Aanchir

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  1. Aanchir

    Lego City 2022 Rumours, Leaks, Information And Discussion

    It sounds like it's something similar to the flip-up flames in a lot of firefighting sets. The cornstalks would be hidden behind a patch of soil, so with the flip of a lever you can transform a plot of land where corn has only just been planted into a thriving cornfield. It's certainly not a realistic portrayal of every stage of a corn stalk's growth, but it's the most space-efficient way of simulating those "before" and "after" states with a mechanical function. I don't think it'll be a thing where the corncobs just pop out of the ground as if they were a root vegetable. I don't think it's that stupid. When I was growing up in the US, farms are one of the main places I'd actually see people owning/using quad bikes (or "ATVs" as Americans typically call them) for anything other than motorsports. It's a useful alternative to a tractor for running errands around a large farm that don't require so much pulling power, like gathering eggs, feeding animals, or inspecting sprinkler heads.
  2. Aanchir

    LEGO Trains 2022

    I don't think there's much point in debating the merits of battery trains over powered rails at this stage. As I understand it, the main reason LEGO switched from powered rails to RC battery trains in the first place was to keep up with changes in toy safety regulations. Even if powered rails are still the gold standard for serious model railroading enthusiasts, they are no longer a realistic option for a product that LEGO intends to sell or market to preteen children. And it's not in LEGO's interest to have totally different systems of electrical components for different categories of product, either. Frankly, one of the big strengths of the 9V system at its peak (which also seems to be one of the core aims of the Powered Up system) was that the same type of wires and electrical contacts could be used for "powered rail" train motors, RC receivers, "light and sound" features, battery boxes, motors, Mindstorms robotics components, etc. Even if a builder who specializes in a particular category of builds might have good reason for preferring an system of electrical parts tailored to that specialty/preference, it's not good business for them to have to maintain separate electrical systems for all those different use cases. So needless to say, they're not going to reintroduce "powered rail" components solely for the few train sets targeted specifically at adults and teens, and not applicable to any of their other electrical products, regardless of what's "better" or "worse" for AFOL-created train layouts. As far as LEGO trains are concerned, I actually think it's impressive that the prices haven't risen further. After all, even the motorized 9V train sets of the 90s were not at all cheap, even for their time. I mean, just look at 4558 Metroliner. At the time of its US release in 1992, it cost $135 USD — which, adjusted for inflation, is equivalent to over $270 in today's money. And that was without the speed regulator and wall adapter that you'd need to actually power it, which cost an additional $43 (or around $85 at the US dollar's current value). All told, it'd be like asking a buyer today to pay $350 for a motorized LEGO passenger train with a locomotive, two coaches, a station platform, and a loop of track! Now, a strong case can certainly be made that there are a lot MORE of these sorts of high-priced LEGO sets today than there were in the 80s or 90s — and that consumers today often don't have nearly as much disposable income as consumers back in the 90s did. Even so, I can't say LEGO has "inflated the value" of today's train sets a great deal, considering how high the prices of motorized LEGO train sets (or for that matter, the prices of motorized, battery-powered LEGO monorail sets) already were three decades ago! But your overall point definitely still stands. As it stands, the entry price of a LEGO train layout is high enough that a lot of prospective buyers are likely to be "on the fence" about them one way or another, and adding the price of rechargeable batteries on top of that could be more than enough to push a lot of those buyers right off.
  3. I definitely can see how it gives you that impression! It's certainly one of the first lunar/planetary bases of this sort we've seen in a while, along with this year's City lunar base. Plus, launch sites for unmanned rockets are one of those distinctive features of Classic Space that you don't see as often in 2000s/2010s sci-fi themes, or even in space sets from the City theme — manned spacecraft are a lot more common in sets these days. Also, although it primarily uses clear windscreens, I recently got to thinking about how non-purist builders could probably turn that 6x10x3 transparent windscreen from the base itself into a Transparent Yellow one for Blacktron or Classic Space MOCs using the tried-and-true permanent marker or turmeric methods.
  4. Aanchir

    LEGO Trains 2022

    Gosh, I would be psyched if LEGO made an 18+ set of those fancy 1930s Art Deco steam locomotives like the A4 Mallard or NYC Hudson. That's territory that I don't think they've ever really explored in train sets of any era. And Creator Expert/18+ seems like a natural fit for that sort of locomotive, considering how many sets like the Modular Buildings Collection and Winter Village Collection tend to focus on similar early and mid-20th century nostalgia. It'd certainly make a brilliant following act after the Crocodile Locomotive. DRG Class 01 is cool as well, but for my part I'm especially keen on builds that involve complex, streamlined curves (both in sets and in my own MOCs), so stylish "streamliners" tend to excite me a lot more than the DRG Class 01's rugged industrial look. And certainly with the number of new curve pieces we've seen in sets over the past several years, LEGO is more equipped than ever before to truly do one of those fancy "streamliner" locomotives justice!
  5. I'm certainly VERY fond of fun bright colors, but I'm not averse to those more common windscreen colors, either. After all, I was a big fan of the Martian mechs from Life on Mars, the bad guy vehicles from Space Police 3, and the UFOs from Alien Conquest, even when they used fairly mundane windscreen colors. I feel like how well those colors work in a Space context often depends on what shapes and what other colors you pair them with. Massive panoramic window canopies tend to feel futuristic and "spacey" no matter WHAT color you pair them with. It certainly wouldn't be as exciting as getting a vibrant new color for existing windscreen shapes, but I still think it can be a good fit for LEGO Space on a broader level. After all, think back to how many Town sets in the 90s had transparent blue or green windscreens. It's not like putting those windscreens in "modern-day" sets made the ones in Aquanauts, Hydronauts, Exploriens, or Insectoids sets any less cool or futuristic! I think the same should apply to the windscreen colors that City sets tend to use today. Hmm, that color combination sort of reminds me of this concept from BrickJournal's old Jens Nygaard Knudsen interview, with a little bit of Rock Raiders DNA mixed in there as well. Sort of has me envisioning a fleet with urban/industrial vibes? Hmm. There are probably a lot of other directions you could go with that color scheme as well, of course.
  6. Aanchir

    Modular Building Sets - Rumours and Discussion

    For my part I am a big fan of Light Nougat becoming a more common color for building elements, since it nicely fills in the gap between pastel colors like Light Purple/Bright Pink and Cool Yellow/Bright Light Yellow. And this set's Mediterranean-inspired color palette is a great illustration of a "real-world" context where that can be useful. It's also nice to finally do away with the weird "double standard" in which lighter shades like Nougat and Light Nougat are treated almost exclusively as "flesh tones" (with uses in other contexts like building elements, clothing, hair, or accessories often regarded as strange or offbeat exceptions), whereas darker shades like Medium Nougat, Dark Orange, and Reddish Brown are treated as all-purpose "earth tones" suited to any context, and ONLY regarded as "flesh tones" when they're specifically being used as such. After all, nobody batted an eye at the heavy use of those darker "skin tones" in sets like Pet Shop, Town Hall, and Detective's Office. And I suspect that a big part of why this set's use of Light Nougat seems weird or off-putting to a lot of people is that in the context of LEGO, we haven't really been conditioned to think of it as more than just a symbolic representation of human skin. In real life, of course, there are numerous "peach-colored" materials and objects that can occur in colors closely resembling Light Nougat bricks (fabric, wood, paint, plaster/stucco, stone, animal fur, flowers, etc). Most of the time, however, builders like us tend to default to a drab color like Brick Yellow/Tan for these sorts of things, both because we're so used to it representing things other than human skin, and because even today, it offers a useful variety of building elements than Light Nougat ever has. Tellingly, though, a very different picture emerged when LEGO Digital Designer's "Universe Mode"/"Extended Mode" was launched, giving builders free rein to color bricks in any color of their choosing. A lot of digital builders who weren't familiar with LEGO's official color names would default to the warmer-looking Light Nougat in places where they clearly intended to use Brick Yellow/Tan (or at least, places where official sets would have used Brick Yellow/Tan instead). Some of this could be attributed to the imprecise ways that LDD rendered brick colors and lighting on-screen, but I think it also demonstrates how often many builders might naturally opt for a "rosier" color like Light Nougat over a drab color like Brick Yellow/Tan if given the option and not trained to think of either color solely as a skin tone. As such, I'm hopeful that as more and more non-figure parts appear in Light Nougat, we'll see more and more builders (LEGO designers and MOCists alike) learning to recognize and embrace its broader potential.
  7. Aanchir

    Lego City 2022 Rumours, Leaks, Information And Discussion

    Yeah, $50 or $60 sounds right. Obviously, it remains to be seen whether the set as a whole ends up looking decent by adult (or even older kid) standards. For comparison, 43180 Belle's Castle Winter Celebration was a pretty outstanding-looking set and representation of its subject matter IMO — from a purely aesthetic standpoint, I think I even prefer it over either of the 6+ sets that portray the same castle. Whereas 60232 Garage Center also had a similar piece count but a much less impressive design. That said, I'm reasonably optimistic, given what 60346 will be depicting. Barns themselves tend to have pretty simple designs from an architectural standpoint — basically a big wooden box with a sloped roof and possibly a hayloft up above ground level. And a barn with a sturdy, panel-based construction designed for kids with limited building skills could potentially end up looking a lot better and more substantial than the one from 7637 Farm back in 2009. While this sort of panel-based build can sometimes be a bit lacking in detail, Juniors sets often include printed panels, doors, or windows to help make up for that. Also, in general, the older a set's target age range, the more emphasis it tends to put on the actual build compared to figures or molded animals. The Duplo theme exemplifies this. Chances are that even with a higher piece count, a 6+ or 7+ Farm set at the same price as this 4+ one would not include nearly as many animals. And unlike the Garage Center set mentioned above, I doubt a "Barn and Farm Animals" set would have too much of its piece count devoted to separate builds like vehicles. At most it might include a tractor, but even then the barn itself would remain the primary focus. Ooh, nice! Calf and piglet molds were pretty high on my "wish list" for what to expect in new farm sets, especially after the new foal and kitten molds that have already debuted this year. One of the big appeals of LEGO animals for me is the "cuteness" they add to a set, and perhaps the only thing cuter than animals is animal FAMILIES! That has been a strength of Duplo farm and zoo sets for a long, long time, and it's nice that City is finally getting in on the fun. That's not too exciting to me — white rabbits have already appeared in lots of other sets, including last year's 60287 Tractor. Though I suppose since farmer's markets usually focus on produce rather than live animals, including the existing rabbit mold is better than no animals at all — especially since it boosts the number of different animals in this wave of Farm sets as a whole. What would be more exciting from a "new animals" standpoint would be a more lifelike print/recolor for the hare mold from 75966 Hogwarts Room of Requirement, but I wouldn't really expect to see that in farm-related sets, since hares are wild animals, unlike their domesticated cousins. Ooh, neat! Previously I've been using stacks of 1x1 flower plates for corn on the cob (with stacks of flower stems for cornstalks, but that's not the prettiest solution. Also, according to the Stonewars.de article, they will also apparently include cornstalks for the corn to grow on, which is good to hear.
  8. Hmm… on a basic level, I would love for animals like the frog, snake, crab, parrot, and bat to be updated with printed eyes — making them more consistent not only with minifigures, but with newer animal molds like the sea turtle, lobster, hermit crab, songbird, and rat. The frog and bat in particular could also do with sharper and more clearly defined contours instead of curves, as with the updated LEGO rat, owl, and kitten molds. The snake, conversely, could benefit from a smoother design (since the scaly texture can be inconvenient when clipping them onto other parts) and a more generic tail shape instead of the rattlesnake rattle which was very particular to its original use in the 1990s Western/Wild West sets. The larger snake mold from recent Harry Potter and City Wildlife Rescue sets is a good example of the level of detail I would prefer, albeit at a smaller size that's less specific to massive species like anacondas and pythons. While the LEGO parrot mold's shape has already been modernized pretty nicely, it would be nice if an updated version of the LEGO parrot utilized the multi-stage molding process used for a lot of other recent animal molds. This would allow for varied color combinations without either the murky-looking marbling of the current co-injected parrots or the unprinted front surface of the classic printed parrots. For the Friends and Disney themes, I also think that it would be a great boon to have a separate frog mold that is slightly larger, with more clearly defined legs and detailed cartoon eyes. Not only would that feel less "lifeless" next to mini-dolls and other mini-doll style animals, but it'd allow LEGO to convincingly depict the enchanted versions of Tiana and Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog as actual CHARACTERS, rather than just generic animals. It'd also be nice to see a new baby dragon mold that could be used the Castle, Ninjago, and Minifigures themes — something more generic than the elaborate Norbert mold that was specifically designed for the Harry Potter theme in the early 2000s and subsequently repurposed in other themes. And while dinosaurs aren't a particular passion of mine, there are a LOT of prehistoric species from sets of the early 2000s that have not yet been redesigned to meet more modern standards — like Stegosaurus, Spinosaurus, Iguanodon, Diplodocus, Parasaurolophus, Mosasaurus, Plesiosaurus, Dimetrodon, etc. I suspect some of these could be made with a combination of new molds and existing creature molds from the Jurassic World or Raya and the Last Dragon sets, while others might require new molds for the entirety of their design. But all in all, I feel like the chances are good that LEGO will get around to at least some of these before too long, considering how many new species have been introduced to the Jurassic World theme in recent years. There is a smaller octopus in the marine life accessories pack from the LEGO Friends Sea Life Rescue sets (more detailed picture here), though I'm not sure if you had a more intermediate size or a different level of detail in mind. For my part, I love the classic LEGO octopus, and I feel like it already has a pretty comfortable balance between curves and sharper contours, not unlike modern LEGO animals like the current horse, dog, and lion molds. That said, I wouldn't mind if future appearances of it in sets came with printed 1x1 round tiles to give it more detailed eyes like those of other creatures its size. I don't know if the new monkey is strictly meant to replace the old one, but I largely prefer it in terms of size and level of detail. If LEGO does decide to reintroduce larger, posable monkeys in future sets, I hope they will at least use a new design with a printed face. There also already exists a chimpanzee mold that accompanied the Minifigures Series 5 Zookeeper and Series 7 Jungle Boy (with an alternate face print introduced via Build-A-Minifigure stations at LEGO stores in 2018), but it hasn't appeared in any sets since then. Yeah, it bewilders me that the wildly inaccurate German Shepherd mold is still being used for them in this year's City sets. They are in serious need of a new mold, ideally one that can also be used with different colors and printing to represent other dog breeds with similar features (medium height, short hair, long tail, droopy ears) like the English Pointer. I know a lot of folks are also eager for LEGO to introduce a new goat mold, and I expect LEGO will get around to that in a matter of time. For my part, I am hoping the next goat mold were actually an updated design with removable horns like the cow mold instead of just a copy of the previous design from 2011. That way, it could more easily be used for a wider range of goat breeds and species. I'm not too picky about whether the cow itself gets a new mold, though you're right that one without molded udders (or with removable udders) might be a bit of an improvement. However, I would love to see a separate calf mold, as well as other "juvenile" versions of existing LEGO animals: bear cubs, puppies, piglets, chicks (though perhaps a recolor of the songbird would be close enough to serve that purpose), fawns/reindeer calves, shark pups, dolphin calves, etc. I suppose since these would be entirely new molds rather than ones I want to see redesigned or replaced, they're somewhat outside of what this topic is asking about, although technically puppy, fawn, and reindeer calf molds do currently exist in the Friends and Disney themes.
  9. Aanchir

    LEGO Ninjago 2022

    Yeah, one good example from the show's first season is that the Serpentine camouflage function of Cole's Tread Assault never made an appearance. This is because it was a feature introduced relatively late in the set's development. This video of the designer showing off the development of the set goes into more detail. In fact, if you look closely at the Tread Assault in the show, you can see that the animators based its appearance on the final prototype he shows off (in which he first introduced the camouflage feature) rather than on the finished model. But naturally, at that point in the show's development. it would've been too late to work that feature into the episode scripts. Side builds are also often not finalized even when the designers have a general idea of what each set's main concept is going to be. That's the main reason that Master Wu's dog from the 2015 Master Wu Dragon set isn't in the show — it was a late addition that was thrown in before a playtest session with kids, and it was only because of the kids' enthusiastic response that it ended up in the final set.
  10. Grapes can be built pretty easily with existing parts, as showcased by the Heartlake City Restaurant set a couple years ago! There are also a number of options for melons depending on what type and size of melon you want, including a printed minifigure head specifically introduced last year to represent a (small) watermelon. Unprinted minifigure heads may be a better fit for many European melon varieties. The latest depiction of a cabbage in sets was in 80104 Lion Dance, which used a Bright Green minifig wig over a Bright Yellowish Green (Lime) minifigure head. But the necessary parts for that are MUCH less common than the ones used for grapes, so it'd definitely be nice if one of the farm sets included cabbages (either with that design or a different design) in more useful quantities. In general, I'd recommend browsing through sets from the Friends theme for food/produce pieces and building ideas like the aforementioned grapes and watermelons, since there are a LOT of well-stocked shops, restaurants, kitchens, and gardens in that theme.
  11. Aanchir

    Unpopular Opinions about LEGO

    I mean, LEGO has always been an expensive toy — that's not something it gradually "became" over the years. For instance, 6390 Main Street from 1980 cost $40 USD, equivalent to over $130 in today's money. 6075 Castle from the following year cost $48 USD, the equivalent of over $142 today. Certainly, there were very few sets in the 70s and 80s equivalent to the "premium" $200+ sets that exist today (the only examples that spring to mind are Black Seas Barracuda and some motorized train/monorail sets). But I don't think those are the sorts of sets you're referring to. Likewise, most LEGO playsets since the 70s have had missing walls and/or roofs (though the latter applies more to themes like Fabuland and Homemaker than to minifigure-based "play themes" like Town/Space/Castle). A lot of the time it's less about cutting costs and more about making it easier for kids see/reach inside and move things around than to reduce the price, especially in themes with elaborately furnished interiors. I realize there are some sets like the City School Day set where the open roof probably has more to do with price than playability (since the two floors are pretty much equally "crowded", but only the upper floor is left open on more than one side). But even today, sets like that tend to be the exception rather than the norm.
  12. Aanchir

    LEGO Trains 2022

    I think it depends at least somewhat on the style of train. For high-speed passenger trains, a more streamlined look is pretty essential to make them look convincing. But for local metro/light rail trains a brick-built look could potentially still be viable, especially with how many more curved pieces there are now than there were back in 2010 when 7938 came out. Some metro trains even have nearly flat fronts, with no more streamlining than a bus or European-style container truck. That said, I think a "bullet train" style would be a better choice for a new City passenger train than that sort of local metro train in the immediate future, since it'd stand out better from the snub-nosed design of 60197.
  13. Aanchir

    LEGO Trains 2022

    LEDs are definitely the cheapest Power Functions/Powered Up component, yes, but also the easiest for a powered train to do without. The costs of an electronic train set are already high enough that even increasing the price by just a few dollars (or the equivalent in other currencies) could potentially make them less appealing to buyers who just want a motorized train set and don't care if it has working lights. Also, even if the price of the individual components (LED, plastic casing, wires, etc) is very low, pre-assembled LEGO parts in general tend to have a higher price than ones that can be churned out from a single mold. Most of LEGO's production tends to be geared towards simple, individually-molded plastic elements, so their workflow isn't really tailored to those sorts of multi-step processes (aside from with stuff like minifigure torsos and legs or Duplo figures that they produce in large quantities every single year). The assembly process would almost certainly be cheaper at a company that specializes in electronics and gadgets (and perhaps LEGO already contracts their PF/PU assembly out to a company of that sort — I suspect y'all would know that better than I would), but it's still an added cost they don't have to deal with for the manufacturing they do in-house. I don't think that increasing the number of bricks and pieces to accommodate the lights and wires is a major cost issue in and of itself — after all, most LEGO City passenger trains already include all the necessary gaps to provide a route for the lighting wires and a mounting point for the lights themselves, even though they're not included in the set. For instance, 60197 includes around 10 parts in the cab that are ONLY there to secure the lights and keep the wires neatly tucked away on either side of the driver — they serve no other purpose in the "default" model, and the elements in question don't even appear anywhere else in the set! I get your point about the 6-wire cable in Powered Up being an unnecessary complication for installing "dumb" features like lights, but I doubt that's the reason that Powered Up lights are not included in City train sets. Again, Power Functions lights were never included in City train sets either — not even when those sets were already designed so they could be installed with no additional modifications. So I feel like the choice NOT to include lights in those sets has got to be something to do with the lights themselves. If not cost, maybe it's just that LEGO wants to minimize the amount of "cable management" necessary in sets with such a young target age range? If so, that would have given LEGO even MORE reason to avoid lights in Power Functions trains than Powered Up ones, since they already required wiring for a separate IR receiver in addition to the motor. That seems plausible to me! I'm sure you understand this stuff way better than most of us do — certainly better than novices like me. There's a reason that I am sometimes reluctant to get too involved in discussions over here in Train Tech, other than brainstorming ideas of what I think would be cool to see in sets — I've never been more than a casual train fan, so I'm typically WAY out of my depth whether it's electronics know-how, model train know-how, or ACTUAL train know-how! The only time I can even hazard a guess about this sort of manufacturing-related stuff is when it aligns with stuff I've learned or observed about LEGO sets and themes more broadly. But I'm very grateful to folks like you who are willing to share your knowledge about this stuff, especially when it's in terms that a layperson like me can get the gist of. I think 7398 is actually the only LEGO train my siblings and I ever got for our own use. Our dad is the biggest LEGO train fan in our family, so usually if we get any train sets it's as a gift for him — although sometimes he allowed us to help build them or set up tracks for them. Now that I've moved away from home, though, I'm becoming more interested in possibly getting more City sets or train sets in the future — at least enough to set up a small "tabletown". Right now, my wife and I don't really have display space in our apartment except on bookshelves, so for now I've only gotten a few packs of road plates to experiment with until I have a good idea of how best to make room for any larger sort of display. But I'm trying to keep an open mind about what my collection might look like going forward. That could certainly be a nice change of pace! I think the last set with a locomotive of that sort was 4563 over 30 years ago! For that matter, I can't remember the last time we saw a tugboat in a set to perform a similar function in a harbour setting. A traditional diesel or diesel-electric shunter could certainly be a viable option since I think they're still the most widely used, though in the long run, it'd also be interesting to see a set with a battery-electric shunter, particularly with how trendy electric vehicles seem to be these days and how many have featured in recent City sets.
  14. Aanchir

    LEGO Trains 2022

    I'd love to see some shade of blue myself, although the 60197 color scheme already included Earth Blue so that might feel a little repetitive from a set standpoint, even if it'd be a fresh new color for the individual part. Overall, that nose piece really IS the sort of part I love to see — not only does it match neatly with existing slopes and curves and allow for LED lighting, but unlike the nose piece in #60051, it doesn't even require a bespoke windscreen component! I hope that any future passenger train nose pieces will be just as cleverly engineered. On a related note, I hope whatever new trains come out this year are fully compatible with the Powered Up LED lights. So far, most Power Functions and Powered Up trains have omitted LED headlights for cost reasons, which I can understand — a working train set is a working train set, with or without lights, and I'm sure that selling the light kits separately instead of adding even more electronic components to each train makes the cost a little easier for many buyers to swallow. But a number of City cargo trains WITHOUT preformed nose pieces (like 60198, 60052, and 3677) haven't even included a cavity behind the decorative headlights for LEDs to fit behind. And I feel like it really stifles the appeal of those light kits to have so few sets on shelves that are actually designed to work with them.
  15. Aanchir

    Lego City 2022 Rumours, Leaks, Information And Discussion

    Perhaps it's to give people the option to add multiple garage bays side-by-side? Or maybe there might be another set coming in the summer that can connect to it. Then again, it's also possible that it's just that way because it was more efficient from a packing standpoint to add a second 1x2 brick with pin hole in that bag than to add a standard 1x2 brick (which wouldn't be needed anywhere else in that part of the build).