‘Region Exclusive’ Chinese New Year sets will be available in Australia/New Zealand [News 80101, 80102]

In which I investigate exactly what the implications of being part of the ‘Asia Pacific’ region means for Australian and New Zealand LEGO Fans, in the face of  ‘Region Exclusive Sets,’ and find myself pleasantly surprised…

Earlier in the month, we were excited to hear that there will be a couple of new sets released specifically in the Chinese and Asian Markets to commemorate the Chinese New Year. Two sets have been officially announced to date 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner and 80102 Dragon Dance. 

The new sets celebrate iconic new year traditions. Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner shows a Chinese family reuniting to celebrate the lunar new year in a traditional home. Often performed during Chinese New Year, Dragon Dance is a symbol of the Chinese culture and is believed to bring good luck to people. The Dragon Dance set features a team of dragon dancers, with a minifigure dressed as a cute pig celebrating the coming Chinese New Year of the Pig.
Christiansen said: “These sets are special. They are the first sets we’ve created to celebrate Lunar New Year and the first time we’ve made sets for a specific country or region. We hope they bring a lot of joy to children and the young at heart during new year.”

While images have been around for a few days, language associated with the set had evolved from ‘the Chinese Market’ to ‘China and Asia’ and subsequently ‘Asia-Pacific.’ Does this mean that these sets will be part available in all countries in the Asia-Pacific region?  I sought clarification about the potential availability of these sets in Australia. (images used here are sourced from VJ Gamer Thanks to Brickfinder for the nudge)

I reached out to LEGO® Australia, and they have confirmed that these two sets will be available in Australia and New Zealand from January 1st, 2019.  There will be a limited distribution, with details to be confirmed closer to the time of release. The prices are also as yet to be announced.

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LEGO® Movie 2: New Trailer and further sets Announced [News]

As we get closer to the release of The LEGO® Movie 2 , the LEGO Group has  released details of new sets, as well as a new trailer on their Facebook page, with further details coming out via the Brothers Brick, and the LEGO Ambassador Network:.

There is something for everyone in this selection: minidolls and minifigures; juniors and older; Duplo and Juniors. Included amongst these are  new classic spacemen in blue, yellow and pink as well as some essential starter sets for buildling classic style spaceships (Printed classic space logos on 2×4 sloped bricks’; 4×3 transparent yellow slopes), and some brick built and highlights from the Systar System.

Larger images and descriptions after the break.

The building style ranges from simple Duplo Constructions, through to a post apocalyptic wasteland, via space and a psychedelic shape changing character in the form of Queen Watevra Wanabi. I have heard rumours of a new colour coming to the palette next year… and I see the stripe on the side of the bus looks like it could be Salmon/Vibrant Coral. To say nothing of at least another three Unikitty variations for the collectors. Certainly, there is something for everyone, but if you want to hold on to your wallet, you might need to accept that not everything is for you!

All sets listed are slated for release on December 26th.  The LEGO Movie 2 is due for release on February 6 in most of the world.  Warner brother via IMDB lists the Australian release date as 28th March. Delayed Again.

Yesterday, a collection of ‘Hero Shots’ of the main characters were released on twitter

These go me a just a bit excited: follow on after the break for the trailer and set details.

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Hispabrick 031 Available Now

This just in from our friends at Hispabrick Magazine:

We are back with another issue of HispaBrick Magazine: number 31.
In this issue you can see how AFOLs enjoy events in different countries like Japan, (Japan BrickFest), Chile (Brickfest Chile) or Denmark (LEGOÆ World Copenhagen).
We visit LEGOLAND Japan, Masao Hidaka shows us how you can build a monorail with current LEGO pieces and Julien Ballester tells us about Stuck in Plasticís annual toy photography safari, this time in the city of ParÌs.
In our interview section we talk to Jamie Berard, design manager specialist for Creator Expert and LEGO Architecture and we meet Quinten, winner of the 2018 LEGO Ideas Trophy Design Contest.
In the KOCKICE Corner we have another instalment of the Minidolls vs Minifigures comparison, a review of LEGO Architecture Skylines and an article about the different animals LEGO has produced.
Of course there are also EV3 and Boost tutorials, reviews and much more.

You can download HispaBrick Magazine from our downloads page:
https://www.hispabrickmagazine.com/downloads/

The team at Hispabrick Magazine have also just given their website a revamp and past articles are much easier to locate with their new index! My report from Japan Brickfest is reprinted in this issue, as well as many other great articles.

I have a new post coming out soon… looking to see what we can learn from our new Friends… until then, 

Play Well!

The LEGO Group announce STEAM Courses and Exclusive sets for China

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CEO of the LEGO Group, Niels B. Christiansen speaking at the LEGO Booth at the Chinese International Import Expo [Source: the LEGO Group]
The LEGO Group has announced the forthcoming release of sets celebrating the Lunar New Year (arriving January 1, 2019) as well as the launch of primary school STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) courses.

Speaking at the Chinese International Import Expo (CIIE), Niels B. Christiansen said “As a mission-driven business, we are committed to inspiring and developing children through creative play and learning. We are excited to announce these major launches for China at the CIIE, and our commitment to this strategic growth market and goals to provide the creative LEGO® play experience to the hands of more Chinese children remain unchanged.”

The CIIE is a major trade fair, and there have been a number of models and mosaics produced for the event by Prince Jiang (LEGO Certified Professional) and his team at the Brick of Philosophy studio. As well as the giant mosaic seen above, Prince designed a small model of Jingbao, the mascot of the event for VIP Visitors to the LEGO booth.

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Jingbao, LEGO Model designed by Prince Jiang.  Image Source: Prince Jiang, Used with permission.

It looks like there will be two region specific sets forthcoming: Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner, depicting a traditional Chinese family gathering to celebrate the new year, and Dragon Dance. The Dragon Dance is frequently performed during New year Celebrations in China.  The set also comes with a character dressed as a pig, symbolizing the Year of the Pig, commencing next year.

Edit: Images of these sets been subsequently removed from the online press release.  

Christiansen said: “These sets are special. They are the first sets we’ve created to celebrate Lunar New Year and the first time we’ve made sets for a specific country or region. We hope they bring a lot of joy to children and the young at heart during new year.”

The STEAM Courses are being developed as a collaborative exercise between  the East China National University Press, Chinese STEAM education experts and LEGO Education. They are scheduled for play testing in Shanghai later this year, with a view to rolling out in April 2019.

LEGO Sets were first sold in China in 1983, and thirty five years later, China is seen as an important strategic region for business growth.  With region specific sets, there will be increased challenges for Western Collectors, but it also opens up the possibility for presenting other region specific sets around the world.  Relative market sizes may make this less likely, however.

Until next time,

Play well.

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The LEGO Booth at CIIE.  Image Source: the LEGO Group.

The LEGO Group announced today at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) that it will launch its first elementary school STEAM* courses for Chinese students from next year, enabling local students to become active, collaborative learners and build 21st century skills.

The Danish family-owned business also announced that its first-ever sets inspired by traditional new year festivals will be available in China and Asia Pacific markets from 1 January 2019. Niels B. Christiansen, Chief Executive Officer of the LEGO Group, said: “As a mission-driven business, we are committed to inspiring and developing children through creative play and learning. We are excited to announce these major launches for China at the CIIE, and our commitment to this strategic growth market and goals to provide the creative LEGO® play experience to the hands of more Chinese children remain unchanged.”

The elementary school STEAM courses are the result of close collaboration between East China Normal University Press (ECNUP), LEGO Education and Chinese STEAM experts to ensure it complements existing courses. LEGO Education products including Simple Machines Set, Creative Suitcase, Space and Airport Set and Creative LEGO Brick Set are used in the courses to support teaching in an inspiring, engaging and effective way. Scheduled for test in primary schools in Shanghai later this month, the STEAM courses with consist of student textbooks and teacher guidebooks. It is be officially available from April 2019.

Christiansen said: “We believe in the power of play to develop essential life-long skills to succeed in the 21st century. We are proud of the close collaborations with local educators as we combine our global experiences and the local insights together to ensure that our first STEAM courses for Chinese students can contribute to the Chinese society’s growing needs of innovative talents with creative skills.”

The new sets celebrate iconic new year traditions. Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner shows a Chinese family reuniting to celebrate the lunar new year in a traditional home. Often performed during Chinese New Year, Dragon Dance is a symbol of the Chinese culture and is believed to bring good luck to people. The Dragon Dance set features a team of dragon dancers, with a minifigure dressed as a cute pig celebrating the coming Chinese New Year of the Pig.

Christiansen said: “These sets are special. They are the first sets we’ve created to celebrate Lunar New Year and the first time we’ve made sets for a specific country or region. We hope they bring a lot of joy to children and the young at heart during new year.”

China is a strategic growth market for the LEGO Group which has been engaging with Chinese children and parents with its system in play since 1983 when the LEGO sets were sold in China. Over the past 35 years, the LEGO Group has been building brand and geographic presence in the country. It has opened 47 LEGO branded stores in 16 cities and 157 LEGO Education centers in all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China.

The LEGO Group is participating in the first CIIE with a 378-square-meter booth that showcases a large line-up of its toy and education products and curriculum. The booth also features play tables where visitors can use their imagination to build their own creations with the LEGO bricks which are celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

CIIE is jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Municipal Government of Shanghai and held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) from November 5 to 10. The LEGO Group also teamed up with Chinese stakeholders to organize two seminars focusing on “How Play in Education can Foster Creativity and Innovation” and “Responsible Marketing to Children in Digital Age” during the CIIE.

Other highlights of the LEGO Group booth include:

• A master piece mosaic made by 112,031 LEGO bricks featuring Jinbao, the mascot of the CIIE
• The first sustainable LEGO® bricks made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane
• The new LEGO® Creator Expert Vestas® wind turbine
• Digital play experiences

Once Upon an Idea [Announcement 21315]

21315_Front_01Once Upon a Time, there were two LEGO® Fans who had an Idea.  

Grant had the Idea first, to make a pop-up book out of LEGO bricks.  Then he reached out to Jason, who had an Idea before.  They told their friends about the Idea, and those friends told their friends. Eventually, a Lot of People said that the Idea was good.

This meant that the Idea was taken to be read and reviewed by the wise people, who had to work out if the it could be made Real.  After much thought, it was announced to be so. The designers went to work: taking the Idea, and striving to produce a set that more than ten thousand people would want. Continue reading

Creator Expert Vestas Wind Turbine Re-released and Sustainability Update [Announcement/Preview]

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In which we get a glimpse of another set re-released after 10 years and have a quick review of some of the recent steps the LEGO Group are taking towards a sustainable future.4999-1

Ten years ago, LEGO® set 4999 was released. A limited release set produced for Vestas®, a company which produces a significant number of wind turbines around the world,  this set was never made available to the general public.  Measuring over two feet high, it does have significant gravitas as a display piece.

Today, at the New York Climate Week,  the LEGO Group has announced the re-release of this set, as 10268 Vestas Wind Turbine. This time, the set will be available to the general public, from Black Friday (November 23). With 826 elements, the count is a little higher than the 803 listed for the older set in the database maintained by Brickset. In Australia, it will cost $AUD329. A full international price list is listed at the bottom of this post.

The Vestas Wind Turbine also includes a Power Functions Battery box, M motor, with a long extension cable, to get the turbine spinning, as well as lights.

Consisting of the wind turbine sitting on a small hill, with a house, service van and three minifigures, this set maintains many of the characteristics of the original.  Most of the elements in that set were readily available, except for one.  A green ‘Large ugly rock piece.’ While these could easily be substituted for one in grey, the green one has gone back into production for this set. The trees in this set are some of the first ‘Plants from Plants’ available for purchase in LEGO sets.  Earlier in the year, a promotional set was available, as a gift with purchase, in some markets.

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AntMan Building Contest Winners Announced

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Recently, the Rambling Brick held a contest to win The Ant-Man and the Wasp set, Quantum Realm Explorers.

The Brief was to build a MOC that would exploit AntMan’s ability to shrink or grow –  so either build a microscale model, where a Minifigure could look like a giant, or one where the minifigure represented a shrunken AntMan.  There is a prize of 76109 Quantum Realm Explorers for the winners in each category. Entrants were required to use a minifigure, but it was not necessary to use an actual AntMan Minifigure in entries.

Entries were open for roughly six weeks, and were accepted from around the world. A panel of judges was assembled from my network – a mixture of builders and community supporters.  They were asked to nominate their three favourite MOCs in each category.  (Three points for 1st; One point for 3rd). The builders of the MOCs were not identified to the judges at the time of judging.

Without further ado – here are the entries. Continue reading