Modular Diner 10260 Announcement: 1950s Style, for 60 years of the Brick

10260_Box1_v39This year, we saw the release of the 10 Anniversary Modular building, the Assembly Square.  This set featured plenty of callbacks to the previous modulars,  with various colour schemes and other design cues.  Now that we are entering the second decade of modular buildings, it appears that there are some changes afoot.  Until now, many of the buildings have had the appearance of buildings dating from the 1920’s or 30’s and the Minifigures all featured the classic smiley face.

10260_Front_Callout_01But we now enter a new era in modular buildings: the downtown diner is drawing cues from the Streamline Moderne style, a style that originated in the late 30’s, but continued to influence architecture for decades to come: a sleek building, with a tiled facade and smooth curves, and we have both in abundance here. In a break with previous modular traditions, the minifigures now have expressions (and the occasional moustache) on their faces, while their dress appears more representative of the 1950’s. Indeed, the pink cadillac and the Rock’N’Roll singer all but confirm that this is a bit of a jump into the future from our previous modular era. (Admittedly, the Brick Bank 10251 from 2016, featured a computer on a desk, as well as an espresso machine in the staff room – not a common feature in the past –  certainly this would be the most anachronistic feature of a modular building to date.) Assembly Square feels as if it might also be from a more recent period in history, if only because of the clothing prints in use by the minifigures. Certainly, we are now entering a new era, with new architectural styles and new minifigure prints.

And Teal.  We have seen evidence of a reborn teal in other sets for 2018, however this set contains more elements in this colour than any other set that we have seen details for. I especially like the use of the 6×6 curves to create the high, sweeping arch. There are also lots of teal bricks in the back wall of the diner.

What do we see on the inside? We have 3 levels, with the diner downstairs, a gym on the 1st floor, and a recording studio upstairs.  The diner features a short order cook flipping pancakes and frying bacon, in the form of a 1×2 grille plate!  The Waitress is on roller skates. The gym is furnished with a boxing ring as well as a punching bag. The Boxer has blue trunks and red boxing gloves.

And then there is the singer, and is that his press agent? record producer? Who knows.  The detail in the recording studio is fantastic.  The stories you can create are endless. He drives a pink, open top sedan, with great fifties styling, and occasional anachronism,.

The style here is a departure from what we have come to expect from modular buildings, but after a decade it is time to move forward. Given that this year represents the 60th Anniversary of the LEGO Brick, it seems appropriate that this year’s modular should include references to the decade when that patent was lodged.

The 10260 Diner is available on the 1st of January 2018. The Australian price will be $249.99. Other currencies in the press release.

The press release follows after the photos. Continue reading

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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

Winter Village Station 10259 [Announcement]

10259_Back_01For about a year now, the LEGO® social media feeds have been teasing the forthcoming release of the largest LEGO set ever. Starting with a silhouette on the ‘UCS’ Death Star box last year, new (official) information has been arriving more and more frequently. The set comes with the thickest instruction manual ever.  And the Biggest box. And then, last week, we saw a trailer hinting at some of the elements present.  This set has been subject to excessive speculation as to its exact nature:  the included minifigures and how it will differ from previous versions of this particular subject matter.

This is not that set. It is however, another  set in a series that has almost always impressed… except that one year when the LEGO® Group rereleased a set from several years earlier.

That’s right, today the LEGO® Group released details of the 2017 Winter Village set: the 10259 Winter Village Station. Now last year’s Winter Holiday Train will have somewhere to stop!

Launch date for the Winter Village Station at shop.LEGO.com and LEGO Stores is October 1 with VIP Early Access starting on September 14. The Australian price is confirmed at $AU119.99

10259_ProdMore images, and the press release follow after the break. Continue reading

London Calling: Creator Expert Set-10258 London Bus [Announcement]

Today, after weeks of speculation, leaks and teases, LEGO announced the forthcoming release of Creator Expert Set 10258: London Bus.  With over 1680 pieces, this is the largest London Bus set released to date.

The set will be physically unveiled at the five LEGO Brand retail stores in the London Area on 1st of July, and launched at the online store on 1st August 2017.  Early Access will be available for VIP customers from 17th July. The Australian price is will be $199.99.

Some of the teaser images from LEGO’s twitter feed.

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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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Light up your LEGO #1

There is no doubt that adding lighting to a LEGO model will enhance it’s appearance – it adds a degree of life to it, enhancing lines, lightening shadows and highlighting features which may otherwise be a little obscure.  LEGO have offered lighting for at least 50 years, originally in the form of a light brick, with the options of a filter, and more recently with power functions, providing a pair of LED lights.  We now also see self-contained light bricks in recent sets.IMG_0691-2.jpg

While earlier  LEGO® sets used standard filament bulbs,  more recently builders have been able to look to Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to provide versatile lighting solutions. Recently,  LEGO builders have been incorporating lighting into their builds than ever before.

The systems used vary from simple ‘bulb and battery’ solutions, through to custom solutions for individual LEGO Sets.  There are also sophisticated, microprocessor controlled solutions available, providing preprogrammed sequential lighting patterns.  Miniaturisation of  LEDs means that they are now able to be incorporated in LEGO builds, with minimal rebuilding required for wiring.

Today, I would like to present a couple of simple options for cheap and easy lighting solutions, that can enhance your models.  In the future, I will present some examples of other, more sophisticated lighting solutions. Continue reading

31058 Mighty Dinosaurs: Enough Teasers. Here’s My Review

I have referred to the new Creator 3-in-1 Set 31058 Mighty Dinosaurs several times in the last month.  I like it. A Lot.  It has taught me about unfamiliar elements, as well as demonstrates the use of some of the new SNOT elements that have appeared over the last year or so.

img_9671The box art features a yellow border, introduced this year after a few years absence.  The feel is delightfully retro, and extends across the Creator 2017 range.  The from demonstrates the 3 main models: a tyrannosaurus rex, a pteranodon and a triceratops.  The back of the box shows alternate views of these, as well as a picture of a brachiosaurus – with instructions available on line.  The box is secured with security tape, so with a quick flick of my penknife we were in.

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