Play On: The LEGO Batman Movie App.

Are you Game?

There I was, browsing through my LEGO Life newsfeed, and the announcement leapt out at me: The LEGO® Batman™ Movie App, now available for download.  So I visited my App Store of choice and tracked it down.  It had the right price: this App is free, with no claim of in-app purchases. But what would the cost be?

The opening splash screen give you some options for where to start. You can choose to watch videos, read about the Lego sets, play the game,customize your vehicle or purchase upgrades in return for studs that you collect around the game..

Let us start with the game…

The game starts of interestingly enough: Select your character: Batman or BatGirl with the promise of many others to unlock as you gain the universal unit of LEGO®game currency: the stud.  And run.  Just run. Dodge, jump over, or slide under obstacles. Occasionally, you may gain the use of a vehicle – initially the standard Batmobile from the movie, but able to be customised – and crash through barricades.

Start with Batman and Batgirl unlocked, and unlock other suits in return for studs.

Swipe left and right to dodge gates. Continue reading

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Rebrick: Build to the Future, Travel to Germany.[News/Contest]

After the unveiling of the BMW Motorrad ‘Hover Bike’ concept model  at LEGO World last month, LEGO Rebrick are running a competition for Technic Motorcycle fans: Build to the Future.  Using primarily Technic Elements, build the BMW motorcycle of the future – 50 – 100 years from now.  Submit your entry on Rebrick by May 5th.

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There will be one grand prize and nine runners up.  The grand prize winner who will receive:
Continue reading

Going Rogue: Distraction with Constraction (75120: K2SO)

IMG_0140As you may have picked up over the hundred or so blog posts, I am more of a system kind of a guy:  Bricks, studs, 3.18mm bar and clip, mini figures, creator, friends, elves, superheroes, video games are my normal thing.

I have never really been invested in the constraction (constructible action figures) figures: Bionicle passed me by, Super Heroes happened in the background, Hero Factory came and went, and then Bionicle came and went again. And in the meantime, Star Wars characters started to get a go at it too.

I never bought into the mythology of Bionicles and Hero Factory.  I have admired some remarkable creations put together with these elements, but I have never actually picked up a set until now.  My curiosity was piqued a few weeks ago when I put together the Creator Mighty Dinosaurs  and first encountered the ‘ball cup with rubber, high friction.’

Continue reading

A better, best Batman head…

Last year, I looked at the styles of Batman head, hidden under the cowl. At the time, the majority of figures relied on the headband to provide the ‘bat eyes’. Last year’s Mighty Micro Batman, however, was sporting some nifty shades with his black balaclava!

Quick revision of previous styles of Batman head pieces

This year’s Batman figures have focused on the LEGO® Batman Movie: variations on the second figure on the left above.

While they have had their own range of expression, they are just white lines on the black head band kind of minifig head: not even really of the type for a tennis headband.

I picked up a copy of DC Superheroes Mighty Micros: Batman vs Killer Moth 76069, to see how things had changed for the caped crusader since last year.  He is now in a small helicopter, and light stone grey.

Last year we chuckled at the DC Mighty Micro Batman’s head. This year we have seen a variation in dark blue. Continue reading

[Press Release] 75144: Star Wars UCS Snowspeeder to be released on May the Fourth…

Slightly earlier (April 29/4 )for VIPs.  Its not the UCS some were looking for, but it’s coming soon.  This morning (Australian Time), the LEGO Group has announced the forthcoming release of the 75144: Snowspeeder on May the Fourth 2017.  Early Access will be available for VIP Customers.

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While this has been rumoured for a while, there had been recent optimistic speculation regarding the  possible re-release of 10179: UCS Millennium Falcon (or something quite like similar).  This year is the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars’ premiere.   In October, we will celebrate 10 years since  10179: Millennium Falcon and 10143: Death Star 2 were both released.  These sets were released at a similar time to 10182 Cafe Corner, and from then on it was apparent that LEGO® Sets designed primarily for adults were going to be part of the regular offerings in the annual calendar. There will also be a new Star Wars movie released towards the end of the year…. perhaps we can only hope… (Please note… at this point, this previous statement remains one of rampant speculation). Continue reading

Lets Cut to the Chase: Rapid Review:70904 Catwoman Cycle Chase

IMG_0199The final set that I intend to purchase from wave one of The LEGO Batman Movie LEGO Sets, this was a simple build, but ever so elegant. Containing 139 pieces and with a RRP of $AUD34.99, this set comes with three mini figures, a vehicle and a small jewellery shop. Continue reading

Bring your Friends to the City for Pizza, and Vice Versa

Last time, we spoke about some of this year’s Pizza related sets. One of the things I found lacking in the Heartlake City Pizzeria was a Pizza maker, similar to the one to be found in 60150: Pizza Van. It left me wondering: can I just swap my figures over?

Crossing the Streams

At a public display earlier in the year, I had a chance to talk to lots of people.  One of the ongoing topics seemed to be along the nature of LEGO® City: A lovely little place to get robbed, burnt down, go power boating, volcano exploring or monster trucking, but not so great if you just wanted to go to the mall, bakery, supermarket, hospital, recreation centre or school.  By the end of the year, Heartlake City will have had all  of these things and more.

Now, many people were a little disheartened by the Friends’ mini-dolls when they were first released: issues with body shape, unrealistic proportions, legs unable to move independently and wrists unable to rotate.  However they have now spread across a wide variety of themes… not just ‘City’, they can also be found in Elves, DC Super Hero Girls, and Disney (princess?) sets. Mini-dolls can now be found spread across a broad range of thematic material.

So, do I need to work any magic to make this set (or any other Friend’s set) work at Minifigure scale? Can I just give the mini-dolls to the children next door, and put my Minifigure in? I took my figures and situations from the 41311 Heartlake Pizzeria, and the 60150 Pizza Van to find out.

New Dimensions

Now Minifigures and mini-dolls are proportioned a little differently to each other. But what are the real differences, and how does this work out in real life?

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Minidolls tend to be taller than Minifigures.
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Mini-doll legs are approximately ‘two plates’ taller than those of a Minifigure. Also, there is no room between the back of a mini-doll’s foot and the stud behind it, compared with a Minifigure, who can stand directly in from of a plate of brick.
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Despite being shorter overall, Minifigures have a proportionally taller torso than the mini-dolls.

 

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The wrists of a mini-doll are fixed: not all handlebars are for them!

 

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Don’t forget: Minifigures and mini-dolls have interchangeable hair and headgear, even if you cannot exchange their heads.
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Mini-doll necks are the size of a 3.18mm bar.  The heads are asymmetrical from front to back, and so they are extremely unlikely to have double sided printing.

So, lets look at these two sets, and think about the alterations that may need to be made to cross them both over.

Fitting your Minifigures in Heartlake City:

In areas where the figures are standing, there is little need to make adjustments to the original model to swap  mini-dolls for Minifigures.

Most of the pizzeria works quite well with Minifigures.  The kitchen benches are around the height you would normally use with Minifigures. Even the pizza oven is at the necessary height as is the dessert bar and the cash register.  IMG_0054In fact there are only one or two things that need to be adjusted to make it feel like a city scale set:

The seating: Often seating for Minifigures  has studs to fix the figure’s legs to.  Perhaps use plates rather than tiles on the stools, or use chairs, as are used in many LEGO City sets. However the tiles provided are satisfactory, even if your Minifigures slide on them a bit.

Most of the problems I encountered were in the various vehicles, where the legs are of significantly different length. In the delivery van accompanying the pizzeria, I replaced element 6093479 (Foot, Plate) with a steering wheel, and replaced the 1×2 tile with 2 green flower elements- providing studs (because they were spare) for the Minifigure’s legs to bind to.

Fitting Minidolls into City Sets:

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© The LEGO Group 2016

There is already a precedent for the mini-dolls working in a food cart: last year’s Amusement Park Hot Dog Van 41129. As you can see in this image from shop.lego.com, Stephanie’s hips are a plate or two higher than the counter. (i.e. counter top is 4 plates above the floor). It would seem to be the same height in the food truck, with the transparent screen rising above this height, but in the name of food safety, I think this is acceptable.

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Help the minidoll to fit into the food van AND have a means to steer it

So… the food service aspect of the truck is no problem here.   As you can see, Emma fits in here quite easily, to feed the masses at the back of the van. The main challenge seems to be to securely fit the mini-doll into the driver’s seat. By tiling the seat, and placing the ‘foot, plate’, the mini-doll can fit securely into the seat.  We then move the steering wheel forward in the cabin. This is not too tricky, but does require a little modification, and a couple of extra pieces.

The next challenge is the motor scooter: the handlebars included in this set are incompatible with mini-dolls.  Hands can only clip on if they run from side to side.  Mini-dolls’ hands run at approximately 90º to this.  Motor scooters in other LEGO® Friends sets use element 98397  for the handlebars, which are designed to fit the minidoll grips.  It is compatible with minifigures, but is not the ‘go to’ motorbike handlebar in LEGO® City.  It appears to be readily available in LEGO Friends and DC Super Hero Girls sets, as well as a few other themes- especially LEGO Ninjago.

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Don’t be afraid:

If the colour scheme does not cause you concern, you can safely integrate the architecture from Heartlake City directly into your regular, Minifigure populated town layout, with minimal alterations. Every one will fit, and you will add a higher level of functionality to your town.

Likewise, it’s not too hard to move City sets into Heartlake City.  The colors may be a little more subdued, but it will allow our LEGO® Friends to get some proper danger and excitement into their life. And you can exchange hair pieces/hats.  But your city may descend into anarchy if you have no police force to maintain civil calm. (At least there are the DC Super Hero Girls?)

Myself, I am quite happy to merely ensure the figures can safely sit in the driver’s seat without excessive peril.  But, if you are bothered by the lack of interesting businesses in your LEGO city, but feel that investing in the complete back catalog of Modular Buildings is a little extreme, why don’t you take a look at the Friends sets.  Remove the mini-dolls, and replace them with random minifigures… you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Have you tried moving Friend’s Buildings into your regular city?  Have you taken them the other way, with a layout occupied by minidolls? Or are you happy to have them all live together in one big town? Why not leave a comment below.

Play Well!