Its new to me: stiffening the joints with Element 74261/6106472 (Element Exposition)

Ball Cup, High Friction with Rubber.

elementAt least, that’s what Brickset and the LEGO Group call it. The name is a little awkward. And a little suggestive. Bricklink refers to it as a Hero Factory Arm/Leg Extender with Ball Joint and Ball Socket. Neither of these names is particularly catchy.

I first encountered this piece when putting together the new Creator set 31085: Mighty Dinosaurs. While this is the first Creator set to feature it, it is by no means a new piece.

Appearing initially in 2012, this piece has featured heavily on the constraction figures, with themes such as Hero Factory, Bionicle 2: the Rebirth; Star Wars; Chima and DC Superheroes.  More recently is has appeared in several Ninjago sets and a couple of NEXO Knights sets, particularly those involving dragons or mechs, as well as the ClayFace Splat Attack (70326,70327,70593,70595,70627 and70904).  It was also present in 75156 Admiral Krennic’s Shuttle Craft, from Rogue One.  Having little experience with buildable figures such as Bionicle and the like, and having not put together the mech sets and large dragons from Ninjago, I was unlikely to have encountered it until now. Continue reading

Better Suit Up – a New and Simple Minifigure Mech System 70366: Battle Suit Lance

Exo suits hold great appeal for LEGO Space builders. The retired EXOForce theme, as well as the success of Pete Reid’s LEGO® Ideas Exo-Suit 21109 attests to this. This project was brought to fruition with the aid of LEGO® designer Mark Stafford, one of the design lead’s on EXOForce.

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LEGO Ideas ExoSuit 21109 – image from brickset.com

However, as appealing an idea as it is to put a minifigure into such a suit, it is can be made quite challenging by the finger blistering use of tiny, greebling pieces to put together a model that is extremely detailed, but otherwise full of pieces that a seven year old may otherwise inadvertently condemn to the vacuum cleaner.

Continue reading

 Blind Bag 70372: The increasingly complicated mathematical relationships of the NEXO Knights.

January 2017 sees the release of the next wave of NEXO Knight sets.  Entering the second year, we see new colors entering the overall design aesthetic, particularly dark grey and purple, as we now have silicon based allies for Jestro and his cronies.

The Rambling Brick made its debut almost 12 months ago with a review of Ultimate Macy – boasting new pieces, new colors and a new go get’em heroine, it was an interesting starting point for me in the theme.

This year sees the launch of the Battle Suit NEXO Knights.  After last year’s Ultimate series, these shake things up a little, putting each of the knights into small mech-suits.

So I decided to pick up Battle Suit Lance.  However, when I reached the shelves, I got a surprise…

This is set/pack 70372. Five shields in a blind bag: We have spoken previously of the use of the NEXO Knights’ shields to provide power ups in battle in the Merlock 2.0 App. You can now get five shields and some other pieces in a blind bag. Continue reading

The Build-up Catch-up continues…

Day 5:  Snow Business 

This terrific little snowplough may or may not have a new piece in it. According to brickset’s database, the bright yellow panel 1x2x1 with rounded corners, element ID 6146219,only appears in this set. However, bricklink lists the piece as 4865b and it seems to appear in 37 other sets in yellow.

Closer investigation reveals that these may in fact be element 486524 – essentially the same panel, in bright yellow (TLG) but with square corners. These may be the closest thing to the sole source of this element at present.  That or some online databases have become a little mixed up…

Snow ploughing and Christmas are a little incongruous in Australia. In Melbourne we are the grips of summer at Christmas time, but even in winter it virtually never snows here ( it did once, but that was over 30 years ago), and certainly not enough to justify a vehicle to clear it.  But it’s not all about me!


Day 6: Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Measuring 2x4x6 1/3, this little build is the epitome of Christmas Eve. The fire, mantelpiece and chimney, with plants and a hanging stocking, waiting for Santa. This is a near perfect build, with just 27 pieces. 

Taking a Trip Down Memory Lane on a Double Decker Bus…(RetroRebuild 40220)

Previously on the Rambling Brick…

After obtaining set 40220 London Bus as part of the shop.LEGO.com promotion in November, the Rambling Brick was duly impressed, and put all of the stickers onto the set.  But there was a bonus sticker sheet in the set that featured Lester, the LEGO Minifigure Mascot for the New Flagship LEGO Store in Leicester Square.  This led to a tenuous link between Tim Brooke Taylor, Monty Python and the store’s opening week giveaways.  Overcome by a wave of nostalgia, he started imagining that he was back in 1976…

NOW read on….

An unhealthy fix of nostalgia.

As I looked at the 40220, and considered it’s design, it reminded me of all of many vehicle sets from the mid-nineteen seventies. The vast majority of LEGO Vehicles were four studs wide: whether a police car, an excavator, a bus or container lorry.

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Just some of the vehicles featured in the 1976 LEGO Catalogue.  Ignore the racing car: it is the exception that proves the rule. – Source  Brickset.com
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Vale Mixels: Six Lessons from Five Sets.

Mixels: you either love them or hate them.

When these characters arrived, about three years ago, a lot of LEGO fans didn’t quite know what to make of them. Brightly coloured, with seemingly chaotic design initially, they have developed a reputation for disguising some advanced building techniques in what may otherwise consider a ‘weird, colour themed parts pack,’ with an attractive price tag.

img_7753Like Ninjago, Elves and Nexo Knights, I have not invested in the multimedia aspect of the series.  Mostly for time based reasons.  Other than some of the first wave, I haven’t focussed on Mixels at all in my collection.  I have picked up a few for parts, and sometimes it is obvious, looking at the parts for sale, when a BrickLink store has just broken down a new wave of these sets for stock.

So, I thought I would take a look at a random selection of characters from my local department store and see what they have to teach us.  I ended up with Tuth (41571) from wave 8, Compax (41574), Sweepz (41573), and Screeno (41578)  from wave 9. Unfortunately there were none of the Ninja inspired Wave Nine Mixel sets to be found at my local shop- having been and gone already.

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10255: 10 years of Modular Building

In 2007, a new breed of LEGO set was released: the modular building.  The first offering, the Cafe Corner (10182) was revolutionary: the subject matter of Lego City, perhaps set in an older, simpler time, but with a scale that was appealing to AFOLS.  The design standard – specifying the placement of the technic bricks to bind adjacent models together, as well as defining the size of the footpath and alleyway at the back of the building – has inspired the theme as well as countless MOCs and LEGO cityscapes around the world.

That Very First Modular- the Cafe Corner had very little in the way of internal detail, but set a standard this has changed as the series has developed with detailed interiors for shops, homes and other miscellaneous  businesses one of the highlights of the series. In those early days, the LEGO Factory site referenced design ideas for interior design .

For me, seeing these sets at a public show is what dragged me out of my Dark Ages. I remember constructing the Green Grocer, a year or two later, and discovering new (to me) parts usage as well as special secrets that only the set’s builders would know about such as….(but that would be telling!)

As a now annual New Year’s treat, there has been a steady roll of buildings to add to the collection: Market street (10190), Green Grocer (10185), the Fire Brigade (10197), the Grand Emporium (10211), the Pet Shop (10218), the Town Hall (10224), Palace Cinema (10232), the Parisian restaurant (10243), the  Detective’s Office (10264) and the Brick Bank (10251).  The majority of these sets have been designed by Jamie Berard, who has taken on the task of assembling an homage to the entire range in this year’s 10th Anniversary Spectacular: Assembly Square (10255).

LEGO Designer Jamie Berard, pictured with all of the Modular buildings, including the newly announced 10255: Assembly Square.
Set up as three floors of shops/professional consulting suites, the businesses include: a bakery, florist and café; music store, photo studio and dental surgery and an upper level dance studio and an apartment featuring a rooftop terrace. Even at first glance, you can see some design cues taken from the older modular sets:

There are eight adult Minifigures and a baby included in this set. Like all Minifigures in the modular line, these feature the classic ‘smiley’ face. All of the mini figures have great characterisation, and there are lots of new elements to be found.  One of my favourite figures would have to be the musician, with his receding ‘Peter Venckman’ hair line.

There are also some terrific new elements to be seen in the designer video including :a

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Another exciting variation on the 1×1 brick: 2 studs on adjacent sides.
Minifigure scale printed Cafe Corner box; 1×1 quarter circle tiles (black, tan and waffle);  2×2 and 4×4 quarter circle radii tiles in light bley; a mirror (4 x 6); 2 x 2 corner tiles, with the corner cut off in white, dark blue, light and dark bley; a 4×8 , diagonal door frame in black; and an exciting element with huge potential in MOCS, and in generating confusion when placing brick link orders: a 1×1 brick with 2 studs on adjacent sides.

Recolours include a 1×1 tile in nougat; a silver 2×2 radar dish; a curved window arch with spokes in black; and a new window for the dentist’s office: “Prevent yellowing.”  Sound advice for those of you without ageing, sun damaged LEGO Bricks.

10255_back_05
As you can see, this babysitter is a serious LEGO Fan: she has got a boxed copy of 10182: Cafe Corner to put together. It must be super micro scale!
It is shaping up to be a huge set, measuring 35cm (13″, approximately 40 bricks) tall, 38cm (14″, 48 studs) wide and 25 cm (9″, 32 studs) deep.  The additional 16 studs of width is reflected in its piece count, and the price tag. There are 4002 pieces: that’s 1200 more pieces than the largest previous modular (The Town hall xat 2766 pieces). Priced at $US279.99/ UK£169.99 this is a significantly greater investment than previous modulars (for example: Brick bank (10251) is priced at $US169/UK£119), but you also get so much more.   It will be available at shop.lego.com on January 1 2017, and is recommended for ages 16 and up.  Unfortunately, there will not be an opportunity for LEGO VIP members to order early.

 

Read on to see the details from the Official LEGO Press Release, see some more images and read about some of the easter eggs that designer Jamie Berard has tucked away in this set for us to enjoy: Continue reading

Holidays are coming: Time to get A Round Tuit.

I have been accused of procrastinating.  That may in part be the role of this blog: to allow me to procrastinate the rest of my life.  I am always saying that I will get that job done when I get around to it.  Then one day, I was handed a round piece of plastic by one of my former science teachers.

It had four letters written on it: T U I T.

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I asked “But what does this mean?”

He replied “Richard, you always say you will do this or do that when you get a round tuit.  Now you have one.  Nothing will stop you now.”

[Please accept my apologies if English is not your first language.  This may not make a lot of sense.  “Tuit” is pronounced the same as “to it”.  So “When I get  a round tuit” sounds the same as “When I get around to it…”  This is a common delaying technique used by teenagers, procrastinators and tax evaders. Now read on.]

As an AFOL at public exhibitions, and also when spending time with other AFOLS, I meet may people who look wistfully into the middle distance and tell me that one day they will construct a MOC of their own, At least they will build a MOC when they get a round Tuit ( My Own Creation – really the natural extension of free building with LEGO Bricks). As a public service today, I would like to help you all to get a round TUIT.  And I think we should try to make it out of regular bricks.

“But wait” I hear you cry,  “Regular bricks aren’t round!”

Well, back in the day when we had nothing but 8-bit graphics to satisfy our entertainment needs, all of our favourite video game characters were made up of a collection of coloured in characters on a grid.  Even Pacman was a collection of square dots which, if we stared at hard enough, would turn into a circle, with a missing wedge. Continue reading

What I learned from the August Monthly build 40215: Apple

I was quite excited when a copy of 40215: Apple made its way into my hands as a special present.  It is one of the monthly mini builds that crops up at LEGO Stores as a special event: each month, a new small set, typically given away at a VIP Build event for kids.

So… I live in Australia.  Until a few years ago, we would routinely be given a link with our LEGOShop.com emails for the monthly build.  It came as a surprise to me recently to discover that rather than using pick a brick, investigating brick link, or raiding my own collection of pieces, these Monthly MiniBuilds are presented as as a polybag, containing all the instructions and pieces required. This is unknown to us Down Under: we hear of monthly mini builds, but never see them. It’s not all bad: we do get some promotional mini builds, but these are not always easy to come by.img_1742
This set is not much to look at from the outside: the polybag has the set number on the side, and on breaking it open we find around 58 parts, and an instruction sheet.  I love instruction sheets. It takes me img_1741back to my youth, when one of the exciting things with opening a new kit was in guessing how many folds will be undone to open them right out…on this occasion there are eight.

Opening the set reveals a marvellous variety of pieces: curves, bricks with studs on the side, plates with suds on the side and even some Mixel eyes. Red is the main color, but there is a little lime green, as when as white and tan/brick yellow.img_1743
It looks like we are in for some serious SNOT work. Regular readers know I am a fan of sets teaching us things, and this is one of the smallest sets I have seen to provide a great example of how to make SNOT work. SNOT, you may recall stands for ‘Studs Not On Top’: we use bricks with studs on the side to redirect studs from their primary direction, an
d then cover them up, in this case, with the 2x2x2/3 curved plates to make up the curves of the apple. Continue reading

Going off the Grid

OK…so it has been a couple of weeks since my last post here: In part, I have been distracted reviewing the new LEGO Stationery line for New Elementary.  You should go over there and have a read of it sometime.  I’ll still be here when you come back.

This post was inspired while considering ‘What sets the MOCs that make me stop and say “Wow “apart from the others?’ – especially as a landscape inspired model.  There is no doubt that, for me, some of the most eye-catching constructions out there occur when the strict 90 degree world of LEGO is able to be overcome.  This ‘going off grid’ can be achieved at multiple levels: using a turntable base and octagonal plate to turn the action 45 degrees; using hinges such as might otherwise be used to open a playset building.  The problem with some of these techniques is that they do not easily clutch to the underlying plate.

So let’s look at a technique that I saw used by James Pegrum in Bricks Magazine earlier this year Issue 10, and also issue 6.IMG_0115

This will involve some geometry (sorry).  Let us consider a 2 x 4 lego plate, on a base plate. Next, place a single stud under opposite corners. Considering the intervals, this forms the hypotenuse of a triangle, with opposite and adjacent sides measuring 1
step and 3 steps respectively. The distance between these connection points is the same as the distance between the other two corners of the 2×4 plate, and so you can rotate that plate until those corners meet the studs. Continue reading