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# Monday, 04 January 2010

The long awaited lego 2010 sets finally becomes available today (Jan 3, 2010) through the ToysRUS store in TST here in Hong Kong, I am not passionate enough to queue in line much early to be the first 100 buyers in order to have a chance to get a HKD 400 gift pack (for purchases above HKD 800), I only got a poster and a small gift item, but that's ok, and I was lucky to get the assistance of a kind staff in ToysRUS, who got me a 8091 (Republic Swamp Speeder) which were all "seized" by people who bought in large quantities (like a full cart of the same item).

I built this Swamp Speeder tonight, the HKD 299 pricing is quite high for a set of this size (it is quite small), it is not bad, but not superb either, I guess the "limited" edition thing makes this set a hot item, in fact, along with 8092 they were the first sets to be out of stock in this morning's first sales.

The Jedi Commander Barriss Offee minifigure is kind of cool although I am not sure who this Jedi Commander is, the other figures are not that special (sorry, I am not a clone collector). The speeder itself is quite unique, a side-by-side two seater, with a knob at behind that allows turning and manuvering of this speeder like a car, there are wheels below although the movement is not really that smooth. The bar-thing at the middle seems to be decoration item only, I can't see any practical use or playability in it. There are missiles which look nice, but I don't like to play with that anyway.

But the propeller type of thing reminds me of the swamp vehicle in Miami, after all, either on earth or some where in another galaxy, it makes sense to have a vehicle design like this for moving in a swamp.

For me, this set is hot not totally for its qualtiy but for the perceived rareness and unique design, locally it is a ToysRUS exclusive.


The box size is very inproportionate to the content


The main body


The movement mechanism


The wheels

Lego 8091 Republic Swamp Speeder is unique and special, so even if I may not rate it high, it is still a must-get.

Monday, 04 January 2010 01:40:55 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 24 December 2009

Just found out that the long awaited lego 2010 sets will be sold on Jan 3, 2010, through the ToysRUS store in TST here in Hong Kong, these new sets have been available in US and other countries for awhile, and many local Lego players are anxious to get them, I personally would be happy to pay a little more to be the first few locally to get the Starwar sets, but it seems that no local lego shops in Hong Kong are importing and selling them yet, not sure if they are under pressure from someone and prohibited from doing so before the "official launch".

This kind of first-day selling offers many promotional goodies, for example, the first 100 customers who will purchase more than HKD 800 will get a gift pack worth HKD 400, and there will be raffles too, but there are also dark sides in such activities - aside from spending time to fall in lines, I have heard about cases of unfriendly competition for items on shelf, although I have not seen that in person, but I did experience chaos in such kind of events before. I am not sure if the HKD 400 gift pack is all worth that effort, my only concern is that, would some of the hot items being sold out and swept by lego shops/vendors before the real users come in?

The starwar sets will be key targets for many, I read that 8083, 8084, 8085, 8086, 8087, 8088, 8091 and 8092 will be available, all of them are attractive and I may get each one of them, hope that there will still be inventories left that day when I get there.

By the way, the location of ToysRUS TST can be found here: http://www.toysrus.com.hk/inside/location.htm, perhaps to avoid affecting the Christmas sales of old Lego Stock, there is no information available in their web site yet.

Thursday, 24 December 2009 17:43:31 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 20 December 2009

I remember I was able to complete wave 50 solo in Gears of War II Horde Stasis quite sometime ago, but I did not take any evidence picture at that time, and I was trying to do that again just for "Picture taking". But that turned out to be a nightmare, I cannot describe the level of frustration this attempt gave me.

Stasis is a very tough map, a small area with no good hideout, and Bloodmount attack seems to be much furious than what I experienced in Day One, and the most annoying thing was, the location and timing of the spawning of opponents seems to be so harsh and damaging, I once even become doubtful on how random that is.

Good that I finally figure out a new variant of the strategy I used before to complete wave 50, and get it done after all.

But this map and the way the program executes it is very disturbing to me, I doubt if anyone else is willing to spend time to try it out my way, it could be a waste of life.

By the way, if you read my blog and willing to try and know how I overcome it, please leave a comment here.



Sunday, 20 December 2009 00:58:43 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 14 December 2009

Sometimes people tend to think that it must be costly to build Lego MOCs, as evident by the many great creations that we've seen in Flickr and BrickShelf, but in fact, it is possible to have fun with limited number of parts as well. The small set Lego creator products such as 6741 Mini Jet are not really that hot, but I think it contains a good combination of parts that can be useful for building mini Starfighters, so I just give it a try.

First, let me introduce the three officlal models that comes with the set, they are all nice but honestly not extraordinary attractive, when I purchase the set, I was actually after the parts:


Model 1


Model 2


Model 3

Well, here comes my MOC, I used up all the parts and only parts from 6741:

Would welcome any comments.

Monday, 14 December 2009 17:56:07 (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, 24 November 2009

Do you think playing a game by picking up parts for Robo building is fun? I don't. But why do I get this Lego 3835 Robo Champ?

Simple, because of the parts, check out the following and you may agree with me:

 

The 1x1 tile is a costly piece, especially the green ones, believe it or not, someone is selling it at more than USD 2 per piece!

The three Robots are quite cute indeed! So just set them up for some fun photos!

It is worth buying as a souvenir item, the parts themselves are worth the money, plus you can play the game if you have young kids at home.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009 22:45:28 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 23 November 2009

It must be a lucky day for me, I got Gears of War II Horde Wave 50 Insane done Solo! Honestly this was pure luck, from sequence of enemies, timing and good shield planting. At Insane, not many mistakes allowed indeed, I think this can be achievable only in Day One, at that particular hide out.

But a caveat is that I failed wave 49 in very painful ways during end games, I have spent too much time on this recently, so I need to give up trying Wave 49, anyway, it was fun, but at times it really brings a lot of frustration, the virtual opponents can be so harsh that I would doubt if the offensive was indeed that random.

Notes edited Nov 25, 2009: I finally make it at Wave 49 Insane today, need to avoid this addictive game somehow...

Some interesting situations:


Got a mulcher in that hide out! Wonder how I got that?


See the kind of ammunition I still have at that stage, a good use of Torque bow can be very helpful!

Monday, 23 November 2009 22:45:57 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 20 November 2009

I once thought that completing wave 50 of Gears Of War Horde Solo (playing alone) is impossible on Hardcore, simply because in Hardcore, you can only tolerate very few hits, and in such an intense action like Horde where swamps of enemies gang up on you, it is hard to avoid being sniped on.

Actually I have tried maps like Stasis, Jacinto and Security, in that particular order, and found the maps to be easier one after another, lately I finally realize why many people had achieved well in Horde, there is a map called "Day One", and there is a near perfect hideout where a Hardcore solo act can be achieved practically.


Actually, I found wave 49 to be tougher than wave 50 due to the presence of more Kantus and Theron guards, while in wave 50 their seats are probably occupied by Grenadiers and Bloodmounts. The Day One map hideout still has a potential threat in Hardcore mode that it cannot alleviate: the ink granade and explosion of Imulsion tipped arrows from Torque Bow.

So what is so special about this Hideout place in Day One? At the end of the Stairway by the green wall, there is a fenced place where you can hardly be hit, there is a small angle from behind but it would be quite unusual, but the best is, Maulers do not seem to be able to hit you at all even when in front of you, only under rare cases that it would, so it is a very safe position. And another good thing is, the weapon spawn area (a rifle or Torque Bow) is still right in front.

So here are a few of my observations which may help you to complete Horde wave 50 hardcore solo, this may not be interesting to you, but it is quite something cool to try I think!

1. Weapon choice: Play using the Torque Bow + Gorgon Burst Pistol combination, you also need to learn on how to make accurate shots in hiding position, especially Torque Bow, a good shot can take down a big guy like grinder in one shot! A key element in surviving higher waves in Horde when playing solo is ammunition, even if the weapon spawing area is just nearby, with waves of waves of Grinders, boomers and Maulers attacking, you may not always have a chance to grab them. The Gorgon pistol can contain a large load and can be extremely helpful in making blind shots when 4 to 5 big guys are attacking.

2. In wave 50, do not kill the mauler if it comes to your shield first alone, it can be your "second" shield preventing the bloodmount from entering or coming to you.
Note that the hideout is still subject to charge attack by lightweight enemies.

3. Give priority in killing Kantus, of course when you are not facing imminent threats from others, do not force the issue, always check around after making a few hits on them, sometimes you worry too much on a particular opponent and give others a chance to snipe on you. Kantus are very troublesome, they move fast and the ink grenade is extremely annoying.

4. Beware when Theron guards are lightening up their Torque bow, if you sense a good hit from it, move your position if you can, the arrow may not hit you directly, but an explosion nearby can still kill. I failed twice at wave 49 end game because of this. Boomer can also do the same but much less often.

5. When there is only one guy left in wave 50, and you can't see it, it could be a bloodmount hiding at the end of the stairways of the other side, I got hit twice from behind by it. The first time I spotted it there, and was looking for a way to shoot it from distance, but in just a couple seconds, it was already behind me! The second time I was not sure who was left, and when looking for it, got ambushed from behind by that Bloodmount.

So is wave 50 Insane possible? I think yes, but the challenge would be Kantus, at Insane, killing it from distance would be very difficult as the hits would be less tolerable. By the way, when I say Wave 50, I also mean completing wave 49 as well, as that could possibly be even tougher when two Kantus may working together to attack in tendem , and that would be very deathly!

Friday, 20 November 2009 00:07:54 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 08 November 2009

After seeing a YouTube video on completing Gears Of War II Horde alone (solo), I am surprised to find out that there is such an easy map out there, Security has a laser fence and a weapon spawing area that is well protected inside, and the movements of the Hordes are rather stupid there! Comparing to Security, my completion on Jacinto was a few times tougher!

So not all maps are made equal, comparing achievements in one map to another can be like comparing apple to walnut.


Gears of War II Horde Wave 50 Completed on Security

Sunday, 08 November 2009 13:27:42 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 05 November 2009

Playing XBOX Gears of War is really fun, I am not really a good player, therefore completing wave 50 solo (playing alone) is tough for me, but from the game forums it seems that a lot of people claims their achievements easily, wonder if people care to spend a few minutes, complete wave 50 alone, take a picture, and share it?

I have created a Flickr group called "Gears Of War Solo Archievements Evidence", for people who really achieve that to upload a screenshot:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/gearsofwarsolo/

But to be honest, playing games like that is bad for health, playing lego is a healthier hobby I think, though much more expensive, the amount for buying an XBOX game is good enough for a small Lego set only.

Thursday, 05 November 2009 23:10:56 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)