Whatever happened to Classic Town? Part I: 1978-1990

This year, I am looking at how LEGO Themes developed from those early days in 1978. Castle, Town and Space all developed in their own way, and they certainly don’t look the same today as they did back then! So as we take a ramble down Memory Lane, let’s look at how things were and how they have changed: scale, elements, colours and more.

For our first theme to track through time, I am looking at the theme that set out to represent the world around us: Classic Town. Over the years, this theme has evolved, with the LEGO City theme of today looking very different, yet incorporating similar subject matter. This investigation covers material released over more than 40 years. So it might take a little while. In this post, I shall cover LEGO Town from its origins in 1978 to 1990. Next time, we shall look at the System era (1992-1999). Finally, in the future, we will examine LEGO City and see how that theme compares with those in the early days. 

Along the way, we will examine the scale, building techniques, elements and more. There will be lots of pictures, sure to provoke a degree of nostalgia. I’d love to know which sets you feel fondly about and what you enjoyed about these themes.

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Piratepalooza: Celebrating the Innovations Introduced by LEGO Pirates.

Today, September 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. To celebrate, I thought we might take a look at some of the innovations that we have seen introduced into LEGO through the original Pirates Theme.

As you may already know, LEGO Pirates turn 30 in 2019. Having made their debut in 1989, the Pirates sets certainly have a place in the hearts of AFOLs of a certain age. With obvious factions, great play features and rapid assembly, I can understand the appeal they might have to any child at the time of release.

While some of the features introduced in Pirates have been well observed by the LEGO Group over the years, others have been less thoroughly pointed out. So I thought we might take a look at some of these today.

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Underneath the Arches: Exploring One Stud Radius Curves.

 

One of the great things about LEGO bricks is the system: the way elements fit together and interact with each other, sometimes in unexpected ways.  Studs and tubes are easy to understand. As are minifigure hands and the way they plug into the end of a tube or anti stud, or clip over a 3.18mm bar. Every so often you come across a new set of interactions, and wonder just how far these relationships between elements extend.

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This happened to me this week: While my sorting continues, I was browsing through my holding bin of bricks with bows and arches.  Look, over there, a distraction. And before I knew it, I found myself considering the 1x4x2 arch and what I can place snugly under this arch.  Fortunately, during The Sort, most of the the relevant parts end up in the ‘bricks with a curved surface’ bin.

The arch fits nicely over the top of a window frame 1x2x2 2/3 (Design ID 30044).

The curve of this arch perfectly describes a semicircle, with a radius of one stud (that is, a length of a 1×1 square plate).  This is the same circle described by a 2×2 round plate, brick, tile or droid body.  Also the base profile of a 2×2 ‘dome brick’ officially known as final brick 2×2 Design ID: 30367. But more on that element later.

I have several other bricks that look like they should fit underneath this arch, with a studs up orientation. Those parts are a few of the bricks with arches and/or bows, including:1x1x1 1/3 with arch; (Design ID:6091); and 2×3 with arch (Design ID: 6215); brick 2×2 with bow and knobs (Design ID:30165) and 1x4x1 1/3 (Design ID: 10314).  Let’s see how they all line up after the break…

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