Sorting My Collection Continues: I’ll just Leaf These Here.

Pardon the pun: As regular readers will know, I have been working on sorting my collection of LEGO Elements.  This evening I reached my ‘foliage box.’ I thought I would quickly share some of my ‘leafy’ elements.

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I’m excited because, through natural accumulation, I have managed to accrue all known colours of Design ID 2417, the 5×6 foliage element. Skip past the break to see them. Continue reading

Unconventional LEGO Display Techniques I: The BrickBrick Omega Cap

As if by some strange coincidence, I have had a few products cross my desk in the last week that can allow you to display your LEGO bricks and figures in unconventional ways.  While I am still exploring some of the virulently marketed LEGO Compatible tape, and the options and reasoning behind it, I have also had a chance to look at the Brick Brick Omega Cap. I would like to present this review today.

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The Brick Brick Cap is a baseball style cap, with a flat, rather than curved brim.  It offers two surfaces to attach your brick designs to:

First, the brick binding brim which slides over the peak of the cap. The brim is approximately 20 studs wide and 8 studs deep at the front.  The studs wrap around towards the sides of the cap. Multiple injection moulding points were visible on the dark blue surface, but they did not appear to interfere with the quality of the clutch power. Continue reading

Seeking Inspiration With ‘NEXO Knights: Build Your Own Adventure’ [Review]

covers.pngEvery so often a builder runs out of ideas.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a child or an adult. Now and again you say to yourself ‘I don’t know what to build!’

This might be becoming a more and more frequent complaint as we enter a culture of building a set and leaving it built. The creative spark almost extinguished as the direct result of years of targeted marketing and passing through the education system and getting a job.

Certainly, entering life as an AFOL, I found it harder than I should have to dismantle sets that I had built from the instructions.  Some have never been dismantled.  Admittedly, included in this number are the Cafe Corner and Green Grocer, so some would suggest I would not be blamed for leaving them intact.  But I have accumulated a good number of city, and regular creator sets over that time to establish a functional supply of bricks. Sometimes I feel inspired to build,other days it is a hard slog.

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Stressed by the Elements: Saturn V, Tiles, Plates and the Legality of Connections.

In which I build the Saturn V Ideas set, almost lose it in a wind gust, consider the legality of the American flag on the moon and Jamie Berard helps us to establish that plates and tiles are more different than we may have previously considered…

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I have just been fortunate to complete one of the most satisfying builds I have attempted in recent years.  The LEGO® Ideas Saturn V Rocket  21309 was released on June 1st, to wide accalaim. The Rambling Brick was fortunate to secure a copy on release day, courtesy of of the LEGO® Community Engagement Team.  Any opinions expressed here are, however, my own. The set has been subject to backorder on shop.lego.com for some time, and production continues to catch up with demand.  This may take some time.

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Since completing the model, I have been confronted by a severe weather warning, with the possibility of destructive winds – up to 120 km/h (roughly 70MPH).  This is a shame, as the winter sun has been shining brightly today: just what you need to take stirring, outdoor shots of an amazing model.  On setting the model up outside, it became apparant that there are reasons for spaceflights being delayed due to bad weather.  I managed one or two shots before catching the falling bohemoth, as it attempted to attain equilibrium in its ongoing battle with the forces of nature. That is to say, i caught it before it hit the ground.

Perhaps I'll try again on a less windy day.

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LEGO Boost Robotics Australian Release Date Announced

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The LEGO® Boost robotics system is now available to order in some markets, with reports of deliveries arriving starting to come in from around the world.  Australia will have to wait a few more months before the new LEGO robots arrive to take over our lives. While the global release is scheduled for August 1st,  the Australian release date has been ever so quietly announced on shop.LEGO.com.   Scheduled for release in Australia, with a limited local retail release (the definition of limited currently remains a little fuzzy) on October 1, 2017, the Recommended Retail Price is expected to be around $AU250. Or half the price of a LEGO Mindstorms EV3.

Based on the a similar hardware platform as the WeDo Educational robotics platform, Boost was announced at CES in Las Vegas back in January 2017. There was a lot of excitement at the time of the announcement, and over recent months the set has been available for preorder in other markets. Until now however, news of the Australian release has best been described as ‘a little quiet.’ Continue reading

Does The Use of Stickers Ever Compute? or Adhesive Labels – for gain or pain?

Please don’t get me wrong with the title here: I can find stickers to be as irritating as the next person.  However, after looking at Stephanie’s House last week, I came to realise that some LEGO elements are used in a recurring fashion, but that the final appearance and effect is dependent on the labels used.

IMG_7007On this occasion, I am specifically thinking of the humble laptop computer. Design number 18659.  This piece is currently available in two colours: black and medium lilac. It appeared in black in 2010, and medium lilac in 2016.

It appears simple enough: Slightly less than 3×4 studs in area when open, there are no clear system connections. No studs, no tubes, no clear handle. However, when closed, there is an indentation in the upper and lower parts of the laptop that accepts a clip type attacment such as a minifigure hand. Actually, when open, a lip along the bottom section allows a clip connection there as well.

Now, these laptops appear simple enough. But they are a little plain. I can see the benefit of only having one part, without printing it. From the manufacturing point of view: every new element – a part in a new colour – needs a new bin in the warehouse for storage.  Once you go the next step, and print on that part, each printed design has a new element ID, and therefore requires a new place to store it too. For the MOC Builder, the role of this element is not locked in: It’s a little hard to pretend that a part printed with decorative bows is, in fact, a vital tool in the war against crime!laptops friends.pngThe medium lilac laptop (Element ID 6141902) appears in three distinct sets, all in the Friends theme:  41314 Stephanie’s House, as discussed already; 41115 Emma’s Creative Workshop and 41116 Olivia’s Exploration Car.  Each set has a new sticker added to the sheet, which can (if you wish) be attached to the laptop present in the set, and allow you to give it an appearance of functionality.

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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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