Reducing the Known Unknowns? 2018 Train Box / Controller Images.

I don’t normally pounce on every piece of news regarding official box art, but this particular box is well related to my recent article about the forthcoming LEGO Trains.  What does it add to our list of Known Knowns?

train controller

After summarising what was known about the Powered Up Platform three days ago, we now confirm that the Battery Hub has dimensions of 4×8 studs. We now have visual, consumer level, information that there will be an app available, as well as the remote.  The Bluetooth remote will not be backwards compatible with Infrared trains, but this will not surprise many.  I can see the value of including this information however, as families with pre-existing trains may have certain expectations. Whether the Train App looks like this when ultimately released, or can be customised, remains to be seen.

Also confirmed on the box art is the availability of new straights and curved rails packs.

Does this add to our previous ‘known unknowns? Not in a significant way.  Videos from the Fall Preview reveal the as yet not officially seen connectors on the Battery Hub, being the same as that seen on the Boost and WeDo.

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Previously discussed and speculated version of the Move Hub. WE DO NOT Know exactly how many bricks tall it is, but I suspect it will be a similar height to the previous train battery box.

The big remaining unknowns about the Move Hub is exactly now tall it will be, as well as the number and type of batteries required. I’m sure this will be confirmed soon enough.

The trains are due for release in ?July/August, depending on your market.  The Australian Prices have been confirmed as $AUD199.99 for the Passenger train and $AUD299.99 for the Cargo Train.  This is great news for australian consumers, as this represents a price drop for the Passenger Train, and a price freeze for the Cargo Train.  The previous versions were released in 2014.

Are you excited for the new train sets or other sets incorporating the Powered Up platform?  Why not leave your comments below.  Until Next Time,

Play Well.

Time To Get ‘Powered Up’: Known Knowns, Known Unknowns. And A Little Speculation…

Feeling overwhelmed after a barrage of press releases and new sets being announced by LEGO in New York this week, I attempt to put together what is known about the new Powered Up platform, previously referred to as Power Functions 2.0

60197_LEGO_City_Personenzug_Packung-2This week, at the Fall Preview for the (Northern) Summer 2018 LEGO® releases, there have been a number of exciting announcements, some of which have been vigorously speculated about for most of the year, plus a couple of surprises!

Given that this year respresents (amongst other things) the twentieth anniversary of the LEGO Mindstorms range, and also represents 10 years since we first saw the arrival of Power Functions, it should come as no surprise that we have seen a number of sets featuring the new “Powered Up” platform – previously referred to as Power Functions 2.0.

“For 20 years, we have been creating new ways for children to combine technology and LEGO building, starting with the introduction of LEGO MINDSTORMS®, a robotics toolkit that pioneered the idea of a ‘smart toy,” said Michael McNally, senior director brand relations for the LEGO Group. “With Powered Up, we’ve established a flexible connected platform to enable innovative new play experiences that merge digital and physical play in natural ways that will delight and inspire the builders of today and tomorrow – while still focusing on the core physical play proposition of our System of Play – the LEGO brick.”

We have also seen some exciting announcements to go with LEGO Boost.

Powered Up: Power Functions 2.0 Known Knowns.

Back in February, we presented information about the new power functions platform. We were aware that we have a new combined Bluetooth receiver and Battery Box, as well as a motor unit suitable for trains. We knew that the new cables featured the same connections as the WeDo 2.0 platform, as well as Boost.We also knew there would be a new remote and that the platform could also be App Powered.

This new platform, and all of the other Motorised LEGO Elements now fall under the broader banner of “Powered up,” and includes CITY Trains, app driven vehicles, Boost and the DUPLO Cargo Train.

Trains

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Thirty Years of LEGO® Helicopter Transporters [Review 6357 vs 60183]

IMG_1069Just as Minifigures (Happy fortieth birthday for last weekend folks) bring life to a LEGO® Town layout, so do vehicles.  Sorry for the use of a dodgy  segue there.  And the only thing better than a LEGO set with a vehicle to build, is a LEGO set with two vehicles to build!

This year, as I have previously discussed, we are seeing some interesting parallels between the LEGO city sets, and sets that are 20, 30 and 40 years old.  I have also seen a particularly strong set of coincidences between the Town range of 1988 and that of today, and I would like to explore this further today.

Today I would especially like to look at the helicopter transporter truck.  Just why a highly manoeuvrable flying vehicle needs a truck to take it from Point A to Point B, unless it has broken down, and managed to land in a somewhat controlled fashion without dismembering all on board,  in such a circumstance, I am not entirely sure. However, I am going to jump past that flaw in logic to examine this special class of set, which not only celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year, but also has its tenth representation in a LEGO Set. Continue reading

Coincidence or Coverup? The Covert Celebrations in LEGO City, 2018 [ Land Jet 7580; Speed Record Car 60178]

In which I postulate a trend of rebooting Classic LEGO Town vehicle sets in a year otherwise chock full of LEGO Celebrations. A conspiracy? A cover up? An unexpected Easter Egg?  Step inside the Rambling Brick House of Advanced Aluminium Millinery and join us on a rollercoaster ride of unfounded supposition, speculation, and imaginary voices calling from inside the LEGO Room as we look at Jet Cars, past and present.

Coincidence or Coverup? The Covert Celebrations in LEGO City, 2018

IMG_9838As has been previously discussed, this is a year for celebrations at the LEGO Group. We have seen sixty years of the LEGO Brick, forty years of the minifigure (to be celebrated next month with series 18 Collectable Minifigures), and twenty years of Mindstorms. The fortieth anniversary of the Minifigure also commemorates the arrival of classic town, space and castle. Now space and castle don’t have individual representation at present, but LEGO Town has Grown over the last 40 years to LEGO City.

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Some of the new Great Vehicles in  the 2018 LEGO Catalogue.

There are themes in LEGO City that recur on a regular basis: Fire, Police, Coast guard. And there also less frequent themes: Volcano, Jungle and Arctic Explorers to name a few.  But fitting in between all of these are some Great Vehicles.  They fit in your city, but are possibly off theme for this year’s main City sets.  And they are sure to return every so often.

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Some of the classic LEGO gets celebrating their 20th, 30th and 40th anniversaries this year? Coincidence? I think not… [Catalog scans from brickset.com]

As I looked through this year’s catalog, I spied some familiar subjects, from catalogs in my youth, ‘classic’ sets on display at shows and a mysterious feeling of delay vu. This year, I believe we are seeing a number of vehicle sets revisited on their 40th, 30th and 20th anniversaries.  I accept these concepts all come and go in LEGO Sets on a regular basis, but with all of the aforementioned anniversaries I am suspicious that some  sets from the past have been revisited and given a contemporary spin on the occasion of their 40th, 30th and 20th anniversaries.

Here at the Rambling Brick, we would far rather believe in a conspiracy than a coincidence, and so I would like to believe that these might be a covert celebration of sets celebrating their decennial anniversaries this year. Over the next few months I am looking to explore some of these past sets which, while not necessarily classics, provide some insight into how things have changed over the last forty years. Continue reading

Looking Forward to the rest of the year at the 2018 Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair

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The Rambling Brick, and Friends at the Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair.

The toy fair season is now starting to wind up for now: We have had Nuremberg. We have had New York. Now we have had Melbourne…

The Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair is a bit of a mouthful. Predominantly a trade show, taking place in Melbourne in early March each year, LEGO Australia have a strong presence. There has traditionally been little ‘big news’ coming out of the show, as visitors have not been able to take photographs at the LEGO® booth, a trend that was reinforced at Nuremberg this year.
 I had the chance to visit the Fair last weekend, and visit the booth displaying our favourite Danish Plastic Brick. Once I got past the big displays outside the booth, I had to put the camera away, and make do with words and memories.
After the recent New York and Nuremberg Toy shows, there is little to be seen in left field, unexpected presentations.  Unlike New York, there are no Direct to Consumer sets on display (for example: Hogwarts Great Hall; Ultron Hulkbuster).  There were also no Brickheadz or 40th Birthday Minifigure sets on display.  There were no sets associated with unreleased movies ( such as Jurassic World; Solo; Incredibles 2) , unless they were already on sale (Avengers: Infinity War went on sale the week before the toy fair).
There were plenty of sets on display that are already on the shop shelves, readily available to purchase in real life shops, or on line. And everything else that I saw already has an entry in Brickset’s 2018 database. However, there were some sets from the second half year on display, of which few details have previously been available, or for which some additional clarity was able to be gained. If you wish to avoid spoilers, look away now.  If you have read everything coming out of Nuremberg and New York, there may not be a lot that sounds new… but certainly a few points of clarification.

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Getting started with Mining in the City [Mining Team – 60184]

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In which we consider recurring subjects in LEGO Town and City, consider the nature of the LEGO City Starter Sets and realise why they are no longer named as such, investigate a new cohort of mini figures, make a mountain explode and realise that Glow in the Dark Spiders are never going to surprise you by jumping our of the cupboard. Now read on…

It is a year of celebrations and anniversaries: 60 years of the brick, 40 years of the minifigure, 20 years of Mindstorm. Going back a little, we have just celebrated 10 years of modular buildings/ UCS Millennium Falcon and the Taj Mahal, with a tribute, reboot, or reissue for each.

But there are many sets in this year’s city range that call back to sets from the past, 20 and 30 years ago, and we shall look at some of those in greater detail over the next few months.

Today, I was looking at the Mining Team Set 60184, and saw a vehicle that took me back to the early days of LEGO Town:

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The front loader, 607 from 1979 was part of the second wave of LEGO Town sets to be released. A simple vehicle, for a simple time, and bears a remarkable resemblance to the dump truck seen into days set for review. Continue reading