Brickset news archive: March 2010
So my gift to you is some new images of sets released in 1973! I won't tell you how old I am today but I was ten in 1973 ( :-) ) and set 358, Rocket base, pictured, was one of my favourite sets as a kid and it's possible I got it for my 10th birthday (but I can't remember for sure!)
1973 marked LEGO's entry to the US market. Previously sets has been made under license by Samsonite and the last few such sets were released at the start of 1973. Later in the year LEGO established themselves in the USA and began manufacturing and selling sets there. For some reason best known to LEGO, US sets were released with different numbers to those released elsewhere, possibly because of different packaging requirements. (US set boxes have more text including the set name and the number of parts on them. To this day these do not appear on the majority of boxes sold in Europe). Consequently, from a database point of view, things became compilcated!
Also of note this year was a large increase in homemaker sets, but still it would be a year before LEGO figures would appear to populate them. Floating boats were released, as were a range of supplementary parts packs.
All in all, a good year...
Yes I have spelled the title correctly: LEGO messed up big-time on this newly released magnet set which I acquired in a brand store yesterday. Not only have they spelled the good Admiral's name incorrectly but they've also mis-hyphenated poor C-3PO too. Their solution was fairly ingenious but probably tedious to implement! There are more pictures in my flickr stream.
Apart from that, it's a great way to get an Ackbar without forking out for the Home One Mon Calamari Star Cruiser!
Quite a few retailers are hoping that you'll part with your money on toys rather than chocolate for Easter and have offers to tempt you to:
In the UK:
- As previously stated Argos has 20% off LEGO until Tuesday. There's probably not much left after the weekend but you might get lucky.
- The chrome Stormtrooper is available in Toys R Us: spend over £29.99 and get one free (thanks Jon)
In the US:
- Toys R Us is is running a 'buy one get one 50%' sale on all Lego sets (excluding Star Wars, Toy Story and Bricks and More). (thanks B)
- Eurobricks has picture of the forthcoming AT-AT which looks like it comes with a whole host of minifigs, for a change: previous AT-ATs have been a bit boring on that front.
- Several sites, including BZPower, have published good pictures of the HERO Factory villains which I've added here. They look very much like recycled Bionicle to me...
- I apologise that the 'New at LEGOshop.com' listing above is so out of date: I don't know why the PoP sets haven't appeared in our US product feed from LEGO yet, or the Architecture ones in the UK feed. If you want to order them you can do so by following these links: Prince of Persia (US) and Architecture (UK) .
I'm back in the Philippines for another four-week stint and have come across some of the Prince of Persia sets for sale here in Manila. They are not out yet in my home country of New Zealand, and I didn't see any in the stores that I visited in Singapore on the way over.
UK store Argos has 20% off all LEGO until Tuesday. They have a large range including Star Wars and Toy Story so if you've been waiting until they are available at a more reasonable price, now's the time to buy.
From tomorrow you can get the chrome stormtrooper free in Canadian TRUs when you spend $30 on Star Wars LEGO. They are bound to go quickly -- they did in the USA -- so get down there first thing in the morning to claim yours!
Somewhat earlier than anticipated, Prince Of Persia sets are now available from LEGOshop.com in the USA . As well as the 5 main sets there are three keyings available.
The hype is now over: order them today!
(thanks to everyone who emailed us the news!)
Here's the UK brand store calendar for April. The special offer this month is a free tub of PaB with purchases of £50, but more noteworthy than that is the complete absence of any mention of Prince Of Persia sets or release dates. Compare it to the US one, which has PoP plastered all over it. I'm sure it doesn't mean that they won't be available here but possibly that their release will be later in the month.
While on the subject of PoP, there's an excellent review of the Ostritch Race set at Eurobricks. I was going to try and resist buying them (yeah, right...) but now having seen how cool the ostritches and minifigs are, that'll never happen...
We've pulled out all the stops today to bring you new images of another year: 1972. It was a great year for trains, with nearly 1/4 of all sets released this year being train related. As in previous years, the models of vehicles were in two scales: 4 wide LEGOLAND models and 6 wide which were more detailed. The first educational sets were released this year (but the Dacta name was not used until later) and also the first sets with 4 digit numbers, two of which were among the first co-promotional sets 1550 and 1551, for Sterling Airways, a Danish airline.
Today I've uploaded new images of sets released in 1971. LEGO stepped up a gear compared to 1970 and released 63 sets. However, the market was fragmented further this year: not only were Samsonite sets being made and sold only in North America, but LEGO started marketing Minitalia sets in Italy (for reasons already discussed). The year also saw the first Homemaker sets: 'dolls house' style sets but without any figures to go in them. We had to wait until 1974 for the LEGO family to appear!
I'd like to thank bluemoose for taking and post-processing the images which have come out really clean and clear. He's also improved the 1970 images I posted on Wednesday. Also, thanks to Bruno who has helped fill the gaps for 1970 from his own picture collection.
Watch this space for more: 1972 will be coming up next...
If you've been waiting for the cost of this, the largest LEGO set ever in terms of number of pieces, to come down a bit, then wait no more: the Taj Mahal is now available for $250, reduced from $300 at LEGOshop.com.
After last week's dearth of news, this week has been crazy! At long last the Architecture range of sets is available in European LEGO brand stores and also from LEGOshop.com. Mind you, the prices are astronomical. The biggest and best, Fallingwater, is a whopping £75 or €79 for 800 pieces, which I guess is on a par with Star Wars in terms of price per piece so perhaps it just looks worse because the box is small. However, the Empire State Building takes the biscuit: £20 or €20 for 77 plain bricks: that's 25p a piece!
I'm not exactly encouraging you to buy them, am I, but let me finish by saying that despite the high prices, Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum (£35, €35) are very nice models and if you can afford them they are worth adding to your collection.
Rick managed to bag two at his local TRU in Westminster, Colorado: "Just had a surprise. I was just able to get 7572 and 7573 Prince of Persia sets..." he writes. It might be worth checking your local branch! We're told they are also available in the LEGO brand store in Copenhagen.
Clearly LEGO's position of wanting to keep the images under wraps is now untenable, so I've made the decision to show them here again. Hopefully their lawyer won't be on my case again...
This rather excellent looking garbage truck will be a TRU exclusive in the USA, and will cost a very reasonable $45. You can't yet order it from the Toys R Us website, but presumably it'll be available when the other TS3 sets are released in June.
Update: This has now been removed from the TRU site: expect me to me asked to remove it from here soon (thanks Sterling for spotting this!)
They are also listing three Prince Of Persia sets which are now showing as in stock. Ridiculously, I'm told LEGO/Disney have still not yet agreed to the images being released so I'm still being asked not to use them.
It's been a while since I've uploaded the images of vintage sets taken at a 'secret location' (but soon to be revealed!), so today I present to you new images of sets released in 1970. It is interesting that the train sets are quite sophisticated whereas the vehicles, particularly the LEGOLAND ones, are very basic indeed. 1970 was the first year that Duplo sets appeared, albeit without the red Duplo rabbit adorning the boxes.
It's also interesting that in the entire year of 1970, LEGO released just 38 sets, 6 of which were spares for trains and 6 were US-only Samsonite sets. These days it's usually over 400 different sets produced each year.
This is a question that many AFOLs have asked over the years, one reason being to have an idea of how important we are as a whole to LEGO, and thus how influential we are in shaping their product lines.
Now, thanks to the 2010 issue of The Brick, the annual LEGO magazine aimed at stakeholders and customers, we have an answer. On page 60, it states "...a little under 5% of the LEGO sales come from adults who buy bricks for themselves" which to me seems like a very sigificant percentage. If we take 5% of the year 2009 LEGO income of 11,600 million Kroner (from the back page of The Brick), that works out at around 500 million Kroner which is US $92 million or £60 million! That's a lot of money that we collectively spend on our hobby!
Here's a good way to stock up on green aliens such that you can recreate the arcade grabber scene in Toy Story. My French is not good but it appears that you can get this set when you spend €20 on Toy Story LEGO sets in a shop in France. See the poster here and let me know a better translation if you speak French.
Thanks to Albert over at Toys N Bricks for the news, which came from a post in the forum there by yoda99. He's also showing pictures of the TS3 sets, however unless their source can be verified as originating from LEGO, I won't be able to use them here just yet. I'm told this is because LEGO and Disney are still trying to keep them under wraps.
We're getting cryptic reports that the free stormtrooper offer is or will be available in Toys R Us in the USA: "Get a free Chrome Storm Trooper at USA TRU with $11.99 purchase" says Patrick but I have no further details at present.
Update: read the comments for full details!
The UK newspaper the Daily Mirror has another LEGO promotion starting next Saturday. This time there's 6 mini Racers sets to collect: 30030, 30033, 30034, 30035, 7801 and 7802 (thanks Shamu1Believe for identifying the latter two).
For those that don't know about these promotions, you get a free set when you buy the paper from certain outlets (WHS again I suspect) or you can send off tokens to have them sent to you.
Thanks to Andrew for posting the image in the Brickish Association forums.
The April store calendar for the US is out and as you can clearly see shows the release of Prince Of Persia sets on the 26th April! Bizarrely I'm still not allowed to re-post the set pictures here: LEGO/Disney want to keep them under wraps to avoid 'spoiling the movie', apparently...
Oh, and a TRU insider in the US says that set 8404 'Fan Choice' has been given the name 'LEGO City Public Transport' on their computer system. So it could be interesting. Can anyone remember what the choices were?
I've changed the HTML editor used when writing reviews. It works in IE7/8, FireFox 3+, Safari 4+, Chrome and Opera so now everyone can write nicely formatted reviews. It's resolved the strange problem the other one had in FireFox, too.
If you're interested, I used jHtmlArea which is not as full-featured at FCKEditor but it doesn't need to be in this implementation.
Better late than never, here are scans of the UK brand store calendars for March: Front | Back. This week's monthly mini model build (MMMB) in the UK was not a shamrock, but some birds instead. It was however the US MMMB.
Update: Toys N Bricks has scans of the April US calendar showing the release of the PoP sets at the end of the month!
Check it out but there's not much there yet except an embedded trailer. I believe the sets are due out in April so I guess more content will appear this month. I've asked LEGO whether it's safe for me to repost the set images now :-)
(Thanks nandj and merljin for the news)
A year after their European launch, some of the first wave of 10 LEGO games, are now available in the USA and can be ordered from LEGOshop.com.
It's true to say that some are better than others but they were all well received in Europe and are very good value for money. Read the reviews here before you buy! My favourites, from a playability point of view, are Minotaurus and Magikus. Creationary is good, but make sure everyone playing at least knows what a LEGO brick is and can put them together, unlike when I played with Granny :-)
Months before the main sets are released, instructions for two promotional Kingdoms sets, 30061 and 30062, have turned up on LEGO.com. (thanks whung via Eurobricks)