Monthly Archives: May 2012

Seoul’s Sungnyemun gets the LEGO Architecture treatment [News]

I had the privilege of visiting Korea three times while growing up in Japan, but unfortunately I was too young to remember much. Which is a shame, because I would love to have seen the Sungnyemun, or “Gate of Exalted Ceremonies,” in Seoul. LEGO recently announced that this gorgeous structure — sadly destroyed by fire in 2008 — will be released on June 1st as part of the LEGO Architecture series.

LEGO Architecture Sungnyemun

Here’s the full press release:

Sungnyemun has stood in the heart of South Korean capital since 1398 as one of the most complete examples of Joseon Dynasty architecture. It is listed as the country’s foremost National Treasure.

“Sungnyemun survives as a symbolic marker of a lost place in time,” says the architect and designer of many of the LEGO models Adam Reed Tucker. In capturing the essence of Sungnyemun in LEGO bricks Adam looked at the aesthetics rather than engineering, especially the use of colours, patterns and materials that define the ‘spiritual DNA’ of a culture.

Construction of Sungnyemun started in 1396 and was completed two years later. Further alterations and renovations continued over the next 600 years. In 2008 the wooden structure was completely destroyed by fire and it is expected that the restoration – using traditional hand tools – will be complete at the end of 2012.

LEGO Architecture products feature well-known buildings, and the work of important architects. Aimed at inspiring future architects, engineers , designers and architecture fans around the world, the range contains a booklet featuring step-by-step building instructions prefaced by history, information and photographs of each iconic building, its design origin, its architect and its architectural features.

The LEGO 21016 Sungnyemun will be launched officially at the Danish Pavilion during the EXPO 2012 exhibition held in Yeosu, South Korea. It will be available for purchase from June 1 in LEGO brand retail stores, LEGOLAND Stores and online at The product is designed for ages 12+ and includes a booklet with facts and history about Sungnyemun. Recommended retail price is $34.99 in the US and €34.99 in most European countries.

Arms and armor of the United Earth Federation

FateHeart has been churning out new mecha with such regularity that I’m beginning to suspect he has a secret assembly line (or sweat shop) in his LEGO space. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, so I’ll go with one he’s overhauled several times, with marked improvements with each iteration.

LEGO mecha

I’ve been bookmarking his mecha for months, but I’m shocked and ashamed to realize that Dan was the first to actually blog him just over a year ago. To fix what we’ve missed since then, here are a few more of my favorite mecha by FateHeart:

LEGO mecha
LEGO mecha LEGO mecha
LEGO mecha

In the Feasting Hall of Greng

Jordan (AK_Brickster) packs a wealth of wonderful details in this LEGO Castle diorama.

LEGO Castle feasting hall

You can see the details best in this close-up, which showcases the melting candle, hunting trophy, and stained glass window.

LEGO Castle feasting hall

If you live in the Seattle area like I do, you can see this diorama in person at the LEGO Store in Bellevue, where it will be on display for the next month or so to highlight creations from members of SEALUG.

LEGO Lord of the Rings out + free Hulk minifig & new Kingdoms chess set [News]

The third-quarter LEGO sets are now officially out, led by both the new LEGO Lord of the Rings and Marvel Super Heroes sets. If you buy $50 from the LEGO Shop between now and the end of the month, you’ll get an exclusive Hulk minifig that’s not available in any set, for free. And you’ll get the original Frodo minifig movie poster with any LEGO LOTR order.


Having *ahem* cheated and picked up some of these sets at a local brick-and-mortar store on Sunday, I can attest to the awesomeness of a tiny Gandalf and even tinier Frodo — with suspenders! — in 9469 Gandalf Arrives.icon

Here’s the list of all LEGO LOTR sets that are out now:

  • 9469 Gandalf Arrives:icon Comes with Gandalf, Frodo Baggins, and one of the new horses Chris covered in his review of 9471 Uruk-hai Army.
  • 9470 Shelob Attacks:icon Includes Frodo, Samwise Gamgee, the One Ring, and Gollum.
  • 9471 Uruk-hai Army:icon With Eomer, Rohirrim archer, four Uruk-hai, and a new horse.
  • 9472 Attack on Weathertop:icon Has Aragorn, Frodo, Meriadoc Brandybuck, two Ringwraiths, and two of the new horses in black.
  • 9473 The Mines of Moria:icon I picked this one up locally too, and it’s a pretty fun build that has lots of play features and cool minifigs — Legolas (resulting in the inevitable puns while I built the set, followed by swooning from my wife), Gimli, Boromir, Peregrin Took, two orcs/goblins, and a very large cave troll.
  • 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep:icon The largest set in the theme at $130 and over 1,300 parts, this set comes with Aragorn, Gimli, Haldir, King Théoden, and four Uruk-hai (including the torch-wielding berserker).
  • 9476 The Orc Forge:icon This set is exclusive to one of the big-box retailers if you don’t get it directly from LEGO, and has Lurtz, two orcs/goblins, and another Uruk-hai.

Here’s a closer look at Helm’s Deep:


Finally, just when you thought the current LEGO Castle theme was (mostly) dead, LEGO has just released a new 853373 LEGO Kingdoms Chess Set.icon


Main Hulk minifig offer link for US readers:

FREE Exclusive 'The Hulk™' Minifigure with a $50 purchase. Valid 5.16 - 5.30

For our Canadian readers:

FREE Exclusive 'The Hulk™' Minifigure with a $50 purchase. Valid 5.16 - 5.30

And for our UK readers:

FREE Exclusive 'The Hulk™' Minifigure with a £50 purchase. Valid 16.5 - 30.5

Disclaimer: We do this to pay the bills, which are very real thanks to several hundred thousand wonderful readers like you out there who loyally visit every week. :-) Similar deals may or may not be available in other countries.

Nice day for a swim

Katie Walker (eilonwy77) is known for using unconventional building techniques to achieve beautiful artistic patterns and designs. Her Pool Party scene uses curves at almost all the major outlines of the model to set it apart from a traditional build. The techniques for the brick wall, trees, and pool deck are also worth noting.

Pool Party

Monster Fighters: 9461 The Swamp Creature [Review]


Here’s the second of the sets I picked up on Friday, 9461 The Swamp Creature, from the new Monster Fighters line. Given that this is such a small set, with only 70 pieces, this will be a short review. The Monster Fighters theme looks fantastic as a whole, though, with lots of classic movie spooks getting a bit of showtime.

9461 Box ContentsThis is a simple set, with one of the Monster Fighter heroes riding an airboat, and the Swamp Creature protecting his little spot of terrain. The box is nothing special, though nicely designed. The back includes a little comic showing the Swamp Creature giving–or perhaps being forced to give, as he doesn’t look too happy about it–his green swamp crystal, one of six rainbowed crystals, to the Vampyre Lord, presumably to activate some nefarious device which is included with 9468 Vampyre Castle. Inside the box are two little baggies, and the instructions, comparable to any other similarly sized set. Oddly the instructions include no advertisement for the rest of the sets in the Monster Fighters line.

Jack and the airboatThe build is quite simple, with no surprises. The airboat is nearly identical to many others that have been produced by LEGO, except that this one is armed with flick-fire missiles, which I’m still unimpressed by. The little square of swamp is about as simple as it gets, but you can’t expect too much from a set this size. The inclusion of a frog is always nice, but I’m not sure if the fish is dead, or just kept swimming away, because he’s clipped to the base.

The Swamp CreatureClearly the highlight here are the minifigs, which are terrific. The Swamp Creature is a lovely design, obviously imitating the infamous Creature from the Black Lagoon. I really like that LEGO has gone the extra step and included printing on the creature’s head that isn’t even visible with the fishy headpiece in place. Similarly, the hunter (Jack? He looks like a Jack to me) has a great torso print of a leather bomber jacket overtop a dirty white tee. Nicely enough, both figs have back and leg printing. I’m thinking that LEGO is realizing that minifigs are a huge selling point in their sets, and we all love super detailed figs. So I’m guessing that detailed front and rear prints and leg printing is going to become the rule, rather than the exception, with sets from here on out. The Swamp Creature is pretty sparse on new pieces, aside from the aforementioned crystal, and the Creature’s headpiece. A quick Bricklink search tells me that the propeller, which was new to me, has actually been around for a while. Of most interest to me was Jack’s leg piece, which is in the new olive green color. It’s basically a greenish shade of dark tan, and is really going to be a fantastic color for both foliage and military models.

The full setAll in all, it’s a fun little set, but with Jack and the green crystal included in other sets in the Monster Fighters line, the Swamp Creature is the only thing really unique to this set.