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

LEGO Shop at Home Brick Friday Deals

LEGO Shop at Home has posted their on-line deals for Brick Friday.  Chima appears to be failing as a line as darn near every set, gear, and accessory is 50% off.  Now's a good time to stock up on Speedorz if that's your thing.  I was disappointed that the list includes so many items that are already retired or sold out.

Deals start at midnight.  My experience is that this is EST so us West Coasters can start shopping at 9a.

Here are some of the highlights (click the pictures for the deals):

And a bunch of other DUPLO, Chima, Architecture, and Friends Animal Series at 20% off that aren't really worth noting.  The Mini Modulars are a surprisingly good part value at regular price.  20% off of that one makes it a great deal for parting out.

You're probably better off buying what you want and taking advantage of the price point offers.  At $50 of Star Wars you'll get a free clone trooper lieutenant.  At $99 you'll get the free holiday set.  At $149 you'll get a free $10 gift card.  Free Shipping on all orders, regardless of amount. 

Set Review - Lawn Mower 30224

I'm not much of a City guy.  But I do like a few of the particular wheels.  When the Small Car came out a few years ago I had to get one.  I wish I'd gotten more.  Many of my favorite cars have, in fact, been small.  Big things are cool if you like lots of size.  I've got nothing to make up for so I'm cool with small.  My favorite genre is micro anyway so I'm happy.

As soon as I saw the Lawn Mower I was pretty thrilled about it.  Farming was another of my favorite City themes and a riding mower fits well into that idea.  This was a perfect mashup for me.  Small and farming.  Perfect.  Now I realize that anyone who lives on a proper farm will have a mower attachment for their Kubota or International or Massey Ferguson or what have you.  But as a city boy, I can at least stretch my dreams enough to keep me satiated, k?

Then one of my fellow luggers brought this little set to a meeting.  It's.  Got.  Action!  It doesn't just roll along, but the mower blades actually spin too.  And they'll take uneven terrain.  They sit at a slight angle to and rest on the ground.  The pins let the blades spin freely and the low amount of surface area on the ground translates to low drag.  Even on hard surfaces it works brilliantly.  As soon as our meeting was over I went straight away to pick one up.   I was so visibly excited about the set that the same member then later offered one to me in trade for some of my parts.  Of course I had to tell him that he was a month too late.

I found mine at Price Hikes R Us where I believe it is an exclusive.  Despite their usual markups, this set was only $3.99.  Not bad for a 42 + 3 piece set.  For a City set it also seems to have a large proportion of Technic pieces.  Almost 25% is in pins and connectors and gears.  If you're looking to stock up on 20 tooth gears and lime curved slopes then be my guest.

Even though the mowing action was hot stuff I was a little disappointed at the durability of the set.  That whole grass eating bit is held in place by a single 1x2 technic brick setting on a plate.  No top connections.  Furthermore there are several extra pieces sitting on top of the technic brick, thereby disrupting the already tenuous balance of the assembly.  Being refined as I am I could manage it alright but my 2 year old was continually breaking it.  I think he expected it to be Tonka tough or something.  Sorry little dude, not this set.  Even my 6 and 7 year old daughters were not always able to keep it in one piece.  Of course beefing up that front end may have required a few more pieces and then the novelty of spinning blades would be gone.

If you expect your kids to be able to rough this set around with their Star Wars rigs, they will be sorely disappointed.  If your kids are adept or this will be for your office desk then you DEFINITELY need to get at least one.  I'm tempted to buy a few more and swap out orange, red, and blue for the lime parts.  It's a mower parade!

Find more City sets at

Seller Review - Bricks and Pieces

About 6 months ago I threw a little curveball to these reviews by adding The LEGO Company's online Pick a Brick to the mix.  The review was OK but it's not my first choice.  Sometime afterwards I learned about Bricks and Pieces which is the formal name given to the missing parts service.  If you receive a new set and the headlight brick is cracked or the print on a wedge is smeared or a 1x1 light bluish gray plate is just plain missing, Bricks and Pieces can help you replace it.  What you won't be able to purchase are any pieces that are considered licensed, such as Super Heroes weapons, Star Wars torsos, or Krusty Krab menus.  Many pieces that are currently in production can be found here.  The prices are not set per part in 5c increments like PaB either.  I recently purchased some pieces that were 16c each while an acquaintance spent 67c on another particular piece.  So far all reports are that shipping is a flat $2.95.  And this coming from Denmark.

Seller: Bricks and Pieces
Feedback (at time of writing): n/a
Feedback Ratio: n/a
Location: Denmark
Prices: Vary.  Can be higher or lower than 6 month average.

My Order
Order Size: 1 lots, 200 pieces.
Condition: 100% New.
Shipping Charge: 1 part or 1000 appears to be $2.95
Extra Fees: None
Final Cost per Part: $0.17

Order Date: Sep 20
Invoice Date: n/a
Payment Date: Sep 20
Shipping Date: Sep 20
Delivery Date: Sep 28

Order Details
Why this store: Needed a bunch of some rarer parts.  Wanted to give this service a try.
Packaging: Much like online PaB, all dumped into one big baggie and shipped in a bubble mailer.  A packing slip was included.
Part condition: Like new
Communication: Quick and professional
Feedback left: Positive
Odd telltale signs: None
Issues: Three extra pieces.  Must be using a slightly buyer-favored counting scale.

Using this service is a little bit hands on.  You choose your parts online and then receive an invoice via email.  You then have 2 weeks to call in and pay for the order.  If you decide you don't like the prices, ignore it and you'll have no further obligation (as I did on another order).  Otherwise you give your payment info over the phone and voila, parts on their way.  The online system will allow you to select up to 200 copies of any given element.  Not sure how to get around this other than asking the customer service rep to increase it.  I see no reason why you couldn't.  In fact the email I received encouraged me to add to my order over the phone if I couldn't find what I wanted.  So I guess I could have ordered 400 or 10,000 of the same pieces if I had the need (and thick enough billfold).  Shipping time was way better than expected for a postal package from Denmark to the US, only about a week.  And WAY better than an online PaB order which goes via DHL.  While I could ignore PaB and not miss it, I think the replacement parts service is a much better way to get what you need with fairer prices and faster service.  Be warned though, when talking to the rep it helps to know your 6 and 7 digit codes.  Pull up Brickset to have on hand if needed.

Set Review - Umbaran MHC 30243

Thanks to Halloween and Target I was finally able to wrap up the Star Wars polybags for 2013.  I found a small handful of these Umbaran MHC polybags in the seasonal aisle right next to the mega big bags of "Fun Size" (hardly) candy.  The seller in me wanted to grab them all but the father in me only took half.  I feel good about that decision.

It's hard to tell from the package but this thing looks like it has four legs.  Only when I spilled the contents out into my building tray did I realize that there were six.  I'm really surprised that this isn't called something closer in name to an insect.  I'm even more confused that the Spider Droid really has four legs when it should have eight.  This particular set looks much more like a 6-legged spider what with the back end of the body raised up.  Or maybe an experimental scorpion.

Nonetheless I tried to redeem some of my nerd cred for not knowing how many legs an Umbaran mobile cannon has by attempting to build the set without instructions.  Now I know there's only 49 pieces but it was a challenge all the same.  First was realizing that there are six legs.  In fact, those six legs use up half the pieces of the set.  That actually made my challenge much easier.  One potential red herring piece is the black 2L axle which should have no point whatsoever.  The only pieces it could fit on clutch together very well.  Apparently some Danish play tester was afraid that the transparent stand for this little beastie could snap apart and the cannon would fall down under its own weight.  I'm here to tell you that that should not have been a concern.  The rig is in fact very stable and balanced and can perform many feats of strength.

Of more concern to me is the firearm itself.  A bar with the very tip inserted into a clip is not very strong.  A cone does not make it stronger.  Nor is the connection given any grace when it is further connected to a very tenacious little mechanical arm.

As far as my nerd cred goes, I don't know much about the Clone Wars.  All I know is that this thing is a wonderfully aesthetic match for the AT-RT of which I parted out a couple of dozen.  (If you are interested in a boatload of blue 2x2 dishes, I know right where to go).  So there's not a whole lot of pop culture referential enjoyment here for me.  And the play value is somewhat OK what with the pop-off cannon.  But the poseability of this little critter is beyond cool and had me entertained for hours.  That alone is worth the price of admission.

Can't find this set at your local retailer?  I've got several available for sale with at-cost shipping.

For the full size version, click the pic to go to


Set Review - Micro Scale Bag End (San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Exclusive)

Now before you stand in awe of my supposed wonder, let me set a few things straight.  I did not attend the aforementioned convention.  Nor did I dish out over $100 for this item on the grey market.  I did however obtain a copy for around $5.  That much I am amazing for.  You can do it too, read on to find out how.

Boring old stock set

When I first saw pictures of this set grace the more popular blogs I instantly knew I had to have it.  I own An Unexpected Gathering and the Mini Modulars set.  This is a great mashup of two of my favorite themes.

The build is quite nice and I only have a few complaints.  First, the dark tan panels in front of the house should be reddish brown, not dark tan.  And a little longer.  Second, there are green tiles under the side windows that should be replaced with double cheese slopes.  That would give it a little nicer slope into the ground.  Also, the instructions do not seem to include a piece or a step for the dining table.  There's just 2 little 1x1 round plates sitting there expecting a wood slab on top.  I recommend adding a 1x3 plate on top.  I'd like to see the roof constructed in such a way that it could come off for play.  This would probably require an extra level of plates and tiles that would throw the vertical scale off though.  If you're careful you CAN peel the roof off.  I appreciate that the flesh colored chimney was replaced with dark orange bricks.  However the dark bley tile on top would be better as dark tan.  But as that piece hadn't been released yet, it's forgiveable.

Amazingly accurate modified set!

Since I had just parted out a Minecraft set I got to thinking about Hobbit micromobs.  I created all the figures from the larger set in micro scale to outfit the dinner party.  Now the micro dwarves can eat Bilbo out of his micro house and home!  My 6 year old daughter was quite delighted to shove all of them into the back end of the house and then stand Gandalf out front.  To make them proper, I need some 1x1 plates (round and square) in dark orange and dark brown.  And a sand green or olive green 1x1 plate with clip for hammer dwarf to hold the appropriately scaled minifig tool.

Eating the poor boy out of house and hole.

Compared to the large set, how does the micro stack up?  Some of the Micro Modulars are better than others when it comes to emulating their larger brothers.  I'd like to start by saying that I think the scale of the larger one is funny looking.  Don't get me wrong, it's one of my favorite sets but it looks like an ivy grown school bus not a cozy home built into a hill.  In scale comparison the micro set is half the depth, 1/3 the width, and about 40% the height.  To make the scale consistent, the micro would have to be on an 8x18 plate, not 8x12.  But then I think there would be other issues that sprung up such as spacing of the front facade features.  The tree on the micro is a bit right of center and should be one stud to the left.  But I think this minor point would make bigger problems.  What IS unfortunate is the lack of shrubbery and floral scenery on the micro.  Where would you put them, you ask?  I suppose the front panel fences should move forward one stud to make some garden room.  Then include a few flower studs and maybe a 1x1 round brick or square brick or round plates or a cone in green for the bush.

Several things converged all at once to make my ownership of this set possible.  First, timhook22 kindly photographed every page of the instruction manual.  Second, cmrt1014 created a Bricklink XML file for wanted lists and the like.  Third, none of these pieces are unique or hard to find.  I had most of them in my builder's supply.  And so it was that with a few orders I was able to create my own copy.  Even if you have to build the thing from scratch, the Bricklink part out value is about $20.  Apparently the box and instructions are what add $80 to the value.  You could do it for even less if you don't want a mammoth sized Hobbit looming over his little hole.

Once you build your micro, I highly recommend getting an ivy covered school bus to go with it:

LEGO Finds - Calendar Week 39

A rather odd and small selection this week.  I'm loving the dark blue but the Knight's Kingdom playing card is a new one to me.  Other than a slight crease in the middle it's in really nice shape.  Must be a Canadian version since the text on the back is English and Francais.

LEGO Techniques - LEGO Dice

Roll them bones!  Probably one of the greatest things to come out of the new generation of LEGO Games has been the dice.  They seem to sell for a pretty low price but they are master studs out pieces if you can manage them.  The dice have two parts to them.  One is the ABS mold injected red (or pearl gold) bit.  The other is the rubber injected flange bit that allows the dice to bounce around your table like a ping pong ball.  The rubber flange is fairly easy to separate from the surface of the die but requires a bit more finesse to remove it in one piece.  At some point I finally gave up and cut out the center of one of the rubber sides.  Only then did I realize that there is a hollow inside the plastic part that allows the rubber to flow through and grip tenaciously.

But with or without the flange you an use the die for creating a whole ton of SNOT.  The only drawback is that the distance between studs is 5.5 plates.  This can be made a few different ways.  A 2x plate is the same width as 5 plates tall.  You could attach either one to a bracket or other element with a half plate portion.  Or you could use a travis brick (2.5 plates wide) with three plates (or a brick) to take up the rest.  You would have to choose whether to put 3 plates on one side or 2 on one side and 1 on the other.  In this case I've got studs to the outside with a half plate gap between them.

Or you could build out the die with a plate on opposite sides.  You would then have 7.5 plates in width which is exactly the same length as a 3x element.  The problem then becomes a 1/4 plate gap due to the size of the opposing plates.  (5.5 plates minus 5 plates for a 2x element leaves a 1/2 plate width to be split evenly).  One form of a perfect connection would be to place 2x2 plates on every face and then 3x3 plates over that.  Every 3x3 will show only the edge of the plate and no more.

Imagine these are 3x3 plates...

Or you can throw caution to the wind and let the gaps add up, eventually resolving it somewhere.

You can see that little hole in the middle that helps the rubber flange to grip the die so well.  You can start a Technic axle down the hole but it won't go past the stop.  Even a 3.2mm bar won't slip through there.  It's about 1.6mm thick so it's not grippable by a clip either.  It's mostly just in the way.

With Novvember coming up soon I think I might try my hand at using this piece to build some sort of LEGO Games based Nnenn-ship.

LEGO Techniques - Gingerbread Man Head

I'm not much of a CMF collector.  I had a little run on Series 6 but beyond that it's been hit and miss.  But when Series 11 came out I was impressed with the Gingerbread Man, mostly for the new head mold.  So when I found one of these figures through the usual packomancy (feel for the mug) I was excited to give it a look over.
The very first thing I noticed about the head was that it was 2 pieces.  I logged onto Bricklink and found I was not the first to make this discovery.  The head is listed as a c01 piece (meaning complete assembly) using the number for the main head piece.  However there is no entry for the filling. I took up my duties as a community activist and added the piece to be approved.  BrickOwl has already approved it as a new part.

As you can see I stressed it out trying to figure out the proper removal method.

My first thought on the shape of this piece was that it resembled the Rebel Alliance symbol but without the barb/floret in the center.  The addition of a small piece would make it a nice chocolate cream addition to a Star Wars diorama.  I can almost hear Yummy Wan Kenobi telling Luke Stovewalker to use the Fondant.

So what can you do with this piece?  It has some very odd dimensions.  Where the Bionicle Zamor Sphere is 17mm (just over 2 studs) this interior piece and the whole head is 14mm in diameter (just under 2 studs).  It's also too big to fit inside the bottom of a 2x2 piece (12.8mm).

LEGO element dimensions generally work on a grid of 0.8mm.  Here, the thickness of the piece is 2mm which again presents a challenge.  Most clips need at least 3mm of thickness to grab onto.  The 2mm thickness also makes it impossible to fit inside a grill tile which is 1.6mm wide.

One dimension worth noting is the void inside the two clip ends.  This space seems to be just under 8mm and can therefore grip onto a 1x element.  The little guide nub in the middle can slip into a hollow stud for a little extra security.

The great frosted staff of Chocohlu

"We've reached the temple!  Only those who are delicious may enter."

So how to remove this piece?  GENTLY pry both ends by the neck away from each other.  An X-acto blade should be skinny enough to get in there.  This should release the clips on either side just enough to shoot the piece off into your pile of clean laundry thereby requiring you to fold it all and put it away before finding it.  Not that that happened to me.  At least it wasn't dirty.

I look forward to seeing some creative uses with this piece.  Feel free to post links to your creations in the comments.

Set Review - Mini VW T1 Camper 40079

As a purveyor of all things mini my heart skipped a beat when I saw the September Shop at Home promotion from The LEGO Company.  This miniature little Volkswagen Camper Van was waiting to be shipped free when I spent $75.  Done deal.  I dropped the cash on a couple of Minecraft sets and was surprised to receive the whole shebang sooner than usual.

The set comes in a larger than usual polybag.  It also includes a smaller polybag of parts almost like it was a real set.  What was really surprising is that the stickers come in a cardboard protector.  As if the sticker would get any more ruined in a polybag than it would rattling around loose in a box with a bunch of parts and instructions.  A nice gesture all the same.

Admittedly it's hard to get the curves of a VW just right when using square blocks.  The back end should be rounded in three dimensions.  But the use of the white wedges on the roof helps to soften things up a little.  The model shown comes with grooved jumper plates but mine were non grooved.  I prefer this as it gives a smoother look as if it really were canvas.  The grooves make the pop-up look like it's built of bricks.

When I was younger I had friends that had a 23 window van.  Those curved gallery windows were so cool that you hardly noticed the whopping 42 horsepower trotting along.  That and the headlight bezels hitting your knees in the front seat.  You could recreate the windowed look by replacing the white double cheese slopes with alternating white and clear single cheese.  Some sort of accommodation and reworking would need to be made for the front roof piece to get the two forward most side gallery windows.  (The rearmost side windows have no such additional windows).  You'll still be shy about 6 windows though.

TLG lists the set as being worth $4.99 on the invoice.  This seems way too low in my opinion.  With 76 (+2 extra) parts this should be more like a $7.99 set.  Several sellers have them listed on BrickOwl for about $18 each while the larger supply on Bricklink has dropped the average price to a little over $16.  You can find it for lower if you are patient and snag it at the right time.

If you can, I would recommend making an order at or going to your nearest LEGO Brand Retail Store to get it free.  If you're already planning on purchasing $75 worth of stuff then you'll get free shipping in the US and this little set.  Definitely worth the purchase.

Of course you could build the bigger brother as well. Find it at The Official LEGO Shop:

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Set Review - Minecraft II: The Village 21105

First off, I realize that this blog deals mostly with polybags.  I'm about to blow that one out of the water.  Second, I didn't even know what Minecraft was until I saw the project on Cuusoo.  Third, this will be a little different review.  With that, lets dive in.

In all honestly, I ordered two copies of this brand new set because of the awesome piece selection.  1x1 tiles in Dark Green AND Dark Tan?  Double w00t!  I intended to part out and sell a lot of it.  After receiving the set and giving it further inspection, I'm almost inclined to just keep it all for myself.  The value is incredible too.  You get 466 pieces plus 23 25 extras including the ubiquitous Brick and Axle Separator.  But the other 22 24 extras are duplicates of all the 1x1 pieces including printed parts.  That's no chump change.  The printed parts are all 1x1 plates and a 1x1 tile.  All pricey when they have Minecraft branded on them.  But when bundled with a bunch of other parts, that's a base value of $0.07 per part (before any applicable taxes).

In Minecraft II: The Village those extras are zombie eyes, zombie mouth, villager eyes, villager mouth, and pig face.  Given that these creatures are built mostly out of 1x1 plates and tiles (and that those are the common extras) you could easily get double the characters with only 1 or 2 additions from your own stash.  That's awesomesauce in a bucket right there.  The pig is built out of a new pig face printed tile and a 1x1 brick with two side studs.  Easy enough to find in your collection except that you don't have an extra in bright pink, trust me.  With one stud, maybe but not a second tail stud.  So you'll be reduced to creating a second hybrid pig with a pink face and a grey, tan, black, or white body.  Or no tail.  Good enough, variety is alright, saright?

The printed pieces in Minecraft I alone account for at least $16-$18 of aftermarket value.  You get 5 total there including the extras.  In Minecraft II you get 10 total printed pieces including the extras.  This could almost pay for the set if you want all the little bits to build for yourself.  Apparently I'm talking mostly to micro builders here.  As Steve's mouth was used as drawer pulls in an awesome desk MOC, the printed villager face pieces could certainly be used in some sort of microbuild skyscraper.  Or some fine minifig furniture details.  The zombie has some cool micro print as well if you could build something relevant in green and/or lime.

If you hadn't figured it out already, I would have no intention of actually BUILDING the set for myself.  I mean, I love inception as much as the next guy loves inception as much as the next guy loves inception but my main intent here is to get some pieces for myself, especially if letting go of a few can cover the cost of the set.  Good economics, right?  So for micro builders and others who have a good use for lots of 1x1 and 1x2 bits and bobs, I would HIGHLY recommend this set.

And just so that I can't be accused of showing favoritism, Minecraft I and Minecraft III have their merits as well.  Minecraft I is heavy on the green, brown and tan.  Minecraft II has lots of dark tan and dark green going for it as well as some round 1x1 plates in green.  Minecraft III relies on black and dark red for its majority but also introduces some small elements in bright light orange.  All three sets include a solid two and a half handfuls of dark and light grey pieces.

For a Minecraft fan, you might as well pick it up, right?  For micro builders and others needing tiny bits, this set is a great value.  For speculators, of course you're going to screw with the market by using multiple channels to get dozens of sets and jack the price to twice on the grey market.  TLG had your number by flooding the market and raising the purchase limit on their website.  While Minecraft II and III are a limit of 2 at the moment, I have to think that TLG will soon raise that to five. </rant> </review>

But at least while they're available, you should get them:

Minecraft Minecraft: The Village Minecraft: The Nether