9 November 2013
A is for Angle
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.
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.