Q&A with the LEGO Covid Face Shield Team

Back in April, we reported on the LEGO Group producing eye shields for health care workers, looking after patients with COVID-19 in Southern Denmark. In my ‘day job,’ I work as an anaesthesiologist. The availability of Personal Protective Equipment for health workers has been a topic of conversation amongst my colleagues for a few months, and I was excited to hear of the development. While we have had little to worry about in Australia, I realise that PPE remains an important issue in many parts of the world, as supply chains get re-established.

A group of Recognised LEGO Fan Media – including Brickset, New Elementary, Hispabrick Magazine, Brickfinder, as well as myself – had the opportunity to put some additional questions to the team responsible for the production of these face shields….

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Meet the Demon Bull King: Monkie Kid’s Fearsome Foe. [80010 review]

This week, we saw the launch of Monkie Kid, the LEGO Group’s new theme, based on the classic Chinese Novel, Journey to the West. While the sets look great, I was even more excited by the fact that there were only 12 hours between the official announcement and the release of sets in the local LEGO Brand stores – both LEGO Certified Stores, and the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.

I was standing on the doorstep at opening time – third in line, and the only one who wasn’t planning to pick up the Monkey King Warrior Mech 80012. I am looking forward to getting it at some point, but I suspect there will be many reviews online in the next few weeks. So I headed to the antagonist: Demon Bull King 80010. This set has 1057 pieces, three minifigures and sells for $AUD129.99. To be honest, my interest was raised primarily by the colour scheme, as well as the windscreen elements used on his shoulders. I wanted to get a closer look, as the packaging was giving me a Space Police or Ice Planet 2002 kind of vibe. But we will come to that a little later.

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LEGO Group Announces Monkie Kid Theme: Available tomorrow!

As kid growing up in Australia in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s TV Viewing was pretty predictable in the run up to the ABC’s evening news: The Goodies, Doctor Who and a music video. In 1981, this changed with an English dub of a Japanese series based on a 500 year old Chinese folk tale. The tales of the stone monkey, along with the fish and pig spirits, protecting a Buddhist priest on his pilgrimage to recover scriptures to save the world from chaos captured the hearts and minds of a generation, as matchsticks became quarterstaves, and you could whistle up a cloud in the schoolyard. And that theme song. Ask anyone over the age of 40. they can probably still sing it for you.

Fast forward forty years, and the LEGO Group is releasing a whole new theme based on the Chinese legend….

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Haunted House 10273: The Fairground says ‘Farewell’ to Creator Expert

Over the last few years, we have seen an increasing number of sets with the action set in an amusement park or fairground. We have seen these in Creator, Friends, LEGO City and particularly Creator Expert – where we have seen the largest, most sophisticated models: the Mixer, Ferris wheel, Carousel and Roller Coaster. The roller coaster was released 2 years ago now, and it must be almost time for a new one to be released. As an adult, I find the amusement parks sets enjoyable to put together: they have been satisfying builds, and there are lots of interesting ways to incorporate them in an engaging layout.

10273 LEGO® Haunted House

Ages 18+. 3,231pieces US $249.99 –CA $299.99 –DE €229.99 –UK £209.99 – FR €229.99 – DK 1799DKK– AUD $349.99

Today, the LEGO Group announce the forthcoming Haunted House – another fairground attraction to go beside your Carousel and Roller Coaster. This time based on the Family Home of Baron Samuel von Barron, whom we first met in the Adventurers theme, in 1998. This time, we have a ‘Tower Drop’ ride – incorporating a complex mechanism, that can also be automated using a Powered up Hub, motors and App.

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Swoosh-Swoosh, Pew-Pew: Child’s Play on May the Fourth

Last year, we saw the LEGO® sets aimed at younger builders shift from the the ‘Juniors‘ branding, to their respective themes, but with the added labelling of 4+. These sets feature the nifty aspects of the Junior sets: easy to build, no stickers, some cool minifigures, but with out the stigma of build specifically aimed at ‘Junior Builders.’ Now you can be 8 years old, and confident in the idea that these sets are OK for you to get: 8 is still on the plus side of 4. Previously, these sets had been limited to LEGO’s in-house ranges (City, Friends, Ninjago), as well as Disney Princess, Marvel Superheroes, and DC Superheroes. With this change in labelling, we have also seen LEGO Star Wars enter the fray, with a range of spaceships labelled 4+. Quick to assemble, and easy to start playing around with, these sets feature some large elements, which might be described as POOP: Pieces that could/should be made Out of Other Pieces.

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Hero Habitat Contest: Winners Announced

Back in March, following on from the release of the DC Superheroes Collectable Minifigures, the Rambling Brick called on readers to build a minifigure habitat for a hero. Based on an 8x8x8 standard, the brief was to build a habitat for a hero, recognising that not all heroes have capes.

The contest also coincided with parts of the world going into relative lockdown, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we had a fantastic response, receiving over 50 entries from around the world.

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The Magic Continues to Build: 2020 Wizarding World Sets Announced. Available for preorder April 30

Over the last few years, we have come to expect to see new Harry Potter sets appearing around the middle of the year. In 2018, we saw sets released for The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. In 2019 we saw sets pertaining to The Prisoner of Azkaban as well as The Goblet of Fire. You might almost think that a pattern was appearing. So you might not be surprised to learn that, this year, we have some sets relating to The Order of the Phoenix, as well as the Half Blood Prince.

We have some locations that we have not seen before, as well as a a few being revisited after an absence of many years. The sets will be released inJune, around much of the world, and August in the USA.

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Powered Up: A Letter From The Team, To The Fans.

The Powered Up platform, which seeks to unify the control interface between the different forms of electronic hardware, has been incrementally updated over the last 18 months or so, progressing from being able to do little more than control sets as they come out of the box, such as the App controlled Batmobile, and Trainsets to become a complex programming environment, tying together the currently available hardware platforms, with a grand unifying interface: The train Smart Hub, Boost Move Hub and the Technic Smart Hub.

This certainly means that they have their work cut out for them. I haven’t covered the latest update for the software here before, but it offers some interesting inclusions, including:

  • Using infrared output from the Boost Colour sensor to control the old Power functions ( you will need an IR receiver linked between your battery box an motors)
  • Ability to Map the buttons on the Bluetooth (train) remote to perform more sophisticated functions.
  • Reading the position of the device you are running the app on (that is, using the accelerometers in your phone to read its position) – allowing it to control your MOC.
  • Support for using four hubs (potentially of mixed type) simultaneously

The previous update (from December last year) also opened up the Technic Smart Hub (often referred to as the Control+ Hub) and Technic motors for control. This felt like an unnecessary delay between the release of the hardware in early August, which was functionally locked into the Control+ App – which only allows control of the main model from the set, before allowing the LEGO elements to meet their potential.

Members of AFOL engagement team (the team at the LEGO group that operate between the company and Adult Fans) have been taking comments from the Ambassador Network to the powered up team.

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Retro Review: 6627 Convertible. Enter the Headlight Brick

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Erling Brick, also known as the headlight, or washing machine, brick. This was one of the earliest SNOT elements – a brick with a stud not only on top, but also on the side, inset by the thickness of half a plate. Today, I would like to look at one of the first sets to feature this element: the 6627 Convertible.

This set was released in 1980, and celebrates its 40th anniversary since release this year. The set has 37 pieces, and one minifigure. This set is from the third year of LEGOLAND Town sets, and features a few elements that made their debut this year. I purchased mine via eBay this year, with Instructions, but no box, for £13GBP. Perhaps slightly pricier than I would have liked, but it arrived well presented, and in great condition, including the instructions.

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LEGO® Technic Ducati Panigale V4 R Unveiled, for June Release

Since Technical sets debuted in 1977, motorcycles have been a feature of the range. The level of detail comes and goes, as does the playability. The most recent ‘serious’ motorcycle set was 2017’s BMW R1200 GS Adventure, an off road bike. Since then we have seen a couple of play feature/stunt cycles. We haven’t seen a street or track bike since 2015.

The release of the Ducati is the first track bike released for some years, and represents the new Ducati Panigale V4 R

  • $59,99/59.99 Euro  $USD69,99/59.99€/$AUD 89.99
  • Aged 10+
  • 646 pieces
  • Measures over 12” (32cm) long, 6” (16cm) high and 3” (8cm) wide
  • Release Date: June 1 2020
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