Brickset news archive: April 2010
Today I have uploaded brand new images of sets released in 1975. The big event of the year was the introduction of minifigs, but not as we know them today: these were armless, faceless and without moving legs, but they were recognisable as mini people and of a size that made them more-or-less compatible with the LEGOLAND sets of the day. They represented doctors and nurses, policemen, firemen and even cowboys. It didn't matter at the time that they didn't fit in the vehicles (e.g. 659) or fit through the doors: it was great to have people at last.
Looking at the pictures today, it's interesting to see how LEGO represented them sitting down (detach the torso from the legs) and holding things (use a plate between their torso and legs). You can see examples of both in 363, the first hospital set, pictured here.
The bendy-armed people were still going strong, and it was a good year for trains, with the release of some really nice locos and rolling stock, and also for 'hobby sets', the forerunner to Model Team: realistic large scale models for older kids (and their fathers!)
The minifig had arrived, but it would be a full three years before they sprouted moving arms and legs, eyes and mouths to become the iconic form we know and love today.
Tesco has a 3 for 2 offer on all toys at the moment, so unlike similar offers in the USA, Toy Story and Star Wars LEGO is not excluded. My branch had loads and the offer is also good online at tesco.com. Fancy 3 midi Millennium Falcons for £40?? :-)
This week, take advantage of this offer on the TRU website on in store. If you order online and your order is more than $100 you'll get free shipping as well. Now might be the time to buy a Death Star or two...
- View all Star Wars LEGO available on the TRU website.
(via Toys N Bricks)
If you haven't had enough of me harping on about how good the PoP sets are and still need persuading to part with your hard-earned for them, you can now check out the Prince of Persia microsite on LEGO.com, which went live today and which features some very cool animations, wallpapers and animations.
RichardAM reports that the in-store catalogue in his local Argos now has an extra page inserted for the Prince Of Persia sets, and sure enough, four of the sets are now listed on the Argos website. The Fight for the Dagger is the one that's missing.
What's more, he says the insert also advertises the collectable minifigures! They'll cost £1.99 and will be available from 1st May, which is a Saturday. I can just imagine doing a 'reserve and collect' online for 60 bags (they come in cases of 60), then seeing the surprised expression on the Saturday girl behind the counter's face when you go and pick them up :-)
It hardly seems worth reporting given the sets' availability everywhere else, but now, today, at last, LEGOshop.com has started listing the Prince of Persia sets, and don't forget the free shipping offer is still good, too!
I believe they are also available in the brand stores from today as well.
LEGO might not be selling the sets yet from LEGOshop.com or from the brand stores but Amazon.co.uk is now listing all five Prince Of Persia sets for immediate delivery. Order now, receive on Wednesday!
Today I have added new images of sets released in 1976 and we now have an almost complete set of those released in Europe that year.
One year on from the introduction of the armless and faceless minifigs and they are appearing in most of the year's LEGOLAND sets. However the problem of them not fitting in many of the houses and buildings they come with had not yet been resolved. The bendy-armed people were still going strong, too. Perhaps the most impressive sets of the year were the highly detailed (for their time) Hobby Sets: classic cars, bikes and the legendary 396 Thatcher Perkins locomotive, still highly sought after today.
I still haven't told you where these images came from, but you don't have long to wait now to find out! All will be revealed very soon. I won't be revealing it here on this website, but I will tell you where you can find out.
Want to see the minifigs in close-up detail? Check out these awesome pictures at Eurobricks! Doesn't Boba's helmet look fantastic!
You can now order all 6 summer Star Wars sets from Amazon France [link now fixed] for immediate delivery. Being impatient I've just ordered 5 of them (all but Palpatine's shuttle which doesn't appeal) and was surprised that shipping was only around €8 to the UK.
It could be months before their appearance in other countries so if you can't wait, follow my lead :-)
(via Toys N Bricks)
Update: the new trains are also listed, e.g. 7939 Cargo Train. There's no images for them yet but they are apparently available for immediate delivery as well.
Thanks to Elliott, Alexdiazb and Giles for the news!
Amazon.com is now listing three TS3 sets, stating they'll be available on May 1st, somewhat earlier than their anticipated release date of June.
(Thanks jeeping for the news!)
Thescottfam writes "Toy Story 3 sets slowly becoming available at LEGO Stores across the US. The Western Train Chase, Lottso's Dumptruck and The Trash Compactor Escape have hit the shelves in N.Carolina. The Duplo Pizza Planet Truck and Great Train Chase are also available now."
Let us know if they are in your local stores.
Update: They can also be ordered from the Toys R Us website!
Update 21st April: Now they can't be ordered any more from the Toys R Us website -- they've been pulled!
It looks pretty good, although perhaps a bit too American in its design for my taste: I prefer flat cabs on my trucks, which are more typical in Europe. What I really like though, are the stickers on the boxes to make them resemble LEGO sets!
Thanks to brickerik for finding it!
Brickset member andy0002 has found some new images of upcoming sets at Big Bad Toy Store including three of the Kingdoms sets. They actually look quite reasonable. They are a return to the 'good knight vs. bad knight' scenario that LEGO have done many times before. To me, that is a bit dissapointing because I really liked the fantasy setting of the last batch of Castle sets and it would have been nice to have seen other fantasy creatures making an appearance, but it seems that's not to be, at least not in the short term.
I believe these will be LEGO exclusives in the UK: they are not shown in the retaliers' catalogue and were not at the London toy fair. They were however shown at the NY and German toy fairs so they'll probably be available elsewhere in all toy shops.
Further to our article last week about being able to find out what's inside the bag before you buy, the German website bricks.inof.de has posted information showing which barcode relates to which minifig.
There's still some uncertainty as to which countries the information presented relates to, but my guess is that there will be two types of packaging: North American and everywhere else. The NA packets will have barcodes on the right, as shown on the Eurobricks picture, and everywhere else will have them on the left. The information at the link above is for left-barcoded packets.
Update: It's now confirmed that the information at inof.de does also relate to the packets that will be available in the UK, and the barcodes on the US packets are different.
(via the rather good The Ugly Duckling at BrickLink minifig blog)
Thanks to the eagle-eyes of Brickset member michaelvader ... the Collectable Minifigures minisite is now up & running at LEGO.com, offering images, character biographies, downloads (wallpapers, posters, etc.) and a couple of on-line games (only one of which is currently playable).
The excitement is certainly building !!!!
Continuing with our release of new images of vintage LEGO sets, today I have uploaded an almost complete set of pictures of sets released in 1974.
After several years of releasing 'dolls-house' style Homemaker sets, figures to inhabit them were finally made in 1974. But these weren't the minifigs we know today: they were 7 or 8 bricks high with bendy arms, perfectly scaled for the sets made for them. You could build a 'whole house': a kitchen, living room, bathroom and children's room and kit them out with extra furniture and accessories. I suspect they were aimed primarily at girls, but despite that I have to admit I had a soft spot for them at the time and had one or two :-)
The LEGOLAND sets released this year were pretty cool too. 360 Gravel Works was another of my childhood favourites: I remember playing with it for hours, there was so much you could do with it: load and unload the lorry and work the conveyer belt!
Several new trains were made in 1974 but for some reason 12v trains were never released in the UK so my only memory of them is seeing them in toy shop windows on holidays in France. I never did persuade my dad to buy me any :-(
1974 was significant as being the first year that LEGO made people to inhabit their models, but there was a far more significant event about to occur in 1975. I'm sure you know what that is, but if not, look out for new images from 1975 here in a few days...
I am indebted to Brent, who kindly scans LEGO.com's instructions portal for new additions and tells me when he finds them, for uncovering two new promotional sets. First up is 20015 a Creator crocodile, which will be a Brickmaster exclusive in the USA. Next is 30031, a 'World Racers' Jet-Ski, the first of the theme to be revealed. Also in the update are instructions for PoP sets.
I've also updated the minifig list from Bricklink and the update includes PoP minifigs from 4 of the 5 sets.
We're getting reports that LEGO have started sending these out to select individuals (I haven't been sent any yet :-( ) and you may have seen reviews and pictures of them (such as this one at Eurobricks).
However one fact has come to light this week that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere (although I may have missed it), is that you CAN identify which figure is in the bag before you buy and open it.... but not if you're human. Apparently the bags have two barcodes on them: the normal EAN/UPC barcode used to identify the product and another, smaller one, which does not have a human-readable number under it, and which differs depending on content. (Update: here's a picture of the back of the packaging)
Unless you have a barcode reader, or someone clever comes up with an iPhone app to decode it, what practical use before purchase this will be remains to be seen. However it should be a help when opening a case of them if you want to determine how many different ones you have before opening packets, by comparing barcode patterns.
We also hear that the figs have a 'Chinese feel' to them, i.e. they are not quite up to Danish standards, but I guess that is to be expected.
I'll try and get some pictures for you soon!
For a short while in the mid-1970's, LEGO added mysterious letters to the front of many of their set boxes. Sets would have a prominent coloured square close to the set number; the box would contain either an 'A', a 'B', a 'C' or a 'D'. You can see an example of a 'B' set here.
So, what did it mean? In advance of the next set of database updates, which will include many sets with this peculiar addition, I thought it might be worth exposing this mystery!
Each letter was intended to inform the buyer of how complex the set was, with 'A' indicating a simple build (a DUPLO set for example) and 'D' showing it was the most challenging build (a train set for example). 'B' and 'C' indicated intermediate difficulty sets, with a 'C' being a more challenging build than a 'B'. Hopefully it now all makes sense !
This only lasted for a very short period, which is a shame, as I rather like it, & prefer it to the later 'age range' approach.
I was fortunate to have been sent this, and 2 other PoP sets, from the USA last week. I've now had a chance to build it and, I have to say, I am impressed with the set and its price which is less than I expected (US$80, £70). Not only do you get 7 awesome minifigs, but the fort is very nice too with lots of neat details. It certainly looks very middle-eastern with the new half-arch pieces and gold-topped towers.
Rather than me write a lengthy review about the opening of the box and the construction of the set, I'll direct you to the excellent pictorial review on Eurobricks if you want to read all about that. Instead, what I thought I'd do is take some pictures of the minifigs, and of them 'in action' around the set. So, check out my flickr set to see them in glorious detail.
Rather annoyingly the POP sets have still not appeared in the product feed from LEGO, so if you want to order them you can do so from the following links:
The second Prince of Persia set I received last week was The Ostrich Race which features 3 minfigs and two ostriches. Someone wrote on another LEGO website that, if he had been asked a year ago what animal he thought LEGO would make next, the last thing he would have guessed is an ostrich, and I have to agree! You might have guessed at camels to go with a desert theme, but ostriches, never!
However recent years have shown that LEGO are now capable of producing complex parts in China (e.g. cows, Bullseye, Toy Story heads, basically anything that comes in its own plastic bag in a set) which are only slightly inferior to those produced in Denmark and probably at a much lower cost, which makes things like ostriches financially viable.
Anyway, onto the set: I won't repeat what's been said in other reviews (the Eurobricks one is again a good one) but suffice to say that this is an essential purchase. Not only are the the figs and animals excellent, but there's also a good selection of parts, including some in the new 'Medium Dark Flesh' colour. I've posted some pictures in a flickr set so you can see for yourself.
Rather annoyingly the POP sets have still not appeared in the product feed from LEGO (but I have complained!), so if you want to order them you can do so from the following links:
It looks like Germany will be getting a new Lego Store! This store will be located in Wiesbaden, just outside of Frankfurt. You can see about where the new store will be located in Wiesbaden by following this link.
No details on an opening date yet: judging by previous store openings, this store should open before the end of the year.
Frankfurt also has a Lego Store, it opened last year.
The third and final Prince Of Persia set I received last week was 7572 Quest Against Time. This features four minifigs including the delightful Princess Tamina. The first thing to note is that, when assembled, the set looks nothing like that in the official pictures: those pictures have been arranged for maximum impact.
Once again, there are some great reviews elsewhere (Eurobricks!) that show every last detail of the set under construction, so I won't repeat that here. But I have taken some nice pictures of the minifigs again which you'll find in my flickr set.
With luck the other two PoP sets I ordered from Amazon over the weekend will arrive today and I'll be able to tell you about them tomorrow. In the meantime, you can read what other people think of all the Prince of Persia sets in the set reviews here at Brickset.
Target store's in Australia are offering 20% off Lego from Thursday 8th April until Wednesday 14th April.
Myer stores are also having a sale . And purchases of $50 or more are given a bonus 40005 Easter Bunny. While stocks last (Thanks to jpmanalo for the info).
Continuing with our countdown, here are new images of the clown, the crash-test dummy, the indian and the magician.
I apologise that the clown image is not quite as good as the others: my official source in LEGO can't find the hi-res version :-)
Officially these are released on Saturday, however we're getting reports that people have been able to buy them in their local Toys R Us in the UK today! The Basingstoke branch had a box... but it doesn't any more...
Bluemoose and I seem to be answering the same questions about these figs over and over in the article comments, so to save us having to do it any more here are the answers to your frequently asked questions:
Q: When are these available?
A: Official launch in Europe is May 1st but they have been available in some countries for a couple of weeks. The exact release date in North America is not known but it's likely to be in June. UPDATE - checking back to Toy Fair New York, the press kit issued by Lego stated that Series 1 would be available in North America 'from June'.
Q: Will these be available in <insert country name here>?
A: Yes, they will most likely be available in every country that LEGO is sold in.
Q: What shops will they be sold in?
A: We don't know for sure, but in the UK it will predominately be toy shops where LEGO is usually sold as opposed to newsagents. Toys R Us is a good bet. They will also be available from LEGOshop.com and the brand stores.
Q: Are some rarer than others?
A: We don't know yet
Q: Can I tell what's in the packet before I buy?
A: Sort of. See http://bricks.inof.de/docs/minifig-barcodes/
Q: How much do they cost?
A: Individually, we know they will be £1.99 in the UK. There doesn't seem to be anything official for US pricing - depending on the source, the price will be either $1.99, $2.49 or $2.99 (plus tax). Shopping around, especially on-line, you will likely be able to find them discounted, particularly if purchased in bulk. We'll post prices for other countries as we find them out. UPDATE - checking back to Toy Fair New York, the press kit issued by Lego stated that Series 1 figs would be US$1.99 / Can$2.99.
Q: Will I be able to buy a box/case at a Lego Store? If so, how much will they cost?
A: Regarding selling whole boxes or cases, we don't think there's any official policy on this; it's likely to be up to the manager of each store. We'd suspect that they will be more likely to sell in bulk if they have plenty of stock than if they are running low. As for price, it'll probably be either 60x the cost of a single fig for a box, or 120x the cost of a single fig for a case (which contains 2 boxes); the manager may have some discretion to offer a discount, but they are under no obligation to do so. If you're looking for bulk discounts, you're probably better off ordering from an on-line retailer.
Q: Will I be able use Brickset to manage my collection of collectable minifigures ?
A: Yes, you will be able to keep track of which collectable minifigures you have & review them seperately. We haven't finalised how you will track unopened minifig packs (i.e. where you don't necessarily know what's inside).
Here's the next four: robot, Robin Hood, nurse and ninja!
Tomorrow night I'll upload the last four and on Friday... well, you'll just have to wait and see...
Update: It appears these are now in most if not all Toys R Us branches already! I now have 18 packs -- all they had left at Portsmouth -- in my hands! I hunted high and low for them in the store. They are not with the rest of the LEGO but by the till with other collectable stuff. My advice is to go to your branch NOW and buy them all. If you wait until the weekend they will be gone.
Update: I've opened them all and I have: 2 cavemen, 3 zombies!, 1 skater, 1 robot, 1 dummy, 1 magician, 1 nurse, 4, yes four, ninjas!, 2 astronauts, 1 Robin Hood and 1 diver. So, not too bad a start. 11 unique and the duplicates are good 'army builders'. No cheerleader though :-( Hopefully better luck in Argos on Saturday...
Update: we've added them all to the database and you can see them all by searching for 8683. I'll add the last four images tomorrow.
Yet another update: We're hearing rumours that the UK brand stores and LEGOLAND Windsor won't be selling these until mid May, so Argos will be your best bet this weekend.
Nevertheless I will continue with our countdown, so here are the final four minifig images: zombie, wrestler, skateboarder and astronaut. Like the clown image, the hi-res version of the zombie image has gone AWOL within LEGO.
I have more related images to release tomorow...
Tomorrow the collectable minifigs will be available in nearly every high street in the UK in Argos. Make sure you reserve them online first before heading down to town though, and don't go anywhere near my branch :-). The catalogue code is believed to be 388/2397. I'll confirm this when I know for sure.
Here are the last images I have from the series, of headgear and accessories. I hope you've enjoyed me revealing them like this but I'm sorry if all this talk of the minifigs is boring or frustrating for those of you in the USA. After tomorrow, the fuss will die down and normal programming will be resumed!
Significant update: cllmkrr has just emailed to say these are also available in W H Smiths now! All we need now is for Tesco to stock them and the whole country will be covered.
This one, from 1982 might be World Show 2, although it doesn't say as much on it.
Now, what should we add here next? 'Bricks and Pieces' magazine has been suggested... :-)
Just order in the normal way then use the appropriate discount code at checkout, shown below with the price threshold for each country:
Australia - 40.00 AUD - ASTL
Austria - 36.00 EUR - AUST
Belgium - 36.00 EUR - BELG
Canada - 58.00 CAD - CANA
Czech Republic - 930.00 CZK - CZRP
Denmark - 270 DKK - DNMK
Finland - 36.00 EUR - FINL
France - 36.00 EUR - FRAN
Germany - 36.00 EUR - GERM
Hungary - 10.387 HUF - HUNG
Ireland - 36.00 EUR - IREL
Italy - 36.00 EUR - ITAL
Luxembourg - 36.00 EUR - LUXE
Netherlands - 36.00 EUR - NETH
New Zealand - 80.00 NZD - NEWZ
Norway - 370.00 NOK - NORW
Spain - 36.00 EUR - SPAI
Sweden - 532.00 SEK - SWED
Switzerland - 55.00 CHF - SWTZ
Poland - 153.00 PLN - PLND
Portugal - 36.00 EUR - PORT
United Kingdom - 32.00 GBP - UTKG
United States - 50.00 USD – USOA
Finally, the secret is out -- I hadn't realised when I wrote the article below about the 1976 sets that the electronic edition of BrickJournal issue 10 is now available! In it you'll find a 4 page article about the history of Brickset and the source of the images.
I am not going to tell you here where they came from because I want to encourage you all to buy a copy -- either PDF or print -- and read it for yourself.
BrickJournal is an excellent publication and Joe and Megan (and everyone else) do a fantastic job on it and they deserve your support. So, please, click on the image to the left, or the banner in the menu and get your copy today.
If you need further encouragement, there are even pictures of me and bluemoose in it!
Eagle-eyed Brickset member LegoCoastGuard1996 has noticed that the online Pick-a-Brick selection at LEGO.com has been augmented with many new parts including new minifig torsos and heads. Check them out for yourself: UK | USA. It looks as if the average price of a complete minfig is about £1 or US$1.40 which I suppose isn't too bad.
I've received my copies of these books from Amazon so I thought I'd do a short review. It's short because, to be honest, there isn't much to say about them.
The are produced by Ameet, a Polish publisher of childrens' books, which explains why these have been published in English and Polish and why there were available in Poland a few months ago. In the UK they are published by Ladybird.
Anyway, they are roughly A4 size, 32 pages, and full colour throughout. They are filled with activities and facts about underwater creatures or submarines, and games and puzzles for small children. All the illustrations are renders or photos of official Atlantis models and figures. In fact they have the feel of a glorified sales brochure. If you're over about 6 there's no reason to buy these for the books. But you might buy them for the figures, particularly as they are so cheap.
One book comes with the Shark Warrior and the other with the Squid Warrior. They are packed in small plastic cases and attached to the front of the cover. You get the figures out by remvoing the coloured plastic insert from the clear plastic cover. Unfortunately once you've done so, the clear cover is still attached to the book's cover and as a result it won't lay flat or fit in your bookcase nicely.
However there is some good news. The figures do not appear to be cleap Chinese versions and seem to be identical to those found in the sets. Their arms and hands do not have a mould number, which are usually found on Chinese figures.
In summary then, don't bother buying these for the book but if you need underwater warriors for your 'army', these are a relatively cheap way to get them, particularly the squid who only comes in an expensive set. You can see the prices and order them from the links below:
The most anticipated day in the LEGO calendar this year is now just 5 days away. The first series of collectable minifigs is released in Europe on Saturday, May 1st!
To help build excitement I will be publishing 4 new and exclusive images of the minifigs every night this week. Today we have the caveman, the cheerleader, the cowboy and the diver.
Shipping costs have been waived during April at LEGOshop.com for orders over £50! Click on the banner in the menu or any other link on the site to take advantage of this rare offer! Here's the small print...
Offer is valid 8 April through to 11:59pm GMT 30 April, 2010 and applies to standard shipping only. Qualifying purchase must be equal or greater than £50 in merchandise only; any applicable taxes, shipping charges, or value of gift cards purchased do not apply to merchandise total. Cannot be applied to previous purchases or combined with any other discount, offer or free gift. Free shipping orders are sent via regular ground shipping; upgrades do not apply. Standard order processing and delivery time is 4-7 days from the date of order. Free shipping orders may be subject to additional delivery time. For delivery rates and schedules, please visit shop.LEGO.com for more details. Offer valid only in the UK. Offer is valid through LEGO Catalog and on shop.LEGO.com. The LEGO Company reserves the right to cancel or modify this promotion at any time without prior advance notice.
Rohan Beckett visited the shows in Australia and has scanned the programmes, which are presented here are Brickset for your enjoyment. Click on the image to view them!
Update: Thanks to Sharpy we now have the programme for show 5! Just 2 more to go!
I'm not really a fan of doing LEGO stuff on computer (I spend too much time on my PC running this site!) which is why I don't report much on video games, Universe or Digital Designer. However mgbutler emailed today to say he received an email from LEGO stating that the parts palette has been updated recently, which is always an exciting event for LDD/DesignByMe users. It reads: "Now you can add something special to your Atlantis model collection. LEGO Design byME has just updated the brick palette with 50 newly discovered, limited edition, deep sea bricks. Will you search for the truth or protect the ancient secrets?"
I've just downloaded the latest version of LDD and there are indeed some cool new parts, including the Atlantis canopies. However when I designed a model featuring one it said it wasn't available, so I guess we need to wait a bit longer before we can buy them...
The May calendar is now out, and thanks to toomuchdew for uploading it to his flickr stream again. The big news this month is the 'exclusive limited edition' Star Wars offer during the first week of May. Last year it was a poster. I wonder what it'll be this year?
Thanks to Ian McM we now have scans for another LEGO World Show, from 1984. As its date positions it between show 4 (1983) and show 6 (1985) and we already have a show 5 (1984) programme I am not sure what number show this is from!
The wallpaper repository is still being updated: I've added PoP and Racers (2010) folders along with various others. There's no easy way to see what's new though: perhaps that's something I need to add.
Finally, I imported the minifig data from Bricklink today, which now includes a full set of data for the PoP sets.
Judging by the comments in other threads, there's a lot of interest in these books, published by Ladybird: They've been listed on Amazon.co.uk for some time but now they are shipping. (thanks go to Mark S for the heads-up). They're not listed on Amazon.com so I don't know about availability outside the UK. As you can see from the pictures they come with a minifig and look to be a very cheap way of getting a shark- or octopus-man. Here are some direct links to Amazon.co.uk: