Rambling Brick Turns Four

On January 30, 2016, the Rambling Brick was born. Four years ago, give or take a couple of hours. Please pardon a little indulgence as I take a quick look through some highlights of the last 12 months.

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LEGO Boost Droid Commander launched… with a fanfare

Announced on May the 4th this year, the ‘official’ launch date for the Droid commander has arrived. The inverted commas have been provided for the benefit of the set becoming available a couple of months ago on LEGO.com.

To celebrate the launch, LEGO have released a video, presented here in widescreen glory.

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Giving the Arctic Scout Truck a BOOST [60194/17101]

In which I struggle with the ideas of combining two sets into a completely seperate model, attempt to answer the riddle “What do you get if you combine a truck with a LEGO Robot?”, and find a sticker sheet that I really really like……

A couple of weeks ago, I brought you the first part of my look at the 2018 LEGO City Arctic Scout Truck. As a medium sized city set, I thought it was pretty nifty: a bit of landscape, a dog and polar bear, a few different figures and  cool (Ahem!) truck, with drive wheels and caterpillar tracks. How could it be improved on?

Now, some days I worry about the kind of LEGO builder I have become. The idea of taking a recently built set, and combining it with another set, featuring a similar colour palette caused me a little consternation. Both sets would now be potentially irreversibly combined. Or uncombined. I found myself lacking the necessary motivation to carefully seperate both sets at the end of the exercise. Perhaps this is a clear signal to continue the sorting exercise which I began last year, before getting a little… distracted. Again. Continue reading

Time to get moving: first steps into the Powered Up system [Review: Passenger Train 60197]

img_2285In which I finally get my hands onto some of the new Powered Up components and find myself dealing with a system full of immense potential. I compare the Powered Up system with the old Power Functions system for driving the train, draining the batteries in the process. And I start to wish for a little bit of magic…

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Giving the Roller Coaster a Boost

Not satisfied with merely motorising my Roller Coaster 10261, I incorporate the Boost Robotics System, and then add some additional functionality. It’s all fun and games until the batteries stop running at full power…

IMG_0255There is no doubt that the new Roller Coaster 10261 is a magnificent model, worthy of a set piece in any LEGO Layout.  But driving it manually is a little tedious,to say nothing of the roughness of the ride. How can we make it so that we may have the coaster running, and share a drink with friends at the same time, while they marvel at this wonderful set?

Simple motoring using an ‘M’ motor.

Adding a Power Functions medium motor is simple: so simple in fact that you can work out how to do it in the pre release video: plug a motor over the drive shaft, and let it go.

And it goes on… and on… and on until you turn it off.  There is no break in the activity, the constant rumble of the motor.  Don’t get me wrong, this is pretty awesome, and with two trains of coaster carriages running, it can be pretty hypnotic. There is no reason that this should be any harder with the equivalent Powered Up/ PF2.0 motor, when we see it released in the future.

But I wonder if more can be done.

A Little Boost
In fact, adding simple automation to the set using the Boost Move hub, sensor and servo motor is pretty simple, and is described on the final page of the instructions. This is what it looks and sounds like.

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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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