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Found 23 results

  1. Lester

    Hi all, As the title suggests! Is anyone after any Lester minifigs? I should be getting some this afternoon (qty to be confirmed). Feel free to PM me. Thanks!
  2. Another year, another Comic Con, and as you probably know, TLG always likes to sell exclusive sets at these cons which are very popular. However, they are not the only exclusives being sold there. Another hugely popular SDCC exclusive are Funko's POP! vinyl figures. They are stylish, adorable representations of characters from various licenses. There are hundreds of them and collectors can't get enough of them. So, for this year's San Diego Comic Con, TLG seems to have decided to appeal to both LEGO and Funko fans by debuting their upcoming Brickheadz, a series of brick-built figures in a similar style to the POP! figs, just blockier. I was able to acquire one of the four sets that were available while I was at the con and it contains the stars of the latest Marvel blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War. So, do Lego bricks and the vinyl figure style go well together or do they clash like the two Marvel heroes did in the movie? Lets find out! Set Number: 41492 Name: Iron Man & Captain America Theme: Brickheadz Subtheme: Marvel Super Heroes Year of Release: 2016 Pieces: 184 Minifigs: 0 Price: $39.99 USD Links: Brickset Bricklink Before we begin, I would like to tell you about my experience at San Diego Comic Con. I have been going to this convention and its sister convention, Wondercon, for the past 3 years. I always enjoy it a lot as it is great to get together with other nerds and just geek out about the things you love. You can see everyone's cosplays, meet artists and celebrities, get sneak peeks for upcoming media, watch world premiere cartoons, and get neat stuff! However, with every passing year I have been noticing how increasingly crowded it has gotten, and the more crowded it got, the less enjoyable it has become. The first time I went to SDCC, I had no problem walking around, getting exclusives, and getting into the panels I wanted to see (except for the Marvel/DC ones in Hall H - those have always had a notoriously long line). But within just three years it has gotten to the point where navigating the exhibit hall is virtually impossible without pushing your way through masses of warm, sweaty people and you have to get in line for exclusives and panels multiple hours in advance to even stand a chance to enter them. I spent most of my time just standing in line in the hot summer sun and most of the time the exclusives were sold out or the panel was already over by the time I got halfway through the line, so I walked away with nothing but a bad sunburn and had to try my luck at the next line. The line for the exclusive minifigs stretched from one end of the convention center to the other and the worst thing is that most of the people were scalpers who were only there so they could sell them for ridiculous prices later. So while the panels and booths that I did get to see were great, I definitely think that TLG and the whole Comic Con team need to organize this event better somehow. Needless to say, I will think twice before I attempt to get an exclusive next time, if I even go at all. That said, after getting in line at 4 in the morning, getting lucky in the raffle, and standing in another line at the Lego booth to buy it for forty bucks, I did manage to get this set as a souvenir, so lets open this bad boy! The Box The set comes in a thick, shiny box which is much more sturdy than your average Lego box. The background transitions from a yellow/orange gradient on Iron Man's side to a black/red gradient on Captain America's side via a dot pattern which gives it that comic book feel. At the top of the front there is a big LEGO BRICKHEADZ logo and a little circle letting you know that this is a SDCC 2016 exclusive. Thanks yellow circle! I never would have guessed! The Brickheadz logo is a bit bland and the Z instead of an S seems a bit corny, but it's cute how they stylized the H to look like a Brickhead. On the bottom, there is the Marvel logo and labels for the two Brickheadz included in the set accompanied by a little icon for each of them which is a nice touch. The backside has a similar layout with the same logos, but what's fun is that the Brickheadz are shown from their backside here. It also features a picture that assures you that the figures are indeed removable from their base, and instead of the labels there is a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo. The sides of the box continue the theme of showing the Brickheadz as if the box was see-through by showing Iron Man's right-hand side on the left side of the box and Cap's left-hand side on the right. Even on top of the box you see the top of the "headz" of the Brickheadz. However, on the bottom you don't see the bottom of the figs. It's just black and there is a fancy tape stretching across it with the Brickheadz logo and a shadowy impression of the eyes of a Brickhead printed on it. Now I'm going to do something that is probably unthinkable for all those scalpers at SDCC: I'm actually going to open and build this Lego set! The way you open the box is you cut the tape at the bottom and slide the cover off. Contents The box contains one instructions booket and one parts bag for each Brickhead. Much like the box, the bags are not the usual kind. You don't need to rip them open as they have an easy to open flap on the back. They also each have a sticker with some mysterious numbers on it. This is the first page of both of the instruction booklets. It shows both of the SDCC exclusive Marvel Brickheadz sets together on the left side and a teaser image for the upcoming Brickheadz line on the right which confirms the release date of the theme to be March 1st, 2017. The instructions are presented on a solid black background which provides a nice contrast and gives you the sophisticated feeling that you are putting together a collectible display item rather than a kids toy. The callouts are clear and the build is very simple as it only involves some basic SNOT. Good news! There are no stickers in this set! All the decals are printed, giving us a nice assortment of exclusive parts. The most notable printed piece is the black 2x4 tile with the Lego logo and the hashtag "LEGOSDCC" which there are two of in the set. It bugs me a little that they put a hashtag onto the set itself as it seems like a blatant attempt to get social media exposure for the event, but at least it marks it as an SDCC exclusive. Aside from Cap and Tony's torso and helmet pieces, there is also the new Brickheadz eye tile and Iron Man's eye tiles which are trans-light-blue 1x1 tiles with a simple white square printed on it. As always, the light printing on dark parts is not very strong, so things like the "LEGO" and "A" fonts are not as white as they could be. There are also some new recolors in this set such as the 1x2 plate with clip in red and the 1x1 round tile with small tube in white. The trans-clear stud with handle from the latest Spider-Man sets is included as well. Now we know where Spidey got that new web-shooter tech from. Assembling the Avengers You can start the build with either one of the Brickheadz. I'd like to build these in alphabetical order, so let's start with the guy who has a big "A" on his forehead. The parts contained in the bag for Captain America are the following. You start the build from the waste up and add the legs later on as you've seen on the sample instructions page earlier. Two round bricks serve as a center support for the torso. All of the SNOT is achieved by using the double brick with four studs on the side which was introduced earlier this year. The inner walls of the head are entirely comprised of them. What's funny is that in the center of the head they included a 2x2 brick in pink so that it looks like there is a brick-shaped brain inside of the brick-headz. Well played, designers. Here is the finished Captain. He looks quite adorable with that big head and glissening eyes. It's interesting that they made the highlights in his eyes square to stick with the brick theme of these figures. Next up is Iron Man. He has a few more parts as you can see in the lineup below. Iron Man's torso is similar to Cap's, but it's more intricate as it uses a lot of headlight bricks to attach his armor plating (or should I say tiling?). The inner structure is the same, including the brain brick which is the same size as that of any other Brickhead. I guess Tony is not so smart after all. After you add the plates around the head and add the legs, you're finished! Iron Man looks quite good with his armor tiles and repulsor beams, and the trans-light-blue showing around the eyes gives them that blue glow that they have in the movies which is an effect that the minifig version has yet to achieve. My only gripe is that the red strip on his forehead is interrupted by a yellow line, but that's excusable. The Completed Set Don't they look adorable together? It's hard to imagine these little guys starting a civil war. Both of them are based on their comic counterparts, so their costumes look very colorful, especially when standing next to each other. As you can see looking at them from the front, the boost from Iron Man's jet boots makes him stand one plate taller than Cap and all the other Brickheadz. Also, the use of tiles on his chest and slopes on his shoulders give the impression that he is wearing armor. The printing on both of their faces and torsos is very minimalist, but works with the simplified look that they're going for. For comparison, here is a picture of Funko's POP! versions of these characters. They look quite similar, don't they? TLG is not even trying to hide the fact that they are copying Funko's style. Captain America looks almost the same and the only difference on Iron Man is the use of standard black eyes (although they did use white eyes in the later movie versions of the character). I like how they used that white claw piece to represent the little wings on Cap's helmet. I can see them using the same technique for the Flash. I also like the way Iron Man holds his repulsor beams. This trans-clear stud with handle is a very useful part and I hope they use the same technique for the Iron Man minifig in future sets. Like in the comics, the printing on Cap's costume is exactly the same on the back as it is in the front. It's a bit lazy, but it's nice to see that he does have printing here, unlike Iron Man who is completely blank. They already printed so many parts in this set, so it would have been nice if they would have just printed these two tiles too. Cap's shield-holding hand is different from his left hand as it uses the 1x2 plate variant with the clip on the short side rather than the long side. This is supposed to give the arm an angled look which sort of works, although it does look a bit awkward. I should also mention that they are obviously top-heavy, especially Iron Man, so they tend to fall over backwards when they are not standing on a flat surface. However, this can be fixed by mounting them onto the center of their base. When I first saw these, I was hoping that their heads and arms were mounted on turntables so that you could pose them a little bit like you can with the Funko POPs, but alas this is not the case. They have zero points of articulation, making them decidedly more display items than toys. Here they are compared to their minifig counterparts. As you can see, they are about twice the size of a minifigure. Ratings Design: 5/5 - I think both of these figures look great. The designers managed to replicate the cute vinyl figure look fairly well while putting their own blocky spin on it, and the pink "brain" brick is a nice touch. Build: 2/5 - A very quick and easy build with nothing special aside from some basic SNOT. Nothing challenging. Playability: 1/5 - The Brickheadz don't have any articulation or play features, so they are clearly meant to be displayed rather than played with. Although the fact that the set includes two characters who have quite a history in both the comics and movies does allow for some role play. Parts: 4/5 - Most of the bricks included here are fairly common, but they're useful nonetheless. Some of the parts are exclusive to the set and all decals are printed which is always nice to see, although the lack of printing on Iron Man's back armor is disappointing. Price: 1/5 - I know I don't really have a right to complain since most people have to pay extortion prices on ebay to get these, but $40 for just 184 pieces is way too high already for me. When these are officially released, I hope that they cost only half as much or less. Overall: 3/5 - I have never bought a vinyl figure since I try to limit myself to collecting only one type of toy (#Lego4Life ), but I do see the charm that people see in them, so when it was announced that Lego will be making their own Funko-style figures, I was quite excited. While I don't think that Lego will become a serious competitor to Funko and other real vinyl figures, I do think that these Brickheadz are pretty cool on their own. Kids might not be interested in them due to their lack of playability, but some adult collectors like myself might find them charming. That said, I do not recommend getting this set, especially at aftermarket prices. It's just too much money for two little figures that might get released for a much more reasonable price in about half a year. The only special thing about it is the packaging and the hashtag-tiles. The only reason I got it was that I didn't want to leave the con empty-handed. In conclusion, while the process of acquiring these wasn't much fun and I payed more for them than I would've liked, I don't regret getting them as they do look rather nice and I look forward to see what TLG will do with this theme. I really like the Brickheadz style and might even build some of my own! I hope you enjoyed this review, and since it's the trendy thing to do this year, I added a poll above where you can vote for your favorite superhero, so go and vote! It's sure to be an easier choice than the presidential election this year. To end this review, there are so many jokes that could be made with these, but I'll settle for this one:
  3. First time I have seen the new exclusive set 'What am I?' (40161): Today, Legoland Billund. Very interesting set!
  4. Lego Exclusives

    Ok, so this year I am aiming to buy the Ghostbusters hq, the brick bank, and the Lego batman 66 batcave. I have no access to Lego online store for several reasons, and I live in Edinburgh, so I have no access to a Lego store. So what I'm really trying to ask, is does anyone know how long (or if ever) it will take for any of these to be sold at other retailers, like Smyths, toys r us and John Lewis, who sometimes get exclusives. Thanks for any answer, Dylan
  5. I came back from the Lego Inside Tour few days ago. One of my favourite items we got, beside the special set, was this exclusive Gali mask. It is made in limited quantity of 200. It was given to us by Bionicle designers. Although I'm not Bionicle fan, I love this mask!
  6. Special Anniversary Sets?

    Returning BIONICLE fans will remember the Toa Haga that came out in 2005. They possessed the Metru build and were originally intended to be the "normal" forms of Toa Duma and Toa Nidhiki (their apperances being painfully obvious leftovers of what could have been). They were released to celebrate LEGO's 50th aniversary, and were instead made into the Toas Iruini and Norik. These sets brought cool recolors of existing pieces, and whole new pieces that would be used in later sets (Norik's mask+ the armors and Iruini's mask respectively) What if a similar concept were applied with the new LEGO line? Take something from a previous year, and put it into an alternate style. More CCBS-inspired modernizations of older sets perhaps? This could be a cool throwback to Old Bionicle, even in the event of a reboot (if handled correctly). This thread is mainly for fun to wait til we find out more at NYCC. What few (because we wont see every character come back) sets would you give a remake of in an anniversary scenario, why, and how would you do it? (actual designs down to the piece count are cool but not required) My ideas: I touched on this in the 2015 thread, and it met some criticisms: Vezon, the Traveling Thief Named in a style similar to "[Name], the [Title]' we have with the new Toa. My reasoning for Vezon is that he is an old-plot character that has an easy enough way to explain him getting a brief cameo or mention. There are certain things about his original design that could look really cool in CCBS, and could bring us some interesting new parts. (Please at least read "Incorporation with the Plot") Build: Major New Features: Incorporation with Plot: So: Me and someone else in the 2015 thread mentioned Takanuva. He could totally be justified on similar lines to Vezon and it isnt too unlikely that he wont be a member of the new Toa team or that there could already be plans to make him a Titan. EDIT: Fix some copy/pasting seams and my Vezon writeup
  7. Dear LEGO Group, I have been a life-long fan of LEGO. My son and daughter are both LEGO fans. I am writing to you regarding the SDCC Exclusive Minifigures. This "Exclusive" system is really making your fans feel "Excluded". This system of distribution is extremely unfair on at least five levels: 1) Not everyone (in fact the vast, vast majority of LEGO customers) can or will ever be able to attend the SDCC. 2) The fact that the SDCC Exclusive Minifigures never gets released into general circulation means that they will always be targeted by scalpers -- people who have nothing to do with LEGO, are not loyal customers of LEGO but are simply leeches looking to exploit a supply / demand dislocation and turn it into pure, greedy profit. 3) The net effect is that the limited availability for these minifigures (already scarce to begin with) becomes even more scarce and the simple supply / demand forces pushes the prices to astronomical levels (hundreds of dollars, sometimes thousands) on the secondary markets. 4) This ends up rewarding the absolute wrong segment (i.e. scalping non-LEGO fans) -- while the vast majority of LEGO fans worldwide end up feeling very frustrated and unappreciated for their loyalty. For example, the SDCC Exclusive system has rewarded the lucky few with 2 different Spider-Man variants in as many years (Symbiote and ASM2), meanwhile, 99.99% of loyal LEGO Marvel fans have had 8 straight sets with the same ultimate Spider-Man minifigure -- absolutely no variants during that time. It has left many of us wondering what we have done to deserve such poor treatment? 5) For "completists" or collectors who wish to have every minifigure of a certain line (for me that would be the MARVEL Super Heroes line) my choices are very stark: 1) I either have to prepare to spend thousands of dollars for a few minifigures (at least hundreds per minifigure) or 2) I will simply have to accept that my collection will never be complete. SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS 1) Cease the SDCC Exclusive system 2) If after due consideration, TLG feels compelled to continue the SDCC Exclusive system, then at least rotate all of these minifigures into general circulation through future sets (even if it 1 or 2 years down the road). This will solve the issue of scarcity (and hence ridiculous hoarding and scalping of exclusive minifigures) and thus bring down the crazy secondary prices -- thereby effectively eliminating scalpers. And more importantly, your loyal customers get access to these minifigures at a reasonable price. [EDIT #1] 3) In addition to 2), perhaps TLG can offer (in due time -- or even alongside the events) the minifigures online. As some of the replies have suggested within this thread, many companies who offer SDCC items also provide the ability for customers to purchase them online (again, this is another method for addressing the issue of scalpers and outrageous secondary pricing). [EDIT #2] 4) Another excellent suggestion made by a fellow thread contributor is to make all SDCC exclusives very specific to each SDCC going forward (similar to the I NY LOVE Yoda). For example, each exclusive figure could be printed with an SDCC 2015 logo for next year (and for each year going forward). This way Convention goers can maintain the "exclusivity" and grab some Convention swag / goodies -- while the rest of us won't feel "excluded" and feel that we are missing an absolute crucial missing piece for their respective collection. [FINAL THOUGHTS] My main message to the LEGO Group is simply this: currently, the SDCC "Exclusive" system has left a lot of your loyal customers feeling "excluded" and this, in the end, runs counter to everything that LEGO should stand for -- products based on "building" and sharing that truly bring people together not pull them apart. Thank you for listening. From a loyal LEGO family.
  8. Comic con minifig registry

    Between us we probably own a lot of the exclusive SDCC and NYCC figs. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty over how many there are of each figure. If we all say what we have, we can probably work out the real numbers by adding ebay and BL inventory, which I think would be helpful. So, I'll go first. I own 1 NYCC Iron Man 1 NYCC Shadow Leonardo 1 NYCC Kraang 2 SDCC Pheonix 2 SDCC Shazam 1 SDCC Bizarro 1 SDCC Venom 1 SDCC Green Lantern 1 SDCC Batman (TDK) 1 SDCC ASM Spiderman 1 SDCC Green Arrow 1 SDCC Black Superman What else do we have on EB?
  9. Does anyone know about 66158?

    Released in Korea only were apparently two exclusive Piraka "Kaita" sets, combiners of each three that resembled Irnakk. One looked like this: And the other looked like this: I can't seem to find any higher quality image or anything else surrounding this set. Can anyone help out?
  10. Hi All, It isn't often I promote eBay listings, but tomorrow I have 55 auctions ending so I thought I would post in case one or more of my many items catches your eye! All 55 auctions are no reserve, starting at a .99 bid. They end tomorrow starting at roughly 5pm EST (or 2pm PST). Most auctions offer worldwide shipping. There are a variety of items up for sale, from vintage minifigures, exclusive minifigures, used sets, star wars, knights, city, etc.. Here is a link, check them out! http://www.ebay.com/sch/unclesamsantiques/m.html?item=201010588215&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562 Thanks and best of luck if you choose to bid!
  11. So when the list of names for the 2014 Batman Sets at the end of one list i saw on one list was a Green Lantern exclusive set. It was been over two years since the SDCC Green Lantern figure so the time would be appropriate. Here are the reasons i think why this could happen and why i think this won't happen Why this could happen - We have not got a Green Lantern set before - For the 2014 set list there are four DC sets and five Marvel sets - Lego may be trying to branch out to other heroes like they did when the launched the DC line they did a Superman/Wonder Woman set instead of heroes appearing in Batman sets like The Flash and Aquaman Why i think this could not happen - The Arkham Asylum set was not on the recent list of sets to retire. - Sets are already popping up on store shelfs in some places and i think we would have scene some pics by now. So whats you take on this?
  12. Hi All, Time for the annual Thanksgiving/Christmas cleanout! I am located in the United States. Most items ship for free in the US (minifigures do, sets do not). I will ship WW for a small cost. If you want your item shipped in a box for maximum protection, then feel free to ask. Any item over $100 is automatically shipped in a box. Pictures can be sent upon request. Please give your e-mail in a PM. I have priced all my items due to persistent requests :o) Some prices match the lowest price on BL, however MOST BEAT the lowest price on BL and usually by a considerable margin. Let me know if you have any questions. Used Sets: Star Wars: #10123 Cloud City 100% w/ figures and instructions- $600 #10188 Death Star 100% w/ instructions no figures- $280 #6211 Imperial Star Destroyer 99.99% w/instructions- $130 #10174 UCS AT-ST 100% w/ instructions- $150 #9500 Sith Inteceptor 100% w/ instructions no figures- $40 #7778 Midi Scale Millennium Falcon 100% w/ instructions- $40 #10178 Motorized AT-AT 100% no figures w/ instructions- $225 Other: #4842 Hogwarts Castle 100% w/ figures and instructions- $185 #10193 Medieval Market Village 100% w/ figures and instructions- $120 #9473 Mines of Moria 100% w/ figures and instructions- $70 #4184 Black Pearl 100% w/ figures and instructions- $180 New Sets: #7957 Sith Nightspeeder - $22 #7067 Alien Conquest Jet Copter- $28 #9467 X2 Monster Fighters Ghost Train -$58 each #5767 Creator Car- $28 #7958 Star Wars Advent Calendar- $28 #10212 UCS Imperial Shuttle- $350 #10227 X2 UCS B-Wing- $150 Figures: CMFs ($3 each) X10 Series 10 Roman Commanders X1 Judge X1 Fashion Girl X1 Woman Viking Warrior X2 Bee X2 Sea Captain X1 Medusa X1 Revolutionary Warrior X1 Paintball Player X1 Baseball Player Hobbity/LotR X2 Bilbo Baggins (Target blue jacket exclusive)- $30 X1 Bilbo Baggins (red/brown)- $2 X1 Samwise Gamgee- $6 X2 Rohan Warriors- $5 X2 Rohan Warriors (w/ special printing)- $5 Star Wars X5 Young Boba Fett (2002)- $12 X1 Cloud City Boba Fett- $250 X3 Cloud City Lando- $95 X5 Chrome Stormtrooper (No Bag)- $22.50 X2 Cloud City Leia- $40 X1 Cloud City Luke- $75 X5 Jango Fett (2002)- $60 X2 Sith Trooper- $3 X2 Jawa- $15 X2 Watto (2002)- $60 X1 Dagobah Luke- $25 X3 Darth Malgus- $12 X1 Hoth Han (not chromed)- $10 X1 Genosian (old w/ wings)- $10 Polybags: X10 Elrond NIB- $20 X3 Hoth Han NIB- $11 X3 White Boba Fett NIB- $68 X2 Lex Luthor NIB- $28 X2 Chrome C-3PO NIB- $310 X30 Uruk Hai w/ Ballista NIB- $4.50 Exclusives: X1 NYTF 2012 Ironman and Captain America- $1900 X1 NYTF 2013 Yoda Cube Diorama w/ Lanyard and Darth Vader X1- $1200 X2 NYCC 2012 TMNT Shadow NYCC Turtle Leonardo- $325 X1 SDCC Micro Bag End 99.99% w/ instructions and box- $100 X1 NY I <3 Yoda Minifigure NIB w/ X-Wing slip and goodie bag- $225 X1 SDCC 2012 Phoenix w/o card- $90 X1 SDCC 2012 Phoenix w/ card- $125 X1 SDCC 2012 Shazam w/ card- $180 X2 SDCC 2012 Bizarro w/ card- $250 X1 SDCC 2012 Shadow Spiderman w/o card- $120 X1 SDCC 2012 Shadow Spiderman w/ card- $145 X1 SDCC 2013 Green Arrow (NA- BO) X1 SDCC 2013 Black Superman- $450 X1 SDCC 2013 Spiderwoman- $525 X1 SDCC 2013 Spiderman- $560 Thanks, Samuel
  13. Title of Set: 10243 Parisian Restaurant Theme: Creator/Expert Release Date: January 2014 Piece Count: 2469 Minifigures: 5 Price: US $159.99 - CA $189.99 - DE 149.99 € - UK 132.99 £ - DK 1299.00 DKK Further Information: Shop@Home, Brickset, Flickr Album After a long day of work, there is not much more satisfying than a delicious meal. Set 10243 Parisian Restaurant serves the function of feeding your LEGO citizens and offering quite a bit more. Author's Notes: When I came home from work one Friday night, I noticed that DHL delivered a lovely present to my house - the highly-anticipated 10243 Parisian Restaurant set (thanks TLG and EB!). As of January 2014, this will the newest set in this particular line of modular sets and it is a real treat. Lead designed by the revered Jamie Berard, it is filled with features and detail, making it an excellent set for those who are looking to start collecting the modular sets and those who already have been for years. However, does it live up to the hype and does it include the ever-elusive seagull that TLG initially advertised to be included in this set? We shall see... Box: Front: The front of the box features a main picture of the front of the restaurant, as well sub-pictures showing off the back, patio, and length and height dimensions. Quite nifty. Back: Ah, the back of the box. Always one of my favorite places when it comes to LEGO sets as it shows off all of the cool play features and some of the details. The left side is dedicated to featuring the three completed modular components with "1" being the first floor and working up from there. Taking up about half of the box's backside is the Parisian Restaurant aligned with the Town Hall (10224) and Palace Cinema (10232) sets. Finally, encompassing the top and left areas of the box are the play features and various closeups of some highly detailed sections. Side (Part List): Click here for a larger view. One side of the box is largely dedicated to displaying the part list, which is understandable and welcomed due to the set including a whopping near-2500 pieces. On the far right we can see a closeup of one of the roof's creative details to whet one's appetite. Side (Warnings): An angled view of the completed set is shown, as well as some warning text about LEGO being a choking hazard. Hmm, my idea of flavored LEGO pieces is probably not the best idea now that I think about it... Side (Minifigures): On the right side of the box there is a quaint picture of the included minifigures with appropriate surroundings. The floating painting is a tad spooky. There is also one of the box's closing latches (inner box lid has a tab that slips through it to securely keep the box closed after opening). This is a large box so I find that feature quite convenient. Side (Other Views): And here is the left side of the box, which includes the same angled picture from before and a closeup of the front of the set - namely the terrace and entrance areas. This side includes one of the box's closing latches as well. Instructions: Covers: The covers of all three instruction books all have the same cover, which uses the same picture that is seen on the front of the box. All three instructions books have landscape oriented covers and portrait oriented inner pages, unlike how some sets have both landscape and portrait oriented covers/pages that differ between books. Random Page: As to be expected, the colors of the pieces are distinct and parts that have a metallic sheen have a little shine star next to them whenever they are used in the piece call-out list. There are a decent amount of sub-builds, such as the one shown on the left page on the image above. I didn't include pictures of the part list located within the instruction booklets since the part list located on the side of the box is the same. Bags: Bags Numbered 1 and 2: There are 4 bags labeled 1 and 5 labeled 2. Bags 1 have 3 smaller bags within them and bags 2 have 4 smaller bags. What I term as smaller bags are those little unlabeled bags that are included in larger labeled bags. Bags Numbered 3 and 4: Bags 3 and 4 both add up to 4 bags, respectively. Each one contains 4 smaller bags. A total of 18 bags are included in the set, which is a fair amount. As can be seen, the labels only go up to the number 4. Loose Pieces: Not included in the bags are two loose plates: the plate on the left being 8 x 16 studs and the baseplate on the right having a massive 32 x 32 amount of studs, which came slightly warped in my set but it isn't overly noticeable. Minifigures: A total of 5 minifigures are included in the set, starting from left to right: Artist, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Chef, Waiter. The Artist, Boyfriend, and Girlfriend all have back printing, while the chef and waiter do not. Overall, the prints are nice looking but nothing amazing. The Boyfriend's tie has gold metallic shine to it. Printed Pieces: There are no stickers in this set. Yep, you've heard that correctly - no stickers! There are 10 printed pieces, with the restaurant's sign and menu being the most prominent. The menu's text has a gold metallic shine to it, much like the Boyfriend's tie. Very fancy. Scooter: The scooter features a flip-down/up handle bar and kickstand. It has two studs on the back to hold miscellaneous cargo. Partway Through: Step 5: The first few steps have the builder laying down the sidewalk and entrance area. One cute detail is that "CHEZ" is spelled out in tan plates, which later forms the outside dining area. Step 21 - End of Bags "1": At step 21, which happens to be the end of the bags labeled as 1, has the foundation set and some details already added. To the left we have the exterior and interior dining areas. The light blue tables and dark red lamps really add some nice pop to the earthy color tones used in those particular areas. To the right, we have the bus stop bench, the start of the stairs to the patio, and, finally, the wonderfully detailed kitchen with already prepared food. Extra Pieces - Bags "1": A useful assortment of bricks are counted as extra pieces. TLG seems to enjoy giving out extra rings whenever they can. And to the right of the ring is an extra temperature gauge. Step 33: The olive green walls are going up, as are the stairs to the second floor. A lovely wine display shelf can be spotted in the interior dining area and it helps add some extra atmosphere and mood to the set. Step 57 - End of Bags "2" and Book 1: At step 57, the bags labeled as 2 are all empty and book 1 offers no more insight. This also marks the near-completion of module 1 (the actual restaurant). I write near-completion because the terrace does not yet have its foliage! A shot of module 1 from the left. There is the hanging painting I pointed out back in the beginning of the review and a small side window that offers a glimpse of the kitchen. There are some nice details found in the back of the restaurant. Most are self-explanatory but I want to point out a few things that aren't as obvious: the green trash can and blue dumpster both include some "food" pieces. The trash can has 1 yellow and 1 orange cheese slope, while the dumpster has 2 pink cherries, 2 sausages, and 2 bones... That is going to be one happy mouse! The dumpster's lid has a locking hinge system that offers a wide degree of movement. The smaller foliage pieces are creatively attached to the larger pieces using carrot sprouts. There is a water faucet found below the foliage (which is likely why there is so much vegetation in that area). Two metallic silver grilles can also be spotted, and those represent a door mat or something similar. Moving on, a clear view of the back doorway is shown, complete with a red and white canopy. The kitchen's wall is adorned with various utensils (rolling pin, small and large knives), and one can spot the top half of the white refrigerator that contains some cheese slopes and blocks that represent bottles. I was thinking of taking a picture of the inside of the refrigerator but I have to leave some mystery to the set, right? Look at the size of that turkey! Damn growth hormones. By the way, the turkey is attached using 2 1 x 1 round plates stacked on top of each other. The bottom round plate attaches to the counter and the turkey sits on top of both. A better view of the entrance counter and the two curtains can be seen. Extra Pieces - Bags "2": Again, not a bad lot of extra pieces. Second Floor: Step 20 - Bed Up: And now we begin using those pieces in the "3" bags! By step 20 many of the furnishings are already built and added. The pull-down bed and recliner are my favorites in this section as they are not only useful but provide some extra color and flair to this room. The recliner's back reclines almost 90 degrees and the recliner swivels as it is placed on a 2 x 2 turntable. Next to it is a small coffee table and fireplace. Step 20 - Bed Down: The almighty bed is now flipped down. Be hypnotized by its blue and dark tan comforter and well-sloped pillow! Step 25 - Front Window Installation: The windows installation consists of a SNOT technique that allows the window panes to simply slide into place and then have the two studs located on the window sill lock them into place. I thought this was a cool feature of the build. I turned around the recliner to provide a back view and to demonstrate the fact that it turns. Step 34 - End of Bags "3" and Book 2: Module 2 is completed and we are left with a adorable home for a couple of the minifigures. The back of the module has two doors, one leading to a second balcony and the other leading to the restaurant's patio and module 3's entrance. Here is a top-down view that shows the placement of the furnishings and overall size. The exterior walkway is 3 studs wide. Patio - Bags "3": Bags "3" also build the small but useful patio. This is actually built prior to module 2 and is over in 10 steps. It keeps the same color theme found in the restaurant's exterior dining area, and some excellent hanging planters which add a lot to the look of the set. There is even a mini-bar/shelving area, how cute. The lamp posts swing down to about a 30 degree angle. Patio Attached to Module 1: The patio attaches much the same fashion as the actual modules do: with a select amount of studs. The first floor's staircase transitions nicely to the patio, partly in thanks to the consistent railing that encompasses both the staircase and patio. The Modules Attached: The set, as a whole, is starting to take shape. Module 2 blends well with the ground floor while maintaining its own unique touches, such as the front windows and balcony. So angular and detailed, yum. A back view to show off the flow of the patio and module 2's staircase. That mouse still hasn't moved. I think it's a bit shy. Continuing on with that line of thought, I would've liked a cat to be included with the set. One thing I found to be a bit off is that the door to the balcony does not have a black 1 x 1 round plate door handle on its exterior side. The other two doors seen here do and it makes it seem unfinished; however, since this particular door opens inward, a 1 x1 round plate cannot be attached as it will prevent the door from fully closing. That terrace hasn't received its foliage yet. Don't worry, it's coming! Extra Pieces - Bags "3": Nothing of much value here, but the extras are still welcomed in my spare parts bin. Module 3 - Start of Bags "4": Step 27: And we have made it to bags "4"! These bags build the third and final module - the artist's studio. Some nifty details are present in this module, including the large central window and two facades. Details like these show how much care was given to the design of this set and give the build some excitement. The chimney continues with the same design seen in module 2, utilizing those wonderful mason bricks. More window sill planters are built. Oh, and some interior furnishings can be seen, but who cares about that stuff. On that note, I want to point out how one of the empty studs on the table that holds the artist's palette is used in a similar fashion as a brush's water dish, or, at least, that is how I view it. If I am correct, I think it shows off the attention to detail that the designer put into the set. The fireplace has a industrial hinge door that swings open and close. Inside is a basic fire plume and log bricks. I especially like the mantle and flue. Module 3 - Completed: Oh my, are we done with the build already? Nope! But module 3 is completed. One of the highlights of module 3 is the curved dark blue roof. The white accents provide a lot of contrast with the blue, and act as an intermediary between the light bluish gray and dark blue. Delicious. The second section of the roof, also known as the back, contains 3 windows that act as skylights. The entrance to the studio is located at the right and continues the details we have seen before: the canopy, door mat, and lamp. The potted plant is a nice touch. This roof section flips down via two hinges. The dark bluish gray holders that you may have noticed in prior pictures act as stops. I have also opened the door to the studio to point out how barren that interior entrance way is. There is no clutter that is placed there even though I think a couple crates/boxes would've been welcomed. The clear 2 x 2 round piece (there are actually two of them, one cannot be seen in this picture) that is attached to the front roof section are, I imagine, ceiling lights. Another nice detail. Since the roof is closed at an angle, it doesn't accidentally swing open. It works quite well. A better shot of the interior entrance way can be seen, and, like I mentioned before, it is void of clutter. The easel that holds one of the paintings (the artist doesn't seem to be the best painter) can be rotated as it is attached to a 1 x 2 plate that has 1 stud. Extra Pieces - Bags "4": A few final extra pieces are leftover. Having an extra paint brush is handy so the artist can have one in hand and one in the easel. Various Closeups: Kitchen Appliances and Utilities: Here are the 3 main kitchen mini-modules: the stove/oven (I'm not sure how the chef managed to stuff the turkey in that oven), a cupboard and sink, and another cupboard and shelf. All 3 are great additions and are fun to build. Second Floor Appliances and Furniture: I pointed out a couple of these earlier in the review, but here they are again: drawers, stove/oven, microwave (or cupboard), flip-down bed, recliner, and, in the back, a lamp. Third Floor Decorations: Roof Facade: On the right I have a partially assembled segment of one of the roof's facades. The completed version can be seen on the left. It is a creative use of bricks. This particular facade design adds an organic feel to the overall set that balances well with the crisp angles found on the bottom floor. The left is how it looks partially assembled and the right showcases the final product. A total of 3 of these are built. Fully Built - Overview: Well, look at that, the terrace has foliage! The last step in book 3 is to add the two 5 x 6 leaves pieces to the terrace. Quite odd that it is done then and not in book 1. Maybe it was a last minute addition? The last module really sets off the color scheme, doesn't it? Anyway, I will let the following pictures speak for themselves. The Good Life: Ah, another relaxing day in LEGO land. And no, the waiter is not about to go on a killing spree - he just wants a quick bite of that croissant. And to answer my question in my Author's Notes section, the seagull does not appear to exist; however, using the extra pieces I'm sure something seagull-ish can be built. Perhaps a cyborg seagull (half machine, half seagull, and one-third turkey) that terrorizes the restaurant? Reviewer's Score: Playability: 9.4/10 – Having a dedicated restaurant in one's city is always a good idea, and TLG hasn't released any until set 10243 besides a few smaller cafés like set 6376. As such, this helps bring out its playability since now your LEGO city patrons have a place to fill their bellies. Still, even as a standalone set, I think the playability should be rated highly as there are plenty of appliances, furniture, details, and features to be played with. Design: 9.7/10 – The finished set is, simply put, beautiful. The white, olive green, grays, and blues flow so well with one another while still providing a varied look with plenty of contrast to attract the eye. Some areas feel overly cramped, the second floor's glass door cannot be closed without removing the third module due to no exterior-facing door knob, and I am not pleased about the lack of clutter in the artist's studio near its entrance but, overall, I cannot find much in the way of faults. Some great building techniques were incorporated in the build and it was a joy to construct, which is more than I can say about a fair share of other LEGO sets. Price: 9.6/10 – Weighing in at about 2,500 pieces for $159.99 USD is quite the good deal. I was expecting a ton of small pieces but there was a large variety of sizes found in the bags. The 32 x 32 gray baseplate and the fact that there are no stickers help as well. Total: 28.7/30 or 96% – When 10243 Parisian Restaurant is released in January 2014, drive to your local LEGO store or head on over to their online store and purchase yourself at least one as it is an excellent set to build, own, play with, and look at. The culmination of colors, attention to detail, and features are all wonderful and should complement anyone's LEGO collection.
  14. 10241 Maersk Line Triple-E Ages 12+. 1,518 pieces. Build the Maersk ‘Triple-E’ container vessel – a true giant of the seas! US $149.99 - CA $179.99 - DE 129.99 € - UK 109.99 £ - DK 1199.00 DKK Presenting the largest ship in the world – the record-breaking Maersk ‘Triple-E.’ Built from over 1,500 bricks, the model recreates the real vessel in amazing detail. Our LEGO® designers have included rare colors such as medium azur, dark red, sand blue and sand green. There are rotating gold-colored screw blades leading to the brick-built twin propeller engines, which you can view through the window built into the port side of the ship. You can even customize it by adding or removing the containers. This authentic set includes a display stand and fact plaque with detailed information about the ship and, as a finishing touch, there’s the gold coin that is added under the mast of all Maersk Line ships for good luck on their voyages. This model is perfect for LEGO fans! Features include rotating gold-colored propeller blades, brick-built twin 8-cylinder engines, viewing window into the engine compartment, adjustable rudders, detachable lifeboats, removable containers, rotating crane arms and a special ‘good luck’ coin Includes rare medium azur, dark red, sand blue and sand green colored elements Play with the model on carpeted surfaces or mount the model on the display stand Building instructions also include interesting facts about the real ship Includes 1,518 bricks Ship (mounted on stand) measures over 8” (21cm) high, 25” (65cm) long and 3” (9cm) wide Available for sale directly through LEGO® beginning January 2014 via shop.LEGO.com, LEGO® Stores or via phone: US Contact Center 1-800-453-4652 CA (English) Contact Center 1-800-453-4652 CA (French) Contact Center 1-877-518-5346 European Contact Center 00-800-5346-1111 All pictures are clickable for high-resolution versions Plaque Engine Engine in situ Lifeboat Bow Mast Stern Rear view
  15. REVIEW: Clone Lieutenant

    Not really much of a review, but some of our European members may not be able to get a hold of one, so here's a little mini review. Originally this minifigure was only given away to volunteers at the June Star Wars Weekend in California. But is now released in a poly bag for anyone who spends $50 or more at a Lego Store or at shop@home. It appears that it varies among stores whether you can receive two from a $100 purchase, or if it's one per order. I placed two separate orders at shop@home and managed to get my hands on two of these guys. Regardless, onto some pictures. Packaged in the typical minifigure polybag, it shows him aimlessly walking around a battlefield with several explosions, not to mention a potential foreshadowing too order 66 . Note there is no set number. Attempting to open the bag another way to preserve it was faulty, and was then forced to rip the pre-made tears. Oh well. 5 pieces like it says. Unfortunately this is made from the dreaded 'China plastic' which can be distinguished by the plain neck piece and a small 'lego' logo on the inside of the right arm. Neither of the arms or legs seemed flimsy, but may wear out easier than our regular parts. As mentioned you can't tell from looking normally it's of lower quality. He does look very nice though. I wasn't expecting the blue to be this light. Figuring it would be more of a dark blue. The back is printed the same as any other clone we've received. He sports the same 4 blue dot pattern as seen on the Clone Captain, Sergeant and Commander. If I can give any advice to our European members, if you're looking to get one of these guys. Wait until more people have made their $50 purchases and gotten extras. Lowest price on Bricklink so far is $14.47. Getting more reasonable than the initial $30-$50.
  16. Hi, This topic is for posting modifications of 41999. I am planning to do lot of them. 1. The first is pimped with the help of Chrome Block City BL store. You can buy parts used in this modifications here http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=Aurimax
  17. http://www.thebrickfan.com/san-diego-comic-con-2013-lego-exclusive-minifig I will update this post with pictures shortly.
  18. You may have seen the detailed reviews of the upcoming 41999 4x4 Crawler Exclusive Edition Set. Written by rm8, Masked Builder, and Conchas), these reviews may have convinced you whether or not to buy one or more 41999s when available on Shop.Lego.com in August 2013. Only 20,000 have been made. This is a private poll -- your answers cannot be identified as being from you. Please reply in an honest, truthful manner; you can come back later and change your answers if you wish. Thank you.
  19. ... There stood a tower of marvelous shape. It was fashioned by the builders of old, who smoothed the Ring of Isengard, and yet it seemed a thing not made by the craft of Men, but riven from the bones of the earth in the ancient torment of the hills. A peak and isle of rock it was, black and gleaming hard: four mighty piers of many-sided stone were welded into one, but near the summit they opened into gaping horns, their pinnacles sharp as the points of spears, keen-edged as knives. Between them was a narrow space, and there upon a floor of polished stone, written with strange signs, a man might stand five hundred feet above the plain. - JRR Tolkien, The Two Towers Orthanc is the tower home of traitor wizard Saruman. It sits in the centre of Isengard, a once-lush valley at the southern end of the Misty Mountains, the range which runs like a spine down the centre of Middle-Earth. It is one of the eponymous Two Towers of the middle episode of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, together with Barad-Dûr (in the movies) or Minas Morgul (in the novels). This set represents the flagship of the LEGO Lord of the Rings range. It was first spotted in the background of a photograph of The LEGO Group's design workshop some time ago, but finally revealed in an official press release in April of this year. Although it is not scheduled for release until July, I was lucky to snag an early copy from the shop at LEGOLAND Deutschland during the Eurobricks Event. The sheer scale of the towers of the Lord of the Rings saga - Barad-Dûr, Minas Tirith, Minas Morgul, and Orthanc - makes them difficult to render in LEGO bricks at an affordable price, which I suspect is why TLG have shied away from producing sets of these behemoths ... until now. Of the four, Orthanc is probably the most achievable; let's see how the result shapes up. Review: 10237 The Tower of Orthanc Set Information Name: The Tower of Orthanc Number: 10237 Theme: Lord of the Rings (Shop@Home Exclusive) Release: July 2013 Parts: 2359 Figures: 5 minifigures, Eagle, and Ent Price: GB £169.99 | US $199.99 | EUR 199.99 | AU $279.99 | CA $249.99 | DKK 1699.00 Links ... Shop@Home ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron The Box Click for a larger full-frontal image This is a big box. It has the same frontal dimensions as last year's UCS-scale 10227 B-Wing Starfighter - a similarly priced set, though with fewer pieces - but it isn't as deep. Orthanc is shown amidst the Ent-derived desolation of the valley of Isengard; an unnamed Ent shakes an Uruk while another Orc attempts to bring him down with a grappling hook; Gandalf simultaneously escapes on an eagle in a strange time-warp of the storyline. A darkening sky sets the mood of the scene perfectly; quite why Barad-dûr is visible in the background is anyone's guess. The height of Orthanc isn't readily apparent from the picture; a small inset therefore demonstrates the tower's dimensions. Round the back, the tower's entire detailed interior is displayed for your perusal, accompanied by insets of various scenes: some canon, some less so. Click for a larger image Behind the parchment-like insets lies a map of Middle-Earth set on a beautiful gradient from earth blue on the right to fiery orange on the left; this is visible to a lesser extent on the front ... ... and continues on the sides: Here are left and right sides respectively. The latter's top edge is on the right, so the map - which continues at the top end of this side - is the right way up. Isengard is just visible in the centre, about a third of the way from the right, at the end of the Misty Mountains range. Kudos to the box artist if its placement here was deliberate. The five minifigures are represented in 1:1 scale on the box top ... ... while the bottom has a wall of text with the usual language lesson. My box is a little battered here, but it has just travelled six hundred miles in the back of an over-packed car. It appears that the set's components were made in DENMARK, CHINA, SWEDEN, HUNGARY, MEXICO, HONG KONG, the CZECH REPUBLIC, NARNIA, the MOON, and EVERYWHERE. What's in the Box? The box flaps are sealed with tape, so it can be flat-packed easily. Out falls the separately-wrapped and cardboard-backed Instructions and sticker pack, and eighteen polybags forming fifteen modules: see one to eight, which includes the separately packed Eagle, and nine to fifteen. The Instructions Three booklets are included, all of a similar size and thickness; all featuring the same image as the box front, and all covered with nice glossy paper. On their backs are an advertisement for the LEGO Club, the detestable WinGangeGewinne kid, and a trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; I'm not sure whether the last is a console game, a web game, a video, or a set; but whatever it is, it's coming in December 2013. Maybe it just refers to the forthcoming cinematic release. The modular construction is demonstrated over three pages at the start of manual one: It's actually a little daunting. Although the build process is modular, most sections start building directly onto the previous; there are only two places where the tower is designed to separate - between modules 9 and 10, and 12 and 13 - but even then, it doesn't separate easily. Part call-outs accompany the instruction steps, which are generally easy to follow. The Middle-Earth map is faintly visible in the parchment-coloured background. Despite the preponderance of blacks and dark bluish-greys, there are no major colour-differentiation issues; I only made one mistake in the entire build - mistaking black for DBG on a 1x1 round plate - and I noticed the error very quickly. The substantial inventory is located over three pages at the back of book three; click the links for pages 1, 2, and 3. Also at the rear of this booklet is a subversive 'Collect them all!' enticement, in the form of a minifigure display: Quite why this is included in an adult-oriented set is anyone's guess, but I guess adults can be pretty obsessive collectors too (though less likely deface their instructions by ticking the boxes). Other sets from the impressive Summer LOTR range are advertised: We are encouraged to buy two copies of the Black Gate in order to complete the scene; quite what we'll do with two Gandalfs the White is questionable, but it will help towards amassing an army of Eagles. I'm particularly looking forward to the Corsair ship with its Dead crew. Sticker haters beware ... ... there's a lot of them. Thankfully, they are all applied to flat surfaces, but that doesn't stop them being a pain in the backside. I've actually applied them this time, so we'll see where they go later. The Parts To save space and sanity, I've paired the bags up to show the parts. Modules One and Two build the Ent: There's a lot of useful reddish and dark brown here, along with some less useful parts. I can live without the reddish brown wing-end modified brick, and the Symmetrical wedge with fractured top may be relatively uncommon, but I can't see it becoming sought-after. New in dark brown are the Technic ball-joint bricks; a rather unexciting brick to find in a new colour, but it might be useful for tree-building (obviously). I am pleased by the selection of reddish-brown and dark brown bricks, plates and slopes; there's also a useful array of SNOT bricks and brackets, along with a smattering of dark and olive green. It's worth pointing out the two reddish-brown half-arches; these are the continuous-curved type, like the older 2339, but have a reinforced underside like the discontinuous style 76768 (and a new mold number: 14395). See here for a comparison. The three printed 1x1 tiles at the bottom-right of the picture are Ent eyes; one is spare. From this point onwards, we'll be seeing a sea of black and grey, so be prepared. Bags Three and Four build the base of the tower, and the Uruk. There are a whole load of useful basic black bricks, plates, and tiles, and a load of dark bluish-grey SNOT bricks, with more to come later. The 7x3 flags are new in earth blue; the new 'Elven' arches start to feature here. Bags Five and Six ... whoa. These form the SNOT sides to the tower base. Whoa. Need black plates/jumpers/headlights/bows/tiles? Look no further. Shame the 1x1 bricks with handle were on the Pick-A-Brick recently. Saruman appears with Bags Seven and Eight, and he brings with him more black jumpers and headlights: The 4x4 round plate with central cut-out is new in black. Just in front of the red Light Brick is a green and black round ball, the purpose of which we'll see in due course, if you haven't guessed already. There's also ten 1x3 black arches in this selection. Bag Nine should have been included with 7 and 8 - it forms part of the same section: the Throne Room. Here we start to see lots of black 1x2 bricks with grooves, which will feature prominently throughout the set. The two trans-yellow crystal ball globes also appear in the contemporary 79005 Wizard Battle, and serve exactly the same purpose here. Moving on to Bags Ten and Eleven, the black theme continues ... ... here accompanied by Gríma, and many more useful headlights, SNOT bricks, cheeses and tiles. The trans-clear flask with purple liquid makes its first appearance in a non-Collectable Minifigure set. Gandalf finally appears with Bags Twelve and Thirteen: 1x2 grooved bricks, 1x1 bricks, and 1x2 plates with ridge dominate the selection here; in the top right corner are several 2x2x3 slopes and their corner equivalents. Just visible at the front is a single trans-clear minifigure head - I love this part. And finally, Bags Fourteen and Fifteen build the tower's summit with its spines. There are lots of clippy- and clicky-hinges; the latter make for an interesting build technique, as we shall see. The four black 'Persian' arches contrast to the much larger quantity of 'Elven' arches we have seen earlier. Parts Summary There might not be a great spread of new or rare parts in this set, but I hope I have demonstrated the massive quantity of useful elements included. Here are the front-runners: 113 Black 1x1 Brick 86 Black 1x2 Brick with grooves 73 Black 1x2 Plate 58 Black 1x1 Brick with vertical handle 58 Black 1x2 Jumper Plate 54 Black 1x1 Headlight Brick 45 Black 1x1 Plate 41 Black 1x2 Brick 37 Black 1x1 Cheese Wedge 37 Black 1x1 Tile 37 Black 1x2 Plate with ridge 36 Black 1x10 Bow 32 Black 1x3 Brick 32 DkBGr 1x4 SNOT Brick 26 Black 1x3x3 Elven Arch All in all, this makes a great parts pack - if you need black. The Figures From left to right: Saruman the White, Gríma Wormtongue, Gandalf the Grey, Uruk-Hai, and Orc Pitmaster. Just five figures for a flagship set? It seems a bit stingy, especially considering the range which accompanies other sets of the line: this year's 79008 Pirate Ship Ambush, for example, comes with nine. However, we do also get the Eagle, and the large brick-built Ent which is an important character in itself. Moreover, Gríma is (I believe) unique to this set, and Saruman is new to this summer wave. Gandalf the Grey This version of Gandalf - prior to his level in badass after the Balrog encounter - is surprisingly rare in LEGO Lord of the Rings. He previously appeared only in the entry-level 9469 Gandalf Arrives, and there had a different face and pointy hat instead of this 'Dumbledore' hairpiece. His torso is the same here. This face is new, and reversible: amiable on one side, and ... angry? distressed? I'm not sure. This version is the same as included in the 79005 Wizard Battle - which is basically a way for people who just want Saruman to avoid having to buy this set - except he has a cape in 10237. The cape is another issue: it gets awfully crumpled under the beard and headpiece, and the latter doesn't sit comfortably above the cape. Gríma Wormtongue For a bad guy, I find Gríma's LEGO version to be rather sympathetic. He has a countenance which is somewhere between glum and scared; even his 'angry' face is tinged with fear. I like the use of tan to mimic his sallow complexion. His torso is, I believe, unique, though it looks like he's stolen the Ring for himself. His hair isn't nearly greasy enough. Saruman the White I'm slightly annoyed that this figure will soon be available in a £10 set. To be fair, this version comes with a dress and cape, and people would undoubtedly complain about having to buy a $200 set for an essential LOTR character. As head of the wizards' order, his dress robe has the necessary finery, and looks great! He also has a rubbery-feel, decorated hair-and-beard piece, which judging by its feel, decoration, and separate wrapping is presumably a Chinese production. Under the hair/beard, his face is new; though it puts me in mind more of Sean Connery than Chritopher Lee (think Marco Ramius in The Hunt for Red October, and you'll see what I mean). The set includes legs, for when the unposeable dress is too much, and the front-and-back-printed torso is simply gorgeous. Here are Gríma and Saruman for comparison - on the Orthanc balcony: TLG have captured both well. Look also to either side - it's like that tooth piece was made for Orthanc (or Orthanc designed with LEGO in mind! ). Uruk-Hai Solder This guy is nice (if a ferocious cross-bred maggot soldier can be nice ), though sadly he isn't unique. He can be found in quantity in 9471 Uruk-Hai Army, and, with the beautiful White Hand printed armour, in 9476 Orc Forge. Still, at least he's compatible with the rest of the army. His head is reversible, allowing for some variety in Uruk heads within the army; I'd like to have seen some with the White Hand in different orientations, but that might be a tall order. Orc Pitmaster This dude is ugly. But, he's meant to be. He can be found also in 9476 Orc Forge. Sadly, he doesn't have the ears/hair that one of his doubles from that set has, and I think he looks a little 'unfinished' without it. Great Eagle Although not listed as a minifigure, I've included the Eagle here. He comes in a separate polybag, suggesting Chinese production; and has the detailed printing to match. The LEGO Group haven't given him a name, and he isn't directly named in the movie, to my knowledge; however, I've read the book, and I know that he must therefore be Gwaihir the Windlord. (Apparently, in the movie version of Fellowship, Gandalf whispers 'Gwaihir' to the moth, but I confess I didn't pick that up.) Gwaihir consists of three pieces: the body/head, and the two wings. Unfortunately the head doesn't move. He's pretty big, with a magnificent wingspan, as Gandalf here demonstrates. Four studs on the top allow Gandalf to 'ride' him. I'd have preferred somewhere for him to grip, so that he looks like he's clinging on, but hey. The printing of the wings and tail-feathers is beautiful ... ... and it continues on the underside: His 'talons' aren't so hot: just a 2x2 anti-stud matrix. If you want a bigger, more versaitile eagle, use the new CREATOR one. I'm pretty pleased with this, and I'm almost glad LEGO is encouraging us to buy two copies of the Black Gate set - we'll have three eagles! The Ent Here's the unspecified Ent. I'm not sure which Ent he's meant to be - I think only Treebeard is named in the movies - but in LEGO form, he's basically a big Steampunk macha with foliage and a mushroom. There's a nicely irregular, lopsided look as befitting these strange woody creatures. Take your pick as to which of the many Ents he represents. Judging by the earth green 'beard', he might be meant to represent Treebeard himself, though the resemblance isn't perfect: The LEGO version doesn't really have a 'head'; his eyes are level with his shoulders. I couldn't find an Ent exactly like this in the movies. He does have space at the top where Merry and Pippin might perch: You can also see here the he has a Bionic Arm. Turning the grooved cylinder at the back rotates the arm around the shoulder joint. I'm not exactly clear what purpose this serves; the Ent could hurl rocks at the tower, or perhaps high-five other Ents. The gearing is stiff (achieved by using a stud-end axle in a Technic brick), so the arm will stay in whatever position you leave it: Here he's giving some kind of salute. Note the opposable thumbs, meaning he can pick up stuff. The big downside of the Bionic Arm is that the arm can't be abducted (swung outwards) at the shoulder; therefore, when the arm is lowered, the elbow has to twist uncomfortably: He looks like he's about to start dancing here. The stiff ball-joints, strong clicky-hinges at the hips, and huge feet means that he balances rather well: I'm not sure whether he's skating, or pushing something, but it's a dynamic pose. For a tree, he's quite bendy: 90 degrees movement at the hips ... ... forwards or backwards. This is handy for sticking his head in the water if it catches fire, like one Ent in the film. I haven't directly demonstrated this, but he can also swivel at the waist, where a Technic axle allows a full 360 degrees of movement. If he gets tired, he can have a rest: Note the reddish-brown 'wing-end modified bricks' that cover the arms. I hate these parts anyway, but here they are super-annoying: if you try to grip the arm, it's all to easy to apply pressure to the wing end, the result of which will be the piece pinging off across the room. Still, they do help produce a nice contour to the arms. Enty's prehensile arms enable him to pick up figures: Here he's grabbed the Orc and the Uruk. The Bionic Arm doesn't help here, but you can bash the two figures together ... ... like this: Nice. The Tower It's really hard to demonstrate in these photos, but this is a tall building. At 73cm from base to tip, it's the tallest LEGO structure I've ever built (not counting contributions to multi-coloured monoliths at LEGO roadshows when I was little, or an ugly thing I made as part of a team-building exercise at work ). There's some beautiful detailing on the structure, which we'll look at in due course. The basic construction of the tower - four pillars of black rock moulded together and tapering towards the peak with its four spines - is rendered faithfully, though obviously scaled down ... Click each frame for a larger view ... and of course the fourth pillar is missing, to allow the detailed interior to be visible. Now we'll take a look at the exterior, layer by layer, starting at the base: The black is highly reflective. Apparently Saruman lives in Heartlake next to the school. It's also a dust-magnet. I love the way the spines of rock at the base have been recreated with the long black bows, and the tall staircase leading up to the arched entranceway is simply magnificent. To see how the stairs are attached at 45 degrees, click here. Obviously, the number of spines, and the width of the staircase have been reduced to match the scale. Here's what the base should look like: The many 1x1 bricks with vertcal handle, and the 1x2 cheese wedges above, add further realism; compare here. Moving up, the next layer includes lots of little windows, made with 1x3 arches mounted on jumper plates at a half-stud offset. These are rather fiddly to build, but the result is great. Here also is Saruman's balcony, from which he surveys the building of his army and the wanton destruction of his own garden. Again, the detail is reproduced as faithfully as possible given the scale: Click for an alternative shot of this level Those rubbery tooth-pieces are perfect facsimiles of the spines higher up; 1x2 bricks with grooves are used to mimic the vertical spines above the windows. Higher still, we encounter some tall windows made with 6L bars set vertically under Elven arches. Sorry about the dust. You'll notice that the tower tapers in stages, produced by slope bricks at various intervals; the effect is rather more sudden than I'd like, but I think it is forgiveable. Bear in mind that - at minifigure scale - the tower would have to be about three and a half metres tall for the top to be the equivalent of 'five hundred feet about the plain'. I don't know about you, but we don't have room for that in our house. Approaching the summit, some three-brick tall slopes help to taper the tower more gently, and we find more of the tooth-pieces - again accurate to the real tower. I was a little perturbed by the dark bluish-grey stripes which indicate the floors at various levels; however, if you compare to this distant shot, there do appear to be lighter stripes at various levels. This may be a trick of the light, but it excuses the DBG to some extent. There's a notable anomaly in the open-backed construction of the tower: the side pillars are wider than they should be. This is to allow more depth to the interior. I'd like to see someone build a 'complete' tower, which you could probably do with two of these sets (and probably make it a little taller, too. ) Edit: Someone has! See Missing Brick's back wall here. Finally, Gandalf gets imprisoned at the summit platform: I absolutely adore the four SNOT-mounted spines here, with their 'serrated' lower edges. You can just about see these details in this shot. They are attached with an interesting technique: two 1-wide 'male' clicky-hinges on the spines marry to two 2-wide 'female' ones on the central column. This produces both a sturdy connection and a half-stud offset, centering the spines nicely. The Interior Now we get to see inside the great tower, starting with Gandalf's arrival to visit his master Saruman, before his betrayal was revealed. Inside the entrance hall, we find some stickered flags representing drapes emblazoned with the White Hand of Saruman; there's a little statue formed of a plain LEGO Games figure, and some Classic Castle axes in pearl dark grey. The dark blue tile on the floor has a sticker with a diminutive version of this pattern - fantastic attention to detail, even if the result is a little smaller than the real thing, and should really be in the throne room rather than here. This is the best place for Gandalf and Saruman to fight with sticks. Remember the chandelier; it's important. Note also the grooved round brick facing the camera ... ... this controls a trap door ... ... which opens as Gandalf faceplants onto the floor ... ... and drops him into the dungeon. Exactly how it happened in the movie. Ahem. Inside the dungeon hide some stickered Wargs, some creepy eyes, a ball and chain and some bones. Gandalf looks annoyed, probably because he's fallen into a Plot Hole. The box art has Saruman throwing an Orc into the dungeon instead. Moving up, the next room is the Throne Room, containing an ornate throne and the Palantír - one of the Seeing Stones of Númenor, and the source of Saruman's betrayal as he gazed too far and was ensared by the Eye of Mordor. Here Gríma has joined Saruman, to witness the Palantír in use. Pushing up on the chandelier below ... ... activates the Light Brick ... ... and the Palantír glows! But only if you orientate it with the green side down. It's a pity you can't lock the light on - it requires constant finger pressure to keep it lit - but I guess it saves on battery life. An alternative view of this room shows off the bookcases, formed from SNOT-mounted plates and tiles, with a loose stickered 'parchment' tile; there are also colured phials of arcane liquids. The two tall 'lamps' with yellow globes represent these (seen unlit also in the previuous linked picture). Identical lamps are found in the related set 79005 Wizard Battle, which as I've already said is a significantly cheaper alternative for people who want a Saruman figure. I guess the room above is the 'Alchemy Room' - it's where Saruman Builds the Bomb. Gríma is actually meant to be in this scene, though he's looking a little self-conscious. The bomb is mounted on a platform which rotates forward via a little gear (hidden behind Saruman here). Saruman is standing on a 2x2 jumper tile which normally holds the bomb 'lid'. Here we can see the wonderful, tall, arched and barred windows from the inside. More jars and bottles line the shelves; the torches are - wisely - unlit. Floor five is a little chamber with more bookcases, and a couple of large stickered books which may be grimoires, and skulls for arcane value. Pictures of five wizards line the walls, and might indicate that this room is a wizardly council chamber - though you'd be hard pressed to squeeze more than two wizards in here. Saruman, as head of the order, takes pride of place in the centre ... ... while on his left is Radagast the Brown. Radagast plays a significant role in the LOTR novels, but is all but ignored in the films; he is mentioned but once in The Hobbit book, but is cast in the movie: see his image here. The stickered image is a good representation. Two other wizards form part of the Order, but are not named in either the LOTR or Hobbit books; they should both be Blue, but this one is - apparently - also Grey. Note the stickered map on the wall. [Edit - I just watched the first Hobbit movie. There's a lovely in-joke, where Gandalf cannot remember the names of the other two Blue wizards. ] On the right is Gandalf the Grey, and another wizard, this one also Brown. At least the numbers are correct! Another bookcase is found here. On the ceiling is a little trans-clear inverted dome, mounted on a turntable - we'll see what it is for shortly. The sixth and final floor is Saruman's Secret Chamber. In it, his true allegiance to the Eye of Morder is revealed, and he keeps some Uruk armour as mementoes, it seems, along with spare staves. The helmet rests on a trans-clear minifigure head with a round 1x1 tile, also trans-clear. The Keys of Orthanc hang on the wall: the one on the left has some ugly plastic flashing attached, which I'm sure wouldn't have passed quality control in Billund, so probably originates elsewhere. The Secret Room is accessed via a trap door with a folding ladder. Rotating the turntable on the ceiling of the room below allows the trap door to open, and the ladder unfolds. It's a little tight on space, but can be done without removing walls. This is the only means of climbing from one floor to another in the whole tower - save for the entrance staircase. Perhaps the main tower staircase is in the missing fourth wall? Comparison I've saved this move still till now, as it best sums up the entire set: Orcs try to topple and Ent with a rope and grappling hook, with the best exterior shot of the tower in the background. This is also the only decent shot I could find of the tall barred windows of the Bomb Room. Compare the tower again to here. Conclusion Click for a larger image Orthanc features prominently in two parts of the movie trilogy: the encounter between Saruman and Gandalf, in which Gandalf is imprisoned on the summit until rescued by Gwaihir the Eagle; and the destruction of Isengard by the Ents. This set attempts to recreate both scenes, while also allowing for Bomb-building scene with Gríma, and for Saruman to survey his 'army' of Uruk-Hai - if you've managed to collect a significant proportion of the ten thousand figures you'd need! In addition, there are some added extras not in the movies, in the form of the dungeon, the Council Chamber, and the Secret Room, all produced with remarkable detail for such small spaces. The Tower itself is a brave production. There is no way the five-hundred foot tower could be recreated accurately in LEGO bricks at a scale compatible with the rest of the range, and at an affordable price. The result is a necessary compromise - it looks a little squat from certain angles, and tapers perhaps too suddenly, but I hope you'll agree that the outcome is still remarkable - for its detail, its beauty, and its size. And that's just the outside. Inside are six floors of detailed interior, recreating several important scenes from the movies, and packed with little features making the model both a great play-set and a wonderful display and talking-point. TLG have been a little stingy with the figures - I'd have thought that Merry and Pippin could have been included to sit on the Ent; or, failing that, at least another Orc and Uruk, but we do get the one and only Ent figure yet released, in addition to the lovely Eagle mold. All in all, I'm delighted with the set. It's far more impressive in the flesh than even the box art or press-release pictures suggest; of my pictures, only the final 'Conclusion' photo really does justice to its size. It's also a great source of black parts, at a reasonable price-to-part ratio; however, I think I'll keep this built. If I can find a shelf to put it on! Design & Build 9 There's some fantastic attention to detail in the architectural features of the Tower, and a remarkable number of features crammed into the interior. Building the tower is interesting, with plenty of SNOT techniques and offsets used to reproduce the tower's design as faithfully as possible; there is by necessity a little repetition but far less than you might expect. And the result is well worth the effort. Parts 8 If you're after rare or new parts, you might be disappointed, but the set is probably the best source of useful black pieces that I have ever seen. I will never complain about basic bricks in useful colours, and the quantity of headlights and jumper plates is awesome. There's also surprisingly little multi-coloured filler. Figures 8 Gríma is the only unique figure. Saruman could have been a big selling-point had TLG not decided to release him in an entry-level set; he does come with a unique skirt in this set. Coupled with the Black Gate set, Gwaihir will allow the building of a little Eagle Army; the Ent figure is brick-built (and could perhaps be cobbled together from spare parts), but this is the only Ent yet available in the whole LEGO LOTR range. Play and Display 9 Bearing the 14+ age guide, this is an adult-orientated set, but nevertheless includes quite a range of play features, whether it be recreating movie scenes or bashing orcs with the Ent. Mostly, though, Orthanc makes a superb centre-piece for your LOTR display - though it will tend to dwarf the other sets. Value 9 $200 or £170 might be a little outside many people's budget, but for just under 2400 pieces - and useful ones - this actually represents good value. Add to that the enjoyable building experience, and the magnificent result, and I think that the set is well-worth the money. Overall 86% My Score 9/10 This monster is a joy to build and to own. A must for any die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, and a great set for any LEGO Collector. Orthanc you for reading. Please leave a comment! Rufus Acknowledgements All movie scenes © New Line Cinema EB Staff for assistance - especially Rick, Pandora, and ISC. And Hinckley for encouraging 'schnell'. Resources Orthanc at Tolkien Gateway Orthanc at LOTR Wiki LEGO LOTR Page LOTR on Shop@Home My flickr set Endpiece Treebeard forgets which movie he is supposed to be in If you like my reviews, and would like to learn how it's done, please consider joining the Reviewers Academy
  20. DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SCREEN! The tower is meant to be leaning. Well, actually, it isn't, but it does, and it's why it is so famous that even Americans have heard of it! ( ) Although, that may be in part due to Superman III. I can now officially reveal that 21015 - the latest LEGO Architecture set, coming (in a numbering system of which George Lucas would be proud) immediately after 21017 - is not 'Eames House' as previously thought, but is instead the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Actually, it's the Campanile (bell tower) of the Duomo di Pisa (Cathedral of Pisa), but what has really put it (and Pisa) on the map is its rather jaunty angle. It is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, and despite Italy's abundance of Roman, mediaeval and Renaissance architecture, it is the obvious choice for the Italian entry to the LEGO Architecture Landmark Series. I'm sure its architect would be rather chagrinned to know that his creation is more famous for its lean than for its architectural merit, especially as the tower itself has merit aplenty, and might even deserve a place in the LEGO Architect Series if anyone had seen fit to remember the poor blighter's name. Anyway, we're here to discuss the Leaning Tower in official LEGO form, and so I'm proud to announce another Eurobricks Exclusive Architecture review, with thanks again to The LEGO Group! Review: 21015 The Leaning Tower of Pisa Informazioni sul Set Name: The Leaning Tower of Pisa Number: 21015 Theme: Architecture (Landmark Series) Release: 2013 (May?) Parts: 345 (including Brick Separator) Weight: 472 grammes Price: TBA Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the set isn't listed anywhere, and I don't even have a price for it yet. As such, I'm not able to comment on the set's value for money; but there's still a lot to talk about! Links ... LEGO Architecture Site ... Shop@Home ... Brickset ... Bricklink ... Peeron La Scatola Click the picture for a larger full-frontal Once again, the latest LEGO Architecture paperweight demonstrates its abilities on another smartly austere all-black box. The LEGO logo really stands out, yet the beauty of the design of these Architecture boxes is such that you forget that LEGO usually stands for a toy. The picture is - I believe - a render, but it's wonderfully done, and captures the tower from its best angle. Interestingly, this set carries the name of the tower in Italian - Torre pendente di Pisa - in addition to its location; I haven't seen that before on Architecture sets from non-English speaking countries; but then for most of them the name is the same. We can also see that Adam Reed Tucker returns to the helm for this latest voyage into LEGO Architecturedom. Round the back, we are treated to the usual picture of the 'real' building and a composite render/line-diagram of the model with dimensions. I always like the splash of colour that the 'real' photos afford. My box has got a little scratched on the bottom, probably because it was rattling around alone in a box large enough for two; the photo has unfortunately highlighted this. Click the picture for a larger image Interestingly, the Italians, having been afforded second billing on the box front, are relegated to last place in the pecking order of European languages, behind English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Similish. (Google Translate thinks the last is Hungarian - did you know Hungarian doesn't capitalise place names? I didn't. ) The Italians are, however, the only nationality to be told that the included booklet is in Italian. Well, also in Italian ... Having seen a picture of this model from a toy fair, I was expecting a smaller set, and was a little surprised by the size of the box. Measuring H 260 x W 190 x D 59 mm, it's the same height as the Big Ben and Willis Tower boxes, but considerably wider. I wasn't sure whether to include this box comparison picture, but it does show how wonderfully collectable these sets are! The sides of the box are identical, save for the designer's name almost lost beneath a weight of languages on the non-flap side: The picture is the same as the box front, minus the paperwork. If the orientation of this picture offends you, click here. A 1x1 round brick is THIS big! According to the box top: Yet more languages! And no, ghosts aged 0 to 3 cannot play with these parts. I still appreciate the feeling that a lot of attention has been paid to these Architecture sets, and the ever-present command to 'Enjoy your building experience' is welcome as always: Inside the box are four polybags, the Booklet, and a flier inviting you to take part in a survey to try to win the Farnsworth House (one of the few Architecture sets I don't own - how did they know???). I think that flier has been in every Architecture set I've opened - they must have given away quite a few Farnsworths by now. Il Manuale di Instruzioni How cute! This little book measures 125 x 170 mm, a little over A6 size, and perhaps its orientation favours the dimensions of the model itself. Despite its diminutive poratrait, it is quite a chunky tome, with exactly 100 pages including front and rear covers. As now expected for the Architecture line, extensive information about the tower - including the reasons why it leans but hasn't fallen down - occupies the first twelve pages ... Click for a larger picture ... and all accompanied by some wonderful pictures and some wonderful Italian. Pass the Pinot Grigio, darling! I've said it before: the care and research that has gone into producing these Architecture booklets is outstanding, and help make these sets far, far more than simply a construction model. Did you know, for example, that the tower started leaning during construction, and that the architect attempted to compensate, so that the tower is actually curved? (To be fair, I think I did know about that, but now I know it in much more detail. ) I won't take away one of the major selling points of the set by showing pictures of the entire content of the booklet; however, it usually becomes available on the LEGO Architecture site before too long, albeit not in English. The downside of the pretty booklet's dimensions is that it is stupendously difficult to photograph, particularly if you're trying not to damage the book. Several attempts later, I was able to capture a sample of the instructions themselves: Little factoids appear in the corner every four pages, and add further delight to the experience. The inset shows a close-up of this one (see! I told you the tower is curved!), and conveniently obscures Rufus's hand, which was a necessary prop after the Blu-tac didn't work. The instruction steps themselves are, not surprisingly, a little repetitive; however, there is a twist which may cause problems for anyone attempting to speed-build the set. But why would you do that? You'd miss out on all the little snippets! The 'twist' will be revealed later. The manual concludes with the Inventory, but not before the usual 'Word from the Artist' spiel, and the History of LEGO Architecture, with which any Architecture aficionado will be well acquainted. The former is noteworthy for a little picture of Adam Reed Tucker with a couple of prototypes of the LEGO Leaning Tower, showing that he experimented with various widths of tower. Le Parti A surprising flash of orange breaks the monotony of the Larger Parts selection, but it's only a Brick Separator. They get everywhere these days, like cockroaches. I'm sure that after mankind destroys itself, the post-apocalyptic world will be littered with both of these. Looking at the round parts in the top right, you'd be forgiven for thinking you're about to build a Wind Turbine. Most interesting here are the nineteen 2x2 plate hinges, useful for anyone building a (properly) round tower, and the large quantity of white 1x3 arches. I remember being excited to encounter one of these when I reviewed 5771 Hillside House; now I have another thirty-five of them. Architecture sets don't generally make great parts packs due to the relatively high cost, but if you're looking for certain white parts in large quantities you might be tempted. In particular, the forty-eight 1x1 plates and eighty-six 1x1 round bricks could be very useful indeed. Aside from the large quantity, there aren't any particularly rare parts in this set (excluding the printed Leaning Tower plate, which is of course unique); the selection is however remarkable for the small number of types of part used: there are only forty different parts in the set, including different colours of the same part and the brick separator. La Costruzione We start with the base... or do we? Clearly this ins't the whole base. Actually, this is just the bit that tilts; whoever made the instructions clearly thought it wise to spare us the horror of trying to build the entire tower whilst it is leaning. In the second pane we see already how the tower will be constructed. In case you hadn't worked it out already, the LEGO tower has five sides; it is built via a pentagonal arrangement of 2x2 plate hinges around a round 4x4 core. At the moment, the pentagon is only attached via the two jumper plates in the first frame, and - when the small sub-build in the right frame is attached, will be open at the furthest point from the camera. This brings us to an important point, which I think should be made now as I will refer to it throughout the build. The LEGO Pentagon When building a ring-structure from plate hinges, usually you can create a 'complete' ring from two layers of plates. It is the key step to building a 'round' tower, like Derfel Cadarn's. However, if building a ring with an odd number of sides, where the length of a side is less then four studs, you need three layers of plates to complete it: In fact, in this tower, in any one layer of plates only two sets of adjacent sides can be joined. This is important, as we shall see. A third layer of plates is indeed added at this point, completing the ring, and a 2x2 pin-brick - 1x1 technic brick connection further secures the ring to the central core. This is the only attachment between walls and core above the base, and helps to prevent the walls coming off if you lift the set by grabbing the tower. Some 1x1 bricks and plates build up the centre of the walls here. In case you're wondering about the black plate on the left of the picture, it will be covered up eventually. I guess it helps you to orientate the nascent model easily during construction. Next, a clever use of technic connectors atop 1x1 round bricks forms the columns: On top of these are placed the first of the many 1x3 arches, and they are covered with a layer of plates. Note again that some of the sides are connected together with hinge plates, but it's not possible to connect them all. The core is built up with half-cylinders and round plates, very much in the style of a wind turbine, and a further layer of 1x1 rounds and arches goes on. Now things get a little repetitive, as we start to add layers to the tower. However, if you were thinking of pre-fabricating the walls, think again: you can't. At each layer, two different sides are connected. Going clockwise with the 'front' (black plate) being 1, in the first frame sides 2 & 3 and 4 & 5 are joined; in the second, 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 are linked. The side which is 'left out' gets a 1x3 plate instead. It helps to follow this 1x3 plate: as we work up the tower adding layers, the side with the 1x3 plate moves around anticlockwise: sides 4, 3, 2, 1 respectively. This is how strength is achieved without a bulky 3-plate high ring at every level. At intervals, an extra layer of central 'core' is added. Although it is a little repetitive here, watching which sides get linked keeps you on your toes. It helps to build a lot of 1x1 round brick - 1x3 arch arrangements in advance, though. The walls are topped with some 1x1 round plates, which can be a little fiddly. The narrower topmost layer is built directly onto the central core: Note again that there's nothing connecting the walls to the core above the base. A cute little flagpole tops off the roof ... ... and that black plate is finally covered. Now to make it lean! For this, we need a little clicky-hinge arrangement, and the rest of the base: The base is 14x14 studs, made from a square of 2x12 plates. Note the light bluish grey 4x4 mostly-tiles, which will support the lower end of the tilty bit of the base ... ... like this: Aside from a few more tiles, we're done. All your base are, finally, belong to us. Il Modello Completato Leaning Tower, you're ... taller than I expected. At 259 mm tall, she's the second tallest of the entire Landmark Series; only the Burj Khalifa is taller, but that is the tallest building in the world, so that's to be expected. Only the 'real' Leaning Tower is actually the smallest of all the Landmark buildings: its scale is determined by the design. Interesting construction aside, the decision to build the tower as a five-sided polygon has its drawbacks. I guess it is the smallest scale which produces an approximation to a 'round' tower, without resorting to round pieces, and allowing the inclusion of arches; however, some of the 'roundness' is lost from some angles: These four views - shown against a black backgorund for emphasis - demonstrate the difference in profile caused by the pentagonal cross-section. Viewed square-on, there is a 'flat' side apparent in the two views perpendicular to the 'lean'; in the views parallel to the lean, you're facing either a side or a point of the pentagon. The base level of the 'real' tower has a number of 'filled-in' arches producing slight alcoves, with a rhomboid design at the top. The model replicates the latter with round plates in the arches; it's probably the best that can be achieved at this scale. The downside is that the recesses of the alcoves are lost, but there probably isn't a better way to achieve this. The use of the technic connectors to make smooth columns is rather effective here. And now for the obligatory gratuitous close-up of the printed tile: It's interesting that the set name (according to the box) is The Leaning Tower of Pisa, while the 'The' is omitted from the tile. Of the other Landmark sets, only (the) Empire State Building is habitually referred to with an article; however, in that case both tile and box say simply, 'Empire State Building'. The tower looks quite pretty from above! Note that the top of the utmost layer is 'closed off' by the 4x4 round plate; the real thing is open to the air up here. This aerial shot highlights a slight anomaly of the pentagonal design. The inside 'radius' of this pentagon is wider than that of the 4-wide cylinder which makes up the core, but the two are attached at the base on the leftward face in this view. Thus, the origin on the pentagon doesn't sit in the centre of the the circular core. This produces an interesting but unwanted effect: the walls, attached to the core only at the base, 'wobble': I've tried to illustrate this photographically; it's much more obvious 'in the flesh', and you'll notice it whenever you pick the model up. Since it'll spend most of its time on the shelf - an isn't especially obvious visually - it isn't a big deal. Rispetto alla Torre Reale We've seen the model; now for the reality check. Here's the real Leaning Tower, picture courtesy of Wikipedia: Firstly: the angle of the tower. You can't judge the angle by comparing the two shots; they are most likely not taken from the same direction. We'll deal with that more 'scientifically' shortly. Obviously, the LEGO tower isn't round enough; you could argue that a larger scale model (eg., six sides) would produce a more realistic approximation, but I guess there's a cost/benefit ratio to take into account here, and I would wager that TLG wouldn't want to risk losing sales to a much more expensive and only slightly more authentic set. In the booklet, you can see that Adam Reed Tucker experimented with various sizes. I think the five-sided result must have been a necessary compromise. Clearly, at this scale, much detail is lost; in particular, there aren't nearly enough arches. The real tower has some thirty arches per level; a realistic model would perhaps have to have fifteen sides to even approximate to this number. I think the ideal compromise would perhaps be an eight-sided tower, but even this would be monstrously big, and perhaps prohibitively expensive for many. I can live with LEGO's 5-sided compromise. There are a couple of things I'm not so keen on. One is the use of 1x1 round plates to top off the walls, and the 'roof' (which shouldn't be a roof: you can see sky through the arch on the topmost level, or you can look here). They 'round off' the top too much, when you can see from the picture that there should be a slight overhang at the top. I think even tiles would have better here; for the top layer this piece would have been ideal - but maybe it wasn't yet available when the set was designed. The second is the topmost level itself - it isn't wide enough. The top of the real tower is like a crown; that of the LEGO tower looks more like a pimple. Now let's return to the angle of the tower's lean. Beware: this section contains mathematics. According to the booklet, the tower leans at an angle of 3.99 degrees, but prior to restoration work between 1990 and 2001, the angle was 5.5 degrees. What angle does the LEGO tower lean at? Let's see. The tilted part of the base is 8 studs long, and its lower end sits 2 plates lower than the higher end. A 1x1 brick is 8mm in length (actually 7.9, but there's a 0.1mm gap between bricks to take into account too, so we can safely assume 8mm), so an 8-stud gap would equate to 64mm. A 1x1 brick has height:length ratio 6:5, so a plate height is 8mm x 6/5 = 3.2mm; two plates are therefore 6.4mm. The angle formed is TAN(6.4mm / 64mm) which works out at 5.7 degrees. Close enough for me! I'm impressed at the work that must have gone into getting the angle correct (assuming, of course, that it isn't a lucky coincidence). La Conclusione When pictures of this set first appeared, it was greeted with a degree of scepticism from some, who pointed out the many MOCs of this building already in existence, including the diminutive but clever CUUSOO entry by moctown. I have already pointed out that a number of compromises have had to be made to recreate the Leaning Tower at a scale which provides a degree of accuracy without being prohibitively large and expensive; even larger MOCs such as this one by torgugick have had to reduce the number of arches on each level. The decision to build the tower with five sides - whilst producing asymmetry in the profile - does lead to a more interesting build, and the overall effect is still pleasing to the eye. It is perhaps a little too narrow, and I'm not keen on the rounding at the tops of the walls and the summit, but I'm very impressed by the correct 'lean' angle. It is also considerably larger than I expected, and dwarfs the majority of the Landmark Series, despite being in reality quite a small tower (56 metres compared to Big Ben's 96m): It is useful to compare the Leaning Tower to Big Ben here. Ben crams a huge amount of detail into quite a small model: look at all the lovely SNOT grille tiles. In comparison, the Leaning Tower is really rather plain. And monochrome too: the area immediately round the real tower is paved, but it's almost impossible to find a picture of the tower without the grassy area around it; I really would love to have seen some green on the base. Easily modded, I guess. I punteggi Design 7 The tower is recognisable and not just because it leans! The five-sided design is intriguing and original, and produces a reasonable degree of authenticity whilst keeping the size (and, presumably, price) down; kudos to the designer for getting the lean angle spot on. However, the appearance is marred by a lack of colour and texture; the too-narrow top section, and the rounding of the tops of the walls. Build 9 You might expect a huge amount of repetition, but the build process is refreshingly interesting and surprisingly pacey. Seeing how the five-sided construction is realised is fascinating, especially how strength is added with hinge plates around the walls. Plus you get to learn stuff while you build! Parts 7 With only forty different parts in the set, the selection is limited, but there are large quantities of certain useful parts: 1x1 round bricks, 1x3 arches, and 2x2 hinge plates, all of which might well prove useful for your own architectural designs; however, you would perhaps be unlikely to buy this or any other Architecture set purely as a parts pack. (I say that, but I bought Fallingwater as a parts pack, and it's what got me into the range in the first place. ) Value X Now here we have a problem: we don't yet know the price! Overall 76% My score 7/10 If you are angling towards perfection, the Leaning Tower falls a little short; it is however an interesting build and its lean alone will make it stand out from the rest of the range. It's perhaps one for the collectors, or a souvenir. Some sets are must-haves at any (reasonable) price; this set probably isn't one of those, and I suspect the price tag will turn out to be a deciding factor for many. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the review. Please comment! Rufus Many thanks to Kim Thomsen of The LEGO Group for providing this set for the early review. Riferimenti The Leaning Tower of Pisa on Wikipedia Tower of Pisa information site LEGO Architecture Site LEGO Architecture on Shop@Home My flickr Set My other LEGO Architecture reviews: And Finally ... I can make them all lean! And of course ... Setting this picture up was a lot harder than it looks. Thank you, CopMike! Join the Reviewers Academy to learn how to make great LEGO reviews!
  21. Greetings, my friends! Summer is finally here, and what better place to enjoy it than on the water? The popular Friends line has had a few beach-themed sets already, but not an actual ship yet. However, this is about to change soon with what is literally the flagship set of this year's Friends sets, and today it is my honor to bring you this exclusive early review of one of the most anticipated sets this summer, the Dolphin Cruiser! Set Number: 41015 Name: Dolphin Cruiser Theme: Friends Year of Release: 2013 Pieces: 612 Minidolls: 3 Price: $69.99 USD Brickset Bricklink Brickshelf The Box A few days ago, I received a package at my doorstep with the Lego logo and an official Lego address label on it. Inside this package was the set, which despite the lack of any cushioning material was still in very good shape! It's a fairly large and wide box with the usual purple frame and the indented side edges. It also has the same updated illustration of the main five girls in the upper right corner as the sets that were released earlier this year. The box art depicts a gorgeous scene of the Dolphin Cruiser swimming by the Heartlake beach and the Friends having fun. As you can see, this is one of the European boxes which are known to have much less text than the American versions. There is not much information about the set other than the set number and the intended age range. There is also a statement below those numbers proclaiming that this "ship does not float". This may be a disappointment to some people, but for those of us who have some experience with Lego ships this was already expected. Aside from the Lego Friends logo and the set number, there isn't anything at the top of the box except for these pictures of the minidolls. It doesn't even mention their names, just that the picture of Mia is at a 1:1 scale, but that's OK since it states their names on the front of the box. I guess in Europe they really let the pictures do all the talking, which is not a bad thing. The back of the box has a picture which shows that the top of the ship can be taken off to reveal the interior and lots of small panels showing various scenes that can be played out with this set. There are also pictures which tell you helpful things about the set as in every Friends set, such as how many bags there are, how many parts the minidolls consist of, or what kind of accessories are included. I kind of wish other Lego sets would have this kind of information. It sure looks like the friends are having a lot of fun. I just hope that dolphin sees Mia coming down that slide in time. Contents Looks like the picture on the back of the box was correct! There are indeed 5 numbered bags and two instruction booklets, along with a fairly small sticker sheet and some loose large parts such as the boat hulls, the water slide, and the flex tubes. The first page of the instructions has a demonstration of a minidoll building a set step by step which is adorable in my opinion. It's a perfect Friends version of that generic City minifig doing the same in other Lego instructions. Here's a random instructions page. All pages have a lavender background and clear part call-outs. Also, every page with an odd page number has a light silhouette of some butterflies and hearts. On the last page of booklet 1 there is a check list of all the minidolls from this year's sets. Towards the end of booklet 2 it shows you where all the summer sets are located at in Heartlake City. That's some pretty neat information which, again, I wish they would have in other Lego themes. There are many other nice pictures and illustrations of the Dolphin Cruiser and the other summer sets which I will let you discover on your own. They sure put a lot of effort into making these sets look good and appealing to girls! These are some of the notable pieces in this set. There are various pieces in medium azure, including skis which have been exclusive to the Friends advent calendar in this color until now. We also get the hair accessories in dark purple which only appear in one other set, the Pet Salon. Other pieces in rare colors include 1x1 round tiles in orange, 1x2 tiles in magenta, and 1x2 bricks in trans-purple. There are some new molds as well, such as a 1x2x2 curved slope, a 1x2 plate with a clip at the center of one side, and the ice cream cone which made its debut earlier this year in the Heartlake City Pool and the Ice Cream Stand polybag. There are some printed pieces too, such as the pink life preserver tile and the 1x1 orange juice box brick which have appeared in a few sets before, but also a new piece which no teenaged girl should be without: a smartphone! Looks like Heartlake City's technology is a few decades ahead of Lego City, who are still using walkie talkies and landlines. Minidolls This set comes with three minidolls: two girls and (gasp!) a boy! One of the girls is Mia the animal lover, who makes a lot of sense to be included in this set since it is named after an animal! She even sports a new summerly outfit with a dolphin and seastar motif on it. The other one is Maya who is a new character. The cherry blossoms on her shirt and her dark hair with bangs make me think she is supposed to be Asian, but I can't say for sure. She has Stephanie's hair in black and the same legs as Isabella. The boy's name is Andrew and he brings some much wanted gender deversity to Heartlake City. He has a surfer hairpiece and a blue shirt with a small sailboat on it, both of which are very fitting for the set. I can't put my finger on it, but somehow Andrew reminds me of another boy who preteen girls like... Well played, Lego, well played. But how is anybody supposed to compete with a guy who looks like a teen idol?! When you look at the minidolls from the side, you'll see that the boy's torso mold is different from the girls. Which is good because it would be quite odd if he had breasts. None of them have back printing unfortunately, but that's common for minidolls. And here are the stars of the set, the dolphins! We get two in different colors in this set, sand blue and light blue. The eye lashes on one of them tell me that the darker one is supposed to be a boy and the other a girl. They are smaller and rounder than the old Paradisa dolphins, and due to that and their eye prints they probably wont integrate into other Lego themes too well, but for the Friends theme they are perfect! They have two anti-studs on their tails and one on their belly, so they can be posed as if they're jumping out of the water or lying on an elevated surface. It's also possible to stick them on a pole. Not sure how that could be useful, but it's good to know. Their fins are shaped so that a minifig/doll can hold on to it and ride them. Also, their blowholes can be plugged up with bows and other accessories. Seems kind of cruel to me, but whatever. The Build The first bag contains Mia, Andrew, the male dolphin, and the parts for the jetski and the base of the boat. First, you build the jetski. It's a quick and simple build, but it ends up looking pretty good. Certainly much better than the one in 41000 Water Scooter Fun. It has some clips on one side, but more on that later. Next, you assemble the base of the Cruiser. Not a lot of details at this point. The second bag contains Maya, the female dolphin, and most of the interior of the ship. The beds and sofa are attached to the ground only by two 2x2 round plates each which makes it easy to put them in and, if you wish, take them back out later. The third bag has most of the pieces to finish off the lower deck. Lots of white and tan here. You almost can't tell this is part of a Friends set! This is the part where you attach the water slide. Bag four contains all the pieces to finish off the second storey. After this part, it already starts looking like a complete ship. The fifth bag includes all the pieces for the upper deck, which happen to be most of the pieces with the girly colors. And here is the finished Cruiser! It looks quite impressive, and not too girly. The overall design definitely makes it look modern and luxurious. It looks great from just about every angle. All those azure pieces give it a cool, refreshing feel. The only thing I find odd is that there seem to be windows missing in the second storey. There is already a sloped window piece that would fit perfectly into those six gaps, so I don't know why they left them out, but if it really bothers you and you have six of those windows on hand, that should be an easy fix. The wave stickers at the front give it a nice dynamic look. One of them reads "HLC" which I'm guessing stands for Heartlake City. There is a large opening in the back that allows you to see right into the interior since there are no doors. Lets hope it doesn't get too windy out at sea! Looking at it from the side, the Dolphin Cruiser looks quite sleek. There is a life preserver on the left side. There is no life preserver on the other side since that's where the slide is. The slide is not too obtrusive and actually adds to the overall dynamic look of the ship. The only thing that bugs me a little here is that triangle-shaped gap between the row of windows and the white slope at the lower front. Again, if you have an extra two of those windows, that should be an easy fix, but it just makes me wonder why TLG didn't include those pieces to begin with and avoided this little flaw.. Looking from above, it just has the usual Lego boat shape. No complaints here. At the bottom it has several of those round slide shoe parts to make it glide over the floor better. The Complete Set Here's the ship with the jetski, dolphins, and minidolls. Now we're ready to go on a cruise! They all look very nice together, don't they? Play Features There is lots to do on this ship! On the top deck, you can seat a minidoll at the steering wheel or serve drinks at the little bar. There is a sonar for finding dolphins and there are two studs on the wall which act as a socket for the smartphone so that you can pretend to play music from it over the speakers on the sides. The only thing that I don't like here is that the steering wheel is way too far for a minidoll to reach, but that's a common issue with the Friends sets. On the main deck, you can have the girls relax on the sun loungers and enjoy a drink or a banana. Also, the big window in the front can be opened to see inside. In the back of the ship, the friends can climb up the ladder (which has a similar design as the one in Olivia's Tree House - plus points for consistency!) and slide down the water slide (which is the same as in the Heartlake City Pool from earlier this year) or feed the Dolphins with the bucket of fish. There is also a life vest sticker and a shower with a shampoo bottle and knobs for hot and cold water. The use of a frying pan as a shower head is quite clever here. Also, as you can see, the jetski's clips can be used to attach it to the bar underneath the life preserver in order to store it. Neat! The top of the Cruiser can easily be taken off to play inside the cabin. There are cheese slopes and arches which help it slide back into place easily. The interior is surprisingly well furnished! Inside the first room there is a plant and a big couch for relaxing. The next room is a restroom with a toilet and a rack of towels. I guess there is no such thing as privacy in the world of Friends, though, because there are no doors and one of the walls is transparent. On the other side of the couch, there is little kitchen area with a sink and a small fridge where the orange juice can be stored. On top of the fridge there is some ice cream, one for each of the friends. I think this area is a little dark and boring and doesn't quite fit with the rest of the set. I would have prefered it if they would have included two more cupboards instead of these black bricks. There is another sink in the bathroom, along with some Technic beams where you can stick the combs, hair dryer, and mirror. It's kind of tough to put them there since it's such a small space, but maybe it's just because I have such big manly hands. I think it would have been nice if they would have included a mirror sticker to put behind the faucet, but not necessary I guess. Did I mention I'm manly? In the back, there is a bedroom with two beds with brick-built flower patterns on the sheets. It's nice that they didn't use a sticker for these, and that they made the beds different. There is also a lamp, a box to store the hair accessories in, a TV, and a pin board with pictures. Seems quite cozy! And just for fun, here's a comparison to my Friend Ship. They look quite similar, don't they? Either Lego stole my idea or I'm really good at predicting sets! Spare Parts There are various 1x1 pieces left over, along with a string and the brick seperator. Ratings Design: 5/5 - Aside from some missing windows and doors, this ship looks beautiful! It's mostly white and doesn't have many parts in girly colors, so it will appeal to boys and girls alike and will easily integrate into Lego City as well! It's sleek, modern, and luxurious. What more could you ask for? Build: 5/5 - Aside from the boat hull and the slide, there aren't many large pieces, so there is a lot to build, and the build is diverse enough to keep it interesting throughout. Minidolls: 5/5 - All the minidolls are exclusive to this set and have very fitting outfits. Maya and Andrew are both new characters and it's great to finally get some more males in this theme! And do I even need to mention how cute and awesome the dolphins are? Playability: 5/5 - There is a lot to do in this set! You can drive around, look for dolphins, feed them, ride the water slide, take a shower, take a nap or freshen up in the cabin, serve drinks at the bar, ski on the water, and much more! There are hours of fun to be had with this set! Parts: 5/5 - There are several parts in rare colors or molds and not many of them are in Friends-specific colors, so most of them are reusable in other themes. The azure pieces are especially nice to have. Price: 4/5 - $70 for 612 pieces does seem a tad much, but considering that there are some very large pieces like the hull and the slide included, it actually seems fair and it's well worth it for such a great set. Overall: 5/5 - Lego has got a real winner on their hands here! I was not very interested in the Friends line when it first came out, but I find myself liking it more and more, whether it's for the rare parts or for the thoughtful designs. This is a beautiful and fun set that will appeal to most people. It has a ton of play features and some nice exclusive figures, including dolphins! It's a perfect summer time set and I'm sure every girl would love to have it. I would recommend it to anyone. Well, that's all I have to say about this set. I hope you enjoyed this exclusive early review. If you liked it and would like to learn how to make reviews like this, join us in the Eurobricks Reviewers Academy! Now if you'll excuse me, I feel the need to go grill a steak or wrestle a bear or do something else manly.
  22. Hello there fellow AFOLs, I am trying to buy a copy of this Lego book published in Hong Kong or China. Can someone please help and let me know which store/bookstore carries it and in which city? Thanks in advance.
  23. Merry Christmas everybody! Christmas may be winding down now, but regardless, please enjoy my present to you: an overly-long review of… Set Name: Batman: Arkham Asylum Breakout Set #: 10937 Theme: DC Universe Superheroes Pieces: 1619 Minifigures: 7 (and two halves) Year of Release: 2012 Price at Release: US $159.99 - CA $209.99 - DE 159.99€ - UK 129.99£ - DK 1399.00 DKK Buy it? Inventory? Bricklink LEGO Just browse the pictures? Flickr set INTRODUCTION First of all, credit must be given where credit is due: to our own Bonaparte and LEGO for sending me this set to review, and so speedily to boot! Many thanks to you! (LEGO really is the most wonderful company when it comes to community interaction, although since I don't participate on the international Coca-Cola forums, I can't really say that Coke doesn't have such a high level of interaction as well.) A quick note about the pictures: unlike my usual reviews, this time I've uploaded the pictures in their huge un-shrunk glory, so please check out the Flickr set link above if you'd like to see the minute details of all the dust that accumulated on the set in the five seconds between when I took it out of the box and when I snapped the photos. And now, without further ado, let's see what this big bad boy has to offer… BOX This box is just one thing: beastly. Really, it's absolutely ginormous (I've added Riddler for a little size comparison). This being the European version, the front isn't adulterated with parts count and stuff, so you can really enjoy the humungous, gloomy, dark scene. The artwork is quite beautiful and suits Arkham very well. There's more action here than you usually find on the big exclusives; it's still a Superhero thing after all. Since the box is so darn large, the back feels empty despite having all the usual back-of-box trappings. It's fun that LEGO still puts on the comic-style arrows and noise words even on a big-kid geared set. Just because this box dwarfs all the others by a factor of twelve doesn't mean it isn't part of the line! For the top they went with the character that physically takes up the greatest amount of space, because hey, they could. I never knew the top of European boxes were so empty… There are some more box views in the Flickr set, but I felt we had more important things to see. You can see the box yourself in a LEGO store any time. CONTENTS In the box we get nine numbered bags, one bag with big plates and the white rope, and this lovely thing to keep our sticker sheet, comic, and instructions from getting bent out of shape! I don't really care about smashed instruction manuals on small sets, but on such a large one like this it would be quite a bother. It's great LEGO makes sure that doesn't happen! Here's the front of the comic, which I'm pretty sure is exactly the same one you get in the Arctic Batman set except a lot bigger because why not. Just like Oky mentioned in his Arctic Batman review, it's got an odd smattering of stuff inspired by different media, movie Bane being the biggest sore thumb (though the Tumbler is the background is a little odd too). The inside contains a fun but average wordless comic that you can enjoy flipping through once and then never look at again. The back, just like on the Marvel comic, has last year's DC figure lineup and this January's. Some choices are a bit odd, though, like putting Ivy and the guard in both when they're exactly the same, having two Harleys in the right-side one, and not having blue-winged Batman on the left side. But ok, whatever. Lots to collect, go buy sets, etc. We get three lovely instruction manuals that cut off in completely arbitrary places. I literally have no idea why LEGO decides to move onto another manual when they do, especially because these manuals have different amounts of pages. It's not like you move onto a new build; no, one step you're in one manual, the next step you're in the next one. But… #thingsthatdontmatter The inside is an orangey-yellow gradient that looks just fine. It doesn't muddle things up, anyway. Here you see how the minifigures are spread out over the bags to spice things up just when you were starting to feel minifigure-withdrawal. The steps are easy to follow, and there are piece callouts (though I don't use them because I'm stuck in the old 'search the picture for differences' method). I found just one mistake in the instructions, and luckily not a biggie. It's just that the grill piece already appears in this step, when it isn't added for a few more steps. Odd. Lastly, everybody's favorite: the DSS. Most of these stickers are just fine, and I didn't mind them (although the instructions do seem to mock you by showing the stickers going on perfectly straight). The ones for license plates, though, are terrible because they're smaller than the length of the plates on which they go so it's quite annoying getting them smack-dab in the middle. As you'll notice on the set pictures, I wasn't having the best stickering day in general. PARTS …or, the section in which I arbitrarily pick some pieces out that I find interesting! No, I'll try to actually comment on the parts, bag by bag, with the parts I find interesting in a picture-within-a-picture. Bag 1 builds the truck and the restraining stretcher for Joker, so we get a whole bunch of lovely fresh white. It might make you think there are actual colors in this set, if you count white as a color (I think it's more of a color than grey). Parts of interest are the big white doors, small white doors, some SNOT stuff, that curvy Cars part exclusively in white and the clear windshield, just because… well, it's not actually rare, but you know, it's nice. No more tricks; here's the actual color scheme for the set. Grey, grey, grey, and black. Still, less grey than a Star Wars set. In Bag 2, which builds the gate, we get four lovely black wings from Chima, the 3L brown flex tubing that's also in TMNT sets, and the Ninjago skeleton arm now in dark bley! Plus dark green and dark red, and a bunch of dark metallic sais, lovely. The two big plates are from the unnumbered bag of big stuff, but the rest is Bag 3, which builds the entrance. From now on, we'll see lots of the tall grey pieces with a groove in them, which lend a lovely look to the finished model as we shall see. I had no idea this piece has only been around since 2010! Before that they just stacked up 1x2 ones when they needed a tall column for garage doors. Other cools parts here are the chair in dark green (because dark green), the brick brick (because it's still slightly a novelty), and the red phone (because yeah). You build above the entrance with Bag 4. Included are those tall black industrial-like pillars, more groove columns, metallic teeth, square bricks with groove, that printed computer screen, and some nice accessories. Plus lots of trans-black little screen parts; large quantities of things are always fun. Bag 5 makes the cell block, and there's nothing of exceptional interest. Many grey 'log' bricks are nice, though, as are dark red and leaves. There are also more jail bar parts than I think you'd see in a City set normally. As you might be able to tell, Bag 6 builds Poison Ivy's cell and surrounding small room. The corner brick with double concave slope makes an appearance, there are a couple nice smoke tiles, and the big clear rounded panels are cool. Black periscope… not super sure why I threw that one in there. Bag 7 builds the tower cell. A bunch of cool stuff to be found here: trans-red doughnut piece, grey double clip piece, dark grey frog, more dark grey skellie arms, trans light-blue cheese… nice! Bag 8 makes the bottom portion of the remaining Arkham section. Just the same old cool parts we saw before. This caps it off! A little more tan to break up the grey/black combo. The brick with grooves actually appears to be new in tan, though there's just one. As we'll see in the model, I'm not sure why it's necessary at all, but hey, I'll take it. Maybe it'll be more prevalent in another upcoming set. There are more extra parts in this set than there are parts in a SW Battlepack! Ok, maybe not, but there's still a boatload of extras here. Somebody should start a 'build using only extra pieces in big sets' challenge. MINIFIGURES For once, I'm not more excited about discussing minifigures than I am about discussing a set. But still, minifigures are lovely goodies! Let's look at 'em. I've collaborated with The Penguin to bring you info about the inspiration for the specific designs of each figure; since the set's not tied to any particular media, it's interesting to see what designs were chosen. Here's everybody; from left to right: big-wing Batman, Robin, random guard #7, Scarecrow, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, and prison outfit Joker. But they're so far away when they're all lined up; you need to see them up-close! The Good Guys All of these guys are not so fresh. The guard is the twin of the one that failed to stop Two-Face's robbery last year, though he still has a snappy torso. This Robin is styled after the one in the Arkham City game, which would make him Tim Drake, the third Robin. Of course, he just uses parts from the Robin of last year, but it's cool to see him in this darker outfit anyway. An all-new Nightwing would've been better, though. Batman may also come from Arkham City because of the wings, though I think the wings are a common move, so he really could be anything. He'd be better with an alternate cape, but I do like the winged look. Unlike in the Catwoman set where Bats has a whole jetpack on his wings, these he wears straight up. Perhaps they're really just supposed to be a cape, as Bats often does have a cape that becomes stiff to help him swoosh around. Robin's cape feels pretty soft, which surprised me. Being older and more experienced in the weight-room, Bruce has better back muscles than his young buddy. Bats still has his good old cheeky reverse face, and Robin has his ridiculous face. It doesn't work as well with the hood as it did with his other outfit, though. Overall, these good guys are necessary, but nothing outstanding. The Old Bad Guys Old because we've seen them before, but still possibly my two favorite figures in the set. Poison Ivy, who is just an amalgamation of regular comic-book Ivy looks, is a gorgeous figure. The printing in her hair, the plant-y body, the green lipstick… lovely. A nice addition too for anybody that didn't get the Batcave. Joker is also wonderful. He wore a prison outfit in the Batman: Under the Red Hood movie, so this outfit could be based on that; regardless, it's a great torso with wide usefulness. The Joker face and hair was superb to begin with, so coupled with the lovely torso, it's just another superb figure. I was surprised to find that the color under the neck is actually flesh (sorry yellow lovers); I thought it was white from pictures. Both have reverse faces that I like less. Joker's works well for being locked up and maniacal, but the grin is a bit too creepy-wide for me. Ivy's mouth looks a little too close to her eyes, but it's still ok. Ivy has some quite low-cut back printing, and Joker has a inmate number. The number is really the only detracting factor from the torso - if you collected a bunch of the torso, all your prisoners would have the same number! Or maybe that's useful for something. The New Bad Guys Dr. Harleen Quinzel is clearly from Batman: The Animated Series where she's introduced, subsequently goes mad and becomes Harley Quinn. The Harley outfit under her doctor's coat isn't from anything specifically, but perhaps in the context of this set it's showing that she's already Harley Quinn and is merely dressing up like her old self. The face is great (girls with glasses, yay!) but I find the torso to be fairly bland and single-use. This Penguin with lovely lilac pants is reminiscent of the Gotham Underground Penguin; LEGO pulled off a fat look very well, and it's useful parts all around, but still I find his face pretty ugly (ugly still is useful, though). Scarecrow has a generic Scarecrow look, but frankly looks amazing! The old one was a bit creepier, but this one is more on the adorably creepy side, which I like. He looks so sly and mischievous. More lovely stitch-work on Scarecrow's back, while the others have fairly regular, by-the-books back printing. Still nice for a well rounded figure in today's LEGO day and age. Harley has a reverse 'Harley' head with sloppily applied white face paint - a great touch. Scarecrow has lovely printing on the back of his head that could be quite useful for other things, like plain scarecrows. It's stuff like this that make him a standout figure. I was sad to find that the Harley face is the same as the one on the full-Harley figure. This would've been a great opportunity to get a third expression for her, but instead we're stuck with the same one I didn't like much last time anyway. Her hat is glossier this time, though. Minifigure Accessories There are surprisingly few true accessories. I say 'true accessories' because plenty of the detail bits in this set, like the sais or the axe blades or spears, could double as accessories, but these are the only ones LEGO tells you to use as accessories. Just a plain pole for Robin, a batarang for Batman, handcuffs for the guard, and a fish and umbrella for the Penguin. Scarecrow is really sorely missing a scythe. BUILD HIGHLIGHTS I'm not going to show the whole build; most of it is pretty straight forward, or you can see what's done on the finished model. There were just a few things that stood out, so I'll show you them and provide musings, as always. Quite early on is the use of two newish SNOT pieces together to make the front of the truck. Just made me think about how useful all the new SNOT pieces are, and how well they work together. I imagine that to people who actually MOC regularly (unlike myself), these must be amazing. You think that SNOT is cool, check out the side of the truck. Seriously, this thing needs a tissue. But it's awesome! This is a nice little assembly for a lantern that I hadn't seen before. The single stud is the top, and the cone slots onto another bar. This assembly, though, is utterly annoying. These are necessary to attached the windows on the center part, so four are built over time. Stacking everything straight is a nightmare! I'm not sure of an alternative, and you can power through it, but man is it annoying. Shorter ones are also needed for the shorter window assemblies. Finally, somebody employed Shire architects in Gotham! It's the same technique used in the Bag End Hobbit set, and I was surprised to find that once it's closed with another arch on the other side, the window isn't actually snug - it rattles around. Still, the effect is worth it. THE COMPLETED SET After hours of toiling, the set is finished! Builds this big really do take quite a while. Before we get to the main shebang, the big cheese, *ahem* the Asylum itself, we need to go through the other stuff! The Van and Restraining Stretcher This van model is the best I've seen in LEGO. It's quite old school, with a 40s-ish vibe, and that's excellent. The front makes it look pretty tough, and it certainly gives you the feeling it's going to an old-school institute for the insane. The curved Cars part is employed so well in front of the windshield. Also major props to the set designer on the studlessness. Truly an amazing vehicle. The big tiles on the side give it a great, boxy look. I just love how the tiles hide half the wheels. Really this whole thing has spot-on proportions and coloring, and parts use. I know it'd still look great as an unmarked van without the stickers. Those big white doors on the back are great too. I can almost see this being converted into a milk truck; big white doors say 'refrigerator' to me. Here we also have the worst sticker - that annoying license plate that you're supposed to center somehow on a 6-long tile. The cabin is quite detailed, with a stickered radio console, steering wheel, and shift. There's even enough room that you could probably fit another figure in, though it'd be tight. Now then, since this is an Arkham prisoner transport truck, the guard is guiding Joker into the restraining stretcher. The bars and droid arms work so well on this thing to give it a creepy metal feel. Looks like the type of contraption Hannibal would be transported in. Once Joker is strapped (or in LEGO - clipped), he can be easily slid into the truck. The one thing I'd worry about is that there's no barrier between him and the guard in there, so if he breaks free that spells doom for our security friend. The Gate The black gate (no LotR reference) is quite intimidating. It's odd that the separate gate halves aren't designed to come together, but they still seem a bit tough regardless. The color scheme for the entire building is set up here: grey with dark red highlights and some black. The designer's got nice consistency going through the set, really bringing the gate and the building together. These dark guardian statues are wonderful. The Chima wings really take them to the next level, making them supremely spooky and intimidating. The angled piece below for a robe is also inspired parts use. Here you can also see the nice lantern build I showed earlier, and that the security camera is on a grey skeleton arm, another nice part use. I'm not too sure what the pieces with spears angling off are about; I suppose they give the illusion that the fence continues, which is nice. I'm not sure they're totally necessary, but I'll take it. The van, as you can see, fits nicely through the gate. The Asylum - Exterior We've made it to the main event, the Asylum! That is one freaking nice-looking building. It's got excellent repeating architectural themes running through it, like the wall pieces with groove, the rounded modified pieces at the bottom of each wall segment, the dark red, the similar windows, etc. but then each part of the building is spiced up with something unique to keep it from being monotonous. I love how the whole part of the building under the tower is a bit different, what with the big slope going down. It makes it look like it's built up more to support the tower. There are a lot of excellent small and larger details to see. The little spires with teeth and unicorn horns are lovely and provide a nice stronger look compared to the sais. The use of hand-claw weapons is also quite good. A very impressive larger aspect is the window design; for a moment I wondered why they didn't just use smoke pieces in 1x4 instead of all the 1x2s, but the 1x2s really give it a great window-ish look. It's great how there are taller window units on the main room, and then a shorter one of similar design off on the other room. This little gargoyle deserves special note. Another absolutely inspired use of parts, coming together to make this wonderful little guy (guys, since there are two). When I first saw pictures of the set, I thought it was some new head attachment, but no, just a frog! Brilliant. I just wanted to finish this section off with perhaps my favorite portion of all: the entrance. The doors, the surrounding steps, the little lanters… everything about this part is brilliant. The Asylum - Interior This set doesn't skimp in the slightest on interior design. Here's the overview, but that won't do… we need close-ups! I'll start with my favorite section - which is again the entrance. The doors look so strong due to the black handle parts and smooth-bottom tiles. Very asylum-like. The fire extinguisher is fun too, as is the phone, though I'm not sure why the danger phone is just sitting there in the hall. Unless it's not a danger phone. Really, my love for this section comes down to the security station. The way it's a step down from the main entrance, with the wood table-top part, and the controls and panic button - it feels so real and fun. There isn't even much to it, but sometimes it's the littlest things that work the best. Moving over to the right is the weakest part of the set: the rotating thing. On this side are the extra prison cell signs, so you can swap out figures if you want to/have them (aka go buy the other sets!). But let's think about this for a second. Ivy already has a dedicated cell upstairs, as does Freeze, as we shall see. So those are useless. I don't know who LEGO could've put instead; since I'm pretty sure Riddler never went to Arkham. Or if he did, then he should be here. Did Catwoman? Lex Luthor? In any case, two of these don't make real sense. On the other side is this little makeup stand where Harley pours out her love for Joker on a mirror and does herself up in clown makeup. The stand is well-detailed, and I dig the little bottles made out of flowers and round tiles, but there's no room at this thing. Harley has to stand off the building just to fit. Good idea, but bad execution. Also, the way the set is, I'd think a guard could just walk in and see her. Good thing there's only one guard staffing the place, I guess. On the other side of the entrance is the cell block. This part looks quite good: lots of bars, doors, nice printed tiles that look like electronic locks - no wild parts uses, but it does the trick. You may wonder why there is that odd 3-long technic pin receptor above the cells (I thought it was just for decoration at first), but all shall be revealed. The doors are constructed so that they can be slid away together for some whole-prison break fun. Sliding is fun! Or you could just open a single door, though it's harder to get your fingers in there to extract the figure. As you see, you can also have a bit of fun with the signs, lumping a lot of people in a single cell. Above Harley's secret area is a little office, probably also for her (I mean, do you see another Doctor in the set?). The desk is more ornate than it needs to be, though I do like the design. I'm not even sure what material it's reminiscent of in real life, but it looks great. The armchair is also a cute build with excellent color choices. One interesting note above: the roof uses two styles of hinges, allowing it to be in a very certain place but achieve angles that it couldn't with only click-hinges. The middle room is an examination area. The big black columns make the ceiling feel very high, and the room spacious. Small cramped spaces are scary, but there's something equally creepy about the thought of being experimented on in a cavernous room where your screams could really echo. Ok, enough morbidity. The table has some great details, like the bottles of stuff, and the drawers, one of which uses a hinge brick to permanently look open. It's weird, but looks cool. You could always 'close' it by taking out the hinge brick. The exam table is also a great use of parts. To the left we have the room with Ivy's cell. I love the huge glass doors, which I hope are made out of thick glass in the 'play' world. Otherwise, Ivy could easily cause plants to smash through them. The little plant build in the corner is cute, and kind of mocks Ivy. You know, heh, I'm a plant, etc. Ok, never mind. The use of cheese slopes on the window Scarecrow smashed out of produces a wonderful broken effect. Perhaps Arkham staff is especially nice to women, since Ivy gets a cell far more spacious than any other in here. Up top is the tower, with a lovely sticker showing temperature control. I love on the sticker the yellow button that mimics the design on the printed tiles (a design which has been in use for ages, I might add). But, why does it need temp control, you ask? It's a cell for Mr. Freeze, complete with some white snow and trans-light-blue ice! Very nice of LEGO to add this cell, making you want to spend more money on the Mr. Freeze set. Well, I haven't done that yet, so in the meantime they locked up Thi Sen. He can deal with cold, anyway. ALTERNATE CONTRUCTION Somehow I didn't even realize this until I got the set, but Arkham can be rearranged! It breaks apart into three sections, like so: Taking it apart is the easy part, though. Making all those pins line up is far more difficult, resulting in a bunch of what I like to call KABLAMOS. They look like this: Once you figure it out, you get this new arrangement. Personally, I'm not a huge fan. If you have very little shelf space, maybe do this to save room, but otherwise the first look is better. This set is already not physically that huge - it's packed with parts and details, but the actual space it takes up in the world once built is not that great. In this second arrangement, it takes up even less space, making it less impressive. Moving the tower off to the side also isn't as nice. The interior produced has ups and downs. Harley now has a lot of room by her secret Joker-fetish stand, but now nobody can stand on the other side of her desk. Also, it's much harder to access the second cell in the cell block in this configuration. CONCLUSION There's a lot to like in this set. Time and time again, I found myself wowed by building techniques and parts usages. I don't regularly get any of the exclusive sets, so that may be a common thing, but I'm really impressed with it in this set. The overall facade detailing of Arkham is also fantastic - not too monotonous, but very far from a hot mess too. The interior is good overall, especially in the entrance area, with the perfect little security station. The only part that really fails is the Harley stand, though the desk and chair in the office also are kind of filler despite being well-built. The van - I don't have many more words about it. The van is truly amazing. I'd buy it if they released it separately, no questions. The minifigure selection is good, not fantastic, but maybe that's just because I'm not a huge Batman fan. A different Robin would've been greatly appreciated, but there's a lot good about what you do get. The one slight problem in my mind is, again, size. I've been feeling it with most LEGO sets recently - there are tons of detailed packed in, but the resulting model isn't huge. This building is, of course, quite large, but not really bigger than older castle sets or the old Ninja Fortress in footprint, just way more parts put into detailing. Now, does it matter? To MOCers, certainly not. To people who want display pieces, still not really, because this is an impressive building. It's just odd how LEGO sets have gotten a bit… smaller. I'm not trying to say this set isn't a good value, and eventually I'll just have to get over the size thing. For now, though, I still don't know how I feel. RATINGS Minifigures: 8/10 - Robin is dull, and Harley isn't so exciting herself. Not bad, just not standout. Parts: 10/10 - A lot of parts period, and a lot of interesting things, including a few parts in exclusive colors. Great! Design: 8.7/10 - Great consistently, but there are some parts that are downright annoying to build or annoying to sticker. Rearranging the model can also get tough, though I'm not sure anything's to be done about that. Price: 9.5/10 - Feels right for the US market anyway, though again, the finished thing isn't extremely large. Playability: 10/10 - Quite a lot of fun to be had in the set, roleplaying with the minifigures, sliding the cell doors, driving the van around, etc. I 'played' for an hour taking pictures of fun! Overall: 9.24/10 - A high score. There are a few little things about this set that don't completely hit the mark, but it still has quite a lot going for it. If you're on the fence, I'd say go for it if you like excellent buildings, or Batman, or cool vans, or hopefully all of that. I took quite a few fun or atmospheric pictures that I didn't end up using in the review to let a little of your bandwidth survive, so please check out the Flickr set if you'd like! Here's one I thought to take because I wished the rope in this set had been a different color: Thanks again to Bonaparte and LEGO for giving me this grand reviewing opportunity!