To paraphrase the late Carl Sagan, To make a minifigure from scratch, you must first create the Universe.
Let’s move a few steps down that path. Recently we took a look at some of the prototypes that were passed over on the path to minifigure development. Once you have a design, you need a way to put it together. Today, let’s take a look at the moulds that are in use.
Mold or Mould?
Over the last few years, I have been struggling with the word used to describe the thing that molten plastic is injected into, where it gains its special shape. Is it a mould or a mold? And which is the spelling that has spores, and was the bane of my bathroom back in my bachelor days?
A quick call out to to the Wikipedia suggested that both spellings would apply to those fungi, depending on where in the world you are standing. (Molds in USA, moulds in the rest of the English speaking world).
But what about the verb meaning to shape/form or the noun referring to the thing used to do the same? It turns out that that is also spelt mold in the USA and mould everywhere else! I am not about to revise every spelling of the world ‘mold’ over the last two and a half years. going forward, however, I will endeavour to use the form of spelling that my computer attempts to direct me towards every time. This dialogue from the Australian Writer’s Centre might shed a little light on the subject.
Last week’s announcement of 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City left a number of people concerned as to what the ‘Master Builder Series’ might be, and what implications there might be for the Ultimate Collectors Series line. There is no doubt that this Cloud City set is a departure in style from last year’s Snowspeeder and this year’s Y-Wing Starfighter. Clarification of the term was sought from the LEGO® Star Wars team, and they responded via the LEGO Ambassador’s Network this morning:
The Master Builder Series models are large playsets and beside being complex builds they are characterized by having many play features and functions, interior details as well as a range of minifigures. Ultimate Collectors Series will remain highly detailed display models providing complex builds with a focus on authenticity and both Ultimate Collectors Series and Master Builder Series will continue as a way to highlight the unique characteristic of each style of model.
While I suspect there will still be some people who consider this to be a dumbing down of the UCS line, I think it is good that in the future the label will now be reserved for brilliant display pieces, rather than large playsets such as 75159 Death Star and 70598 Assault on Hoth. What do you think of this conceptually? Why not leave your thoughts below.
This week, we celebrate the anniversary of the submission of the minifigure design to the Danish Patent office. It was in the following year, 1978, that we got our first glimpse of the LEGO® Minifigure. However, development of an appropriately sized, articulated figure began sometime beforehand…
The LEGO Group have recently released some new picture, showing historically significant developments in the the life of the Minifigures. Many of the items shown here are on display in the LEGO House, in Billund, but some may not be at this time. Continue reading →
Today we celebrate the submission of the patent for the original minifigure design, in Denmark in 1977. So…41 years ago, in order to have things ready to roll in 1978!
To commemorate this event, the LEGO Group has released a collection of images of historical interest, including copies of the original patent documents, images of prototype minifigures, moulds, minifigure design sheets and historical advertising material, as well as a timeline of significant minifigure events.
Over the next few posts, we will explore some of these materials, but first, let’s run the covering press release, and take a glance at the patent applications: Continue reading →
In which I look at 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers and realise that not only does it have some great minifigures, but it also gives a masterclass in greebles! And there isn’t long to enter our Ant-Man Contest.
When the original Ant-Man film was released a few years ago, I missed seeing it at the cinema, and I missed getting hold of the single LEGO® Set related to the movie. And as such, I missed out getting hold of an Ant-Man Minifigure. A favourite figure amongst toy photographers, there are so many images of this figure exploring the world. A month or so ago I went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp. It was an enjoyable film, full of humour, action and special effects. I have finally got around to building the set, Quantum Realm Explorers. You might have seen posts over the last few weeks, providing an opportunity to win this set in a building competition: I will come back to that later.
Quantum Realm Explorers was released in June 2018, and has 200 pieces, including 3 minifigures. It costs $39.99AUD; or $19.99USD, 24.99€ or £19.99. 10c/part in the US, 10p/part in the UK, 12.5 eurocents/part in Germany and 20¢/part in Australia…
Many people may be looking at this set as an opportunity to pickup the minifigures, and each of the figures included in this set are terrific. We have: Ant-Man, Wasp and Ghost.
They are all pretty close to their movie counterparts. They all have detailed torso printing, front and back, to match their characters, as well as double sided faces. Continue reading →
The Official LEGO Shop has had exciting news this year, as its expanding into 5 new countries, including Slovakia, Greece, Latvia, Estonia and Slovenia.
This expansion marks 29 countries globally – where shoppers can enjoy the full LEGO Shop experience, including access to the full assortment, exclusive products and promotions each month, extended line items and other unique services like Pick-A-Brick.
To commemorate this milestone, LEGO Shop is running a promotion in the new stores with an opportunity to “Win a one-of-a-kind buildable flag”. This extremely limited and rare set is not available for purchase anywhere. To enter simply make a purchase from one of the new stores and you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win (alternatively, you may send an email to WinaFlag@LEGO.com, no purchase neccessary). Hurry – this special promotion ends September 23rd. Visit the URL’s below now to learn more!
The URLs for the competition details can be found following the links below.
NOTE: entry is only open to residents of these countries.
I see that the Rambling Brick receives occasional visits from these countries. Each year, the online LEGO shop seems to expand: However, there are still a few European countries without access, as well as much of Asia. Is this exciting news for you? Why not leave a comment below.
The LEGO Foundation recently commissioned a cross cultural survey looking at attitudes and behaviours related to play. Families in China, Denmark, France, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States were surveyed during February and March 2018. The resulting Play Well report was released today.
The report looks at four key areas: of the benefits of play for parents, children and families; preferences and barriers to play, the importance of lifelong learning through play and the role of play in developing skills for the future.
The report makes for interesting reading, and it is apparent that some of the common issues that we feel that we face in Australia such as increased programmed time with activities; dedication to digital based play, and the struggle experienced by families to spend quality time together are part of the global parenting experience.
If you wish to download the report, which also breaks down the responses by country, for further perusal, you can do so here. In the meantime, please enjoy this infographic summary of the report. Continue reading →
It was a long, long time ago, but not too far away: LEGO Starwars Minifigures still had yellow faces. Unless they wore helmets. All except one: Lando Calrissian. Released 15 years ago, as part of 10123 Cloud City. Lando was the first minifigure to appear in a LEGO set related to movie with a realistic skin tone. He has not been seen in Cloud City since.
Indeed, there have been very few aspects of Cloud City seen since. We have seen multiple versions of the Twin Pod Cloud Cars (7119 from 2003 and 9678 from 2012) – both of which have included Lando’s right hand man, Lobot. We have seen Ugnauts, along with the Carbon Freezing Chamber in 2016’s 75137. But beyond these sets, and seemingly infinite variations on Boba Fett’s ship, Slave I (Well, if not infinite, then at least eleven), Cloud City has received very little LEGO love.
Many of the major settings of drama in The Empire Strikes back have been revisited in the last few years: Attack on Hoth(75098), the UCS Millennium Falcon (75192). And from the current wave of sets: Yoda’s Hut (75208) and Luke’s Xwing (75218).
It stands to reason that Cloud city is long overdue for a revisit. Then, we just need to get on board some Imperial Ships, and all will be right with the balance in the Force.
Today The LEGO Group have announced the forthcoming release of the long anticipated 75222: Betrayal at Cloud City. Following in the footsteps of Death Star 654654. this set is geared more towards being a playset, incorporating a number of important locations:
Certainly, it does not purport to be a model of Cloud City (perhaps the time is coming to explore an ‘Architecture’ Version?), but many of the key locations are represented: the reception area, recycling centre, the carbon freeze chamber, the dining room and the gantry, where Vader’s revelation to Luke still resonates strongly, after nearly 40 years. I do like the way that the set represents some of the luxurious aspects of the accomodation in this tibanna gas mine, with some nice detailing present in the doors and dining room.
We also see the arrival of a couple of craft, from which you need to choose which one can go on the landing pad: a Twin Pod Cloud Car, and ANOTHER version of Slave I.
This set includes our main cast of heroes: Han Solo (twice!), Princess Leia (also twice!), Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker ( Dagobah fatigues), R2D2 C3PO, Lando Calrissian, Lobot, two Cloud City security guards, two Cloud Car Pilots, a Stormtrooper, an Ugnaut, IG-88 (or a similarly shaped assassin droid), Boba Fett and Darth Vader. Many of our main characters have double sided heads. Han features the ‘centre part’ hair piece, first seen in the rebooted Death Star set in 2016. Leia’s formal dress features the new Minifigure Skirt element introduced recently. Luke has a new torso, and the reverse of his head suggests he has fought a couple of rounds with Darth Vader.
The collection of minifigures is terrific, and we have a few figures that have had no representation in modern times, including the Pod Car Pilots, and some new Bespin Guards. Lobot has been only slightly updated since 2012, and the Ugnaut has a new work suit.
Here is the Press Release:
75222 Betrayal at Cloud City™
Ages 14+.2,812 pieces
US $349.99 – CA $399.99 – DE 349.99€ – UK £299.99 – FR 349.99€ – DK 2999DK
*Euro pricing varies by country.Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.
Visit Bespin’s amazing metropolis in the sky—Cloud City!
Relive a world of unforgettable moments from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back or add your own fun twists to the story with this LEGO® Star Wars 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City set. The amazingly detailed set is divided into 4 sections, each depicting scenes from the classic movie. There’s a landing platform complete with Boba Fett’s Slave I ship, a detailed promenade, a dining room with seating for 5 minifigures, a garbage processing room with incinerator, and a sensor balcony for epic Luke vs. Vader Lightsaber duels. There’s also a carbon freeze chamber with a function to ‘freeze’ Han in carbonite, an interrogation chamber and prison cell, a secondary landing platform for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car, and so much more. Add an astonishing 18 LEGO minifigures plus 2 droids to the mix, and you have a set that Star Wars and LEGO fans of any age would be proud to add to their collection.
• Includes 18 minifigures: Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker in Bespin outfits, Chewbacca, C-3PO, Lando Calrissian, Lobot, 2 Cloud City Guards, 2 Cloud Car Pilots, Leia and Han in Hoth outfits, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, 2 Stormtroopers and an Ugnaught, plus R2-D2 and an IG-88 droid.
• Section 1 features a landing platform with a sliding entrance door and Boba Fett’s Slave I ship with an opening minifigure cockpit, movable wings and space underneath to store the Han in carbonite element.
• Section 2 features a dining room with a table, seats for 5 minifigures and a decorative Cloud City micro build; lounge with a transparent sculpture and 2 chairs; garbage processing room with an incinerator, conveyor belt and a deactivated IG-class droid; and a promenade with tree sculpture, mural relief and opening doorways leading to other parts of the model.
• Section 3 features a sensor balcony with railing and swing-out function, plus a maintenance cabin with opening round window for epic Lightsaber duels, plus a carbon freeze chamber with lever-activated ‘freeze’ function.
• Section 4 features a dark-red corridor leading to the interrogation chamber with a turning interrogation chair, plus a prison cell, hangar with a secret trapdoor and tool & weapon rack, and space for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car with opening minifigure cockpits and 2 stud shooters.
• New minifigure details include Leia’s red dress, Han’s Corellian blood stripe, Luke’s dark-tan Dagobah outfit, the Ugnaught’s head decoration and the cloud car pilots.
• Accessory elements include a wrench, handcuffs and Lobot’s cybernetic band.
• Stage air-to-air battles between Boba Fett’s Slave I and the Twin-Pod Cloud Car.
• Pull the carbon freeze chamber lever to pretend freeze Han in carbonite!
• Relive unforgettable scenes from the classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back movie.
• This amazing set is part of the LEGO® Star Wars Master Builder Series.
• Cloud City measures over 6” (16cm) high, 22” (58cm) wide and 22” (56cm) deep.
• Slave I measures over 4” (11cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 7” (18cm) wide.
Cloud City represents the culmination of the drama in Episode V: Lando Betrays Han, Chewbacca and Leia to the Darth Vader, who proceeds to torture them; Han goes into carbon freeze; Luke arrives to save his friends – unaware of Vader’s trap, discovers the family Legacy and loses his hand in his battle with Vader. That fact the our heroes manage to escape with their lives is remarkable. The arrival of an environment to live out the drama in LEGO form is exciting.
There we have it: coming up for release in October, with early Access available for VIP Customers in mid September: This set provides us with some great new minifigures, and some locations that have rarely been explored in LEGO. The multiple locations provides some great starting points for developing scenes, and I am sure this will be a set for people looking to explore this. Plainly, it you were looking for a scale model of Cloud City, you will be disappointed, BUT unlike Assault on Hoth, very little of this is a rehash of frequently presented material. Of interest is the lack of a UCS (Ultimate Collector Series) label, and the mention of the “LEGO Star Wars Master Builder Series” exactly what this means going into the future remains to be seen.
Is this one for you?
Costing $499.99 AUD, would you be looking at an early purchase, or wait until you see some hands on reviews? Empire Strikes Back was an important film in my childhood – the first film I saw where the Good Guys didn’t win! As such, I personally find it appealing, and might put it on my Christmas list.
Until Next time:
P.S.:Would you like the chance to win a copy of 76109: Quantum Realm Explorers, based on material from AntMan and the Wasp? Then check out the Rambling Brick’s Awesome MOC Competition: there is a little over a week left for entries, but I am sure some of you could be appropriately inspired in that time! There are two copies of the set up for grabs, thanks to the LEGO Group’s AFOL Engagement Team!
In which I throw caution to the wind and make a completely unknown purchase at LEGOLAND Japan. What I found was ultimately intriguing…
It was 1:30 in the afternoon, and I was running out of time.
I was standing in the shop at LEGOLAND Japan, at the tail end of my whirlwind visit to Japan. After several days in Osaka, and another few at Japan BrickFest, I had made my way to LEGOLand Japan. I had to catch a train at 2pm, in order to make my back to Kansai Airport for an early evening flight. I picked up a cap, a multicoloured elephant bag charm and a LEGO City Airport enamel badge – all exclusive to LEGOLAND Japan. Most of the actual building sets I could find elsewhere. And then I saw it.
A transparent plastic box, with LEGOLAND Japan’s logo on the side. In this box was a cardboard dragon, emblazoned with Knight’s Kingdom, Dragon’s Apprentice. This is one of the roller coasters at LEGOLAND parks, which I had not had a chance to ride on due to time constraints. I picked it up and was intrigued. It rattled as if it contained several poly bags. Any indication as to what was inside was written in Japanese on the bottom. I could not read the shelf label, and the battery in my phone was failing – so I was reluctant to use an online translation service. I picked it up, took it to the register and purchased it. After getting it home, it sat on a bench for a few months.
Today, I picked it up and looked at the base. There was a label I could not read, due to my near absent knowledge of Japanese script. That is not entirely true: there was a date that read 2018-07-18. What could that be? This was after I returned home. Perhaps it is a use by or ‘Best before’ date. I was intrigued. I agonised over the possibilities that might be spoiled by opening the ‘Thing mint in box,’ versus my curiosity, and spoiling the mystery by running the label through a translation program first.
I opened it.
I popped open the seal on the plastic box, and the dragon car shaped box glided out, like the way a roller coaster car glides towards the pickup chain. After a cursory inspection, I opened the mouth. Inside was a white confectionary, in its own transparent packet, about 2.5 cm in diameter, printed with the Knights Kingdom logo on the side. I prodded it: it was soft. Not mint in box, so much as marshmallow.
Now the conundrum: until now, everything was still intact apart from the seal on the outer box. But the ‘best before’ date had passed: should I return it, or throw caution to the wind and test it out?
I tore open the packet, and bit into it. The coating was slightly powdery. As I bit into the marshmallow, it became apparent that there was a chocolate filled centre, adding a interesting texture and flavour to the experience.
Mystery solved. Delicious. Was it worth the 1200 yen? For the joy it brought me in speculating over its contents, as well as the inner taste sensation, I would say yes.
Have you ever made a mystery purchase, and been completely surprised by what you got in the package? Why not comment below. As for the Marshmallows? Perhaps I’ll have another. Until next time,
In which I finally get my hands onto some of the new Powered Up components and find myself dealing with a system full of immense potential. I compare the Powered Up system with the old Power Functions system for driving the train, draining the batteries in the process. And I start to wish for a little bit of magic…