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Lego Ninjago Movie Fire Mech 70615 Review

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2017’s Lego Ninjago Movie didn’t have the critical success of The Lego Movie or The Lego Batman Movie, but it did create a whole series of excellent tie in sets. Where the Ninjago theme never really appealed to me, with an art design that never really clicked, the Ninjago Movie versions were bold, colourful and a lot more interesting to my old eyes.

Today we’re going to be looking at one of these sets, 70615 – Fire Mech. You can watch the video, or read on for the full review with photos…

This is a 944 piece set that retails for £59.99 in the UK and $69.99 in the US, although now we’re a year on from the release of the movie, it’s often available at Amazon with a good discount. Be sure to check brickdigest.deals for the latest UK pricing.

Standing at 36cm tall, it’s an impressive looking model, with bright bold red colouring, two massive flaming guns and tall flags on the back. Like Big Hero 6, the Ninjago Movie favoured an Asian-infused futuristic technology vibe, and the abundance of stickers on this set all tie in with the idea that the mech parts have come from a factory floor and assembled into final form.

There are a lot of interesting building techniques used to achieve the mechanical look, including rare joint pieces and a number of different SNOT methods. The outside parts are largely standard bricks, without the need to offer custom moulded parts like the buildable figure range. The joints are also all strong, so this should stand up to the rigours of child’s play, and it’s remarkably stable on it’s two large feet. The joints having enough give to almost act like suspension when pushed. Sadly it’s not completely posable, with no joints at the knees, and arms that seem slightly two heavy for the shoulder joints, which does limit a lot of potential play opportunities.

Each of the arms has a flame thrower at the end which can be rotated from the back with a wheel. The rubber tubing on both these and the flame tanks at the rear adds to the mechanical feeling of the model. They also have disc throwers at the top, which work by pushing a button at the back. I guarantee the discs are lost within the first 10 minutes.

The front cockpit opens up with room for Kai to pilot, with joysticks on either side.

The build is pretty quick, with 8 bags, each with a single number. That reduces the amount of piece hunting because you have fewer on the table to look through, and the 9-14 age range seems about right. It can feel a little repetitive, with almost identical arms, legs and feet, so it would have been nice to have more variation on each side just to make that more interesting.

There are 6 minifigures included, Kai – who is the pilot of this particular mech in the film, Zane, Lauren, Henry, Hammer Head and Jelly. It’s certainly one of the stranger collection of minifigures I’ve seen, and Jelly certainly has the craziest headgear.

Whether for play or display, this is a striking, largely successful attempt at the Mech genre, and the price is right for the size and number of pieces included. Despite some of my reservations over the poseability and repetitiveness of the build, I do think that this would put a smile on the face of any child. Which is why Noah now gets this one.

Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle Designer Video

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This is a great look at the Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle from Lego themselves, with a much higher quality designer video than we often get.

The castle is huge, even though I still wish it were minifigure scale (and therefore even bigger), and it’s definitely a cross between Big Ben (from the front, especially the left side with the same lamp posts, and all over same colour) and the Disney Castle (open at the back, with the detailed rooms). Lots and lots of stickers – which you’ll either love, or hate.

As a reminder, it’s 6020 pieces, retails for £349/$399, and is available on September 1st.

Modular Grand Emporium 10211 Review

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Lego introduced the Modular Buildings range in 2007, and there have been 13 sets released so far, the last of which was the Diner in early 2018. There was Cafe Corner, then Market Street, then the Green Grocer, then the Fire Station (which we’ll look at soon) and then came this – the Grand Emporium. I needed more buildings for our town, so I cut the sellotape on this one. Most expensive tape I’ve ever cut.

Watch the full review or read on…

This is set number 10211, and when it was released in March 2010 it retailed for £133 or $149. Nowadays, expect to pay upwards of £250 to get one brand new in box. It has 2182 pieces, and is recommended for ages 16 and up.

The overall look is of a 20th century department store, like a Harrods or Macys. Modular buildings are great because of the attention to detail, and the three floor exterior of this one doesn’t disappoint (unlike the interior, which we’ll get to shortly).

At street level we have the traditional modular lamp post, along with a mailbox, two flower pots and an ice cream stand. Every modular build starts with tiling the street outside, and this is no different, and this time there’s a fancier blue square pattern leading up to the main entrance.

And that entrance is a revolving door with the word SHOP in yellow letters above. There’s some fun building techniques in making that work, and the overall effect is fantastic. Above each of the ground floor windows is a green awning, and through the windows you can see some of the available products, including hats, suits and dresses. The latter two are modelled by minfigures with the faces turned to the back so they look like mannequins, a simple yet effective trick.

Floor 2 and 3 look almost identical, with 8 windows on each, and a nice combination of flat tile and grill pieces to add some interest. The differences are that on floor 2 we get some flagpoles and flags, adding to the fact this is meant to be an upmarket shopping destination and finally on floor 3, we have a window cleaner on a platform hanging from the roof.

The roof itself has a clever use of curved pieces, with a flower stuck back to front on a tap as the central emblem. On the very top is a large skylight window, and a billboard with three lights. The billboard has a blue present and what appears to be a disappointed Lego character. If I think of a good alternative, that seems like something that could be swapped out for something better.

The two other sides are much plainer, but the rear side does have a back entrance with door and light, with two upper floor windows. Unlike many of the other modulars, the wall colours are consistent due to the lack of detail on the inside.

Of course the reason it’s called a modular, is because it all comes apart into separate floors. Newer modulars connect each floor through the use of a small number of studs on the top of each previous one, but this one does it with no studs at all, with each floor just resting on the top. This makes it much easier to take apart, but also means each floor can feel a little shoogly when pushed.

If we take it apart, I can show you the interior, and unfortunately it’s not quite as detailed. While later modulars really pushed what could be done outside and in (even if that resulted in smaller sets), it is clear that the effort here was spent on the exterior.

It’s not completely barren though, and the ground floor makes an effort to complete the department store theme, with a main checkout desk, cash register, central table containing various pieces of what appear to be jewellery, and a small changing area in the corner with a curtain. The only wall decoration is two pairs of trousers.

An escalator takes you up to the second floor, which has even less to show. Just two tables, one with two gold plates, and another covered in glasses. With nothing on the walls, and just an escalator up to the next floor, this as simple as it could be. I guess this is the homeware department.

And then on the top floor we have the sports department, with an exercise bike, container with two exercise balls and a table that has a small house on it? Or is this the baby department and that’s a trike? At least it’s finished off with this nice chandelier, made of lots of transparent 1×1 slopes.

I’ve said before that I have a soft spot for the modular range, and this one is no exception. It looks really great from the outside, and would add a touch of elegance to any Lego town. The build itself was straightforward, which as always makes me question the 16+ age range on the box. I’m not too bothered by the bare interior, because at the end of the day it’s never really going to be seen, so I’m not too averse to them using the piece count to make the outside as great as it can be. But on the flip side, sometimes you need to paint behind the radiator too, so maybe the best solution is just to increase the cost to do both.

If you have the means, you won’t be disappointed if you manage to pick this up.

Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Minifigures Now Available

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It’s August 1st, which means there is a bunch of new Harry Potter sets now available, including the complete set of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts minifigures, of which there are 22 to collect. These retail for the usual UK and US pricing of £2.99 / $3.99 and there are the following to collect…

  • Cedric Diggory
  • Mad-Eye Moody
  • Professor Sybil Trelawney
  • Dean Thomas
  • Luna Lovegood
  • Ron Weasley
  • Harry Potter (Invisibility Cloak)
  • Harry Potter (Hogwarts Robes)
  • Draco Malfoy
  • Hermione Granger
  • Dobby
  • Professor Filius Flitwick
  • Professor Albus Dumbledore
  • Neville Longbottom
  • Lord Voldemort
  • Cho Chang
  • Percival Graves
  • Queenie Goldstein
  • Credence Barebone
  • Newt Scamander
  • Tina Goldstein
  • Jacob Kowalski

There’s a few obvious missing ones there, such as Hagrid and Snape, but that’s because they’re included in some of the sets that are also now available – which means you’ll just need to spend all your money if you want to collect them all. There’s also not a fair distribution in the box, with 22 figures and a total of 60 in each display box (what the shops get), there’s 3 of some of them, 2 of others and only 1 Percival Graves in each box. That’ll make that one extra difficult to find, which just seems cruel.

These are also the first child minifigures to have articulated legs, which means our long national nightmare of them never being allowed to sit down is finally over.

Turkish Airlines Lego Safety Video

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Easily the best airline safety video ever. With appearances from the cast of The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie and the Lego Ninjago Movie. Well done Turkish Airlines.

But is that Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett? No.

Still awesome.

Lego City Build Progress July 2018

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I think building a Lego city is the ultimate goal of most fans. We’ve all seen those amazing layouts on Youtube, usually from Americans who seem to have basements twice the size of the average UK house, and we all hope to replicate even a small part of that. Ever since I moved home a year ago, I’ve been planning to get something set up, but time has always been against me. Finally at the start of July I was able to start laying something out, and this video is the result of that…

This was mostly a learning experience, see what worked, see what didn’t work, and give myself a sense of what was really going to be required to make this something special. I learned a lot…

  • The whole endeavour is massively time consuming. Whether it’s putting down fence pieces or laying out a beach, those small details come at a cost – time. Hours just disappear.
  • Straight train track pieces are in short supply. I have a few different train sets, and they all come with lots of curved track, and very little straight track. That makes coming up with satisfactory layouts a challenge.
  • You can never have too much space. And most things take up way more space than you think they will.
  • Pieces are expensive, whether through Pick a Brick in-store, online or through Bricklink. And they never turn up quickly enough, so you’re often sitting around waiting for the next order to arrive.

At first I thought this would just be a nicer way to display all the sets I’ve bought rather than just putting them on shelves. But the more I got into it, the more I realised what a combination of skills this requires, from the design and layout skills, to the art of making it look nice, it’s not as easy as just putting things down on a board and crossing your fingers. I think that’s why I like it so much, and why I hope you’ll enjoy seeing the progress.

6000 piece Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle Announcement (71043)

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Rumours of a giant upcoming Harry Potter set have been swirling all year, and Lego finally dropped the info on this behemoth today. This is a 6020 piece set which will be released on September 1st for £349.99 in the UK and $399.99 in the USA. It’s like a cross between the Disney Castle and Big Ben sets from a couple of years ago.

It’s not minifigure scale (which I guess would just have been way too large), it’s microfigure scale. That means it comes with 27 microfigures to fill the castle halls, and at 58cm high and 69cm wide, you’re going to need some significant space to put this one on display.

Here’s the full press release with more photos underneath…

Make the magic come alive at the LEGO Harry Potter 71043 Hogwarts Castle! This highly detailed LEGO Harry Potter collectible has over 6,000 pieces and offers a rewarding build experience.

It comes packed with highlights from the Harry Potter series, where you will discover towers, turrets, chambers, classrooms, creatures, the Whomping Willow and Hagrid´s hut, plus many more iconic features.

And with 4 minifigures, 27 microfigures featuring students, professors and statues, plus 5 Dementors, this advanced building set makes the perfect Harry Potter gift.

  • Includes 4 minifigures: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin and Rowena Ravenclaw, with a buildable minifigure display stand.
  • Also features 27 microfigures: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Albus Dumbledore, Professor Snape, Professor McGonagall, Remus Lupin, Professor Dolores Umbridge, Argus Filch, Lord Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, 3 students from each of the 4 houses, 2 chess pieces and the Architect of Hogwarts statue and 5 Dementors, plus Aragog the spider and the Basilisk figures, and a buildable Hungarian Horntail dragon.
  • Features a buildable microscale model of Hogwarts Castle, hut of Hagrid, Whomping Willow tree and 5 boats.
  • Hogwarts Castle features the Great Hall with buildable ‘stained glass windows’, house banners, benches, tables, flaming torches and moving staircases; potions classroom with racks of jar elements; Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom with assorted potion jars, gramophone and a closet containing a boggart; Chessboard Chamber with chess piece elements; Room of Requirement with assorted elements, including the Goblet of Fire and the vanishing cabinet; Chamber of Secrets with the Basilisk and Tom Riddle’s Diary; hidden Devils Snare room with vine elements; Gryffindor common room with fireplace and seating; Professor Dolores Umbridge’s office with desk, chair and pink furnishings; library with bookcase and desks; and Professor Dumbledore’s office with the Griffin statue entrance and Memory cabinet.
  • Hagrid’s hut features Aragog the spider and buildable pumpkins.
  • The Whomping Willow includes the buildable blue Flying Ford Anglia car in its spinning branches.
  • Also includes 5 buildable boats.
  • Take a seat in the Great Hall and feast with the Hogwarts professors and students!
  • Sneak your way into the Chamber of Secrets through the secret entrance and face the Basilisk!
  • Attend a Defence Against the Dark Arts class to learn how to protect yourself from dark magic!
  • Climb the moving staircase!
  • Study for your Ordinary Wizarding Level exams in the library.
  • Accessory elements include the Sword of Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff´s cup, wands, potions, house banners, flames, a cauldron and 2 magnifying glasses.
  • Microfigure accessories include 2 chess statues and the Architect of Hogwarts statue.
  • Hogwarts Castle measures over 22” (58cm) high, 27” (69cm) wide and 16” (43cm) deep.

Lego James Bond Aston Martin DB5 (10262) Reveal

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Lego have been promoting “License to Build” for a few weeks now, so it’s been pretty clear that a James Bond set of some sort has been coming, and what else could it be than an Aston Martin DB5.

This is a 1,290 piece set in the style of the Creator Mini, VW Camper or VW Beetle rather than the Porsche or Bugatti. Which also means it’s much more affordable, at £129.99 / $149.99 and it’s available for VIPs today.

To be honest, I’m not sure how James Bond fits in with the Lego brand, and that’s demonstrated by the features of the model. While the working ejector seat, revolving number plates and hidden telephone are fine, the bulletproof shield and front wing machine guns aren’t really family friendly!

Here’s the full press release…

Uncover the secrets of 007’s most famous vehicle with the LEGO Creator Expert James Bond Aston Martin DB5!

Combining a wealth of sophisticated gadgetry and the elegance of 007’s iconic Aston Martin DB5, LEGO Group have today announced the launch of the LEGO Creator Expert James Bond Aston Martin DB5, available exclusively from LEGO Stores and shop.LEGO.com from today.

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from the 1964 hit film Goldfinger is the latest in the LEGO Creator Expert series and features a wealth of authentic gadgets and gizmos all created in Q’s workshop.

The model has been designed to provide a challenging and rewarding building experience full of nostalgia—a must-have for fans of Aston Martin, James Bond movies and LEGO building sets.

Featuring 1,290 pieces, you can combine the understated sophistication of Aston Martin with the joy of LEGO building and create your very own piece of James Bond memorabilia. An authentic replica of the world-famous 1964 Aston Martin DB5 sports car, this 1:8 scale model includes many of the unique features showcased in Goldfinger, from a working ejector seat, revolving number plates, radar tracker, hidden telephone, bulletproof shield, front wing machine guns and wheel mounted tyre scythes’.

The exterior of the car, painted in Silver Birch just like the original, features the smooth curves and sleek edges of the original Aston Martin DB5 and includes key details including sloped headlamps and drum lacquered silver front and rear bumpers. The moulded silver wire wheel rim inserts also feature the iconic Aston Martin wings that match the wings on the front and rear of the car. Pop open the bonnet to find a detailed six cylinder engine and open the doors of the car to reveal a radar tracker, as well as a telephone tucked away in the secret door compartment.

This LEGO Creator Expert model packed with a wealth of James Bond gadgetry is sure to have fans rubbing their hands with excitement.

The finished model measures over 3” (10cm) high, 13” (34cm) long and 4” (12cm) wide, making this a perfect display piece whilst showcasing the timeless elegance of 007’s iconic sports car.

Two Roller Coasters Now Available

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As of June 1st, two new Lego Roller Coaster sets are available. One small, one large, with prices to match.

The first is the Creator Expert Roller Coaster (10261) which has 4124 pieces, and retails for £299 and $379 respectively. That makes it 7.3p/9.2c per piece. This is a gigantic, expensive, highly detailed set which will go very nicely with the Carousel and Ferris Wheel. I do think the price is quite high, no doubt due to the large amount of new track pieces involved, but definitely higher than the other fairground sets. I also think that for that price the power motor functions should be included, rather than you having to spend even more to have it run hands free.

There’s a designer video for this one…

If that’s too much for you, there’s also the Pirate Roller Coaster (31084). This is a much smaller, with just 923pcs, but it’s also priced lower at £69.99 or $89.99. This is a slightly more expensive 7.5p per piece, but your overall investment is smaller. This actually seems more creative to me than the big set, with the strong pirate theme, half ship on one corner and skull passthrough at the top. It uses the same track pieces as the larger coaster (and the Joker Manor from last year), which means you could technically combine them both together for an even bigger run.

As it’s also a 3-in-1 Creator set, you also get instructions to turn it into other fairground rides such as this one…

There’s no doubt that with the right budget, you could buy 3 copies of this set to have every model, the large Roller Coaster, the Ferris Wheel, the Carousel and the Friends theme park sets and have yourself quite the setup.

Harry Potter Brickheadz Coming Soon

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Lego just can’t stop themselves with these Brickheadz. My wife and son love Harry Potter, and they’re going to love these. No pricing or availability dates announced yet, but I assume the usual pricing of £10 or so applies.