Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Birthday Presents: Blind Packs!

My birthday was last week and I must say, I hit the LEGO jackpot this year.  My biggest gift was the brand new Carousal set (which is amazing).  However, I also got a few smaller items including a pair of minifigure packs from the LEGO Ninjago Movie series.

I don't actually have any interest in the Ninjago line in general (I didn't see the movie) but I have bought a couple of the Ninjago Movie sets.  I also bought the Sushi chef minifigure already (from Bricklink) because I wanted that figure for my custom grocery store.  Thus, as long as neither of my two birthday packs held the Sushi Guy, this would be a win for me.

Looking at the checklist, I have to say there are a lot of really weird figures to find.  In fact, I would wager that I wouldn't have much use for well over half of the figures (though some of them have some nice accessories which I could use).  Still, I won't ever complain about getting free LEGO figures...and there are a few figures which I'd definitely like to acquire some day even if I don't go for the entire set.  For example, #s 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 18 could all be worked into my custom LEGO City.  I'm also interested in the head piece for #12, 13, 20, and also 14 I think.  So yeah, there are plenty of good figures available.

So what'd I get?

Pack 1:

I believe the main bad guy is Garmadon (or something like that) and I think this is his most evil version (I'm only guessing based on the fact that he's pretty much all black here).  I'll be honest in that this figure was probably one of, if not the, least wanted figures by me in the entire set.  I don't see much use for him in my custom city - though that spear point piece is certainly unique to my collection (and I could probably do something neat with it at some point).

How about the second pack?

Pack 2:

That's more like it.  This guy is definitely going to be worked into my custom City.  Probably he'll be somewhere taking a selfie where he really shouldn't be...maybe an alligator or something will be sneaking up on him.  No matter, this figure is quite nice - and that scarf piece is a great new addition for my collection as well.

The second blind pack saved the day here - but since both packs were gifts I truly can't complain at all.  In fact, I had a blast ripping the two packs (and assembling the minifigs). 

Monday, November 13, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO 40262 - LEGO Christmas Train Ride

One of the best parts of the holiday season for me is the annual release of LEGO's Winter Village sets.  This year, in addition to the Train Station for the Winter Village, LEGO released a pair of small ($10) sets that serve as a nice compliment to any Winter Village display.  I was enamored enough by both of the small sets that I purchased them...and today, I had the great fun of opening up and building the first one:  LEGO 40262 - LEGO Christmas Train Ride.

For a $10 set, you actually get quite a bit including a small train, two small stands, a light pole, a tree, and a picnic table.  In addition, you get three minifigures:  a conductor, a coffee barista, and a young girl.  All told, the set contains 169 pieces including a tree piece so it's a decent value for your money no matter how you slice it.

Looking at each part individually, we have to start with the set's namesake:  the train.

The train consists of two cars and a locomotive.  The two train cars are built exactly the same - and yes, if you were to buy another version of the set you could easily make the train four cars long instead of only two.  Still, for its size, the train is quite nice.  I particularly like the use of the pearl gold accent pieces on the train - it adds a bit of a holiday feel to the entire set!  My only complaint about the ticket booth is that the yellow tiles that LEGO used for tickets are simply plain tiles.  No printing or any other way to really see that those are tickets.  Heck, I think a 1x1 yellow tile would have been a better choice (the 1x2 tile ticket seems huge in relation to the size of the train)!

Next, the coffee stand and picnic table.

I love the torso that the coffee stand worker is sporting, it's a print that I don't think I can get enough of (maybe some day I'll make my own proper coffee shop store)!  The picnic table isn't very exciting (and it's much too large for the scale of the rest of the bits of the set).  The little stand is quite lovely though...and yes, you do get two red mugs (one for the "sign" and one for a customer).

Finally, the street light and tree.

Quite honestly, I think I like the little street light build the best of all!  I suppose this could be a bus/train stop (so that the small set goes with this year's larger Winter Village set) but it works just fine on its own as well.  The small pine tree is always appreciated - you can't have too many pine trees in a Winter Village display!

All told, for $10 I'm quite satisfied by the set.  You get three minifigures, a smattering of nice pieces in useful colors, and some quality small builds...plus a tree.  I don't know what you can expect out of such a small set!  I will say that while I have no plans to keep the set completely in tact as it is, I am quite happy to add the various bits to my collection - and even better, to this year's Winter Village display that I need to start working on soon!

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  9
Play Value:  8
Kid Value:  8
Adult Value:  10
Overall:  9

Trains are always fun - and while this set doesn't offer a load of play value, for it's price there is quite a bit here for kids to mess around with.  For adults, you can't really beat the set for the money...  If only LEGO had included printed 1x1 ticket tiles instead, this might have been a perfect small set.

Monday, November 6, 2017

REVIEW: LEGO 40178: LEGO VIP Set

This past October, if you spent enough money on LEGO at the LEGO Store (or online), you got a free set called the LEGO VIP set. 

For a free set, you actually get quite a bit - two minifigures (one monochromatic) and 205 pieces to go with those figures.  For my thoughts on the set, please check out my video review!


Monday, October 30, 2017

More Custom LEGO: Custom Train Car #2 (Octan Oil Tanker)

About a week ago, I showed off my first custom LEGO train car for my city.  That car was actually built a long time ago (probably well over two years ago now).  However, thanks to a fairly recent eBay purchase of another LEGO train, I've gone back to focus on my trains, and more specifically, adding more train cars to my trains.

For my next train car, I did get to use a little bit more sophisticated building techniques.  In fact, one of my techniques might even be considered "illegal" by LEGO standards, though perhaps not.  I guess I'll let you decide as you watch the video and I show you how I did it.

It feels good to have my train gain in length - and in variety of cargo cars!  Hopefully, as I continue to play around with different LEGO techniques (and grow my piece collection) I'll continue to evolve into a better and better LEGO designer.  However, I'm not mad or disappointed with what I've managed to accomplish today, at least for now.


I have a lot of other ideas and plans for my city...the hardest part is finding the time to actually work on it.  Still, I think it's fairly safe to say that I'll have more updates soon - including, hopefully, major improvements to the amusement park area of the city.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

More Custom LEGO: Custom Train Car #1 (Christmas Tree Hauler)

I haven't had a lot of time to devote to LEGO lately, but I did manage to squeeze in a bit of time to make a couple of videos.  Today's video highlights my first attempt at a custom LEGO train car for my city.  It's not the prettiest car in the world, but I think it still holds up alright as compared to my newer creations.


I didn't do anything fancy in building the first train car, pretty much anyone can reproduce what I did by watching the short video I would think.  Immediately after filming the above video, I started working on my next custom train car - the oil tank car that I mentioned in the video.  My next blog update should include a look at what I came up with for the second custom train car.  Until then, thanks for reading (and watching my videos)!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Expanding My Minifigure Collection!

I recently completed a trade with Colbey who agreed to send me six different minifigures in exchange for a whole lot of baseball cards (one of my other hobbies).  Now that we have both received our end of the trade, let's take a look at the new LEGO to join my collection.

First up, the prize of the package (for me):  A Series 1 Minifigure of the Nurse.  Thanks to Colbey, I now own four different figures from the first series (I wasn't collecting LEGO back when the first four series were released).  Tracking down the remaining figures will be difficult (because of how long ago they were released) but I'm hopeful I can keep making slow, but steady, progress.  Colbey also sent me a figure from Series 9:  the Battle Mech.  I'm much closer to completing Series 9 - in fact, now that I have the Battle Mech I'm only missing 4 more figures.

And from Series 14, Colbey sent me two figures I needed:  the Banshee and the Plant Monster.  Back when Series 14 was announced (and the figures shown off), I wasn't interested in the Halloween theme and so I decided at the time that I'd ignore the set.  However, the completionist in me got bothered by that decision later on, and so now I'm once again working on a set that was released quite a while ago.  Unlike Series 1 (which was very popular), I don't get the feeling that Series 14 is all that popular which should make tracking down the final four figures that I still need not terrible difficult.

Unfortunately for me, Colbey made a couple of mistakes on a few figures he sent my way.  He said he had the Series 3 Space Villain (which I needed) but instead sent me Space Alien (also from Series 3, but I already owned a copy).  He also said he has the Series 9 Waiter for me (which I need) but instead sent the Series 11 Diner Waitress (which I already owned).  Both mistakes were honest, and since the real prize of the package for me was the Series 1 figure, I'm still perfectly happy with the trade overall.  In this case, I've simply added the Diner Waitress and the Space Alien to my "have for trade" list on Swapfig...hopefully before too long I'll be able to turn each them into a minifigure that I still need!

Thanks again for the swap, Colbey!  And, as always, if anyone else out there wants to trade leave me a comment and we can hopefully work something out.  If you want to see what I have available for trade, check me out on Swapfig.

Monday, October 2, 2017

REVIEW: Build My City Accessory Set (LEGO 40170)

Not all that long ago, I found myself in my local* LEGO brand store and happened to spot the LEGO 40170:  Build My City Accessory Set.  I had never seen the set before, so I added it to my pile of purchases without giving it a lot of thought (or a careful review).

*local being over 2 hours away

Now though, it's time to take a more careful look at this 100 piece set that retails for $9.99.  Is it worth the ten spot or should you save your money for something else?  

Since I always offer up numerical scores, let's do that here as well (not done in the video):

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  2
Play Value:  4
Kid Value:  5
Adult Value:  4
Overall:  4
The extras included in the set.

This is a tough set to score in the sense that it is clearly marketed as an accessory set.  With no included minifigures, it's tough to say that this set is fun in any meaningful way.  There is a frog, some water elements, and plants so I guess you could play with that if this were the only set you owned.  The value in the set is clearly for those who already own other LEGO City sets.  Even with that in mind, I think LEGO could have done a better job of including more value in the set.  I'm not mad that I bought the set, but I don't think I'll be looking to add another copy of this set to my collection.  I do, however, want to encourage LEGO to keep making City accessory packs every so often - as a kid I used to love these (and while this one isn't the best in my eyes, I know that LEGO can do other similar sets that I'll love).