LEGO Train-heads, yes, you’re probably beaming ear-to-ear with pride that you are well aware and know the use of this particular piece. For the rest of you who’s wondering, it’s not too late to extend this little mystery a little longer, take a guess on HOW exactly it’s used in train sets? Still pondering and wondering? Let’s cut to the chase, you’re here to get answers. Read right on to find out.
Happy Pride Week! Today we continue our celebration of diversity within our LEGO community by shining a light on some previously unheard voices. In my last article, I spoke of what it’s like being an LGBTQ+ LEGO fan from my perspective. As I mentioned then, I am not the representative of the LGBTQ+ LEGO Community nor do I want to be. What makes us great is that we all bring different experiences to the table. One of the biggest online groups for LGBTQ+ LEGO fans and their allies is undoubtedly GayFOLs. A thriving online community on Facebook, GayFOLs is currently home to over 850 members form all over the world. I asked its founder, Bruce H., to tell us a bit about his experience and how and why GayFOLs came to be. I also reached out to members to hear what their experiences have been like in the hobby. Below are their stories, lightly edited for flow.
Happy Pride week! While we usually celebrate Pride all month in June, this particular Pride Month has been quite fraught and politically difficult. For the last several weeks, many LGBTQ+ people have postponed their month-long celebrations of Pride to make room for other marginalized voices, namely Black Lives Matter. I think that’s important and I stand by this stance myself. So now it’s time for us to join our voices with the national conversation.
Disclaimer: For this story I am speaking from my own experience as an LGBTQ+ LEGO fan that has risen to a bit of prominence in the LEGO world due to being on LEGO Masters. I don’t claim to speak for the LGBTQ+ community as a whole or even for the whole LGBTQ+ LEGO community. All I know is what I have experienced, heard and observed in my time with this hobby and this is what I share with you now.
Large-scale display pieces catering to the nostalgic adult fan have long been a mainstay of Disney merchandise. Whilst some LEGO Disney sets have flirted with the memorabilia audience before now (notably 71044 Disney Train and Station and 21317 Steamboat Willie) the latest Disney set — 43179 Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Buildable Characters — has its sights set firmly on the hearts (and wallets) of adult Disney collectors and enthusiasts. The set contains 1,739 pieces and features the iconic couple as large-scale figures, clad in their signature outfits, and with a range of accessories. It will be available from July 1st, retailing for US $179.99 – CAN $229.99 – UK £169.99.
Let’s see how LEGO’s tribute to Hollywood’s most famous power couple stacks up…
LEGO has revealed seven new Star Wars sets based on everything across the galaxy including the films, television shows, a visual dictionary, and even Disney’s theme park land, Galaxy’s Edge. The sets include two brand new ships, multiple desirable minifigures, a few refreshed models, and the 2020 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar. (Spoiler alert: we’ve included photos of the Advent behind the jump at the far end of this article.)
The seven new sets join four other upcoming LEGO Star Wars models already announced earlier this year, including 75288 AT-AT, 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers, 75292 The Razor Crest and 75317 The Mandalorian & The Child BrickHeadz. All these new sets should be available globally starting Sept. 1st.
LEGO has officially revealed the latest 18+ train set for adults, 10277 Crocodile Locomotive. The Swiss train is made up of 1,271 pieces used to create the brown electric locomotive, a buildable display base, an informational placard, and two conductor minifigures. The set will be available from LEGO starting July 1st for US $99.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £89.99.
The Brothers Brick sat down with Jamie Berard, LEGO Senior Design Manager for Creator Expert and Architecture, who gave us a first look at the set and answered some of our questions about the new locomotive.
Due to the tragic murders of George Floyd, Manuel Ellis, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and far too many other African-Americans, racial injustices that Black people experience every day have come to the forefront of white consciousness once again. We’ve been examining how this very real-world issue affects the hobby we participate in, not just for a moment in time but on an ongoing basis. Earlier this week, we sat down with Canadian artist Ekow Nimako, whose LEGO work we’ve featured several times, including his stunning Flower Girl sculpture and wonderful Beasts from Bricks book.
Our conversation with Ekow covered his experience growing up playing with LEGO, interactions with the LEGO hobbyist community, the Afrocentric and Afrofuturist themes of his artwork, and how LEGO communities such as The Brothers Brick can operate more inclusively.
We ask you to watch the full video before reacting with comments. While the reaction from some quarters to recent statements we’ve made that Black Lives Matter has been dismissed as “political” and some reactions have been outright hateful, by and large the response from the LEGO hobbyist community has been empathetic and supportive. Nevertheless, there is much more to be done. A number of our readers have rightly pointed out The Brothers Brick’s own contributor list as one area where we can improve, asking us to work harder to recruit a more diverse team while highlighting more non-white builders and highlighting the LEGO creations of people of color. As I committed to during the video conversation with Ekow, one of our next steps will be to kick off a new round of contributor recruiting to improve our own diversity and better represent the community we are a part of.
It’s not a secret that LEGO is not just for kids. Adults and even seniors all around the world build LEGO sets with their kids and grandkids, as well as themselves. For many, the hobby of building with plastic bricks is one of the few ways to escape the stress of the modern world. In its pursuit of new consumers, LEGO has recently announced that it is making some considerable changes to its portfolio, including retiring particular themes that have historically been popular with adult builders and collectors. One of the adult-oriented product lines that LEGO has announced that it is retiring is the LEGO Creator Expert theme. However, that doesn’t mean that LEGO sets for adults are going away.
The Brothers Brick participated in a discussion with Genevieve Capa Cruz, Audience Marketing Strategist Director within the LEGO Company’s Product Group Marketing team, to learn more about the new LEGO Adult Portfolio, focused on the 18+ audience. Genevieve told us about the barriers that the new approach is set to overcome and the changes to the products that we can already see in several lineups.
This week, we have guest writer Jonah Schultz who has been a fan of LEGO since he was 3 years old and became more active in the community again in 2015. He is a student of medieval and modern history and French literature and is very much into photography. He also enjoys learning about other people’s outlook on the hobby and marvels at the diversity, creativity, and warmth of the community.
Storytelling and LEGO are two terms that go very well together, don’t they? Indeed, both the LEGO Group and LEGO enthusiasts have made storytelling a key element to creating with LEGO bricks over the years.
LEGO builder and Instagram user Pedro Sequeira reminds us that George Floyd was…a human, just like us. George’s May 25th death, his suffocation under the knee of a police officer, has sparked outrage around the globe. This phenomenon is not new, not by a longshot. People of color have not had an easy go, or even a fair go, in the US and elsewhere. Peaceful protests, while admirable, often go unheard, and can in turn sometimes lead to violence and looting, which is also not the answer. This leaves us wondering what can be done to enact change — real lasting change. If leadership cannot address civil injustice at their level then it is often best to begin to enact change ourselves with our votes and our wallets. Treating others fairly should be a no-brainer but often this requires the help of grassroots organizations, and the SPLC and the ACLU come to mind as good places to start. Please support them if you can.
We all know that LEGO has a knack for providing instructions for complex and amazing builds, and it’s only inevitable that they branch out in a new direction. It’s high time for LEGO to include instructions for our daily life activities. Over the past couple of weeks, the LEGO social media team has been releasing these life instruction guides that depict everyday activities, especially things that we can relate to over the period of time where the world is keeping many of us indoors.
While it’s pointless for us to describe (or dare I say, review?) as these instruction guides are self-sufficient — just like the real LEGO instruction books, which don’t have any words — we’re just going to do it, because they’re so good.
Last week, we had a chance to talk to Chris McVeigh, the designer of the new Brick Sketches series. Chris developed the concept of Brick Sketches long before joining the LEGO Group last year. Now he tells us more about his first major release as a LEGO designer.