The Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition 76105 [Product Announcement]

Hulkbuster Armour: is it UCS? is it a good reason for last year’s changes in the LEGO Ideas guidelines and house rules? Is it going to occupy valuable display space after March 3? Hopefully these questions will be answered, or at least addressed, in this post.

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At the New York Toy Show today, LEGO Unveiled the 76105 The Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition.  Based on the Mark 44 Iron Man Armour, this armour was designed as a contingency, to be deployed from an orbital platform, codenamed Veronica, in the event of a confrontation with the Hulk.  While the relative success in developing such a strategy, along with the ensuing destruction witnessed at the ‘Battle of Johannesburg’ may be argued either way, there is no doubt that the resultant suit looks pretty cool!

With 1363 pieces, and measuring over 25 centimetres tall, and a descriptive plaque, this is a set that fans have been waiting years for. Celebrating the 10 years of Marvel Studios cinema releases, this set will be available from 3rd March 2018, through shop.lego.com or your local LEGO Brand retail store. It will be priced at AU $199.99  – US $119.99 – CA $149.99 – DE 129.99€ – UK £119.99 – DK 1199DKKThere will be no early availability for VIPs.

Ten years of Marvel Studios

76105_1to1_MF_D2C_Iron_ManOn April 14, it will be ten years since the first Iron Man movie was released, heralding the beginning of the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was the first film to be released under the Marvel Studios label, but it was not for another four years that we saw an official LEGO version. The first Iron Man minifigure was a Toy Fair 2012 exclusive, with figures becoming available for the rest of us as part of the sets released in conjunction with The Avengers movie. To date, there have been at least 15 variations on Iron Man mini figures released. And there is a new one included in this set, to say nothing of the forthcoming Avengers: Infinity War sets. Iron Man has also been released as a constructible figure (4529), a micro figure (in the Helicarrier 70642), two BrickHeadz (41492 – San Diego Comic Con Exclusive; and 41590 – general release) and as a brick built  version of the Hulkbuster Armour in The Hulk Buster Smash (76031).  It is this final version which is expanded and elaborated on today.

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Alternative prior (non minifigure) LEGO Presentations of Iron Man: Not to scale…

Is this UCS? Continue reading

Welcome to the Year of the Dog: 40235

IMG_9956As the Lunar New Year approaches, our minds turn to the Year of the Dog.  Set 40235 has been available in Australian Myer Stores as a Gift With Purchase for purchases of over $AUD88  This is the fourth set in this series, including last year’s year of the Rooster (40234), 2016’s Year of the Monkey(40207) and 2015’s Year of the Sheep (40148). The Year of the Snake set from 2013 (10250) is of a completely different aesthetic: more of the creator 4 in one build able creatures type of set.  I would not include it in the current series. As well as the LEGO elements and instructions, the set comes with an envelope in which to place a gift of money for the recipient of the set.

IMG_9963The set has 155 parts, a bright green circular base, with red and pearl gold highlights.  The bricks making up the dog are predominantly white and dark orange, with printed eye tiles.  Their are some great examples of SNOT (studs not on top) techniques used in this set, allowing lots of plates with bows to form a rounded body. We see examples of the 2/3 high plate with stud on the side, sitting on top od a regular brick with studs on the side, and we see the same 2/3 plate used directly below a brick with studs on the side.  This gives us another example of how these elements may be used together to allow a plate to be attached to the side.

Unlike last year’s rooster, the eye tiles used here are a fairly standard print.  I did like the look of the rooster’s eye’s last year, using an animation/comic book style of eye design, even though it was a sticker. Admittedly, using this stickered eye on our dog looks a little weird.

This is a great little set. the build is quick and simple, and as you can see, has some interesting dark orange elements as well as nice snot techniques, to help you round out the dog’s body and head.

There is some slight movement of the ears, and 3 points of articulation for the tail. Note the way that the eyes change with such subtle movement of the ears…

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The Year of the Dog: Meet Mabel

So there is another reason our household has been busy:  We have been kept busy, failing to train Mabel, our 6 month old cavoodle puppy! At least she doesn’t chew the bricks…too often.

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I am a sucker for a small set, especially one with a brick built animal.  There are relatively few options for posturing the model from this set, and I think it is very much a display piece, rather than a model to play with. I give it 3.5 arbitrary Praise Units out of 5.  Availability of 40235 is limited around the world, hopefully you will be able to pick it up as a gift with purchase somewhere. The offer at Myer is ‘While stocks last’.

What do you think of this seasonal series? I am delighted by the cartoonish aspects of their appearance, and am now looking forward to the new set being announced each year.

What do you like about this set? why not leave your comments below, and subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post.  Until next time,

Play Well.

Beginning with Boost: Driven to Distraction

In which we look at the steering wheeled base, that is one of the starter platforms with LEGO Boost Creative Toolkit, visit the nomenclature of LEGO Tyres and go out for a spin…Along the way, we go atomic.  Now read on…

IMG_9778The recent announcement of the forthcoming Power functions 2.0 reminded me that it has been a while since we looked at the Boost Creative Toolbox.  I just wanted to briefly touch on one of the starter models from the Creative Canvas today: the Vehicle hub.

All you need is a little patience.

Towards the end of 2017, Boost became supported on new platforms including the iOS smartphones, and Windows 10- no longer limited to tablets (iOS, Android and Kindle fire).  There is also an up to date compatibility list available from the Unofficial LEGO Boost Community Facebook page.

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A five second touch upon a locked exercise unlocks it, and frees up the control boxes in the toolbox: Just the thing for those of you with a new device

So… Now you can use your new device, how can you reopen the tool boxes for the individual robots, to allow access to the functions in side? Do you need to go through all of the building and programming exercises again?

A work around exists: a 5 second touch (just a touch, you don’t need to push hard on one of those new fangled iPhones) will unlock the activity or tool box, saving you from trying to convince your robot to complete the tasks it was not designed to do.

Trying to work out what those icons/ coding blocks mean?  Advancing years, failing eye sight or shrinking screen size means that you can’t quite make it out on your device? A long touch on a coding block will reveal its identity, and what parameters it requires.

For example:

The Chassis

The steering chassis is a relatively quick and simple construction, taking about 15 minutes from a standing start. It has driving wheels and front wheels on a steering yoke.  The yoke is driven by the external motor driving a 12 tooth bevel gear engaging with a  20 tooth gear, mounted within a forked beam(4558692).

The front wheels are the smaller withØ18×14 w.cross Ø4.8 (6092256), with Ø30, 4×14 tyres(4619323). The front wheels are the Wheel Ø56 (Element ID 6097664), which attaches to the axle via the studs on a round plate which has been threaded over the axle.

Wheel and tyre nomenclature: A quick detour

I was initially baffled a little by the nomenclature used to describe Wheels and Tyres on brickiest and the lego customer service website.  Especially with the ‘Ø’ symbol. Now I discover this symbol is employed simply to signify ‘diameter’, typically expressed in millimeters.  You learn something every day.  At least I have today!

SO: it is fully expressed as ØED x W w.axle type &size

  • ED is External diameter (18mm)
  • W is the width (14mm)
  • Axle type:Cross, diameter (4.8 mm – cross refers to Technic Axle)

The tyre seems to be a little more complicated: ØED,  TxW:

  • ED = external diameter including tread. (30mm)
  • T= Thickness at the rim (not including the tread) (4mm)
  • W= Width (14mm)

The larger wheel has an outer diameter of 56mm, but no further information is provided. It does not take a tyre and has a simple 4.8mm hole, which an axle or connector pin can pass through.

The upshot here: the axles for these wheels are approximately 8mm in height apart, with the front, steering wheels much smaller than the rear, driving wheels.

Back to the chassis.

The chassis offers a good number of connections for a vehicle shell to mount onto, either using the studs on top or via connector pins on the sides. It is still easy to access the base of the battery box, to change the batteries once the base is constructed.

Power up/Game On

The first thing that happens when I select a chassis base canvas is a ‘zeroing’ manoeuvre. I had difficulty with this, as it did not routinely return to the midline.  The mechanism has about 10 degrees of give – where the axle can wobble with no movement of the gears.

As well as the standard program blocks (begin,end, wait and loop) there are blocks to use the sensor  – for colour and distance, as well as to act on detecting sound.  The tilt sensor can also be used.

The actual motion is controlled by this block:

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Note: The duration seems to specify ‘distance’ rather than time, expressed as multiples of the length of the chassis

It is fairly self explanatory: the Left selector is for speed, middle for steering, and duration. Speed and steering I read as being percentages of maxima. for ‘duration of run’ allegedly in seconds. In reality, this ‘duration’ seems to refer to lengths of the chassis (which in turn is the same as a square on the included Boost Playmat. This inconsistency is being reported.

An opportunity for confusion comes with setting a negative speed (i.e. reverse) and a negative rotation number…it adds up to a positive, but you can see how this might make troubleshooting a challenge.

Setting a program running is pretty straight forward.  But I have a problem: after powering up, the steering mechanism does not seem to have zeroed properly- but rather approximately 10º to the right (which equates to -30 on the percentage scale).

I am unsure how to correct this within this program: I WOULD VALUE ANY HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE.

Atomic Batteries to Power, Turbines to Speed

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Just a fraction of the sensor controls using the atomic level programming: a few more steps, but so much more powerful.

The only way I have found where I can zero the motor is in the ‘fine coding’ atomic level sandbox.  This is the area where every command for boost can be accessed, and put together. This is where the easy going, handholding nature of the Boost goes out the window!

In this area, we can find a box that allows for setting the current position to ‘zero’ and all turns are subsequently relative to the current location: the level of control that this area takes you to is incredible, but you do not have the same level of comfort that you had with the prebuilt subroutines with the models (for example, picking Frankie the Cat up by the tail results in a blood curdling screech that only an angry cat can make.).

Because the motor is also designed to work as a rotation sensor, rotating the motor by hand to the zero point should not cause any major issues.

However, it becomes easy to set steering to zero, steer and move, even if it requires more blocks to achieve the same goal. Some people will find this way of thinking fairly intuitive. I will probably struggle…

Going Remote

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The joystick control: easier than programming for a one off task.

Of course, sometimes you just want to be able to drive the car, and not worry about trying to program the robot to finesse its own navigation (although this would be a cool, and potentially achievable project). And there is a code block for that: go straight to the teal/turquoise tab, and you can select the joystick: forwards, backwards; left right: this will let you move in each direction.

It takes a little work to finesse this method of control, but for many kids who are looking for a simple way to control their vehicle, this will bear the way to go!

In summary

There you go: several ways to control the steerable car chassis in LEGO Boost. I hope this inspires you to explore LEGO Boost beyond the main models.

There have been some great MOCs appearing recently using the Boost Hub, and either the set or other elements. My favourites so far have included JANGBricks Autonomous Tank; Let’s Go Studio’s Squid Man and JK Brickworks Cinnamon Candy Launching Robot.

What have you seen made with Boost that has inspired you? Leave your comments below, and subscribe for updates (publication has been a little irregular lately, so you don’t want to miss anything)

Until next time:

Play Well

Moments in Space: Voting Now Open

DVluoUvX4AA3MAIA couple of weeks ago, we brought you news of the LEGO Ideas ‘Moments in Space’ contest: The goal is to design a set that would be appropriate for a gift with purchase, to be released next year, the 40th anniversary of the Global launch of the Classic Space theme.  Over one thousand entries have been submitted. It is now up to the public to vote for their favourite submissions.

The 25 submissions with the most vote will be reviewed by the judges, with the grand prize winner’s model being considered for development into a Gift With Purchase set by LEGO designers for release next year.

You can find a link to all of the entries HERE

Why am I mentioning this here? I don’t normally go in for discussion of LEGO Ideas submissions in progress.  In fact, I generally don’t even mention them until they are about to be released.

The Significance of Space

Classic space inspired the imagination of ten year old me to look towards a positive, cooperative future. In 2019 that will be forty years ago.  I will be turning… well you can do the maths! I think this is an important anniversary. Just as forty years of Technic was last year, 60 years of the Brick this year, 20 years of Mindstorms this year, 40 years of the minifigure this year (as well as classic Town and Castle Themes).

But with this contest, we have been asked to give an indication of what we would like to see done as part of the celebration, and I think this is an important example of the LEGO Group engaging with their fan base, on a topic about which many are particularly passionate.

This excited me enough to produce some submissions, based on Classic Space sets from 1979, and reimagine them with a contemporary parts palette, specifically that from NEXO Knights.  We have recently had news that NEXO Knights is ending its run with the current wave of sets.  I thought it appropriate to farewell this theme with a call back to my favourite era of LEGO Space sets. Let us refer to this as NEXO Classic Space…

NEXO Classic Space.

I am not an especially talented designer or builder, however I have submitted my take on the 891/442 Two Seater Space Scooter; 886 Moon Buggy and 889 Radar Truck.  The latter two were sets that we had about the house as we were growing up.

The Two Seater Space Scooter is, however, my favourite.  Conceptually, it is one of sets that led me down the Classic Space rabbit hole last year, when it appeared as part of the Classic Space DLC for LEGO Worlds: Here we have both Classic and Modern Space Explorers sharing a moment –  talking about their hopes and dreams; how things of changed over the years, and how they will change in years to come. With larger engines than the previous version, it can fly further and faster than the classic version, and with its yellow and black stripes you know there is a nod back to Classic Space.  And the model is, of course, extremely swooshable!

If you would care to vote for it, click here to be taken to the page.

While I would love to see Blue/Grey/Trans Yellow Classic Space reappear, it is not what I need.  LEGO Space inspired a generation raised during the Cold War to believe in an optimistic future, where people would work together to expand their knowledge and experience of the universe around us, striving towards a common goal. I would love to see a set which aspires to these values to be the one to win this competition.

I don’t need it to be mine.

My submissions can be found here:

While I have submitted these, that are part of a larger project, where I have been working to develop a reworking of that first series of LEGO Space sets from 1978-79 using the NEXO Knight’s parts palette. But more on that soon.

Have you submitted an entry in the Moments in Space contest? Why not share a link in the comments below.  And why not subscribe to the Rambling Brick: our publication schedule will been a little disrupted over the next few weeks, and I’d hate you to miss the next few posts.

Until next time,

Play Well.

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We will talk more about NEXO Classic Space in the next few weeks. Here is part of the finished display from Brickvention Australia, January 2018.

Building Better Thinking with Rainbow Unicorns – 10401

Don’t want to spend the minimum purchase required,  just to get the 60th anniversary tile in ‘40290 60 Years of the LEGO® Brick‘ Set? Did you miss the opportunity to get it as a gift with purchase from the LEGO store? (Note: it may well still be available today… but I can’t speak for tomorrow. In Australia it is still available at time of posting). Well, we might well have found the perfect set for filling this gap, at a reasonable price, with a great mixture of elements to boot!

Building Better Thinking

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All aboard: Power Functions 2.0 with Bluetooth Announced at Nuremberg Toy Fair. Rampant speculation follows.

Lots of exciting news has come out of the Nuremberg Toy fair about upcoming releases for the year, but perhaps the most interesting for me will have a ripple effect that lasts well into the future: After ten years, the Power Functions system which has powering our models is getting an upgrade.

In news coming out from the Nuremberg Toy Fair this week, a new Power Functions system is due to be released later this year.  Reporting from the fair, our friends at Promo Bricks bring news of new train sets arriving later in the year, along with the new system. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed of the  display, so what follows is in part speculation, and interpreting information in the above article.

Featuring similar plugs and cables to those seen with both the WeDO 2.0, as well as the Boost Robotics Systems, the new system also allows for bluetooth control.  The receiver for this system is located within the battery box.  The battery box is a similar size to the current PF battery box currently used for trains, and can fit in the train in a similar way.

RAMPANT SPECULATION FOLLOWS

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