Talking about Boost In Billund: Interview with Carl Merriam

Meeting LEGO Boost

Since it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, LEGO® Boost has been anticipated as an easy to use robotics platform. Designed for use by children aged 7 and up, the tablet based system was released in most of the world at the start of August, and made its way into the Australian retail Channels in October 2017.  With a retail price of $AU250, and 845 elements, including a mixture of System and Technic elements, as well as a new integrated Move Hub, I was intrigued by what it might have to offer for easy MOC automation.  At the LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund this year, I had the opportunity to meet with Carl Merriam, one of the model designers who has been involved with LEGO Boost. We had a talk about some of the features of the Boost system, and looked at what some of the included models have to offer.

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Thanks for your time Carl, could you perhaps start by explaining a little about the basics of LEGO Boost? Continue reading

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Escape the Space Slug Week 2 Raffle Winners

Modulex Star Wars LogoWhoops, almost a week has gone by since I drew the raffle, and I have failed to tell you all about it! Congratulations to Handoko Setyawan through emailing the blog and @hazatronic on Instagram: you have both won a copy of ‘Escape the Space Slug’, courtesy of the LEGO Community Engagement Team.

Handoko presented a picture of a wedding cake that he had built for a member of his LUG. It was unveiled a couple of weeks ago, after the nuptials had taken place. The rest of the album can be found on flickr, here and is well worth a look. Yes, you may have seen it blogged elsewhere too…

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@Hazatronic presented a fantastic microscale representation of that essential scene in The Empire Strikes Back:

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Congratulations to you both.

We had a few great entries this week, and while quality of the build played no role in selecting winners, I love the imagination shown in some of the entries.

 

Thank you so much to all of our entrants. I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the great MOCs people have come up with here. I hope to have a community build in the near future. I am wondering about ‘Micropolis’…

In the meantime,

Play well!

 

 

Sand Green September II: Green Ninja Mech Dragon

In which I am confronted with another set that is predominantly sand green in appearance; I need to reconsider ‘Sand Green September’ as a concept and take cues from Lord Business and the Australian Football League. I go to the movies and have mixed feelings but a predominantly positive experience about the LEGO Ninjago Movie.  I build a set and am amazed at the number of relatively uncommon/recently released elements. If you thought you had never seen anything quite like the Green Ninja Dragon Mech before, it might just be because 25% of the 516 elements are fairly new! Now read on…

IMG_7642I recently spoke about the three sets which I am in the process of building, with sand green as a dominant colour.  Sand Green September.  A lofty idea, and I suspect almost unachievable, unless I take a cue from both Wyldstyle in the LEGO Movie (Freedom Friday, but still on a Tuesday), and the Australian Football League.

For those without a classical Victorian Education, the AFL (and Previously VFL) Grand Final is  traditionally played on the last Saturday in September. Today in fact. This ‘One Day in September’ was immortalised in song by Mike Brady  in the early 1980’s in the theme song for Channel 7’s Big League.  Of course, occasionally, this one day in September occurs in October ( I am looking at you 2011, 2015 and 2016.  I could look at 2010 in accusatory tones as well, except the Grand Final in October was a replay of the drawn match from the previous weekend. The AFL have taken steps to ensure this does not ever happen again…)

Yes… we are looking at the final instalment of Sand Green September being released in October.  But I digress.

And I shall again.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

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Sand Green September I: What I learned from 10228 Monster Fighters Haunted House.

 

In which I construct a building using many sand green elements. But not one that was recently released. I recall a holiday, where I purchased a LEGO set and did nothing with it for five years, almost to the day. It turns out to be designed by one of the designers behind the Ideas set ‘The Old Fishing Store.’  While putting it together, I am reminded of some techniques and concepts for designing an old house. It is fun! Now read on…

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 Five years ago, I was on holiday with my family in the UK.  This was years before any talk of LEGO® Certified stores or LEGO Land Discovery Centres opening up in Australia.  And Australian prices for large LEGO sets were quite outrageous, when compared with those in Europe. At least it felt that way.  Anyway, in early September 2012, the LEGO Monster Fighters Haunted House 10228 first went on sale.  A couple of weeks later we made it to the LEGO Brand Retail Store in Cardiff.  We were in Cardiff for various reasons. Many of these reasons may have involved members of our family being fans of Doctor Who. I was probably (and still am) one of them. But this is irrelevant for today’s story.

On the shelves, we found the Haunted house: it evoked so many great memories: the Addams Family, the Munsters – both after school and Saturday morning television staples as I grew up, as well as Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi movies.  A quick check of the exchange rate made me feel that it was an offer too good to refuse, so we bought it.  Unfortunately, the box did not survive the trip home in our luggage, and the numbered bags have been sitting in a yellow and red LEGO Store bag , in a drawer, in our LEGO room. And then, for five years, nothing happened.  Until this week.

I was prompted to think about this set because a couple of recently released sets had also entered my possession: The Old Fishing Store (21310) and Lloyd’s Green Mech (70612), from the LEGO Ninjago Movie. Both of these sets have a significant proportion of sand green elements. (Is it wrong to start obsessing over a new colour, so recently after I looked at Spring Yellowish Green? I hope not.) In researching the haunted house, I discover the designer video.  And then things started to reach a nexus: The LEGO designer (as opposed to the fan creator) of the Old Fishing Store is Adam Grabowski, who also had a hand in designing many of the Monster Fighter sets. In particular, however, he designed the Haunted house, with the first sketches existing back in 2008-2009 or so. Continue reading

Alternative Display Techniques II: Sticking with it or “Yes… I’ve heard about the LEGO compatible tape!”

In which I fall victim to an insidious viral marketing campaign back in February, and have it come back to visit me in August.  I test clutch power along multiple axes and find myself surprised at just what I discover.  Of course, a completely different question relates to the benefit that this knowledge may bring to human kind…

FullSizeRender 75There are perils with being an AFOL. One such peril is the response to your nonLEGO friends to viral videos for vaguely LEGO® related applications. At its peak in February, I suspect the marketing video for Nimuno Loops brand tape had crossed my screen several hundred times. It had a wide level of casual viewer reach, just judging by the number of non-AFOLS who tagged me on Facebook. I succumbed to the hype, and ordered 2 rolls (1 meter each, red and blue) through the Indigogo campaign.
This was in February. A fulfillment date of August was given at the time. My package arrived in the first week of the advertised month. So far, so good.

Claims  for the product on the box include:

  • binds to smooth surfaces
  • Reusable and washable
  • Compatible with popular building bricks.
  • ‘The Indiegogo smash hit!’

What follows is a review of the product I purchased.  I cannot speak for other brands or presentations of tape, including the Mayka Tape, which appears to be produced by the same company, and has hit local toy shop shelves recently. There may or may not have been changes in production processes – initial comments I have seen regarding this product seem to not be consistent with my personal experience.

 

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Share Something Star Wars and Enter the Draw To Win ‘Escape from the Space Slug’

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Lets celebrate the release of the largest version of the Millennium Falcon (75192) ever released as a set by giving away the set containing the smallest Millennium Falcon ever produced in a set…

Now, thanks to the LEGO® Community Engagement Team, The Rambling Brick has some copies of Escape the Space Slug (6176782),to give away.  This is an exclusive set from 2016 that was previously only available as part of a VIP  event. This set contains the smallest official rendition of the Millennium Falcon, depicting her thrilling escape from the mouth of the Exogorth, in The Empire Strikes Back. While containing only 161 pieces, predominantly in light grey and dark tan, it is a limited edition of 3500 worldwide. Creative microscale modelling sees a recognisable Millennium Falcon, despite only six elements used in its construction.

Entries open on 16th September, 2017, and Close at midnight 30th September 2017.

How to Enter:

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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:

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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