Lego Certified Store to Open at DreamWorld on the Gold Coast

Australia’s first ‘Lego Certified Store’, is set to open in November 2016. It will be located at Dreamwlogo_dworld, on Queensland’s Gold Coast.  The shop will cover an area of 350 square meters, and as a Certified Store, is designed in partnership with the LEGO group. Construction is due to begin in July.

Owned, and operated by Ardent Leisure, Dreamworld’s parent company, the new store will feature exclusive products releases and events. Being located at Dream World, the LEGO Certified Store is looking to add to the attraction of the precinct, which is one of Australia’s top tourist destinations.  There will be access to the store from outside and within the park: so you shouldn’t need to pay to get in.  How much you pay before you leave is, of course, up to you!

LEGO Certified Stores are owned and operated by third parties, as opposed to LEGO brand stores seen throughout Europe and USA (which are owned and operated by LEGO).  The store layout is  fairly consistent around the world, and includes a ‘real’ Pick-a-Brick wall, a ‘Brand Ribbon’ display of assembled models, and the ‘Living Room’ – an interactive play area.

With tourist numbers in South East Queensland continuing to increase, the LEGO Certified Store will become a destination in itself for many LEGO fans, young and old, into the future.

This news follows on from the announcement of a LEGOland Discovery Centre opening  in Melbourne in mid 2017, at Chadstone shopping Centre.  It will be interesting to see how the retail experience to be offered there will differ to the one on the Gold Coast.  The shops operating in LEGOland parks around the world are NOT operated as LEGO Brand Stores, and exclusive sets are not generally available to be purchased there.  LEGOland Parks and Discovery Centres have been operated by Merlin since 2005, not the LEGO group.

Discussion on various forums regarding other LEGO Certified Stores around the world suggest that Pick-a-Brick walls, where you can fill a cup with a selection of pieces from wall mounted containers, are not a guaranteed feature.  PaB purchases are also more likely to be charged by weight rather than volume. The other significant difference with LEGO Brand Stores is the applicability of LEGO VIP points.  Apparently LEGO VIP points are not awarded at LEGO Certified Stores as they are in LEGO Brand Stores, nor can they be used to supplement your purchase.  Exclusive sets are sold in the LEGO Certified Stores, so this will be a great opportunity for travellers to pick these set up BUT fitting them into your luggage may not be the thing if you are looking to maintain that ‘Mint In Sealed Box’ experience. The Lego Certified Store is likely to offer polybags and monthly builds. It is unclear as to whether these will be the same offers seen at LEGO brand stores.

The rambling brick is excited by this  development, but is still going to visit Billund and other stores in Europe this year! Gold Coast will have to wait…

The full press release for today’s Announcement can be read here: Continue reading

Free and Exclusive: When too many things happen in the one week (Lego Creator App and Poe’s X-Wing Polybag)

Polybag Fever

So, last monday the word began to spread around the inter webs:Lego (TM) Starwars (TM) Poe’s X-Wing Fighter(TM), free but only if you buy this month’s K-Zone.

We hardly ever see these in the wild in Australia – more often in the confined ecosystems of Videogame pre-order bonuses or lego Shop@home bonuses

For those without tweenage children, K-Zone is a magazine aimed primarily at boys aged 6-10, containing equal parts toy advertisements, movie ads (some veiled as toy advertisements), video games (some based on toys, some with toys based on them) and comics (based on the subjects of TV series, movies, or the toys derived from said licencees).  It effectively retails for 6 dollars (cover price $5.99) and sits at the end of supermarket checkout isles, ready to trap unsuspecting mothers in a frenzy of uncontrollable pleading. I wish it was around at the time I was a boy.  My mother is glad that it wasn’t.

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Play On: Lego Elves- Elvendale

What do you mean, free?

IMG_9250So there you are, tidying up the box after putting together you new Lego Elves Dragon set, and there on the box is printed a happy little notice: Free App.  In my experience no App is Free.  They cost time.  Sometimes a lot of it.  It depends on the level of challenge, the replayability, the interface, the novelty, and the engagement in the underlying story.  This one seduced me on most of these aspects.

The game opens with Emily Jones, human interloper in the world of Elves, once again activating her portal and being transported back to Elvendale.  Here she encounters her friends from the previous series, and meets Ragana, the Dark Queen, who has imprisoned the Queen Dragon.  And here you set off on your quest with the Elves, to find the elven symbols that will allow them to charm each of the elemental dragons. Continue reading

Set Upgrade:Raid Zeppelin 70603

I’ve not previously been invested in Ninjago as a theme.  Since emerging from my Dark Ages though, I have hopped from City to Lord of the Rings, with a stop off a long the way via Harry Potter and Atlantis, in recent times settling for the relative psychedelia of Friends and Elves (This is not an endorsement of minidoll design, more just a quest for more colour), as well as participating in my other joy: Super Heroes.  My MOCs over the last few years are as likely to be Miniland Scale, Micro Scale or even a combination of the two.

So: as you can see, not a strong thematic structure to my builds or collection as there may be for other builders. It is, I admit, a bit of a hodge podge.  So, when someone said to me this year, “Look at that: Ninja Steampunk Pirate Airship,” how could I refuse? It was an offer too good to refuse.. Pirates, Ninja, Airship, and also  Kai’s little Ninja Glider looked extremely swooshable too.  Wait a minute.  What’s the deal with Kai (I’ve not followed the show at all)?  So thats Cyborg Ninja Steampunk Pirate Airship.  Mashup complete.

Or is it?

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Enter the Dragon: A set I never intended to build (70602)

I never intended to build this set. By the way, I am talking about Jay’s Elemental Dragon.  I bought it primarily to boost my supply of pearl gold pieces, which in turn was going to add some bling to the Raid Zeppelin (70603). The Zeppelin is predominantly reddish brown, black, dark tan with orange highlights. I wasn’t a fan of the use of the orange in that set, and wanted to use a more metallic option to make the airship look a little more ‘steam punk’.  I understand why orange was used over a more metallic colour: pearl gold is a colour used as trim in the Ninja sets, for their vehicles and dragons, as well as their swords.  The sky pirates skate along with a colour scheme that includes black, brown, dark tan/dark orange and so using orange rather than gold made sense.  It doesn’t mean I have to like it as an example of steampunk airshipness.

And the dragon in this set is covered with bling: the chains, blades, claws, fancy wing trim all in pearl gold. And they should just slot in nicely to the airship. So… Mission almost complete? Possibly if I hadn’t been distracted by the actual build here.

This set has 2 minifigs (Ninja Jay, and Skypirate Cyren)- and a robot monkey ‘Monkey IMG_8222Wretch’- and a total of 350 pieces.  Continue reading

Get the Picture 2: Getting rid of the Living Room Table

Do you ever look at your photos of lego models, or minifigs and think “Why doesn’t that look as good as other photos you have seen on photosharing websites or lego blogs?”

Why haven’t I been blogged by an important Lego image sharing site?
It took me a while to realise the problem was a relatively busy, untidy environment around my model, and big shadows.  Even when I tried to take a picture on a table next to the wall, it still looked a bit dubious. Shadows were a problem.  I had two options: invest in a swish light box, or improvise.  I chose to improvise (on this occasion!) Continue reading

It’s new to me:Round Tile 1 x 1 with Pin

So last year I missed something.  I discovered it last weekend when I opened up the Gotham City Cycle Chase 76053.  Its the Round Tile 1 x 1 with Pin (BL 20482, Lego Element numbers  6112751 / 6126113), and I think it’s awesome.

In this set, its is used as jets for Deadshot’s jetpack.  This piece is quite versatile. The bottom of the piece accepts a stud.  The pin on top is a standard 3mm lego pin: it fits in a minifig’s hand.  And it has a nifty tiny hole in it that accepts friends hair accessories ( as demonstrated in Emma’s Tourist Kiosk (41098). It also accepts fire and feathers.

Harley demonstrates the way that this piece can bind to other bricks.  Fire, feathers and hair accessories also fit into the hole at the end of the shaft.  On the right, we see its use in Gotham City Cycle Chase, in Dead Shot’s Jet Pack.

The really nifty application for this piece is as a way to change the directions of studs – instead of placing studs in both directions, we set up the tubes facing outwards: By placing the pin into the hollow stud in the top of an offset plate, over the space of  3 plates, as demonstrated below. Continue reading

Get the Picture I: Exposure

  So, I  enjoy taking photo’s of many things. Lego is one of these things. Taking pictures at a fan expo such as Brickvention in Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Buildings poses some special challenges.  The light is variable during the day, and many areas of the buildings receive little direct light during the day. 

This image of the author’s MOC was captured with patience and perseverance at Brickvention 2014
This is the first in an occasional series about how I go about taking photos of Lego.  Today I will concentrate on the basic determinants of exposure, and the effect that they may have on the final image. I do not claim to be a professional. I don’t claim to have turned up to photography class. But it has occupied my time over recent years, and I believe I have something to offer.

It is important to have some thing to believe in!

The most frequently used cameras in the world, as far as online sharing is concerned, are the cameras in mobile phones.  The quality of image has taken off in recent years.  In real life, it is hard to easily adjust a lot of what you may see with your phone.  How you can adjust your exposure, without going into complicated camera control apps.  So, while the theory is sounds, not a lot can be influenced with phone-ography. So, I will concentrate on things we can influence with our cameras.  While I will talk in terms of using an SLR, most modern ‘point and shoot’ camera will have a way of influencing these settings. Continue reading