There’s a strong possibility that I’ll be traveling to Japan for work later this year, and I’ve spent the last couple of evenings revisiting childhood haunts via Google Maps and looking at rail connections to get from one end of the country to the other. This train station by Japanese builder Kaz Fuji was thus quite timely as I plan potential rail travel to places like Kyoto and Nara.
The last few years, the inhabitants of LEGO City have been on quite the adventure, exploring the ocean, the arctic, and erupting volcanoes; this year is no exception, as they’re diving deep into the jungle. We picked up a copy of the largest set to explore for ourselves, since we wanted to check out the new pieces (jaguar!), as well as experience the new setting for one of LEGO’s longest running themes. 60161 Jungle Exploration Site has 813 pieces, and retails for $119.99
Summer is here, and the floodgates of new LEGO sets have opened with 55 sets available as of today. Fans of Star Wars, Superheroes, City, Creator, Friends, Elves, LEGO Dimensions, and The LEGO Batman Movie have a lot to look forward to. And to sweeten the deal, LEGO is offering a cute free Minifigure Travel Pack and free shipping with purchases of $35 or more from the LEGO Shop.
Four years ago, Chase McCain embarked on a journey through LEGO City (one of the most crime-ridden cities that has ever existed, based on the abundance of police sets) to uncover plots and solve perplexing puzzles. Now, he is back and better than ever, remastered for the Switch, Wii, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
In the game, Chase is a loose-cannon cop patrolling the city and tasked with ending a citywide crime spree orchestrated by underworld boss Rex Fury. He uses his humor, wit and building ability to find clues, fight thugs, and even build himself an array of vehicles superheroes would lust after. Of all the LEGO open-world-type games, this one is used most effectively, and the game has a strong accompanying storyline as well.
The game is full of LEGO humor and cameos from other famous detectives, and even plays at times like a PG-rated Grand Theft Auto, showing that both kids and adults can enjoy this game on different levels. Chase McCain is also coming to LEGO Dimensions later this year in a scaled-down world, so it will be fun to see him interact with the likes of Batman, Voldemort, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
LEGO City remains one of the most popular themes designed by LEGO and is always fun to see a large city layout. And you will definitely not be disappointed by this bustling city scene by Korean building team OliveSeon – a huge minifigure scale diorama that is over 6 meters (19 feet) in length. The main central part of the scene includes a few official modular sets such as the Detective’s Office, Parisian Restaurant and Ghostbusters HQ on the left. But there is much more to this diorama than buildings, as I believe it depicts almost every form of transport system imaginable from an airplane, to a suspension railway, to HGVs and even a hot air balloon.
On the far right beyond those skyscrapers, the concrete plunges into a chilled out beach scene and then a mountain peak complete with cable car. The red and white cable car is very cute, as is the hot air balloon, even if every Health & Safety bone in my body is shouting that it’s too close to the high wires!
On the far left the transportation has a more nautical feel with the port and harbour area. Don’t go for a dip in the water on this side of the build though, cos I’ve spotted a few hungry sharks on patrol.
So can you think of any other forms of transportation the builders have missed in this huge 3-part diorama?
The Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) is the largest municipal fire department in the United States, but Engine 54 stands out within this huge fire department, and its firehouse is known the “Pride of Midtown”. Fifteen members of Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 were killed while responding to the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. sponki25 has built an accurate scale model of Engine 54, a 2014 Seagrave Attacker HD 2000/500 High Pressure Pumper that is only six studs wide but packs an incredible amount of detail within that small space.
There are plenty of brick-built details within the six-stud wide confines. The home-made stickers may not be to everyone’s taste, but you have to admire Sven’s attention to even the smallest detail. It is also touching that Sven has dedicated this particular build to the memory of Engine 54’s heroes.
Sven has a growing collection of FDNY apparatus that you can see in his FDNY album, including the FDNY Ambulance below. I simply had to share this image of his ambulance responding to a scene, Sven’s minifig scale Stryker stretcher is really an awesome little build.
Continuing our coverage from New York Toy Fair, here’s a look at the new LEGO City Jungle sets, all coming out this June.
UPDATE (June 1): The summer wave of LEGO City Jungle sets is now available.
First up, the biggest set in this new theme: 60161 Jungle Exploration Site features a jungle temple, a crashed plane, a helicopter, an exploration truck, and a cool little amphibious vehicle. The set contains 813 pieces and will retail at $119.99
We all like a good deal, and here we get two minifigure-scale buggies for one — both inspired by LEGO City Buggy 60145. This first black off-road, racing buggy is by talented Latvian builder, de-marco who has a veritable traffic-jam of awesome cars in his photostream. The builder’s decision to use different sized wheels is a definite winner, but the addition of the red suspension is my favourite part. This little black buggy is a stylish affair, even if the poor driver can’t quite get a hold of that steering wheel.
De-marco’s creation was a response to this initial buggy built by Сергей Антохин. Sergey also changed the construction of the roll bars and, like de-marco, altered the wheels to use bigger, wider rear tyres.
So three buggies; de-marco’s black racing buggy with red suspension, Sergey’s little red racer with improved handling, and the original LEGO model (below). Which do you prefer?
Neighbours can be a mixed bunch; some can be horrid if they play their music loudly at night, while others will mow your lawn while you’re on holiday. I think it is safe to say that the neighbours in this inspired microscale scene by Cecilie Fritzvold are more of the silent type. There are a few ingenious parts used in this scene, with a “sunken” technique used to give certain parts a new lease of life at this scale.
The grave stones are a mix of ingots, 1×1 plates with teeth, and blaster trigger mechanisms surrounded by a fence made from grille tiles. I love the nearby church whose structure includes a pair of 2×3 pentagonal tiles sitting at different heights to add depth. The white houses all have roofs made from minifigure laptops; so simple and yet so effective.
Building in microscale is a great way to utilise LEGO parts in different ways, even when a part may seem to have a very specific purpose when first encountered. For example, did you spot the minifigure rollerskates posing as microscale cars? And can you work out how Cecilie has made the trunk of the tree to the left of the church?
Germany’s Nuremberg Toy Fair is the largest Toy Fair in the world, and where toy manufacturers go to show off their new products to potential buyers. As in previous years, LEGO has a large presence with a lot of new sets. Thanks to our friends at Promobricks, we’re able to bring you the first look at some of what LEGO has planned for the rest of the year, including Architecture, Creator, Technic, City and more. In a few weeks we’ll be covering the New York Toy Fair and bringing you close-up, hands-on coverage of these new sets and more.
LEGO Architecture 2017
Don’t miss other upcoming LEGO sets we’ve announced, including:
Summer wave of The LEGO Batman Movie sets
21035 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Marvel & DC Superheroes LEGO Brick Headz
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 LEGO sets
2017 is a year of anniversaries for LEGO: it marks 40 years for Technic, and the 10th year for LEGO’s Modular Buildings. These highly detailed sets clock in at over 2,000 pieces and are most definitely fan favorites. In October, LEGO announced 10255 Assembly Square to celebrate the decennial anniversary of the line. LEGO sent us an early copy, so today we’re pleased to bring you a full hands-on review. It’s packed full of Easter eggs celebrating 10 years of these fantastic sets, and is the largest modular yet with 4,002 pieces. 10255 Assembly Square is available now on The LEGO Shop for $279.99 USD.
So just how impressive is this set? Read on, because we’re going to tell you all about it.