30 January 2014

Putting the leg into LEGO

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Our next LEGO® Movie set is one of the large ones; 70809 Lord Business' Evil Lair. It's a busy scene full of drama and confrontation (and of course silliness) so I feel it must be a climactic sequence from the film. As with most sets in the range, there's an abundance of minifigs but strangely only one bad guy, but hey who needs friends when you're ginormous?

27 January 2014

Thrown together

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A double-header today, as we have two reviewers that live together. Yvonne Doyle features in Megan Rothrock's new The LEGO Adventure Book Volume 2 and The LEGO Play Book and Peter Reid is co-author of LEGO Space: Building the Future. His Exo Suit model is going to be the next CUUSOO set to be released later this year. I assigned them 70800 Getaway Glider and 70807 MetalBeard's Duel and as things turned out, Yvonne did the official builds and Pete took on my challenge of building alternate models from the sets.

25 January 2014

Laser therapy

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Our next review of The LEGO® Movie theme is penned by Drew Maughan a.k.a. the infamous SilentMode. Drew's a multi-skilled AFOL (and human being) so you may know him from a variety of projects including his builds, his site of reviews and commentary silentmode.tv or his minifigure trading site swapfig.com, where you can get the figs you want by exchanging the ones you have. Swapfig recently succeeded in achieving a crowdfunding target so in between working on site improvements, Drew kindly found time to review 70801 Melting Room.

23 January 2014

The good, the bad and the ugly

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For the second post in this series about The LEGO® Movie sets, I'm reviewing 70802 Bad Cop's Pursuit. You get a flying police car, a ruined railway structure, two alligators, two minifigs - oh, and a frog. The ruined railway thingy made me feel a bit ho-hum about this set at first; it's one of those ugly things that just looks like a tacked-on play feature, which I could do without. However play features are critical for the target market, as is the establishment of a scenario kids can act out and given they're replicating a scene from a film here, that's especially important.

21 January 2014

Recycl cycle recycled

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Unless you've been living under a big ugly rock piece you'll know that The LEGO® Movie is released in the US on February 7 (see all countries' release dates here). The tie-in sets are already on shelves for some of us, and these weird and wonderful sets are going to be reviewed over the next couple of weeks here on New Elementary, with a little help from my friends! I've invited a few UK builders to bring their voices to some of the reviews and first up we have Tim Goddard a.k.a. Rogue Bantha, co-author of LEGO Space: Building the Future. He's also contributed to DK Publishing's The LEGO Ideas Book and The LEGO Play Book, and you can generally coo over his cool Spacey talents over on Rogue Bantha's Flickr page.

19 January 2014

The sum of its parts

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I'm ending my series of posts about the Architecture theme today with a rather different post, littered with data tables rather than pretty pictures. See, I like numbers too. I thought I'd try to examine the question of how 'valuable' Architecture sets are, because I often get my knickers in a knot when other AFOLs moan about the cost. I shouldn't, because they're usually right, but I'm just overly defensive of this range that I enjoy so much.

13 January 2014

Return of the Trans-Light Blue

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The official LEGO® Architecture website used to run polls where visitors could vote which building, from a list of ten options, should next get the official treatment. It was a rather odd idea, given that they clearly stated that there was no guarantee the 'winners' would actually get made into sets, which was indeed the fate of one of them. And as it turned out, two of the least popular inclusions have been turned into sets (The Leaning Tower of Pisa and The Eiffel Tower). Stranger still was the inclusion of some religious buildings, a subject which LEGO have steadfastly avoided releasing (aside from an innocent church in the 1950s) but given these didn't win, no embarrassment ensued.

10 January 2014

United by SNOT

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© 1987 UN Photo/Lois Conner. Some rights reserved
Next in my little run of Architecture reviews is a set that was released in October 2013, 21018 United Nations Headquarters. Personally I think it was a great choice of subject for this line; although it's not as well known as some of the other buildings in the Landmark series, it's a truly international building. It sits on land granted to the United Nations by the US and was designed by a team of architects from across the globe (most notably the modernist heroes Niemeyer and Le Corbusier). Whether or not you know of or have visited it, this is a great model to build. And now I'll definitely go to see the original if in New York City!

07 January 2014

A tour of the Eiffel

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I'm having a bit of an Architecture phase at the moment, building some of the recent sets in this line which have been burning holes in my shelves for weeks, or even months. I've always been interested in architecture - both my parents were architects - and I suppose it is true to say the LEGO® Architecture line is my favourite theme, and that creating my own microscale architecture is my favourite building pastime. This is partly because 21005 Fallingwater was my conversion set, but it's not just sentimentality. As the legend on the boxes says, "Enjoy your building experience." That's a cheesy bit of commercialese, but I almost always do enjoy them. The packaging is superb, the booklets have interesting facts and the finished models make great display pieces.

The builds usually also contain stuff you wouldn't see in a regular kids' set, and hopefully these next few posts will highlight what sets Architecture apart for me. In this post I'm looking at 21019 The Eiffel Tower which was officially released on January 1, although it has been available for a few weeks in France.