Plate 1X2 W. 1 Knob
Element ID 6066097 | Design ID 15573
Colour Light Bluish Grey [BL]/Medium Stone Grey [TLG]
It was always possible to center a second jumper, or any brick with a recessed stud, underneath the old jumper. But with this exciting new version we can now use parts with a regular stud. This new underside, the "nail rail", is not a new invention - it appears on some existing bricks, like some variants of the 1X2X5 for example. But for this to appear on the jumper? Ah, this is sweet joy, because small parts have wider application than large ones, and it will make some previously fiddly offset techniques easy - as well as opening up new possibilities.
This example of upside-down building is a better example of an effect that was possible previously, but the new jumper makes it much more stable - and easier. You could have built the balconies of this microscale tower block using upside-down 1X2 tiles; it just would have been a bit of a pain to align them all and keep them that way. The other parts I've used in the tower are 1X2 plates with rails and 1X1 plates. But had I wanted to use 1X1 tiles instead of plates for some aesthetic reason, the new jumper would have been essential to hold the structure together.
I couldn't resist sitting the tower on the lovely 3X3 plate introduced last year. A quick bit of news on the 3X3 - it now comes in Dark Bluish Grey [BL]/Dark Stone Grey [TLG] in Lord of the Rings sets 10237 The Tower of Orthanc" and 79007 Battle at the Black Gate, and surprisingly the third colour it's been made available in is Bright Pink [BL]/Light Purple [TLG] which you'll find in Friends 41025 Puppy's Playhouse.
But I think the real value in the new jumper will not necessarily be when it is on show, as in the previous examples. It's a functional piece above all else and will usually sit hidden at the heart of the cool effects you create in your MOCs.
Yeah, let's talk about grooves, baby. It was a happy day for children's teeth but a sad one for aesthetics when the jumper was changed to include a groove. Presumably the catalyst for change was the introduction of a larger jumper plate - the 2X2 - in 2010, which had the groove. TLG like to keep "families" of bricks aligned, and the 1X2 'got its groove' the following year. It's a little ironic because the jumper had been around and (functionally) unchanged since 1978, yet here we are just a couple of years later and another new mould has been created for the 1X2 jumper. Like London buses... you wait for three decades and two come along. But absolutely no complaints from me - I'd just love to know what bright spark thought of this change!
The greater irony is that tiles underwent the very same groove alteration in the mid-1970s, a few years before the jumper plate was even invented. Perhaps it was felt by the original Parts Designers that the single stud was sufficient for kids to detach jumpers, or they just didn't forsee the issue. But surely by the time that first jumper mould (or later moulds) wore out, the issue was apparent? Perhaps TLG have adopted tougher standards on ease of removal of late - or as I suggested, the 1X2 only got a groove because the 2X2 has one.
You can expect the new-style jumper to begin randomly appearing in any sets containing Light Bluish Grey jumpers from now on, and I suspect White ones are out there too as those are the two colours Brickset currently has listed for the new part number, 15573. Doubtless all existing colours of jumper will follow. I found mine in 21105 Minecraft Micro World The Village. Don't rush out and buy it expecting to get some too; when TLG change a mould they don't keep the old and new styles separately in their factories. Everything gets mixed together and you may even find both styles in the one set. A lot of AFOLs find this supremely irritating, but given kids probably couldn't care less it makes financial sense for TLG not to worry either.
If you're wondering why I bought a set I didn't want to build, you'll be unsurprised to learn it was because of new elements. The most exciting aspect of the Minecraft sets for me is that they have have printed plates, which as far as I recall TLG have never done before. Look at these little lovelies! I've stacked them to indicate how wonderful they would be as decorative elements, but I would need a solid plan for a build before I forked out the money it would take to buy these by the dozen. Also seen here is the printed 1X1 tile from the set, which I understand is the face of a little pixelated piggy. Cute.