Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Bledge Khalifa

The managers of the LEGO Architecture range aren't too shy about instituting change; they've tweaked the formula of the sets gently in various ways over the years since launching in 2008. The new set 21031 Burj Khalifa is an interesting indicator of this, being the first set in the range to offer a new version of a building that has been released previously - in this case, 21008 Burj Khalifa from 2011 (on the left in the picture). I absolutely love the LEGO Architecture theme but there are some sets I never bothered with, 21008 being one of them. The model is a pretty enough object but paying £22.99 for the pleasure of stacking 112 round bricks was never something that piqued my interest.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Sunbeams from a Ferris Wheel

It's time for another review in my "Better Late than Never" series! Elspeth De Montes (azurebrick) has been helping out with builds and photographs in recent months but this is her first actual post for New Elementary. She's a prolific builder and new recruit to The Sisters Brick who originally hails from Scotland. Even though you can't hear her right now, you can tell she's not English because she uses funny words like 'loch' and thinks that a tea-stirrer is for stirring coffee.

I don’t normally build let alone review sets but I do love new parts and playing with them to create new builds. I’m afraid this is not a review of 10247 Ferris Wheel in the traditional sense, but don’t worry, there are lots of reviews out there with part-built photos, discussion of techniques and final model commentary (eg. Brickset). This is more of a 'new element' review, which seems particularly apt for the New Elementary blog.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Let's get ready to rumble

I've nearly recovered from the huge "Brick 2015" LEGO event which took place in London from last Thursday to Sunday - nearly! - and can say that I had a really great time. It was especially wonderful to meet more New Elementary readers, even some from overseas.

The first afternoon was AFOLcon, consisting of a few talks given by fans as well as LEGO Senior Designer Mark Stafford who revealed some of the thinking and the work behind Nexo Knights, the new Castle-meets-Space theme (and TV show) coming in January 2016. There was plenty of chat about the new elements designed for the theme, some of which have a dramatic V-shape which evokes the angular forms of castles and heraldry, whilst also distinguishing the theme from the organic forms of Chima elements.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Older and Skully

The return of the LEGO® BIONICLE theme in 2015 appears to have been popular, as have the articles about it written for New Elementary by two of the Barnick brothers. I've been slow at posting this review of five summer releases by Andrew Barnick, so the sets are perhaps old news to some, but Andrew's thorough examination of the available parts and the new characters is always a welcome analysis to have!

The sets in the 2015 winter wave of Bionicle featured a dearth of foes for the Toa to fight besides the omnipresent Skull Spiders, so a wave consisting almost entirely of larger villain sets was in high demand. While the Toa sets from the winter wave were all based on characters from the classic theme, the figures from the summer wave all represent brand new antagonists. I’m happy to say that these sets don’t disappoint, either in terms of their builds or their vast selection of new and recolored parts. Read on to get a taste of what these sets have to offer!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Skylines

2016 will be the ninth year of the LEGO® Architecture theme; quite a remarkable success. It's a theme that I love, in fact it was responsible for the end of my Dark Age, yet I've felt a bit bored by it recently. The LEGO Group must be feeling the same, as they are adding something new into the mix next year with the release (in January 1st, I believe) of three sets which take a fresh approach: each includes a number of buildings and monuments from a city, rather than a single building. The first three sets represent Berlin, New York and Venice.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Bow and arch

The best thing about doing this blog is meeting people who like it! A noticeable amount of these people mention that their favourite post is "that one about the arches", which I wrote back in March 2014 detailing the ways in which the part designers were raising up the interior curves in arched bricks. If you haven't read it you may like to do so first, as I have a little more to say on the subject today, but first we need to take a look at a related part which Gary mentioned last time, in his review of 41101 Heartlake Grand Hotel, the bow window.




Friday, 13 November 2015

Such a friendly place

We have our first ever post from Gary Davis today; he's the Brickish Association's Ambassador and goes by the name of Bricks for Brains on Flickr.  When Gary agreed to write something, he didn't expect me to suddenly reappear with a massive LEGO® Friends set... 

I'm not much of a set builder - I much prefer building MOCs - so I was pleasantly surprised when Tim entrusted me to write this review of the LEGO Friends set: 41101 Heartlake Grand Hotel. I've always loved the way that New Elementary focuses on new LEGO elements and on re-coloured elements, so that's what I've done for this review. If you're interested the step-by-step build of this set, please refer to the excellent review written by LostInTranslation on Brickset.

The Friends range continues to be popular with over 30 new Friends sets issued in the first half of 2015 alone (not counting polybags and 'tat'). At £99.99 (US$129.99), 41101 Heartlake Grand Hotel is the highest-priced Friends set ever issued and also the one with the most pieces: 1,552. The average price per piece works out as 6.44p (8.38¢), which is not bad as it includes several large plates.

The finished model is an impressive size and is packed with features that provide plenty of playability for the 8-12 year old target age group. There's a moveable lift (elevator), a revolving door, a grand piano, baggage cart, ice cream bar and trolley, sun loungers and a fountain. There is also four-seater taxi for arrival and departure. With only two bedrooms, the hotel is quite exclusive but fortunately non-guests can use the lovely roof-top lounge area. The modular construction enables some alternative arrangements and creative builders, with suitable parts, could add more rooms.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Totally Swooshable

I recently found myself quite appalled with myself. I came across a LEGO fan site called Swooshable, which has been around for years and is utterly superb, yet I wasn't aware of it. How did I miss this for so long? In case you're as deprived as I was, I'm writing about it today and the site's creator, Linus Bohman, has kindly answered some questions.