Well, raise your hand if you miss good old Rock Raiders sets. They were huge, brutal and were all about fighting rock monsters and crashing rocks — and that was cool. Technically, crashing rocks with huge machines is still pretty cool, but something went wrong when the Power Miners sets hit store shelves in 2009. Of course, they looked fresh and bright, but something has irrevocably changed at that moment. The new Volcano Explorers City sub-theme is a new brave attempt to revive the all-time classic. 60122 Volcano Crawler is the most well-balanced set of this year, containing 324 pieces, 3 minifigs and retailing at the price of $39.99 / 29.99€ (currently on sale for 20% off on Amazon), and includes almost everything the new sub-theme has to offer.
This summer, British publisher DK have continued their Build Your Own Adventure series with two new volumes that explore the themes of City and Star Wars. LEGO City: Build Your Own Adventure is an 80-page hard cover book that comes with an exclusive 99 piece LEGO vehicle set and minifgure.
The book’s storyline follows a rather hectic day in the life of LEGO City’s heroic firefighter Brave Ed as he journeys through typical locations within LEGO City, on a mission to get to the end of his shift with enough time to challenge his fellow fire-fighters to a game of table tennis (oh, and to spend the day helping out with rescues, accident scenes and fighting fires of course!).
Microscale is challenging in its own right, despite it’s tiny tiny size. Rocco Buttliere is a master of this impressive scale, and we’ve featured his work before, notably with his Houses of Parliament and 40 Wall Street.
This newest addition to his tiny empire is certainly more understated than what we’ve featured before and no less impressive. The Rosenwald Apartments, named after former president of Sears and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, feature lovely landscaping and the tiniest art deco I’ve ever seen. I particularly love the use of the grill tile, held in place presumably by sheer will, that gives the impression of tiny windows. It’s very effective!
This summer, the LEGO City airport gets a huge update, including a variety of new airplanes. But before you grab any of the new sets from a store shelf, are you sure your airport facility is equipped well enough? In case it isn't, take a look at this inconspicuous workhorse by EROL.
“Goliath” is an amazingly compact and well-thought aircraft tug. A Power Fuctions connector and an IR reciver on the top of the vehicle gives out its main function – it can be remotely controlled. The heart of the tug is an M-motor, which is not the most powerful one, but thanks to a low gear it is able to tow up to 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs). But my favourite touch is a couple of red Light & Sound flashing lights. This piece is about 25 years old, but it looks awesome even in modern creations. And here is a short video of the tug in action:
A LEGO store in the Netherlands has released high-res photos of a bunch of sets scheduled for release later this year, including sets from Star Wars, Marvel, DC, the new Volcano Explorers sub-theme from LEGO City, and Friends. (Via Brickset.)
75157 Captain Rex’s AT-TE from Star Wars: Rebels appears to include the ever-popular clone trooper in retirement.
Spider-Man may be joining the Avengers with Captain America: Civil War, but he still gets his own, separate line of LEGO sets. The largest is 76057 Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle.
Next in the lineup of LEGO revealed at Toy Fair in New York today is 2016’s allotment of the perennial favorite, City. These new sets will be available in August. Of particular interest is LEGO’s new big City line, featuring a volcano research team. There are five sets to the new theme, each with a brilliant helping of lime green. New for this fall is also a theme centered around the LEGO City Airport, as well as a fun people pack, featuring a new minifig wheelchair and a new minifig baby.
Toy Fair in New York City in mid-February is usually the first time each year when LEGO unveils its planned sets for the summer and fall. However, Toy Fair NYC is preceded by industry events in London and Nuremburg, where often LEGO puts small signs banning photography next to some of its new sets while showcasing them at a public event. This tactic is apparently proving particularly ineffective this year, as numerous photographs continue to emerge from both shows, such as the LEGO Technic 42056 Porsche test car set revealed earlier this week (in that video, the LEGO rep is clearly pointing things out to the camera, so they’re obviously ok with some photography).
TBB and other LEGO news sites like FBTB will have full, professional coverage of New York Toy Fair in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, here are a few highlights from London and Nuremburg, given LEGO’s apparent change in policy and public unveiling schedule.
Brickset has just posted box photos (photos of boxes, not the official high-res box art) for a number of summer 2016 LEGO sets. Making the rounds of news outlets this week is 60134 Fun at the Park, a LEGO City minifig-oriented set that features a minifig in a brand new LEGO wheelchair, a new LEGO baby, and the hotdog bun first noticed in the forthcoming LEGO Angry Birds sets — plus a whole bunch of useful new minifigs.
Following our previous story about rough pictures taken of the German LEGO catalogue for 2016, we now have the genuine article from LEGO in PDF form, this time in English.
This is a carbon copy of the printed catalogues that will appear in stores. There are dozens of new sets, including a new wave of Elves featuring dragons, plenty of new City, Creator, and Friends sets, new Batman V Superman and Marvel pantheon Superhero sets, and a lot more.
Click here or the image below to view the PDF in full.
For 2015, LEGO is rolling out 3 themed Advent calendars: Star Wars, City, and Friends. As with previous years’ Star Wars Advent Calendars, an exclusive holiday-themed Star Wars minifig is included. This time it’s C3-P0 dressed as Santa Claus, riding a sleigh pulled by an R2-D2 with reindeer antlers. The City calendar has a mini Santa train and loads of toys, while the Friends calendar includes parts for a small hockey match and a lot of accessories – both pretty par for the course.
UPDATE: Didn’t get your hands on this year’s Advent Calendars? Follow along with our virtual LEGO Advent Calendar starting December 1st!
For those who’d rather wait to reveal all the surprises inside the Advent calendars, I’ve placed the full set images after the jump. Click to reveal.
In fact, I’ll be a bit more specific. The model wasn’t specifically intended to be Italian, despite the name, but the colours on the buildings are spot-on and the gelateria really do remind me of a square in Udine, where, on a work trip to Italy, I had some wonderful ice cream a fair few years ago. I don’t remember a living statue there, but I don’t mind. It could easily have been there.
In recent years, LEGO set design has been going from strength to strength. However, as far as I am concerned, some of the sets I had as a child are really hard to beat. Build techniques have obviously moved on and new parts have been introduced, but particularly city sets from the late seventies and early eighties were design marvels. They may have been fairly simple and built using primary colours, but they also had lots of character.
We haven’t featured models by Are Heiseldal ([email protected]) very often, but in recent years he has been steadily building his own updated interpretations of some of these classic sets from his (and my) childhood, of which I am going to share a few favourites. LEGO set 675 “Snack bar” was released in 1979.
I never actually owned the oddly-named set 6694 “Car with Camper”, but remember poring over the 1984 catalogue to work out how to build the caravan. Are’s updated version seems to offer somewhat more privacy to the occupants.
Finally, the latest model that he has uploaded is a modern reinterpretation of set 6689 “Post Station”.
These models may not be spectacular in terms of build techniques, but I love them. There is enough of the original in them to ensure that a single glance is enough to trigger nostalgia. Furthermore, like the originals, if you look closely you’ll see that they are chock full of clever features. If you too get a warm and fuzzy feeling about these, I suggest you check out Are’s flickr album with more of his updated classics.
Rod Gillies created this lovely steampunk harbor town for Brick2014 in London. I love the whimsical, compact look he has going on. It’s also got all kinds of motors and lights and what-not, as seen in this video taken at the convention. I love the use of the Lava Lamp. That’s some creative thinking outside the brick!
Check out the video as well!