Brickset news archive: January 2010
I have a couple of annoucements to make:
- The wallpaper archive, launched 2 weeks ago now has over 900 wallpapers in it! It started off with my collection of around 400 and since then I've been inundated with additions and I'd like to thank everyone who has sent them to me: sjuip, Michael N, Mitchell, Kevin30, Carolyn, Brickmatt, Christopher and last, but certainly not least, because he contributed over 400 Bionicle ones: Bruno! Thanks to you all. Please keep them coming!
- The more observant among you (Alemas :-) ) will have already noticed that I've added additional images under the main one on the set detail pages. I've had the feature running for 2 days but didn't announce it straight away in case it overloaded the server and I needed to remove it. It doesn't seem to have so it can stay. I hope to enable you all to contribute set images soon so we can get a good collection going.
That's all for now but keep watching this space: the next batch of our exclusive images of rare old sets will be published soon!
One that slipped under the radar, LEGO have released a set just in time for Valentine's Day on Feb 14th. It's another 40xxx series set, which appears to be the new number range for seasonal sets. Note that a similar but larger set was given to LEGO's permanent staff for Christmas 2009. It's a little larger than last February's in-store Monthly Mini-Model Build set.
Seen in the UK Milton Keynes LEGO Store on Tuesday 26th Jan 2010. £2.99UK.
For the first time, LEGO have published their official colour chart. This shows the colours currently in production with their colour numbers and names. Their relative position on the chart shows how they fit in the 'colour space', which will become obvious once you look at it.
This is interesting, but not really of any practical value since we (the LEGO community) have our own names for long-established colours, some of which LEGO use to refer to different colours, e.g. what we call 'green' LEGO calls 'dark green', just to confuse things!
It's encouraging that LEGO are sharing this sort of information with us: we have the LEGO community development team to thank for this. Who knows, maybe next it will be a complete list of elements in production or something like that.
I went to the London Toy Fair today specifically to visit the LEGO stand. The event is the first on the international toy fair calendar and as usual LEGO has one of the biggest stands there. Also, as usual, it is shrouded in secrecy and admission is by invitation only which is unlike most of the other stands there. Because of this photography is not permitted, so you'll have to wait for pictures from the New York toy fair in February to see anything new.
However, I can tell you something about what was on display, and perhaps as importantly, what wasn't.
A lot of space was devoted to HERO FACTORY, and as well as the six good guys we have pictures of, the baddies were on display as well. To the untrained eye the range looks pretty much the same as Bionicle: certainly some of the pieces in the sets are Bionicle pieces but there are also a lot of new pieces. To me, they didn't look quite as good 'in the flesh' as I was expecting because the images we have seen of them make them look slightly metallic but in reality they are just normal plastic.
The City Trains look absolutely fantastic and a return to old-school train sets made from real pieces instead of large ill-fitting ones.
The three summer Atlantis sets look interesting: there's another creature, a lobster I think, an underwater base and the 'portal of Atlantis'. The pictures shown elsewhere of these are only a small part of them.
The Toy Story 3 sets were shrouded in even more secrecy than the rest of the exhibits: their shelf had a hinged lid and only the very priveleged were allowed to see them. I caught a glimpse and I liked what I saw...
It looks like being a great year for Technic with four sets due in August including a motorised excavator with 4 motors and 4 linear actuators, and a mobile crane.
The summer Star Wars sets looked to be a bit of a mixed bunch with Emperor Palpatine's shuttle looking a bit of a mess in a hotch-potch of colours. However the minfigs are incredible: General Grievious has a new body, Cad Bane has a teriffic hat, and Bossk a nice head :-)
The five Prince of Persia sets, to be released in April, all looked pretty good although the animals and some other parts were stil prototypes so it was difficult to tell how cool they are going to be.
I was pleased to see that most of the Harry Potter sets were on display and as I speculated The Burrows is indeed a very cool set. Ginny Weasley has a new hairpiece which is fabulous and makes her just like she does in the films. In fact there were a lot of new minifigs: somewhere around 20-25, including Dobby with a flesh head. However I am disappointed to report that Hogwarts Express does NOT use the new train wheels and looks just as bad as the last one which really is a shame.
So, what wasn't on display: Bionicle, no surprise there, but also Kingdoms, the new Castle subtheme. This suggests that they will be sold only through LEGOshop.com and the brand stores.
Last but certainly not least, the collectable minifigs were on display: both series one and two. They are just so awesome and series two has just as many very cool figs as series one. Nearly every one features something unique be it a printed torso or an accessory which hasn't been available before and (I'm told) won't be used elsewhere. I learned some other facts about them: They will cost £1.99 in the UK. The yellow outer box will contain 60 minifigs. Some will be rarer than others. They won't be available in newsagents like WHS but from normal stockists. Series one will be out around May and series two in September-ish, so that gives us a reasonable time to collect them all. You can't really tell what's in the bag by feeling them as they are quite stiff. And, as the title of this article suggests, the cheerleader has a nice pair of pom-poms :-)
Feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll do my best to answer them.
Better late than never: I've had this book for a few days now and at last I've found the time to review it. However, there's not really much to say about it. It's quite a thick book which consists of two sections. The first third of the book (about 30 pages) consists of pages to stick stickers on and the rest of it is the stickers themselves. I believe DK publish other sticker collections and I suspect they are very popular with the target age group (I guess around 5-6 years old).
There's not much to read and nothing much to look at: the idea being that you hunt for the minifig sticker that matches the minifig outline and stick it on. So, if that's your idea of fun, this is the book for you!
However, to look at it just like that would miss what's really cool about this book: the fact that it's full of stickers of minifigs which are, as you'd expect from DK, very well reproduced and therefore ideal for embellishing just about anything with: school books, furniture, folders, whatever. In fact, even if you do stick them in the front of the book as you're supposed to, you can still use some for this purpose, because there's a whole set of extra stickers included!
Quite a few themes are represented: City, Trains, Castle, Pirates, Space, Adventurers, Agents, Exo-Force, Underground, Batman, Atlantis, Star Wars, Harry Potter and SpongeBob. The book claims there are 'more than 1000 reusable stickers'. About 400 of them are 'life-size' minifigs, the others are small 1cm x 1cm pictures of minfigs, heads and various other symbols.
This is definitely a book aimed at children and not a 'must-have' like the other DK books, however if you're a LEGO book collector like me, it is worth adding it to your bookshelf. In fact it may be worth buying two copies: one to keep as new and another to use the stickers from.
You can buy it from Amazon:
- In the USA: Ultimate Sticker Collection: LEGO Minifigure ($10.39)
- In the UK: Lego Minifigure Ultimate Sticker Collection (£6.62)
- In Canada: Lego Mini Figure Ultimate Sticker Collection ($10.82)
- In Germany: Ultimate Sticker Collection: LEGO Minifigure (€9,10)
- In France: Lego Minifigure (€8.99)
At those prices it's definitely worth picking up!
The Argos Spring-Summer catalogue released at the end of January often includes previously unavailable sets and this year is no exception: in it you'll find the pig farm and the four new Games as well as a range of four plush minifigs that I haven't seen before. You can check out the LEGO selection online.
LEGO have posted a teaser video on YouTube. They look the same as Bionicle to me...
A Polish correspondent (sorry, I'm not sure of your name) has sent us a huge image (3000px wide) of the first 16 minifigs, which I have put on flickr along with a photo of the packaging. You can see every detail: start salivating now!
Following my message about this last week, I've pulled out all the stops to get this up and running for you. I've been through my old backup CDs and come up with over 400 wallpapers which are now available in the Brickset wallpaper repository.
I'm fairly sure I don't have them all -- there seems to be a big gap in my collection in the early 2000s, so I'm hoping that some of you can help fill it. If you can, let me know!
They'll be here forever (unlike when on LEGO.com) so you don't need to download them all at once and overload the server. I hope you find this useful, and I welcome any feedback you have.
Update 20th Jan: Many thanks to Bruno who, over the last few days, has been sending me loads of Bionicle wallpapers. Thanks to his help we now have a pretty complete collection including some I don't remember seeing anywhere else before (such as the Visorak on green jungle background). There may be one or two more to add: teobat pointed me at the Bionicle Media Project which contains loads of Bionicle stuff, including wallpapers. Unfortunately the ZIP archive is unorganised and it's difficult to see what we have and what we don't. Bruno and I will be going through them soon. I'm not a huge Bionicle fan (I used to be...) but I do love these wallpapers! Shame there'll be no more now...
CAN YOU HELP? -- I'm sure there must have been Star Wars wallpapers made between 2001 and 2005 but I don't have any and Googling for them hasn't found any either. If you have them stashed away somewhere, do please get in touch!
This publication of this book seems to have slipped under the radar: The Lego Minifigure Ultimate Sticker Collection was released at the end of December: The description at Amazon reads: "Thirty years of minifigures are represented in this one-of-a kind sticker collection for LEGO fans young and old alike! With more than 600 reusable stickers, kids of all ages can bring all the minifigures to life in a whole new way! "
You can order it from Amazon:
- In the USA: Ultimate Sticker Collection: LEGO Minifigure
- In the UK: Lego Minifigure Ultimate Sticker Collection [With Sticker(s)] (Ultimate Sticker Collections)
- In Canada: Lego Mini Figure Ultimate Sticker Collection
- In Germany: Ultimate Sticker Collection: LEGO Minifigure (Ultimate Sticker Collections)
- In France: Lego Minifigure.
What's more, there'll be a Star Wars one along later in the year: ziebarpe_22 found it listed at Borders.au, and some Amazon sites are showing it as being available in December 2010.
Hero Factory, the replacement for Bionicle, has been revealed at what looks like a US toy fair website, WizardWorld. I can't get the images to load, I suspect the site is under some strain at the moment, but Eurobricks has copies of them, some of which don't load either at the moment! Clealy there's a lot of interest in these, which are described as follows:
7164 Preston Stormer
He’s the Hero Factory Alpha Team leader, having completed more missions than any other hero. Brave and tough, yet proud and competitive, he is armed with a built-in multi-functional ice weapon, featuring an ice saw, bolt shooter, and harpoon to stop anyone in their tracks.
7165 Natalie Breez
A Hero Factory rookie, training alongside Blaze, she is agile, a natural diplomat and always ready to give it everything she’s got. Armed with energized dual boomerangs and harpoon for climbing, she’s always ready to tackle any mission.
7167 William Blaze
A Hero Factory rookie on his final training mission, Blaze is smart, highly competitive and very confident. Armed with a dual fire shooter, he always has everyone’s back.
7168 Duncan Bulk
The toughest, strongest hero on the Hero Factory Alpha Team, Duncan has built-in heavy multifunctional metal weapons which shoot metal spheres, helping to protect everyone from danger.
7169 Mark Surge
The youngest rookie on the Hero Factory team, Surge is a little clumsy, yet highly competitive. He tends to have problems landing his hero pod, but his skill in manipulating his electrical shield, armor and lightning weapon makes up for it.
7170 Jimi Stringer
The most highly advanced hero on the Factory’s Alpha Team, Stringer is armed with a built-in multi-functional sonic weapon.
All will cost $7.99 and be available in August.
The more observant of you may have noticed that we removed the grainy PoP images last week at LEGO's request. However, Amazon.com have just listed the sets so much better ones are now available. Thanks to iLikePi who extracted them from Amazon and posted to to his flickr stream. They look to be excellent: lots of dark tan pieces, a fantastic selection of minifigs with new hair, headgear and weapons, and of course camels and ostritches! They will be available on April 1st.
Also, there are now some non-watermarked images of the City trains and the Toy Story train doing the rounds, so I've added them here. It's possible that someone has removed the watermarks: they do look a bit smudged in places, so we may need to remove them at some point in the future if asked.
Finally, also new at Amazon.com is another Brickmaster book: LEGO Brickmaster Atlantis, scheduled for release in August. (thanks Dustin)
Update: The PoP sets are no longer listed at Amazon.com and LEGO legal, no less, have asked for them to be removed and the train images are doctored so they have gone too!
There's a bad quality image of the forthcoming cafe-corner-compatible Grand Emporium set at *** (link removed at LEGO's request) However it's good enough to see that it looks like a neat set with lots of nice features, typical of Jamie Berard's previous work on the series. (thanks to mlavwilson for the news.)
Update 14th Jan: LEGO have asked for links to images to be removed but hi-res ones are everywhere now so I think they are shutting the gate after the horse has bolted (again)...
Since the introduction of Star Wars in 1999, LEGO have produced some cool desktop wallpapers and made them available as downloads from their product pages. Trouble is, when a particular product page is removed or updated, the wallpapers disappear. So, I'm thinking of establishing a 'wallpaper repository' here at Brickset, but I need your help!
I've amassed hundreds of them over the years but I'm pretty sure I don't have a complete collection, so that's where you come in. If you too have been collecting them, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know what you have, then hopefully between us we can present a complete gallery of them here on Brickset for posterity.
I've tweaked the CSS slightly to make the site look a bit better on widescreen monitors and also to fix a couple of issues with Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.
Consider ths an experiment: let me know what you think, if you don't like it I can change it back.
Update 12th Jan: You didn't like it. I changed it back :-)
I've updated the links to LEGO.com instructions today: they've made instructions for most of this year's sets available for download. While doing so, I discovered four new racers sets in the 300xx range. Whung (via Eurobricks) found the Star Wars, Atlantis and Creator sets I added earlier today.
I've no idea when and where these will be available so keep a look out and let me know if you find them!
There have been rumours abound of new Harry Potter sets to co-incide with the release of the LEGO Harry Potter game later this year. We speculated that it would be foolish for LEGO not to produce some after they failed to meet demand for Batman sets following the LEGO Batman game release. Now we have proof they are imminent. The South African Kiddywinks toy store website lists six sets for October release, most of which appear to be reworkings of old sets with the exception of 'The Burrows' (the Weasley's house) which, given its strange architecture, could be interesting. You can see a complete list here.
The Toy Story and Atlantis sites have been updated this week. There is some cool wallpaper to be had at nice high resolutions. But I wish they made some of them widescreen: surely most people have widescreen PC monitors these days don't they?
Some of the other sites are in dire need of an update: Star Wars for example still has wallpapers from products that have been obsolete for years. (Thanks to Hamish for the news)
After having been listed as "sold out" during the holiday period, the Winter Toy Shop is again available, but is on back-order until 05 February 2010. This is good news for all those who missed out on this set - including me!
Note: At this time, the Winter Toy Shop is only available to Shop-At-Home customers in Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
Continuing with the release of previously unavailable pictures, I have uploaded today photos of many Minitalia sets.
Gary Istok writes in his Unofficial LEGO sets/parts collectors' guide: "Minitalia was the name assigned to a new variation of LEGO type bricks produced in the early to mid 1970’s, for the Italian market only. It appears that around 1970 the Italian Parliament passed some laws to protect Italian businesses from foreign imports. LEGO was one of those imports. So in order to get around the import restrictions imposed in the early 1970’s TLG established an Italian Subsidiary that produced and sold new sets under the 'Minitalia' name."
It was made from a cheaper plastic and the parts were completely different: they use an 'X' rather than a tube underneath to provide clutching power. As you will see in the theme browser, the sets were pretty uninspiring, consisting mainly of basic sets and houses. There are images of the sets we don't have photos of at BrickLink, although some are tiny.
Today, they are little more than a curiosity and individual parts can be bought on BrickLink for a small sum although complete sets are hard to come by.
There's a poster out showing all the 2010 Star Wars minifigs. On it are figures from a set 10212 which the ToysNBricks blog is guessing is going to be an Imperial Shuttle. Haven't we had enough Imperial Shuttles already? What else could it be given the selection of minifigs displayed?
Also, 10211 is likely to be the rumoured cafe-corner-compatible 'corner shop' set.
Update: The official name for 10211 is apparently "Grand Emporium".
Before the name Scala was re-used in the 1990's for a range of dolls' houses and accessories, it was originally given to a small number of jewellery sets that were released in 1979 and 1980. They featured some cool printed tiles and parts for making bracelets and rings. Now for the first time on the Internet, you can view images of the boxes, rather than the catalogue scans as used at other sites. Check out the Theme browser for Scala and enjoy.
I wonder who the little girls on the boxes were? They must be nearly 40 by now :-)
Fabuland was a fantastic theme aimed at younger kids, and was released between 1979 and 1989. More than 100 sets were produced and even today, the sets and figures are highly regarded and sought after.
Decent pictures of the sets have been hard to come by, which is why until now, we haven't had too many here at Brickset. One reason for this is that many of the sets came in blister-packs or small boxes without instructions, so the images used on other sites tend to be scans from catalogues.
Last year bluemoose and I had an opportunity to photograph a collection (which you'll find out more about in due course) and now for the first time on the Internet, we are able to present an almost complete set of high-quality images taken directly from the set boxes. We are only missing three images now.
If you're a Fabuland fan already, I'm sure you'll enjoy browsing and reminiscing; if you're not, I suspect you soon will be!
Expect more photos like these to be added in the coming days and weeks.
It looks as if all the known January releases are now available from LEGOshop.com in Europe and North America. Recent additions include 8091 Swamp Speeder, 8092 Luke's Landspeeder and 10210 Pirate Imperial Flagship. They'll appear in our product feed in a day or two but if you can't wait that long to order them, click on the yellow box in the menu and get shopping!
I am pleased to announce that Brickset now provides direct links to instruction scans on LEGO's customer service website, thanks to Ross at Brickley's Words. Ross had to shut down his instructions portal in November due to heavy usage but has graciously provided the data to Brickset and will continue to keep it updated.
If instructions are available for a set, you'll see this green icon in the search results. When you click on it, you'll be presented with links to the PDFs on LEGO.com. There's also a list of instructions, with more details, on the set details page.
I hope you like this new feature. Happy New Year!