02 October 2016

The New Black

Posted by Admin
Every now and then, world-class LEGO builders experiment with some of the newest LEGO elements to examine their possibilities here on New Elementary. I call these “Parts Challenges” (although I’m less and less happy with this phrase, given that the task is a non-competitive affair. What should we call them instead? Maybe a "Parts Festival"!) Thanks once again to the super support of the LEGO Group we have a new round of posts coming up over the next month or so looking at some new elements from 2016 sets.

I’ve called this Parts Festival “The New Black” because, when deciding which parts to include, I noticed many of the completely new parts initially came in Black. In addition, many existing useful parts have recently been cast in Black. Bunches of my selected Black parts were sent out to a small number of builders around the world. They were no doubt horrified to receive them, given that Black is a nightmare to photograph! But they have all done amazing, varied work with them and I can’t wait to show you the results.

Their brief is extremely open. They can use other parts and colours in their models and they can create little tablescraps rather than fully-fledged MOCs. The goal is simply to find cool uses for new elements - exactly what New Elementary is all about! Before we reveal the results in future posts, today let me introduce you to the interesting parts they received.

New Parts

Many of you will not consider these to be "new" parts given that some appeared as far back as January (and even one from last year). I guess my definition of new parts are those which we haven't discussed yet on this blog... or have, but would simply like to discuss some more!

If you have used some of these parts in a model of your own design, feel free to send it to me. I would love to post any interesting or beautiful ones as a part of the festival. There is a contact form in the right column of the site, or contact me via Flickr, Facebook or Twitter.

3.2 Shaft W/3.2 Hole, Design ID 23443

Elspeth discussed this part in her 10252 Volkswagen Beetle review recently, and I considered it a must-have for this Parts Festival. It pairs with the version with a clip (Design ID 11090, introduced in 2013) to create a small hinge joint, which I'm sure our builders will make extensive use of. You will now find it in seven sets in two colours, the other being Medium Stone Grey [TLG]/Light Bluish Gray [BL].

Plate 1X1 Round W/3.2 Shaft, 

Design ID 26047

For years, builders have been asking for the shorter version of the 1x2 plate with handle on one end (Design ID 60478) and here it is, but is not quite as we expected. Rather than square corners, the plate section is rounded on two corners which adds some interesting functional and visual aspects to the part. Let's see what our builders make of it. You will only find it in three Ninjago sets so far, and only in Black but surely other colours will follow rapidly.

Cross Holes W/ Double Ø 3.2 Shaft Hole, Design ID 24122

This is a rather unexpected addition: a bridge between the Technic System and 3.18 connectors via the tube holder. Four Constraction sets are using a Titanium Metallic [TLG]/Pearl Dark Gray [BL] version to decorate weapons based upon a central axle, for example the crossguard lightsaber in 75117 Kylo Ren. However it is used in System sets as well - currently, two Ninjago sets - which is where the Black versions are found.

Tassel, Design ID 25375

OK, I was expecting this addition even less. In case you can't tell, it is a 1x1 round plate with a single chain link underneath, from which dangles a tassel. It is, once again, a Ninjago piece - appearing in three sets currently. I'm especially intrigued to see what the builders come up with here, because I really dislike this piece! I hate it when people say this, but I am going to: it doesn't feel like LEGO. The shape feels very 'specialised' and it feels odd to have a piece that would just flop if you used SNOT to add it the top of a build instead of the bottom. That's not to say it's a 'bad' piece at all, and I'm keen to be proven wrong by the inventiveness of others.

Mini Pony Tail, 

Design ID 22411

Another organic shape now, but I like this one a lot more as I think it could represent many things. Nexo Knights, where I think it must have originated, uses it as a helmet plume. It is made of rubber and connects via the 3.18 at one end. Black ones appear in seven sets and there are four sets that have it in Dark Red.

Blade No. 9, Design ID 24482

Another rubbery part connected via a 3.18, and definitely introduced by Nexo Knights as to date it only appears in that theme. Black ones appear in five sets and two sets have it in White. I think this is extraordinarily useful as it is quite unusual to have a weapon piece that is so symmetrical. There are very few small pieces like it and it will prove very useful for shaping a variety of models.

Lattice 3X6 Module W/Knobs, Design ID 23444

This is unusual in that pieces in this kind of shape tend to sit vertically whereas this one is horizontal. All its studs are open holes. I'm looking forward to explaining it to you in more detail! It appears in five sets of which three are in the Volcano Explorers subtheme of City, where it is added sideways as bull-bars, therefore becoming a vertical part after all.

Weapon No. 11, Design ID 24144

A slightly more traditional LEGO weapon now; a new blaster which so far only appears in the LEGO Super Heroes ranges, across four sets. It's actually rather interesting both in functional and visual terms. The nozzle is a traditional stud-receiving tube and as you can see there are recessed studs on either side as well as the 3.18 connector of course. I'm not a big fan of the octagonal detailing but I'm sure many will put that texture to good use.

Unfortunately I mucked up and failed to send this part to most of the builders! - but fear not, it will be examined.

Skeleton, Leg No.2, Design ID 23769

The LEGO System has a surprising number of skeleton legs in it! And here is a new one: LEGO Minecraft is the source of this especially long version. It only appears in one set though; 21126 The Wither. I like it - aside from the toes, it is a very plain part so should prove useful, although I suppose it might not appear in many sets or new colours.

Brick W/Half Bow 2X3 W/Cut, Design ID 24309

Not much to say here; this is a two-wide version of the 1x3 curved slope (Design ID 50950) which first appeared in 2004. There are probably some (but not many) functional advantages to using this wider version over two 1x3s, for example offsetting the piece by attaching it using the central tube on the underside. The main advantage is aesthetic - one part looks better than two. It already comes in three colours across seven sets, the other colours being White and Bright Reddish Violet [TLG]/Magenta [BL].

3.2 Shaft W/ Knob, Design ID 25893

I couldn't resist including this part in "The New Black", and I've decided that's okay because it has no colour. It is a bit like the tassel in that it is a 1x1 round plate with stuff underneath - in this case, a horizontal 3.18. Its use in the eight sets it appears in is for minifigures to hold things parallel to their arm: for example Spider-Man can now shoot his web with his arm outstretched. This is fabulously useful but I am certain it will also prove useful for all sorts of things beyond minifigures.

Plate 1X1 W/3.2 Shaft/1.5 Hole,
Design ID 20482

Yes, even I admit I am really stretching the definition of "The New Black" now... not only is this one not Black, it's from 2015! But, as regular readers may recall, I've been intending to discuss the "trans-nipple" properly for over a year now, so have included it in the hope of it getting some interesting attention from our building team. It comes in loads of sets, many in Warm Gold [TLG]/Pearl Gold [BL].

The most interesting thing about it is that it bridges not two but three connection families within the LEGO System. The underside will receive a stud; there is a 3.18 on the top; and that 3.18 has a smaller 1.5mm hole in it which takes pieces with little pins such as the Friends flowers.


Now to the older parts which have recently been introduced in Black that I chose to include.

Handlebar W/3.2 Shaft/Bar Ends, Design ID 98397

Having only ever appeared in Medium Stone Grey since its release in 2012, it is great to see a new colour for this newer style of handlebars. These originally only appeared in Friends sets, but crossed over to City and other themes in 2014. To date this only appears in 75141 Kanan's Speeder Bike.

Flat Tile 2X2 Inv., Design ID 11203

I was surprised to see that this part dates back to 2012... it feels like only yesterday it brightened up our lives in Dark Stone Grey! There are five 2016 sets that include it in Black, including 75159 Death Star which contains eight. Don't worry, you don't need to fork out for that... the same quantity appears in Ninjago 70605 Misfortune's Keep.

Globe W. 3.2 Stick, Design ID 58176

Found in Black in LEGO Star Wars 75139 Battle on Takodana, this part has previously been cast in seven transparent colours, one pearl colour and only one solid colour (White).

Flat Tile 2X3 W/Angle, 

Design ID 22385

The 'Nexo shield' tile was one of the parts in our last parts challenge, "Nexo-Classic Space", but in Medium Stone Grey. I couldn't resist including it once again! There are five other colours but Black is the most predominant, appearing in nine sets across LEGO Super Heroes, Nexo Knights and Ninjago.

Plate 1X2 W. 1 Horizontal Snap, Design ID 11476

This useful variant of the 'modified plate with clip' family appeared in 2013, initially in Medium Stone Grey in which it now appears in a whopping 141 sets. White appeared the following year but 2016 has brought three new colours: Bright Reddish Violet, Dark Azure and of course Black, which you will already find in 18 sets.

Left Plate 2X2 27 Deg, Design ID 24299
Right Plate 2X2 27 Deg, Design ID 24307

These also appeared in our Nexo-Classic Space parts challenge, but being White they didn't get used as much as they might have had they been grey or blue. Let's see how our fresh batch of builders use these new tiny wedge plates. They come in five sets so far.

Flat Tile Corner 1X2X2, Design ID 14719

This lovely piece was added to the LEGO range in 2014 and has only appeared in six other colours so far. This Black recolour was also mentioned in the 10252 Volkswagen Beetle review recently, and it also appears in three other sets.

Flex Rod 7M, 

Design ID 32580

One of the oldest parts in my selection, this piece began life in a smattering of Technic vehicles from 2001 before turning up in Bionicle and disappearing in 2011. This Black recolour is its first appearance in any colour since then, and it appears in three sets this year - once again, all Technic vehicles.

Brick 1X2 W. 2 Knobs, Design ID 11211

Great to have this super-useful SNOT piece in Black at last, having appeared in seven other colours since its introduction in 2012. The similar brick with two studs on either side (Design ID 52107) has been around since 2005, and this makes a useful complement to it.

Brick 1X3X2 W. Inside Bow, 

Design ID 18653

Still a very new piece, having only been introduced last year, this is one of only two inverted half-arches within the regular LEGO System. It now appears in five colours, Black being found only in Ninjago 70594 The Lighthouse Siege so far.

Plate W/ Half Bow Inv. 1X2X2/3, Design ID 24201

Ah, the inverted baby bow. I've seen this included in many "parts I wished LEGO made" lists over recent years, and at last it is here. There are five colours already, of which Black is the most used in sets - seven, in fact. Its mirror image, the regular baby bow, has been available in Black since 2014, and you can also get the two-wide and four-wide versions in Black too, along with the 4x1 'telephone bow'. That makes a pretty useful family of matching curved slopes!

Ø3.2 Shaft Crown For Helmet, Design ID 11437

Pieces like this tend to pass under my radar - decorative things for minifigures with limited connection points - but are in fact a great example of the use of specialised pieces. This one began life in Ninjago in 2013 but has since appeared in themes as varied as Disney Princess, Ghostbusters and Elves. Ninjago is the source of these new Black ones and it will be interesting to see what the builders make of it.

Flat Tile 1X1, Round, Design ID 98138

Many builders are celebrating the arrival of the round 1x1 tile in Black this summer: having appeared in 28 other colours since its first appearance in 2011, it's about time! It already appears in six sets.

Right, we are ready to go then! You can expect to see lots more about these parts here on New Elementary including MOCs, tablescraps and more detailed parts analysis.

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  1. I see the tassel's use being primarily ornamental, such as on curtains or furniture. In other words, sort of the uses you'd expect a tassel to have. Imagine how nice it might look recolored in gold! I don't know whether LEGO would take advantage of it for these purposes or whether it would be up to MOCists, though. It may end up being a short-lived part in sets.

    One thing this article doesn't acknowledge (and which I hope one of the MOCists in the subsequent articles takes advantage of) is that the "pointed" end of the new spike pieces (24482) is compatible with Ø1.5mm accessory holes! So you can, for instance, stick a flower on the end of these spikes, or attach them to LEGO Friends hair pieces and animals.

    The new skeleton leg from the Minecraft sets is really cool, and I had imagined such a part ever since the 3M minifigure legs made their debut in the Toy Story sets! I'm curious if this part will appear outside of Minecraft, but it definitely has potential on account of having even more usable connection point than its shorter classic equivalent (which was too short for parts to be clipped to the 3.2mm "bone").

    The helmet crown piece (11437) actually isn't new in black. It previously appeared in two 2013 Ninjago sets (http://brickset.com/sets/70504-1/Garmatron and http://brickset.com/sets/70505-1/Temple-of-Light). For whatever reason, it just didn't appear in the Brickset/LEGO Customer Service inventories for those sets.

    Excited to see what builders do with all of these parts!

    1. Nice "tip" about the spike piece! We shall see if anyone picked up on that...

      Interesting about the helmet piece, thanks. I really should have spotted that on BrickLink, it's even the colour used for the main pic of that part!

  2. I have used several of these in my recent MOCs, like:
    https://flic.kr/s/aHskBeV7pg (22385, 24201 - both on the tail)
    https://flic.kr/s/aHskDWq34u (24201, 26047, 98138)
    https://flic.kr/s/aHskHCmbg7 (58176)
    https://flic.kr/s/aHskvWY6sd (98397)

    Another cool part to get in black this year is 98286. Only its counterpart existed in black. I'll finally be able to turn the inside of the wings fully black in this MOC:

  3. Lovely article. This is the kind of thing I love to read. Not necessarily pointing out a set, but getting straight to the point with what actual new parts there are in the Lego Catalog now. I look forward to seeing more articles of this nature from you. I hope you keep up this style of review articles. :D

    1. thanks dave, i prefer them too. unfortunately they are a lot more work! so there will always be a mix.

  4. A couple of these are now slightly out of date-- 23443 now comes in 10 sets, 26047 appears in 4 (the fourth being the Caterham Seven 620R), and 24309 now comes in 4 colors across 8 sets.

    Very nice article! I can't wait to see what other people come up with--I personally don't have many of these pieces, so I shall not be participating, but I look forward to see what others come up with.

  5. I don't think a challenge has to be competitive... It can also function on a personal and individual basis.


  6. Wow, TLC is really stepping it up with some of these pieces! It'll be cool to see what people do with them. Awesome post