31 July 2015

Sky high

When Andrew Barnick suggested writing a review of the new spinning toy in the LEGO® NINJAGO range, I wasn't champing at the bit. The Chima Speedorz were interesting enough, although their potential never seemed to translate into MOCs to any great degree. Given Andrew's enthusiasm however, I figured, why not? I'm so glad I did - these look fascinating. The new parts really surprised me and the spinner system seems a big step closer to being a proper part of System. But I'll let Andrew explain!

When the LEGO fan community got our first look at this summer’s new LEGO sets at Toy Fair this year, some of the sets that excited me most were the new Ninjago “Airjitzu” spinners. That wasn’t just because I’m a diehard Ninjago fan, but also because I’m a sucker for functions and because as a long term Bionicle fan these flying spinners seemed like an evolution of the classic Bionicle “Rhotuka” spinners from 2005.

This past May, I was lucky enough to get a chance to participate on the LEGO Inside Tour. In addition to getting to meet with designers, engineers, and other high-profile LEGO employees, my brother and I got season passes for LEGOLAND Billund, and the shop there already had many of this summer’s new releases, including the Airjitzu sets. Over the course of the week we bought 70739 Airjitzu Kai Flyer, 70740 Airjitzu Jay Flyer, 70741 Airjitzu Cole Flyer, and 70742 Airjitzu Zane Flyer. On the last day of the tour, Nick Vas, a friend of mine and the designer responsible for the weapons in all six Airjitzu sets, showed up and gave us the last two Airjitzu sets (70743 Airjitzu Morro Flyer and 70744 Airjitzu Wrayth Flyer) as a gift from the LEGO Ninjago team. As a result, I’m happy to be able to review all six of these sets for New Elementary!

20 July 2015

Fire to Your Plane

Following his exhaustive review of new Technic parts in the winter sets earlier this year, Ryan W. (merman) returns today to review an upcoming summer set; 42040 Fire Plane. At time of writing, prices have not been officially announced.

Traditionally, August is an exciting month for Technic fans, since it marks the release of the summer line-up with the big, spectacular sets. Official pictures usually show in the early months of the new year when the international toy fairs take place. So the times they are a-changing: I recall flipping through paper catalogues when I was a kid and going to the final pages with the Technic section as fast as my eager fingers possibly could. Those were the times without the world wide web. What Billund had in store in the field of Technic was a surprise until the catalogue arrived at the toy store. I remember salivating over the look of set 8880 black Super Car, knowing my parents would never get me one. And to this day I've never built it.

5 July 2015

1x3x2 inverted half-arch

Over the next few weeks I'll be publishing articles about new LEGO® parts that have come out this summer - "with a little help from my friends". Yes, these new parts have gone out to a handful of the UK's finest builders to see what they make of them. The first of the three parts under the microscope is the new small inverted arch, offering Bart Simpson a slightly less dangerous skateboarding experience than before, as Simon Pickard shows: