Monthly Archives: January 2010

LEGO 8683 Collectible minifigures coming June 2010 [News]

Brickset has high resolution images of the 16 upcoming collectible minifigs in June 2010. All of these figures feature unique printed parts and accessories that are already making fans go nuts. Currently there’s word that each pack contains one random figure for $2, which makes each purchase a surprise (or a disaster on your wallet if you’re on a scavenger hunt for your favorites).

Judging by the “series 1” label in the image below, we can expect more to come in the future.

The brick-built world of Pandora

Avatar movie posterWhile I enjoyed the discussion about Avatar on the post featuring Harvey Cu’s Bionicle Thanator beast, I can’t say that it really convinced me to go see the movie. Nevertheless, we plunked down $15.50 each yesterday to go see the move in IMAX 3D, and I’ll grudgingly admit that it was well worth it — not for the story, which had the audience laughing in several places, but for the sheer spectacle.

Naturally, a major blockbuster movie like this wouldn’t be complete without the LEGO fan community cranking out creations inspired by the film. Here’s our round-up.

Imagine Rigney (imagine’s brickzone) gets us started with a great vertically oriented diorama complete with a Na’vi flying an Ikran, AMP suit on the ground, and Aerospatiale SA-2 Samson hovering in the air:

LEGO Avatar Pandora battle diorama

Harrison (corran101) uses the new Woody legs from the Toy Story sets for the 12-foot-tall Na’vi in the background of his vignette:

LEGO Avatar Pandora vignette

JasBrick (Flickr) takes a rather different approach with this pair of highly customized figs. The Na’vi minifig is actually an old Jack Stone figure!

LEGO Avatar minifigs

Finally, Colonel Quaritch stomps around in his AMP suit in this vignette by MasterChief 1:

LEGO Avatar AMP suit

For more LEGO Avatar, there’s already a Flickr group, of course. (As much as I enjoyed the movie and like the LEGO creations I’ve featured here, here’s hoping Avatar isn’t the next Halo…)

LEGO Star Wars 8091 Republic Swamp Speeder [Review]

8091 Republic Swamp Speeder is among the first wave of Star Wars sets released in 2010. It’s a Toys R Us exclusive and is also available at LEGO stores and on LEGO Shop at Home. This limited edition set costs $29.99 for 176 pieces and 5 minifigures, including the unique Barriss Offee, about whom I only know that the name rhymes with coffee.

The 0.1 price per piece ratio now seems like an ideal rather than the standard. At $30, you’re paying more than $0.17 per average piece from the set. But we’re still lucky in the US where it costs others €39.99 and £29.99 for the same product. If you’re buying it, you’re probably citing the unique Barriss fig as one of your top reasons. In case you want more reasons to buy or not buy the set, read on.

Building experience and play:
The Swamp Speeder is a simple and fun set to build. The only technique to note are the use of 1X2 dark red plates on the bottom to complement the curved contour of the front. The play value of this set is much better compared to its original version in 2005. The new version features a steering mechanism for the guns, which also pilots the wheels so both kids and AFOLs can push and navigate the speeder across their tabletops while making hovering noises and pew pews.

Parts and display
Without the four 1X3 dark bluish gray tiles, this set could have been released in the last decade as it employs no other 2010 mold. Yet even without new elements, the speeder is a great display item based on its efficient design and stickers that greatly enhance the model. It’s a worthy addition to your Star Wars display that may or may not be collecting dust on a neglected shelf.

The “limited edition” marking on the box only means that the set is an exclusive to LEGO retail and another brand-name store (in this case Toys R Us). You probably don’t have the worry about the set going out of stock soon judging by the last time we reviewed a limited edition set (7752 Count Dooku’s Solar Sailer) and it’s still sitting comfortably on shelves a year later. On the contrary, there are inconspicuously marked exclusives such as 8092 Luke’s Landspeeder that could disappear completely within a few months. It’s one reason that the landspeeder is currently the hottest-selling set on US LEGO Shop at Home.

Resale value:
If you’re selling the figures on Bricklink, you’ll get between $15-20 for Barriss, but even so selling the rest of the figs will barely fetch the price you payed for the set as long as stores still carry it. While the clone trooper has a new and slightly different design and is currently exclusive to the Swamp Speeder, it may not remain that way for long as it is a common character. If you’re planning on hanging onto a copy of the set, it’s not a bad idea. While you may have to wait a while, the rewards of possessing an out of stock limited edition Star Wars set are significant. As for me, I’ll be buying a second copy at a later time to keep MISB.

Concluding remarks:
This is a set that appeals to fans of Barriss Offee, the swamp speeder, and collectors. Kids will have fun with the play features of this model while some AFOLs can find it as a good display item. As builders, you can get more parts from Bricklink than from this set, and even resellers may be tempted the same. If you’re sitting on the fence with 30 bucks, go buy Luke’s Landspeeder if you don’t already have it. It even comes with the droids you’re looking for.

For more pictures, see the full gallery on Brickshelf.

With A Little Help From My Friends...

Hornet Bomber Prototype This creation would never have come together this way, were it not for the advice of several friends. This ship came about from the idea I had for the engine shape using arches, and the angled configuration. My first attempt at a fuselage (inset) was rather thrown together, and didn’t quite work.

A few friends suggested playing up the bee-like qualities of the original, which I attempted to do. The fact that there was an official LEGO sticker available with a hornet on it made this idea all the better. A few people suggested changing the canopy, and one suggested the style of a glass-domed WW2 era bomber. That idea worked itself into a full spherical canopy, and the addition of the large guns, to become the Hornet Bomber.

Hornet Bomber