Looking Forward to the rest of the year at the 2018 Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair

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The Rambling Brick, and Friends at the Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair.

The toy fair season is now starting to wind up for now: We have had Nuremberg. We have had New York. Now we have had Melbourne…

The Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair is a bit of a mouthful. Predominantly a trade show, taking place in Melbourne in early March each year, LEGO Australia have a strong presence. There has traditionally been little ‘big news’ coming out of the show, as visitors have not been able to take photographs at the LEGO® booth, a trend that was reinforced at Nuremberg this year.
 I had the chance to visit the Fair last weekend, and visit the booth displaying our favourite Danish Plastic Brick. Once I got past the big displays outside the booth, I had to put the camera away, and make do with words and memories.
After the recent New York and Nuremberg Toy shows, there is little to be seen in left field, unexpected presentations.  Unlike New York, there are no Direct to Consumer sets on display (for example: Hogwarts Great Hall; Ultron Hulkbuster).  There were also no Brickheadz or 40th Birthday Minifigure sets on display.  There were no sets associated with unreleased movies ( such as Jurassic World; Solo; Incredibles 2) , unless they were already on sale (Avengers: Infinity War went on sale the week before the toy fair).
There were plenty of sets on display that are already on the shop shelves, readily available to purchase in real life shops, or on line. And everything else that I saw already has an entry in Brickset’s 2018 database. However, there were some sets from the second half year on display, of which few details have previously been available, or for which some additional clarity was able to be gained. If you wish to avoid spoilers, look away now.  If you have read everything coming out of Nuremberg and New York, there may not be a lot that sounds new… but certainly a few points of clarification.

Continue reading

Grossed out by Goblin Green? Let’s take the colour wheel out for a spin…

In which I try to reconcile a colour that produces a disturbing personal reaction with some of my favorite sets of the year so far! Along the way we take a history lesson, explore the wonderful world of colour wheels, build a Wyvern and hopefully prepare to enjoy some frozen yoghurt…

IMG_7388It’s been a little while since my last post because I have been trying to reconcile something that has been troubling me.  Here in the Southern Hemisphere, we have just seen the start of spring.  A time that the weather starts to turn for the better, we feel the days getting a little longer and the grass starts to grow and trees start to bud.  It is of course still jolly cold. My problem comes from trying to reconcile springtime, with its new growth, hope and optimism with the name of Spring Yellowish Green. A light, bright colour whose name shouts optimism, but whose shade, to me, shouts sinister thoughts, nasty infections and recollections of a bad night at work.

Of course, not everyone has the perceives colours in the same way as other people.  I personally spent 5 years vigourously debating the colour of some towels with my wife.  I eventually conceded defeat and accepted that I was wrong. But not because discretion is the greater part of valour,  but because it became apparent that I experience a mild form of colour blindness . The junction of green, grey, blue is not a clear, well discriminated area of my colour perception. Rather, it is a hazy, muddy thing, where some colours stand out, and others blur together with imperceptible difference to myself, but to great embarrassment to my children, or frustration for my wife.  Whilst I only experience this lack of colour vision, the rest of my family suffer because of it!

But what does this have to do with LEGO Bricks? LEGO elements have appeared in almost one hundred distinct opaque colours over the years, to say nothing of the transparent, translucent, speckled and glow in the dark colours.  Well, distinct for some. For others they just blur together. You can find Ryan Howeter’s most excellent colour chart documenting LEGO colours, and their appearance over time, here. Much of the information regarding appearance dates for colours, as well as hex codes for colour pickers has been derived from this. The current colours in the LEGO Colour palette can be seen here:

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Current colours in the LEGO moulding palette. Image sourced from brickiest.com, courtesy of the LEGO Group.

In 2012, we saw elements produced in six new colours, and another was released shortly after: Aqua, Dark Azur, Olive Green, Medium Azur, Medium Lavender, Lavender and Spring Yellowish Green.  Olive green is the only one of these opaque colours that has been introduced after the Friends theme was released. Only one of these colours has ever evoked a visceral response in me, just by looking at it. And that is the colour I would like to talk about today. Continue reading

Bring Adventure to the Skies over Elvendale: Aira’s Airship and Amulet Chase 41184

Ever since I first saw the previews for 2017’s Elves sets, I knew there was one set I would want to get ahead of all others: Aira’s Airship and Amulet Chase.  This set features an Elven Airship, piloted by Aira Windwhistler; Emily Jones riding Shotgun Crossbow and Dukelin the Goblin, with his own magical flying post box…IMG_9983

There are two reasons I unpacked this set, and put it together quickly after bringing it home: the Goblin – this was my first experience with such a LEGO® character – and the airship, especially all of the new golden recolours.  And the curlicue.  It turns out however, that in my haste to get it put together, I failed to pick up on the elements in other colors which are relatively new. That said, these new golden elements could be well repurposed in to a steampunk construction. Continue reading

Get a Grip: Enter the Goblins…Can They Hold Their Own?

After a year exploring the relationships between the Elves and Dragons, 2017 sees the arrival of Emily Jones’s cousin Sophie.  Sophie is captured by the Goblins, and for further details, I suspect we will need to watch the Netflix LEGO® Elves Series. I have found the design of the minidolls has grown on me, over the years, and I don’t mind having them around the house.img_9913

The first half year sets feature seven different goblins.  I picked up a copy of 41184 Aira’s Airship and the Amulet Chase.  This set features Dukelin: A fierce looking, one eyed, spring yellowish green character, with navy blue hair and a similar coloured onesie.  The rest of the set is brimming with possibilities, so while I wait for them to come to fruition, I thought I would bring a short examination of the Goblin figure.

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Coming in 2017: The Future…

Over the last couple of weeks, official photos of many of 2017’s sets have come to light: Creator,  Lego® Technic (celebrating 40 Years), Elves, DC Superhero Girls, City, Disney, Marvel Super Heroes, Nexo Knights, Architecture, Star Wars, and LEGO Batman movie.  I have lost count of the number of reveals that have occurred.

If you don’t like spoilers, look away now.

There has been a steady reduction in the number of unknown unknowns, with an increase in the known knowns, and clarification as to the nature of the known unknowns.

Some of the my highlights in the reveals seen to date:

LEGO® City has 40% female minifigures in the sets revealed so far. [Great for girls and their families who are not fans of minidolls]

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The LEGO® Creator Expert 10255 Modular Assembly Square has so many great new pieces.

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LEGO® Friends is no longer restricted to the bright pastel palette, and some more traditional colours are coming into play in 41311 Heartlake Pizzeria.  There are 3 male minidolls, and 6 puppies to add to the collection in the sets revealed so far for 2017.friends

LEGO® DC Super Hero Girls will add a some additional heroism, and villianism(?) to our minidoll collections.

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This year’s Creator Ocean Explorer 31045 has grown up into next year’s Technic Ocean Explorer 42064

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The Creator Mighty Dinosaurs 31058 looks like a terrific landscape parts pack:

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Elves continues with Goblins, and Emily’s little sister Sophie. More great fantasy landscapes and transportation

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LEGO® Ninjago sets seem to be a little darker this year… mainly in palette

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The LEGO® BATMAN Movie will bankrupt many of us with great looking sets and TWENTY, yes I said 20 Collectable Minifigures to collect…

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These are the things that have made ME look up and take notice. Many new sets have been previewed on other LEGO® News Websites lately. What has grabbed your attention?

And what other treats may there be to celebrate to 10th anniversary of ‘the really cool sets catering for AFOLs’ such as the first modular building sets, 10181 Eiffel Tower, 10182 Hobby Trains and of course 10179 Ultimate Collectors Millennium Falcon. I’m sure there is much left for us to see.

What are you looking forward to?

 

Play well

 

 

Play On: Updated Adventures in Elvendale and LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros Apps

Sorry about the relative quiet on the blog this last week: if you have been following the Rabling Brick on Instagram or Facebook, you would have noticed that I am currently away, and I have taken some minifigs with me… And then something happened:

There I was minding my business, and browsing the iTunes store, and I checked out this weeks updates.  Two excited me.  These include updates to LEGO Elves: Elvendale Adventures and LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros. I reviewed both of these apps earlier in the year, and while both were enjoyable, Mighty Micros appeared to have a couple of bugs in it.  Elvendale adventures was satisfying, but had limited content.

Elvendale Adventures 2.0

This is touted as a major upgrade: At the end of version 1, the Elves confronted Ragana Ragana the Evil Elf Witch who had kidnapped the Queen Dragon. There was some exciting dialog at the end of the four Elemental sequences, with Ragana capturing the dragon’s essences.  I was hoping our new sequence would result in a greater revelation as to the underlying story.  The levels involved here are of a higher difficulty than the previous levels.  Some of the tiles to collect have special powers: one type clears portions of a row, another changing all of the tiles adjacent to a certain element: great for collecting that element, not so helpful if you have two or three of these elements close together, because they will turn the other to a simple elemental piece,losing its power, and ability to be collected. Both of these pieces are required to be the second or later tile collected in a move.  Multiple ‘power pieces’ can be collected in the course of a turn, and this becomes necessary as the number of tiles needing to be collected increases significantly at the higher levels.

Oncompleting the leves, there are none of the conversation bubbles that occurred in version one, and unfortunately this continues through: when the levels are completed, there is no dialog, or expostition of the storyline.  Which is a shame, because it did make completing the singleplayer game well worth while with version one.

A further upgrade in 2017 is also teased.

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The opening screens have been updated
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Some of the new action from version 2

All in all I enjoyed the upgrade to the game, but I do feel that removing the cartoon dialog boxes has detracted from the overall experience. My other gripe with the game is that while you are selecting the level to play, it is a little difficult to discern the ones you have completed, compared to those to be done. Still, if you like a casual game and have finished the first version, this will give you a couple of hours of diversion. All it will cost you is time…

LEGO DC SuperHeroes Mighty Micros 1.1.198

LEGO DC Superheroes Mighty Micros has one of the most unwieldy names of any App that I have seen.  But it is fun, fast moving and a little bit amusing in all the right ways.  It has

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Hopefully I can unlock this soon!  Let me know if you manage to.
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Stickers!  I am a little over stickers!

also been a bit bit buggy: I have been failing for months to unlock the final ‘sreet layout’ – this version promises bug fixes, as well as enhancing game play through the addition of stickers to unlock with achievements, including activities in the BatCave, as well as number of crashes into witches hats/ studs/ lamp posts and goodness knows what else.  I am yet to unlock the elusive final level to complete… but if if fixes this problem, it will certainly be worth the bandwidth required to download it!

But will the addition of some additional achievements to unlock enhance its long term playability?  It will become all about the grind, which could become fairly uninspiring for all but the most determinined completionist.

 

In Conclusion

Both of these games have been great little time wasters with different limitations: Elvendale Adventures is teasing to much towards unknown content at this stage at the end of the day, and LDCSHMM being to hard to pronounce or spell, plus the game feeling like it was only about 85% finished.  These new updates improve functionality and hopefully allow the bugs to get ironed out.  Time has prevented me from attempting to unlock the mystery street map at this time: we will see how we go with time.

Now if only the LEGO Marvel Superheroes Mighty Micros could be simply produced. I would never get productive work completed again…

 

Play well

 

Play Well

 

Dragonshead revisited, revisited.

Regular readers of this blog will be getting a little tired of its self referential nature.  Sorry about that. New readers may find this to be a useful place to start (or not…)

The Story so Far:

I Like the Elves Dragons set, especially the  Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave Set, but I am not a fan of the dedicated Dragon’s head mould, except for the obvious reason: great colors, printing, fits lot of detail into a small space. I looked at the Red Creatures Creator set, which was never really found in Australian Shops, as it gave me some ideas on how to approach a Dragon Head.  In order to get a good supply of FYOBLO curves, bows and small arches, I picked up a copy of the McClaren P1 Speed Champions set.  I found my self working through 5 drafts of dragons head, before being properly satisfied.  Except that left me with some Light Stone Grey on view in the dragon’s snout.  So I go a copy of Super Soarers (31042) because it had some FYOBLO brackets in it.

Now read on.

So I got myself some Flame Yellowish Orange/Bright Light Orange (FYO/BLO) brackets.  They are inverted compared to the ones that I got in the McLaren set. So I needed to rebuild the dragon’s snout a little in order to accommodate the changed directions of brackets: this moved the cheeks back, and revealed a coloured plate holding on the 2x2x2/3 bow that makes up the forehead: so I replaced it with some small plates.

I also substituted two 1×1 tiles on the cheeks with 2x1x2/3 baby bows, just in from of the eyes, enhancing the curved structure of the head.

Head clueHere is the main hidden structure of the snout of the dragon, just in case you feel possessed by a desire to try recreating the effect. Other color palettes may allow different solutions, and I think that would be fantastic. Please share them here or on the Rambling Brick Facebook page.

The Final Result:

I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

 

Play Well