Robin and The Joker.
I don't suppose they'll feature many real LEGO parts and they certainly won't have any minifigs in them but it'll be interesting to see what they are like and whether they appear in other countries.
If you've been wondering why news here has been a little slow lately it's because I've been beavering away building for the largest LEGO show in the UK, in Swindon in 4 weeks time.
If you're going to be in the area be sure to drop by. There'll be close to 50 Brickish Association members displaying all sorts of models and it's expected that visitor numbers will exceed last year's 3,500 over the two days.
Staff from a LEGO brand store will be in attendance selling all the latest kits, so once you've seen what we have built you can bolster your own collection then go home and build something better!
There will also be many fun hands-on activities including building a giant mosaic, demonstrations of virtual LEGO building, play tables, brick engraving and loads more.
I hope to see you there. I'll probably be manning the train layout for a lot of the time, so do drop by and say hello.
2009 is almost here, and we are all excited for the return of Pirates and (sort of) the Rock Raiders. But let’s look back at some of the highlights our favorite toy company had during the current year, because whether it was a new robotic arm for your minifigure, or a mask of life for your favorite Toa, we can all agree 2008 was a banner year.
Creator continued its tradition of not including figures with any sets in the theme, but gave us great reason to buy some extras to populate its brilliant minifigure scale sets, such as 4996 Beach House or 4997 Transport Ferry.
City started off with a bang, bringing a new subtheme into play, Cargo, featuring long-awaited mail vehicles and other things essential to getting LEGO sets to our doors, as well as a sprucing up to the Police line. The expansion wasn’t done yet, as the Coast Guard arrived on the scene in late 08, making all our LEGO cities that much more realistic.
Castle brought two brand new factions our way, (after a small preview to U.S. audiences in 07) the Trolls and the Dwarfs, each with their own unique building style. Knight armies were also built up, and an expansion to our Castles was even released in the form of 7037 Tower Raid.
Space was back in a big way, with the Mars Mission theme bringing with it new, poseable alien commander figures, as well as some interesting design throwbacks to some of our favorite Space sets. Unfortunately, this is the last year for the Mars Mission theme, but don’t worry, Space won’t be leaving us again that soon!
And of course, the Racers blasted back onto shelves in 08 with more Tiny Turbos, more Power Racers, more Ferrari, and (we hope) more sales! There was another feature added this year, but you should check out the licensed themes for that.
A new feature for most of the above themes is a return to form of sorts for the LEGO Company, with the new Impulse range. Consisting of several small, reasonably priced sets, they made it easy to create armies of Knights, Spacemen, Policemen, and Garbage men(?), as well as making it easy for the average kid to start down the same path we did, however long ago that may have been.
LEGO dug deeper into the Lucasfilm legend this year with the release of the new Indiana Jones theme, which brought Adventurers-style building back to the store shelves. Along with several successful sets, a video game based on the theme was released, earning itself a place in the top ten best-selling Wii games of 2008 in North America.
SpongeBob SquarePants saw three new sets in 08, and Batman came back, too, bringing along the new Harley Quinn minifigure. No doubt thanks to the release of the new film, The Dark Knight, the much-requested Tumbler was released as well. A video game was also released for him.
And the Racers finally saw minifigures again with the Speed Racer subtheme based on the movie based on the animated series based on the 1960’s comic book from Japan. No doubt this got the nostalgia going for a number of Adult Fans Of LEGO.
Of course, LEGO licenses are all follow-ups to the original Star Wars deal, and the little LEGO people in a galaxy far, far, away broke much new ground this year. Although many classic-styled sets were released including the instant classic 10188 Death Star, the Expanded Universe came into play in a major way this year. For starters, a set based off the best-selling video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, was released in January. But the big news this year was the start of The Clone Wars subtheme. Bolstered on by a brand new movie/TV show based on a little-explored area of the Star Wars timeline, the new sets gave us many new Jedi figures, all rendered in the unique style created by the show.
The most hated and most loved LEGO theme ever, BIONICLE, made sure we all remembered 2008 as a big year. Whether we follow the story or not, who didn’t notice the giant, complicated-looking red, blue, and green vehicles with a small BIONICLE figure gripping the handlebars, and wasn’t tempted to try it out?
On a sad note, the Japanese mecha inspired EXO-FORCE theme was discontinued in 2008, following the dismal sales of the 2007 line, with only seven small, jungle-themed sets to mark its passing.
Secrecy returned to the LEGO universe with the launch of the new Agents theme. Similar to 2001-2005’s Alpha Team, it features a team of secret agents attempting to stop an evil mastermind. Dissimilar to Alpha Team, the mastermind and his minions came with several new cyborg/mutant pieces, making one of the most unique minifigure lineups ever.
Several of us have seen some of the 2009 lineup, and I think we can all agree it is one of the best ever, with several of our favorite themes making a comeback. 2008 definitely left its mark on LEGO, and hopefully, with the strong line-up of current themes, we will see an even bigger and better mark at the end of next year.
LEGO Rock Band confirmed: Rumours emerged a few weeks ago about this title, but now it's official: Traveller's Tales are set to launch a LEGO 'Guitar Hero'-style game in time for Christmas. You can read all about it, including a track listing at PCWorld.com. I've never played this sort of game but they do seem to be popular so I'm sure that, mixed in with LEGO, this one will be even more so, particularly with the younger crowd.
LEGO Battles screenshots: This website has screenshots of the forthcoming Nintendo DS exclusive game LEGO Battles as well as cover artwork. The blurb reads "LEGO Battles is based on three classic LEGO toy themes - LEGO Space, LEGO Castle, and LEGO Pirates - combining the trademark humor and endless customization of LEGO". If you don't already have a DS, is it worth buying a DSi for, I wonder?
Hot on the heels of the chromed Darth Vader, fbtb.net brings news of a chrome stormtrooper! Apparently it can be bought at LEGOLand California, where I believe they are having Star Wars themed days this coming weekend. There's more photos at Eurobricks. Let's hope he becomes available everywhere!
Update 16th June: This will be available in LEGO stores and from LEGOshop.com in the next few weeks, according to brothers-brick.
Here at Brickset HQ, our focus is very much on providing the definitive independent reference for LEGO's products and being the trusted source of news on new set availability. We are not a general LEGO news website, and it is unusual for us to cover events.
However, we're entering a busy month for the LEGO fan community and it's a slowish news day, so here's a quick round-up of the major LEGO events in the coming up -
- 'LEGO Fan Weekend' in Skaerbaek, Denmark - 25th/26th/27th September (this weekend)
- 'Great Western LEGO Show' in Swindon, UK - 3rd/4th October (next weekend)
- 'BrickCon 09', in Seattle, United States - 3rd/4th October (next weekend)
- 'LEGO World', in IJsselhallen Zwolle, Netherlands - 22nd to 27th October (in a month's time)
- 'BRICKMANIA', in Wilrijk (Antwerp) Belgium, on 28-29 November 2009
If you can make it along to any of these events you're sure to see some amazing fan-built LEGO creations and meet many people who share your love of The Brick !
Update: As an addendum to the event calendar, those of you lucky enough to live near any one of the handful of Legoland Discovery Centers will find a sale on tickets for the next few days through Sept. 30th.
LEGOLand Chicago, IL is offering 'Afternoon Special' admission tickets for US $7.00 for entry after 4:00pm (last entry 5:00pm, but open until 7:00pm); you'll need to download the coupon from the website to be elligble. It looks like the other locations, Duisburg and Berlin, have 50% off admission. I could be wrong, so if someone wants to check the official sites and translate them to English, I can update this post! - jkool
Rohan Beckett visited the shows in Australia and has scanned the programmes, which are presented here are Brickset for your enjoyment. Click on the image to view them!
Update: Thanks to Sharpy we now have the programme for show 5! Just 2 more to go!
I ordered these on Thursday from Amazon France and they are in my grubby little hands already :-)
Quite why they are available so early in France I have no idea, but if you're in Europe and you can't wait until their official release later in the summer, I suggest you order them now -- shipping was only €7 to the UK.
Now for a bit of fun, I want you to decide which one I should open first. Please cast your vote in this survey and I'll open the winning set and photograph it to post here tomorrow night!
In other shopping news, Toys R Us in the USA has many of the summer releases listed now including Atlantis, Creator and World Racers. There's a lot happening this week, I can't keep up, so if someone fancies gathering up all the images so I can use them here, please do! (thanks vynsane, via Toys N Bricks)
Update: The poll is closed: General Grievous won by some margin! I'll get building now!
Interesting development: It seems Amazon.fr have changed their listings: these are now not shipping until 1st June. I'm beginning to wonder whether LEGO read Brickset and tell retailers to stop selling things they shouldn't as a result! (thanks crispspearce for the news)
I've just finished building the new Slave 1 and I have to say it's an excellent set. The ship is iconic in the Star Wars universe, and being somewhat unconventional in design, it is also interesting. This is the fourth minifig scale Slave 1 we've had and, while similar to others, this is definitely the best.
What's more the minifigs are excellent. Not only do you get a new Boba Fett, which has to be, in my opinion, the best minifig ever, but also Bossk, a reptilian baddie with a new unique head, and Han in a block of carbonite which is extremely well done.
Check out all the pictures on flickr and see for yourself why you will need to buy this when it comes more readily available.
Reported this week at the International Comic-Convention was a brand new LEGO theme getting its own videogame! From the creators of the LEGO Star Wars series and BIONICLE Heroes, comes LEGO Indiana Jones: The Video Game! Check out the Official site here!
Update (22nd Aug): the Brickshelf gallery is down again!
There (was) some exciting stuff to see: the return of minifig pirates which'll be welcomed my many and perhaps more interesting minifig farm sets including combine harvesters, tractors and cows! It'd be nice to have seen pigs, sheep and chickens as well but with luck they'll follow on in future years or maybe later next year.
We won't be adding the images to Brickset because they are from the retailers' catalogue and LEGO usually get upset when we use such images, particularly so far ahead of their release. We'll get all the set numbers added, though, ASAP.
Thanks to Fighter95 and ajbellinger for the news and everyone else who emailed me the pictures. (I don't need any more!)
What with this, and the new battery and remote controller for the RC trains, it's finally looking like the system might have potential.
A press release issued today at LEGO.com shows that in the first thalf of this year its sales and profits have increased significantly due in part to "continued strong growth in classic product lines" which has to be good news for us all. It's interesting that Bionicle is not mentioned because in the past it has been attributed with being the cause of strong sales but this time it's Star Wars and City.
What's more, LEGO seem to be bucking the industry trend of falling profits. This article at Bloomberg states that Mattel have reported a 19% drop in sales during the last quarter so it's great that LEGO's high quality traditional products are still in demand with consumers.
The Great Western LEGO Show will once again be taking place at the STEAM museum in Swindon this year, on the 3rd and 4th of October.
The event, jointly organised by the museum and The Brickish Association, the UK's club for adult fans of LEGO, will be bigger and better than ever, with more displays and more traders. I'll be there again, contributing to the train display.
To give you a taste of what to expect, check out the video, and for more information, see the Great Western LEGO Show page on the BA's website.
I hope to see you there!
It's official: There will be no new Pirates sets next year. The LEGO community team has told Ambassadors: "I do want to let you know though that pirates wasn't designed to be an ongoing theme this time around. Its only going to be on the shelves until second half next year and then it will be done so there's not a new line designed for pirates for 2010".
So stock up while you can.
Jan from LEGO has asked me to ask you to participate in an online survey:
"As Adult Fans of LEGO, you bring an important perspective to the LEGO Group. We respect your creativity and passion for our brand.
"Please take a few moments to complete this short online survey to let us know your opinion on how we are doing.
"We promise to listen to you and use your feedback to improve!
"You might notice that the link refers to the LEGO Kids Inner Circle; this is because Satmetrix, which hosts that site, is also supporting our efforts to track AFOL opinions. Rest assured that this survey is for AFOL's only. "
There's a question about favourite LEGO websites: don't forget to mention Brickset as one of yours!
As they are interested in responses from adults, please only respond if you're 18+.
A friend went to the London Toy Fair and said he saw these and they were pretty cool. I can't find any images anywhere but there's an article at Toy News Online which provides more information.
In fact, I haven't found any images taken at the London Toy Fair. When I've been in the past they have been very strict on photography so presumably that's the case again this year. If you come across any, let us know!
Update 2nd Feb: The Telegraph website has a picture of one of them, Rameses Pyramid.
There's not much going on this week in the LEGO world after the flurry of activity over the last fortnight!
Thanks to everyone who's emailed us to say that new sets are appearing in their local shops. If you've seen any near you, comment on this post and let everyone else know.
It seems that nearly all the known sets for 2009 have now been released so it could be a quiet couple of months for news if so. Looking at the list of most anticipated sets, which shows unreleased sets that people are most excited about, there's not much left on it: only the Advent calendars and a few SW, Power Miners and SP3 sets, so let's hope LEGO have some exciting announcements planned for the run-up to Christmas otherwise it'll be boring!
Joe Meno (editor of Brick Journal) has posted some excellent pictures of both Toy Story and PoP taken at the event and I have to say I am both pleased and surprised to see that they are minifig scale and that they look absolutely superb.
So, what can we tell from the photos? Well, the Toy Story figures have a lot of new parts and in the case of Woody and Jessie, longer legs and arms, which seems to be upsetting the purists. Personally that doesn't bother me, I'd much rather they did that than make 'Jack Stone' sized figures. The Prince of Persia figures are more 'traditional' and introduce some new headgear. There's also a camel and (correct me if I'm wrong) and ostritch!
Collecting LEGO is getting annoying -- there's always something great coming that you want now but can't have for ages!
Update: there's even more, and better, pictures of the Toy Story figures here -- they are awesome!
Finally, the secret is out -- I hadn't realised when I wrote the article below about the 1976 sets that the electronic edition of BrickJournal issue 10 is now available! In it you'll find a 4 page article about the history of Brickset and the source of the images.
I am not going to tell you here where they came from because I want to encourage you all to buy a copy -- either PDF or print -- and read it for yourself.
BrickJournal is an excellent publication and Joe and Megan (and everyone else) do a fantastic job on it and they deserve your support. So, please, click on the image to the left, or the banner in the menu and get your copy today.
If you need further encouragement, there are even pictures of me and bluemoose in it!
It's been a quiet week for LEGO news. Here's a quick roundup of things people have emailed me about:
- The DK LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary book can be preordered from Amazon.com for shipping in September. It's also listed on Amazon.co.uk but can't be ordered yet.
- The leaks from the Czech factory continue: Brickshelf has several galleries of pictures of summer release City sets (here and here)
- Rick A picked up a flyer in his local LEGO brand store in the USA which states "May The Force be with you! Shop online at LEGOshop.com on May 3rd and May 4th for an exclusive, limited edition offer celebrating the Lego Star Wars 10th Anniversary!". My contact at LEGO says "I can’t spill the beans just yet on what it is, but it’s pretty cool!"
- The Emerald Night shipping date has slipped in the USA to the middle of May. It's still middle of April for Europe (the 15th, tomorrow, in fact)
Regular Brickset visitors will know what's about to happen in 'space' but in case you need any clues head over to the new Space microsite at LEGO.com!
Perhaps the site's appearance signals the imminent arrival of the sets in question :-)
BrettSpiel.co.uk, the games website that carried early news about LEGO games has just posted an excellent article which incudes an interview with the lead designer Cephas Howard. If you want to know more about their evolution, go and check it out and leave Brett a comment to show your appreciation for his efforts in securing such a great interview.
The Star Wars microsite at LEGO.com has recently been updated and it would appear that it will include an index of old Star Wars sets in the Holobrick Archive. At the moment is's a work in progress and has details of only a handful of sets but once complete it could turn out to be a useful resource, although not, of course, as useful at Brickset :-) Unfortunately, it's all written in Flash which means it looks very 'flash' but which you either love or loathe (I loathe).
Interestingly, it's only visible in the menu of the microsite if your region is set to United States.
Official: 2010 will be the last year of Bionicle. An announcement was made today by LEGO's Global BIONICLE Director, Jan Faltum stating, among other things, that "the six BIONICLE Stars launching in January will be the last BIONICLE sets for the foreseeable future." You can read the full annoucement at Brothers Brick.
So, what do you think? Good or bad news?
- Bad, because without doubt Bionicle has provided a steady revenue stream for LEGO for 10 years which during the bad times of the mid 2000's helped keep LEGO afloat.
- Good, because, frankly, for the last 3 or 4 years they have been lacking innovation and becoming boring: running out of ideas is probably one of the main reasons for the decision.
The annoucement goes on to say that "The LEGO Group will debut a new, more flexible buildable figure property" next year, and I don't think they are talking about Ben10 because that is mentioned separately, so it will be interesting to see what that is.
This publication of this book seems to have slipped under the radar: The Lego Minifigure Ultimate Sticker Collection was released at the end of December: The description at Amazon reads: "Thirty years of minifigures are represented in this one-of-a kind sticker collection for LEGO fans young and old alike! With more than 600 reusable stickers, kids of all ages can bring all the minifigures to life in a whole new way! "
You can order it from Amazon:
- In the USA: Ultimate Sticker Collection: LEGO Minifigure
- In the UK: Lego Minifigure Ultimate Sticker Collection [With Sticker(s)] (Ultimate Sticker Collections)
- In Canada: Lego Mini Figure Ultimate Sticker Collection
- In Germany: Ultimate Sticker Collection: LEGO Minifigure (Ultimate Sticker Collections)
- In France: Lego Minifigure.
What's more, there'll be a Star Wars one along later in the year: ziebarpe_22 found it listed at Borders.au, and some Amazon sites are showing it as being available in December 2010.
Following my message about this last week, I've pulled out all the stops to get this up and running for you. I've been through my old backup CDs and come up with over 400 wallpapers which are now available in the Brickset wallpaper repository.
I'm fairly sure I don't have them all -- there seems to be a big gap in my collection in the early 2000s, so I'm hoping that some of you can help fill it. If you can, let me know!
They'll be here forever (unlike when on LEGO.com) so you don't need to download them all at once and overload the server. I hope you find this useful, and I welcome any feedback you have.
Update 20th Jan: Many thanks to Bruno who, over the last few days, has been sending me loads of Bionicle wallpapers. Thanks to his help we now have a pretty complete collection including some I don't remember seeing anywhere else before (such as the Visorak on green jungle background). There may be one or two more to add: teobat pointed me at the Bionicle Media Project which contains loads of Bionicle stuff, including wallpapers. Unfortunately the ZIP archive is unorganised and it's difficult to see what we have and what we don't. Bruno and I will be going through them soon. I'm not a huge Bionicle fan (I used to be...) but I do love these wallpapers! Shame there'll be no more now...
CAN YOU HELP? -- I'm sure there must have been Star Wars wallpapers made between 2001 and 2005 but I don't have any and Googling for them hasn't found any either. If you have them stashed away somewhere, do please get in touch!
As suspected, the LEGO staff at the North American Toy Fairs are a lot more permissive of phototograpny on their stands and photos from the Canadian toy fair are now appearing online. Here are a few galleries:
Here's the UK brand store calendar for April. The special offer this month is a free tub of PaB with purchases of £50, but more noteworthy than that is the complete absence of any mention of Prince Of Persia sets or release dates. Compare it to the US one, which has PoP plastered all over it. I'm sure it doesn't mean that they won't be available here but possibly that their release will be later in the month.
While on the subject of PoP, there's an excellent review of the Ostritch Race set at Eurobricks. I was going to try and resist buying them (yeah, right...) but now having seen how cool the ostritches and minifigs are, that'll never happen...
LEGO has extended its VIP points programme to LEGOshop.com purchases which is great news for those of us that don't live near LEGO brand stores.
The VIP programme page explains "The LEGO VIP Program is our way of thanking you for shopping with us, at your local LEGO Store, through shop.LEGO.com or over the phone. Earn 1 point for every £1 you spend and for every 100 points we’ll give you £5 to spend on more sets for your favorite LEGO fan!" So, effectively that's a 5% discount on online purchases.
It looks as if this may be limited to the UK only at the moment, if your country is set to something other than the UK, the page linked to above does not mention online purchases. However I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it's rolled out globally.
(thanks atkinsar for the news!)
If you live in Canada, one of your major LEGO suppliers will no longer carry our favorite building product. Yahoo! reports that Wal-Mart stores in Canada will no longer be carrying the LEGO brand, due to a rise in the Canadian dollar, among other things. No word when this will go into effect.
"It's not every day that a children's toy becomes a design icon but in the case of LEGO's minifigure, those tiny plastic male and female figurines that animate (in an inanimate sort of way) children's building block creations the world over, icon status seems oddly fitting"
I don't like to regurgitate news articles from Eurobricks but a recent one about new DK books warrants doing so. Anyone who has their Ultimate Lego Book will know how good they are. The pictures in thomasdavi's flickr gallery show three new books:
Two are 'Brick Master' books, to be released in August, which come with 'up to 130 bricks' and presumably instructions for building many models from them.
The third, out in October priced £25, is probably more interesting to AFOLs: 'The LEGO book' which consists of 2 books in a slipcase one of which is titled 'Standing Small': A celebration of 30 years of the the LEGO minifigure'
I for one can't wait...
News of the range of LEGO games, to launched on 1st July, is now coming in thick and fast!
- games.lego.co.uk is now live, and contains a Flash animation. It looks good but doesn't actually tell you anything.
- This page on LEGO.com, entitled A new way to play, looks like it contains cool stuff but all the links I tried lead to the above Flash animation (thanks Saso)
- An article at BrettSpeil.co.uk actually has some useful information, like set numbers, prices and box art (thanks szww)
It does seem that these are set for release in Europe only, at least initially. I suspect LEGO will test the water with them and release them more widely later, perhaps next year.
Update: We are once again indebited to whung, who's posted good pictures of all ten games in his gallery on Brickshelf which I've added here. Having now seen them, I have to say they look pretty cool -- all very colourful and probably fun to play. (thanks waterjedi17 for finding them!).
Want to tell us what you like and dislike about Brickset and how we could improve it? Now's your chance! I've been playing with a new online survey tool and have created a short questionnaire to gather feedback from you.
I'm interested in feedback from everyone but particularly from adults, so if you have 10 minutes spare, click on the image to complete it and I'll be eternally grateful...
Update 1st Sept: The survey is now closed. Thanks to all of you who completed it. I now have nearly 800 responses to analyse. When I've done so I'll post the analysis here.
(That's welcome in Polish). Yesterday Brickset saw a huge spike in traffic which, after investigation in Google Analytics, it turns out was generated by being featured on the Polish equvalent of Digg, Wykop.pl. You can read the entry translated into English and comments by the site's users.
So, if you're visiting for the first time from Poland: Witaj, mam nadzieje, ze podoba Ci sie strona.
Since the introduction of Star Wars in 1999, LEGO have produced some cool desktop wallpapers and made them available as downloads from their product pages. Trouble is, when a particular product page is removed or updated, the wallpapers disappear. So, I'm thinking of establishing a 'wallpaper repository' here at Brickset, but I need your help!
I've amassed hundreds of them over the years but I'm pretty sure I don't have a complete collection, so that's where you come in. If you too have been collecting them, please get in touch (email@example.com) and let me know what you have, then hopefully between us we can present a complete gallery of them here on Brickset for posterity.
For a short while in the mid-1970's, LEGO added mysterious letters to the front of many of their set boxes. Sets would have a prominent coloured square close to the set number; the box would contain either an 'A', a 'B', a 'C' or a 'D'. You can see an example of a 'B' set here.
So, what did it mean? In advance of the next set of database updates, which will include many sets with this peculiar addition, I thought it might be worth exposing this mystery!
Each letter was intended to inform the buyer of how complex the set was, with 'A' indicating a simple build (a DUPLO set for example) and 'D' showing it was the most challenging build (a train set for example). 'B' and 'C' indicated intermediate difficulty sets, with a 'C' being a more challenging build than a 'B'. Hopefully it now all makes sense !
This only lasted for a very short period, which is a shame, as I rather like it, & prefer it to the later 'age range' approach.
I was fortunate to have been sent this, and 2 other PoP sets, from the USA last week. I've now had a chance to build it and, I have to say, I am impressed with the set and its price which is less than I expected (US$80, £70). Not only do you get 7 awesome minifigs, but the fort is very nice too with lots of neat details. It certainly looks very middle-eastern with the new half-arch pieces and gold-topped towers.
Rather than me write a lengthy review about the opening of the box and the construction of the set, I'll direct you to the excellent pictorial review on Eurobricks if you want to read all about that. Instead, what I thought I'd do is take some pictures of the minifigs, and of them 'in action' around the set. So, check out my flickr set to see them in glorious detail.
Rather annoyingly the POP sets have still not appeared in the product feed from LEGO, so if you want to order them you can do so from the following links:
The third and final Prince Of Persia set I received last week was 7572 Quest Against Time. This features four minifigs including the delightful Princess Tamina. The first thing to note is that, when assembled, the set looks nothing like that in the official pictures: those pictures have been arranged for maximum impact.
Once again, there are some great reviews elsewhere (Eurobricks!) that show every last detail of the set under construction, so I won't repeat that here. But I have taken some nice pictures of the minifigs again which you'll find in my flickr set.
With luck the other two PoP sets I ordered from Amazon over the weekend will arrive today and I'll be able to tell you about them tomorrow. In the meantime, you can read what other people think of all the Prince of Persia sets in the set reviews here at Brickset.
A reader contacted me today asking why I hadn't written about the chrome Darth Vaders that are appearing in sets, and on eBay, yet. Well, I guess I didn't think it particularly newsworthy as they've been around for a while.
But if you haven't heard, 10,000 chrome Darth Vaders have been inserted randomly into 2009 Star Wars sets and it seems people are now finding them. There's quite a few on eBay but they are going for high prices. If you're not lucky enough to find one and don't want to take the chance of not getting one you're going to have fork out a hefty sum, I'm afraid!
A few people contacted over the last few weeks to tell of a huge increase in the price of the pick-a-brick elements at LEGOshop.com. As I don't buy from there -- even at the old prices they were too expensive -- I didn't really take a lot of notice or appreciate the scale of the increase. However, now it would seem that LEGO have seen the error of their ways and have reduced them again. Here is the official communication from them:
Dear LEGO fans
Based on all the feedback over the past week regarding our new Pick A Brick elements and pricing we will reduce the pricing on LEGO Pick A Brick elements.
There were good reasons behind our decision to raise prices of this relatively operationally complex Pick A Brick service. However, over the last week we have realised, thanks to you, that it was unacceptable to raise the prices so steeply without notice. We have acted quickly and have taken the decision to reduce the pricing on LEGO Pick A Brick elements. The prices cannot return to the original 2008 level but the increases are now much smaller. We are pleased to now offer you the biggest, most comprehensive assortment ever including:
- More colours
- Most recent doors and windows are now available in PAB and MOD
- More longer beams to enable larger constructions
- More accessories (such as hats, wigs and mini figure tools)
- More mini-figs (now with girl and child (short legs))
- More cool tires and rims
We hope to welcome you back to Pick A Brick soon.
Your LEGO team
Let me know what you think. Are they priced reasonably now? Are there any bargains to be had?
The Games microsite at LEGO.com is now up and running, with a lot more information about the games including parents' guides, video tutorials, adverts, downloads and so on. It looks great but the grammar leaves a lot to be desired. I know 'LEGO games' could be considered a singular entity but "What is LEGO games?" just doesn't read right!
There's also a new Architecture page as well, but sadly it seems the sets, like the page itself, are continuing to be targeted at the US market only. It looks as if there are more products planned in a 'discovery series' of sets to go alongside the existing 'landmark' and 'architect' series.
The December brand store calendars are now out. The image leads to the German one. Brickapolis has the US version in his flickr stream: front | back. There doesn't appear to be any special offers or events on other than the free box of PaB when you spend €75 or $75: I guess there doesn't need to be in December, the shops will be rammed anyway.
(Thanks to Roy for scanning the German one)
The second Prince of Persia set I received last week was The Ostrich Race which features 3 minfigs and two ostriches. Someone wrote on another LEGO website that, if he had been asked a year ago what animal he thought LEGO would make next, the last thing he would have guessed is an ostrich, and I have to agree! You might have guessed at camels to go with a desert theme, but ostriches, never!
However recent years have shown that LEGO are now capable of producing complex parts in China (e.g. cows, Bullseye, Toy Story heads, basically anything that comes in its own plastic bag in a set) which are only slightly inferior to those produced in Denmark and probably at a much lower cost, which makes things like ostriches financially viable.
Anyway, onto the set: I won't repeat what's been said in other reviews (the Eurobricks one is again a good one) but suffice to say that this is an essential purchase. Not only are the the figs and animals excellent, but there's also a good selection of parts, including some in the new 'Medium Dark Flesh' colour. I've posted some pictures in a flickr set so you can see for yourself.
Rather annoyingly the POP sets have still not appeared in the product feed from LEGO (but I have complained!), so if you want to order them you can do so from the following links:
An interesting story has been published on many news sites and was picked up by Google News concerning a licencing agreement between a company that makes 'Teentronics' (Digital Blue) and LEGO:
"Digital Blue, a leading innovator in electronics and software for the youth and teen market, today announced a licensing agreement with LEGO Systems, Inc., the world’s leading construction toy company, to create a LEGO-inspired line of electronic gear. The line is scheduled for release in the summer of 2009 at price points ranging from $19.99 to $59.99.
"Digital Blue will apply its expertise in value-priced digital and video cameras, MP3 players and other electronic gear to an extensive youth audience and to LEGO fans worldwide by creating four imagination-inspiring lines, including:
- Brick-Built, Portable Electronics: The line features fully functional digital cameras, MP3 players, walkie talkies and USB drives that appear to be built from classic LEGO bricks.
- BIONICLE: Digital products that bring the excitement and action of the BIONICLE legend to life for boys ages 7-11. This line launches with digital cameras at Toys “R” Us. The remainder of the line is scheduled to be released in fall 2009 in tandem with the BIONICLE direct-to-video feature, and includes a stop animation video camera. It’s designed to appeal to a broad age range, including teens, and features the elemental essence of LEGO style.
- Home Electronics: Boom boxes and alarm clock radios that feature classic LEGO brick elements scaled to oversized proportions. "
The products will be available in the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, France and Germany, apparently. The Digital Blue website might give you an idea what to expect, but there's not mention of this there yet.
Thanks to mbamcooley for first alerting me to this. Sounds interesting!
Update: If this is what they look like, then I'm not so sure about them!
The long-awaited pair of LEGO books from Dorling Kindersley are now shipping in the UK and I'm sure will be shipping elsewhere real soon. If you haven't already ordered yours, click below to do so.
- UK: LEGO Star Wars the Visual Dictionary and The LEGO Book
- USA: LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary and The LEGO Book
- Canada: Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary and The Lego Book
- Germany: LEGO Star Wars
- France: Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary and The Lego Book
Hopefully my copies will arrive by the weekend and I'll let you know what I think of them when they do.
Update Sept 24th: Michael tells us these are shipping in Canada now, and I've added them to the database so you can review them.
Update Sept 25th: I now have these in my hands and they are absolutely stunning! The best LEGO books ever produced without doubt. The Star Wars Visual Dictionary is great but The LEGO book would appear to be even better! I will post pictures and more information later on today.
I'm not a big fan of video games but I know a lot of you are, so I suspect you already know that LEGO Rock Band is now shipping in the USA and is released later this month in the UK and the rest of Europe.
However, what's more interesting to me are these instructions for the rock band tour bus that bluemoose found on LEGO.com. I'm not sure about the back wheels but otherwise it's a good rendition of a VW van!
Bluemoose and I seem to be answering the same questions about these figs over and over in the article comments, so to save us having to do it any more here are the answers to your frequently asked questions:
Q: When are these available?
A: Official launch in Europe is May 1st but they have been available in some countries for a couple of weeks. The exact release date in North America is not known but it's likely to be in June. UPDATE - checking back to Toy Fair New York, the press kit issued by Lego stated that Series 1 would be available in North America 'from June'.
Q: Will these be available in <insert country name here>?
A: Yes, they will most likely be available in every country that LEGO is sold in.
Q: What shops will they be sold in?
A: We don't know for sure, but in the UK it will predominately be toy shops where LEGO is usually sold as opposed to newsagents. Toys R Us is a good bet. They will also be available from LEGOshop.com and the brand stores.
Q: Are some rarer than others?
A: We don't know yet
Q: Can I tell what's in the packet before I buy?
A: Sort of. See http://bricks.inof.de/docs/minifig-barcodes/
Q: How much do they cost?
A: Individually, we know they will be £1.99 in the UK. There doesn't seem to be anything official for US pricing - depending on the source, the price will be either $1.99, $2.49 or $2.99 (plus tax). Shopping around, especially on-line, you will likely be able to find them discounted, particularly if purchased in bulk. We'll post prices for other countries as we find them out. UPDATE - checking back to Toy Fair New York, the press kit issued by Lego stated that Series 1 figs would be US$1.99 / Can$2.99.
Q: Will I be able to buy a box/case at a Lego Store? If so, how much will they cost?
A: Regarding selling whole boxes or cases, we don't think there's any official policy on this; it's likely to be up to the manager of each store. We'd suspect that they will be more likely to sell in bulk if they have plenty of stock than if they are running low. As for price, it'll probably be either 60x the cost of a single fig for a box, or 120x the cost of a single fig for a case (which contains 2 boxes); the manager may have some discretion to offer a discount, but they are under no obligation to do so. If you're looking for bulk discounts, you're probably better off ordering from an on-line retailer.
Q: Will I be able use Brickset to manage my collection of collectable minifigures ?
A: Yes, you will be able to keep track of which collectable minifigures you have & review them seperately. We haven't finalised how you will track unopened minifig packs (i.e. where you don't necessarily know what's inside).
In this month's issue of the UK LEGO club magazine there's a small brochure about the collectable minifigs. It contains a brief bio of each figure (which are all a bit lame :-) ) and a cartoon at the back. Here's an example of the bio pages. The back cover features series 2.
It seems to me that all this publicity (this and the Beano insert) has come a bit late: the figs themselves are now hard to find in the shops, although LegoCoastGuard says he's seen them in Tesco: not with the toys but on plastic strips at the end of aisles so perhaps there's a second wave about to arrive.
The site is currently geared up to ship to UK addresses but Martin is happy for Brickset members to contact him for shipping costs outside of the UK. Many of the items are 'one only' and there are some bargains to be had so be sure to get in quick!
Kenneth John Lim
Congratulations to you all, I'll be in touch for a snail-mail address so I can get them posted to you.
Commiserations to everyone else, but thanks for entering and for your continued support for Brickset by buying from LEGOshop.com via our links, it's appreciated and helps keep the site running.
It's been a very busy couple of week for news and some of the more important articles have disappeared into the archive already, so here's a quick round-up:
- After a shaky start, the collectable minifigs are now readily available in the UK in Argos, WHS and TRU. The FAQ covers everything you need to know about them
- Amazon.fr has started selling many of the summer sets. For a few days it was also selling the Star Wars sets, until someone from LEGO read here that they were and asked them to stop (that's my theory, anyway)
- Issue 10 of Brickjournal has been published and is now available in print form. There's a 4 page article about Brickset and our visit to the LEGO archive in Denmark where we photographed the 1970s sets we've been adding recently. Read it for yourself by clicking through on the banner in the menu.
- A new Toy Story set was discovered in LEGO's instruction archive, and the one we already knew about is available in the UK (see below)
- Brickset had a world exclusive with news of the new space shuttle set last week. It was officially launched at the weekend.
Hopefully I'll have time to come up for air this week. I'm working my way through building the new Star Wars sets, I still have loads of images to add from the LEGO archive, and I hope to start adding scans of the classic UK LEGO Club magazine 'Bricks and Pieces' from the 1980's soon as well.
Here's a fantastic picture of the Indiana Jones minifigure obtained by Joe Meno. See a larger picture and read more in his Brickjournal blog.
2009 is a big year for LEGO all around, however one area where they will really shine this year is in the video game section, with three big releases coming soon.
First of course, is the highly anticipated Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) LEGO Universe. This PC game is scheduled for release sometime this year and will deliver character customization, player interaction, and the ability to create your personal avatar as a real LEGO figure and get it sent to you.
Next is LEGO Racers: The Video Game. All we know about this title is that it will be coming out sometime this year, thanks to the actual LEGO Racers sets.
Last is LEGO Battles, recently announced by TTGames, the minds behind LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones, and LEGO Batman. Only for the Nintendo DS, this game features several characters from our favorite LEGO themes, such as Pirates, Space and Castle, with the ability to build and battle other players on the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This game should be out sometime in the third quarter of '09.
So there is all the news we have for you gamers out there. If you find anything we haven't heard about, please, let us know!
Several of my friends over at the Brickish Association have launched a new website to celebrate 30 years of classic space. Here's the press release:
"March 2009 sees the 30th anniversary of the original Classic Space sets from LEGO. Now, three decades on, it’s time for a celebration of spacey goodness at www.neoclassicspace.com.
"Neo-Classic Space is a reimagining of the LEGO Classic Space range, using modern building techniques and parts. More than just inspired by the Classic Space sets, Neo-Classic Space is an extrapolation of the line into the 21st century and beyond. We aim to follow a carefully thought standard, which we feel is in keeping with the original designs.
"The culmination of a top-secret project planned over many months, www.neoclassicspace.com will present a new model every day throughout March, many from builders you already know and love, some from new talent you may not have discovered.
"This is only the beginning. It is time to retake space. We hope you'll come along for the ride!"
Go and check it out!
Remember this article back in January about LEGO teaming up with Digital Blue to produce consumer electronics devices aimed at kids? Louis L emaled today to say he found images of the camera, MP3 player, walkie talkie and other devices on Brickshelf.
Except for the camcorder, they all look a bit garish for my liking but I don't think I'm the target audience. Let me know -- do they appeal to you?
I have started building this, the last of the five summer Star Wars sets I acquired from Amazon.fr a week or so ago before they moved the shipping date back to June. It looks to be the weakest of the five in terms of design and build: for example, it's a mainly Technic build, but I'll reserve judgement until I've finished.
I'll be adding pictures to my flickr set as I go and as you can see already the figs are pretty neat...
On Sunday I will be cycling in the London to Brighton bike ride which is the largest charity cycling event of its kind in the UK. It's a 54 mile trip from the capital city to Brighton on the south coast of England and there'll be around 35,000 cyclists taking part!
I'm doing it with some colleagues from work and we will be raising money for the event organisers, the British Heart Foundation: the UK's heart charity. Every day they save lives, through pioneering research, providing vital information to help people reduce their own heart health risks, campaigning for change and supporting and caring for heart patients.
Anyway, now onto the point of me telling you all this: I'd be eternally grateful if you'd sponsor me! You can do so online painlessly at JustGiving and by PayPal. If you like, consider it a thank-you to me for the effort I put into Brickset to ensure that it remains the best LEGO resource on the 'net :-)
Your normal news service will resume later today when I have an exciting new feature to unveil!
It seems awfully early in the year to be seeing a long list of next year's sets, but Eurobricks is reporting that such a list was found on Amazon.de. I can't see them there now so perhaps they have been removed. The English translations, provided by a Eurobricks member are:
LEGO Technic 8290 - Mini Fork Lift
LEGO Technic 8291 - Motocross Bike
LEGO Technic 8292 - Truck with lifting ramp/platform
LEGO Technic 8296 - Beach Buggy
LEGO Action 7723 - Police Water Plane
LEGO City 7741 - Police Helicopter
LEGO City 7743 - Police Surveillance Car
LEGO City 7744 - Police Station
LEGO Indiana Jones 7620 - Indiana Jones Motorbike Chase
LEGO Indiana Jones 7621 - Indiana Jones and the lost Grave
LEGO Indiana Jones 7622 - Chase of the stolen Treasure
LEGO Indiana Jones 7623 - Escape from the Temple
LEGO Impulse 5610 - Construction worker
LEGO Impulse 5611 - Street cleaner/scavenger
LEGO Impulse 5612 - Policeman
LEGO Impulse 5613 - Firefighter
LEGO Impulse 5614 - The Good Magician
LEGO Impulse 5615 - The Knight
LEGO Impulse 5616 - Mini Robot
LEGO Impulse 5617 - Alien Jet
LEGO Racers 8490 - Desert Hopper
LEGO Racers 8491 - Ram Rod
LEGO Racers 8492 - Mud Hopper
LEGO Racers 8493 - Red Ace
LEGO Racers 8494 - Ring of Fire
LEGO EXO-FORCE 8111 - River Dragon
LEGO EXO-FORCE 8112 - Battle Arachnoid
LEGO EXO-FORCE 8113 - Assault Tiger
LEGO EXO-FORCE 8114 - Chameleon Hunter
LEGO EXO-FORCE 8115 - Dark Panther
LEGO EXO-FORCE 8117 - Storm Lasher
LEGO Star Wars 7667 - Imperial Dropship
LEGO Star Wars 7668 - Rebel Scout Speeder
LEGO Star Wars 7669 - Anakin's Jedi Starfighter
LEGO Star Wars 7670 - Hailfire Droid & Spider Droid
LEGO Star Wars 7671 - AT-AP Walker
LEGO Star Wars 7672 - Rogue Shadow
When we have confirmed them, we'll add them to the database. I'm going to guess that 'impulse' is a range of small sets to encourage impulse buying, perhaps like the Playmobil sets that contain one figure and a couple of accessories.
Aaron wrote to us to say "There is a Lego store opening in Chandler Fashion Square in a few weeks, grand opening on June 27th. This is pretty exciting news for AZ Lego fans since the closest Lego store is in California."
Sounds like excellent news if you're in Arizona -- if you are why not get along to the opening and meet up with other Brickset users!
The UK edition of the LEGO Club magazine, which I received today, has an advert on the back for LEGO games. It quotes a url, http://games.lego.co.uk, but at the moment that just redirects to the main LEGO home page. So keep your eyes peeled; presumably one day soon the site will be live.
There's been precious little information released about the games sets so far. I didn't see them when I visited the LEGO UK offices in February, and although they were on display at the London toy fair, which I didn't get to, photos weren't permitted. So, when the site is launched hopefully all will be revealed!
As you can see from the picture, there's a new kind of mini-minifig playing piece and a constructable dice which 'is built with different plates in each of the 10 LEGO games', so the magazine says.
The Brickmaster Castle and Brickmaster Pirates books can now be ordered in the UK directly from the Dorling Kindersley website. The books come with 140-odd pieces and instructions for building many different models using them and it looks like they'll be great fun. The US DK site still shows them as 'not yet published', though.
(Update: although you can order these now, they are not actually shipping yet, it seems. I received an 'out of stock' email this morning. )
While we are on the subject of DK books, the other two that are due for release in October can be pre-ordered from Amazon. Both of them look like being must-haves for the discerning LEGO collector.
After the flurry of excitement following the discovery of year 2010 set images and news of the Daily Mirror promotion in the UK, its been a slow week for news... What's more, I bought a new PC the day Windows 7 came out and I've been having a bit of grief with it, with USB devices. I don't think it's a Windows 7 problem per se but I can't get to the bottom of it. I've just done a system recovery to see if starting from scratch will help. Consequently I'm without my usual suite of programs for email, website development and so on. Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon!
One potentially interesting piece of news this week, which I'm going to have to try and remember the exact details of because I don't have the email to hand, is that someone emailed to say they think they saw the new Star Wars battle packs in Target in Florida, I think it was. If that were the case I'm sure it would be splashed about all over the 'net but I can't see mention of it anywhere else. Can anyone confirm it?
They are all over the Internet, you may have found them for yourself. However you won't find them here as we have a strict policy of not using or linking to images marked 'company confidential'.
So, thanks to everyone that's sent us links or the images themselves, but we don't be able use them: I have heard LEGO are taking legal action to have them removed, although such is the nature of the Internet that personally I think the cat is already out of the bag and they don't have much hope...
For the first time, LEGO have published their official colour chart. This shows the colours currently in production with their colour numbers and names. Their relative position on the chart shows how they fit in the 'colour space', which will become obvious once you look at it.
This is interesting, but not really of any practical value since we (the LEGO community) have our own names for long-established colours, some of which LEGO use to refer to different colours, e.g. what we call 'green' LEGO calls 'dark green', just to confuse things!
It's encouraging that LEGO are sharing this sort of information with us: we have the LEGO community development team to thank for this. Who knows, maybe next it will be a complete list of elements in production or something like that.
You've probably read the about the Star Wars promotion at LEGOshop.com taking place today and tomorrow at other sites: the official announcement time yesterday was past my bedtime :-)
Here are the details:
Free LEGO Star Wars sticker sheet with any purchase on 3rd 4th May 2010.
Every Star Wars purchase made during these two days will receive a free sticker sheet.
Free Shipping on all orders Globally
In order to meet free shipping order must meet the following price thresholds for each region.
- US and Canada $75 or more
- UK £50 or more
- Rest of Europe €55 or more
Star Wars Sales and Deals
- Home One Mon Calamari Cruiser – 30% off
- Republic Dropship with AT-OT Walker – 25% off
- (US & Canada Only) 10179 UCS Millennium Falcon – 25% off
- Various magnet sets
Bronze Boba Fett™ Minifigure Giveaway
Everyone who makes a purchase on May 3-4th will automatically be entered into a contest to win a solid bronze Boba Fett minifigure (1 of 2 in created). Minifigure will come in a presentation box with an authentication certificate. There will be no limit to orders placed and only one grand prize winner globally. (Update: it seems this is limited to US/Canada only)
Click through on the banner in the menu or this link to see everything on offer!
Several members are posting pointless comments to news articles. May I remind you that this is NOT a discussion forum; please only post comments which are relevant to the topic in question and which will be of interest to others. The majority of you are doing that; it would thus be a shame if I have to introduce moderation to prevent abuse, I'm sure you'll agree.
Pegasi sent me a link to what looks to be the most comprehensive collection of photos of forthcoming sets taken at the (presumably New York) 2008 Toy Fair. Check out the photos on flickr then discuss them here.
Thanks to those of you that sent me images of the Power Miners. You can see them here at Brothers-Brick. Despite what has been written there, I think they show promise and have a great colour scheme.
This straight-to-DVD movie is now available in the USA. I have no idea what it's like: when you've watched it let us know what you think of it!
You can order it from Amazon: LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers
Amazon.co.uk has no release date for it yet.
Quite a few retailers are hoping that you'll part with your money on toys rather than chocolate for Easter and have offers to tempt you to:
In the UK:
- As previously stated Argos has 20% off LEGO until Tuesday. There's probably not much left after the weekend but you might get lucky.
- The chrome Stormtrooper is available in Toys R Us: spend over £29.99 and get one free (thanks Jon)
In the US:
- Toys R Us is is running a 'buy one get one 50%' sale on all Lego sets (excluding Star Wars, Toy Story and Bricks and More). (thanks B)
- Eurobricks has picture of the forthcoming AT-AT which looks like it comes with a whole host of minifigs, for a change: previous AT-ATs have been a bit boring on that front.
- Several sites, including BZPower, have published good pictures of the HERO Factory villains which I've added here. They look very much like recycled Bionicle to me...
- I apologise that the 'New at LEGOshop.com' listing above is so out of date: I don't know why the PoP sets haven't appeared in our US product feed from LEGO yet, or the Architecture ones in the UK feed. If you want to order them you can do so by following these links: Prince of Persia (US) and Architecture (UK) .
Brickshelf has a new message on its front page, and a much more positive one at that. Brickshelf will not be shutting down! Thanks to all who made this possible, and saved one of our favorite sites.
Lego has signed a deal with Cartoon Network to create construction toys based on the huge-selling Ben 10 franchise, so says the UK toy trade magazine Toy News. "The range, based on the Ben 10 Alien Force adventures, is expected to launch globally in Spring 2010 and promises a new twist on the Lego building system", apparently. Read more at the Toy News site.
I can't say the news excites me, having never seen the cartoon, but having just checked out the Ben 10 website it looks like there's scope for some interesting minifigs. (Thanks Missingno!)
Recent integration of Brickset with Lugnet and BrickLink has highlighted the age-old problem of duplicate set numbers and the suffixes given to them by each site. Obviously the suffixes need to match if integration is to be completely successful but at the moment they don't in every case.
So, I want to do something about it, and I'd like your help. I'm looking for help comparing the BrickLink database with Brickset's so that the anomalies can be ironed out. Clearly the best way to do this is by some sort of database query or script, so if you think you're up to the task and can lend a hand, then please get in touch. I'll send you a dump of the Brickset data, we can download BrickLink's, and in return I'd like a list of changes to make and also possibly a list of sets listed at BrickLink but not here.
Up for it? Let me know! huw[at]brickset.com
They ARE those pictured on the LEGOLAND Windsor collector badges: This picture in Dano's photostream on flickr proves it!
If you've no idea what I'm talking about, read the previous news article about them.
I've changed the HTML editor used when writing reviews. It works in IE7/8, FireFox 3+, Safari 4+, Chrome and Opera so now everyone can write nicely formatted reviews. It's resolved the strange problem the other one had in FireFox, too.
If you're interested, I used jHtmlArea which is not as full-featured at FCKEditor but it doesn't need to be in this implementation.
Here is the third of my photographic studies of the new Star Wars sets: 8089 Hoth Wampa Cave features yet another snowspeeder, the 4th minfig scale one, and a new creature: a Wampa. Check out my flickr gallery to see them both in detail.
Slave 1 will be next...
I'm indebted to duq for bringing AFOL TV on YouTube to my attention. It's a collection of classic LEGO TV adverts from around 1980 to the 1990s, recorded from UK TV (judging by the accents).
There are some classics. I haven't watched them all yet, but this one in particular really brings home what we are missing from the 'olden days': http://www.youtube.com/user/afolTV#p/u/21/g6FvW1biy8A.
It looks as if the clips have been added very recently so let's hope whoever it is behind AFOL TV has loads more to upload.
I'm back from my travels now. It seems a lot happened while I was away!
- The biggest piece of news to break, which we haven't reported here yet, is that possibly the most famous celebrity in the world, is an AFOL. David Beckham said in an interview that he recently bought and built the Taj Mahal. That's the sort of product endorsement that money can't buy and I bet LEGO are well pleased with it, particularly as sales for the set apparently jumped by over 600% in just one day! You can read what other sites have been reporting about this via Google News.
- inof.de has posted barcodes for collectable minifigs series 2, and there are nice pictures of the figs at Eurobricks. The LEGO Minifig identifier for Android has been updated to v1.1 to include these barcodes.
I'll add news to this post as I go through my inbox...
There is a new LEGO store now open in Friendswood, TX, just south of Houston. It opened to the public last Thursday morning and the grand opening is planned for the weekend of June 20-22, 2008.
A news release on the official LEGO Universe site has today announced that the launch is being delayed.
There's no new date given and no reason other than "(we) decided to delay the game’s launch so that it gets the full attention of our company and fans when it makes its public debut. We have a ton of cool new products planned for release in 2009, and want to continue developing the game to make sure that LEGO Universe becomes a truly great game and LEGO experience."
That sounds as if it will be launched when there are no 'cool new products' planned, so we could be in for a long wait. Usually it's technical problems that delay this sort of project but I'm not surprised that they are not admitting to that.
Personally I'd rather spend my spare time playing with real bricks with real people rather than virtual ones in a virtual world, but I'm probably not the target audience. I'm therefore not too distressed by the news.
Some of you have asked where I had the minifigs with the Brickset logo on their chests printed. So, in answer to that, they were done by Caspar of CJB Graphics in Denmark. They have been done to such a high standard that I have no hesitation in recommending Caspar's work. He can print virtually anything on a range of different bricks (as long as they are white) from any artwork you supply.
If you remember me asking last month for a vector graphics expert to help me with a project, this is what it was for. Brickset member def stepped up and created an Adobe Illustrator graphic of the site's logo which was then used to generate a high resolution PNG from which Caspar printed the logo. Take a look at Caspar's website and see what else he can do. Prices are in Danish Kroner but are very reasonable: a single printed minifig torso is about $3.50 or £2.