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  1. Yes, I know this is not 'train' related but when I was looking around of Flickr I saw a lot of builders have cats (**Caugh Caugh Cale, Raised, etc**) and I saw none with dog photos. Are we all cat people? I am a dog owner, am I a rarity in this hobby? Please answer this question for all are you a cat, dog, or something else person. So post your pets with your bricks and answer this question for all. SHOW ME THE PETS(money) -Coal Fired PS am I crazy for asking this?
  2. Remember, dogs and other sensitive pets hate fireworks :D Just a little "Happy new Year" greeting from me :D
  3. Well, I couldn't resist, my local toy store not only had 10% off, but were just putting the new 2014 sets on the shelves and the big orange white and blue box was shouting "buy me, buy me!" from its shelf. So whithout further ado here is my review of the 60036 Arctic Base Camp. Arctic Base Camp Set #: 60036 Year Released: 2014 Piece Count: 733 Minifigs: 7, plus 4 dogs, 2 fish and 1 bear RRP: $89.99, £59.99 (according to Brickset, but UK retail seems to be £69.99 at the moment). As the set is a collection of models rather than one big construction, I will break the review down per the instruction booklets before giving my overall impressions at the end. So in this post enjoy Part 1: The Box the Snowmobile and the Dogsled (the less popular rip-off of the lion, the witch and the wardrobe!) The Box: Pretty big, as you might expect for a set of this price: The front shows nicely all the models and minifigs packed into the set and everything is in full action mode hinting at the playability of this set. The base is perched at the edge of an ice shelf, with snow covered mountains in the background. Just in case we forgot this was part of the City line the logo looms above the base and there are skyscrapers on the far horizon in the top right. The back has a standard 'hey' guy, but in arctic gear showing us a few of the models and play features of the set., the left side tells us this is a numbered build with pretty much one bag per model. The bottom left corner tells us to go online to play the LEGO City game, though our arctic player is dressed a little warm for downtown; also he appears to be making off with some money being chased by the police- maybe it is only so long before we get arctic police and fire sets!? The top edge shows the 7 minifigs we get with the set along with a couple of the new huskies and polar bear. The Contents We get 8 bags, and a cardboard backed deck of instructions along with a single sticker sheet. Loose in the box is a 16x16 plate (not baseplate) and conveyor belt. Disappointingly we aren't trusted to build a conveyor belt, it comes as a permanently assembled moving POOP. As it is split into mini builds, I'm going to deal with each as it comes as I explained above. Her you can see the DSS and the instructions for build 1; the dog sled and snow-mobile. First page of the instructions gives us the open bags in order comic strip and an advert espousing the virtues of the brick separator. Random instruction shot: The pale white/blue snowscape background shows up the models well and generally colour distinction is good; though occasionally the white parts look a little bley. Despite this, with the bagged nature of the build and clear part callouts, you're pretty unlikely to be confusing parts. There are also quite a number of single part steps, so this should be easy for even the youngest lego fans to put together. The Parts (Bag 1) Already new, or at least interesting, bits everywhere, inverted 1x3 cursed slopes, new skis, 2x2 tiles with studs, the parka hood, husky, handlebar type bits and an orange brick separator. The Minifigs In this bag we get 1 male and 1 female researcher, with male and female specific torsos; note the 'hourglass' shading on the female and different pocket configuration. Both seem to have some kind of GPS, temperature sensor or stopwatch on their person- the girl's reading '4^' the guy's '3^'. The different coloured ski goggles are a nice touch, though unfortunately having printed goggles rather than a goggle piece makes these heads theme specific. Legs have various climbing gear printed on them and the rear torso has a nice mission patch. The Build and Model: Snowmobile Part way in: Here you can see the use of the SNOT tiles and inverted curves to make the model a healthy carpet-runner; an interesting step away from the usual 2x2 round dish pieces you see on most LEGO boats (and in fact on the dog-sled in this set). Bam!: Here we are, finished, and I like it. The front curves come together nicely with clever parts usage and, whilst I missed it in the unbagging, the 2x2x2/3 slope on the front is printed, yes, printed! With a friend: Let us compare him with the 1990's offering; you can see the definite 'up-scaling' from 'town' to 'city' era. Whilst the new model has no obvious drive mechanism (though chainsaws probably weren't the best or safest) the shapes possible with the new parts just make it look so much better. My only criticism of this model is the width- due to the car axle used the thing is 6-wide at the skis. Unfortunately due to how the nose is put together it wouldn't be easy to change, but I cant help but feel this might be better with the skis at 4-wide (dry test example below): The Build and Model: The Dog Sled Part way in: After the snowmobile, this disappoints slightly in being a much more traditional vertical brick-stacking affair, we also come to our first sticker- that 1x2 cheese gets a radar screen and radio handset sticker. Finished the sled: Radar you ask? Why yes, here we are with everything but the dogs and you can see a small radar dish so the driver can see everything that's forward and left of the sleigh I guess. The use of a small boat mast to build the dog harness is an interesting feature and quite inventive use of bricks. The dogs! Yes the doggies! A new mold as you can see compared to the standard City dog on the right. Although the face/ear prints are identical the coat colouring appears to be achieved by mixing plastics which gives a subtle variation between dogs and makes them appear like individuals- a nice touch whether intentional or not. Note the traditional City dog is 1 stud taller- so there can be no Disney style city dog becomes sleigh dog scenarios. Finished: As with the snowmobile the 6-wide feels a little on the large side but otherwise I can't fault it, there are lots of play features packed in with the fishing gear and radar. The dog attachments are surprisingly strong and play-able so a race between dogs and snowmobile wouldn't be a question of who falls apart first. Plus dogs, did i mention the dogs? I like the dogs! Scores for Bag 1 Parts: 9 - very good selection for such small models, Lose a point for disappointing me with a sticker after delighting me with printed parts. The figs: 9 - Very nice printing on both figs and their hoods. I don't really see the need for a feminine torso though- I doubt real arctic explorers cinch their waistbands to show of their hourglass figure (if you are an arctic explorer feel free to tell me I'm wrong). Along with the face prints which are only really good for snowy scenarios this isn't quite a perfect 10. I'm still tempted to give it a 10 just for the huskies, they are simply excellent. Build & Model(s): 8 - The builds are short but sweet, and the curves of the snowmobile were satisfying to put together. The models look good if a little wide from some angles and its a shame the snowmobile has no visible means of propulsion. Playbility: 9 - The snowmobile is pretty swoosh-able, though compared to the dog-sled is a one trick pony. The dog sled has fishing gear, a something detector/radar and dogs as well as swooshing pretty well. The separate instructions and bagging also adds to playability as kids of shorter attention span (or simply wanting to prolong fun) can build, play, pause, build more, play more I am off to now before I bring you Part 2: The Helicopter! Note : value for money score will come with an overall score once I get to the end of part 5...