Category Archives: News

Stay current on the latest news and information about LEGO, from sales & deals to new set announcements. We also cover LEGO events and conventions all over the world.

Alpha Bandit Kickstarter

The team behind the incredibly successful Mobile Frame Zero is at it again, this time bringing microscale battles into the void of space.

The original game spawned an entire subcommunity around the competing factions of mecha and has brought a number of new builders into the AFOL community through the fusion of Lego, wargaming, and the timeless appeal of giant robots smashing into each other.

Check out the kickstarter here!

Inside Look: The Cuusoo Exo Suit Project [News]

Tim Johnson over at the wonderful blog New Elementary has just published an interesting inside look at the development process of Peter Reid’s Classic Space Exo Suit Cuusoo set. Although the actual design of the suit has yet to be revealed, the logo for the new set has been announced. Reading Tim’s write-up of the extent to which fans have been involved in the development of this particular set has given me great hope that the outcome will live up to the fan community’s very high expectations. The fan involvement for this set reminds me a good deal of my time helping design the original Minecraft set, and it’s heartening to see another Cuusoo project take this route, instead of taking the project to Billund and developing it solely with official product designers, as has been the case with all of the other Cuusoo projects.
Combine the Exo Suit with the forthcoming Benny’s Spaceship Spaceship SPACESHIP set from the LEGO Movie, and it’s looking to be a very good year for Classic Space aficionados.

Read the original post on New Elementary in its entirety here.

10241 ExoSuit logo
10241 ExoSuit original design

Series 2 Mixels Unveiled [News]

The first official images have surfaced of the second wave of Mixels, LEGO’s new popular cute miniature creatures line. The first wave consisted of three colored factions of red, yellow, and black, representing Fire, Electricity, and Stone, respectively. This new lineup comprises orange, brown, and blue as creatures of Undersea, Monsters, and Air (or at least, that’s my best guess as to what their themes are). At any rate, they’re just as ferociously adorable as ever. While they’re all lovable, my favorite has to be Jawg, because it reminds me of Harry Potter’s growling Monster Book of Monsters. I also love the helmets used as eye-sockets on Slumbo.

41514 Jawg

(Click for bigger images)
41517 Balk41516 Tentro41515 Kraw
41514 Jawg41513 Gobba41512 Chomly
41511 Flurr41510 Lunk41509 Slumbo

Winter is Coming – Citizen Brick launches “Dragon Sword Fighter Force” minifigs

One of the things I’ve loved about Citizen Brick from the first time I encountered their custom minifigs is their sense of humor. Joe and his crew at Citizen Brick make things you’ll never be able to buy in a LEGO set. Yes, you can buy usefully realistic military accessories, too, but they won me over back in 2011 with minifigs like “Botany Enthusiast.” Their latest batch of custom minifigs is titled “Dragon Sword Fighter Force,” which itself is hilarious, much like the over-the-top book series and premium cable TV show that clearly inspired these minifigs (obviously Game of Thrones).

Custom Citizen Brick Dragon Sword Fighter Force minifigs

I don’t generally quote ad copy, but the product blurb on the back of the three-minifig blister packs proves my point:

Dragons! Knights! Totally inappropriate family relations! Join the adventure as these brave fighters cross swords with some of the most fearsome foes in the realm. Whether defending their kingdom or clamoring for the crown, these minifigs are ready for a battle royale to the death. Horde the complete series of stunning figs before every character you like is killed off. Your honor is at stake!

It’s not just their sense of humor that attracts me to Citizen Brick, it’s the subversiveness of choosing to depict fairly adult subject matter in repurposed LEGO minifigures — “totally inappropriate” pretty much captures most of the Citizen Brick catalog, and “totally inappropriate” has a special place in my heart. (There’s also a strong disclaimer on each Citizen Brick product indicating zero affiliation with, endorsement by, or approval from LEGO.)

Citizen Brick sent me a batch of the “Dragon Sword Fighter Force” minifigs recently, and I wasn’t disappointed. They arrived in three-minifig blister packs with the aforementioned description on the back, plus a 13th bonus minifig of some guy who looks like a fishing boat captain titled “Sir Typesalot” (which you get when you buy all 12 custom minifigs at once).

As amused as I am by Citizen Brick’s subject matter, what keeps me coming back is the quality of their design work. Each custom minifig includes unique printing on nearly every available surface — face/head, torso (both front and back), arms, and legs. Many of the “Dragon Sword Fighter Force” minifigs also come with custom cloth accessories and weapons. The printing is indistinguishable from the printing on official LEGO minifigs, and the designs themselves don’t feel out of place from the world of LEGO (thus the big disclaimer, I suppose).

At $55 for a three-minifig pack or $220 for the full set of 12 (which also includes the George R.R. Martin-esque author minifig), these aren’t inexpensive, and I suspect they’re not the sort of minifigs you’d just fold into your Castle/medieval collection for use in a crowded display at a convention. No, these are serious collectibles for the dedicated A Song of Ice and Fire fan. That said, they are certainly wonderful Castle/medieval minifigs, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing some of the cool parts from these figs on “hero” minifigs quite a lot (I just wouldn’t bury them in an army). Citizen Brick minifigs range from $15 to $25 (these are $16-18 depending on whether you get the three-packs separately or buy the whole set at once), so prices are well within the range of what other vendors are charging for custom minifigs.

Now that so many vendors are producing custom-printed minifig elements at reasonably high quality, the distinguishing factors boil down to subject matter, design, and price rather than just availability and quality. Since price and quality are now somewhat less of a comparative factor, what continues to distinguish Citizen Brick minifigs is their often-humurous subject matter and consistently great design.

Although a bit on the pricey side as a complete set, I can definitely recommend Citizen Brick’s “Dragon Sword Fighter Force” minifigs to every Game of Thrones fan out there, because we certainly won’t be seeing an official LEGO Game of Thrones Collectible Minifigures series anytime soon.

“Dragon Sword Fighter Force” minifigures are available on CitizenBrick.com.

Amazon discounts April 2014

Amazon currently has the following sets on a notable discount which I think are good buys. Please keep in mind that prices can change anytime.

LEGO Chima 70009 Worriz Combat Lair $33.59 (52%)

LEGO Castle Forest Ambush $7.49 (38%)

LEGO LOTR 79006 The Council of Elrond $22.09 (26%)

LEGO Star Wars Jabbas Sail Barge $88.41 (26%)

LEGO Star Wars AT-TE $66.31 (26%)

LEGO Friends 41026 Sunshine Harvest $14.99 (25%)

LEGO Friends Dolphin Cruiser $52.49 (25%)

LEGO Ninjago 70724 NinjaCopter Toy $44.99 (25%)

LEGO Disney Princess 41050 Ariel’s Amazing Treasures $10.39 (20%)

LEGO Disney Princess Rapunzel’s Creativity Tower 41054 $31.99 (20%)

LEGO Disney Princess 41053 Cinderella’s Dream Carriage $23.99 (20%)

LEGO Disney Princess Ariel’s Magical Kiss 41052 $23.99 (20%)

LEGO Disney Princess 41051 Merida’s Highland Games $15.99 (20%)

LEGO Friends Downtown Bakery $23.99 (20%)

LEGO Friends 41037 Stephanie’s Beach House $39.99 (20%)

LEGO Friends 41035 Heartlake Juice Bar $23.99 (20%)

LDraw to sue Bricklink for Copyright Infringement [April Fools]

[Edit] Well, April first is over, and for those who didn’t pick up on it, yes, this was an April Fools Day prank. Folks from the Ldraw steering committee got in touch asking for help spreading their prank, and I was happy to be involved. I thought that this joke had an important purpose, to draw community attention to the recent bricklink TOS change, which attempts to claim ownership to a great deal of community work. For those who aren’t aware, every time you see a rendering of a brick on bricklink, that came from LDraw, and the 3D model was created by a Lego fan for use by all. The photos are contributed by members (usually store keepers), part names are part of our hobby culture, and of course the numbers are molded onto the bricks. Those aspects created by community members were meant to help everyone equally, and I think Bricklink management should think long and hard about what sort of message this move sends to the community.

As for my personal character, I was putting on a greedy persona to help drive the message home. Also, as a warning, it’s a road I’d hate to see the Lego community go down. Yes, I’m a lawyer, my day job involves helping the government recover money lost from banks that failed in the financial crisis. I’ve been a perennial volunteer/organizer at Lego fan events since BrickFest 2005, and if you ask around, you’ll find many Lego fans to whom I’ve offered free legal advice. The Lego fan community is a fantastic and tight knit group of people, and I don’t want to see it torn apart.

With the politics out of the way, please enjoy our regularly scheduled posts about fantastic creations!

Big news today, as LDraw has announced they’re suing Bricklink for copyright infringement. As The Brothers Brick’s resident attorney, I just have to say how excited I am. For years, the Lego fan community has flourished under a system of community spirit, with large projects being built together under Creative Commons (whether stated or not). It’s great to see that we’re finally moving towards a litigious atmosphere, where everyone jumps to claim rights to anything under the sun. We don’t all live in the Danish socialist utopia, some of us have bills to pay.

Read the full press release below, then click on over to LDraw to donate to the cause. I’ll be offering them my legal services, provided enough is donated to cover my fees.

LDraw sues Bricklink for copyright infringement

LDraw.org, a system of free software tools for modeling Lego creations
in 3D on a computer, is preparing to file a lawsuit against Bricklink
Limited, for copyright violation. BrickLink.com is a
venue for individuals and businesses from all around the world to buy
and sell new, used and vintage LEGO. LDraw.org is furthermore sueing
for trademark infringement, unfair trade practices and more, seeking
damages for willful infringement.

LDraw.org, known for its parts
library of over 5000 virtual representations of LEGO bricks, which is
under continuous maintenance and extension by the LDraw community since
1997, might have decided not to file a legal objection to the use of
images rendered from its library in the year 2000 when Bricklink
started business, but the organization isn’t ready to simply roll over
on the intellectual property front, either.

The LDraw Steering
Committee (SteerCo) decided to take legal action after Bricklink
Limited rolled out new Terms of Service in September 2013. Bricklink
appears to also be claiming the exclusive rights to the common naming
system for LEGO pieces, through threatening legal action to competitors
claiming: “you are using our unique numbering and naming systems for
the LEGO pieces”.

“It is evident that the online community of LEGO
fans supplied much of the data and images and continue to do so to this
day and that in the early days of Bricklink many names, numbering
systems and even images came from co-existing sites such as LUGNET,
Peeron or in our case LDraw” said Willy Tschager, member of the LDraw
Steering Committee.

The committee set up policies on third parties
capitalising on the considerable volunteer time, effort, and ingenuity
represented by the part library and the LDraw System, which give the
users almost total freedom in the usage of rendered images. “One thing
is making cash with the efforts of others, but claiming it is yours is
a total different story and we are going to demand to delete their
image and text contributions to the database which have been drawn from
LDraw”, Tschager said.

In addition the LDraw Steering Committee is
looking out for angel investors to back the lawsuit financially.
Donation can be made to Peeron.com as hosts of LDraw.org (a Paypal
Donation Button can be found in the top left-hand corner of LDraw’s
homepage). However paying tribute to the fact that LDraw.org is a
completely volunteer organization the SteerCo prefers workmanship
contribution, such as part authoring, parts reviewing, writing programs
or tutorials over financial return.

Building prehistoric creatures with Bright Bricks

Building with LEGO professionally may sound like a dream job to many of us. Recently, whilst I was in the UK for Brighton Modelworld I caught up with Ed Diment (Lego Monster), who gave up his job as a management consultant more than two years ago to partner up with Duncan Titchmarsh, who is the UK’s sole Lego Certified Professional. Together they run Bright Bricks.

We talked about being a professional LEGO-builder and discussed their latest event. From the 26th of February to the 27th of April, the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke (UK) hosts the Lost World Zoo. Bright Bricks and various members of the UK’s LEGO community that were drawn in for this, built dozens of models of prehistoric creatures and plants, that are now on display in the museum. They were finishing the models for this during my visit and I lent a hand working on a 4 meter tall model of a Moa, which is an extinct New Zealand walking bird. They also built a massive sabre tooth tiger, which I photographed in the company workshop.

Bright Bricks workshop

Two more smaller examples are the ammonite by Tim Goddard (Rogue Bantha and a sabre toothed squirrel, built by Joe Perez (Mortalswordsman).

Ammonite

Ammonite

Visitors to the museum can also take part in activities, such as building a life-size woolly mammoth out of LEGO bricks. Yes, you did read that right: life-size. These guys like to do things big.

The company has been steadily growing. It currently employs about a dozen people working full-time, as well as several more on a temporary basis. The growth has meant having to move several times, because space in the workshop kept running out. They’re now based in a large unit on an industrial estate in Hampshire. Even though this is probably larger than all their previous workshops combined, the number of people, the large builds and the vast numbers of parts that they have in stock means that it can still be pretty difficult to move around in. The growth has also come with an increased amount of red tape. For instance, UK law requires a company of a given size to have an environmental policy and a health and safety policy, that includes having to find out how much heat is produced by a vast quantity of LEGO going up in flames. Ed probably spends more time on this and on dealing with clients and the media than he does on building. He still builds a lot, though, and with a seemingly endless supply of bricks. According to Ed, his current job is not as much fun as building AFOL models all day, but it is still definitely more fun than a regular job. Having spent a day putting more bricks together than I normally do in about a month, I can believe him (although I was still happy to go back to my day job).

If you’re in the South of the UK, I highly recommend that go check out the Lost World Zoo.

Simpsons collectible minifigs revealed

LEGO has posted images of the upcoming Simpsons collectible minifigs on Facebook. They will be available in May, and the lineup includes Chief Wiggum, Scratchy, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Marge Simpson, Milhouse, Maggie Simpson, Lisa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Itchy, Homer Simpson, Grampa, Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Bart Simpson and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

LEGO Unveils New 75059 UCS Sandcrawler [NEWS]

Apparently, while I was laid low by the flu this weekend, LEGO went ahead and unveiled the latest in the Star Wars UCS line. They also revealed that, starting with this set, UCS sets will have different and distinct packaging from other sets in the Star Wars line. It looks like they’ve done their best to cram this thing full of play features, which helps justify the hefty price of $300 USD. Read the full release from LEGO below, along with photos and the designer video.

75059_box5_in

75059 Sandcrawler™

Ages 14+ 3,296 Pieces

US $299.99 – CA $349.99 – DE 299.99€ – UK £249.99 – DK 2,799.00 DKK
*Euro pricing varies by country. Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.

Collect a true icon of the classic Star Wars™ universe – the mighty Sandcrawler™!

Recreate unforgettable scenes from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope with this amazing LEGO® incarnation of the Jawas’ desert-going vehicle, the Sandcrawler™. Turn the knob at the rear and steer the Sandcrawler into position, lower the front ramp and offload the droids using the 2 working cranes. Luke Skywalker™ and his Uncle, Owen Lars, are sure to be impressed with the selection on offer: there’s R2-D2, an R1-series Droid, an R2 unit, R5-D4™, a Treadwell Droid™, Gonk Droid™ and even C-3PO™. When the sale is complete, lift the side panels and top to reveal more great features inside, like the engine, storage bay, cockpit and more. There’s even a speeder bike for when the Jawas need to venture outside. Includes 7 minifigures: Luke Skywalker™, Uncle Owen, C-3PO™ and 4 Jawas™, plus R2-D2™, R2 unit, an R1-series Droid™, Gonk Droid™, R5-D4™ and a Treadwell Droid™.

Travel the dunes with the LEGO® Star Wars™ Sandcrawler™ with working cranes, detailed interior, 7 minifigures, 5 droids and lots more!

• Includes 7 minifigures: Luke Skywalker™, Uncle Owen, C-3PO™ and 4 Jawas™, plus R2-D2™, R2 unit, an R1-series Droid™, Gonk Droid™, R5-D4™ and a Treadwell Droid™

• Features 8 tracks with steering function, lowering front ramp, opening side flaps, removable top, working cranes, speeder bike, opening hatch for easy access to the boxes, attachable handles for lifting boxes, and a detailed interior including engine bay, storage bay and cockpit

• Also includes stock for old droids and droid parts

• Weapons include a lightsaber for Luke Skywalker™

• Sell droids to Luke and his Uncle

• Keep your droids well maintained

• Pretend to suck R2-D2™ up into the Sandcrawler™ – just like in the movie!

• Own your own iconic vehicle from the classic Star Wars™ universe

• Relive classic moments from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope

• Measures over 9” (24cm) high, 18” (48cm) long and 6” (16cm) wide

Available for sale directly through LEGO® beginning
May 2014 via shop.LEGO.com, LEGO® Stores or via phone