Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dec 18 – last day to order LEGO with free shipping by Christmas 2012

Tuesday, December 18 (tomorrow) is the last day you’ll be able to order from both Amazon.com and the LEGO Shopicon 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:

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.

Leigh Holcombe: The masked avenger inside us all – Boilerplate & Beyond Vol. 16

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.

The Build

J-Flo's Flower ShopKG: 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.

Chair Study #2I 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.Grasshopper Drone - 3

The Community

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.STAJINARIA

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.)

Read the full interview after the jump!

Gratuitously garish GARC

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a genuinely successful LEGO bandwagon — remember Cave Racers and IATTAR? — but it looks like GARC (which, as you may recall, is a thing) is taking off quite nicely.

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).

GARC Racer -- Techno Ohmu

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.

GARC Torranix Quattro 5

Finally, halfbeak gets in on the action with his “Ajax Xenojet-Z” in my favorite color.

GARC Ajax Xenojet-Z

Ouch! I’m off to rest my weary eyes…

Star Wars: 75002 AT-RT [Review]

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 79100 Completedis 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 them79100 Completed 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 79100 Completedbattle 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.

2013 LEGO Star Wars & TMNT sets out now on Amazon.com + more deals [News]

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!

MOC highlights from the French AFOL community in 2012

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”

Zomb'Apoc'Arc L13

Frankenstein’s Head: The Monsters Hideout by 6kyubi6

Superheroes Street by oLaF-LegoManiac
Superheroes Street

The Brothers Brick LEGO holiday gift guide 2012

What do you get the LEGO fan who probably buys themselves all the LEGO he or she could ever need? Here at The Brothers Brick (TBB), our LEGO holiday gift guide has everything a LEGO fan is going to love — everything but official LEGO sets!

LEGO Books

Regular readers will certainly have noticed that publishers have been furiously releasing stacks of new LEGO books lately. We haven’t been able to review all of them here (we’ll get to them, time permitting), but we definitely recommend each of these books.

The Big Unofficial Lego Builder’s Book: Build Your Own City
Authors: Oliver Albrecht & Joachim Klang.
Price: $29.99
Review: Read Tim’s review here on TBB.

The Brick Bible: The New Testament: A New Spin on the Story of Jesus
Author: Brendan Powell Smith.
Price: $19.95
Review: Read Bruce’s review over on GodBricks.

The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide
Author: Paweł “Sariel” Kmieć
Price: $29.95
Review: Read Josh’s review here on TBB.

The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide (2nd Edition)
Author: Allan Bedford
Price: $24.95
Review: Forthcoming here on TBB…

The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 1: Cars, Castles, Dinosaurs & More!
Author: Megan Rothrock
Price: $24.95
Review: Read Tim’s review here on TBB.

Moleskine LEGO Notebook
Price: $16.95 (small) to $21.95 (large)
Review: Read Andrew’s review here on TBB.

And if you didn’t pick them up at the time, don’t miss two of my personal favorite LEGO books.

The Cult of LEGO
Authors: John Baichtal & Joe Meno
Price: $39.95
Review: Read Andrew’s review here on TBB.

LEGO: A Love Story
Author: Jonathan Bender
Price: $24.95
Review: Read Andrew’s review here on TBB.

Read the full LEGO gift guide after the jump!

Last-minute LEGO sales & deals for Christmas 2012

Christmas is just a couple weeks away, but there’s still time to pick up a bit more LEGO and put some boxes that have that special rattle beneath the tree. Both the LEGO Shop and Amazon.com have a few deals that will still arrive by December 25th.

Amazon.com has listed 10197 Fire Brigade at 20% off, down from $150 to $119.97.

Two large LEGO Star Wars sets are also on sale:

EDIT: Oops! Sorry for the double-post on the SSD. We’ll keep both posts up, though, since they have different info…

LEGO.com is still doing free shipping on all orders over $99, and you can pick up a free Gandalf minifig with any purchase of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey game.

FREE Shipping on all orders of $99 or more.  Valid 10.15.12 - 12.18.12

Free shipping and guaranteed delivery by Christmas end at midnight EST, December 18th.

Naturally, the new LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sets won’t be available until a day later, starting on December 19th.

We’ll post a reminder in a week.