Nexo Knights Villains: saving the best ‘til last [Twinfector 72002 Review]

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This is the third and final year of NEXO Knights. While the line has been a bit hit and miss over the last few years, especially AFOLS looking for a clear cut castle or space range, I for one will miss is once they are gone. I have gathered a good number of the Knight’s sets over the last few years- while the actual builds have been interesting, I have ultimately dismantled them all and used the parts to rebuild Classic Space sets. Add air tanks and they look like fantastic space men and women, ready to explore the galaxy.
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But, just as the Classic space sets were without any form of antagonist, until the arrival of Blackthorn, I have found none of the  antagonist characters fitting into my vision of a NEXO- Classic Space Utopia. The bad guys just haven’t captured my imagination: demonic lava beasts and rock monsters are great in the fantasy landscape afforded by the castle line, but as villains in a science fiction/space theme, they are haven’t appealed to me. As such, I was excited when it became obvious that the villains in this final season were far more sci-fi inspired than any of the others seen to date.

While the new series is yet to air, the ‘Tech Infection’ theme, has the villains looking suitably more futuristic than fantastical. We see a collection of white skinned villains, with varying levels of cybernetic components, and lime green printed circuit motif’s on their faces to imply a level of ‘infection’.  Their Black green and silver uniforms, with a red eye makes them an instant army, with sufficient variation to make them interesting. But more on that later.

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Conspiracy or Coincidence III: Helicopters- from Red Cross to the Star of Life [626/6626 vs 60179]

In which I look at a couple of helicopters, with 40 years between their release dates, consider what happens when a humanitarian organisation reclaims its trade mark and contemplate the special place that helicopters have in the world of LEGO® Vehicles…IMG_9819As has been previously discussed, this is a year for celebrations at the LEGO Group. We have seen sixty years of the LEGO Brick, forty years of the minifigure (celebrated with the release of the series 18 Collectable Minifigures), and twenty years of Mindstorms.

Great vehicles:

While we have the recurrent police theme (even with the new mountain setting), some , miners, as well as last year’s fantastic jungle theme still on the shelves, we also have the ‘Great Vehicles’ sub theme. Now, I recognise that there is a limit to just how many different vehicles might be presented in LEGO Set form over the years. This year however, we seem to have a number of sets that give more than a passing nod to sets that were released twenty, thirty and forty years ago.

IMG_1069IMG_0338Here at the Rambling Brick, we would far rather believe in a conspiracy than a coincidence, and so I would like to believe that these might be a covert celebration of sets celebrating their decennial anniversaries this year. In recent months we have discussed the JetCar and the Helicopter Transport Truck. Today, I would like to compare some  helicopters- specifically the Red Cross Helicopter from 1978 and this year’s Emergency Helicopter. While the Helicopter from 1978 may not be as obvious counterpart to today’s set, compared to the the helicopter carrier and speed record car, there are a number of interesting comparisons between then and now that I would like to make today.

First, let us start with the change in the markings used… Continue reading

Dig a Dinosaur: Stygimoloch Breakout [75927]

In which I revisit dinosaur nostalgia, realise I missed a lot of LEGO® Dinosaurs, before finally getting on the band wagon with the Jurassic Park Fallen Kingdom sets.  We breakout the Stygimoloch, and take her out into the wild.  Then, we look at the latest ‘Iconically Jurassic’ contest over at LEGO Rebrick.

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I was once, it will come as no surprise, a 6 year old boy. Like many such creatures, at one point I developed a fascination with dinosaurs. They consumed my waking hours, my conversations and dominated my visits to the local library.  I could draw and spell them all by heart.  If I wanted to watch dinosaurs on television, I was limited to watching Valley of the Dinosaurs (a 1974 Hanna Barbera cartoon where a whirlpool in the Amazon transported a teacher and his family into a land that time forgot)  or Land of the Lost – from the crazy team that brought us HR Puf’n’stuf and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. For me, The Flintstones didn’t really cut it for me: it was really just a sitcom wearing animal pelts.

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My favourite book of this era, the Ladybird Book of Prehistoric Animals and Fossils, was a favourite. Portable and sturdy with its yellow hard cover, there was always room for it in my school bag, or clenched between my knees when we went for a drive to the shops. It was a long night when I accidentally left it at school.

I read this book time and again, able to recite portions off by heart.  The final pages offered sage advice: If you have enjoyed this book, why not look further afield to continue expressing your interest – why not go searching for fossils or build a model kit; perhaps try making a paper mache diorama of a prehistoric landscape.  Put a small lizard in it, and pretend it is a massive dinosaur.  (to be fair, some of these ideas may have come from other books of this era).

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May the Fourth Be With You: Tatooine Battle Pack Review

IMG_1519Today is May the Fourth, the day when a pun is allowed to take over marketing of Star Wars related LEGO® sets for a limited time only, with a variety of special offers in place, changing daily.  Check Shop.LEGO.com in your country for details.

Tatooine

“If there’s a bright centre of the galaxy, you are on the planet that it’s farthest from.” – Luke Skywalker

When Star Wars debuted in 1977, Tatooine was the first alien landscape we encountered. A harsh, unforgiving desert planet, bathed by the scorching heat of binary stars, we see people enter a daily struggle against the environment: farming moisture to survive; fending off hostile desert nomads and dealing with diminutive scavengers. We see a variety of exotic megafauna, some just skeletons, some utilized as low maintenance transport in an environment which treats life forms and machine with equal contempt. It is far from the attention of authority: smugglers, gangsters and fugitives make this planet their base of operations. We also see hope: cautious optimism in the face of a deadly environment, a place of refuge from the Empire, and spectacular twin sunsets! It was a long, long time ago, and the locale took us to a galaxy far, far away…

And yet with its exotic locations and importance to the overarching saga- events take place on Tatooine in five of the first six movies- the indigenous races: Jawas and Tusken Raiders remain shrouded in mystery. And indeed , in my opinion,  sadly underrepresented in LEGO Star Wars sets.

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1978 X-Wing Fighter. 3 1/4″Action Figure Scale Luke Skywalker in place, and a makeshift R2D2 in the Astromech slot.

Melbourne, 1977

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Spoiler Alert: Mabel vs Thor’s Weapon Quest [76102 Review]

In which I see Avengers: Infinity War, build a related set and have the dog eat my homework…

IMG_1463Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War has been one of the most anticipated comic book related films of recent years: Drawing together threads established over the past decade, the movie is an exciting, emotional roller coaster.  Especially if you have been following the long setup that has been put in play. However, as it has only recently been released, I wish to minimises actual spoilage of major plot points.  There will some mild spoilers merely in the form of describing the actual builds. I will not actively give away any plot points, if i can help it.

Avengers: Infinity War – A personal reflection

I saw the film the day that it opened, and I was amazed by the part where ******** and ******** did that ******** to ********. I wasn’t expecting ******** to ******** ********. And I loved the way that ******** kept addressing ******** as ********! The final ******** where ******** ******** came as a ********. Make sure you catch the after credit scene where ******** manages to ******** ********* before ********.  Of course there was the inevitable cameo by **** ***, just not where I expected it to be.

With such a stellar range of characters, and so much action, there are not many opportunities for them to develop within the context of this film.  As such, this might not be the best film for newcomer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  However, if you have had some prior investment in the characters and their stories, it pays off big time.

The Aftermath

I came home from the film feeling inspired and in a mood to build a related LEGO® set. So I broke open 76102: Thor’s Weapon Quest. This is the second smallest of the sets related to Avengers Infinity War, and yet it is full of character, colour and interesting build techniques. With 288 pieces, and three mini figures, this set works well in the context of the film.

The Figures

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Rushing around Heartlake City with LEGO® Friends [ Review LEGO Friends Heartlake Rush App]

The recent paucity of original content on this blog has been contributed to somewhat by picking up LEGO Friends: Heartlake Rush and allowing it to distract me from writing for a week or so.  In return for this, I feel obliged to review it.

Inspired by img_0447the ‘Design a Friends Go-Kart’ competition running on LEGO Rebrick, I downloaded Heartlake Rush, an endless runner game. Here, you can take the residents of Heartlake City out for a drive: dodging obstacles, accumulating studs and gathering prizes to complete missions. Heartache Rush is available on both iOS and Android platforms for free.  As a bonus to parents being nagged to the point of exhaustion, there are no in-app purchases!

Getting Started

You start the game by selecting your character: there is the range of the five friends: Andrea, Stephanie, Olivia, Mia and Emma, as well as Liam, Stephen, Ethan, Daniel (trapped here in his Hot Dog Suit) and Emily jones, on sabbatical from Elvendale! Each character has their own specific car. The figures depicted are shown following the 2018 design update.

img_0559Further characters can be unlocked after gathering an ever increasing number of studs. You can take any unlocked car out with any unlocked character, and apply any set of decals. Unfortunately, this is the extent of customization.img_0584

 

 

Game Play

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Series 18 Minifigures: Welcome to the Party

This month sees the 40th Birthday of our favourite plastic persona, the LEGO® Minifigure. The Series 18 Collectable Minifigures celebrate this occasion with a costume party, and we see some of the best costumes for our figures yet.  I am yet to track down the Policeman: a printed modern representation of the policeman that came with set 600, one of the first Town Sets released back in 1978.  As part of the ever circling self referential tips to the past ( in a year when too many historical references are barely enough…), the policeman has a printed tile, with the box of set 600 printed on it.

By now, I suspect you have located a ‘feel guide’ to help identify each figure inside its foil bag, and read the opinions of others about this great series.

Every set has its highlights and lowlights. For this series, I have presented an image of every figure that I have, along with the highlight of the figure for me.  There will be things you prefer.  That’s okay. Who is your favourite?

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I love many of the accessories and head pieces included with this series, but my favourite would be the tile that comes with the young boy: it is printed with as small a representation as you could come up with to be a representation of the packet that the series one figures appeared in years ago. Also up there would have to be the balloon animals. As for my favourite figures? it is a toss up for me between the cowboy, the dragon and the two figures dressed up as LEGO Bricks!

What about you? What do you love about this series? Who is your favourite?  If you could only choose one element from this series, what would it be? Why not leave your comments below.

Now to see if I can find a policeman.

Until I do,

Play Well!