Minifigure 40: LEGO® Town [Advertisement Archive]

Untitled 7Forty years ago, we saw the change in LEGO® sets: the arrival of the minifigure.  Now we had articulated figures to bring our models to life: no need to remove the torso for our figures to sit down. As part of #minfigure40 I received access to a large number of media assets: today, I would like to look at some of the features of the advertisements in the LEGO Town/City series, one of the few themes to have been continuously available in some form or another for forty years!  The majority of these advertisements were placed in comics, or magazines featuring comic strip anthologies, and puzzles and kid’s news. They have been published in multiple markets – ands languages.  I have attempted to translate them as well as an online translation engine will allow.

The art style is typically similar to that seen in contemporary catalogs: certainly I suspect the early advertisements were shot at a similar time to the catalogs for that year.

1978: The Minifigure Arrives in Classic Town

Continue reading

Time to get moving: first steps into the Powered Up system [Review: Passenger Train 60197]

img_2285In which I finally get my hands onto some of the new Powered Up components and find myself dealing with a system full of immense potential. I compare the Powered Up system with the old Power Functions system for driving the train, draining the batteries in the process. And I start to wish for a little bit of magic…

Continue reading

Losing Our Sense of Proportion… 6590 Vacation Camper vs 60182 Pickup and Caravan [Reviews, comparison and speculation]/Covert Celebrations IV

Dreaming of a summer caravanning holiday, our comparison of LEGO TOWN and LEGO City continues. Has there been an ongoing covert celebration, with Town sets from twenty, thirty and forty years ago being reimagined in 2018?   Comparing 1988’s Car and Caravan with 2018’s Pickup and Caravan, we also ask “Why, after 30 years, does a family vehicle towing a caravan still seat only one minifigure?” We also discover where LEGO Children come from…and wonder where other characters have gone…

IMG_2675

This year, we have considered parallels between LEGO City 2018 and LEGO Town 1988, along with other sets from 20 and 40 years ago.

We have asked the question “Is this a covert celebration of the 40th anniversary of the minifigure, and LEGO town?” An official answer has not been forthcoming. But this won’t stop me from ongoing speculation, with no grounding in reality.

Today I would like to look at another set with a parallel set from thirty years ago: Pickup and Caravan 60182  – from the 2018 LEGO City Great Vehicles sub theme; and Vacation Camper 9590 from LEGO Town in 1988.  So what do these sets have in common? Two adults, a caravan and a vehicle to tow it behind. The vehicle in question has only one seat, in both instances. The differences are far greater…

Let’s take a closer look at both sets: Continue reading

Time To Get ‘Powered Up’: Known Knowns, Known Unknowns. And A Little Speculation…

Feeling overwhelmed after a barrage of press releases and new sets being announced by LEGO in New York this week, I attempt to put together what is known about the new Powered Up platform, previously referred to as Power Functions 2.0

60197_LEGO_City_Personenzug_Packung-2This week, at the Fall Preview for the (Northern) Summer 2018 LEGO® releases, there have been a number of exciting announcements, some of which have been vigorously speculated about for most of the year, plus a couple of surprises!

Given that this year respresents (amongst other things) the twentieth anniversary of the LEGO Mindstorms range, and also represents 10 years since we first saw the arrival of Power Functions, it should come as no surprise that we have seen a number of sets featuring the new “Powered Up” platform – previously referred to as Power Functions 2.0.

“For 20 years, we have been creating new ways for children to combine technology and LEGO building, starting with the introduction of LEGO MINDSTORMS®, a robotics toolkit that pioneered the idea of a ‘smart toy,” said Michael McNally, senior director brand relations for the LEGO Group. “With Powered Up, we’ve established a flexible connected platform to enable innovative new play experiences that merge digital and physical play in natural ways that will delight and inspire the builders of today and tomorrow – while still focusing on the core physical play proposition of our System of Play – the LEGO brick.”

We have also seen some exciting announcements to go with LEGO Boost.

Powered Up: Power Functions 2.0 Known Knowns.

Back in February, we presented information about the new power functions platform. We were aware that we have a new combined Bluetooth receiver and Battery Box, as well as a motor unit suitable for trains. We knew that the new cables featured the same connections as the WeDo 2.0 platform, as well as Boost.We also knew there would be a new remote and that the platform could also be App Powered.

This new platform, and all of the other Motorised LEGO Elements now fall under the broader banner of “Powered up,” and includes CITY Trains, app driven vehicles, Boost and the DUPLO Cargo Train.

Trains

60197_LEGO_City_Personenzug_Produkt-2 Continue reading

Conspiracy or Coincidence III: Helicopters- from Red Cross to the Star of Life [626/6626 vs 60179]

In which I look at a couple of helicopters, with 40 years between their release dates, consider what happens when a humanitarian organisation reclaims its trade mark and contemplate the special place that helicopters have in the world of LEGO® Vehicles…IMG_9819As has been previously discussed, this is a year for celebrations at the LEGO Group. We have seen sixty years of the LEGO Brick, forty years of the minifigure (celebrated with the release of the series 18 Collectable Minifigures), and twenty years of Mindstorms.

Great vehicles:

While we have the recurrent police theme (even with the new mountain setting), some , miners, as well as last year’s fantastic jungle theme still on the shelves, we also have the ‘Great Vehicles’ sub theme. Now, I recognise that there is a limit to just how many different vehicles might be presented in LEGO Set form over the years. This year however, we seem to have a number of sets that give more than a passing nod to sets that were released twenty, thirty and forty years ago.

IMG_1069IMG_0338Here at the Rambling Brick, we would far rather believe in a conspiracy than a coincidence, and so I would like to believe that these might be a covert celebration of sets celebrating their decennial anniversaries this year. In recent months we have discussed the JetCar and the Helicopter Transport Truck. Today, I would like to compare some  helicopters- specifically the Red Cross Helicopter from 1978 and this year’s Emergency Helicopter. While the Helicopter from 1978 may not be as obvious counterpart to today’s set, compared to the the helicopter carrier and speed record car, there are a number of interesting comparisons between then and now that I would like to make today.

First, let us start with the change in the markings used… Continue reading

Covert Celebrations, Cryptic Documents and Helicopter Carriers

The second part of the story, in which I descend to the depths of paranoia, receive mysterious documents in the refrigerated section of the local supermarket and discover some sets that seem to have surreptitiously slipped into their 30th year with a nod from the designers of LEGO City. Is this planned? An Easter egg for collectors? A covert celebration? Or merely the product of an overactive imagination?

Since I published my first article about covert celebrations in  the 2018 LEGO City sets, I have been on edge. Shadows flickering in my peripheral vision. Mysterious figures in the local shopping strip, there one minute, gone the next.  Facial features indistinct, not staying still long enough for me to recognise them. I am feeling anxious: worried that I am being followed, with unknown intentions.

In case anything happens, I thought I should share my story, so you will know where it started.

A couple of months ago I was shopping in our local supermarket – picking up some extra food for the next week.  Brickvention was just few days away and I was taking a break from preparing my build. Perhaps I was running a little behind.  Perhaps it was a lot. I can’t recall anymore. It was a period of frantic activity, and I was prone to being distracted from non-LEGO building tasks.

And then the envelope appeared.  Dropped into the child seat of my shopping trolley at the local supermarket while I was getting some yoghurt out of the fridge, I never saw who left it. Before I realised what was happening, a person wearing a black hoodie quickly disappeared down aisle 12, not to be seen again.

It was strange: a yellow envelope, addressed to ‘Rambling Brick’ in the style of a 1970’s television cop show ransom letter: with letters cut out from an old newspaper. I unfolded the envelope, and the word ‘Coincidence?’ appeared.Scan 11

I have received external leads for blog posts in the past: private messages on Facebook, unencrypted emails, even the occasional press release. But this was the first time I had received anything using good old fashioned newspaper and glue technology. I mean, who even buys newspapers these days? Surely printing something through a laser printer would ensure a significant level of anonymity!

Scan 9Somewhat rashly, I opened the envelope. Fortunately, there was only a small Instamatic photograph to be found inside.  The picture was spectacularly out of focus, but appeared to be a LEGO catalog with an indistinct circle around three of the sets. There were four numbers glued onto the bottom edge of the picture: 1988.

Continue reading

Coincidence or Coverup? The Covert Celebrations in LEGO City, 2018 [ Land Jet 7580; Speed Record Car 60178]

In which I postulate a trend of rebooting Classic LEGO Town vehicle sets in a year otherwise chock full of LEGO Celebrations. A conspiracy? A cover up? An unexpected Easter Egg?  Step inside the Rambling Brick House of Advanced Aluminium Millinery and join us on a rollercoaster ride of unfounded supposition, speculation, and imaginary voices calling from inside the LEGO Room as we look at Jet Cars, past and present.

Coincidence or Coverup? The Covert Celebrations in LEGO City, 2018

IMG_9838As has been previously discussed, this is a year for celebrations at the LEGO Group. We have seen sixty years of the LEGO Brick, forty years of the minifigure (to be celebrated next month with series 18 Collectable Minifigures), and twenty years of Mindstorms. The fortieth anniversary of the Minifigure also commemorates the arrival of classic town, space and castle. Now space and castle don’t have individual representation at present, but LEGO Town has Grown over the last 40 years to LEGO City.

img_0198
Some of the new Great Vehicles in  the 2018 LEGO Catalogue.

There are themes in LEGO City that recur on a regular basis: Fire, Police, Coast guard. And there also less frequent themes: Volcano, Jungle and Arctic Explorers to name a few.  But fitting in between all of these are some Great Vehicles.  They fit in your city, but are possibly off theme for this year’s main City sets.  And they are sure to return every so often.

catalog review.png
Some of the classic LEGO gets celebrating their 20th, 30th and 40th anniversaries this year? Coincidence? I think not… [Catalog scans from brickset.com]

As I looked through this year’s catalog, I spied some familiar subjects, from catalogs in my youth, ‘classic’ sets on display at shows and a mysterious feeling of delay vu. This year, I believe we are seeing a number of vehicle sets revisited on their 40th, 30th and 20th anniversaries.  I accept these concepts all come and go in LEGO Sets on a regular basis, but with all of the aforementioned anniversaries I am suspicious that some  sets from the past have been revisited and given a contemporary spin on the occasion of their 40th, 30th and 20th anniversaries.

Here at the Rambling Brick, we would far rather believe in a conspiracy than a coincidence, and so I would like to believe that these might be a covert celebration of sets celebrating their decennial anniversaries this year. Over the next few months I am looking to explore some of these past sets which, while not necessarily classics, provide some insight into how things have changed over the last forty years. Continue reading