Category Archives: Reviews

10907 World Animals is a world of fun (and animals)

Today I am taking some time to embrace my inner toddler as I check out the big new Duplo set 10907 World Animals.

As the name suggest World Animals is a trip around the world exploring the animals found in each region. It’s a concept that LEGO has done in the past and in theory it’s a great way to teach kids about the world and animals.

For each part of the set I’ll be looking at two factors that are very important when it comes to a Duplo set and impressing a toddler: Cuteness and Coolness.

Australia

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Let’s kick things off with something close to home – the Australian section. The set description refers to this area as “a tropical beach” but I’m claiming it as North Queensland. It comes with Nemo – it’s got to be here.

This section of the set features a really nice sandcastle build with a flag. I have a son who practically lives in his sandpit so this part was a hit with him. There is also a palm tree and a really great van.

The animals included are a clownfish (that blows bubbles underwater) and a toucan. Toucans are from South and Central American rainforests but I think this is just the most interesting bird mold they had available. It’s still cute.

There are two figures associated with this area – a father and daughter wearing nice blue and yellow wetsuits.

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The set comes with Nemo – that is both cool and cute. The sandcastle is really cool. The van is really cool too. The dad and little girl are wearing matching wetsuits and that is cute.

I Built Emma’s Art Studio And Now I Have Questions…

I’m working through my backlog of sets to review. The other night I built Emma’s Art Studio and I have so many questions so let’s skip the traditional review…

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So does Emma own this Art Studio?

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I always assumed the Friends characters were teenagers. Are LEGO trying to tell me that one of them owns an art studio?

Can a teenager sign a commercial lease in Heartlake City?

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Does Emma have a silent partner running things or is everything in her name? Maybe a parent?

Is the art scene in Heartlake City big enough to support this store long term? Does Emma have a business plan?

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Isn’t Emma like the only artist in town? Is she getting paid for commissions or is the store the main income source?

This is a multi-level store and studio with a rooftop terrace. Seriously, how is Emma paying for all of this?

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Does Emma pay well?

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So clearly Andrea works at the store, but is she a casual? Does she get paid overtime or is Emma the George Calombaris of Heartlake City? Did the other friends apply for the job too? Did they get rejected? Do Andrea and Emma have all these work related in-jokes that frustrate the others?

Review: 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

I have a young son, who nearly every night wants to go out and look at the moon. One day I told him that people have been there in a spaceship. He didn’t really get it.

While my son may be too young to appreciate it, Apollo 11 is one of those things that will never stop being amazing to me. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy set America the goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth. Then a whole bunch of people who are smarter and/or braver than I ever will be went and made it happen. July 20th marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and what better way to commemorate than with a LEGO tribute.

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LEGO has unsurprisingly celebrated various NASA achievements before with some fantastic sets. This is the first time they have tried the Eagle Lunar Lander at minifigure scale. The last attempt was the microscale version included in the Ideas Saturn V set.

The Apollo Lunar Module is comprised of two stages – the descent stage and the ascent stage. This build is split up over 4 stages; the lunar surface, part 1 of the descent stage, part 2 of the descent stage and finally the ascent stage.

“Magnificent Desolation”

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, after descending to the lunar surface

Review: 75810 The Upside Down

When rumours first started surfacing of a Stranger Things LEGO set I immediately dismissed them as absurd. Stranger Things is a show with death and monsters. It’s not the sort of family friendly fair that LEGO will usually make a set of.

Imagine my surprise when I got an email from LEGO asking if I’d like to review this set.

Flip it

I don’t usually start a review with a look at the end result – but look at this!

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The Case of The Burger Bar Fire

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The incident

In the early hours of January 1st 2019 the LEGO City Fire Department received a call from Burger Bar owner Curtis Brick – the iconic Burger Bar burger sign was alight.

11 minutes later the LCFD was on the scene. Fire fighter Faye Ires from Riverside Fire Station was dispatched in engine 4, while her partner Sam Maguire travelled by motorbike to the scene for some reason.

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Engine 4 is the newest truck at Riverside Fire Station. It is equipped with one of the highest powered water cannons on a small factor truck.

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Meanwhile the Fire Motorbike appears hopelessly ill equipped to deal with fighting fires.

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Ms Ires recalls this as a particularly easy fire to put out.

“Engine 4 has an extending arm to position the water canon. We were able to get quite close to the sign. While the fire looked bad there wasn’t a huge fuel load so it was extinguished fairly easily. It was a fire that looked impressive but wasn’t really that bad from a technical point of view.”

While Ms Ires tackled the sign fire Mr Maguire put on his SCBA to deal with a secondary fire.

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Review: Disney Minifigures Series 2

The original series of Disney Minifigures were super popular, so it’s no surprise that LEGO have released a second series.

There are 18 minifigures in the series, from a mix of Disney properties. Here’s my in-depth look at all of them.

But first – the all important box distribution. With a series of 18 basic maths hints at the possibility of three full sets and some extras. Unfortunately that is not the case here. There are only two full sets, with numerous minifigures appearing four times per box. This isn’t quite as bad as having a single chase minifigure, but it’s still annoying.

Minifigure Counts

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Box Positions

Normally I’d include a breakdown of the box positions to help you out when looking for your minifigures. Unfortunately my box had about 5 packets that came loose during transit and I’m not sure exactly where they came from.

Now… on to the minifigures.

Steamboat Classics

Classic Mickey

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If you are a massive Disney fan but feel that the Steamboat Willie set is a bit expensive then you are probably going to be thrilled by this minifigure. This vintage Mickey is essentially the same as the Ideas set version, just missing some silver accents. The printing is fantastic as is the moulded head. The hat is a seperate element that fits securely on. I like the addition of the steamboat steering wheel, but the technic pin connection detracts a little.

The Bulbous & The Beautiful – Reviewing The Systar Starship

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What would you say if I told you that my top pick for spaceship of the year was a spunky little ball from the Systar System? I almost don’t believe it myself.

While local factories have been closing across the sector the Systar shipbuilders have started to gain ground as more pilots seek out ships that are fun without sacrificing any performance. While the traditionalists are still clamouring for the latest yellow windscreened cruiser, this ship is innovating in some really exciting ways. Look beyond the heart shaped accents and you’ll find something really interesting.

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With its bold curves this ship is not going to appeal to everybody – I admit it does kind of look like an onion. The overall shape is very bulbous and a big departure from the sleek designs of other companies. I found that the reduced aerodynamics did have an impact on takeoff times when you are launching within an atmosphere, but once you are in open space the shape makes very little difference.

Movie Review: The LEGO Movie 2

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The LEGO Movie 2 is in cinemas from today (March 21st)

I was lucky enough to be able to attend one of the preview screenings for The LEGO Movie 2 before the official release. After all the previous drama about Australian delays it was great to able to see this at the same time as the rest of the world.

Read on for my take on the film. This review will be spoiler free and only discuss things that have been shown in the trailer and talk about the film in general terms. In a few days I will be doing a separate spoilery discussion for those of you who have seen the movie. Please keep spoilers out of the comments on this article.

This review does have spoilers for The LEGO Movie.

The LEGO Movie was a surprise hit. There was – justifiably – a lot of cynicism around a toy company producing a two hour long ad but the film overcame that to be a well loved family movie. With surprise hits come the inevitable sequels and with them the risk that the magic will be lost.

The story begins immediately after the end of the first film. The impact of the Duplo invaders is shown through a series of fun battles, before we go to a 5 year later time jump. The time jump allows the characters to be re-calibrated – by making them grittier and tougher. The world of Apocalypseburg is shown to be your typical post-apocalyptic wasteland where only the strong survive. Everybody is adapting to this new world except for Emmet, who has lost none of his goofy positivity. The fact that Emmet hasn’t adapted is one of the various sources of conflict in the film, as Lucy feels that he needs to change.

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Grand Designs Outer Rim – Darth Vader’s Castle [Review]

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Darth Vader was a promising Jedi, when a gymnastics accident left him with third degree burns to 90% of his body and several missing limbs. With the support of his good friend Sheev, Darth Vader endured months of rehabilitation and has quickly made a name for himself in the Galactic Empire. Refusing to let his accident define him, Lord Vader has returned to Mustafar and found a fantastic block of high ground to build his dream home.

It’s fair to say this this was a unique construction project. Lord Vader’s initial brief was just a single word – monolith.

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“I wanted something that was going to stand out on the landscape, something tall. Height was very important to me”

The architects opted for a unique design that uses large triangular panels around a steel and concrete core. This design allowed for the panels to be fabricated off-world and then shuttled in.

Lord Vader was initially sceptical of the design.

“I’m sure the architects dreaded our meetings in those early stages of the process. There was plenty of force choking going on back then.”

It was actually another construction project Lord Vader was working on that helped him come around to the triangles.

“The construction project I’m dealing with at work is a giant sphere, and with so many curves the project is a real pain. Straight sharp lines became a lot more appealing.”

The construction itself was surprisingly quick and without any major complications. Lord Vader puts that down to personally managing the project.

“I found that the tradespeople responded quite well to threats. Early on somebody arrived an hour late so I cut off their hand. There were no further delays.”

Now that Lord Vader is settled in, he’s going to give us a look at how this castle in the lava turned out.

Review: 21041 The Great Wall of China

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To celebrate the Year of the Pig I decided to review something somewhat related to Chinese New Year. I thought about reviewing those sets that are impossible to buy but in the end I figured that’d just make people angry. Lets go with something a little different.

I haven’t really given the Architecture series much consideration but a friend suggest this set when I was looking for something to get at the end of last year. Let’s see if his recommendation was a good one or not.

Build Experience

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There are essentially three phases to this build. Firstly the underlying base is created with a series of plates and some bricks to create a framework.

The second part of the build is slowly building up the landscape using mostly dark green slope bricks. There is actually a fair bit of height on one side of the build so this is actually more involved than I expected it to be. There’s lots of internal structure in the raised mountain side of the build which makes the model very solid.