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Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Set Review - 75097 Star Wars Advent Part 2

Funniest quote I've seen so far this season: "Jango bells, Jango bells, Jango all the way". Sadly, there is no Jango this year. Nor is there much of anything new. The LEGO Star Wars Advent calendar seems to have timewarped back to the OT with comfortable characters and settings. But is it... too comfortable?

Set Review - Decorating the Tree 40058

I do not know why trees are so subject to my discerning and particular eye.  I am mostly an architectural builder.  But it seems a good tree is hard to find.  I found this particular set at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) marked down from $8.99 to $5.99.  At 110+10 pieces (minifig parts included) this would be a great deal even at full price.

I understand the exaggerated height of the tree for drama and detail's sake.  But it stands 27 studs tall, not including the star shooting out of the top.  Dad, in comparison, stands 13 studs tall.  If we assume he is 6' tall then we are looking at a tree over 12' tall.  That tree wouldn't fit in my yard.  Good thing it's not going in my yard... it's going in my living room!

I do appreciate all the little extras.  The gifts, the train, the ladder for dad to fall off of.  Not only that, but with all the extra pieces you can create a few small gifts including a vial of yellow liquid.  Maybe that one's from the dog?  Ew.  But the nice touch is that Belville princess wand for the star on top of the tree.  Much better than a creepy upside down starfish.  So. Not. Christmas.

And the dark green 1x1 plate with tooth at the top with no other dark green pieces is a little out of place.  I'd like to see this part in green someday but the tree would be better without it.  Maybe some green cheese to finish off the top instead.

The best part about this tree is using the 3-way technic plates to achieve other than 90° angles.  You'd think it would limit you to a 60° offset but because of the technic axle hole through the middle you can overlay that with a 90° offset.  The instructions were a little complicated to follow since the axle hole was not always visible.  I decided to take advantage of the 90° offset and add every level of branches at 15°.

So how does this tree compare to previous years?  A brief synopsis:

2002: 10069, well shaped but very plain.  No accessories.
2009: 30009, 3-way technic axles, nice ornaments.
2009: 40002, flat and bugly.
2010: 40008 and 40009, Cute little tree, precursor gifts.
2011: 40024, much closer to our review tree
2011: 3300020, just no.
2013: 30186, inverted slopes, mixed green/dk green (shown in picture)
2013: 850851, squee!

Result, four out of five angels would agree to sit on top.  Moving the star aside first, of course.

 Merry Christmas from Dag's Bricks!

Merry Brickmas!

From all of us here at Dag's Bricks to all of you out there in CyberLand, Merry Brickmas.

Home for Christmas

Hark!  Harold the Angel (by the 6yo)

Oh Tannenbaum

I am not a fruitcake

Set Review - Holiday Train 40034

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas may begin.  I have been rather appalled at the earlier and earlier release of Christmas items in stores, sometimes even before Halloween.  My children have been listening to Christmas music for at least 3 weeks already, and they keep looking for snow (which we don't often get) and asking how many days are left.  Slow down kids, you're killing me.

But now that the turkey's been rebaked and shoppers have been trampled, let the Christmas season begin!

Those long winter shadows...

I've never been a fan of the small polybag trains. I like model trains a lot. My dad has an HO scale train that he set up when I was a kid. That put me on a train kick. But the hobby is expensive whether scaled trains or LEGO trains and I never was able to afford it. When I got back into a LEGO big time a couple of years ago I explored the train theme again. I was hoping that I could do some 4-wide trains on the roller coaster tracks with an NXT motor. Still expensive and you're stuck with an oval as no wyes exist in that scale. And I haven't got the space anyway so what's the use in experimenting with solutions? Someday, maybe.

So anyway the next option is the 4-wide polybag trains. The Mini Hogwarts Express (while creative) is a joke to me. "Looks like your tires got jacked, man. Oh, wait, that's a train? Ah." This Holiday Train follows the same aesthetic. If I recall correctly (and I know I do) most trains such as TLG are trying to depict have at least a few large drive wheels on the engine.  Instead, these trains just receive rows of silver Hot Wheels style wheels all the same size. Certainly they have other styles of wheels that they could use, don't they? Like, train wheels?  They were able to do it for the mini Emerald Night.

I think I would prefer that the wheels were in black. At least then we could avoid this shoddy paint job. It would be fine if tires were covering up the slop but we get no tires. Not only is the paint run over on the wheels I received, but there's not enough on the spokes.

The candy canes are a neat touch. I think they would look better with round 1x1 plates instead of square.  Not quite sure how to make the crook all round though.  Maybe a new piece is in order?

I'm very impressed at the price point though. Many of these mega polybags such as the seasonal ones have cost in the neighborhood of $8. That makes sense given that the part count is around 80. But this train with it's 82 pieces and 6 extras cost me a mere $4.99 at Target. That in and of itself is a fabulous Christmas gift from TLG. In fact, it's worth getting 2 or three of these sets to expand the train. The only drawback is that you'll have to throw in a few extra hitches of your own. You'll have tireless wheels and fenders up your festive wazoo, but you'll also get scores of red and white parts as well. For some of you this may be an awesome parts pack. I plan to pick up a few more myself.

If you're creative with making some 3.5-wide track (or don't care about the track), this might make a nice addition to your holiday LEGO diorama.

Or put your train in a bauble!