52 LEGO® Space Projects From @jeff_works – Book Review

I love a good LEGO® Spaceship. I love looking at them. I love the stories behind them. I would love to enjoy building them, but my spaceship design skills appear to be trapped somewhere in the late 1970’s. As such, I was quite excited when No Starch Press told me that Jeff Friesen’s (aka jeff_works on Instagram) new book was going to offer 52 such models, with extra inspiration and parts lists, in his latest book, LEGO® Space projects. Due for release in June, to coincide with world Astronomy month, it is currently available for pre-order, with a 25% discount on the list price of $USD24.99 (print and ebook). The eBook’s list price is $USD19.99.

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75308 R2-D2: Hands On Review

The astromech droid R2-D2 was one of the first characters that we met at the beginning of Star Wars (Episode IV a New Hope to the Younglings). Along with C-3PO, he (why is it virtually always he?) is one of the few characters to be involved in each of the films of the Skywalker Saga. As such, he was felt to be a suitable subject for the set celebrating 50 years of Lucasfilm, as well as appearing in time for May the 4th celebrations this year.

The set will go on sale May 1, exclusively at LEGO Branded Stores, including the online store, priced at 199 EUR/USD – 179,99 GBP – 329.99 AUD – 269.99 CAD.

The AFOL Engagement Team of the LEGO Group sent me a pre-release copy of the new 75308. Join me as we wander through the build, and see if this set has sufficient material to justify an outlay of your money.

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Representation In Licenced LEGO® Themes with a Contemporary Cinematic Narrative II: LEGO® Harry Potter™

This is not a post specifically about LEGO® Harry Potter™. This is a post regarding the way in which the LEGO Group have chosen to represent female characters over time. I have chosen to use this theme, as it has had 2 distinct phases of release: first in 2001-2012, a period that ran in parallel with the release of the Harry Potter movies, while the second began in 2018, and continues to this day.

This my the second article is a series, looking at gender distribution of minifigures in licensed themes – themes where the LEGO Group has little say over the content of the source material. The first, relating to such trends in LEGO Star Wars sets can be found here

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Hunt the Rebellion on Hoth with the Imperial Probe Droid [75306 Hands On Review]

The Empire Strikes Back is regarded by many to be one of the best Star Wars movie ever made. The ominous, speechless opening of the movie as the Empire searches out any hidden enclaves of Rebellion, around the Galaxy, sets the tone as to which team is on the offensive: A New Hope started off with the rebellion on the front foot—smuggling the hidden plans of the Death Star to those who might be able to best exploit any weaknesses. The Empire Stikes Back sees the Imperial Forces taking the initiative with the Probe Droids being dispatched across the galaxy. We see one crashing onto the barren world of Hoth, rising out of the snowdrift like a malevolent cybernetic jellyfish before setting out to scan the landscape. Appearing before a cross to Luke Skywalker on his Tauntaun, in all its stop motion animated glory, make the Imperial Viper Probe Droid the first character to appear in the film.

As such, it is high time to see this droid receive a more detailed treatment than the minifigure scaled brick built versions we have seen across various Hoth playsets, Advent calendars and magazine covers, over the years.

The 75306 Imperial Probe Droid will be released on 25th of April, along with the 75304 Darth Vader and 75305 Scout Trooper Helmets. It has 683 pieces and will cost: $59.99 USD/ €69.99 EUR/ £59.99 GBP / 119.99 AUD / 79.99 CAD.

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New 18+ Star Wars Helmets and Imperial Probe Droid Announced

Last year, we were introduced to LEGO® Star Wars Helmets – the first sets to be labelled 18+, introducing a new subtheme of LEGO Star Wars Sets. Today, we get our first official look the new LEGO Sculptures for 2021, aimed at the adult market: Two helmets – And a droid.

We have 75304 Darth Vader, 75305 Scout Trooper and 75306 Imperial Probe Droid. These sets will be available to pre-order in some markets from today, and are due for a general release on April 25, 2021.

Along with a number of other Recognised LEGO Fan Media, I took part in a roundtable discussion with some of the LEGO Star Wars Design team – , including Jens Kronvold Frederiksen – the Creative Driector of LEGO Star Wars. We covered a range of topics – which included discussion of the new helmets, and the Probe Droid.

There were a number of interesting things to learn about these models:

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Building the Dark Side: 75304 Darth Vader Helmet [Hands On Review]

The Darth Vader Helmet Box and instructions, with a minifigure (not included) for scale.

The LEGO Group have recently announced the LEGO® Star Wars Helmet sculptures for 2021: 75304 Darth Vader and 75305 Scout Trooper, as well as 75306 Imperial probe Droid (not an actual helmet).

Today, I would like to look at the 75304 Darth Vader Helmet .Couretsy of the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group, I have been fortunate to receive a prerelease copy to build prior to its release on April 25. The set has 834 parts and has a recommended retail price of: $69.99 USD/ €69.99 EUR/ £59.99 GBP/ 89.99 AUD / 99.99 CAD. It should be available for pre order now, in some markets (unfortunately, not Australia).

Darth Vader was the first character from the Empire that we met, within the opening minutes of Star Wars/ Episode IV/ A New Hope – and we never see his face until the closing minutes of Return of the Jedi. In the mean time, all of his characterisations can be attributed to his posture, camera angles, and the voice of James Earl Jones, added in Post Production. As such, his helmet is an integral part of his character.

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in putting it together…

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Q&A with the White Noise Creative Team

A few weeks ago, the LEGO® White Noise playlist was released on Spotify and other music streaming/digital download platforms. After spending some time listening to the tracks, I found myself with a number of questions: Was this designed to play while building LEGO sets (where the ‘searching sounds’ might be reduced, due to presorting elements?) or as a way to drown out other sounds, to provide that white noise interference to allow your mind to focus on whatever activity you have at hand.

As a recording to listen to, I found the sounds nostalgic, but I did not find myself getting lost in the listening experience. My personal emotional response to the recording was limited: while the sounds are familiar, there is something about it that didn’t get me lost in the experience. BUT I don’t think that is the point of using this playlist. It perhaps serves a stronger role as a source of random frequencies, at relatively unpredictable rhythms – white noise is typically used to try and block out extraneous sounds, rather than elicit a true emotional reposnse.

I reached out to the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group with some questions, and Primus Manokaran, the Creative Director for the Project, was kind enough to send through some answers:

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What it is… is 40 years old.

Start talking about about the gender divide in the way that LEGO targets its marketing, and before long, people will refer you to ‘Back in the day’ – when there was relatively little gender specific marketing: LEGO sets were marketed to children – boys and girls. Not boys OR girls.

Eventually, someone will typically refer to print ad above, from 1981. Showing a young girl who has built a model with her LEGO Bricks. The model looks chaotic to our concrete adult minds. But the look on her face is undeniably one of excitement, joy and pride. Somewhere along the way, LEGO Sets became more of a boy focussed product, with variable effectiveness in reengaging girls in LEGO play. And then we got LEGO friends. It might be disappointing that it was necessary to release a line of sets targeted at girls of a certain age, but I think the parts palette and the set design has benefitted as a result.

This advertisment is now 40 years old. and to celebrate, the LEGO Group are taking a trip back in time, to recreate this iconic advertisement, with the young builders of today. this coincides with the message tha the LEGO Group has signed up to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, to help guide how it can “better empower women and girls, accelerate gender equality, and encourage more young girls to believe they can achieve anything they set their hearts on.”

The LEGO Group is calling on families to help celebrate the skills, interests and creative potential of the next generation of female leaders by recreating its iconic 1981 LEGO® advert: submit a copy of a photo of your child, holding a LEGO creation they have made, and a poster will be emailed back!

Read on for More

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Fly into Women’s History Month with the Amelia Earhart Tribute.

Amelia Earhart first learned to fly in 1921. An inspirational aviatrix, she was the first woman to successfully fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. Taking off from Newfoundland, hoping to land in Paris. Unfortunately, the fates combined with bad weather and she landed in Ireland. She went on to complete many other many other milestones in women’s aviation, before vanishing over the Pacific five years later.

And so 100 years later, as part of Women’s History Month, the Lego group have released a tribute to her achievements in set 40450 which will be available from the fifth of March through Lego brand retail stores as a gift with purchase.

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It’s Out of This World: Creator 3 in 1 31115 Space Mining Mech [Review]

I recently reviewed the upcoming LEGO® Creator 3in1 set 31116: Safari Wildlife Tree House, due for release on March 1 2021. Another Creator 3in1 set due for for release on that date is the 31115: Space Mining Mech.

The set has three alternate builds, all based around space exploration, and particularly mineral surveying/collection.

This Creator 3in1 set has 321 parts, and will retail for $AUD32.99/ £24.99 /USD24.99 and €24.99. As such, it looks like particularly reasonable value for Australians, where, after currency conversion, we seem to have the best value compared to these major currencies. So should we exploit this relative bargain and buy many? Read on for my thoughts.

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