Spin the Colour Wheel One More Time

IMG_7850.jpgA few weeks ago, I started to consider the use of colour in Elves sets, particularly Spring Yellowish Green. This led to a discussion of colour theory in general. We talked about the colour wheel, and how colour themes might be derived using complementary colours; split complementary colours, analagous colours, triads and tetrads, amongst other things.Color wheelCombinations

This is all very well if I have a colour wheel, and I am looking to produce my own pigment, I hear you cry, but we are using LEGO, and the colour palette is pretty clearly defined. But how do the colours we have relate to this? Continue reading

A Dialogue with CEO Bali Padda

The Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days provided a great opportunity to meet representatives of other LEGO Fan Media from around the world.  In conjunction with the team from RevistaBricks, and HispaBrick Magazine, we reconstructed our meeting with then CEO Bali Padda.  The article that follows is reproduced from HispaBrick Magazine 28, which is now available for download.

As part of the LEGO® Fan Media Days at the end of May 2017, the represented LEGO® Fan Media organisations were joined by the CEO of the LEGO® Group, Bali Padda, for a dialog. He has been with the LEGO® Group for 15 years, initially based in the United States, and then in the UK, where he has been in the role of Chief Operations Officer.

While the appointment of his successor, Niels B. Christiansen, has already been announced, Mr Padda gave us some interesting insights into some of the issues currently facing the company:

RLFMs: You have now been in your new role for around six months. What do you think are the challenges in this new role?

Continue reading

Grossed out by Goblin Green? Let’s take the colour wheel out for a spin…

In which I try to reconcile a colour that produces a disturbing personal reaction with some of my favorite sets of the year so far! Along the way we take a history lesson, explore the wonderful world of colour wheels, build a Wyvern and hopefully prepare to enjoy some frozen yoghurt…

IMG_7388It’s been a little while since my last post because I have been trying to reconcile something that has been troubling me.  Here in the Southern Hemisphere, we have just seen the start of spring.  A time that the weather starts to turn for the better, we feel the days getting a little longer and the grass starts to grow and trees start to bud.  It is of course still jolly cold. My problem comes from trying to reconcile springtime, with its new growth, hope and optimism with the name of Spring Yellowish Green. A light, bright colour whose name shouts optimism, but whose shade, to me, shouts sinister thoughts, nasty infections and recollections of a bad night at work.

Of course, not everyone has the perceives colours in the same way as other people.  I personally spent 5 years vigourously debating the colour of some towels with my wife.  I eventually conceded defeat and accepted that I was wrong. But not because discretion is the greater part of valour,  but because it became apparent that I experience a mild form of colour blindness . The junction of green, grey, blue is not a clear, well discriminated area of my colour perception. Rather, it is a hazy, muddy thing, where some colours stand out, and others blur together with imperceptible difference to myself, but to great embarrassment to my children, or frustration for my wife.  Whilst I only experience this lack of colour vision, the rest of my family suffer because of it!

But what does this have to do with LEGO Bricks? LEGO elements have appeared in almost one hundred distinct opaque colours over the years, to say nothing of the transparent, translucent, speckled and glow in the dark colours.  Well, distinct for some. For others they just blur together. You can find Ryan Howeter’s most excellent colour chart documenting LEGO colours, and their appearance over time, here. Much of the information regarding appearance dates for colours, as well as hex codes for colour pickers has been derived from this. The current colours in the LEGO Colour palette can be seen here:

2016palette.png
Current colours in the LEGO moulding palette. Image sourced from brickiest.com, courtesy of the LEGO Group.

In 2012, we saw elements produced in six new colours, and another was released shortly after: Aqua, Dark Azur, Olive Green, Medium Azur, Medium Lavender, Lavender and Spring Yellowish Green.  Olive green is the only one of these opaque colours that has been introduced after the Friends theme was released. Only one of these colours has ever evoked a visceral response in me, just by looking at it. And that is the colour I would like to talk about today. Continue reading

I Can’t Believe It’s Not LEGO: Playmobil, in Competition or Comparison?

I haven’t only played with LEGO in my life.  Back in Christmas 1974 we received our first Playmobil Knights sets.  We were frustrated by the legs being locked together, and I managed to give one of our figures independently moving legs.  It took quite a bit of force!

First Generation Playmobil Knights c. 1974

I hadn’t ever really considered Playmobil to be a competitor with LEGO as I grew up.  One was for building with, one was for role play/ setting up dioramas. That was easy in 1975, before mini figures with silly faces and moving limbs existed. And that seems to be how it has been culturally in Australia.  LEGO is available in most toy shops and department stores, and large retailers (Thinking target, Kmart, Big W)  While Playmobil has almost exclusively been in the domain of the smaller, independent toy shop.  We have continued to pick up the occasional playmobil set, especially for Grandma and Grandpa’s holiday house, where our children would often play with them.  With the exception of a nurse in 1978, be have basically stuck with variations of the medieval theme.

I knew Playmobil had continued to be a thing, but I hadn’t really worried about it.  Then coming home through Belgium in 2016, I saw an orange Porsche 911 on the shelves at the Duty Free Shop in the airport.porsche

This struck me as a little too coincidental. Continue reading

Whatever happened to the 2 x 4 Brick? Minecraft: The Ice Spikes 21131

The humble 2×4 brick.

If any element over the years has been used to represent the concept of the LEGO® system of play, this is it.IMG_5070

One of the original elements in the LEGO brick parts palette, it is the first piece that springs to mind when many of us think of LEGO® Bricks.  The favourite element of many large scale builders, if you have enough of them, you can build almost anything!  It is one of those pieces that brings memories flooding back to those of us raised on basic sets back in the early to mid 1970’s.  Before the advent of the minifigure, this brick was the cornerstone of LEGO construction, being a significant component of the Basic/ Universal Construction Sets that were commonly played with in this era. IMG_5066While allowing an incredibly versatile method of construction, there is no doubt that that they contributed significantly to the chunky aesthetic that is associated with LEGO® design and construction in my childhood. When your parents say “In my day, it was just bricks,” this is what they are talking about.  Continue reading

Light up your LEGO #1

There is no doubt that adding lighting to a LEGO model will enhance it’s appearance – it adds a degree of life to it, enhancing lines, lightening shadows and highlighting features which may otherwise be a little obscure.  LEGO have offered lighting for at least 50 years, originally in the form of a light brick, with the options of a filter, and more recently with power functions, providing a pair of LED lights.  We now also see self-contained light bricks in recent sets.IMG_0691-2.jpg

While earlier  LEGO® sets used standard filament bulbs,  more recently builders have been able to look to Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to provide versatile lighting solutions. Recently,  LEGO builders have been incorporating lighting into their builds more often than ever before.

The systems used vary from simple ‘bulb and battery’ solutions, through to custom solutions for individual LEGO Sets.  There are also sophisticated, microprocessor controlled solutions available, providing preprogrammed sequential lighting patterns.  Miniaturisation of  LEDs means that they are now able to be incorporated in LEGO builds, with minimal rebuilding required for wiring.

Today, I would like to present a couple of simple options for cheap and easy lighting solutions, that can enhance your models.  In the future, I will present some examples of other, more sophisticated lighting solutions. Continue reading

The LEGO Batman Movie Sets: Seeking Moderation in the Interests of Balancing the Household Budget.

Or how I decided to curb my spending, in the face of conflicting desires.

I love LEGO® Sets.

LBM-Wallpaper1440x2560-.jpgI love what I have seen in trailers for the LEGO® Batman™ Movie.
I love the look of the LEGO® Batman™ Movie Sets.

The first wave of sets have recently arrived on the shelves here, and I have found myself trying to work out how to balance my LEGO® Batman™ Movie needs (favorite characters and vehicles) against my other LEGO® desires (Elves with goblins; some classic sets and possibly even the Boost robotics system) and my basic human requirements: food,  coffee, deodorant, etc…

I have added up the retail prices of all the currently available LEGO® Batman™ Movie Sets (70900-70911) – excluding polybags, as they are rarely available here – and added in the not yet formally announced(70912-70917) with speculated Australian pricing.  This came to a total of approximately Continue reading