Whatever happened to the 2 x 4 Brick? Minecraft: The Ice Spikes 21131

The humble 2×4 brick.

If any element over the years has been used to represent the concept of the LEGO® system of play, this is it.IMG_5070

One of the original elements in the LEGO brick parts palette, it is the first piece that springs to mind when many of us think of LEGO® Bricks.  The favourite element of many large scale builders, if you have enough of them, you can build almost anything!  It is one of those pieces that brings memories flooding back to those of us raised on basic sets back in the early to mid 1970’s.  Before the advent of the minifigure, this brick was the cornerstone of LEGO construction, being a significant component of the Basic/ Universal Construction Sets that were commonly played with in this era. IMG_5066While allowing an incredibly versatile method of construction, there is no doubt that that they contributed significantly to the chunky aesthetic that is associated with LEGO® design and construction in my childhood. When your parents say “In my day, it was just bricks,” this is what they are talking about.  Continue reading

Going Independent

You’d be forgiven, if you had your ear to the ground in Melbourne lately, for thinking IMG_5799 (1)that the only thing happening in the world of LEGO® Retail was the opening of the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the Chadstone shopping centre.

Get out of the malls

Do not think, however, if you don’t like shopping centres, or malls, or giant retailers that  you don’t have the option of finding some places around town where you can get your fix of LEGO® retail opportunity.  There are a number of independent stores, away from the larger centres, which offer a large range of current, and retired LEGO® sets, as well as providing the option of off brand, third party add ons for your LEGO creations.

Bring Bricks to Bayswater

One such store is Toybricks. The original store opened in the inner northern suburb of Fairfield, about five years ago.  A second shop has just been opened in the outer eastern suburb of Baywater.  With around 200 square meters of retail space, the shelves are filled with the majority of the current LEGO sets, as well as a few officially retired items. The new space has plenty of new stock, mini figures available for individual purchase as well as an area for MOCs to be displayed. There is a good range of Creator Expert sets in stock.

In addition to official LEGO products, Toybricks also stock Lifelites lighting systems, as well as the ME rails – both metal and plastic.  A selection of clothing and books are also available.  As well as LEGO, there is a small section of other modelling toys, as well as 3D jigsaw puzzles and robotics kits. Dean also has play tables, with (non-LEGO branded) baseplates on.  These plates certainly have impressive clutch power, holding oa small mock in place as the table top was lifted up and tipped on its side. To help you sort you parts, they also stock a variety of Australian made Fisher Storage Boxes.

Another service offered is a shopfront for the Ozbricks Bricklink store – preorders can be delivered to the shop for pickup, and a limited selection of parts can be purchased on site.

The shop has it’s grand opening this weekend (12th May), with some opening weekend specials including 25% off the RRP for the Creator Expert Big Ben 10253; 40% off selected sStar Wars sets, and Buy 2 get one free with 7499 Straight and Flexible Tracks.

This new store at 697 Mountain Highway Bayswater is close to the Bayswater railway station, and there is plenty of parking nearby.

Not only but also…

As well as their other store at 70 Station street Fairfield, there are a number of other independent retailers specialising in LEGO and related products around Melbourne including:

I’m Rick James Bricks at 49 John St, Pakenham.  As well as LEGO Sets, and a wall of bricks to select from and a build a minifigure station. Rick also sell’s Citizen Brick printed figures and tiles, as well as Brick Arms accessories and Brickmania military figures and kits.

Build and Play Australia can be found at 1387 Toorak Road, Camberwell. In addition to their range of LEGO sets and minifigures, they carry a range of Graphic Novels and Funko Pop Vinyl figures.

Shopforme have a retail location at 23 Dawson St, Coburg North, and in addition to LEGO sets stock a wide range of collectibles, and a strong online presence.

Bricks To The World, based in Gippsland offers online only service, with a wide range of current and retired sets, and prompt delivery.

I’m sure there must be some other independent resellers around Melbourne, and indeed Victoria: these are the ones I know, in the parts of town I tend to travel through.  Who’s your favourite? Who have I missed?

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement.  People often ask where can they buy LEGO locally, and it’s often a bit easier to have a post to point them to rather than pull out the back of an envelope…the opening of a new store made it feel timely.

I would also like to acknowledge that there are  many great independent and franchised general  toy shops out there, for whom LEGO is not the primary business. They can also be a great source of LEGO sets, without the seasonal shortfall that you often see with the major retailers.

 

Play well.

 

Missing out and optimism: Not quite the 40252 Mini VW Beetle

Over Christmas I built the Creator Expert VW Beetle, and found it to be a most enjoyable thing to take to the beach. So,40252_alt2
I was quite excited when it was announced that there would be a small version of the model available earlier in the year (40252).  Decked out in Dark Azure, just like 10252 (I sense a numbering pattern), I knew I was going to want to get it.  I also knew it was going to prompt me to place a shop.lego.com order when it became available.

And so April came.  Free gift with purchase over $60 was announced.  I was excited. And then the triple VIP points were added.  This period of the year coincides with school holidays in many states of Australia, and many of our major retailers have LEGO® Sets reduced by 20%.  Some stores were excluding Collectable Minifigures,  Some excluded The LEGO® Batman™ Movie Sets, and one excluded The LEGO® Batman™ Movie Collectable Minifigures.

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Retcon Rehash: 76044 – Clash of the Heroes

I’ve been waiting for the LEGO Batman Movie to pass before stepping back 12 months to revisit a set I purchased last year: 76044 Clash of the Heroes.  Born out of the disappointing cinematic experience that was Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, this set was exciting because for less than $AUD20, you could get both Batman™ and Superman™ minifigures.  And Batman™ had an armoured suit just like in the finale of Frank Miller’s grim epic, the Dark Knight Returns. (*Note: individual definitions of ‘just like the one in…’ may vary!) One of the highlights of the movie, in a movie containing so few, this armoured suit helped Batman™ give Superman™ a run for his money. Softening him up for the fight against Doomsday.  Many know how that ended.  Some don’t.  I won’t state the final outcome here…If you cared enough, however, you would have seen the film at some stage in the last nine months.  Fun Fact: BvS:DoJ opened in Australian the day before the US opening.  I don’t think we deserved this any more than the delayed release of The LEGO® Batman ™ Movie!

While this set is still in shops however, something has changed.

One of this pictures is a little bit different…

Just as any comic story that becomes too complicated, things may get rewritten, to create a retroactive continuity: to change the way things have always been.

This appears to have happened with the contents and art for this set.  When I first picked this set up, Batman looked like this on the box.  He has a cape in his Battle with Superman, and is wearing a cape in the picture of the figures from the side of the box.  And the box had punch out tabs to open it…

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Retro Reconstruction – 852 Helicopter 1978

LEGO Alive!

So, last week I wrote about my memories of my introduction to LEGO Technic, which was way back in 1978. Over the recent Easter weekend, I had the chance to visit my childhood LEGO collection.  I found some Technical set instructions in the mix: 8860-Car Chassis, and 856Bulldozer.  But not for my original helicopter.  Then I found the sheet you see here: preserved after 40 years.  Not the instructions for the Helicopter, but for the B-Model airplane. I turned them over, and on the flip side were blueprints for the helicopter, at a 1:1 scale.IMG_5385

Now, we ended up owning a fairly broad collection of LEGO for the 70’s-80’s: lots of regular bricks, ancient wheels and parts from 3 significant technical sets (as well as some supplementary sets).  I thought to myself: there is a high probability of locating enough parts to put the helicopter together. Perhaps not colour perfect, but structurally so.

And so I set to work…

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Ode to the Pick-A-Brick Wall: $44.98


The Pick-A-Brick Wall: A Poem

I walked on in, the lights shone brightfinal (4)
The buckets hung on walls of white.
Inside were parts of every type
But was the trip really worth the hype?
I picked up a cup, and scanned the wall.
What should I take, I want it all.
Over one hundred different parts
Just where does one begin to start?

The choice is hard, my brain went wild.
So hard to calm the inner child.
I looked for tiles: that was my dream,
First I found the white ice cream.
Regular bricks: red, pink and blue
I left them be, but what about you?
Left wing, Right Wing in Light Stone Grey.final (13)
Some jets complete it: what more to say?

Turntable bases caught my eye
I stacked them up, two hundred high.
How to use them? To decorate
a wall to make my next MOC great.
The garden, too, could stand to gain
Some bamboo and flowers if its all the same.
Clips and bars: grey and yellow
And those small flames, well hello!

So many parts in green of sand:final (15)
plates, clips, curved slopes all come to hand.
And telescopes, what about those?
I could use them to make an amusing nose
I stack my cups with bricks so bright:
Yellow and pink, a sherbet fright.
And then trans clear – slopes and bricks
When stacking up became quite thick.

IMG_5295But careful as you scoop parts up,
for if they fail to reach your cup,
Before too long they reach the floor,
and to step on them is sore.
Someone said, I don’t know who,
“It’s best to wear a safety shoe”
Its good advice, from someone kindfinal (9)
to give an adult piece of mind.

Another plan then sprang to mind,
with another project close behind.
As I filled the cup with different bits,
I knew my wallet would feel the hit
of expenses incurred with each cup,
as I moved along to fill them up.
One Large, One Small – enough today
But in the future: who can say?

The range was good, selection fun,
but I wonder if I jumped the gun?
A better plan to go and shop
for parts but to know just when to stop.
I’ll come again in three months time,
when the pieces change – that will be fine.
An autumn day, sky full of sun
made this LEGO store a bit of fun!

The retail store located at the new LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne opened its doors this week, ahead of the of the Official Ribbon Cutting Next Week.  

If you have seen a LEGO Store before, you probably know what to expect.  

If not: there are LEGO sets at retail prices (10% off for annual pass holders), small exclusive sets,  lots of gear and books that you will not normally see conveniently located all in one location.final (14)

And a Pick-A-Brick Wall.  I have seen Pick a Brick walls before.  I have even selected bricks from them previously. Even though this one is operated by Merlin, PAB at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne is charged by the cupful ($14.99 small; $29.99 Large), rather than weight (Hooray!) But it’s a little different when you have a little time, in your own city and go to visit it for the first time….it didn’t quite drive me to song.  

You do not need a ticket to the Discovery Centre to enter the store.

Except on dedicated AFOL nights, adults must be accompanied by a child.  This is an international policy in LEGOLAND Discovery Centres. It is a play centre, after all…

Play Well!

#LEGOEaster Raffle

FullSizeRender 52The LEGO® Community team have invited those in the Recognised LEGO User Group and Recognised LEGO Fan Media communities to join in the #LEGOEaster Campaign.

To join in, simply take your LEGO related easter photos, label them with the hashtag #LEGOEaster and share them on social media – Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, flickr etc.

To make it a little more interesting, the Community Managers have launched a raffle to go with it.

To enter the raffle: Continue reading