10264 Corner Garage Modular Revealed

The Modular buildings have been a highlight of the release calendar for many AFOLs.  After years feeling as though they were set in a golden age, with an architectural style from the 1920, and happy smiley faces everywhere. In 2017, we celebrated a decade of what would now be called the Creator Advanced Modular buildings with the release of assembly square, with nods to the entire previous series in that set.  And then everything changed.

The 2018 modular building, Downtown Diner had a sleek new look: taking its architectural cues from the 1950s (60th anniversary LEGO Brick Patent celebration any one?), and replacing the traditional minifigure smiley face with more contemporary designs. And the return of Teal. Lots of Teal! Since then, there has been some speculation about the future directions of the modular line: Would the architectural style return to the older style we had become used to? Will it be a street corner or straight street? Would the smiley’s return? and even “Will there even be another modular building?”

Today, the LEGO Group has revealed the 2019 release: the corner garage.  Continuing on in the 1950s style we see the action spread out over three levels: A corner garage on the ground floor, a veterinarian’s office on the next level, and then an apartment on the upper level.

The set comes with a great range of minifigures, and while many of the torsos have been seen before, some are certainly new. Looking at our cast of characters, I believe the vet and the Motor Scooter rider have new torsos.  The face with sunglasses appears similar to one seen before, although there appears to be a deliberate skin blemish on this one ( technically making it new.). I see Jo the mechanic has a cap with some of her hair showing underneath.

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‘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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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

Winter Village Fire Station 10263 [Announcement]

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LEGO have just released the details of the 2018 Creator Expert Winter Village Set.  Steering clear of another reissue of a previous set, this year we see the release of the 10263 Winter Village Fire Station. With 1166 elements, this set will be released globally on October 1st 2018, with VIP availability at LEGO Brand Retail and shop.LEGO.com from September 13th. It will cost $149.99AUD, $100USD, £84.99 GBP and €89.99 in Germany.

As with previous Winter Village sets, this one appears to be set somewhere peaceful, in the mid 20th century, possibly in the middle of a Rankin-Bass animated Christmas Special. We have seen a number of common elements of these sets over the last 9 years:

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Time to Strike Back: Betrayal at Cloud City 75222 [Announcement]

It was a long, long time ago, but not too far away: LEGO Starwars Minifigures still had yellow faces.  Unless they wore helmets.  All except one: Lando Calrissian. Released 15 years ago, as part of 10123 Cloud City.  Lando was the first minifigure to appear in a LEGO set related to movie with a realistic skin tone. He has not been seen in Cloud City since.

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Indeed, there have been very few aspects of Cloud City seen since. We have seen multiple versions of the Twin Pod Cloud Cars (7119 from 2003 and 9678 from 2012) – both of which have included Lando’s right hand man, Lobot. We have seen Ugnauts, along with the Carbon Freezing Chamber in 2016’s 75137. But beyond these sets, and seemingly infinite variations on  Boba Fett’s ship, Slave I (Well, if not infinite, then at least eleven), Cloud City has received very little LEGO love.

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Many of the major settings of drama in The Empire Strikes back have been revisited in the last few years: Attack on Hoth(75098), the UCS Millennium Falcon (75192). And from the current wave of sets:  Yoda’s Hut (75208) and Luke’s Xwing (75218).

It stands to reason that Cloud city is long overdue for a revisit.  Then, we just need to get on board some Imperial Ships, and all will be right with the balance in the Force.

Today The LEGO Group have announced the forthcoming release of the long anticipated 75222: Betrayal at Cloud City.  Following in the footsteps of Death Star 654654. this set is geared more towards being a playset, incorporating a number of important locations:

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Certainly, it does not purport to be a model of Cloud City (perhaps the time is coming to explore an ‘Architecture’ Version?), but many of the key locations are represented: the reception area, recycling centre, the carbon freeze chamber, the dining room and the gantry, where Vader’s revelation to Luke still resonates strongly, after nearly 40 years. I do like the way that the set represents some of the luxurious aspects of the accomodation in this tibanna gas mine, with some nice detailing present in the doors and dining room.

We also see the arrival of a couple of craft, from which you need to choose which one can go on the landing pad: a Twin Pod Cloud Car, and ANOTHER version of Slave I.

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This set includes our main cast of heroes: Han Solo (twice!), Princess Leia (also twice!), Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker ( Dagobah fatigues), R2D2 C3PO, Lando Calrissian, Lobot, two Cloud City security guards, two Cloud Car Pilots, a Stormtrooper, an Ugnaut,  IG-88 (or a similarly shaped assassin droid), Boba Fett and Darth Vader. Many of our main characters have double sided heads. Han features the ‘centre part’ hair piece, first seen in the rebooted Death Star set in 2016. Leia’s formal dress features the new Minifigure Skirt element introduced recently. Luke has a new torso, and the reverse of his head suggests he has fought a couple of rounds with Darth Vader.

The collection of minifigures is terrific, and we have a few figures that have had no representation in modern times, including the Pod Car Pilots, and some new Bespin Guards. Lobot has been only slightly updated since 2012, and the Ugnaut has a new work suit.

Here is the Press Release:

75222 Betrayal at Cloud City™

Ages 14+.2,812 pieces

US $349.99 – CA $399.99 – DE 349.99€ – UK £299.99 – FR 349.99€ – DK 2999DK

*Euro pricing varies by country.Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.

Visit Bespin’s amazing metropolis in the sky—Cloud City!

Relive a world of unforgettable moments from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back or add your own fun twists to the story with this LEGO® Star Wars 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City set. The amazingly detailed set is divided into 4 sections, each depicting scenes from the classic movie. There’s a landing platform complete with Boba Fett’s Slave I ship, a detailed promenade, a dining room with seating for 5 minifigures, a garbage processing room with incinerator, and a sensor balcony for epic Luke vs. Vader Lightsaber duels. There’s also a carbon freeze chamber with a function to ‘freeze’ Han in carbonite, an interrogation chamber and prison cell, a secondary landing platform for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car, and so much more. Add an astonishing 18 LEGO minifigures plus 2 droids to the mix, and you have a set that Star Wars and LEGO fans of any age would be proud to add to their collection.

• Includes 18 minifigures: Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker in Bespin outfits, Chewbacca, C-3PO, Lando Calrissian, Lobot, 2 Cloud City Guards, 2 Cloud Car Pilots, Leia and Han in Hoth outfits, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, 2 Stormtroopers and an Ugnaught, plus R2-D2 and an IG-88 droid.

• Section 1 features a landing platform with a sliding entrance door and Boba Fett’s Slave I ship with an opening minifigure cockpit, movable wings and space underneath to store the Han in carbonite element.

• Section 2 features a dining room with a table, seats for 5 minifigures and a decorative Cloud City micro build; lounge with a transparent sculpture and 2 chairs; garbage processing room with an incinerator, conveyor belt and a deactivated IG-class droid; and a promenade with tree sculpture, mural relief and opening doorways leading to other parts of the model.

• Section 3 features a sensor balcony with railing and swing-out function, plus a maintenance cabin with opening round window for epic Lightsaber duels, plus a carbon freeze chamber with lever-activated ‘freeze’ function.

• Section 4 features a dark-red corridor leading to the interrogation chamber with a turning interrogation chair, plus a prison cell, hangar with a secret trapdoor and tool & weapon rack, and space for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car with opening minifigure cockpits and 2 stud shooters.

• New minifigure details include Leia’s red dress, Han’s Corellian blood stripe, Luke’s dark-tan Dagobah outfit, the Ugnaught’s head decoration and the cloud car pilots.

• Weapons include Han’s blaster pistol, Chewbacca’s bowcaster, Luke’s Lightsaber, Vader’s Lightsaber, Boba Fett’s blaster rifle, IG-88’s blaster rifle, 5 blaster pistols and 4 blasters.

• Accessory elements include a wrench, handcuffs and Lobot’s cybernetic band.

• Stage air-to-air battles between Boba Fett’s Slave I and the Twin-Pod Cloud Car.

• Pull the carbon freeze chamber lever to pretend freeze Han in carbonite!

• Relive unforgettable scenes from the classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back movie.

• This amazing set is part of the LEGO® Star Wars Master Builder Series.

• Cloud City measures over 6” (16cm) high, 22” (58cm) wide and 22” (56cm) deep.

• Slave I measures over 4” (11cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 7” (18cm) wide.

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Cloud City represents the culmination of the drama in Episode V: Lando Betrays Han, Chewbacca and Leia to the Darth Vader, who proceeds to torture them;  Han goes into carbon freeze; Luke arrives to save his friends – unaware of Vader’s trap, discovers the family Legacy and loses his hand in his battle with Vader. That fact the our heroes manage to escape with their lives is remarkable. The arrival of an environment to live out the drama in LEGO form is exciting.

There we have it: coming up for release in October, with early Access available for VIP Customers in mid September: This set provides us with some great new minifigures, and some locations that have rarely been explored in LEGO.  The multiple locations provides some great starting points for developing scenes, and I am sure this will be a set for people looking to explore this.  Plainly, it you were looking for a scale model of Cloud City, you will be disappointed, BUT unlike Assault on Hoth, very little of this is a rehash of frequently presented material. Of interest is the lack of a UCS (Ultimate Collector Series) label, and the mention of the “LEGO Star Wars Master Builder Series” exactly what this means going into the future remains to be seen.

Is this one for you?

Costing $499.99 AUD, would you be looking at an early purchase, or wait until you see some hands on reviews?  Empire Strikes Back was an important film in my childhood – the first film I saw where the Good Guys didn’t win! As such, I personally find it appealing, and might put it on my Christmas list.

Until Next time:

Play Well!

P.Simg_2218.: Would you like the chance to win a copy of 76109: Quantum Realm Explorers, based on material from AntMan and the Wasp? Then check out the Rambling Brick’s Awesome MOC Competition: there is a little over a week left for entries, but I am sure some of you could be appropriately inspired in that time! There are two copies of the set up for grabs, thanks to the LEGO Group’s AFOL Engagement Team!

Bugatti Chiron 42083 Officially Revealed

REVEALED: THE NEW LEGO® TECHNIC BUGATTI CHIRON

Where art, engineering and bricks combine

Billund, 1st of June 2018. LEGO Group and Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. have today revealed the new LEGO® Technic Bugatti Chiron. The 1:8 scale super car will be available from June 1.

The LEGO® Technic Bugatti Chiron model brings together the iconic design heritage of the French ultra-luxury car brand and LEGO Technic elements, with a reimagined version of the latest cutting-edge super car from Molsheim.

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The new model was unveiled at LEGO House at the company’s headquarters in Billund by Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group, and Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann. The 1:8 scale LEGO® Technic Bugatti Chiron will be available from June 1, only at all LEGO® stores and shop.LEGO.com, then all retailers globally from August 1, 2018. Continue reading