Classic: Opening the door to a Friendly City. [Review 10703]

Last week we looked at the 2×4 brick, and talked about the fact that it’s a bit harder to come by in new sets than it was back in the ‘olden days’.  I was a little surprised to discover it had made its natural home in the world of Minecraft, rather than in the Classic theme.

Classic become the primary non specific  ‘creative play’ LEGO® theme in 2014, following on from Bricks and More, Make and Create and in turn, early Creator sets. One of the things that has distinguished Classic from the earlier themes is the variety of colours in the overall LEGO® palette. Over 30 colours may appear in some of these sets (the creative building boxes have around 500-600 pieces each, and recently have featured latest 35 colours over the last few years.

Many Doors and Windows

I recently picked up a copy of the 2017 Creative Building Box 10703, with the box proclaiming ‘many doors and windows…’ Indeed, at least 29 windows, and 5 doors.(This is the volume otherwise occupied by 156 and 120 1×1 bricks respectively.)  Last year’s set was a little light on for these features, so I thought an opportunity to increase my supply might be a good thing. I thought this might allow me to rapidly deploy some buildings into my Town landscape.

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Many Doors and Windows. The window panes come in trans clear, trans yellow, trans light blue and sold white.

With 503 pieces, 37 different colours and a RRP of £19.99, €24.00, $AUD39.99 and yet to hit the US market at this stage – but 10702 from 2016 cost $USD29.99; this is certainly a colourful box, with all of the suggested models being buildings.  This is a set devoid of wheels or eye-tiles, both of which we had a variety of in last year’s equivalent set.  The majority of parts in this set are basic bricks, plates , sloped bricks and windows.  There are also a variety of doors – including two angled doors; angled bricks, greebly parts, tiles, fences and arches.   Continue reading

Whatever happened to the 2 x 4 Brick? Minecraft: The Ice Spikes 21131

The humble 2×4 brick.

If any element over the years has been used to represent the concept of the LEGO® system of play, this is it.IMG_5070

One of the original elements in the LEGO brick parts palette, it is the first piece that springs to mind when many of us think of LEGO® Bricks.  The favourite element of many large scale builders, if you have enough of them, you can build almost anything!  It is one of those pieces that brings memories flooding back to those of us raised on basic sets back in the early to mid 1970’s.  Before the advent of the minifigure, this brick was the cornerstone of LEGO construction, being a significant component of the Basic/ Universal Construction Sets that were commonly played with in this era. IMG_5066While allowing an incredibly versatile method of construction, there is no doubt that that they contributed significantly to the chunky aesthetic that is associated with LEGO® design and construction in my childhood. When your parents say “In my day, it was just bricks,” this is what they are talking about.  Continue reading

Massive Minecraft Mountain Cave 21137 Announced…

There I was wondering where I was going to Ramble Next in my LEGO® Journey. I had a copy of the LEGO Minecraft set 31131 ‘The Ice Spikes’ in one hand, and the 31065 Creator Park Street Town house sitting on my desk, and the 10703 Classic Creative Builder Box waiting to be unboxed.

Why? You may well ask.  As regular readers may know, I frequently wax nostalgic, recalling the halcyon days of LEGO® sets in the mid 1970’s: The Basic Sets ushered in an era of blocky building styles, with a limited colour palette.8-3  Basic Set #8 in particular springs to mind.  When looking through the old box art, I found this one reminded me in part of something I had seen a little more recently.  With 700 pieces in 7 colors, (including green and transparent clear), this was how many growing up at the time remember what building with LEGO bricks was like.  A few sloped bricks, but not many.  Overall,  it reminiscent of 3D 8-bit graphics, but from an era before 8 bit graphics were even considered.  Then mini figures came along, and nothing was quite the same again.

The spirit of these Basic Sets lives on in many themes: Creator would be where you go to build a house or other model based on everyday life, but those sets are particularly model driven.  Classic sets such as the Creative Building Box provide the elements for free building, but the colour palette is a little broader, with over 35 different colours appearing in the set.

And then there is Minecraft.  Originally an open world, sandbox sale game on multiple gaming and computer platforms, Minecraft was originally ported to LEGO® set form as an Cuusoo set in 2012 in microscale.  Now, twenty two sets and 5 years later, this is a theme in its own right. Capturing a variety of environments, with a relatively limited color palette, and a very blocky construction style, I could almost feel myself flashing back to childhood merely by looking at these sets.  And they actively encourage rearranging the set in different forms, but with less strict instructions than rearranging creator sets.

So there I was… getting ready to look at the a comparison between 3 sets with approximately 500 pieces each…and this arrives in my inbox:

THE PRESS RELEASE: 21137 The Mountain Cave

Ages 12+.  2,863 pieces.
US $249.99 – CA $299.99 – DE 249.99€ – UK £259.99 – DK 2099.00 DKK
*Euro pricing varies by country.  Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.

Experience the Mountain Cave!

21137_Prod

Build and experience the Mountain Cave, featuring an amazing minecart track with an integrated redstone‑powered minecart elevator, and an array of other features and functions, including TNT blasting, rotating spider‑spawner, charged Creeper™ explosion and a lava burst. Position the light brick to illuminate the rotating spider-spawner, wall of redstone, jack o’lantern, first-night shelter, furnace, lava or the torch above the cave entrance. Enjoy hands‑on Minecraft™ adventures featuring your favorite characters and objects with this easy-to-reconfigure, modular LEGO® Minecraft set designed for young fans of the highly successful sandbox video game. Includes Steve and Alex minifigures, plus 13 mobs including a charged Creeper™.
● Includes 2 minifigures: Steve and Alex, plus a cave spider, wolf, baby wolf, slime, 2 small slimes, 2 bats, zombie, enderman, skeleton, sheep and a charged Creeper™.


● Features a minecart track with an integrated redstone-powered minecart elevator; 2 minecarts; first-night shelter with bed, crafting table and torch; a mountaintop shelter with bed, torch and furnace; plus a light brick, trees, waterfall, lava and extra torches.


● Open up the model to access the detailed interior and remodel with easy-to-connect modular sections.
● Remove the diamond ore elements and activate the lava burst function.
● Activate the revolving cave-spider spawner.


● Trigger the charged Creeper™ explosion function.
● Jump aboard the minecart and race around the track, and travel to the mountaintop aboard the redstone powered minecart elevator.
● Blast through the mountain with the TNT to extend the rail track.
● Position the light brick to illuminate the rotating spider-spawner, wall of redstone, jack o’lantern, first-night-shelter, furnace, lava or the torch above the cave entrance.
● Enjoy easy access to the detailed interior.
● Put on your golden armor, grab your diamond sword and shield, and prepare for battle!
● Weapons include a sword and a bow.
● Accessory elements include a Minecraft™ clock, spider eyes, signs, map, golden armor, shield, TNT and 8 ore style elements, including diamond, lapis lazuli, emerald, redstone, golden, iron and 2 coal ores.
● Easy-to-reconfigure, modular design—choose from 3 different model configurations.
● Set your imagination free—rebuild the set for more LEGO® Minecraft™ creations!
● Measures over 12” (31cm) high, 20” (53cm) wide and 11” (29cm) deep.

Available for sale directly through LEGO® beginningJuly 1, 2017 via shop.LEGO.com, LEGO® Stores.  VIP Access will be available from 15 June.

So, this brings back so many ideas of how 6 year old me would have built with LEGO bricks, if I had the bricks.  A lot of LEGO as a kid is never nearly as much as ‘quite a bit of a LEGO collection’ as an adult.

I’ll get back to comparing those sets i mentioned soon. But what do you think of the Mountain Cave?  It’s huge! I wonder what I will cost when it arrives in Australia? Last year’s Village 21128 with 1600 pieces retails for $AUD350.  With 2800 pieces, it may be edging closer to $500 or more.[thanks to Dean: Australian RRP will be $AUD399.99]  Do you like the look of it? Or do you think its a few too many light blueish grey bricks out of 2800 odd elements?

Write your thoughts in the comments below.

Play Well

Finally Sorted: 40th Anniversary 8860 Redux: The Classic Technic Car Chassis Renewed and Reviewed

Sorted

At last it has happened: I have pulled apart my Microlight Helicopter 42057 , torn down the Telehandler 42061, and dismantled the BMW Motorrad Concept Hoverbike, the B-model of 42063 .  I then sorted their component parts, in to compartmentalised boxes.

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Not all of these elements are from the sets purchased this year: they have arrived from a variety of sources. But they are now sorted!

With Extreme Prejudice.  Lots of compartmentalised containers: connectors in one; beams in another; gears and axels and panels. And random, hard to define, parts all in one flat box. I could have probably worked with several more compartments, or indeed boxes, but the process seems to have worked.

So. Many. Elements. Between these sets, we end up with around 1060 pieces, give or take.  Of these, approximately 570 are used in this model. This is the first time I found myself with so many technic pieces in one place.  This was not helped by incorporating the other technic elements which had made their way into the house over the last few years. I was amazed at how few of these pieces were ‘gears’: I’m sure the the gears what I remembered being the big thing that distinguished those early technical sets from LEGOLand and universal building kits.

This is the first time that I have built from instructions for a set I don’t own, with parts so immaculately sorted. It was a strange feeling. Knowing that all the parts were there, having built the original models, and pulling them apart directly into the sorting box was  anathema to my normal building style.

Continue reading

Going Independent

You’d be forgiven, if you had your ear to the ground in Melbourne lately, for thinking IMG_5799 (1)that the only thing happening in the world of LEGO® Retail was the opening of the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the Chadstone shopping centre.

Get out of the malls

Do not think, however, if you don’t like shopping centres, or malls, or giant retailers that  you don’t have the option of finding some places around town where you can get your fix of LEGO® retail opportunity.  There are a number of independent stores, away from the larger centres, which offer a large range of current, and retired LEGO® sets, as well as providing the option of off brand, third party add ons for your LEGO creations.

Bring Bricks to Bayswater

One such store is Toybricks. The original store opened in the inner northern suburb of Fairfield, about five years ago.  A second shop has just been opened in the outer eastern suburb of Baywater.  With around 200 square meters of retail space, the shelves are filled with the majority of the current LEGO sets, as well as a few officially retired items. The new space has plenty of new stock, mini figures available for individual purchase as well as an area for MOCs to be displayed. There is a good range of Creator Expert sets in stock.

In addition to official LEGO products, Toybricks also stock Lifelites lighting systems, as well as the ME rails – both metal and plastic.  A selection of clothing and books are also available.  As well as LEGO, there is a small section of other modelling toys, as well as 3D jigsaw puzzles and robotics kits. Dean also has play tables, with (non-LEGO branded) baseplates on.  These plates certainly have impressive clutch power, holding oa small mock in place as the table top was lifted up and tipped on its side. To help you sort you parts, they also stock a variety of Australian made Fisher Storage Boxes.

Another service offered is a shopfront for the Ozbricks Bricklink store – preorders can be delivered to the shop for pickup, and a limited selection of parts can be purchased on site.

The shop has it’s grand opening this weekend (12th May), with some opening weekend specials including 25% off the RRP for the Creator Expert Big Ben 10253; 40% off selected sStar Wars sets, and Buy 2 get one free with 7499 Straight and Flexible Tracks.

This new store at 697 Mountain Highway Bayswater is close to the Bayswater railway station, and there is plenty of parking nearby.

Not only but also…

As well as their other store at 70 Station street Fairfield, there are a number of other independent retailers specialising in LEGO and related products around Melbourne including:

I’m Rick James Bricks at 49 John St, Pakenham.  As well as LEGO Sets, and a wall of bricks to select from and a build a minifigure station. Rick also sell’s Citizen Brick printed figures and tiles, as well as Brick Arms accessories and Brickmania military figures and kits.

Build and Play Australia can be found at 1387 Toorak Road, Camberwell. In addition to their range of LEGO sets and minifigures, they carry a range of Graphic Novels and Funko Pop Vinyl figures.

Shopforme have a retail location at 23 Dawson St, Coburg North, and in addition to LEGO sets stock a wide range of collectibles, and a strong online presence.

Bricks To The World, based in Gippsland offers online only service, with a wide range of current and retired sets, and prompt delivery.

I’m sure there must be some other independent resellers around Melbourne, and indeed Victoria: these are the ones I know, in the parts of town I tend to travel through.  Who’s your favourite? Who have I missed?

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement.  People often ask where can they buy LEGO locally, and it’s often a bit easier to have a post to point them to rather than pull out the back of an envelope…the opening of a new store made it feel timely.

I would also like to acknowledge that there are  many great independent and franchised general  toy shops out there, for whom LEGO is not the primary business. They can also be a great source of LEGO sets, without the seasonal shortfall that you often see with the major retailers.

 

Play well.

 

Is this your TYPE of contest?

LEGO DNAThis year, we have seen an influx of new tile designs, especially curves and angles. Out friends over at New Elementary are running a contest to design the phrase “LEGO DNA” with a font made of tiles, including at least one of the new elements.  Up for grabs is a collection of the new tiles – 250 of them.  Digital entries are encouraged. Continue reading

K2SO Rides to Adventure on May the Fourth: BMW R 1200 Adventure (42063)

I never understood the joy of Technic Motorcycles. And yet here I am, staring at the box of one. I would never have bought this set were I not aiming to put together the  Reimagined Technic Car Chassis 8860 .  But people seem to be interested in it.  Every time I attend my local LUG, somebody else is putting it together.  And they seem to be enjoying it. And they aren’t all the people I expect to see putting Technic sets together! So what is the appeal?

But surely it’s just two wheels, a fuel tank, engine, handlebars, and a bit of trim?  How much variation can you get out of it? The first Technical Motorcycle was set 857 Motorbike with Sidecar, released in 1979.  This vehicle featured the same wheels ultimately used in 8860 (albeit only 3 of them).  The single cylinder piston engine attached to the rear wheel via a chain drive; the ride was a little rough due to lack of suspension, and the front forks were 6 studs wide, and built from a multitude of bricks and plates. The seat was wide and comfortable and the fuel tank extremely chunky. A side car made a third wheel necessary!857-1.jpg

How on earth could any of that be different? I mean that first set had a massive 409 pieces, with lots of red, black, grey and blue. However, here we have a very different vehicle: with only 197 pieces more than the first one! It has a recommended retail price of $AUD89.99 (just under 15¢/piece).  It has been around during recent 20% sales in Australia shops.

And so I set about putting it together.

Continue reading