Does The Use of Stickers Ever Compute? or Adhesive Labels – for gain or pain?

Please don’t get me wrong with the title here: I can find stickers to be as irritating as the next person.  However, after looking at Stephanie’s House last week, I came to realise that some LEGO elements are used in a recurring fashion, but that the final appearance and effect is dependent on the labels used.

IMG_7007On this occasion, I am specifically thinking of the humble laptop computer. Design number 18659.  This piece is currently available in two colours: black and medium lilac. It appeared in black in 2010, and medium lilac in 2016.

It appears simple enough: Slightly less than 3×4 studs in area when open, there are no clear system connections. No studs, no tubes, no clear handle. However, when closed, there is an indentation in the upper and lower parts of the laptop that accepts a clip type attacment such as a minifigure hand. Actually, when open, a lip along the bottom section allows a clip connection there as well.

Now, these laptops appear simple enough. But they are a little plain. I can see the benefit of only having one part, without printing it. From the manufacturing point of view: every new element – a part in a new colour – needs a new bin in the warehouse for storage.  Once you go the next step, and print on that part, each printed design has a new element ID, and therefore requires a new place to store it too. For the MOC Builder, the role of this element is not locked in: It’s a little hard to pretend that a part printed with decorative bows is, in fact, a vital tool in the war against crime!laptops friends.pngThe medium lilac laptop (Element ID 6141902) appears in three distinct sets, all in the Friends theme:  41314 Stephanie’s House, as discussed already; 41115 Emma’s Creative Workshop and 41116 Olivia’s Exploration Car.  Each set has a new sticker added to the sheet, which can (if you wish) be attached to the laptop present in the set, and allow you to give it an appearance of functionality.

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Underneath the Arches: Exploring One Stud Radius Curves.

 

One of the great things about LEGO bricks is the system: the way elements fit together and interact with each other, sometimes in unexpected ways.  Studs and tubes are easy to understand. As are minifigure hands and the way they plug into the end of a tube or anti stud, or clip over a 3.18mm bar. Every so often you come across a new set of interactions, and wonder just how far these relationships between elements extend.

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This happened to me this week: While my sorting continues, I was browsing through my holding bin of bricks with bows and arches.  Look, over there, a distraction. And before I knew it, I found myself considering the 1x4x2 arch and what I can place snugly under this arch.  Fortunately, during The Sort, most of the the relevant parts end up in the ‘bricks with a curved surface’ bin.

The arch fits nicely over the top of a window frame 1x2x2 2/3 (Design ID 30044).

The curve of this arch perfectly describes a semicircle, with a radius of one stud (that is, a length of a 1×1 square plate).  This is the same circle described by a 2×2 round plate, brick, tile or droid body.  Also the base profile of a 2×2 ‘dome brick’ officially known as final brick 2×2 Design ID: 30367. But more on that element later.

I have several other bricks that look like they should fit underneath this arch, with a studs up orientation. Those parts are a few of the bricks with arches and/or bows, including:1x1x1 1/3 with arch; (Design ID:6091); and 2×3 with arch (Design ID: 6215); brick 2×2 with bow and knobs (Design ID:30165) and 1x4x1 1/3 (Design ID: 10314).  Let’s see how they all line up after the break…

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Colours That Only Dogs Can Hear

Please do not consider this a complete color guide!

Here at Rambling Brick headquarters, there is a project looming.  Not technically an immensely secret or important project.  But I don’t wish to reveal it right now. Please don’t take it personally. It will enhance the element of mystery in weeks to come.

In the meantime, I need to be ready for it. Now, for the last couple of weeks I have been sorting elements in my spare time. My initial eight box sorting technique was a little optimistic. What was initially going to be a simple ‘bricks plates, modified bricks, slopes, plates, tiles, small bricks/plates, greebly bits and everything else’  .  I found a few extra bowls to put go through on the way: minifigures; minifigure accessories; curves and arches; round bricks; round plates, long tube like bits, profile bricks and random technic elements; I have made it through the majority of the casual boxes of broken down models and unrelated parts lying around the house.

The smaller elements seem to be in  different types: 1×1 cylinders; 1×1 cones; 1×1 square plates, square tiles, round plates, and round tiles.  Possibly a few more different colours than I would have been happy trying to fit into a fifteen compartment tackle box.  But if we double up colours in the same compartment, it should be easy enough to identify them.  In principle.

The other thing that has become apparent is the need for adequate lighting.  And reading glasses.  Some of these things are just related to normal ageing. The light is more related to sensible purchasing decisions.  Sometimes the white LEDE light panel needs to come out to help work out what I have. However, I have discovered is that perhaps I am a a little more colour blind than I realised. Some colours are a little difficult to identify on their own, without a reference. Color variations in LEGO are not unknown.  Colours that seem to be particularly inconsistent include medium blue and flame yellowish orange. Especially if medium Azur or regular yellow are close by.

This has been a challenge when sorting cheese slopes, small plates and round studs. As you can see many of these colours are pretty close together on the spectrum, and if the lighting is a little unreliable, then confusion can abound.


One colour is especially causing me problems.  When ever I see pale aqua on its own, I accidently put it in with the white parts.  Then I see it has doesn’t match, and attempt to chase it.  How is it that it vanishes to the bottom of the compartment, only to be visible out of the corner off my eye when I stop searching for it?  Any direct questing seems to result in bitter disappointment. If only my visual acuity was a little more akin to the hearing of a dog?

But was it real, or just a trick of the light? So again, I come back to this: bright, white light is certainly more important than a nice moody warm light in your sorting space. What do you use to ensure appropriate color matching in your build area.  I’m open to suggestions.  It may save a few headaches.  There are more important things to have headaches about!

Do I actually own pieces in this colour? According to the Brickset colour database, I should own some. I have a couple of sets with Unikitty in somewhere. There were some spare 1×1 plates included from what I recall.

I wonder where they went?

Why not share your colour matching challenges in the comments below, and be sure to follow the Rambling brick for casual musings, random thoughts and occasional reviews.

In the meantime,
Play well.

Sorting… with Extreme Prejudice.

I have a problem.

Well, I have several, but only one is particularly relevant to you today. It is to find order amongst the chaos. Yes, we are talking about sorting the LEGO collection: mine has gotten a little out of hand.

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This topic is frequently brought up discussion groups, so I thought I would tell you where I have been, and let you know where I am going.  I know many of you have well sorted collections/resources, some are a little more…chaotic.

My current collection of building bricks has evolved from my children’s collection: started around 10 years ago.
In those early days, after graduating from one box, Continue reading

I Can’t Believe It’s Not LEGO: Playmobil, in Competition or Comparison?

I haven’t only played with LEGO in my life.  Back in Christmas 1974 we received our first Playmobil Knights sets.  We were frustrated by the legs being locked together, and I managed to give one of our figures independently moving legs.  It took quite a bit of force!

First Generation Playmobil Knights c. 1974

I hadn’t ever really considered Playmobil to be a competitor with LEGO as I grew up.  One was for building with, one was for role play/ setting up dioramas. That was easy in 1975, before mini figures with silly faces and moving limbs existed. And that seems to be how it has been culturally in Australia.  LEGO is available in most toy shops and department stores, and large retailers (Thinking target, Kmart, Big W)  While Playmobil has almost exclusively been in the domain of the smaller, independent toy shop.  We have continued to pick up the occasional playmobil set, especially for Grandma and Grandpa’s holiday house, where our children would often play with them.  With the exception of a nurse in 1978, be have basically stuck with variations of the medieval theme.

I knew Playmobil had continued to be a thing, but I hadn’t really worried about it.  Then coming home through Belgium in 2016, I saw an orange Porsche 911 on the shelves at the Duty Free Shop in the airport.porsche

This struck me as a little too coincidental. Continue reading

Whatever happened to the 2 x 4 Brick? Minecraft: The Ice Spikes 21131

The humble 2×4 brick.

If any element over the years has been used to represent the concept of the LEGO® system of play, this is it.IMG_5070

One of the original elements in the LEGO brick parts palette, it is the first piece that springs to mind when many of us think of LEGO® Bricks.  The favourite element of many large scale builders, if you have enough of them, you can build almost anything!  It is one of those pieces that brings memories flooding back to those of us raised on basic sets back in the early to mid 1970’s.  Before the advent of the minifigure, this brick was the cornerstone of LEGO construction, being a significant component of the Basic/ Universal Construction Sets that were commonly played with in this era. IMG_5066While allowing an incredibly versatile method of construction, there is no doubt that that they contributed significantly to the chunky aesthetic that is associated with LEGO® design and construction in my childhood. When your parents say “In my day, it was just bricks,” this is what they are talking about.  Continue reading

Series 17 Minifigures: Fireside Review

Pictures of the latest series (Number 17) of Collectable Minifigures have been circulating the interwebs like crazy in the run up to their official release this week.  My figures arrived on 2nd of May, and I have to admit, I think this is one of the most appealing series yet  There is something for pretty well everyone…

As autumn has taken control of the weather here (in the USA, you may call it fall although I appreciate it is currently spring in the northern hemisphere), temperatures have dropped and evenings may be spent sitting in front of the fireplace with a nice cup of tea/ glass of whine/ beverage of choice.  While I was sitting down in front of the fireplace, this evening, I opened today’s mail. The camera was in easy reach, and I could not justify moving far from my seat to photograph these figures.

IMG_4873.jpgIf you have seen them already, you know who we have. I’m not up to generating a bag feeling guide tonight, and I know there are a few already out there.

 If you have not yet seen reviews of this series, here is a quick summary: Continue reading