Brickvention Online is Now Live

It has been a busy week. But not for the reasons it might normally be at this time of the year. Normally, I’d have been busy putting together last minute touches for my creation at Brickvention – Australia’s Premier LEGO® Fan Event. The reasons that my week has actually been busy don’t really matter right now. What does matter is that Brickvention 2021 has gone the way of the pandemic, and is a totally online event. The great news is that you can experience all of the activities for the weekend for free.

There will live streams, and a variety of tutorials going live on YouTube over the course of the weekend. Tomorrow, there is a full lineup of Special Guests from around the world.

You can find full details of the the online event at http://brickvention.online.

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Ninjagopalooza II: Concept Art and Prototyping 2009-2012

This week, we are celebrating 10 years since the first release of Ninjago on an unsuspecting world. It was never expected to last as as long as it has, now becoming an evergreen theme:

“Originally, the NINJAGO theme was supposed to end after season 2 in 2012,” says Tommy Andreasen, Sr. Manager, Entertainment Development at the LEGO Group, who worked on the LEGO NINJAGO product line and show from the beginning. However, sets of the theme were still planned to be on sale throughout 2013. The continued success led to both the TV series and products continuing to the current day. “It just shows an incredible commitment from our fans that we are still going strong 10 years later,” he adds.

In this post, we will look through some of the concept art, as well as marketing artwork that has been released over the years. Some will be new, and some have been taken from the LEGO® archive, for a special exhibition at the LEGO House in Billund.

All images have been supplied by the LEGO group as part of a celebration of the 10 years of LEGO Ninjago.

Before we go any further, lets take a quick look a Ninjago Timeline:

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Ninjagopalooza I: Ninjago City Gardens 71741 [Official Images/Preview]

This week, around about afternoon tea time on Thursday, we celebrate 10 years since Ninjago made its debut on Cartoon Network. Today saw the release of the latest Ninjago® City set: Ninjago City Gardens. An epic modular set, following in the tradition of 70620 Ninjago City from 2017, and followed up in 2018 by 20657 Ninjago City Docks. Chances are you have seen the images elsewhere, so I’ll take a quick dive into what we have seen in the set, and point out some of the obvious highlights.

For reasons best known to the LEGO marketing team, first official images for this set came from the North American Shop at Home print catalog. Why does an online store still get a print catalog in this day and age? Are there that many sales that are placed by phone? These images were followed up with a scattering from the LEGO Certified Store in Singapore. Finally, on Wednesday, the LEGO online store listed the set, going on sale on Thursday 14th January. So, by the time you have read this, it has been available for the better part of a day depending on where in the world you are standing! (so long as you are a VIP at your local LEGO retailer, and they had stock in a timely fashion.)

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Getting Rid Of The POOP With Marvel Mechs (Hands-On Review 76168,76169,76171)

Back in 2017, The LEGO Group released the NEXO Knights Power suits range. This was essentially a dumbed down range of Mech suits, which incorporated a new cockpit element for the seating of of the pilot. Fast forward to 2020, and there was a new series of inexpensive mech suits featuring Marvel characters: Iron Man, Spider Man and Thanos. I missed these, for no good reason. However, this year, we have another three Marvel Mech Suits released: 76168 Captain America; 76169 Thor and 76171 Mile Morales. the sets have around 120-135 elements, and retail for $AUD19.99/$USD9.99/9.99€/£8.99.

I am grateful that The LEGO Group sent these three over for me to take a look at: I have been curious to learn a bit more about mech building, and I am keen to see what these sets might teach me about designing a custom mech suit in the future.

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Expanding LEGO Super Mario with a trip into Wiggler’s Poison Swamp [Hands on Review 71383]

We have been working through the second wave of LEGO Super Mario expansion sets lately, and we are almost at the end. Today I would like to look at 71383 LEGO® Super Mario™ Wiggler’s Poison Swamp Expansion Set. It has 374 pieces, the most of any set in the second wave of LEGO Super Mario, and is has a recommended retail price of 39.99 USD/EUR – 34.99 GBP – 59.99 AUD – 49.99 CAD.

Like all of the sets in this wave, the main biome is the Soda Jungle: purple (medium lilac) tiles and plates. If Mario is left standing on this colour for too long, he become stunned in stages – gradually entering a no-coin state. until the soda is washed off by standing in water, or brushed off by shaking him.

This set is an interesting build, and I found a few new building ideas included, as well as new elements in significant quantities.

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Maximise your time playing LEGO Super Mario [Time Bonuses]

The arrival of new sets and software updates means that there are more ways than ever to extend your play time with LEGO Super Mario. However, these are poorly documented. While the traditional game runs for ‘around a minute’ I have found that it is possible to extend your game play to closer to three or more… Read on for more.

With the recent Christmas Break seeing families open new toys, I hear people talking about how they wish that they could play each game of LEGO Super Mario for longer, so that they can play through more and more of the collection of expansions that they own. True, the 60 seconds offered by the Green Warp Start Tile can be enough to play most levels through, but it is barely enough to play through Bowser’s Castle. Let alone other levels.

So… How can we maximise the time we have to play? And what is the longest time available to play, if all goes well?

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Spider Man Swings Into Action In 2021 (Hands On Reviews)

There is no doubt that Spiderman is a popular hero. Indeed, he is the LEGO Marvel equivalent of Batman. What I don’t really understand is why he seems to be almost always presented in LEGO form with some form of vehicle or another. There are three new sets containing the traditional Spiderman figure, each with vehicles.

We are going to take a look at 3 of the sets released on January 1 2020, with a variety of villains, allies and vehicles. Some of which feel appropriate. Others less so…

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Create A LEGO® Vase For The Chance To Win The New LEGO® Botanical Collection

The recently released LEGO® Botanical Collection has certainly got a lot of people excited about having a bunch of flowers on their shelf that won’t require water to to keep them looking fresh and colourful. But, One thing became apparent to me: Being able to arrange them in a vase is just as important.

There are so many ways in which flowers can be displayed, as my Mum’s collection of vases demonstrated the other day. But, when your flowers are going to live forever, you perhaps shouldn’t remove the valuable glassware from circulation permanently. And so I would like to launch my first competition for the year:

Build a vase, using LEGO bricks to suit LEGO Flowers: builds can be real or digital, and should suit the LEGO Flower Bouquet. You don’t need a copy of the set to enter. Digital entries should be rendered as .jpg or .png files.

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Expanding LEGO Super Mario: 71382 Piranha Plant Puzzling Challenge [Hands On Review]

As we continue our look at the second wave of LEGO Super Mario sets, we turn to the return of one of Mario’s classic challenges: the Piranha Plant. Can we call it an enemy? Given the fact that it cannot directly attack, or nerf Mario in any way, I consider this level to be an obstacle, with a built in playable challenge. The set is now on sale, has 267 pieces and costs29.99 USD/EUR – 24.99 GBP – 49.99 AUD – 39.99 CAD.

Like other expansion sets, it is built using the instructions included in the LEGO Super Mario App. It is also possible to access the building instructions from the LEGO Building instructions app. The Super Mario App is necessary to update the Mario Brick to accept the latest sets; provide video demonstrations of different aspects of the set, and to get challenges, and share your levels/images to the LEGO Life. It is not necessary to play a timed game, BUT if it is connected at the time, you can get a complete break down of how you gained the coins during your game.

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Cruise Into 2021 In Style With This Great Idea…[Hands On Review 40448]

It’s finally over: the dumpster fire train wreck of a year (at least it feels a bit that way) that was 2020 has come to an end. And with the arrival of 2021, comes a swath of new LEGO® sets to see the new year in. With over 100 new sets available in the LEGO® catalog, and Christmas still a recent memory, the online store, and LEGO Brand Retail stores(but not LEGOLAND parks, discovery centres or Certified stores) have added a little sweetener to entice you to shop. (Let’s hope the stock lasts long enough for the promotion to run its course). The Vintage Car 40448 has come from a LEGO Ideas contest run in 2019, which asked AFOLs to design a vintage car to cruise the mean streets of your Modular City.

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