The toy fair season is now starting to wind up for now: We have had Nuremberg. We have had New York. Now we have had Melbourne…
The Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair is a bit of a mouthful. Predominantly a trade show, taking place in Melbourne in early March each year, LEGO Australia have a strong presence. There has traditionally been little ‘big news’ coming out of the show, as visitors have not been able to take photographs at the LEGO® booth, a trend that was reinforced at Nuremberg this year.
I had the chance to visit the Fair last weekend, and visit the booth displaying our favourite Danish Plastic Brick. Once I got past the big displays outside the booth, I had to put the camera away, and make do with words and memories.
After the recent New York and Nuremberg Toy shows, there is little to be seen in left field, unexpected presentations. Unlike New York, there are no Direct to Consumer sets on display (for example: Hogwarts Great Hall; Ultron Hulkbuster). There were also no Brickheadz or 40th Birthday Minifigure sets on display. There were no sets associated with unreleased movies ( such as Jurassic World; Solo; Incredibles 2) , unless they were already on sale (Avengers: Infinity War went on sale the week before the toy fair).
There were plenty of sets on display that are already on the shop shelves, readily available to purchase in real life shops, or on line. And everything else that I saw already has an entry in Brickset’s 2018 database. However, there were some sets from the second half year on display, of which few details have previously been available, or for which some additional clarity was able to be gained. If you wish to avoid spoilers, look away now. If you have read everything coming out of Nuremberg and New York, there may not be a lot that sounds new… but certainly a few points of clarification.
One of the highlights in the upcoming DUPLO sets is the 10874 Steam train. This train was revealed at Nuremberg and is able to be controlled through the use of coloured tags that can be laid down on the track. The train starts moving in response to a gentle push, and stops with a tap on the cabin roof.While actions of the train be controlled by the tabs on the rails, an app will also be available to control the train. Animations in the app are also influenced by the actions of the train, as determined by the rail tag.
The Juniors line will be extended later in the year to include a City airport. There will be other sets, but this one distracted me from them with the white whale from my childhood…a conveyor belt.
As previously reported from Nuremberg, one of the main Friends sets coming up will include the Heartlake resort, featuring a water park and sky rail. The New York press release also mentioned that there would be a racing theme in the second half year. That’s right, come the next wave of sets, our recently revamped friends are going go-karting! The vehicles have lever powered launchers to allow our friends to race. There will be several sets with these Karts, including a Diner, Workshop, Racetrack and Drive in! We will also see the Friends ‘bedroom collection’ completed.
The most incredible new element that I saw was a kick scooter. In teal. If only I could remember which set it will come in! All of these sets look nifty to me.
One of the most interesting sets coming up is the Friendship box: this is a collection of ‘life size’ iconic props used by the five central Friends characters.
Australians can expect to start seeing the new Media – tv series etc later in month/early April.
When I first saw catalog pictures, this year’s Elves sets left me a little cold. Having seen them in real life, I am feeling more excited for them. The second half year sets will continue with new brick built Elemental Animals seen in the first wave for 2018, and while a smaller wave, looks pretty strong. Unfortunately, after a strong series based on the Goblin King/Abduction of Sophie Jones storyline last year, it would seem that we are not going to see a new Netflix series this year.
LEGO City will head to the Arctic in the second half year, with a new woolly mammoth mold appearing, along with a number of new, interesting exploratory vehicles.
We can also look forward to a new hospital for the residents of LEGO CITY to seek out their health care. There will also be new ‘people’ box, along the line of Fun in the Park, and Fun at the Beach, this time with more of an outdoors activities theme. The new trains were on display, as described at Nuremberg (a passenger train, and cargo train), however the new Power functions 2.0 controllers/battery boxes were not available for perusal.
Building on the roller coaster elements seen in the LEGO Batman Movie ‘Joker Manor’ set, there will be a Creator Pirate Roller Coaster 3 in 1 set. I suspect will be whisked off the shelves quickly when it reaches retail channels later in the year.
A couple of sets coming out later in the year are designed to be integrated with the Boost Creative Toolbox. One set which was demonstrated at the New York Toy Show was the dragon ‘Stormbringer.’
The dragon is in fact a stand alone set which can be rebuilt to incorporate the Boost hub, and sensor. Stormbringer is not the only set that will be given a Boost this year: One of the City Arctic Explorer sets is also designed to be easily modified to incorporate the Move Hub, to allow independent, app powered mobility. I had been concerned that these sets would require Boost to be built, but knowing that the Boost build is an alternative is very exciting for those who have not invested in such a set.
The recently released Technic sets were on display ( the first wave of new Technic sets were only officially released in Australia last week. Two sets on display from the second half year include a Volvo Autonomous Loader (although the extent of its own autonomy is uncertain at this point), and the Rough Terrain Crane 42082 will have a boom that extends to a meter long.
And one more thing…
There are plenty of sets I have not discussed: some were not on display, many are already on the shelves, and some have received lots of coverage elsewhere. With some (Star Wars, Ninjago, DC Superheroes and Minecraft in particular) I was unable to recall sufficient detail to justify bringing them up here. This is probably a sign that the Ninjago City Port set seen at Nuremberg was not on general display here.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief insight into the second half year sets: some detail on many of these sets is already known, even if just the name and set numbers, which can be found in the Brickset Database.
I would like to thank the team from LEGO Australia who showed me around the booth. I am particularly excited for the Boost integrated City and Ninjago sets. What themes or sets are you looking forward to in the second half of the year? Why not leave your comments below?
Until Next Time…