In Search of La Dolce Vita, with Pasta, Wine and Some Very Bad Photoshop [Review: Nuova FIAT 500]

In which a global pandemic interferes with the Italian holiday plans of my wife and I. So we take a virtual trip, with the aid of a LEGO® Creator Expert Fiat 500 and some very bad Photoshopping.

In a COVID-19 free parallel Universe, my wife and I are currently flying from Rome to Singapore. We have been away for two weeks, arriving in Milan, visiting Cinque Terre, and Venice along the way. Probably catching up with some friends in the Italian AFOL Community as well. After a few days in Rome, we are on our way home, well rested: our first holiday away together for 4 years or so.

Of course, we do not live in that universe. But we were planning to be in Italy this month: Ann and I booked our tickets last November, back when our world was a vastly different place.

Subsequently, the world has been dramatically changed by the effects of the coronavirus. COVID 19 was just starting to reach epidemic proportions in northern Italy the week that the Creator Expert 10271 Fiat 500 set was announced. The launch event at the Fiat factory was reduced to a live stream. Since then, much of the world has been in varying degrees of lockdown, and we are starting to come out the other side. So, while we are not able to travel from Australia to Italy, I thought we might take a virtual trip in search of La Dolce Vita – the sweet life – by constructing the Creator Expert 10271 Fiat 500, an icon of Italian design; and some bad photoshop involving our planned destinations. Along the way, I might have a bowl of pasta…

So, pour yourself a short black coffee, find a seat in the sun and read on…

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Building the Theatre of Dreams. Are My Dreams the Same as Yours? [Review Old Trafford 10272; LEGO House 21037]

Earlier this year, the AFOL Engagement team ysent me a copy of Old Trafford for review purposes. This felt pretty great. But I have a problem. I don’t really engage with soccer, or football…or any other team based sporting codes, for that matter. So, when confronted by a set that would have the potential to give a Manchester United Fan goosebumps, I was worried that I might be left cold. How could I possibly hope to recreate the passion of a die hard fan with an epic Creator Expert Set?

Apparently people like football. Or soccer, depending on where you are. Some of these people are LEGO Fans as well. LEGO have taken a punt on the fact that, probably, there are some Football fans out there who would not mind building an iconic stadium out of the plastic bricks they loved as children.

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Celebrating 110 years of Old Trafford – Iconic Stadium gets its own LEGO® set

For the first time ever, Manchester United fans can now build and showcase a unique and authentic LEGO® model of the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

10272 Old Trafford – Manchester United, 3898 Parts,

US $299.99 – CA $349.99 – DE €269.99 – UK £249.99 – FR €269.99 – DK 2199DKK AUD $449.99

Available 16/1 for VIPs at LEGO.com, with general availability from 1st February.

Historically, I have not been much of a sportsball fan. To quote the LEGO Movie “Go, local Sports Team” However, when I was growing up, if I had not been aware of any other English football team, here in Australia, I knew that Manchester United existed. Manchester United’s fans are spread around the world, and are passionate in their love for the club.

This year is the 110th anniversary of the the opening of Manchester United’s home ground, the stadium at Old Trafford. It may have suffered significant damage while being bombed in the Second World War. Most of the stands might have been redesigned and rebuilt several times, but it remains the second largest stadium in Great Britain- second only to Wembley stadium, and certainly the largest stand used for regular home and away matches. (the largest recorded crowd at Old Trafford was 76,962, in March 1939. The current capacity of the ground is 75879, and so will need to be expanded once more if this record is to be broken.

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Check out the New Modular Bookshop 10270: You wouldn’t read about it.

The Creator Expert Modular Buildings have been going from strength to strength over the last few years, since the controversial decision to move from the ‘Classic Smiley’ face to a style consistent with the contemporary LEGO Graphic design language. Last year we saw the corner garage, and today we see the announcement of the latest in this series: the 10270 Bookshop. Due for release on the 1st January, 2020; this set has 2504 pieces, is recommended for builders over 16 years of age, and will cost US $179.99–CA $199.99 –DE €159.99 –UK £149.99 – FR €159.99 – DK 1299DKK. This is $USD10 more than the Downtown diner, and as such is probably reasonable to assume that it will be similar to that set’s $AUD250 price tag. Give or Take.

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Something Sweet for the Winter Village: Announcement 10267 Gingerbread House.

Ginger bread houses seem to have become a tradition at Christmas time. And this year, the Holiday themed Creator Expert set is seeking to bypass the Winter Village, and is instead taking a left turn toward fairy tales and make believe, and giving us a Gingerbread House with all the trimmings, but none of the calories.

10267 Gingerbread House: Ages 12+. 1477 pieces

US $99.99 – CA $139.99 – DE €89.99 – UK £84.99 – FR €94.99 – DK 799DKK –AUD $159.99

Available October 1 2019; September 18th for VIP Customers.

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Fly Me To The Moon [Review 10266]

Fifty years ago this week, television sets around the planet echoed Neil Armstrong’s now famous words: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Myself? I was slightly less articulate. My best effort to date had been “Goo Goo, Gah. Mumum, Waaaaah” This was, however, age appropriate. Apparently I was in the same room as a television showing the broadcast. At the age of three and three quarter months, however, to say I was watching it would be a stretch of the imagination. By the time Apollo 12 was launched in November 1969, I was up to cruising around some furniture, and I was allegedly distracted from watching a moon landing in the attached photo.

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The Eagle Has Landed: Announcement/Official Images of 10266 Lunar Lander

This  year, we celebrate 50 years since Apollo 11 took Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin to the surface of the moon.  Given the popularity of space themed sets, it is hardly a surprise that there have been a LEGO set released for the occasion.

LEGO have today announced the arrival of a new Creator Expert set, a take on the Lunar Lander. It will become generally available on June 1.

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News from the LEGO Ambassadors Network

Another day where Too Many Things arrive in the inbox in Rapid Succession. These include a Star Wars Fan Event at the LEGO House, a Survey about LEGO stores and two new Ideas Contests (replacing what was once known as Rebrick). These have all arrived via the Ambassadors Network, an online community where recognised Fan Media, and Recognised LEGO User Groups Gather… read on for further details.

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Muster the Mustang [10265 Ford Mustang Announcement]

LEGO today announce the arrival of the Ford Mustang Fastback: Entering the Creator Expert range of vehicles from March 1st, 2019. With 1471 pieces, the set has a higher part count, as well as more customisation options than recent Creator Expert cars that we have seen, including the VW Combi, Beetle, Mini, Ferrari, London Bus or the Aston Martin DB5.

With this vehicle, builders can add their preferred custom options, including super charger, front and rear spoilers, chunky exhaust pipes and a nitrous oxide tank!

Read on for further images, as well as the official press release.

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10264 Corner Garage Modular Revealed

The Modular buildings have been a highlight of the release calendar for many AFOLs.  After years feeling as though they were set in a golden age, with an architectural style from the 1920, and happy smiley faces everywhere. In 2017, we celebrated a decade of what would now be called the Creator Advanced Modular buildings with the release of assembly square, with nods to the entire previous series in that set.  And then everything changed.

The 2018 modular building, Downtown Diner had a sleek new look: taking its architectural cues from the 1950s (60th anniversary LEGO Brick Patent celebration any one?), and replacing the traditional minifigure smiley face with more contemporary designs. And the return of Teal. Lots of Teal! Since then, there has been some speculation about the future directions of the modular line: Would the architectural style return to the older style we had become used to? Will it be a street corner or straight street? Would the smiley’s return? and even “Will there even be another modular building?”

Today, the LEGO Group has revealed the 2019 release: the corner garage.  Continuing on in the 1950s style we see the action spread out over three levels: A corner garage on the ground floor, a veterinarian’s office on the next level, and then an apartment on the upper level.

The set comes with a great range of minifigures, and while many of the torsos have been seen before, some are certainly new. Looking at our cast of characters, I believe the vet and the Motor Scooter rider have new torsos.  The face with sunglasses appears similar to one seen before, although there appears to be a deliberate skin blemish on this one ( technically making it new.). I see Jo the mechanic has a cap with some of her hair showing underneath.

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