Issue one is now out and I've had a chance to read it. Does it fill a gap in the market or is it just more of the same? Find out after the break.
The magazine is the brainchild of Rob Paton who was editor of Blocks magazine and whose company Tiro Media owns BrickFanatics.com.
However, things get slightly confusing as you delve deeper: Graham Hancock is both deputy editor of Blocks magazine, a major contributor to this one and also the main man at BrickFanatics.com. Other people appear to be writing for both magazines and the website as well. That's not a problem, just an observation. I know both Rob and Graham well and know they are both passionate about all things LEGO, and for Rob in particular this magazine is a labour of love for which he has great plans.
So, bottom line, it's a totally separate magazine to Blocks but many of the current and former staff on that title write for or work on this one!
One thing that's immediately apparent when you receive it is that it's A5 which, for our American readers who may not be familiar with ISO paper sizes, means it's 8.3" by 5.8". I suspect it's this size to keep paper and distribution costs down. Its 80 pages are printed on a fairly thin paper stock but it's perfectly adequate. However, it does have the feel of those local advertising periodicals that you probably get poked through your letter box from time to time.
Inside, the articles are pretty much what you'd expect to find in any LEGO magazine: news, features and reviews.
The news section does not attempt to report on up-to-the-minute stories, because the website does that better, but instead goes into more depth on the more significant topics such as, in this issue, Forma and plants from plants.
The reviews section tries to do things a little differently, for example, by including an interview with designer Justin Ramsden in the review of 71043 Hogwarts Castle. The photography in this section is certainly much better than that in other LEGO magazines reviews.
A number of guests have contributed articles including Kevin Hinkle, who worked for LEGO until recently, and AFOL builder Jme Wheeler. All are interesting, but are too short and left me wanting more.
Elsewhere, there's an interesting mix of articles on old sets, improving sets, instructions for small models and so on. You'll find a scan of the contents page below.
Overall, I found myself reading more of this than Blocks; in fact I think I read it from cover to cover. However, many of the articles felt a bit insubstantial and I would have liked them to have been much longer. The page size has probably had a part to play in this.
I felt that the articles are pitched at a more mature and 'hardcore' AFOL audience than Blocks, which caters more for the casual fan and families nowadays, but they are by no means impenetrable.
So, it's a promising start and as I said above, Rob has big plans for it, so perhaps we'll see it increasing in size and thickness in the future. After all, from acorns do mighty oaks grow. I look forward to seeing where he takes it.
You can buy a subscription at https://www.brickfanatics.com/magazine/. If you do so, you may well feel a little 'short changed' when you receive this first issue but I firmly believe you'll be backing a winner that will get better and better.
Thanks to Rob for sending me a copy for review. All opinions expressed are my own.