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

1x1-with-2-studs-on-adjacent-sides
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

The Rambling Brick: NEXO Knights Survey

IMG_9812International Public Survey Months

June and July, 2016 are International Public Survey Months: Australia will have a Federal Election, the UK will have the BrExit poll, and the US will enjoy their Democratic and Republican party conventions.

In the spirit of Public Surveys, I have put one together.

NEXO Knights: How do you feel?

Earlier this year, the LEGO Group released the NEXO Knights.  This Sci-fi Castle Mashup theme has surprised myself with how much fun it seems to be!

I will be discussing the phygital (physical/digital) strategy in my next blog post.  However, As I have been writing it, I realise I don’t really know how real people relate to the three arms of the theme: the LEGO sets, the Merlock 2.0 game and the animated series screening on Cartoon Network. I won’t know for sure at the end of the survey, but I will have a better idea…

The Survey

I would love people to fill in this survey: 10 questions, multiple choice and no personal information will be collected.  I intend to collate the results and publish them in this blog by the end of July 2016.

You can find the Survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YHVTJ69

Feel free to share it with your friends, relatives and LEGO user group

This survey is NOT supported by the LEGO Group, but is to allow me to write something vaguely related to public opinion, rather than my own skewed views. And because I’m using a free survey monkey account, I’m limited to only 100 respondants, so sign in now!

And it’s more fun than following the Australian Election…

Play well

 

An Unexpected System Problem: What I learned from 71204: LEGO Dimensions: Doctor Who Level Pack

Public health advisory: This post contains extreme trivia regarding illegal connections for various LEGO pieces.  And Doctor Who. Whilst all care will be taken by the author, the rambling brick accepts no responsibility for the exacerbation of any obsessive symptoms that develop after reading this article.  You have been warned.  And yes, I’m feeling fine, thanks. But perhaps I should get out more!

I like Doctor Who.  My first exposure was on a black and white television in country Victoria, sometime in 1975.  Episode 3 of Planet of the Spiders. Pertwee’s swan song.  Four weeks later I had my first experience with Tom Baker: the end of episode 3 of Robot.  Hat. Scarf. Teeth.  Between this, and an early reading experience based on a seemingly infinite collection of Target novelisations I was hooked(before downloads, legal or otherwise, blu-ray or DVD, we had VHS and Betamax video tapes.  These did not yet exist.  The only economical way to re-experience Doctor Who was through reading books, frequently written by Terrance Dicks as well as other writers, that documented the Classic version of the Television Series. Books are what we used to read before audio books did the process automatically for us…)

Should I even tell the English readers of this blog that in the late 70’s through to the end of the Sylvester McCoy run, Australians had Doctor Who on television, around 6:30, Monday to Thursday? For most of the year.  We experienced repeats.  Mainly Pertwee, T Baker, Davison repeats, but repeats nonetheless.  You didn’t even need to read the novel to know what happened if you missed the first broadcast. No. I shouldn’t tell them.  That would be cruel and unusual. And then they’s mention our last Ashes defeat. Repeatedly.

IMG_8812Fast forward forty years, and the news breaks on LEGO Ideas: after years of an inferior brand having the Official Doctor Who Construction Toy License, there is now to be an official LEGO set.  Released in time for Christmas 2015, it featured the TARDIS, the Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi versions of the Doctor in minifigure form, along with Clara Oswald, a Weeping Angel and a Dalek.  This occurs almost in parallel with the release of a Doctor Who Level Pack for LEGO Dimensions, a ‘toys to life’ video game, that only appears to cost $AU125…but really costs much much more.  This pack features Doctor Capaldi, the TARDIS and K9.  Then there came a Fun Pack featuring a Cyberman and a Dalek.  Possibly the only time ‘Fun’ and ‘Cyberman’ can be legitimately combined in a sentence.  Daleks had previously appeared in the phrase: ‘Hours of fun with this new Remote Controlled Dalek.’

This is not a thorough review of that Level pack.  It’s not even an attempt at a review with a significant word count.  I will say that it is fun. If you like Doctor Who and have Dimensions, you should get it. If only for what happens when you use the Doctor in normal game play after playing through the Level.

But this is not that story.  This is a story about table scrap and and a serendipitous discovery. Continue reading