71411: The Mighty Bowser [Rambling Review]

Almost as consistent as the appearance of a certain Italian Plumber across a series of Nintendo Video Games over the past 30 years has been that of Bowser: ruler of the Koopalings, a fierce, fire breathing, Princess stealing warrior tortoise. We have seen him appear in 2 previous forms over the years: One in several of the LEGO Super Mario Expansion packs (Bowsers Castle, and Princess Peach’s Castle), and a microscale version in last year’s ‘?’ Block.

This is the Super Mario tie-in set to be specifically aimed at adult builders, and it promises an intriguing large scale build, imposing to display, but also incorporating some play features, posability as well as some impressive puppet like movements.

As I write this review, I am almost as far from the model as I can possibly be, on a little holiday before attending the Skaerbaek Fan Weekend. Fortunately, I got the model built and photographed before I left.

So, how does the model stack up with the stated aims? We shall start off with a general look at the finished model, before diving into an in-depth, spoiler-filled look at the build. I’d love to know if you appreciate this style of review, so drop me a line in the comments below, or reach out on social media. I still have some more Mario sets to review, and these will be coming up after we return from holiday.

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Taking off with Artemis: 60351 Rocket Launch Centre

As I write this, we are awaiting the second launch window for Artemis I, after the mission was delayed earlier this week, as the result of cooling problems. This mission will see an integrated test of the Space Launch System rocket as well as the Orion space craft – which will house the crew when they are taken to land on the moon in 2024.

In Greek Mythology, Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, as such it seems fitting that this is the name chosen for NASA’s missions to return to the moon, 50 years after the last man stepped foot on the surface.

This year, the LEGO City range has featured a number of sets with a ‘Space’ theme, based on the components being investigated for the Artemis mission. We have previously looked at the Lunar research Base, as well as the Lunar Rover. The Rocket launch centre represents the largest set in the theme, with 1010 pieces, and with a RRP of $AUD249.99. This is a big set, and contains everything you need to set up a rocket launch base. Designed in cooperation with NASA, the rocket bears more than a passing resemblance to the Artemis Space Launch System… But I am getting ahead of myself.

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Collectable Minifigures Series 23: Rambling Review

The announcement of series 23 of the collectable minifigures at LEGO CON in June surprised me a little. Since 2017, we have been presented with a set of ‘in-house’ figures, a Warner Bros licenced series (DC Super Heroes, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, LEGO Movie/TLM2/TLMBM/TLNM) and a Disney licenced series (Disney, Marvel, Muppets). And the in-house series number has been the same as the year number. Now my ordinal sensibilities have been challenged, and I am not sure I like it.

That said, when we look at the figures presented in Series 23, it is appropriately timed, with many figures appropriate for the holiday season, including a Turkey costume, along with a snowman, reindeer costume, elf, nutcracker and Sugar Plum Fairy (or is it just the most generic toddler girl ever?).

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LEGO Super Mario: Goomba’s Shoe Expansion Set [Hands On Review]

Over the years, we have seen a number of means used to enhance Mario’s coin scoring while ‘just walking around’ be it using a power up suit or flying around in Bowser Jr’s Clown Car, or even the various rafts seen in Wiggler’s Poison swamp or Dorrie’s Beach Front. This wave sees the arrival of 71404 Goomba’s shoe, an oversized boot, with a wind up key, which Mario (or Luigi or Peach) can ride in. How does it contribute to the game?

The set is priced at $17.99 AUD /9.99USD(affiliate link) and has 76 pieces. It officially goes on sale on August 1, 2022.

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Getting Started with 71403 Adventures with Peach: Hands On Review.

Regular readers of the Rambling Brick will know I enjoy looking at the LEGO Super Mario sets. With the interactive digital brick bringing us favorite characters, Mario and Luigi. This year we see the arrival of Princess Peach. Frequently a target of kidnapping by Bowser, I was intrigued to see what sort of activities she would be engaged in.

I have been fortunate to receive some of the new wave of LEGO Super Mario sets for review, and today I would like to start with the entry level Princess Peach set, 71403 Adventures with Princess Peach. With 354 pieces, this set includes The Princess Peach digital brick, as well as several brick built characters and some new terrain elements. It will go on sale on August 1, 2022, costing $AUD89.99.

Inside the box are 6 bags, and a leaflet highlighting the sets still available in the Super Mario range, including some ideas for arranging the elements.

As with All LEGO Super Mario sets, there are NO stickers to apply.

Let’s take a look at what we get in the set: the characters, powerups and  landscape elemements, including how scoring is allocated. At the end, I will include a video demonstrating gameplay for the elements of the starter set.

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LEGO® City Missions: 60355 Water Police Detective Missions – Review by the Target Demographic

A little while ago, I took a look at one of the new LEGO City Missions sets, while sharing some insights from the development team. While I looked at the Mission to Mars set, it was unashamedly from the point of view of an AFOL who was also a Classic Space Tragic. However, I was not the target audience for the product and here at Rambling Brick Enterprises, we don’t have any of the 6+ target demographic on hand in the house, and are unlikely to for some years. Unless you consider 20 years old to be somewhat 6+. So I sought out Simon, himself a space tragic, as he also has a member of the Target Demographic around the house. What follows is their story…

Meet Simon and The Target Demographic

The Rambling Brick was kind enough to drop off a copy of the LEGO® City Water Police Detective Mission set for us to review as a family. The logic being we have a household member who is in the target demographic of these sets: a seven year old boy. The Rambling Brick wanted to know what we, and specifically the Target Demographic, made of the set and the app enabled story telling. 

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LEGO Creator 40568 Paris and 40569 London Postcards: Review

Small scale skylines have a favorite feature in the LEGO Architectural range. running primarily from 2016-2020, we had a surprise appearance earlier this year from a model of the Singapore Skyline. These sets have covered many major cities from around the world, and have varied immensely in their price ((30-60USD) and part count (212-857). Aimed primarily at a serious adult audience, we have seen a couple of more cheerful ‘postcard’ sets pop up in the creator range this year. Initially slated for release earlier in the year, postcards of New York and Beijing were delayed, possibly due to trade mark issuses associated with the use of the Chinese Flag. While sets are in the process of being rolled out around the world (July-August 2022), a further 2 have been revealed: London and Paris. I am thankful to the LEGO group for providing early copies of these sets for review.

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LEGO® City Missions: Building Creative Confidence [RoundTable and Review]

Back in the early days of LEGO® minifigures, the majority of sets that we had to play had a modest part count, and could be pulled apart and rebuilt in less than an hour: there was plenty of source material for alternative builds, either from the suggestions on the back of the box, or using an ideas book, such as #6000 – which documented the adventures of Mary and Bill, initially in a Town-based adventure, but takes a detour through the worlds of Classic Space and Castle…

Sets were built, played with and rebuilt. Hardly anything was kept together for a significant amount of time.

Flash forward 40 years, and the way some kids play seems to have changed: sets become display pieces in some households, gathering dust until the owner enters their dark ages, before moving on to sell them on the secondary market.

In part, I can understand this: sets have become a bit more sophisticated over the years: more pieces, more complicated building techniques, and we have already invested a couple of hours in building the core model. I encountered some examples of this recently as I worked on the new Creator 3in1 sets – Viking Ship and Midgard Serpent, as well as the DownTown Noodle Shop: pulling these sets apart and building the alternative models took up to 2 hours, depending on the models.

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Add Life to LEGO City with Creator 3in1: 31131 Downtown Noodle Shop [Rambling Review]

Earlier in the year, I spent some time looking at LEGO City, and how things were different to the LEGO Town of old. In part, that is because there are fewer buildings that are not garages, police stations, fire stations, or crime scenes, compared to the olden days. Houses, cafes and other businesses: LEGO Friends has had them for years, and we have started to see a shift in the nature of LEGO City in 2022: a new school and a green grocers are amongst this year’s new additions. But, of course, for the better part of a decade or more, additional houses and businesses have been appearing in the Creator 3in1 range, giving us lots of additional buildings to flesh out our town. I was therefore excited when the possibility to review some of this year’s creator 3in1 sets came my way. Recently, we looked at the Viking Ship and Midgard Serpent. Today, I would like to present 31131 Noodle Shop. This set was provided for review by the LEGO Group, but all opinions are my own. These sets will be release in Australia and Europe on June 1st, and August 1st in North America. The set has 569 pieces and will retail for 69.99AUD/44.99 USD/44.99€/£39.99

The noodle shop draws in a number of colours that have been in short supply, except in expensive sets – light nougat and olive green, and demonstrates a variety of building techniques and ornamentation – perfect for developing your MOC skills, while adding any nature of businesses to your town. As well as a noodle shop and apartment, there is a games arcade and also a cafe/apartment/bicycle repair workshop.

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71775 Nya’s Samurai X Mech: Hands-On Review.

After taking a semester off to revisit the core of Ninjago: Mechs, Dragons and Vehicles and Temples, we now find ourselves looking at sets related to the 15th season: Crystalized. I am excited to have been received the sets from this wave to review, as there are some great looking sets in this wave. Ninjago, along with the Monkie Kid, hold special appeal to me as being the spiritual successors to both Classic Castle and Classic Space.

Today, I would like to present 71775 Nya’s Samurai X Mech. This set comes with 8 minifigures, a buildable rock monster as well as a 32 cm tall brightly coloured mech, which boasts some of the greatest posability in a LEGO Set of this scale.

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