10275 Elf Club House Review

It’s coming up to the tail end of the year, and we have just had the official announcement that this year’s ‘Winter Village’ set – the seasonal Creator Expert model – is the Elf Club house. Last year, we had the whimsical Gingerbread House, and this year, we continue our journey into the fanciful with our journey to the Elf Club House. A place for Santa’s helper’s to go and hang out when not busy in Sant’s workshop.

I was fortunate to be sent a copy of the set to review, and I’d like to share my impressions with you. I will occasionally drift towards the way that the experience is different to previous Winter Village sets, but I will cover that in greater depth in a few weeks time.

The box adopts the increasingly familiar 18+ design style: along the bottom inch of the box, we have the strip of elements in relief – this time in white – declaring the set number, 1197 elements and a recommended age of 18+.

Continue reading

60271 LEGO® City Main Square: Time For Adventures

When I first saw the images of the new 60271 LEGO® City Main Square, I was pretty nonplussed. My first response to a casual view was along the lines of “… another quad bike police chase, another helicopter, a new tram, a recycled limousine, some landscape and a couple of buildings. And they are asking $AUD275/$USD199.99 for this?” Please understand, I actually thought in terms of the currency conversion

” Meh.”

“And the characters have names now. What?? In the past decade, LEGO City has been the last stronghold of the anonymous minifigure!” Some of the characters might reappear, but I’ve never had anyone tell me what to call them before.

But after closer examination, there are aspects of this set which are worthy of further attention: drawing on some of the characters and situations seen in the animated series LEGO City Adventures, this is one of the largest LEGO City sets ever produced.

It is being marketed heavily as a set for the family to Build Together. As such, it is aimed a a variety of ages, not just something to leave your adventurous 8 year old to work on by themselves. As such, while some builds may feel overly simple (Aimed at a 6 year old), some represent building styles not seen in LEGO City for many years.

Come with me on a tour through the Main Square of LEGO City. You might not enjoy all that you see, but you might discover some things that leave you pleasantly surprised.

Continue reading

Book Review: LEGO® Train Projects by Charles Pritchett

If, like me, you have enjoyed having a LEGO® train run around the tracks of your LEGO City, you are probably starting to think that you might like something a little more realistic running on the rails. If, like me, you are finding that coming up with your own model is harder that you expected, then this book: LEGO Train Projects by Charles Pritchett might just be what you are looking for.

Continue reading

Expanding LEGO® Super Mario: Bowser’s Castle Boss Battle

This is the big one. The showdown. The final conflict.

The Boss Battle: After covering the rest of the LEGO Super Mario Expansion packs, we come to the final Boss Battle, with Bowser.

Mario has gone through a lot to get here: After getting Started, we passed the Piranha Plant Bower Slide, and crossed the river past the Boomer Bill Barrage. We visited Toad’s Village, and then had a little lie down in the hammock at Mario’s House. We have visited the Dungeons with Whomp’s Lava Trouble, as well as Thwomp’s Drop, We got to the Guarded Fortress, and visited the Haunted Yard. Finally the time has come to take on Bowser in the Bowser Boss Castle Battle!

This is the largest set in the range: while 71360: Adventures with Mario is the set that everyone will get, 71369: Bowser’s Castle Boss Battle is the set that many will want. Bowser is Mario’s nemesis, and leader of the turtle like Koopa race. And so it makes sense that the flagship set in the theme will involve LEGO Super Mario taking him down.

Even with all the wits and power ups at his disposal to, Mario will still need a little bit of luck to defeat Bowser.

Continue reading

Expanding LEGO® Super Mario with King Boo and The Haunted Yard [71377]

We are rapidly running out of LEGO Super Mario expansion sets to look at (you will be glad to hear). With only 2 regular sets (as well as the power up suits) to go, today we come to 71377 King Boo and the Haunted Yard. With 431 parts, and costing 49,99 USD/EUR- $AUD 69.99, it offers an interesting play feature, a chance to take on the ghost King Boo, and explore the graveyard. Who knows what treasures are hidden within. Actually, is it a graveyard? I just presumed it was, but looking back at it, I don’t see any actual graves.

This is one if the few sets laid out to be almost an independent cul-de-sac, compared with other expansions. Unlike most of the other sets that we have it runs a little off the grid – with nodes heading off at various angles towards the edges.

Continue reading

Expanding LEGO Super Mario: 71376 Thwomp Drop

Its only a couple of days before the final release of LEGO Super Mario on August 1st 2020. As we continue looking at the Expansion sets, we look at Thwomp Drop. With 393 parts, it is very much a set with a couple of linked action features. Set in the dungeon levels, Mario encounters Thwomp! A living stone who would like to do nothing more than slow him down on his way.

On the front of the box, we see all that is included in the set, along with the reminder that LEGO Super Mario is NOT included in this set. We see a platform, lined with cartoon skulls, riding along a rail, crossing a path of lava. An angry Thwomp, some small platforms and a couple of podoboos complete the picture.

Continue reading

Expanding LEGO Super Mario with 71362 The Guarded Fortress

As the official release date of LEGO Super Mario approaches, I thought we would take a look at one of several medium-large expansion sets. The guarded fortress feels like the end scene to almost any game level.

With 463 elements, this expansion feels chock full of play value, and adds some new challenges for Mario to face. Challenges that can easily be incorporated into a layout. We also have three enemies to defeat, as well as the opportunity to loot the fortress for the coins hidden inside. As with all LEGO Super Mario Expansion sets, the 71360 Adventures with Mario set is required for full functionality.

Continue reading

Expanding LEGO Super Mario: 71364 Whomp’s Lava Trouble

Another in our series of smaller expansion set reviews, Whomp’s Lava Trouble features 133 elements, a sliding bridge, new opponents and a new power up. All on Mario’s least favourite surface to step on: Lava! It will be released on August 1st 2020. A smaller set, with only 133 pieces, and costs $/€19,99 USD/EUR; $AU29.99/$NZ34.99. For a relatively small set, it offers some great features.

Continue reading

Expanding LEGO® Super Mario – 71363 Desert Pokey

There are currently eleven expansion sets in LEGO Super Mario. Some sets, such as the Piranha Power Slide are a challenge in themselves – and provide sufficient challenge to be the primary content of a game in its own right. Other levels, such as 71367 Mario’s House, exist primarily as scenery, and for general play value, rather than being a greatly interactive part of game play. And then there are some expansion packs which add a degree of challenge and interactivity, but can typically only be played through once in a level. 71363 Desert Pokey is such an expansion pack: once you have played it in the course of a game, you need to take time to set it back up. Like all other expansion packs, you need 71360 Adventures with Mario to truly enjoy the gaming experience.

In the world of Mario, a Pokey is a cactus like creature, typically living in the desert. They are destroyed segment by segment, and alternate between spiked and non spiked forms.

In 71363 LEGO Super Mario Desert Pokey gives brings us a 4 segmented Pokey, along with some desert landscape, a hammer with which to destroy the Pokey, and a Monty Mole character.

Continue reading

Expanding LEGO Super Mario: 71367 Mario’s House and Yoshi

Continuing our survey of LEGO® Super Mario Expansion sets, today we look at one that is a little different: 71367 Mario’s House and Yoshi. Compared to the sets we have otherwise looked at, this one offers a change of pace: it provides not so much a place for action in the game, but rather a place for Mario to rest in-between. Mario’s house adds to the scenery, but does give us a place to conceal a power-up, and comes with a superstar. It also brings us Mario’s friend, Yoshi.

Continue reading