Learning from our Friends: Sitting Side by Side in LEGO® City [41348 Service and Care Truck-review] [Building Techniques]

In which we take further inspiration from LEGO® Friends, by looking at Olivia’s Service and Care Truck.  We follow up by developing a modification to allow two minifigures to sit side by side in a contemporary vehicle, that otherwise only seats one.  Now read on…

Last time, we looked at a couple of Olivia’s vehicles from Friends – from 2016 and 2018.  Both of these cars have our friends sharing the two seats in a 4×3 space, allowing them to sit side by side in a vehicle that is six studs wide – within the constrains of a four stud wide cabin (so long as there window are open). Today I would like to look at another of  her sets from this year. Who knows how it might inspire us…

Looking out for her Friends on the Track: Service and Care Truck 41348

Zobo takes the Wheel

The Service&Care Truck (41348) which was released in the mid-year wave of friends sets in 2018, and has 244 parts. It seems to fit in a similar  part count and price point (AUD29.99/€19.99/£14.99/USD19.99) as Olivia’s Mission Vehicle. 

Continue reading

Fitting In With Your Friends.

In which we visit the rebooted world of LEGO Friends and see how Olivia has changed.  I at a two of her vehicles from recent years. I then find myself wondering about how they manage to fit two minidolls side by side in a standard width car, but that seems to have eluded minifigures in LEGO City.  I’ll wait until next time to try and solve this problem.

We have long recognised that one of the challenges of teenage years is fitting in with your friends. “What if they don’t like my hair style? What if we’re all wearing the same earrings? What if I want to…? What if…? And so on. Total. Drama.

Friends has come a long way over the last five years, and this year we have seen new episodes and new stories of Heartlake City. Today I also look at several vehicles, which demonstrate ways in which two minidolls can be sat side by side. 

Our friends in Heartlake City are pretty good together. After five years, several subtle artwork redesigns and, now, a solid reboot, they are still a pretty tight group. Whether baking cupcakes, celebrating birthdays, going sailing or taking on a robot army and saving the local community, we have seen them come to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, with the power of friendship winning out at the end the day!

Continue reading

Transparent Stickers In LEGO® Sets: An evolving improvement.

In which one sore point amongst LEGO Fans (Stickers) will result in talking about a sore point for Star Wars Fans (The Last Jedi).  I then proceed to subject some recent stickers to physical abuse and science. My final conclusions catch me by surprise and may well influence my opinions for years to come.  Now read on….

I have been thinking about the stickers provided with some LEGO Sets recently.  And not in a bad way. This has surprised me.  For a number of years I have found myself becoming anxious at the prospect of placing a stickers on a set, defacing a perfectly good LEGO Brick, as well as making a sticker non usable: this is almost counter to the notion of the LEGO System, where you can take a collection of elements, and reuse them, time and again, confident that they will always function as they have been intended, and integrate with elements of the past and future.

I have recently found myself excited at the prospect of using some stickers that have been produced: particularly some of those supplied with the Arctic Scout truck (60194) and the Stygimoloch Breakout  (75927), amongst others.

I would like to apologise if I triggered an angry, anxious or otherwise negative emotional response with that previous statement. In our minds we all have some strong opinions one way or another as far as the Use of Stickers in LEGO Sets is concerned. LEGO Bricks have been adorned with decorations, printed or stickers, for the better part of 50 years.  I still have Minifigures from nearly forty years ago still sporting their original adhesive labels, as well as elements featuring stickers from the 70’s: including these flags. Admittedly, the years have not been kind, but do stickers today last as long?

 

Continue reading

Blizzard Exclusive Set: Omnic Bastion 75987

IMG_2931For the last few months, we have been teased with announcements of a forthcoming range of  LEGO® sets based on the video game Overwatch.  Last week, out of the blue, Blizzard, the publisher behind the game, announced immediate availability of the BlizzCon Exclusive ‘Omnic Skin Bastion75987’ set from their Gear Store.

IMG_2952
It’s a lovely model, but is that “Blizzard Exclusive” sticker worth the price? 

This was a bit unexpected, but offered some interesting opportunities as a retail experience.  The set is available more places than shop.lego.com can supply, and shipping is (by Australian standards) pretty reasonable.

Now, I don’t play Overwatch, but my son, a couple of weeks out from his final school exams has been quite a keen player, and was excited to see this new set. I ordered one shortly after it became available and then proceeded to wait. I did not have to wait long, however.

The set cost $USD25 plus approximately $USD10 for shipping to Melbourne (although adding extra sets only increased the shipping by 1-2 dollars per set – you may wish to purchase in conjunction with a friend or two and split the shipping). Having placed my order on October 12th, the parcel arrived via Federal Express on October 16th.  I don’t think I have ever received LEGO  from overseas quite so quickly. Continue reading

Things are Pretty Cool in LEGO® City

IMG_2816In recent years, the LEGO® City sets released in June have featured an adventuring/exploration theme. The folks from the City have been Exploring the Deep Sea (2015); Volcanos (2016) and the Jungle (2017).  After a stand-alone Arctic theme in 2000, and a successful excursion from the City in 2014, we return, once again, to the polar regions.

I have found myself picking up a couple of sets in this theme, but would like to focus on one particular set: 60194 – the Polar Exploration Truck. As the other minifigures and vehicles might creep into photographs today, I’ll disclose the presence of the 60190 Arctic Ice Glider(RRP $AUD9.99) and 60191 Arctic Exploration Team (RRP $AUD15.99) floating around in the build space as I took some pictures.

There are a few things that I find myself immediately warming to with this year’s Arctic sets: Continue reading

Bringing Down Brother Eye with Batman and Batwoman [Review 76111]

In which I am astounded to find a LEGO Batman set to related to a relatively recent storyline from the comics.  In putting the set together, I reach new highs, new lows and breathe a sigh of relief as I get my hands on a colour I hadn’t seen for a while…

Batman, Batwoman and OMAC. (Oh My!)

IMG_2768The 76111 Brother Eye Takedown set is part of the DC Superheroes line, and was released in the second half of 2018.  I was intrigued by the existence of this set: while an ongoing part of the DC (comics) Universe continuity, Brother Eye and OMAC are not necessarily widely recognised by the non comics reading public. In it’s current guise, Brother Eye comes across as a DC satellite equivalent of Marvel’s Ultron: an artificial intelligence with the ability to take down Earth’s Greatest Heroes.  I was even more intrigued by it’s presence here as I was reading the ‘Lonely Place of Living’ as well as the ‘Batmen: Eternal’ storylines in Detective Comics when I saw the set announced.  Brother Eye, the OMACs and Batwoman play an important part of these storylines. Beyond this I shall not elaborate, as I don’t want to hit you with too many spoilers, and I don’t want to give away the fact that I have misplaced a couple of issues, making a complete rereading of the storyline impossible for me at present.

Continue reading

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.

IMG_2758
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:

Continue reading