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# 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)
# Friday, 29 January 2010

With so many hot discussions around the new Lego 2010 Harry Potter sets, it reminds me of the few Lego Harry Potter sets I have owned.

Honestly I am not a fan of Harry Potter, I don't even know much about the story and never watched any of the movies, I bought a few Lego Harry Potter sets simply because of the Lego elements in them, and I actually got them only around an year ago, in reasonable pricing luckily (I would not have got them if too expensive), I think such pricing is not possible nowadays any more.

One of the set which I have actually built is 4704 - Room Of The Winged Key, it is a nice small set, the old gray parts and tan color mix well, and I would say the elements (spider and web, flames, keys+wings) all works well together. The architecture is good, nice design integrating the arch, roof, door and having the two plates hinged together nicely, which added a little playability aside from the minifigs and keys.

The minifigs are wonderful too, with wands and capes (star pattern), the all white queen minifig (if you count it) is also interesting, I think the white torso with white hands is not very common and can be quite useful (please correct me if I am wrong), the chrome silver crown is available in very few sets too.

The old sets seems to include quite a few nice extras, in the case of 4704, there are two nice small posters!

There are also a number of other useful parts in it, mainly "winged keys" of course, but I don't think I would break up this set and use the parts else where, I better keep them intact in one set, perhaps only temporarily "borrow" a few items for external deco in an MOC, and will return them to the set afterwards.

Another interesting thing in playing with this set is how to break down the built product into components that can be easily re-assembled, and keep them in the original box, usually this is difficult for most Lego sets, but this one seems to be working well.

Looking forward for the new 2010 Lego Harry Potter sets, not for Harry Potter but for the high quality lego design associated with the theme.

Friday, 29 January 2010 23:20:21 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 25 January 2010

During Chinese new year (農曆新年), a popular floral decoration is narcissus (水仙) as it symbolize prosperity, the deco would look excellent if the flower blossoms well at the right time, with some parts that I have on hand, I tried to create a Lego version of narcissus, and it looks kind of interesting to myself.

I hope you'll like it too.

MOC
Monday, 25 January 2010 14:20:30 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 24 January 2010

I found out about this DK Lego sticker book from Brickset, and fortunately it is available at a local store at a good price, I did not hesitate to get a copy, and it looks like a good deal to me.


The book is composed of three sections:

- A 31-page booklet, on each page are spaces where you can put stickers on

The booklet pages represents 16 themes (2 page per theme except spongebob)
City
Train
Castle
Pirates
Space
Adventurers
Agent
Exo-force
Underground
Aquaraiders
Batman
Atlantis
Starwars
Harry porter
Indiana jones
Spongebob

The booklet pages are quite simple, but in a way it reflects what the editor feels would be the representative set of a theme, in Starwars, it is 10143 Death Star II. But I think they can actually make the booklet pages even richer.

- 13 Pages of stickers for use with the 31-page booklet, on each page there are around 16 stickers


- 19 pages of "Extra stickers, 4 of them are smaller size ones, aside from having a second set, there are 2 pages which are new (not available in the booklet related set). These extra stickers are supposed for free use beyond the booklet pages. There are 150 small stickers on each page.

In total, there are 512 regular stickers and 600 smaller ones.

The value of this book lies in the stickers, how to use them can imply a lot of possibilities, but would it be attractive to mature brick builders? I guess that would be interesting.

Personally, I have no plan to put these stickers on my stationeries, books, door or anywhere, I'll keep one copy as collection item, and is contemplating a wierd usage on the other one...

By the way, as the news from Brickset mentioned, there seems to be a Lego Star Wars version of DK sticker book coming (Lego Star Wars Ultimate Sticker Collection?), as there are some early information at borders.com.au, if that is true, the Starwars version can probably be a even hotter item!

Sunday, 24 January 2010 22:00:48 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 23 January 2010

4996 is a very nice House based set that Lego produced, but it was on sales probably because Lego produced too many of them, but in my opinion, it is a good set that should be hot, and Beach House is a very romantic idea.

It is designed as two pieces so you can remove the top one to add amenities (or residents) to the interior, there are movable windows and doors!

Thinking about houses, I also think of the tragic earthquakes that have been causing loss in both properties and human lives, not many people had personally experienced an earthquake, I did, so I know how terrifying it can be, and poorly constructed houses can kill people. Just wish that none of this will happen again. And using 4996, I try to depict a scene on a rescue of a earthquake victim, those teams that had exerted best effort will always be able to make a difference.

Here it goes ....

The owner of this nice beach house is a pretty young lady

Sometimes she would sit on the stairway, contemplating....

Watching the street from the balcony

Looking out the window....But....

One day ..... suddenly, something strikes! - The ground is shaking terribly

And the house is breaking up!

Ceilings falling down

In seconds, the building collapsed

Rescue team rushing in! Every second counts!

Efforts paid off, this is indeed a wonderful moment!

Although in reality, not everyone can reach safety after all, but what had happened can alert people who live in earthquake zones to prepare themselves on how to get a better chance of survival when the natural calamity strikes. Well, just hoping that 2010 is a good year for all.

By the way, usually people would take photos of their Lego work in sequence when they build it, but this time I am doing it the other way around, and in the process, I found out that tearing down a Lego structure is also something to learn and practice carefully too.

Saturday, 23 January 2010 02:56:33 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A Jedi owns a Starfighter, but must the lowly Hoth Rebel only fight on foot? In Lego, we can try to make things happen, it may not be pretty, it isn't really too powerful, but at least it flies!

The Sub Zero Aero Fighter is not a Starfighter, it is designed to operate on the planet of Hoth, mainly as a transport vehicle, to be eco-friendly, its weapon system is not explosive-based. 

Using razor blades and claws, it is designed to assist SnowSpeeders in taking down AT-AT

A proud Hoth Pilot, now he can fight back with more power

May the force be with him too!

MOC
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 10:53:50 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 14 January 2010

First, I need to emphasize that this Lego MOC is not designed to glorify the forces of the dark side, depicting the miserable and horrible suffering of the Hoth Rebels is a way to show the sacrifices they made in performing their duties.

I am not sure if I am the first one to make use of this technique to simulate a blood stain effect in Lego in my previous Hoth MOC, but I think it interests a few people, this time I added 2 new fun features to the MOC:


Please note the head of the shot snowtrooper


Can you notice the blood stains on and below the turret, as well as blood "flowing" inside the back pack?

Another interesting thing I tried is the "flying up" speeder Bike, thanks to the new Lego 8083 and 8084 sets, they gave me this vehicle as well as low cost ways to get the needed minifigs! I have also done reviews for the 2 sets separately:

8083 review (Rebel Trooper Battle Pack)
8084 review (Snowtrooper Battle Pack)

And of course, 7749 helps, perhaps I haven't utilized it fully, and that would be something to think about for the Version 3 MOC.

Yeah, it is a little bloody, just hope that you enjoy my MOC not because of its being bloody.

MOC
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:59:58 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)

For Lego Starwars collectors, there is no such thing as which one to get when it comes to 8083 (Rebel Trooper Battle Pack) and 8084 (Snowtrooper Battle Pack), we'll sure get both. But if somehow you have to choose only one, well, despite my attachment to the Hoth Rebels, I would say 8084 provides better overall value.

It is not just the Snowtroopers, the new AT-AT Driver and Imperial Officer, these minifigs can be the main reason why people grab them, but the set offers more in the other "equipments" - I especially like the speeder bike, it is very well designed and has very good playability, when you check out the speeder bikes in other sets, such as:

30005: Imperial Speeder Bike
7128: Speeder Bikes
7139: Ewok Attack
4483: AT-AT .... you may agree that this one in 8084 is one of the better designs (if not the best) that Lego provides in a set, especially when it comes with a low cost set that includes 4 minifigs which are all very useful!

The mini outpost is small and looks impoverished, but the missile launcher is quite good as some playability can be provided with a few simple parts.

In terms of future appreciation, I expect this set to do well, so keeping a few additional sets can be a good idea even if you are not a trader.

Thursday, 14 January 2010 14:34:16 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Using a Hoth Rebel as my avatar, it is a sign that somehow I identify myself with the attributes of this character, whether it is a good choice or not is hard to say, but getting a set of Lego 8083 Rebel Trooper Battle Pack is sure a right thing to do.

I remember that around 2 years ago, it would have cost me USD 7.5 to get a single Hoth Rebel (from one of the older sets such as Lego 4500 and 7666), now this is a great deal for me to have 4, building a hoth scene sure will cost much less now, unless you are trying to build something like Mark Borlase's recreation of Echo base (that is an amazing work and one of the best Lego Hoth creation ever)!

Another thing that they do right this time is to use different heads for the rebels, I am not sure if works like my previous Hoth MOC tells them what Lego players need, it is quite obvious that we should add individual personality to each of these characters. The Pilot face is kind of new to me too, I don't know anything about Zev Senesca but this pilot is a new design and it looks nice.


Correct me if I am wrong, these helmets are new parts?


The vehicle (ice cutter?) that comes with the set is not very attractive to me, it is a little boring actually, it seems to me that the dark side has more fun equipments in 8084. By the way, if you check out an ice-cutter at http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Laser_ice-cutter, you may also feel that this landspeeder can be designed to look better.

After all, 8083 is a must get set for Lego Starwars Fans, it is just a matter of how many.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 22:14:43 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 08 January 2010

I guess there are many among us who are not only Lego Players, but someone who invests in Lego. Well, this may not necessarily has to be trading, but the thoughts of owning a set that appreciates, let's say, by 100%, definitely is a pleasant thing. With such mentality, I previously owned three pieces of 32X32 Blue base plate, which was considered rare commodity, as they have been extremely useful in building oceanic MOCs, but were only available from a few old sets, believe it or not, I got my first blue base plate from the 2004 Spiderman set 4856 Doc Ock's Hideout, and that is a very costly set to buy in 2009. The other source, 9286 Large LEGO Baseplates from 1998, was not economical either.

So when Lego announced the 620 Blue Building Plate, it was quite a "surprise", but aside from having some assets depreciating, having a good supply of this blue baseplate may actually allow many to build more MOCs, including myself, and after all, three pieces is no big deal really.

As expected, 620 is exactly the same blue baseplate as released earlier, at first glance I somehow feel that the new one is a little darker in complexion, but I think that could be an misperception only, inspecting closely and I think they are of the same quality. But if anyone notice any quality issues during building process, I hope they will be echoed somehow.

New blue baseplate 620  ------------- Old blue base plate from 9286

The pricing at US ($4.99) is very good, but in HK they sold it at HKD 74.9! Equivalent to USD 9.6! A 192% price difference!! At the US pricing Lego is doing a good job responding to customer needs, but for HK players, despite that we are used to such huge discrepancy in regional pricing,  this near double pricing is not helping customer satisfaction.

Finally, an interesting observation, the package paper of 620 base plate says the item is made in Denmark, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic, a plate produced in 5 countries? Wonder from which one mine was made.

 

Friday, 08 January 2010 20:13:46 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)