Sand Blue first appeared in 2001 in the Life on Mars theme and the rather terrifying Dinosaurs theme (terrifying not because they were dinosaurs but because of the models with their PooP heads). But the colour fizzled out in 2006, presumably a victim of TLG massively cutting back their element inventory in light of the company’s financial woes. It has only been used for minifig parts since then, with a notable exception in 2011; the Modular set 10218 Pet Shop had four kinds of Sand Blue bricks in impressive quantities (averagely 50 of each). There is another exception from that same year actually; 10223 Kingdoms Joust had 14 1X2 bricks with groove, but that’s it – it’s just been minifig parts – until 2014.
Already, there are 11 non-minifig elements listed in this year’s sets and they appear across three themes, which gives me hope this isn’t just a temporary resurgence for the colour. Sand Blue features in one Maersk set, two Star Wars sets and is the colour of the new Rhino tribe in Legends of Chima.
The behemoth that is 10241 Maersk Line Triple-E is packed with interesting new elements that I'm bound to mention in the coming weeks. Its Sand Blue offering are three very basic and useful 2X4 parts: the brick, the plate and the tile. These are used amongst the massive cargo being carried by the ship; consequently you get good quantities. There are 44 2X4 bricks (Element ID 6052830 | Design ID 3001) which is superb news, as back in 2003-4 this element only came in quantities of one or two in the five sets that it was included in. You get 28 2X4 plates (Element ID 6052827 | Design ID 3020), which came in seven sets from 2002-4 and the best quantity back then was just eight (provided in 4508 Titan XP). As for the 2X4 tile (Element ID 6052832 | Design ID 87079), that’s never been seen in Sand Blue before as the part was only introduced in 2010. This set has 14.
75041 Vulture Droid has just three sloped parts but they’re large, prominent and have never been seen in Sand Blue before. There’s the pair of curved 10X3 wedge bricks so beloved by many spaceship builders (left wedge Element ID 6056667 | Design ID 50955; right wedge Element ID 6056669 | Design ID 50956), of which you get four of each.
There are two of the 6X6 quarter-circle 33⁰ slopes (Element ID 6056672 | Design ID 95188) that first appeared in the Alien Conquest theme in 2011. Admittedly it's not the most useful part but given that regular 33⁰ slopes have been available in Sand Blue since the time of the Dinosaurs, there's potential here - also, there's a 3X3 corner 33⁰ slope available, released in one set (4745 Blue Eagle vs. Snow Crawler) in 2004.
And although they’re not Sand Blue, I can’t resist going off-topic and mentioning these adorable printed 2X2 domes (Element ID 6058942 | Design ID 16378) that also come in the set (as well as in 75044 Droid Tri-Fighter).
Moving on to 75040 General Grievous' Wheel Bike, I'll remain off-topic for a moment because it contains a gorgeous, massive 75mm wheel in Trans-Clear [BL]/Transparent [TLG] (Element ID 6053875 | Design ID 88517). What a gorgeous thing! It looks great in the set and I hope to see some great use of it in MOCs too.
But back onto Sand Blue now, and the exciting news is that you get 16 cheese slopes (Element ID 6062686 | Design ID 54200) which we've never had in Sand Blue before. Cheese is a great part to get in new colours, as it's a detailing part that doesn't always require a whole lot of other bricks in the same colour to look good in a model - for example, these Sand blue ones can be used with a variety of other shades of blue in your models of water. The other Sand Blue part isn't new, having appeared in three sets in 2004-5, but good to see it back: the 3X3 corner wedge plate (Element ID 6051596 | Design ID 2450), of which you get two.
Legends of Chima
You also get two of those 3X3 corner wedge plates in 70131 Rogon's Rock Flinger, where the Rhino minifigs are Sand Blue. There's four 2X2X2 65° slopes (Element ID 6043736 | Design ID 3678) which is kind of new - this element has appeared with printing in Lord of the Rings 79006 The Council of Elrond, as Arwen's dress.
Another sloped piece included are the two 4X4 triple wedge 18°/45° slopes (Element ID 6051598 | Design ID 48933).
And finally there's an odd part; two curved Technic panels (Element ID 6051594 | Design ID 61069) that look like intake fans. I'm not a huge fan of Technic panels, but this one is quite cool. (Sorry.) These have been around since 2008 and have appeared in 15 other sets in 6 other colours.
So hopefully more Rhino sets are on the way, with yet more Sand Blue for us! But already these new parts, combined with the hundreds released in the 2000s, offer great building opportunities. If you own Pet Shop and the Triple-E, you've got a fantastic amount of basic bricks. You're also fairly rich/good at spending money wisely. The Star Wars and Chima sets add yet more slopes to the existing inventory of 33°, 45° and 75° slopes, and the more unusual Sand Blue shapes in these sets are rousing my inner Benny... "Spaceship!!"
To help rouse your inner Benny, here's a stunning ship built by Daniel García Rodado (AlterEvo) in 2011 with some of the Sand Blue parts available then. It reminds me of an egg, or an artichoke. Click pic for more views.
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