Voltron 21311: An Idea Whose Time Has Now Come [Review]

From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the Universe comes a Legend: The Legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe! A mighty robot, loved by Good, feared by Evil. As Voltron’s legend grew, peace settled across the galaxy…. 

During this review, we will build the lions, form Voltron, consider the lessons learned and finally , compare it with a prebuilt Voltron toy… 

IMG_2751I was excited to be offered the opportunity to review LEGO Ideas 21311 – Voltron .  As I previously confessed, Voltron was not a major part of my upbringing. However, I have been catching up in recent days with the 1980’s cartoon series ( which in turn was based on the Japanese Anime ‘Beast King GoLion’). Others may prefer to take in the current Dream Works Series, Voltron: Legendary Defender, for a more contemporary tale, with a reduced serving of cheese.

After a quick revision of a parallel childhood, I felt qualified to look at the box.

It is a good sized box: similar in size to that which contained the Saturn V Ideas set, released just over twelve months ago. This box, however, contains 2321 elements, waiting to give a hefty dose of nostalgia to any child of the 80’s. In fact, you don’t have to wait to open the box for that feeling: the box art cries out 1984, with the background artwork shading from red to purple to the blue of a startled, with an underlying grid drawn in for good measure. Voltron, the giant, compound super robot almost fills the cover.  In fact, it is printed slightly smaller than actual size. The back of the box shows how Voltron is made up of the individual Lion elements, as well as highlight the sword and shield. The process of the LEGO Ideas program is also outlined.IMG_2757.jpg

On opening this set, I had a pleasant surprise. Many sets that I have opened this year seemed to have had their ‘contents settle during transport,’ with many boxes being barely half full of LEGO Bricks. This box appeared to be almost 80% full.  Excitedly, I emptied the box over the floor revealing the bags inside: all 16 of them!  These came with six manuals: One detailing the construction of each lion, and the final one showing how to build the shield and sword,  transform the five robot lions into Voltron, and provides some background information on the television series as well as some notes from the design team and the fan designer. The manuals came in a sealed plastic bag with a sticker sheet.  This sheet however, only had five stickers, for numbering the lions (as occurred occasionally in Voltron: Defender of the Universe, but not the original Japanese series). For the purposes of the review, I did not apply them. You could argue in favour of using printed elements here, but I suspect many will prefer the look without stickers.

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Nicely packed: the 6 manuals for Voltron, as well as the relatively minimalist sticker sheet.

In the cartoon, each of the lions is piloted by a human, and it is a little disappointing not seeing the pilots represented here. However given a variable crew roster, and uniforms not matching up to the colours of the lions, not to mention the relative scale of the lions to a human, a minifigure representation might not be entirely appropriate.  Indeed, there is not even space inside the heads of the lions to contain a microfigure. I’m sure someone out there will develop a creative solution.

Construction:

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Losing Our Sense of Proportion… 6590 Vacation Camper vs 60182 Pickup and Caravan [Reviews, comparison and speculation]/Covert Celebrations IV

Dreaming of a summer caravanning holiday, our comparison of LEGO TOWN and LEGO City continues. Has there been an ongoing covert celebration, with Town sets from twenty, thirty and forty years ago being reimagined in 2018?   Comparing 1988’s Car and Caravan with 2018’s Pickup and Caravan, we also ask “Why, after 30 years, does a family vehicle towing a caravan still seat only one minifigure?” We also discover where LEGO Children come from…and wonder where other characters have gone…

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This year, we have considered parallels between LEGO City 2018 and LEGO Town 1988, along with other sets from 20 and 40 years ago.

We have asked the question “Is this a covert celebration of the 40th anniversary of the minifigure, and LEGO town?” An official answer has not been forthcoming. But this won’t stop me from ongoing speculation, with no grounding in reality.

Today I would like to look at another set with a parallel set from thirty years ago: Pickup and Caravan 60182  – from the 2018 LEGO City Great Vehicles sub theme; and Vacation Camper 9590 from LEGO Town in 1988.  So what do these sets have in common? Two adults, a caravan and a vehicle to tow it behind. The vehicle in question has only one seat, in both instances. The differences are far greater…

Let’s take a closer look at both sets: Continue reading

Going to Great Heights to Build: Cute Pug 30542

In which I find a local source of LEGO poly bag sets, select one and construct it mid flight, before returning my tray table to the upright position.

I’m on a journey. I am currently travelling to Japan to attend Kobe BrickFest.

I left home early this morning and have a couple of connecting flights, with the main leg between Brisbane and Tokyo taking around eight hours. And around that there are a couple of connecting flights.

One of the neat things about travelling to Japan compared to Europe is that the time difference is only one hour in the past. However, as such I should probably aim to keep my body clock on track. So inbetween the LEGO Ninjago Movie and other inflight entertainment, I thought I’d put together a little LEGO set. Continue reading

So You Want to Build a Roller Coaster? Roller Coaster 10261 (Review)

In which I assemble the new 10261 LEGO Roller Coaster, build a couple of white pillars, troubleshoot a skipping chain and consider what I’ve learned. It’s a big set. I wrote a lot.  Why don’t you prepare yourself a drink, sit back and work out whether this is a set that you would like to put together.

IMG_0307-2The appeal of a roller coaster is hard to deny: action, excitement, lights noise, adrenaline, nausea, terror and relief, in various orders. When we first saw the new LEGO® Roller Coaster Track appearing in the Joker Mansion last year, it wasn’t long before people began to speculate about how long it might be before we saw one appear in the Creator Expert Theme Park series.  About eight months it turns out. I’m glad we got that cleared up. When the Roller Coaster (10261) was announced early in May, many people, myself included, were impressed by the build: a moving model almost always has more appeal than a static display. But it raised a number of questions: How easy would it be to power? How stable would it be? How easy might it be to draw inspiration for other Roller Coaster themed MOCs? And just how challenging would it be to build all those white pillars?

Some of of these questions were easily answered. Others might take a little more thought.  [Do you just want to skip forward to my a video of the run? Click here, or scroll through to the end]

I was invited to review the Roller Coaster by the AFOL Engagement team at The LEGO Group, and I hope I might be able to answer a few of the questions posed. Read on and see where this review takes us.

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Series 18 Minifigures: Welcome to the Party

This month sees the 40th Birthday of our favourite plastic persona, the LEGO® Minifigure. The Series 18 Collectable Minifigures celebrate this occasion with a costume party, and we see some of the best costumes for our figures yet.  I am yet to track down the Policeman: a printed modern representation of the policeman that came with set 600, one of the first Town Sets released back in 1978.  As part of the ever circling self referential tips to the past ( in a year when too many historical references are barely enough…), the policeman has a printed tile, with the box of set 600 printed on it.

By now, I suspect you have located a ‘feel guide’ to help identify each figure inside its foil bag, and read the opinions of others about this great series.

Every set has its highlights and lowlights. For this series, I have presented an image of every figure that I have, along with the highlight of the figure for me.  There will be things you prefer.  That’s okay. Who is your favourite?

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I love many of the accessories and head pieces included with this series, but my favourite would be the tile that comes with the young boy: it is printed with as small a representation as you could come up with to be a representation of the packet that the series one figures appeared in years ago. Also up there would have to be the balloon animals. As for my favourite figures? it is a toss up for me between the cowboy, the dragon and the two figures dressed up as LEGO Bricks!

What about you? What do you love about this series? Who is your favourite?  If you could only choose one element from this series, what would it be? Why not leave your comments below.

Now to see if I can find a policeman.

Until I do,

Play Well!

Welcome to the Year of the Dog: 40235

IMG_9956As the Lunar New Year approaches, our minds turn to the Year of the Dog.  Set 40235 has been available in Australian Myer Stores as a Gift With Purchase for purchases of over $AUD88  This is the fourth set in this series, including last year’s year of the Rooster (40234), 2016’s Year of the Monkey(40207) and 2015’s Year of the Sheep (40148). The Year of the Snake set from 2013 (10250) is of a completely different aesthetic: more of the creator 4 in one build able creatures type of set.  I would not include it in the current series. As well as the LEGO elements and instructions, the set comes with an envelope in which to place a gift of money for the recipient of the set. Continue reading

Sand Green September II: Green Ninja Mech Dragon

In which I am confronted with another set that is predominantly sand green in appearance; I need to reconsider ‘Sand Green September’ as a concept and take cues from Lord Business and the Australian Football League. I go to the movies and have mixed feelings but a predominantly positive experience about the LEGO Ninjago Movie.  I build a set and am amazed at the number of relatively uncommon/recently released elements. If you thought you had never seen anything quite like the Green Ninja Dragon Mech before, it might just be because 25% of the 516 elements are fairly new! Now read on…

IMG_7642I recently spoke about the three sets which I am in the process of building, with sand green as a dominant colour.  Sand Green September.  A lofty idea, and I suspect almost unachievable, unless I take a cue from both Wyldstyle in the LEGO Movie (Freedom Friday, but still on a Tuesday), and the Australian Football League.

For those without a classical Victorian Education, the AFL (and Previously VFL) Grand Final is  traditionally played on the last Saturday in September. Today in fact. This ‘One Day in September’ was immortalised in song by Mike Brady  in the early 1980’s in the theme song for Channel 7’s Big League.  Of course, occasionally, this one day in September occurs in October ( I am looking at you 2011, 2015 and 2016.  I could look at 2010 in accusatory tones as well, except the Grand Final in October was a replay of the drawn match from the previous weekend. The AFL have taken steps to ensure this does not ever happen again…)

Yes… we are looking at the final instalment of Sand Green September being released in October.  But I digress.

And I shall again.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

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