2024 is flying by – we’re already in February! A new month does mean new LEGO sets, though. And one of the headline releases for February is LEGO Ideas 21347 Red London Telephone Box, which is available starting today for LEGO Insiders. You’ll find it on the LEGO website where it retails for US $114.99 | CAN $149.99 | UK £99.99. We already talked about the set back when it first debuted. But since then, The Brothers Brick was afforded an opportunity to sit down with the team behind the set and ask some questions. We’ve got a summary below.
We’ve seen a few versions of the Knight Bus from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in LEGO sets. However they all fail to replicate one of its most memorable tricks – distorting itself to squeeze between two London buses. Having done my fair share of rush hour cycling in London, I can confirm that this is no mean feat, and to be fair it’s quite hard to replicate in LEGO form. But that hasn’t stopped LEGO Instagrammer Gilderoy Blockhart from having a crack at it! There aren’t many LEGO pieces in purple (in fact a lot of them have come from Knight Bus sets), so this can’t have been easy. He’s even captured it mid-squeeze, going from six studs wide to a mere two at the front. And all this while still being able to fit Harry Potter himself – and some lights – in at the back! That really is magic.
A lot of young boys want to become policemen, firefighters, or paramedics when they grow up. I, too, was fascinated by emergency vehicles. There was something about their bright markings, flashing lights, and sirens. As an adult, I realise that the work done by emergency services can be far from glamorous, but emergency vehicles do make for fun and attractive LEGO models. So, I have built models of vehicles from Tokyo, New York and the Netherlands. For years I’ve also had a collection of vehicles from the UK. In the last few weeks, I had a go at building a few newer ones to replace models of vehicles that are no longer in service. They are a long-wheelbase Ford Transit van, as used by the London metropolitan police, and a Mercedes Sprinter ambulance used by the London ambulance service.
For most builders, myself included, painting LEGO is not an option. I do use stickers, but I build most of the color scheme into the model. Because of this, it can become integral to the model’s construction, and I very much enjoy figuring out how to include a particular pattern. Given their colorful liveries, this applies to models of emergency vehicles in particular. Nowadays, most British emergency vehicles use a distinctive checkered pattern, known as “battenberg” markings, after battenberg cake. On the ambulance, I built its blocks using green and lime green parts. This was not easy. The vertical boundaries between them have to line up with features of the vehicle. Furthermore, the blocks on the side of the van body all have the same length. Due to the scale of my model, I couldn’t recreate them using the straightforward studs-up building. So, I had to get creative. I ended up building most of the blocks sideways, to make them just a plate narrower.
The London metropolitan police switched to yellow and blue battenberg markings in 2012. Older vehicles still use a livery called a “jam sandwich” though. This, too is very distinctive: it’s a gold-colored stripe with orange and blue stripes above and below it. This was a lot easier to build. Frustratingly though, I did have to contend with variations in the gold color of the various elements, including multiples that came from the same set.
A high-visibility pattern of yellow and orange chevrons covers (part of) the rear of both vehicles. As I did with most of the lettering, using stickers for those would have given me a cleaner look. However, I do like the LEGO-like look I get by building them using bricks and plates. My vehicles are unmistakably LEGO models. Yet, almost anybody who knows what the real ones look like will recognise them.
I can’t imagine that Transit vans like mine will remain in service for much longer, but that is just the excuse I will need to build a newer vehicle in a couple of years’ time.
LEGO has produced a few brilliant sets representing London Architecture in its Creator Expert line, such as Big Ben and the Tower Bridge. Hyungmin Park has added to this, with renditions of Nelson’s Column and King’s Cross Station. Laid out smartly with the predesigned sets in the background and fan creation in the front, the spaces between are filled in with details of typical London scenes.
The Hogwarts Express popping out of the train station is an easy one to see, and in my mind is the first thing I think of when I hear “King’s Cross”.
My favourite Easter Eggs though, are the more subtle ones such as the Star Wars Royal Guard mixed in with the British Royal Guards, and the cat with the Mohawk, which has always reminded me of a feline British punk rocker.
The next LEGO Architecture set has been revealed as 21045 Trafalgar Square. The set features London’s National Gallery, Nelson’s column, several micro-lion statues and fountains, as well as a few double-decker buses. The set will likely be available starting in May, though piece count and price are still unknown at this point. (We will update this article as we find out more.)
LEGO revealed the set by publishing an event on Facebook, where lucky fans can get their hands on the set early and signed by LEGO designer, Rok Zgalin Kobe. The event will happen at the Leicester Square LEGO Store in London on April 27th.Trafalgar Square
Early this morning, Leicester Square witnessed the biggest gathering of Harry Potter fans since the final film premier was held there in 2011. Fans of LEGO and J. K. Rowling’s famous wizard were out in force, excitedly queuing outside the store, some camping out overnight for the highly anticipated 71043 Hogwarts Castle set, which is now available.
At over 6,000 pieces, 71043 Hogwarts Castle is the second-largest LEGO set released by the company to date. Packed full of amazing architectural detail and showcasing almost every important scene from the series, it certainly lives up to its billing. Earlier today we posted a full review of the Hogwarts Castle LEGO set that covers every nook and cranny of the impressive build.
At a glance, this view of London hardly looks like a LEGO model at all. Even though the scale is tiny, builder Rocco Buttliere has packed it with amazing details. Encompassing the famous landmarks on both sides of the Thames, the giant model features the London Eye, County Hall, Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. Rocco has long been known as the master of LEGO architectural models, from downtown Chicago to the humble Rosenwald apartments, and even a 12-foot long Golden Gate Bridge, and this new architectural masterpiece easily stands with the best of them.
London’s Portobello Road is home to the world’s largest antiques market. Weekends see visitors and bargain hunters descend upon the area in their droves to browse the collectables (and junk) on display. Ben Spector has created an impressive LEGO diorama of the neighbourhood…
The attention to detail is fantastic, I particularly liked the mural on the side of the Nautical Shop, and the Victorian-era painted wall advertisement in the background…
We’ve featured the marvelous structures of master LEGO architect Rocco Buttliere quite frequently here at The Brothers Brick, from downtown Chicago to his recent 12-foot Golden Gate Bridge. Rocco’s latest LEGO build captures the heart of the sprawling Westminster World Heritage Site in the City of London, centered (or centred, if you prefer) on Westminster Abbey, the Church of St Margaret, and the Palace of Westminster where the UK Parliament meets.
I have a personal tradition of watching a depressing movie on Christmas Eve; I find it has a nice effect of tempering the holiday festivities with some sobering reality.
The display not only includes street scenes, great architecture, and other above-ground details, but also extensive underground detail, such as sewers, crypts, and fossils.
I’ll enjoy a good vignette any day, and this one by Jonas O. (-Wat-) is an example of one that captures ample detail without trying to be extravagant.