Eurobricks Archdukes
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About Aanchir

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  1. Perhaps they may have in some ways, but LEGO was very strict with designers about anything that might make LEGO play violent or morbid. For instance, the "Yellow Castle" was originally yellow because LEGO was worried that kids would make war machines like tanks if they had a large supply of grey bricks. Niels Milan Pedersen, the other participant in that BrickJournal interview, also shared a funny anecdote on the LEGO Inside Tour last year about how one time (long before the introduction of official LEGO ghosts and skeletons) he cobbled together a custom minifigure skeleton as a joke and put it in the dungeon of a Castle set that was being presented to upper management. Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, the CEO at the time, didn't find it funny, pulling him aside and telling him "if I ever see a dead LEGO man in another set, you are fired." It was many years before Niels worked up the courage to pitch that idea again! Fortunately for his career, by that time the company was a lot more easygoing about that kind of thing!
  2. Regardless of how many sets adult "army builders" buy, it's safe to say the overwhelming majority of sets (including Star Wars battle packs) go to children. Also, I think a big purpose of the working blasters in recent battle packs is to make up for the relative lack of excitement in the rest of the set. Bigger sets have more room to work play features into the actual builds, tend to include more exciting and beloved characters, and also will already be attractive to kids simply by virtue of being bigger. Working stud-shooters for the minifigures in the battle packs give them a little something for kids that the bigger sets don't already have. There was something similar in the launch wave for Bionicle generation 2 in 2015. The big $15 and $20 figures, the Toa, had play features like gears to swing their arms, weapons that could transform into things like fins and skis and surfboards, and golden masks to seek out. The smaller $10 Protector sets, on the other hand, had no gear functions but had custom weapons using the new rotating six-stud shooters. That way, the bigger Toa and the smaller Protectors each offered something that the other group did not. If you already had a Protector, you still had an incentive to go back and get a Toa, and if you already had a Toa, you still had an incentive to go back and get a Protector. Another potential factor: in general, smaller sets tend to be simple and aimed at younger kids, while bigger sets from the same themes tend to be more complex and aimed at older kids. That extra play value from the handheld stud shooters might be more enticing for younger kids, while more realistic weapons might be more enticing for older kids. In that sense the differing weapons boost their appeal with the audiences most likely to enjoy them, and might even help steer those kids towards the sorts of sets they'll be most likely to enjoy. I quite like the stud shooters myself, especially as somebody who loved the old megaphone-style blasters. But then, I don't really collect Star Wars sets these days anyhow. Most of the LEGO themes I collect are original IPs like Ninjago, Elves, and Nexo Knights where authenticity is less of a factor (since the story material is based on the sets, not the other way around). So I'm not really in any position to weigh in on which type of weapon I'd rather see in battle packs or larger Star Wars sets. But I think the fact that LEGO has kept going with stud shooters in battle packs suggests that it has improved the sales of battle packs for them
  3. Jens Nygaard Knudsen. He worked for LEGO from 1968 to 2000. BrickJournal volume 2, issue 6 has a really good interview with him, though mostly about his work on LEGO Space (which he worked on from the very start all the way through M:Tron).
  4. Sorry for dredging up a month-old post, but I didn't spot this post until the topics got merged, and I've gotta disagree. Perhaps for people who don't follow the Nexo Knights story, it might feel like the baddies are generically evil, but when you follow the story it's not nearly so clear-cut. In Nexo Knights specifically, the only character who I'd call purely evil (in his own goofy way) is Monstrox/The Book of Monsters. Otherwise, a lot of the villains are sympathetic or even downright likeable. Jestro, first and foremost, is a somewhat reluctant villain. The Book of Monsters preys on his insecurities about not really being good at anything by convincing him he can be good at being bad. But even though he cooperates with the Book's schemes, he's ultimately a big softie who fills his evil lair with creature comforts like a bathtub and a comfy bed, and mostly just wants to feel like he belongs somewhere. Even without following the story, it's pretty clear from their designs that the Scurriers and Globlins (like the rock monsters from Power Miners, or the Minions from Despicable Me) are more mischievous than outright evil. And among the higher-ranking monsters, although their loyalties are to the Book of Monsters, they're fairly charming in their own right. A special shout-out goes to the monsters' military commander, General Magmar, whose whole section of the real-life Book of Monsters (which is a PHENOMENALLY funny and enjoyable read) is about how he's well-spoken, a good cook, and loves doing whatever he can to boost his troops' morale. Beast Master absolutely dotes on his two trained Globlins, who he has named "Muffin" and "Poopsie". The trod-upon Bookkeeper loves feeling important in his role of carrying around the Book of Monsters. The giant Sparkks and Burnzie are not too bright, but when they're not out looting and pillaging, they're fun-loving monsters who enjoy dancing, ping-pong, etc. You get the idea. Honestly, I feel like the LEGO Group does a great job in most their story themes — Ninjago, Nexo Knights, Chima, etc. — making the villain characters more than just generic baddies with nothing likeable or relatable to their personalities and motivations. And while it may be obvious who's the "good guys" and who's the "bad guys" (which changes sometimes — like how just about all of Chima's year one "bad guys" became "good guys" from year two onward), it's not a situation where no kid would ever want to play as the "bad guys" or see things from their perspective.
  5. Best exclusive/D2C set: 10251 Brick Bank Best large sets: 41180 Ragana's Magic Shadow Castle, 70323 Jestro's Volcano Lair, and 70595 Ultra Stealth Raider Best medium sets: 41179 Queen Dragon's Rescue, 70590 Airjitzu Battle Grounds, and 75828 Ecto 1 & 2 Best small sets: 31044 Park Animals, 70327 The King's Mech, and 71310 Umarak the Hunter Best minifigures: Airjitzu Nya, Nadakhan, and Sira Copperbranch Can't really pick any "worst sets/minifigures" as even those in themes I don't like or collect were usually fairly good for what they were. Favorite theme: Elves Least favorite theme: Palace Pets (I know, not really a full theme in and of itself, but I have pretty positive feelings about the other Disney sets) Most exciting new molds: 1x1 round plate with Ø3.2mm shaft, Ø3.2mm shaft with Ø5.9mm ball, and Mask of Control
  6. The GB version of shop.LEGO.com has posted coming soon listings for the new Nexo Knights sets so you can browse the pictures more easily and read about them in more detail!
  7. The GB version of shop.LEGO.com has posted coming soon listings for lots of January sets, including the Ninjago range! Lots of great pictures and descriptions there!
  8. New set, featuring Robot Hoodlum the forestman-bot! 70358 Aaron's Stone Destroyer Box Aaron's vehicle Another angle
  9. Some quick observations: The time twins are DEFINITELY different ages. One has red eyebrows and a smartphone with earbuds, the other has grey eyebrows and an hourglass. The new Samurai X's face reminds me of Ekimu's Mask of Creation, lol. Lots of great stickers in the Dragon's Forge, including one of Kai's lion spirit and Nya's phoenix spirit on the chimney. The chimney's core rotates to reveal an alternate sticker with Nya's symbol, but I don't know if it has other stickers on the other sides.
  10. Nice that the new Zane's full torso and legs are Silver Metallic. On the original Titanium Zane those parts were all Medium Stone Grey (with Silver Metallic head, hood, arms, and shoulderpads to balance them out), but here that would look a little jarring since his head and hood would be the only remaining Silver Metallic parts. It seems like the new Nya will have more or less the same color scheme except with Dark Azur instead of White and Titanium Metallic instead of Silver Metallic. The new prints for the back of Zane's torso and head are quite nice (the back of his head echoes the similar print for Echo Zane this year). The alternate face with PXL interface on the heads-up display is no longer there, but by now the old titanium head has been in enough sets that it shouldn't be a problem to interchange the heads if you want to use that face. Hopefully in the future there will continue to be allusions to Pixal in the sets (like the sticker in the Titanium Ninja Tumbler set) so it doesn't feel like she's been forgotten in the physical toys. Zane's new asymmetrical smirk isn't an expression I'm used to seeing on him in the show, but it still feels very authentic. While that is true, the gray-haired twin also has a receding hairline, which makes it seem like he is intended to look older rather than just having an unusual hair color.
  11. If anyone's interested, I finally found a text-free version of this summer's Elves key visual! It makes a great cell phone background. I wish LEGO would put more illustrations like this up as posters and wallpapers on LEGO.com! Summer 2016 LEGO Elves Key Visual by Scott Barnick, on Flickr
  12. I don't think making Space sets conflict-based is any kind of obstacle to the designers, as plenty of other conflict-based themes tend to do just fine, and it doesn't seem to result in lower-quality set designs. Even a lot of the older Space themes had a conflict element to them (Blacktron vs. Space Police, Spyrius vs. Futuron, etc), it's just that the different factions were generally split up instead of having multiple factions in the same box. I think the "multiple factions per box" thing actually is a positive step for LEGO in general, as it broadens the number of stories you can tell with a single set. Kids can still play with the factions individually as they please, but they no longer have to buy multiple sets to create a fight scene or chase scene. It's sort of similar to how in LEGO City, police sets now generally include a crime to stop and fire sets now generally include some type of burning structure to put out, instead of just one "faction" of characters and their vehicles. Or how recent Bionicle sets generally include a bonus mask for the character to hunt down instead of making you buy separate mask packs for bonus masks. It's a story-starter, essentially. A LEGO Space TV show could be interesting, though if it's aimed at boys it'd probably have to wait until Nexo Knights ends. Now, what I'm curious about is the potential for a girl-oriented sci-fi theme. LEGO has had great success with LEGO Friends in the modern-day sphere and LEGO Elves and Disney Princess in the fantasy sphere. Girl-oriented sets have only just now entered the sci-fi sphere with LEGO DC Super Hero Girls, but it'd be great to see LEGO try and introduce their own original IP in that category. Mind you, it wouldn't specifically have to be a Space theme — other sorts of sci-fi themes like a steampunk or spy theme could also be neat. But I feel like a Space theme would come closest to delivering what people in this topic would like to see. Speaking of spy themes, don't forget that Ultra Agents was designed as a "post-Space" spy theme (even using Solomon Blaze from Galaxy Squad as one of its core characters). I know that may not be any comfort to people who want actual astronauts and spaceships, but if LEGO was worried that the two themes might be in conflict, that might help explain why the current Space hiatus has been longer than usual. I certainly don't think there's any need to worry that LEGO or their customers have given up on the idea of LEGO Space.
  13. According to Brickset they're exactly the same part. 99498 is the part number, 88004 is the set number for an individual servo motor.
  14. I'm kind of surprised you say that since Nya's face in Battle for Ninjago City was an utterly generic LEGO City face. Personally, I think her best recent faces have been the alternate faces for Samurai versions of her, like this one from last year or the one from this year's battle pack figure, since they both include her dimples. That said, I don't think the current face is awful. Just not as distinctively Nya.
  15. It probably depends heavily on whether the unrevealed sets are based on a specific movie or series. If they're, say, Episode 8 sets, then Darth Vader's probably off the table. But if it's another wave of assorted movie characters like the first wave, he's more of a possibility. Personally, though, I would hope for more new characters in the next "assorted" wave.