LEGO Boost Robotics Australian Release Date Announced

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The LEGO® Boost robotics system is now available to order in some markets, with reports of deliveries arriving starting to come in from around the world.  Australia will have to wait a few more months before the new LEGO robots arrive to take over our lives. While the global release is scheduled for August 1st,  the Australian release date has been ever so quietly announced on shop.LEGO.com.   Scheduled for release in Australia, with a limited local retail release (the definition of limited currently remains a little fuzzy) on October 1, 2017, the Recommended Retail Price is expected to be around $AU250. Or half the price of a LEGO Mindstorms EV3.

Based on the a similar hardware platform as the WeDo Educational robotics platform, Boost was announced at CES in Las Vegas back in January 2017. There was a lot of excitement at the time of the announcement, and over recent months the set has been available for preorder in other markets. Until now however, news of the Australian release has best been described as ‘a little quiet.’ Continue reading

Making Friends, with Fenella and Ricardo: LEGO Friends’ Designers (Interview)

At the start of June, as part of the LEGO Fan Media Days, I had the opportunity to meet Fenella Charity and Ricardo Silva, who are both part of the LEGO Friends design team.  Fenella’s back ground is in industrial design, and Ricardo came to work at LEGO via the fan community. Our conversation rambled over a variety of topics relevant to the Friends line: including storyboarding the  sets and animated stories;  stickers vs printed elements; gender balance; designing Stephanie’s house and starting the trip down a slippery slope by using tan walls  in the pizzeria. But before we started on that path, I had to ask something…

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The LEGO Friends sets have be inspirational for introducing buildings around town that aren’t fire stations, banks being robbed or police stations, as are de rigour in LEGO City. But something I have been wondering… Are we going to see a police station?

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LEGO Batman Movie Batwing Polybag: Free with Purchase (at one retailer in Australia) + Review

The LEGO Batman Movie coming to DVD/Blu Ray/ 4K-UHD and digital formats! After waiting six weeks from the international release for it to arrive in Australia, it turns out we only have to wait until June 28 –  fifteen days after the US release. Already, we are staring to hear some of the marketing buzz.  In the US, Target already has an edition with Batgirl Polybag (30612) and four post cards. And Walmart is offering a special edition Bluray-DVD-Digital Download and Lunchbox (with removable cape!) pack. We are still waiting to hear if any of these will be coming to Australia. I would be really excited if the Batgirl Polybag makes it, as it does appear to be another different figure to the one that appears in regular sets and different to the one that appears in the LEGO Dimensions ‘Play the LEGO Batman Movie’ Pack .

So, What do we have to look forward to?

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That’s a funny looking minifigure…

JB Hifi have announced that they will have, somewhat erroneously, an exclusive minifigure with all formats including DVD, Blu Ray, 3D, 4K and Ultraviolet!  Erroneously, because they then go on to list the bonus minifigure as being the polybag: 30524: The Mini Batwing.

At least, even though it is not an exclusive minifigure, it is a poly bag, which rarely arrives in Australia out side this kind of promotional exercise.

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Inside 4000010: The LEGO House Preview

As part of the recent LEGO Fan Media Days, the Rambling Brick had the opportunity to preview the LEGO House.  Located in Billund, opposite the old Kristiansen family home and on the site of the former town hall, the LEGO House will be a place to have a LEGO Experience unlike any other.
The building is complete, and those working inside, or visiting the building are no longer required to wear a hard hat. There is still a little way to before the house will be ready for the public however…
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The inspirations for 4000010: The LEGO House and 42061: Telehandler seen together in the wild.
I had intended to look at set 4000010: The LEGO House, a promotional set available around Billund at present.  However, my luggage has decided to take a slightly more circuitous route than even myself to get back home!
I shall delay that review for early in the week, so long as the Luggage arrives intact…
In the meantime, read on to see what we discovered about the inspiration for that set, the actual LEGO House.

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Going Independent

You’d be forgiven, if you had your ear to the ground in Melbourne lately, for thinking IMG_5799 (1)that the only thing happening in the world of LEGO® Retail was the opening of the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the Chadstone shopping centre.

Get out of the malls

Do not think, however, if you don’t like shopping centres, or malls, or giant retailers that  you don’t have the option of finding some places around town where you can get your fix of LEGO® retail opportunity.  There are a number of independent stores, away from the larger centres, which offer a large range of current, and retired LEGO® sets, as well as providing the option of off brand, third party add ons for your LEGO creations.

Bring Bricks to Bayswater

One such store is Toybricks. The original store opened in the inner northern suburb of Fairfield, about five years ago.  A second shop has just been opened in the outer eastern suburb of Baywater.  With around 200 square meters of retail space, the shelves are filled with the majority of the current LEGO sets, as well as a few officially retired items. The new space has plenty of new stock, mini figures available for individual purchase as well as an area for MOCs to be displayed. There is a good range of Creator Expert sets in stock.

In addition to official LEGO products, Toybricks also stock Lifelites lighting systems, as well as the ME rails – both metal and plastic.  A selection of clothing and books are also available.  As well as LEGO, there is a small section of other modelling toys, as well as 3D jigsaw puzzles and robotics kits. Dean also has play tables, with (non-LEGO branded) baseplates on.  These plates certainly have impressive clutch power, holding oa small mock in place as the table top was lifted up and tipped on its side. To help you sort you parts, they also stock a variety of Australian made Fisher Storage Boxes.

Another service offered is a shopfront for the Ozbricks Bricklink store – preorders can be delivered to the shop for pickup, and a limited selection of parts can be purchased on site.

The shop has it’s grand opening this weekend (12th May), with some opening weekend specials including 25% off the RRP for the Creator Expert Big Ben 10253; 40% off selected sStar Wars sets, and Buy 2 get one free with 7499 Straight and Flexible Tracks.

This new store at 697 Mountain Highway Bayswater is close to the Bayswater railway station, and there is plenty of parking nearby.

Not only but also…

As well as their other store at 70 Station street Fairfield, there are a number of other independent retailers specialising in LEGO and related products around Melbourne including:

I’m Rick James Bricks at 49 John St, Pakenham.  As well as LEGO Sets, and a wall of bricks to select from and a build a minifigure station. Rick also sell’s Citizen Brick printed figures and tiles, as well as Brick Arms accessories and Brickmania military figures and kits.

Build and Play Australia can be found at 1387 Toorak Road, Camberwell. In addition to their range of LEGO sets and minifigures, they carry a range of Graphic Novels and Funko Pop Vinyl figures.

Shopforme have a retail location at 23 Dawson St, Coburg North, and in addition to LEGO sets stock a wide range of collectibles, and a strong online presence.

Bricks To The World, based in Gippsland offers online only service, with a wide range of current and retired sets, and prompt delivery.

I’m sure there must be some other independent resellers around Melbourne, and indeed Victoria: these are the ones I know, in the parts of town I tend to travel through.  Who’s your favourite? Who have I missed?

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement.  People often ask where can they buy LEGO locally, and it’s often a bit easier to have a post to point them to rather than pull out the back of an envelope…the opening of a new store made it feel timely.

I would also like to acknowledge that there are  many great independent and franchised general  toy shops out there, for whom LEGO is not the primary business. They can also be a great source of LEGO sets, without the seasonal shortfall that you often see with the major retailers.

 

Play well.

 

Carousel 10257 Coming Soon: Reimagining an Investor’s Classic.

boxes.pngAround eight years ago, shortly after I emerged from my Dark Ages, I visited LEGOLAND 10257_Front_02_1California with my family. The Aussie Dollar was running at 90US¢ to A$1: the best exchange rate in years.  We got to the store.  What followed is a bit embarrassing, but suffice to say it included  Cafe Corner and the Grand Carousel 10196.  Despite currency fluctuations, the pricing model used meant we could afford these 2 sets, and some more, as well as some luggage to transport them home, and still come out in front.  Unfortunately, this involved unboxing these sets prior to returning home.  Once the box is broken, you might as well build them, don’t you think? If I knew then what I know now, I would have also picked up a Millennium falcon UCS, and transported them home in fur-lined gold plated shipping container instead.  Aah: hindsight. It gives me 20-20 vision.

The Grand Carousel had a huge footprint with a 48 square, green baseplate. It had an interesting 16 sided construction and rotation was afforded by a spring-loaded wheel turning the outside – just like the real carousel’s that would tour country Victoria going to annual town fairs.  Not only did it rotate, but the horses bounced up and down as well.  And then there was the sound brick ,providing the joyous sounds of a Calliope, and invoking a nightmare flashback in any kid scared by carnival clowns.  This set has appreciated significantly over theirs, with new sticker sheets selling for more than $70 on Brick link, and the sound brick for more than $200!

fairground past.pngIn more recent years, the Lego Creator Expert team have been producing exceptional sets based on Fairground rides, providing a challenging building experience and great play and display features. In 2014, we saw the release of the Fairground Mixer 10244, followed up by the Ferris wheel 10247 in 2015. Last year it was the Friends turn, with a whole sub theme.  The Amusement park Roller Coaster41130 was a highlight for many here! Builders have not been content with with merely adding motion to this to these rides. Lighting has also become popular, with some spectacular third party lighting kits now available especially for them. But I didn’t stop writing this post for the purpose of becoming over whelmed with nostalgia, continuing to chart my descent from a regular human being into an Adult Fan of LEGO, but rather to present the announcement of the latest fairground set, at Play-Time in New York today.

The press release: more pictures and discussion follow . Continue reading

Light up your LEGO #1

There is no doubt that adding lighting to a LEGO model will enhance it’s appearance – it adds a degree of life to it, enhancing lines, lightening shadows and highlighting features which may otherwise be a little obscure.  LEGO have offered lighting for at least 50 years, originally in the form of a light brick, with the options of a filter, and more recently with power functions, providing a pair of LED lights.  We now also see self-contained light bricks in recent sets.IMG_0691-2.jpg

While earlier  LEGO® sets used standard filament bulbs,  more recently builders have been able to look to Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to provide versatile lighting solutions. Recently,  LEGO builders have been incorporating lighting into their builds than ever before.

The systems used vary from simple ‘bulb and battery’ solutions, through to custom solutions for individual LEGO Sets.  There are also sophisticated, microprocessor controlled solutions available, providing preprogrammed sequential lighting patterns.  Miniaturisation of  LEDs means that they are now able to be incorporated in LEGO builds, with minimal rebuilding required for wiring.

Today, I would like to present a couple of simple options for cheap and easy lighting solutions, that can enhance your models.  In the future, I will present some examples of other, more sophisticated lighting solutions. Continue reading