Sunday, 24 May 2015

An ‘Appy Medium

Ultra Agents has proven to be a popular and exciting LEGO® theme, and in advance of the new summer sets hitting stores Jeremy Williams (Bricking It) takes a look at one of the currently-available winter sets: 70170 UltraCopter vs. AntiMatter.

My 'eighties childhood was marked (as I’m sure everyone’s is) with some key contests: which is better? Dallas or Dynasty? BA or Murdoch? Neighbours or Home and Away? Blue Thunder or Airwolf? I had answers to all these questions, and (as you’ve probably guessed by now) also had the sallow skin and weak eyes of an indoors, trash-TV addict. And in the case of the latter question, it was Airwolf all the way.

Which is why I am irresistibly drawn to the Ultracopter. In my mind, it lives inside a dormant volcano, ready to unleash terror on any would-be villains. The Ultra Agents playtheme is already a firm favourite, but this has to be the standout set of the range. Bristling with weaponry and oozing with style, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Elven oven heaven

Our comprehensive LEGO® Elves coverage resumes today with Andrew Barnick heading to the bakery, where they seem to be cooking up some great new parts and excellent recolours of existing parts.

The second Elves set I’ve been lucky enough to build is 41074 Azari and the Magical Bakery. And boy, is it a doozy! I knew it would probably be a great set for parts given its vibrant and novel magenta and orange color scheme, but even I wasn’t prepared for just how many of those parts would be new, rare, or otherwise noteworthy. I’d be willing to say that this may well be one of the best sets of the year if you’re looking for a mid-sized set with an interesting and diverse part selection. Let’s take a look!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Our chief minifig is surprise

A brief break from our Elves coverage to look at a Star Wars set: 75082 TIE Advanced Prototype in the hands of Jeremy Williams (Bricking It).

Let’s start with an admission: outside of the six films, my knowledge of the wider Star Wars Expanded Universe is pretty limited. Thus I’m not too familiar with the Rebels series, so I’m going to judge this set on its own merits. And it stands up extremely well. (Except that it doesn’t actually stand up very well at all, owing to those folding wings. But I’m getting ahead of myself).

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Clamming up

We continue our LEGO® Elves examination with a review of 41073 Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship from Scott Barnick.

For me, the LEGO Elves theme has been one of the most impressive surprises of the 2015 lineup. With the success of LEGO Friends, more girl-focused themes were of course inevitable, and I’ve been saying for a while that the next step in that direction should be a girl-focused fantasy theme. But I was not prepared for how profoundly the LEGO Elves theme would appeal to me personally. The theme is as magical and character-driven as some of my previous favorite themes like LEGO Ninjago and LEGO BIONICLE, but also brings with it an otherworldly color palette, ornate design language, and a world inspired by both traditional European fairy tales and more modern fantasy stories.

41073 Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship offers a great taste of the theme’s design as well as its adventurous spirit. Like all the Elves sets, it is aimed at a slightly higher age set than LEGO Friends or LEGO City — in this case, 7–12 years. And not only is Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship a stellar set design, but also a treasure trove of new and rare parts in various colors.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Delve into Elves

When pictures first appeared, the new 2015 theme LEGO® Elves certainly caught my attention, and the bizarre recolours were certainly a big part of that! Over the coming weeks the Barnick brothers will be examining them all - yes, today Andrew Barnick writes his first review for us. Andrew shares many of the same interests and favourite LEGO themes as his twin brother Scott (who is a regular here at New Elementary) but is also a video game aficionado; especially Nintendo. 

My brother Scott and I have been ridiculously excited for the new LEGO Elves theme since I first set eyes on it. I had long held a passing interest in recent sets aimed at girls such as the LEGO Friends theme, but ultimately most of that theme’s more realistic, grounded subject matter tended not to sway my purchasing decisions. Elves, on the other hand, promised an elaborate fantasy theme like my favorite themes Bionicle and Ninjago, with elementally aligned heroes and a compelling invented universe. As soon as I saw what this theme had to offer, I knew 2015 was going to be an expensive year.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

LEGO® colour chart reference

I have wanted to discuss LEGO® colours more often on this blog but it's a horribly complicated subject. Thankfully there are those far more qualified than I - one is Ryan Howerter, who you may know from his charming Record Store, now on LEGO Ideas. His Flickr stream (eldeeem) is a fascinating mix of gorgeous builds, graphic design and of course colours - or should I say colors, given Ryan hails from the US. Recently Ryan has produced several valuable resources for AFOLs, which he explains for us today. But for the ease of your future reference, I'll list them up front:

There are always more LEGO colors than you expect.

With the help of a few other AFOLs, I’ve been attempting to catalogue every color that LEGO has produced. I’m not the first to do this (see Peeron, Isodomos, BrickLink, Brickset, LDraw…), but in combining the existing lists and frequent updates I hope to have a reference for the AFOL community that is as complete as possible.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

He's a LEGO Brainiac

More from them LEGO® Super Heroes today in the form of 76040 Brainiac Attack, examined by Drew Maughan a.k.a. the super anti-hero SilentMode. Amongst many other things, Drew is the founder of minifigure trading site where, rather than buying them, you can get the figs you want by exchanging unwanted ones that you have.

I have next to no interest in Super Heroes, whether they be DC or Marvel, but I decided to try something different and take a look at this particular set, which should be in stores in your neck of the woods right now for £24.99 / US$24.99 / €29.99.

Sets based on IPs are usually the first to have some of the more interesting parts, or those in new colours. One such part is this Tr. Fl. Green [TLG]/Trans Neon Green [BL] 8x8 bubble dome with two fingers (Element ID 6097601 | Design ID 95198), which is currently exclusive to this set. I've noticed Trans Neon Green making a big comeback, as well as Trans Bright Green, which are ideal for Space-related builds. Other parts in these great colours are two 4L bars (4124054 | 30374), a Hero Factory "weapon barrel" (4651747 | 98585) and a single 1x1 round brick in Trans Neon Green, and a 1x1 round cone in Trans Bright Green (6053084 | 64288).

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Through the arched window

With the Nuremberg Toy Fair happening this week, we're being treated to loads of dodgy pictures of LEGO® summer sets. I'm enjoying playing "spot the recolour", which is quite challenging given the low lighting and white balance issues that the photographers are facing. (The best pics I've seen to date, via Brick Fan, have been taken by Andres Lehmann for But even more, I'm enjoying playing "spot the new part". I've seen a handful so far, many quite obvious, and they might come to be reviewed here in the fullness of time. But there's one that I found really exciting and was interested to see if you guys think I've got the right end of the stick. It appears in the rather thrilling 41101 Heartlake Grand Hotel.