60271 LEGO® City Main Square: Time For Adventures

When I first saw the images of the new 60271 LEGO® City Main Square, I was pretty nonplussed. My first response to a casual view was along the lines of “… another quad bike police chase, another helicopter, a new tram, a recycled limousine, some landscape and a couple of buildings. And they are asking $AUD275/$USD199.99 for this?” Please understand, I actually thought in terms of the currency conversion

” Meh.”

“And the characters have names now. What?? In the past decade, LEGO City has been the last stronghold of the anonymous minifigure!” Some of the characters might reappear, but I’ve never had anyone tell me what to call them before.

But after closer examination, there are aspects of this set which are worthy of further attention: drawing on some of the characters and situations seen in the animated series LEGO City Adventures, this is one of the largest LEGO City sets ever produced.

It is being marketed heavily as a set for the family to Build Together. As such, it is aimed a a variety of ages, not just something to leave your adventurous 8 year old to work on by themselves. As such, while some builds may feel overly simple (Aimed at a 6 year old), some represent building styles not seen in LEGO City for many years.

Come with me on a tour through the Main Square of LEGO City. You might not enjoy all that you see, but you might discover some things that leave you pleasantly surprised.

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The Lego Group And National Geographic Inspire Kids To Develop Creative Solutions For Real Life Environmental Challenges

You may have noticed that some of the recent (coming in August to North America) releases of LEGO City and LEGO Friends have been cobranded with the National Geographic brand.

The new City: Deep Sea Explorers, as well as Friends: Jungle Rescue subthemes have been developed in collaboration with National Geographic to encourage children to explore the world, and consider their own ways to solve some of the problems that we are facing, going forward.

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Binge Building the LEGO City Advent Calendar 2019- Part 1

This year, I have felt as though I have been busier than ever. Sometimes when life gets busy, it becomes harder to find a little time to sit down and dedicate regular time to a project.

Just As I am now more likely to binge watch a television program via a streaming service, rather than a weekly viewing commitment, I have decided to take this approach with the LEGO City Advent Calendar this year.

Looking at the box, however, it seems to give us a great idea of what to expect as we open the windows: minifigures, vehicles and other snow based activities. In previous advent calendars, we sometimes see sequential builds develop into a larger structure, or to tell a story – for example, presents under the tree, while the family gather around the fire. Perhaps there are some hints to this as we look at the front cover of the box.

As I proceed with my binge building, I am curious to see whether the daily builds contribute to the build from the previous day, in one long narrative, or if we will see stories with parallel threads, waiting to be drawn together at the last minute? Let us start, by taking a look through door number one.

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6000 Ideas Book: Now the story really starts.

LET ME tell you a story. Years ago, before LEGO® Life, before the internet, and before instructions required us to place only 2-4 elements per step, it was common to find inspirational ideas for further constructions on the back of the box that you bought your LEGO sets in. No Instructions. No parts list. Just a single picture. Sometime several. Town, Castle, Space: all themes from ‘back in the day’ featured these alternate builds. And they provided inspiration to further develop our play ideas.

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Bright Lights, Big City: Light and Sound Brick 2019

Nothing brings a LEGO® model to life quite like a bit of light and/or sound. Between 1986 and 1998 and there was a 9V system dedicated to this, and made available in a number of Space and Town sets of the era. This system had a battery box (8studs x4studs x2 2/3plates), and had some exposed powered studs that a light brick could be placed on, or a siren brick. It was also the power system for the monorail sets of that era.

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The Rambling Brick’s Advent-ure #23

As I’ve previously stated so many times that its making my head spin, this year represents many significant anniversaries in the the history of the LEGO group: Sixty years of the brick; forty years of the minifigure; twenty years of Mindstorms; fifteen years since the colour change was rolled out, ten years of Architecture…. and Twenty years since the release of the first Advent Calendar. Today, I thought I’s take a look at two of the enduring Advent Calendars: LEGO® City and LEGO Star Wars.


LEGO City, as we now know it, has had an annual Advent Calendar since 2005. Typically rich in minifigures, it has evolved over the years: Initially focussing on showcasing the sub themes of city – e.g. police, fire, healthcare, construction/civic maintenance; mechanics; cooking and domestic life, with a figure and several mini builds (occasionally integrating together to put together a larger build) and culminating with a Christmas type build – either Santa, with some form of transport; or a Christmas tree on the 24th of the month.

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Learning from our Friends: Sitting Side by Side in LEGO® City [41348 Service and Care Truck-review] [Building Techniques]

In which we take further inspiration from LEGO® Friends, by looking at Olivia’s Service and Care Truck.  We follow up by developing a modification to allow two minifigures to sit side by side in a contemporary vehicle, that otherwise only seats one.  Now read on…

Last time, we looked at a couple of Olivia’s vehicles from Friends – from 2016 and 2018.  Both of these cars have our friends sharing the two seats in a 4×3 space, allowing them to sit side by side in a vehicle that is six studs wide – within the constrains of a four stud wide cabin (so long as there window are open). Today I would like to look at another of  her sets from this year. Who knows how it might inspire us…

Looking out for her Friends on the Track: Service and Care Truck 41348

Zobo takes the Wheel

The Service&Care Truck (41348) which was released in the mid-year wave of friends sets in 2018, and has 244 parts. It seems to fit in a similar  part count and price point (AUD29.99/€19.99/£14.99/USD19.99) as Olivia’s Mission Vehicle. 

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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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Losing Our Sense of Proportion… 6590 Vacation Camper vs 60182 Pickup and Caravan [Reviews, comparison and speculation]/Covert Celebrations IV

Dreaming of a summer caravanning holiday, our comparison of LEGO TOWN and LEGO City continues. Has there been an ongoing covert celebration, with Town sets from twenty, thirty and forty years ago being reimagined in 2018?   Comparing 1988’s Car and Caravan with 2018’s Pickup and Caravan, we also ask “Why, after 30 years, does a family vehicle towing a caravan still seat only one minifigure?” We also discover where LEGO Children come from…and wonder where other characters have gone…

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This year, we have considered parallels between LEGO City 2018 and LEGO Town 1988, along with other sets from 20 and 40 years ago.

We have asked the question “Is this a covert celebration of the 40th anniversary of the minifigure, and LEGO town?” An official answer has not been forthcoming. But this won’t stop me from ongoing speculation, with no grounding in reality.

Today I would like to look at another set with a parallel set from thirty years ago: Pickup and Caravan 60182  – from the 2018 LEGO City Great Vehicles sub theme; and Vacation Camper 9590 from LEGO Town in 1988.  So what do these sets have in common? Two adults, a caravan and a vehicle to tow it behind. The vehicle in question has only one seat, in both instances. The differences are far greater…

Let’s take a closer look at both sets: Continue reading

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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