Brickset news archive: September 2010
A number of LEGO-related applications for mobile devices have been released this week.
First up is a minifig barcode scanner for iPhone, called Mini Collector, which unless I'm mistaken is the first native one for the platform. The interesting thing about this one is that it won't reveal what's in the packet unless you want it to: if you don't, it'll just tell you whether you have it or not. It's now for sale in the AppStore (UK | USA) for a nominal fee. I don't have a iPhone to try it on but it certainly looks very polished from the screenshots.
Next up are two Android applications: another minifig barcode reader called LEGO Minifig Indentifier (we probably have enough of those on the platorm already...) and, by the same author, Star Wars LEGO Guide, which purports to be a complete guide to every Star Wars set and minifigure.
I've downloaded it and tried it out: it's not bad but, unlike the iPhone app, it lacks polish. It works offline without a network connection, so scores one up on Brickset Mobile, and will let you record the number of each set and minifig you own. It doesn't seem to associate set ownership with the corresponding minifig ownership, as far as I can tell. There doesn't seem to be a way to export the data anywhere, either.
If you collect Star Wars and nothing else (how many people do that?) then you might find it useful, but apart from the offline working, it doesn't really do anything over and above Mobile Brickset. Also, the UI badly needs tidying up: the font is a bit strange and unreadable, some of the buttons are a bit wierd, the images are pixellated and sort by set number doesn't! But it's a promising start. There's nothing wrong with it that can't be sorted out in the next release. (Thanks to the Ugly Ducking for the heads-up on the Android ones)
The one we've all been waiting for is now available! Tower Bridge can now be ordered from LEGOshop.com for immediate delivery. Unfortunately there's a limit of 5 per customer, though :-) The double VIP point offer has started too, by the looks of things. (thanks Ulli)
(thanks DrDave for the news)
- Come and see Marvin the Martian (left) and hundreds of other models!
- Meet me and if you're lucky, bluemoose, Martin and Dr. Sinister!
- See the newly-unveiled LEGO Exclusive set months before it's available!
- Spend loads of money at the trade stands (but get there early for the best choice!)
I think that's enough exclamation marks... find out more on the official website.
On the subject of events, a US-style LEGO convention in the UK next year has been announced. AFOLcon, an International Fan Of LEGO convention, is to be held in Manchester 28th April-2nd May 2011. That's 5 days of LEGO fun! See the AFOLcon website for more information and to register.
We're hearing that Harry Potter sets are now being shipped by LEGOshop.com and are indeed showing as 'available now' in the UK, a few days earler than their October 1st release date.
However, it may be worth holding off ordering them just yet as we're also hearing that during October LEGO is offering double VIP points online and in-store, which is effectively a 10% discount. Perfect -- that's just in time for the release of Tower Bridge!
Do you have the new Harry Potter sets? If so, let us know what you think by writing some reviews. Are they good value for money? I've had them for a while. I haven't yet built Hogwarts or Hagrid's hut but my verdict on the others is to buy them all but Hogwart's Express: They are expensive but the figs are excellent and the sets have a decent selection of pieces, particularly The Burrow.
Hogwart's Express has excellent figures but the train itself is atrocious: it's a very lazy design. The loco looks good above the solebar but the wheelsets are totally wrong and make the finshed model look like a cross between a steam train and a diesel. Why they didn't use the new large train wheels, I don't know. Maybe the target audience won't notice or care, but with a little extra effort it could have been superb: on a par with Emerald Night. A wasted opportunity...
I've added some database entries for new Star Wars and Harry Potter magnets and keychains. We don't have pictures we can use here yet but if you head over to A Modular Life blog you can see them in a group picture. The animal ones looks the coolest: particularly the penguin!
I'm pleased to announce that I am now able to provide Canadian users with LEGOshop.com prices in Canadian dollars, thanks to LEGO adding Canada to their affiliate marketing scheme.
As with the US and UK data, Brickset will refresh Canadian prices and availability on a daily basis and the 'New at LEGOshop.com' list above will update accordingly. Of course at the moment, everything is new since I've only just started gathering the data but over time, as new sets are added, it will change.
Every time you make a purchase through any of the links on the site, Brickset gets a small percentage which helps to keep the site running, and encourages me to spend time updating it and adding new features. You can read more about this in this Brothers-Brick article.
I hope you find this useful.
Since 2008, new Lego Brand Stores have celebrated their opening with exclusive in-store sets that have typically been limited to the first 300 customers (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less) who have spent at least US$35 (or the local equivalent) in the store on the opening day. As you can imagine, these are pretty rare sets. They are usually modelled on something of local interest, which means some of the subjects are a little obscure to non-residents.
These sets are usually provided in a zip-lock bag with colour photocopied (or inkjet printed) instructions, with the obvious exception being the 'Big Apple' poly-bagged set from earlier this year that was used as the opening day set for the New York city store. According to our research, there have been 28 of them released since 2008 (and an additional one released way back in 1992).
Today we've added to the database all the 'Grand Opening' sets that we've been able to track down. If you know of any others, please let us know. It looks like we'll need to update this list quite frequently with the new stores expected to open in the coming months!
Beginning Sunday 9/26/10 and ending Saturday 10/2/10, Toys R Us is having a "20% Off" Sale on the following three Star Wars sets: Hoth Wampa Cave (8089), Grievous Starfighter (8095) and Plo Koon's Starfighter (8093). Please note though that this "20% Off" is applied on the new TRU price and not the MSRP. Thus your savings are moreso in the 10%, 12% and 4% range respectively. Toys R Us is also offering a $10 Gift Card with any $50 Star Wars purchase (outside of books and educational electronics) or a $5 Gift Card with any $30 Star Wars purchase under the same restrictions. The Gift Card deal is only available in-store but the discounts will also be available online.
While the Gift Card aspect makes this a much a more enticing offer, you can still probably find as good a deal if not better at Borders with one of their weekly coupons. With just their standard 33% coupon, you can get Slave 1(8097) at 22% off MSRP, Hoth Wampa Cave (8089) at 25% off MSRP, and the Emperor Palpatine's Shuttle (8096) at 17% off MSRP.
We're getting quite a few emails about early 2011 sets, as there have been a lot of new leaks in the last few days, including good quality shots of some brand new themes for next year, as well as the Series 3 collectable minifig line-up.
We aren't ignoring the posts, but we are making a deliberate decision not to post info until official sources are available. To reiterate Huw's post from last month -
"We're aware that there's news of 2011 sets on other sites, based on the sighting of a retailers' catalogue.
While we like to read it as much as you do, we know that LEGO do not appreciate it when leaks like this occur so early in the year and are propagated by sites as popular as this. One reason being that it could potentially enable a competitor to bring a similar product to market beforehand. So, for that reason, we won't be reporting on it here, or providing links to it, until much later in the year when it becomes 'common knowledge' and is not based on priveleged information (e.g. the retailers' catalogue), and we'll be deleting comments that mention it, too.
I appreciate your understanding on this."
We're aware that Lego's lawyers are taking pro-active action to get these new files removed from image sharing sites, so make the most of them if you do track them down. Please do not post links to images or discuss the new themes here, as your posts will be deleted. Thanks for understanding :-)
Thanks to Brickset member 'Midnight' who has contacted us to say that the Bluewater Lego store is now stocking some of the new Harry Potter sets. Specifically, they currently have #4840 'The Burrow', #4842 'Hogwarts Castle' and #4737 'Quidditch Match' on the shelf; a member of staff said the other sets would go out tomorrow.
We've checked the Milton Keynes store but they say they haven't received them yet; we haven't been able to check if Brighton has them yet.
Depite fears after seeing TV ads yesterday, the Argos offer is for ALL toys regardless of price. They don't have much in stock for home delivery but there does seem to be plenty of stock in the shops. At least, I've managed to reserve 3 Slave 1s, 3 cargo trains and 3 passenger trains :-)
Here's a direct link to the LEGO selection, sorted by price descending. Reserve online, pick up later. The offer runs until next Tuesday so if your branch doesn't have the stock you should still be able to get it sent there for the weekend.
I've added a number of old polybag sets to the database recently, including three today. Thanks to Dmitriy and Gena_A from doublebrick.ru in Russia for sending them to us. Normally, when we receive images for sets that we don't have in our database we can cross-check with BrickLink, Peeron or the Collector book to find out more about them, such as year of release.
However in this case, the three added today are not mentioned anywhere else. It's very unusual for them not to be at BrickLink in particular, so they really are ultra-rare. It wouldn't take much to re-constitute the sets from parts in your own collection, but even so, for the collector who has to have everything, these are going to be difficult to track down!
If you're hoping to get early access to LEGO Universe on October 12th, before the official launch date of October 26th, you need to get your order in before 28th September to ensure you have the necessary software delivered in time.
Just in case you've been living in a cave for the last 4 years: "LEGO Universe is the first massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) for LEGO fans! Adventure awaits in endless worlds of creative LEGO fun where you can safely build, play and connect online. Build your custom LEGO Universe minifigure and join the Nexus Force, an elite team of heroes united to defeat the Maelstrom, a dark menace trying to destroy imagination! Tap into your unique abilities and save imagination by uncovering the secrets to overcoming the Maelstrom. " (so says the blurb on LEGO.com)
Brickset member tlmartin brought this to my attention: advance information that all toys will be 3 for 2 in Argos from next Wednesday, 22nd-28th September.
Now, I understand that if you reserve sets online you pay the prevailing price when you pick them up, so it might pay to reserve them on the Argos website (direct link to the LEGO section) on Tuedsay for pickup Wednesday. If the offer doesn't come to pass then, well, you just don't collect them.
I've added the collectable minifigure series 2 wallpapers to the repository, along with a few miscellaneous ones dug out of the wayback machine's archive of LEGO.com by Scott B. Question: were there a set of wallpapers for series 1 figs that I missed?
If the thumbnails don't display when you view the page, try again: the wallpaper images are still hosted on the cra??y 1and1 server which restricts concurrent connections and under heave use it won't show them. So, just refresh the page.
You'll notice from the 'New Additions' banner above that we've recently added a number of new entries to the database for 'Super Pack' sets, those 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 (or occasionally 5-in-1 or even 6-in-1) product packs that appear from time-to-time in the larger retailers like Toys-r-Us.
These are interesting packs, and can represent a nice saving over buying the included sets separately ... assuming you want them all in the first place. They present an interesting problem for us here on Brickset as they get little proper publicity, and we're largely reliant on them being spotted in-store and reported to us here or through other Lego websites. That also means the "box shots" are often quite poor quality.
The stand-out new 'super packs' for me are the two new Hoth-themed Star Wars packs, each containing 13 figs, #66364 and #66366. I haven't seen these on sale anywhere yet & we have no idea of the retail price, but they'd each make for a lovely surprise gift :-)
I've made a tweak to the review form, prompted by brickset member Alemas, to enable you to preview your review to make sure it looks right before you submit it. In fact, you have to preview it before you submit.
I'm hoping that this will improve the quality of the formatting of reviews generally: at the moment we have to delete quite a few that haven't been formatted correctly.
As usual, if you have any problems with the review form or process, let me know.
Of course by "ALL", TRU means except Star Wars. The sale begins Sunday 9/19/10, ends on Saturday 9/25/10, and should be valid both in-store and on-line. As always, do your best to buy similarly priced sets in order to maximize your savings (i.e. 33%). For those of you waiting for the best deals, they generally don't get any better than this. That is unless you luck out on the day after Thanksgiving and score a 50% off coupon at your local LEGO Store. You are, of course, then required to buy a Death Star. :o)
REVISED UPDATE: TOYSRUS.com is now selling the various Train Track, Power Functions, and Road Plate sets but none appears to be eligible for this sale. :o(
In just over two weeks, the largest LEGO show in the UK will be taking place at the STEAM Museum, Swindon, on the 2nd and 3rd October. This year promises to be bigger and better than ever with more displays, more traders (including an official LEGO shop), more presentations, more everything...
This year, the organisers, which includes Brickset's very own Martin, have set up a website with information about the show and also about the models that'll be there and their builders. Head over to http://www.greatwesternlegoshow.com/ to find out more. Over the next few weeks activity on the site will ramp up so check it often, or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Myself, Martin, Dr. Sinister and bluemoose will all be there again. I'm contributing to the train layout in the Caerphilly Hall again so if you come along be sure to drop by and say hello.
If you have any questions about the show, by all means ask here. Myself or Martin will be able to answer.
High-street chemist Boots currently has 3-for-2 offer on most LEGO sets. They appear to have most of the latest batch of Star Wars sets, so it would be a good opportunity to stock up on Slave-1s.
See what's in stock: they even do free delivery on orders over £45.
The six Harry Potter sets can now be pre-ordered from LEGOshop.com in the UK for shipment by 1st October.
Because the patent on the 'stud and tube' connection method expired some time ago, other companies, including M??? B????s, are legally able to produce compatible bricks. LEGO wanted the design of the brick designated a trademark to prevent them from doing so, but yesterday the European Court of Justice upheld the decision made in 2004 to cancel it.
What does this mean to us fans? Not a great deal, other than the shops will continue to be cluttered up with inferior products, and perhaps LEGO will be forced to keep their prices in check, although there hasn't been any evidence of that so far!
M???????s and LEGO may well be compatible in as much that they fit together but as we all know that's about as far as it goes: in terms of quality, design and appeal to adults there is no comparison...
Update: LEGO has published their own press release on this now.
Brickset member Swgriffin went to his local Target today to take advantage of the 20% off sale and found 12 boxes of series 2 minifigures, also at 20% off! Is this the first sighting in Australia?
"Happy days" he says...
There have been rumors for a couple of weeks that Walmart was to begin selling Series 2 Minifigures here in the U.S. Brickset member syahcire however, is now reporting that he has found them on a "sidecap hanging display" in the LEGO section at a Walmart in Arlington, TX. As many of you have already noted, it definitely appears that the U.S. distribution for Series 2 has been much better than Series 1. Besides Walmart, Series 2 has been available at Target, Toys R Us, Borders, and LEGO Stores not to mention independent shops, TOYSRUS.COM and LEGOSHOP.COM among others.
We're barely out of August but new Christmas sets are appearing in shops already. Jon S bought this 40010, Santa on sleigh with reindeer, from LEGOLAND Windsor and said that there was another one which "had a few Christmas trees in it" which he didn't buy.
Today, Brickset was moved onto its own dedicated virtual server, a 2Gb Windows Server 2008R2 machine which should mean it's much faster and more secure, not that either of those were a problem on the old one, though.
There were a few issues during the transition as some of you have noticed. The mobile site was down for a few hours, the geo-locating didn't work and latest comment ages were a bit out. I think these are now all sorted but if you do notice anything strange anywhere, leave a comment and I'll try and sort it.
If you are looking for web hosting I can thoroughly recommend Northstar Computer Systems who host Brickset (and BrickLink) particularly for the stability of the service and first-rate technical support, where you talk to a real person, and the same one every time.
As a few of you have noticed, we have a slight problem with the automatic location system for news posts - for example, some people are being misidentified as being in the US when they are really in the UK, & vice-versa.
We rely on a 3rd party IP address database for this auto-location system, so please stand by while we track down the problem. Thanks for your patience :-)
Perhaps the most significant story to emerge this week, which I haven't seen mentioned on other LEGO fan sites, is that LEGO has again announced increasing profits this half-year.
"Strong sales of Lego Atlantis, a Lego version of the mythical lost undersea city, helped the Danish toy-maker report a 34pc increase in sales over the first half of its financial year." reports The Telegraph while Toy News says that Lego Prince of Persia has been "extremely well received" by consumers which surprises me somewhat given the way it was reduced here in the UK very shortly after release.
I suspect the hike in prices across the board has contributed to this profit, too. But, of course, it's far better for the company to be healthy than making a loss to ensure its longevity.
So, well done Mark S, designer of some of the Atlantis sets, for directly contributing to the company's profits. I hope they give you a raise :-)
I've just about finished going through the emails you all sent me last week. Here's a round-up of the most significant stories:
- Toomuchdew has posted the October U.S. brand store calendar to flickr.
- He's also posted instructions for the September monthly mini model build (a boy with backpack)
- Unbelievably TRU in the UK has reduced the price of some of last year's Star Wars sets including Home One 7754, £20 off, now £79.99, Swamp Speeder 8091, £10 off, now £29.99, Venator Class 8039, £5 off now £94.99. They are still offering the chome Stormtrooper free with sales over £29.99 too. (thanks goldfish)
- All the Harry Potter sets are on the shelves at LEGOLAND Windsor. Just mind the wasps when you go... (thanks cllmkrr)
- If you order all 6 Harry Potter sets from LEGOshop.com in the USA you'll receive alternate building instructions for The Burrow. (thanks natro220)
As I mentioned below I've been in London on a course (SharePoint, if you're intrested...) so had a bit of time to kill in the evenings. So, I thought I'd see if I could track down some figs, given that I didn't have any. For the benefit of others who might find themselves in London I thought I'd let you know where to look:
- Argos: No London branches appear to have them yet
- Game, Oxford Street has a tub of them around the tills, but far enough away that you can rummage without getting in the way. I bagged my first ones there: I didn't bother scanning codes but just looked for as many different ones as I could find. I bought 10.
- WHS, Oxford Street also has a tub in the queue line but here there's no chance of rummaging as the store is so busy and you'd be right in the way
- Hamleys: London's biggest toy shop charges extortionate prices for everything and the figs are no exception. Here they are £3. There were plenty by the tills and I suspect sucker tourists still buy them at that price...
- John Lewis, Oxford Street: The toy depatrment is right up on the 4th floor but was worth the trip. There were at least a dozen boxes of them out on the shelves near the tills. As I'd bought those in Game the day before I knew exactly which ones I was missing so I took one of the least rummaged boxes over to a quiet area of the toy dept. and located the 6 I needed with the help of the Android 'Mini Figure' app. Funny thing was, the box contained no Spartans. Luckily I'd got one in Game the day before (and went back and found another) so I didn't need one but I had planned on stocking up. So, I grabbed another box and looked in it. Still no Spartans. By the time I had been through the fifth box I concluded that someone had beat me to it!
So, if you're in the area, head for John Lewis. In fact check your local branch as well. You might not find any Spartans but they've probably got plenty of others.
Finally, someone else was doing a bit of rummaging and fiddling with a mobile phone in JL while I was there (7pm yesterday) but had gone once I'd been through the tills. Was that you?
If you're a BrickMaster subscriber you'll have received an email today stating that it's being discontinued and will be replaced by something else next year. I wonder why? Maybe it wasn't a success.
Apologies for the slow news this week, I'm currently on a course in London, with just my iPad. Great though it is, it doesn't implement the one feature needed to be able to use this site's content management system so it's difficult to post formatted news articles here. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow...
For all you Aussie LEGO enthusiasts, the latest catalogue from Target (Australia), is advertising 20% off the price of LEGO starting from Thursday 09 September 2010 until 15 September 2010.
Page 17 of the Target catalogue has all the details.
Edit: There are reports that a number of Target stores have *new* stock of Series 1 Minifigures (8683), so this might be a good opportunity to get some Minifigures - especially for those who missed out when Target first stocked the Series 1 Minifigures a couple of months ago.
Thanks to the headsup late yesterday from roar15, I checked a few of our local Targets this morning and did indeed find Series 2 Minifigures in the Halloween section. They are $1.99 and there is no limit, unlike Toys R Us (now $2.99 and limit of 2 at some stores) or Borders ($3.99 but no limit). If you happen to have an empty Series 2 wrapper, just scan at any of the PRICE CHECK scanners located around the store and it will tell you where they are located and if there are any in the storeroom. It appears each of the stores I visited had only 2 boxes, though 2 of the stores had yet to put out their Halloween supplies so the Minifigures were still in the stockroom. The third store, however, had already put out its 2 minifigure boxes but the boxes had already been pretty well picked through. It's also unclear if Target stores will be replenishing these minifigures once these first boxes are depleted, so don't dilly-dally. :o)
UPDATE: It appears that many Targets have not yet put out their Halloween merchandise, including the minfigures. It is my understanding, though, that most of these stores will likely catch up sometime this week.
Offer is available both in-store and online. This is a great opportunity to pick up the TRU Exclusive Fan's Choice Public Transport Station. Just be sure to buy 2 similarly priced sets in order to maximize the discount.
We have suffered a strength 7.1 earthquake here in Christchurch, New Zealand. There has been much damage caused to city buildings and services such as water and sewerage. Roads and railways have also been affected. Note that the earthquake that hit Haiti in January this year was strength 7.0 but thankfully there have been no deaths here in Christchurch. (Very low population density in comparison).
Luckily my LEGO set collection has not suffered any major damage. My Model Team set 5563 fell to the floor, and I have spent this afternoon rebuilding that set and also checking the rest of my 2700+ sets checking for any more that may need to be rebuilt.
There have been lots of after-shocks; one of these this morning was strength 5.3
Thanks to Tesco Direct's mess-up, I'm the happy owner of the new Harry Potter sets. Click through on the image to see hi-res photos. I'll be building The Burrow later this evening, time permitting!
I'd like to introduce you to a new LEGO blog: Gimme LEGO - the musings of a LEGO obsessive. This is not the sort of thing I would normally mention in a news article but I'm making an exception because its author is none other than DrDaveWatford who, as you'll know if you're a regular here, is a vocal and valued member of the Brickset community.
Writing a blog is hard work (which is why I don't do it!), so I encourage you to head on over and give Dave the support his efforts deserve. If you use a RSS reader to keep up to date with the myriad of blogs out there, like I do, you can subscribe to posts via the Atom feed.
If you weren't fortunate enough to get a set of these at the Star Wars Celebration event in Florida last month, fear not: Brickset member JSutton with help from Brent S has reverse-engineered them and provided step-by step instructions, available exclusively here at Brickset.
You'll find them on the Cube Dudes page, along with instructions for those available from the San Diego Comic Con.
It seems that the Harry Potter sets are now out of stock at Tesco Direct. I reckon that means one of two things:
Either, everyone here ordered Tesco's entire stock between bluemoose's annoucement yesterday and today or, more likely, someone at LEGO had a quiet word with Tesco after reading about their early availability here and asked them to stop selling them.
Whatever, I'll be picking up mine from the shop tomorrow and it seems that the 'Brickset effect' strikes again!
If you're in the USA you can now pre-order the HP sets for delivery around 1st October. Here's the link: NEW LEGO® Harry Potter™ sets now available at shop.LEGO.com!. What's more if you spend over $75 you'll get free shipping until the 19th September.
Before I went away I finished off adding some new features which I've just published today.
- Your overall review ratings are now shown in the results table, along with a link to your review.
- On the My Sets page you'll see new links to view sets that you have rated 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and to those you own that you have not yet rated. The links 1 to 5 only appear if you have actually given a set that rating.
- You can now edit your reviews. If you review a set for a second time, your original review will be shown in the form, which you can then edit.
- When viewing review listings, an 'Edit this review' link will be provided on your reviews.
Also, unrelated, the web services have been updated with a new service method and if you have a iPhone/iPad I've provided a fancy icon which will be used if you bookmark Brickset.com.
As usual, if you find any problems with any of this, or have suggestions for future enhancements, let me know.
I've been away on a short cruise to Cork, Ireland: it looks like its been a busy few days here at Brickset and I'd like to thank bluemoose and grahame for keeping you all informed in my absence. To get me back into the LEGO 'groove' I've just ordered the Harry Potter sets and will be collecting them tomorrow evening! Nice one Tesco!
While in Cork I had the opportunity to visit Smyths, the largest chain of toy stores in Ireland. The LEGO aisle was absolutely fantastic: it had virtually every set that's currently available all neatly and tidily organised on the shelves, and there were even some pretty decent discounts on older sets. It put Toys R Us to shame. So if you're in Ireland, lucky you!
I'm not sure when it happened, but South Korea has been added to the list of countries able to buy from the LEGO Internet shop. This is obviously good news for all South Korean LEGO fans!
The Motorized Excavator set 8043 is again available from the LEGO shop online. Shipping dates are 30 days for the US and Canada, and 29 October for the rest of the countries that have access to the LEGO Internet shop.
No mention though of any replacement parts.