29 October 2013

Neo Elementary

Inventive AFOLs have been creating their own LEGO® “themes” for a long time now. For example, Lord of the Rings was a popular MOC choice for many AFOLs long before the Peter Jackson films arrived and became licensed by TLG. But my favourite AFOL-invented theme has to be Neo Classic Space (NCS); models that respectfully bring the “Classic Space” era of LEGO sets (1978-1987) into the 21st Century with new techniques and elements mixed in with the old.

NCS is about to be showcased in the new book LEGO® Space: Building the Future, which (just in case you missed it) I published a cool little teaser trailer for yesterday. Although I’m yet to see an actual copy, I'm expecting a science fact/fiction narrative that builds on the disparate stories suggested by those original Classic Space sets, all richly illustrated with the exquisite models of Pete Reid and Tim Goddard - as you can see from this exclusive preview image of a perfectly-formed little shuttle; the LL-290.



28 October 2013

LEGO Space: Building the Future - Exclusive Trailer!

It's a book... it's a cool book... it's such a cool book, it has its own teaser trailer. And the guys behind LEGO® Space: Building the Future have been kind enough to give New Elementary readers the first ever look!




22 October 2013

To be or notch to be

Aeroplanewing 4X9

Design ID 14181


Colour White | Element ID 6040362

Colour Black | Element ID 6048849

Colour Light Bluish Gray [BL]/Medium Stone Grey [TLG] | Element ID 6048848


A new design (shown here in Light Bluish Gray) for the old part 2413 (shown here in White) began appearing in sets this year. Viewed from the top, they appear identical but seen from the bottom the change is obvious; notches have been added along the diagonal edges so that they can now be attached to elements underneath. It appears in five sets so far (but may also be used in older sets as the previous version runs out). White is in 60012 Coast Guard 4x4 & Diving Boat and 9664 First LEGO® League Challenge 2013 Nature's Fury. Black is in 76007 Iron Man": Malibu Mansion Attack and 76001 The Bat vs. Bane": Tumbler Chase. Light Bluish Gray is in 60015 Coast Guard Plane.

Decisions about whether or not to use notches have a long history at LEGO. At the time when System in Play began in 1955 you could buy little spare parts boxes of 'macaroni', the 2X2 round corner brick (part 3063), but this part came in notched and notchless versions simultaneously. Not like Schrödinger's cat though. Distribution of the two versions was seemingly random, just like when parts get new moulds today and you're unlucky enough to get both types in your set. Although the notchless version certainly looks nicer, its limited ability to attach to elements below meant a swift death, in 1957. Also killed was the larger macaroni sister, the 2X4 semi-circular version, also available with and without notches - but even the notched version was deleted, deemed superfluous. This left only the classic 2X2 notched macaroni to survive (until a somewhat irritating redesign in 2008, but let's not go there right now).

11 October 2013

J'aime Berard

A week ago the latest model in the Creator 'Expert' Theme of sets, which cater to us big nerds, was unveiled at BrickCon in Seattle by Design Manager Specialist Jamie Berard. And not just any ol' Expert model either - it was the next 'Modular'; 10243 Parisian Restaurant. Modulars are a series of huge minifig-scale buildings that make up a city street and are arguably the modern-day sets most beloved by AFOLs. They're the kind of thing you dreamed of designing as a kid, but didn't have the bricks nor the talent.

Mr Berard has the talent. Tempting as it is to rave about just how gorgeous it is, there's simply no time for that - as there are at least four completely new parts in this set! Surprising, as Designers working for the Creator Theme are not allowed to request new part moulds; they can request new colours of parts but must stick with the existing parts inventory. So presumably these must have been created for sets in other Themes prior to Jamie utilising them, but it just so happens that Parisian Restaurant has been revealed first. I'm under the impression the reveals of the other sets containing these parts will occur during the next five weeks.

7 October 2013

From Swindon to L.A.

In today's post we're going travelling to places real and virtual, concrete and plastic, past and future, around the globe and beyond. I hope I haven't overmanaged your expectations with that pretentious opening line?... the first destination is Swindon. That's the concrete bit.

I'm now home after an exhausting, fabulous weekend at The Great Western LEGO® Show, the UK's largest display, run by the Brickish Association who are the UK's largest LUG. I'm very rude to label the English town of Swindon as concrete, as the show itself is held in a beautifully restored nineteenth-century railway works building. I've not displayed there before and it was a wonderful experience to take part. Six other members and I covered 30 feet of the tables with models that we had built for The LEGO Play Book (the creation of which I discussed in an earlier post). It was such a delight to see little faces (and big ones) lighting up at the sight of my creations, especially given that they'd already probably spent an hour or more having their faces regularly lit up by LEGO before getting to our display, which sat towards the exit.