Thursday, 1 October 2015

Trick or Treat?

Sadly, LEGO® sets do sometimes languish on the shelves of New Elementary's busy, glamorous high-tech offices. It's not that I don't want to review them... quite the opposite. They sit there glaring at me, waiting for the moments when they catch my eye and accuse me of neglect. One such gaggle of sets was the 2014 'Bricktober' sets, kindly sent to me by the CEE team last December, which I was really looking forward to reviewing despite their lack of new elements. It never happened, which I readily blame on my new roles working on Bricks Culture and Bricks magazines. As October 2015 and its fresh range of 'Bricktober' sets inevitably neared I figured it was "now or never", and looked for a suitable victim to hand the poisoned chalice of a New E review about a bunch of old elements. The lovely, talented Ian Greig (bluemoose) fell happily into my trap, mwahahaa, and came up trumps by making you all some LDD files of the sets

While he was working on the Bricks Culture magazine article about the LEGO Space: Building the Future book, which I did a lot of the photography for, our good host here at New Elementary, Tim, arranged a photography session in London on a quiet Sunday morning. As with any ‘modelling’ assignment, there’s a lot standing around & waiting while lights are moved, people positioned, camera angles investigated, lights moved, people repositioned, and so on… which, delightfully, meant there was lots of time for catching up with friends, talking about future plans & generally chatting about stuff.

I can’t remember how we got on to the topic, but we were talking about recent LEGO sets we’d missed buying that we’d really like to get hold of. I mentioned that I quite fancied getting hold of last year’s Toys’R’Us ‘Bricktober’ micro-modular sets; I’d seen them a few weeks earlier at a BBQ at Huw ‘Brickset’ Millington’s house, and, yes, they were fairly small & simple, but I did really quite like them. Tim turned to me and said “OK, I’ll send you the Bricktober sets & you can write a blog post for New Elementary about them”. “Sure,” I said, “no worries”.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Pull Together With Polybags

Here's a box of about 100 polybags, collected from people from New Elementary and London AFOLs and destined for Germany where they will be personally handed to refugee children. It's not too late to donate some yourself!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Scrollin' along

Somewhat later than intended, here is the second of three reviews of new parts that the LEGO Group (TLG) have released this summer. First up we looked at the new inverted half-arch; today me and the gang are back to examine, what to call this piece? I seem to have ended up referring to it as 'the scrolly thingy' but that's a bit rubbish... although much more descriptive than the official TLG name, 'Design Brick 1X1X2'. BrickLink (BL) are typically long-winded but accurate with theirs; 'Brick, Modified 1 x 1 with Scroll with Open Stud'. I find BL names too tiresome to write repeatedly, so I will go with my sister's exotic suggestion of 'the curlicue'.

Friday, 14 August 2015

License to Thrill

Back today is Ryan W. (merman) with masses of Technic goodness for you... and it doesn't come any more massive and good than set 42043 Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245!

LEGO® and licenses are often an exciting combination, so it was no surprise the Billund people from Technic started to work closely with renowned companies. The first licensed Technic set (if you do not take the 800x-series Technic Star Wars sets that appeared in 2000 and 2001 into the equation) was the 8110 Mercedes-Benz Unimog. Not only did it mark the first official collaboration between the LEGO Group and the German car factory, with a piece count of 2,048 in 2011 it was also the biggest Technic set ever released. A second licensed set appeared last year, the 42030 Volvo L350F Wheel Loader and 8110’s record had been broken a year earlier with the arrival of 42009 Mobile Crane MK II, which had a total number of 2,606 parts.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Sky high

When Andrew Barnick suggested writing a review of the new spinning toy in the LEGO® NINJAGO range, I wasn't champing at the bit. The Chima Speedorz were interesting enough, although their potential never seemed to translate into MOCs to any great degree. Given Andrew's enthusiasm however, I figured, why not? I'm so glad I did - these look fascinating. The new parts really surprised me and the spinner system seems a big step closer to being a proper part of System. But I'll let Andrew explain!

When the LEGO fan community got our first look at this summer’s new LEGO sets at Toy Fair this year, some of the sets that excited me most were the new Ninjago “Airjitzu” spinners. That wasn’t just because I’m a diehard Ninjago fan, but also because I’m a sucker for functions and because as a long term Bionicle fan these flying spinners seemed like an evolution of the classic Bionicle “Rhotuka” spinners from 2005.

This past May, I was lucky enough to get a chance to participate on the LEGO Inside Tour. In addition to getting to meet with designers, engineers, and other high-profile LEGO employees, my brother and I got season passes for LEGOLAND Billund, and the shop there already had many of this summer’s new releases, including the Airjitzu sets. Over the course of the week we bought 70739 Airjitzu Kai Flyer, 70740 Airjitzu Jay Flyer, 70741 Airjitzu Cole Flyer, and 70742 Airjitzu Zane Flyer. On the last day of the tour, Nick Vas, a friend of mine and the designer responsible for the weapons in all six Airjitzu sets, showed up and gave us the last two Airjitzu sets (70743 Airjitzu Morro Flyer and 70744 Airjitzu Wrayth Flyer) as a gift from the LEGO Ninjago team. As a result, I’m happy to be able to review all six of these sets for New Elementary!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Fire to Your Plane

Following his exhaustive review of new Technic parts in the winter sets earlier this year, Ryan W. (merman) returns today to review an upcoming summer set; 42040 Fire Plane. At time of writing, prices have not been officially announced.

Traditionally, August is an exciting month for Technic fans, since it marks the release of the summer line-up with the big, spectacular sets. Official pictures usually show in the early months of the new year when the international toy fairs take place. So the times they are a-changing: I recall flipping through paper catalogues when I was a kid and going to the final pages with the Technic section as fast as my eager fingers possibly could. Those were the times without the world wide web. What Billund had in store in the field of Technic was a surprise until the catalogue arrived at the toy store. I remember salivating over the look of set 8880 black Super Car, knowing my parents would never get me one. And to this day I've never built it.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

1x3x2 inverted half-arch

Over the next few weeks I'll be publishing articles about new LEGO® parts that have come out this summer - "with a little help from my friends". Yes, these new parts have gone out to a handful of the UK's finest builders to see what they make of them. The first of the three parts under the microscope is the new small inverted arch, offering Bart Simpson a slightly less dangerous skateboarding experience than before, as Simon Pickard shows:

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Top of the world

Our final Elves review for the time being is a big one, both in size and in the number of new recolours! Scott Barnick gets lost in the treetops.

41075 The Elves’ Treetop Hideaway is where Emily Jones’s adventure in Elvendale begins. Unlike 41073 Naida’s Epic Adventure Ship  which I reviewed previously, this set is more focused on slice-of-life play than adventure play. However, it still gives a great taste of how strange and magical this new world is. Fittingly, it includes lots of new parts in quite an exotic selection of colors! Without further ado, let’s take a look!