City Advent Calendar: Day 4

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The first several gifts from the 2018 LEGO City Advent Calendar have been reasonable, although there remains some room for improvement in my opinion, especially when compared with previous calendars.

Hopefully today's gift will be more impressive.

I imagine this Husky and its food bowl will probably divide opinion. There is no actual construction which is disappointing but the gift does include some wonderful pieces, the most appealing of which is a white dish which has only appeared once before in 70922 The Joker Manor during the last couple of years. A similar element was introduced in 1997 but this example features a different part number.

View image at flickr

The husky is similarly interesting and will definitely appeal to those who do not already own this animal. However, many different LEGO sets have included Huskies and it would have been nice to see another breed with an equally wintry theme. I have a particular soft spot for Samoyeds so an entirely white piece, without dark bluish grey highlights, would have been fantastic!

Overall - 4.0 - Animals are always a welcome addition to Advent Calendars and the rare dish is excellent.

 

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14 comments on this article

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By in Australia,

Yeah. On the one hand, not many pieces and not much of a build. On the other ... husky!

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By in Sweden,

The dogs are pretty much always the worst parts of advent calendars on my opinion since they are just one piece and generally are just boring, the white bowl nice though... other than that this is my least favourite gift probably so far

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By in United States,

dog, white dish, husky, looks good to me!

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By in Netherlands,

Probably the nicest dog TLG has ever done, a fairly uncommon plate, and a turkey/chicken leg of which you can never have enough.

Sure, there's no construction, but let us not delude ourselves into thinking the average LEGO advent calendar provides any kind of noteworthy construction anyways. In fact, I feel this gift offers a great deal more play value, especially in conjunction with previous days, and is thusly a welcome addition.

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By in Finland,

What really bugs me is that the white printing on the face doesn't match with the white color of the dog's body.

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By in United States,

^ I believe that this has to do with the lighting used for the picture as I have this same dog and there is not a significant difference.

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By in United States,

Uh, clearly this time it's not a Husky. It's a Malamute. Yeah, that's it...

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By in United States,

My only concern with this one is that chicken and turkey bones are dangerous for dogs!

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By in United States,

For some young Lego fans, this could be the first husky or malamute, or whatever they have gotten, not to mention the food bowl and bone. Sometimes, we adults analyze some things too much. I think it's great!

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By in Germany,

I think it's an owl.

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By in Norway,

How's the grey part made? Is is spraypaint or part of the mould?

And yeah, that chicken bone worried me too. OTOH, I have an impression that much of the "X is dangerous to dogs" is not so much about the food itself as the fact that dogs just gulps down whatever it is with a bottomless stomach. I've heard that given the opportunity a dog will eat 10% of their body weight in chocolate, I'm certain I'd feel pretty sick after eating 10kg chocolate myself.

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By in United States,

@axeleng:
Anytime you see a part that has a fuzzy color blend like that, if you compare multiple copies of the same part and there's noticable variance in the blend pattern it means they molded it in two colors at the same time. If you get a crisp edge like you see on the T-shirt arms and board-short legs that we've been seeing on many minifigs, it means they molded half of the part in one color, either switched out part of the mold or transfered the first section to a different mold*, and then molded the second color over the first part.

*I've been wondering about this recently. For a short run, it would be cheaper to just transfer the partial from the first shot to a second mold and then molding the second color separately. For a huge part run like Billund is more likely to do, it might actually be more cost effective to mold the first color, have one set of mold sections swing out of the way to allow a different set to swing into place, and then mold the second color without ever releasing the partial from the first shot. Eject the part, reset with the first combo, wash, rinse, repeat. So like for minifig arms, I've been able to determine that the only way they can mold short-sleeves like that is to mold the forearm with something like an inverted pyramid sticking out where the upper arm would be (can't go the other way, or it would cause problems with the socket for the hand stem). Then the shirtsleeve color gets molded over top of that. The inverted pyramid would act like a two-way dovetail that prevents the two halves from separating, or twisting, after the combined part is finished. But for tiny little forearms, it seems like that could be a major pain to get reinstalled into a complete second mold, and that there would be too high a likelihood of one piece popping out of position and jamming up the machine. Conversely, if they made one mold section to form the forearm, another section just to make the double dovetail, and a third section to finish the shoulder, they could leave the forearm section clamped onto the piece, unclamp the double dovetail section and move that out of the way, clamp the shoulder section together in alignment with the forearm that's still being held in the exact same spot, inject a second color of plastic to form the shoulder, and because you never released the pieces after the first stage you know they're going to stay put for the next one.

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By in Norway,

At first I wondered if it was spraypainted, as most mixed-colour parts I've seen have a more swirly/uneven look than here. I'd imagine that making a mixed-colour pattern like this must be a serious pain, even with fancy fluid-dynamic simulation tools etc it probably takes a *lot* of test runs and fine-tuning to get it consistently right.

For dual-moulded parts I'd guess they'd do as you describe, moulding the second section without releasing the first. If they were to transfer the first section to a new mould there'd probably be tiny gaps between the piece and the mould, causing the second colour to bleed over the first.

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By in United States,

@axeleng:
Most mixed-color parts have pretty thin walls. The dog, in spite of the fact that it's been nearly cleaved in twain from below (that'll teach it to beg for tummy rubs!) is a pretty solidly chunky part. A thin part will have very different flow patterns than a box. In this case, I'm sure the grey portion just forms something like a dome shape by the time the white plastic bumps into it. But the thing is, aside from stuff like the Husky and the parrot, I really can't think of any blended elements where the blend lines are actually critical. The first blended parts I can think of were the Bohrok faceplates, mixing clear with one of the six primary Toa colors. The next one was the Poisoned Hau Nuva. There are four cavities in that mold. Two of them produce wildly different looks, and the other two turn out close enough that I once got a lot of pushback for suggesting that there were actually four distinct flow patterns. Back in the day, I could sort them by flow pattern alone and get them all grouped by cavity number, and it's not like they were pointedly trying to make three distinct variants on a 4-up mold. But for parts like these, the only critical aspect of fluid mechanics involved with the mold design is making sure the two flows will come together to form a complete part, without any voids. If you want a 2:1 ratio between the colors, it's probably just a matter of fine-tuning how long you inject one color before you let the other color kick in, so more of the mold gets filled up by the first one.

And funny you should mention that about tiny gaps. If you look at any short-sleeved arm, you can often see a little spur formed into the border between the two colors, located right where the bicep would be. In theory, there should be a matching spur that can form on the other side of the arm, but the spurs form where the two halves of the mold mate, and while one of those locations is right on the bicep, the other one appears to be right where the back of the arm meets the inside surface. There's a bit of a corner there, and no matter how you rotate the arm the spot where the border crosses that corner never extends past the side of the torso. You'd basically have to rip the arms off of short-sleeved minifigs to go looking for the matching spur on the back of the arm.

Now, my theory on this is that it's because each section is still molded exactly as it normally would be if it was a single-piece arm. So the forearm has two halves that clamp together, and a third section that inserts into the wrist to form the hole for the hand to attach. Then the dovetail bit would have two more halves that clamp together, and the shoulder section also has two halves and a third section that inserts into the shoulder to form the hollow pocket that allows the shoulder connection to have enough flex to pop out of the mold and pop into the shoulder. So, in the first step, there would be five mold sections that press together to form the forearm and dovetail. Then the dovetail sections retract, and the shoulder sections move into position. At this point, you've got a hot forearm and six separate mold sections pressed together around it, and if the forearm sections are jostled out of alignment just a tiny bit, it will cause tiny gaps along the mating edge where just a _tiny_ bit of plastic can start to squeeze between the part and the mold, forming a visible spur along the edge.

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