Monday, July 28, 2014

Smaug on the rampage in new animation

Lego have released a new animation, "The Aggravation of Smaug", to show off the new Smaug model coming later this year in the recently revealed The Hobbit set 79018 The Lonely Mountain.

The video was made for Lego by the masterful Brotherhood Workshop, who also posted a behind the scenes video, showing how this ambitious stop motion animation came together:

Lego also recently updated their The Hobbit website with new images of 79018 The Lonely Mountain, you can see those after the jump:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Next Collectable Minifigures series revealed

The full line-up of the next Collectable Minifigure series has been revealed. Argos added a listing, complete with an image of all sixteen new characters, which are (as named by Grove Bricks): Video Game Guy, Prospector, Rock Star, Swashbuckler, Jester, Fairytale Princess, Spooky Girl, Pizza Delivery Man, Hun Warrior, Genie Girl, Lifeguard, Wizard, Dino Tracker, Space Miner, Battle Goddess, and Piggy Guy.

Another pretty cool selection, with lots to appeal, whatever your preferences. Personally I'm most drawn to historical characters this time around, especially the Battle Goddess and Hun Warrior. A shame though that Lego are persisting in presenting women as a minority group... (five out of sixteen here).

Argos are listing this as Series fourteen, which would mean The Lego Movie and The Simpsons series are being counted as twelve and thirteen (rather than being separate from the series count). An earlier promo image posted on a Japanese Lego blog, which gives us another look at a few of the new characters, seems to describe them as Series 12. I guess we'll have to wait to see the packaging to find out what number Lego have decided.

Friday, July 25, 2014

New York World's Fair Astro-View

If you're a reader of my Star Trek site, The Trek Collective, you might recall my Drex Files in Exile post on the New York World's Fair, which included the iconic Astro-View towers, buildings which were transplanted onto a Star Trek matte painting and made forever a part of the future. Later their flying-saucer-esque design prompted them to appear in Men in Black too.

Well having become familiar with those buildings, I found myself starting to build the Astro-View towers out of Lego recently. A little while later I had created the model you see here.

My model includes a working elevator (in so much as you can clip it to any point on the rails it would have glided between back in it's operational days), and a row of luminaires (the distinctive street lights that could be seen throughout the fair).

Pleased with my little model I also decided to submit it to Lego Ideas, where, if ten-thousand people support the project, Lego might consider producing it as an actual Lego set. So if you like these buildings, in the real world, Star Trek, Men in Black, or for some other reason, please do pop over to Lego Ideas and add your support.

PS, my Lego King Kong project is also still seeking support on Ideas, I'd be delighted if you could support and share that project too!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New sets revealed at Comic Con

Several new sets coming out later this year and in 2015 will be revealed by Lego at Comic Con this week. They have also previewed a few of these online, so here's a round up of the new sets:

Due out later this year, alongside the release of The Battle of the Five Armies, the final film in The Hobbit trilogy, will be The Lonely Mountain. The set centers on Smaug and his occupation of the dwarf mines. As well the dragon the 866-piece set includes Bilbo Baggins, Balin, Dwalin, Ori, and Gloin (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Due next year will be the Wookiee Gunship from Star Wars Rebels. It comes with a trio of Wookies, and the Jedi Kanan Jarrus. (vis MTV).

Also due early next year is 76025 Green Lantern vs Sinestro, the latest addition to the DC Super Heroes range. This set comes with, as the name implies, the Green Lantern, Sinestro, plus a cool white-space-suited Batman. The ship here has lots of transparent green parts, and that little clip thing at the bottom of the image apparently spring launches Batman into flight (via Kotaku).

Announced a few days ago, there's the huge UCS Tumbler set, due out in September. You can see lots of images, and a designer video, in my previous report.

There's also the promise of a new 2015 The Lego Movie set being revealed. Yahoo Movies have posted a small image showing Batman, Angrykitty with a Micro Manager and robot skeleton. Presumably these items will all accompany some other creation though, so I expect here's more news to come on this set. UPDATE: FBTB have confirmed this is in fact the full extent of the set, which is called 70817 Batman and Super Angry Kitty Attack.

The Lego press release about Comic Con also mentioned the fourth series of Mixels sets will be revealed too. I'll update as further news comes. UPDATE: And indeed they were, they showed real models at the Comic Con (The Brick Fan has some photos), while the Lego Facebook page posted these renderings. It seems the tribes are something like, night, fire (again), and Buzz Lightyear:

Lego's Comic Con display pieces

As well as sets you can buy, Lego are also showing of lots of different display pieces at the San Diego Comic Con this week.

First up, and perhaps the most impressive build, is Smaug, the dragon from The Hobbit, which took more than eighty-three-thousand bricks to complete, and comes complete with a little Bilbo Baggins (via When Nerds Attack):

Less of a giant, but coming at life-size, is Chopper, the new droid from the Star Wars animated series, Rebels (via MTV):

Continue after the jump for many more builds, including more Star Wars, Super Heroes, Ninja Turtles, and Ghostbusters:

Lego's Comic Con exclusive sets

Lego have announced several different sets which are available exclusively at the San Diego Comic Con this week. There will also be a number of minifigures that will on offer in a raffles throughout the event, or for those not attending, via a twitter raffle (follow @LEGO_Group for that).

There will be three sets on offer, all are limited to just a thousand copies each. The most eye-catching (even for someone who isn't especially excited by Batman or cars), is the classic TV batmobile, which comes with Batman and Robin. It must be agonising for Batman fans that this fun little car will be such a rarity. (Images via FBTB)

To celebrate the launch of Star Wars Rebels there will be a mini-version of the hero-ship, the Ghost. Like previous exclusives, and the Micro-fighter range, the ship will house an out-of scale minifigure too, in this case the new short astromech droid, Chopper. (Image via

Finally, as I've previously reported separately, there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy set. Rocket Raccoon’s Warbird. (Image via Wall Street Journal)

On top of the sets, four minifigures, to be available via raffle, have also been announced. They are:
You can check out the minifigures after the jump:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lego washing ashore in Cornwall

In 1997 an atypical wave hit the container ship Tokio Express, and sixty-two containers tumbled into the see off the coast of Cornwall as a result. One of those containers held almost five million pieces of Lego, on their way to New York! As the BBC have reported, Lego has been washing up on nearby shores ever since, and an enthusiastic Lego-finding beach-comber, Tracey Williams, has set up a Facebook page to record findings.

Delightfully, the majority of the pieces seem to have come from the Divers theme (one of my all time favourites), meaning lots of nautical elements are being found on the beaches. There are also quite a lot of Fright Knight elements to be found, and apparently dragons and octopuses are considered highlights.

BBC reports sets from the following other themes were amongst the cargo: AquazonePolice, Wild West, RoboForce, Time Cruisers, Outback, and Pirates. There also huge quantities of certain elements, including (but not limited to):
  • 13,000 spear guns
  • 4,200 octopus
  • 26,600 lifejackets
  • 418,000 pairs of flipper
  • 33,941 dragons
  • 26,400 ship riggings
  • 353,264 sets of flowers
  • 97,500 scuba tanks
As fun as this is for Lego hunters, it's also just a small part of the the massive amount of human rubbish clogging up our seas. In addition to hundreds of containers falling off boats every year, all manner of junk ends up in the oceans, most notably huge quantities of plastics, which don't biodegrade. Indeed there's so much plastic in the world now it's become a "normal" part of the mix in sand on beaches, and is even forming a new type of rock, which will mark the human age of pollution long into the future. So if you're near Cornwall, go and find some Lego, and help keep that pesky plastic out of the environment!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lego Ideas King Kong update: New hands!

I have started work improving the model for my King Kong Lego Ideas project. I decided to kick things off by improving his hands. This was motivated by the wrist connection being a weak point in the model, and the new ball-and-socket joints introduced this year offering a new way to connect the hand.

The new hand uses the ball joints, which alas are not available in black, so don't blend in seamlessly. I also redesigned the entire hand assembly, using two SNOT-plates to hold together many of the elements together in a sort sandwich, making a much more stable body part. This also allowed me to set the part holding the thumb on slightly further back, so the thumb now closes into the palm of the hand better. I also switched out the finger elements from the parts I had used a pen to make black (as the part is not available in black) to the grey colour the part is now available in, which more or less matches other "fleshy" bits of the model.

To test out his new-found dexterity, I treated Kong to a giant-sized banana. It turned out to be less of a treat for poor old Ann Darrow, as you'll see after the jump:

Monday, July 21, 2014

UCS Tumbler revealed

Lego have announced, via USA Today, a new Batman UCS set, 76023 The Tumbler. The 1,869 piece set will be on sale from September. USA Today gave the following description:
Measuring 15 inches tall and 9 inches wide, the LEGO Tumbler has an armored exterior, adjustable wings, a detailed interior (with a console screen that reads "INTIMIDATE") and oversized rubber-tread tires. It also comes with a fact sheet about the vehicle from the movies.
To satisfy minifigure collectors, the set will also include Batman and Joker minifigures. This will be the first UCS release since the launch of Lego's Super Heroes range, the multi-franchise spanning theme based on both DC and Marvel properties - Although it is preceded by the earlier stand-alone Batman theme, which included a UCS Batmobile.

UPDATE: Lego have now posted the designer video for the set:

Continue after the jump for more images. UPDATE: The set is now up on the Lego shop, which means high res pictures now available too:

UCS AT-AT walker gets to Lego Ideas review

Another project has passed the ten-thousand supporter mark, so now a Ultimate Collector Series AT-AT walker awaits consideration from the Lego Ideas review board.

This has to be one of the biggest projects ever to get through to the review stage, and for that reason alone I think it's chances are slim. Another Star Wars UCS proposal, a Jawa Sandcrawler, has already tried, and failed, to get through the review. I think the AT-AT walker is arguably a much more iconic design (certainly a more interesting one!), but that could also be a limiting factor - Many Star Wars projects have got to review, but none have so far been produced as an Ideas set. I think the only chance a Star Wars project has on Ideas is something very creative, that wouldn't be likely to already have been considered by Lego for production as a set (such as the brick-build lightsaber props project, which is also awaiting review). The AT-AT walker has been released many times by Lego already, and while it is an obvious candidate for UCS treatment, I'm sure all that means is Lego have already thought about it and have it on some to-do list for future sets.

The project design is none-the-less very impressive. You can see more of it in the creator, Peter Brookdale (aka Cavegod)'s Flickr gallery.