It has been a little over 40 years since I fell in love with the idea of LEGOLAND® Space. Those initial sets put forward a future where people were collaborating in exploration, mining, and seeking out new worlds. All while improbably controlling vehicles with a steering wheel, and only installing cabins on to craft cabable of inter-planetary travel. All while drinking coffee in a base with the main control room open to the vacuum of space or whatever hostile atmosphere the team were facing this week.
After Exploring Classic Town, I have been planning a series on ‘Whatever Happened to Classic Space?’ to arrive over the next few months. A lot of the answer depends on how you define Classic Space. While some might limit the definition to sets that include the logo with the shuttle orbiting a planentoid – others might use the definition of sets released before the arrival of Futuron and Blacktron in 1987; Others might feel that to use colours other than Blue, light grey and transparent yellow might be pushing a friendship.
When Minifigures arrived on the scene in 1978, we were presented with three settings: Castle, Town and Space – The Past, The Present and The Future. Through the 1980s, these themes developed in their own ways, fairly independent of each other. During the 1990s, we saw the themes diversify in different ways: Space brought us a new hyperfluorescent faction each year; Castle changed a little less frequently, but introduced an increasing amount of magic. In the meantime, Town diversified: no longer the sole home of contemporary lifestyles, we saw different themes split off, containing subject material based on the contemporary real world: Divers, Paradisa, Outback, Race, Space Port, ResQ, Team Extreme, and Sports. The ‘core material’ – which we first saw back in 1978 – police, fire and construction – became increasingly juniorized. Having been further dumbed down for younger builders with the introduction of Jack Stone, and other 4Juniors sets, we saw a return to more mature material with LEGO World City.
However, both the 4Juniors and World City themes featured alleged models of modern vehicles that bore minimal resemblance to the real-world equivalent. After the LEGO Group’s financial crisis, a number of themes were discontinued, and the company set out to return to its core business. A revitalised town theme was introduced – but things were on their way to being a bit bigger; expectations were greater: Town just wasn’t going to cut it anymore: we were presented with LEGO City.
There is something about Italian design from the mid 20th Century. It feels classic, and modern at the same time. The Fiat 500 demonstrated it, and now the LEGO Group have announced the year’s Motor Vehicle For Adults (the label formerly known as Creator Expert): the Vespa 125.
I have to admit, this is one of the more elegant vehicle sets for some time, and more so as a Creator Expert syle Motorcycle, rather than a Technic Model. This baby blue motor scooter captures the charm of this classic bike, endeavouring to capture the iconic curves that have seen the Vespa maintain its popularity some 75 years after it was first introduced.
The set will be available from March 1 2022 and cost 169.99 AUD / 129.99 CAD / 99.99 EUR / 89.99 GBP / 99.99 USD. It has 1106 elements, and measures 35 cm long, 22 cm high and 12 cm wide.
But will this set be one to pick up when it is released on the first of March? Lets take a look through the images that capture the details of this model.
Outside of the time that I spend thinking about LEGO, I work as a doctor looking after patients needing anaesthesia. Typically, this is for surgery but sometimes for other things: childbirth, correcting heart rhythms, and occasionally helping people through investigations where the environment is a little bit scary and intimidating.
One such environment is the MRI (Magnetic resonance) scanner: a relatively closed and noisy environment, some children might require an anaesthetic to help them through the experience. Such investigations are used in children to investigate problems such as brain tumors, seizures as well as other problems.
Not every child needs an anaesthetic, however. Some find that using music or videos during the scan can make it easer, but without a doubt, the greatest antidote to fear is education.
As such, I was extremely excited to hear that the LEGO Foundation, the charitable arm of the LEGO Group, are planning to donate 600 models of MRI scanners to hospitals around the world to help children to become more familiar and understand the process when they go into hospital for such investigations.
The project was initiated by chemical technician Erik Ullerlund Staehr as a passion project. More recently Senior Designer at the LEGO Group, Rok Zgalin Kobe, has been spearheading the model design and functionality adjustments of the LEGO MRI Scanner.
The overnight announcement of the previously unannounced LEGO® Jurassic World Dominion sets left be remembering how I used to want nothing more than a toy Dinosaur. Since then, dinosaurs have become a mainstay of the LEGO range, never taking more than a couple of years off. I take a bit of time surveying the history of LEGO Dinosaur sets, from the mid 90s to the forthcoming Dominion releases.
Back in the day, I was dead keen on Dinosaurs. I couldn’t get enough of them. Except, living in a rural town in Australia in the mid-1970s, the best I could hope for was my Ladybird book of Prehistoric Animals and Fossils. Much of the included information is outdated or at least wildly inaccurate except, perhaps, for the fact that the Tyrannosaurus Rex ate meat.
This book strongly recommended trying to get some dinosaur models or toys and building a diorama using chicken wire, papier mache and a few sticks. Of course, these models were not readily available, and it was not until 1976, visiting Melbourne, that we found some plastic model kits. My brother got a brontosaurus(as it was then called) and I picked up an ankylosaurus.
After putting it together and painting it, I glued it to a piece of wood, along with a few pieces of pine bark and a cardboard panel cut from the box, giving some of the animal’s vital statistics. I probably kept it until I was about 30. I can’t find any images of it these days but 7-year-old me was really proud. This obsession with dinosaurs probably lasted until Star Wars was released. But that’s another story.
Fast forward to 1992 and the release of the first Jurassic Park movie, and I remember wondering through Toys R Us, feeling somewhat sad that there were so many dinosaur toys on the shelves. As I was still a struggling student, I avoided diving down that rabbit hole. Now, LEGO® Dinosaurs have a more recent history – with serious sets dating back to around the turn of the century. Join me as we take a look at the Dinosaur sets of the past, before looking at the sets due to be released in April 2022
Over the last few years, the LEGO Group have released a number of stadia for Football(soccer) fans around the world: Old Trafford; Camp Nou, and today, the LEGO Group reveal Santiago Bernabéu, the home of Real Madrid as the latest stadium to be produced into a complex LEGO Set.
Real Madrid is celebrating its 120th anniversary, and the grounds are celebrating their 75th anniversary, so reproducing the grounds this year seem like a natural choice. The set goes on sale in LEGO stores, from and in Real Madrid stores on 1st March 2022 for the recommended retail price of €349.99 / $349.99 / £309.99 /449.99 CAD / 549.99 AUD. It has 5876 pieces and measures 44x38x14 cm. With this many pieces, it is, technically (by part count) a larger set than the Diagon Alley set from 2020. There have been a couple of changes to the top 10 since I last presented it in September last year… so read on to get those details.
The latest set announcement from the LEGO Group caught me a little by surprise. What on earth is Horizon Forbidden West, and what does a Tall Neck do? It turns out, I might have been living under some sort of a rock, as the game player in the house looked over my shoulder and muttered something along the lines of “Ok… now you have my attention.”
I managed to work out for myself that Horizon Forbidden West is the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, released in 2017, initially on PlayStation, then in 2020 on PC. The scenery and cinematics associated with the game are truly awe-inspiring. But I’m a bit out of the loop with the story, so I invited my son, Harry, to explain why this matters…
(Spoiler warning: if you are likely to play Horizon zero dawn, a game released in 2017, best go and take a look at another site. But if like me, this is unlikely, you have been warned.)
Great news for Victorian based LEGO fans, young and old alike. A few weeks ago we revealed plans for a new LEGO Certified Store to open near Melbourne’s Central Business District- information obtained by scouring LEGO related job ads. Today we can confirm that the store will be located jn the Melbourne Central shopping centre, and is due to open in April. The centre is located centrally, and has easy public transport access.
The store will also feature the LEGO MOSAIC MAKER- the first in the Southern Hemisphere. At this time the store is expected to be the Largest Certified Store in the Southern Hemisphere.
The 2022 Monkie Kid sets continue to delight and surprise me with the diversity of their content. Having looked already at the the Staff Creations, City of Lanterns, and Mei’s Dragon racer, this set takes us off world, and brings us a different type of playset.
In Chinese legend, Chang’e is the goddess of the moon, accompanied in some versions of the story by a Jade Rabbit or hare – based on the shape of the shadows cast on the moon. The rabbit is said to be pounding herbs, or making mooncakes. And so in this set, we see s mashup, with Chang’e and her rabbits overseeing a Moon Cake Factory.
Moon Cakes are traditionaly part of the mid autumn festival, and wonder if we will see aspects of this festival appearing in another set later in the year, or next year.
In this version, imagine Chang’e as a streamer, livestreaming the goings on at her mooncake factory, while playing games in her spare time. Living on the moon, she is accompanied by her rabbits, who pilot a rabbit shaped mech, while she has a rabbit shaped robot taking care of security. In the mean time, she sends boxes of Moon cakes back to earth… in a carrot shaped rocket. I have not had the chance to see how the story plays out in the Monkie Kid series yet, but I am looking forward to seeing how it pans out.
With the 2022 Formula 1 season barely a month away, the wraps have come off the changes to the formula for 2022, but the actual cars are probably a few days away from being unveiled. With the announcement of the new 42141 LEGO ® Technic McLaren Formula 1 today, we have a better idea of how the new car will look for the British based team. The set was revealed on the McLaren.com website this evening, Australian time.
Hitting shelves just one month out from the eagerly awaited return of the Australian Grand Prix (7 – 10 April), Technic fans will now be able to celebrate the return of our very own Daniel Ricciardo – and enjoy the suspense, emotion and excitement of his first race on home soil in three years – all while taking part in the ultimate Formula 1 building experience.
The set has 1432 Pieces, and has an RRP of 179,99€/179,99$/£159.99 GBP/239.99 CAD/ 279.99 AUS. It is due for release on the 1st of March.
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