LEGO Education has been on a roll lately! It feels like just yesterday (nearly a year ago) we were covering a review of SPIKE Prime, their current flagship product. Now we’re checking out a kit that approaches STEAM learning from a different angle. While robotics are awesome, and programming is becoming a more and more common skill, not everyone can afford those tools. The new BricQ Motion line seeks to break barriers and bridge the gap for those who do not have access to those resources. It also hopes to foster more hands-on exploration of physical science. Today, we’ll take a look at the kit geared for the lower primary-school audience, 45401 BricQ Motion Essential. It will retail for US $99.95 | UK (via Education Distribtor)
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
In today’s modern society, it seems digital technology makes the world go round. Especially in recent history – when thousands of people are realizing that they can effectively work from home – computer skills are hugely advantageous. But not everyone is born with a computer in their hands. So many children don’t have tech-based resources in their learning environment. And STEAM isn’t all about digital learning. Enter LEGO Education’s new BricQ Motion line. Currently the offerings include 45401 BricQ Motion Essential (6+) and 45400 BricQ Motion Prime (10+). These kits promise to foster creative exploration of physical science through sports-themed guided lessons. They will both retail for US $99.95.
As a response to the new methods of remote work and learning that many of us are experiencing from the global pandemic, CDW-G, Intel Corporation, and the LEGO Foundation are collaborating with the nonprofit organization First Book to start the Creating Learning Connections Grant (CLC). The grant will fund new learning methods for several thousand students and families in Title I schools in the United States impacted by the pandemic. LEGO says the students will receive critical at-home and in–the-classroom learning resources, including internet connectivity, technology devices, and hands-on STEAM learning solutions.
Two builders who go by the names of Brick Rebel and Monstrophonic have put their noggins and considerable skill together to build this exquisite Steampunk city layout called LEGO Steam Company. What is Steampunk exactly? It’s a sci-fi sub-genre that takes into account if H.G. Wells and Jules Verne were right about their Victorian-Era visions of the future. Zeppelins, steamboats, copper robots and steam-powered trains abound in this genre where everyone from an airship mechanic to the mayor look fantastic in a top hat and copper goggles. The builders tell us this layout features an array of moving elements including a steam power plant with tall chimney, the Steam Rail (moving train/monorail), skyscraper with functioning elevator, the Department of Dirigibles (with working revolving door and searchlight on the roof), a ‘flying’ zeppelin with whirling rotors and cabin lighting. There is also a city park with a botanical garden, a restaurant with robotic waiters and various other buildings and figures in Victorian Steampunk style.
You can binge-watch your favorite shows on Nexflix, or any other streaming service, all while skipping the intro. Because…who needs that nonsense, right? Or you can tune in to Markus Ronge’s flickr page for his faux “Netbrix” series entitled “Full Steam,” which revolves around a pleasure cruise turned catastrophic. The Royal Brixton Fire Brigade has rescued most of the passengers, including the Queen herself, but two remain unaccounted for. Will they be rescued in time? Airships and adventure abounds in this imaginative LEGO-built drama!
No matter which panel you click on, you are treated with intricate settings and stunning photography. My favorite is this one featuring the Queen losing her otherwise dignified composure at the sight of Van de Maersk. The microscale model ship on the desk to the right is also a nice touch.
I am caught up all the way through Season 1, Episode 10. I suggest you do the same so that we can talk about it around the water cooler at work. We have featured other models from the series, including Maersk Pier and the ill-fated Skytanic.
From the mid-1800s through the early 20th Century, the Industrial Age reached farms in the form of steam traction engines. While they were heavy and slow, they were preferred for their serious hauling capabilities. There is something captivating about these massive mechanical marvels, and that’s probably why Nikolaus Löwe built a fleet of three steam traction engines. Each one looks distinct enough to stand on its own. My favorite model is this traction engine, which is hauling a hay wagon. The vehicle’s color scheme is eye-pleasing, rendered in dark red, black, and gold. Meanwhile, the black chain links look great wrapped around the wheels.
I’m a sucker for history and trains, and Rob Winner delivers on both counts with this slice of the Illinois Midland Railway in LEGO-form. According to the builder, the real line was only 1.9 miles long. This was in large part because of a crooked businessman making big promises and running off with the community of Newark’s money. Regardless, the little town made use of the railway to connect with nearby Millington. Rob’s model is meant to represent the railway during the 1940s, back when World War I veteran William Thorsen was running the show. Thorsen is depicted with the vehicles he operated, including a Vulcan 0-4-0T steam engine and Ford Model T railway inspection car.
The engine shed plays its part well, looking weathered and forgotten. Rob pulled this off by adding vines and slightly tilting brown plates outward to simulate loosened wooden boards. It’s a stark contrast to Thorsen standing among railway equipment that looks well taken care of. Then again, he is their devoted caretaker! This juxtaposition is inspiring, symbolizing the fight to persevere against all odds.
Back in the early days of motor transportation, the internal combustion engine was far from the only option. For one, electric cars were roaming city streets a century before Tesla made it “cool.” There were also plenty of steam-powered options from the likes of Stanley, White, and the aptly named Locomobile. Inspired by this era, Krzysztof Pusz built a pair of princely-looking LEGO steam cars. My personal favorite is this dark green coal-hauling machine. Clear 1×2 plates look surprisingly nice as smoke, and the wood-grain tiles are used to great effect in forming the truck’s tilted bed. Another nice touch is the absence of a steering wheel in favor of a tiller mechanism. A lot of early cars featured tillers, which were levers used for steering.
A second variation on the steam theme is Krzysztof’s appropriately named U.BER. If you were having an Edwardian night on the town and had a bit too much to drink, you’d better call an U.BER! The use of a bladed claw minifigure element for hood louvers is particularly noteworthy and makes for a “steamtastic” job well done.
Steam traction engines first appeared on farms in the 1850s, and they were massive vehicles used for everything from hauling implements to powering belt-driven equipment. Use of these vehicles declined with the rise of the internal combustion engine, but their legacy lives on in the form of modern farm tractors. Thanks to builders like Bricked1980, their legacy also lives on in LEGO form! Bricked1980 does a really good job of capturing the look and feel of the vehicle, along with providing a rendered background that feels like an agricultural field. The color scheme is pleasing to the eye, consisting of a black boiler, green body and brass accents. Bright red wheels add a splash excitement. It’s worth noting that Bricked1980’s model is a digital render and, as such, it features some parts in non-production colors. However, it presents a sharp looking image with an equally great looking model.
Fancy a train trip to New Jersey? Make sure you have your ticket booked as the iconic Blue Comet by Cale Leiphart is arriving! Its thoroughly designed body measures more than 40 studs in length and features a ton of the tiniest elements: valves, sand and steam domes, levers and regulators — all in blue, which makes this build a remarkable assembly of LEGO parts in regular blue color.
And it wouldn’t be a proper locomotive without a full set of carriages. As usual, Flick album has all the details of this impressive train.
I’ve got a little time this evening so figured I might as well post some old things from my bloglist.
First up is Caleb Randolph’s Swedish Class B. As though packing in the details wasn’t enough, Caleb has gone where others fear tread and added sound. As for the model itself: I’m particularly impressed by the running gear (the bars that move hypnotically on the wheels) as it’s nice and thin.
Secondly there is Cale Leiphart’s “K4s”. This pair of beauties are SNOTtastic in their details, in particular using panels to obtain a nice thin board next to the boiler (the big round bit).
And last but not least is Peter Norman’s (swoofty) Hiawatha Beaver tail wagon. In case you’ve never noticed I do like me some streamline moderne design.