Archive for December, 2012
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LEGO posted photos on their Facebook page yesterday of a life-size version of my favorite LEGO set, 79003 An Unexpected Gathering.
Here’s what LEGO says:
It took a team of 12 model shop employees 3,000 hours to build this life size model of the LEGO Bag End set. In addition to containing over 2 million 1×1 bricks this model has working lights in the fireplace and over the bookstand as well as a chimney that really smokes!
I suspect that this display model was built for an upcoming trade show, like Toy Fair. We’ll ask around and update this post as we learn more.
Here is a video review of 76000 Arctic Batman vs Mr Freeze. It’s an average parts pack with outstanding minifigures and a decent batboat. The retail price is $19.99 and was available on Amazon before going temporarily out of stock.
Another of the sets I bought last week is the smallest of the 2013 Ninjago sets. This is the last wave of Ninjago sets before Legends of Chima takes its place as the go-to theme for battling minifig games, and I’ll be sad to see it go.
Now, I didn’t follow the mythos of Ninjago, or watch the show, so I can’t tell you a lot of backstory about the theme beyond the very broad strokes, but it’s sure included some sweet sets, and 70500 Kai’s Fire Mech is definitely one of them.
The set contains a small mech and two minifigures, and feels like a bargain with 102 pieces and a USD $9.99 MSRP. The mech is basically the little sibling of the previous wave’s Samurai Mech, which is my favorite set of 2012. The mech is built with ball joints, which allow it quite a lot of pose-ability. Add to that the full-fingered left-hand, and this is probably Lego’s best mech of this size.
The gold highlights are terrific, especially since so many of them are weapons, which are always useful. This is also the cheapest set thus far to include the new inverted 2×2 tiles. All of the printed parts except for the minifigs are stickers, which I didn’t apply, even though they do look very nice. The only new piece here is the fire mech’s sword, which is transparent yellow infused with transparent neon orange, for quite a cool effect. Here are photos of the inventory pages, for those who are interested.
The bad guy has a fantastic grimacing visage reminiscent of the masks samurai wore to look fearsome, and a red quiver and hat, both of which are new in that color to this wave of sets. Both minifigs have back printing.
My verdict: this set is a winner. If you’re a fan of Ninjago, mechs, or good Lego deals, you should pick this one up. I enjoyed it so much, I’ve already bought two.
The latest issue of the excellent HispaBrick Magazine is now available in both Spanish & English.
Articles in this issue include:
- A history of flying machines, from a massive LEGO Hindenburg to a Technic Sukhoi SU-37
- Coverage of recent LEGO fan events, including BrickCon, LEGO Fan Weekend, and HispaBrick’s own event
- An interview with Sean & Steph Mayo (Siercon & Coral)
- More tutorials on POV-Ray, LEGO MINDSTORMS and the MILS system
- And much more…
You can download HispaBrick Magazine 015 for free from HispaBrickMagazine.com.
Tuesday, December 18 (tomorrow) is the last day you’ll be able to order from both Amazon.com and the LEGO Shop with free delivery by Christmas. Free shipping starts at $25 for Amazon.com, and $49 for LEGO.com.
Not sure what to buy? Check out our comprehensive LEGO holiday gift guide for books, custom LEGO kits, and apparel — everything but official LEGO sets.
If your LEGO set budget isn’t tapped out yet, Amazon.com has many of the new 2013 LEGO sets right now, as well as lots of current sets on sale, starting with the new Spider-Man set 76005 Daily Bugle Showdown.
Other notable new and/or discounted sets include:
- New & 20% off: 79010 The Goblin King Battle
- New & 20% off: 79002 Attack of the Wargs
- New for 2013: 75005 Rancor Pit
- New for 2013: 75003 A-wing Starfighter
- New for 2013: 79104 The Shellraiser Street Chase
- New for 2013: 76000 Arctic Batman vs. Mr. Freeze: Aquaman on Ice
- New for 2013: 76001 The Bat vs. Bane: Tumbler Chase
- 23% off: 10221 Super Star Destroyer
- 20% off: 10197 Fire Brigade
- 27% off: 21009 LEGO Architecture Farnsworth House
- 20% off: 9499 Gungan Sub
Want to pick up more 2013 sets now? Our friends over at FBTB have the full list of what’s available now — and you can lend your support to FBTB by clicking through over there to buy the sets, if you haven’t already helped support us here at The Brothers Brick by clicking through on this end.
My next guest destroys the long held belief in the community that a builder must always keep the proper signal to noise ratio. Although Leigh Holcombe has a stable of well built and some might say handsome models, he may be best known for his numerous postings in various LEGO related fora. Armed with a sharp wit and a willingness to use it, this keen observer of the community has made his own mark through the years. I caught up with Leigh, better known as worker201, on a barren stretch of flatland about halfway between Houston and Waco Texas. We talked about the ELF, the WTO and ELO. We also talked about LEGO.
KG: Your early builds were mostly in the sci-fi or military genres, but then you switched to chairs and a bit of town with J-Flo’s flower shop. Was there a reason behind the switch, and in a perfect world, what direction appeals to you the most? Do you think builders in general, get too locked into one genre?
LH: I think sci-fi is the geek default, because the designers in that field literally get paid to ignite the imaginations of their audience – being inspired by that genre is so easy. It’s a lot harder to get inspired while walking through IKEA, but I swear it does happen.
I think this hobby is a textbook cross-section of different levels of obsession and focus – of course some builders get bogged down in a single genre, and some can’t sit still long enough to even have a genre. I’m somewhere in the middle – eventually, I’d like to build something castle or train, but I’ll probably make more spaceships too.
KG: Many young builders begin by recreating the work of builders who came before them. You, however, came in on the ground floor of the hobby or very near to it, so where did you look when you started building?
LH: When I was a kid, back in the late 70s, there was nobody else – just me, the bricks, and the back of the box. I think that’s how it was for most AFOLs. My dark age ended when the Star Wars sets first came out – I couldn’t believe how awesome that first Snowspeeder set was. Then I got on the internet and found Shaun Sullivan’s AT-ST , which was really inspirational to me. He posted instructions for it, and they helped me to remember all the techniques I had forgotten. Realizing that something so awesome was made with basic bricks attached with normal clicking techniques really flipped a switch for me.
KG: Whether it is a job, school, deployment, health issue or even a stay in prison, like many builders, you have been in a position where you want to build for an extended period of time but have not been able to. As the time goes by does it make you think about LEGO more or less? Does it change your mind-set on building, and when you do get a chance to build, does it change anything?
LH: Oh, it’s tough. Lego is a creative outlet and a stress reliever, and not having it is like trying to quit smoking. Plus, keeping up with Flickr and TBB every day puts inspirational stuff in front of me all the time, and I can’t do anything about it. I have so many hypothetical projects lined up, and I’m afraid I’ll never get around to them. The only time I really get to build is when I visit my nephew – and then, I’m mostly making stuff to impress him, like big guns and weird minifig combinations.
KG: You created a popular and polarizing fan-forum called Stajinaria when the equally popular and polarizing JLUG went down. Talk about those two forums, what they formed in a reaction to, why they ended and what they offered that was unique. Is AFOL 16+ the latest version of this tradition?
LH: I don’t know exactly what Janey and Ross were thinking when they started JLUG, but it pretty quickly became the home of community criticism. At that time, Lugnet and Classic Space Forums were dealing with censorship and leadership issues, and the people at JLUG seemed to enjoy calling out what they deemed hypocrisy and conservativism in those communities. After JLUG disappeared, a lot of its members decided that the group of people was more important than the site, so I took it upon myself to create a new home for “merry pranksters”. Someone accused JLUG once of being a ‘staging area’ where mischevious activists planned their shenanigans (not one of which was planned), which is where Stajinaria got its name.
Many of the core group are still internet friends today, but the mass migration of the community to Flickr made the forum extraneous, so I shut it down earlier this year. Both sites were based on the sandbox rule – if you don’t like the rules in someone else’s sandbox, make your own sandbox. AFOL 16+ was a sandbox that didn’t allow young kids, who were becoming an increasing annoyance in the Flickr Lego group. I think it started out with a bunch of venom and righteousness, but now I think of it as just another group of people who are familiar enough with each other to kid around and be sarcastic. (I also run Lego 35+, a place where grownups can interact, but nobody ever goes there.)
One of my favorites so far is this garish beauty by Uspez Morbo that he calls the “Techno Ohmu” (Uspez gets additional points for the Miyazaki reference).
For the uninitiated, “GARC” stands for Galactic Asteroid Rally Circuit, and each space-racer must meet the following requirements:
- Must have 2 crew members per ship (pilot & navigator)
- No weapons
- Must look FAST :)
- The crazier the colour scheme the better
In addition, the builder of the LEGO model must post a picture of the racer being swooshed. Why? Because SPACE! Duh.
No less garish but in somewhat more traditional colors, this GARC racer by Ted Andes sports a spoiler to keep the “Torranix Quattro 5″ firmly pressed to the racecourse in the vacuum of space.
Finally, halfbeak gets in on the action with his “Ajax Xenojet-Z” in my favorite color.
Ouch! I’m off to rest my weary eyes…
I’m generally not one for monochromatic LEGO models, but the shape and details of Nate DeCastro‘s latest all-white starfighter really grabbed my attention (especially after taking a second look on Klocki). Check out the “Q-49 Chandra’s Virtue”:
The canopy opens to reveal another highlight of Nate’s fighter — the interior of the cockpit:
My local toy store is stocking up on the first wave of 2013 sets, so I’ll be reviewing several in the near future as I get time. Today, though, I’ll start with one of the new Star Wars sets, the 75002 AT-RT.
With 222 pieces, it’s actually quite a steal with an MSRP of USD $19.99, and even more so for being a Star Wars set, which notoriously are more pricey than their non-licensed counterparts.
It includes an AT-RT walker, which is basically the Clone-Wars equivalent of the AT-ST “chicken walker,” for those who, like me, don’t follow the Clone Wars cartoon series. In order for it to have something to shoot at, a Droideka and battle droid are included. The box contains three bags, one each for the droideka and figs, the legs, and the cockpit. The construction was extremely straight-forward. If you’ve built a two legged LEGO walker before, you’ve basically built this set. The faceting around the cockpit is pretty cool though, and the blue color-scheme does look fantastic here. And a word about the blue pieces: in the past few years, LEGO has been having issues with their plastic, and some shades seeming more transparent and slightly off-color (blue being one), and thus looking cheaper. I happily noted, though, that the blue pieces in this set look terrific, even to someone as picky as I. There’s a small sticker sheet included, as the only printed pieces are the minifigs. I decided not to apply the stickers, especially since two of them go on rough-surfaced slopes, which is a terrible idea. Those pieces should always be printed.
The Droideka is some huge version I’m not familiar with, though it is pretty awesome, having what basically amounts to an artillery piece in the middle. I’m not sure how big it’s supposed to be in scale, but it towers over the minifigs.
The minifigs in this set are pretty standard if you’re a Star Wars collector, consisting of Yoda, a 501st Legion clone trooper, and some variant battle droid. I believe the clone trooper is a new design, with yet another new helmet style. (I think. I lost track a long time ago.) The battle droid has a single red dot of printing on the torso, which to me seemed like a pretty insignificant result for LEGO to go through all the extra work of sending the piece through a printer.
I didn’t encounter any unfamiliar or new pieces while building it, though there are some useful pieces. It did have an unusually large amount of spare pieces. However, if you’ve got any of the previous iterations the Star Wars walkers, and you’re not a Star Wars collector, I’d recommend giving this set a pass. I’ve got nothing particularly negative to say about it, but it’s really not a terribly interesting set. It is one of the few Star Wars sets with a high piece-to-price ratio, though, so it would be a good one to nab on a sale when it’s even cheaper.
Some of next year’s LEGO Star Wars sets are out a couple weeks early on Amazon.com. They’ve also discounted a bunch more LEGO sets.
First up, 75005 Rancor Pit comes with Luke, Rancor keeper, and Gamorrean guard minifigs, plus the monstrous Rancor. The set has 380 pieces and goes for $59.99.
Amazon had also briefly listed 9516 Jabba’s Palace for $99, so we hope some of you picked up this wonderfully complementary set to go with the Rancor pit. But the good news in Tatooine-themed LEGO Star Wars sets is that you can still pick up 9496 Desert Skiff for $5 off.
Three smaller 2013 LEGO Star Wars are also out now on Amazon.com:
Next, the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set 79104 The Shellraiser Street Chase is also out on Amazon, with five minifigs and 620 pieces (including lots of olive green) at $59.99.
Several other TMNT sets are also available for order a little early:
Finally, the LEGO Lord of the Rings set 9472 Attack on Weathertop is nearly 30% off, down to $42.75
All via FBTB, who’re on a roll this week with the sales news!
The French AFOL community on BrickPirate hosts an annual roundup of their members’ best works of the year. Here are some of the creations that we haven’t shown on the blog. Take a look at their forum thread for more.
Zomb’Apoc’Arc by “Captain Spaulding”
Frankenstein’s Head: The Monsters Hideout by 6kyubi6
Superheroes Street by oLaF-LegoManiac