So You Want to Build a Roller Coaster? Roller Coaster 10261 (Review)

In which I assemble the new 10261 LEGO Roller Coaster, build a couple of white pillars, troubleshoot a skipping chain and consider what I’ve learned. It’s a big set. I wrote a lot.  Why don’t you prepare yourself a drink, sit back and work out whether this is a set that you would like to put together.

IMG_0307-2The appeal of a roller coaster is hard to deny: action, excitement, lights noise, adrenaline, nausea, terror and relief, in various orders. When we first saw the new LEGO® Roller Coaster Track appearing in the Joker Mansion last year, it wasn’t long before people began to speculate about how long it might be before we saw one appear in the Creator Expert Theme Park series.  About eight months it turns out. I’m glad we got that cleared up. When the Roller Coaster (10261) was announced early in May, many people, myself included, were impressed by the build: a moving model almost always has more appeal than a static display. But it raised a number of questions: How easy would it be to power? How stable would it be? How easy might it be to draw inspiration for other Roller Coaster themed MOCs? And just how challenging would it be to build all those white pillars?

Some of of these questions were easily answered. Others might take a little more thought.  [Do you just want to skip forward to my a video of the run? Click here, or scroll through to the end]

I was invited to review the Roller Coaster by the AFOL Engagement team at The LEGO Group, and I hope I might be able to answer a few of the questions posed. Read on and see where this review takes us.

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HispaBrick Magazine #30 Is Now Available, Celebrating 10 Years of Publication

 

HispaBrick Magazine 030 is out!

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Today, is HispaBrick’s Tenth Anniversary: and Issue #30 is now available for Download:

It’s our anniversary! In this edition of HispaBrick Magazine we celebrate our 10th Anniversary with a couple of surprises.

 To celebrate the occasion, we offer you the article on Alien by the arvo brothers that we published in our first issue and that you have asked to be published in English. We also interview Carlos Méndez, the AFOL who proposed the idea of HispaBrick Magazine ten years ago.

 Some distinguished personalities in the AFOL world and from the LEGO Company have congratulated us on our anniversary. You will also find a timeline of the ten years of the magazine and interviews with the current staff members. In addition, we proudly present a set that was specially designed for the occasion: 1001 – HispaBrick Magazine Kiosk.

Andrea Valcanover shows us how to build a beautiful tree, Pau Padrós explains the secrets behind Modular buildings, we interview the LEGO Technic team and we offer you a report of our latest event in Mungia (Bilbao).

 Of course we also have tutorials, reviews, and our usual sections, including the comic strip Desmontados, and Benny celebrating our anniversary in his space station.

 Keep an eye on our Facebook page over the next few days. We have a few surprises in store for you!

 HispaBrick Magazine can be downloaded free of charge in Spanish and English, so… download your copy now and celebrate our 10th Anniversary with us!

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Link to download past issues of the magazine: past issues

Tenth Anniversary Set: Magazine Kiosk

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Reducing the Known Unknowns? 2018 Train Box / Controller Images.

I don’t normally pounce on every piece of news regarding official box art, but this particular box is well related to my recent article about the forthcoming LEGO Trains.  What does it add to our list of Known Knowns?

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After summarising what was known about the Powered Up Platform three days ago, we now confirm that the Battery Hub has dimensions of 4×8 studs. We now have visual, consumer level, information that there will be an app available, as well as the remote.  The Bluetooth remote will not be backwards compatible with Infrared trains, but this will not surprise many.  I can see the value of including this information however, as families with pre-existing trains may have certain expectations. Whether the Train App looks like this when ultimately released, or can be customised, remains to be seen.

Also confirmed on the box art is the availability of new straights and curved rails packs.

Does this add to our previous ‘known unknowns? Not in a significant way.  Videos from the Fall Preview reveal the as yet not officially seen connectors on the Battery Hub, being the same as that seen on the Boost and WeDo.

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Previously discussed and speculated version of the Move Hub. WE DO NOT Know exactly how many bricks tall it is, but I suspect it will be a similar height to the previous train battery box.

The big remaining unknowns about the Move Hub is exactly now tall it will be, as well as the number and type of batteries required. I’m sure this will be confirmed soon enough.

The trains are due for release in ?July/August, depending on your market.  The Australian Prices have been confirmed as $AUD199.99 for the Passenger train and $AUD299.99 for the Cargo Train.  This is great news for australian consumers, as this represents a price drop for the Passenger Train, and a price freeze for the Cargo Train.  The previous versions were released in 2014.

Are you excited for the new train sets or other sets incorporating the Powered Up platform?  Why not leave your comments below.  Until Next Time,

Play Well.

Time To Get ‘Powered Up’: Known Knowns, Known Unknowns. And A Little Speculation…

Feeling overwhelmed after a barrage of press releases and new sets being announced by LEGO in New York this week, I attempt to put together what is known about the new Powered Up platform, previously referred to as Power Functions 2.0

60197_LEGO_City_Personenzug_Packung-2This week, at the Fall Preview for the (Northern) Summer 2018 LEGO® releases, there have been a number of exciting announcements, some of which have been vigorously speculated about for most of the year, plus a couple of surprises!

Given that this year respresents (amongst other things) the twentieth anniversary of the LEGO Mindstorms range, and also represents 10 years since we first saw the arrival of Power Functions, it should come as no surprise that we have seen a number of sets featuring the new “Powered Up” platform – previously referred to as Power Functions 2.0.

“For 20 years, we have been creating new ways for children to combine technology and LEGO building, starting with the introduction of LEGO MINDSTORMS®, a robotics toolkit that pioneered the idea of a ‘smart toy,” said Michael McNally, senior director brand relations for the LEGO Group. “With Powered Up, we’ve established a flexible connected platform to enable innovative new play experiences that merge digital and physical play in natural ways that will delight and inspire the builders of today and tomorrow – while still focusing on the core physical play proposition of our System of Play – the LEGO brick.”

We have also seen some exciting announcements to go with LEGO Boost.

Powered Up: Power Functions 2.0 Known Knowns.

Back in February, we presented information about the new power functions platform. We were aware that we have a new combined Bluetooth receiver and Battery Box, as well as a motor unit suitable for trains. We knew that the new cables featured the same connections as the WeDo 2.0 platform, as well as Boost.We also knew there would be a new remote and that the platform could also be App Powered.

This new platform, and all of the other Motorised LEGO Elements now fall under the broader banner of “Powered up,” and includes CITY Trains, app driven vehicles, Boost and the DUPLO Cargo Train.

Trains

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Nexo Knights Villains: saving the best ‘til last [Twinfector 72002 Review]

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This is the third and final year of NEXO Knights. While the line has been a bit hit and miss over the last few years, especially AFOLS looking for a clear cut castle or space range, I for one will miss is once they are gone. I have gathered a good number of the Knight’s sets over the last few years- while the actual builds have been interesting, I have ultimately dismantled them all and used the parts to rebuild Classic Space sets. Add air tanks and they look like fantastic space men and women, ready to explore the galaxy.
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But, just as the Classic space sets were without any form of antagonist, until the arrival of Blackthorn, I have found none of the  antagonist characters fitting into my vision of a NEXO- Classic Space Utopia. The bad guys just haven’t captured my imagination: demonic lava beasts and rock monsters are great in the fantasy landscape afforded by the castle line, but as villains in a science fiction/space theme, they are haven’t appealed to me. As such, I was excited when it became obvious that the villains in this final season were far more sci-fi inspired than any of the others seen to date.

While the new series is yet to air, the ‘Tech Infection’ theme, has the villains looking suitably more futuristic than fantastical. We see a collection of white skinned villains, with varying levels of cybernetic components, and lime green printed circuit motif’s on their faces to imply a level of ‘infection’.  Their Black green and silver uniforms, with a red eye makes them an instant army, with sufficient variation to make them interesting. But more on that later.

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Conspiracy or Coincidence III: Helicopters- from Red Cross to the Star of Life [626/6626 vs 60179]

In which I look at a couple of helicopters, with 40 years between their release dates, consider what happens when a humanitarian organisation reclaims its trade mark and contemplate the special place that helicopters have in the world of LEGO® Vehicles…IMG_9819As has been previously discussed, this is a year for celebrations at the LEGO Group. We have seen sixty years of the LEGO Brick, forty years of the minifigure (celebrated with the release of the series 18 Collectable Minifigures), and twenty years of Mindstorms.

Great vehicles:

While we have the recurrent police theme (even with the new mountain setting), some , miners, as well as last year’s fantastic jungle theme still on the shelves, we also have the ‘Great Vehicles’ sub theme. Now, I recognise that there is a limit to just how many different vehicles might be presented in LEGO Set form over the years. This year however, we seem to have a number of sets that give more than a passing nod to sets that were released twenty, thirty and forty years ago.

IMG_1069IMG_0338Here at the Rambling Brick, we would far rather believe in a conspiracy than a coincidence, and so I would like to believe that these might be a covert celebration of sets celebrating their decennial anniversaries this year. In recent months we have discussed the JetCar and the Helicopter Transport Truck. Today, I would like to compare some  helicopters- specifically the Red Cross Helicopter from 1978 and this year’s Emergency Helicopter. While the Helicopter from 1978 may not be as obvious counterpart to today’s set, compared to the the helicopter carrier and speed record car, there are a number of interesting comparisons between then and now that I would like to make today.

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Dig a Dinosaur: Stygimoloch Breakout [75927]

In which I revisit dinosaur nostalgia, realise I missed a lot of LEGO® Dinosaurs, before finally getting on the band wagon with the Jurassic Park Fallen Kingdom sets.  We breakout the Stygimoloch, and take her out into the wild.  Then, we look at the latest ‘Iconically Jurassic’ contest over at LEGO Rebrick.

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I was once, it will come as no surprise, a 6 year old boy. Like many such creatures, at one point I developed a fascination with dinosaurs. They consumed my waking hours, my conversations and dominated my visits to the local library.  I could draw and spell them all by heart.  If I wanted to watch dinosaurs on television, I was limited to watching Valley of the Dinosaurs (a 1974 Hanna Barbera cartoon where a whirlpool in the Amazon transported a teacher and his family into a land that time forgot)  or Land of the Lost – from the crazy team that brought us HR Puf’n’stuf and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. For me, The Flintstones didn’t really cut it for me: it was really just a sitcom wearing animal pelts.

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My favourite book of this era, the Ladybird Book of Prehistoric Animals and Fossils, was a favourite. Portable and sturdy with its yellow hard cover, there was always room for it in my school bag, or clenched between my knees when we went for a drive to the shops. It was a long night when I accidentally left it at school.

I read this book time and again, able to recite portions off by heart.  The final pages offered sage advice: If you have enjoyed this book, why not look further afield to continue expressing your interest – why not go searching for fossils or build a model kit; perhaps try making a paper mache diorama of a prehistoric landscape.  Put a small lizard in it, and pretend it is a massive dinosaur.  (to be fair, some of these ideas may have come from other books of this era).

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Doubling up with Duplo; Quadrupling with Quatro…

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System, Duplo and Quatro Bricks. If only I found a  2×4 Blue Quatro Brick.

Earlier this year, we saw the 60th anniversary of the original patent for the LEGO Brick being filed. There have been several other LEGO Bricks released in the meantime, designed for smaller hands.:

Duplo was first released as a toy for preschool children in 1969: it will turn 50 next year, in 2019.  During the LEGO Group’s experimental phase in the early 2000’s, the line was rebadged ‘explore’, returning to the traditional ‘DUPLO’ branding in 2005.

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Part of the DUPLO Dinosaur sculpture, under construction in the Czech Model Shop, before its installation in the LEGO House.

Duplo Bricks are twice as large as the standard system bricks in all dimensions: 2x2x2=8 times the volume of a standard LEGO Brick.

Also pictured above are some samples of the QUATRO Brick. Produced from 2004 to 2006, these bricks are four times the volume of a standard system brick, with a 2×4 quarto brick occupying the same volume as 4x4x4=64 system bricks! Quatro also featured a couple of vehicles, and bricks with a curved edge (like the top of an arch.)

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May the Fourth Be With You: Tatooine Battle Pack Review

IMG_1519Today is May the Fourth, the day when a pun is allowed to take over marketing of Star Wars related LEGO® sets for a limited time only, with a variety of special offers in place, changing daily.  Check Shop.LEGO.com in your country for details.

Tatooine

“If there’s a bright centre of the galaxy, you are on the planet that it’s farthest from.” – Luke Skywalker

When Star Wars debuted in 1977, Tatooine was the first alien landscape we encountered. A harsh, unforgiving desert planet, bathed by the scorching heat of binary stars, we see people enter a daily struggle against the environment: farming moisture to survive; fending off hostile desert nomads and dealing with diminutive scavengers. We see a variety of exotic megafauna, some just skeletons, some utilized as low maintenance transport in an environment which treats life forms and machine with equal contempt. It is far from the attention of authority: smugglers, gangsters and fugitives make this planet their base of operations. We also see hope: cautious optimism in the face of a deadly environment, a place of refuge from the Empire, and spectacular twin sunsets! It was a long, long time ago, and the locale took us to a galaxy far, far away…

And yet with its exotic locations and importance to the overarching saga- events take place on Tatooine in five of the first six movies- the indigenous races: Jawas and Tusken Raiders remain shrouded in mystery. And indeed , in my opinion,  sadly underrepresented in LEGO Star Wars sets.

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1978 X-Wing Fighter. 3 1/4″Action Figure Scale Luke Skywalker in place, and a makeshift R2D2 in the Astromech slot.

Melbourne, 1977

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LEGO® Life wins Webby Award and Webby People’s Voice Award

A Press release from the LEGO Group about the Kid Friendly Social Media App, LEGO Life…:

The safe social network app for children developed by the LEGO Group has been named winner of one of the leading international awards honouring excellence on the internet.

LEGO® Life, the safe social network for children under the age of 13, is named Webby Winner in the Mobile Sites and Apps: Family and Kids category. In addition to receiving this award granted through the review of an expert jury, LEGO Life also won The Webby People’s Voice Award in the same category: https://www.webbyawards.com/winners/2018/mobile-sites-apps/general/family-kids/lego-life/

“We are very happy and honoured that LEGO Life has been granted with this award – not only getting recognition by experts in the digital field but also by the public vote. It is truly a testament to the fact that it is possible to provide safe digital spaces for children in a playful and fun way”, said Rob Lowe, head of Kids Engagement at the LEGO Group.

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Digital layer to physical play

Since the launch of the app in January 2017, LEGO Life has been downloaded more than 6 million times, and roughly one million children share content through the app every month.

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