Minifigure Gender distribution: 2017 update

A little over a year ago, I wrote up an analysis of gender distribution in LEGO® Minigures in the post friends era.  In the years since LEGO Friends had been released, there had been some positive trends towards an equal balance, after starting from a pretty low base line (around 11% in 2012) up to 30% in the Volcano Sub-theme of LEGO City in 2016.

As well as supporting the regular themes, 2017 has been a big year for LEGO tying in with cinematic releases, with both inhouse and external IP.  By the end of the year, we will have seen a new Star Wars movie, Wonder Woman and Justice League movies, The LEGO Batman Movie and LEGO Ninjago Movie released.

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The LEGO Ideas set: 21312 Women of NASA.  Real Life STEM role models in LEGO Form.  This set is due to be released this week from LEGO retail stores. 

This post was provoked, in part after reading a comment about the relatively low female representation in the Collectable Minifigure sets recently released. I thought it would be interesting to revisit the question of gender distribution in some popular LEGO themes, and see if there were any significant shifts in trends over the last 12 months, when I last reviewed the numbers. The impending release of the Ideas set ‘Women of NASA’ is also of interest, as it certainly demonstrates a desire to see inspirational female role models immortalised in LEGO form.

I would like to look specifically at LEGO City, overall, as well as broken down into its major sub themes; The LEGO Batman Movie; The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and also LEGO Friends. I would also like to look at LEGO Star Wars sets released since the Force Awakens… Continue reading

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Return of the Taj Mahal, retreat of the speculators.[Announcement 10256]

The LEGO Group have announced that they are re-releasing 10189 Taj Mahal as set 10256.  Unlike the previous version, it will not supplant the Millennium Falcon UCS as the largest set ever released.  The piece count is almost identical to the 2008 classic, which has been soaring on the secondary market in recent years. This rerelease represents the third major rerelease in the last 18 months (including the Death Star, and Millennium Falcon), and continues the Creator Expert  Landmark series which has seen London Bridge, Westminster Palace/Big Ben and the Sydney Opera House released in recent years.

The set will be available from lego.com on November 27 2017, just in time for an anxiety provoking pre-Christmas order if you are dependent on international shipping! It will cost $AUD 499.95. More images and press release after the break… Continue reading

Beginning with Boost I: Meet Vernie

In which I recall making models move in simpler times, invest in a LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox set, and set about meeting Vernie the robot.  This article is as much for the beginner, trying to understand where to look for information, and finding out what my personal experience was like with the first couple of models.  In the future I will build some more, and look at the programs involved along the way.

One of the amazing things about LEGO® bricks is that they can be used to construct the most amazing models.  One of the things that lifts LEGO models to the the next level is movement.  For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the idea of making my LEGO models move.  I just haven’t been particularly good at it!

My first experience with making LEGO move autonomously was using the blue 4.5V motor in the mid 70’s: part of set 100 or 112: to be honest, I am not really sure.  I was probably about five years old at the time.  But being able to make my LEGO crawl across the living room table was pretty amazing.

As life progressed, I graduated to the 181 train set: a black motor brick, with a dedicated battery box in the tender, running behind the engine. There was an additional switch below the battery box, which allowed a raised railway signal to stop the train. Somewhere along the road we found some coloured gears, and simple motorised machines became an option. Then came the Technical sets, with their single drive shaft motor, and optional gearing boxes. I have already written about these early Technic experiences this year.

However, before I could around to exploring monorails, 12V or 9V trains,  I entered my dark ages.  I emerged just as the Power Functions elements were being introduced, along with NXT.  I probably found the Power Functions a little easier to use than NXT, or subsequently EV3, primarily because the construction techniques for Technic – with the square profile beams – perplexed me.  To be honest, they still do.  Turning a  single wheel by myself is something I can deal with.  Having a motor do it for me is extremely appealing.

So, when I heard about LEGO Boost, I became quite excited.  LEGO Boost is a brick based (rather than Technic) robotics system with 3 independent motor channels, as well as a light and distance sensor brick, and an inbuilt tilt sensor, designed to be programmed by a 7 year old with some form of tablet device. Perhaps this would be something I could use in the not too distant future to motorise my models, or introduce a level of interactivity into them. Continue reading

LEGO Dimensions receiving no further expansion: now you can play all there is going to be!

Warner Interactive announced today on their twitter feed that will be no further ongoing development of LEGO Dimensions, including expansion packs.

The toys to life game which provided players with the opportunity to mash up themes from Ghostbusters to Lord of the Rings to DC Superheroes to Doctor Who will see no further development. This comes as little surprise after an internal email at developer TT Games thanked employees for their enthusiasm and dedication to the project.

The game also brought a large number of pop culture references into the LEGO game space, and saw some unanticipated minifigures released. These included Gremlins, Back to the Future, Mission Impossible, the A-Team, the Goonies and my personal favorite, Midway Arcade.

The most recent wave of expansion sets containing the Powerpuff Girls and Teen Titans Go! will be the last to be released.

For me, the disappointing aspects lies in the fact that the main storyline of the game with Vortech snatching people throughout time will not be completed, as well as a rumoured new Doctor Who Level pack.

However, there is some good news: the servers remain active into the foreseeable future. If you get expansion sets, they will still work; the game remains playable. Customer support will still be a thing.

For completionists I see two positive aspects: all expansion sets are in the wild for collectors to gather; and the game space is now completely defined: you can now do all that can be done.

While TT Games and Warner Interactive have concluded development, there are two things I would love to see: a Vortech minifigure as a tribute to the major villain behind the story, and a consolidated PDF file containing the building instructions for all of the minibuilds.

What will you miss about Dimensions?

Did you play the game? Or just collect the packs for the figures?

How about a new premium line of IP based licensed minifigures to replace the fun, team and level packs? Would that appeal to you, or is it more appealing to have 3rd party custom figures to be produced?

Lots of questions.

Why not leave some answers in the comments below.

Until next time

Play well

Gift with purchase survey: Select your Top 5

LEGO Group: Gift With Purchase Survey

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Over the last few weeks, you have been sending in your suggestions for Gift with purchase ideas.

I need to whittle this list down to a top 5 for the LEGO® Marketing team.

Click on the link and select your top 5 preferences by October 30. 

Thanks for your help.

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Spin the Colour Wheel One More Time

IMG_7850.jpgA few weeks ago, I started to consider the use of colour in Elves sets, particularly Spring Yellowish Green. This led to a discussion of colour theory in general. We talked about the colour wheel, and how colour themes might be derived using complementary colours; split complementary colours, analagous colours, triads and tetrads, amongst other things.Color wheelCombinations

This is all very well if I have a colour wheel, and I am looking to produce my own pigment, I hear you cry, but we are using LEGO, and the colour palette is pretty clearly defined. But how do the colours we have relate to this? Continue reading

Talking about Boost In Billund: Interview with Carl Merriam

Meeting LEGO Boost

Since it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, LEGO® Boost has been anticipated as an easy to use robotics platform. Designed for use by children aged 7 and up, the tablet based system was released in most of the world at the start of August, and made its way into the Australian retail Channels in October 2017.  With a retail price of $AU250, and 845 elements, including a mixture of System and Technic elements, as well as a new integrated Move Hub, I was intrigued by what it might have to offer for easy MOC automation.  At the LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund this year, I had the opportunity to meet with Carl Merriam, one of the model designers who has been involved with LEGO Boost. We had a talk about some of the features of the Boost system, and looked at what some of the included models have to offer.

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Thanks for your time Carl, could you perhaps start by explaining a little about the basics of LEGO Boost? Continue reading