Tag Archives: Review

2019 Had Some Weird Play Experiences

As we ease in to 2020 let’s have a look back at some of the weird stuff from 2019.

Throw your LEGO off stuff, it’ll be fun!

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  2019 was the year that LEGO encouraged fans to drop their LEGO off a high place with the Sky Police sub-theme and it’s new parachute element. The three part parachute features a circle of lightweight material with two sets of plastic straps. Finally LEGO has stepped up to the plate to take on those cheap plastic parachute people you find in Christmas crackers. I didn’t expect this to be as fun as it is but the parachute is actually pretty cool. I’m surprised I haven’t seen it pop up in more MOCs.

Just add water!

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Emma’s Art Studio features some lovely pastel colours but it also has a weird play feature with the included canvas. What looks like a blank piece of blue material is transformed with a liberal application of water. As the water soaks in you’ll see a paw print pattern suddenly appear on the fabric. It’s a bit strange to see the LEGO box instruct you to get your LEGO set wet.

Shoot the fire!

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Another weird one from the LEGO City theme. This time it’s the fire sub-theme. Several of these sets came with an interesting inclusion – a rubber bulb attached to a tube. Squeeze the bulb and blue elements representing water shoot out. This is actually a feature that worked quite well. It also had a distinct advantage over standard stud shooters in that it was a self-contained unit and doesn’t spread 1×1 rounds all over your house.

There’s an app for that!

LEGO has had several attempts of mixing real building and digital play. In 2013 they released Life of George. In 2014 they released LEGO fusion. Neither made their way to Australia. Well LEGO’s latest attempt was the Hidden Side theme which stepped up the Augmented Reality concept to another level thanks to advances in technology and smartphone cameras. These sets allow you to overlay a digital world over your physical builds. Judging by the deep discounts on these sets Australia wide, I don’t think it’s been a hit. I’ll be having a dig into that a bit more in a separate article.

What other weird play features did you come across in 2019?

Several sets mentioned in this article were provided to me by LEGO at my request. Opinions expressed are my own.

LEGO’s Marvellous Mustang

I have never been a car person. My technical knowledge doesn’t extend much beyond “they’ve got wheels and a motor”. Having said that, there are a few cars that have broken through my indifference. The cars that have become popular culture icons in their own right. One such car is the Ford Mustang. When the Creator Expert Ford Mustang was first leaked I knew I’d be getting one.

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The set features an impressive 1471 pieces with a build split over 6 sections.

Building a legend

I’m not going to go in to the construction process step by step in a lot of detail, because I feel that a lot of the joy from a Creator Expert set comes from the build itself.

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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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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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.

Review: 76113 Spider-Man Bike Rescue

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Last year a new Spider-Man movie hit cinemas and everything that I’ve read says that it’s amazing (it’s won a Golden Globe and is up for an Oscar). Unfortunately for LEGO they don’t have a range of tie-in products related to the movie like they do for other IPs. What LEGO does have is a series of unrelated Spider-Man sets that are officially available in stores from today.

If you’ve seen the trailers you’ll know that Into The Spider-Verse features the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man as the main character, as well as various other versions of the character. I picked this set because, while it’s not a direct tie-in, it seems like a good match for the film as you get a Miles Morales and a Peter Parker Spider-Man.

Read on to see if this set is as much of a hit as the film.

Review: The LEGO Movie 2 Minifigure Series

The LEGO Movie was a cornucopia of crazy characters and the sequel looks just as weird and wonderful. To help make more of those background characters available LEGO are releasing a new series of 20 minifigures from the film.

In this review I’ll be looking at each minifigure, providing a feel guide and also looking at the box distribution. If there’s something in that list that particularly interests you feel free to jump to that.

General Information

Normally a box of minifigures will contain 60 individual packets. With 20 in this series people were hopeful that meant each box would contain 3 full sets of minifigures, and I’m super pleased to be able to confirm that is the case. That’s right this series doesn’t have any stupid chase figures that there’s only one of per box.

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Something else to note with this series is that the packets are slightly different than you are probably used to. These packets are larger and slightly thinner than the previous series. If you purchased any of the Unikitty blind bags than you’ll know what these are like. You’ll also find that quite a few of the minifigures come with an additional bag inside the outer bag. I’m not sure why some have this and others don’t. Luckily I didn’t find that the inclusion of an inner bag affected the ability to feel the contents at all.

The flyer that comes inside the packet is also taped for most of these minifigures. It’s another odd change that I can’t really think of why they’d bother.

My earlier Facebook post about these minifigures contains some more general information.

This series is officially released February 1st, so should be in-store early February.

The Minifigures

Remix Emmet

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It seems that Emmet is handling the apocalypse better than most of the other characters. This version features a headphone and hair piece, coffee cup and printed phone (playing an Everything is Awesome remix). Emmet has dual face prints but both are pretty cheerful. I like the eyes closed grin.

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Review: 76095 Aquaman: Black Manta Strike

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The latest entry to the DC Cinematic universe – Aquaman – was released in cinemas on Boxing Day, a few months after the release of this tie-in set.

I requested this set for review before I’d had a chance to see the movie so I had no idea how well it related to the content before I got it. I am always interested in how well a movie related set relates to what we see in the movie. Sometimes it works out better than others.

I got a chance to see the movie while I was on holidays and I really enjoyed it, let’s see if I enjoy the set as much…

Review: 21311 Voltron

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I never saw the original Voltron TV show. It came out before I was born and it’s one of those pop-culture properties that while I was aware of it, I had never experienced it. When this LEGO Ideas Voltron set was announced I was clearly less excited than some hardcore fans. It was clear though that this was a particularly impressive model.

I’ve since binge watched the entire Netflix series (it’s great) and got a much better understanding of the Voltron concept.

Voltron has defeated some powerful enemies but can it overcome the toughest challenge yet – convincing you to part with your hard earned money?