In The News
Issue three of Bricks magazine is published on Monday. Here's the press release and some sample spreads:
The air tank is full, the sea is calm and Bricks is jumping into one of the most anticipated City ranges of the year: Deep Sea Explorers. A group of Bricks experts has assembled around the table to examine the amazing range of submersibles, the deep sea operation base and the numerous support vehicles working with the divers on the surface.
Meanwhile, Huw Millington steps back in time to look at the entire Aquazone range, an early ancestor of the Deep Sea Explorers. Our resident construction expert James Pegrum is exploring the wide variety of water building techniques while Iain Scott presents his reef bed, a model created exclusively for this issue of Bricks. Lucy Boughton brings us back to the surface with a visit to the golden beaches of Paradisa and also takes a look at the other seashore-based sets released by LEGO over the past two decades. The Bright Bricks team is also taking a trip, this time to the Golden State of California where their enormous Queen Mary build is now ensconced.
However, you will need to dry off before climbing into the new Creator Ferrari F40 which is thoroughly reviewed along with many more of this summer’s releases. There’s also a look at the new Scooby-Doo sets and an interview with The LEGO Group’s Nicholas Grove who lead the design teams for both the Scooby-Doo and Jurassic World ranges. If that wasn’t enough the latest LEGO Ideas winner Jason Allemann runs Bricks through his fantastic Labyrinth Marble Maze.
This all comes before Bricks drops in at the fun fair with Chris Pearce who studies the Ferris Wheel and how it compares with last year’s Fairground Mixer. Hopefully this line of fairground sets will continue over the next few years so we can expand our theme parks even further!
You will find all this plus some marvellous Masterclass builds, free instructions from Bright Bricks and much, much more!
With 126 pages packed full of inspirational models and exclusive features Bricks is the premier LEGO fan magazine. With a price of just £4.99, why accept anything less?
Order now or subscribe to Bricks at http://republic66media.com/
There's a myriad of different companies selling LEGO-related T Shirts these days and one of the latest is Brickablocks. Brickset user Brian, who operates it, says "I have just started offering photo-realistic brick built designs on t-shirts for purchase through my website, brickablocks.com. As a special offer to Brickset readers I've set up a coupon code for 15% off any T-Shirt purchase which is valid until the end of August. Simply enter the code 'brickset' at checkout."
Meanwhile, over at ShirtPunch, there's a cool LEGO Batman design available today.
|Latest 25% or more discounts||Price now||Retail price||Saving|
|70168 Ultra Agents Drillex Diamond Job||$20.99||30%|
|30% discounts on this year's sets||Price now||Retail price||Saving|
|70223 Legends of Chima Icebite's Claw Driller||$34.99||30%|
|70229 Legends of Chima Lion Tribe Pack||$6.99||30%|
|70168 Ultra Agents Drillex Diamond Job||$20.99||30%|
I have finally (mostly) recovered from co-chairing Brick Fiesta and it was a lot of work but a ton of fun. One of the highlights was meeting Guy Himber of Iron Builder, Crazy Bricks, and general steampunk fame and he currently has a pretty interesting Kickstarter out there: Crazy Arms.
The basic idea is an alternate arm set for minifigs and though this idea has been proposed before, Guy's design has a novel approach to grounding the arms into the figure without wearing out the joint.
His approach utilizes a new element, part of the Kickstarter, that plugs into the legs and creates a spot for the arms to plug into on the torso.
While it is hard for me to pull the arms off my beloved figs for any reason, I have to say, who hasn't at some point wanted to pose their minifig arms like this:
I have just received an advance copy of the forthcoming DK book Great LEGO Sets that's due to be published early in October. It's an absolutely stunning book which I need time to digest before posting a review.
The included model, 11910 Micro-Scale Space Cruiser, which is a miniature replica of perhaps the greatest set of them all 928/497 Galaxy Explorer, is equally stunning and I could not wait to build it.
(Excuse the slightly poor photo quality today; for some reason my Photoshop Elements is playing up and running very slowly so I haven't done as much post-processing as usual).
The book and model come in a slip-case which is absolutely huge: 32x26cm and 5cm deep. It's fantastic that DK has ditched the front-cover mounted box in favour of this format as it makes the book so much easier and more pleasant to read.
The book has an unusual cover, to say the least...
The model is packed in a book-sized box with the parts in a clear polybag. Unlike other DK books, the set number is clearly stated and it looks much like a real set box cover image.
The 102-parts and instruction manual are packed in the thin box.
The 102-parts come together quickly to form a very good mini representation of the Galaxy Explorer.
Just like the big version, the back is hinged to reveal a tiny 1x2 vehicle which can be 'driven' down a hinged ramp.
The set was designed by Brickset's favourite Aussie set designer Mel Caddick and I think you will agree she's done a fantastic job and produced a set that's as great, if not better, than many of those featured in the book.
Thanks to Majama at DK for sending it to me for review. Now I'm off to upgrade to Windows 10. See you on the other side...
I was lucky to see plenty of fantastic sets at the London Toy Fair back in January but the recipient of my 'best in show' award was 75904 Mystery Mansion. The set bears a striking resemblance to 9468 Vampyre Castle from the Monster Fighters theme, high praise indeed considering the excellence of that model.
Now that I have the set in my possession I have to admit to being very slightly disappointed. It is a superb model on the whole and has enormous play value but some areas of the interior are lacking in detail which is a shame. However, the exterior looks spectacular and there is a brilliant selection of minifigures so I am still pleased with the set, just slightly less so than I had hoped.
Read on and see what you think...
Scooby-Doo appears in each of the five sets in this wave, although it is pleasing to see some variation in the figures. This one is standing and has a fairly neutral expression on his face just like in 75900 Mummy Museum Mystery. The cast of the body and head both look perfect and the printing is very accurate to the television show. Congratulations to the element sculptor who worked on the Scooby-Doo figure as I have no complaints about his design whatsoever!
I am similarly delighted with Shaggy. Like his canine counterpart this minifigure appears in every one of the new sets and he too features a couple of different designs. This version features a cheerful grin on one side of his head and a miserable expression on the other while the torso printing is the same as usual with a lime green shirt with short sleeves.
Shaggy's dark red trousers are the ideal colour but the best element is undoubtedly his hair piece. This is a brand new component and is intricately moulded for the best possible show-accuracy, a task which is certainly accomplished.
Daphne only appears in this set and 75903 Haunted Lighthouse. Just like the rest of the Mystery Gang her orange hair component is new this summer and exclusive to this minifigure.
It too is impressively faithful to the television show, as is the rest of her attire which includes a purple jacket and skirt along with a green scarf.
Unfortunately Daphne was often captured by the villains in the original series of 'Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?' and her double-sided head is representative of this with a smile on one side and a frightened expression on the other.
The final member of Mystery Inc. included is Velma, who is exclusive to this set. Many fans will understandably bemoan the fact that she only appears in the largest set in the wave, thereby making it more difficult to complete the gang. On the other hand, this also furthers the appeal of 75904 Mystery Mansion, a fact which was not lost on the LEGO marketing department I am sure.
At this point it almost goes without saying that Velma's hair piece is fantastic and that the rest of the minifigure is equally accurate to the show. As you might expect she also features a reversible head with smiling and worried expressions which greatly increases the range of display options possible for the team.
The Black Knight appeared in the very first episode of 'Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?' and has since become one of the gang's most famed enemies, encountering them in almost every incarnation of the show since! The helmet and armour is fairly plain, adorned only by a red feather, but there is a more intricate design beneath.
The torso is printed with a breastplate and suit jacket on the front and back while the head features yellow eyes on one side and the true bespectacled face of Mr Wickles on the other. I am very pleased to see that his glasses are askew for the unmasking, just as they were in the show!
No mansion is complete without a Ghost and this one is particularly creepy as he glows in the dark. The ghostly shroud is the same as the one which appeared in the Monster Fighters line and it can fit onto a studded surface with or without the minifigure inside.
The torso and legs are plain white while the head is printed with the face of Bluestone the Great, the magician who poses as The Phantom while trying to find pirate treasure in only the third episode of the original series. Here the figure is accompanied by a ball and chain which does not appear in the show, although it contrasts nicely with the otherwise entirely white costume.
The seventh and final figure is the Vampire, who seems to be the most important villain of all given his prominent position on the packaging. Vampires have appeared in plenty of sets over the years but this is my favourite one yet as his cape is red on one side and black on the other.
The head is printed with a scary pale design on one side and the face of Big Bob Oakley on the reverse, an famed thief who tried to frighten the gang away from the Franken Castle so he could steal the treasure housed there.
The Completed Model
This set is absolutely packed with features. The mansion itself consists of three main sections: the greenhouse, the central tower and the kitchen area. These are linked using Technic pins so you could disconnect them and arrange the set differently if you wish. I love the mixture of dull greys with bright purple and there is a smattering of greenery too which looks superb.
My favourite part of the set is the greenhouse, which is extremely nicely detailed on the inside and out. The window panes look fantastic with stickers on some showing spiders and carnivorous plants while others are smashed or missing. This building is predominantly brown with purple highlights on the roof and door.
Inside there are two pumpkins, complete with carved faces, a couple of small plants and an enormous plant monster which is poseable using the small ball joints introduced with the Mixels last year. One of the pumpkins is mounted on a turntable so it can eerily follow the gang with its eyes as they explore.
The central tower is the weakest section of the mansion in my opinion. From the outside there is some very nice detail including crooked porch pillars, smashed windows and an enormous clock face which looks great. The instructions show the 'VI' sticker applied upside down which is unusual as the numerals at the bottom of a clock are usually the right way up.
There is also a balcony for the Vampire and a rotating section of wall for simulating his transformation into a bat. As you twist the knob on the back, the hand on the clock rotates as well. The open space on either side of the wall is slightly irritating as it would look far better if it were disguised to match the rest of the structure.
Inside there are surprisingly few floors with a small entrance hall at the ground level, a gallery on the floor above and a coffin at the very top. There is a golden key hidden under the floorboards on the ground floor and a painting on the next level which features a minifigure version of Miner Forty-Niner, another villain from the original series.
The coffin is printed with a unique design and has room inside for the Vampire. These three small floors are very sparsely furnished, mainly because an enormous mace occupies the lower two. This can be swung down to knock over people in the entrance hall which is a fun feature, although it is not worth the sacrifice of so much space in my opinion.
The third building is far more detailed than the tower, almost as though it were created by an entirely different designer! As you can see the purple is most prevalent on this section, perhaps a little too much so in my opinion, although I like the tiling details which have been included.
The kitchen is tiled in white and blue which matches the cabinets and stove nicely. On the second level there is a sand green safe containing three gold bars. Although all the patterned windows are stickers I think they look fantastic from the inside or the outside.
A motorcycle and sidecar are included to transport the Mystery Gang which features the medium azure and lime green colour scheme shared with all their vehicles. I am not aware of this ever appearing in the original series, although it might be based on something briefly ridden by some of the main characters as in the case of the biplane from 75901 Mystery Plane Adventures.
Regardless of its origin, this motorbike and sidecar is a nice little model which serves its purpose well. The sidecar leaves a 2x3 stud space open for a minifigure to be seated which is more than enough. The extra space has been included for a sitting Scooby-Doo figure, although there is not room to place the standing version included in the set.
I like this set very much on the whole, it is just a shame that some areas of the model are quite severely lacking in detail. I was not expecting the kind of furnishings found in Modular Buildings but the set would be far improved if the detail of the kitchen and greenhouse was maintained throughout the entire model. My only other negative comment regards the absence of Fred, although I suspect many fans would want to buy 75902 Mystery Machine if they are considering purchasing this set, regardless of whether or not the entire gang was included.
However, those complaints are relatively insignificant given the excellence of the rest of the set. There is a huge amount of play value and the model looks superb from the front, with a lovely colour scheme and some offset building techniques which brilliantly represent the ramshackle nature of the building. The price of £69.99 or $89.99 seems very reasonable considering the number of minifigures and the piece count of 860 so I have no hesitation in recommending this set.
Issue 1 of Egmont Publishing's LEGO Star Wars comic is out in newsagents and supermarkets today in the UK. Like other similar titles concerning Chima, Ninjago and Friends, it consists primarily of cartoons and puzzles of limited interest to adult buyers but its saving grace is the cover mounted 'free' gift which on this issue is a mini X-Wing.
Next month's free gift is a mini Slave 1, which like the X-Wing, looks familiar and has probably been included in a Star Wars advent calendar at some point.
It costs £3.75 and I purchased mine in Tesco. Is it worth it? Probably not to be honest, unless you're a die-hard LEGO Star Wars collector.
It's a busy time of year for LEGO book publishers at the moment as they release new books for the summer, and reveal details about those that will be available in time for the holiday season.
Of the latter, one that's only just come to light is Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy to be published by DK in November. It features the superb photography of Vesa Lehtimaki a.k.a. Avanaut whose work you are probably already familiar with.
Yesterday Starwars.com published details and some sample spreads:
"Created with both photography fans and families in mind, Finnish photographer Vesa Lehtimaki used his son’s favorite toys to create the stunning images in the book. The spreads showcase a wealth of new photography alongside the very best of Lehtimaki’s hugely popular online portfolio. LEGO Star Wars: Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy isn’t just a new form LEGO Star Wars book, it’s a new kind of Star Wars book altogether.
"Every scene plays with perspective, focus, and colors to show Star Wars in a whole new way. Fun captions and insights from the author on how he approached each photograph add different layers of depth to the experience — even if it’s about a skiing snowtrooper."
Thanks to AutomatticComics for the news.
View more articles »