The Road to Sydney Brick Show [Disney minifigures preview and tease]

My life has been a little preoccupied with preparing to exhibit at the Sydney Brick Show this weekend. I have been getting ready to post my review of Series 2 of the Disney Minifigures. But here is a sneak peek…

I thought, like other series that it would be a quick snapshot and go. Then I noticed something really interesting, that I had never seen with Collectable Minifigures in the past (Please note: “really interesting to me” may have limited widespread appeal. But it has significant implications going forward). This means I need to have a second look before I publish my findings.

Anyway… Sydney.

After arriving at Sydney Airport, I caught the train to central, and changed for the eastern suburbs line. Bondi Junction was the last stop. It took about 40 minutes from landing at Sydney airport, to get to this stop. After finding the Oxford St exit, it was a short walk (10 minutes) to the Westfield shopping centre, and the Certified LEGO Shop within.

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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

Smooth Rolling With NEXO Knights Year 2 [What I learned from Lance’s Twin Jouster 70348]

NEXO Knights has been a theme with a mixed reception amongst the AFOL community: its a fantastic mashup of castle and space elements, but at the same time it is not quite either in the purist form.  The geometry is fascinating, as I have previously discussed.  However, due to so many different things happening throughout the year to distract a LEGO Fan, I have not really spent much time with the theme until now.

There are a couple of stand out changes that I have seen this year.  One is a change in the primary aesthetic of the models: The Knights’ vehicles released in 2016 were had a palette which was primarily bright blue, stone grey,  transparent bright orange with a few earth(dark) blue elements as well as a couple of trim elements, colour matched to the knight whose vehicle it was.  In 2017, the transparent orange is still there, but there is a much larger amount of earth blue and bright orange  compared to the stone grey and bright blue. We have also seen more prominent trim in the colours of the knights, demonstrating the new tile designs quite nicely.  In fact, you may almost be forgiven for thinking “There is a lime green, bright red, azure, white or bright yellowish orange vehicle.”  The Classic space vibe which might have been felt with 2016’s models been reduced this year, in return for the ‘Knight Motif.’ There there is the obligatory change in the villainous team, moving from the Lava monsters to non so molten Rock Monsters.

I should also mention the stickers, because while there are plenty of stickers to apply, those designed to be applied to transparent orange elements have a transparent clear background, making them useful on all surfaces.

Here is a quick ‘Face to face’ of this year’s $AU30 Lance’s Twin Jouster 70348 (212 parts) with the 2016’s Macy’s Thunder Mace 70319(200 parts).  I would consider them both occupying equivalent places in the range, both priced at $AUD29.99.

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On the left, Macy’s Thunder Mace, sporting the greys, silver, blues and trans bright orange of the first year of NEXO Knights.  On the right, we see a typical year 2 vehicle, sporting the colours of Lance Armstrong (white) on top of the dark blue and trans orange.

As well as the colour scheme, the play features have also developed on this year’s set.  I personally found the Thunder Mace a relatively mundane build.  The cockpit felt a little incomplete and the windscreen did not feel properly supported underneath. The only feature I found particularly inspiring was the mechanism that rotated the mudguards, to reveal the hidden weaponry beneath! Admittedly, this is pretty addictive.

 

But are the changes just cosmetic?

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Spin the Colour Wheel One More Time

IMG_7850.jpgA few weeks ago, I started to consider the use of colour in Elves sets, particularly Spring Yellowish Green. This led to a discussion of colour theory in general. We talked about the colour wheel, and how colour themes might be derived using complementary colours; split complementary colours, analagous colours, triads and tetrads, amongst other things.Color wheelCombinations

This is all very well if I have a colour wheel, and I am looking to produce my own pigment, I hear you cry, but we are using LEGO, and the colour palette is pretty clearly defined. But how do the colours we have relate to this? Continue reading

Sorting My Collection Continues: I’ll just Leaf These Here.

Pardon the pun: As regular readers will know, I have been working on sorting my collection of LEGO Elements.  This evening I reached my ‘foliage box.’ I thought I would quickly share some of my ‘leafy’ elements.

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I’m excited because, through natural accumulation, I have managed to accrue all known colours of Design ID 2417, the 5×6 foliage element. Skip past the break to see them. Continue reading

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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