Category Archives: Reviews

Xtra Xmas Accessories: Cute, A Little Bit Hemisphere-ist

LEGO Xtra is a bit of a dark horse of a LEGO theme – your first instinct might be to view the theme only as something to buy to reach a free shipping or GWP threshold but there are actually some interesting combination of parts available in these cheap polybags.

For 2019 LEGO have released a new Christmas themed Xtra set in 40368. Here in Australia the set will set you back $6.99. For that you get 32 elements. Unfortunately, as of now you can only find this at the LEGO Certified Stores around the country.

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The set comprises of single elements as well as a few mini-builds.

The single elements include two gold fences, a 6 point ice crystal star thing, beanie, snow shoes, bag, Christmas tree and Husky dog. There is also a white leaf element that doesn’t really count as a build because the instructions just say to add two studs on top.

The mini builds that are included are a cute snowman, candy cane pole with wreath and two presents.

Overall I think it’s a good mix for adding extra detail to your Christmas builds. Which I guess is the point.

As is common with pretty much every Christmas related toy this set is very focused on the whole Northern Hemisphere “white Christmas” thing. The closest I’ve ever seen to a snowman at Christmas is when you buy two bags of ice from the servo and you put one on top of the other.

If you are planning an Australian Christmas MOC there’s probably not going to be much use for snow shoes, a beanie or snowy foliage. Maybe that’s why it’s not available in the Australian online store?

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If you are open to a bit of Northern Hemisphere cultural appropriation in your LEGO Christmas then I’d suggest this is a good buy. Assuming you can find it.

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LEGO City Space Sets Have Me Excited For The Future

LEGO City is one of those themes that has never really blown me away. I like it just fine but it can feel a bit too grounded. Or sometimes a bit too fantastical – I’m looking at you Sky Police. It has then come as a bit of a surprise that the 2019 City Space sets have completely won me over.

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I recently built 60227 Lunar Space Station and while a space station orbiting the moon is inherently cool, this set has an extra cool factor. This set is inspired by actual NASA mission objectives. In fact all of the 2019 City Space sets are based on real projects and concepts from NASA.

NASA has a goal to return humans to the surface of the moon by 2024 and beyond that to send a human to the surface of Mars. This project is called Artemis, named for the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. Just like the Apollo project, Artemis will feature a series of different missions each with different objectives. One major difference between Apollo and Artemis is that this time NASA wants to go to the moon to stay.

The Lunar Gateway will be an orbital space station built in various stages. It will serve as a base for landing crews, a laboratory and communications hub. Essentially providing the same role that Columbia did during Apollo 11, but on a much grander scale.

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Giving LEGO’s “Rebuild The World” Concept A Go

You may have recently seen a new ad campaign from LEGO (If not it’s at the end of this post). While I shared it on the Bricking Around Facebook page I haven’t done a separate post about it. Until now!

The new campaign features the tagline “Rebuild the world”. This is essentially a new philosophy that LEGO are saying they want to embrace. It’s hard to know what exactly that means in practical terms for future products. The ad also doesn’t really make things clear because it’s so damn odd.

Pulling back all that oddness my understanding of the line is actually something that I fully support. Rebuild the world by taking something and making it different. It’s the spark of every great MOC ever built; taking the parts that LEGO makes and rebuilding something else.

I had a set that I go to review in January sitting around and to be honest I was stumped about what to do with it. I doubt anybody is still hanging out for a review of Riverside Houseboat 31093. I decided to tip out the set and “rebuild the world”. Presenting…

Sally and the Ent

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While on a camping trip with her dad, Sally befriends an Ent. This mythical tree creature may look gruff but he loves carrying Sally around as they pick flowers together. Sally’s dad is a little less than thrilled about her daughter’s new best friend.

I set out to only use parts from the 31093 set but in the end added a few foliage pieces I had just to improve the overall tree like aesthetic.

The angle plate pieces on the face kind of look like a moustache which I thought was pretty funny. I also spent far too long trying to align the eyes in the centre of the two window elements because, again, I thought those two pieces looked funny.

I had originally created legs that I wasn’t happy with. While playing around with alternatives my young son saw something I’d rejected and informed me they were boots so that the tree person can go ice skating. Of course the Ent loves to go ice skating. Can’t believe I didn’t think of that.

Clearly I am not cut out for LEGO Masters and you won’t be seeing Sally and the Ent on LEGO Ideas but I had fun. I had more fun building this silly little thing than I would have building the full actual set.

LEGO aren’t going to stop selling sets with instructions, but if they can also get more people building stuff like silly tree creatures who love ice skating then maybe they can rebuild the world in to something more interesting. Perhaps the key is for the last page in LEGO instructions to say “Okay now pull it apart again”.

What do you think of LEGO’s rebuild the world campaign? Despite the weird ad I am going to embrace it.

I received a copy of 31093 Riverside Houseboat from LEGO at my request. Elements from that set formed the basis of this post.

First Look At The Robina LEGO Certified Store

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The spread of Australian LEGO Stores continues with the official opening of the Robina LCS taking place tomorrow (September 28th) at 9am. Today I was lucky enough to attend an official pre-opening event where I got to check out the store.

Overall I was really impressed with the store. It’s well laid out and has the look and feel you’d expect if you have ever been in a LEGO store before.

There is a fantastic LEGO mosaic of the Gold Coast beach and skyline (created by Ryan McNaught) as well as a huge sculpture of a minifigure building a sandcastle.

For kids and the young at heart there is LEGO Play tables, a build-a-minifigure station as well as the Pick-a-brick wall. Check out the video below for a look at what was on the wall when I was there.

Chatting to the staff they seem to be pretty aware of what parts are popular with AFOLs (like foliage) and hope to be able to have a good offering all the time.

All of the exclusives you’d hope to see in a LCS were there in plentiful numbers. There were lots of Friends sets, heaps of Lunar Landers, the Disney Train and even the older exclusives like Ninjago City.

Be sure to check out the full gallery of photos from the day below.

Review: Collectible Minifigures Series 19

After the most recent licensed series of minifigures (Disney Series 2) LEGO is back with a random assortment of characters for series 19.

The good news is that this series features 16 minifigures. That’s right there is no chase figure this time around. No more frantically fingering fresh boxes for that elusive 1 per box figure. What is also great is that you get 3 full sets. Perfect for anybody looking to split a box.

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LEGO was kind enough to send me a box, so here’s my look at all 16 minifigures. I’ve also included my box layout and the minifigure counts at the end of this article.

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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