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Showing posts with label LEGO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LEGO. Show all posts

LEGO Catalog Sizes

Bricklink member viejos recently posted the following dissertation on that site's forum. Since the Bricklink forum purges posts after 6 months, I thought it would be beneficial to electronically archive that info in a blog post. We should be good until Google goes under.


I have recently run across a number of BL members who were having difficulty with the current size designations of Lego catalogs, and I thought I might clear things up a bit with some annotated images and a few words of explanation.

Four basic sizes

Sizes compared
These are Large, Medium, Small, and Mini. All Lego catalogs are considered to fit into one of these four categories, except for early catalogs (pre-1972), inserts, and some other odd-shaped items. In the first image, I have placed representative examples of these four sizes on top of each other, with their respective measurements tagged along the side and lower edge.

Keen observers will notice that all measurements are taken in .5 cm increments.  This of course does not represent reality perfectly, but it does allow a few millimeters for tolerances in cutting and folding.


The alternate Large size is what is commonly referred to as “DIN A4”, and this includes all US letter-sized items as well. Most Large entries of this sort on BL are dealer catalogs. There are also the Shop-At-Home catalogs, but these normally do not have the word “Large” in the Item Name.


The “medium square” size was actually the standard size for all Lego catalogs leading up to 1972, when a tiered system was introduced. Not pictured is the “upright” medium (21 x 15 cm), a simple reorientation of the basic medium size. Btw, all sizes can be flipped oblong to upright or vice versa - for all practical purposes they are the same size.


These are the most adorable little booklets. They remind me of “pocket” sized books, back when books were smaller and pockets were bigger. There aren’t very many of this size published by Lego (about 75 total) but the good news is they are still being produced. The modern one on the right (see fourth image) is from 2012. Notice that over all these years, since they were introduced in 1982, their size has only changed by a few millimeters.


Going by size alone, these are quite easy to get mixed up with Small catalogs.  But there is one important mark of distinction - mini catalogs are never stapled, glued, or otherwise bound. They are single-sheet flyer-type products, no exceptions.  And I can’t think of a single example of a Small catalog that ISN’T bound.

Mini.  Squee!
There is a certain variability in the size of “broadsheet” mini catalogs (as represented by the Belville catalog on the right). They were printed on a smaller sheet when they first appeared in 1984. They were also folded in 12 pages instead of 16. In addition to this, early US broadsheet mini’s used slightly different sizes of paper. Eventually, though, all mini’s were printed on the standard A4 broadsheet.

The early mini catalogs (pre-1984) were made from a strip of paper, not a broadsheet.  They are exactly the same size as the building instructions for small sets in the early 70’s.


Every catalog may or may not be given an additional “factory” fold in order for it to fit into the appropriate box or envelope. This additional fold does not affect the official number of folds or the official size of the catalog, but I suspect this “optional” fold was one reason the former BL Admin chose not to complicate the system with a catalogs size field.

Almost all mini catalogs have an additional fold, but because they have several other folds, this leads some to believe that their “front page” is a different size than it actually is. And TLG’s tendency over the years was to use more and more surface area of a mini catalog for the presentation (front page) image.  Compare the complete presentation images in the following BL catalog entries with the completely folded versions.

Catalog No: m80os  Name: 1980 Mini Overseas (106785-OS/IB)
m80os 1980 Mini Overseas (106785-OS/IB)
Catalogs: 1980

Catalog No: m96belv  Name: 1996 Mini Belville / Paradisa (4.103.796-EU)
m96belv 1996 Mini Belville / Paradisa (4.103.796-EU)
Catalogs: 1996: Belville: Paradisa

Catalog No: m02sw2  Name: 2002 Mini Star Wars (4172459/4172460)
m02sw2 2002 Mini Star Wars (4172459/4172460)
Catalogs: 2002: Star Wars

Catalog No: c12dup  Name: 2012 Small Duplo (6003864)
c12dup 2012 Small Duplo (6003864)
Catalogs: 2012: Duplo

The last few years of mini catalogs typically used an entire side of the sheet for one image, and they were sometimes confused with posters. The situation grew even trickier due to the single-fold mini variants that also cropped up during this time. These could be folded either 4 times (3 plus one additional) or only once. So in these cases the concept of the 7.5 x 10 cm “page” is understandably strained. But looking at the entire output of Lego catalogs as a whole, it makes sense to think of mini catalogs in their tiniest form (or next-to-tiniest, as it usually is).

Au revoir to the mini

The item on the lower right is of course not a mini catalog, but it’s the smallest catalog Lego currently makes. Mini catalog production fizzled out in the early 2000’s, and it is probably gone for good now. But there are still plenty of old mini catalogs out there waiting to be discovered.

Set Review - Kraang's Turtle Target Practice 30270

When The LEGO Company first leaked that they were releasing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, I was pretty excited.  I had supported the project(s) on Cuusoo and watched the shows as a kid.  I was especially looking forward to the Turtle's van.  This was going to be pretty cool.

But then they released the sets.

What was this garbage?  The van looked like crap.  And there were these characters and vehicles I don't remember.  Some of it was familiar but the rest was like a bad dream.  Then the truth came out.  This was not the TMNT I remember.  This was a rehash from Nickelodeon.  Well, nice try.

The line has released six sets and a polybag, all in 2013.  Another seven sets are planned for 2014 so apparently there has been enough success with it.  My polybag came from Target for $3.99.  At 36 pieces that's not incredible but it does have a minifig.  The package art immediately disenchants me.  I see the same octagonal base and the same supports as two other reviews I've done.  I wasn't really excited about it then; less so now.

The idea is that Kraang (or is it The Kraang) sets up some fake turtles on a bench.  He (she? it?) then uses them for laser target practice.  There are two major flaws with this.  First, turtles are more roundy than square.  The use of round pieces throughout the turtles would have been a bit more correct looking.  Second, lasers don't knock you over like a ballistics or a flick-fire.  They more just burn a hole through you and everything else.  The science is all wrong here.  Calling a flick-fire a laser is sort of like calling a banana almost like a human.

So what is there to be excited about here?  Well, let's see.  There's an extra magenta cone.  And nine extra pieces in total.  And a bunch of bitty microbuild pieces.  In fact, I think I'm just going to part this guy out into my builder collection.  It's not really worth the storage space as a set.

Maybe some of the rest of these sets are better (click the pic for product links):

Build with Chrome

Skip the techniques this week, this little website is too cool to pass up.  Google Chrome and The LEGO Group have teamed up to create an online build experience similar to the old Google Earth Building Maker.  Sort of like LEGO Digital Designer but with less pieces (for now) and a real world geographical aspect.  The experience is riddled with The LEGO Movie characters (Vitruvius starts you through the tutorial) and may very well be part of their whole marketing campaign.

***Warning, the Build Academy takes you through lots of LEGO Movie builds.  As of this writing I haven't been able to see the film yet so I don't know if it contains spoilers.***

I'm having a tough time getting it to work well in Firefox.  Of course it works very well in the Chrome browser.  The whole system takes a little getting used to as well.  If you're good with SketchUp or LDD, you'll probably make quick work of this.  One tip I can give is to start building from the back and come forward.  You can always rotate your baseplate to change what's the back.

There are many shortcomings such as a minimal offering of pieces, inability to save in progress, inability to delete builds and many other missing features that you would expect to see.  While I can't outright find any information to the fact, I believe that this is a beta (as most Google products start out with the public) and more features will be added in the future.  For now though, you can build your house, on your actual property!

Having a Google+ account is helpful but not necessary.

Visit and build something AWESOME!

Set Review - Ewar's Acro Fighter 30250

Merry Chimas!  No, wait, that's not right.  Hmm.  Well anyway how about a little furry action?  Er no, not that.  Not going well is it?  How about a set review?

I don't much fancy the Chima line.  Not that I'm high on Ninjago either.  But a polybag's a polybag and TLG was clearing these out at 98c each.  Unfortunately mine came from Target for $3.99 or so.  Christmas was a bit sparse this year but I allowed the missus to stick this one in my stocking.  Even though I bought it and I knew it was in there it was still a thrill to pull it out and build it.  Maybe that's what I needed to enjoy this set.

The build is what I would expect from a polybag; simple, unimpressive, underbuilt.  The minifig practically dwarfs it.  But the Acro Fighter has a very aquilian form for it's mere 22 pieces.  I especially like the bit of yellow at the tip of the nose of the craft.  Beaky.  But I wonder if the designers would have considered a 1x1 plate with tooth instead.

I'm simultaneously impressed and underwhelmed by all of the Chima minifigs.  The execution is great but it just doesn't interest me.  Kind of like a gourmet vegetarian meal.  What I zoned in on though was the neck piece bracket/armor, thingy.  If you can hide the shoulder pads it is a very useful piece of SNOT.  There's 8.0mm in the middle plus 2x 0.8mm flanges on either side.  This totals 9.6mm between studs which is the same as a brick height.  Seems like nothing goes unnoticed with the LEGO parts design team.

The wings are a nice little piece as well.  They have appeared in black and white thus far and I would love to see them appear in grey as well.  I'm picturing a minifig sized angel statue.

If you're into Chima this would be a nice addition to your aerie.  Other than some otherwise unknown polybag this seems to be the only way to get Ewar.  To me though that's like finding the only farm store that sells parsnips.

The other eagles from LEGO Shop at Home:

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!