Lego Roller Coaster 10261 Review


Full Size Lego Car Actually Drives


This is one of those things that I thought I’d posted already, but hadn’t, because I saw it in so many places.

Lego (crazies that they are) built a full size Bugatti Chiron out of Lego Technic. It has over a million pieces, doesn’t use any glue, and is over 90% Lego (the wheels/tyres are real, and there’s a small steel frame). Most amazing is it actually drives, powered by 2,304 Lego Power Functions motors it has a theoretical top speed of 18mph (they haven’t quite tried to go that fast yet) even though it weighs 1500kg. Even the spoiler works, moving up and down through a Technic pneumatic system.

All in, it took over 13,000 human hours to build, and proves that with enough time and skill, you really can build anything out of Lego.

See how it was made with this video…

And check out more of the photos…

Lego City Build Progress September 5th 2018


I had actually planned this week to have finished building the Roller Coaster, but since I’ve been sick for the past 5 days, I just didn’t get it done. So instead here’s a look at what parts of the city have improved over the past week. Video embedded below…

The Roller Coaster is huge (like, really really huge), and doesn’t actually fit in the space I had planned for it. I’m going to need to move the train line to fit around it, or at least position it at a different angle. But what I don’t want to do is have the carousel hidden being too obscured, so some serious finagling is going to be required.

On the city front, the main progress was getting the fence completed around the top level, and getting a staircase completed. You can see the completed version of this in the image at the top, but here’s a close up of the fence. Not only is it visually more interesting, but it also covers up where two baseplates are sitting on top of each other.

I made plenty of mistakes in my bricks order, the main one being that I ordered 1×8 blocks instead of 2×8 blocks, so had to resort to using 2×4’s instead – which I turned out not to have enough of. Even when my math is correct and I order the right number, I can still make a mistake and order the wrong thing. Pro tip – planning!

By next week I’ll have finished the Roller Coaster, and I can do a proper review. And hopefully I’ll also get a chance to get the train line to fit, and start re-building all the beaches. One side of the city (as you’ll see at the end of the video) is in need of some serious love.

Lego City Build Progress August 2018


Another month has gone by, so it’s time to take a look at how our city build is going. As always, there’s a video tour…

After introducing 2 additional tables for building space last month, it seemed like the best way to take advantage of them was to really break everything down and start again, which is exactly what I did.

I’ve always thought that the best way to maximise space on a table without much depth is to have the train go underneath the buildings, so that was really the goal of this month. With a lot of 2×8 bricks, and some baseplates from Strictly Briks which have tubes underneath, I was able to build a stable platform with just Lego and not have to resort to exercising my carpentry skills. I also figure this gives me better scope for changing it again in the future.

I’ve always had a vision of a raised up beach town with a waterfall / river flowing down the centre and into the sea, and you can see how far that vision has come with the picture at the top. The platforms are also really handy for hiding lights and USB hubs below, in order to do things like this…

There’s a lot of work still to be done in September. I’ve started building the Roller Coaster, but it’s so big that I think I’m going to need to play around with ways to get that, the Carousel and the Ferris Wheel all together (I’ve already given up on the idea that I could get the Disney Castle in there too). I’ve also got the Lego Modular Fire Station and the Old Fishing Store to build and place before I can truly say that the major structures are complete. And then we’ll be doing lots of beaches, flowers, trees, plants, people, cars and making the waterfall look like… well… water!

Stay tuned for more.

The Lego minifigure is 40 years old


Back in 1978, a year before me, the Lego minifigure was born. Lego have picked August 29th as the birthday because they filed the patent on that date the year before (which I’m sure made sense to somebody), so today’s the day.

Starting with a selection of 20 different figures, there are now over 8,000 minifigures available (before you start taking them apart and making your own combinations of course). I have to say that we have quite a lot of them in this house, but absolutely nowhere near that many.

Brickset posted a lot more facts and figures, and this mesmerising video of them being made…

Star Wars Betrayal at Cloud City Announced


In a surprise reveal, Lego has announced another flagship Star Wars set – Betrayal at Cloud City (75222). This is a 2,812 piece set which will be available on October 1st (or September 13th for VIPs). Coming in at £299 / $349 / €349.99, this is a large, expensive set with a huge number of minifigures (18 to be exact) which is definitely designed for play, rather than display.

Not really my cup of tea to be honest, and we’ve already had a much better Slave 1, and even the Carbon Freezing Chamber (looks like the same piece being used too) has been done recently. But if you like your Star Wars, or have a kid who loves Star Wars, this is probably going to be high on your Christmas list.

Here’s the full press release…

Visit Bespin’s amazing metropolis in the sky—Cloud City!

Relive a world of unforgettable moments from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back or add your own fun twists to the story with this LEGO Star Wars 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City set. The amazingly detailed set is divided into 4 sections, each depicting scenes from the classic movie.

There’s a landing platform complete with Boba Fett’s Slave I ship, a detailed promenade, a dining room with seating for 5 minifigures, a garbage processing room with incinerator, and a sensor balcony for epic Luke vs. Vader Lightsaber duels.

There’s also a carbon freeze chamber with a function to ‘freeze’ Han in carbonite, an interrogation chamber and prison cell, a secondary landing platform for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car, and so much more.

Add an astonishing 18 LEGO minifigures plus 2 droids to the mix, and you have a set that Star Wars and LEGO fans of any age would be proud to add to their collection.

  • Includes 18 minifigures: Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker in Bespin outfits, Chewbacca, C-3PO, Lando Calrissian, Lobot, 2 Cloud City Guards, 2 Cloud Car Pilots, Leia and Han in Hoth outfits, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, 2 Stormtroopers and an Ugnaught, plus R2-D2 and an IG-88 droid.
  • Section 1 features a landing platform with a sliding entrance door and Boba Fett’s Slave I ship with an opening minifigure cockpit, movable wings and space underneath to store the Han in carbonite element.
  • Section 2 features a dining room with a table, seats for 5 minifigures and a decorative Cloud City micro build; lounge with a transparent sculpture and 2 chairs; garbage processing room with an incinerator, conveyor belt and a deactivated IG-class droid; and a promenade with tree sculpture, mural relief and opening doorways leading to other parts of the model.
  • Section 3 features a sensor balcony with railing and swing-out function, plus a maintenance cabin with opening round window for epic Lightsaber duels, plus a carbon freeze chamber with lever-activated ‘freeze’ function.
  • Section 4 features a dark-red corridor leading to the interrogation chamber with a turning interrogation chair, plus a prison cell, hangar with a secret trapdoor and tool & weapon rack, and space for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car with opening minifigure cockpits and 2 stud shooters.
  • New minifigure details include Leia’s red dress, Han’s Corellian blood stripe, Luke’s dark-tan Dagobah outfit, the Ugnaught’s head decoration and the cloud car pilots.
  • Weapons include Han’s blaster pistol, Chewbacca’s bowcaster, Luke’s Lightsaber, Vader’s Lightsaber, Boba Fett’s blaster rifle, IG-88’s blaster rifle, 5 blaster pistols and 4 blasters.
  • Accessory elements include a wrench, handcuffs and Lobot’s cybernetic band.
  • Stage air-to-air battles between Boba Fett’s Slave I and the Twin-Pod Cloud Car.
  • Pull the carbon freeze chamber lever to pretend freeze Han in carbonite!
  • Relive unforgettable scenes from the classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back movie.
  • This amazing set is part of the LEGO Star Wars Master Builder Series.
  • Cloud City measures over 6” (16cm) high, 22” (58cm) wide and 22” (56cm) deep.
  • Slave I measures over 4” (11cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 7” (18cm) wide.

Lego Harry Potter Whomping Willow 75953 Review


The Harry Potter Lego revival is in full swing for 2018, and this is our quick look at 75953 – The Hogwarts Whomping Willow. This is a 753 piece set which retails for 59.99 in the UK and 69.99 in the US and Europe. Although that’s already being slightly discounted.

Watch our video review or read on…

753 pieces isn’t very much, but the finished model does an excellent job of making it look like there’s a lot more. I’ll admit to being skeptical as I put it together, as it didn’t seem like much from the photographs, but the final effect is spot on. I’m especially impressed with the Ford Anglia embedded in the Whomping Willow itself. I’ve seen this done by various Lego fans over the years, and this is one of the best I’ve seen, it’s the perfect translation of an iconic scene into Lego form. Although it is proof that having access to rarer parts does help.

The willow can be made to spin using a wheel at the bottom, and you could absolutely put the car in there and spin it until it came flying out. Although let’s not try. And despite the low piece count, the car still manages to have an opening boot/trunk at the rear, and to also put the wing mirrors correctly half way down the bonnet.

The castle part is split into 5 sections, each of which is joined with Technic pins. It could be easily shuffled around, or can be expanded with the purchase of 75954 The Great Hall, which will happily clip in on the left. A combination of orange textured brick pieces and stickers do a good job of breaking up what would otherwise be just a wall of cream coloured bricks, although the numbering of the sticker sheet versus the manual didn’t seem quite right.

From the rear, each section is open and has lots of little details. From Snape’s office, to Harry and Ron’s bedroom, a kitchen area and a potions classroom. Bottles, multi-coloured glasses, hanging lights, pots, tools and paintings on the wall all go a long way to creating the overall effect. And right up the top in the attic is Hedwig.

Six minifigures are included – Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Seamus Finnigan, Argus Filch and Severus Snape. So often we see Lego split figures up between sets, so it’s great to see that you can get the three main characters in one place.

It’s not the cheapest of the Harry Potter sets, and it’s not anywhere near the most expensive, but the value on this one seems to be in the right place, especially if you waited a few months for the inevitable Amazon discounts. With all that’s going on in this set, it’s a great toy, and one that’s sure to give Potter fans plenty to smile about.

As always, if you liked this video then please do hit that subscribe button, it proves to my wife that there’s a reason for me buying so much Lego.

Lego Ninjago Movie Fire Mech 70615 Review


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 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


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


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.