Each year LEGO’s homebrewed Ninjago theme finds a new setting for its cast of pseudo-ninja heroes, ranging from sky pirates to medieval fantasy. The theme has always reveled in a no-holds-barred approach to mixing and matching ancient bladed weapons, advanced technology, and outrageous antagonists. The 2020 lineup’s twist is a cyberpunk aesthetic set in a digital world via a videogame. All of the Ninjago heroes find themselves dueling in the cyber realms via their avatars, bringing a Ready Player One-like plotline to LEGO’s most successful in-house theme. Today we’re looking at a trio of small sets that serve as the entry points to theme both for the consumers and the characters in the world. These arcade cabinet boxes are the transformation portals wherein Kai, Jay, and Lloyd are transformed into their digital avatars. 71714 Kai Avatar – Arcade Pod (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99), 71715 Jay Avatar – Arcade Pod (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99), and 71716 Lloyd Avatar – Arcade Pod (US $9.99 | CAN $13.99 | UK £8.99) will be available starting January 1. They contain about 50 pieces each.
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If you’ve spent any time in arcades, you’ve likely been tempted by those crane games where you can win a handful of candy (or sometimes bigger prizes). H.Y. Leung has taken that temptation to the extreme by making their own working version from LEGO bricks.
The base of this build is 80×64 studs (roughly 64×51 centimeters); pretty close to 1:1 scale to a real-world crane game. The arm design comes from LEGO set 42043, the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245, with a modified claw. The first control on the left side rotates the arm left and right, moving it through a 200-degree arc. The next three switches handle positioning of the boom and outrigger and opening and closing the claw. To the right of the controls is a slot that accepts tokens, and a switch to activate a pneumatically-controlled horizontal security bar, intended to keep people from reaching up and into the game when it’s not in use.
This claw-machine creation incorporates just a touch of non-LEGO parts in the custom plexiglass, external air compressor, and edible treats. I personally would have liked to see this machine filled with LEGO parts, but I suspect bulk candy is a lot cheaper to refill it with.
Speaking of arcade games, the colors are inspired by the prize machine in the mobile game Crossy Road. Not familiar with that machine? Happily, H.Y. has also recreated a LEGO version to add some context. I like the inversion of the red/yellow styling between the two games.
Get your quarters and tokens prepped, because it’s time to hang out at the arcade! This impressive collection of minifigure-scale machines by Kale Frost has everything a LEGO gamer could want, from classics like Pac-Man and Kong to Street Fighter and air hockey. See if you can identify all of the machines!
A closer look at the skeeball machine shows just how perfectly they fit with minifigures. These machines would look great in an expanded version of the arcade in Ninjago City Docks, which featured official LEGO-designed minifigure-scale arcade cabinets. Or if something bigger is more your style, check out this 1/2-scale working arcade cabinet.
LEGO builder Helen Sham is a huge Nintendo fan, so she decided to combine her loves by building an incredible arcade cabinet completely out of LEGO. Standing more than 5 feet tall, the cabinet features brick-built graphics from the game Mario vs Donkey Kong 2. TBB spoke with Helen, and she’s given TBB an exclusive early look at this amazing machine.
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With the latest round of Iron Builder underway, expect to see a flurry of LEGO creations featuring the Friends balloon piece, as we noted a few days ago with the lovely LEGO lotus blossom. Contestant Grant Davis is cranking out something new just about every day — and sometimes more than one new creation a day. One of my favorites so far is this Whack-a-Mole machine. The ill-fated victims of whackage peeking with their single eyes out of their holes are also the tips of the bulbous balloon piece, and I just love their adorable little hats.