Category Archives: Reviews

Avast, ye scurvy dogs, and behold this mighty fine ship

It’s been a good 5 years since we’ve last seen oceans full of pirate crews. I was beginning to assume that the privateers had taken over completely and the days of piracy were comin’ to an end. But alas my fears were for nought. This year I have been beholden to two of the finest pirate vessels I have seen in all me days. Let me share with you the tale of one of those ships – The Creator.

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Ninjago Meets D&D

Ninjago. A theme so popular that even LEGO couldn’t kill it. A theme that has now been running for 9 years. A theme that had it’s own big screen adaptation. Surely, by this point, the people at LEGO are well and truly out of ideas? Nope.

The 2020 Ninjago sets represent something new and in my opinion is really interesting.

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When the Ninjago sets for the second half of 2020 were revealed they promised that you would be able to use the sets as the basis of a board game experience. That sounded pretty interesting so I made sure to include one of those sets in my latest LEGO order. The set that I got was the smaller of these board game sets – 71717 Journey to the Skull Dungeons.

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This set comes in at 401 pieces and has an Australian retail price of $49.99. Being a Ninjago set it’s easy to find at cheaper prices (see the end of this post for some links).

Should you buy it – 42107 Ducati Panigale V4 R

The Ducati Panigale V4 R set has been hard to track down since it was released, with it regularly going out of stock as soon as it appears on LEGO.com. I guess that indicates that there are a lot of people out their interested in this one. Well if you are still on the fence I am here to answer the very simple question – should you buy it?

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Getting started with LEGO Mario

LEGO Mario is here. The icon of the gaming world now has his own LEGO theme. If you know Nintendo then you know that they like to do weird stuff. They released a range of accessories for the Switch that you make yourself out of cardboard. A lot of people wanted this collaboration to be standard minifigure sets, but I don’t think Nintendo were going to go with the safe option.

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LEGO was awesome and sent me the full product line-up to review. Today I am going to be looking specifically at 71360 Adventures with Mario Starter Course. I’ll be checking out the expansion sets in a separate post soon.

And here’s a quick video showing you how it all works:

The key to this whole theme is the interactive LEGO Mario figure that can only be found in 71360 Adventures with Mario Starter Course. He’s big and blocky and definitely not a minifigure. I did think it was a bit weird when I saw that first teaser, but once I realised the tech he was filled with I understood the decision. Opening up the set and putting Mario together I immediately found him a lot cuter than I expected. Yes he’s big but he’s not that big.

Review: 10273 Haunted House

Since 2014 LEGO has been releasing amusement rides under the Creator Expert range. This year LEGO has killed the Creator Expert theme but introduced a new name for all of their amusement ride sets -The Fairground Collection. The latest addition is 10273 Haunted House.

Should you add this one to your collection or give this a miss? Read on to hear my thoughts.

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When I first heard that LEGO was producing a Haunted House set I thought it would be a standalone set, possibly even a remake of 10228 Haunted House from 2012′s Monster Fighters theme. That would have been cool but the fact that this is actually a fairground ride is actually a more interesting take in my opinion.

The Build

This set is an 18+ set with 3231 pieces so as you would expect it’s a complex build, here split over 18 sections. I think the breakdown of the set is fairly good with each section containing enough parts to be engaging, but each bit won’t take too long.

Review: LEGO House Exclusive – The Wooden Duck

Have you been thinking about befriending a Dane, but for some reason never got around to it? Now is probably the time to do it.

In June LEGO announced the first set in a new range of LEGO House exclusives. The range will only be available to purchase in person at LEGO House in Billund. I am sure you can appreciate that this makes the set incredibly hard to get – particularly with international travel being little more than a fantasy at the moment.

The team at LEGO House offered to send me one of these sets to review and it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up. Let’s see if this set is good enough to get LEGO House added to your 2021 (hopefully) travel plans.

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The Wooden Duck is not a huge set and you should be able to get it assembled in one session, if you are able to set aside a couple of hours.

Even though it’s not a huge build I was quite impressed by the techniques that are used throughout. While at first glance this appears to be a pretty simple build, hidden behind the wings are quite a few technic elements.

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There is also a lot of SNOT building to get the curves to match that iconic wooden version.

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I really love the finished model. With the included display stand it makes a great display piece. While not every body who sees this on display in your house is going to understand the history, it’s still a great conversation starter.

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Just like the original, this duck features a quacking play feature – pull it along by the included string and as wheels turn the beak will open and close. The mechanism works really well but the only issue I had was that the wheels don’t have a lot of grip so if you pull this along a hard surface it may just slide rather than spin the wheels.

As great as this set is I kind of hate that it’s an exclusive. Far too many of these sets are going to end up stuck in a cupboard, hidden away as a collectors item. To me that is the antithesis of what the wooden duck represents. The wooden duck was created because kids deserve great toys. They are meant to be played with. If you somehow manage to get your hands on one of these sets I hope that you will open it, build it and play with it. Let a kid pull it around your floor so it can quack as it rolls along.

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DOTS – Weird or Wonderful?

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LEGO surprised a lot of people this year with the announcement of LEGO DOTS. It was in some ways an evolution of what they attempted with Scala’s jewellery sets, but those similarities were fairly surface level. DOTS is something a bit different.

The theme is not just LEGO branded jewellery, it’s essentially a full range of art and craft projects that just happens to include some bracelets. There is a reasonably broad range of items on offer, all with the common denominator of being customised by LEGO elements.

It’s those elements that makes DOTS something interesting. Rather than featuring weird new parts the customisation and decoration happens primarily with a variety of 1×1 elements. There are 1×1 round tiles, 1×1 quarter tiles, 1×1 square tiles. There’s just a lot of tiny elements. Thankfully the larger sets include sorting trays.

To get enough of a play to really form an impression of the theme I got a collection of items: 3 of the bracelets (41900 Rainbow Bracelet, 41912 Love Birds Bracelet and 41903 Cosmic Wonder Bracelet), 3 packets of 41908 Extra DOTS, 41904 Animal Picture Holders and 41906 Pineapple Pencil Holder.

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RRP for the collection that I got is $107.92 but each part can be found cheaper than RRP pretty easily.

My International Space Station Came With A Bonus Play Feature

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The LEGO Ideas International Space Station is not really intended to be a playset. It’s a serious set for people who like space and want a cool display piece. It’s marked 16+ on the box for a reason. It does a fantastic job of being a display piece, with a high level of accuracy to the source. It’s also huge – much bigger than I expected it to be.

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While this set looks great on a shelf, it’s not the sort of thing you give to a little kid for them to play out their ISS role play games.

That’s true for most of these sets – but my International Space Station came with a bonus play feature that I think makes it way cooler.

Should you buy them – Ninjago Arcade Pods

I’ve never kept up with the lore of Ninjago, so when I got the Ninjago Arcade Pods it wasn’t because of how they tied in to the larger Ninjago universe, it was because they looked interesting.

So, in the opinion of a guy who has no idea what is going on… should you buy them?

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To be honest I’d say probably skip these, unless you really want the parts or minifigures.

There are 3 different Arcade Pods in the range, each in a different colour to tie in to the specific character included. Each arcade pod comes with two full minifigures.

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Each arcade pod includes a slightly different weapon made with a translucent green element and a game controller handle. The game controller weapon handle is an interesting concept and a cool element.

The pods themselves are really interesting. Comprised of a large front piece, a rear panel that clips in to form a hinged opening and a 6×6 plate to create a floor. The front ‘screen’ is also a separate trans clear panel piece.

Play Cubes are a great introduction to the world of LEGO Friends

Sometimes as AFOLs we overlook one fact about LEGO – There are new LEGO fans every year. Every year countless kids will make the transition from Duplo or 4+ sets to the standard LEGO range. It’s with that in mind that I think these play cubes are genius.

The LEGO Friends play cubes serve as a brilliant introduction to the world of LEGO Friends. LEGO Friends is a theme with clearly defined characters, each with their own interests. Having a series of vignettes for the characters just makes sense.

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Each play cube features two sides each with small LEGO builds. The cubes themselves feature a glittery side and a solid colour. Each cube has a different solid colour.

The key elements of each cube are two 2×6 bracket plates that attach to the sides and provide platforms to build on.

There are stickers for each of the cubes, with the rear wall of the coloured sides featuring a large sticker to add extra detailing. The sticker sheet also include a bunch of extra stickers for you to do your own decorating.