Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mini Shop Series in the Cuusoo review

The latest Cuusoo project to pass the 10,000 supporters mark and get into the review waiting listing is the Mini Shop Series. This project cunningly drew upon multiple fan groups by featuring small versions of several well know shops.

Should the idea get through the review stage I guess the question is, which shop will be chosen to be made into an actual set? I'm sure the comments left by the 10,000 supporters will help Lego here; if 50% of them went for one particular brand, then obviously that drove support for the project overall. There will also undoubtedly be consideration for which shops best fit the Lego brand. And of course they would have to see which brands actually want to work with Lego.

The obvious easy one for Lego to arrange, and one that undoubtedly fits with the Lego brand, is their own Lego shop. They have already done this, at micro-scale, as a promo set for when a few new shops have opened. I'm sure a minifigure scale version would be very popular though, as would making it more widely available!

The next most likely option to me would seem to be McDonald's. Lego have previously done promotions with McDonald's, so their may be an ongoing relationship they can draw upon. In fact they have already done a McDonald's branch, as another promo set, back in 1999.

Of the remaining four I think Apple or Starbucks have good chances, as they are global brands. Although both seem a little adult to me. The last two, Dunkin Donuts and 7 Eleven both strike me as more specifically American, which would mean limiting the potential market of the set.

One other thing to consider is the purpose of Cuusoo in the first place. The aim is to expand Lego's markets, to tap into new groups of customers. So with that in mind would the obvious and easier routes like Lego and McDonald's be the ones Lego wishes to pursue? I guess we'll find out a few months down the line when we get the review results for this project.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Theme Guide: The Lord of the Rings (2013)

With a little interlude in the realm of The Hobbit, Lego's Middle-Earth adventures return to The Lord of the Rings this summer (and I'm sure will flip back to The Hobbit in time for the next film at the end of the year). There appear to be just four regular sets in this summer wave, plus a new Lego Game. With the potential for this theme to only continue as long as the new Hobbit films are coming out, it makes one wonder which bits of Middle-Earth might never get Lego releases. Let's have a look at the elements that are getting the brick treatment this year.

Official images have so far only been released of two of the sets, posted on Eurobricks by GRogall. I've used images from Toy Fair displays, from FBTB's coverage, for the rest for now. I'll update this article with better images as they become available.

79008 Pirate Ship Ambush
  • The largest set of this wave, is a bit of an obscure surprise, one of the ghost army pirate ships which are in the films ever so briefly from my recollections. It's a welcome addition though, because that's one nice Lego ship! We've had a junk-style boat quite recently, in the form of the Ninjago set 9446 Destiny's Bounty; it's a really nice set, but it will be good (ironically considering the theme) to have this less fantastical version, and much larger version too. That said, there are certainly many fantasy elements with this boat, including three members of the army of the dead - Hopefully these will have some glow-in-the-dark parts, I'd guess from the photos that maybe their heads and arms are.

79007 Battle at the Black Gate
  • Next up we have, a big chunk of wall. As chunks of wall go this isn't a bad one; it has big swing-open doors, and lots of spiky detailing. What this set is all about for me though, is the eagle! I love Lego animals, and will often buy sets just to get them, which would certainly be the case here. The wings on their own could be very useful parts too, considering they're attached with regular clips. The only thing that disappoints be a little about the eagle are its joined up massive feet. I want talons for picking up minifigures in distress!

79005 The Wizard Battle
  • The smallest set in the range gives us Gandalf battling Saruman. A little dull, but for the size I suppose it does the job. What I really want is for this to be one tiny part of a huge Orthanc tower set! One nice little element in this set that is rather tempting; there's a printed Sauron eye in that glass ball!
79006 The Council Of Elrond
  • A little chunk of Rivendell in this set. Can't really go wrong with that lovely elven architecture with hints of gold, and autumnal trees all around. Plus that Arwen minifigures looks superb.
50011 The Battle of Helm's Deep
  • This second Middle-Earth Lego Game looks rather more exciting than the previous Hobbit game; thanks mainly to the more varied design of the whole thing. I'm normally most drawn to Lego Games that have unusual parts in which, which isn't really the case here. The micro-figure versions of the characters should be fun though.

What a kraken MOC

One of my favourite things to do with a new Lego set is to modify it; tweak and/or improve the design, swap out colours or parts for things I think look better, expand it, or build an environment around it. Iain Heath has gone to town with that sort of idea, taking the big grey wedge that is 10221 Super Star Destroyer, and adding a big red cephalopod to devour it!

Here's the nice in-universe story explaining this alien attack:
A rare species of Space Kraken, known to exist only in the vast Dreighton Nebula, were sought out using the the Jedi's most powerful clairvoyants, and brought under the Alliance's control by flying super-computers directly into their brains. Many brave Ewok pilots were unwillingly sacrificed to accomplish this difficult task. Far from being cruel to the Kraken, this arrangement was completely symbiotic, as the creatures had evolved to prey on starships, their diet being composed entirely of metals such as quadanium steel.
I love the details in this; the hull plating being bent back, the little big of engine tumbling away, and the noble Star Destroyer making a last ditch effort to save the day by ramming into the mega-octopus. This beautiful creation now lives at Heath's place of work, for all his lucky colleges to enjoy. Here it is on display:

You can see a few more photos in Heath's Flickr gallery.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Brickverse now on Facebook

I have created a Facebook page for The Brickverse, so to keep up to date with all the latest Lego news and creations, make sure you "like" me.

You can also follow me general twitter and tumblr feeds for news from all my blogs.

This huge glassy chandelier, is made from Lego!

Believe it not, this giant chandelier, large enough for a person to stand in the center, is made almost entirely from Lego bricks, standing on just a few rings of metal:

It was designed and, rather delicately, built, by Tobias Toestesen, for Milan Design Week. The idea, taking the same basic transparent shape to create a larger construct, is to manipulate the light, using the Lego pieces to create shifting patterns and distortions.

Some eight thousand of the large half-cyclinder pieces are used in it's construction. Here is Toestesen at work building it:

You can see more images on Design Boom.

The Lone Ranger alternative images

Amazon in the UK has added listings for the The Lone Ranger sets, including new alternative images showing play features in each set. These look so fun! The silver mine and train set look especially good play-wise. Have a look below. To see the main images and box art, plus my thoughts and analysis on each, check out my The Lone Ranger theme guide.

79110 Silver Mine Shootout:,,,,
79108 Stagecoach Escape:,,,,,
79111 Constitution Train Chase:,,,,
79107 Comanche Camp:,,,,,
79109 Colby City Showdown:,,,,
79106 Cavalry Builder Set:,,,,

Theme Guide: Lego Minifigures, Series 10

Lego have updated their Minifigures website with all the details for series ten. So the next batch should be finding its way to us soon. To celebrate the new series (and/or as a way of continuing to drive sales of the series), this tenth collection has one extra figure; Mr Gold, an all gold figure, which is distributed randomly among the usual assortment. There will only be five-thousand Mr Golds in the entire production run. Let's have a look at the latest batch of brilliant new Lego characters on the way (more after the jump):

Bubblebee Girl
  • Continuing my favourite recurring theme in the Minifigures series, we have the latest character in an animal costume; this time a really cute bee! Our bee-girl has a pair of wings, similar to the previous Fairy, and comes with a pot of honey, reusing the Leprechaun's pot of gold, with a lovely little Winnie the Pooh style bee printed on the side. I'll definitely be getting multiple of this one, I need a little troupe of bee-dancers!
Roman Commander
  • Another of my favourite subjects in the Minifigures range, the all to rarely seen in other parts of Lego, ancient world figures (seriously Lego, when are you going to give a full on historic Roman/Greek mythology theme?). This is the second time we've had a member of the Roman military, but this time he's got that important missing element from the first Roman Solider; the plume on his helmet. Worth the wait I think, what a brilliant figure; I'm sure we'll all be getting a legion's worth of this guy.
Sea Captain
  • One of the things I love about the Minifigures series, is that we sometimes get an animal thrown in as an accessory - This time we get a new gull. Even if this was just a blank yellow figure I'd want multiples to build up a flock! The actual figure here is quite good too though, our new sea captain will make a great companion for the sailors, and other nautical characters that we've had over the series. His hat will be a welcome addition to the minifigure head-wear range, and he has lovely detailing with the printed sleeves.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Amazingly unLego-like Lego bike

Check out this brilliantly elegant, in scarily fragile looking, Lego bike from MOCer Silva Vasil. It uses all sorts of naughty building techniques, and lots of fiddly not-brick sort of pieces, including some really neat uses; such as a ski for the saddle, and big transparent discs for the wheels:

You can see more angles, and an earlier prototype, in Vasil's flickr gallery.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cuusoo: Indiana Jones map room

Check out this brilliant new Cuusoo project, Indiana Jones and the Map Room at Tanis. An excellent selection for a set; neatly combining the minifigure scale with the micro-scale, as well as being one of the best moments in Raiders of the Lost Ark, not least due to the especially stirring bit of soundtrack over the scene. It's a long way from the required 10,000 supports at the moment, so make sure to add your name:

Indiana Jones fans might also like one of my all time favourite Cuusoo projects, the brilliant "Majestic Airship". It uses a very neat technic structure for the balloon, with a skin attached around it to finish of the look. Would be a great set, and is slowly crawling the level of supporters it needs, so please add yourself to that number!

Friday, April 5, 2013

America's Fighting Dinosaur, in Lego!

A couple of years ago I came across a little Youtube clip of a T-Rex storming a World War 2 beach and firing a machine gun. I considered this clip awesome, and am pleased to find, that after a successful Kickstarter campaign, America's Fighting Dinosaur is now progressing towards release as a short film. While we all wait for that awesomeness to arrive, Lego MOCer, Bruce Lowell, has built this amazing model of Sammy Vogel the T-Rex (using the molded Rex from the recent Dino theme), alongside his human infantry squad, and an added pterosaur air patrol:

Isn't it amazing? Even the base is the shape of a giant T-Rex footprint:

You can see more views of this excellent model in Lowell's Flickr album. While you're here, check out the original slip of Vogel in action: