Saturday, February 4, 2017

My Custom City: Custom Arcade Games

I mentioned a few days ago that I was planning on updating my custom LEGO City with a full-fledged amusement park area.  I figured what good is an amusement park if it doesn't have at least a couple of arcade games?  I don't have a lot of space in my "man cave" where I hold my LEGO City, so my arcade won't be all that big - but I think it will work out fine with what I've done.

I ended up making two of my own arcade game consoles.  The first is a green game that's a treasure hunt of sorts.

I should probably come up with a proper name for each of my two arcade games, but as of now I haven't given that much thought.  I do know that this game requires a single joy stick and a large button for "action" commands.

And the second is a heart themed game, probably aimed (stereotypically) at girls though I'm sure LEGO boys will like it too.

As you can (hopefully) see, I tried to make both arcade cabinets similar, yet distinct.  They are the same height though, and close to the same width which means they look natural sitting side-by-side.
This was a poorly taken photo, the console doesn't "tip" like it appears to here.  Sorry.

The heart game requires a pair of joysticks - and it's housed in a slightly slimmer cabinet.

When building these, I was severely limited by the pieces that I currently own.  In fact, I only had two 2x2 tiles with a design on them (hence the two games that I made).  I would have liked to have the "siding" be a little more seemless, but otherwise I think the two arcade games came out alright for my first attempt!

Monday, January 23, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO Friends 41127: Amusement Park Arcade

The LEGO Friends 41127:  Amusement Park Arcade set is my third set from the LEGO Friends line (and my second set from the Amusement Park subtheme).  I've already opened, built, and reviewed the Bumper Cars set from the Friends' Amusement Park line (see here if you are interested).

Based on the the first two Friends sets that I've reviewed, I must say that I've come away impressed with both sets.  In fact, I've scored the first two sets a 9/10 and the second set a rare 10/10.

Now the question is:  Was it a stroke of luck that I happened to get two of the better Friends sets?  Or, is the Friends line really that good?!

Let's find out together as we take a look at LEGO 41127:  Amusement Park Arcade.

The Amusement Park Arcade set comes with 174 pieces and a single minidoll (Mia).  In total the set contains three different arcade games, which is fairly impressive for the relatively light piece count.

The three games are a hammer the frog game (sort of a poor man's whack-a-mole I guess), a water target shooting game, and a basketball game.  All three games appear to be based on similar "real life" arcade games which is nice.

Of the three, the worst game is clearly the whack-a-frog game because you only get a single frog to whack!  I will say that the hammer build, though simple, is really nice.  I also like the stickers used on the frog game (but the sticker shows multiple lily pads with frogs to whack).  For me, I'm not sure how I can expand upon this game easily because it uses golden frogs (a piece that isn't common at all)!

Next up, the water shooting game.  This one uses a stud launcher (with transparent blue studs to indicate water).  You can actually swivel the gun around in order to hit each of the three targets (and each target will fall down on its own when hit).  Once again, it's a simple build but I think it works really well (though the stud launcher may be a bit too strong since when you hit the target the blue stud will go flying backwards)!  Luckily, there is a "water bucket" full of extra blue studs for when you inevitably lose the first one!  I should also note that the targets are all printed (the rest of the signs in the set use stickers however).

The final game is the basketball shooting game.  The over-sized basketball hoop is a bit off-putting to me...but the game itself works.  You can smash down on a gray "knob" to launch the ball into the hoop.  The only downside to the game itself is that the orange ball actually has a "soccer" design to it (hexagonal patches) rather than the typical lines of a basketball.  Still, that's nitpicking (and at least the ball itself is orange as it should be).

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  8
Overall:  9.5
5 stickers and a small assortment of extra pieces in the end.

As with the other two Friends sets that I've built, this one doesn't disappoint!  The fun and play value is as high as it can be since all three games are "working" games to varying degrees.  I think kids would have a lot of fun with this set (and as with the other amusement park sets, this one doesn't scream stereotypical "girl" either).  For adult collectors, I think this set offers a lot of good parts to start building your own custom arcade.  I do wish it had another golden frog or two, that's a bit of a bummer (especially with the sticker showing multiple lily pads) but otherwise it's a good base for a nice arcade.

I must say, I enjoyed the first two Friends Amusement Park sets so much (these were both Christmas gifts to me) that I found one more set on sale at my local Wal*Mart that I picked up for myself.  I haven't built it yet (I try not to build a new set before I write a review of the last set built).  All that said, I must admit that I have high hopes for that set too...even if it is smaller than this one!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO Friends 41133: Amusement Park Bumper Cars

My Custom LEGO City in my "man cave" has a portion of the city dedicated to an amusement park.  In that park, I currently have the Ferris Wheel set and the Fairground Mixer...but unfortunately I wasn't collecting LEGO when the Merry Go Round was released (and I'll never be able to afford that set now).  Thus, you can imagine my excitement when I learned that LEGO Friends would have an entire amusement park subtheme last year!

I now own three different LEGO Friends sets from the Amusement Park subtheme.  This is the first of the three (and the largest) that I own:  the Amusement Park Bumper Cars (LEGO 41133).

The Amusement Park Bumper Cars name is a bit of a misnomer because this set really involves two different rides, the aforementioned bumper cars and a swing ride (that has a bit of an action mechanism).  As a whole, the set contains 424 pieces and two minidolls.

To begin the build, you start by assembling the small bits (which happen to use up all six of the stickers in the set as well).

In the first bag, you get both of the minidolls (Olivia and Ben).  I have to admit, all of the small builds are quite nice.  The cotton candy cart is particularly nice (the flag is a sticker, but you get two stickers so the decoration is on both sides of the flag).  The ticket booth has a sticker for the bumper cars sign and there are two other stickers representing a radio and music for inside the booth (those stickers aren't really necessary but I built the set as designed to begin with).  The final two stickers are the "1" and "2" on the two bumper cars (which are otherwise identical builds except for some color variations).

Next, you build the bumper car "arena."

This build wasn't nearly as interesting - though the large purple plates with studs along only three edges are new to me.  The speaker builds are alright, though I think it makes this look more like a dance floor...you really need to add the bumper cars to make it look "right."

There, that's better.

Finally, you get to the final bag of pieces - and the second amusement ride of the set, the swing.

This build was certainly more interesting - and there is even a Technic-lite aspect to the build with the gears along the left (as you see it in the photograph).  There is a knob that you can use to rotate the swing around 360 degrees - and while you do so the swing itself also rotates (making for a nauseating ride I'm sure)!  I will say that this is the only part of the build that felt overly "girly."  There are way too many unnecessary flowers along the base of the ride.  I don't mind the two "potted" plants on the corners but the red flowers scattered about the rest of the base plate are out of place (they'd be trampled by the guests)!

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  10
Play Value:  10
Kid Value:  10
Adult Value:  9
Overall:  10

This is one of those sets that really knocks it out of the park for me.  You get two rides which are both very nice (honestly the swing might even be better than the bumper cars for which the set is named).  You also get a ticket stand and a nice little cotton candy cart...  Even if you don't own any other amusement park sets, this one by itself will give you a nice little park area.  The ticket stand can easily be used for the park at large (just remove the bumper cars sign at the top).  As with most (?) Friends sets, this one does have some "girly" elements to it - but it's not overdone (and the bright color scheme that Friends is known for works well for amusement park sets anyhow).


Saturday, January 14, 2017

A New Project is (about to be) Underway!

Last November, I decided on the next "big" step that I wanted to take for my custom LEGO city.  At that time, I had the Ferris Wheel set (which is amazing) and the Fairground Mixer set (also amazing) set up in a small "amusement park" of sorts.  I decided that I ought to try and flesh out my park a bit more with a proper base plate and some more details.  To do so, I knew for sure that I would need a bunch of gray 2x2 tiles for the walkway that I envisioned building and so I bought a big bag full of the tiles.
This was a present from 2015...and to this day it remains one of (if not the) favorite sets of mine!

By the time the tiles arrived, I no longer had any time to work on my LEGO project (or really anything else "fun" thanks to the busyness of my work and the end of the semester).  To be honest, I didn't give the amusement park idea any more thought and the bag of tiles that arrived in the mail just sat on my desk.

Then, at Christmas my brother and his wife gifted me a whole bunch of awesome LEGO sets including a pair of LEGO friends amusement park sets (he must have had the same idea for me and my amusement park).  They got me the bumper cars set and the amusement games set with the target practice.

I ended up grabbing one of those giant gray base plates at Target...and I found a cheap polybag with another amusement park mini game at Wal-Mart last night.  And so, after months of (sort of) planning, plus some awesome gifts, I'm now ready to start working on my amusement park properly!

It is my hope that I'll be able to make some actual, real progress on this new project in the next few days (weeks?).  My first order of business will be to build the three Friends sets though...and then I'll probably mix and match those parts/builds with pieces from my own collection to hopefully create a vibrant amusement park square for my LEGO citizens.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Starting 2017 Out Right: LEGO Minifigure Style!

Because of a crazy work schedule last semester, I didn't have much time to dedicate to my hobbies.  However, near the end of the semester I did find enough time to make a single trade on SwapFig.  My goal is to eventually own all of the collectible minifigure series...so every time I can inch closer to that goal I'm happy!

For this trade, I sent away a couple of figure and got a couple in return.  The first is the Crash Test Dummy from the very first series of collectible minifigs.  The other figure is the fencer (which I needed but honestly it's a pretty boring figure).

I do like the Crash Test Dummy quite a bit - and that figure means I now own two of the original 16 minifigures from Series 1.  It's definitely slow going trying to track down figures from all of the series before I started collecting LEGO again!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016 LEGO City Advent Calendar (60133): Final Builds!

It's hard to believe that it is Christmas Eve 2016 already!  I don't know what happened to the month of December...it flew by as usual I guess.  No matter, I'm back with one last look at this year's LEGO City Advent Calendar - and we begin with the overview.

The last few builds had us construct a Christmas tree (that was quite small)...too small in fact for all the presents that came with the calendar.

I do like the simple build of the tree - the offset green slopes do, in fact, nicely mimic a tree.

After the tree, the next two days had you construct Santa's sleigh...which this year is being pulled by a husky (don't ask).

I like the small dog "feeding" station that you get as well - and yes, you do get an extra bone piece (not shown).

And finally, just in time for Christmas - the final door yielded Santa Claus!

While it's not surprise that you end with a Santa figure, this one did come with a red mug which was a bit of a surprise (though I guess it shouldn't have been because doesn't every City set have at least on mug in it these days)?

I must say, overall I very much enjoyed the Advent Calendar.  I ended up with a bunch of little "bits" that will end up in next year's Christmas Village.  I also got some things that will find their way to my big City layout (non-Christmas themed).

Until next year, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas...and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 LEGO City Advent Calendar (60133): Week 2 & 3 Review

Back in the early part of December, I took a look at the first week's worth of minibuilds from the LEGO City Advent Calendar from 2016.  Now that another two (!) weeks have passed, let's take a look at the next batch of minibuilds!

As you can see, the little "scene" is starting to come together nicely.  That's probably a good thing because there are only four more doors to open (and one of those four is very likely to be a Santa Claus minifigure - I try to stay spoiler free for my advent calendar but you can count on getting Santa on Christmas Eve).

Looking at each of the clusters a bit more closely, we begin with the firefighter band.

The stage looks pretty good (though nothing new was added to this little ensamble since the first week).  I was sort of hoping for another band member (and another new instrument) but that doesn't look like it is going to happen.  I do like the street light quite a bit (though truth be told, it needs a few more black round 1x1s to make it the "proper" height).

Next, we have the hockey players (along with a pair of store front builds).

I have a big "pond" in my main Christmas village set-up this year...so I'm sure these two hockey players will find their way to my pond next Christmas season!  For now though, they'll have to be satisfied with skating on the cardboard printed pond instead.

Moving on to the pile of Christmas gifts (including a remote control helicopter and a "pilot" figure for the toy).

There's also the snowmobile (and fire extinguisher - or is that a mustard dispenser)?  Either way, I fully expect a brick built Christmas tree to end up here in the very near future!

Finally, we get to the funniest of the builds so far - a firefighter decked out in almost complete Hazmat gear baking some cookies.

There's also a "Charlie Brown" tree in the background, though I suppose it could also be a tree that burnt up (and perhaps why there are so many firefighters around now).

This has been a fun advent Calendar - I'll have to try and compare it to the 2014 version (the only other version I own) when all is said and done.  I still have four more doors to open...including today's, so I should be able to do one more wrap-up post around Christmas Eve/Day.