Looking Forward to the rest of the year at the 2018 Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair

The Rambling Brick, and Friends at the Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair.

The toy fair season is now starting to wind up for now: We have had Nuremberg. We have had New York. Now we have had Melbourne…

The Melbourne Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair is a bit of a mouthful. Predominantly a trade show, taking place in Melbourne in early March each year, LEGO Australia have a strong presence. There has traditionally been little ‘big news’ coming out of the show, as visitors have not been able to take photographs at the LEGO® booth, a trend that was reinforced at Nuremberg this year.
 I had the chance to visit the Fair last weekend, and visit the booth displaying our favourite Danish Plastic Brick. Once I got past the big displays outside the booth, I had to put the camera away, and make do with words and memories.
After the recent New York and Nuremberg Toy shows, there is little to be seen in left field, unexpected presentations.  Unlike New York, there are no Direct to Consumer sets on display (for example: Hogwarts Great Hall; Ultron Hulkbuster).  There were also no Brickheadz or 40th Birthday Minifigure sets on display.  There were no sets associated with unreleased movies ( such as Jurassic World; Solo; Incredibles 2) , unless they were already on sale (Avengers: Infinity War went on sale the week before the toy fair).
There were plenty of sets on display that are already on the shop shelves, readily available to purchase in real life shops, or on line. And everything else that I saw already has an entry in Brickset’s 2018 database. However, there were some sets from the second half year on display, of which few details have previously been available, or for which some additional clarity was able to be gained. If you wish to avoid spoilers, look away now.  If you have read everything coming out of Nuremberg and New York, there may not be a lot that sounds new… but certainly a few points of clarification.

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The Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition 76105 [Product Announcement]

Hulkbuster Armour: is it UCS? is it a good reason for last year’s changes in the LEGO Ideas guidelines and house rules? Is it going to occupy valuable display space after March 3? Hopefully these questions will be answered, or at least addressed, in this post.


At the New York Toy Show today, LEGO Unveiled the 76105 The Hulkbuster: Ultron Edition.  Based on the Mark 44 Iron Man Armour, this armour was designed as a contingency, to be deployed from an orbital platform, codenamed Veronica, in the event of a confrontation with the Hulk.  While the relative success in developing such a strategy, along with the ensuing destruction witnessed at the ‘Battle of Johannesburg’ may be argued either way, there is no doubt that the resultant suit looks pretty cool!

With 1363 pieces, and measuring over 25 centimetres tall, and a descriptive plaque, this is a set that fans have been waiting years for. Celebrating the 10 years of Marvel Studios cinema releases, this set will be available from 3rd March 2018, through shop.lego.com or your local LEGO Brand retail store. It will be priced at AU $199.99  – US $119.99 – CA $149.99 – DE 129.99€ – UK £119.99 – DK 1199DKKThere will be no early availability for VIPs.

Ten years of Marvel Studios

76105_1to1_MF_D2C_Iron_ManOn April 14, it will be ten years since the first Iron Man movie was released, heralding the beginning of the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was the first film to be released under the Marvel Studios label, but it was not for another four years that we saw an official LEGO version. The first Iron Man minifigure was a Toy Fair 2012 exclusive, with figures becoming available for the rest of us as part of the sets released in conjunction with The Avengers movie. To date, there have been at least 15 variations on Iron Man mini figures released. And there is a new one included in this set, to say nothing of the forthcoming Avengers: Infinity War sets. Iron Man has also been released as a constructible figure (4529), a micro figure (in the Helicarrier 70642), two BrickHeadz (41492 – San Diego Comic Con Exclusive; and 41590 – general release) and as a brick built  version of the Hulkbuster Armour in The Hulk Buster Smash (76031).  It is this final version which is expanded and elaborated on today.

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Alternative prior (non minifigure) LEGO Presentations of Iron Man: Not to scale…

Is this UCS? Continue reading

All aboard: Power Functions 2.0 with Bluetooth Announced at Nuremberg Toy Fair. Rampant speculation follows.

Lots of exciting news has come out of the Nuremberg Toy fair about upcoming releases for the year, but perhaps the most interesting for me will have a ripple effect that lasts well into the future: After ten years, the Power Functions system which has powering our models is getting an upgrade.

In news coming out from the Nuremberg Toy Fair this week, a new Power Functions system is due to be released later this year.  Reporting from the fair, our friends at Promo Bricks bring news of new train sets arriving later in the year, along with the new system. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed of the  display, so what follows is in part speculation, and interpreting information in the above article.

Featuring similar plugs and cables to those seen with both the WeDO 2.0, as well as the Boost Robotics Systems, the new system also allows for bluetooth control.  The receiver for this system is located within the battery box.  The battery box is a similar size to the current PF battery box currently used for trains, and can fit in the train in a similar way.


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Mystery Project X: Let’s Start with a Place for Space.

I am working on a display for Brickvention, our local LEGO Fan Convention- It is now less 2 weeks away, and I feel as though I am more on track than I have been any time in the last 10 years. Admittedly, I have previously done a lot of landscaping with trees flowers and rivers. These last few months I have found myself drawn towards Classic Space. It seems odd to me that it has taken so long. Minifigures were first released in Town and Castle in 1978, and Space reached Australia in 1979- I was about nine or ten years old at the time. I remember the ’78 catalog showing some images of space (coming soon), but perhaps my childhood memory and facts are in slight disagreement. Star Wars (back in those days there was only one) was very much inspiring my imagination at this time


Our family collection of space was limited to the Space Scooter 885, Space Buggy 886, Radar Truck 889 and the 1981 Moonbuggy 6801 – although I seem to remember that last one as all gray.

So, since picking up a used 918 Space Transporter from eBay, a few things have come together. I was given a bulk lot by a friend: A mixture of Classic Town and Space. I have identified parts for all of sets I once had in this collection.

I gave all the parts a wash in warm soapy water in the summer sun, and set about reconstructing what I found, knew and once had. Continue reading

Do you know who your Friends are? (The official word on the new look for LEGO Friends in 2018)

The callout on the Friends Set packaging has had an update in 2018… a sign of things to come.

Recently, we have seen images of the new LEGO Friends Sets for 2018, and there have been a few interesting surprises. Not only the presence of teal, but our protagonists have had a bit of a makeover. In fact, this is possibly the most obvious aspect.

Andrea, Emma, Mia, Olivia and Stephanie.  Changing eye colour, fading freckles, altered skin tones, bigger smiles and new (or no) lipstick! Just part of the shakeup in 2018

All sorts of theories have been bandied around: colored contact lenses, eye damage due too much time in the tanning salon, extreme perms, but perhaps the most simple answer is that after five years, the line is getting a bit of a refresh…

Here is the official word from the Friends Design Team about the new looks that we are seeing in 2018:

Every year we strive to innovate and make our products even better for children all over the world. A lot of effort has gone into the development of the LEGO characters and universes across our entire product range, so it makes us very happy  when changes are noticed.

LEGO Friends in 2018 looks a bit different than what it has in the past. To be specific, the 5 main characters have a slightly different look but also the city and the citizens of Heartlake City have changed.

But what are the reasons for the change?

Firstly, we want to assure you that all 5 friends are still there in 2018.
Andrea, Mia, Emma, Stephanie and Olivia – they all still exist! Also the character’s main interests and personalities remain mainly unchanged.

What you will see in 2018 is an evolution of LEGO Friends, a progression of the story and characters to make sure children get an even greater play experience. Every year more than a million children and parents reach out to us and share what they love and what they would like to change. In the LEGO Friends range children told us that they would like even more differentiated characters and also suggested improvements to Heartlake City.

We always take great care to listen to input from children, and the LEGO Friends team has worked hard to make even more engaging and relevant experiences for children – and also make the LEGO Friends universe more true to the actual world children live in.

Taking a starting point in reality, we’ve made the characters more diverse in their appearance and have added more depth to their personality. And of course, they still live in Heartlake City. But just as the characters have changed, Heartlake City has become more differentiated and rich. There are different districts and there are other citizens that play a more active role in the story.

The changes we have made does not change the fact that previous and new LEGO Friends sets will cater for great building and play experience in 2018 and beyond, and we hope to inspire even more stories and play opportunities for children in the future.

While we can think what we like about the changes, it will add to the ongoing diversity in our characters. For the last five years, Heartlake City has been a relatively homogeneous town- it will now go on to reflect more closely on the world that the target market wish to play in. For those of you who who have a Minidoll based city layout, you have a whole new collection of faces for the town.

Personally, I like the fact that we now have vintage Friends Minidolls to collect. What do you think about the new look? Why not add your comments below, and follow the Rambling Brick for new stories, updates and random opinion.

Play well.


Teal We Meet Again: In search of Stafford’s Choice

In which, on discovering the reappearance of teal in the LEGO colour palette, I go in search of “Stafford’s Choice.” Have any colours been sacrificed in order to allow teal to return? Let’s tick off the colours as we review some of the recently announced new sets for 2018…


Stafford’s Choice:

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Teal returns in 2018. But was there a cost?

Mark Stafford is a designer with the LEGO Group. Recruited from the fan community, he joined the company over 10 years ago and has had a hand in many of the action themes over that period of time.  Themes such as NEXO Knights, Legends of Chima, Space Police 3, Ninjago, Alien Conquest, Power Miners and Atlantis, to name but a few. He also turned Peter Reid’s Exosuit Ideas submission into a set.

At Brickvention in 2014, Mark gave a talk talking about a challenge he faced in his early days as a designer:  Early in his career at LEGO he was put to work, sharing his love of mechs, on the EXO Force line.

One of the first sets that he designed was the Dark Panther – 8115. And it was here that he was given a challenging decision: The initial models left the set leaning towards one of red, orange, purple (medium lilac) and teal (bright blueish green).  If teal were to be chosen, purple would be deleted from the current colour palette; if he chose to use purple, then teal would be deleted.  Had orange or red been used then both teal and purple would have vanished from the LEGO palette for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

Modular Diner 10260 Announcement: 1950s Style, for 60 years of the Brick

10260_Box1_v39This year, we saw the release of the 10 Anniversary Modular building, the Assembly Square.  This set featured plenty of callbacks to the previous modulars,  with various colour schemes and other design cues.  Now that we are entering the second decade of modular buildings, it appears that there are some changes afoot.  Until now, many of the buildings have had the appearance of buildings dating from the 1920’s or 30’s and the Minifigures all featured the classic smiley face.

10260_Front_Callout_01But we now enter a new era in modular buildings: the downtown diner is drawing cues from the Streamline Moderne style, a style that originated in the late 30’s, but continued to influence architecture for decades to come: a sleek building, with a tiled facade and smooth curves, and we have both in abundance here. In a break with previous modular traditions, the minifigures now have expressions (and the occasional moustache) on their faces, while their dress appears more representative of the 1950’s. Indeed, the pink cadillac and the Rock’N’Roll singer all but confirm that this is a bit of a jump into the future from our previous modular era. (Admittedly, the Brick Bank 10251 from 2016, featured a computer on a desk, as well as an espresso machine in the staff room – not a common feature in the past –  certainly this would be the most anachronistic feature of a modular building to date.) Assembly Square feels as if it might also be from a more recent period in history, if only because of the clothing prints in use by the minifigures. Certainly, we are now entering a new era, with new architectural styles and new minifigure prints.

And Teal.  We have seen evidence of a reborn teal in other sets for 2018, however this set contains more elements in this colour than any other set that we have seen details for. I especially like the use of the 6×6 curves to create the high, sweeping arch. There are also lots of teal bricks in the back wall of the diner.

What do we see on the inside? We have 3 levels, with the diner downstairs, a gym on the 1st floor, and a recording studio upstairs.  The diner features a short order cook flipping pancakes and frying bacon, in the form of a 1×2 grille plate!  The Waitress is on roller skates. The gym is furnished with a boxing ring as well as a punching bag. The Boxer has blue trunks and red boxing gloves.

And then there is the singer, and is that his press agent? record producer? Who knows.  The detail in the recording studio is fantastic.  The stories you can create are endless. He drives a pink, open top sedan, with great fifties styling, and occasional anachronism,.

The style here is a departure from what we have come to expect from modular buildings, but after a decade it is time to move forward. Given that this year represents the 60th Anniversary of the LEGO Brick, it seems appropriate that this year’s modular should include references to the decade when that patent was lodged.

The 10260 Diner is available on the 1st of January 2018. The Australian price will be $249.99. Other currencies in the press release.

The press release follows after the photos. Continue reading