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Found 8 results

  1. It's that time again! The first Tuesday of the month means that the Lego Brick-and-Mortar Stores have put out their Monthly Mini Builds for the kids. The Stores do these once a month (at least) to get you into the store and spending money. However, you do walk out with some free bricks and a possibly functional model. I haven't done one of these in awhile. I was busy over the summer, and my daughter has classes on Tuesday evenings, so we don't go to the MMBs anymore. (Consequently, I've been tracking them down on eBay.) I got lucky when I stopped in the Lego Store this week and saw a box with a few left at the cash register. I asked the manager if I could buy one, and they said I could have it for free. So, Kudos to the Annapolis Lego Store for making this review possible. I reviewed all of 2013's MMB's in this article. I've also reviewed a number of the MMBs from 2014 as follows: January (Snowplow) February (Micro Manager) March (Tree) April (Helicopter) May (Dragon). June (Jetski) I plagiarize my opening paragraphs from my past articles, because my computer is runnng slowly and this is just easier. If you're sad because you don't have a Lego Store near you, that's ok, because Lego publishes the instructions for each month's builds on their website. If it's not up yet, it should be soon. This month, we're reviewing a Frankenstein's monster build. This build is unique for 2014 since this year has really had three kinds of builds: micro vehicles (the snowplow, beach van, airplane, and next month's rocket); system-sized vehicles or creations (the jetski, helicopter, and Micro Manager); and abstract cute animal-things (the tree and the monkey). This model is a lot more like the little abstractions that we'd get prior to 2014. So, is it worth it? Let's find out. Set Title: Jetski Set #: 40104-1 Theme: Monthly Mini Build Pieces: 36 (and 3 spares) Minifigures: None Year of Release: 2014 Price at release: Free. MMBs often come in small, nondescript polybags. How your store gives it to you may vary. We typically get them in a Pick-a-Brick cup, and I'm guessing that the store wants to avoid spilled parts. You also get a card which has the parts list on the back. You also get a one-sheet of instructions which don't need much explanation. Like I said, the instructions are often available online. Compared to the other MMBs this year, this one isn't particularly complicated. There isn't much in the way of unique parts. (Before I got this set, I was able to build a comparable set from pieces in my collection. I normally can't do that because Lego often puts very distinct parts in these builds.) The only thing that might throw the casual builder is the unique colors, like the lime green pieces. You get a spare 1x1 plate, round plate, and tile in the bag. The build isn't particularly complicated--it's a bunch of bricks stacked into an approximation of a person with its arms out. The only frustrating thing is that they ran the brown plates over the "hands." I get that this holds it together, but it looks like he's wearing weird gloves. What is clever is the neck setup, using two jumper plates so that you can put the 2x2 head on the 3x2 body. The finished product. Grrrrrr! Well, he's a bit of an abstract character, similar to past MMBs (he looks nice next to last year's Witch). He does capture the distinctive look of the Frankenstein's Monster even if he's not all that detailed. The build is easy enough, so it's something you can probably do with your kids even if you don't have a Store near you. CONCLUSION Design: 6/10. I'm marking it down a bit here since I'm not a fan of the abstract builds. Plus, it's not as unique or detailed as many of the other MMBs from this year. Parts: 5/10. There's no unique or interesting pieces here. The advantage is that you can probably build this from what you own, although you may not have the right colors. Build: 9/10. Here, I'm giving it some bonus points, because the build is pretty simple. This is for the kids, so if a child can build it without difficulty, it's a winner. Minifigs: N/A. Playability: 1/10. He has no movement. I guess you could have it wobble around your table. Raaahhh! Price: 10/10. It was free! Overall: 31/50. Not a great score, but I don't tend to get my hopes too high on the MMBs in terms of set quality. Still, I've been impressed by what they've made this year, so I'm surprised in the turn in quality. Like I said, I don't go to MMBs at present due to scheduling. I have tracked down the Beach Van and Airplane on eBay, so I may review those at some point. However, I don't have plans to go to next month's rocket or whatever's coming in December. If somebody else wants to review that, feel free.
  2. I was just thinking about the sheer volume of free bricks Lego gives away on a monthly--maybe a weekly basis. For example, I took my daughter to every Monthly Mini Build at the Lego Store last year. According to Brickset, we racked up 428 free bricks (plus spares) in the course of a year. And that's JUST from the MMBs on the first Tuesday of the month. The Store did a few "extra" builds that we didn't go to--I recall a Superman model, a grill, a Friends box, and a Yoda Chronicles robot. Also also, there were a few free builds elsewhere, like a Friends model and a Police car which we got at Toys R Us. 428 bricks is probably the equivalent of a decent-sized set--maybe $20 US worth of bricks? Maybe $30? The Stores plan on 250 kids attending, so that's 107,000 free bricks they're potentially giving out every year. I'm too lazy to count how many Lego Stores there are, but one website said there's 93. Let's assume it's now 100. That means Lego is potentially giving out 10,700,000 free bricks per year in Monthly Mini Builds alone. If that's $20 worth of bricks, then that's $214,000,000 worth of free bricks being given out yearly. Unless my math is off, that's insane. Remember, that's a very lowball number, too. I'm not counting the free promotional sets given out at Toys R' Us, the Factory Tours, or elsewhere. On the one hand, I have to say that is incredibly generous of Lego. I cannot think of any other toy company that gives out free product at that rate. Granted, a lot of companies can't do that--giving out free action figures would be ridiculous. Still, nobody else does it. I've never heard of free Play Doh events or anything like that. On the other hand, Lego Marketing must have done incredible analysis to determine that giving away that much product is worthwhile. I can't fathom what the statistics are on that. I do remember waiting in line for the Monthly Mini Builds and seeing kids come out of the Store with $100 sets, so it must work. Me personally, I play it conservatively--we'll either do the Pick-a-Brick or buy a small set while waiting, so our purchases tend not to go past $15. We're probably on the low end of the sales, though--obviously, Lego isn't being all that altruistic. The MMBs are motivated entirely on the idea that people will come into the store and buy stuff. Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts or observations? Is my math ridiculously off--and even if it's by one decimal place, isn't that still a crazy amount of bricks being given out?
  3. It's that time again! The first Tuesday of the month means that the Lego Brick-and-Mortar Stores have put out their Monthly Mini Builds for the kids. The Stores do these once a month (at least) to get you into the store and spending money. However, you do walk out with some free bricks and a possibly functional model. I recently reviewed all of 2013's MMB's in this article. I also reviewed January's model here, February's here, March's here, April's here, and May's here. I plagiarize my opening paragraphs from my past articles, because it's after 9 p.m. and I'm also watching cartoons. If you're sad because you don't have a Lego Store near you, that's ok, because Lego publishes the instructions for each month's builds on their website. If it's not up yet, it should be soon. This month, we're reviewing a jetski to get us ready for summer. (Sorry, Aussie EBers. Do you ever wish that seasonal sets were released in reverse order from the Northern Hemisphere?) This is the second minifigure-sized MMB that we've seen this year. Is it worth adding to your City display? Let's find out. Set Title: Jetski Set #: 40099-1 Theme: Monthly Mini Build Pieces: 33 Minifigures: None Year of Release: 2014 Price at release: Free. To begin, you get a small card while waiting in line which is your ticket to get in. (Only 250 kids get into these builds!) The front of the card is a picture of the build with a spot to write your child's name. The back of the card has a parts inventory. The Minifigure is not incuded; I've added her here to give you a sense of scale. She'll be returning later. When you get into the store, you're given a PB container with the parts and instructions which your kid takes to a building area. In this case, you get these 33 bricks (plus one leftover trans-yellow stud). I admit that this month's build doesn't have any spectacular or rare pieces (I guess bright green is harder to come by), but it does come together nicely in the end. Halfway through the build. I was astonished that this was a six-wide build, as it doesn't look that big from the photos. Trust me, it comes together well in the end, but it does look unnaturally large at first. The undercarriage is two "pontoons" rather than a solid boat-like bottom. And, uh, here's the finished product. This build is only 33 pieces, so it didn't take long to put together. The color layout looks nice, however, with the green and black offset by the white in the middle. Front view. Sorry about the shadows, but hopefully this helps you see the "pontoons" better. Rear view. One observation--this build reminds me more of a Florida-style airboat than a jetski. The propeller is a little small for an airboat, but the shape and concept seem similar enough to me that I wonder if it was named correctly. And of course, a Minifigure fits inside. This seems to be an interesting trend this year--April's Helicopter build could also hold a Minifigure, and February's Micro-Manager was appropriately sized for the Movie theme. I wonder how many builds this year will be Minifig compatible? I also wonder if this isn't a sly way of the Stores getting you to buy some figures from the Build-a-Figure station. CONCLUSION Design: 9/10. I think this is pretty good for what it is. It doesn't quite look like any jetski I've ever seen, but it's not bad and will work well in our City scene's lake. Parts: 7/10. No major parts here. Build: 7/10. I'll give it a small markdown here because my daughter found it a little tricky to build. She has difficulty translating the building steps into the actual build (we've all been there) and we had to rearrange a few parts before we were done. Minifigs: N/A. But it's minifig compatible! Playability: 10/10. Its sole functional piece is the propeller, but come on, your kid will be zooming this around your house. Price: 10/10. It was free! Overall: 43/50. This was a nice little treat to represent the kickoff of summer. It's a little bit of a "brick," but it looks like a jetski and promises to be fun. Now, on a sad note, I probably won't be reviewing next month's build. My family will be on vacation and although there are Lego Stores within an hour's distance, we likely won't get there. The next build is another 4-wide vehicle: a summer beach van. If somebody else out there in the EB community would like to review the July build, please do. I may track down the build on eBay or just Bricklink the parts, but I won't be doing a fresh review on the day of the build.
  4. It's that time again! The first Tuesday of the month means that the Lego Brick-and-Mortar Stores have put out their Monthly Mini Builds for the kids. The Stores do these once a month (at least) to get you into the store and spending money. However, you do walk out with some free bricks and a possibly functional model. I recently reviewed all of 2013's MMB's in this article. I also reviewed January's model here, February's here, March's here, and April's here. I plagiarize my opening paragraphs from my past articles, so no, you're not experiencing deja vu. Life is just easier that way . If you're sad because you don't have a Lego Store near you, that's ok, because Lego publishes the instructions for each month's builds on their website. If it's not up yet, it should be soon. This month, we're reviewing a small brick-built dragon. How does it compare to the dragons in old castle sets? I don't know, I never owned one with a dragon. But let's see how it is on its own! Set Title: Dragon Set #: 40098-1 Theme: Monthly Mini Build Pieces: 44 Minifigures: None Year of Release: 2014 Price at release: Free. To begin, you get a small card while waiting in line which is your ticket to get in. (Only 250 kids get into these builds!) The front of the card is a picture of the build with a spot to write your child's name. (My daughter did, so Sir Privacy-Monitor is protecting her name.) The back of the card has a parts inventory. When you get inside, you get the parts and a one-sheet of instructions. Sometimes you get the parts in a plain polybag, but of late, we've been getting them in a pick-a-brick container. I assume this is to keep the kids from spilling them all over the store. Here's the parts selection. Nothing too astonishing here, except for the new printed eyes we've been seeing in the Mixels sets. The spare parts included one black cheese slope and one printed eye (which I didn't include in this picture). Having a single eye is annoying, but fortunately I found another eye in the back of the store when I was filling a PAB cup, and they let me take it home. And here's the completed model. The build wasn't particularly complicated (for an adult, anyway), so I didn't see the need to photograph the various steps. He's cute. The MMB models typically have some level of functionality. In this case, the dragon can move his wings and tail up and down for different poses. I did think that this month's theme was a little odd, as the MMB models typically have some thematic connection to their month. January was a snowplow, because of course it snows in the winter. February was a Micro Manager for the Lego Movie. March was a tree for the coming of spring. I'm not sure what a dragon has to do with the month of May. Anybody? He's not completely useless, though. If you don't have a dragon but love Castle or other medieval themes, he makes a cute addition for your knights to fight. Or if you like City, he could be a little theme park model for the kids to climb on (but hopefully the flames are fake). Anyway, my daughter really likes him, so that's what matters in the end. CONCLUSION Design: 6/10. Not great, not bad. Personally, I'm not a fan of brick-built creatures, so this guy looks very "bricky" to me. He's nicely functional with the moving wings and tail, though. Parts: 8/10. Nothing astonishing in the parts here except the printed eyes. Build: 7/10. My daughter struggled with it some, possibly because this build was mostly one color--the directions threw her some Minifigs: N/A. Playability: 10/10. It's functional and will probably fit in your castle sets. Price: 10/10. It was free! Overall: 41/60. Not a great score, but we had fun and it's another pile of free bricks. Lego gives out lots of free bricks, and we love them for it. Coming up next month: we're back on themed builds with a jetski for summer vacation. Stay tuned! Thanks as always to the folks at the Westfield Annapolis Mall Lego Store for the free build.
  5. It's that time again! The first Tuesday of the month means that the Lego Brick-and-Mortar Stores have put out their Monthly Mini Builds for the kids. The Stores do these once a month (at least) to get you into the store and spending money. However, you do walk out with some free bricks and a possibly functional model. I recently reviewed all of 2013's MMB's in this article. I also reviewed January's model here, February's here, and March's here. I plagiarize my opening paragraphs from my past articles. Life is just easier that way . If you're sad because you don't have a Lego Store near you, that's ok, because Lego publishes the instructions for each month's builds on their website. If it's not up yet, it should be soon. This month, we're reviewing a small helicopter. Lego has made lots of small helicopters before, so how does this compare? Read on! Set Title: Helicopter Set #: 40097-1 Theme: Monthly Mini Build Pieces: 44 Minifigures: None Year of Release: 2014 Price at release: Free. Here's the card you get while waiting in line at the store. It makes a nice display item for the kids when they put their model out at home. The back of the card has the parts inventory, which is nice if you lose a part, I guess. Here's the standard sheet of directions you get every month. Actually, this sheet was particularly large. I'm pretty sure the instructions for the last few months were on a much smaller sheet of paper. Back side of the instructions. Here's the parts breakdown. It's a nice motley selection, but it's pretty much only good for making a helicopter. I do wish they'd given us some 1 x 6 tiles instead of plates for the rotors--studded rotors look weird. On the other hand, maybe they decided to keep it consistent and just throw in a bunch of plates that were all the same. The spares are in the lower left and are nothing shocking--two plates, a tile, and a switch. There's not much to tell in the building process--this set comes together nicely as a little minifigure-sized (more on that in a bit) helicopter. Structurally, it's very similar to a lot of other small helicopters Lego has put into polybags in the last few years, like 4991, 30014, 30222, or 30226. (Weirdly, those are all police choppers.) They're similar in their basic structure of a cockpit, the rotors on top and in the rear, and some form of landing struts. I do think it's odd that this design includes the "up" snot plates under the main rotors, as nothing goes on them. I guess they're just decorative, and they're nice to have available, but I wish that they had some other purpose. Here's the top view. One other thing that's throwing me on this model is the red 1 x 1 tiles on the rotors. Maybe they're meant to add color, but they look odd against the overall white, blue, and black that make up the model. I'm not sure why they were included. One of the draws of this model (for me, anyway) is that it's minifigure-compatible. I've included Emmet in here to illustrate the point--he fits in there very well. (I originally put Batman in there, but the ears wouldn't clear the glass.) This is a nice change, since the Monthly Mini-Builds are usually small brick-built models of things like animals or buildings. This is only the second time in recent memory that they've made a minifigure-sized vehicle, the other being November's lawnmower. Maybe the Store model designers are realizing the popularity of minifigures and are changing their strategy? On the other hand, there's always a ton of kids in line for these builds, so I imagine they'll draw the same crowds no matter what the build is. One problem I did find is with the cockpit design. It opens just fine.... Because the mechanism is so tight, it doesn't close all the way when you push the lid down--there's a small gap. You really have to push down-and-back to get it to close tightly. This led to the cockpit popping off a lot. There's nothing securing the clips, so keeping an otherwise stable model fully assembled was a little tricky. Anyway, the color and cockpit flaws aside, this was a fun little build. CONCLUSION Design: 7/10. It's a fine little model, and it's nice to see a small chopper that's not a part of Lego City's ever-growing Police fleet. I had to downgrade it some because of the cockpit problem, and I really don't care for the red tiles on the rotors--the color clashes too much. Parts: 9/10. This was a nice selection of parts, some standard and some unique. Build: 9/10. I rate these according to how well my daughter is able to put the model together. She did just fine this month. I assisted her just a little to keep her moving (we had to get home), but she was mostly able to pull it together on her own. These models are for kids, so I think ease of build should be viewed with that in mind. Minifigs: N/A. But it's minifigure-sized and could fit well in your City scene. Playability: 10/10. This is a very functional model with opening cockpit and two spinning rotors. It's very "swooshable," as they say, and I think we'll have lots of fun with it. Price: 10/10. It was free! Free! Overall: 45/50. A few small flaws brought this model down, but it's overall a very nice model with a lot of practical use. Lego is doing very well with the monthly builds this year, and this little helicopter proves that point. Coming next month: a small dragon. Is it intended for a Castle scene or something else? We'll find out! Thanks to the good staff at the Westfield Annapolis Mall Lego Store for putting on the free monthly build as usual.
  6. It's that time again! The first Tuesday of the month means that the Lego Brick-and-Mortar Stores have put out their Monthly Mini Builds for the kids. The Stores do these once a month (at least) to get you into the store and spending money. However, you do walk out with some free bricks and a possibly functional model. I recently reviewed all of 2013's MMB's in this article. I also reviewed last month's model here, where you can see I quickly copied-and-pasted this introductory paragraph because I need to put my daughter to bed. If you're sad because you don't have a Lego Store near you, that's ok, because Lego publishes the instructions for each month's builds on their website. If it's not up yet, it should be soon. If you haven't noticed, there's been a TON of promotions of late for The Lego Movie, which premieres across the U.S. this Friday. (Other countries, check your schedules. I think the UK gets it this week too, while other countries need to wait a bit.) Today, the Lego Store jumped on the bandwagon by having their monthly mini build be a themed item. To my knowledge, this is the very first time the Store has done a themed, promotional mini-build. Usually, it's something very generic and seasonal. For example, last month's promotion was a snowplough for January (makes sense, it's cold); next month's is a bird in a tree (obviously for spring). The rest of the year's schedule hasn't been released, but expect some summer items for June through August, something spooky for October, and something festive for December. I could be wrong, but I bet I'm not. But this month? It's a tie-in to a promotional line! How does it stack against the TLM sets you've been buying? Read on! Set Title: Micro Manager Set #: 40095-1 Theme: Monthly Mini Build Pieces: 50. FIFTY! (Monthly Mini-Builds tend to be between 20 and 40.) Minifigures: None Year of Release: 2014 Price at release: Free! FREE! FREEEEEEEEEEEEE! First things first. When you get in line outside the store, you get a ticket with the parts list on the back and a picture of the item on the front. It's got a spot to write in the builder's name so you can proudly display it at home. My daughter actually went and wrote her name in, so Where Are My Pants? Guy is protecting her privacy (but not his). This is the usual one-sheet of directions you get with the MMBs. I'm not sure if posting both sides violates copyright, but there's actually only three steps on the other side and it's very easy to build on sight at that point. This build comes with an incredible number of pieces. We've gone to 18 MMBs at the Store now, and they've never gone much past 40 pieces. This one came with 50 (plus spares). I see a few spots where they could have lowered the piece count, so I'm surprised it's this many. I'll take it! Starting the build here. A double layer of 1 x 2 plates with "up" SNOT sides forms the core of the robot. Two more 1 x 2 plates with the "down" SNOT sides will complete the sides. The only oddity is that there's no reason for them to have used red in here, as you can't see it in the finished model. I don't mind the red, but they could have gone with any color and had the end result be the same. Continuing the build here, you stack the SNOT sides with 2 x 2 red plates. The result almost looks like a Lego Games die stripped of the rubber layer. It's an interesting build, but it really comes together in the end. The bottom layer is a metallic octagonal piece with various odd pieces and supported by four trans-red dish pieces. Again, a neat little build. I was terrified that the clip arms would snap when my daughter put them on, but they've held on fine so far. Don't forget the 2 x 2 round plate on top of the octagon; you won't be able to support the box portion without it. Almost done. Here's the Micro Manager with his brain exposed so you can see how it all comes together, minus the face. The finished product. Ahhhh! It's alive! Let's get out of here, pants! Seriously, this guy should be a welcome addition to any TLM scene you plan on making. He's got a chainsaw and a hammer; who wouldn't be scared of that? I am shocked...SHOCKED...at the spares that came in this set. I was expecting the Battle Droid arm and the 1 x 1 studs. However, the spare SNOT pieces was an unexpected surprise. These are the largest spare pieces I've ever gotten in a set, particularly an MMB. I had to look at the kid next to my daughter to make sure it wasn't a fluke--he had the spares as well. I'll take them. If you brought two kids and have some spare black 4 x 4 plates, you could get started on another Micro Manager. CONCLUSION Design: 9/10. I love it. I'm not sure of the arm, since most of the Micro Managers in TLM sets use ratcheted/Technic arms. This guy uses Battle Droid arms. Since he's free, I'm not complaining, but I'm curious if he's film-accurate. We'll find out this weekend. Parts: 10/10. Absolutely no complaints here. The SNOTs are awesome, and there's plenty to use here even if you don't want a Micro Manager. Build: 8/10. My daughter mostly built this on her own and did fine, but I could see a kid struggling with the SNOT techniques. I wonder why they didn't use SNOT bricks instead of the plates? That might have cut down on the part count. Oh well, it still works. Minifigs: N/A. But for $3, you can add someone from the Collectible Minifigure Line for the Micro Manager to chase. Playability: 10/10. We're going to be having fun with this guy. He's very functional, and I'm guessing that he's fair game to blow up when our Lego citizens have to convert their vehicles into weapons. Price: 10/10. It was free! Free! Overall: 47/50. So very close to a 50. I'll be looking very carefully in the film to see if this guy appears anywhere. The official sets all use different types of Micro Managers; the only consistency is that they're black boxes with red eyes. Even if he doesn't appear in the Movie, he sure looks like he could. As a reminder, Toys R' Us is having a free build of Emmet's car this Saturday. The car looks very similar to the City Small Car from 2010, so if you have that set and can't get to a TRU, it should be an easy conversion with a few parts swapped. Also, Barnes and Noble is doing some "Build the Lego Movie" event in early March. This film has resulted in a plethora of freebies, so take advantage, people!
  7. It's that time again! The first Tuesday of the month means that the Lego Brick-and-Mortar Stores have put out their Monthly Mini Builds for the kids. The Stores do these once a month (at least) to get you into the store and spending money. However, you do walk out with some free bricks and a possibly functional model. I recently reviewed all of 2013's MMB's in this article. If you're sad because you don't have a Lego Store near you, that's ok, because Lego publishes the instructions for each month's builds on their website. Uh, except for this month. They seem to have a glitch as of this writing, as they have instructions for January 2013's MMB, not 2014's. Oops. Well, if you read through this review, you'll know what to build without Lego's help. Set Title: Snowplough Set #: 40094-1 Theme: Monthly Mini Build Pieces: 43 Minifigures: None Year of Release: 2014 Price at release: Free! FREE! So this month is a snowplough. That's what Bricklink is calling it, anyway. Here in the States, we tend to call them "snowplows," as we like a "w" more than a "gh." Either way, it's a truck with a shovel in the front. First things first, my daughter and I got in line at the store and received this card: That's your ticket into the store to attend the build. Stores only give out 150 of these, so get in line early if you want to play. My local store wasn't too packed today (probably because it was absurdly cold, and nobody wanted to go out), but I've seen at least one other store with a very long line. Plan accordingly. Here you get a single two-sided sheet of instructions. Sometimes, they've just had the instructions tacked to the wall, but lately they've been letting the kids take the instructions home. I appreciate this, as I'm not sure we could recreate some of these builds from memory. Parts inventory, with three spares (an orange and red 1 x 1 plate, and a trans-yellow cheese). So this is 43 pieces, plus the three spares. It's a nice selection with some parts I haven't seen too often, like the yellow wheel wells and the 2 x 4 SNOT piece. One thing I enjoy about the builds is when you get some "symmetry": more than one of a single piece, so the build looks the same on both sides. I like that here, we'll have a consistently-shaped object with the same wheel well in the front and back. Here's the initial chassis of the truck. All this is built on top of the 2 x 8 light bley plate. This was probably the trickiest part of the build for my daughter, as there's two 2 x 3 yellow bricks between the wheel wells sitting astride the 2 x 8 plate. They easily popped off as she was trying to get it together. Definitely build this part on a flat surface. Here's the first part of how the "plow/plough" will attach: two hinge bricks on the SNOT plate under the headlights. I love how functional this will be with a clever use of SNOT pieces. Ahhh...here, the truck is definitely coming together. Note that the yellow angled plates come over the SNOT plate. Both my daughter and I made the mistake of putting them against the dark bley plates, which isn't correct. You need to leave a 1 x 4 space so the last 1 x 4 yellow plate can go back there. Sorry, this picture turned out fuzzy for some reason. I did want to give you a good look at the truck, pre-plow attachment, for one specific reason.... Here comes the plow! It's a simple combination of two hinge plates with a 1 x 4 plate and an edged tile. I think a 1 x 4 flat tile would have worked better than a plate, but maybe you could attach white bricks to the plate to show "snow" being moved by the truck. Ta-da! The finished product is a very cute little truck. The only weird thing is that because of how the plow/ough attaches, the headlights are now covered. In real life, the driver isn't going to be able to see where he's going. Snowplows often operate at night and in the dark, so this isn't the safest way to do it. Well, drive safely. I put it next to last year's Toys R' Us Police Car (which I reviewed here) for comparative purposes. They look great together. I don't know why Lego doesn't do more small-sized cars for the kids, particularly since 4-wide vehicles are out and six-wide vehicles are all the rage for minifigures. They still seem to be using the molds for 4-wide models, and I think smaller, non-minifig scale cars would be a hit with the kids. I'm tempted to build some more to go with these two. CONCLUSION Design: 9/10. This thing looks exactly like it should. The only thing I don't like is how the yellow angled plates go slightly under the trans-slopes that make up the windows. Parts: 9/10. A great selection of pieces where a lot of clever builds make this into an accurate mini-model. Build: 7/10; it's an easy build, but my daughter struggled with it some. Minifigs: N/A. I downgraded the TRU Police Car specifically because it was advertised as a "City" vehicle but couldn't hold a minifig. This vehicle makes no pretentions about what it is, so I won't downgrade it. Playability: 10/10. It's a moveable toy, and the plow is actually functional. Dump a bunch of white bricks on the floor and let your kids get to moving them. Price: 10/10. It was free! Overall: 45/50. That's about 90% of perfection, folks. Unfortunately, we don't yet know what the rest of this year's MMB lineup will be. Next month will be...oh yes...a Micro Manager from The Lego Movie, and it looks to be in-scale with the main toy line. The rest of the year is still unknown. They tend to be seasonal, so expect some spring themes for March-May, summer themes for June-August, and holiday themes for October, November, and December. Still, this model is a GREAT start to the year! As I always say, if you can get out to the store for these, they're awesome.
  8. ResIpsaLoquitur

    Review: Monthly Build 40067 - Crab

    Yesterday was the second Tuesday of the month, so once again, a monthly mini-build was released at the Lego Store! This month's model was a cute little crab. How does it stack up as a model, especially compared to the other releases? Read on! Set Name and Number: 40067 Crab Theme: Promotional/Monthly Mini-Build Release: July 2013 Pieces: 37 Price: Free If you've never been to a monthly mini-build at a Store, it works like this: you show up (with a kid under 12). You wait in line until they let you in, and bam, free model. You're not required to buy anything, but let's face it, you're waiting in line at a Lego Store with a kid. Of course you'll end up buying something! It's not as though you can just walk into the store to get the model--there's a line. Most Lego Stores are in major metropolitan areas, so expect a line. We usually go to the Lego Store at the Annapolis Mall, and we try to get in line at least an hour before the build. (This month, we were at the mall and had nothing to do, so I secured our place in line around two hours before while my daughter played in the store. Score! I was first in line for once.) These lines can get long, and they're limited to 150 kids. Keep in mind, some families bring more than one kid! If you want to go, get there early. I'll also note that the Stores sometimes do additional models outside the first Tuesday. For example, last month, they had a Superman model on the 3rd or 4th Tuesday. On July 30th, there's a mini-model of a grill, and August 1st will have a Friends jewelry box. I guess if you miss one build, you might still make a model. While you're waiting in line, the Store will probably treat you to a Lego Club magazine (either the regular one or the Junior one--often your pick). You'll also get a card to secure your spot in the store, which your kid can write their name on. Here's a photo, along with something unexpected... Directions! We never get directions with the sets. Normally, the store has the directions posted at building stations, and you just keep the parts. On this visit, they actually gave us the instruction sheet to take home. I guess your mileage may vary. Here's the parts for this month's model, as inventoried on the other side of the card: Not pictured: the spares we got of the switches,black studs, and grey cheese slopes (1 of each). Spares are nice. Anyway, there's a nice assortment of colors and pieces here. Of particular interest: red curved slopes and hinge pieces, plus two 1 x4 black SNOT bricks. These sets tend to have a decent symmetry to them: you get a lot of pieces in sets of two or four. Here's the body broken into four main parts: the main body, the top shell, and the two leg/arm sections. The arms are one step completed twice. The whole thing went together in less than 5 minutes, and probably even less than that since my daughter asked for help. She did try racing the two boys who she was put with, so there's a fun option if you bring multiple kids. The completed model! I've put him with March's Turtle model for comparison. I really like the functionality on this guy. The pincher arms both move freely. The "switch" legs look pretty puny by comparison, but I'll give them credit for being functional. I think some of those hinge pieces with claws (like you see on a Droideka's legs) would have worked better, but maybe that would have required more pieces than usual for these builds. Overall, this guy has 10 points of articulation--pretty impressive, especially when compared to the Turtle's four. Finally, here's all the monthly builds for 2013 to date. From back left to front right: the Igloo & Penguins; the Log Cabin; the Turtle; the Lamb and Ewe; the Fisherman; the Kingfisher; and the Crab. They're all fun and different, but I think the Crab is my favorite one this year. Here's how I'll score Mr. Crab: Design- 9/10. It looks like what it's supposed to be, although I'd have liked bigger legs. Parts- 8/10. A great variety of useful bricks, and in nice colors. Price- 10/10. It's free. Playability- 9/10 Yes! This thing is very functional, unlike some of the more static models. If you want to build your own, Lego put the directions here. It's too late to get one of these, but if you've got the parts and want to build it, go for it. If you're not sure about doing a monthly build, I hope this convinces you!