The latest edition of the digital LEGO fan magazine HispaBrick is now available for download in both English and Spanish. In this packed issue, Hispabricks does a retrospective of 7 years of Panzerbricks, talks to LEGO designer Mel Caddick, catches up with the SBrick kickstarter project, reviews a whole slew of new sets, and offers tutorials on building asteroids, trial trucks and WeDo line followers.
LEGO is usually in the news for positive events — recently it was a tower of the stuff breaking a world record — and even when the news is bad, it’s because everyone wants some of it. But this is a different story altogether.
Chinese artist, political prisoner, and human rights activist Ai Weiwei is known for his strong stance for freedom of speech and other civil liberties in the People’s Republic of China, and this reflects in his work. In September Ai requested a bulk order of LEGO for his studio and a project the studio was working on, and was denied. He quotes the reply stating “they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works” on his Instagram account.
In September Lego refused Ai Weiwei Studio’s request for a bulk order of Legos to create artwork to be shown at the National Gallery of Victoria as “they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.” On Oct 21, a British firm formally announced that it will open a new Legoland in Shanghai as one of the many deals of the U.K.-China “Golden Era.”
A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on Oct 23, 2015 at 6:04am PDT
Up until that point this seems to be par for the course: The LEGO Group, a company that produces and sells toys aimed at children and teenagers, has the right to restrict sales of their products freely. It must be noted, however, that Ai could have purchased what he needed through standard retail or secondary market channels, albeit without the discount associated with a bulk order directly from the LEGO Group. This was not clear when The Gaurdian reported on the story, incorrectly stating that he was “banned” from using the product.
The article, which has since spread and lead to numerous other stories that seem to confuse key details, seems to be the root of the misconception. Strangely, the body copy of the story and the headline are contradictory, as no source is ever given for Weiwei being “banned”.
A day after the original story, The Guardian ran a follow-up which focused on Weiwei receiving a large influx of Lego donations. Again, there is no source citing Weiwei being banned, or how such an incident would be incited or enforced.
We reached out to our contacts at the Lego Group for comment, and they shared the following statement:
The LEGO Group does not comment on the dialogue we have with our customers, partners, consumers or other stakeholders. We acknowledge that LEGO bricks today are used globally by millions of fans, adults, children and artists as a creative medium to express their imagination and creativity in many different ways, including projects that are not endorsed or supported by the LEGO Group. We also respect any individuals’ right to free creative expression, and we do not censor, prohibit or ban creative use of LEGO bricks.
As a company dedicated to delivering creative play experiences to children, we refrain – on a global level – from engaging in in or endorsing the use of LEGO bricks in projects that carry a political agenda. Individuals may obtain LEGO bricks in other ways to create their LEGO projects if they so desire, but in cases where we receive requests for donations or support for projects – such as the possibility of purchasing LEGO bricks in very large quantities – and we are aware that there is a political context, we uphold our corporate policy and decline the request to access LEGO bricks directly.
Based on this additional information directly from LEGO, we can say for certain that The Guardian is incorrect in their usage of the word “ban” and “banned” in their articles, and that Ai enjoys the same freedom to purchase LEGO bricks as every other builder and “LEGO artist” in the world. He has simply been denied the ability to purchase LEGO bricks in bulk quantities at discounted prices directly from the The LEGO Group.
The long-rumored 75827 Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters is finally unveiled this morning. Oddly, LEGO has chosen to release the first photographs of the set picturing it in front of the actual firehouse used in the film, instead of the usual polished press photos. There’s no accompanying press release as yet, but we do know the set will contain 4,634 pieces and nine minifigures: Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, Janine Melnitz, Dana Barrett, Louis Tully, Zombie Driver and the Library Ghost. It will also include Slimer and pink and blue ghosts. The set will be available for purchase in January for $349.99 USD.
As if the current wave of Star Wars mania wasn’t enough, this month the LEGO force really does awaken in issue 13 of Blocks magazine, available in UK stores October 22nd. The issue features reviews of the hotly anticipated new Star Wars set lineup, as well as a mammoth special feature exploring the top 50 Star Wars LEGO moments, from sets, to MOCs, brickfilms, photography, and much more.
Issue 13 also celebrates the upcoming release of Spectre with some exclusive James Bond themed creations built exclusively for Blocks, takes a look at The Walking Dead in LEGO form, investigates Minecraft, LEGO train building, and Ma.Ktoberfest. All topped off with an exclusive reveal feature of Brick To The Past‘s stunning 2015 historic collaborative LEGO build The Wall.
The seventh annual Creations for Charity sale starts today! From now until the end of November, you can buy a custom creation to help raise money to buy Lego sets for underprivileged children. These creations are all built and donated by the fans, and there’s more to come throughout the sale. Anyone can donate a creation before November 15th by visiting creationsforcharity.org and submitting a donation form. Take a look at some of the creations for sale so far:
Dave E. over on the Brickset forums has compiled a fascinating summary of the evolution of the LEGO palette over the past 40 years. Dave wrote an program to analyze the Brickset database, pulling part inventories for the last 40 years’ worth of sets. He says he ignored a few special themes known for their rampant use of unusual colors, such as Duplo and Fabuland.
This chart compiles the colors as a percentage of the total parts produced each year, so while a color’s percentage may decrease from one year to the next, its actual quantity produced may increase if LEGO manufactures more total pieces the next year. This chart also only accounts for a set’s release year, and not the subsequent years in which that set may have been produced, nor the quantities LEGO produces, so it only approximates what a collector would have if they were able to buy one copy of each set in its release year.
Well, it happens to the best of us, I guess. While I was at work, TBB went down again, and I’ve just gotten the site back up after several hours of intermittent downtime. While MySQL database repairs, Apache rebuilds, and PHP version upgrades all help in the short term, Brothers-Brick.com has been running on the same physical hardware for too long. Unfortunately, migrating to new or upgraded hardware isn’t free.
Photo by TBB Server Downtime Contest winner Leopold Mao
While we try to be good LEGO community members by sponsoring contests and events using the extra funds our loyal readers help us with, there’s also the very unsexy, much less visible business of hosting a website that receives several hundred thousand visitors a month.
So, to get us to the point where we can consider migrating Brothers-Brick.com to an improved server, you can help by buying your LEGO from the LEGO Shop online and clicking through from Brothers-Brick.com when you make any Amazon.com purchase. That’s right, any Amazon.com purchase — not just LEGO. Buy your next HDTV, paperback, music MP3, or Post-It notes from Amazon, and you’re helping The Brothers Brick at no extra cost to you.
It’s the Lemur here. Just got back to the compound after a great weekend in Seattle, at BrickCon. There were lots of tasty creations there and I was able to get my paws on all kinds of cool swag.
Caylin let me check out everything on the condition that I not break anything and that nothing got eaten. I took a few little nibbles here and there but was able to stay out of trouble, for the most part. I did accidentally clear the building during public hours, but that really wasn’t my fault. Who knew the shiny red “fire alarm” panels weren’t for public consumption? Anyway, the Fire Department responded quickly, nobody got hurt and I got to sit in a fire truck.
Paul Hetherington won “Best in Show” with his motorized Steampunk robot called “Unchain My Heart”. It kind of creeped me out but it was very well built. I even sat on its head and no breakage occurred.
Today at the New York Comic Con, LEGO officially pulled the curtain from their newest line, Nexo Knights. A cross between Space and Castle, Nexo Knights features knights in robotic power armor riding mechanical hovering horses and driving giant vehicles. The Nexo Knights theme will be accompanied by a companion app titled Merlok 2.0, as well as a 20-episode television series chronicling the adventures of the knights. It airs in December.
While many of our viewers will no doubt be having flashbacks to Knights Kingdom II right about now, it looks like these sets will at the least feature a lot of new parts great for Space and Mecha builders. We also still haven’t seen the full set lineup, so keep your eyes out for the rest of the sets.
Read the full press release after the jump. Continue reading
While the majority of us were recovering from BrickCon this past weekend, LEGO slipped a set announcement out. LEGO Ideas has revealed the final design for 21304 Doctor Who, featuring The Eleventh Doctor, the Twelfth Doctor, Clara, a Weeping Angel, and two Daleks.
The set will be released in time for Christmas on December 1, and will cost $59.99.
AndrewClark2’s Doctor Who and Companions was too great for just one Doctor, who we decided to include two! You can buy yours December 1st, in time for the Doctor Who Christmas Special, for a recommended retail price of USD $59.99 / EUR €59,99. You might want to keep an eye on that Weeping Angel though….
Here is the official product description:
Construct a stunningly detailed LEGO® version of the iconic TARDIS® and role-play the Doctor’s time-travel adventures! Created by fan-designer Andrew Clark and selected by LEGO Ideas members, this set is based on the BBC’s popular and long-running television series about a Time Lord – the Doctor – exploring the universe in a blue police box. Due to trans-dimensional engineering, the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than the outside and this cool multifunctional set includes the console room that houses all the flight controls. Regenerate the Doctor and defeat the evil Daleks™ and a Weeping Angel with the help of his extraordinary companion Clara. Then close the doors of the TARDIS and launch into another dimension! Includes 4 minifigures with assorted accessory elements: the Eleventh Doctor, the Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald and a Weeping Angel, plus 2 Daleks™.