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# Saturday, 30 July 2011

I shared my review on 7962 Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba's Podracers at Eurobricks and it is interesting that the poll for the set is very positive, indeed it is rare for a set to receive no poor/below average rating, with more than 60% rating it as outstanding.

http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=57166

Click here for My review for 7962 at Brickand.me

Saturday, 30 July 2011 12:34:21 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 14 May 2011

My recent reviews on the Pirates of the Caribbean sets 4191 and 4192 at Brickset are receiving negative ratings, I would not say this is a blow but there is definitely a need to think in the direction of making improvements.

By the way, the recent Facebook PR Fiasco has raised hot discussion locally, I have been thinking about this for quite sometime already even before this news, it is a known fact that many posts, reviews, blogs or news on the web are created with commercial backing, fortunately in the world of Lego, such behavior is not necessary, so we can somehow read the web content on Lego with more trust. But like all web channels, certain quality issues on web opinions should also exist, and Lego related content may not be immuned from it totally, just hope that bad behaviors such as cyberbullying would not be rampant in Lego communities.

Saturday, 14 May 2011 12:15:08 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 04 February 2011

I got a copy of the DK Lego Starwars Heroes Sticker Book a few days ago, not bad for a collector item, and it can be a fun book for your kids, as they can match the pictures to the sticker page, it is also a helpful resources for you to know some of the less popular characters in the starwars saga.

There are 8 sticker pages:

Heros
The Jedi
In Trouble
To the Rescue
Super Speed
Rebel Power
On Ice
Ultimate Duels

And there are 7 pages of large stickers and 1 page of small size stickers

There is definitely no wow for this item, but if the price is right, getting a copy is fine as it won't occupy too much space, but it can come handy if you suddenly got a wierd idea, for example, using them in creating a lego red pocket (樂高利是) like what I did before?

Friday, 04 February 2011 20:47:47 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 28 January 2011

Here is my tabulated summary of the 60 pcs of 8803 minifigs I purchased over a month in many occasions:

  My Total Standard
Hula Dancer 5 3
Elf 3 3
Sumo Wrestler 8 5
Space Alien 2 5
Mummy 4 5
Tennis Player 8 4
Baseball Player 5 4
Gorilla Suit Guy 2 4
Tribal Chief 3 3
Samurai Warrior 3 4
Pilot 6 4
Fisherman 2 2
Space Villain 1 3
Snowboarder 3 3
Race Car Driver 3 5
Rapper 2 3

Do I get better value out of this? With the standard number of minifigs for Elf and Fisherman, I have to say I am not in bad luck, but obviously I do not gain much really.

The consolation is that I got more on low value preferred minifigs, such as sumo wrestlers vs Space Alien, and I would be very disappointed if I got many Race Car driver, I am not particularly interested in Gorilla Suit Guy though I must admit that it is a very interesting one.

But I am also doubtful too, is Tennis player a good minifig that many wants? Do you like Hula dancers? Having 5 instead of 3 would create a more dynamic dancing group.

In Hong Kong many are cherry-picking the box, I don't do that, so I think I am already very lucky, with the good value ones being taken away, I could easily getting all those unwanted ones in my collection.

 

Friday, 28 January 2011 22:29:04 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 12 January 2011

I purchased 5 pieces of 8803 minifigs today during lunch break, and really a lucky day as I got an Elf and Fisherman, not bad for a 5 pieces deal, it seem to me that I'll end up getting a much better deal in such random purchases over time instead of buying a big box, let me tabulate after I got 60 pieces.

And let me assure you, I pick by random without trying to check the patterns even if I had the chance, so the result is really random. Lego is doing the right thing by removing the barcode, allowing people to identify the bags is unfair for others, although I can understand the frustration of getting a bunch of unwanted minifigs in a batch, making it to happen to others is not something nice to do either.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 00:03:27 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 10 January 2011

So what do you get out of a few random purchases of 8803 minifigs? This is what I got in 30 minifigs, do you think that's a good stat?

Hula Dancer 3
Elf 1
Sumo Wrestler 3
Space Alien 1
Mummy 2
Tennis Player 4
Baseball Player 2
Gorilla Suit Guy 1
Tribal Chief 2
Samurai Warrior 2
Pilot 2
Fisherman 1
Space Villain 1
Snowboarder 2
Race Car Driver 1
Rapper 2

Monday, 10 January 2011 21:16:03 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 09 September 2010

When I did my review on the Lego DK BrickMaster Star Wars book yesterday, I forgot to mention one thing, there is such an item among the parts!

Since there is no missing item, so this is an "extra", useless and even an indicator of worrying Lego quality, but since there is no lacking parts, there is no ground for complaints, especially when the book itself is good.

Not sure if anyone else experienced the same.

Thursday, 09 September 2010 21:42:25 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 05 September 2010

Thanks to user wongkw who left a comment in my blog entry on Lego Brickmaster Atlantis review, who shared the link to the online models pdf download:

http://www.dorlingkindersley-uk.co.uk/static/html/features/legoatlantis/atlantis.html

Sunday, 05 September 2010 12:02:20 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 31 July 2010

One of the biggest event for Hong Kong Lego players would probably be the ani-com (香港動漫電玩節), as Lego would host a booth there to sell products and display the art work of local lego competition winners, usually they would sell hot products at "slightly" discounted price, and some items that are not available officially can be found there, and sold at prices lower than those parallel imported ones.

I had been there in the past years, and honestly it was a difficult experiences, so I did not plan to line up for the Lego store anymore this year, and when I did drop by to take a look this afternoon, it was as bad as I expected, long queue and same small booth that wants to be everything, I think the local lego management seems to be unable to learn from past experiences.

Reading what people posted in a local forum about their experiences, it is interesting that after all these years, the lego folks here in Hong Kong still do not know how to manage this event well, and I doubt if the Lego management in Denmark do realize how some local lego fans feel about Lego because of this.

If this happens in the old company that I worked for, ha......

Saturday, 31 July 2010 00:35:43 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 25 July 2010

Just returned from a New York trip, I was having big expectation to the Lego Store there at Rockerfeller Center, but I was quite disappointed.


Lego replica of the Rockerfeller Center

The store is conveniently located, not big but not very crowded even on a Saturday, but it is disappointing to see that many new sets available online are not found there, such as 10213 Shuttle Adventure, and they always run out of cups for purchasing bricks from the wall!

By the way, there is a Lego model at the Empire State Building, very nice work but the building itself may not be easily expressed magnificently as a lego replica, and I also notice that 21002 is abundantly available in many places, but the set is really too plain and small to be impressive, so I doubt if it is sold well.

It seems to me that perhaps Lego Stores in Europe would be better options.

Sunday, 25 July 2010 23:11:54 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 10 July 2010

How much would the White Boba Fett worth? This is an interesting question as I see people trying to sell it online for HKD 750 (around USD 95!) here in Hong Kong. Well, personally I won't pay this amount for getting the minifig, and I have no plan to sell it either.

I read news from Brickset (http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=783) about how the White Boba Fett could be distributed, if only around 20,000 will be distributed world-wide, then this item should be really kind of "limited", but it is interesting to see how it will be distributed.

So I won't open the bag for the mean time, better keep it that way and see what would be happening to the product item.

How I got this set is blogged here.

Saturday, 10 July 2010 02:02:57 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 19 June 2010

There was a question from a reader on how many standing minifigs can the truck carry, since I have the set "packed" already, I guess I would share a picture of the interior for reference instead.

Hope this helps, I am sorry for the late reply too, I guess my response is not timely enough.

Saturday, 19 June 2010 13:51:54 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 25 May 2010

After taking up a new job, I found myself being forced into working mode 7 days a week, 16 hours per day, well, may be this is a little exaggerated, but I really find little time for my family, not to mention Lego, I did purchased a few sets, but I missed the chance to grab the Collectable Minifigures, they were being swept away by players and vendors so quickly that any information about their availability would become useless by the time you read them.

I am not sure how long this crazy workload will end, I desperately look forward to have a day where I can be free (mentally) to open a box of lego set. But of course, family comes first, I have not been taking my kid to the park for a long time, really feel guilty about that.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010 22:51:28 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 09 April 2010

After I have done my review on Lego 7573 Battle of Alamut here, I have also posted it at a Greater China forum, while many agrees that this is really a very good set, it is interesting to notice that a few people are waiting for discounts in order to get this set at a "reasonable" price. While I believe that the pricing of the set is ok, I feel that some discounts done by Lego in the past may have caused people to have some sort of expectations. And personally I think such expectations may not always be realistic, I would really be surprised if 7573 would be sold in big discounted price.

Being some sort of working on a technical + marketing role in the past, I am always wary of the practice of making discounts on good products in order to achieve short term revenue goals, when I saw Lego making huge discounts on a product which I think is very good, such as lego bulldozer 8275, it is kind of bad for me because I was not only buying the same stuff at a much higher price, it may also mean that I made a wrong judgement on how good the product is.

I hope I would not face the same situation on 7573, well, I really think it is a very good set. A very good set that should not deserve to become a discounted product for whatever reason.

Friday, 09 April 2010 23:21:13 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 21 February 2010

For fans of Star Wars, what kind of items are worth collecting aside from Lego Sets? I found these metal plates from Bandai and they look kind of cool, do you think they are worth buying?

The whole set of 6 plates represents Yoda, Clone Troopers, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Asaji Ventress and Obi-Wan Kenobe, which one do you think is the hottest and hard to get?

Sunday, 21 February 2010 23:59:48 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 08 February 2010

I blogged about a Lego 40004 look-alike last time, but I made a mistake in mentioning the base, I think it should be a Round Dish 6 x 6 Inverted instead of an 8 x 8 I mentioned last time, and the 6 x 6 inverted dish is readily available from a set I just reviewed: 4996 Beach House! So here I have an exact replicate of 40004 built using parts I have on hand.

Lego 40004 available at: http://shop.lego.com/Product/?p=40004

There are quite a number of Lego Valentine gift options, check them out!
http://shop.lego.com/valentinesday/Default.aspx

Check out this Rose too, though I like the heart much better
http://shop.lego.com/product/?p=852786

Monday, 08 February 2010 23:37:05 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 07 February 2010

For kids in China, Hong Kong, and other cities with Chinese new year celebration, aside from the fun, sweets and holiday, another great thing to be happy about would surely be red pocket (紅包 - Hóng Bāo in Mandarin, 利是 - Lai See in Cantonese/Hong Kong, and some would call it red packet). Red Pocket is a small red envelope with cash inside, given by married people to unmarried people (who nowadays may not necessarily be young) for good luck and blessing. The amount usually are small (around HKD 20 = USD 2.5), except from people with close relationship, which can reach 50X more, but since you'll get it from most people you'll meet during the Chinese new year visit (拜年), the total can be quite a big amount.

In recent years, the design of red pocket has gained a lot of new twist, interesting designs and licensed art works are used to make the red pockets much more interesting, but so far I am not aware of any Lego red pocket 樂高利是 being available yet, the discount coupons from Toysrus disguised as red packet should not count.

So why not create one when I can? The DK Sticker book I reviewed before can probably be useful in doing that, so I just give it a try, and here it goes....

I think it would be great if Lego subsidiary in greater china region (especially Hong Kong) would come up with some nice red pockets for Lego fans next year, imagine the marketing effect when these red pockets are distributed, and they would hit the exact customer target group! Looking forward to a Lego Starwars red packet with Anakin and Ahsoka saying "kung Hei Fat Choi"...

Sunday, 07 February 2010 12:02:27 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 06 February 2010

I was able to trigger quite a lot of feedbacks after I posted my reviews on two Lego Ben 10 sets (8409 and 8519), including the following poll results as of this moment (around 5 day period):

From Pockyland (Taiwan) - 95 votes
對 Ben 10 系列的設計方向, ,我會: 
支持 (Support)     5.26% (5)
反對 (Against)    51.58% (49)
觀望 (Observing)   22.11% (21)
無意見 (No opinion)  21.05% (20)

From Eurobricks - 72 votes
Opinion regarding this design trend:
Like                                  8.33% (6)
Don't like                          66.67% (48)
Unsure at the moment          8.33% (6)
Don't care                        16.67% (12)

Despite some variations in numbers, the trend is rather consistent, there are vocal negative feelings from these audiences even if they can simply choose to ignore it, in a way it may reflect that there are lots of people who do not like to see Lego doing this.

I think Lego needs to handle this with care, especially when they try to include such parts into other lines, or extend similar design ideas into other themes, the fundamental challenge with this Ben 10 type of Lego, in my opinion, would be mainly the big deviation from the lego bricks and parts, a even bigger deviation from Bionicle. And another issue would be the lack of building experiences and flexibility to build from smaller parts. In general, it is very un-lego, even though I would say the design itself is quite interesting, and the thing as a toy is quite fun, especially for young kids.

From a sales perspective, Lego may wish to both tackle new market segment for quick revenue, and as well attract new customer base to the Lego brand, which in the long run, would benefit all existing themes. Whether the Ben 10 fans would embrace this Lego version of Ben 10 is yet to be seen (pricing and other alternatives being factors), but this may distort people's perception on the true value of Lego from their first experience.

These two boxes of Ben 10 Lego will be kept at a dark corner in the bottom of my storage place, but I would not regret investing in them, who knows, may be a few decades later, it would emerge with high value, just like many rare stuffs that is rare because of very short life span.

Saturday, 06 February 2010 11:45:04 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 30 January 2010

When news about Lego 40004 Valentine Heart came out, some folks at a Greater China forum obviously feel envy because the product is not available at this region yet (I think it should come very very soon though), since it looks quite simple, I think it would be easy to emulate, fortunately almost all parts are available on hand (almost, except one...), I instantly give it a try.

Easy, right? Not exactly, the white dish is only a 4 X 4 Inverted while in 40004 I believe that the one used is a rather rare 8 x 8 Inverted Round Dish, so this copy is not really exact.

But nevertheness, it works, and there was a happy recipient of this Lego valentine heart.

My personal feeling is that the Lego design is a little bit plain, so I try a couple more variations, and .... what do you think of the followings?

By the way, this year's Valentine coincide with the first day of Chinese New Year, is it a good thing, may be, or may be not, it is always not easy to handle two things at the same time.

General | MOC
Saturday, 30 January 2010 15:18:37 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 12 December 2009

After I blogged about 9286 last time, I actually bought another set of this Large LEGO Baseplates in order to have another blue 32 X 32 baseplate in my Lego Inventory, at USD 40, this is actually very costly as the 2 green baseplates and the old gray 48 X 48 are not really of big practical value. But the blue base plates are really too useful for oceanic MOCs, I thought the spending would be worth it, until now.

I just read about an upcoming Lego set 620 blue building plate (http://brickset.com/detail/?Set=620-3) from a Eurobricks thread, although I am not sure how much this one would cost when it is available, it is definitely a much better (and targetted) option to get the blue baseplate, well, just like buying stocks, what have been invested is already done, I have to look forward, after all, it is a good thing that the supply of blue base plates would be better soon, and it can really help a lot of Lego players.

One question remains though - How much is 620 going to cost?

Saturday, 12 December 2009 14:55:53 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 27 October 2009

I found the Lego 6299 Pirates Advent calendar available in a local shop today, checking out a nice review from Eurobricks, plus a quick look at the as usually helpful peeron web site on 6299, I can easily decide whether I would get it or not. My conclusion: Yes, I would get it.

It is true that most of the items can be available from existing Pirates sets and there is no real big surprise, but since I don't own the 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty, I would leverage this lower cost set 6299 to get the Mermaid, besides, the white Clam is also a rare item. With 8 minifigs, if the pricing is right, it is worth buying a set, but I don't think it is a good source of army building, the chess set or Tic Tac Toe (which I have written a review) would be a better choice for that purpose.

But another interesting twist for this set is its availability, it is strange that Lego seems to be not releasing this product in the US, I found a petition thread at Eurobricks, although it is true that US players can get it from Bricklink and other sources, but Lego's marketing strategy on product availability is really unpredictable, checking out history, some Advent Calendars were sold in the US, some were not. While US pricing is usually higher than that of Europe in previous Advent Calendars, this should not be an inventory issue, coz when you can only produce that many quantity, obviously selling it also at a higher pricing market would make sense. Another possibility is the market for either Pirates theme or Advent Calendars in US is estimated now to be smaller than that of Europe, which when reached a certain point, would make the distribution of this line of products at US not viable. Anyway, just some wild guess, for us here in Hong Kong, the shop is selling it at HKD 299, roughly USD 38, a typical 1.5X mark-up for Lego Advent Calenders being sold here.

By the way, I won't rush to buy it, I want it but not very badly, I'll see if more people will import it and offer a special discount sometimes somehow, there isn't too much noise in local Lego Community on it yet, I doubt if it is as hot as some think it is.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009 14:29:57 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Coming to Hong Kong and wanting to buy Lego as well? I think that can be a good idea as Hong Kong offers better prices than many other countries in the region. But even if you just wanna figure out what the Lego shopping experiences is like, I can fully understand that Lego fan behavior.

Lego has no official outlets in Hong Kong, despite that there are many shops in this city, before I can fully set up a google map for that (which is in progress), I would only name 2 sources, which I think is pretty enough for visitors who will not spend the whole vacation running around seeing many Lego shops in town.

The first one is ToysRUS, just visit this link to see the branch locations, I suggest TST branch at Ocean Terminal, where you can try out the Star Ferry, as well as have a great dining experiences there (many good options around): http://www.toysrus.com.hk/inside/location.htm

The other one is In's Point at Yaumatei, Kowloon, which is a shopping center with a high concentration of Lego shops. These are small, and sometimes a one-man band type of shops, price can be negotiable and usually lower than market, many older sets can also be found here. It can be easily accessible through MTR, a few blocks away from Yaumatei station Exit A2. Please note that most shops open at 4:00p.

Address: 534-538 Nathan Road, Yaumatei, Kowloon

Lego Shops Google map which I am working on (in Progress):
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.0004765de3f01cab635b7

By the way, feel free to visit my food blog at www.BigInHongKong.com for dim sum options!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009 22:03:21 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 12 October 2009

When I saw the Lego BrickMaster Pirates on the shelf of PageOne bookstore today, I was happy and thought of buying one more set, but after seeing the price tag, oh....it is sold at HKD 249 (roughly USD 32), around 2.5 times the price I got it more than 2 months ago! The Lego book is sold at 401.50 (around USD 50)

I guess the importer who sold the set through 7-11 did not know much about Lego products, luckily for those who were able to got it at that low price then.

My previous review of Lego Brickmaster Pirates is here.

Monday, 12 October 2009 14:20:33 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 15 September 2009

I received notices from helpful folks in Eurobricks and Flickr about my previous work being stolen, I have heard about cases like this but never imagined that this would happen to me, after all, I am just an ordinary player, so after knowing that my work is worth stealing, it is a good sign indeed.

But on the other hand, stealing is bad, even stealing something of small value, even a rotten egg, is still stealing, this is unquestionably something that must be stopped!

Information at flickr that alerts me

Source of issue (2009-09-16 update: already removed)

My Original work

But it is a pleasure to find people who use their precious time to help others and stop bad things from distracting the young generation about proper attitude and values, again, thanks to them for the help! 

Tuesday, 15 September 2009 16:56:41 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 06 September 2009

One of the real life category that people uses Lego Bricks to build is food, in the recent ani-com event, local Hong Kong lego experts also demonstrated their lego skills on this aspect, mostly delightful for me is the lego dim sum, as dim sum is my most favorite food over all, I am glad to have a chance to take photos for these impressive creations:


Lego Dim Sum!


Lego Cakes


Lego Sushi


Lego fish dishes


Lego Pizza


Lego seafood, a lobster in this case


Lego Steak and wine


Lego snacks (Hong Kong style egg pie)


Lego ice cream and desert

By the way, if you shall visit Hong Kong and like to know more about food in Hong Kong, feel free to check out my food blog at http://www.biginhongkong.com too!

Sunday, 06 September 2009 10:22:56 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 23 August 2009

Three weeks ago when I did my review on the Pirates Tic Tac Toe, I already had a chance to get also the Pirates Chess set, after reading a great review on the Pirates Chess set on Eurobricks, I have much better understanding on the set details, and I do not regret for not getting it at that time during the recent ani-com in Hong Kong, it is not bad, but there seems to be something that makes me feel like buying it later.

First of all, I already have too many "chess sets" at home already, compared to Tic Tac Toes, they occupy more space, although the pricing seems to be quite economical as well (USD 19.99 for 10 minifigs vs USD 49.99 for 24 minifigs + 2 monkeys + 2 horses heads + 4 rocks), the soldiers do not have epaulettes is a big minus.

For army building I still prefer the Pirates Tic Tac Toe over this one, as collector item, I would wait patiently. Based on pricing history, Tic Tac Toes does not seem to depreciate as badly as the chess sets, I expect to get this Pirates Chess set when it is sold at discounted price like the fate of the Castle Chess set today.

For playability, getting use to a "Pirates" cast seems to be quite wierd, imagine a "monkey knight"...

There is also an ongoing discussion there on the quality of the minifigs in the latest Pirates product, I still need to check on that yet.

The review by Eurobricks user einsteinonthebeach on the set is very good, I strongly recommend that you check that out for more details on the set for more second opinions on the value of the set.

Sunday, 23 August 2009 21:52:29 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 03 August 2009

I found this Pirate Captain Bag Charm today and it looks quite interesting! It is a Duplo and it seems that the product line is already stopped, I don't think this will be used, as it will be kept as Souvenir. Lego does offer a lot more than sets and bricks, and it is fun to see many interesting items today at ani-com.

Did you once come across this? Or do you own one?

Monday, 03 August 2009 22:16:04 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 24 July 2009

Truly unexpected, these two sets of BrickMaster items (are they sets or books?) appear on shelfs of local 7-11 stores, they are NOT widely available but seems to be appearing and disappearing in some 7-11 stores in some MTR Stations, I heard that they have been seen in Kowloon Tong, TST, Central, North Point, Taikoo and Terminal 2 of Hong Kong International Airport.

These items look special, at HKD 99 each, it is around USD 12.70, a little less than the pricing in Amazon (and Amazon says "released on Aug 31st"?) and no need to pay for shipping, I heard that many local Lego fans ran from one 7-11 store to another, and many were disappointed. Personally I am not especially excited about these two sets, but today I got passed a 7-11 store in MTR Central station, and decided to take a look, and found 2 boxes there (they are sold along with books and magazines), so I just bought it, well, the price is kind of ok indeed, nice to have if you don't need to run around in hot weather in order to buy.

In case you would travel to Hong Kong in the next few days and you truly want these two sets, may be you can check casually in the 7-11 stores that you would come across "naturally".

Friday, 24 July 2009 19:08:38 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 22 July 2009

I went to the 2009 Book Fair in Hong Kong today, held in HKCEC (Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre), not too crowded yet during this first day (I arrived at noon time), I was not expecting to see any Lego related product there, but to my surprise, they are some!

So are there lego sets on sale? No, not Lego sets, but something else, see what I found:

An Lego ExoForce Sticker Storybook!

So it is interesting to see these Lego books as I have never seen any of these before, there are also some similar publication for Racers but I did not get them, I think the Exoforce storybook is far more interesting, not intended to play with the stickers actually, I'll just keep them as souvenirs.

And at one store some Lego Bionicles sets were on the table, but seems are used for promotion instead of selling:

Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:58:04 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 17 July 2009

I live in Asia (Hong Kong) and we don't have a lego store locally, being able to visit one is an exciting thing indeed, but even when travelling abroad and visiting a city where Lego Stores are available, getting to the store amidst the original trip plan can always be a challenge (I don't think many of us would travel solely for visiting a Lego Store).

This store I visited last year was quite convenient, especially for people like me who do not drive.

And I am wondering, could this probably be the most convenient Lego Store in the world?

Would you like to guess which city this Lego store is located? The low resolution picture below is a hint:

Add another hint on 2009-07-20:

Another hint, this one should be obvious...

Some friends in a forum got it!

Here are the clearer pictures of the hints, plus more... I think the answer is now more than obvious...

The Store is in Hillsdale Shopping Center at San Mateo, California, only a few stations away from San Francisco via Caltrain!

Friday, 17 July 2009 21:57:44 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I read a Chinese blog entry talking about Lego 21003 Seattle Space Needle, and little surprise to find out that a scissor is needed for doing this set, so could this be the start of something even worser than stickers?

http://www.wretch.cc/blog/whatsthejob/11146822

You can check out the Official Lego instruction at Page 12 of the document

Cutting this seems to be simple, just hope that no complicated cutting will be introduced in future sets.

By the way, it is also a surprise that The Seattle Space Needle is made into a Lego set, the place is nice, but not really that special, if not because the local vendors charged HKD 269 (around USD 35!) for this set, I may get one as this is a place I visited a couple times after all.

Seattle is a wonderful city, and being close to Vancouver (where a lot of Chinese immigrants live) is a good thing to me (it is only a few hours away via Amtrak), only caveat is that the Chinese restaurants there are mostly terrible (let me know if you have tried a good one).

I do NOT own this set, but I can share some photos on the Seattle Space Needle:

What you can see on the Seattle Space Needle, nice view!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009 11:56:38 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 13 July 2009

As expected, I do observe some unplesant exhanges regarding the Lego Ambassadors annoucements, but strangely, it was someone who did not make it who become the target of attack, I find such attack unreasonable and nasty, it triggered a lot of bad talks in the forum.

As someone who had worked on community programs before, I fully understand that there are always risks that things like this would happen, but fortunately for Lego, the fans involved are very loyal and would not question Lego for mishandling. But it is quite interesting to me on how the ambassador for that particular geography is selected, coz it is funny that the new assignment of an ambassador have just triggered a war.

Monday, 13 July 2009 11:50:21 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 09 July 2009

Like a competition, people from different groups in a particular geography who sought to become a Lego Ambassador will feel differently as the result is announced, there will be joy and disappointment, while I believe that all the ambassadors definitely deserve the honor, there must be folks who also deserve such honor but have not gotten it this time. I have known some good people whom I feel have made significant contribution to the Lego community, compared to them, I feel like a very small potato.

I had worked on a community building role before (for the Hong Kong subsidiary of a big company, bigger than Lego I think), the hard thing was that there were always more people who deserved recognition than the resources that could be made available to make such recognition possible, the only good thing was that with proper recognition beyond the official ones, the community would still grow harmoniously.

I hope the same recognitions will go to all those who shared their passion for Lego everywhere, in one form or the other.

Thursday, 09 July 2009 18:08:35 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)

Just read the news from Brothers-brick.com on the Cycle 7 LEGO Ambassadors announcement
http://www.brothers-brick.com/2009/07/08/cycle-7-lego-ambassadors-announced/

I noticed that there seems to be more representatives from Asia this year than last year, and Thailand has two representatives, which I think is really exceptional. I think players in some countries in Asia are having more challenges than US and European players:

1. Parts Supply: Local shops usually may not have rich varieties of parts, and ordering from Bricklink etc can be costly due to shipping costs.

2. Family Support: Unfortunately, in many Asian Families, there seems to be misconception that Lego are for Kids only, so it is hard to get support from family, I guess the concept of AFOL is more mature in US and Europe.

3. Working class in many Asian countries need to work longer hours, and may have less time to dedicate on personal hobbies

Hong Kong's situation on parts supply is not that bad though may still get people frustrated at times, but Family Support and free time would definitely be big issues, and we have another super big challenge - Space! With the high real estate price, it is really hard to find space to build lego, not to mention the needed space for keeping them.

Congratulations to all the ambassadors, I guess many of them overcome a lot of challenges to achieve that.

Thursday, 09 July 2009 11:06:06 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 08 July 2009

It has always been an interesting thing in my mind, how come the parts of minifigs are always packed into the different bags in a lego set? May be there are already a lot of discussion on this, but let me talk about my observations.

A quick anatomy of the bags of my most recently opened box - 7753 Pirate Tank - as an example:

The bags of Lego 7753 Pirate Tank:

 

The bags opened:

 

How the parts of minifigs are distributed:

Why are the parts contained in 4 different bags instead of 1? Is it a way to discourage people from re-selling some portion of a set in a "unopened" form? Here in Hong Kong it is common for people to resell the vehicle and keep the minifigs, it is especially common for the recent Star Wars set, where people has little interest in the vehicles. And "unopened bags" can be sold at better prices as it is a sure indicator of being "New". I wonder if this is also something happening in other parts of the world, do people in US and Europe trade this way?

By the way, I am not a "minifigs only" guy, I think the power of Lego lies also in bricks and MOCs, I love to keep and collect vehicles.

Link: My set review for Lego 7753

Wednesday, 08 July 2009 11:05:16 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 02 July 2009
 #
 

When the new Hasbro transformers models were being promoted when the movie launched, I noticed that only Optimus Prime and Megatron were available for the leader series, but what actually caught my attention was Jetfire, which can be transformed into a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird! Based on pictures alone, I felt that this model must be a great one, and today I think I have been right. I bought the Hasbro Jetfire model (Leader series) today!

 

Taking pictures for this while the item is still in box is difficult due to light reflection, but since I still don't have time to take care of the Optimus Prime I bought last week, I feel like keeping the Jetfire as is for the moment, but even when looking close through the box plastic cover, I can still sense the goodies of this model.

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is a legendary warplane completing its mission, lego expert Lego monster (http://www.flickr.com/photos/legomonster/) has created a lego model for it (http://www.flickr.com/photos/legomonster/sets/72157603680930793/), it is a must see!

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/legomonster/2166681842/in/set-72157603680930793/ 

 

 

Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:58:05 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 26 June 2009

When the first Transformers movie came out I purchased an Optimus Prime Leader Class figure, but after learning that it would take quite a lot of effort to do the transformation, I delayed playing it and the toy ended up unopened and packed until now. After watching the recent movie, despite having some disappointments (even questioning on some of the hidden political messages there), I consider this the fault of the production and should have nothing to do with the Autobots themselves, so I would still consider getting a new figure.

But what is the point of getting a new one unless I know what the differences are? Well, I went to a department store and I found out that the new one is much slimmer and more like the movie figure, but a quick research on web led me to another angle, there is actually a Japanese verison of it (code is RA-01)! So I went to some local shops (the smaller shops as all the department stores and ToysRUS are penetrated by Hasbro exclusively) and found out that they are indeed available, but I couldn't spot the difference except a Japanese sticker on it, at one point I even suspected that the so-called Japanese version is exactly the same item, as the box looks exactly the same!

Only after further research on the web that let me find out the difference (At least one spot)! The part below the neck is painted red in the Hasbro version, while the Japanese version is silver, after checking out the movie site, it seems that it is true that the Japanese version is indeed more accurate!

For Hasbro version photo, please check out: http://www.hasbro.com/transformers/en_US/shop/details.cfm?guid=C7B0855F-6E9A-1014-8306-F81AE4AFE356&product_id=24097&src=endeca

So do I have to pay more for the Japanese version? The retail prices are almost the same, but since I can only get the Japanse version at those smaller shops, I can't take advantage of the discount coupons and Credit Card promo (cash rebates), and I ended up paying around HKD $100 more (Approximately USD $12+), is it worth it for just a small color difference? Well, I am happy to pay for that, how about you?

And has anyone come up with a Lego Optimus Prime that's transformable? If you know, please share it!

Friday, 26 June 2009 22:45:23 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Today is a big day for fun, the showing of Transformers 2 (Revenge of the fallen) definitely is an important entertainment to catch, so despite having to travel a long way to the SkyPlaza at terminal 2 of the Hong Kong International airport, I still go for it. Why the airport? The IMAX threater is so fully booked! In the days of H1N1, better play safe to watch it in a place with less people, the mcl cinema at Skyplaza is a good choice, I see around only 20+ people watching the 10:00a slot.

So is the movie good? I think it is "just ok", the fresh stimulus we got when the first movie came out may have diminished, so it is only a "ok", and I don't like the story line as it creates too much chaotic scenes without depth, if you ask me which scene in the movie is the most impressive one, I can't really tell, there are just too much reckless psuedo-heroic battle fights which drives you nuts. But to be fair, for plain entertainment, it is still a must watch movie if you like movie of this kind, it is not easy to have something better, may be I was just expecting too much.

So how about the quality? Is the 4D Extreme Screen (which they claim to have a dimension of 64 ft X 44 ft, close to 5-storey high) comparable to IMAX? Well, this movie has no 4D element exactly except that they create some winds and gas at some moment, besides that, I guess it is just an ordinary movie showing, with only around 60% to 70% usage of the screen, the quality is not as good as IMAX, but it is still a bit better than most theaters in Hong Kong, and one special thing about this MCL Cinema is the distance between the audiences and the screen, which is quite comfortable. In the IMAX threater, the distance is too close for such a wide screen, so even when you are taking the highest row, the viewing is still not comfortable, but I believe that the IMAX version should still produce better quality, I would try that out a week or two later when less people would go to watch this movie.

Wonder if anyone has built any transformers in Lego? One that really transforms?

Wednesday, 24 June 2009 17:37:20 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 03 June 2009

May be many of you who would buy the Lego 2009 H2 Starwars sets would wonder, which set is the most demanding one. Here in Hong Kong, some of the clues include:

1. 7749 Echo Base is the first set to be reviewed in local forum

2. 8036 Separatist's Shuttle is the first set that is out of stock in a ToysRUS branch in the busiest district in Hong Kong (Causeway Bay)

3. Someone already discovered that the R2-D2 in 8037 Anakin's Y-Wing Starfighter is new!

But these are random pieces of information, I have another angle of looking at it, which is trying to read the mind of the local Lego distributors through their pricing strategy.

Typically the pricing in Hong Kong is much higher than the US, the price at ToysRUS represents the official prices, and usually ranges from 110% to 130% of the US retail price. I think the pricing may somehow indicate how the distributor expects the sales of respective sets in local market, through common sense, the better selling sets with better demands should be marked up higher, based on the this theory, I calculated the pricing of the new Starwars 2009 H2 sets as followings:

Set No Description USD HKD HKD to USD % 
7748 Corporate Alliance Tank Droid 25.00 268.90 34.47 137.90%
7749 Echo Base 25.00 268.90 34.47 137.90%
8036 Separatist's Shuttle 30.00 366.90 47.04 156.79%
8037 Anakin's Y-Wing Starfighter 60.00 689.90 88.45 147.41%
8038 Battle of Endor 100.00 989.90 126.91 126.91%
8039 Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser 120.00 1289.90 165.37 137.81%

So does this mean 8036 will be the hottest set if my theory is correct? But it is hard to convince myself that 8037 is the next hottest, the Yellow Y-Wing does not look good to me, and having no hot minifigs, how can it be more demanding than the others? And if someone tells you that 8038 Echo Base is the least demanding set, you must think that he is nuts. So my conclusion: My theory is wrong, I have no clue why the pricing is set this way. I can only say, buying 8036 locally is mostly hurting, and I just did that, even buying at a price way much higher than the regular price...

But the good news is, buying 8038 locally is a good deal, especially when I can use HKD 10 coupons per HKD 100 purchases at ToysRUS, they are really very good in driving you back for more purchase with this coupon strategy, but it helps indeed, as there are something that I sure will buy without the need for them to drive anything.

Anyway, a message to lego players in US, you are the lucky guys, you pay less for the same lego set we got. 

Wednesday, 03 June 2009 21:57:31 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 02 June 2009

I am not a kid, though I wish I am. I like Lego a lot, though I am not sure if I wish I have not. But this blog is about my daily struggle with lego, and I hope some folks would read it.

Let me start by sharing my sentiments on my lego playing experiences, like everything else on earth, there are always pros and cons to everything, and lego should not be an exception, so I feel like listing down the goods and bads about being infested with AFOL syndrome.

Top 5 good things about being an AFOL
- Having a hobby after all
- Have an area of interest in common with the Kids
- Owns something that most likely won't depreciate
- Create miniatures of things that one can't really have in reality
- There is something nice to look forward to at least (especially when you are rejected for....)

Top 5 bad things about being an AFOL
- $$$$$
- Losing spaces to lego sets
- Long term tension with spouse
- Have to act like a smuggler when bring home a new set
- When passing away, would leave over a heritage of treasure that the family will dispose like crap

Tuesday, 02 June 2009 16:27:38 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)