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Everything posted by Svelte

  1. Set: 8635 - Agents - Mobile Command Center Pieces: 1154 Price: $US89.99 Those dedicated Agents. They've fought chainsaw-armed villains, battled radio-controlled cyborg crocs, chased pallets of badly-stored golden loot and wrestled killer sharks with vicious, toothy grins. Finally they've caught the notorious Dr Inferno and imprisoned him in their cavernous Mobile Command Center. But Dr Inferno won't go down without a fight! Can the Agents stop the evil Dr 'Disco' Inferno fleeing? Will Spy Clops laser gun burn through the door in time, or will Dr Inferno simply use the lovely Agent Trace's enormous ponytail as an escape ladder to freedom? More importantly, will there be a riot in the streets of Lego City as AFOLs go apopletic at the thought of a 12 wide truck roaring through their ordered town layouts? Stay tuned! Part 1: The Box, Instructions, Parts As the largest of the Agents sets (so far), the box is easily the biggest. Trainee agents, examine the following three pics and see if you notice anything odd. Box front: Box back: Box middle: Spot it? That's right. The printed cardboard which has supposed to be the bottom half of the fold out middle section is on the back, slicing the ultra-large set image which would form the foldout in half . The way the cardboard is printed as one piece before it's folded I think this would be very hard to do 'accidentally' so suspect a major stuff-up somewhere along the production line. I bought this set off bricklink so would be very interested if anyone in the States who has seen these boxes actually on the shelves can tell me if this is common or rare. Basically I want to know if I should be annoyed that the bricklink seller didn't list this in the set description, or are they all like this? The instructions come in 4 booklets. The parts list comes in at 5 pages, which is a lot even at half-size pages ! Large images of the parts inventory are in this folder when moderated for anyone interested. Here's also some cute Agents-type artwork at the end of one of the books. Instructions show piece call-outs and are divided into sections according to numbered bags. As you'd expect for a set with 1100+ parts, this baby comes with a lot of bags. It's a treasure trove of dark blue. As well as the obvious large slopes and wall panels which make up the body and the roof, there is a wealth of smaller navy blue pieces as well - small 1x1 bricks, 2x2 bricks, 1x1 plates, 2x2 tiles, heaps of 2x plates, some slopes, 22x cheese pieces... basically anyone wanting a lot of dark blue should think about this set. The roof panels alone, for example, could provide a dark blue sea for a modernised Pirate MOC. 2 DSSs (Dreaded Sticker Sheets). Quelle surprise - stickers! The grey parts of the stickers here are metallic silver ink, which is a nice touch. Actually, as sticker sheets go, they're not too bad. Fairly subtle for the most part and the navy blue actually matches the bricks themselves. However, after looking at the sticker sheets I thought I was missing something. What about the pieces used for the projection screens showing Dr Inferno and the sharks - why weren't they on the sticker sheets? There must be another one! Frantically I checked and rechecked the box and flipped through all the instruction manuals to find the elusive 3rd sheet. Where was it? Ten minutes later I noticed something which had honestly never occured to me - THERE WERE ACTUAL PRINTED PIECES IN THIS SET! So obvious and yet so unthinkable. It's horrifying how years and years of Exoforce and Speed Racer set releases can mentally condition people's thought processes. Tut tut, Lego. What have you reduced us to? Here they are, folks - ACTUAL PRINTED PIECES. (Yes, I do believe this news deserves the caps.) I also noticed this nifty modification of the usual 2x3 cupboard - you can now fit drawers in it! Very clever. This may have been around in Belville sets for years for all I know, but it's new to me. The drawers slide in and out very well and the top one sits on slight indentations in the middle of the cupboard. Part 2: The figs! Our trusty agents - Charge, Chase, Trace and Fuse. (High powered agents don't have time for names of more than one syllable - that's why the bad guys always lose ). Chase and Fuse have the Mutt hair in black and dark orange. The lovely Agent Trace has an exquisite new hairpiece in dark brown, perfect for 'Rapunzel' themed MOCs. As you can see, her ponytail is loooong. Makes it hard to sit down, the poor girl. I feel sorry for all these female figs with such intricate hairstyles that they can never relax in an ordinary Lego chair. However, at least she has two breasts unlike the recent Harley Quinn fig. Compensation indeed. Seriously though, it's great that there's a separate torso print for the female character and this attention to detail is typical of the set as a whole. Three of the agents have reversable heads - nice touch with the headsets and I like the ID cards on their pants. Obviously the agents security system is based on some kind of crotch measuring device. This would make sense considering the conspicuous bulges in the pants of Dr Inferno's men (see the other Agents set reviews.) The villains - Spy Clops, Dr Inferno, Gold Tooth. Dr Inferno's hair in all it's glory. This is a great piece, although the orange colouring is a little rough on the front. It's so 3D, it deserves a back and side view (and indeed EB thread) all of its own. As mentioned elsewhere, this is different plastic to the normal minifig hair, but it doesn't quite feel as soft as the Exo-force hair. It doesn't fall off as much, anyway. The figs get 10/10 from me. Awesome hairpieces in great colours for the Agents and a sleek navy blue/ neon green uniform. The villains' faces are great and they are all very distinctive. The attention to detail is outstanding and it's great to see a Lego in-house theme with characters as memorable and cool as figs from the licensed themes . Part 3: The build The build is divided into three stages - the small vehicles, the front of the truck, and the massive command center section. (a) Small vehicles First up, all the small vehicles. We have a small flyer, 2 buggies, jet ski, and a speed boat - all in glorious navy blue with little bits of silver detailing. Top view. These vehicles are all simple, small and well-designed. Probably the weakest is the flyer, only because the cockpit looks a little large. In fact, the small flyer is probably the weakest element of 8365 overall, which tells you how good the set itself is! In various threads here, this set has been heavily criticised for being way out of proportion. There's a reason for that, as we shall come to. However, the existence of these small sets should appease some people. With the new coast guard sets, for example, all of these save the flyer wouldn't look out of place on a City beach with a little modding. Here's an example - agents beach party! (Spongebob couldn't help but crash.) The villains only have one small vehicle, but they've been well-served in the smaller sets, and this one is a unique and clever design. I love the triangular shape and the simple but clever technique of making the arch slopes meet up around the propellers. It's sort of insectile in black and orange, and looks very different from the usual assortment of helicopters etc. (b) Truck front This thing is a beast! Seriously, look at it. It's chunky and mean looking. You don't want to mess with this baby. The build is really nice. Like a lot of Star Wars vehicles, it's all based on technic beams pinned together. Unlike a lot of Mars Mission sets, underneath isn't ALL technic beams with some plates slapped on like a facade. The majority is a lot of plates and bricks which all fit together solidly. You can see from the detailing of 'cheese grater' slopes and silver pieces on the front how effort has been made to give this vehicle a distinct feel different to other Lego sets. Sure, the silver slope mirrors might be a bit too much for some, but this baby is all about attitude. You can imagine it roaring down the road en route to Dr Inferno's diabolical lair! After all, these sets are 'Agents' sets - nobody said they were *secret* Agents (c ) Command center - whole assembly Here's a view of the whole thing assembled - inside and cool details to follow at the end. It's kind of hard to show here as it is extreeeeemely long. This is indeed a big set. The build for the trailer part of the command center is fun and very satisfying. Yes, there are large pieces but there is also a huge amount of detail. It is also solid as a rock. I remember being annoyed building the big Ferrari truck a few years ago - everytime you looked at it, an 8 x 16 plate fell off. The Mobile Command Center is solid - even with the hinged roof and special features, it is not delicate at all. Kudos to the designers, again as it is mainly a brick build rather than a technic one. I also like how the command center part connects to the cabin - it's not a special piece at all, just a technic axle going through two circle plates, but it works and it's solid. (Please note I've been selective about which stickers I've applied during the build.) Top view: The rear: Here's an example of why I like the build: (a) the designers have enough sense to put a ladder so a minifig can climb up to the interior when the command center is open (b) notice that although the ladder clips at the top, there is an *extra* clip there in the middle purely to hold it in place so it doesn't flap around and holds firm. I don't know if most designers would even think to put a ladder there let alone go the extra mile and put a mechanism to hold it in place. Pure class. Oh, and notice the greebly detail stuff to the right there too. The other side. This is probably the other weak part of the build - the bricky gaps at the top where the hinge to open the roof sits. It's a little gappy but the set is so big you don't really notice. (d) And now for the fun stuff - inside and neat details! OK, so we've built the thing. It's big. It's blue. The top of the trailer itself would make a good warehouse MOC for a harbour layout. But what about inside? Is it any good? What about all those small vehicles from the start of the review? Where do they go? Well, I'm glad you asked. Because the solution is superb. The small flyer folds slightly and slides into place here: Lift off the roof and you're away! The large buggy and the speedboat go under here: The jetski slides out of the rear here, attached to its own little platform: And the small buggy goes inside the main cabin. There's even a crane so you can lift it down. So now we know why this set is so large! To fit everything in! It's amazing that this functionality doesn't affect the aesthetics of the set as a whole. But we still haven't finished on the details. The front section has a very easy-to-swing-open roof section and missiles: There's also a command section underneath the bit where the flyer lifts out: And now for the interior. I have to say I really like this space. Not only is it packed with great stuff, there's also enough room for minifigs to move around. I hate bases where the figs only have about 2 studs to actually stand and walk. Aquabase Invasion is a nice set, for example, but the actual functional space inside the base is teensy. Claustrophobia! You know within a week they'd be fighting to toss each other out of the airlock. No such problems for these suave Agents, who have plenty of legroom *and* the ability to launch missiles from their ceiling. The whole of the interior: Zooming in: Moving from left to right. First off, the medicine cabinet. Looks like someone's been leaving secret mission dossiers lying around. The projector area for mission briefings. Dr Inferno recently changed his hair colour from purple to orange, it seems. Why are all these minifigs so obsessed with their hair? The projector folds down when the trailer is open. Push the button and the light glows on. Now Dr Inferno's hair is orange again! This is one of my favourite parts of the set. It works a charm. The batteries for these lightbricks can also be replaced - instructions are in the manual. Agent Charge considers shark-fin soup for dinner. Did I mention these projection panels are printed? The detail is very fine too. The tool section. Laptops sit in the middle compartment. You get some flippers, yellow scuba tank and various implements. I'm so impressed that the helmet is pearl silver with a different coloured visor too - there's so much variation in the parts in this set, you don't get the sense the designers are using the same thing over and over to save money. It all feels luxe and top-of-the-line, just like the Command Center itself. Two laptops - yay! The aforementioned rooftop missiles: The Dr Inferno cage. Nasty electric shocks! Bzzt! (You can see my reviewing skills are burning out now - sentences.... truncated...) Another example of detail - nowhere else in the set is a 1x1 transgreen tile used - they could have used a 1x1 trans green cheese wedge piece as there are others in the set, but they didn't. How does Dr I get out? Flick that lever on the right hand exterior and the door pops open. Spy Clops the loyal minion awaits his master on the other side. And there we have it. Take a bow, guys! There's a lot of spare parts. A suspicious amount of dark blue small slopes but I checked the instructions and didn't see anything missing. I have to say, I do like the new policy (since Speed Racer I think) of including these small slopes as extras. Part 4: Overall Rating If you've made it this far, you've got more stamina than Dr Inferno's army of cyborg animals themselves! As I said earlier, this set has drawn criticism for the size of the truck. However, large vehicles do exist - I grew up in a wheat farming area and as a kid the size of the lorries that thundered past carrying grain was probably intimidating to me as this monstrous espionage machine is to the good citizens of Lego City! On top of that, it *does* contain a plethora of 4-wide vehicles inside ! Criticism of this set on the basis of size to me also seems misguided as this is basically a playset - and it is a very good one to boot. As you can probably tell, I love it to pieces and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone, whether for parts or for play value. Check out the parts list in this folder when moderated and you can see just how many excellent pieces it contains. A light-up brick, a flood of navy blue, metallic silver bricks - we're spoiled. 8635 is also an enjoyable build, with fantastic figs and top-of-the-line detailing. In a year when I've found City a bit disappointing after the run of great sets in 2006-2007, the Agents line has been one of the surprise hits for me and I can't wait to see what the designers come up with next.
  2. Svelte

    REVIEW: 7685 Bulldozer

    INDEXED Name: 7685 Dozer Theme: CITY Construction Year: 2009 Pieces: 355 Minifigs: 1 Price: AUD59.99/ USD39.99/ GBP 19.45/ EUR - 29.95-34.95 Resources: Brickset/ Peeron/ Lego Shop@Home The 2009 Construction sets looked to me to be some of the most visually appealing to appear in the City theme since 2007. Compared to the 2005 sets, the new Construction sets are scaled in a happy compromise between the enormous 7249 XXL Mobile Crane and the mish-mash of small subsets that was the 7243 Construction Site. In addition, this year we have been spoiled with a host of great new vehicles such as the Crawler Crane and Dump Truck , excellent reviews of which appear elsewhere on this site. I was especially excited by the new Dozer set (as it is called at S@H) as it retains the visual beauty of 2007's Motorized Technic Bulldozer but is obviously scaled down for minifigs and more importantly, retains a classic brick-built feel. Part 1: Box, Parts, Manual Box front: Box back: Instruction booklet: Random instruction page: NSDSS (Not-so-dreaded sticker sheet It's only a small one) Parts, neatly bagged - they're divided into 3 subgroups: Parts, spreadeagled: Nothing really new here, but there are some interesting parts including: trans-orange 1x1 plates - haven't seen these for a while; yellow geary things - the same kind that were in the 08 Mars Mission Crystal Reaper set, obviously designed to go with the large track pieces; and - NOOOOO! - the much-hated and ugly landing gear pieces from the 06 Airport line Part 2: The minifig and the build Our lone minifig and his warning post. This minifig is a standard dead-boring one. They even used the exact same one in one of the small Creator sets last year. I am over that face and wish TLG would create new generic face-prints every few years rather than only updating the licenced themes. If I saw as much facial hair in the real world as I do in Lego City I would think I'd time-travelled to San Francisco in the late 70s . I haven't stickered the fence post 'barrier' as I'm keeping them pristine for the Farm subtheme; I don't think the design is quite right for Construction anyway, and prefer the brick-built ones from the 05 theme - a small quibble though. The trans popsicle/ Bionicle eye things seem to be the new 'must-have' part for 09 sets, as they seem to be everywhere. The Dozer's base is a few technic beams which will later allow wheels to attach so the tracks can sit in place: Greebly-SNOT engine parts - this does look nice: The cabin takes shape: Here is a strange usage of the piece usually used in mining craft. Is it a rotor? An enormous fan-belt? A death-trap for those opposed to the current construction in their area of Lego City? This detail is featured prominently on the box art and also the S@H gallery so presumably it is important. At least it's covered so as to avoid accidents.... ...most of the time! Track holder cogs in place: For those that can't count to 29, the instructions provide the full length of assembled track for each side. How does yours measure up? Below, the track is applied. At this stage, the vehicle does look kind of tractorish doesn't it? And indeed, wikipedia assures me that a bulldozer is just a big tractor with crawler tracks and an attached metal 'blade' which is the part that pushes stuff around. See here! You learn something new every day! Indeed, I think I trust wikipedia on this point... Summer 09 Lego Star Wars set lists... not so much The next section is the assembly of the 'blade' section: It attaches to the main body of the vehicle by the long bar pieces: Here you can see the bars slide into the pistons from a birds'-eye vantage. The long yellow technic arm pieces click on via technic pins to hold the blade in place: And voila! The fully assembled bulldozer! Part 3: Showin' off the goods I really like that S@H feature which allows you to spin the model 360 degrees so you can have a good gander at your intended purchase from all angles. To let you have a better look at the Dozer, I have decided to provide the same functionality! Except instead of a Flash animation, here you have to scroll your eyes quickly down the page Please don't tell me if this gives you a migraine Whee! I'm dizzy! Part 4: Features and problems One thing that you quickly notice about this set is that, for its size, it doesn't have a large amount of features apart from the obvious primary one of, well, being a bulldozer, which it admittedly does quite well . It also has a few weaknesses that are kind of annoying. Let's take a quick tour of our newly-built vehicle. First up, the cab section (with roof of). One standard printed control panel in black is in front of the seat and there are two levers. The double-sided doors sit at a roughly 45 degree angle to the body of the cab which is a nice touch. I know several members here probably had an accident in their pants at the very thought of the return of door vehicles, so I'll pause for a moment so you can clean yourselves up... Done? Good? The main issue with the cab is oddly one of swooshability. There's no obvious section which you can use to pick up the Dozer, so by default the cab section becomes your choice, seeing as it sticks out a bit. However it is poorly built in terms of strength and is as delicate as the nightingale's song when put to any practical use. Here we see a typical result of trying to pick the Dozer up from this end - starring Sherlock Holmes in the Case of the Exploding Cab: The problem is that the front section (windscreen and roof) are only attached by the bottom of the window panel and the back section has no fortifications. Through trial and error you learn a sort of crab-like pincer movement to grab the Dozer in the middle but this is initially frustrating. Another weakness is that it is very difficult for the blade to actually pick anything up as it travels across the ground (carpet only if you want the treads to work) as the angle is kind of high and there's no 'scoop' parts to hold anything in place. On the plus side, the blade assembly looks amazing and is quite flexible. I love the studless plates and the black grillwork - a really classic Lego touch. Dropping rubbish is easy as the bottom of the blade hinges down: There is also a commendable angle of movement of the blade apparatus itself. Here it is in the lowered position: And in the elevated position: The other feature is, as noted, this weird hatch. You can't do anything with it. Its spin is not controlled by anything other than the Hand of God (ie your finger) so quite why it is prominently pictured, I have no idea. Just sit and enjoy its quiet majesty while we all contemplate its part in the infinite universe. Part 5: Operations Manual So you've just bought a bulldozer - now what are you going to do with it? First, terrorise local citizens with your lax respect for local planning laws: Fill in some gaps in the timeline of the Indiana Jones universe: Hours of endless fun! Enjoy! Part 6: Overall Rating I really think this set is a good one. The vehicle has a pleasing Classic Town feel to it, as it is largely brick built. I especially like the sweet blade section and how it resembles a junior version of the motorized Technic Bulldozer. The stickers are minimal and unobtrusive; the technic construction is unobtrusive and for the most part restricted to what is necessary for the set to function; the build is generally solid and enjoyable. Yes, it does have problems - most notably the stability of the cab section - but nothing insurmountable. The fig and the fence post barrier are also a little blah, but they are minor points only. As for price - we all know the ratio of parts to price has dropped in 2009 as seen in Star Wars, Power Miners, Pirates - in fact pretty much everything apart from 10193 for the Jan releases! If I was in the UK, I would think it was a bargain for under 20 quid. In Australia $59.99 is maybe a tad high - but when you compare it to something similar like the Power Miners Thunder Driller 8960 which is $10 cheaper but a far less interesting and detailed model, I think you get your money's worth. Overall, I would rate this set 8/10. Thanks for reading!
  3. Svelte

    Review: 10196 Grand Carousel

    INDEXED Name: Grand Carousel Set Number: 10196 Theme: Creator Year: 2009 Pieces: 3263 Minifigs: 9 Price: $US249.99, EUR249.99, GBP166.35, AUD$399.99 Resources: Brickset, Bricklink, Shop @ Home 1. Introduction When pics of this set first surfaced in early May, I wasn't initially impressed. My first thought was that it was a 'hot mess' - an over the top blend of colours with generic Stepford-type minifg civilians. I'd heard rumours of a fairground set in the Trains & Town forum, but expected it to be more like 10184 Town Plan - a mix of smaller-scaled rides which would integrate within a standard layout. Instead, the Carousel seemed out of step with the largest modular buildings like 10182 Cafe Corner and 10185 Green Grocer. I had a difficult time imagining who the target market was - 'Lego carnie enthusiasts? Carousel aficionados?' Ouch! Parts-wise, the set also didn't seem that amazing. All the dark blue and dark red pieces could either be found in Star Wars, Indy or Castle (such as the inverse dark red slopes in 7627 or metallic gold bowls and crystals). The hoopla over multiple Jester hats and tan beards also seemed unjustified - why get so excited over a bit of facial hair in a standard (if new) colour when all of the amazing Indy and Agents figs with revolutionary pieces and colours were coming out? Three months later, what changed? Why did I decide to buy this set? Price, largely When this set was initially released on Shop at Home, it was listed at $AUD299.99 (about US$240, GBP146, EUR170) - making it $AUD100 less than the 10195 LAAT/ AT-OT to which it was priced equivalently in other markets. (This deal didn't last long; the day after I placed my order it jumped 33% over its original list price to $AUD399.99.) So now that I have the set in my hands, has my opinion altered? Is the Grand Carousel a baroque joke or (crazy) paving the way for future Exclusives? Read on and find out! 2. The box The large box has the tape-sealed sides, so you can easily flatten and store it without damage. With less parts than 10189 Taj Mahal, it does not have the three sturdy trays provided in that package. My box was slightly squashed, but I think that was more to do with bad shipping rather than the weight of the parts distorting the cardboard. The front of the box. Notice the orange Power Functions artwork - the set includes 1x small motor, 1x battery box, and 1x annoyingly catchy sound brick! (Seriously, by the end of the build, the cheery ditty will have eaten into your brain ). Click here for a closer pic of the PF stuff from the side of the box. The rear of the box: The citizens of Stepford, all 9 of the generic little beings, God bless 'em: The artwork on the back is largely the same as the pics on Shop @ Home, with some background detail such as tree boughs added in: [Detail fans, click here for a larger sized version of this pic] We also get to see an intriguing cross-section of the completed set, showing part of the turning mechanism: And also the measurements - 39cm (15.4") x 33.5cm (13.2") (slightly different to Shop @ Home, which states that the baseplates dimensions are 38.4cm or 15.1"): The side of the box illustrates the recurring Jester motif: As with the other large Creator sets, the parts are listed on the top of the box - they're too hard to see in one 800 wide photograph, so I've linked to the instruction pages inventory below 3. The box contents Is there any purer joy in life than slicing open a freshly sealed Lego box and gently easing the contents onto a flat surface? The crinkle of polybags! The tang of newly minted cardboard! The scent of fresh Billund air! Like any rush, it can all end rather nastily when you disocver the mangled sticker sheet, minus a sticker which has already peeled off (see the top left corner)! You would think Lego would have some method of ensuring stickers in a $US250 set would survive the packing process, but presumably the cost of sending replacement sheets to irate customers is less than the cost of specialist factory machinery to pack these properly. This is a shame as they seem to have managed to seal canvas pieces such as sails and specially moulded/ painted minifig parts in the same way - perhaps those ones are all made in China? There are 2 instruction books - at 64 pages they feel surprisingly short, but there are many steps which are 4x or 8x. (Instructions download:Book 1/ Book 2) Let's take a closer look at the instructions. Amusingly, there's a blooper pretty much on page one. On the left, is this Lego's first official drag king minifig? (If so, I like to think the character next to her is her cranky midget girlfriend.) This gender-bending error is later repeated in Book 2 when positioning the figs on the horses. The instructions do show some colour printing issues. Navy blue looks darker than black, especially in dim light. I don't normally have a problem distinguishing between colours in the manuals, but here Lego has managed to make the same piece look like entirely two different colours in between the end-user picking up the part (the inset box) and placing it in position on the set Next, the parts - there's 25 main bags (not including baggies within bags), as well as the separately sealed Power Functions motors and canvas roof pieces. They're all unnumbered! Prepare to devote the start of your 10196 experience with some good old-fashioned sorting. (For parts fetishits, there's an unresized large pic for closeup, click here.) The full parts list from the instructions is available from the following links (1400 pixel wide pics): Page 1 / Page 2 / Page 3 The first thing you notice about the parts is the sheer variety of them. Compared to other huge 3000+ showstopper sets, which seem to be endless bags of white (Taj), light bley (Death Star), or dark bley (Eiffel), the Grand Carousel spills out as a diverse sea of colour! The four main shades are white, tan, dark red and dark blue, but there are plenty of other accents such as primary red, primary blue, metallic gold, medium blue, lime green, yellow, and so on. Not to mention all the sparkling gems and suchlike. It can be a bit giddy-making! Eg, who'd ever have thought we'd see an individual polybag of 96 dark red inverse slopes It really is an embarrassment of riches. Impressively, despite a large number of Technic pins, axles, and angle connectors, this is far less of a Technic build than I thought it would be and is largely and solidly brick built The 8 Jester hats are bagged inside another bag: The canvas sails also come separately packed: Normally I toss all the parts together, but I'm not a masochist when it comes to these enormous Exclusives Half an hour was spent transferring the contents of sealed polybags into ziplock bags. I would advise you to do the same! Once you 'learn which parts are likely to be in which bag, the build zips along. Due to the large number of colours, there's less confusion than with something like the Taj, where you were constantly checking how long plates were etc. The 48x48 baseplate is very cool (I neglected to take a separate pic of it before commencing the build ) This is the first official set it appears in, although it presumably has been produced for some in-house purpose as it previously has been available to buy via bricklink. Immediately you start thinking of things to plonk onto its vast and soothing green expanse! The large plate looks a lot better than attaching a series of 16x32 or 32x32 plates. It's necessary, too, as the huge weight of the set means that separate baseplates would fall apart if you moved the set. 4. The minifigs If you thought the figs couldn't get more boring than the 8401 City collection, you'd be wrong! The 9 figs included in this set are a real let-down. Don't give me that bull about how expensive minifig parts are to produce blah blah blah economies of scale mean we need 2x of each torso print blah blah. If licensed sets like 7195 Ambush in Cairo can give us *4* new minifigs for under $AUD20 or non-licensed sets like 8970 Robo Attack can give us three of the best City civilian minifigs ever seen, I don't see how hard it can be to throw us a bone in the form of a few different face or torso prints! It must be said - the City line figs overall are in dire need of a revamp - they're outdated and unattractive Let's look at what we get. The first batch: - 2 ginger-bearded men in flannel shirts. If I saw these in real life, I'd think they were a couple from San Francisco. In the 70s! - 2 kids in the same overalls that City mechanics wear. Good to see a realistic depiction of child sweatshop labour from Lego! I admire this young girl's deft hand with lipstick and mascara too - what a role-model! The second batch of figs are as follows: - Dorky teen and his younger, identically dressed dorky brother - An angry girl, probably annoyed she's wearing a hand me down shirt from 1994 - Bland couple - actually these are my favourites. At least they look like they're enjoying themselves! 10185 Green Grocer uses a similarly limited palette of pre-produced parts, but there Jamie Berard managed to cleverly combine existing prints to give us individual characters who felt like they had their own personalities - boy scout, businessman etc. I don't think it helps here that the minifigs are all produced in red, blue and white colours - exactly the same as the set itself! They should have at least mixed it up with a variety of hues in the parts. So, for me, the figs are huge disappointment. If I wasn't building this set accurately for the review, I would have already busted out my Agents civilians, City Camper girl and a few other zingers to make these fun-lovers instantly more appealing. About the only fun that can be had with them is to subvert their boring appearance with a little social mischief... 5. The build - base & motor First up is the tiled base which the spinning carousel will sit atop. Note how all these pieces, which will end up for the most part invisible, still come in rare or popular colours such as dark blue or reddish-brown This is a great bonus, as I hate sets where all the interior structural detail is produced in primary cheap colours (like the infrastructure of the 7778 Midi Falcon or the Taj Mahal. While I thought it was an eyesore from the original pics seen online, the engine section doesn't look so bad in person. As many have pointed out, fairground attractions often juxtapose the ornate detail of the ride with the clunky machinery that drives it. As you push the PF battery box switch, the lever on the control platform moves too, giving the impression that the ride operator has switched it on - a great touch! I even like how the orange battery box switch colour coordinates with the Technic pin handle! Notice how the 1x8 dark blue Technic bricks (recycled from Agents Turbocar Chase) have been used to ensure the whole of that section is colour consistent - lovely attention to detail: Now onto the large turntable itself. The build, while repetitive, is made more palatable as it is made of lots of little sections, rather than large complex ones (Compare with the Taj Mahal, where the incredibly detailed centre section had to be constructed 4x). So, there isn't such a long wait between the start of the build and a reward, which is a spur to efficiency! It also helps that the build isn't linear, so if you like, you can skip ahead and make a few horses or jester decorations, and then jump back whenever you feel like. To start, we build up the rotating base with 8x of these segments: Four become a semi-circle: Eight form the complete circle. Notice the alternating lime and medium blue bricks in the middle - they're not hugely visible in the final product, but this is another example of the designer's attention to detail: The underside - basically the motor drives the large wheel pictured a few steps above, which in turn runs the small wheels pictured here. They run smoothly along the tiled section of the baseplate and will eventually drive the whole carousel. It's a fantastically simple and elegant solution! The rotunda in position: Next up we add some detail, and again these are small repeat builds which aren't too mentally taxing: The completed section, in position. I neglected to take pics, but if you had some snacks or sushi, you could totally use this as a motorised lazy Susan! I've included this vital step from the instructions out of interest as it shows how the motor propels the Carousel. 1 - Push the large wheel in so it is touching the tan rotunda. 2 - The small Technic axle connects the wheel assembly to the piston, to ensure constant pressure of the wheel against the rotunda as it turns. 3 - switch it on! 4 - The assembly rotates in a clockwise direction! 6. The build - central supports & top ring Next up, the inverted sloping centre section of the carousel is built. The first step is to place 24x of the gold decals onto 1x2x5 white bricks. It is a shame such large, expensive sets can't include printed parts, but that's the way Lego is these days. You'd think it would be possible with the aforementioned economies of scale to run off 12x of the top and bottom sections without breaking the bank Probably the parts would look more metallic gold than mirrored, but it is still a painstaking and nervewracking task to delicately apply all the stickers - it's an expensive set and you don't get second chances! Once assembled, the decals do look lovely. They're very elegant and Art Decoish, and could be used in all sorts of architectural MOCs or even as part of an LOTR Elvish Rivendell, for example. Actually the first thing that jumped to my mind was how suitable they could be for a carnival Hall of Mirrors to complement the Grand Carousel. It's my alternative model since Lego sadly no longer provides them! The sloped effect is created using an interesting technique. (**Note that I built one half of this centre section before doing the other, so it doesn't look exactly as it does in the instructions **). Firstly, the decal-clad pieces are placed in position: These are then folded out, and the internal architecture of inverse slopes and arches is built up: The inside architecture with its circular plan and linked arches kind of resembles a Classical Roman stadium. Fight to the death! Mon Mothma adjudicates the first inter-theme Gladiatorial Games, as inspired by the recent 'Star Wars: Invasion' contest That poor cow - it doesn't stand a chance! And we keep on building this Babel baby up... When the internal part is complete, the decalled sections fold back up like a closing lily, and the top modified tile on their tips sit inside the void of the dark red arches, which hold them all sturdily in place. Clever! Time to add some detail and some tiled bricks to the top of the central section: The next stage is to construct a wheeled ring to sit above this tiled section and which will connect with the Technic axle in the middle. Like other stages of this build, this is made of a series of small joined segments. There were so many of them, they kind of reminded me of blocky nanobots! The completed outer ring and centre framework: Now we need to add the wheel sections. Important note! Pay absolute attention when constructing the following small wheel sections. If you place the half Technic pins in the wrong spots on the short white beams, when the motor is later activated, these moving sections will hit and lock against the larger Technic beam superstructure we will see in the next few steps. I say this as a public service to future builders, because I made this error myself and it took me a chunk of frustrated time to work out what I'd done wrong! Kudos to the designers - it isn't too tricky to disassemble any of these parts to work out what you've done wrong The wheely sections go into place. Next we add the Technic frame which holds this wheel array to the solid central structure. You can the sound brick on the right there which is added at this stage: The Technic frame and wheel are now connected: And after this small section is added to the central inverted supports, the wheel section can now be added to the rest of the structure. Modified Technic axles lock the wheel in place by connecting with the long white Technic axles on the turntable: Now let's see our Grand Carousel in operation! You can see the white Technic beams flipping and flopping around - obviously they behave differently once the rides are added. And listen to the soft, subtle purr of that Power Functions motor! I also try and show how the sound chip is operated in this video, but you will have to excuse my horizontal detour - I'm not an expert in videography and I got carried away (Too late to disassemble and reshoot now.) Basically, there's a piece connected to the central Technic axle, so as the wheel rotates, it nudges the sound brick button and activates the music loop. You have to hand it to the designers - the timing is brilliant, as one loop stops, the brick is immediately bumped and that catchy tune starts playing again! Amazing!
  4. Name: Fallingwater Number: 21005 Theme: Architecture Year: 2009 Pieces: 811 Price: $US99.99, UK GBP74.99 Resources: brickstructures, brickset, bricklink, Shop @ Home Introduction: Based on Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Pennsylvanian house designed and built in the 1930s, 21005 Fallingwater was the first Architecture release to break out of the small-scale and monumental sets produced earlier by brickstructures architectural artist Adam Reed Tucker. I was never particularly interested in the earlier sets, although I liked the concept, but Fallingwater seemed to be a more interesting and detailed design than the silhouette approach of smaller models like the Empire State Building or Space Needle. Since these sets are not available in Australia, even via S@H, this was a special purchase directly from Adam's own website. It was certainly one of the most striking and original sets released in 2009, even nominated by designer Jamie Berard as one of the must-have sets of 2009 in an interview here on Eurobricks. Read on and see if it lives up to its reputation in this Reviewer's Academy 2nd anniversary special! The box front: A box signed in silver Sharpie by designer Adam Reed Tucker himself! US citizens complain about the high price on these sets generally ($US99.99 for this one) but what many people don't mention is the extremely high quality and luxe packaging which make the opening and building of these sets such a tactile and gratifying experience. The Fallingwater box isn't some cheap collapsible cardboard - it's reinforced with an opening flap and the inside is a matt black to match the outside. It really takes you back to the days when opening a new set was like being an archeologist gently prying open a tomb of mystical delights! Box rear: The rear of the box has lots of information, a line drawing plan from Frank Lloyd Wright, and a diagram of how the puzzle box model splits apart. The inclusion of Frank Lloyd Wright's signature suggests that part of the cost of the set is also due to licensing arrangements between LEGO and his estate - licensing isn't just for Disney and Star Wars, kids! Box opened: You lift the front flaps and open the lid to reveal a matt black inside finish on the cardboard and a secret message on the outer rim when you open the box Stylish! Instruction manual: This isn't a booklet - it's a spiral-bound tome! Again, the quality production values add to the high-end feel of the total package for the Architecture line. Inside the manual: Instead of warnings not to shoot yourself in the eye, or mix bricks on grass, the instructions contain a very detailed precis of the original building, including photos and design notes from the original architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. It's like Wikipedia in paper form! (Yes, that was a joke.) Message from the artist: Adam Reed Tucker provides his own message explaining the inspiration and challenges behind the decision to add this set to the Architecture line. Like a bley ninja, Adam's sweatshirt blends seamlessly into the storage buckets of his Chicago LEGO lair! There's also a flyer with a link to an AC Nielsen survey which seems to pre-date the other survey LEGO did and the subsequent launch of these sets for some countries in Europe. Parts: The parts include a 16x32 baseplate, an 8x16 dark bley brick, lots of tan, a touch more dark bley, a splash of dark green, and loads of 1x2 trans-clear tiles. There are 52 of the latter in this set - prior to its release, you could only get a miserly 1 per set from the 2003 Coastguard HQ set (although in 2010 you can get 4 from the 5893 Creator set Off-Road Power.) Parts, debagged: Tantastic! This set is full of very useful small tiles and pieces and would make a great parts pack... if the price was a little lower. Parts of interest: A sample of the more 'interesting' parts - the trans-clear tiles, dark green plates and 1x1 bricks, and a printed tile with the building name, as per all the Architecture sets. The build, part 1: The base The first part of the build constructs the natural landscape base which the house sits on. The sparkly waterfall is added and the footprint of the building takes shape. With all the small, intricate and repetitive colour-work, the instructions helpfully outline the new parts to be added in each step in red. Here, the insta-forest is added! The base section is complete! The build, part 2: the mid-structure Next to be added is this extraordinary concoction of plates and tiles to form the bulk of the building, including the glass-enclosed interior staircase (represented by the trans-clear plates). This set is really very interesting design-wise since it isn't just a solid structure, but takes the form of an interlocking puzzle box, where this mid-structure (and the later upper floors) lock together, not via a studded connection but through tiled angular fingers. It means you can quickly take out sections of the set and see how they fit together. It's a fun and clever building conceit, although whether this reflects anything integral to Lloyd Wright's actual building design is more doubtful. It definitely adds to the unique feel of the build. Here through all the insane platage you can see how complicated this apparently simple part of the build looks! The view of this midtrsucture from the other side looks totally different - this is true of the model as a whole, which is wonderfully complex and unique. The build, part 3: upper floors The third part of the build is to add all these mini-floors, which stack on top of each other when placed in the mid-structure, to build up the bulk of the house itself. These all slot on top of each other and into the mid-structure like pieces of a three-dimensional puzzle. Here's the next one. And another! And another... The small roof section is the final part of the puzzle. Assembling all the small structures Finally we can assemble the entire model! We start with the finished base. Note the little bridge and the SNOT waterfall. The middle structure sits snugly in place with the cantilever supports overhanging the river. The middle floors are added. And voila! The wonderful Fallingwater is complete. As in the spirit of Lloyd Wright's design, the model seems to integrate with the landscape that surrounds it rather than just being a bare, detached silhouette.Colour-wise it isn't at all accurate but 'realistic' colours would detract from the way the eye takes in the overall design. The finished model: Front elevation. A close-up of the cantilevered balconies. Overhead view shows how expansive the house is at the rear. This model really is a small-scale delight! Extra parts: Conclusion: Parts: 8/10 - Great for tan enthusiasts. Build: 9/10 - A fascinating challenge, introducing a whole new system of studless modularity Playability: 7/10 - The puzzle-box aspect of the separating floors is kind of addictive in itself! Overall: 8.5/10 - Easily the most appealing of the Architecture sets in terms of design, complexity, and build. If you only buy one Architecture set, make it this one! It makes a lovely display piece and is also tactile and inviting. Yes, it's pricey but it's also surprisingly hefty with all those teensy parts and definitely a deluxe item - like a fine wine, or couveture chocolate, you get what you pay for
  5. Set: 10210 Imperial Flagship Theme: Creator/ Theme-Killing Grand Finale for Pirates! Pieces: 1,664 Price: US $179.99; CA $229.99; UK GBP; 139.99; Germany Euro 149.99. (No price was announced, but it's something probably truly terrifying in $AUD, since the Fire Brigade and Tantive IV were $US150 and UK GBP 97.85 and were already $AUD280 - I would guess between $AUD320 and $350, which is why with the dollar at near parity with US price I didn't mind getting this off Bricklink. Yay for early Xmas present!). Resources: Brickset; Bricklink Special Note: With Brickshelf perpetually on the blink, I've finally abandoned it as a hosting site in favour of flickr. The 500 wide pics below contains link to higher res pics on flickr; most of the review text remains the same. The order of the pictures should be near identical. In some way this has improved the succinctness of my review, as flickr allows you less blather. So you can either read the review here or on flickr, zooming in on those pics which interest you and leaving comments there. The flickr stream is here; I recommend clicking on 'Detail' view so you can see the commentary as well. Introduction Like the 10193 Medieval Market Village before it, the January 2010 Exclusive slot comes as a theme-killing extravaganza, an end-of-world party to beat all others: the enormous 10210 Imperial Flagship is a behemoth unlike anything that has gone before it, and it will be a long time before we see anything like it again. Buy one. Sell your grandma! Buy several more! It's not perfect by any means, but for me it's easily the best and most enjoyable non Star Wars Exclusive since the release of the 10185 Green Grocer of March 2008. Beautiful parts, a fun build, an impressive model, and loads of playability - this is what LEGO should always be about A must-have for any AFOL and probably lots of kids too - once they offload grandma Part 1: Box, Parts & Instructions The front of the box - it's the collapsible version with side tape, thankfully. The box is the same size as that of the 10196 Carousel. The rear of the box, with a nice angle shot and lots of closeups. Annoyingly, these aren't reproduced in the instruction manual so I've posted closeups. The minifigs - 9 in all, only one of which is new. There are a few animals and the shark to round out the complement. No monkey! I am pleased to report that all the figs are great quality and lacking the lemony tinge which afflicted many of the 09 range. A lovely piece of artwork on the bottom of the box - it's been a while since we've seen this much attention to detail! Those lights in the cabin almost make me want a light-up Power Function included! Another piece of artwork showing a parchment-style rendering of the cannon bays. More lovely attention to detail. This piece of artwork would make a great Piratey poster. Too bad Pirates is being discontinued in 2010! Set function pics include the Captain's organ (!), anchor overboard, and Brickbeard in bondage. Brickbeard still in bondage and the wheel in operation. More box art showing the Piratey-looking cook (I forget the nautical term!) in his compact galley and some soldiers playing with cannonballs. Two instruction manuals, 70+ pages each. Colour consistency is OK but I found Book 2 suffered from blurry print - like everything else from LEGO these days, seems to be suffering in the quality control department. The instructions aren't up, so below are links to the inventory. Heavy reuse of the dark brown Castle parts palette from 2008, with some new stuff thrown in, mainly the hulls, sails, red-brown masts and dark brown curved slopes. Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 A random instructions page shot showing the attachment of the figurehead. Lots of polybagged goodness and some unbagged parts. Lots of double up bags. Yes, there are some large hull pieces but you certainly do feel the 1600+ piece goodness. As for the beautiful sails - we get 7 of the large ones and one small one. The canvas is the type that's been in use for a few years and is slightly off-white. They really are pleasing to the eye and much nicer than the 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty sails. All the hull pieces come in the choc-o-goodness deliciousness of dark brown. Brickbeard's Bounty used only 2 of the mid sections; the Flagship has 4. I do wish they'd designed the bottom mould to be a bit more stable as the parts tend to come apart during early parts of the build. These pillars are new in red-brown. These red-brown Technic connectors are used for the masts (91x pieces). The curved slopes in dark brown are new in this set (18x). Other cute inclusions include the sawhead shark, a pearl silver pan (goodbye pearl silver!), the blade from the 8962 Crystal King set, and 12x dark tan jumper plates. Yay! 5 dark blue plumes, previously only available in the 7079 Drawbridge Defence sets! Lots of red-brown umbrella handles and bars with stops (lots more than pictured here, anyway). Exo-force arms seem kind of out of place and 8 clip flags in ordinary blue. Loose in the box came the correct new minifig dress as seen on the right (blue detail print). Bagged was the version on the left in red - it looks as if Lego realised their mistake last minute and tossed in the extra dress. Woo! I wonder whether this means the red dress is in a different set or was just a total cock-up? In any case, we get two new dress prints from this set! Part 2: The minifigs! As I said before, the figs are all good quality and much better than some of the dodgy lemon-handed horrors in last year's sets! The Imperial Captain has a blue plume and gold epaulettes, while his lieutenant has the tricorner hat with a red plume. Four standard Imperial redcoats with printed Shakos. Nothing new here. The chef has short legs but oddly on the box art is battling an Imperial solder - a spy, perhaps? Brickbeard doesn't get the printed Pirates hat - boo! - but the Captain's daughter does look delicious in medium blue. The face is the same as the Cranky Queen from 7079 Drawbridge Defense. Reverse print of the new torso. Blue definitely looks more colour-coordinated. Maybe she wears red when she's angry. Like the Hulk! An interesting choice for the vessel's figurehead, but less odd-looking than the realistic mermaid fig adorning Brickbeard's Bounty. Comes in dark bley as in the 6299 Pirates Advent Calendar. 3. The Build - Lower Decks We start the build with the base section attached via 2x4 bricks underneath the hull plates and 2 end hull sections attached via Technic pins. The bottom of the ship remains delicate until reinforced with bricky goodness as the build progresses. A lovely palette of dark brown, black, tan, medium blue and dark blue plates add colour but is not overwhelming. Very tasteful and quite original for an Exclusive set. Lovely work! Amazingly, the top 2 sections attach only via 4 studs each in the middle there when the ship is complete! The new dark brown slopes are used in an attractive SNOT technique to bulk out the prow. However this is the weakest design element, in my opinion. The SNOTTY sections attach to the large hull piece via the hole in the modified bley plate ONLY and at the top via the half Technic pin when the upper deck sits over the top! Weak! This means that you have to be super careful when handling this section as it is very liable to break. Really bad design and I'm amazed it passed the review, frankly. I admit it looks nice but it's a bad, bad idea. A great play feature is the ability to raise and lower the anchor by spinning the wheel on the top deck. Here, it's lowered. And when rotated, the chain coils up and the anchor is raised! Brilliant! Of course, when this section collapses due to the delicate prow SNOTwork, this feature makes it more annoying to fix as the chain and anchor get in the way. Poor Brickbeard only gets a tan plate as a bed inside his little cell. Boo! Not sure it's wise to lock the prisoner in with the anchor mechanism... The completed base section with prow and masthead. You can see that each of the sails will be independently attached to each modular section. This is a clever solution to the problem of making a giant ship that is easily movable and accessible. From the originally released pics, I did find the rigging technique a little simple but I have come to really love it and the aesthetics of the Flagship honestly don't suffer from not having string rigging run all the way through the sails. Closeup of the prow. I can't say I love the soft Technic bars added as detail and the 1x1 redbrown cones do tend to pop off. And here we have the exploded SNOTTY section! You will soon learn to pick it up the right way, kids 4. The Build - Middle & Aft Sections The second stage of the build is the middle deck and masts. The masts each contain a 32x Technic axle through the centre for stability, which works a treat. At this scale, the pillar pieces look good too. The build is a little repetitive using Technic axles and connectors to make the wooden side poles but they are mainly of different lengths, so it's not bad at all. Certainly I found this build a very enjoyable one, and with a minimum of repetition compared to other large exclusives like the 10196 Carousel or 10189 Taj Mahal. Yay for working access to the below deck sections! Great touch. I was always annoyed that you couldn't drop through the top grille plate on 6210 Jabba's Sail Barge! The Flagship takes shape as the midsection is placed in position. As I said before, it only attaches via 4 studs in the middle. Amazingly sturdy! The last part of the Flagship is the aft section with Captain's Cabin. Another working access hatch - woo! The rear of the Captain's cabin. Check out the plumage window detail! Personally I think Brickbeard has the better colour scheme (dark red and gold) but this is nothing to sniff at and the Captain wins on acreage. Notice the lights in the lamp are 2 shades of trans 1x2 round plates - more superb attention to detail. It's a very bulky and solid construction - one of my favourite parts of the ship. The poop deck lifts off to reveal the interior of the Captain's cabin. Yes, he has a large organ which he likes to operate when noone's around. On the other side, we see a chest of drawers with a map, a treasure chest, and a 'poison bottle' (trans blue cone with sapphire stuck in it). What with that enormous organ, I'm not sure if this really is poison or the Captain's lubricant of some kind. Close-up of the organ. It's cute! Not as good as some of the entries in Eurobricks' own Captain's Cabin contest early in the year, but sweet for an official model. Below deck is the galley, which has drumsticks on a rotisserie, a cook chopping a carrot (including a 1x1 round plate representing a slice!), fish and some pots and pans. Wonderful! Notice also the rudder there. 5. The finished set! And here we have it! The last section clicks into place onto its 4 studs and the Flagship is complete! It is indeed amazing to behold and will easily dwarf any non-UCS Star Wars set in your collection. It was a fun build, with just the right amount of detail, and with some clever techniques. This is one of those rare sets which actually looks better in real life than on the box art! I was a bit dubious about the sails and masts at first but I am completely sold. Look at those billowing sails! Fantastic stuff! Again, look at the way those sails sit - stunning! The edges of colour along the cannon deck are just right - not too gaudy but enough eye candy to brighten the ship! A pic from the other side. Still beautiful! The subtle colour of the sails really makes a difference. You can see the reverse of the front sail doesn't look out of place, but with bright printed cloth as in Brickbeard's Bounty, you can't really say the same. The dark red is very noticeable on the reverse side. Heaven for Pirates fans! Who would have thought we'd ever see such a beautiful official model produced in-house? The shape of the complete assembly, from bottom deck through to the poop deck, is wonderfully resolved with great natural-looking curvature. A closer view of the cannon decks. I don't mind 4 cannons but only having 2 ammo crates in white is a bit cheap. Boo! Reverse view - nice rear! You can see how subtle the sails are here once again. I almost forgot to put the figs on! The set works great as a display model by itself but for some, figs are everything Imperial Soldiers take to the high seas! "No offence, fellas, but where's Johnny Depp when you need him?" "I don't suppose I can interest you in the purchase of a Caribbean timeshare, Captain? No?" "You'll never take me alive! Brickbeard always find an escape route!" And finally, a comparison shot with the Brickbeard's Bounty. As a wise Stash2Sixx once said, 'Brickbeard just pooped his pants!' Conclusion Parts: Great dark brown parts pack, with some new stuff in red-brown and the amazing sails 9/10 Design: Pretty spectacular, apart from the dodgy SNOT prow. Boo! 8/10. Figs: Nothing new for Brickbeard or the Imperials, but at least we get 2 dresses for the Captain's daughter 7.5/10. Build: Very little repetition and broken into easily manageable subsections. A solid and immensely pleasurable build. 9/10. Playability: Lots of fun features like working hatches to lower decks and the anchor. Lots of fun! 9/10. This set is the bees knees' - if a Disney license ever does eventuate for a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' line, it will be a shadow of the former glory that is the Imperial Flagship. Honestly, I can't imagine LEGO ever going all-out on a ship any time again soon. This is one of those classics that will be remembered for years to come. And wouldn't a whole fleet look nice sitting on your mantelpiece? Is it better than the Black Seas Barracuda? I couldn't say, as I don't own the latter - I did think from the first pics that the rigging wasn't so great, but my reservations have been allayed and I like the easy access of having the ship break into different sections. In the absence of any officially designed set by talented AFOLs such as Bonaparte or Captain Green Hair, this set is as good as it gets Forget the January 2010 sets from Atlantis, Space Police 3, Power Miners... scrape together your spare change, do yourself a favour and grab yourself a 10210 Imperial Flagship instead!
  6. Svelte

    10185 Green Grocer x2 and x4

    Hi all, just wanted to post these pics in case anyone was interested in seeing how multiple 10185s stack up. The modularity with these things is fantastic, as the top and middle floors fit equally well on the ground floor. I chose to mirror the multiples just to add symmetry to the buildings. To start - the basic 10185 x 2, front view: And the 10185 x 2, fire escape view: Jamie Berard has already posted a mirrored 10185 x 2 setup in his Brickshelf gallery. So just for something slightly different: the 10185 x 2 with mirrored ground floor and no middle floors. I think these buildings look fine like this and may be a suitable compromise for those who think the modular houses are too big for an ordinary layout: And swapped the other way: Detail shot: And rooftop shot: For something slightly different - the 10185 x 3 - assymetric roofs! I think the staggered look actually suits the modularity and you could extend a whole row of houses upwards and downwards And now, the piece de resistance - the 10185 x 4, double floored and mirrored. Another front view: Back view: Rooftop garden: Fire escape detail: And window detail: Last but not least, the 10185 x 4 reversed: Back view: Window detail: And just for something different, a staggered streetscape: There we have it! Please don't ask me to disassemble the mirrored floors and rebuild as one giant 10185 x 4 just yet as I have to recover from building this mammoth first! As you can see, whereas 4 lots of Cafe Corner put side by side would always form one building, the 10185 adds a lot of potential to create interesting and dynamic streetscapes, as short or tall and as long as you like! Having built with x 2 middle floors I think the version as sold with 1 x middle floor now looks a little short! Although I can understand their decision, I think it is a shame Lego hasn't released middle floor supplementary packs for 10182 and 10185 as it quickly becomes very expensive to add height to your modular houses strip and you are forced to accumulate copies of 2/3 of a set that you may not wish to use immediately. In short though, I love this line and I can't wait to see what designer Jamie Berard has for us in '09!
  7. Set Number: 6243 Theme: Pirates Set Name: Brickbeard's Bounty Year of Release: 2009 Number of Pieces: 592 Price: $US99.99 Part 1: Box, Parts, Instructions It's been a shamefully long time since my last review, or indeed, post. So I thought I'd announce my return with a bang! Or three of them, since this set contains that number of the new gunmetal cannon pieces Setr 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty is the flagship (so to speak) of the new Pirates line, with its striking image on everything from the large sets right down to the teensy Impulse sets. Mixed feelings have been expressed about the new ship's design, with opinion ranging from those who think it is a worthy-looking successor to such gems as the Black Seas Barracuda, to those that think having the skulls-and-crossbone emblems on pirate sails is tacky and cheap looking (!). However, in Lego as with lemons, the proof is in the sucking (or in this case constructin') and a 2D image can hardly do justice to fresh bricky goodness. A good build can make or break a set. Join with me, ye scurvy knaves, as we journey together to discover whethere 6243 is indeed king of the high seas, or would have been better sunk beneath the waves... Front of box: Back of box. Yes, that's right - this baby is 56cm by 44cm. You won't believe how big it is until you see it! 8 glorious figs: Instructions! Two books as now seems standard, and not too mangled. Best of all, no DSS (Dreaded Sticker Sheet). Random instruction page: Parts - four numbered bags, a bag of rigging and a shark, hull pieces and the sails. Lots of rigging pieces: The hull pieces. The two end pieces sit on top of each other seamlessly - you don't even realise they're separate pieces until you see them apart. End pieces attached. See what I mean? End on view: Sails sealed in plastic sleeve: Sails seem to be made of a slightly nicer (read: less cheap) canvas than the Indy tent and truck canopy, although I could be hallucinating this. There are only 2 sails marked with skulls and crossbones, so you could buy another set or Bricklink the plain red-and-white striped ones if you really feel strongly that Pirates shouldn't advertise their presence so indiscreetly As for the pieces themselves, there's some nice stuff. Lots of dark red including arches (which we haven't seen since 10132), lots of the new accessories, 6 1 x 6 dark tan bricks, and in case you hadn't realised that this was a Pirates line, a heapful of GOLD. GOLD! - in all its pearly bling. In fact, Captain Brickbeard is such an aureophile that he even has his home furnishings made out of the stuff. Check out those window shutters! Frankly it's a miracle that the boat even sails considering the load it carries. Sometimes Brickbeard does a Scrooge McDuck and just likes to roll around in his hoard... be thankful he has kept his clothes (and peg) on for the following pic: Interestingly, the chest here is pearl gold, not metallic gold like the Indy sets. I'm not sure which I prefer. In short, nice part selection. As you'd expect, the hulls, sails and rigging are all large parts, but everything else is small and MOCtastic. Part 2: Minifigs Eight minifigs, a parrot, rat, monkey and shark. It's a floating zoo! Two female minifigs - it's also a floating harem! It's great to see a bit more female representation in System sets. (Maybe this is just a marketing strategy for colonial countries such as Australia which are built on the naval traditions of rum, sodomy and the lash - probably not what little Jane or Johnny is thinking of when they rip off the wrapping paper come present time.) I love the new shark. A shark that can eat a whole minifig! Come on, how is that not cool? The Imperials and the mystery lady - I don't think we've seen any official description of who this comely lass is supposed to be? If she ends up being the Governor's daughter then Disney should definitely sue, or at least send Keira Knightley round to Denmark to beat up the set designers. The new plume in red and the shakos are great, although the printing of the red part on the ones I've seen is a little iffy. Back view - note mystery lady's lovely dress has a reverse side. Look at the detail! That ribbon is just designed for ravishing! The Pirates! Note the gold hook and epaulettes. Great figs and pieces. Brickbeard's hat with the skull print is fantastic, it is a shame we don't have a plume for it. Apart from that we are truly blessed! That bare-chested pirate with the anchor tattoo certainly is... manly. I've never seen a minifig with a snail-trail before His dental hygiene isn't anything to write home about either if that gold tooth is anything to go by. I wonder what else he has that's gold... Back view: And my favourite from this set - the mermaid, seen here in minifig rather than masthead form. I've never had the mermaid tail before and it is wonderful. This lass is also a tad more attractive than the fish-lipped people from the 2005 Harry Potter set. The shell-bikini torso is especially cheeky. You just know the SW fans are waiting for this print to come out in flesh tone so they can swap it on their Slave Leia. 2009 - Year of the Shirtless Minifigs! You read it here first. Alas, on day 23 of her imprisonment, Mystery Lady succumbed to Brickbeard's offer of a celebratory egg-nog with disastrous results: Part 3: The build The build time took about 2 hours - it wasn't too complicated. Both the Viking Ship and Troll Warship I found to be very weak in connecting the hull pieces together, resulting in a flimsy overall construction - bits were always falling off. I am pleased to say this is not the case here. The complete base is solid as a rock, strengthened both underneath and also in brick-built reinforcing housing along the sides. The build is really divided into three sections - hull, the stern with Captain's cabin, and the rigging and sails. (Unfortunately instructions aren't up yet and the code starting with 4 that Legomilk always asks for on the back of the booklets doesn't work yet!) I will save my reviews of each part until the end section - here a just a few teaser pics. I kind of got tired after doing the cabin so it's a bit of a jump to the finished product The bottom hull plates: Space for four cannon bays: The prow and stern are building up: The interior of the detachable cabin: Big skip to the fully assembled thing. Sadly my ocean of blue cardboard didn't extend too far to the left there. For the purposes of display I've rearranged 2 of the the modular sections of the base of 10189 Taj Mahal to form an Imperial port (I haven't built the official one yet). The Taj - it's very useful for things like this! Another view from a slightly different angle: It's such a huge ship it is very difficult to do it justice with one shot. So on to... Part 4: Detailed overview Figurehead on the prow. Isn't she lovely? However, probably one of the few irritants of this set is that the pin that attaches to the mast is a little loose. The redbrown 1x2 log brick attached to the feet is supposed to stop Ms Merwoman cartwheeling but it does mean you can't angle the front masthead too far upwards. Still, it's an excellent touch and really adds class to this classy beast. Further down the prow... two guns (muskets? some Pirate weapons enthusiast please correct me as this is not my area of expertise!). Notice the red curved slope and dark green tooth - a nice little SNOT detail to smooth out where the brick built walls of the ship meet the hull piece. There's 4 cannon bays in the middle of the ship! FOUR! Of course you only get three but that's what the smaller sets are for! I can't tell you what a pleasure it is not to have a useless flickfire missile weapons system taking up a large chunk of the ship interior! Top marks. As you can see, the dark red flags fold up to let loose the fiery balls of war. And open! How clever is that? I love the cannons. Their range is probably three to five metres. There's another thread in the forum which bemoans the fact that the new ones don't shoot to the moon and back, but honestly, how far do you need a cannon to shoot? If it's powerful enough to plow across the room and scare the cat, it's good enough for me. Otherwise I'd just lose all my 1x1 black round cones anyway Note that there are 2 crates of ammunition included with antennas serving for those sticks that you use to shove the gunpowder down the barrel. Mystery Lady Imperial is forced to walk the detachable plank. Those pirate cads! You can pop the plank on either side of the ship. Sadly it's not a sweet swivel one but I guess with all that gold window detailing Brickbeard had to cut corners somewhere. There's a monkey in the rigging. Don't these monkey moulds look creepy? If I was a 6 year old I'd be more scared of our primate friend here than Cap'n Brickbeard. Look at that evil leer! And creepy minifig hands! It's just wrong! Or is it just me... I bet it's just me isn't it The lovely billowing front sails seen from behind: And the evil skull and crossbones from the front! Looks like Mr McSkully here has had a cranial enlargement. And now we get to my favourite part of the ship build - Brickbeard's cabin! A delicious composition of pearl gold, dark red, and new dark brown. Seriously blingy. This guy has taste! No wonder Mysterious Imperial Lady didn't mind sampling his egg-nog earlier. It sets very sturdily on the stern of the ship but is actually detachable to access various parts. The view from the rear is nicely detailed too. Full booty! The rudder is a bit flimsy - more an issue with the clips I think. Top view. One dark brown barrel and the Captain's wheel. This section lifts off... It's like a personal emergency escape life raft! However the interior is disappointingly sparse. One stool and a table with a map and drink! Not good. The Durmstrang ship had lots of flaws but at least it was packed with goodies. On the plus side, at least it's easy to customise and you can see how spacious it is. Room enough for that four poster bed and a pinball machine (well, maybe)! The whole cabin lifts off. Even the door handles at the front are made of 24 karat gold! Underneath... a rat and a keg of rum. The rat shares Brickbeard's minimalist interior aesthetic. Or maybe he is just hungry and ate all his furniture. There's no cheese! The rear sails, front and back: And lest I forget... the dark blue navy boat with Imperial soldiers. The white/ dark blue combination is very sweet. Finally, a view of my quick fix Taj/Imperial port. 64 studs long and still dwarfed by Brickbeard's Bounty! At least whats-er-name is now home, safe and sound. Awwwww Part 5: Final Thoughts As I said initially, the new Pirates theme has attracted mixed reviews. However I think once people get their hands on this set they will find it hard to resist. Lingering trauma from the horrible Pirates 4 Juniors line of 2004 probably still haunt many a Classic pirate lover's dreams, but my impression is that these new 2009 sets are pretty consistent with the old line as a whole. Those were often small to mid-sized sets on baseplates with lots of figs and cool accessories, and pretty simple buildings. Same as we have now. The larger sets that everyone still drools over (Black Seas Barracuda and the Eldorado Fortress) are exceptional Pirates sets but also exceptional Lego sets in general; these hold their own even amongst today's lines as excellently designed and executed models, but that doesn't mean they were really representative of the whole Pirates I era overall. I think on the whole 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty is probably one of the nicest looking and best implemented large ships Lego has ever produced, certainly miles ahead of any of the vessels of recent years. It has an elegant design, simple and classic rigging and billowing sails, dozens of beautiful new and rare parts, and a fantastic minifig selection. All the stuff people wanted is here. Working cannons in gunmetal colours! Shakos! *Printed* shakos! Plumes and epaulettes! *Gold* epaulettes! Fish! Maidens in distress! Dynamite! Spyglasses! People may say the $US price is expensive but I'd rather pay more for a beautiful set well-done rather than half-a-ship (Skeleton Ship Attack) or something that felt a bit unfinished (Troll Warship). This really is a beautiful ship. It's not perfect, but in terms of the balance of playability and design, it's pretty close. Kids will love it. Big kids should too
  8. Here we go, boys and girls. From the Lego cache: pics are back Dear Lord, but it's huge. Who knows the price? I think I'm hallucinating that pic of the minifigs. I think we have a contender for set of the year.
  9. Name: Count Dooku's Solar Sailer Theme: Star Wars / The Clone Wars Year: 2009 Pieces: 385 Minifigs: 4 Price: $AUD99.99; GBP 39.15; EUR 67.95-79.99; US $60 at TRU Resources: Brickset, Peeron, Shop@Home Count Dooku's Solar Sailer. The most unfortunately named enemy of the Republic also has the most inappropriately named ship, at least from a Lego point of view. Just as the Emperor has no clothes, the Solar Sailer has no sails! Yet most of us can understand why TLG didn't include them; they would be too massive to squish inside the small body of the craft. Wookiepedia has a nicely impressive screenshot to demonstrate this craft in action, first glimpsed at the end of 2002's 'Attack of the Clones'. Perhaps the lack of sails is why so many fans are erroneously referring to this ship as the 'Solar SAILOR', as if Dooku was some sun-loving navy boy who liked to spend his hours nude tanning on the prow of his ship while his pilot droid serves up cocktails The fan consensus (if there ever is such a thing) seems to be 'love the ship, hate the price'. I am not going to talk about that aspect much in this review as it has been exhaustively discussed everywhere else; if you still feel the need to rant about price, go and have a long argument with yourself in your bathroom mirror - you have about as much chance as winning as you do of convincing TLG to suddenly slash the price . All I will say is that after last year's Twilight release, where everyone complained about how such an expensive exclusive didn't include any new figs, here we have a somewhat cheaper release than that set which includes 4 figs, 2 available only in another medium sized release, an exclusive Pilot Droid, and an exclusive Count Dooku with new torso, hairpiece *and* a curved chrome lightsaber we haven't seen since 2002 - all that and an amazingly designed ship with great functionality as well! But on to the review! Part 1: The box, DSS and parts Standard Clone Wars colour scheme: Minifigs are now on the front: Back of the box, showing various set functions: I love this pose with the Pilot Droid. He seems to be having fun! Whee! Don't try this at home, kids! The DSS. One of the most annoying I've seen for a while: One instruction booklet. Not available online yet but the code is 4549839 for cache-surfers. Random instruction page. We can see already from this glimpse that the build relies on SNOT techniques rather than too much of the Technicy gubbins that effects some Star Wars sets. This is a really fun and interesting little build. Parts, bagged: Parts, debagged! As usual for Star Wars, the bags aren't numbered but in a 385 piece set you don't really need them to be. Nannan pointed out in his review on The Brothers Brick that there isn't really a great deal that's new here part-wise, but does there need to be? There's still a nice mix of stuff and it's all mainly bricks - there are relatively few Technic pins or beams. I prefer a 400 piece set comprised of bricks to a 600 piece one with 200 technic pins ! If you're looking to add to your collection of dark tan or brown slopes, you may find this set interesting. This also means that those who just want to build the ship can bricklink any gaps in their parts collection and construct it that way. Personally, I can never have enough dark tan. We have 15 1x2 ordinary dark tan bricks, which previously only appeared in 10185 Green Grocer, and then there were only 4 of them. There's also some tiles and small slopes: Some of the cockpit/ windshield pieces. As Nannan pointed out, I think the bubble domes in plain bley are new: Two of these little Technic pieces which also cropped up in the 8019 Republic Attack Shuttle. They work well as handles: Part 2: The Minifigs Really, it's all about Count Dooku in this set. So brooding! So craggy! So evil! However I really like the MagnaGuards as well, and the Pilot Droid is a good way to get some droid parts in plain white. However for Star Wars fans, so much of it is all about the lightsaber. I wonder why? Here is the Count's shiny new death-dealing device: EDIT: Jifel has pointed out that the curved lightsaber is not a new piece and did appear in 2002's 7103 Jedi Duel set. Ta! It's interesting they went with chrome when metallic silver is in all the other 09 sets. It does look sleek and sexy I hope we get Asajj's curved lightsaber in silver or chrome in an upcoming set. Here's a close-up: Here's the Count himself, with his two MagnaGuards. There is no back printing on the torso. The cloak also seems to be in old brown: Doesn't he just radiate evil? Either that, or he ate something that disagreed with him. The new hairpiece, from the back. I think it's fab. It does have that statesman-like, greying-politician feel to it. Speaking of which, say hello to the new US Secretary of State! In a nice touch, Dooku comes with an optional hood. Here is his Pilot Droid, who really did put his foot in his mouth by having a skele leg as a headpiece. It's a clever idea. And to demonstrate why he's so popular with fans, Count Dooku gives us the ending to season 1 of The Clone Wars TV show that we've all been dreaming of : Part 3: The build This is a fun, not too complex build which operates on a folding box principle; at either end of the midsection the cockpit pieces fold up or in and then various larger sections go on the studded cube in the middle. 2x2 plates with technic pins hold the SNOT sections to the central box. We start with the flat base, with the pilot cockpit at one end. You can see the connecting white Technic plates with pins here: The bubble cockpit pieces are the next section to attach. These can swing out, as we will see: The assembly so far: The central hub which the three remaining sides will attach to: Another section, showing the white connecting pins: SNOTtastic studs seek Solar Sailer sections: Unusually, the small speeder is put together at this point in the build, as it then slots into the back of the ship; normally this would be one of the first or last things you do rather than appearing midway through. There is nothing too exciting about this speeder. The front section is extraordinarily weak, held on by 2 headlight bricks, and constantly falls off: With Dooku and the revolutionary new 'Blade-Hold' lightsaber storage system: Side view: You can recreate the 2002 release 7103 Jedi Duel in a new Clone Wars style using this set and Yoda from the new AAT . Actually the speeder slots in here: And the bubble cockpits close to hold it in place like so: Next up, the Pilot Droid's control section: It is held in place only by the shape of the 2x4 brick positioned at right - no stud attachments whatsoever! Amazing! These 4 long brown sloped sections give body to the skeleton of the Sailer: Four trans-purple tipped flick-fire missiles plug in 1x1 Technic bricks at the front of the craft: Another view - notice the grill pieces? By pushing the new Technic handle piece at 'A', the flick-fire missiles pop out simultaneously at both points 'B' next to the above-mentioned grills. Another simple but brilliant piece of engineering which also means that your flick-fire missiles aren't constantly falling out all over the place. The sections that fold up and out to form the tipped wings of the Solar Sailer are connected via click hinged bricks to the top and base of the Sailer. Two symmetrical versions of this go on top: And two of these on the bottom. The brown 1x3 slope with 1x1 round plate act as stabilisers when the craft is at rest: <<Begin sticker rant!>> I'm not usually one to complain about stickers, but TLG has gone loco with the application in some sets this year, making it impossible for mere mortals to apply them with any degree of accuracy. The ones in this set and the Indiana Jones Flying Wing are very frustrating, mostly because there are no stud guides to help you determine where on the piece they should be applied. The stickers themselves are often abstract shapes or curved and oblique angles, which when combined with the isometric viewpoint of the instructions, make it even more difficult to judge where they should be applied. It's not like you get a second chance, either This is worsened by the fact that the box art is often misleading or completely wrong (compare the pics of the hugely incorrect Hyena Droid Bomber with its instructions for the worst example of this) so you can't rely on 'official' set pics as a guide. I wish the TLG would show us an aerial view of how tricky stickers should be applied. If they can do it with technic axle lengths, why not stickers? Take a look: Come on, TLG! You can do better than this! I know showing the application from behind in this way isn't new, but as I said, the shape of these curved stickers makes it really difficult to gauge! How is an 8 year old supposed to do it? You'd have more luck blindfolded, trying to pin the tail on the donkey! I'd get it completely wrong, burst into tears, and never buy a $AUD100 set from TRU again! <<End sticker rant!>> Anyway, as you can see, I did manage to get them on when all is said and done. Here's a top view with stickers applied. It looks kind of buggy and creepy, doesn't it? I guess this fits with the Geonosian design aesthetic that Lucasarts was playing with at the time of 'Attack of the Clones': Part 4: Done! And here we have it - the elegant and sleek Solar Sailer! Here's an alternate title-view for Clone Wars haters: You can see the brown slope stabilising effect in action: And there are two long dark grey 'feet' which can be extended to stop it from tipping over when grounded: Side view: Front on view of the Pilot Droid cockpit: Rear view, showing section where Dooku's speeder is contained: And open for a quick getaway: Part 5: The sailer sails! The moment you've all been waiting for - the completed ship unfurls its majestic sail! (This is all happening in your head, OK?) As the pointed tips unclench, the billowing solar fabric blossoms in space and Count Dooku makes good his escape from Republic pursuers! This part of the experience of the 7752 is eminently swooshable and a lot of fun! Part 6: Some different perspectives: Just a few random shots that didn't seem to fit elsewhere, that may give you a slightly different view of the ship. View from the back: A more three-quarter view of the Solar Sailer: A more traditional looking space vehicle: Part 7: Overall Rating Playability: 9/10 - Strangely, the speeder is by far the weakest part of the set due to the delicacy of the front section. The Solar Sailer itself works nicely and has lots of different functions. Design: 9/10 - Fantastic, solid, bricky build with several clever techniques and sturdy as they come Minifigs: 9/10. Excellent exclusive figure with great accessories, and two extra MagnaGuards Price: If you are one of the 2% of the population that doesn't think this set is too expensive, copy this text and put it in your sig! Ashoka forver! Conformity to Local Trade Practices Legislation Concerning Accurate Description of Goods: 0/10. No sails. Overall: 9/10. Great ship, great figs, great build. What more could you want? And a bonus extra.... Count Dooku's Chef Droid was never popular at dinner time...
  10. Hi everyone, it is, I, Svelte - back from the long-dead at last. And yet I come bearing gifts for the canny Australian EBer. Basically I am selling off the remainder of my collection, which is mainly a mix of bulk parts, minifigs, animals, elements for landscaping and foliage, and some assorted sets. Exciting times! I am moving early March and need to clear out by then (in all sense of the words, ha!). I will be updating this thread every day for a week or so with new deals and pictures of the bulk items I have for sales (tubs! so many massive tubs!), but I do have some remaining sets which I am listing today, as below. Keep checking in for more deals! Some rules, please: Please don’t post in the thread just to say hello - but do send me a PM if you wish! Australian buyers only, with pickup preferred from Sydney - the more you buy, the more of a discount you get! I will mail within Australia via Aus Post satchel - no international orders (unless you’re staff, or special) Payment accepted via cash on pickup, bank deposit, money order or cheque - no PayPal The sets listed are without boxes and as described. This is a clearance sale, so chances are some parts may be missing but the sets I have listed below I am confident are all 95-100% complete. The prices are cheap for a reason - to move a large volume of LEGO quickly, so please don’t PM me asking if specific parts or sets are 100% complete or whatever. Also, if you buy a lot, I will offer you a discount, but please don’t bombard me with offers and counter-offers (prices are pretty cheap as is). MOCers will be interested in the small and large tubs of parts at $50 and $100 a pop I will be listing - I can tell you as a builder there will be some great deals to be had on large quantities of parts in basic and rare colours. Keep an eye out. Any other questions, please post or PM me! Today’s delectable selection of sets includes: Adventurers 5988 - Temple of Anubis - $80 - comes with instructions, minifigs and parts including rare Egyptian parts, rocks, tan baseplates, palm trees, printed sarcophagus 5938 - Oasis Ambush - $20 - comes with instructions, minifigs and parts 7413 - Passage of Jun-Chi - 2 sets x @$15 each - great if you have the giant kick-megablocks Dragon Fortress and want gatekeepers. Instructions, parts and minifigs for both. Agents ** Mixed lot of parts and minifigs for several sets, to be listed with photographs Alien Conquest 7051 Comes with all parts, minifigs and instructions - $15 Alpha Team 4748 Ogel’s Mountain Fortress - never released in Australia! - contains a rare 32x48 blue and white baseplate for winter MOCs, some small parts may be missing - $40 Atlantis 7978 Angler Attack - $10 - good for parts, some parts may be missing 7985 City of Atlantis - 2 x used @ $40 each, some parts may be missing, comes with instructions, one set has had stickers applied Great for modular builders 8061 - Gateway of the Squid - parts pack, comes with instructions but parts/ minifigs missing - $20 Castle 10193 MMV incomplete - say 85-90% complete - good for parts/ MOCers only - comes with instructions and unused sticker sheet, cows, some minifigs, plant leaves, medium blue bricks, it’s the smaller pieces I borrowed for various other projects - $100 8877 Vladek’s Dark Fortress - $80 - comes complete with all parts, minifigs and instructions for the black castle, but NOT the jelly knights or jelly knight catapults (ie castle and dark knights only) 8877 Vladek’s Dark Fortress - $40 - parts pack only, 50-70% complete - great for black, dark tan and dark red parts 6918 Blacksmith attack, comes with instructions, figs and parts $10 7199 King’s Carriage Ambush, comes with instructions, figs and parts, $25 7949 Prison Carriage Rescue, comes with instructions, figs and parts, $15 7950 Knight’s Showdown, comes with instructions, figs and parts, $15 ** Huge lot of older minifigs Castle Fantasy and dragons and such to be listed! City / Creator 4884 Wild Hunters - $40 95% complete - amazing source of rare tan and dark orange parts 4507 - Creator Dino - $40 - Dino only, missing a few small pieces but 99% complete. Doesn’t include other models. Raaargh! ** Various other small mixed lots to be listed Harry Potter 4750 Buckbeak - Hippogriff only - $10 4736 Dobby’s Release - $10 - instructions & minifigs 4750 Draco’s Encounter with Buckbeak - original instructions, complete with all parts and minifigs - $20 10217 Diagon Alley - Gringotts bank only - $80 - most polybags sealed, comes with instructions and stickers - never built! Great white, reddish-brown and pearl gold parts for modular builders ** Big bag of mixed minifigs also to be listed Indiana Jones ** Mixed lot of parts from several sets, mixed minifigs, and massive 7199 Temple of Doom minifig army to be listed Ninjago 2516 and 2258 - Ninja Training and Ninja Outpost - $10, may be some parts missing Pharaoh’s Quest 7305 - Scarab Attack - comes with instructions, minifgs and parts $7 7306 - Golden Staff Guardians - comes with instructions, minifgs and parts 7307 - comes with instructions, minifgs and parts 7325 - Cursed Cobra Statue - comes with instructions, minifigs and parts 7326 - Rise of the Sphinx - 2 x $40 each - comes with instructions, minifigs and parts Pirates of the Caribbean 4191 - Captain’s Cabin - $10 - comes with figs, parts, and instructions 4192 - Fountain of Youth -$20 - comes with figs, parts, and instructions 4181 - Isla de la Muerta - $20 - comes with figs, parts, and instructions 4182 - Cannibal Escape - $30 - comes with figs, parts and instructions 4193 - London Escape - 2 x @ $40 - comes with figs, parts and instructions - some parts may be missing, great for MOCers 4194 - 2 x @ $50 each - comes with instructions, parts and minifigs Prince of Persia 7569 - Desert Attack - 3 x new and sealed @ $15 each 7569 - Desert Attack - 1 x open with instructions, minifgs and parts @ $10 7570 - Ostrich Race - 1 x new and sealed @ $20 7570 - Ostrich Race - 1 x used with instructions, minifgs and parts @ $15 7571 - Fight for the Dagger - 1 x used with instructions, minifgs and parts @ $25 7572 - Sands of Time - 1 x used with instructions, minifgs and parts @ $30 7573 - Battle of Alamut - sealed parts bags 2-7 only, includes instructions but no bag 1 - $40 - great for parts hounds ** Also have a giant tub just of PoP parts which I will also be listing Space Police 5971 - Gold Heist - $10 - no instructions or stickers, some parts may be missing, does contain figs 5982 - Smash n Grab - $10 - no instructions or stickers, some parts may be missing, does contain figs 5985 - $50 - assortment of parts and minifigs only, no instructions or stickers, great for MOCers - say 70%-80% complete, does contain all the garage doors and trans blue pieces Star Wars 9496 Desert Skiff $25 complete with all parts, minifigs and instructions ** Mixed lot of incomplete sets and minifigs to be listed Coming soon! Bulk lots of parts - a MOCer’s paradise of rare and common parts, in all manner of delightful shades, from the basics (bley, red-brown, tan, white etc) to hoarded stock of rare colours bought in bulk from Bricklink (masses of dark tan, dark brown, sand green, pearl gold, dark green etc), or themed (lots of landscaping elements and amazing plants collection, whips, vines, green BURPs from the Vestas set etc) - need to take pics of these! I will be uploading something new every day for the next week. Enjoy!
  11. THE INCREDIBLE BULK! I've listed 20 small tubs of parts sorted by colour/ type on gumtree. Bargains to be had! Rather than repost pics etc, here are the links to the ads with descriptions of contents, prices and pics. Basically $50 per tub for a good selection of parts (and in some cases, bulk lots of pricey stuff.) Large tubs still to be listed. Bulk listing 1 - 5 tubs of magnificence Bulk listing 2 - 5 more tubs of magnificent magnificence Bulk listing 3 - I think you can see where this is heading Bulk listing 4 - Yes, you got it. 5 more. Praise be! PM with any questions.
  12. Svelte

    REVIEW: 8398 BBQ Stand

    Name: BBQ Stand Theme: City Year: 2009 Pieces: 22 Minifigs: 1 Price: $AUD4.99, GBP 1.95; EUR 2.99 The introduction: I'm amazed no-one's reviewed this so far. In the absence of competitors, I shall nobly take up the challenge. Indeed, this shall be my finest, most detailed and highly elaborate review ever, with over 200+ detailed pics and 1,000 words of enriching and wise commentary. As my sweet praise fills the air, EB members will rush to their nearest retail outlets and in a great stampede clear the shelves of all 8398s in existence. Hymns will be written to commemorate the occasion of this enormous and magnificent work, and TLG will release a special chrome-plated City Impulse Svelte_Corps Statue in honour of my corporate promotion... Actually, no This will be a little quicky review with about 5 bad pics taken at night with too much glare from my flash and some snarky comments The review: I definitely applaud a more civilian approach to the Impulse line instead of the usual police and firemen. Since we have no official Lego retail stores in Australia and things like the City Advent calendars don't make it into ordinary shops, 99% of the Lego-buying public (ie kids and their parents) have probably never seen the classic chef minifig, period (or at least since 2003 when the World City train station was released, but 6 years is practically a lifetime for the casual Lego purchaser). I have a soft spot for the Chef fig as it was one my first ever, in the then more common civilian sets of the early 80s like 6683 Hamburger Stand and 6601 Ice Cream Cart. As such, 8398 will be a surprising novelty to the casual browser and hopefully it and its companion 8401 Lego City Minifigure Collection will fly off shelves; I think many of us would like to see more everyday-life based sets in the future. The box is the usual Impulse size: Ever wanted to know how to say 'Choking Hazard' in 20 different languages? Now you can learn! Contents - one small bag and instruction flyer. Random instruction page - sorry, they *are* the instructions . The back of the flyer has ads for the previous City Impulse releases and the new Pirates pair. De-bagged parts: The set itself - one minifig and the small BBQ stand. This is a nice, simple design - rotating the container 90 degrees was a technique used in the 2008 Advent Calendar. The white umbrella is also a bit boring; it would have been nice to see a brighter, different colour. Top view, showing the BBQ grill and the contents of the container: One extra piece! And for those that read my 7685 Dozer review, a bonus pic : Thoughts: This is a cute set, but to be honest it's a little weird. Firstly, in how many countries is it common for small vendors to stand around BBQing *chicken* legs? It would make more sense if this stand belonged to a hotdog seller - just look at the condiments - classic tomato sauce/ ketchup and mustard! It's as if the Lego designers couldn't afford to use the hotdog piece found in Belville sets and used the cheapest alternative. Either that, or this is some sneaky dude who has stolen a cart from a real hotdog vendor and in the absence of supplies is knocking off the pigeons in the local park and selling them as snacks. Seriously. Look at that creepy bearded face. Would you buy a chicken leg from *that* man? Secondly, why does the extra tomato sauce container need to be refrigerated? The other one seems to be doing OK actually sitting exposed to heat right next to the grill. It would make more sense to have such a big cool container if creepy chef here was actually stocking extra pigeon wings or even ice-creams or other frozen desserts. But if the latter was the case maybe Agent Trace wouldn't be able to freelance on the side as seen in this set: (Please note that is image is not a individual set release; just part 2 of the instructions from the promo 7643 Airplane Show set) All in all, a good set at a nice price (Impulse sets are now $1 cheaper in Australia than they were last year ) and hopefully a sign of civilian things to come. Now next year, if they want to be really contemporary, Lego should release an Impulse Juice Bar featuring bright-eyed teenagers in tight shirts and a gym-built guy always on his mobile...
  13. Svelte

    The Admirable Admiral

    [pid][/pid]215A The Admirable Admiral was so-named as he had all the qualities most looked for in an Imperial officer - noble of brow, handsome of visage, and wise and patient with his men. But he was not perfect! Having lost all his savings in the Dutch Tulip Bubble - aka tulipomania, the GFC of 1637 - upon retirement the Admirable Admiral was forced to take up residence in the shipwrecked ruin of a once grand Imperial vessel. Traces of its splendour still resided in the gilt deckwork and the figurehead of Poseidon holding a double trident. The hull had filled with earth and weeds, but the Admirable Admiral cleared it out as best he could and built a little cottage. Although his circumstances were reduced, the Admirable Admiral was never seen on deck in anything less than full dress uniform! Very often his inseparable friend from his military days, the Companionable Cabin Boy, came to stay and the two toasted former glories with a glass of rum shandy and watched as the waves lapped at the torn body of the ruined naval dame. The overall view of the converted wreck, showing house and garden: I really like how bulky the hull looks from the lower angle here. An upper view of the deck, showing the layout of the garden and the pool. The garden slopes down from the figurehead end towards the angled house. There's a map hidden behind the figurehead, just visible here... The Admirable Admiral kept a solitary pig for companionship and delighted in cultivating exotic lilypads in a crystalline rainwater pool which had collected at the prow of the ruined vessel. This was my first ship-building exercise and I have to say I was very happy with how the shape developed. Not mega-MOC level like the masters CGH & Bonaparte but certainly more detailed than the average official set. My style is more cartoon-like and larger-than-life than strictly realist in any case. Proud Poseidon and his thrusting golden double-barrelled tridents o'doom! End view back towards the shipwreck. Cosy! See, Apple Tree House detractors? Look how lovely the tan window frames are and the expanded suite of dark blue roof tiles! I think looking at SlyOwl's work inspired the angled abode. High spirits shared between friends lubricated nostalgic talk of the old days. Rear view looking back - it is less detailed, but this side is supposed to bump up against a cliff. A final view, again at a slightly different angle! This one will be sitting on my shelf for a while next to my modular Department Store DESIGN NOTES: The original concept sketch. The first details I worked out were the bumpy shape (2 end hull pieces) and the pointy arches for the cannons. Everything flowed from there - the idea of the little house on top of the shipwrecked ruins, gardens, merman figurehead etc. I was running very late and was bereft of inspiration but I gave myself 24 hours to pull something together! I am really pleased with how it turned out I have come a long way since my original PTV entry! I prize colour very highly, so everything flowed from there once I had the concept of a house lived in by a former member of the Imperial Navy, sitting atop the ruins of one of the great ships, filled with a moist and mulchy sunken garden. This MOC is a heady mix of 10210 Imperial Flagship (must-have ship building parts pack), 5981 Apple Tree House (tan windows and dark blue roof pieces), a bit of 7627 Temple of the Crystal Skull and a splash of 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty, with a generous helping of Bricklink order parts which I made months ago and have been waiting to consume! Thanks for viewing!
  14. Svelte

    REVIEW: 10211 Grand Emporium

    INDEXED Set Number: 10211 Set Name: Grand Emporium Theme: Modular Houses Pieces: 2182 Price: $US149.99; EUR149.99; GBP 139.99: $AUD249.99 Links: Shop @ Home; Brickset; Bricklink NOTE: All images in the review are clickable through to larger flickr versions. Introduction The release of a new Modular Building from LEGO is now an exciting annual tradition, akin to Christmas, or a birthday It brings anticipation, excitement, and a frenzy of activity once the big day arrives! We're now up to No. 5 in the series (yes, I count 10190 Market Street) and the line - designed by Exclusives maven Jamie Berard - shows no sign of flagging. Almost 3 years have passed since the release of the original Modular Building, 10182 Cafe Corner - how does the latest addition to the range measure up? Will it attract shoppers to stores with crazed desire in their eyes, or will it be relegated to the bargain basement? OK, spoiler - probably not the latter Part 1: Box, Parts and Minifigures The box is the same standard size as the other large Exclusives. No inner tray was as introduced in 10185 Green Grocer, which is a shame as its hard to keep these weighty boxes mint without support. The back of the box shows a wealth of detail! Aah, if only they reproduced these delightful vignettes inside the instructions so we didn't have to rely on keeping the box - boo! (Odd that they only seem to do this in Star Wars sets... anyone know why? ) (There are heaps of closeups - with witty captions! - of the box details in my flickr stream for those interested ) The figs and some of the interior furnishings. Designer Jamie Berard has really captured the feel of a Department store, with a mesmerising display of crystalline beauty and shiny shiny pieces! Perfume bottles! Gold plates! Emerald goblets! Be alert or be-dazzled! The toys are a welcome addition to the range provided in 10199 Winter Toy Shop and you could easily add to your shop display using the mini models there. Typical giant retailer, comes along and puts the small independent out of business I'm not sure what this gentleman - previously seen pantless in the change room - is doing in this shot from the side of the box... Maybe that's why this box is marked 16+ only There 3 instruction books but this is more like Green Grocer's 4 part build - ground floor, 2 middle floors, and detailed roof. You can find a 2000+ pixel wide clear image of the parts listing here if you're so inclined It's a wonderful selection, full of exciting new pieces like the Prince of Persia arch and dark green windows aplenty, but also full of old reliables like basic tan bricks, black headlights, white plates, and lots of tiles. Too many baggies to photograph properly! The sight of so many parts would send any AFOLs heart a-racing The contents of all the 'Bag 1's: Interesting parts from these bags. The green domes are surprisingly solid, as others have noted, and brilliantly reflective. Trans-clear headlight bricks! A curiosity, but sure to fetch a high-price on Bricklink. Much tiley goodness. Also 10x metallic grille tiles. The *human* minifigs. A nice selection of figs, with a great mix of newer torsos and hairpieces. The shopping bags are cute - any excuse to add some of those uncommon 1x1 tiles in medium blue. And who even knew a minifig could hold pants like that? Mannequins. Yay for an extra of the 2009 hairpiece! Yay for another Brickbeard's Bounty dress ensemble! Yay for dark tan man-hair! (Suck it Ricecracker - I told you it was dark tan ). The minifig heads aren't blank, just classic smileys turned around Using classic smileys is one of my favourite part of these sets and really hearkens back to a (different) golden age of building. Ordinary shop dummies or something more sinister? You be the judge! Part 2: The Build - Ground Floor Now we start the build itself. "You can never have enough hats, shoes or LEGO tiles", as fashion editatrix Patsy Stone might have said if she were an AFOL: Quality control rears its ugly head early in the build. A new shade of medium bley, perhaps? Actually the quality of the rest of the set was pretty good - much better than previous sets - so it's unfortunate I noticed this so early on: A smidgeon of dark green unexpectedly tucked away below the rest of the ground floor build - typically lovely attention to detail. We start adding interior details. An assortment of potions and perfumes. It's like Benjamin's 'Arcades Project' come to life! The three easily detachable counters (there's a 2x2 round plate on the base) can be recombined for a gambling table! Cafe Casino, anyone? They don't take credit cards in this store - look at that old skool register! Gemstones are securely locked away and held in place by those trans-clear headlights. You can see that the Emporium has a much bigger interior footprint than its predecessors and doesn't cut in at the back - this is necessary to allow room for the escalators - and more furnishings, of course! The domes are really, really reflective! They look great. Headlight lovers will be relieved to know that the new 1x1 brick with stud on one side hasn't made old faithful extinct - there's 68 black headlights in these wall sections With the canopies and brick detailing added. Lookin' classy! You can see that compared to the other modular houses, the Emporium is a lot lighter and brighter in colour selection. The revolving door is divided into 3 panes of glass, unlike the simpler version used in the Airport sets with 4 panes. The Technic half-pin with ball pops into the turntable - clever! Another clever technique utilising the 1x3 tiles for strength on the lettering. Extra clip plates hold the hose sturdily. The quality of yellow seems better than at its low point in the glowy alien mess produced in mid 2009 (like in 7641 City Corner) although colour differences persist. The dream is to have 2 10211s side by side - with one sign reading POSH and the other with SHOP. Haha! Next up, we build the escalator. The effect of treads is given using lots of those 1x2 cheese pieces in bley. Finally a decent use for this piece! The assembly attaches firmly in place. The addition of 1x1 bricks with cheese at the top finishes off the join noicely. It didn't really strike me looking at the early images that were released, but I love, love, love, the simple throughline of blue on this effective little model. The gold is a nice touch. Great work! Even the smallest details are made as perfect as possible. Mailbox and odd potplant technique with Technic axles and round 2x2 plates. I like mine better! Haha! Just for comparison The completed ground floor. Isn't it lovely? Awash with tasteful splashes of dark green, dark tan and dark blue, with brighter accents such as the fire hydrant, ice-cream vendor and SHOP sign. There is something seamless yet simple about the design. It has a 'classic' feel even though it isn't really comparable to any classic set. It doesn't feel fussy or tricksy, like some of the details on 10197 Fire Brigade either - it's gauged just right. Bird's eye view! Side-on view. Looking back over the interior of the ground floor. With the tan floor, it's warm and enticing in a way that bley or green wouldn't be. The rear exit. The curve is simple but well done. Solid gold doorknobs - nothing but the best for the customers of LEGO City! Leftovers. Probably that ice-cream is supposed to go inside the cart. Oops! At this point of the build, one needs some time to have fun with captions! Part 3: The Build - First Floor Now we move on to the first floor build. Yay for parts! The quality of tan is much higher than in 07-08. Colours aren't 100% perfect, but they are a lot better. The divine new Prince of Persia curved arch. If only they had this piece (or a larger version of it) in production before doing the 10189 Taj Mahal (all the Taj arches are pointed, and LEGO's version just does not look right) 19 dark green 1x2x3 windows and 19 dark green 1x2x2 windows. There's 38 more in the upper level too! It reminds me of painted-over ornate Victorian ironwork. Next stop: The Great Exhibition hall! The Crystal Palace! MOC heaven! The base is simple and sturdy. The curve is a nice departure from the more angular look of 10182 Cafe Corner. Where is the bridal registry? Tut-tut! The through-line of dark tan adds a luxe strip to the walls. The arches and dark green windows remind me of LOTR's Rivendell, for some reason. Let the Fantasy MOCers rejoice! It's a dreamy Art Deco combination, with the organic colours and arboreal curves. The flags add a splash of colour although if it was a real store it would be more likely to be billowing signage. 'SHOP AT SHOP! YOUR ONE-STOP SHOP! FOR SHOPPING!' From the side, we get a cross-hatch detail from the windows. Overview of the interior. It's pretty classy. Not the kind of store to put you through a metal detector and body search on the way out. And yet it is strangely unattended... FINALLY THE THIEVES OF LEGO CITY HAVE SOMEWHERE TO STEAL FROM! All those years of enormous Police HQs are justified, retrospectively. I'd like to see the thieves sneak out that bowl in their pockets. Noice. It really is. Ground floor and the first floor assembled together. We're almost there! Side-view. Extra parts from this part of the build - surprisingly stingy!
  15. Background: In some ways this is a MOC-MOD of 4210 - I really liked the shape of the new Coastguard set, and felt Dr Inferno's cohorts deserved some kind of base prior to the launch of the official Volcano base, so this is what I came up with. Behold the Seabase of Dr Inferno! Join us as we explore a typical day in the life of the world's most wanted supervillain... 9am. All is quiet on the Seabase of Dr Inferno - an abandoned oil-rig converted by the world's leading anarchy-tects into the villainous lair of Dr Inferno. The seabase comes complete with cybernetically modified guard animals, heli-pad and laser turret - all the mod cons. After spending a depraved night working on a plot for world domination by removing all the vowels from every set of Scrabble ever produced, Dr Inferno is taking a leisurely stroll around the seabase. 9.05am: An alert sounds on the empty landing pad - incoming vehicle! 9.10am: 'Megablocking MEGABLOCKS!' Dr Inferno shreiks as his personal jet craft lines with a surprise visitor. 'I can't believe I forgot my accountant is visiting today! Megablocking audits! Sometimes being the world's most succesful and filthy-rich sociopath has its downsides, but even I, the nefarious Dr Inferno, dare not defy the tax office!' 9.12am: Dr Inferno tries to change his expression from 'feral grin' to 'friendly smile', without much success. He goes to meet his visitor. 9.14am: Dr Inferno's accountant, Sam Sharp, greets his employer: 'Please don't kill me - I promise this will be over quickly!' 'It better be,' snarls Dr Inferno. 'I have a tennis lesson with Pussy Galore at 2.' Sam swallows his fear as he notes the presence of a previous intruder to the Seabase down amongst the depths - mechanically-modified sealife defend against prying eyes. 9.15am: They hop on the Seabase's travel platform and zip to the heart of the Seabase. 'I like what you've done with the place,' says Sam. 'Orange and black - it suits you. Where did you get the inspiration?' Dr Inferno secretly fingers his luscious locks. 'It just came to me,' he replies casually. He doesn't feel the need to tell Sam that his design brief for the architects specifically included a 50-foot giant tower with rockets based on his own hairstyle. 9.16am: The two arrive at the loading dock at the centre of the seabase. 'Meet my PA, Cindy Borg,' says Dr Inferno. 'Would you like a cocktail? Cindy was an early volunteer for one of my experiments. Her arm has been replaced with a full-service liquor nozzle. Makes her very *handy* around the place, hah hah.' 'Uh, thanks,' says Sam. A perfect whisky sour shoots from Cindy's wrist into Sam's glass. 'Spray ya later!' she winks as she dries her stump off with a towel and departs. 'Will do,' says Sam. Despite the missing limb, Cindy is kind of hot. Sam wonders if she her 'pour' function can be reversed to 'vacuum'. Dr Inferno has better things to do than stand around and supervise. 'I'm off to test my laser turret - the 1,000 kills service warranty is coming up soon. Call me if you need anything.' 9.25am: Finally left alone, Sam begins cataloguing the latest batch of riches which have arrived at the seabase. 'Two gold bars - check. Two cardboard boxes containing leaked prototype Lego 10188 Death Stars - check. Two cases of cooking oil collected from the pores of the endangered minke whale - check...' And on it goes. Dr Inferno's prize Persian, Mr Fluffybot, is unimpressed by all the activity. 9.30am: As Sam goes about his business, Dr Inferno admires the potent power of his thrusting laser cannon, its sleek lines and hard, potent barrel. He sees nothing psychologically odd about this at all. The laser cannon rotates 360 degrees horizontally, and the barrel can rotate approximately 90 degrees vertically. Dr Inferno sometimes like to climb on top and hum 'The Ride of the Valkyries'. Sssh - don't tell anyone Laser comes with built-in light-up function! 11.02am. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the seabase.... It's time to feed the sharks! Automated cyber-controlled Shark-O-Matic feeder in retracted position, hidden under the base. The motorized arm unfurls to its full length. Breakfast is served! The hungry shark leaps up and devours its meal whole! (Rumours that Dr Inferno sometimes uses the Shark-O-Matic to dispense with enemy agents are entirely true.) 11.28am. Realising that he hasn't checked his hair for at least an hour and a half, Dr Inferno withdraws to the sanctity of his Hairbase. 11.32am. The Hairbase is equipped with a variety of security devices. This biometric reader ensures that only 100% authorised personnel - and Cheryl, the cleaner, who only comes on Thursdays - are allowed into the control center. 11.34am. Dr Inferno presents only organic components of his body for inspection - his optical scan and thumbrint are required. Voila! The door opens. What could possibly be hidden behind this barricade? A torture chamber? Fire-pit? A succession of deadly traps, each more complicated and fiendish than the last? Actually, it's just reception. Cindy Borg doubles as Seabase Receptionist - the pay is good and the hours reasonable. Cindy's arm-nozzle doubles as a watering can for the flowers here too. However the magazine by her side hides a deadly weapon. Overall back view of the tower: 11.40am. Dr Inferno arrives in his luxury pad on the second floor of the Hairbase. Swanky! Note the gold and marble floor tiles, tropical fish aquarium, letter tray for answering fan mail, and exotic and deadly flowering cactus. No expense spared! Dr Inferno is especially proud of his zebra-hide upholstered cocktail cabinet. Here he relaxes with Mr Fluffybot and sips on an olive martini. Note the hairbrush - but who is it for? Dr I or Mr Fluffybot? With figs removed: 2.40pm. Three hours later, after an intensive grooming session - we won't go into detail about that here - Dr Inferno decides to review Seabase security. He calls his minion Break Jaw on the top floor to make sure that all systems are running smoothly. Sadly the tastes of Break Jaw are not as refined as those of Dr Inferno - look at that! Pizza and basketball! Tssk! Each sculptured tuft of Dr Inferno's hair conceals a deadly missile. Another security feature can be seen here. Unbeknownst to his staff - and in defiance of every occupational health and safety law in existence - Dr Inferno has wired the whole infrastructure of the Seabase with explosives, remotely programmed to detonate at his command. The control box is on the far left. You can also see some of the remains of previous agents who tried to infiltrate the base, tossed down here like the rubbish they are. The Seabase also has a small dock with an escape hover-pod should Dr Inferno need to flee the enemy. Or any creditors. Which reminds him - what has Sam Sharp concluded about the state of Dr Inferno's finances? 3.48pm. Seems that Sam Sharp has been getting along very well with Cindy Borg! 'Pour me another Shecks on the Beach, darlin',' slurs Sam. 3.55pm. 'Get away from her, you dolt!' screams Dr Inferno, snatching the cocktail glass from his employee's hand. 'And you' - he points his claw at Cindy - 'I'm docking your pay all the motor oil you've consumed greasing up this moron!' Cindy Borg quickly flees. Drunken Sam Sharp sways towards Dr Inferno. 'DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR!' bellows Dr Inferno, giving him a sharp slap across the noggin. Sam Sharp clutches his head in pain. He doubles over in agony. Or is it something else? 4.02pm. With an enormous RIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPPP!, Sam's hair and skin peel away, revealing.... Agent Trace! The super-smooth agent has assumed the identity of Dr Inferno's mild-mannered accountant to infiltrate his operations, with 100% success. (Or 'win', as they say on the internets.) 'Locks like I've put a crimp in your style, Dr I,' winks Agent Trace, brandishing her pistols. 'You mad wench - never!' Dr Inferno makes a mad dash down the stairs of the dock to his escape hover-pod. 4.06pm. Only to find that someone is already occupying the craft. 'Meow.' Mr Fluffybot waves a paw goodbye. Agent Trace snaps on the handcuffs. 4.15pm. 'It's time to lock you up, Inferno,' drawls Agent Trace. 'The things you see in prison will make your hair curl.' 'Nothing could be worse than your puns,' spits Dr Inferno. 'Take me away.' THE END FOR DR INFERNO.... ...or is it? And just one final shot of the whole base with Dr Inferno's plane on the heli-pad. And just coz I really like this seaplant: Design notes: This is primarily an over-the-top playset to fit in with the Agents line. I'm not much of a vehicle designer so I left the 8635 jet alone - I think it's perfect as is, anyway Why reinvent the wheel? Kudos to the 4210 designers for their interesting usage of the bridge pieces - I have said before that in some ways Agents is like an evil version of Coast Guard The photography is a bit all over the place as I rely on natural light and there's been little in Sydney recently - I like to think the shadows add a dramatic, noirish touch to the gripping events presented here And there we have it - my first large MOC for Eurobricks! Thanks!
  16. Theme: Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time Set: 7572 Quest Against Time Pieces: 506 Price: $US49.99; $CAD69.99 Resources: Shop @ Home, Bricklink, Brickset Introduction The second largest set in the Prince of Persia theme doesn't seem to be looked on with much enthusiasm by AFOLs, perhaps because it doesn't have the eye-catching design of the Battle of Alamut or any of the unique animals in the smaller sets. However with 500 pieces in very useful basic bricks, this is a great value set with some fun play features. Join with me into a dark and mysterious journey into danger as explore the very lair of the Sands of Time... ** All pics link to high-res flickr versions for detail fans ** Box, Parts & Instructions The front of the box. 506 parts is pretty good for a $US49.99 Licensed set, and it's 99% bricky goodness - only a very few Technic pieces - just one of the reasons I am loving the Prince of Persia line so much. The side of the box again shows character names. The Hassansin leader is called 'Zolm', which sounds like the noise a brass gong makes when hit. Maybe that's why he's hiding out in a desert cave with snake friends who can't call out his name mockingly.'ZOOOOOOOOLMMMM!' The back of the box shows all the traps and tribulations Dastan will face whilst Princess Tamina stands at the entrance looking impatient! (And beautiful.) Two instruction books, with the usual US-printed colour issues. In Book 1, dark bley looks black and in Book 2, it looks light bley! Some poster art from the back of the book. Oddly this echoes the actual promo pic from the Jan Aus/ NZ catalogue, except that was built with real bricks. Maybe they render and CGI-fiddled with it afterwards. This is a nice call-back to the Indy line which had similar stylised art. Random instruction page showing the front section. The shape of the lovely gate is actually obscured by all the rocky stuff and traps which is added later, but it's a nicely executed and very architecturally-different little mini-model in itself. People interested in the parts inventory look here - Page 1 Page 2 There are 5 polybags, no loose parts. This is the first LEGO set I've ever seen where *just* the minifigs get a whole bag unto themselves. I wonder why this is? All 500+ lovely parts spilled out seductively. The primary accents are dark bley, dark tan, and medium nougat, with smatterings of trans-yellow and tan. (There are also lots of the new 1x1 brick with stud on 1 side in black, but I didn't notice these until I was building ) Lots of trans-yellow parts with some plates and 1 round brick. Glowy! More dark brown spears, carrot torch, and some nice gold pieces. We also get an extra Dagger in this set. In medium nougat, we receive 6 arches, some bricks, and 2 exclusive Lion head pieces. Lots of dark tan 8x8 plates and some tiles. Minifigs! Dastan and Tamina - we've seen these 2 already. Zolm the snake-wielding Hassansin Leader has milky, blinded eyes. Spooky-do! This set would have been more appealing to collectors if they didn't dump him in a magnet set too. The head in full and the torso print. No rear printing on the head or torso. The Nizam has golden-embroided long robe with rear printing on the back of his torso. Beautiful print! Dastan does look like a scruffy scrubber next tio the sharp-featured Nizam, I'd probably give him the Dagger of Time too! The Build - Part 1 - Gate section The first section to be completed is this spiky-edged gate with accents of gold and medium nougat - a visually impressive treat in itself - I would quite like to see a whole set done in this harder, more menacing architectural style than what we see in the Battle of Alamut set. The wooden spikes don't do anything apart from turn - maybe this is in the movie since they don't act as a trap here. As you pass through the gate, beware a swinging scimitar which scythes southwards! The Technic pins connect this section of the build to the rear module. There are two traps on either side of the front of this playset. Both are activated by pushing the curved submodel on the right of this picture into the model. It only moves forward one stud but they do work very smoothly. The dark tan 2 x2 tiles with 1 stud are there for 'parkour' play and are actually pretty good for holding your fig in position just strongly enough to be knocked over or beheaded! When you push the bley section as marked by the red arrow, two swords swing down and shred the foolish victim. GAME OVER! The bloody blade! Again, pushing the area marked by the red arrow flips the blade solidly down into the middle of the main model. GAME OVER, Dastan! Mwahaahah! Build Part 2 - Rear section The second part of the build constructs the rear section of the set. There are only 2 of those rocky mini-BURPs in this set The trap here is a 4x4 plate which sits on only a few studs and which can easily be flipped up by pressing a 2x4 bley tile downwards. GAME OVER , Tamina! The finished penultimate submodel. A random skele head and torch add some detail. I do really like all the rocky detail included in this set. Look at all those dark bley slopes and cheese! The similarly-themed subterranean 7199 Temple of Doom minecar chase set suffered from having too many colours and no real consistency in design - this set looks a lot more naturalistic and useful for MOCers. Pirates and Castle fans will love it as a source of basic dark bley for mountainous landscapes Nizam helpfully indicates where the final submodel will sit, surrounded by modified plates for easy removal. And here we go. The final submodel contains the Power Function brick and lots of yellow, representing the Sands of Time (I'm guessing)! There are splashes of medium nougat too. The Sands of Time a-glow! This is a great feature for a $US50 Licensed set and I bet kids will love it. When the Dagger of Time is pushed into a 1x1 Technic brick, the Power Function brick lights up in this beautiful display. The light stays on when you leave the Dagger in, too, unlike other models where you personally have to depress the light brick to keep it going. A darker and more sinister view. The yellow glow represents the swirling miasma of the mysterious Sands of Time! The finished model (I recommend clicking for larger versions of these pics; they look much better this way ) The finished model is one continuous cave, unlike the box art, which has broken it up to show more detail. It is a lot less random-looking and probably more appealing arranged this way, I have to say. Looking up from ground level at the entrance to the cave shows just how far Dastan has to travel to reach the Nizam. The size of the model is pretty good in my opinion - not too long (like the Temple of Doom mine car set which is difficult to display) and with the right amount of detail for its size. The play features are all pretty good, work well and are easily re-setted for repeat enjoyment. GAME ON! Rear view. There is some empty storage space below the Sands of Time model, but there are a few rocks here too, which is a nice touch. Maybe the Nizam has a chillout lounge down here. Side view! Finally, extra parts. I missed a few spots where the dark bley was meant to go, and added them after taking this pic Conclusion Minifigs - 8/10 - the only unique minifig here is Zolm the Hassansin Leader, and he's available in a magnet set. This is the only other set to feature Tamina and I don't mind having an extra Nizam with his gold disco duds. Parts: 9/10 - A MOCer's delight! A treasure trove of dark bley slopes and cheese, with generous helpings of other colours too. The medium nougat lion heads are exclusive to this set. Maybe a bit dull if you already have lots of rocky parts, but I imagine Pirates and Castles fans will enjoy this set! Build: The traps are all well executed (haha!) and there are some fun techniques which you could replicated in your own creations. The light-up feature is a big bonus and the dark tan 2x2 tiles with 1 stud really do help minifig poseability for parkour play! Overall Rating: 8.5/10. Like a lot of others, I found this the most visually unappealing of all the sets, but what it lacks in unique design or animals, it more than makes up for in parts and playability. I couldn't imagine getting all the other sets and not this - it really does add a different locale to the Prince of Persia LEGO universe of desert traps, mad markets, and the Alamut fortress
  17. Name: Trolls' Mountain Fortress Set: 7097 Theme: Castle Year: 2009 Pieces: 844 Minifigs: 8 minifigs, 2 giant trolls Price: $US99.99 Resources: Brickset, Shop@Home Introduction The Trolls finally get a room to call one's own! When this set was first announced, I was immediately excited - I had visions of a massive defensive hideout built into the side of a mountain, cage-like walls made of giant bones, replete with animal carcasses and drunken trolls living in their own filth - kind of like a slum version of 8637 Volcano Base but three times as large. It would be the greatest Castle set ever! So when the prelim pics of the actual set were leaked, you can understand my disappointment - the established Troll palette of dark brown and dark red was thrown out in favour of bley, bley and more bley, and what could have been an iconic and revolutionary design was revealed to be yet another walled Castle arrangement, with all the Trolly goodness just being window dressing - some dark green plants here, some dark red teeth there. The confusing box art - which bears little resemblance to the finished set - did little to dispel this negative impression. However, looking at the box is one thing; building the set is another. So how does the finished product live up to the hype (and the criticism)? Is this just a smaller version of 7094 King's Castle Siege as redecorated by trolls, or entirely different? Journey with us into the heart of darkness as we voyage into one of Lego's most visually twisted sets ever! Box, Instructions and Parts The front of the box. I suspect the photographers have simply disconnected the left side wall and stretched out the set to make the central Tower visible from the low-angle they've chosen. You can already see how different it looks from the final product in my intro pic! The back of the box, showing all the set functions. There ain't that many! Compared to the box for 7199 Temple of Doom, which goes to great pains to demonstrate the various hidden traps and features, the Troll Fortress possesses far fewer secrets. When the most exciting thing the Lego photographers can come up with is a sorceress looking at her crystal ball, or the Troll King walking down a flight of stairs, you know this isn't going to be the most function-heavy set (click for larger size image): All the figs: One thing the box does emphasise is modularity. Some alternate models are more attractive than others. We will get to them in due course: Two standard instruction books. As one of our members noted, the inventory is up on Bricklink: Most AFOLs are probably burning with desire to know about the latest advances in Billund catapult technology. This page answers all! A lovely piece of poster art from the back cover, kind of the inverse of that which appeared on the 2007 sets with the 7094 Kings Castle Siege. Indeed, there's even a cameo from the 2007 horse! (That livery isn't around in 2009): The box contains 9 bags, with 2 separately bagged Trolls, BURPS and a plate: Parts! Not as many as King's Castle Siege, but a goodly amount: There's enough rock pieces to do a small mountain before you even open the bags! It's a shame they phased out the mixed dark green/ dark bley large BURPs as I think they would have added more of the mountain feel: We get 6 castle corner walls, and 2 of those turret pieces which everyone rightly hates There's a predictable amount of dark brown slopes and inverse slopes, a la last year's sets, but we do see some different pieces in the new shade: And the Troll clubs look much better in dark brown than they did in bley: Some other nice pieces include the inverse arches in dark brown, 2 dark brown barrels, 2 of those Star Wars gun turret bases, 2 of the new flame pieces, and 4 regular flame pieces in the lovely trans-orange shade (NOT neon orange): We finally get this piece in a new colour - a sickly-looking mix of trans-green and trans neon-green. Dark magic is afoot, I tell ya! I never liked the seagrass piece. It doesn't look like a plant at all, to be honest. It's too stylised. In this set we get 6 in dark green. I wish they'd gone with the look of the box art and made a spindly, twiggy forest surrounding the Fortress rather than simply used these pieces as wall-hangings: Here's 5% of the pieces in one shot! 47 white teeth/ horns. I guess if you missed these in the Viking sets they could be useful. 47 is an awful lot though! (Another 5% come in the form of dark red teeth and 1x1 red-brown cone pieces.) 2: The figs The new Bondage Trolls. I kind of liked the simplicity of the old large Troll and feel a repaint was probably unnecessary. Black is also kind of dark, and this is already a very dark set. However, the printing is nicely detailed, and I have come to like these special gay guard Trolls and accept them for who they are : Are these the first official Lego figs with tattoos? Guarding each other's backs! (Probably because they're confused about which way is forward ) When they saved enough of their wages, the giant Trolls were finally able to afford a place of their own: Also in Bag 1, we have the standard white horse and a few weapons stands and barrels with a key and turkey leg: Three standard Crownies, nothing new here: The Crowny King, with shiny sash-pants: The King's double-sided torso: On the Trolls side, we have 2 regular grunts. The Troll General is probably still off fighting in his siege wagon: After all this time, we finally meet the Troll King and his nefarious Sorceress. Two new torsos - yays! The Advent Calendar witch now has a rival in the evil femme stakes : The King and Sorceress both wear these ragged looking capes: A better view of the great new faces. As I said, the figs are kind of dark, conceptually. King Troll has had one eye put out . That's kinda strong for non-violent Lego! Or maybe he was blinded by the Sorceress' beauty? Look at those luscious pouting lips and tell me you wouldn't like to pucker up: I think the King and the Sorceress have a thing going, if you know what I mean. After a long day at the front, I bet he likes to come home and get her to tickle his sweet spot with her giant electric prong: All our cast together. Take a bow! Overall thoughts on the minifigs: The Troll King and the sorceress are fantastic Ragged capes, the brown crown and the magic piece in a new colour all add to the uniqueness of this set. Printing the large Trolls wasn't necessary in my opinion, but again these are (at the moment) exclusive. The Crownies and generic Trolls are less inspiring, but OK as filler. I would have liked to have seen a third generic Troll soldier introduced, however, to make the ranks a bit more diverse, maybe with a slightly different head or torso. The King is an impressive looking figure, and I don't mind having extras with such nice prints. I am disappointed by the lack of accessories though - 2 Crown shields and only one Orc shield (used on the Fortress itself) The new dark brown spears aside, the rest of the weapons are fairly generic. 3: The build I haven't included any build shots, as there are no intriguing special techniques. The Fortress is made up of the central gate, 2 gatehouses, 2 side walls and the rear tower, all connected by Technic pins. I will discuss these individual submodels as I go. First up is the gate, with flaming torches and a macabre skeleton face adorning the top. The gate doors have a half-finished, thrown-together aesthetic which is appropriate for the chaotic Trolls. It's an impressive composition, almost cartoonish, and the colour gradation from dark green and bley to the wooden, blood-tipped teeth is handled well. I love the new fire pieces, too. I guess they also keep the guards in the gatehouses warm in winter : Behind the gate, knobs control halberds which can be spun down to slice'n'dice unwary Crownies: The large Troll gatehouses are next. The build is mirrored, which adds a little variety. The separate gatehouses really are intimidating looking! I love how they kind of look like squinting orcish faces, with a single eye in the centre formed from bley slopes. The hollowed out effect to allow room for the giant trolls is also impressives. Here's the right gatehouse: And the left, from a slightly different angle: After two years and a myriad of excuses, we're still experiencing colour issues, as you can see with these tiles (which are actually what holds the Trolls feet in place) I've bought sets from the summer waves from both the US and Europe, so it isn't like this is confined to one production facility. I find it difficult to believe that after 2 years there are still such huge stockpiles of sub-par parts that need to be cleared out. (In this set, there's also an issue with dark bley; from Europe, yellow still glows). I don't normally mention this in my reviews, having faith that the problem would eventually be fixed, but I find it frustrating that after this long the problem is ongoing. Please, won't somebody think of the AFOLs? The gatehouses in position. Looks like the front of 7094, doesn't it? : From behind. Here you can see the rocky detail of the back of the gatehouses. It's great to have this extra level of detail and interchangeability. From this angle, the whole facade could be an abandoned, spooky mine working (hello, residents of Willoughby!) The BURP sections can handily be folded completely back to sit flush with the gate tower, which is another versatile touch. I really like that the designers tried to make these submodels as playable as possible! Here's a view with the reduced frontage: A close-up of the catapult area. I like the inverse dark brown arches to provide a brick-built, jagged castle roof effect. The poor trolls only get one 1x2 round brick ammo per catapult! They'll be slaughtered! Probably these shortages are due to trade embargoes on black bricks from the Crownies Next up are these two side walls, which in my opinion are the weakest part of the set. They're a little plain-looking and a bit of a mish-mash of colours. I don't know if the light bley turret works as part of a rough mountain wall either , although as you'll see in some recombinations of the modular system, they do look quite effective. More of a problem is that these side walls are just one or two bricks low, and don't really give the impression of a heavily fortified mountain hideaway: Behind, there is nothing but ladders. By now, you will have noticed the lack of interior detail in this set It is nice how the 1x2 log brick has been included to stop the ladders flopping into the interior of the mountain: The Fortress extends! Already it can be folded into interesting shapes. We call this one 'The Tricorn' : The last part of the build is the Sorceress' Tower, which contains a little lab for her, the prison cell of the King and a pointy stone lookout. Here's the front: There's nothing of note on the ground floor; further up, the Sorceress' lab contains a few potions, a spider, a bat, and a crystal ball. The lack of brick-built witchy paraphernalia is very disappointing. I don't understand how a relatively inexpensive special set such as the 7979 Advent Calendar can include several brilliant witchy submodels including a well-stacked shelf of potions and a cauldron, but the interiors of actual retail sets are a big bundle of suck. The top two floors, showing the (bare) prison cell and the outlook: *Mwahahah* She's evil! Pure evil! 4. The finished set Connecting all the submodels, we now can view the finished Troll Fortress in all its glory. The resemblance to the King's Castle Siege is less once you've put it together. For a start, it's trapezoidal, not square! The whole thing is a bit more pinched and compressed looking, and is definitely smaller - but I don't think that's a bad thing as the central square of 7094 is devoid of detail: Compared to the bley dominated scheme of the Crownies' residence, a riot of colour assaults the senses as you approach the Troll Fortress. Like the 7199, I felt that the mix of colours was a little random, but once the whole thing comes together the effect makes sense: The Troll King is not afraid to face intruders directly: Interior space is quite tight, as you can see from this overhead shot. However, the set is a lot stronger and easier to move than 7094. It is possible to pick the whole thing up and carry it from place to place without it falling apart, which was impossible with the larger (and weaker) King's Castle: A three quarter view: And side view: The rear view, showing the Sorceress' Tower connected to the side walls. I am really impressed that the designers got all the rocks to line up so the back wall looks consistent : Fantastic work! 5. The three alternate arrangements from the box art The emphasis in this set is on the modular system rather than specific play features. I think it works really well; far better than the kind of clumsy system found in 7094 where the walls didn't really meet together without some fiddling or the result looking a bit rough. Here the specific intention is to make as many combinations as possible, and here are the suggested combinations (you can see what they should look like from the pic at the start of this review): A, with one long wall and the Tower at the back - from the angle I've taken the photo it is hard to see that the Tower is positioned well at the rear: B, In this arrangement, the guardhouses are at the side, and the Fortress is enclosed: C, An elongated defensive wall with gate and a bulked-up rear Tower: And my own bonus model! The Trolls' Fortress can be combined with the other big lump of rock produced this year, 7199 Temple of Doom, for a truly crazed, almost Dali-esque architecture: 6. Overall Rating This set ended up being very different to what I thought it would be. Generally, I liked it much better than I thought it would, although it is not without its share of problems. However, it definitely has potential for MOCing and ideally you'd need two to make the badass Fortress that the heretofore homeless Trolls deserve! Pros: - Excellent modular design - Much more flexible than 7094 King's Castle Siege in terms of modularity (can put together many combinations) and size (easy to pick up the whole thing and move place to place) - Good mountain-building part selection - Excellent unique figs - Nice rocky detailing on back of models to give overall consistent appearance from any angle - Bondage trolls! - Build interesting and not too repetitive Cons: - The box art looks nothing like the actual set in terms of arrangement - Colour issues persist - A little too many colours - The side walls are kind of sucky - Almost completely lacks interior detail - And the number one bugbear, not mentioned elsewhere in the review: the decorative detail of the 1x1 red-brown cones with Viking horns have no sticking power but are absolutely everywhere, so you constantly have to reattach them when moving the set around - this is intensely irritating! Overall, I'd give this set a very solid 8/10. Above average, but not quite perfect. Its grown on me over time, and I think it is a very respectable entry in the Castle series, and probably a must-have for Castle fans.
  18. PRINCE OF PERSIA - SCORPION FORT ** Click on all pics for high-res versions ** Under an angry sky, the Nizam's guards watch over the entrance to the Scorpion Fort - a solid, spiky stronghold built into desert rock. An easily-defensible bridge traverses the two Towers, under which a thin, sickly stream sluggishly idles. Dastan's poor camel gets no respite from the poisonous looking waters; near the front Tower, a travelling native lights a small campfire in preparation for the icy desert night. On the other side of the entrance to the fort, we see a couple of bloated pigs sniffing for sweetmeats amongst the desert rock - let's hope they don't run into that black scorpion! The pigs are probably the only creatures that find the poisonous-looking waters running under the arched bridge in any way enticing. The main gate to the Fort itself. The thin corridor adds an extra level of defence - no opponents can easily rush the entrance. On either side, the distinctive gold scorpion motif identifies this as a stronghold of the Nizam. The front section doesn't look too intimidating - unless you are a humble petitioner standing at the very base of the stairs, looking up. A travelling PoP-Svelte lights a fire to keep warm - temperatures in the desert can drop to below freezing at night! The bridge is solidly buttressed with arches for maximum structural integrity. From above, the Scorpion Fort entrance is just as intimidating - if not moreso! A rear view of the main gate to the Scorpion Fort. A cutaway shows the Nizam's private bathroom hidden beneath the solid rock. So that's where the fresh streamwater has diverted! The Nizam does some of his most vile scheming and plotting whilst taking a leisurely bubble-bath. Fresh water pipes in from the waterfall to fill the tub. The Nizam daydreams as he goes through his daily beauty routine - notice the soap and gold vial of bath salts. 'Yes, Tamina... you shall soon be mine... Or maybe Dastan, whose abs are the very colour of the Scorpion Fort itself... or maybe both of you shall kneel before me... mwahahahah!... Ahem... can someone get me some tissues?' The Scorpion Fort can be attached to other bits of Arabic architecture one may have lying around. Here, the more modern style of the Alamut Gate acts as an entrance where merchants gather, with the military walled mountain fort behind it. Bonus pic of the intimidating view from the very front of the Scorpion Fort, looking up. A Dastan-less closeup view of the bridge and towers. A more detailed view of the sickly green stream! Design Notes: This design is based on the entrance to the ancient city of Aleppo, Syria, with its distinctive double gate and bridge. Ever since I did the poster art for PoP month I wanted to do a much larger MOC using a colour scheme of dark bley, pearl gold and medium nougat. With a very limited palette of bricks in nougat - no plates or tiles! - it was quite difficult to do areas like flat steps and the roof of the towers - so I am very happy with the result. Whilst I was initially unsure of using it for detail, the 1x4 brick adds great textural detail and is in keeping with the Arabic theme. I'd love to keep going and do a proper Fort - instead of just a walled gate - but that would require a serious investment of $$$ and space One day... Anyone interested in Arabic architecture or MOCing should consult 'Architecture of the Islamic World' edited by George Michell (Thams & Hudson, 1978, reprinted 1999) - it's an amazing visual reference.
  19. Prince of Persia The Eurobricks Exclusive Contest (Click on the pic for larger version) Prince of Persia month is here! To celebrate the launch of the movie in late May, and the amazing LEGO theme it has brought us, Eurobricks is hosting an exciting contest with something for everyone. Check out the full details below. And did I mention that major prizes are being donated by the LEGO Group? Your time starts now! Entries close Monday 17 May - post all contest-related questions in this thread Category 1 - Expand the Theme Prince of Persia has one of the smallest lines ever produced - only 5 sets. Expand the official universe by creating your own version of a LEGO Prince of Persia set. It could be a building, battle-scene, vehicle, or whatever you can imagine, and range in size from a chariot to a full UCS-style temple. It could reflect scenes from the movie or video game series, but doesn’t necessarily need to. It should look like a set that LEGO might actually produce. No minimum or maximum part or minifig limit Entry should include the name of your creation, and a 1-paragraph description written in the style of a Shop @ Home blurb You do not need to use any official Prince of Persia parts or figs to enter. See the full list of rules below Post your entries in the Category 1 entry topic located here First Prize: 7573 Battle of Alamut, kindly donated by The LEGO Group and shipped courtesy of the Eurobricks staff. Second Prize: To Be Confirmed (TBC) Category 2 – The Persian Version aka The Persian-ify Could you make a desert oasis from a Belville set? Or a sacred temple from a modular building? How about a mechanical chariot from a Technic bulldozer, or caravanserai from an Emerald Night? Put your skills to the test by Persian-ifying a set from an existing LEGO theme. You don’t even have to use parts from the original set, but you can if you wish. The aim is to produce a Persian-spirited version of an existing set, populated with minifigs and details which might occupy the POP-verse. No minimum or maximum part or minifig limit Entry should include the name of your creation, a 1 paragraph description of your set’s Persian-specific features, and a link to the Brickset reference page of the original You do not need to use any official Prince of Persia parts or figs to enter. See the full list of rules below. Post your entries in the Category 2 entry topic located here First Prize: 7571 Fight for the Dagger, kindly donated by The LEGO Group and shipped courtesy of the Eurobricks staff. Second Prize: To Be Confirmed (TBC) Category 3 - BAM (Build a Market Stall) The Alamut bazaar is a bustling hub of commerce – but that merchant seems lonely with just an apple cart and a camel for a customer! Create an add-on to the official 7571 Fight for the Dagger set by designing your own unique small-sized Market Stall! It can be in any style you wish and sell any product! 250 pieces maximum, not including minifigs Any minifig accessory held in a fig’s hands or worn on its body does not add to the part count; any fig accessory or part not used on a fig does count (eg if a merchant was holding an apple, it wouldn’t count, but it would if it was sitting in a bowl as part of the stall display) Entry should include the name of your creation You do not need to use any official Prince of Persia parts or figs to enter. See the full list of rules below Post your entries in the Category 3 entry topic located here First Prize: 7570 Ostrich Race, kindly donated by The LEGO Group and shipped courtesy of the Eurobricks staff. Second Prize: To Be Confirmed (TBC) RULES APPLYING TO ALL CATEGORIES The contest will run from now until midnight May 17 2010, GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)! You may continually modify and update your entries and entry posts right up until the deadline One entry per category per member and no recycling of old creations Custom decals and non-LEGO string and cloth/canvas/paper are allowed. Third party commercial parts (e.g. Brickarms, Brickforge) and customised minifig parts are not allowed. No clone brands or digital entries No minifig limit Post 3 pictures in the relevant contest entry threads (maximum size 800x600). See the Tutorials Index for help with resizing images and deeplinking. Judging will take place by a public vote. New members joining after April 16 are eligible to enter, but only members who joined before April 16 will be eligible to vote. The word of the staff is final. They may have their own secret special prize to be awarded in each category on their unknowable and capricious whims. Anyone asking questions about the secret staff prize will be automatically disqualified. Seriously, don't even mention it Have fun!
  20. Theme: Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time Set: 7571 Fight for the Dagger Pieces: 258 Price: $US29.99; $CAD39.99 Resources: Shop @ Home, Bricklink, Brickset Introduction The mid-range set in the Prince of Persia line is a bustling market filled with danger and excitement! Will Dastan be able to capture the Dagger of Time from bling-magnet Asoka and his suppository-shaped hat? Will Tamina leap off the balcony of the tower onto a camel's back, or will it kick her while she's down? Will the Alamut merchant lower his already bargain prices on red cherries and green apples? Would anyone notice if you swapped Dastan and Tamina's hairpieces? Read on and find out! ** All pics link to high-res flickr versions for detail fans ** Box, Parts & Instructions Bold and brassy box art with some Arabic architectural inspiration in the background. The Hassansin in the small set was flying in mid-air, and now Dastan too! Platform game toy brick adaptations from film licenses - it's a crazy world! The side of the box gives us character names. The rear of the box shows the various set functions - camel labour, dagger-brandishing, and trapdoor-falling. I do love the dark red colour scheme they have with the box art pics in this theme. The instruction manuals are really badly printed. I buy sets from the US and the European market, and the US instruction manuals are by far worse in terms of print quality and colour differentiation. Random instruction pages showing most of the building. It does remind me of those early Harry Potter sets that were all based around 8 x 17 bricks with staircases and traps and suchlike. We get 2 bags of parts and 1 separately bagged dark tan camel. Wow! That's a lot of parts. The box art makes this set look kind of sparse but once you debag it you realise what treasure troves these Prince of Persia sets really are. There are *no* big BURPS or rock pieces or castle walls or large panels a la other themes. These are all pure bricky goodness, in useful colours, with some new and exciting parts! Gold, glorious gold! I adore the dome pieces. They just have a coppery, brassy gleam that is difficult to resist. Oddly, Asoka's pointed hat is a different shade of gold to the other pieces. The Dagger of Time is very detailed for such a small piece, especially with the difficult colour mix of having a splash of gold in the middle of the silver blade. A great piece. We get twenty of the new arch pieces in Medium Nougat (screw Bricklink and its 2pid 'Medium Dark Flesh! ). Parts bonanza! I like that these new pieces are in quite common quantities so their Bricklink value won't climb too high. Dark tan goodness. The parts just keep on giving! Here I've pulled out plants, fruits, fish, meat, telescopes, the pannier, saddle, new whip, flame piece, white plume, weapons... Brilliant! The rest of the parts - lots of tan corner pieces and round 2x2 bricks, and lots of the new 1x1 white brick modified with stud on one side. A great assortment! Tamina has a cape and the new market canopy piece is in dark red. The dark tan camel rocks! I love its sardonic, quizzical expression. I added my own dark tan 1x2 brick here - it isn't included in the set. Rear view of the camel. Nice hump! Minifigs! The Alamut merchant has a white keffiyeh exclusive to this set. Asoka has an exclusive white plume and a touch of the bling everywhere else. Asoka's torso under the armour is identical to the merchant's. Back view of the minifigs. I like the keffiyeh a lot more than the silly looking turban we've had for years. Grimacing Dastan and Tamina. Neither fig has back printing. I didn't realise Tamina had such a long ponytail until I saw the piece in person. Back view, showing the curly wurly pony tail. With the hairpieces swapped. They're actually gender interchangeable! I really like that Tamina has a 'cranky' expression rather than the usual 'terrified maiden' reverse face. Our full cast of characters for this set. The build The first part of the build is to enslave the camel. Poor camel! Boos! The boxes he carries contain jewels and cherries. It's Schrodinger's Camel - you are always uncertain which case contains the precious gems, and which container holds the stone fruit! The merchant and his cart of wares. His merchandise is all vegetarian but here he's gnawing on a chicken leg. Maybe he's just taunting the camel. The build starts off simply enough. The bley Technic bricks allow rods to be inserted which when removed will activate the trapdoor in the centre and collapsing balcony function. The trapdoor in place in the centre and the detachable balcony submodel. When a Technic axle is pulled, the balcony will swing down. The final model without all the accessories and minifigs. The early description posted on suggested this set could connect with the 7573 Battle of Alamut set but this doesn't seem to appear on the new S@H listing. I haven't built the big one yet so I am not sure if this still holds true. Extra pieces. Finished Model The finished model! It's a great little playset, nicely detailed with a few different play features. It certainly captures that 'exotic market' feel. Another, more top-down view of the set. A close-up of that shiny dome. Play-features activated! Asoka's spear and hat plume make him so bulky that it's actually kind of hard to fit him on top of the trapdoor, haha! One thing the box doesn't show is a back view of the model with all the nice arch detailing. A look back at the architecture - it is nicely detailed without being too fussy. Alternate shots Here, Princess Tamina makes the men in her life fight for her affections. 'Spilled blood will win my love!' she shouts from her balcony! Sadly, a race between Tamina on an oppressed camel and Asoka on a cart dragged by the Alamut merchant was never going to replace motorcar racing as an extreme sport. Conclusion Parts: 9/10 - Amazing selection of pieces - just look at the pics! Minifigs: 8/10 - Some repetition with the torsos, but some unique pieces too Build: 7/10 - Fun, if unchallenging. Further MOC'd expansions to the market will expand this set greatly Overall Rating: 8/10 - Great parts and a fun little build - a good mid-level set filled with enough exclusive pieces to make it a must-buy!
  21. Name: The Temple of Doom Set: 7199 Theme: Indiana Jones Subtheme: The Temple of Doom Year: 2009 Pieces: 654 Minifigs: 6 Price: $US89.99 (according to Toy Fair), $AUD149.99 (according to an attendee at Melbourne Toy Fair) yet to be confirmed elsewhere Resources: Brickset Introduction This set brings me full circle in my Eurobricks reviewing career! *Cue flashback music* Was it only just over a year ago that I posted my first review in the licensed forums for the just-released Indiana Jones set 7627 Temple of the Crystal Skull? (Answer: yes!). Those were the days when my studio was the outside balcony, and my cat used to wander in the backdrop (KimT would not approve! ). So it seems appropriate that 12 months later I'm back to cast my eyes over this year's flagship Indy set - 7199 The Temple of Doom. 7199 ambitiously combines two key areas from the second Indy film - the Temple of the revived Thuggee cult and the mining works where local children are being forced to search for another Sankara stone. Does it succeed in capturing the feel of either? Find out as as we journey into the sulfuric depths of the terrifying 7199 Temple of Doom! Part 1: Box, Instructions & Parts The front of the box - it's the same size as the 7637 Farm set but not as wide: The back of the box, showing various set functions: This diagram illustrating the different track systems is a bit confusing. I think it is supposed to alert the buyer to the fact that the track in this set is 6-wide and incompatible with the 2006 RC 8-wide version, but at a casual glance it gives the opposite impression - that the new track is adjustable and works together with its wider cousin. Well, it doesn't. This diagram doesn't appear anywhere inside the instructions so perhaps this was a last-minute marketing addendum: The minifigure artwork on the box side. Mola Ram even gets top billing, before Indy! There are two instruction manuals: Inside, there is a lovely piece of artwork for the early 2009 releases which I haven't seen anywhere else. Here the Lego Group is still promising us brown-mustached German mechanics! Boo! Click here for a random instructions page showing the build of the Temple. There are two pages of parts. Click here for page 1, and here for page 2. The contents of the box include numbered polybags and 6 pieces of loose track: There are four pieces of curved track - enough to make a semi-circle. MOCers may need to get an extra set just to fully explore the potential of the new system and to make a self-enclosed circular track. Here are the two 'hilly' track parts. They are six bricks high: I assume a mould exists for simple straight 6-wide track made and it will appear in a future set. It would be great in other mining contexts or as part of a rollercoaster to complement the new 10196 Carousel. Part 2 - The Build - Bag 1 In a departure from my usual method of reviewing - which is just to rip open all the bags and mix all the parts together! - I followed the instructions and progressed bag by crinkly bag. Here are the contents of Bag 1, which contains everything you need for the minifigs, two mine carts and some flaming lava: Apart from the minifigs and track, there is very little that is original or interesting parts-wise in this set - as you'd expect, it's largely a collection of bley and brown with a splash of dark tan. One exception is the new flame piece. I didn't like it from the early picts, but having held it and examined it more closely, it does catch the light nicely and the colour-mixing is subtle and infuses the piece with a fiery glow. I wouldn't like to see it overused, but it is more impressive than the old flame piece for use in large sets and much better than the soft Bionicle version we've seen creep into System sets such as Exo-Force or 7884 Batman's Buggy: The Escape of Mr Freeze. We get two of these new pieces in this set: One of the most appealing aspects of this set for collectors is the minifigs. The Indiana line is exceptional in producing bountiful new moulds and torso prints, and 7199 is no exception. For the heroes, we get Short Round, Indy and Willie Scott. To mix things up, Indy has the new face also found in 7196 Chauchilla Cemetery Battle and a one-sleeved variation of the torso from 7195 Ambush in Cairo, so this version is in fact exclusive to this set. Dressed in a sari earlier in the film, by this point a bedraggled Willie has lost her embroidered wrap and is wearing a mid-riff bearing choli and a salvar. Nice abs, Willie! (I don't think she had those on screen ): Willie's legs are printed and her torso is double-printed. She also completes her makeover with new buttercup-coloured Princess hair: I think the Lego designers have improved at designing female torsos that differ from the broader male versions without being too caricaturish. The pinched waist looks quite accomplished: From the movie, an angry Indy shows off his gun (singular!): I tried to get a screencap of Willie with less cleavage but it was near impossible This is before she rips off her sari later during the mine cart chase: If the hero figs are very good, the villains are outstanding. Many an AFOL spent time squinting at the rough mould of Mola's headpiece as shown in the US February Toy Fair pics, but now we see the final factory product. The new headpiece gets its own bag - as it deserves! (Actually I assume this is just because these painted minifig specialty parts and things like the cows and large trolls are manufactured in China): Debagged, the headpiece comes with 2 cow horns in tan (it's nice we have to do a bit of assembly ): From behind: Side view: The complete headpiece. It's freaky! And bone-coloured! The indentations of the eye sockets at the front are creeping me out, and Lego has even added toothy bumps for the jaws which frame Mola's face . One of Lego's spookiest pieces ever! For the villains, we get *three* new head prints, and *three* new torsoes! :wub: That guy on the right looks like he has been drugged with Mola's will-sapping 'Blood of Kali' potion. Look at the bags under his eyes - whatever that potion is, it needs more coffee! The torsoes are printed on the back! So is Mola's head! That guy on the left has freaky lats! There must be a gym down in the bowels of the Temple mines, it's probably part of the employee health plan. And it's good to see Year of the Shirtless Minifig isn't over yet : The figures with headgear and accessories. From the movie, I am pretty sure the fig on the left is the mine foreman: The original Mola Ram, looking as if he is unsure whether he left the iron on: Minions in the Black Sleep of Kali Ma with the distinctive red facial paint markings: Here's the full cast altogether. Brilliant! I hereby declare Indy the best minifig line ever Last year's sets were a mixed bag, with too much repetition in the KOTCS subtheme, but this year has been spectacular, with only 7197 Fighter Plane Attack riffing directly off a previously released set. All of the dark flesh pieces released across the range mean that a variety of villains can be made - you can beef up your Ambush in Cairo display or stock up on Thuggee cult members as you wish! (And that isn't to even consider all the great female pieces we've seen, new hair, the new fez piece, Indy in dinner jacket... the list goes on!) Mola by himself is so beloved of Indy fans that several companies approached him for commercial endorsements : Indeed, even civilian Lego figs can find a use for the scarifying new headpiece: Also in Bag 1 are two minecarts and two pools of flaming lava. The minecarts are a small half-cylinder piece rimmed by the new window in dark bley and attached via frictionless Technic pins to the wheel assembly so the carts can veer from side to side. Don't believe the box art though, there's no way that our three heroes can all fit in just one cart (see how they've Photoshopped Short Round *between* the cylinder and end of the cart? ): The design matches the movie pretty accurately in terms of shape: We get two carts: Once the carts are assembled, the urge to start playing with them and the new track is irresistible! Picture here also are the small lava jets: Part 3: The build - Bag 2 The second bag, combined with the loose track pieces, builds up the mine track and the booby-trapped mining cart mid-way down the track. Here's the bag contents, containing 8 black support pieces and a wealth of brown 2x2 round bricks: The abandoned mine cart submodel takes shape. The supports are given extra strength through Technic axles: There is an empty space at the top to allow debris to drop through the bottom of the mine cart : The completed submodel: Pulling the handle allows 5 *deadly* dark bley 1x1 round bricks to drop through as a mine cart whistles below underneath (mine cart not pictured ). This does replicate a scene from the film where Indy sabotages an overhead cart to drop debris on the heads of the Thuggee pursuers: . The twisting curve of mine tracks is supported by the little shelf a quarter of the way up the abandoned mine cart construction. The track, because it curves both horizontally and vertically, is very difficult to photograph well. I did take zillions of pictures from lots of different angles but you will see in more detail how it works when the set is finished: Where the track pieces connect to each other, the designers have included a buttress feature. This one on the right is the shortest, just a collection of bricks and plates at the right height: At the very end of the track is this barrier with lamp and spider, to stop the carts spinning off into the blank white void of my photo studio setup: It also has a little play function, which Mola kindly demonstrates. The whole mine track shakes as he approaches the terminus! (That is just an excuse accounting for the slight blurriness of this pic ): Wham! He arrives, and the barrier snaps back! "Ouch - my head," says the shrunken head on the headress of Mola's own head. The next section to be added is this curve, which will complete the track, along with the supports which go under each join. These support pieces add height but not really stability, as they tend to come off. I think this is just the way the mould is, as brick-built supports seem stronger: It was at this point I threw up my hands and thought 'How long is thing?' My already quite large photo-studio area could barely accomodate the length of the track! I had to add that third wall on the right just to take the next lot of photos. Usually Lego is quite proud of how massive its huge sets are, and this set is no exception - according to the box art and instructions the length of the full set is 37 inches or 94 cm Anyone purchasing this set is going to need a large area to display it in full! Here is another play function. The bley technic axle with round brick spins as the first mine cart hurtles past, and the brown planks swing into position to block the pursuers! Again, this shows a scene from the movie where Indy throws a plank onto the track to thwart the Thuggee chasers. As Indy passes, the axle moves into position: The planks *would* stop anyone following the first mine cart, if the passage of the second cart itself just didn't spin the whole apparatus back to its original position again Also, as Indy's cart passes, the planks don't turn that far and 'Hand of God' assistance is required. However this is a simple and fun additional play feature: A more annoying issue is that weapons such as the Thuggee's scimitar are too high to pass under the abandoned mine cart. "Murderous assailants, please remember to stow your weapons below your feet as you pass through the tunnels. Thankyou for travelling Mola Mine Cart." This is a little disruptive to the play experience - will kids have the patience to adjust all the figs weapons before setting the chase in motion?
  22. Svelte

    REVIEW: 7641 City Corner

    INDEXED Name: City Corner Theme: CITY Year: 2009 Pieces: 483 Minifigs: 5 Price: USD$59.99 (according to Toy Fair info), probably $AUD90-100 when released, GBP44.99 at TRU (which may indicate a lower 'normal' RRP) Resources: Brickset 1. Introduction Having heard about Eurobricks' own Classic Town Building Contest, it seems as if the Lego designers rushed to production a new set they hoped could compete with the online community's own stellar MOCs. The result? The amazing new 7641 City Corner! With its classical primary colour scheme, smiling City civilians, and focus on the everyday life and activities of the humble minifig, this set almost catapults The Lego Group back twenty years in time! Grab your skateboard, hop on your bike or buy a bus ticket and take a one-way trip to your local City Corner. 2. Box, parts and paperwork Front of the box, showing all the parts of the set together: Back of the box, showing off all the play details. It reminds me very much of the similar art on the back of the 10184 Town Plan set: Close-up of some of the goings-on down at City Corner. It's like a mini-Ideas Book in itself! There are 5 minifigs in this set, including a female chef and a child: There are two instruction books - one for the bus-stop and bus, and one for the bike shop and restaurant: The DSS (dreaded sticker sheet) isn't too bad. Yes, there are a lot of stickers but they all apply to basic bricks and aren't tricky to apply - not like the hugely annoying sheets for sets like the 7682 Flying Wing (which were very confusing and difficult to judge for the big wing piece) or 7752 Count Dooku's Solar Sailer (which were applied over curved surfaces and appeared oblique in the instructions): The instructions feature an evocative piece of artwork featuring all of the new release sets: A page from the instructions showing how the pizza oven's opening door mechanism is constructed. This is the only bit of Technic in the whole set! The parts come in 5 numbered bags (with an extra bag of large plates and 3 8x16 base plates). These correspond to the order of the build: Regular readers of my reviews know that I fearlessly like to toss all the parts together - I am such a rebel! (This probably should be a question on the 'How Evil Are You?' quiz currently popular on the site ). As you can see, the colour scheme is (a) *very* primary (mainly yellow, black, red and white) and fantastically diverse for Town builders - look at all those great smoke (trans black) window and door pieces! This is practically a Creator building set in itself! I forgot to include these in the first pic, so here are the base plates and large plates: I have included the full parts list on my Brickshelf folder - Page 1 and Page 2. While the parts look very classical, there's some interesting new stuff in this set. First off, a 1x2 cheese slope piece! Who saw this coming? And, uh, why would you need it? The 10194 Emerald Night has about a zillion individual cheese slopes used as decorative details and they seem to work fine together. 1x3 tile lovers, start filling out your petitions now because if this can make it into production, any part can! (OK, OK, I am sure we will see more practical uses for this new piece in future ) The bicycle, which used to come assembled, is now three separate pieces (much like the old 2x2 turntable plate now comes as 2 pieces with assembly instructions in the manual). These parts are all listed separately in the inventory - see above. I never actually tried to disassemble the bike before, so I don't know how hard it previously was, but the box art of 7641 shows the bicycle repair dude even removing the rubber tires! Here is the new 1x2x3 window piece which was launched with the recently updated Pick a Brick selection: We get three of the fabulous new 1x6 window screens :wub: This is a great piece, and works seamlessly to produce elegant glass curvature, as we will see on the bus: Perhaps most excitingly of all, Lego's quality control department has actually listened to the widespread horror and revilement of the badly marked glass firstly produced for the 1x5x6 frames in 2007's Cafe Corner, and also for the 1x4x3 windows introduced in the Creator Beach House. The production marks which marred these pieces have now largely gone! :wub: Take a look at these comparison pics: Comparison of the old circular marked-pane with the new smooth 1x4x6 pane: Comparison of the new glass (top) and the pin-pricked 1x4x3 glass from last year and still present in the January 7633 Construction Site Set: It's funny as the 7641 box art is wrong and actually shows the old glass pieces in use! There are still some issues - the door isn't perfect, as below - but overall this is a vast improvement for MOCers! Thanks, TLG! There's also 2 of the new-style diagonally sloping windows with the tab (these are also available at PaB): 3. Building the set - Bus Stop This is a very simple little bus stop, using one of the new smoke curved windscreens. The red plate acts as a seat (although no minifig can actually sit that way). There's a trash can, signs, a flower in a pot and a simple but effective lamp-post design: I hope the designer of that fire hydrant copyrighted the design and is getting fat off the royalties, since it's been in the modular houses line, an Impulse set, the minifig collection, and it's now here: Overall, a simple little sub-build. You could easily make several of these and sprinkle them around your City layouts! 4. Building the set - The Bus! I have included detailed build shots of the bus only as it is what many AFOLs are particularly interested in. I mean, we get cars and trucks and small wheeled vehicles every year, and people are familiar with how Lego puts them roughly together, but the most recent official bus has been an orangey fish-shaped thing from the Spongebob line so this is something new! It was personally interesting to me to see how the bus was designed and the images we have seen also don't really show you what it looks like on the side facing away from the camera. Building up the base, the asymmetrical gaps for the front and mid-door and driver's area become apparent: The windows and chairs go into place: Spinning the frame around to have a glimpse of the other side: Doors and blank signage added: Another look at the other side: Access is provided through the top via a system of studs alternating with tiles: And voila! The completed bus! From the other side: Side elevation: From the rear: Close-up of the front: The use of the new double-cheese piece! As a panel behind the steering wheel? Bus rear: Overall thoughts on the bus: I love it! This new bus, the first proper City one in a decade, is completely true to Lego's design philosophy of simple techniques combining with a limited parts palette to produce something unique and effective. It seats several minifigs so scores on practicality; the new windshield piece combines seamlessly with the preexisting mold to produce a sleek, modern finish; the colour scheme and even the stickers are classic and effective. Unlike a lot of Lego vehicles, it neither feels too small or too large. I think this is an effect of having the bus as part of a composite set made up of different parts, rather than a bus set being sold individually where the temptation is to make the build super-large and super-impressive to shift more units. (Think of the difference between the modestly-sized crane in the 7633 Construction Site compared to the standalone City Construction vehicles). This keeps the civilian flavour of the set as well as preventing old-skool AFOLs from going into convulsions at the unbearable thought of a 12 wide bus (Yes, I'm looking at you Klaus-Dieter ). Here is a comparison shot with other current City vehicles (although this is not obvious from the pic, they are all aligned at the rear): The bus arrives at the stop. Feel that 80s vibe, man! 5. Building the set - Bike Shop Bicycle shops are one of the staple small buildings of Classic Town, appearing from almost the very inception of the theme. Many an AFOL has a nostalgic story about how the dog chewed up their prized yellow or blue bicycle. Thems were the days! This shop, while no classic, is simple and effective as an adjunct to the larger red restaurant building. Hopefully we see more of these small 8x16 buildings - they seem to be the 'kids' version of the more expansive modular houses system. (Unfortunately I didn't photograph the bike actually with the shop in this section so you will just have to use the power of your imaginations to pretend its there.) First off, the minifigs. Nothing exciting here, although it is nice to see a kid. Do Lego bike helmets have holes in the top so if the minifig has an accident, the brains have some way to vent from the skull? Wait a sec, minifigs don't have brains! This is probably one of those inhalation-choking-prevention things. Pepper McGreypants comes with a stickered skateboard (apologies for blurriness) with a cityscape design: The completed shop has a display with two caps, a skateboard, the (missing) red bike and a few tools for the repair guy to do his work. There's another street lamp here as well. A sticker reveals this to be shop number '1' (No imagination, I remember when houses were all randomly number 60 or 74 ): A slightly different angle, showing the surveillance camera. Actually, you totally know that the 2008 Police Mobile HQ is parked just down the street and a crack squad of twenty police officers is feverishly examining the live feed off this camera to storm the building and 'take down' Pepper McGreypants if he gets the slightest twinge of sticky fingers: Rear view revealing interior. The skateboard flips up and down:
  23. ** Please note all pics are links to high-res flickr versions ** On his quest to pursue the mysterious Dagger of Time, Dastan journeys to the Persian fort of Alamut to rescue the Princess Tamina. To do so he must pass through the ornate Alamut Gate and encounter the denizens of the bazaar within... Hero shot of Dastan all camelled up as he passes through the ornate arch of the Alamut Gate. View of the upper part of the Alamut Gate, showing the three top domes and the recessed balconies built into the Gate wall. This MOC explores Arabic architectural detailing using the new pointed arch and dome pieces. It is loosely based on a gate from the Amber fort of Jaipur built by the Mughal rulers of India. The recessed arch detail on the front of the gate. The Gate is built almost entirely in 4 colours - white, tan, dark tan and pearl gold - no black, bley or red-brown pieces at all - even as filler on the inside! The only exceptions to the four-colour rule are the blue half-Technic pins which hold the flower motifs in place. Front-on view of the Alamut Gate. Side view, showing modular connection and wall detail. An intricate mosaic plays on the repetition of a single form - in this case, a headlight brick! On the rear side of the gate, customers and merchants haggle in the Alamut bazaar. Detail view of this more informal arch on the interior of the Gate. Overview of the Bazaar. A snake-charmer teases a deadly cobra from its basket with a tune from his flute. The stair visible in the back of the stall leads up to the balconies seen from the front. A woman and her son stop to watch the performing monkey clapping cymbals together a little discordantly. The lady tosses a coin into the monkey's cute little upturned fez. 'If you cheat me, I will kill you!' This desert ruffian intimidates a seller of second-hand pots, bottles and curios. A Persian cat looks away disdainfully. Back view, front on. Bonus top-down shot of the lovely domes and tiling on the roof of the gate. A picture of a gate at the Amber Fort in Jaipur which I used as referebce when planning this creation.
  24. Svelte

    REVIEW: 7643 Air Show Plane

    INDEXED Name: Air Show Plane Theme: CITY Year: 2009 Pieces: 115 Minifigs: 2 Price: ??? Promotional set for airlines Resources: Brickset, Bricklink 1. Introduction Every year, the Lego Group produces a special promotional set to be sold only via airlines to their on-board passengers. 2006 featured the 2064 Air Ambulance and 2007 saw the release of 2230 Helicopter and Raft. This year, in keeping with more civilian flavour of the City sets overall, Lego has given us 7643 - the Air Show Plane! How does it compare to its predecessors? Does it fit with the rest of the 2009 sets? Read on and find out! 2. Box, parts and instructions The front of the box: The back of the box: The box is so teensy! I guess that makes it more economical to stow for on-board shopping. Here's a comparison with a Clone Battle Pack (almost everyone has one of these, right? Although the Air Show Plane box is a little wider): The instructions come in 2 booklets: The DSS (Dreaded Sticker Sheet): There are two polybags and some plates. Bag 1 contains the figs and ice-cream stand, and Bag 2 contains the plane. The parts are a good mix of standard colours and some rarer pieces such as a smattering of lime green and pink: The only really stand-out parts-wise is *9* of these metallic silver cheese slopes (1 is extra): 3. The Build - Figs and Ice-Cream Stand The figs. The pilot's colour scheme of navy and brown looks very tasteful, and I like the little helmets. The flag-waving, ice-cream selling lady has the Agent Trace hair and some generic City body parts. It's a nice touch that the flag is in navy blue, although somewhat confusing - is she supposed to be an on-the-ground traffic controller? If so, why is she running an ice-cream franchise on the runway? That aside, I do like that she has a chocolate and strawberry flavoured sundae as indicated by the 1x1 round plates! The ice-cream stand is a simple little build, and a great complement to the 8398 BBQ stand impulse which was released earlier this year. Indeed, I think it is somewhat better, with its unique colour scheme and more useful pieces. I particularly like the ice-cream dispensers, and the side clips for holding the sundae glasses: I do think Trace-Lite needs a new uniform as her current outfit looks very dark compared to the stand: In a surprise attack, the BBQ Impulse vendor, angered by the proliferation of rival snack stands in Lego City, hits back: 4. The Build - Air Show Plane Like many small aircraft, this one starts looking off like a boat: We build up the body of the air plane: That black modified 1x2 plate with handle acts as the control stick. But hey! At least it's not a sticker : The propeller apparatus will fit over this Technic axle: Voila! The plane is complete! Front-on view: Side view: Close-up of the (immovable) landing gear: All the parts of the set together: Bonus pic! This guy with the beard gets everywhere! 5. Overall Rating Minifigs - 7/10, nothing really new and Trace-Lite could use a better torso, but better than the average City set Parts - 7.5/10 - a nice mix of colours and pieces with some rarer pieces such as the silver cheese Build - 7/10 a fun, quick, classic-style little build for both the ice-cream stand and the plane Overall - 7/10 - hardly essential, but a nice set nonetheless This was a fun little set to build and it looks good. These airline promo sets are one of the few ways to get an old-scale plane and are worth picking up by Classic Town admirers for that reason alone. However, the addition of the adorable ice-cream stand in this set elevates it beyond a simple, classically-styled toy plane by suggesting the celebratory party atmosphere of an exciting weekend air show (To be honest, I probably would not have bought this set if it was just the plane on its own ). The plane itself, reminiscent of the single-engine aviation craft of the early part of the 20th century, is both different from and compatible with the larger City aircraft by virtue of not attempting to emulate the larger retail releases like passenger jets or cargo planes. If I was flying with any airline that stocked these I would be sure to pick one up as a fun supplement to the regular City releases of 2009.
  25. Svelte

    LEGO POTC Forum?