The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® 51515 Robot Inventor set was released a little over a year ago, and represents a conceptual shift in programming the LEGO Robotics platform. Offering both Scratch and Python-based programming, the core set comes with 5 models for construction and programming. I have looking to obtain a copy of this set for exploring the current MINDSTORMS paradigm. But I have my reservations about the LEGO group’s ability to provide comprehensive documentation for their automation platforms such as Powered Up and MINDSTORMS. These reservations were eased when, just as I was setting out to place my order for a copy of the set, I was offered a pdf copy of Danielle Benedettelli’s ‘The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robot Inventor Activity Book for review, by the publishers, No Starch Press.
Danielle Benedettelli has been involved with LEGO MINDSTORMS in some shape or form for the better part of 2 decades, both within the wider community, as well as helping The LEGO Group test and develop software for the LEGO MINDSTORMS Product line. He has published books about LEGO BOOST as well as EV3, and now works as a freelance model builder and high-school robotics teacher.
Henry Pinto and Cade Franklin shot to fame during the first season of LEGO® Masters Australia when they brought home the winners’ trophy. With a generous dose of creativity, to say nothing about a fair bit of talent in the ‘building with bricks’ department, Henry and Cade have released a book, in time for Fathers’ Day here in Australia.
The home of the brick, the LEGO House, in Downtown Billund dominates the landscape. Entering the building is simple. You don’t even need a ticket. You enter, and find yourself in the main ‘town square’ you can visit the LEGO Store, cafe’s and the ticket office. And beyond that… well, how much time do you have?
You can probably see most of the LEGO House in a day. You probably won’t do much else, and by the end of the day, you will be determined to finish it, just as a matter of principle.
But this is not a post about the LEGO House, but rather the latest book from Chronicle Books. – The Secrets of the LEGO House: Design, Play and Wonder in the Home of the Brick by Jesús Díaz. This volume landed on my desk at an unexpected time, and is available to order now.
Now that the world is opening up, and live fan events are starting to sporadically appear around the world, we are starting to turn our attention to building models for exhibition. There is no doubt that a little bit of movement can help add life to a model – whether it’s an automatic door, a radar dish, or a slowly rotating turntable. These are not so challenging if you have grown up with a bit of basic mechanical knowledge. However, sometimes the right way to achieve such mechanisms using LEGO Bricks can be just a little bit obscure.
But help is readily available, if you know where to look.
Over the years, a number of LEGO® themes had had their stories added to in Comic form – be it the continuing adventures of Indigo and Polka dot in ‘Bricks and Pieces’ in the 1980’s, through to ongoing stories relating to LEGO themes in the now discontinued LEGO Club magazine, or the monthly titles currently offered for Ninjago, City and Friends. To say nothing of Exo-Force and Bionicle titles along the way.
Today, Skybound Entertainment, who brought us such titles as The Walking Dead and Invincible have announced that they are partnering with publisher AMEET – who currently produce a large number of LEGO Titles – to launch a LEGO branded comic book in 2022
Will this be telling stories related to current themes – Ninjago, City, Friends – or developing new themes? Even with the LEGO Group’s current exploration of material for adults, I cannot see them looking to develop material based on the Walking Dead or Invincible. The current LEGO Licensed themes are all essentially owned by either Warner Bros or Disney, both of whom own significant Comic publishers. As such, I suspect there might be something new afoot – either a new licence, a new in house theme… or it might simply be a new arrangement for the monthly magazine publishers.
I love a good LEGO® Spaceship. I love looking at them. I love the stories behind them. I would love to enjoy building them, but my spaceship design skills appear to be trapped somewhere in the late 1970’s. As such, I was quite excited when No Starch Press told me that Jeff Friesen’s (aka jeff_works on Instagram) new book was going to offer 52 such models, with extra inspiration and parts lists, in his latest book, LEGO® Space projects. Due for release in June, to coincide with world Astronomy month, it is currently available for pre-order, with a 25% discount on the list price of $USD24.99 (print and ebook). The eBook’s list price is $USD19.99.
Almost 12 months ago, we received a note that Chronicle Books, a boutique publisher in San Francisco, was preparing to release a few books that might appeal to LEGO® fans. Recently, I received a couple of books in the mail to review.
Today, I would like to present one of their 2021 books: We Just Click: Little LEGO® Love Stories. Written by Aled Lewis, who also wrote LEGO®Small Parts: The Secret Life of Minifigures, this book is one of those small books, that makes an ideal gift. Particulary to a loved one, at a time when all of the LEGO Roses in the world appear to be on Backorder!
A few weeks ago, LEGO Idea’s called for input from AFOLS regarding a new, history focussed book, to be written by Daniel Konstanski, and published by Unbound. The votes are in, and the book to be produced will be the Secret Life of LEGO® Bricks. The publication is now open for crowdfunding support and will continue to accept pledges into 2021, with publication expected around (northern) spring 2022.
There were three titles up for selection on LEGO Ideas: the Secret Life of LEGO® Bricks, The LEGO® Brick Museum, and LEGO® History in 100 Bricks. I suspect, ultimately, regardless of the title of the book, this was going to be about important LEGO® elements from over the years – and I am looking forward to seeing the completed book in 2022.
Unbound is excited to announce a major new initiative with AMEET, the LEGO Group’s global strategic publishing partner, to launch the first official direct-to-consumer book created in partnership with Adult Fans of LEGO®️(AFOLs).
Developed with input from a group of AFOL ambassadors and voted for via a public competition on LEGO®️ Ideas, The Secret Life of LEGO Bricks is a LEGO history like no other. Showcasing the extraordinary variety of LEGOelements, from monorail tracks and wheels to smart bricks, the Mask of Life from BIONICLE®️, and many more, The Secret Life of LEGO Bricks will feature interviews with the designers, managers and technicians who brought them to life, as well as artefacts from the LEGO Archive in Billund, Denmark.
The book will be written by Daniel Konstanski, the US Editor for Blocks Magazine and a passionate, lifelong LEGO fan. He is an ardent student of the LEGO Group, its portfolio of beloved products, and the AFOL community, having researched and written hundreds of articles covering every aspect of the hobby. Daniel is considered one of the most knowledgeable and authoritative voices in the fan community on the company and its products.
This is an exclusive, once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of LEGO history; The Secret Life of LEGO®️ Bricks will only be available through Unbound, and every fan who pre-orders will get their name printed in the back of the book. A range of additional must-have rewards from the LEGO Group include a print of the famous LEGO wooden duck dating from 1958 and retired LEGO sets retrieved exclusively from the ‘LEGObasement’, with more to be revealed.
Robin James Pearson, Head of Publishing at the LEGO Group, said: ‘We are thrilled to be working closely with the AFOL community to identify, co-create, and publish unique books that satisfy the great thirst for knowledge of our adult fans. There have been a number of books published about the LEGO Group and the LEGO brick over the years, but this is the first time we have had the opportunity to work directly with the adult fan community to discover what titles they would like to see on their bookshelves.’
Unbound CEO Dan Kieran said: ‘Unbound is a global publishing platform where superfans can come together to fund books that are too niche for the conventional mainstream marketplace. Along with the book itself, Unbound and their partners also create exclusive merchandise, experiences or tickets to events that will not be available in any shops. We’re thrilled to be opening up Unbound to an iconic, global brand like the LEGO Group.’
AMEET Vice President and Publisher Eric Huang said: ‘This collaboration with Unbound allows AMEET to expand its publishing to a new audience, reaching adult fans for the first time. We hope this is the start of a long and successful publishing venture.’
The crowdfunding campaign will launch on Monday 17th August at 3pm BST and will be accepting pledges until early 2021. Books are expected to arrive with pledgers by spring 2022. This truly is a book for AFOLs, by AFOLs, with the full support and involvement of the LEGO Group.
More details can be found at the project page on Unbound here:
Personally, I am surprised to see this project going ahead with a crowd funded model. I would have thought the LEGO Group would have had confidence in the market to have supported this book through one of its established publishing partners, such as DK. However, the crowd funding model helps to ensure that the print run is appropriate, so that we don’t see excess copies being sold off in remainder bins for less than the cost of the paper used to print them. It also gives us, as AFOLs the opportunity to be engaged with the project – particularly with those supporting the project having their names printed in the back of the book, to say nothing of some teasing with regard to potential rewards available to backers, from hard to get sources. I’m sure we will have more information about this available from unbound.com in the coming days.
What do you think of the final choice? Was it your preference? Do you find the idea of learning more about LEGO history appealing? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,