Carnage 76199 [Hands On Review]

A few weeks ago, the latest in the LEGO® 18+ ‘helmet’ set was previewed: Marvel’s Carnage (76199). Advertised as a Target Exclusive in the USA, with no other international media supporting its existence, the world became a little anxious: will this be a regional exclusive, associated with an event that never happened (Note: we were reassured 2 years ago that the idea of a regional exclusive was gone, although event exclusives – read Star Wars Celebration and Comic-Con, and retailer exclusive, within certain makets remain).

And then a few days later, Carnage appeared on LEGO.com, along with this year’s Star Wars helmets – Darth Vader and Scout Trooper. We have subsequently seen helmet models for Venom (76187) and Batman (76182 )revealed.

I have been fortunate to reveive a pre release copy of the Carnage helmet for prerelease review – so without any further ado…

Carnage 76199 is perhaps not technically a helmet, so much as an alien symbiote engulfing the body of serial killer Kletus Cassidy, but thwere is no doubt that he has an extremely distintive physiognomy.

The Box is similar in form to the boxes seen for the previous Helmet models, and the black box works quite well here. Carnage is labelled as ‘Assembled from the Spider Man Universe.’ The set has 546 pieces and costs $89.99 AUD; £54.99;€59.99; $59.99 USD It will be released in the USA on April 11, and the Rest of the World May 1, 2021.

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Hunt the Rebellion on Hoth with the Imperial Probe Droid [75306 Hands On Review]

The Empire Strikes Back is regarded by many to be one of the best Star Wars movie ever made. The ominous, speechless opening of the movie as the Empire searches out any hidden enclaves of Rebellion, around the Galaxy, sets the tone as to which team is on the offensive: A New Hope started off with the rebellion on the front foot—smuggling the hidden plans of the Death Star to those who might be able to best exploit any weaknesses. The Empire Stikes Back sees the Imperial Forces taking the initiative with the Probe Droids being dispatched across the galaxy. We see one crashing onto the barren world of Hoth, rising out of the snowdrift like a malevolent cybernetic jellyfish before setting out to scan the landscape. Appearing before a cross to Luke Skywalker on his Tauntaun, in all its stop motion animated glory, make the Imperial Viper Probe Droid the first character to appear in the film.

As such, it is high time to see this droid receive a more detailed treatment than the minifigure scaled brick built versions we have seen across various Hoth playsets, Advent calendars and magazine covers, over the years.

The 75306 Imperial Probe Droid will be released on 25th of April, along with the 75304 Darth Vader and 75305 Scout Trooper Helmets. It has 683 pieces and will cost: $59.99 USD/ €69.99 EUR/ £59.99 GBP / 119.99 AUD / 79.99 CAD.

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New 18+ Star Wars Helmets and Imperial Probe Droid Announced

Last year, we were introduced to LEGO® Star Wars Helmets – the first sets to be labelled 18+, introducing a new subtheme of LEGO Star Wars Sets. Today, we get our first official look the new LEGO Sculptures for 2021, aimed at the adult market: Two helmets – And a droid.

We have 75304 Darth Vader, 75305 Scout Trooper and 75306 Imperial Probe Droid. These sets will be available to pre-order in some markets from today, and are due for a general release on April 25, 2021.

Along with a number of other Recognised LEGO Fan Media, I took part in a roundtable discussion with some of the LEGO Star Wars Design team – , including Jens Kronvold Frederiksen – the Creative Driector of LEGO Star Wars. We covered a range of topics – which included discussion of the new helmets, and the Probe Droid.

There were a number of interesting things to learn about these models:

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Q&A with the White Noise Creative Team

A few weeks ago, the LEGO® White Noise playlist was released on Spotify and other music streaming/digital download platforms. After spending some time listening to the tracks, I found myself with a number of questions: Was this designed to play while building LEGO sets (where the ‘searching sounds’ might be reduced, due to presorting elements?) or as a way to drown out other sounds, to provide that white noise interference to allow your mind to focus on whatever activity you have at hand.

As a recording to listen to, I found the sounds nostalgic, but I did not find myself getting lost in the listening experience. My personal emotional response to the recording was limited: while the sounds are familiar, there is something about it that didn’t get me lost in the experience. BUT I don’t think that is the point of using this playlist. It perhaps serves a stronger role as a source of random frequencies, at relatively unpredictable rhythms – white noise is typically used to try and block out extraneous sounds, rather than elicit a true emotional reposnse.

I reached out to the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group with some questions, and Primus Manokaran, the Creative Director for the Project, was kind enough to send through some answers:

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The LEGO® Group Launches 2354 Piece Space Shuttle Discovery, and Hubble Space Telescope [10283 announcement].

Thirty nine years and forty nine weeks ago, a little bit after tea time, we witnessed the launch of the first Space Shuttle, Columbia. The era of ‘shirt sleeve space flight’ and reusable orbiters had begun. Ten years and 10 days later, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the space shuttle Discovery. Finally, on April 12 2011, thirty years after the launch of Columbia, the Shuttle Atlantis flew the final Mission.

The program caught the imagination of 12 year old me, culminating in many doodles, dreams, and the occaisional MOC. If only I could find the picture.

So, this month, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the first Shuttle launch; the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope deployment; and the 10th anniversary of the final flight of Atlantis.

And the LEGO Group have released a huge new version of the Space Shuttle Discovery – over 55 cm long, it comes with moving rudder and elevons; opening pod bay doors and carries the Hubble space telescope. With 2354 pieces, it is quite a step up on the 7470 from 2003.

And there have been dozens of versions of the shuttle from across the years, and you might also consider that the early LEGOLAND® Spacecraft in the late 70’swere also inspired by it: The Shuttle program was already in the public consciousness, with atmospheric tests occurring with the Shuttle Enterprise for 4 years before the first lauch of Columbia in 1981.

Here are a few examples that have appeared in town, Technic, and indeed the Creator Expert line. I have chosen to ignore the ‘Bat Space Shuttle’ from 2016.

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Building the Botanical Collection II: 10281 Bonsai Tree

Earlier this week, we got our first official look at the new LEGO 18+ Botanical Collection. Having already taken a look at 10280 Flower Bouquet, today I would like to look at the 10281 Bonsai Tree: also released on January 1 2020, with 878 pieces, and priced at $AUD89.99/USD/GBP/Euro 49.99.

One thing I have appreciated about the 18+ sets over the last 12 months is that they have provided a little more focus on the designers than in times gone past. The set was designed by Nicolaas Vás. Nico has designed a number of Bonsai models in the past, but predominantly used aournd the various LEGO offices, as well as on the promotional material for the LEGO Ninjago Movie. The manual also offers a selection of ‘way out’ techniques that could be used to explore the design of a LEGO®Bonsai tree, with different trunnk and leaf structures, as well as completely different themes…

The build appears relatively simple and elegant at a distance, but will it promote an opportunity to enter a state of mind where it becomes the total focus? Read on, as I explore the set in this hands-on review.

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Let Creativity Bloom With New Botanical Builds From The LEGO Group

We first saw images of the new Botanical Series a month or two ago, and today, the LEGO group officially announced the release of these sets on January 1 2020. The main sets in this series, are both priced at $49.99 GBP/Euro/USD and $89.99 AUD. Here is the official Press Release:

Today, the LEGO Group has revealed a new range of mindful models for the green-fingered. The decorative LEGO® Botanical Collection includes a stunning LEGO® Flower Bouquet to brighten the home, and a LEGO® Bonsai Tree for those looking to be more zen in the new year.

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2021 Modular Building: 10278 Police Station Officially Unveiled.

Modular Buildings are amongst the most popular offerings in the range formerly known as Creator Expert. These were the sets that gave me permission to buy LEGO for myself, over a decade ago. I was fortunate to be able to pick up the Cafe Corner, Green Grocer and Market Street while they were still available in their initial run. And now, like clockwork, AFOLs start to talk about what they are looking for in a Modular Building for the following year. As the first Creator Expert/ and now 18+ set released for the year (Due out on January 1), this is an anticipated announcement.

Today, as part of its Black Friday Showcase stream, the LEGO group announced next year’s modular: 10278 Police Station. with 2923 pieces, the set is scheduled for world wide release on January 1st 2021. It will be priced at 179.99 EU/199.99 US/299.99 AU/269.99 CAD/169.99GBP.

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Bigger than Ben Hur? 10276 LEGO® Colosseum Announced

Black Friday Sales are approaching. Just in case you had spent the entire year indulging in day 1 purchases, the LEGO Group have today announced that you can have something new on the shopping weekend: The LEGO set with the highest part count ever seen:

10276 LEGO® Colosseum.

  • 499.99 EUR/ 449.99 GBP/ 549.99 USD/ 649.99 CAD/749.99 AUD
  • Aged 18+ 
  • 9,036 pieces
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Building the ’89 Batwing – Review: 76161

The Batwing was only given a couple of minutes of screen time in Tim Burton’s BATMAN (1989), but it was key to a number of iconic images from that film. The LEGO Group sent over a copy of the new 76161 to review: how does it fit in

It was the mid-year holidays in 1989, and Blockbuster movies were yet to have global release dates. And in the Northern Summer of 1989, this was one of the greatest years for the popcorn industry: Ghostbusters II, Star Trek V, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: as these franchises were coming to an end, one was threatening to rise up: In Australia, we had heard tales from across the seas, of people buying a full priced ticket in the US that summer, just to see the trailer for Tim Burton’s Batman – and then leaving the cinema.

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