Monday, May 23, 2016

Do You Use Swapfig? My Impressions!

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a website called Swapfig.  It's basically exactly what you would expect it to be - a place for people to swap minifigures (they also allow swapping of polybags, keychains, and some other small things).  However, the real premise of the set is to swap minifigures that you own (and don't want) for minifigures that you do want.

As a minifigure collector, this seemed perfect to me so I signed up (quick and easy) and then give the site a once over.  After updating your want list and your have list (a fairly lengthy process but you only need to do it once), all you need to do is push a button and have Swapfig find a bunch of potential trading partners for you.  The potential matches will all want at least one minifigure from your "for trade" list and have at least one minifigure from your "want list" which is awesome.

For your first trade, you must do a one-for-one swap.  I ended up sending a trade proposal out where I offered my Disney Minifigure of Peter Pan in exchange for a Series 15 Frightening Knight minifigure.  Since I was a brand new user, the person that agreed to my trade made me send first (which seemed fair to me).  After he received his end of the deal, he mailed off my minifigure.

In about a week's time (give or take a couple of days), I reduced my extra minifigure pile by one and reduced my want list by one!  I'm also within two minifigures of completing Series 15 finally...only the Tribal Woman and Jewel Thief still elude me!

Overall, I found Swapfig very easy to use (though the website itself has been down for maintenance quite often lately).  I am hopeful that the site grows in terms of number of users because I have yet to have anyone offer me a trade (I've been on the site for a couple of weeks of course). From my initial experience, I can recommend Swapfig to other minifigure collectors out there!

If you'd like to check out my collection on Swapfig...and perhaps even make a trade with me, here's a link to my profile page.  I hope to add even more of my extra minifigures to my page in the future...but for now I have a decent selection of extras that I'm looking to trade away!

Monday, May 2, 2016

LEGO Disney Collectible Minifigures: A Full REVIEW!

The latest line of LEGO Collectible Minifigures is now out - and this time around we get 18 minifigures all under the Disney umbrella of properties.  Will the larger minifigure sized set be worth it or did LEGO simply add Disney filler?  Let's find out together beginning with the insert showing off all of the minifigures.

As you can see, most of the Disney properties come in pairs (Mickey/Minnie or Peter Pan / Captain Hook for example).  There are a few "loners" out there...presumably you'll be able to pair them up with a not-yet-announced-but-almost-positively-coming Disney Series 2 line of minifigs!

Last Friday, my local big box store had a full box of Disney minifigures - so I bought a whole lot of them with the hopes of getting close to a complete set.  As luck would have it, I managed to avoid duplicates in all but two cases...which means I'm only missing two of the eighteen figures at this point in time.  For the few figures that I don't yet own, I'll base my review off of the image from the poster, but otherwise the pictures are from my own collection!

*Since I originally wrote this post, I've managed to acquire the final two figures - so you get a full review now!

You'll also see as I go through the minifigures that I'm clearly NOT the person that LEGO was hoping to market these to.  There are a number of movies represented in the line that I've never seen...and yet, I still ended up buying a bunch of figures (so I suppose LEGO should be happy with me)!


Going in order based on the included checklist, Stitch starts off the Disney lineup.  With his large ears and earnest eyes, he certainly looks the part of his animated counterpart!  All that said, I've never actually seen Lilo & Stitch (and in fact, I had to look up this critter's name to make sure he was in fact Stitch and not Lilo).

His stubby legs work well with the figure - and while the printing is minimal it definitely gets the job done.  One of my only complaints with this figure (and it is a complaint that runs throughout much of the Disney minifigure line) is that Stitch comes with no accessories whatsoever.  Without seeing the movie, I can't offer up any suggestions but surely there could have been something included to make the figure a bit better (after all, each blind bag costs about $4 US so I don't think it's too much to ask for an accessory).  My score:  2.5/5.

Pizza Planet Alien:

"The claw, the claw!"

I've actually seen all three Toy Story movies - and so Pizza Planet Alien speaks to me much more than Stitch ever could.  However, the Alien is similar to Stitch in that you get stubby legs, an over-sized head, and absolutely zero accessories.  The back of the alien does have a tiny bit of printing but basically there's nothing to see.  Still, in a minifigure set that is built on nostalgia, a rather plain figure from a movie that I have seen (and liked) will probably always do better than a rather plain from a movie that I haven't.  My score:  3/5.

Buzz Lightyear:

The second Toy Story representative in the set, Buzz Lightyear certainly looks the part.  I know there was a Toy Story line of LEGO sets a few years back (which included a different version of Buzz that some people prefer).  As for me, I'm happy with this Buzz - especially since his "regular" minifigure head goes with the rest of the lineup.  That is, the "human, or human-esque" figures get regular heads while the mascot and other critters get molded heads.  Using that logic, Buzz is sort of in the middle - but I think LEGO made a fine choice using the regular head.

Buzz is also the first minifigure to come with actual accessories.  In his case, it's his flight suit - and no, the wings don't actually fold in (though they appear that they could) nor does his visor flip down (a lost opportunity but I understand why LEGO didn't go that route).  All that said, Buzz still looks fantastic.  My score:  5/5.


Orginal post:  Growing up, Aladdin was one of my favorite animated Disney movies...and one of my favorite SNES video games to rent from my local store as well!  Therefore, it is a shame that Aladdin is one of two missing figures from my collection!  I also think it was a missed opportunity to include a monkey (as Abu) with Aladdin, rather than a lamp (especially since the Genie comes with a lamp in the same Minifigure series).

Update:  Aladdin was one of the two final figures that I needed...and yes, I have now tracked him down!  In terms of feeling through the bags, I think Aladdin is one of the tougher figures to feel for - that lamp is easy if you get it free from the other pieces, otherwise, good luck!  Also, just because you found a lamp doesn't mean you found Aladdin since Genie also comes with the same lamp.

My score:  4/5.


Our second minfigure from the Aladdin movie franchise.  The Genie is pretty sweet in that he comes with a new feather piece, a gold lamp, and a molded tail piece.  The only thing that I can nitpick with the Genie is that his head piece looks like a prosthetic on top of his head...the color is just a little off which makes the different pieces too noticeable for my preference.

I do like the gold printing on the Genie's arms - representing the shackles from the movie.  However, it should be noted that the gold printing only goes about halfway around each wrist - a curious choice that I'm guessing has to do with LEGO's current printing technologies.  One last good thing about the figure - notice how the tail makes it look like Genie is coming out of a recently rubbed lamp?  Very cool that LEGO made the whisp of the "tail" line up with the opening of the lamp.  My score:  4/5.


I don't think I've ever seen Sleeping Beauty in its entirety, so some of the appeal of the Maleficent character is probably lost on me.  That said, this is still one of (if not the) favorite figure of mine from this particular set.  You get an honest to goodness accessory (a three-piece staff), plus two cloth pieces to make up her cape, and a soft, rubbery hair piece.  Top all that off with some rare light greenish colored hands and you've got an amazing looking figure.

From the back, the cape pretty much covers up everything which is fine because there is no back printing to speak of.  A character this well done doesn't need that - nor does she need the actual Sleeping Beauty figure (which is good because Maleficent is the only figure from the Sleeping Beauty movie in this series)!  My score:  5/5.


"Drink Me"  and "Eat Me."  What more sums up the adventures of Alice than an inviting drink and snack begging to be devoured?  While her cookie accessory doesn't actually say "eat me" anywhere on it, you have to use your imagination.  The bottle though, is perfect!

Alice is rocking some pretty gold locks as well - a hair piece that reminded me quite a bit of Daphne's from the Scooby Doo line last year.  They aren't actually the same (or even all that close) but the resemblance was still there for me (for whatever that is worth).  Alice is another one of the accessory heavy minifigures - and her skirt ruffle piece adds even more value.  My score:  5/5.

Cheshire Cat:

The Cheshire Cat is instantly recognizable with his giant grin (and stubby legs).  The downside to the figure is that, once again, there are no accessories.

I suppose you might count the tail piece as an accessory of sorts - it certainly completes the figure nicely.  This isn't the most exciting figure but there really isn't anything I would do to improve it.  My score:  4/5.

Daisy Duck:

Like most kids my age, I watched plenty of cartoons growing up - but my family didn't subscribe to the Disney Channel so my exposure to Disney cartoons was mostly limited to the free trials that would happen once or twice a year.  As such, I can't say I have much recollection of Daisy Duck.  And, unfortunately for her, her LEGO minifigure version doesn't inspire me to learn any more about her.

The figure itself is alright, but (as you'll soon see), she's basically a clone of Donald Duck but with a non-unique hair accessory.  The tail piece is pretty cute (though again, Donald gets the same piece).  My score:  1/5.

Donald Duck:

Donald is definitely the most famous cartoon duck - and his minifigure, though similar to Daisy's, is heads and shoulders better.  For one, you get the iconic blue outfit (rather than Daisy's rather plain pink getup).  You also get Donald's hat piece (which attaches via a small peg) rather than a bow piece for Daisy.  In a competition between the two ducks, Donald is the obvious winner.

Much like Daisy, Donald also gets the tail piece - but he also gets a bit of printing on his backside (unlike his lady duck counterpart).  It seems obvious to me that LEGO put in quite a bit of time to capture the very essence of Donald...and then made up time by creating a boring clone of Donald in pink and calling it Daisy.  My score:  5/5.

Minnie Mouse:

You probably can't have a Disney line of collectible minifigures without having Mickey and Minnie present.  In fact, when LEGO inevitably releases Series 2 of the Disney figures, I fully expect a different version of Mickey and Minnie to show up.  For now though, the only Minnie version out there is this pink clad version with matching dotted dress and hair bow.

The skirt piece is the same as what Alice has (though obviously a different color).  Other than that, Minnie has no other interesting features - and no accessories.  The hair bow is the same as Daisy Ducks (though in a different color) and it attaches via a mini peg to Minnie's head.  My score:  3/5.

Mickey Mouse:

The iconic mouse makes an appearance finally!  Like his friend Minnie, Mickey comes without any accessories but he does rock the classic Mickey Mouse look (complete with red pants).

Mickey's torso is a simple black torso which makes me wonder if this particular minifigure has the least amount of printing and accessories of any minifigure LEGO has created.  At least the pants are detailed!  Despite the simplistic nature of the figure, I have to say that Mickey looks right - and that's all you can really ask for.  My score:  4.5/5.

Mr. Incredible:

In my mind, I feel like I've seen "The Incredibles" movie...and yet I can't remember a single thing about it.  Only Mr. Incredible and Syndrome (the villain from the movie) carry 2x2 tiles in this line of figures which makes it very easy to find both figures.  Compound that with the fact that each figure is among the 4x figures in the box and you shouldn't have any trouble finding your Incredible's fix.

Of course, now that I say all that I have to admit that Syndrome is one of the two figures that I'm still missing from this set!  Maybe a bit more time feeling up the remaining packs in the store will lead me to landing that figure.  My score:  3/5.


Original post:  As I mentioned in the review for Mr. Incredible, Syndome is one of the two minifigures that I'm still missing from the set.  He is also one of two figures with a 2x2 tile, so I feel like I ought to be able to find him without too much trouble in the upcoming days.  For my money, Syndome looks quite a bit cooler than his heoric counterpart Mr. Incredible, even though both have essentially the same accessory (a printed 2x2 tile).  I do like Mr. Incredible's hair piece's why I rated the figure as high as I did.  Syndrome's hair is a bit more stylized, but it adds to the overall effect of the figure nicely.

Update:  The Syndrome figure ended up being pretty easy to find via feeling the packs - that 2x2 tile is a dead giveaway that you are holding onto one or the other Incredibles figure.  Find the hair piece and there's no confusion as to which character you have.  Speaking of the hair piece, that orange "flame" hairdo is by far the best part of the Syndome figure, though I like the masked face and facial expression quite a bit as well.  My score:  4/5.

Peter Pan:

Peter Pan looks pretty youthful in this figure (as he should) - and he comes with not one, but two golden knives - which is a bit odd since the picture on the poster shows him with two silver knives, not gold.  The hair and hat piece is all one piece, but it's a piece that could work well with a Santa and elves scene or perhaps even a Link/Zelda scene.

Peter Pan gets the tiniest of back printings - basically a belt line but it still looks good.  I also like the short sleeve effect that LEGO did with the figure.  No complaints here.  My score:  5/5.

Captain Hook:

Much like Peter Pan, I have no issues with Captain Hook at all.  His hat/hair piece is all one piece - but it's so big and goofy that it fits the character perfectly.  Of course, Captain Hook must have his hook...I only wish that LEGO included a crocodile rather than the sword (yeah right)!

The captain even gets some back printing (much of which is hidden by his flowing locks of hair).  This is one of the best figures in the set for my money.  My score:  5/5.


Ursula is the villain from "The Little Mermaid," a movie that I remember seeing in the movie theater. She is the proud owner of the coolest "leg" piece that I've seen yet - a combination of octopus tentacles and a fat belly...a perfect representation of her movie form.  She also rocks white hair with grey streaks and a pearl gold trident.

For as awesome as Ursula is, it's even better because her "leg" piece is so easy to spot in a box of unopened packs.  Basically look for the thickest pack in the box, it's probably Ursula.  You can double check quickly by feeling for the trident.  Ursula is an awesome figure..and more proof that the villains are way cooler than the heroes in this line of minifigures!  My score:  5/5.


And last, but certainly not least, we arrive at Ariel.  Ariel gets a shell bikini, a clam shell (with gem) as an accessory, and some of the brightest red hair that I've ever seen for a minifigure.

She also gets the fin treatment (the same as Mermaid and Sea King from previous minifigure lines).  Of course, Ariel's fins are colored differently which makes her a bit more unique.  She even has back printing (which wasn't even totally necessary given how her hair covers most of her back).  This is a great looking figure, and a perfect way to end the series.

I'll be honest.  I wasn't expected to like the Disney Collectible Minifigure line very much.  I don't have a deep, nostalgic history with most of the Disney characters from this set (other than maybe Aladdin/Genie).  I was also bummed to see how little there was in the way of unique or interesting accessories.  And yet, somehow, the set as a whole still looks and feels really good to me.  There weren't a lot of duds (Daisy Duck notwithstanding) and there were quite a few 5/5s for me.  Given Disney's vast library of characters, I fully expect multiple Disney minifigure lines to come out in the future...and I'll most likely give them a try as well.
My "almost" Complete Set!

I hope you enjoyed my look at the newest minifigure series.  I'd love to know your thoughts on the various characters.  Let me know in the comments section!

Monday, April 25, 2016

More Series 15 Minifigures: How'd I Do?!

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in Target.  And, as usual when I'm Target, I had to make a beeline to the toy section to check out their supply of LEGO.  There wasn't much in terms of sets that interested me, but they did have some more of the Series 15 Collectible Minifigure blind packs.

In the past, I had already opened ten (which were all different and inspired me to review the entire Series 10 lineup of figures) plus another five packs a week or so later.  Now, a month later, it's time for four more packs.

Will I finally land the final four figures that I need?  Up until these packs, I needed (in order of most to least wanted):

  • Frightening Knight
  • Janitor
  • Tribal Lady
  • Jewel Thief

I obviously would love to go four-for-four and be done with this set - but we all know that's not going to happen.  Let's see what did happen...

Pack 1:

Yeah, yet another copy of Faun.  I started my previous set of five packs by opening up a Faun as well.  can you say trade bait?

Pack 2:

Not a new figure, but I certainly don't mind landing an extra farmer figure.  More printed pigs are always appreciated - and the farmer is a generally useful figure as well.  Heck, maybe I'll even work in an actual farm in my custom LEGO city at some point.

Pack 3:

Woo!  A figure that I actually needed - the Janitor with his trusty mop.  I love the City inspired figures (usually) and so I was happy to see a figure representing the clean-up side of LEGO City (as opposed to cops, robbers, or firefighters).

Pack 4:

Well, at least I got one figure I needed.  Seriously though, the Shark figure is pretty cool - and I know the costumed figures only seem to go up in value over time so maybe someday I'll be able to flip this one for one of the many costumed figures that I'm missing from previous minifigure series.

All things considered, I guess I'm happy enough with my four packs.  The Farmer is a perfectly fine figure to get multiple of (especially because he comes with a pig) and the Shark guy will probably be one of the more valuable figures from the set in the long term.  Obviously landing the Janitor was a huge victory since that was one of four missing figures...and the Faun figure?  Well, he's trade bait...surely someone still needs/wants him?

Monday, April 4, 2016

My Custom LEGO City: Update! (Custom Ice Cream Shop)

Many of my readers may already know this, but I teach at a nearby college.  I love my job, but there's always a big "crunch time" during the final six weeks or so of the semester (something that we are smack dab in the middle of currently).  As it stands, work has been keeping me incredibly busy due to a variety of issues (including the fact that I'm teaching two new classes this semester AND I just got roped into working on a grant, among other things).  Anyhow, all of that is basically my way of saying that I haven't accomplished a whole lot in terms of my hobbies lately - but I did manage to do a little bit...and that's what today's update is for!

You see, I finished off my first custom building for my large gray base plate that I purchased about a month ago.  In my original post highlighting my purchase, I said that one of my plans was to build a custom Ice Cream Shop - and that's exactly what I managed to accomplish!

Here's how the shop looks from the outside.

You may notice that pink bit leading up on to the roof.  The Ice Cream Shop is going to be on the ground floor of what I hope to (eventually) have as a two story city block of sorts.  That's a pink staircase that I was able to land off of Bricklink for a pretty decent price.  As for the Ice Cream Shop, there's a door to go inside on the ground floor and there is a walk up window if you'd prefer to place your order and eat outside.  I still need to do some work on the seating area outside (there is nothing there currently) but that'll all happen in due time!

As for the inside of the shop?  Well, that too is mostly done...

I need to pick up some 1x2 tiles in both white and black in order to finish off the full checkerboard pattern (I didn't realize I didn't have any and so I wasn't smart enough to make the width of the shop work with 2x2 tiles)!  At the bottom of the picture you can probably see a couple of chairs and tables for guests, plus a pair of slushy machines (one with green goo, the other with blue).  There is a cooler full of ice cream for the worker to scoop up near the window, as well as an ice cream cone dispenser (next to a Styrofoam bowl dispenser).  You can also get a much better view of the staircase that will lead up to the second floor of the city block (and the train station which will be for passengers loading and unloading onto the raised passenger railway system)!

Obviously I have a lot more to accomplish just to get the large grey base plate filled up (to say nothing of my entire LEGO table layout).  That said, even small accomplishments feel good - and this one was pretty fun to create.  I'm not 100% sure this is the final product...but it's a good start.

Hopefully I'll have more updates on my Custom City in the near future...but that's it for now.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Some More LEGO Collectible Minifigures (Series 6 and Series 10) from Colbey!

I recently completed a trade with Colbey over at Cardboard Collections.  Our swap included both baseball cards and LEGO - and since this is a LEGO blog you get the Minifigures here.  If you are interested in the baseball cards, go check out my baseball-centric blog over at Nachos Grande (where I've already posted the baseball card portion of the trade)!

Back to the LEGO here though!  First up, from Series 6 - The Leprechaun.

Colbey sent along the minifigure plus the pot for the gold - and since I happened to have three extra pieces of "gold" in my own collection, I now have the complete figure plus accessories!  I like the Leprechaun quite a bit - especially the pot of gold and the green bow tie on the Leprechaun's torso.

The second new figure that Colbey sent my way was from Series 10 - the Paintballer.

Quite frankly, the Paintball Guy isn't nearly as cool as the Leprechaun, but maybe that's because I've never actually gone to play paintball.  The little green paint splotch on the Paintball Guy's helmet is pretty cool - probably my favorite part of the minifigure.
Gimme yer gold!

Many thanks for the trade Colbey!  I'm always excited to knock off some of the many minifigures still residing on my want list!

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Next Step for My Custom LEGO City!

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Target and purchased a giant 48x48 gray base plate.

Why would I need such a monstrosity of a base plate?  Easy, for my next LEGO City custom building.  Actually, in this case it's going to be a collection of custom buildings.  In order to start creating my vision, I had to then make a big order with Brick Link, my second such large order of bricks this year!

What can I say, creating custom buildings is a lot of fun!

Can you tell from the above bag what I have in store?

My current plan is to create a two-tiered City block - with the upper portion consisting of a passenger train station (which will also necessitate putting up a raised train track loop for my passenger train!  The portion of the block below the train station will consist of a number of relatively small shops.  Right now, I know I definitely want to put in an ice cream shop and a bookstore, I've already started a few small bits for both.  I haven't quite figured out what I want to do with the remaining space, I need to see exactly how much room I have after I finish the first couple of buildings.  I might go for some sort of clothing shop or something like that...or else maybe I'll figure out something more creative!

Stay tuned, hopefully I'll have some pictures (and/or video) of my progress before too long!