Tag Archives: lego

Is There a LEGO Apple Store Set? Kinda.

Some would call it an unhealthy obsession – I would prefer to refer to it as a hobby.

LEGO isn’t for some. Those who cannot accommodate bricks must continue to put up with people like me (who, by the way, are not responsible for gigantic minifigs washing up on Florida shorelines). We need some kind of creative outlet, and at least this activity is more interactive than outmoded options like zoning out in front of a radio or television for hours on end.

Building LEGO sets has been my zen. Combine that with the crazy possibility of someone eventually producing an Apple Store model constructed entirely of… it happened. Oliver Burridge from our community asked if he could create a “Day in the Life of Chris Pirillo” for our YouTube Channel and I happily agreed to support the endeavor. Part of the “plot” will be spent within an Apple Store, apparently – and this scene has already been recorded:

I believe that LEGO is increasingly embracing the idea of allowing their community to control the destiny of various sets. In light of the LEGO trademark falling to the wayside, perhaps we’ll see better pricing for these custom constructions?

So, maybe we’ll inspire a passionate brick enthusiast to upload a DesignByMe set for any of us not-so-Master builders to buy one day?

I’m running out of room around here; without a dedicated LEGO space somewhere in my home, I’ll soon be swimming in bricks (and they’re quite sharp around the edges if you hadn’t already noticed). Perhaps it’s better that I stick to collecting minifigs and disassembling the sets once I’ve done ’em?

Nobody Expects the LEGO Inquisition

While I did happen to enjoy a few random episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on PBS when it aired, I couldn’t understand half of it. The troupe’s thick British accents were not half as challenging to interpret as their somewhat-foreign, albeit clearly offbeat, humor humour.

It wasn’t until my early days at college (before I discovered the Internet) when I’d be introduced to Monty Python’s range of movies and music through the Final Rip-off set of CDs. On these discs, you could listen to some of their more popular show skits – reproduced and somewhat sanitized. Plus, there were notable scenes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” sewn throughout the selection. That’s how I learned of the airspeed velocity of unladen swallows (and then some). To many, this is the only thing Monty Python ever did.

After picking up “Monty Python Sings” through one of those mail order CD clubs, I rented “Meaning of Life” and watched it with my brothers at home. This particular film was a bit more like their classic show, but a non-sequitur classic unto itself. I’m just glad my parents didn’t catch us watching the “Every Sperm is Sacred” segment at the time. “Christmas in Heaven” may have redeemed us, though.

Out of all the Monty Python movies produced, I’d have to say that “Life of Brian” was the most entertaining for me. I’m still a fan of Grail’s nonsensical storytelling, but there’s something to be said about well-crafted religious satire. If you couldn’t tell the difference between the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea, then… you’re in on the joke.

When I happened upon the series of Monty Python LEGO MOCs at Brickcon 2011, I couldn’t help but share. Credit goes to PythonScape for these:

Do you remember each of those scenes? If not, perhaps it’s time to move along to something completely different.

LEGO Convention in Seattle: Brickcon!

While I have certainly known about LEGO for a number of years, I can’t say that most of my adult life was spent with bricks. It wasn’t until the social network FriendFeed came about that I started to become interested in LEGO as a post-pubescent. There, some people were regularly sharing MOC (My Own Creation) images, minifigure dioramas, and the like. I re-shared, and the rest is history.

I learned about Brickcon, the Pacific Northwest’s Premiere LEGO Convention & Conference, last year – and when Dan Sabath reached out to me, I was compelled to sign up and spend a day with other Adult Fans of LEGO down at Seattle Center in a large room filled with buys and builds. I didn’t know any names, I didn’t know any faces, I just knew that I wasn’t alone.

This year, Dan was helping registered attendees sign-in by the front door. We chatted for a minute or so, then my girlfriend and I passed through the gates and into a crowd of what must have been thousands. We were about to dive in when I could hear Dan shouting from behind. He forgot to tell me that one person recognized him from YouTube earlier – from the video we shot at the beginning of last year’s public event: What is Brickcon. The video did its job!

So, what about this year’s Brickcon festivities? I was just as enchanted – seeing so many new projects up close. There were so many people snapping still photos, but I thought it would be much nicer to record the experiences in video, instead. We used a digital camera that has amazing image quality (but horrible autofocus). That said, here’s 17 minutes of footage from Brickcon 2011:

If you ever have a chance to go, you should. It should remain quite affordable – and it’s family friendly, so you’re welcome to bring the kids along. Even if you have absolutely no interest in this part of our world, you’ll certainly be enchanted by what these Master Builders have constructed.

Star Wars Advent Calendar is Jediriffic Year-Round

I got a LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar!

The idea of using an Advent calendar once held deep, religious significance for me – but since evolving into a non-Catholic, I only seem to appreciate the winter Holiday season for nostalgic reasons. I love the sights and sounds of Christmas, but… not its largely-borrowed-by-Christianity foundation. As such, I don’t feel the slightest bit of guilt when I go about my merry way, spreading love and joy without being chained to an outdated dogma.

Speaking of chains and Advent calendars… when I was a child, my brothers and I would find ourselves counting down the days to Christmas by stapling together (then tearing apart) a string of paper rings. It was a Christmastime staple! And, yes, we used staples to keep those chains together. I took the tradition too far one year and accidentally stapled my finger to one of the links.

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a bandage.

I’m quite grateful that LEGO is producing Advent calendars which do not require the usage of any pointed object. I may not have the best hand-eye coordination, but I can click bricks with the best of ’em. I’ve missed a few earlier LEGO Advent calendars, but that won’t happen again now that I’ve come out of the bin as an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO). I even decided to completely assemble the 2011 Star Wars Advent Calendar long before this Holiday season was upon us.

My girlfriend and I stumbled through a couple of the models, but it wasn’t too much of a challenge. We’re certainly ready to open more presents! Having streamed the LEGO build live on YouTube, this particular walkthrough was an hour in the making.

The full list of items (including the ones I couldn’t quite identify by sight):

  • Day 1 – Red Republic ship
  • Day 2 – Nute Gunray
  • Day 3 – Hologram Walker
  • Day 4 – Homing Spider Droid
  • Day 5 – Slave I
  • Day 6 – Chewbacca
  • Day 7 – Weapon holder with barrel of tools
  • Day 8 – Rebel Pilot with completely white helmet
  • Day 9 – X-wing
  • Day 10 – Imperial Shuttle
  • Day 11 – Battle Droid Pilot
  • Day 12 – Rebel Snowspeeder
  • Day 13 – Imperial Astromech Droid
  • Day 14 – Mouse Droid
  • Day 15 – Republic Gunship
  • Day 16 – Clone Pilot
  • Day 17 – Another Weapons Holder
  • Day 18 – Y-wing
  • Day 19 − 2010 TIE Fighter Pilot
  • Day 20 – TIE Fighter
  • Day 21 – Millennium Falcon
  • Day 22 − A-wing
  • Day 23 – Christmas Tree
  • Day 24 – Santa Yoda

Wouldn’t it be nice for LEGO to create a full 365-day calendar with new bricks every day?

Building Egyptian Pyramids is Easy… with LEGO

I’ve never been to Egypt, but I’ve watched plenty of documentaries and informational shows about it to know everything there is to possibly know about its history. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch – but I’m sure you feel like you’re in the same boat as far as Egyptology is concerned.

Unless you’re in de Nile. Get it? Sounds like “denial.” Anyway…

The Golden Staff Guardians [7306] is but a small part of the entire LEGO Pharaoh’s Quest series. My only other experience with them was with the ill-designed LEGO magnets a few months back. That said, I’m still quite enchanted with how LEGO brought this small bit of humanity’s past into the brick universe.

Maybe the golden staff has the power of reversing the pain of stepping on a LEGO piece with your bare or socked feet? Or, perhaps that’s how the Egyptians built the real pyramids? Wouldn’t that be an amazing LEGO set: a complete “true to life” LEGO pyramid? Of course, if I had enough bricks at my disposal, I could probably attempt the same myself (and it’d probably cost as much as all the real gold in Egypt, too). I’m sure that build would be easier than the actual pyramids at Giza.

Here’s an overview / review of what my girlfriend and I built:

This LEGO set’s mummified minifigs (mummifigs?) drew me to it. Assembly was a snap, too – pun intended. The bricks clicked at the skilled hands of my girlfriend, who assembled the set live on YouTube. She was quite proud of her accomplishment, and I was impressed that she did so well without much guidance. Sometimes even I find myself misassembling constructions as laid out by LEGO instructions.

It’s quite a standard, simple build at $10 (for ~70 pieces). The motorbike might be a nice addition to your collection if you happen to be a LEGO vehicle fanatic, though I don’t find any other piece to be a must-have. The mummy heads do have dual faces to give you a little variation between them, and the scarab shields are a nice touch. The golden staff is, of course, the centerpiece – though its true value is completely subjective.

Ancient Aliens Are Invading… LEGO?

As to how we wound up with consciousness on this globe, there are quite a few theories floating around. One such theory is that very long ago (like, long before Abe Vigoda), creatures from another dimension / galaxy / planet / universe visited Earth. I don’t know if this theory holds water, but it sure makes for some interesting television on the History Channel.

What do I believe in? I believe nobody has any idea.

But I, for one, welcome our new Alien Conquest LEGO overlords!

I had reviewed the slightly-larger collection of minifigs a few weeks back. I wasn’t expecting to get another one until this minifigure came as a bonus with another purchase. And the best part of that purchase? I didn’t buy it – someone else did, as a way to get me to look at his free product. It worked! Yes, you can get me to do just about anything for you if you buy me enough LEGO. It’s sad.

As I had plussed about earlier, Alistair Milne has written a free eBook on Startups. Courtesy of my Wish List on Amazon, Alastair sent me the the LEGO Millennium Falcon – now waiting in my home to be assembled at some point in the near future. This particular minfig came as a LEGO order bonus with the larger set.

So, that was my girlfriend’s first true LEGO kit review. It was a pretty simple construction, so we added a bit of conversation into the mix. I get the feeling, however, that my girlfriend’s choice of attire is distracting viewers from the subject at hand.

LEGO Police Videos Are Yours for the Making

I’ve never been in trouble with the law – other than receiving a few speeding tickets. After watching all the cop dramas and prison exposés on television, it’s a wonder anybody would commit a crime anymore. Sure, you have a few errant “bad cops,” but most police officers are good guys (and gals).

I happened upon the LEGO Police minifigs set the other day – and I couldn’t pass it up. While I seem to have an overwhelming abundance of LEGO City minifigures, picking up four additional ones didn’t hurt. Indeed, I am quite satisfied in having paid less than ten bucks for ’em. That’s a steal! Of course, I’m not suggesting that you should steal LEGO for yourself. That’d be a crime – almost as much as it would be a crime for you to ignore the value here.

Inside, you’ll find a couple of criminals – with faces covered in painted stubble. Are they stealing money directly from an ATM? Are they hacking into the machine using their l337 skills? That’s completely up to you. You’re also welcome to swap their heads with those from the friendly forces, too – it’s LEGO, after all. If you’d rather err on the side of perfection, you can use the comic printed in the back portion of the assembly instructions to guide you.

If you ask me, the smirking cop knows something the robbers don’t. What? Maybe the dog knows:

I’m also a bit jealous that the ATV-riding policeman is looking too cool for the room (with his silvery shades and all). Actually, I’m not sure if that’s really a LEGO ATV or some other kind of four-wheeler. Our police sure don’t ride those here in Seattle! Or, maybe they do and I just haven’t done anything wrong so as to warrant the dispatch? I’m not about to find out.

LEGO Minifigures Series 5 Review

I think I’d categorize myself as a person who has always loved the LEGO minifig. Mind you, I adore all bricks equally – but the minifigure has a special place in my heart (and permanently on my shelves). My first set did not come with a single minifig, though – since its delivery preceded the minifigure’s birth.

When LEGO released the first series of limited edition minifigs, I couldn’t believe my pegs. Of course, I had ’em all in-hand within a short period of time – and would have gone through hell and back to collect ’em all. I hoped they’d continue releasing sets from that day until the planet ran out of usable plastic.

And here we are with Series 5 in wide distribution! Like many AFOLs, I’m still quite disappointed in LEGO for ultimately deciding to obfuscate the minifig character identity pre-purchase. Without any tag indicating which minifig you’re holding onto, you either play the guessing game, finger-fondle its package to possibly identify a unique accessory, or you’re forced to scroll through eBay and pay obscene prices to buy the full set in one fell swoop. For the sake of sanity, I have opted for the latter.

To the buyer go the spoils of brick:

Now, I’ve also gone through the trouble of populating our new YouTube BrickTrix channel with individual minifigure spinarounds – in case you wanted to see more of any one of these series 5 characters. You can watch the LEGO Minifigs – Series 5 Playlist on YouTube itself, or you can just press play on any of the following embedded videos. I did my best to be comprehensive in taking a closer look at the minifigs, but even a one minute review seemed to be a stretch.

Harry Potter Enchanted Forest LEGO Set – Brick Magic!

What child has never dreamed of being a wizard? I certainly could’ve used a magic wand that contained within it the power to repel bullies who were always trying to steal my LEGO money. Yeah, I skipped eating lunch so I could save up to buy more bricks when our family went shopping at the end of the month. I used to try casting the “Alosermora” spell to no effect – other than generating a fistful of black eye.

I admit to never having read a single page from the Harry Potter book series. I’ve always been more of a visual learner, and I figured it was pointless to suffer through endless paper cuts just to find out how Voldemort ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named’ bites it. Yeah, he had it coming.

I wouldn’t really consider myself a Harry Potter fan – but since there are plenty of Harry Potter LEGO sets to go around, I figured it was about time I assembled one for the low cost of $12 (in muggle currency). Even though I was the one who threw it into the shopping cart, my mom is the one who actually bought the Enchanted Forest for me. Yeah, I’m pushing 40 and my mom still buys me LEGO. You got a problem with that?

The biggest selling point for me? Four minifigs – Tom Riddle (although, he preferred to be referenced as Voldemort), Harry Potter in Hogwarts Uniform, Belatrix Lestrange Narcissa Malfoy, and Hagrid. The biggest surprise? Noticing that the Hagrid minifig has fingers! I only noticed when I was setting up to record the video walkthrough of the “forest” (which was really nothing more than a tree).

I might find myself picking up a few more smaller Harry Potter sets as I find them (though I had earlier attained a collection with Dobby). But, since I’ve already seen the films, I probably won’t take the time to read the books. I realize there were several parts of the entire story that were dropped altogether. Maybe these bricks will help close those gaps? Eh, they’re not THAT magical.

If I had a true complaint about the Enchanted Forest LEGO set it would be that… well, I guess I don’t have anything to complain about. My girlfriend did trick me with the spider minifig, though. She knows I’m an arachnophobe, so she placed the eight-legged piece of plastic atop my iPhone and waited for me to scream like a little girl. I did.

Jeez, could this review make me sound like any more of a…

LEGO Star Wars Mandalorian Battle Pack: Fett-tastic!

I was just a child when the Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters. I distinctly remember watching in awe with the rest of my family, and leaving the cinema through a front exit – which immediately reminded us of the ice halls of Hoth. Even my mom was digging the scene (though she could hardly be considered a geek or sci-fi aficionado).

Despite his lack of screen time, Boba Fett captured the world’s attention – if only because this bounty hunter looked like a badass. Visually, he commanded respect and implied authority. It’s no wonder Lucas integrated the familiar Mandalorian armor within the prequels. It was interesting to see Boba as a child, and to learn that his father (Jango Fett) served as the base for what would become the Empire’s clone army.

If you loved Boba Fett’s look – you’ll certainly adore the LEGO Star Wars Mandalorian Battle Pack (7914). It’s like having four Boba Fetts for the price of… well, four minifig Boba Fetts? Sure, their color scheme is a bit more blue than you’ve come to associate with the classic Boba – but you’d expect that even Mandalorian warriors would have to update their look every few years, right?

Want a Mandalorian assassin? Check. Want three Mandalorian troopers with assault rifles and other weaponry? Check. Want the bricks to build a Mandalorian speeder and blaster turret? Check.

There weren’t many Mandalorians in the movies, but the Star Wars Expanded Universe is replete with ’em. Even if you didn’t know much about their backstory, they will compliment your collection of LEGO minifigs better than Bantha fodder. Sorry, that’s an inside joke. Just don’t let this battle-tested army catch you joking around.

Pick up the minifigure pack while you can – if only because the price is just about as low as it can go right now (~$10 if you’re lucky). Don’t forget that you can upload your own LEGO-related video to our BrickTrix YouTube channel. Together, we can rule the galaxy as builder and…