Stone the Crows: Australia has a LEGO® Postcard [40651 Review]

During 2022, we saw a number of small ‘iconic’ sets appear in the shops, representing great cities of the world: New York, Beijing, Paris and London. The latest in this series will be released on January 1st 2023: 40651 – Australia. That’s right: It’s not just Sydney, it’s Australia, Capturing the wide open spaces that encompass the nonurban centre of our country!

When I first saw it, I wondered where the Landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour bridge were. These buildings provide a quick cultural shorthand for Australia. However, a trip to the LEGO Australia offices (where both of these can be seen from the lunch room) revealed that to include these landmarks would have involved licensing arrangements, something outside of the budget for the postcard line – Leave that for premium marques within the LEGO group such as Creator Expert/Icons and Architecture. Likewise, sites of cultural significance to First Nations people, such as Uluru could not be included.

And so the postcard embraces Australia’s landscape, with a nod to the farming heritage, as well as a few things that are iconically Australian: the Gum tree, the cockatoo, the ‘roo crossing sign and the outback dunny.

As such, I can understand why the Australia postcard looks like this. So read on while we take a look at the set, kindly sent over for a prerelease review by the LEGO Group.

It comes in the same small box as the London and Paris Postcards – with a world map on the back, showing where Australia is. Don’t Laugh. Many people didn’t fully realise how big the country is on a world scale. Or indeed where it is. Some have merely considered it to be Austria, subjected to a spelling error.

Lets look at the bricks: as with other postcard sets, plack plates dominate the frame word, while medium blue tiles – especially in 2×3 dominates the sky. The landscape itself is given represented by dark orange – a more relevant choice for the outback desert and dust than many might realise. There are a few other elements of interest, but the ones that raised the most eyebrows when the initial images were revealed, it would be the sand green recolouring of the bamboo leaves.

There is a small sticker sheet… bringing us some woodgrain prints, as well a name plate and… well more on that later.

As with other postcards, we begin with the backdrop: blue sky, some clouds and a nifty microscale jet of uncertain corporate affiliation.

From here we build out the foreground: plates on top of SNOT Bricks which will connect to the lower row of studs on the skyline.

From here, we start to add microscale details to the land: I love the colonial homestead, with its corrugated iron roof, and even more the outback dunny. to say nothing of the rainwater tank next to the house. A few other plants are added along the way. I wonder if the purple and green studs represent a banksia tree,

We start work on the branches trunk of a gum tree, on the banks of a creek, and the makings of a signpost. the tree contains a number of ‘footplates’ where a 1×2 plate is at right angles to a 2×2 ’tile.’ These are used to attach it firmly to the background.

In fact, the base of the sign is quite clever: it uses a candle element, along with stud with handle element: the 1.28mm connector on the candle, plugging into a stud with a hole in, located at the front right corner of the postcard.

Finally, we add the wind pump – a wind-driven pump, bringing water up from the Great Artesian Basin – a source of underground freshwater, without which much of the interior of Australia would have remained uninhabitable.

This brings our basic landscape together:

Next, we attach it to the backdrop:

A few more details are added to finish it off: a sulphur-crested cockatoo in the tree (more typically around the south-eastern, eastern and northern coastlines – and a couple of hundred kilometres inland, rather than red centre); branches in the gum tree, and the warning sign.

These signs are not uncommon around Australian roads: A kangaroo is a bloody big animal! And solid. If one hits your car, the car will come off worse off. These signs are relatively common around the country, and I love the way that the graphic designer has incorporated the studs into the design of the sign, ensuring the LEGO DNA is incorporated in this iconic sign – certainly something that will clearly distinguish the landscape from any other country in the world.

Finally, we have a 2×6 white tile which mounts to the centre of the postcard’s base, declaring Australia! written on a wood panel, and surrounded by gum leaves, I think it looks just right.

Now, this is a set that will probably polarise Australian LEGO Fans: the final postcard is, I think, a fitting tribute to the country, especially without dealing with architectural IPs and sacred sites. It creates to an extent, a fitting tribute to the a most peculiar country, and its heritage.

Some might say it is a bit of a cliche that urban Australians have been trying to overturn for some time.

Conversely, to paraphrase the Late Terry Pratchett: What are cliches, if not the hammer and nails in the toolbox of communication?

The homestead could be in many places, but the colour of the dirt, the gumtree, cockatoo and street sign are uniquely Australian. Overall, the image is one more inspired by Baz Lurmann than Barry Mckenzie. If you dream of coming to visit Australia, this won’t be what you see when you arrive at the airport, but it’s out there to be found.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 Arbitrary Praise units. If you are a fan of the LEGO Postcard series, it is a must-have, and a pleasant change from the urban environments of Beijing, New York, Paris and London. The set will be released on January 1, 2023, and has 191 pieces. If you are inspired to purchase this set, please consider using our Affiliate links: they help to offset the costs of running the blog.

I’d love to know what you think of this postcard: love it or hate it? Too much bushland and not enough Bondi? why not leave you comments below; follow @Ramblingbrick on Instagram, and tune into our podcast collaboration with Jays Brick Blog – Extra Pieces for more distractions, as we run up to Christmas 2022.

Until next time,

Play Well!

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