‘Region Exclusive’ Chinese New Year sets will be available in Australia/New Zealand [News 80101, 80102] –

In which I investigate exactly what the implications of being part of the ‘Asia Pacific’ region means for Australian and New Zealand LEGO Fans, in the face of  ‘Region Exclusive Sets,’ and find myself pleasantly surprised…

Earlier in the month, we were excited to hear that there will be a couple of new sets released specifically in the Chinese and Asian Markets to commemorate the Chinese New Year. Two sets have been officially announced to date 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner and 80102 Dragon Dance. 

The new sets celebrate iconic new year traditions. Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner shows a Chinese family reuniting to celebrate the lunar new year in a traditional home. Often performed during Chinese New Year, Dragon Dance is a symbol of the Chinese culture and is believed to bring good luck to people. The Dragon Dance set features a team of dragon dancers, with a minifigure dressed as a cute pig celebrating the coming Chinese New Year of the Pig.
Christiansen said: “These sets are special. They are the first sets we’ve created to celebrate Lunar New Year and the first time we’ve made sets for a specific country or region. We hope they bring a lot of joy to children and the young at heart during new year.”

While images have been around for a few days, language associated with the set had evolved from ‘the Chinese Market’ to ‘China and Asia’ and subsequently ‘Asia-Pacific.’ Does this mean that these sets will be part available in all countries in the Asia-Pacific region?  I sought clarification about the potential availability of these sets in Australia. (images used here are sourced from VJ Gamer Thanks to Brickfinder for the nudge)

I reached out to LEGO® Australia, and they have confirmed that these two sets will be available in Australia and New Zealand from January 1st, 2019.  There will be a limited distribution, with details to be confirmed closer to the time of release. The prices are also as yet to be announced. These details are at the end of this article.

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Learning from our Friends: Sitting Side by Side in LEGO® City [41348 Service and Care Truck-review] [Building Techniques]

In which we take further inspiration from LEGO® Friends, by looking at Olivia’s Service and Care Truck.  We follow up by developing a modification to allow two minifigures to sit side by side in a contemporary vehicle, that otherwise only seats one.  Now read on…

Last time, we looked at a couple of Olivia’s vehicles from Friends – from 2016 and 2018.  Both of these cars have our friends sharing the two seats in a 4×3 space, allowing them to sit side by side in a vehicle that is six studs wide – within the constrains of a four stud wide cabin (so long as there window are open). Today I would like to look at another of  her sets from this year. Who knows how it might inspire us…

Looking out for her Friends on the Track: Service and Care Truck 41348

Zobo takes the Wheel

The Service&Care Truck (41348) which was released in the mid-year wave of friends sets in 2018, and has 244 parts. It seems to fit in a similar  part count and price point (AUD29.99/€19.99/£14.99/USD19.99) as Olivia’s Mission Vehicle. 

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LEGO® Movie 2: New Trailer and further sets Announced [News]

As we get closer to the release of The LEGO® Movie 2 , the LEGO Group has  released details of new sets, as well as a new trailer on their Facebook page, with further details coming out via the Brothers Brick, and the LEGO Ambassador Network:.

There is something for everyone in this selection: minidolls and minifigures; juniors and older; Duplo and Juniors. Included amongst these are  new classic spacemen in blue, yellow and pink as well as some essential starter sets for buildling classic style spaceships (Printed classic space logos on 2×4 sloped bricks’; 4×3 transparent yellow slopes), and some brick built and highlights from the Systar System.

Larger images and descriptions after the break.

The building style ranges from simple Duplo Constructions, through to a post apocalyptic wasteland, via space and a psychedelic shape changing character in the form of Queen Watevra Wanabi. I have heard rumours of a new colour coming to the palette next year… and I see the stripe on the side of the bus looks like it could be Salmon/Vibrant Coral. To say nothing of at least another three Unikitty variations for the collectors. Certainly, there is something for everyone, but if you want to hold on to your wallet, you might need to accept that not everything is for you!

All sets listed are slated for release on December 26th.  The LEGO Movie 2 is due for release on February 6 in most of the world.  Warner brother via IMDB lists the Australian release date as 28th March. Delayed Again.

Yesterday, a collection of ‘Hero Shots’ of the main characters were released on twitter

These go me a just a bit excited: follow on after the break for the trailer and set details.

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Fitting In With Your Friends.

In which we visit the rebooted world of LEGO Friends and see how Olivia has changed.  I at a two of her vehicles from recent years. I then find myself wondering about how they manage to fit two minidolls side by side in a standard width car, but that seems to have eluded minifigures in LEGO City.  I’ll wait until next time to try and solve this problem.

We have long recognised that one of the challenges of teenage years is fitting in with your friends. “What if they don’t like my hair style? What if we’re all wearing the same earrings? What if I want to…? What if…? And so on. Total. Drama.

Friends has come a long way over the last five years, and this year we have seen new episodes and new stories of Heartlake City. Today I also look at several vehicles, which demonstrate ways in which two minidolls can be sat side by side. 

Our friends in Heartlake City are pretty good together. After five years, several subtle artwork redesigns and, now, a solid reboot, they are still a pretty tight group. Whether baking cupcakes, celebrating birthdays, going sailing or taking on a robot army and saving the local community, we have seen them come to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, with the power of friendship winning out at the end the day!

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Hispabrick 031 Available Now

This just in from our friends at Hispabrick Magazine:

We are back with another issue of HispaBrick Magazine: number 31.
In this issue you can see how AFOLs enjoy events in different countries like Japan, (Japan BrickFest), Chile (Brickfest Chile) or Denmark (LEGOÆ World Copenhagen).
We visit LEGOLAND Japan, Masao Hidaka shows us how you can build a monorail with current LEGO pieces and Julien Ballester tells us about Stuck in Plasticís annual toy photography safari, this time in the city of ParÌs.
In our interview section we talk to Jamie Berard, design manager specialist for Creator Expert and LEGO Architecture and we meet Quinten, winner of the 2018 LEGO Ideas Trophy Design Contest.
In the KOCKICE Corner we have another instalment of the Minidolls vs Minifigures comparison, a review of LEGO Architecture Skylines and an article about the different animals LEGO has produced.
Of course there are also EV3 and Boost tutorials, reviews and much more.

You can download HispaBrick Magazine from our downloads page:
https://www.hispabrickmagazine.com/downloads/

The team at Hispabrick Magazine have also just given their website a revamp and past articles are much easier to locate with their new index! My report from Japan Brickfest is reprinted in this issue, as well as many other great articles.

I have a new post coming out soon… looking to see what we can learn from our new Friends… until then, 

Play Well!

The LEGO Group announce STEAM Courses and Exclusive sets for China

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CEO of the LEGO Group, Niels B. Christiansen speaking at the LEGO Booth at the Chinese International Import Expo [Source: the LEGO Group]
The LEGO Group has announced the forthcoming release of sets celebrating the Lunar New Year (arriving January 1, 2019) as well as the launch of primary school STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) courses.

Speaking at the Chinese International Import Expo (CIIE), Niels B. Christiansen said “As a mission-driven business, we are committed to inspiring and developing children through creative play and learning. We are excited to announce these major launches for China at the CIIE, and our commitment to this strategic growth market and goals to provide the creative LEGO® play experience to the hands of more Chinese children remain unchanged.”

The CIIE is a major trade fair, and there have been a number of models and mosaics produced for the event by Prince Jiang (LEGO Certified Professional) and his team at the Brick of Philosophy studio. As well as the giant mosaic seen above, Prince designed a small model of Jingbao, the mascot of the event for VIP Visitors to the LEGO booth.

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Jingbao, LEGO Model designed by Prince Jiang.  Image Source: Prince Jiang, Used with permission.

It looks like there will be two region specific sets forthcoming: Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner, depicting a traditional Chinese family gathering to celebrate the new year, and Dragon Dance. The Dragon Dance is frequently performed during New year Celebrations in China.  The set also comes with a character dressed as a pig, symbolizing the Year of the Pig, commencing next year.

Edit: Images of these sets been subsequently removed from the online press release.  

Christiansen said: “These sets are special. They are the first sets we’ve created to celebrate Lunar New Year and the first time we’ve made sets for a specific country or region. We hope they bring a lot of joy to children and the young at heart during new year.”

The STEAM Courses are being developed as a collaborative exercise between  the East China National University Press, Chinese STEAM education experts and LEGO Education. They are scheduled for play testing in Shanghai later this year, with a view to rolling out in April 2019.

LEGO Sets were first sold in China in 1983, and thirty five years later, China is seen as an important strategic region for business growth.  With region specific sets, there will be increased challenges for Western Collectors, but it also opens up the possibility for presenting other region specific sets around the world.  Relative market sizes may make this less likely, however.

Until next time,

Play well.

IMG_0539
The LEGO Booth at CIIE.  Image Source: the LEGO Group.

The LEGO Group announced today at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) that it will launch its first elementary school STEAM* courses for Chinese students from next year, enabling local students to become active, collaborative learners and build 21st century skills.

The Danish family-owned business also announced that its first-ever sets inspired by traditional new year festivals will be available in China and Asia Pacific markets from 1 January 2019. Niels B. Christiansen, Chief Executive Officer of the LEGO Group, said: “As a mission-driven business, we are committed to inspiring and developing children through creative play and learning. We are excited to announce these major launches for China at the CIIE, and our commitment to this strategic growth market and goals to provide the creative LEGO® play experience to the hands of more Chinese children remain unchanged.”

The elementary school STEAM courses are the result of close collaboration between East China Normal University Press (ECNUP), LEGO Education and Chinese STEAM experts to ensure it complements existing courses. LEGO Education products including Simple Machines Set, Creative Suitcase, Space and Airport Set and Creative LEGO Brick Set are used in the courses to support teaching in an inspiring, engaging and effective way. Scheduled for test in primary schools in Shanghai later this month, the STEAM courses with consist of student textbooks and teacher guidebooks. It is be officially available from April 2019.

Christiansen said: “We believe in the power of play to develop essential life-long skills to succeed in the 21st century. We are proud of the close collaborations with local educators as we combine our global experiences and the local insights together to ensure that our first STEAM courses for Chinese students can contribute to the Chinese society’s growing needs of innovative talents with creative skills.”

The new sets celebrate iconic new year traditions. Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner shows a Chinese family reuniting to celebrate the lunar new year in a traditional home. Often performed during Chinese New Year, Dragon Dance is a symbol of the Chinese culture and is believed to bring good luck to people. The Dragon Dance set features a team of dragon dancers, with a minifigure dressed as a cute pig celebrating the coming Chinese New Year of the Pig.

Christiansen said: “These sets are special. They are the first sets we’ve created to celebrate Lunar New Year and the first time we’ve made sets for a specific country or region. We hope they bring a lot of joy to children and the young at heart during new year.”

China is a strategic growth market for the LEGO Group which has been engaging with Chinese children and parents with its system in play since 1983 when the LEGO sets were sold in China. Over the past 35 years, the LEGO Group has been building brand and geographic presence in the country. It has opened 47 LEGO branded stores in 16 cities and 157 LEGO Education centers in all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China.

The LEGO Group is participating in the first CIIE with a 378-square-meter booth that showcases a large line-up of its toy and education products and curriculum. The booth also features play tables where visitors can use their imagination to build their own creations with the LEGO bricks which are celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

CIIE is jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Municipal Government of Shanghai and held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) from November 5 to 10. The LEGO Group also teamed up with Chinese stakeholders to organize two seminars focusing on “How Play in Education can Foster Creativity and Innovation” and “Responsible Marketing to Children in Digital Age” during the CIIE.

Other highlights of the LEGO Group booth include:

• A master piece mosaic made by 112,031 LEGO bricks featuring Jinbao, the mascot of the CIIE
• The first sustainable LEGO® bricks made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane
• The new LEGO® Creator Expert Vestas® wind turbine
• Digital play experiences

A Legal Blow Delivered Against Lepin’s Copyright Infringements

img_28491.pngThis morning (November 6 2018), the LEGO Group announced a favourable  decision against Shantou Meizhi Model Co., Ltd. and three other defendents,who have made copies of LEGO brand sets, and distributed them under the LEPIN name.  As well as being ordered to cease and desist production and promotion of the infringing products, the defendants have been ordered to pay the LEGO Group RMB 4.5 million as damages. Whilst the penalty of $AUD901125/$USD649528 may not be a knockout blow, the cease and desist order might be more useful in keeping the production of inferior quality copies of fan favourite sets.

In recent weeks,I have certainly noticed an increased promotion of clone sets in my social media newsfeed , and it will be interesting to see how this new ruling will affect such advertising for LEPIN’s resellers.

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