The first LEGO Pirates sets first appeared sometime in the second half of 1989. Maybe July; maybe August. Maybe September. It all depends on where you were standing. Join us as we present some of the Print Advertising Archive, as we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of LEGO Pirates.
In 1989, a new series appeared in the LEGO Catalogs.
Until then, LEGO Minifigures had been living in Castle, Space and Town with their permanent, identical smiles always on show. At this time we saw minifigures move into the Caribbean Sea, with the new Pirates theme. With that first range of pirates minifigures, several things changed: Captain Redbeard has a… red beard and eye patch; a hook for a hand and a wooden leg. He has certainly been up against a few things over the years, and yet still has a small on his face. He is also the first minifigure to have an official name.
As we approach the eve of the Year of the Pig, I would like to look at another of the sets released for the Chinese ‘Spring Festival’
The 80102 Dragon Dance has been enthusiastically awaited after the initial images arrived last November, and the set has been hotly sought after, in part due to its relative scarcity outside of Asia. In Melbourne, both this set and 80101 Chinese New Year Family Dinner have literally flown off the shelves, with long queues, household limits and disappointed customers being frequent occurrences at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre store.
I can see the appeal of this set on many levels: as a seasonal set, it is one of the first sets released, outside of the ‘Year of the…..’ series, for this significant day in the Asian Cultural Calendar, touching on subject matter rarely covered previously, featuring bright colours, and a movement function, coupled with limited global distribution to the Asia Pacific Region – this set has very little to be negative about.
This set has 622 parts, and costs $AUD79.99 new. The retail channels for this set have been limited in Australia. Certainly, demand for this set has been high in the rest of the world, and it will be interesting to see what approach might be taken with this type of set in the future.
AS we continue Further and further into advent, we continue to look at short lived Advent Calendar themes. While Castle has been a long standing theme since the beginning days of the Minifigure, it has not been an endless source of Advent Calendar based material. this is a shame, as the daily development of accessories and stories works quite well in this context.
There have been two Castle themed Advent Calendars over the years: ‘Castle Advent Calendar 7979’ in 2008 and Kingdoms Advent Calendar 7952 from 2010
Today we continue our our exploration of LEGO® Christmas Celebrations, as a tribute to the 20th anniversary of LEGO Advent Calendars, and will follow it up with a quick visit to today’s entry for the LEGO Friends calendar.
Today’s entry comes from extremely recent history: today in fact! I visited the shop attached to the local LEGOLAND Discovery Centre (Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne), and found this great little collection of minifigures hanging on the shelf, with an asking price of $19.99AUD.
We have Santa, Mrs Claus and a red hatted elf. I could not help but think that they remind me of the figures from the Creator Expert Winter Village set “Santa’s Workshop”10245 from 2014. There are, however, some subtle differences. Are they enough to justify the purchase?
As you can see, the packet is quite generic. What you see above is what you get: there is no back printing. Which is a shame, as the City Santa from the 2017 and 2018 Advent Calendars has a dual printed torso, with a candy cane tucked in under the belt.
Let’s compare our new figures: with those from Santa’s Workshop.
Let’s start with Mrs Claus. The older version has a red dress, while the newer version has a dark green dress. The details on the skirt elements are the same, although the colouring is slightly different on the new torso. Our new Mrs Claus has grey hair, rather than white, with a bun. She is also carrying a pie element, introduced with one of the collectable minifigure clowns, rather than the red sack element.
On the left is the old Santa, on the right the new one. Superfically, they look pretty similar. The torso’s are identical to the one from the 2016 City Advent calendar. Remove the hat and beard however, and we see that the heads are subtly different. Our new version features greying eye brows and reading glasses. How else can he check his list of who has been naughty or nice? This appears to be a new combination, with this head only otherwise appearing in the Fun at the Beach people pack 60153, the 2017 City Advent Calendar, and attached to some European books.
On the right we have our new elf: he wears the same tunic as the Collectable minifigure Holiday Elf, from Series 11, but has red legs and a red hat. I believe this is the first time this ear/hat element has been seen in red.
They all feel, in part like they have come to perform holiday relief work, to allow Santa, Mrs Claus and the Elves a chance to have a well earned break. I hope they wait until after Christmas to take it!
These are a great selection of holiday themed minifigures, and the new elements are an unexpected bonus. What do you think? Perhaps you will be able to pick them up at your local LEGO Brand retail store, or a LEGOLAND park/discovery centre somewhere around the world. If you do, I’d love to see how you use them…
Catching up with our Friends:
Let’s open up door number 5 after the break, and see where it takes us…
Today we continue our 40th Birthday Exploration of the Minifigure’s journey: We have previously looked at the structural prototyping and moulds used for our minifigures. Today, we will take a special look into the LEGO Factory at Kladno, in the Czech Republic, The LEGO Group have sent The Rambling Brick (and other fan media organisations) some fantastic photos, taken by Jan Branc, as well as a video demonstrating some of the processes that our minifigures go through in the Kladno Factory, located in the Czech Republic.
Let us look at torsos, arms and hands; heads and, finally, the legs.
Today we celebrate the submission of the patent for the original minifigure design, in Denmark in 1977. So…41 years ago, in order to have things ready to roll in 1978!
To commemorate this event, the LEGO Group has released a collection of images of historical interest, including copies of the original patent documents, images of prototype minifigures, moulds, minifigure design sheets and historical advertising material, as well as a timeline of significant minifigure events.
Over the next few posts, we will explore some of these materials, but first, let’s run the covering press release, and take a glance at the patent applications: Continue reading →
This year, we saw the release of the 10 Anniversary Modular building, the Assembly Square. This set featured plenty of callbacks to the previous modulars, with various colour schemes and other design cues. Now that we are entering the second decade of modular buildings, it appears that there are some changes afoot. Until now, many of the buildings have had the appearance of buildings dating from the 1920’s or 30’s and the Minifigures all featured the classic smiley face.
But we now enter a new era in modular buildings: the downtown diner is drawing cues from the Streamline Moderne style, a style that originated in the late 30’s, but continued to influence architecture for decades to come: a sleek building, with a tiled facade and smooth curves, and we have both in abundance here. In a break with previous modular traditions, the minifigures now have expressions (and the occasional moustache) on their faces, while their dress appears more representative of the 1950’s. Indeed, the pink cadillac and the Rock’N’Roll singer all but confirm that this is a bit of a jump into the future from our previous modular era. (Admittedly, the Brick Bank 10251 from 2016, featured a computer on a desk, as well as an espresso machine in the staff room – not a common feature in the past – certainly this would be the most anachronistic feature of a modular building to date.) Assembly Square feels as if it might also be from a more recent period in history, if only because of the clothing prints in use by the minifigures. Certainly, we are now entering a new era, with new architectural styles and new minifigure prints.
And Teal. We have seen evidence of a reborn teal in other sets for 2018, however this set contains more elements in this colour than any other set that we have seen details for. I especially like the use of the 6×6 curves to create the high, sweeping arch. There are also lots of teal bricks in the back wall of the diner.
What do we see on the inside? We have 3 levels, with the diner downstairs, a gym on the 1st floor, and a recording studio upstairs. The diner features a short order cook flipping pancakes and frying bacon, in the form of a 1×2 grille plate! The Waitress is on roller skates. The gym is furnished with a boxing ring as well as a punching bag. The Boxer has blue trunks and red boxing gloves.
And then there is the singer, and is that his press agent? record producer? Who knows. The detail in the recording studio is fantastic. The stories you can create are endless. He drives a pink, open top sedan, with great fifties styling, and occasional anachronism,.
The style here is a departure from what we have come to expect from modular buildings, but after a decade it is time to move forward. Given that this year represents the 60th Anniversary of the LEGO Brick, it seems appropriate that this year’s modular should include references to the decade when that patent was lodged.
The 10260 Diner is available on the 1st of January 2018. The Australian price will be $249.99. Other currencies in the press release.