Reboots, Reissues and Rampant Speculation

The recent unveiling of a new LEGO Death Star has led to much discussion about  sets being reissued, and the effect that such reissued may have have on speculative resale values.  Reissues of LEGO sets are not new, and have been occurring for years.

Today, I am going to look at some of the recent reissues, and address some of the controversy that has arisen.  This article does not constitute investment advice, and I am not qualified to offer you any.  Talk of future sets should be considered to be a figment of my wild imagination, and nothing more.  If any of it comes to pass, it’s through good luck rather than inside information.

Some times sets get re-released because of an update in pieces, colour palette or building techniques.  Sometimes it’s because of a reinvigoration of theme. Sometimes, however, the whole theme’s source material gets rebooted, leaving the  sets ripe for a reissue. So why is it $AU30 more expensive for an equivalent set, on sale in parallel with the original sets.

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Dragonshead revisited, revisited.

Regular readers of this blog will be getting a little tired of its self referential nature.  Sorry about that. New readers may find this to be a useful place to start (or not…)

The Story so Far:

I Like the Elves Dragons set, especially the  Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave Set, but I am not a fan of the dedicated Dragon’s head mould, except for the obvious reason: great colors, printing, fits lot of detail into a small space. I looked at the Red Creatures Creator set, which was never really found in Australian Shops, as it gave me some ideas on how to approach a Dragon Head.  In order to get a good supply of FYOBLO curves, bows and small arches, I picked up a copy of the McClaren P1 Speed Champions set.  I found my self working through 5 drafts of dragons head, before being properly satisfied.  Except that left me with some Light Stone Grey on view in the dragon’s snout.  So I go a copy of Super Soarers (31042) because it had some FYOBLO brackets in it.

Now read on.

So I got myself some Flame Yellowish Orange/Bright Light Orange (FYO/BLO) brackets.  They are inverted compared to the ones that I got in the McLaren set. So I needed to rebuild the dragon’s snout a little in order to accommodate the changed directions of brackets: this moved the cheeks back, and revealed a coloured plate holding on the 2x2x2/3 bow that makes up the forehead: so I replaced it with some small plates.

I also substituted two 1×1 tiles on the cheeks with 2x1x2/3 baby bows, just in from of the eyes, enhancing the curved structure of the head.

Head clueHere is the main hidden structure of the snout of the dragon, just in case you feel possessed by a desire to try recreating the effect. Other color palettes may allow different solutions, and I think that would be fantastic. Please share them here or on the Rambling Brick Facebook page.

The Final Result:

I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

 

Play Well

What I learned from the Super Soarer (31042)

Regular readers of this blog will know why I bought this set.  Suffice to say I bought it for a Reason. It shall ultimately be used for that Reason. But I will not discuss the Reason here.

This set is part of the 2016 Creator range, released in December 2015/ January 2016/February 2016, depending on where in the world you are standing.  One of the two ‘second lowest price point’ sets in the Creator 2016 range, this set advertises three builds in one.  Now we should know this means ‘three sets of builds with instructions, but what you do with it outside of that is your own business so really the opporutnities are endless.’  On this occasion, the builds are all aeroplanes.

The set comes in a small box, and is modestly priced ($AU15.99, $US9.99).  The box features all three models on the front of the box, with the hero ‘swing wing’ leading the way, and the others in smaller callouts on the right hand side of the box.  The set is rich in Flame Yellowish Orange, White and Bright Blue, which is reflected in the colouring of the box.  There are a number of interesting elements in light blueish grey, as well as some small transparent pieces, in a variety of colors.  The set allegedly has one hundred pieces: 10c/piece in the US, but a less than flattering $AU0.15 over here.  There are a number of interesting (please note – my idea of ‘interesting’may differ from yours) pieces in this set including FYO/BLO brackets and tail fins, which are exclusive at this time to this set.  The other particularly uncommon piece is the blue 2x2x2/3 bow.  Also present are 2 1×2 modified plate with 2 shafts: only released last year, but now appearing in 22 sets.  There are many different wedge plates present in this set, which allows the variable wing configurations seen in the designated builds.

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One

One is a single wing, dual engine model.  I liked the use of the brackets and 1×2 cheese slopes to form the engines. The piece count was low, using around half the pieces in the set. As a plane it was fun to swoosh, but not as much fun as the other two builds.

Two

The second build features a canard (fore-wing) with forward sweeping rear wings.  It may draw inspiration from planes such as the Sukhoi Su-47.

Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut (S-37) in 2001
The Experimental Su-47

With wings that would tilt downwards, along with rotating the tail fins outwards. It looks like a plane with only one speed in mind: jolly quick! This model used up around three quarters of the pieces in the set. The use of clips and bars for the tail plane attachment was interesting, and could be quite useful in the future to adapt for other purposes.

Three

The hero model featured on the box is a swing wing jet, with dual tail fins, somewhat reminiscent of a Grumman Tomcat F-14 or Mig-29. However, as LEGO does not make realistic models of actual military vehicles, this set must merely just draw inspiration from them.

 

F-14B VF-103 in flight during Gulf War 1991
Grumman Tomcat F14-B

 

MiG-29 38
Mig 29
This model is put together in a modular fashion: mid section, nose/cabin, wings, tail section. The wings cryptically attached to the discs of 2×2 turntables and have a single clip on the trailing middle  corner of the wing.  This is attached to a 2×1 plate with 2 bars. In turn, this attaches to the tail assembly, with a satisfying click, (or clic as described in the instruction book). Pulling the tail section out swings both of the wings out, and pushing the tail in sweeps the wings back. A great play feature, with moving parts and NO TECHNIC ELEMENTS!

play feature.pngThis build shows that clips and bars are designed to have a relatively kinetic relationship: the connections stand up to repeated stress and movement and for me, was almost worth the price of admission on its own. There are some small panels that act to limit drift of the plates as they slide back and forth.
hero.png

What did I think?

So… How does it shape up? This set has a couple of exclusive pieces, as discussed earlier. One, the tail fin, is the closest alternative to the regular orange featured in the first Lego cuusoo set( precursor to Lego Ideas) – the Shinkai 6500 submarine. So it could be a reasonable alternative for anyone not needing to spend $1000+ on the aftermarket for the original model, or around $au100+ on the tail fin alone, albeit in a slightly lighter colour.

I  appreciated the way that the hero model was built in modules, that were then secured onto the main fuselage.  This is quite a nifty approach to vehicular builds, which I think I will adopt in the future.  The model is extremely swooshable, and has a great play feature, with the swing wings linked to the tail plane, not to mention the particularly neat price point.

I was a little disappointed by the monoplane model, but I feel that’s just petty when it wasn’t in my top five reasons for buying this set. I’ll give it four out of five arbitrary praise units.

Are you more knowledgable on airplane designs than I ? Chances are you are. Which planes do you think served as inspiration for the builds here?

As for the Reason: that shall be revealed soon enough.

Play well

When is a car not a car? When its a Dragon parts pack. [McLaren P1 75909]

Flame Yellowish Orange(Lego Group) also known as Bright Light Orange (Bricklink) is the color of the month here at the Rambling Brick.  Recently, I looked at the Ultimate Axl is all his flame yellowish orange, gold printed glory.  This follows on from looking at the Elves Fire Dragon set back in May. Today, distracted by it’s brightly coloured box, full of glorious curves, I picked up another of the Speed Champions: the McLaren P1.  One of the 2015 Speed Champions sets, I was able to find it still on sale at my local Myer during a recent 20% off sale.

When I looked at the Ford GT, I was particularly annoyed by the number of stickers required in order to make the model look complete.  I have made a conscious decision not to use the stickers on the McLaren, because I have not bought it to use as a car.  This set appealed to me because it contains such a variety of flame yellowish orange pieces (OK this description is getting awkward.  Lets change over to FYO/BLO) , including cheese slopes, regular slopes, plates tiles and bows.  All that seems to be missing to me are a couple of Mixel eyes, and ball joint to allow the construction of a brick built head for my fire dragon.

I love the Elves Dragons.  They are all colourful, and have their own personalities, associated with their personal (dragonal?) elements. However, all of their heads are cast from the same mould. Approximately 5.5 studs wide, 6 studs long and 3 blocks and a plate high, there is no doubt that these 2 parts  – jaw and face – link to gather to form a dragon head. Otherwise, there are 2 studs in the top of the head, to attach crystals to, and attachments for 2 horns (2.8mm rod connectors).  So: Limited customisation.

So… the FYO/BLO parts pack… err racing car… caught my eye, and filled me with a desire to brick build a head for the fire dragon.  That’s the plan any way.  Will I succeed, or will I be distracted by a really nifty car build?  Let’s find out… Continue reading

Bulking up the Minifigs: Ultimate Axl 70336

I seem to have found myself picking up a few more NEXO Knight sets than intended.  This Blog began back in January looking at Ultimate Macy And then Ultimate Aaron became necessary to create a fully armoured Green Lantern Finally, I found the largest, and most recently released of the team, in the Wild.  Yes, Ultimate Axl is now out and about, with a RRP of $AU16 (rounded up for the sake of decimal currency, and brevity of keystrokes: this second point I have now negated).

IMG_5127

Axl caught my eye originally as part of the Fortrex set.  I like NEXO Knights, but I don’t love it.  As such, the only set I have picked up (outside of the Ultimate figures) is Jestro’s Evil Mobile (70316).  And that was because it only involved frequent flyer points, not actual cash.  I will put this together and see if there is anything interesting about it.  It seems to be one of the least frequently reviewed Nexo Knight Sets out there…and seems to be significantly reduced in a few places around town.  Cause meet effect? I’ll let you know some day.

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Dragonheads Revisited: 31032 – Red Creatures

Have I been dragon my feet?

I appear to have been discussing LEGO Dragons on this blog a little more than I do in real life.  I have no good explanation for this.  Of interest, dragons appear in LEGO sets a little more often than they appear in real life.  Coincidence? I think not.  Dragons are creatures inspired over the years by human imagination, and LEGO bricks are intended to inspire the human imagination.  Earlier this year, I looked at the Fire Dragon’s Lava cave: Part of the Elves Dragon’s Series this set contained some great scenery, but the brick built head was not entirely to my taste at the time.   Kai’s Elemental Dragon (70602) was an impressive dragon, and the head featured interesting use of arches.  However, the final effect was fairly large compared with the Elves Dragon’s heads.

IMG_5105Red Creatures (31032) was released at the start of 2015 (this means anytime between early December 2014 and February 2015, depending on where in the world you happen to be standing.) At the time of its release, it was overshadowed somewhat by the release of 31031 – the Rainforest Animals.  This colourful Creator Set featured a brick built parrot, with a controversial play feature. I didn’t see red creatures around the department stores in Australia, but it may have been on limited release around some of the independent toy sellers.  There always appear to be a couple of small Creator sets on shop.lego.com that don’t get general release on this side of the globe.  The current Park Animals (31044) and Future Flyers (31034)would both appear to be in this category [NOTE: this is a tip for anyone seeing them in an airport, or overseas, wondering what sets to buy for their LEGO fans back home in Australia.]

But I Digress…

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A Brief Moment of Indulgence.

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Sorry for the break between posts… life has got in the way.

The rambling brick opened its doors just over 6 months ago: 30th January 2016.  This is the fifty first post (because I thought posting this as the fiftieth would be a little too indulgent, and feel a bit self fulfilling.).

When I started to ramble, I said I was aiming to be a little different to other Lego blogs. I hope I am achieving this.

The most popular posts have been looking at the Doctor Who Lego Dimensions figure; reviewing the Mighty Micros mobile game, and taking builds off the grid. So… this gives me no good guidance on where to proceed from here.  My favourite posts to write have included my early creator posts about  dogs, cats and boats.  Probably because they take me to my favourite aspect of set construction: little discoveries about technique. All of these posts are more interesting than this one!

There have been over 6000 page views, with readers from over 60 different countries. The majority are from Australia. This does not surprise me. Most of the promotion this page receives is via Australian Lego Facebook Groups. However, around 14% are from the US, and 7% from the UK.  Canada, Germany and France are following.  Someone in Denmark has read this blog several times ( or several people have read it once).

Over this time  I appear to have accumulated over 200 followers between various media: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Tumblr.

Normal service shall resume shortly: I have a pile of sets awaiting construction, I have a trip to Billund coming up in September and I have a major project on the backburner.

Let’s see how it progresses from here.

Thanks for your support. It means a lot to me.

Play Well.