The Botanical Collection Grows with the Bird of Paradise [Hands On Review]

This year, we have seen the launch of the LEGO® Botanical Collection – a range of sets aimed at adults, who may or may not have previously considered building a LEGO set as a way to spend their money or time. The Floral Bouquet and the Bonsai Tree have been perpetually out of stock on LEGO.com since early January, although these early issues seem to be improving, with stock starting to appear on the shelves of Bricks and Mortar stores.

I really enjoyed putting the previous sets together: the techniques, and unique parts usage made both sets exciting to build, and provided a building experience quite unlike any other that I had previously gone through. I was delighted to be able to have the opportunity to look at the next set to be released in this series.

We have a Bird Of Paradise currently flowering in our back yard in suburban Melbourne – hardly a tropical environment – and I was excited to see how this LEGO version would stack up next to it.

The set itself again features that distinguish the distinctive black a cardboard box of sets aimed at an adult market with a picture of the finished model on the front. On the reverse we see an indication of the actual model size, as well as several details of the finished model.

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40496: Voldemort, Nagini and Bellatrix BrickHeadz [Hands On Review]

Brickheadz dominated the LEGO® Collector landscape a few years ago, and then seemed to all but vanish from the landscape. the truth is we have sill seen around 15 figures per year. This year has seen a resurgence, with 21 figures revealed to date in 2021. I would not be surprised if we see more announced over the next few months.

This year, most figures have been released as two packs, particularly animals and their young (so cute!). But now we are re-embracing character builds, with 2 new sets of Harry Potter Wizarding World Brickheadz coming in June. They will cost $39.99 each and are likely to be exclusive to LEGO branded stores. Be sure to check out my review of 40495 now.

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40495 Harry, Hermione, Ron and Hagrid BrickHeadz [Hands On Review]

After a quiet couple of years, it would appear that we are seeing a resurgence in new BrickHeadz sets this year. Today I would like to present 40495 Harry, Hermione, Ron and Hagrid. This set focuses on our first/second-year trio of young heroes, along with their sympathetic ally, Hagrid. Ron Harry and Hermione are depicted as 3 stud wide figures, as we have seen with some smaller characters over the past years. The other Harry Potter Brickheadz unveiled today, 40496, brings us Voldemort, Nagini and Bellatrix Lestrange and you can read my review here.

I feel honored that the LEGO Group have sent me a copy of this set for early review. It will be released on June 1st, at a cost of $AUD39.99.

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76187: Venom Head Sculpt: Hands On Review

When we saw the Carnage head sculpt unveiled a few weeks ago, the first thing I heard asked was, ‘Where’s venom?’ The next thing we knew, we had Venom appearing in the catalogue, and we were asking, ‘Where’s Spiderman?’ Now, we still don’t have the answer to that one.


I have had the opportunity to build the Venom head sculpt (Helmet is just wrong, and it is not, technically, a bust) thanks to the AFOL Engagement team of the LEGO Group. The set is now available, has 565 elements and costs $AUD89.99;$USD59.99 €59.99; £54.99

Venom is an alien symbiote, who first appeared in Amazing Spiderman #282 in 1984. It integrates with a host, drawing on aspects of their memories and personality, but also granting them great strength.


My first impression was, ‘Hmmm….just like Carnage, except it’s black, there are no stickers, and we have a tongue’ So why did I enjoy building it so much more?


The set comes in the same black box, with a picture of the model on the front. It has some images from the comic on the back, and there are 3 numbered bags on the inside, just like Carnage. And then, almost as soon as Ann started laying elements out on the tray, I could see that there were a couple of things serving to differentiate the sets. Not many, but enough for me to find that my head was flooding over with new ideas.

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52 LEGO® Space Projects From @jeff_works – Book Review

I love a good LEGO® Spaceship. I love looking at them. I love the stories behind them. I would love to enjoy building them, but my spaceship design skills appear to be trapped somewhere in the late 1970’s. As such, I was quite excited when No Starch Press told me that Jeff Friesen’s (aka jeff_works on Instagram) new book was going to offer 52 such models, with extra inspiration and parts lists, in his latest book, LEGO® Space projects. Due for release in June, to coincide with world Astronomy month, it is currently available for pre-order, with a 25% discount on the list price of $USD24.99 (print and ebook). The eBook’s list price is $USD19.99.

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75308 R2-D2: Hands On Review

The astromech droid R2-D2 was one of the first characters that we met at the beginning of Star Wars (Episode IV a New Hope to the Younglings). Along with C-3PO, he (why is it virtually always he?) is one of the few characters to be involved in each of the films of the Skywalker Saga. As such, he was felt to be a suitable subject for the set celebrating 50 years of Lucasfilm, as well as appearing in time for May the 4th celebrations this year.

The set will go on sale May 1, exclusively at LEGO Branded Stores, including the online store, priced at 199 EUR/USD – 179,99 GBP – 329.99 AUD – 269.99 CAD.

The AFOL Engagement Team of the LEGO Group sent me a pre-release copy of the new 75308. Join me as we wander through the build, and see if this set has sufficient material to justify an outlay of your money.

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Carnage 76199 [Hands On Review]

A few weeks ago, the latest in the LEGO® 18+ ‘helmet’ set was previewed: Marvel’s Carnage (76199). Advertised as a Target Exclusive in the USA, with no other international media supporting its existence, the world became a little anxious: will this be a regional exclusive, associated with an event that never happened (Note: we were reassured 2 years ago that the idea of a regional exclusive was gone, although event exclusives – read Star Wars Celebration and Comic-Con, and retailer exclusive, within certain makets remain).

And then a few days later, Carnage appeared on LEGO.com, along with this year’s Star Wars helmets – Darth Vader and Scout Trooper. We have subsequently seen helmet models for Venom (76187) and Batman (76182 )revealed.

I have been fortunate to reveive a pre release copy of the Carnage helmet for prerelease review – so without any further ado…

Carnage 76199 is perhaps not technically a helmet, so much as an alien symbiote engulfing the body of serial killer Kletus Cassidy, but thwere is no doubt that he has an extremely distintive physiognomy.

The Box is similar in form to the boxes seen for the previous Helmet models, and the black box works quite well here. Carnage is labelled as ‘Assembled from the Spider Man Universe.’ The set has 546 pieces and costs $89.99 AUD; £54.99;€59.99; $59.99 USD It will be released in the USA on April 11, and the Rest of the World May 1, 2021.

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Keeping It Simple with the Troops: 75305 Scout Trooper Helmet [Hands On Review]

Sometimes, its not about being in charge, or having all of the action. Sometimes its just about hanging around, waiting for something to happen, or to be sent off on some errand. At least, that’s how it sometimes appears to bewhen you are living the life of a Scout Trooper, the subject of the latest LEGO® Star Wars Helmet.

I recently took a look at the forthcoming 73504 Darth Vader Helmet sculpture, the latest from the LEGO Star Wars team. With over 840 pieces, that set has the highest part count of any of the helmets currently available. The LEGO Star Wars helmet other set due for release in April, 73505 Scout Trooper with 471 parts, has the current lowest.

Thanks to the AFOL Engagement team, I received a prerelease copy of this set for review purposes – it will be hard to avoid comparisions with the Vader helmet.

The set comes in the ‘standard’ helmet box, with its instruction manual, 5 bags of elements and a sticker sheet. As we already mentioned, the set has significantly fewer elements than Vader’s helmet, and as such the instruction manual is almost half as thick.

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Building the Dark Side: 75304 Darth Vader Helmet [Hands On Review]

The Darth Vader Helmet Box and instructions, with a minifigure (not included) for scale.

The LEGO Group have recently announced the LEGO® Star Wars Helmet sculptures for 2021: 75304 Darth Vader and 75305 Scout Trooper, as well as 75306 Imperial probe Droid (not an actual helmet).

Today, I would like to look at the 75304 Darth Vader Helmet .Couretsy of the AFOL Engagement team at the LEGO Group, I have been fortunate to receive a prerelease copy to build prior to its release on April 25. The set has 834 parts and has a recommended retail price of: $69.99 USD/ €69.99 EUR/ £59.99 GBP/ 89.99 AUD / 99.99 CAD. It should be available for pre order now, in some markets (unfortunately, not Australia).

Darth Vader was the first character from the Empire that we met, within the opening minutes of Star Wars/ Episode IV/ A New Hope – and we never see his face until the closing minutes of Return of the Jedi. In the mean time, all of his characterisations can be attributed to his posture, camera angles, and the voice of James Earl Jones, added in Post Production. As such, his helmet is an integral part of his character.

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in putting it together…

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Fly into Women’s History Month with the Amelia Earhart Tribute.

Amelia Earhart first learned to fly in 1921. An inspirational aviatrix, she was the first woman to successfully fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. Taking off from Newfoundland, hoping to land in Paris. Unfortunately, the fates combined with bad weather and she landed in Ireland. She went on to complete many other many other milestones in women’s aviation, before vanishing over the Pacific five years later.

And so 100 years later, as part of Women’s History Month, the Lego group have released a tribute to her achievements in set 40450 which will be available from the fifth of March through Lego brand retail stores as a gift with purchase.

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