Carnage 76199 [Hands On Review]

A few weeks ago, the latest in the LEGO® 18+ ‘helmet’ set was previewed: Marvel’s Carnage (76199). Advertised as a Target Exclusive in the USA, with no other international media supporting its existence, the world became a little anxious: will this be a regional exclusive, associated with an event that never happened (Note: we were reassured 2 years ago that the idea of a regional exclusive was gone, although event exclusives – read Star Wars Celebration and Comic-Con, and retailer exclusive, within certain makets remain).

And then a few days later, Carnage appeared on LEGO.com, along with this year’s Star Wars helmets – Darth Vader and Scout Trooper. We have subsequently seen helmet models for Venom (76187) and Batman (76182 )revealed.

I have been fortunate to reveive a pre release copy of the Carnage helmet for prerelease review – so without any further ado…

Carnage 76199 is perhaps not technically a helmet, so much as an alien symbiote engulfing the body of serial killer Kletus Cassidy, but thwere is no doubt that he has an extremely distintive physiognomy.

The Box is similar in form to the boxes seen for the previous Helmet models, and the black box works quite well here. Carnage is labelled as ‘Assembled from the Spider Man Universe.’ The set has 546 pieces and costs $89.99 AUD; £54.99;€59.99; $59.99 USD It will be released in the USA on April 11, and the Rest of the World May 1, 2021.

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Extra Pieces Episode One Now Live

Last Thursday, Jay’s Brick Blog and I announced that we are collaborating on a podcast for LEGO Fans – Extra Pieces. Now, in some parts of the world, it was April Fools Day, and some people seemed uncertain as to our actual sincerity.

It turns out that was not a hoax. In our firtst real episode, Jay and I discuss some of the our favorite April fools LEGO gags for 2021, as well as the new Star Wars Helmets, Probe Droid and also discuss the recent challenges faced by LEGO Fans, thanks to the LEGO VIP Program, and how it might change what it means to be a collector of LEGO Exclusive products…

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Hunt the Rebellion on Hoth with the Imperial Probe Droid [75306 Hands On Review]

The Empire Strikes Back is regarded by many to be one of the best Star Wars movie ever made. The ominous, speechless opening of the movie as the Empire searches out any hidden enclaves of Rebellion, around the Galaxy, sets the tone as to which team is on the offensive: A New Hope started off with the rebellion on the front foot—smuggling the hidden plans of the Death Star to those who might be able to best exploit any weaknesses. The Empire Stikes Back sees the Imperial Forces taking the initiative with the Probe Droids being dispatched across the galaxy. We see one crashing onto the barren world of Hoth, rising out of the snowdrift like a malevolent cybernetic jellyfish before setting out to scan the landscape. Appearing before a cross to Luke Skywalker on his Tauntaun, in all its stop motion animated glory, make the Imperial Viper Probe Droid the first character to appear in the film.

As such, it is high time to see this droid receive a more detailed treatment than the minifigure scaled brick built versions we have seen across various Hoth playsets, Advent calendars and magazine covers, over the years.

The 75306 Imperial Probe Droid will be released on 25th of April, along with the 75304 Darth Vader and 75305 Scout Trooper Helmets. It has 683 pieces and will cost: $59.99 USD/ €69.99 EUR/ £59.99 GBP / 119.99 AUD / 79.99 CAD.

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Limited Edition Marbled 2×4 Bricks for 2×4 Day [2nd April 2021]

**This article was posted on April 1 2021. Unfortunately it isn’t true. It’s a Joke. Just as well: the VIP system struggles under load enough as it is…**

Tomorrow is the second of April, known to some as 4×2 Day, and to celebrate the Global Day of LEGO® Play, an exciting addition is coming to the LEGO.com VIP Centre tomorrow:

If you have been keeping your eye on the world of AFOL collectables for any period of time, you will be aware of the ‘Grangemouth’ Marbled 2×4 bricks. Produced by the Borg-Warner factory in Grangemouth, Scotland in the late 70’s these brightly mixed coloured 2×4’s have been part of a global trading network between AFOLs.

A selection of Marbled Grangemouth Bricks from the late 1970’s.
Images – Elspeth Demontes, used with permission.

The factory was involved in producing plastic for inclusion in LEGO Bricks, and the company had been loaned a number of molds over the years. The multicoloured bricks were created by a couple of well meaning factory workers under the cover of darkness for local children, probably after the completion of the testing program. The bricks were, however, discovered by representatives of the LEGO Group, and the molds being subsequently retrieved by the Danish Toy Maker with extreme predjudice.

The bricks eventually made their way into the wild, and have been traded by fans over the years, who have wowed audiences on Flickr and Instagram with their vibrant marbled brilliance.

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Keeping It Simple with the Troops: 75305 Scout Trooper Helmet [Hands On Review]

Sometimes, its not about being in charge, or having all of the action. Sometimes its just about hanging around, waiting for something to happen, or to be sent off on some errand. At least, that’s how it sometimes appears to bewhen you are living the life of a Scout Trooper, the subject of the latest LEGO® Star Wars Helmet.

I recently took a look at the forthcoming 73504 Darth Vader Helmet sculpture, the latest from the LEGO Star Wars team. With over 840 pieces, that set has the highest part count of any of the helmets currently available. The LEGO Star Wars helmet other set due for release in April, 73505 Scout Trooper with 471 parts, has the current lowest.

Thanks to the AFOL Engagement team, I received a prerelease copy of this set for review purposes – it will be hard to avoid comparisions with the Vader helmet.

The set comes in the ‘standard’ helmet box, with its instruction manual, 5 bags of elements and a sticker sheet. As we already mentioned, the set has significantly fewer elements than Vader’s helmet, and as such the instruction manual is almost half as thick.

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Building the Dark Side: 75304 Darth Vader Helmet [Hands On Review]

The Darth Vader Helmet Box and instructions, with a minifigure (not included) for scale.

The LEGO Group have recently announced the LEGO® Star Wars Helmet sculptures for 2021: 75304 Darth Vader and 75305 Scout Trooper, as well as 75306 Imperial probe Droid (not an actual helmet).

Today, I would like to look at the 75304 Darth Vader Helmet .Couretsy of the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group, I have been fortunate to receive a prerelease copy to build prior to its release on April 25. The set has 834 parts and has a recommended retail price of: $69.99 USD/ €69.99 EUR/ £59.99 GBP/ 89.99 AUD / 99.99 CAD. It should be available for pre order now, in some markets (unfortunately, not Australia).

Darth Vader was the first character from the Empire that we met, within the opening minutes of Star Wars/ Episode IV/ A New Hope – and we never see his face until the closing minutes of Return of the Jedi. In the mean time, all of his characterisations can be attributed to his posture, camera angles, and the voice of James Earl Jones, added in Post Production. As such, his helmet is an integral part of his character.

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in putting it together…

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New 18+ Star Wars Helmets and Imperial Probe Droid Announced

Last year, we were introduced to LEGO® Star Wars Helmets – the first sets to be labelled 18+, introducing a new subtheme of LEGO Star Wars Sets. Today, we get our first official look the new LEGO Sculptures for 2021, aimed at the adult market: Two helmets – And a droid.

We have 75304 Darth Vader, 75305 Scout Trooper and 75306 Imperial Probe Droid. These sets will be available to pre-order in some markets from today, and are due for a general release on April 25, 2021.

Along with a number of other Recognised LEGO Fan Media, I took part in a roundtable discussion with some of the LEGO Star Wars Design team – , including Jens Kronvold Frederiksen – the Creative Driector of LEGO Star Wars. We covered a range of topics – which included discussion of the new helmets, and the Probe Droid.

There were a number of interesting things to learn about these models:

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Q&A with the White Noise Creative Team

A few weeks ago, the LEGO® White Noise playlist was released on Spotify and other music streaming/digital download platforms. After spending some time listening to the tracks, I found myself with a number of questions: Was this designed to play while building LEGO sets (where the ‘searching sounds’ might be reduced, due to presorting elements?) or as a way to drown out other sounds, to provide that white noise interference to allow your mind to focus on whatever activity you have at hand.

As a recording to listen to, I found the sounds nostalgic, but I did not find myself getting lost in the listening experience. My personal emotional response to the recording was limited: while the sounds are familiar, there is something about it that didn’t get me lost in the experience. BUT I don’t think that is the point of using this playlist. It perhaps serves a stronger role as a source of random frequencies, at relatively unpredictable rhythms – white noise is typically used to try and block out extraneous sounds, rather than elicit a true emotional reposnse.

I reached out to the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group with some questions, and Primus Manokaran, the Creative Director for the Project, was kind enough to send through some answers:

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21326 LEGO® Ideas Winnie the Pooh Announced. Tiddely Pom.

Two years ago, tiddely pom,

Many a heart skipped a beat, Tiddely pom,

As we all discovered, Tiddely pom,

That the world of Winnie the Pooh was going to become a set with LEGO Ideas. Tiddely pom, tiddely pom.

A model of trees, Tiddely pom

Filled up with bees, tiddely pom

A place that Pooh sees, to call home.

The whimsical, wistful poems of AA Milne were amongst the first that I ever heard, and I learned to operate a record player at the age of 5, in order to play the Disney Audio book of ‘Now We Are Six.’ It was a little longer before I came to discover the House at Pooh corner, and the quest for hefferlumps and hunny.

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Transeo Marilynosa![ Rebuilding the 31201 LEGO® Art Hogwarts Crests as Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe]

A couple of months ago, I put together the 31201 LEGO Art Harry Potter Hogwarts Crests (HPHC) mosaic, and I felt a little underwhelmed. But I think this was more a ‘me thing’ rather than an issue with the set: I personally didn’t feel a strong affinity with the source material, not really identifying with any particular Hogwarts House. I have heard from plenty of people who really enjoy the build, and want to build the set of crests, as well as the larger combination crest. So, as I said, it’s a Me thing. Perhaps I should have looked at a crest other than Hufflepuff’s?

That said, one positive point that I do appreciate is a large number of left over parts.

Of course, one of the stated goals for the LEGO ART range is not just to produce a mosaic which you could hang on your wall, but to also give adults an activity to focus on. You don’t need to hang your final result. you can dismantle it, and rebuild it as one of the other options, or even rebuild it as another image.

Despite personally feeling a little deflated by the HPHC building experience, I find the idea of building a LEGO Mosaic/Art set appealing. If you have followed my posts around the time of the range being announced, you will have seen my analysis of the value for money building the LEGO Art Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe, either through the set or purchasing the individual elements (Spoiler – they sets are good value for the elements you receive).

I’ll have to admit, the notion of a mass marketed LEGO Set based on the mass produced screen print of Marilyn Monroe amuses me as a further extension of the pop-art movement. So, I thought I would set out to investigate whether I could rebuild the Hogwarts Crest as Marilyn. Therefore using a mass produced LEGO Artwork to produce a different mass produced artwork. Now, along with virtually all Building instructions, you can download them from the LEGO customer support website, OR you can access them from Building Instructions App.

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