Category Archives: Reviews

Bricking Around Reviews The First Ever BrickPak

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Is there anything better than receiving a package in the mail? Only a package that you know contains LEGO. That’s the core concept behind BrickPak – the new Australian LEGO Loot Crate product.

We received the first ever BrickPak on Monday morning and couldn’t wait to open it up and see what’s inside. As I had planned to save opening it for the video below, it was certainly a struggle to have it sitting beside me all day at work, teasing me with it’s LEGO contents.

 

So enough of the anticipation, let’s crack it open and check out the contents.

Warning: If you have ordered the BrickPak and have not yet received it, anything after this is going to kind of ruin the surprise. We suggest you turn away now.

Review: 75038 Jedi™ Interceptor

  • RRP: $39.99
  • Parts: 223 ($0.18 per part)
  • 1 Minifigure, 1 Droid

75038 Box

As I mentioned in my last Star Wars review, I don’t usually buy sets from this theme. I also said that I was a Star Wars fan, but this set certainly tested my Star Wars knowledge. I mistakenly assumed that it was based on something from the Clone Wars cartoon series, but after looking it up this is actually based on Episode III. I actually quite enjoyed episodes II and III so I am a little disapointed in myself for not recognising it.

First Impressions

Just from looking at the box you can tell that this is going to be a good play set. It’s got things to shoot at bad guys (or your siblings) and the overall design looks like something that is fun to swoosh around. That makes sense, because this set is not a difficult UCS model designed for display.

The Build

On opening up the box you will get three numbered bags and the sticker sheet. As a small set the sticker sheet is not packaged with cardboard, but luckily my sheet was not damaged at all. You will notice in the photos that I have not applied the stickers myself.

This is a sequential build, so let’s kick off with Bag 1. This is where you will find the new spring loaded missile firing parts. These aren’t your regular flick-fire missile; they actually shoot quite a good distance. Follow the rules in the instructions and never aim these things at faces.
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We also get our only minifigure in bag 1 – A new version of Anakin Skywalker. The torso printing is quite detailed, and he comes with two different hand colours to represent Anakin’s robot arm. The head features a double sided face print with an angry expression and a happier one.

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By the end of bag 1 we have the bulk of the central cockpit area completed. There is still a canopy to attach, but that shows up later.

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Bag 2 consists of the parts for the first of the wings. There were a few steps in this section where it can be difficult to distinguish correct placement of a part; there are a lot of overlapping flat plates  of similar colour and upside down assembly. It’s not difficult, but I found myself double checking the instructions more than I usually do for a small build.
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Bag 2 ends with the wing being attached to the main body of the ship.
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Bag 3 contains everybody’s favourite astromech droid – R2-D2. This is actually my first LEGO version of R2, and I was impressed with the printing. If the box is to be believed this is a new version for 2014.
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With the mainly symetrical design of the ship, bag 3 is constructed in much the same way as bag 2. The main difference between the two wings is the cut-out for placing R2-D2.
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The Final Verdict

I didn’t exactly have the highest expectations going in to this set. For me the Jedi Interceptor is not a classic Star Wars vehicle (such as the Millennium Falcon) and doesn’t hold a lot of appeal. Having said that, I actually quite like the finished model.
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If you are looking for a display piece, then this set is probably not going to be at the top of your list. If what you are looking for is a fun set to fly around and shoot stuff with then this hits the mark.

I have the same gripe with this set as a I do with most Star Wars set, that being the higher price per part compared to other themes. As always, if you are interested in this set I would hold out for a sale.

So should you buy this set? This is a more difficult one to answer than our last review. That set was under $20 and was a classic ship recognisible to not only Star Wars fans. 75038 on the other hand is $39.99 set based on the prequal trilogy. If you like the idea of this set, then you will not be disappointed with the final product. If howerever you don’t particularly have any interest in it, then I don’t feel there is anything here that will bring you around.

Check out the full build gallery below

Review: 75030 Millennium Falcon™

  • RRP $15.99
  • 94 Parts ($0.17 per part)
  • 1 Minifigure

75030 Box

I am going to start this review with a confession – I am an AFOL that does not buy Star Wars LEGO. From what I have seen it appears that this is actually quite rare. When I got back in to LEGO I was tempted because I do like Star Wars. There were a few reason why I decided not to buy into the theme; Star Wars sets are generally more expensive per part than other themes and the Star Wars range covers 6 different films, so I knew I’d never have a complete collection.

Hopefully you’ll have a better sense of where I am coming from with this review. I am a Star Wars fan, but not exactly the biggest Star Wars LEGO fan.

First Impressions

As part of the Microfighters range 75030 is certainly one of the smallest versions of the Millennium Falcon that has been produced by LEGO. This Star Wars sub-theme replaced the Planet Series as LEGO’s low-cost Star Wars range. The Microfighters sets are essentially the novelty go-kart version of classic Star Wars vehicles.

When I first received the box I couldn’t help but think that the set was cute. There is something adorable and funny about seeing tough guy Han Solo sitting in a tiny Millennium Falcon.

The Build

This is a small set, so there aren’t really any surprises when cracking open the box. Parts are divided between two bags, with one bag containing all of the smaller pieces.

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The build starts off with the assembly of the Han Solo minifigure. As somebody who doesn’t have a Star Wars LEGO collection I was impressed with the minifigure, but I’m not sure how we compares to previous versions. I always appreciate the added detail of leg printing, which is present on this minifigure. Han also comes with a blaster, which is handy for those times when you have to shoot first.

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Once you have put Han together you start on the Falcon, and I was surprised by how quickly it becomes a recognisable shape. Within just a few steps you are looking at something that is clearly going to become the Millennium Falcon.

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LEGO have done a great job of capturing the lines and curves at such a small scale.

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There are also slide shoes added to the bottom of the set, which helps it glide around. This inclusion is obviously more for the younger fans, or as LEGO calls them “the target market”.

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I appreciate the inclusion of a printed brick to capture the cockpit. It may sound strange but without that little extra bit of detailing I think the set would lose some of it’s overall resemblence.

Speaking of the overall look – I am not a big fan of the two flick-fire missles added to the top of the set.

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The Final Verdict

I was really impressed with this set. The final product is quite a solid little build, something that would handle being played with well. The only complaint that I do have is very minor (the flick-fire missiles) and does not really have that much impact.

I also feel that the RRP is just a little to high for this set. Yes it does have 94 pieces, but all of those pieces are on the small side. It’s definitely a set that I wait to get on sale. At 20% I think this would be better value for money.

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So should you buy this set? This is a small, quick and simple build but the final product has a lot of charm to it. I think whether you buy this set really comes down to what you think of the style. If the pictures of this set have you interested then I do recommended it. If you have a huge Star Wars collection and find this set to be a bit unimpressive then I don’t think there is anything here that would change your mind.

Check out the full build gallery below

The LEGO Movie Review

Background

In cinemas April 3

Rated PG

5 Stars

 

This review is contains minor plot details, but won’t give anything away.

When The LEGO Movie was first announced I was one of a huge number of people who weren’t sure how it could possibly work. LEGO is one off the most recognised brands in the world, but it is also a broad subject to try and capture on film. The team behind this movie have nailed the brief. A LEGO Movie could have easily turned out to be a shameless 2 hour toy ad with little substance, but the end result is not just a great film but it also perfectly captures the essence of the brand.

The movie tells the tale of Emmet, an unremarkable construction minifigure who lives his life following a detailed set of instructions. His life changes forever when he discovers the key to stopping an evil plan to destroy the world.

The action in the film is fast paced and at times frantic. You will settle in to a new location only for the bad guys to show up and keep the characters moving forward. There is no filler here. My only complaint would be that some locations are only given a passing glance.

LEGO Batman
The cast of characters are all perfectly executed. Vitruvius is the textbook example of the wise old mentor character, but there are lots of knowing winks to the older viewers. They know that he is a stereotype and they play with that. There will be a lot of debate about Wyldstyle, but I felt that she is given enough depth to her character beyond the generic ‘tough chick’ shown in the trailers. LEGO Batman is a hilarious take on a character that could have just been stale. We have seen Batman on the screen plenty of times before, but LEGO Batman is something new and he steals the show in quite a few scenes. Looking back there are no characters that don’t serve a purpose. The standouts for me are Metalbeard, Uni-kitty and Benny the Spaceman. Between the three of them there lots of laughs.

The jokes are constant with this movie, but there are none that I felt miss the mark. The humour here is clever and not forced like in other kids movies. Jokes are made in a split second of action and if you miss them they are gone. Things never slow down for the sake of a joke. One element of the humour that I found refreshing was that there weren’t lots of jokes deliberately aimed at parents or older viewers. The majority of the jokes work well for all ages, and that is going to make family viewings a lot more enjoyable.

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For all of its humour this film also has an incredible amount of heart. It’s possible that the way you see LEGO is going to be changed after you leave the theatre. There is a message here but it is never preached or shouted at you. From the trailers and marketing you might think that the movie has a simple message that following the instructions is bad but that isn’t what this movie is saying, it’s more complex than that and really goes to the heart of what LEGO is all about. This movie is a lot smarter than I expected it to be.

There are lots of movie critics who are going to view this movie just as a movie, but as an adult fan of LEGO I went in with my own set of hopes and expectations. I wanted to see how well would this film capture the subject that I am passionate about. Everything that is presented on screen is authentically LEGO; I was in awe from the opening moments of the film. The animation team have created a visually stunning world that always looks like it is made with real bricks. Scenes are clearly inspired by stop motion animation, just without physical limitations (like access to millions of bricks). I feel like the animation team were given a strict set of design rules to follow. Unlike the LEGO videogames these characters don’t bend and flex except where their real world counterparts could. Seeing Emmet doing jumping jacks I was struck with “this is a minifigure”.

Emmet

There are lots of LEGO references in here too. There is a scene early on in the film where Emmet is working his construction job and hearing the construction crew call out for parts, using terms that every AFOL will be familiar with, was great. The general audience isn’t going to get all of those references, so I appreciate their inclusion all the more. They are like a hidden message for true fans.

If you are a child, then this movie is easily going to be the best fun you will have during the school holidays. Parents, this isn’t just a 2 hour distraction for your kids, this film has heart and genuine laughs for you too. As for AFOLs, well you also get to see the bricks that we love brought to life; almost every frame looks like a MOC that you’d love to be able to build. I can’t wait for the blu-ray release so I can pause the action and soak up the way the (digitally rendered) parts are put together.

The LEGO Movie has already earned a spot on my list of favourite movies.

Belkin LEGO® Builder Case Review

Belkin LEGO iPhone Case

Since the iPhone first gained popularity there have been a huge variety of unofficial LEGO iPhone cases available, but now Belkin has partnered with LEGO to produce an officially licensed LEGO iPhone case. Does being an offically licensed product mean it meets the same high standard that LEGO bricks aspire too?

I have been an iPhone user for a few years, starting with the 4S and then moving to the iPhone 5 shortly after it was released. I am also somebody that has never had a case on my phone. I just use a simple pouch to protect my phone from scratches when it’s in my pocket. I had never found a case that offered me something to justify adding the extra weight and bulk to my phone. That was before Belkin announced the builder case.

Review: 10230 Mini Modulars

LEGO 10230

Price: $79 (Myer Toy Sale)
Parts: 1356

Price/Part Ratio: $0.05/Pc

One of the surprise treats at the Myer Toy Sale (on until 28th July) was 10230 Mini Modulars set. Originally designed as gifts from the LEGO design team, these microscale versions of the iconic modular building sets were released as a single set available exclusively to VIP customers. This year is the first time the set has been released at an Australian retailer. The set covers the first five modulars: Cafe Corner, Market Street, Green Grocer, Fire Brigade and Grand Emporium.