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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LEGO® Life wins Webby Award and Webby People’s Voice Award

A Press release from the LEGO Group about the Kid Friendly Social Media App, LEGO Life…:

The safe social network app for children developed by the LEGO Group has been named winner of one of the leading international awards honouring excellence on the internet.

LEGO® Life, the safe social network for children under the age of 13, is named Webby Winner in the Mobile Sites and Apps: Family and Kids category. In addition to receiving this award granted through the review of an expert jury, LEGO Life also won The Webby People’s Voice Award in the same category: https://www.webbyawards.com/winners/2018/mobile-sites-apps/general/family-kids/lego-life/

“We are very happy and honoured that LEGO Life has been granted with this award – not only getting recognition by experts in the digital field but also by the public vote. It is truly a testament to the fact that it is possible to provide safe digital spaces for children in a playful and fun way”, said Rob Lowe, head of Kids Engagement at the LEGO Group.

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Digital layer to physical play

Since the launch of the app in January 2017, LEGO Life has been downloaded more than 6 million times, and roughly one million children share content through the app every month.

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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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‘Decorate the LEGO House’ competition winners announced

Earlier this week, LEGO Rebrick announced the winners of their ‘Decorate the LEGO House contest.‘ Featuring entries focussing on the themes of ‘LEGO Minifigure Interiors’ as well as ‘Nature,’ there are some fantastic models that will be displayed in the LEGO House in Billund for the next twelve months. Take a moment to follow the link and check out some of the winners. The quality of entries was such that the number of winning entries was ultimately doubled from twenty to forty.

I was excited to see one MOC that I recognised make the cut: Jason Cichon’s Honeycomb was on display at Brickvention 2017, and features some immaculately spaced hexagons, and a larger than life Honey Bee.  The solid black frame really sets it off.

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Hold Onto Your Hats! Roller Coaster 10261 Unveiled

title.pngThe fairground has become one of the great subthemes of Creator Expert sets over the last few years – Starting with the Mixer, the Ferris Wheel and Carousel. Today we see the unveiling of the 10621 Roller Coaster.

Note: the official photos were released separately to the press release, and they are now attached at the bottom of this article.

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This set has been hotly anticipated since the announcement of the new roller coaster system first seen in 70922 The Joker Manor.  Initially appearing in purple, we have also seen grey track appearing in Speed Champions and LEGO City sets this year, as well as forthcoming in the Creator 31084 Pirate Roller Coaster. Neither 70922 or 31084 have been motorised, although solutions have been demonstrated utilising Technic chain, catching onto an attachment on the base of the cars. Here, we have the full range of track elements available in Bright red. (Ed: Unlike typical Creator Expert press releases, only a 2 stills have been provided by the LEGO Group.  The majority of images have been taken from videos designed to demonstrate the features of the set.)

10261_ProdWith 4124 pieces, this set comes with 11 minifigures, and is easily motorised by either Power Functions or Boost. I love that the use of Boost is being encouraged beyond the Creative Toolbox, to add sounds through the tablet, and to potentially increase the amount of control to be had over the system. The Australian Price at Shop At Home is $499.99

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The roller coaster is designed to be be simple to motorise using Power Functions or Boost

I am impressed by the amount of gearing that goes into driving the train, from the trip up to the top, as well as moving the outside bumpers, to ensure that the train is driven around the first corner, before beginning its freefall ride.  The use of the cam mechanisms here makes me think that the ride up could be just as clunky for our mini figures as it often is in the real world.

Here is the First Video: showing humans interacting with the new set:

There are some interesting additions to this set serving to add life to our amusement park, including the cotton candy stall: the beehive piece (recoloured pink) has been used in conjunction with a head to make a marvellous stick of cotton candy/fairy floss. There is a map of the park, as well as a bench: just the place for a grandparent to take a moment to relax, and consider the wisdom of their choices.  If you are looking for a healthier beverage option, there is a juice bar as well! The gates at the entry of the roller coaster are manually operated, and the ride operator has a measuring stick, in case of any small children sneaking onto the ride, past the initial measuring sign!

Here is a stop motion movie , showing life from a mini figure’s point of view…

Here is the Press release:

war3.png10261 LEGO Creator Expert: Roller Coaster

Ages 16+. 4,124 pieces.

$379.99 US – $479.99 CN – DE 329.99€ – FR 349.99€ – UK £299.99 – DK 2699DKK

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

Take a ride with the ultimate Roller Coaster!

[Summary]war2

Enjoy the thrills and excitement of the fairground with this chain-lift Roller Coaster featuring a wealth of brick-built details and 11 minifigures. Upgradable with LEGO® Power Functions and LEGO BOOST for an added movement sensor and realistic sound effects!

[Detail]

Capture the speed, thrills and excitement of the ultimate fairground attraction with this incredible LEGO® Creator Expert 10261 Roller Coaster. This fully functional chain-lift model comes with 2 trains and an array of authentic features and functions, including a ticket booth, cotton candy cart, concession stand, height marker, and a covered boarding station complete with opening barriers and a control panel. Lower the lap bars to secure the riders into the cars and release the brake to send the train to the foot of the first climb. Then activate the chain lift and enjoy the ride as the gravity-driven cars hurtle through the Roller Coaster’s twists and turns.

war1Upgrade the Roller Coaster with LEGO Power functions for a motorized chain lift or LEGO BOOST for an added movement sensor and realistic sound effects! This incredible collectible toy has been designed to provide a challenging and rewarding building experience with a touch of nostalgia and charm. Includes 11 minifigures.

  • Build a fully functioning Roller Coaster with 2 trains, lots of big dips and upgrade options
  • Upgrade with LEGO® BOOST and LEGO Power Functions for an even more immersive experience
  • Roller Coaster model measures over 20” (53cm) high, 34” (88cm) wide and 16” (41cm) deep
  • LEGO® Creator Expert building toys are compatible with all LEGO construction sets for creative building
  • Includes 11 minifigures: a cotton candy vendor, 2 ride attendants, 2 grandparents with their granddaughter and 5 riders. 8 of these minifigures feature reversible heads to display different emotions.
  • Fully functional chain-lift Roller Coaster model features a classic brick-built sign, control panel, 2 trains—each consisting of 3 train cars with low-friction wheels, and a 44-piece track consisting of 7 different rail elements.
  • Also features a ticket booth, fountain, cotton candy cart, concession stand, waiting area with bench, camera element and a pond with a frog figure.
  • Buy your ticket at the booth and make your way to the covered plaza.
  • No cheating at the height marker—the ride attendant has an accurate measuring stick!
  • Help the riders into the cars and secure the lap bars.
  • Release the brake to send the cars to the foot of the first climb.
  • Activate the chain lift to pull the train cars to the top of the first drop.
  • Move the rails to launch a second train.
  • Serve refreshing beverages at the concession stand or spin some cotton candy.
  • Don’t forget to smile as you race past the camera!
  • Upgrade the Roller Coaster with LEGO® Power Functions for a motorized chain lift, or with LEGO BOOST for automated chain lift activation and realistic sound effects!
  • Decorated elements include a ticket, money, arrow tiles, pressure gauge, number pad and a ride control panel.
  • Special new-for-June-2018 elements include a 2x8x6 Rail Slope, 1x2x1 Bow Brick, plant leaves, stalks and flowers.
  • Other elements include a height checker and 2 cotton candy treats.
  • Makes the perfect fairground addition to the 10257 LEGO® Creator Expert Carousel and 10247 LEGO® Creator Expert Ferris Wheel
  • Measures over 20” (53cm) high, 34” (88cm) wide and 16” (41cm) deep.

This is a spectacular looking set, and I look forward to seeing it in real life. It is certainly not inexpensive, and has an impressive footprint.  This is a relatively simpler design, based on steel frame roller coasters, rather than the old fashions, scary wooden ones of old.  It would be relatively some to customise, similar to the pirate theme seen in the creator 3-in1 set coming out later in the year (or indeed with the theme of your choice)  Why not use it to reconstruct your favourite ride at a LEGOLand Park?

Why not leave you thoughts and special project ideas in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out the Rambling Brick on Instagram. Until next time,

Play well!

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Forty years of minifigures: some of the changes are on the inside.

In which I explore the ever evolving structure of the basic minifigure over the past 40 years and realise that there are a remarkable number of variations on the seemingly ‘normal’ elements, that many of us take for granted. There may be some obsessive measurements taken.

The LEGO® Minfigure turned forty years old this month. You may have heard about it.  You might have purchased a celebratory Collectable Minifigure.  Or seventeen. During the course of following up on some classic sets from both my own, and other people’s childhoods, I have come across signs of possible deliberate reimagining of some classic sets in the City range.  While looking at these sets, I have found myself looking at minifigures from different eras. Much to my surprise, the differences between this figures are significantly more than skin deep.

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In this picture, there are 4 different head molds, four separate torso molds and four different leg molds. Who would have guessed?

While discussing these things with one of my suppliers, she pulled out her box of minifgure heads, pointed to some old smileys and asked ‘What do you think of this?’  If I didn’t know better, I would have said that some of these heads seemed a little more square than others. Now, BrickBunny has been around the traps a bit longer than I have, so I am not surprised that she knows about these things.

Intrigued, I returned home, full of investigational vigour, and got out my trusty loaned Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 macro lens, and realising the need to go further with attention to detail, attached the extension tube for life size conversion.  We were going in close. Really close.

Time to Get A Head

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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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