Time to Strike Back: Betrayal at Cloud City 75222 [Announcement]

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

• Weapons include Han’s blaster pistol, Chewbacca’s bowcaster, Luke’s Lightsaber, Vader’s Lightsaber, Boba Fett’s blaster rifle, IG-88’s blaster rifle, 5 blaster pistols and 4 blasters.

• 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.

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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:

Play Well!

P.Simg_2218.: 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!

LEGOLAND Japan Mystery Box

In which I throw caution to the wind and make a completely unknown purchase at LEGOLAND Japan.  What I found was ultimately intriguing…

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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.

IMG_2673A 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.IMG_2661

I opened it.

IMG_2672I 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?

IMG_2668I 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.

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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.

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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,

Play Well!

Time to get moving: first steps into the Powered Up system [Review: Passenger Train 60197]

img_2285In 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…

Continue reading

Ant-Man and the Wasp Competition Extended to August 31, 2018

img_2218A few weeks ago, I announced our building competition, to win one of two  ‘76109 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Realm Explorers’, thanks to our friends in the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group. Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Minifigure Innovations

With new Harry Potter LEGO Sets and Collectable Minifigures occupying the Zeitgeist, I look back on ways in which our minifigures have been innovated through their use in this theme over the years.title

When we recently looked at the new Harry Potter Collectable Minifigures, we had a look at the new leg elements – the ‘miniskirt’ and mid length legs. These new elements are a great inclusion during this, the fortieth anniversary of LEGO Minifigures.  I found myself wondering ‘What other innovations in figure design have we first seen in Harry Potter?’  We have seen so many different characters and creatures since the series first appeared in 2001: house elf, giants, goblins and trolls, as well as humans. To adequately depict these characters as minifigures form, a number of modifications to the standard form were introduced. Some of these we now take for granted.

The First (Second and Third) Double Sided Head Print

Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Order of the Figures

 

Harry Potter Minifigures are out in the wild. Once again, new legs are released in the Harry Potter theme.  Here are some scattered thoughts and pictures. 

When I first heard about the Harry Potter Collectable Minifigures, I was not feeling too excited. We had already been delivered the second series of The LEGO Batman Movie collectable minifigures, as well as the brilliant series 18 – celebrating the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the LEGO Minigfigure. I really loved that set, but my taste for it was somewhat soured by the presence of the chase figure: the Policeman.  While I loved the idea of this reimagining of the 1978 classic ( I mean, there were no stickers!), the presence of only one figure in a box pushed up the price on the secondary market. The fact that the ‘chase’ figure could be found in the same place in every box meant they were rapidly identifiable by enthusiastic collectors, and people looking to flip them on the secondary market.

Now the inclusion of chase figures in collectable minifigures is not new – There was Mister Gold, back in series 10: but that was SO rare that most people considered it a special surprise, rather than an integral part of the set.  Having a rare figure in every box makes it feel like a necessary part of the set. Especially when the package insert lists it as an integral part of the set. So I let the Policeman pass.  I purchased an ‘incomplete set’, and occasionally had a look at the well rummaged boxes that I came across on random. Around two months after its release, a friend gave me a call as asked if I was still interested? He had come across a couple of extra policemen in his travels, and we organised a simple trade.

IMG_9980And now we have the 71022 Harry Potter Collectable Minifigures Series.  With twenty two figures, it is the largest collection of minifigures to date. Early rumours suggested that there would be twenty four characters, and this is indeed the case, as we discover that two figures in fact have dual identities.  We have sixteen figures related to the Harry Potter Series, some represented for the first time; and six from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them.

IMG_9986There are also a number of special features introduced in this series:

Forty years of minifigures continues: Changes a foot.

As we have already considered this year,  we are now celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the arrival of LEGO Minifigures. In this series, we see the continuing development of minifigures with the arrival of a brand new minifigure element: the mid-height legs. One plate shorter than the standard minifigure legs, these are perfect for ‘not quite adult teens’, they are seen with seven of the twenty two figures present.  Initially I was concerned that these elements were isolated to a licensed, collectable minifigure series. However, this is not the first time that Harry Potter has been used to introduce new minifigure leg elements…The mini leg (design ID 41879), frequently used for children, Ewoks, Yoda and dwarves, was first introduced in 2002, as part of Gringotts Bank 4714, and Dobby’s release 4731, in tan, black and brown. These legs also featured in Star Wars, and train sets in the first year. Now, they are everywhere.

It is a shame that four of the seven figures that use the mid length legs have the markings associated with the gowns and uniform of Gryffindor students, and have limited reuse potential.  Fortunately, three figures have plain leg markings: Cho Chan and Neville Longbottom both have black legs, while Luna Lovegood has blue legs.

Here are the legs of all sizes in action:

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The other change that we have seen this year in in the use of the a new 2x2x1 2/3  curved slope (Miniskirt No.6 39139) : In this series of minifigures, we have three different colours and prints of the new part. It has also recently arrived in the Star Wars theme, worn by the Pretorian guards in 75216  Snoke’s Throne Room (Another August 2018 release). This element now means that figures wearing gowns or dresses are the same height as regular minifigures. Of interest, it is slightly tapered across the studs, and is slightly narrower than the bottom of the minifigure torso.  This has been the case with legs for years, but a point of difference with skirt wearing minifigures”

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Otherwise, what does the series have to offer?

22 minifigures, 24 characters, 27 faces,7 sets of the new ‘teen legs’, wands in 6 colours, 5 items of food, 2 suitcases ,5 animal familiars and a mandragora plant, dark green broom and a Golden Snitch!

So Much Pottery Goodness! Let’s cut to the chase and look at the Figures. Continue reading

Rage of Atlantis: Buy for the Minifig, Stay for the Movie.

In which I pick up a LEGO® DC Superheroes DVD for the purpose of just getting the attached minifigure.  Then I got caught up trying to workout how I could reproduce the Justice League figures as they are depicted in the film.  Do I escape from that rabbit hole before it is too late? Read on!

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It’s the start of August, and there has been a wide range of new LEGO® Sets just released: Depending on where in the world you are, there are new City, Friends, DC Superheroes, Unikitty and of course the long anticipated return of Harry Potter to choose from. But today, I am going to look at something completely different…

This week, the latest in direct to video LEGO® DC Superheroes Movies was released:  Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis. I have not been a dedicated viewer of Direct to Video LEGO Movies, and the target demographic – kids pestering their parents for Super Hero LEGO Sets – is now absent from my house. I confess I bought this one primarily for the exclusive Jessica Cruz Green Lantern Minifigure, which is included with the DVD. But I thought I would sit down and see how the movie played out.

I shall not dwell too much on the plot: in reality spoilers are not a major issue.  This is the kind of movie that will be watched by the target audience time and again. Running at just over seventy minutes, the animation is bright, action shifts from location to location at an reasonable pace, but not so fast as to make my head spin.  The music fits the mood of the action brilliantly – giving appropriate moments of dread, excitement and happiness. A musical highlight for me was the musical nod to the theme from ‘The A Team.’ However, there are no surprising plot twists, and corny jokes and cliches abound. I admit I might have had more than the occasional chuckle as I watched it.  That said, I have nothing against the use of cliche: to paraphrase the late Terry Pratchett, ‘Cliches are the hammer and nails in the toolbox of communication.’ The film delivers a positive message about the power of Teamwork, and Believing in Yourself.

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They look common enough, but only two of these actually exist as a single minifigure…

The Justice League in this film are represented by Aquaman, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and the self doubting Green Lantern Jessica Cruz. Along the way, Batfamily members Barbara Gordon/ Batgirl. and Damian/Robin join in the action. Continue reading