Category Archives: LEGO

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 Creators Don’t Need Instructions

I’ve heard a few people complain that LEGO isn’t what it used to be – a random series of multi-colored bricks which encouraged a person to use their imagination to complete the assembly of any given construct. Yeah, that’s how LEGO sets were when I first learned of them (as a child long ago, mind you).

These days, most LEGO experiences are seemingly dictated by detailed instruction booklets and unique pieces that were custom cut to serve a certain purpose. Brands have entered the LEGO brick fray, but is that really such a bad thing?

Creativity isn’t stumped by absolute dictation, though there may only be one solution to a brick-laden “puzzle.” Even when there’s a construction guide sitting at your fingertips, you still must learn how to navigate a 3D maze to craft the object to completion. I would argue that the more pre-defined LEGO templates one assembles, the closer they get to becoming a “Master Builder.”

I wasn’t gifted with the insane ability that some LEGO artists have; while I can conceptualize and organize, I do not have the improvisational talent that would bring me to assemble breathtaking dioramas or brick-stricken likenesses which draw envy from every observer.

Here’s my take on 5929:

Still, I appreciate the perceivably-generic LEGO brick collections that are actively produced under the “Creator” label. Within these small boxes, there’s one set of directions and a series of suggestions for the builder. Isn’t this the best of both worlds? One brick doesn’t rule them all – and even a dozen bricks might yield a thousand separate creations.

LEGO: you can build its future.

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…

LEGO Community Minifig Set: It Figures for Education

“Who are the people in your neighborhood?” Assuming you leave the house every so often, you’ve likely seen other human beings in public. Have you ever thought about collecting them in a non-creepy way? LEGO is giving you that chance with the LEGO Community Minifig set.

Construction worker? You can put him in your pocket or pretend to be pounding the pavement with your little LEGO jackhammer. Ambulance drivers? They’ll carry just about any injured brick for you on their stretcher. The consummate sportswoman? She’ll wow you with her gigantic trophy (which stands just about as tall as she does).

This is a little LEGO community that was created for the LEGO community (it’s very meta). To be specific, it was really produced for the educational market – in case your child wanted to play make believe without relying too heavily on his or her imagination. LEGO can help bridge that gap with this series of minifigs.

With this set, you’ll also get a mini LEGO fire brigade, grocery shopper, baker and his customer (with pizza and popsicle pieces), farmers, and a few others – including a self-employed businesswoman who has her own LEGO-branded laptop – which happens to be my favorite part of this collection.

Here’s a more complete tour:

Granted, you might find the bundle a bit on the expensive side for 256 pieces – but how much is an education worth? Would you rather have a young mind learn about careers in a book (?!) or have them develop their own mini-town with bricks? I’ve yet to hear of a LEGO-induced paper cut (and I’m not counting an instruction page mis-flip).

If I was disappointed, it was likely with the snowmen – which were given skeleton heads. It’s not like LEGO doesn’t have the ability to create a more snowman-like face… they just didn’t. If you like spooky snowmen, then I guess you’ll be happy with their decision.

If you have your own brick-related video, you can add it to our BrickTrix channel on YouTube. Let’s make our own (new) LEGO community?

Clone Trooper LEGO Minifigs: an Army of Awesome

I am definitely not a fan of the prequels (or just about anything that’s come with them). Call me a purist, but I find my Star Wars sensibilities consistently gravitating around the characters and ethos of the original trilogy. Perhaps my perspective would be skewed the other way if I were only a couple of decades younger?

I’ve tried getting into the Clone Wars cartoons, but found myself feeling like I was a bit lost. Despite being a HUGE fan of the Force, I’m simply not the prime demographic for a comical Star Wars series. Give me something a bit more serious any day (with fantastic story, characters, and dialogue).

LEGO to the rescue! Yeah, I don’t have much of a bias when it comes to bricks – though that wasn’t always the case. I had walked past this particular minifig pack a number of times in the store. But when I saw it go on sale for around the $10 mark, I decided to pounce on it.

Let’s just see what we have in the LEGO Star Wars Clone Trooper Battle Pack (7913), shall we?

There’s 1 clone commander, 2 new bomb squad troopers, and 1 new ARF trooper minifigure (the last of which happens to be my favorite of the bunch). You can assemble your own BARC speeder if you choose to follow the directions – but where’s the fun in that?

If you’re up to assembling your own clone army, this will certainly help. Line ’em up by the dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions! I’d be shocked if you made it over 100 LEGO clone trooper minifigs, but who am I to question your dedication to the Empire? Or, wait… were these clone troopers a part of the Old Republic before Palpatine turned pruny?

Upload your own LEGO-related video to our BrickTrix YouTube channel. May the Brick be with you!

Alien Conquest LEGO Minifig Abduction

You’re not going to believe this, but I woke up last night and found myself face-to-face with what I believe was a pair of alien beings. Even with these short creatures present, the room was eerily silent. I was frozen in fear – wondering if I had been selected for some kind of probe.

Turns out, I was just looking at a propped up LEGO minifig five-pack: Alien Conquest (853301).

While I don’t advocate truly abducting these minifigs, I would say that they should stand out in your collection. Not to mention, it would be awfully interesting to see these alien heads on the body of, say, a fairy tale character. That would REALLY disturb your sleep.

I’ve never been abducted by aliens, I’ve never witnessed a UFO, and I’m pretty sure the ancient astronaut theory is more cogent than half the belief systems on the planet – but these minifigures are a sure thing. I didn’t hesitate to snap up the pack, given that I hadn’t yet acquired an Alien Conquest set. $15 is a good going rate for five fresh LEGO minifigs. Impulse buy? Sure.

As I describe in the video, the LEGO store clerk was friendly enough to gave me a choice before buying this set – but the alternative was less interesting for me. Would you have decided differently? Watch and wonder:

Ultimately, I think I’m coming out of the bin as a minifig maniac. Not to say that LEGO bricks aren’t interesting enough themselves, but there’s just something wonderful about these little guys, gals, or things (if aliens don’t have a gender). Our blue-clad heroes are just a bonus. More than anything, I’m just happy to see LEGO producing minifig sets that collectors can truly enjoy – unlike the new LEGO magnet sets, which are still subject to a bone-headed corporate “solvent” decision.

No need to be green with envy, though – I’m sure there are plenty of Alien Conquest minifig packs to go around. Even if the idea of intelligent life on another planet freaks you out, don’t let that stop you from abducting adopting a few aliens. If they get hungry, just feed ’em the included lawyer minifig (actually, I don’t know if this minifig is a lawyer – I’m just saying that it looks like he’s ready to sue you).