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# Sunday, 12 June 2011

Quietly, the new starwars series arrive at local market without much funfare, while there are many attractive sets such as 7965 Millennium Falcon, the one I got immediately was 7962 Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba's Podracers.

I have missed 7171 Mos Espa Podrace and I believe many were longing to own the podracers, in fact, there are many hot podracer building competitions over these years, and we have all seen many excellent creations, the podrace is definitely something special among Starwar fans, so I would say 7962 is a must get, and after building it, I would say this set is truly excellent and not disappointing.

Compared to 7171, here we got only two podracers without Gasgano's, but aside from that, and the use of stickers instead of printed plates, there are improvements in all areas:

1. Larger podracer body with excellent details

For Anakin's pod racer, there are more details at the engine, which makes it more solid, and the cockpit also has a small flipped wing, but the biggest improvement comes in Sebulba's Podracer, the main engine is composed of Arm with Clip, Rods and wheel cone, which not only gives more details and size to the podracer, but also power and contour, the four solid side engines are more sophisticated, the use of more slopes and curves all over the podracer make it look wonderful, although there is no more printed parts, but the stickers mix well into the model.


Chainsaws at all 4 side engines! A real treacherous weapon for a pod race!

The beams connecting the cockpits to the engine is now transparent, while I feel that it may look better with colored beams, I read about some writing saying that the transparent beams would create a sense of electric current, what do you think?

2. The stands

One of the caveat of the old podracers has got to be the way it is made to stand, using a few bricks to elevate it is too plain, now there is a nicely crafted stand, and the use of transparent bent beam makes the display look great, I wish the base stand are all transparent parts as well. This is a sample that perhaps we can use for setting up display for models that cannot stand naturally like the pod racers

3. Minifigs

Sebulba is now in color and not monochrome, which makes the old minifig not appealing at all, the same happens with Watto, this set includes two of the rarest Lego Starwars minifig, I can still recall people selling Watto at very high price in local market (I think the Bricklink price is still very high), this is a great opportunity to get these figures, the better ones too. But this also raise an interesting topic, with a better and general available new minifig around, would it have any impact on the selling price of the old minifig?

Another goodie would be Wald, although this is not a super character but I think it is his first appearance in Lego. You also get the old good Obi-Wan, it is not something special but it is a bonus too.


Anakin has also great surprises, the head is a two side one, and the helmet has nice pattern, I like this new version a lot!

4. Price

I think this set is reasonably priced, with two bigger, better and nicely designed pod racers, and all the wonderful minifigs coming with it, I think there should be no complaint on the pricing this time?

5. Packaging of Finished product

The design actually allows you to pack the finished podracers into the box with qiute some free spaces! A nice design for people with limited storage space at home.

No doubt this is a must get set, and I think Lego has done a wonderful job this time.

Sunday, 12 June 2011 18:48:17 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 16 May 2011

I have been a space fan since I was a kid, but I wasn't able to have many space related toys back then, and among the Lego space sets, Space Shuttle and lunar landing sets have been the most wanted sets I believe, missing the discovery theme back in 2003, having the chance to have a Lego space shuttle definitely is something exciting to talk about.

if budget and space allowed, 10213 is a great set to have the Space Shuttle, 3367's shuttle is not proportionally right to make you "feel" the Shuttle, the designer could have scale it up just a bit to make it more appealing, but on the other hand, to provide the shuttle for young kid's educational purpose, for budget and storage/display space consideration, it is a good set to fit the need of a particular Lego user base. In fact, I was not the one who built this set, my 5 years old daughter did it.

The shuttle in 3367 features a hinged arm and a satellite, all can be fit into the compartment, and cockpit cover is a printed part but the pattern is not that space tech looking to me, and the internal deco is also not so good, for example, I am not sure why a cup is there instead of control panel, yes, the space is small inside the cockpit, but it should be enough to accomodate a few more items there to make the cockpit internal more interesting.

The landing gear cannot be retracted and that is something that can be improved in the design.

The astronaut is a key component there, I am not very pleased with the minifig head as I think a better and more professional looking guy would be a better fit, but the gold coated helmet for the astronaut to use when working in space is an excellent piece.

Again, if you are looking for a serious shuttle model, 3367 may be disappointing, but for a small kid with passion about space, this set is a very good place to start, for which I think is extremely useful in my case.

Monday, 16 May 2011 23:04:42 (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, 13 May 2011

Just kidding, the bones are indeed why I bought this set, but this small lego set from the Pirates of the Caribbean theme does have something else nice to offer, the pieces of structure are simple but interesting, I like the bottle rack a lot, using just a few simple parts, this is a two stories rack with movable bottle holder, the bottles with printed pattern are also valuable. The table with Skeleton legs isn't too appealing to me, the Globe holder is just fine.

This set offers a few special parts, the globe can be something that attracts people to get this set, it can probably be very useful for decorating a reading room, the printed map tile is also nice.

The zombie minifigs are nice but if minifigs are what you are after, IMHO other sets such as 4192 would be more worth buying, Jack is definitely a main character here, but you can have him from many other sets as well (There are two variants), so minifigs would probably not the key focus on this set.

So the bones is why I got it, the other stuffs together makes the spending more worthwhile.

Friday, 13 May 2011 23:47:25 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 05 May 2011

I went to a local lego shop last night planning to buy some star wars set on discount, but instead I saw the Pirates of the Caribbean sets on shelf, I was aware of this new series but wasn't paying too much attention to it as I am not a fan of the movie, but when I browse through the boxes, I found the minifigs very interesting, but I am not ready to invest heavily on them yet, Queen Anne's Revenge looks cool, but that isn't the coolest Lego ship I think, The London Escape is even more interesting, but to get a smaller set that can be done in an hour as first experience, I was drawn between 4181 Isla de la Muerta and 4192 Fountain of Youth, since I kind of guess that the gold pieces in 4181 is not chrome, I chose 4192, as the waterfall looks very unqiue.

After reading some brickset reviews, I found some negative comments on this set, which I kind of understand why they have such impression, the waterfall is a piece of plastic that may not be shaped well to make you feel that there is a waterfall, and the way it hangs there is wierd if you see it from the back, is there no other way to make this design better? I cannot say so, but perhaps the real lego experts may wish to comment.

But the real treasure is this set or perhaps the entire Pirates of the Caribbean theme would be the minifigs, the hairdo and their accessories are all excellent, and very close to the film characters, so this set is good value from that aspect.

I would very likely get more sets from this theme, but perhaps I would wait for a price drop, the price now sold at unofficial channels are relatively expensive, as I am paying more than USD 30 for this set in Hong Kong.

Blackbeard is especially interesting as the bread piece is so nicely designed, and his sword is also very special! I think this is the set to have Blackbeard other than 4195 Queen Anne's Revenge, which relatively costs more. And for people who would only collect a few but not all of the minifigs in this set, especially for a casual player who are not a fan of this film, but just want to get a set to experience, this set can be a good candidate, especially due to the price range.

Thursday, 05 May 2011 22:33:54 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Several years back I had seen the 10152 Maersk container ship at some local store at around USD 150 to 170, it was quite high compared to the original price of USD 75, although this pricing was not the main reason that deterred me from getting it, I did not have it after all, and I did regret for that.

So it is really a great thing to see Lego re-issuing the Maersk vehicle in form of 10155, despite at a higher price (the price in Hong Kong is even much higher than the US pricing at more than USD 200 per set!), I did not hesitate to grab one, and not sure if it is due to the pressure of 10155's appearance, a few 10152 sets show up in the market, and I was able to grab one at near the same price of 10155!

But for box opening, definitely it is going to be 10155 as it is still available on the market, I'll keep the 10152 as collector MISB.

The size of the ship is not as big as I once thought, the design is quite straightforward and is crafted with the help of a number of special parts, aside from the legend like Maersk blue bricks that some would focus on this set, I think the dark red bricks that forms the base is very useful too, especially for building other ships such as aircraft carriers, I am not really after the Maersk Blue but just cannot deny that its rareness does mean a lot for any lego collectors.

The stickers are kept in a plastic bag, which is not usually done for stickers but perhaps a norm for models with that many stickers, the containers form an important part of the overall body, since you have stickers for both side, there are 60 gray and 28 white stickers, plus two big ones on the hull, one on the top of control tower, and one at the front.

The Cargo control room or control tower is also a key structure of the ship of course, the pair of boat windows make the ship more realistic. Overall building the ship is not difficult, building the containers and applying stickers to it can be boring, but it is worth the effort, by looking at the finished work, I think this is a good spending.

Although I have 10152, but it is MISB and not opened and built, so I cannot make a comparison, but based on many info I got, the two are very similar and the difference is mainly on the stickers, in 10152 it was "Maersk Sealand" while in 10155 it is "Maersk Line" now. A few people also mentioned about brick quality, which I tend to believe but cannot make conclusions based on the suspected blemishes I observed as they can be subjective.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 23:12:50 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 17 April 2011

It has been a long while again since I made a post here, but this local lego exhibition in Hong Kong (復活節太古城樂高展覽) definitely is worth reporting, the event is being held until May 2nd in Hong Kong Tai Koo Shing plaza, if you live in Hong Kong or plan to travel here during this period, don't miss it!

Lego Shaolin Temple!

Kudos to the lego masters who produced these wonderful art of Lego!

Please also check out my Flickr album for more photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/parchioso/

 

 

Sunday, 17 April 2011 23:07:57 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 05 February 2011

When someone is seen buying this Mace Windu's Jedi Starfighter set, many would think that they are targetting the R8-B7 astromech droid and the Tactical Droid TX-20, yes, these two items are bringing values to the set, but I got this set for simply what it is, the Starfighter.

While the Plo Koon's Starfighter was a little disappointing, the color combination makes this Starfighter looks better, though the use of stickers is still a bad thing for me (despite being a better sticker set), the movement of the wings in this Starfighter seems to be rather limited, and the vehicle is poorly armed, with only a missile launcher at the bottom of the cabin.

Another feature which is highlighted in the manual is the placeholder of the lightsaber, but in two pieces, which is a strange idea.

But after all, it is a good looking Starfighter, plus the R8-B7, TX-20, a nice Separatist speeder, and two STAPs (Single Trooper Aerial Platform), it is a good value set to get, and a must get if you a Starfighter fan.

However, this set is another sign that sticker wedges for Starfighters is the norm now, I understand that stickers are common in lego, but for Starfighters, they should really consider a printed wedge as it is the essence of the vehicle.

The ironic part of this set is Mace, despite being a wonderful character, the minifig is also available in 8019, so I am not sure if the minifig would become the focus of the set.

Saturday, 05 February 2011 21:13:08 (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)