9 November 2013

A is for Angle

We are now in that exciting time of year when images of forthcoming sets are continually appearing, and as we all know, the very best thing about new sets is new parts. So over the next few posts I'm intending to highlight some of the exciting new elements being spotted in 2014 sets.

Today let's look at what is frankly a bit of an odd one, nicknamed the 'A-frame' already. If you've not yet seen it yet, see if you can spot some on the box art for these two 2014 Ninjago sets: 70724 NinjaCopter and in two places in 70725 Nindroid MechDragon. (No, that set name isn't some dude from Scotland. It means it's got ninjas! It's got androids! It's a mech! It's a dragon!)



Here are some alternate shots where they are easier to spot!



It's essentially two 1X4 plates fused at a fixed angle by two supporting beams. The angle has been confirmed as being 45°. I have to say my initial reaction was negative... it looked like the kind of thing you might happen across in some unloved corner of the BrickLink Catalog when you were hunting for something else. It felt like a hinge lacking the ability to hinge. But I'm warming to it, and as many have similarly commented, I need to get my hands on one (or rather, eight) to make a judgment on whether I 'like' it.

I think my initial dislike was because of the two connecting sections; they just look to be 'out of System' and, well, different. But, different is good and I expect we'll see many interesting uses that make a feature of these beams. And having thought it through, it's probable that it is very much 'in System'. My concern was that the beams would prevent the presence of studs underneath them, but now I assume that it will be fine; see in this wee pic how the underside of the larger beam is bracketed, much like a wall of a plate? This suggests the 'roof' of the beams may well be thin enough to run above studs, and the narrow thicker section may be designed to run in between studs. This example below explains what I mean; by mimicking the A-frame with two 1X4 plates and a hinge over this 4X4 wedge, an empty stretch (highlighted in red) reveals where the thicker support of the longer beam might run.


So I'm looking forward to the A-frame now. With eight of them in hand, some interesting combinations will be possible. Also the angle where the two 1X4 sections meet  looks much neater than the curve of a hinge joint. It can be irritating having to hide away the layers of plate and hinges required to set sections of your model at an angle, so the A-frame could prove quite useful for building at 45°.

I don't think a release date has been announced yet, but given that pictures for six sets are now available and the tie-in TV series is rumoured to begin in December, we should be able to get building with A-frames very soon.

19 comments:

  1. Apparently these sets have already started appearing in TRUs.

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  2. Just wanted to say that I have been following this blog since it started, and I wanted to make the suggestion that you should every now and then make a post featuring new part projects on Cuusoo. There's some good stuff on there that has very few support. A good list of new part projects is the list of projects that I have supported: http://lego.cuusoo.com/profile/MOCDoc
    I have supported probably 99% of all the new part projects. Keep the over educated informative posts coming!

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    1. I like this idea. While I would never support a part design on Cuusoo since they all would never pass review, there is some great stuff out there and it could lead to some interesting conversations.

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    2. Yes, a CUUSOO post is likely to happen. Don't hold your breath though... it's been on my idea list pretty much since the blog began and I don't seem to have gotten around to it yet!! Thanks for the nice comments.

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    3. @MCLegoboy: What makes you think a part design would never pass review? LEGO Cuusoo has rules in place specifically to allow new part projects. A SET design that included a mandatory new part would never pass review, but that's a different situation entirely

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  3. I expect these will be quickly embraced for the fact that they''ll provide a rigid angular transition. I also predict that someone will underutilize these and overstress the ones they do use and snap one in half before too long.

    Anyways, it certainly looks more useful than those coffin-shaped flaps on either side of the mechdragon's neck. Still, I'm more excited by the fact that the Green Army Man minifig base is being released in trans-clear with one of the LEGO Movie sets.

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  4. Ah, I'm glad to see you highlighting this. I can't wait to get my hands on some.

    And Purple Dave: that coffin-shaped flag is nothing new. It's been around since 2005: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=x1435

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    1. My only problem with those pieces is that the clips break too easily. It's impossible to replace my Starfighter wings for a good price. Not only that, I need 4, possibly with new stickers becuae the old might not work anymore. If used creatively, any piece is usable. I don't see a clear armyman base being very usable, at least not as much as the Hexagonal flags.

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    2. @ Chris Malloy:

      Ah. Angle is everything. They _look_ coffin-shaped (as in pretty close match to the top view of the actual LEGO minifig coffin, but with more human proportions) in the photo, but those parts are not actually coffin-shaped. Zooming in, I can see what parts they connect to, and proportions become easier to match up.

      @ MCLegoboy:

      Clear GAM bases are very usable, as exactly what they are designed for. MichLUG does a ton of shows each year, and sometimes I like to stand minifigs up in the middle of the road. No studs being present, and with trains running around the outside of the layout, they need a little help. Presently, my only options are a pair of dark-bley jumper plates, or a single dark-bley double-jumper, and even then some minifigs (especially my army of wind-up S5 Royal Guards that I built before finding out about the Toy Soldier that would be packed in the Minifigure book) tend to be a bit top-heavy. I also have black parking lots, with a few strategically placed studs so I can attach a handful of minifigs. I didn't want them to be littered with unused studs, though, so when I put out the entire Foot Soldier army, I have to pull the same tricks in black. Clear bases would be perfect as they'd work for both, and provide more stable support. I'd kinda prefer to get them in both black and dark-bley instead, since those would be the two colors I'd be most likely to ever use, but clear is universal, so I could still use it in situations that I can't predict. Actually, I can think of one of those right now, which is that I like to put Batman-related minifigs around the layout, and having a few chasing each other across a rooftop is a good way to make them more visible while keeping them out of reach of kids. Problem is, the people who build buildings have gotten in the habit of tiling the roofs to make them look cleaner, which leaves me with less options for placement. This would restore a lot of my options.

      So, while you may look at it and say that it's not likely to be useful for building MOCs, I'd like to buy at least 50, and worry that maybe I should have bought more.

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  5. Clearly this is the start of a new series of 26 elements. First the A-Frame. Next the B-Frame. Then C... All building up to the much anticipated Sesame Street theme.

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    1. Today's post was brought to you by the number 7.

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    2. Meh. Now if they can figure out a way to build an A-Wing around the A-Frame, then I'll be impressed.

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  6. Finally! Zane gets his falcon! -gn101 :D

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    1. You mean Tonto's head-crow? Problem is, it only attaches by that tiny little pin, which means you need a plume hole.

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    2. Yeah, the set includes a LEGO Friends star element (11609) in Medium Nougat on top of a Warm Gold spyglass piece (64644) for the falcon to roost on. You can see them in this pic: http://cache.lego.com/r/dynamic/is/image/LEGO/70724_alt2?op_sharpen=0&resmode=sharp4&wid=4000&fit=constrain,1&fmt=png-alpha

      I guess it's supposed to look like a nest. No idea where those parts go when the model is built. In the main set pic (http://cache.lego.com/r/dynamic/is/image/LEGO/70724?op_sharpen=0&resmode=sharp4&wid=4000&fit=constrain,1&fmt=png-alpha ) Zane holds the falcon by them, which looks a bit ridiculous — I'd have omitted the spyglass piece for that purpose.

      I think the crow works pretty well as the Falcon. The lack of a stud connection is just a minor inconvenience.

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  7. On a similar note, I've been looking at the Lego Movie sets, particularly Lord Business in his evil Lair Set. The slopes connecting his built legs to the minifig leg part look new, both sides taper to a point which would be inter-stud, ie. a very tall tapered jumper plate. Headpiece looks to be new as well but I can't tell if it's brick built or a giant moulding. If it is brick built the angular bits supporting the cup are interesting.

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    1. I agree on the leg-slopes, but have to wonder if they'd have a special attachment designed to more fully integrate with the minifig leg. Otherwise, that's a _lot_ of extra weight to hang off a single stud attachement.

      As for the helmet, it is clearly not brick-built. The mugs and the 1x1 round plate are probably standard elements, but the large red and black sections are clearly new molds. The only question then is whether they're formed as a single part or if the horns are molded seperately from the hat. Also, that is one monster cape. With a little modification, it would now be possible to produce a Todd McFarlane Batman minifig.

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  8. Hay, guys! goldninja101 here! Just here to report that over Christmas and my birthday I have bought (or received) the Nindroid Mechdragon, The NinjaCopter, The Hover Hunter, Kia's Fighter, and the Thunder Raider. All new NinjaGo sets! I'm running out of room on my display shelf! :D (And that's just My Ninjago stuff) Well! that's all for now!
    -goldninja101

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