Making Some New Friends (The design drafts and review): Stephanie’s House 41314

sh 41314 drafts2.pngWhen we last met, we caught up with Fenella and Ricardo, from the LEGO Friends design team, and we spoke in part about the preliminary models from Stephanie’s house, and how some things came and went during the design phase.

Today, I thought we would put this set together, and look at some of the features that make these sets so popular with the target demographic.

This is one of the larger sets in the first wave of  Friends sets to be released in 2017.  It has 613 pieces, and a recommended retail price of $AUD99.99/£64.99/$US69.99/€69.99. It comes with 3 minidolls: Stephanie, her mother Alicia  and father James. It is laden with accessories and play features, as one would expect with a Friends set of this size. Continue reading

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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Continue reading

Bulking Up with Bane’s Bigfig: Bane™ Toxic Truck Attack

Larger than life characters need larger than life figures. As such, over the last 18 years, the ‘Bigfig’ has been developed to cover situations where a regular minifigure feel a bit… inadequate. Especially useful for Rock Monsters, Snow Monsters and Trolls, they have also been used to represent super sized villains such as Darkseid, Thanos, Gorilla Grodd, Dogshank and Killer Croc, and heroes such as the Hulk and Maui.

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Bane doing his bit for the ramblingbrick marketing department, holding onto a 1×8 brick in the bottom of his hands

Compared with regular mini figures, they have no leg or neck moment, and only in relatively recent years have they had rotating wrists. What they lack in movement, they make up for with an imposing physique.  The degree of sculpted muscular definition varies, as does the amount of printing.

A great hulking(sic) figure, this version of Bane comes from the second wave of The LEGO Batman Movie sets, specifically 70914: Bane Toxic Truck Attack.  I would like to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the moulding of this bigfig in comparison to the smaller figure, with multiple printed muscles.  Fortunately, this set provides us with one of those as well, in the form of the Mutant Gang leader. We will also compare this figure with the only other bigfig currently active in my collection: Maui from Moana. Continue reading

LEGO Batman Movie Batwing Polybag: Free with Purchase (at one retailer in Australia) + Review

The LEGO Batman Movie coming to DVD/Blu Ray/ 4K-UHD and digital formats! After waiting six weeks from the international release for it to arrive in Australia, it turns out we only have to wait until June 28 –  fifteen days after the US release. Already, we are staring to hear some of the marketing buzz.  In the US, Target already has an edition with Batgirl Polybag (30612) and four post cards. And Walmart is offering a special edition Bluray-DVD-Digital Download and Lunchbox (with removable cape!) pack. We are still waiting to hear if any of these will be coming to Australia. I would be really excited if the Batgirl Polybag makes it, as it does appear to be another different figure to the one that appears in regular sets and different to the one that appears in the LEGO Dimensions ‘Play the LEGO Batman Movie’ Pack .

So, What do we have to look forward to?

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That’s a funny looking minifigure…

JB Hifi have announced that they will have, somewhat erroneously, an exclusive minifigure with all formats including DVD, Blu Ray, 3D, 4K and Ultraviolet!  Erroneously, because they then go on to list the bonus minifigure as being the polybag: 30524: The Mini Batwing.

At least, even though it is not an exclusive minifigure, it is a poly bag, which rarely arrives in Australia out side this kind of promotional exercise.

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LEGO House: Set Review 4000010

So I have been talking about the LEGO House a bit lately.  It’s an exciting project, occupying the centre of Billund, due to open at the end of September. Like all new buildings in recent years of significance to LEGO, it has been immortalised in set form.  Unlike many of the new factory sets, this one is available to purchase at almost all businesses around Billund.  Except the LEGO Shop at the Airport, and LEGOLAND itself. You can pick it up at the bakery, the restaurant, the other restaurant, the supermarket and the LEGOLAND Hotel, just to name a few.  No doubt, many of these businesses have been impacted by the construction, and the chase for this set may be an attraction to get tourists to venture into town.  Now that the LEGO House is nearing completion, due to open in just over three months, the set is likely to have an extremely limited shelf life.

One box...sufficiently dented during the flight home to ensure I would open and build the set!
The Rambling Brick has been informed that it is highly likely that a new set based on the LEGO House will be unveiled once the facility is fully operational. No hints, clues or sneak previews have been presented.  Anything that follows is pure speculation.

But what about the set we have now?

Packaged in the same firm black cardboard box as the Billund Airport and Architecture sets, this one is somewhat unique: It is a LEGO model of a building that had not yet been built, but designed to look as if it were built of LEGO bricks, looking like a LEGO Model. And it does.

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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

Classic: Opening the door to a Friendly City. [Review 10703]

Last week we looked at the 2×4 brick, and talked about the fact that it’s a bit harder to come by in new sets than it was back in the ‘olden days’.  I was a little surprised to discover it had made its natural home in the world of Minecraft, rather than in the Classic theme.

Classic become the primary non specific  ‘creative play’ LEGO® theme in 2014, following on from Bricks and More, Make and Create and in turn, early Creator sets. One of the things that has distinguished Classic from the earlier themes is the variety of colours in the overall LEGO® palette. Over 30 colours may appear in some of these sets (the creative building boxes have around 500-600 pieces each, and recently have featured latest 35 colours over the last few years.

Many Doors and Windows

I recently picked up a copy of the 2017 Creative Building Box 10703, with the box proclaiming ‘many doors and windows…’ Indeed, at least 29 windows, and 5 doors.(This is the volume otherwise occupied by 156 and 120 1×1 bricks respectively.)  Last year’s set was a little light on for these features, so I thought an opportunity to increase my supply might be a good thing. I thought this might allow me to rapidly deploy some buildings into my Town landscape.

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Many Doors and Windows. The window panes come in trans clear, trans yellow, trans light blue and sold white.

With 503 pieces, 37 different colours and a RRP of £19.99, €24.00, $AUD39.99 and yet to hit the US market at this stage – but 10702 from 2016 cost $USD29.99; this is certainly a colourful box, with all of the suggested models being buildings.  This is a set devoid of wheels or eye-tiles, both of which we had a variety of in last year’s equivalent set.  The majority of parts in this set are basic bricks, plates , sloped bricks and windows.  There are also a variety of doors – including two angled doors; angled bricks, greebly parts, tiles, fences and arches.   Continue reading