Showing posts with label Inside LEGO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inside LEGO. Show all posts

22 September 2019

How the LEGO® element team designed the new gear wheels

We’ve really enjoyed this latest Parts Festival, which now draws to a close, and we are so grateful to the talented artists who gave us their time and creative talents for everyone’s pleasure; in no particular order – Jessica Farrell, Inthert, Jaap Bijl, Duncan Lindbo, Samuel Pister, Sarah Beyer and Jaroslaw Walter.

To complete the festival we will take another look at what are arguably the most noticeable parts in the selection; the new gear wheel plates that we affectionately named ‘splat gears’. You may recall back in March, Elspeth wrote a fantastic post listing the different kinds of LEGO gears through history, including an examination of the new splat gear family.


It seems LEGO enjoyed her post too! – we later received this fascinating email from Marinus Jasperse on behalf of the Element Design Platform Team at the LEGO Group about the development of the new gear family...

26 July 2019

21318 Treehouse: designer interview with César Soares

This week, the LEGO® Ideas set 21318 Treehouse was officially revealed. It has 3036 pieces and is coming out on 1 August for £179.99/ US$199.99/ €199.99, but LEGO VIPs can already order it now. Our review is coming soon but here is an exclusive interview we had with the set's designer César Soares, with Monica Pedersen from Marketing also present.


Wow! You kept it at a good size then.

César: Yes, this is actually very close to the fan submission size [by Kevin Feeser – Ed.]. I think his is a bit taller.

Was it the intention to stick as closely as possible to what had been voted for?

César: Yes, absolutely. We always try to stay as close as possible. We have to change some things. In this case, the base for instance. He had a square grey base and the whole thing is very organic so a square base would look a little bit odd. So we thought, why not make it more organic, make it green also to mimic the grass or plants, and a little stream. Another thing is the cabins; in the original submission they were all brown. And actually the first sketch model was all brown but then Sam [Johnson, the creative lead of LEGO Ideas] wrote me and said, “hey, they don’t pop out as much as we would like, so make them another colour.” That’s why they are medium dark flesh instead of brown, and the same thing with the roofs. They were dark tan and brown as well, so again we felt a little bit of colour might add something.

14 July 2019

LEGO® Overwatch: Designer interview with Woon Tze

In May we chatted with LEGO® Overwatch designer Woon Tze in Billund about the theme and its new elements. This was prior to the reveal of the upcoming wave of sets, which is why we didn't ask him about those!

How long have you worked at the LEGO Group?

I’ve been at the company three years now. I started off at Super Heroes, I moved on to Harry Potter and Jurassic World, and now Overwatch. I built D.Va & Reinhardt [75973, read our review here] and the exclusive Omnic Bastion [75987].



Were you an Overwatch fan already?

I was a fan of the artwork, and once I got added to the team, I started playing the game… quite a bit! Probably a bit too much, I would say. I’m also a family man with three young boys so I need to control that a little bit! So at the moment it is controlled, I would hope to play a little bit more.

28 June 2019

LEGO® Inside Tour 2019: new and exclusive parts

Every year The LEGO Group run a few “Inside Tour” events where they open their doors to a small group of fans. The lucky participants – I say lucky because although they are paying for the pleasure, tickets sell out almost instantly – are given behind the scenes access to LEGO HQ, hang out with designers and receive all manner of goodies. The most notable goodie is the Inside Tour set, a set designed for the tours that (sometimes) remains unavailable elsewhere. Each celebrates an aspect of LEGO history such as the Ferguson tractor, or the LEGOLAND train.

This year’s set is especially exciting to New Elementary as it contains a new element, produced exclusively for the set. It is 3D printed rather than injection moulded, so while its quality is much lower than regular LEGO pieces, it’s still super exciting... and rare. Participants were told it is the first 3D-printed piece ever to appear in a LEGO set (unless any of you readers know otherwise?). They’ve even given it ID numbers; Element ID 6286866|Design ID 66237, but don’t expect it to ever become available anywhere!


18 June 2019

LEGO® Jurassic World 2019: Designer interview with Marcos Bessa

In May we spoke to LEGO® designer Marcos Bessa who leads the LEGO Jurassic World design team. He ran us through the four new sets that tie in with LEGO Jurassic World: The Legend of Isla Nublar, an animated 13-episode series which is a sequel to last year's LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit.


Marcos: "For the LEGO® Jurassic World franchise in 2019 we have four novelty products coming out. These products are primarily based on new content we are doing with Universal. It expands the universe and takes place between the original trilogy and the first Jurassic World movie. The new park is already functioning, and Owen has just arrived at the park. We’ve seen in Jurassic World that he already has a history with Claire but what we are going to see in our TV series is how they actually build and develop that relationship."

11 June 2019

75936 Jurassic Park T. rex Rampage: designer interview with Mark Stafford & Marcos Bessa

Just announced, 75936 Jurassic Park: T. rex Rampage is a new Direct to Consumer set (D2C, basically ‘the big ones for adults’) that has 3120 pieces and will be available from 19 June 2019 priced US$249.99/ CA$299.99/ £219.99/ €249.99/ 1899DKK. We saw it a couple of weeks ago in Billund and can confirm it is spectacular! While there we spoke with its designer Mark Stafford and LEGO® Jurassic World team manager Marcos Bessa to get some insight into how the set came about.

© The LEGO Group 2019
Our review is coming in a couple of weeks’ time but to set the scene, here are some key details from the press release. The T. rex dinosaur measures over 8” (22cm) high, 27” (69cm) long and 6” (17cm) wide and features snapping jaws with a posable head, arms, legs and tail. The gate has an opening function and measures over 16” (42cm) high, 18” (48cm) wide and 5” (14cm) deep. The wall framing the gate features a dinosaur nest and six other scenes inspired by the movie, shown later in this post. This set includes six minifigures: John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Ellie Sattler, Alan Grant, Ray Arnold and Dennis Nedry, plus a baby dinosaur figure. The John Hammond, Ray Arnold and Dennis Nedry minifigures are new.

3 June 2019

LEGO® Apollo 11 Lander: Jamie Berard interview

At the Recognised LEGO® Fan Media Days event in Billund recently we spoke to Creator Expert Design Manger Specialist Jamie Berard who introduced their newest set, 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander, which we reviewed a few days ago.

This looks incredible, Jamie. Who designed the set?

Jamie: Lars Joe was the designer, he normally works on Architecture but he also did the Winter Village firehouse, that was his first Creator Expert model and now this is his second one. You might also see some influence of Mike Psiaki, he did some of the original configuration for this and the triangulation on the legs. Then, when Lars Joe was working with it further, I pitched in a little bit on the upper part in the locking mechanism. We all couldn't help ourselves but to want to play with certain parts! But it's definitely Lars Joe.

22 May 2019

LEGO® Braille bricks

New Elementary are spending three days gathering news stories and interviews at the Recognised LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund, Denmark (thanks in part to the help of our 40 magnificent patrons on Patreon). On Day 1, Stine Storm of The LEGO Foundation showed us a prototype of their new product: LEGO® Braille bricks.




The LEGO Foundation own 25% of The LEGO Group (TLG), and that means that when TLG are doing well, The LEGO Foundation have money for exciting projects like LEGO® Braille bricks, announced earlier this year. The sets will be given to blind and visually impaired children for free, with the first round of markets launching in late 2020. The LEGO Foundation will work with a blindness association in each country to administrate this. Therefore the sets will be owned by individuals rather than schools or organisations. The Foundation hope the sets will be passed from child to child as each progresses from the bricks to regular Braille.

9 April 2019

A long time ago... LEGO® Star Wars™ began

Billund, 9th April 2019: Twenty years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the LEGO® Star Wars™theme began and has remained one of the most popular franchises ever since. Today, the LEGO Group is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the much-loved theme which now includes around 700 different sets and over 1,000 minifigures.

They've provided us with some fascinating pictures to share with you, so we thought it would be fun to look back to a time when Star Wars was the theme introducing new LEGO elements and breaking the mould. All images are © The LEGO Group unless otherwise attributed.

Interesting LEGO Star Wars Element Facts


The 1999 Jar Jar Binks minifigure was the first ever to have a unique LEGO head sculpt. These are a couple of prototype versions of Jar Jar's moulded head that show the development process.

3 January 2019

LEGO® Unikitty: Yi-Chien Cheng & Janko Grujic interview

From a parts perspective, LEGO® Unikitty was perhaps the most interesting new theme of 2018. During the Recognised LEGO Media Fan Days, New Elementary sat down with two of the designers, Yi-Chien Cheng from Taiwan and Janko Grujic from Serbia, to ask them a few questions about the theme – and the new parts it’s given us.


We know Unikitty from 2014's The LEGO Movie, and she will return in the sequel this February. But in the meantime she got her own show, Unikitty! How did that come about?

Janko: The idea of that show has been, probably, on the table since the movie, because she’s such an appealing character. Warner Brothers joined forces with Cartoon Network to come up with the new show, so the sets that you see are related to the show on Cartoon Network, and I’d suggest that you take a look at it, it’s a lot of fun!

24 December 2018

LEGO® Architecture: Rok Zgalin Kobe interview

At the Recognised LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund last summer, we sat down with LEGO Architecture designer Rok Zgalin Kobe to have a chat about the evolution of the Architecture line. The LEGO Architecture theme has so far has spawned 42 building sets and one big ‘do it yourself’ kit – and last week we reviewed another two upcoming sets, 21044 Paris and 21043 San Francisco, due for release on 1st January 2019. 

By now, the Architecture line has pretty much become a mainstay of the LEGO portfolio. Are you surprised by the success the theme has had?

Rok: I would be betting against myself if I said I was surprised! I’m happy that it has the success that I believe it deserves.



It’s very different from the other lines, apart from maybe to a certain extent LEGO Ideas, in that the sets aren’t really made to be played with, they are static objects to be put on shelves, more like exhibition pieces. How does that affect the design process?

Rok: Well, it certainly doesn’t make us exempt from any of the stringent quality standards that the LEGO Group has, so it’s still treated as a child’s toy, with all the safety and quality issues that come with that. You have to be able to do this with it (holds up a pre-built 21037 LEGO House set and shakes it), so it has to be stable, but at the same time, at any point in the building process, you must not be able to injure yourself in any way with it. You always have to imagine a small child falling on top of it, which could be quite bad.

19 December 2018

New year... new elements

If you have been following @PrinceGalidor aka LEGO® designer Nick Vas on Twitter recently, you will have noticed a series of cryptic tweets that included images of some beautifully organised LEGO parts and some code-like strings of letters. We have been trying to decrypt his tweets and need your help!

Nick Vas' series of tweets all began in a rather innocuous fashion on 25th November. He tweeted a trippy image with three lines of text:



How curious, whatever could it mean?

8 September 2018

LEGO® BrickHeadz: Marcos Bessa interview part 2

In the first part of this interview with LEGO® BrickHeadz design lead Marcos Bessa, Are J. Heiseldal asked him about the advantages and the complexities of working with multiple intellectual properties (IPs), and the inherent limitations of the BrickHeadz concept itself. Today he asks about the new and recoloured parts as well as the production process... and which character is Marcos' favourite!


At New Elementary, we love new parts so the two new types of glasses that we got in the Go Brick Me set are particularly interesting for us. What can you tell us about the development process of those?
Marcos: The brief for the BrickHeadz line actually came with a request to do something like this. The idea for the Go Brick Me set came very early, in early 2017, so the brand was just about to come out officially on the market. We were already planning what to do for 2018 and so the importance of customisation, allowing people to represent their features was of key importance for this. So we immediately started looking into what that would mean in terms of new elements –  how to make glasses, do we need something new? I started exploring and came up with a whole lot of variations of new elements that we could make, trying to come up with something that would work and fulfil the brief for this purpose, but become a versatile enough element that it could become interesting for other uses. And I think we ended up finding something that is pretty cool for what we do in the set, but also offers a lot of other opportunities, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.

6 September 2018

LEGO® BrickHeadz: Marcos Bessa interview part 1

LEGO® BrickHeadz first popped onto the scene as four exclusive sets, each containing two figures, for the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2016 but 22 more sets were added in 2017. Now, more than 70 different figures have been released and by the end of the year the number will be rapidly approaching 100, featuring figures from more external intellectual properties (IPs) than in any other LEGO product line. Are J. Heiseldal sat down with BrickHeadz design lead Marcos Bessa in Denmark to talk about the apparent smash hit.


BrickHeadz differ from a lot of other current LEGO lines in that it’s actually a new, in-house, brick-built concept, and you still deal with a lot of external IPs. What’s it like to be covering new ground like that?
Marcos: On a personal level, for me, it’s been a great challenge, because it’s a very different approach from any other product line that I’ve worked on. It has the similarity of dealing with IPs, which I have been doing for a while, but it’s in a whole different medium, with a whole different set of restrictions and challenges, and also with a whole different purpose. And my role in this product line as a creative lead has also allowed me to be much more involved in the strategy behind the line, the IPs that we bring on board, the character selection, the price point discussion, and so on. So it’s no longer just on the field, working as a designer and creating a model, I’m also more involved in other levels of discussion on the product line, which has been greatly appreciated from my side, as a growing professional. On the product line, in terms of challenges, it has been great to deal with all these different IPs, very challenging at times, there have been days and weeks when things seem to all be going south and wrong and then suddenly things get picked back up and go back on track. So it’s a fun journey. It doesn’t get boring.

28 August 2018

The LEGO® Minifigure at 40: Inside the factory

The LEGO® Group have sent us these amazing images to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifigure and we just had to share them with you.

How are LEGO® minifigures printed? And as the elements that make up their torsos and legs are moulded separately, how are they then assembled? These pictures come from the production line of the LEGO factory in Kladno, Czech Republic. Tap/click any image to enlarge. And scroll down for video!

LEGO minifigure heads being printed


Wheee! Heads will roll... and then they'll get printed.

The LEGO® Minifigure at 40: Moulds

The LEGO® Group have sent us these amazing images to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifigure and we just had to share them with you.

How are LEGO® minifigures made? Here are all the different moulds that make the parts needed for one LEGO minifigure. Click/tap any image to enlarge.


The LEGO® Minifigure at 40: development prototypes

The LEGO® Group have sent us these amazing images to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifigure and we just had to share them with you.

Meet the minifigures before minifigures. Here are three of the original minifigures released in 1978 alongside their rather spooky developmental stages. Tap/click any image to enlarge.

Development of the LEGO® police minifigure



  1. I'm glad they ditched ol' lumpy-squarehead guy pronto. 
  2. The second one you probably recognise, as this non-moving style of minifigure was released in sets in the mid-1970s. It is interesting to note the filenames of the images we were sent indicate these are called "stage extras", a name I've never heard before.
  3. Amusing that it took until 2013 for TLG to release the third one, but pretty cool that they did!
  4.  The final figure as released in 1978 – note the stickered torso. Boy did I hate those as a kid! Sort of charming now though.

13 August 2018

LEGO® Minifigures: Tara Wike & Austin Carlson interview

The LEGO® Minifigures theme has given us a great deal of interesting new parts, particularly minifigure accessories, since the arrival of the first blind bags eight years ago. At the Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days, Are J. Heiseldal sat down for a chat with designers Tara Wike and Austin Carlson to see if we could make them spill the beans on what the future holds (not really).

You represent a very successful line – since the beginning in 2010, and I did some counting, there’s been 441 figures released…
Tara: Oh my God. I lost count after we reached the 300 mark. I stopped counting then.

That’s 55 per year, pretty much one per week, for eight years. Are you going to slow down?
Austin: I don’t think so.
Tara: Not if I have anything to say about it.

23 July 2018

LEGO® Ideas 21311 Voltron: Exclusive Niek van Slagmaat interview

Voltron is the latest set from LEGO® Ideas. Niek van Slagmaat (pictured below at San Diego ComicCon) designed the set based on the original fan submission by Lendy Tayag (pictured below in the picture in the picture) and you can read our review of the parts here. Meanwhile, Are J. Heiseldal met Niek in Billund to find out how the largest LEGO Ideas set to date came about.


What kind of response are you expecting from the big Voltron fans when this comes out?

Niek: I myself come from the fanbase, so if I was looking at this from that point of view, what I would probably immediately check out is whether it matches the original fan submission. We very much wanted to try and get the set as close as possible to the image that the original fan designer submitted. With LEGO, we have very rigorous quality standards, so we have to make sure things are stable and can last for the ages. This model has been going through an incredible amount – I’m fairly sure it’s a record amount – of long-term testing, because it was such a hotly debated topic within the company. But I’ll be mostly looking forward to seeing if people like the proportions, because for me personally, super robots are all about proportions, and for Voltron specifically, because it’s all animation, proportions change a lot from frame to frame. I’ve been working very closely with Lendy Tayag, the fan designer, to check in with him – he really knows his Voltron stuff, so he had a lot of feedback about the head designs for the lions and the general shaping and use of finishing elements like slopes and stuff in certain areas. So I’m very interested to see if they like the general expression of the model, if you like. That’s a very long answer to a very simple question.

7 July 2018

Sustainable LEGO® elements: 40320 Plants from Plants

Here at New Elementary we usually talk about new shapes and colours of LEGO® elements but today we’re looking at a new material from which some botanical elements are now being made. By 2030, The LEGO Group (TLG) intend to use sustainable materials in all of their core products and packaging.

This article is a collaboration between Are J. Heiseldal who met TLG employees Matt Whitby (Environmental Responsibility Engagement) and Bistra Andersen (Senior Materials Platform Manager) at LEGO Fan Media Days in Billund, Tim Johnson, and Elspeth De Montes who has her hands on the limited edition gift-with-purchase set, 40320 Plants from Plants.

LEGO plastics

The first bricks made in 1949 were made from cellulose acetate, which warps over time. After some research by plastics companies, TLG replaced it in 1963 with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, used to this day.