This year, we have celebrated a HUGE number of anniversaries associated with the LEGO Group. Sixty years of the LEGO Brick, Forty years of the Minifigure, Twenty years of Mindstorms and Ten years of Power Functions.
Regular readers will have followed my 40th anniversary of the minifigure covert celebration articles, and have come to realise that I am always happy to draw a long bow when it comes to searching for coincidences. Imagine my joy when I discovered that this is also the twentieth anniversary of the first LEGO Advent Calendar: released in 1998. And so my theme is set. In order to avoid perky spoiler photos of the Friends Advent Builds, I will start each post in this series with a brief presentation of one of the sets or themes produced by the LEGO Group in the celebration of the Christmas Holiday season.
Can I find twenty four themes to fill the period of advent? Time will tell.
Brick Based Advent Calendar: 1298
This year’s LEGO Friends Calendar contains no minimills, and consists predominantly of mini builds. However, this is not the first time a ‘mini build centric’ advent calendar has been released.
In 1998, the LEGO group released their first advent calendar. Set 1298 had 24 mini builds, in the style of older angular LEGO builds. It would appear that there was no need for significant variations between the different builds, although we do see a variety of boats, planes, cars and creatures. The same Santa minifigure even appears twice!
It would appear that each small model came in its poly bag, complete with alternate builds. The instructions even came with suggestions for ‘super models’ which could be made out of a collection of five or six of the models shown.
With lots of classic bricks, including bricks with simple face prints (both human and animal). According to Brickset, this calendar came with 208 pieces, and two minifigures.
This style of advent calendar was reinvented on an annual basis through to 2004. While mainly utilising brick built characters, there was even a brief flirtation with the Juniors figures, inspired by Jack Stone and the like. After this… well that’s another Story!
Catching up with our Friends for Christmas…
Today, we also start work on the new Friends Advent Calendar 41353: This is the sixth Friends Calendar released since 2012, and the first since the reboot of the characters in 2018. The box art is double sided, and features our friends all working together to trim the Christmas tree, all wearing seasonal jumpers (*please note – seasonal only refers to the Northern Hemisphere. Today it is forecast to reach 30ºC in Melbourne…)
When we open the flap, we get another image of the girls coming up with ideas for what they could do with their ‘Gift a day’ Calendar. We also reach our window per day panel – covered in random doodles relating to either the friends or the advent builds.
Let’s start behind the first door.
What could this pile of red and white elements with a hint of green and gold possibly become?
It’s a heart. The shape of that lake in the middle of Heartlake City. The star, attached to the leaf is a nice touch. this heart could be worn as a pendant, or attached to your tree with the aid of some wire.
Are you going to give this heart to someone you love? Or just hang it on the tree? Did you have any of the old Advent Calendars? I’d love to hear about how you enjoyed them. Why not leave a comment below, and follow the blog as we continue out Advent-ure.
Until tomorrow, Play Well!