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Perhaps the only thing more joyous than receiving LEGO during the holidays is gifting it!
With that in mind, we've compiled the Brickset Holiday Gift Guide, highlighting our picks for the best offerings from LEGO to help repair your reputation from the ugly sweater you gave last year.
We've chosen various price points to suit your gift giving needs, from stocking stuffers to sets so large you'll run out of wrapping paper! Within each price segment, we'll identify two sets: one appropriate for children, and one appropriate for children-at-heart.
"Stocking Stuffers": $10 and under
For Children: 40058 Decorating the Tree
A Christmas present that's a LEGO set of people gathering around a Christmas tree with presents? That's so meta!
Polybags are generally designed to be impulse buys, and therefore usually do not present the best value for consumers. 40058 Decorating the Tree is an offering that bucks that trend; for $7.99 USD, you get 110 pieces and among them are two minifigures.
Moreover, the set itself does not suffer from from the feeling that corners were cut in order to hold to the low price point; the tree is a fair representation, and there are plenty of presents to go under it.
For Adults: 850705 Salt and Pepper Shaker set
Salt and pepper shakers serve as conversation pieces just as much as their more mundane job of containing and being shaken. With that in mind, don't let your loved one pass on the opportunity to profess their love of LEGO and put in on their table for all the world to see!
The Salt and Pepper Shakers are upsized to 2.5" x 2". The product description says they are 600x larger than a 1x1 brick, but somehow that math doesn't add up. Nevermind that though, they're still cool.
Do you have other gift suggestions in this price segment? Feel free to share them with everyone in the comments section. And tune in tomorrow for our picks in the $10-$25 range!
It's not even Christmas yet but already a Valentines set for next year has appeared on eBay.
I have to say, it's very cute, isn't it. I wonder if it was designed by Mel Caddick?
I've received several reports this morning that the Eiffel Tower Architecture model is now available in Europe. Patrick sent us this image and says he bought it in Spiel und Freizeit, Augsburg, Germany, so it's not confined to France, it seems.
I believe it will be more widely available, including at shop.LEGO.com, on 1st January. We hope to bring you a review of it then.
See what's new on our new instructions page.
Today we are presented with another Minifigure, a Clone Trooper, which is a welcome change from yesterday's debacle. This is a fairly basic Minifigure but one which is welcome as one can never have too many Clone Troopers, particularly when they have only appeared in relatively few sets before now, and are therefore not particularly easy to collect in great numbers unless you purchase them separately.
This Clone Trooper appears in his Phase I armour, which is worn in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and throughout the earlier Clone Wars seasons. The helmet and torso printing is excellent, with a brilliant level of detail, and I like the expression on his face as well, which is suitably determined. Some printing on his legs would have been nice to see, but it is better to continue the trend set by this Minifigure in 75000 in my opinion to retain some uniformity. Unfortunately he is unarmed, but we should all still have some weapons remaining from the weapons rack on day seven so this is not too much of a problem.
There is not a great deal more to say about this figure. Quite simply, this is a useful Minifigure and will make a nice addition to an army. It is not without merit alone however, as the detailing is perfect as far as I can see.
Overall - 4 - A lovely Minifigure and a welcome inclusion, but not quite exciting enough to warrant the highest score.
With a boring bench for the table and something unidentifiable in yesterday's City and Friends calendars there wasn't much to write about. Today however, we have our third proper minifig in the City calendar: a firefighter. What's more, it's a female firefighter, which is even better.
A common theme in the City calendar this year seems to be that the minifigs are not acting normally: the policeman and robber are socialising, and now, the firefighter is not extinguishing flames, but cooking sausages.
I'm guessing that tomorrow we'll have a fire to cook over. There are enough sausages and 'forks' for the policeman and the robber to partake in some barbecued snags as well, so if we do have a fire tomorrow, it should make a splendid photograph :-)
In October, we had our first glimpse of this Architecture set when a small image was posted on the LEGO customer survey site. Last week, its instructions were added to the LEGO Customer Services site and now, thanks to LEGO's Singapore office and the CEE team, I have one to review.
Before I launch into the review, I suspect you're all wondering 'how can I get one?' Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that it can be purchased now. The bad news is, only in Asia. It's also for sale at shop.LEGO.com but only to Korea. It can also be purchased from the Marina Bay Sands hotel gift shop 'and selected LEGO retailers in Asia'. I'm told that it's a limited edition run of 10,000. Your best bet then, is to head to the forum and see if you can hook up with someone in Asia to get one shipped to you.
Marina Bay Sands is a hotel and leisure complex on the southern tip of Singapore. It was designed by Moshe Safdie and opened in 2010. It's 57-stories high and cost $5.7 billion to build. It has some very cool features including a rooftop 'infinity pool'. There are some great pictures of it, and the building, on this blog. The 602-piece LEGO version was designed by Rok Kobe, who also designed the UN Headquarters.
It appears that LEGO Singapore has its offices in the Marina Bay area which may help explain why this set has been produced.
On day nine we have another mini model, this time an Acclamator Class Republic Assault Ship. This vehicle only appears fairly briefly during the latter stages of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, but it also features heavily in the Clone Wars and various books and video games set during the Prequel Trilogy.
This model is a little too far from the source material for my liking. It is just about recognisable as an Acclamator Class Assault Ship, but the shape has not been captured perfectly and there is far too little detail in my opinion. The tail fin and engines have been recreated nicely, and I like how light and dark bluish grey pieces have been used to break up the design a little. However, the overall shape of the model is too long and not wide enough for my liking. Also, the tip of the ship is far too blunt (an issue which plagued the Star Destroyer mini model last year in 9509), although I can see no way of rectifying this given the limitations imposed by the scale.
The biggest issue for me though is the bridge section, which is completely wrong as far as I can see. This could easily be rectified with a 1x1 round tile in light bluish grey, but the 1x1 plate with clip simply does not work here in my opinion. The relative obscurity of the vehicle combined with the partial failure to capture the shape of the ship might mean that one would struggle to identify what it was immediately. This fact is evidenced by Huw's photo, which he took from the rear not realising which end was the front. Still, I think we can all agree that this is a great shot of the back of the ship!
Overall - 2.5 - Not a bad model, but only a vague representation of the vehicle in the film unfortunately.
The second edition of kids' comic Legends of Chima is out this week in the UK and other parts of Europe.
There's not much in it to appeal to adults, but it does have this Razcal minifig on the cover with an 'exclusive raven lance', which is pretty cool, unlike the odd weapon Ewar was wielding in issue one. It's a genuine figure, not made from Chinese ABS, which makes it even better.
Next month's issue comes with Grumlo, who only appears in 70008, Gorzan's Gorilla Striker, so will be well worth picking up.
I have just received my Christmas Special 2013 copy of the LEGO club magazine. It arrived this morning along with a 2014 catalogue and a free Creator set, 30182 Santa (released in 2012).
Thank you LEGO Father Christmas!