Lego deems the Friends theme a success


 

It’s a few weeks old, but this is the first I have heard of it. (yes, despite my extended absence from this blog, I have been keeping up with the Lego news!) Lego says that the Friends theme is a success, I take that back.  What they actually said was that the line has had  “astonishing sales” and it is increasing “production to meet the demand of the all important Christmas period.”  In fact,the Friends theme has sold twice as many sets as they had expected in the first six months of the year!

You can read the entire article here.

I’ve gotta say, its somewhat tough for me to believe they are selling as much as Lego says they are.  Although the line has appeal to girls (my six year old daughter loves it!) every time we go to the toy section, I see a ton of the sets sitting on the shelves.  But, then again, I don’t know how much inventory the stores keep because, if you go by the toy store shelves, it looks like almost everything except for new releases is not selling.

I seriously doubt that Lego will increase production on a line that isn’t selling.  So I guess I just have to take them at their word.  I’m glad that there is a line that is attracting girls to the world of Lego.

Also, at the bottom of the article, they mention that Ninjago is still outperforming their expectations.  Another piece of good news since my kids live both the show and the theme!

What do you think?  Do you or anyone you know buy Friends sets?  Are you glad for the good Ninjago news?  Let me know in the comments!

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Bricks and Figs


Over the weekend, we took the kids to the beach in Oceanside which is just outside of San Diego.  We had a good time.  The beach there is sweet.  it even has a little playground if your kids get bored with making sandcastles, playing in the waves, and all the other cool beach stuff.

On the way home, we stopped off in the sleepy town of Hemet, Ca. to do a little LEGO shopping.

 

There is a store there in Hemet called Bricks and Figs.  About 10 years ago, I would probably have never even known a place like this existed.  It’s about an hour away from me in a direction that I rarely ever travel.  I actually found their Facebook page while looking for LEGO related stuff.  I have only ever purchased LEGO from the big chain stores such as Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, or LEGO brand stores.  So I was intrigued by the prospect of visiting an actual LEGO hobby shop.

We walked in with the kids and they could’t believe all the LEGO stuff in there.  My kids were yelling; “Ninjago!” and “Look Hero Factory!” before we even got in the store!  When you walk in, you are greeted by a big table with a ton of licensed and collectible minifigures in their own little plastic cases.  They have it all there.  Star Wars, Harry Potter, Avatar, Toy Story.  There were so many, I stopped trying to keep track of all the themes.

They also have a lot of out of production sets.  With themes ranging from the original Batman, to Pirates, even recently out of production themes like Harry Potter, it’s a good bet that your favorite theme is represented here.  Even though the store is small, you can spend quite a bit of time looking at all of the LEGO choices that are there.  We were even able to get set 5969 Squidman Escape which was the first LEGO set that my son ever bought and had long since disappeared into the loose brick box.

 

They also have some off the wall stuff like LEGO playing cards and LEGO salt and pepper shakers.  I had actually never seen either of these before even at LEGOland!

My favorite part of the store had to be the wall with the base LEGO theme minifigs.  You know, the little yellow guys.  They had a bunch of cool figs that I haven’t seen in years.  All of which were in excellent condition! Blacktron, Forestmen, Pirates, Adventure, Classic Space, Space Police, Western.  Again, you name it, they probably have it.  They even had a selection of DUPLO animals there.  My daughter got a baby giraffe!

Bricks and Figs isn’t just a LEGO store either.  They also have some vintage Star Wars figures, World of Warcraft Mega Bloks, Some captain Action Figures, Super Hero toys, and other toys.  Heck, they even had a couple vintage Buck Rogers figs!  Oh, and don’t let me forget about the Life-size statue of everyone’s favorite Gungan: Jar-Jar Binks!

 

 

All in all, it was a nice little side trip on our way home.  The atmosphere was friendly.  The girl (being the hard hitting journalist that I am I completely forgot to get her name) working there was knowledgeable.  She was able to tell me the name of the Johnny Thunder minifig that I bought when I could not remember his name for the life of me!  But the most important thing is the selection that they have!   It’s a little off the beaten path, but it’s worth checking out.

Also, if Hemet, Ca. is a little too far off of your beaten path, you are in luck!  They also have a website. Bricksandfigs.com so you can check out what they have to offer from anywhere in the world!

Builder’s Spotlight Rivendell


I normally don’t post more than one Builder’s Spotlight a week.  But every once in a while something comes along that I just have to share with everyone.

Rivendell by Blake’s Baericks is one of those builds:

This is simply awesome.  The level of detail is amazing.  The waterfalls, the trees, the rocks, and the buildings.  They even have an area set up for the scene where the Fellowship of the Ring was formed.  Head on over to their Flickr photostream to get a better look.  There is even a video giving you a closer look at all the details!  They have a bunch of Lord of the Rings MOCs over there as well!

Review 9464 Vampyre Hearse


THEME: Monster Fighters

AGES: 8-14

PIECES: 314

LEGO.COM PRICE$34.99

MINIFIGURES:  3

BUILD

This is a fun little build.  The Vampyre Hearse is very cool looking and has a bunch of cool little design effects such as the teeth hanging down over the side windows, the giant blown engine in the front, as well as a hidden coffin in the back to hide out the evil Lord Vampyre!  (Who the set is named after.)  The Zombie Driver can fit in the front and drive his boss around.  There is also a cool glow-in-the-dark flame sticker that goes on the roof of the car.  Despite my dislike for stickers, this one is pretty cool.  I just don’t put them on because they usually start wearing off. It’s a fun build that looks good from all angles.

The Motorcycle is a pretty standard LEGO motorcycle.  There are exhaust pipes on the sides with flames shooting out of them just to add that little bit of extra coolness to a pretty bland motorcycle.

PLAYABILITY

With a good guy, 2 bad guys, and 2 vehicles this set has a ton of playability.  You can have Dr. Rodney Rathbone chase the hearse on his motorcycle, or your can have the hearse chase the motorcycle.  This is one of those sets that doesn’t need to ads any more minifigures or vehicles to play with it.  You really do have everything that you need to play over and over again.

MINIFIGURES

The minifigures are a lot of fun.

Dr. Rodney Rathbone, with his pistol and foil, makes you think of a sort of swashbuckling, no-nonsense adventurer.  His fight against the monsters has not been without cost.  He has a prosthetic leg as a reminder of the fight he is involved in.   His bowler hat gives him an old time gentleman feel.  The torso printing looks great on this fig.  The design is crisp and clean and features both front and back printing which is something LEGO seems to be doing more and more with it’s minifigs.

The zombie driver is a much welcomed addition to the LEGO zombie world.  Judging from the popularity of the zombie from the collectible minifigure line, this is going to be a popular figure.  The design on the zombie is a little plain, but he’s got tears in his uniform and printing on his legs that reflects the tearing that would be consistent with a zombie.  This torso also has back printing.

Lord Vampyre is kind of a let down.  He looks a lot like the collectible minifgure vampire.  His face and torso have been redesigned for this set, but he still doesn’t look all that different from the original vampire.  The one big difference is that his head glows in the dark which is pretty cool.  He also has back printing and no cape which sets him a little bit apart from the collectible figure.  he also comes with a sword to battle with Dr. Rathbone.

VERDICT

The Vampyre Hearse is a fun set.  It has a good amount of minifigures and two vehicles to give you hours of play.  The design is well done and displays well.  This set is good either for the collector or your kids.  The age range of 8-14 refers more to the build level and most 8 year olds should be able to build this set pretty much on their own.  Some younger builders should be able to do it, but most will probably need some help from an older builder or a parent.

 

Builder’s Spotlight: Colonial Outpost


Toda’ys Builder’s spotlight focuses on Colonial Outpost by the Brick Time Team:

It looks like the colonists are getting some supplies delivered to their cliff outpost today!  The jagged rocks really look great and they make you feel like the outpost could tumble into the water at any time!  I also like the water technique the jumbled up and different colored studs really make the water look like it’s rough seas!  They even threw in some clear studs around the boat to simulate the boat’s wake!  Great attention to detail!

Head on over to the Brick Time Team’s flickr photostream for some more angles on the MOC.  Then, head on over to their BLOG where they take you through the step, by step process on how they built it.  It’s cool to look at and a good way to learn about how projects like this are built!

 

 

Eclipse Bricks


It’s been a while since I ordered anything from a 3rd party Lego accessory company.  I had been eyeing the Classic Space LEGO Fan Zombie Torso over at Eclipsebricks.com for a while.  I finally went ahead and placed an order for a few pieces and they arrived today.  Eclipsebricks main focus is printed LEGO minifigures and minifigure body parts.  You can also order some weapons and accessories through them, but those are made by Brickwarriors, Brick Army, and Clone Army Customs.  Although I did order a couple of weapons, this review is going to focus on Eclipsbricks’ printed minifigure pieces.

First up:

 Balaclava Heads

 

 

One of the things that I like about the printed Balaclava heads is that they come in a variety of colors.  You can use them for anything from ninjas, to special ops forces, to the underside of a helmet for a race car driver.  The printing on the head is very high quality and will stand up to play.  The design is top-notch.  I have been following EclipseGrafx on Flickr so it was no surprise that the design was so well-executed.  Oh, they also have flesh-tone as well as the yellow tone figs so you can get just the right head for the minifigure you want to build. Lastly, I counted 14 different skin/color combinations on the site so there is plenty of variety!

 Zombie Hoard Head

About the only thing wrong with this figure is the use of Hoard instead of Horde in it’s name!  But considering how cool this head is,  I think we can call off the grammar police.

Seriously though, this is one evil looking head.  The problem is, I don’t have anything evil looking enough to go with it!  Really, this head looks like something you would see on The Walking Dead.  But, if zombies aren’t your thing, the design is versatile enough that you can use it to make some other evil -looking bad guy!

 Breacher Head

Another versatile design.  The breacher head can be used for sci-fi, post apocalypse, or even for a guy skiing down the slopes!  I actually may have to get one in black and see if I can figure out how to make a custom Snake-eyes from GI Joe!

Camo Bandana Head

I got this one to finally get my custom Rambo looking complete.  The design is pretty sweet.  It can be used for any type of warrior with a bandanna.  The only drawback to the design, is that the little scar to the right of his mouth sometimes looks like it’s a microphone for a headset or something.

Classic Space LEGO Fan Zombie Torso

Now for the entire reason I placed my order.  The first time I saw this torso on the Eclipsebricks site I knew I needed to have it!  I went to order it and: OUT OF STOCK.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way!

The design is awesome!  I love the nod to the classic Lego Space theme.  The shirt is open, torn, and just gory enough for a zombie but tame enough so it doesn’t give my kids nightmares.  The printing on it is different than the heads.  It’s still durable, but the lines are raised.  I don’t know if that’s intentional or not, but it’s kind of cool.  It adds a little texture to the figure.

That wraps up this review.  If you couldn’t tell from the post, I am an eclipsebricks fan!  They also have some complete custom minifigures on the site that look pretty sweet.  I’m going to have to go back and order a couple of those!

I almost forgot!  I got a business card with my order.  In addition to everything you see on the site, they also do custom Bride and Groom figures (for your wedding cake I am assuming), custom “YOU” figures (don’t lie you have thought of what you would look like in minifig form!), custom LEGO built accessories, and custom LEGO jewelry.

World of Warcraft Mega Bloks are here Ragerock review


I was at Wal-mart the other day and I noticed that the new World of Warcraft Mega Bloks had hit the shelves.   At least they were on the shelves at one point, since all there was left were a Colton figure and a Ragerock figure.  At first I was going to get both of them but I remembered my previous disappointment with Mega Bloks figures and decided that I would check out one of the figures before I committed $14.00 to buying 2 of them.  (they were $6.99 each).

I decided to buy the Ragerock figure.  Mega Bloks refers to the figures as micro action figures and I think that is a fair way to describe them.  They are super-poseable and are ready for action.

PACKAGING

The figures come in an impressive package.  The window on the front allows you to get a look at the figure you are getting.  You can’t even see it until you open the package, but there is a red inner-box with a horde logo that really looks cool.  Mega Bloks went all out with the packaging.in the

FIGURE

The figure is what this is all about.  It didn’t disappoint. The micro action figure is nothing like the cheap minifigure clones that Mega Bloks normally puts out.  These are a whole new creation.   (Mega Bloks may have put something out similar to this in the past, but I am not familiar with their stuff so I don’t know for sure.)  The legs and arms are bendable, the head is moveable, and the waist is twistable making the figure ultra-poseable.   The armor is removable so you can change the armor between the different characters.  (I suspect that some armor packs are in the future)  The figure is even pretty cool looking without any armor at all.

QUALITY

Mega Bloks really stepped up the quality for this release.  The figure looks great and is durable enough to stand up to some heavy play.  It has a good amount of weight to it, so it won’t blow away in the wind, but it will probably not hold up against the dog’s jaws.  Although not many toys do.  The detail of the figure and the armor are top-notch.  Ragerock looks like he just stepped out of Azeroth and is ready for battle.  The paint job is highly detailed and adds to the value of the figure immensely.

PLAYABILITY

As I said before, the figure can be posed in a number of different ways so he can handle all forms of battle.  As a matter of fact, I have him sitting on my laptop while I write this and I keep posing him in a bunch of different ways.  It’s really remarkable how much he can be posed.  The overall playability of this figure in particular is diminished somewhat by the fact that it’s just the one figure, but the point is to get you to buy more of the figures right?

DISPLAY

The set comes with a little mini-diorama that can be used as a display stand.  It also connects with the other micro-figure stands in the series for one big display.  The rocks and the horde banner look pretty cool and the little flag-type thing in the background are pretty cool.  The one drawback is that the bloks don’t connect together exactly right so it’s a little bit of a chore to get some of the pieces to fit. They also come apart pretty easily.

MINIFIGURE COMPARISON AND COMPATIBILITY 

The micro-figures are bigger than LEGO minifigures. They are more poseable and more realistic than the minifigure.  However, they don’t have the same charm that the minifigure has.  As for compatibility, minifigures can hold the micro-figures weapons and vice versa.  They can both stand on the other’s bricks.  Although the micro-figure doesn’t grip the studs as well as the minifigure does.

CONCLUSION

The figure is awesome.  It really has surpassed my expectations of this product.  The brick display looks nice, but there isn’t much rebuildability.  The brick quality leaves something to be desired, but the figure quality is excellent.  I really don’t think that this product would be considered competition to the LEGO product.  I think they are dissimilar enough that they won’t compete for the same market share.

What do you think of the new World of Warcraft mega Blocks?

Lego launches their own YouTube channel – Finally


Lego has finally launched their own YouTube channel.

They have been posting videos on YouTube for a while now, but they haven’t really been in one place and have been kinda hard to search for.   That all ends today.

It’s got links for all of the different themes such as Star Wars, Ninjago, and Super Heroes.  There are also categories for The Lego Club TV show,  video games, fan creations, and TV commercials.  They are posting a slew of stop motion videos today, so there will be plenty to keep all of the Brickfilm fans happy.

So sit back, relax, get some popcorn, and check out the Lego YouTube fun!

Brickarms to produce weapons that appear in new “Offensive Combat” video game


I was checking out The Brick Blogger today and was excited to see that Brickarms is partnering with the makers of a new browser-based video game called “Offensive Combat” to produce weapons that are based on weapons in the game!

As a matter of fact, the weapons that Brickarms will be producing will also be showing up in the game.

How cool is that?

This is a big deal for the Lego community and smart marketing for Offensive Combat.  I probably never would have heard about this game if they hadn’t done this promotion.  Now, I’m gonna sign up for the beta!

The game looks pretty cool and so do the weapons.  It’s a first person shooter and, since it’s browser based, I should be able to play it on my laptop!  As for the weapons, I am most looking forward to the axe!  That is the kind of battle axe that I think is cool!

Head on over to theBrickBlogger for more info and to U4iA games.com for info on the game!