It’s been many many years since we’ve seen any LEGO creations in the fan-created “Tech West” theme. The theme mashes up LEGO space and western, with a dash of steampunk, with a heavy dose of Serenity and Wild Wild West. Although builder captainsmog may label this “Colonial Futurist” but I’m personally transported back to 2004 rather than an alternate 1874. What I love most about the stagecoach is how the detailed robotic legs move just like horse legs. This is no horseless carriage — the horse is just mechanical. Similarly, notice how the front of the speeder bikes ridden by the marauding bandits are shaped like horses’ heads.
LEGO may have released a batch of new March 2020 LEGO sets yesterday, but there’s still a wealth of sets from January worth taking another look at. One of the biggest changes to happen within a LEGO theme is the change in LEGO Speed Champions models from six studs wide to eight studs wide. While I personally enjoyed 76896 Nissan GT-R NISMO, comments from builders indicated that the GT-R may not showcase the change as well as other models might. 76899 Lamborghini Urus ST-X & Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO (US $49.99 | CAN $69.99 | UK £54.99) includes two models built from 663 pieces that I think both illustrate the benefits of the change.
There’s an orthodoxy — often passing over into toxicity — within Star Wars fandom that states that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie of all time, and that anything produced after 1983 is inherently and automatically lesser. I am the rare heretic whose favorite Star Wars movie is not part of the nine-movie Skywalker Saga. While certainly not perfect, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story took the story in a completely new direction while filling in one of the most mysterious gaps in the canon. Luca captures an incredibly poignant moments in the movie, when Jyn and Cassian must abandon K-2SO as they climb the interior of the data vault with the stolen Death Star plans.
The builder focuses the viewer’s attention on the two characters, but the scene is replete with wonderful detail. The round vault doorway and tunnel extends forward, further focusing attention on the minifigs, while in the background repetition provides the texture of the racks of data tapes. Scenes like this show that a great LEGO creation doesn’t need to be a 10,000-piece diorama anymore than a great Star Wars movie has to star a space wizard with a laser sword.
The LEGO Speed Champions theme has been rather quiet for most of 2019, following the release of fantastic sets like 75894 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally and 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy in January, building on more vintage history in 2018 with sets like 75884 1968 Ford Mustang and 75889 Ferrari Ultimate Garage. In the intervening year, it’s now apparent that the LEGO Speed Champions design team has been hard at work redesigning the Speed Champions line from the ground up, shifting from models that are generally six studs wide to an eight-stud axle track, with cars from Jaguar, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Audi. The new 76896 Nissan GT-R NISMO is the very first Japanese car featured in the Speed Champions theme, and was revealed to much fanfare at an event in November.
It’s not often that a LEGO set transports me back home. But regular readers of The Brothers Brick know that I was born in Tokyo and lived in Japan until I was a teenager, so I was incredibly excited when LEGO announced 21050 Tokyo. I’ve enjoyed each of the previous LEGO Architecture skyline sets I’ve built, but how does this one stack up for someone who calls Tokyo their hometown?
Tokyo was revealed as part of the LEGO Architecture skyline series for 2020, alongside 21052 Dubai. Tokyo is built from 547 pieces and will retail for $59.99 USD | $79.99 CAD | £59.99 GBP. Both sets will be available starting January 1st.
Poe Dameron seems to go through X-wing starfighters more quickly than Carrie Bradshaw goes through Manolo Blahniks. His latest is a cute little number (75273) in orange and white with azure accents, which you can pick up for yourself for a mere $89.99 USD | $119.99 CAD | £89.99 GBP. Poe Dameron’s X-wing Fighter includes 761 pieces with three minifigs (plus Artoo) and will be available January 1st, 2020.
We’ll do our best to avoid any major SPOILERS, and we ask our commenters to do the same for another week or two, until more people reading this will have had the opportunity to see Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.
Notes on terminology: For simplicity throughout this article, we’ll often reference the Resistance X-wing’s model number and compare and contrast it with the original X-wing from the Classic Trilogy. The model number for the original X-wings flown by the Rebel Alliance was T-65. The updated New Republic / Resistance X-wing’s model number is T-70. Similarly, the wings that give the X-wing its name are technically called S-foils (as in “Lock S-foils in attack position!”). To avoid repetition, we’ll occasionally call them wings.
Over the years, LEGO’s Creator Expert line of modular buildings has alternated back and forth between European-style buildings like the original Cafe Corner and American architecture like 10197 Fire Brigade 10 years ago and the more recent 10260 Downtown Diner and 10264 Corner Garage. The era and location that inspired 10270 Bookshop are less obvious, because this pair of side-by-side buildings could fit right in on streets as far-flung as Boston and Amsterdam.
Our friends at Citizen Brick have been cooking up a new batch of brand new, pad-printed, custom minifigures for Black Friday this year. They kindly sent us the full assortment to share with everyone ahead of their availability on Friday morning. One of the things we love about Citizen Brick is their cheekily named product names, and this batch is no different, with “Party Rights Enthusiasts,” “Painting Enthusiast,” and many more — all cleverly named but instantly recognizable.
The LEGO group announced today that it is acquiring LEGO marketplace website BrickLink. BrickLink was founded in 2000 by the late LEGO fan Dan Jezek, and was purchased from Dan’s family in 2013 by mobile game company Nexon founder and entrepeneur Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim. Over the past six years, the new owners, via Mr. Kim’s investment company NXMH, have taken the website in a number of new directions, including a “MOC Shop”, Stud.io virtual LEGO design software and the AFOL Designer Program earlier this year.
Although the official press release is fairly light on details, prior to the announcement today, LEGO invited The Brothers Brick to conduct a one-on-one interview with Julia Goldin, Chief Marketing Officer for the LEGO Group. We asked Ms. Goldin about potential conflicts of interest in LEGO now owning a large proportion of the secondary market for its own product, the future of the community-driven BrickLink catalog, and more. Read our in-depth interview in the article below. We’ll also have more analysis and discussion in the coming days.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters in almost exactly a month, but Star Wars fans have been treated to scenes from the movie in several teasers and trailers over the past year, including a speeder chase scene featuring our Resistance heroes aboard a vehicle that look like the post-apocalyptic offspring of the desert skiffs in Return of the Jedi and Enfys Nest’s Cloud Rider swoop-bikes from Solo. 75250 Pasaana Speeder Chase is the smallest LEGO Star Wars set released so far to support the upcoming movie, at 373 pieces with three minifigs and one droid.
Polish LEGO builder Sariel is famous for his huge LEGO models that incorporate LEGO Technic and Power Functions elements for working features without sacrificing details or the overall look of the model. His recent MAZ-535 artillery truck was no exception, and it reminded us that we had overlooked his fantastic KV-1 heavy tank and KV-2 heavy artillery tank. I’ve built LEGO KV-1 and KV-2 tanks myself, so I have an appreciation for the challenging angles of these early WW2 Soviet tanks.
The Disney+ exclusive TV show The Mandalorian just debuted, so we’re taking a look at the single LEGO Star Wars set released to support the show so far. Although the TV show didn’t debut until November 12th, 75254 AT-ST Raider was released alongside the first wave of LEGO Star Wars sets from The Rise of Skywalker at the beginning of October. The set includes 540 pieces with four minifigures and retails for $49.99 US | $69.99 CAN | £49.99 UK (it’s also available at 20% off from Amazon.com right now as well).
This latest AT-ST is one in a long line of “chicken walkers” that LEGO has released, following up on the 75153 AT-ST Walker from Rogue One released in 2016. Of course, that doesn’t count the utterly awful half-walker pawned off on LEGO Star Wars fans in the form of 75201 First Order AT-ST (arguably the worst LEGO Star Wars set ever).
Note about spoilers: Unlike the abominable First Order AT-ST released well in advance of The Last Jedi, this LEGO Star Wars AT-ST does not reveal any spoilers about the TV show. Out of respect for readers who have not yet seen the show (or can’t due to regional release differences), this review of the set will also avoid spoilers. We ask that commenters respect each other and do the same.