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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75341: UCS Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder: Rambling Review

Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder was the first personal vehicle that we were introduced to when Star Wars was first released in 1977. It truly embodied George Lucas’s notion of a ’used’ galaxy – where buildings and vehicles seen on screen had a few years or miles behind them, and were no longer in brand new condition. While the X-34 Landspeeder has been produced in several forms in the past, typically at Minifigure or microscale, it has often been at the expense of being able to brick build the fine details. By producing this set at a larger scale, many of these details are able to be demonstrated without resorting to stickers, except where necessary.

This latest addition to the Ultimate Collector Series has 1890 pieces and will be available from 1st of May, 2022. I was sent a prerelease copy by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Without further ado, let’s take a look.

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LEGO® Star Wars: Death Star Trash Compactor Diorama [Hands On Review]

When Star Wars was released back in 1977, I did not get to see it straight away. “Wait for your birthday,” I was told in July 1977. My birthday is in March.

And so I read the paperback (ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster), I bought a couple of action figures (Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. My brother got Princess Leia and R2-D2. Eventually, we worked together to buy the Landspeeder, with its authentic floating motion), and started to collect the Scanlen Trading Cards (On license in Australia from Topp’s).

In the absence of a colour picture book, streaming services, Blu-Rays, DVDs or a VHS copy of the film, the next best way to visually experience the movie was to collect these screen shots. As far as I can tell there were at least 4 series releated to the film subsequently known as a New Hope. I only ever found the first in our local shops. Back in the day, I am pretty sure that I collected all of these blue bordered cards, as well as the series of 144 Battlestar Galactica cards, and subsequently the Return of the Jedi Cards. As a kid, It made no sense to try and purchase an entire box. Why would I do that? I only wanted one piece of bubble gum. Unfortunately, I do not know what happened to my series of Star Wars or BSG cards. I still have those from ROTJ, and secretly hope that there will be a diorama related to that in the future, so I can wax nostalgic about them…

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Greebling is Good. 75329 LEGO Star Wars Death Star Trench Run Diorama: Hands-On Review

This year seems to be the Official Year of the Diorama, with 3 LEGO® Star Wars dioramas announced last week, as well as one in Jurassic Park. Last week we took a look at the new LEGO Star Wars Diorama Dabobah Jedi Training Ground. With a clearly defined border, an exclusive R2-D2 minifigure, along with Luke and Yoda, this set gave us a glorious rendition of an organic swamp landscape, with different earth tones, greens, a swamp of varying depths and plant life. Today, I would like to go the the other extreme in design for these Star Wars models: occupying the same footprint as Dagoboh, the 75329 LEGO Star Wars Death Star Trench Run diorama features 3 visible colours in the scenery, a more induction, inorganic design than Dagobah as well as no minifigures, 2 TIE Fighter’s; Darth Vader’s Advanced TIE and an X-wing fighter – All in microscale.

So, how does it fare? Is it a reasonable build, with interesting details? Or is it a big slab of grey, missing all of the things that made the Dagobah set such a highlight in the release calendar for the year? Read on, and perhaps you might decide that this is the set you have long been waiting for. Or not…

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76956 T. Rex Breakout [Hands On Review]

It’s the mid 90’s, Ann (Knoller-in-Chief and fundamental emotional support for The Rambling Brick) and I are visiting some friends: she is a former work colleague of Ann’s. He is an audiophile, and has just bought a brand new CD Player, sound processor and a sub-woofer. We are listening to a demonstration CD including a collection of recordings, including amongst other things, the 1812 Overture – one of the gold standards up to this time for testing the bass response of your Hi-Fi system. Included on the CD is an audio extract from Jurassic Park – from around the 1 hour, 2 minutes and 10 second mark. The sound of running water – the rain – and a low frequency boom. Another. And Another. The glass of wine on the table starts to vibrate, and I am taken back to that night in the cinema a few years earlier. Lightning flashes, thunder sounds, and the Dinosaur roars before the track ends and the sound shifts onto the Blue Danube. At least I think it was the Blue Danube. It was a while ago and I was having a delightful evening.

But that scene: drama and danger, screaming and the shouting preceded by a low ground vibration remains one of the iconic scenes of the film. The T.Rex breaks through the no-longer-electrified fences, scaring the kids, eating the insurance company’s lawyer and knocking the car hither and tho. This new set, available in late April/early May, 2022 (pre order now on LEGO.com in some markets), has 4 minifigures and 1212 pieces. I am grateful to the LEGO Group’s AFOL Engagement team for sending me a copy for early review.

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Playsets Grow up with 75330 LEGO® Star Wars™ Dagobah™ Jedi™ Training Diorama [Hands-On Review]

I’d be fibbing if I were to say that this new range of dioramas did not take me by surprise. Of course, I’d also be fibbing if I were to say they made no sense. The history of movie scenes displayed at LEGO conventions has involved AFOLs setting up scenes from their favourite films and television series for the audience to admire. And so it was only a matter of time, given the current targeting of the Adult Market, before the LEGO Group started to produce fan favourite scenes from movies they share a licence to. This new range of dioramas presents the source material in a more appropriate fashion than might be expected in a playset, laden with play features, but not specifically designed to present us with comprehensive scenery.

This new range of dioramas brings us highly detailed vignettes, in a relatively small space, using techniques that you might have only previously find tucked away in the darkest corners of flickr, with occasional elevation to the front page of the Brothers Brick or Eurobricks.

There are three dioramas available for preorder at LEGO.com: 75329 Death Star Trench Run; 75330 Dagobah Jedi Training and 75339 Death Star Trash Compactor. We currently expect 75330 and 75339 to be available from April 28 while The Trench Run has been delayed for delivery on May the 5th 2022.

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Retro-Review:928/497 Galaxy Explorer. A Set That Defined A Generation

There are a lot of classic LEGO® sets. There are a good number of LEGO Space sets that might be declared to be classic. But there is probably only one set that is almost universally recognised as being emblematic of not only Classic Space, but perhaps the entire early Minifigure era. Bringing together a ship, a buggy and a base, along with 4 astronauts, 928 Space Cruiser and Moon Base, also known as 497 Galaxy Explorer was not the first playset of the era: you might consider the 374 Fire Station or the 375 Castle as being the other sets with this position – and they were released a year earlier, in 1978. And they contained more elements. Galaxy Explorer was not even the first of the space playsets – we had the 483 Alpha-1 Rocket Launching base come first. But still, there is something about the set which just says ‘This is Classic Space’.

I would dare to say it might even be iconic!

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71402 LEGO® Super Mario Buildable Characters: Series 4. Biomes, Coins and Mysteries.

Here in Melbourne, it’s March the 10th, Mar10 Day, and to celebrate, we have a new review. This time it is 71402, Series 4 of the Buildable Characters. This set was released at the start of the year but has only just started to become available in Australia. I was fortunate to be sent a box of 18 figures by the LEGO Group for review.

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Taking a Test Drive with the 60348 Lunar Rover [Hands On Review]

The new LEGO City Space sets are drawing heavily on the LEGO Group’s Classic Space Heritage, as well as design mockups for the Artemis Program – the NASA’s planned return to the moon in 2024. As I discussed in my review of 60350 Lunar Research Base, the theme is drawing design cues from Space sets of the 80’s, along with a reimagined Classic Space Logo.

Today, I’m taking a look at the 60348 Lunar Rover – AUD49.99 – which I picked up at a local toy retailer. It is now available through LEGO.com and other retailers. The model is inspired in part by the Habitable Mobility Platform (HMP) proposed for NASA’s Artemis program and it also draws on the traditions of Classic Space rovers from the 1980s. It is the least expensive of the City Space sets currently available.

The HMP is a pressurised rover, with the ability to travel some distance from the proposed Lunar Base Camp, without forcing the crew to spend all their time in bulky EVA suits. Essentially an RV for the astronauts. As such, it should be possible to drive the vehicle in shirt sleeve comfort.

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40530 Jane Goodall Tribute – Gift With Purchase [Hands-On Review]

March is Women’s History Month, and this year the LEGO Group pay tribute to Jane Goodall, the ethologist who spent decades studying primate interations in Tanzania. The set, a small vignette depicting Jane Goodall in the jungle with a 3 chimpanzees, is the Gift with Purchase from LEGO.com from March 3rd to 15,2022. You will need to spend $120USD; €120 euro or £120. I am unsure of the price in other markets at this time. [UPDATE FOR AUSTRALIANS: I have heard from LEGO Australia that stock will not be available until after the 8th of March, so we can expect the promotion to runn a little later in the month. The set will be available across the Certified stores, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and LEGO.com] I am grateful to the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group for sending me a pre-release copy for review. All opinions are my own.

This is the second set honoring women’s History month, the previous being Amelia Earheart, the pioneering aviatrix, released last year. Join me as we take a look at the life of this remarkable woman, as well as this Tribute set.

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