On this day in 2016 (well… the 30th of January, anyway), I sat down and decided to start writing a LEGO Blog. I am still here. And the end of January feels more like the end of the year to me than December 31, for various reasons.
In 2022, we posted 136 new articles/ news/product announcements and reviews. We have almost reached 1000 posts on the blog, and will cross this landmark next week, I expect. Jay’s Brick Blog and. I have released 18 episodes of our Extra Pieces podcast. If you haven’t heard it, feel free to give it a try.
Last year, we got our first introduction to the new generation at LEGO Friends. After Stephanie, Andrea, Olivia, Emma and Mia headed off on their gap years, there is room for a whole new gang in Heartlake city, and we start to hear their stories tonight (Australian time) when the video goes live on the LEGO Youtube channel.
January 28, 1958, 1:58 pm CET, a Patent was filed: That day, an express courier walked into the office of patent agency Hofman-Bang & Boutard in Copenhagen, with a piece of paper, on which was drawn the specifications for the LEGO brick – all studs and tubes, and a hand glued mock up of the 2×4 brick.
As I write this, I am almost a week down the track from Brickvention, our local AFOL Networking event. As such, I am still in recovery mode. It remains High summer here: hot days, short nights, with grass drying out and the fire season approaching. But in the northern hemisphere, the days are slowly lengthening, the snow starting to melt, and thoughts are turning to the approaching spring, with new life: plants growing back, and migratory birds returning and setting up home in new nests, with eggs getting laid. And easter is coming, with its festival of coloured eggs, too. As such, I was delighted to see the first images of 40639 Birds’ Nest. I was delighted when I received a preview copy to review.
At 19.99AUD, it is a fairly inexpensive set, but is it the thing to put on display in your living room? Read on to find out.
When the prequel trilogy was first released, I didn’t really get it. Whether this was just me, or intrinsic issues with the storytelling, I was not too sure. I didn’t really understand them the way I understood the original trilogy. And surely the fact that I watched individual films in the original trilogy approximately 200 times between 1977 and 1999 is probably irrelevant. Probably….
And then, during the pandemic lockdowns, my now adult son took me by the hand and said ‘Dad, I think you need to watch this. I have found a guide to take you through the essential episodes, but I think it will help everything make sense.’ And so we watched a sizable part of the clone wars: Campaign after campaign, Politics, Intrigue, Grumpy Padawans. And then I rewatched Revenge of the Sith. And on the whole, for the first time ever, it made sense to me. I became invested in Rex and Cody, as well as the rest of the 501st. enough to move on to Rebels. And now it looks like Asokha will make sense to me when it debuts. Woo Hoo.
And Not that I get it, I can understand why these helmets will spark a generational shift in the Star Wars Helmets: no longer limited to the Original Trilogy, fans of the Clone Wars can also feel specifically loved by this range, with the arrival of 75349 Captain Rex and 75350 Commander Cody.
It’s now 2023, and new LEGO City releases are starting to appear on the shelves. One of the smallest sets that has me most excited is 60394 Otter Habitat. At only $16 AUD RRP, it brings us a great new animal mould – the Otter. Following up from last year’s squirrels, kittens and a host of other farm animals this set comes with a Minifigure, ATV, frog, fish and a small landscaped area. To say nothing of two otters!
I found these in our local LCS on January 2, and was seriously tempted to purchase 20 of them in order to obtain the 40580 Blacktron Cruiser as a Gift With Purchase. I will neither confirm nor deny whether I bought more than two. Let us take a look.
When the first Botanicals sets were released at the start of 2021, the world was taken agasp. Not only was there a bonsai tree covered in frogs, but also a Floral bouquet that needed a second look to confirm its LEGOness. jump to the future: Last year we saw an orchid and some succulents added to the mix. These models have now been on display in our living area since initial construction, and catch the eye of LEGO Fans and non LEGO Fans alike. Even my parents comment favourably about them! We even had a lot of people contribute designs for vases for their flowers a couple a years ago – I was amazed by some of the responses we had.
And now there are another two sets scheduled for release in early February… just in time for Valentines day. The sets are designed to be built on your own, or with some help from your special friend. This could be an ideal first date activity as shown in a video shared by the LEGO Group on its social channels a year or two ago.
First we have 10313 Wildflower Bouquet with 939 pieces: It brings us some spectacularly bright colours, and varied blooms: this is an eyecatching design.
Next we have 10314 Dried Flower Centrepiece – With 812 pieces, this is an exploration of earthy tones and a muted palette, but still bringing us some unique explorations of neat parts usage.
Read on for more pictures and the offical press release:
Brickvention 2023 is only 2 weeks away. Australia’s Premier LEGO Fan Event has been at the mercy of public health orders over the last couple of years, with an online event and another at an alternative venue: This year they are back at the heritage listed Royal Exhibition Buildings on the norther fringe of the Melbourne CBD.
Tickets are now on sale for the Public Expo of 21-22 January 2023. The opening session on Saturday Morning has sold out, with the other Saturday and Sunday Morning sessions filling up fast.
Sunday Morning opens with a Special Needs session – The session environment includes low volume and less frequent announcements and fewer people. The session is also longer, with 40 minutes before the next session is admitted.
It’s New Year’s Day where I am currently sitting*. The sun is shining. It is around 30º C (86ºF to those in other parts of the world). Last year was a hectic year: we had been locked down for large parts of 2020 and 2021, and it felt like half of society was trying to make up the missed time socialising and getting work done, while the other half was trying to keep out of harm’s way. [*I might have taken an extra day to edit this]
Ultimately, it is time to kick my feet up and relax. As good fortune would have it, The lovely people at the LEGO Group have sent me a copy of the latest LEGO Art Set: Hokusai The Great Wave. Based on Hokusai’s woodcut ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa,’ the set promised me “the chance to immerse [myself] into the relaxing project of recreating the iconic Great Wave, captured in a LEGO Art set. This set offers so many ways that fans can unwind and find their flow. Not just immersing themselves into the building process, but also getting into the artwork and how that is composed.”
So, did it deliver? Running from Christmas to New Year’s Eve is often a mental challenge: so many last-minute things to do. If there was one thing I needed, it was a chance to relax.
And More importantly, will I feel happy to nail it to the wall afterwards?
It was 1987, and for the first time ever, a collection of LEGO characters that could be defined as ‘the bad guys‘ was released. They were’nt part of Town, they weren’t in any Castle; but they were in Space. And their name was Blacktron. Gone was the Classic Space logo from their torsos: this was a functional black printed torso, with white lines providing the detail, while the helmet was no longer the traditional shape, but rather a motor cycle helmet. Now with a visor. But for extra menace, the visors were an opaque black. The opportunity for incognito was remarkable.
This band of intergalactic secret-stealing rapscallions were the pinnacle of villainy for a couple of years, only to be succeeded by their more fluorescent sequel: Blacktron II (Electric Boogaloo??).
But Now they Are Back! And I think, for the better! Set 6894 Known in the USA as the BLACKTRON INVADER, it was also referred to as the BLACKTRON CRUISER in the UK/Europe – although the European catalogue in 1988 confused the labels for 6894 and 6941 (Blacktron Battrax or Blacktron Prowler).
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