Teal We Meet Again: In search of Stafford’s Choice

In which, on discovering the reappearance of teal in the LEGO colour palette, I go in search of “Stafford’s Choice.” Have any colours been sacrificed in order to allow teal to return? Let’s tick off the colours as we review some of the recently announced new sets for 2018…

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Stafford’s Choice:

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Teal returns in 2018. But was there a cost?

Mark Stafford is a designer with the LEGO Group. Recruited from the fan community, he joined the company over 10 years ago and has had a hand in many of the action themes over that period of time.  Themes such as NEXO Knights, Legends of Chima, Space Police 3, Ninjago, Alien Conquest, Power Miners and Atlantis, to name but a few. He also turned Peter Reid’s Exosuit Ideas submission into a set.

At Brickvention in 2014, Mark gave a talk talking about a challenge he faced in his early days as a designer:  Early in his career at LEGO he was put to work, sharing his love of mechs, on the EXO Force line.

One of the first sets that he designed was the Dark Panther – 8115. And it was here that he was given a challenging decision: The initial models left the set leaning towards one of red, orange, purple (medium lilac) and teal (bright blueish green).  If teal were to be chosen, purple would be deleted from the current colour palette; if he chose to use purple, then teal would be deleted.  Had orange or red been used then both teal and purple would have vanished from the LEGO palette for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

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Modular Diner 10260 Announcement: 1950s Style, for 60 years of the Brick

10260_Box1_v39This year, we saw the release of the 10 Anniversary Modular building, the Assembly Square.  This set featured plenty of callbacks to the previous modulars,  with various colour schemes and other design cues.  Now that we are entering the second decade of modular buildings, it appears that there are some changes afoot.  Until now, many of the buildings have had the appearance of buildings dating from the 1920’s or 30’s and the Minifigures all featured the classic smiley face.

10260_Front_Callout_01But we now enter a new era in modular buildings: the downtown diner is drawing cues from the Streamline Moderne style, a style that originated in the late 30’s, but continued to influence architecture for decades to come: a sleek building, with a tiled facade and smooth curves, and we have both in abundance here. In a break with previous modular traditions, the minifigures now have expressions (and the occasional moustache) on their faces, while their dress appears more representative of the 1950’s. Indeed, the pink cadillac and the Rock’N’Roll singer all but confirm that this is a bit of a jump into the future from our previous modular era. (Admittedly, the Brick Bank 10251 from 2016, featured a computer on a desk, as well as an espresso machine in the staff room – not a common feature in the past –  certainly this would be the most anachronistic feature of a modular building to date.) Assembly Square feels as if it might also be from a more recent period in history, if only because of the clothing prints in use by the minifigures. Certainly, we are now entering a new era, with new architectural styles and new minifigure prints.

And Teal.  We have seen evidence of a reborn teal in other sets for 2018, however this set contains more elements in this colour than any other set that we have seen details for. I especially like the use of the 6×6 curves to create the high, sweeping arch. There are also lots of teal bricks in the back wall of the diner.

What do we see on the inside? We have 3 levels, with the diner downstairs, a gym on the 1st floor, and a recording studio upstairs.  The diner features a short order cook flipping pancakes and frying bacon, in the form of a 1×2 grille plate!  The Waitress is on roller skates. The gym is furnished with a boxing ring as well as a punching bag. The Boxer has blue trunks and red boxing gloves.

And then there is the singer, and is that his press agent? record producer? Who knows.  The detail in the recording studio is fantastic.  The stories you can create are endless. He drives a pink, open top sedan, with great fifties styling, and occasional anachronism,.

The style here is a departure from what we have come to expect from modular buildings, but after a decade it is time to move forward. Given that this year represents the 60th Anniversary of the LEGO Brick, it seems appropriate that this year’s modular should include references to the decade when that patent was lodged.

The 10260 Diner is available on the 1st of January 2018. The Australian price will be $249.99. Other currencies in the press release.

The press release follows after the photos. Continue reading

Women of NASA: unsung heroes of one generation, inspiration for the next!

Untitled 8.pngThe Announcement last year that the Women of NASA ideas submission from Maia Weinstock was to be developed into a set seemed to be greeted with a combination of excitement and disappointment, from different parties. There were complaints of it just being a collection of minifigures,  only appealing to girls, not having as many elements as a UCS Millennium Falcon and being yet another NASA related Ideas set! But it is so much more than that.

Certainly with only 231 elements, it is the second smallest Ideas set to hit the market, next to the 21110 Research Institute, which was released in 2014. After the Old fishing store, however, I don’t need to have another set with a high piece count on display.

The set features several women who are notable in their contribution to the US space program in varied ways: I will discuss each of them in turn with their vignette.

This set was released on November 1st, and took a few weeks to make its way from Denmark to Melbourne. The box, like many of the Ideas  sets is robust, and designed to be kept. It is a similar design to many of the other ideas sets, as well as the boxes for the Architecture series.

The instruction manual provides a background on each of the people portrayed in the set, as well as both the fan designer and the set designers from the LEGO Group.

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Getting back on Track: Continuous Linked tracks in 2017 LEGO Sets.

Over the last few weeks, life has been getting a bit busy, and interfering with my ability to get to the keyboard! Not an excuse. Just an explanation. And not a very clear one either! Anyway: Perhaps it is time to get back on track…

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Continuous, self propelled tracks were first conceived in the 1770’s, but it was probably not until the early 20th century that they became a method of choice for moving heavy vehicles such as tanks, bulldozers and Antarctic exploration vehicles across soft, uneven ground. The term ‘Caterpillar tracks’ was trademarked in 1911 by Benjamin Holt.  Such tracks have featured in LEGO sets or either as continuous rubber bands, since 1969 and as interlocking linkages since 1974 (Element 273). Continue reading

Brickography: On show this weekend only!

Last night I attended the opening of Kale Frost’s Brickography, an exhibition of LEGO based images and MOCs at the Artboy Callery in Greville St, Prahran.

IMG_8473Kale (@frostbricks on Instagram) is a Melbourne based brickartist and photographer who began his Instagram 365 day challenge a couple of years ago and forgot to stop after twelve months. With a keen eye for whimsy, coupled with fantastic building skills, Kale’s MOCs have previously been featured on the Brothers Brick, Blocks Magazine and as inspirational images featured in the LEGO® Life App.

For this weekend only, he has filled the walls of the ArtBoy Gallery with both his own impressive body of images, as well as images from some of the notable LEGO Instagrammers around the world including Brett Willson (@brett_wilson), CJ Simmons (@harleyquin), Luigi Priori (priovit70), Phil Korn (@phil_korn), Arvin Coloma (@nivrana), Andrew Morrey (@cheepjokes) and others.

 

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Giving NEXO Knights a Boost…

A quick post this morning to demonstrate how easy it is to get a fun result from LEGO Boost, with very little style or skill. I really believe that the Boost Move Hub is the successor to the motor bricks of the 1960’s and 70’s.

For reasons best known to myself, I recently built the NEXO Knights Knighton castle set. It was an interesting build, demonstrating the 2017 NEXO Aesthetic, with lots of dark blue, orange, trans neon orange, dark stone grey and bright blue for the trim (being King Halbert’s colour). But I bought it for the parts. Reasons shall become apparent with time, or perhaps on Instagram…

In pulling it apart, I thought, wouldn’t this look great if it were mobile, like the Fortrex. Then I realised I had not yet dismantled the walking base which I discussed last week. To make the project a little easier, I removed the tail, head plate and gun: I am here for a good time, not a long time. I reconstructed a tower and moved some of the other components from the caster to produce something a little like this…

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So… a few elements onto the walking base, a short ‘Walk forward’ Program, and voila: a moving MOC that is just a little more interesting than anything I might have produced with the castle elements alone, or indeed the Boost. The Classic knight was terribly impressed with the changes that had occurred since he was a young lad.

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The program I used is extremely simple: Play; Walk forward at speed 50 for 30 seconds; And Stop.

Mercifully, I have not mixed elements too much, and returning my sorted Boost to its natural state should not be too hard.

And now I return you to our normal viewing…

What would like to make move with Boost? Would you build a more comprehensive castle to move? Why not comment below, and follow the Rambling Brick on WordPress or Facebook. Until next time…

Play Well!

Smooth Rolling With NEXO Knights Year 2 [What I learned from Lance’s Twin Jouster 70348]

NEXO Knights has been a theme with a mixed reception amongst the AFOL community: its a fantastic mashup of castle and space elements, but at the same time it is not quite either in the purist form.  The geometry is fascinating, as I have previously discussed.  However, due to so many different things happening throughout the year to distract a LEGO Fan, I have not really spent much time with the theme until now.

There are a couple of stand out changes that I have seen this year.  One is a change in the primary aesthetic of the models: The Knights’ vehicles released in 2016 were had a palette which was primarily bright blue, stone grey,  transparent bright orange with a few earth(dark) blue elements as well as a couple of trim elements, colour matched to the knight whose vehicle it was.  In 2017, the transparent orange is still there, but there is a much larger amount of earth blue and bright orange  compared to the stone grey and bright blue. We have also seen more prominent trim in the colours of the knights, demonstrating the new tile designs quite nicely.  In fact, you may almost be forgiven for thinking “There is a lime green, bright red, azure, white or bright yellowish orange vehicle.”  The Classic space vibe which might have been felt with 2016’s models been reduced this year, in return for the ‘Knight Motif.’ There there is the obligatory change in the villainous team, moving from the Lava monsters to non so molten Rock Monsters.

I should also mention the stickers, because while there are plenty of stickers to apply, those designed to be applied to transparent orange elements have a transparent clear background, making them useful on all surfaces.

Here is a quick ‘Face to face’ of this year’s $AU30 Lance’s Twin Jouster 70348 (212 parts) with the 2016’s Macy’s Thunder Mace 70319(200 parts).  I would consider them both occupying equivalent places in the range, both priced at $AUD29.99.

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On the left, Macy’s Thunder Mace, sporting the greys, silver, blues and trans bright orange of the first year of NEXO Knights.  On the right, we see a typical year 2 vehicle, sporting the colours of Lance Armstrong (white) on top of the dark blue and trans orange.

As well as the colour scheme, the play features have also developed on this year’s set.  I personally found the Thunder Mace a relatively mundane build.  The cockpit felt a little incomplete and the windscreen did not feel properly supported underneath. The only feature I found particularly inspiring was the mechanism that rotated the mudguards, to reveal the hidden weaponry beneath! Admittedly, this is pretty addictive.

 

But are the changes just cosmetic?

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