40516 Everyone is Awesome [Hands on review]

When the Adult Engagement Team asked me if I would like to review the new set 40516, it was described merely as ‘Merchandise.’ No description was available beyond that. Sometimes that can be a little vague. I was expecting to receive a storage box, a branded bag or an ill-fitting T-shirt ( mainly because nobody asked me my size.)

And then it arrived, and I opened the box. This set was something totally unexpected: bands of bright colour, with minifigures in single shades. The build looked elegant and straightforward enough. But I found myself thinking: Could this be one of the most significant sets of recent years?


Let me explain.
As you have no doubt seen, the set features 11 bold, colourful stripes on a platform. 11 minifigures stand on the platform, each matching a coloured stripe. Elements of a single colour make up each figure.

A message is sent out with the set, written on the first page of the instructions. It comes from Matthew Ashton, Vice President of Design for the LEGO Group, and designer of this set:


“I wanted to create a model that is a symbol of inclusivity, that celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love. Everyone is unique, and with a little more love, acceptance and understanding in this world, we can all feel free to be our true AWESOME selves! This model is to show that we care, and that we truly believe ‘Everyone is Awesome’! We hope you’ll build this model and display it with pride. It’s a celebration of love, a celebration of you!”

Matthew Ashton, VP of Design, The LEGO Group

I read it. I paused. I read it again. I have been trying to work out how best to respond. As a white, straight male, I feel almost unqualified to do so.

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40156: Everyone is Awesome LEGO® Set Celebrates Fans’ Diversity

Matthew Ashton, VP of Design at the LEGO Group, has been teasing a new set for the last week or so on Twitter. … one different coloured 2×3 brick at a time.

Today the LEGO Group has unveiled set 40156: Everyone Is Awesome. This set features 11 various coloured stripes, along with a unique monochrome minifigure for every stripe, a celebration of individuality and inclusivity, love and acceptance.
The final model is relatively small, being a little over 10cm tall with a footprint of 22×16 studs. It has 346 pieces and has a recommended retail price of $AUD59.99 / €34.99 /£30.00 / $USD34.99 / $CAD44.49. It goes on sale through LEGO Branded stores and LEGO.com on June 1, 2021, commemorating the start of Pride Month.

The company has long espoused the virtues of diversity and inclusivity, particularly amongst its employees, but to express it in the form of an actual product is a huge statement to both the fan community as well as the community at large.

Alternatively, here’s a set with some really cool monochromatic minifigures as well as some elements in hard to find colours. It looks pretty.

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Daily Bugle 76178

Today, The LEGO Group Announce the largest Marvel Super Heroes set to Date! The LEGO® Daily Bugle 76178. With 3772 Pieces, this set spreads the action across three floors, the roof and an alley: Just perfect for creating adventures in the Spiderverse. The Final model measures 82 cm tall, and has lots of great details, as well as 25 minifigures. Yes: 25.

Unfortunately, the press pack only included a few. However, I was able to enhance the end of the box to get all characters in one shot….

The set will be released on the 26th May for VIPs, and June 1st for everyone else, and cost €299.99/ £274,99 / $299,99/499.99 AUD/399.99 CAD

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New Botanical Collection Set: 10289 Bird of Paradise Coming Soon

We can reveal that the latest addition to the LEGO Group’s 18+ Botanical Collection, the 10289 Bird of Paradise will be released in Europe and the rest of the World 1st June, 2021. Unfortunately, the American release is not until 1st August.

Set box

The set has 1173 pieces, and will cost $AUD169.99/ €99.99/€109.99 (France), £89.99/$USD99.99/$CAD139.99

In the absence of a formal press pack, we have no further images to share at this time.

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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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