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Architecture Studio launch event report

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Yesterday evening LEGO hosted an event to mark the release of 21050 Architecture Studio in the brand store at Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London. Myself and a couple of other Brickset staff members went along to the press session at 6:30.

The session was hosted by Finn Williams, Urban Designer and founder of Common Office who spoke briefly about the design process and the basic principles of architecture. After that it was a free-for-all to build a structure using parts available in the set to add to the metropolis that had been built up during previous sessions. Unfortunately the building table was swarming with kids and all the best bits had been used in previous sessions :-)

It wasn't quite how I imagined it would be but as always it was good to catch up with the Brickset team in real life. Afterwards we headed off for something to eat with Blocks magazine editor Mark to discuss our involvement in future issues so it wasn't a totally wasted journey.

Blocks editor Mark rummages for bricks in the pile...

Architecture Studio launch event

Finn Williams and a shop assistant add the finishing touches to a skyscraper.

Architecture Studio launch event

The Architecture Studio set, at £150, is expensive and it won't appeal to everyone. But there is a definitely an audience out there for it. If you have a sizeable LEGO collection like me I suspect you could piece it together from parts you already have so the only thing worth buying it for is the book, which looks to be good, but not £150 good.

If however, you don't have the parts already, then it's a different matter. Most people's collection, if they've been buying regular LEGO sets, will be multi-coloured and full of specialist parts unsuitable for constructing buildings, so this set provides a easy and efficient way to be able to dabble in architectural models.

They were certainly shifting a lot of sets in the store yesterday so the high price was not putting people off. Parents seemed to be buying it for their budding architect kids after attending the session which I guess is exactly what it's been designed for.

Here's the press release about the set:


Calling all architects and adult fans of LEGO!

Do you have a passion for architecture and LEGO? Create your own designs with the new LEGO Architecture Studio set! Developed in collaboration with leading architects, and with over 1,200 monochromatic building pieces with inspirational 250 page guidebook, the set allows you to turn your ideas into models, seeing your designs take shape before your very eyes! Anyone with an interest in architecture can now create their own LEGO original designs, as well as building mini architectural masterpieces such as the Eiffel Tower and the Trevi Fountain.

Exclusively available at LEGO Stores for £149.99 and from the official online shop from August 1st 2014, the set consists of over 1,200 white and transparent LEGO bricks and a design guidebook full of tips, techniques, instructions and building exercises. It is endorsed by leading architectural firms including REX architecture, Sou Fujimoto Architects, SOM, MAD Architects, Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, and Safdie Architects

Background to LEGO Bricks & Architecture:

The history of current LEGO Architecture series can be traced back to the beginning of the 1960s when the LEGO brick’s popularity was still steadily increasing. Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, the then owner of the company, began looking for ways to further expand the LEGO system, and asked his designers to come up with a set of new components that would add a new dimension to LEGO building.

Their answer was as simple as it was revolutionary: five elements that matched the existing bricks, but were only one third the height. These new building ‘plates’ made it possible to construct more detailed models than before.

This greater LEGO flexibility seemed to match the spirit of the age; where modernist architects were redefining how houses looked, and people were taking an active interest in the design of their dream home. It was from these trends that the LEGO ‘Scale Model’ line was born in early 1962.

The name itself was a direct link to the way architects and engineers worked, and it was hoped that they and others would build their projects ‘to scale’ in LEGO elements. As with LEGO Architecture today, the original sets were designed to be different from the normal brightly colored LEGO boxes, and also included An Architectural Book for inspiration.

Though the five elements remain an integral part of the LEGO building system today, the ‘Scale Model’ line was phased out in 1965–it would be over 40 years before its principles would be revived in the LEGO Architecture series we know today.


Order it today from

HispaBrick lssue 20 now available

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Issue 20 of the best LEGO magazine out there, HispaBrick, can now be downloaded for free from the HispaBrick website. Lluis Gibert, one of the editors, writes:

"In this issue, Keith David Severson, Senior Manager for the CEE Team explains the restructuring and the future of the new ambassador program. We will tell you about the new project of the CEE Team, The LEGO Ecosystem, which Yun Mi Antorini has carried out.

"We will tell you the story of Fairy Bricks and their work helping sick children in hospitals, and about SUR M´ALE GOBROS and their peculiar graphical creations. Great creators like Sariel, Evan Bordessa, Dviddy, Rhymes_Shelter, Arkov or Retinence show us their creations. Bright Bricks, famous for their replica of a Rolls Royce turbine tell us more about their company and show us some of their other creations.

"Our collaborators keep offering tutorials on MINDSTORMS and WeDO, reviews of the latest sets and books, we cross the Atlantic to learn more about Chile LUG, MINILAND characters, an exhibition in Mungia, useful objects made with objects LEGO and much more…

"We take this opportunity to let you know we are preparing the celebration of our annual event, the HispaBrick Magazine Event 2014, which will take place on December 6 and 7, 2014 at the mNACTEC museum in Terrassa (Barcelona). In the coming weeks we will provide more detailed information regarding registration, dates and times on our website. You are all invited to participate."

Exo-Suit available now!

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©2014 LEGO Group

The moment you've been waiting for is here... It's 1st August, so Peter Reid's Exo-Suit is now available from! Please use these links to place your order:

USA | UK | Canada | Germany | France
($34.99 | £29.99 | $44.99 | 34.99€ )

If you need reminding what a cool set it is, read our review. If you are only thinking about buying it at this stage, I wouldn't deliberate too long: I'm sure it won't sell out today, but chances are it will sell out quickly like the Mars Curiosity Rover did, which was available for just 10 days from in the USA and Canada.

The Research Institute, which unfortunately has been somewhat overshadowed by the Exo-Suit, is also available today and can be ordered via these links:

USA | UK | Canada ($19.99 | £15.99 | $24.99)

LEGOWISKO exhibition, Warsaw, 2nd August - 27th September

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LUGPol (LEGO Users Group Poland) is the biggest Polish LUG. To mark their 10th anniversary this year an exhibition of MOCs made by members starts this Saturday in The Palace of Culture and Science (Muzeum Techniki) in Warsaw.

There's more information on the club's website.

Bionicle 2015 confirmed by LEGO Shop

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Today, various LEGO fan communities lit up with a discovery on the LEGO Shop website more or less confirming Bionicle will be returning. According to Brickipedia News and a post on BZPower, if you type "Bionicle" in the LEGO Shop website's search bar, it takes you to a Coming Soon page. Searching other old themes like Atlantis doesn't go to this other page though, so it must be intentionally sent to a Coming Soon page.

What are your thoughts on Bionicle's return? Leave them in the comments below!

Update: LEGO has taken the redirect to the Coming Soon page down and it now shows Hero Factory sets as search results. That must mean they accidentally released that news too soon. :)

Review: 8640 Polar Helicopter

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I've been having a bit of a dilemma lately. I'm rapidly running out of space to store and display my LEGO collection. I'm sure I'm not the only one, in fact I suspect those that aren't, are in the minority here.

One reason for this is that I've been collecting Technic since I emerged from my dark ages in 1994 and now own nearly every set made from 1993 to about 2010, and a good few from before and after. Because I like to display them from time to time, plus the fact it takes ages to build them in the first place, I store them assembled, in zip-lock bags or bubble-wrapped, in plastic crates. I suspect you can probably visualise the volume they take up. There's more cool models on the way but no more room in the house, so something's got to give...

My first thought was to sort them out, keep the ones I really like and sell the rest, so I posted a list in the forum earlier this week offering some for sale. But then, thanks in part to forum member Schwallex, I decided against it. Instead, I'll disassemble those I'm unlikely to want to display again or that take up too much volume, and bag them up to save space.

What's this got to do with the Arctic Copter and why am I posting this review? The four Arctic Technic sets, released 28 years ago in 1986, are among the oldest I own. I probably haven't removed them from storage since I moved house 8 years ago, so when I did do this week, I was expecting the worst: peeled stickers and badly yellowed pieces but instead I was pleasantly surprised. The Copter in particular is pretty much in the condition it was when it was new and it's a cracking model so I thought I would take a few photos before I disassemble it and do a quick review.

8640 Polar Copter

Arctic sets were the first Technic 'subtheme' and quite a departure from the Technic sets that had gone before. Although most of the Technic elements used in them were introduced with the first sets in 1977, these were the first to be predominantly white and the first to feature 'maxi-figures'.

1980s Technic sets featured plenty of bricks, plates and slopes, in fact Technic elements were often in the minority, largely used to provide functional or aesthetic features that couldn't be made with regular System parts. Lift-arms and half-width beams were not introduced until 1989, and studless beams didn't appear until 1996 so these Arctic sets are about as 'old-school' Technic as you can get.

The helicopter is actually pretty light on functionality: turn the wheel on the side to rotate the rotors and that's it. However the colour scheme and the simplicity of the design, plus of course the maxi-figure make it look excellent, and a vast improvement on the previous Technic helicopter,1981's 8844.

8640 Polar Copter

8640 Polar Copter

Despite being 28 years old, not a single white part has yellowed and the stickers look as if they were applied yesterday. Those printed on clear plastic have always been less susceptible to peeling which is why I always caution against applying those printed on white. I'll post some horrific photos to illustrate this in the next day or so.

8640 Polar Copter

So why is it that some white parts yellow and others don't? Every part in my 8620 Arctic buggy has yellowed except the steering piece. The 1x4x3 white windows and printed panels in my 8660 Arctic Rescue Unit have yellowed, but nothing else has. Thankfully, my 8680 Arctic Base looks as pristine as this helicopter. They've been stored together, never in bright light, so other factors must come into play, such as the composition of the plastic or maybe even how the parts have been stored and for how long in the factory. It's a mystery...

As I said above, Arctic sets were the first to feature maxi-figs. They were last seen in 2000 which is a shame because I think they are great: they are highly poseable and bring an element of playability to the sets they appear in, just like minifigs do to regular sets. The Arctic guys even have skis and poles which stow away neatly on the models when not in use.

8640 Polar Copter

Although it looks very old-fashioned compared to today's Technic models, this is a great little set and worth hunting down if you're a Technic aficionado. Whether you'll find a used one in as pristine condition as this one, I'm not so sure...

If this article hasn't bored you to tears, let me know, then before I dismantle other old Technic sets of note, I'll post photos of them too.

Wall-E gets face lift, heads off to 10k

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Wall-E has been a fan favorite on Ideas almost from the beginning. The little robot from Pixar just goes so darn well with LEGO.

Wall-E campaigns have taken several setbacks in the past but with MacLane (Pixar veteran AND creator of the Cubedude) we finally have a Wall-E rocketing to the 10k mark.

If you have not stopped by MacLane's Wall-E campaign in a while, make sure to do so. The updates to the robot's eyes really bring out the emotion in the little guy's face and demonstrates how each brick matters.

Update: It has reached 10,000 votes!

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