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.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Fresh from his adventures in Sector Eleven, Exo Suit designer, bestselling author and talented voice actor Pete Reid rejoins us for an exclusive look at a brand new LEGO® DC Superheroes set, 76026 Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas.

The box art is very exciting. There's all sorts of stuff going on. An invisible aircraft is about to smash into the ground, a fruit truck is being torn apart by a furious gorilla, the Flash is jaywalking really quickly between the legs of the Bat Mech. I can only hope there are no civilians nearby. It's a health and safety nightmare.

The set comes with four numbered bags, plus Gorilla Grodd in a separate bag. It also contains two instruction books, a tiny sticker sheet and a comic.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Technic(al) matters

Today we have our first ever proper examination of new Technic parts, courtesy of Ryan W. (merman) who is a member of Dutch LEGO® User group, Lowlug. Aside from his long-standing appreciation of Technic, Ryan is also the proud owner of every Modular building and, since he is also a film critic, some big Star Wars and other movie-related kits, such as The Lego Movie.

As a kid I was an avid fan of LEGO and as I entered those confusing teenage years, I shifted my attention from City and the occasional Space to Technic in the mid-eighties. To me there was an immense fascination emerging from the use of axles, beams, pins and especially gears. Then those notorious Dark Ages sifted in and when I got out of them I was a university law student and Technic had all changed. Sometimes I visited toy stores, not quite ready to spend my scholarship on plastic toys. But I left the store overwhelmed with questions. What happened to those famous studded beams? Why did LEGO decide to let their Technic line-up be dominated by flexible axles, hoses and those hideous panels? Soon everything got better and Billund not only improved their dreaded panels, they were improving Technic as a whole. The Dark Ages were over after I purchased 8285 Tow Truck. And studless building turned out not only to be more compact and complex, requiring you to think ten steps ahead, but also the overall look of the sets had improved considerably, making the old studded Technic sets from my childhood look blocky.