Minifigure Gender distribution: 2017 update

A little over a year ago, I wrote up an analysis of gender distribution in LEGO® Minigures in the post friends era.  In the years since LEGO Friends had been released, there had been some positive trends towards an equal balance, after starting from a pretty low base line (around 11% in 2012) up to 30% in the Volcano Sub-theme of LEGO City in 2016.

As well as supporting the regular themes, 2017 has been a big year for LEGO tying in with cinematic releases, with both inhouse and external IP.  By the end of the year, we will have seen a new Star Wars movie, Wonder Woman and Justice League movies, The LEGO Batman Movie and LEGO Ninjago Movie released.

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The LEGO Ideas set: 21312 Women of NASA.  Real Life STEM role models in LEGO Form.  This set is due to be released this week from LEGO retail stores. 

This post was provoked, in part after reading a comment about the relatively low female representation in the Collectable Minifigure sets recently released. I thought it would be interesting to revisit the question of gender distribution in some popular LEGO themes, and see if there were any significant shifts in trends over the last 12 months, when I last reviewed the numbers. The impending release of the Ideas set ‘Women of NASA’ is also of interest, as it certainly demonstrates a desire to see inspirational female role models immortalised in LEGO form.

I would like to look specifically at LEGO City, overall, as well as broken down into its major sub themes; The LEGO Batman Movie; The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and also LEGO Friends. I would also like to look at LEGO Star Wars sets released since the Force Awakens… Continue reading

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Stressed by the Elements: Saturn V, Tiles, Plates and the Legality of Connections.

In which I build the Saturn V Ideas set, almost lose it in a wind gust, consider the legality of the American flag on the moon and Jamie Berard helps us to establish that plates and tiles are more different than we may have previously considered…

IMG_7086I have just been fortunate to complete one of the most satisfying builds I have attempted in recent years.  The LEGO® Ideas Saturn V Rocket  21309 was released on June 1st, to wide accalaim. The Rambling Brick was fortunate to secure a copy on release day, courtesy of of the LEGO® Community Engagement Team.  Any opinions expressed here are, however, my own. The set has been subject to backorder on shop.lego.com for some time, and production continues to catch up with demand.  This may take some time.

IMG_7116Since completing the model, I have been confronted by a severe weather warning, with the possibility of destructive winds – up to 120 km/h (roughly 70MPH).  This is a shame, as the winter sun has been shining brightly today: just what you need to take stirring, outdoor shots of an amazing model.  On setting the model up outside, it became apparant that there are reasons for spaceflights being delayed due to bad weather.  I managed one or two shots before catching the falling bohemoth, as it attempted to attain equilibrium in its ongoing battle with the forces of nature. That is to say, i caught it before it hit the ground.

Perhaps I’ll try again on a less windy day.

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Underneath the Arches: Exploring One Stud Radius Curves.

 

One of the great things about LEGO bricks is the system: the way elements fit together and interact with each other, sometimes in unexpected ways.  Studs and tubes are easy to understand. As are minifigure hands and the way they plug into the end of a tube or anti stud, or clip over a 3.18mm bar. Every so often you come across a new set of interactions, and wonder just how far these relationships between elements extend.

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This happened to me this week: While my sorting continues, I was browsing through my holding bin of bricks with bows and arches.  Look, over there, a distraction. And before I knew it, I found myself considering the 1x4x2 arch and what I can place snugly under this arch.  Fortunately, during The Sort, most of the the relevant parts end up in the ‘bricks with a curved surface’ bin.

The arch fits nicely over the top of a window frame 1x2x2 2/3 (Design ID 30044).

The curve of this arch perfectly describes a semicircle, with a radius of one stud (that is, a length of a 1×1 square plate).  This is the same circle described by a 2×2 round plate, brick, tile or droid body.  Also the base profile of a 2×2 ‘dome brick’ officially known as final brick 2×2 Design ID: 30367. But more on that element later.

I have several other bricks that look like they should fit underneath this arch, with a studs up orientation. Those parts are a few of the bricks with arches and/or bows, including:1x1x1 1/3 with arch; (Design ID:6091); and 2×3 with arch (Design ID: 6215); brick 2×2 with bow and knobs (Design ID:30165) and 1x4x1 1/3 (Design ID: 10314).  Let’s see how they all line up after the break…

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Colours That Only Dogs Can Hear

Please do not consider this a complete color guide!

Here at Rambling Brick headquarters, there is a project looming.  Not technically an immensely secret or important project.  But I don’t wish to reveal it right now. Please don’t take it personally. It will enhance the element of mystery in weeks to come.

In the meantime, I need to be ready for it. Now, for the last couple of weeks I have been sorting elements in my spare time. My initial eight box sorting technique was a little optimistic. What was initially going to be a simple ‘bricks plates, modified bricks, slopes, plates, tiles, small bricks/plates, greebly bits and everything else’  .  I found a few extra bowls to put go through on the way: minifigures; minifigure accessories; curves and arches; round bricks; round plates, long tube like bits, profile bricks and random technic elements; I have made it through the majority of the casual boxes of broken down models and unrelated parts lying around the house.

The smaller elements seem to be in  different types: 1×1 cylinders; 1×1 cones; 1×1 square plates, square tiles, round plates, and round tiles.  Possibly a few more different colours than I would have been happy trying to fit into a fifteen compartment tackle box.  But if we double up colours in the same compartment, it should be easy enough to identify them.  In principle.

The other thing that has become apparent is the need for adequate lighting.  And reading glasses.  Some of these things are just related to normal ageing. The light is more related to sensible purchasing decisions.  Sometimes the white LEDE light panel needs to come out to help work out what I have. However, I have discovered is that perhaps I am a a little more colour blind than I realised. Some colours are a little difficult to identify on their own, without a reference. Color variations in LEGO are not unknown.  Colours that seem to be particularly inconsistent include medium blue and flame yellowish orange. Especially if medium Azur or regular yellow are close by.

This has been a challenge when sorting cheese slopes, small plates and round studs. As you can see many of these colours are pretty close together on the spectrum, and if the lighting is a little unreliable, then confusion can abound.


One colour is especially causing me problems.  When ever I see pale aqua on its own, I accidently put it in with the white parts.  Then I see it has doesn’t match, and attempt to chase it.  How is it that it vanishes to the bottom of the compartment, only to be visible out of the corner off my eye when I stop searching for it?  Any direct questing seems to result in bitter disappointment. If only my visual acuity was a little more akin to the hearing of a dog?

But was it real, or just a trick of the light? So again, I come back to this: bright, white light is certainly more important than a nice moody warm light in your sorting space. What do you use to ensure appropriate color matching in your build area.  I’m open to suggestions.  It may save a few headaches.  There are more important things to have headaches about!

Do I actually own pieces in this colour? According to the Brickset colour database, I should own some. I have a couple of sets with Unikitty in somewhere. There were some spare 1×1 plates included from what I recall.

I wonder where they went?

Why not share your colour matching challenges in the comments below, and be sure to follow the Rambling brick for casual musings, random thoughts and occasional reviews.

In the meantime,
Play well.

Sorting… with Extreme Prejudice.

I have a problem.

Well, I have several, but only one is particularly relevant to you today. It is to find order amongst the chaos. Yes, we are talking about sorting the LEGO collection: mine has gotten a little out of hand.

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This topic is frequently brought up discussion groups, so I thought I would tell you where I have been, and let you know where I am going.  I know many of you have well sorted collections/resources, some are a little more…chaotic.

My current collection of building bricks has evolved from my children’s collection: started around 10 years ago.
In those early days, after graduating from one box, Continue reading

Inside 4000010: The LEGO House Preview

As part of the recent LEGO Fan Media Days, the Rambling Brick had the opportunity to preview the LEGO House.  Located in Billund, opposite the old Kristiansen family home and on the site of the former town hall, the LEGO House will be a place to have a LEGO Experience unlike any other.
The building is complete, and those working inside, or visiting the building are no longer required to wear a hard hat. There is still a little way to before the house will be ready for the public however…
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The inspirations for 4000010: The LEGO House and 42061: Telehandler seen together in the wild.
I had intended to look at set 4000010: The LEGO House, a promotional set available around Billund at present.  However, my luggage has decided to take a slightly more circuitous route than even myself to get back home!
I shall delay that review for early in the week, so long as the Luggage arrives intact…
In the meantime, read on to see what we discovered about the inspiration for that set, the actual LEGO House.

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Busy in Billund: The LEGO Fan Media Days 2017

The last week has left me spinning so fast that I cannot think exactly where to start!

So I’ll tell you where I have ended up: in a hotel room in Geneva, overlooking the park near the lake.  It’s just got dark, around 10 pm in evening.  It sounds like there are a few people having a good time over there, and traffic rumbles by under my open window.  What started off as a cold and drizzly morning became a sunny day.  But I missed most of that.  I have been attending a conference. Even learning things! As I sit down to type it is Sunday evening, and my glass is empty.  It only contained water, so I can probably top it up simply enough. Or perhaps I’ll put the kettle on: let’s do that.

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It all started last Tuesday when I arrived in Billund. Eventually. I arrived after only 26 hours of travel.  Melbourne-Singapore-Frankfurt-Billund. In an attempt to see how many characters represented in LEGO I could see in movies, I managed to watch at least some fragments of : ‘The LEGO® Batman™ Movie’, ‘Logan’ (not a bit like that mighty micro Wolverine who was racing Magneto), ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (Disney, 2017), ‘Moana’ as well as ‘Fantastic Beasts, and How to Find Them.’

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Characters from films I had the chance to watch on my long haul flights…

I checked into the LEGOLAND Hotel: not a themed room, but I suspect at this stage I may have been a little overwhelmed by that!

But what was I doing there? Continue reading