Monthly Archives: December 2011

Three new vintage LEGO commericals from the “Blast from the Past” project!

Advance just released three more vintage LEGO commericals. This week features Technic, Divers and Time Cruisers. My favorite is the Technic one. The “real” man and his car being manipulated by the boy cracks me up. On the other hand, the full-size Timmy in the Time Cruisers ad sort of creeps me out. Enjoy!

Art Director, Christian Faber tells us:

This was one of the first times we used 3D – the parking lot was built entirely in 3D and the man was shot on green screen. I think the spot has something of a voodoo feel – the boy is controlling the cars remotely. This spot is a bit different because the intro had nothing to do with toys.

Faber says:

The idea for this spot was inspired by Back to the Future – we actually built a Delorean for the set. The 2D/3D character animation was done by PDI and we shot in a plane interior in a Hollywood studio. Naked Gun was filmed in the same plane. It was a pretty chaotic set!

Faber says:

The shark here is a 2D animation shot on a 3D background – the models in the shark’s mouth are real though. This was a very simple line of sets and we felt we needed to spice up the communication, hence the real-looking sharks. We called it ‘borrowed interest’ back then. In retrospect, I think it’s a shame because I think we took attention away from the actual product.

Creations for Charity donates over 400 Lego sets

The third annual Creations for Charity ended with 418 Lego sets donated to needy children, totaling in value of almost $9,200. The toys were given to Toys for Tots in Chicago, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles, and to Childrens Hospitals and Make-a-Wish in Dallas. The fundraiser sold 66 custom Lego creations and raised $5,700. For more pictures and details, visit CreationsForCharity.org.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Creations for Charity

Advance releases classic LEGO commercials! [News]

Advance has been making LEGO tv commercials for over 30 years and recently they rediscovered many classic commercials in their archives. They will be releasing them online over the next ten weeks, so look for them here, with a bit of commentary from the people involved in their creation.

I am a big fan of vintage LEGO ads and commercials, so I’m pretty excited about this project. Come take a trip down memory lane with Advance and The Brothers Brick!

Blast from the Past Trailer video:

Spyrius (1994):

Art director Christian Faber says:

“We shot this in London or LA, I can’t actually remember! It was one of the first motion control spots we did. At 0:15 We used a kind of ‘magic building’ technique where the bricks are held on the end of metal rods and then pulled apart. And if you look closely at 0:00 you can actually see the edge of the studio in the top
left corner.

“The set filled a whole studio and we used a lot of analogue techniques — the planet is just painted cardboard and the backdrop is just a screen with
little holes in it and a big light behind it. The hands you can see moving the sets at 0:05 and 0:21 secs are actually wax hands. I had quite a lot of
explaining to do when customs asked why I had a bag full of fake arms!”

Technic Racers (1997):

Faber says:

“We shot it in a specially built 10-metre tunnel that was hand-painted and filled with smoke. While it may look straight, if you look closely at 00:15
you can see the yellow lines bending slightly — that’s because at this point we filmed the car in a carousel to make it look like it was speeding
forward! The animatronic hand was cast on a girl’s hand so it was a perfect fit and gave her the control she needed in the more complicated movements.”

Wild West (1996)

Faber says:

“We juxtaposed stills of the LEGO sets being ‘magic built’ with lots of scenes from classic American Westerns. The last few shots featuring the fight scene
were filmed and then graded to fit in with the rest of the background scenes. The magic building techniques shown here are actually illegal now —
the law today requires that toy sets that need to be constructed have to be shown being built by hand.

2012 LEGO Friends sets bring brick-based construction play to girls [News]

Since the news is making the rounds on the web at this point, most of you are probably already aware of the upcoming LEGO Friends theme in 2012. The response has been, shall we say, mixed. Since I’m sure there’ll be quite a discussion here and elsewhere, I won’t shy away from sharing my own opinion. Bottom line for me: I’m not a huge fan of the new figures, but they bring much-needed diversity to LEGO people, and the sets themselves appear to be entirely brick-built, with some interesting new colors.

For those of you out there who’ve made statements about gender stereotyping, take a look at this photo of set 3933 Olivia’s Inventor’s Workshop:

LEGO Friends 3933

That’s right — Olivia has invented herself a robot in her laboratory through the use of math and science.

The main difference is in the scale and shape of the figures, called “mini-dolls”. Here’s a comparison:

LEGO Friends vs. Minifigs

I’ve heard that the hair pieces are compatible with standard minifigs.

The buildings in the sets are built from standard bricks, rather than large, single-purpose elements:

LEGO Friends 3315

Here’s the official press release:

LEGO Group Declares New Year’s Resolution for 2012: Deliver Meaningful Play Experiences to Girls Worldwide with LEGO® Friends

Company brings classic construction play to the girls’ aisle with first-of- its-kind LEGO® mini-doll figure, three new brick colors and detailed interiors that reflect four years of research in play needs of girls

BILLUND, Denmark (December 19, 2011) – The LEGO Group, the world’s leading construction toy brand, today announced LEGO® Friends, a new play theme that tailors the iconic LEGO construction experience especially to girls ages five and up. LEGO Friends delivers on a girl’s desire for realistic role-play, creativity, and a highly-detailed, character-based world with the core values of LEGO building.

The LEGO Friends collection of 23 products ranges in price from $5.99 to $99.99 USD and the first 14 will be available for sale in select toy, discount merchandise, specialty and online stores beginning December 26, 2011 in the United Kingdom and January 1, 2012 in the United States. A rolling International launch will follow in the spring, with the remaining nine sets launching in the summer months.

“We felt it was time to test assumptions that girls aren’t interested in building and to breathe fresh air into a toy category filled mostly with pre-fabricated play experiences for girls,” said Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO, LEGO Group. “We focused on creating a play experience centered on the joy of creation, while heeding the way girls naturally build and play. We are incredibly proud of the solution we deliver with LEGO Friends, and are resolved to build this platform for years to come.”

LEGO Friends is the first 100 percent LEGO building experience fully optimized to girls’ tastes and interests. Thousands of girls and their mothers worldwide participated in intensive research that validated the desire for more beauty, realistic details, accessories and interior building and role play opportunities in a LEGO offering.

Introducing the LEGO mini-doll figure

Anchored by the introduction of a new mini-doll figure, LEGO Friends introduces a new LEGO minifigure platform tailored to girls’ requests for a more realistic, relatable and stylized figure. Designed to the same scale of the classic LEGO minifigure, the 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, and is compatible with all LEGO building sets. A total of 29 different mini-doll figures will be introduced in 2012.

“LEGO Friends is one of the most researched LEGO projects ever and is a culmination of years of anthropological research with girls around the world to understand what they expect from a construction toy,” said Nanna Ulrich Gudum, senior creative director, LEGO Group. “In talking with girls and their moms, we understand that girls really want a LEGO offering that mirrors what the boys experience, but in a way that fulfills their unique desire for remodeling and redesign, combined with realistic themes in community and friendship.”

“Unlike previous LEGO toys for girls, LEGO Friends, at its core, does not apologize for being a construction toy and delivers, for the first time, a building experience in the same scale as our classic offerings,” Nanna Ulrich Gudum continued. “What LEGO Friends does differently is deliver the beauty, details, accessories, real world themes and need for strong interior play that the research revealed would make all the difference for girls ages 5 and up.”

Welcome to Heartlake City

The LEGO Friends story centers on the everyday lives and personalities of five girls in a fictional hometown called Heartlake City. Each of the friends—Olivia, Mia, Andrea, Stephanie and Emma—has a distinct personality and interests, such as animals, performing arts, invention and design, that are reflected in the models. Building sets reflect different parts of town where the girls’ adventures take place—downtown, suburbs, beach, camping grounds and mountains.

The product collection

Half of the launch collection includes construction sets themed to introduce girls to each of the “Friend’s” personalities, including: Stephanie’s Outdoor Bakery, Emma’s Splash Pool, Andrea’s Stage, Olivia’s Inventor’s Workshop, Stephanie’s Pet Patrol, Mia’s Puppy House and Emma’s Design Studio. Girls are also invited to construct the Friends’ favorite locations in Heartlake City with larger building sets, including: Stephanie’s Cool Convertible, Olivia’s Tree House, Heartlake Dog Show, Butterfly Beauty Shop, City Park Café, Heartlake Vet, and Olivia’s House. The remaining nine sets launching later in the year deliver the same range in price and theme.

Immersive brand experience

Children will be immersed in the new world they can create with LEGO Friends through a variety of brand experiences planned for 2012. In addition to providing product information, the LEGO Friends website will allow children to explore the personalities of each of the five Friends and the different spots in Heartlake City. The site will also feature an avatar creator, mini-movies, games, video building tips, story extensions, contests, news and an events calendar. Also planned are Interactive building events and road shows, promotions, magazines, digital content, a mini movie, in-store experiences, books and more. Check www.LEGOFriends.com for more information.

So, what do you think? Sound off in the comments.

Sava Railways Scenic Tours 2012 Train Calendar

It’s the end of the year which means Tony Sava (SavaTheAggie) has released another of his excellent calendars for sale to help fund RAILBRICKS and his trip to Brickworld 2012. I’ve already blogged a picture from this and it promises to be excellent. A fine addition to any LEGO fan’s wall, be they trainhead or otherwise.

Sava Railways Scenic Tours 2012 LEGO® Train Calendar

Sava Railways Scenic Tours 2012 LEGO® Train Calendar

www.lulu.com/product/calendar/sava-railways-2012-lego
$17.50

Help support RAILBRICKS, the brick railroading magazine, with this gorgeous 13 month calendar. Each month features photos from Anthony Sava’s Sava Railways Scenic Tours photo series, showcasing trains and scenery built entirely of LEGO® bricks.

For 2012, Anthony has taken photos of his LEGO train MOCs based on the Texas State Railroad. From tall trestle bridges to scenes deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas, each photo captures a unique spirit and playfulness that only LEGO bricks can create.

This is not an official LEGO Product, and is not sponsored, authorized or endorsed by The LEGO Group.

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Full disclosure:
Each calendar costs $12.99 to produce, and an additional $1 is collected by LuLu.

Of the $3.51 profit, 10% will be donated to RAILBRICKS. This is the same amount I donate to RAILBRICKS from my Bricklink shop. The remainder will go to help fund my trip to Brickworld 2012.