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# Friday, October 30, 2009

I found a great photo by Flickr user legofenris showing two Lego Viking soldiers on a cold night watch, aside from the photographic skill and the nice mix of nature and Lego, which creates a very realistic sensation, what caught my attention is the only element in the photo that seems not to be as realistic as the rest.

It seems to me that the idea is great, just not sure how to create a minfig scale compatible fire though.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/legofenris/3995201932/

Friday, October 30, 2009 11:11:08 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, October 29, 2009

When I first heard about the games theme from Lego, honestly there were not much excitement, first of all, I am not especially fond of this kind of game (instead I like X-BOX games), and secondly, my impression is that Lego is not a company good at this kind of stuff.

But after coming across 3840 Pirate Code by chance, it somehow caught my attention, and since a local vendor is selling it at HKD 279 (Around 22 Pound sterling), a 1.3X mark-up for a low cost product is truly acceptable, and I think perhaps I can play this with my kid too.

Nice packaging! Why can't all Lego sets boxes be designed this way?

And the result? Well, I would say this set is a jewel, not that it is a great game, but that it is a well-designed model that can be used to play a game in the pirates spirit, and its parts inventory is very interesting!

It is not a set for minifig collector, as there is no real Pirates elements in this set for that sense, the only "minifig" is a skeleton, but the game is about guessing the pirate secret code, and the most cunning pirate will win, the secret code is expressed in a mix of colored gems (6 colors). And guess results and hints can be expressed according to some rules. Honestly, I am really not a fan of these type of games, I would rather play Gears Of War II instead, so I am not going to play it now, and really can't elaborate any further.

The model is very interesting, built out of many high value parts, you got big number of stud plates, panel and other parts that you cannot possibly get in such quantity from a set! An example, for gems alone, you get 72 pieces of them (12 X 6 colors)! Checking out how much each of these will cost in bricklink, you'll know what you have got! By the way, as of now, the parts list are not inventorized at peeron yet, the photo below gives you a good idea on what's in the set.

The building process:

I like the treasure boxes a lot!


The dice! The "thing" beside it is used as a tool to remove the tiles easily

Not many left overs, but ok as the parts inventory is already very rich.

It seems to me that the games theme is available in Europe but not in USA, the price I got it in Hong Kong is still ok, the model is good and the parts can be a good supplement for building MOCs.

With my experiences on this 3840 Pirate Code, I think I need to take a serious look into other sets in the Games theme.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:21:51 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, October 27, 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, October 27, 2009 2:29:57 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, October 25, 2009

May be you have seen a lot of elegant Lego built structures, but this creation is truly special! At least this is the first time I see something of this kind, this work is not about size or grandeur, but on ingenuity and skills, designing a Lego pop-up structure that can be folded into a box shape is simply astonishing!


And the youtube video is nicely done too!

Sunday, October 25, 2009 9:59:19 AM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, October 23, 2009

When you ask a Lego Star Wars fan on which vehicle is the symbol of the series, I guess many would say X-Wing, I still remember years back when 6212 was so scarce in the market, many would have been willing to pay 2 times the original price to get one, but in comparison, 7658 Y-Wing Fighter has been on cold shelf and even today, some shops have to sell it as bargain item.

The same fate hits 8037, Anakin's Y-wing Starfighter, so I ask myself, is Y-Wing ugly? Is it lacking the exposure or charisma to be a Star? Personally I think the vehicle is great, the two special big nacelles is a unique design, the many small pieces of bricks peppered over the main body reminds me of a sophisticated vessal sailing the oceans, so what's wrong with it that makes it a poor seller?

Could the answer lies in the minifigs? Comparing 7658 to 6212 in terms of minifigs is definitely a big mismatch, 8037 includes a special version of R2 but all Lego Star Wars fans must have obtained Anakin and Ashoka from other sets long ago.

So let's take a look at the building sequence of 8037:

I think 8037 lacks playability, as you got only a firing missile and one of two not so interesting moving parts, and the chamber for Ahsoka is badly designed, not only it is too small, it lacks maneuverability, the sides are also too hefty, and the use of stickers in this case is very disappointing. As far as the Y-Wing itself is concerned, I think it is a great vehicle to have, but personally I like 7658 much better, though for completeness, I need to have a 8037 too.

Two Y-Wings side by side comparison:


If having one Y-Wing is good enough for you, I would suggest 7658, it is simply elegant!

Friday, October 23, 2009 9:03:36 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, October 20, 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):

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 10:03:21 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, October 12, 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, October 12, 2009 2:20:33 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I was not looking carefully and thought that taking out Celebration Luke minifig from the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary would cause some sort of damage to the book's look, but the fact is, all I need to do is to cut the tape and the cover can be freely opened and closed, taking the minifig in and out is extremely easy, what a nice design!

Thanks to Huw from Brickset, who had not only pointed out my misunderstanding on the design, and had also done an excellent review on this book!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 6:39:00 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, October 5, 2009

Finally the long awaited book from DK is available at local store, no need to say, it is a must-get for Lego Star Wars fans, aside from the colorful and high quality illustrations, you get the special edition of Luke Skywalker - Celebration Luke as the author calls it - An exclusive minifig where Luke dressed for the celebration scene at the end of Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope.

This 95 pages book nicely put together all the major Lego sets and minifigs produced, as a dictionary, it is not as comprehensive as an encyclopedia, but amazingly perfect as a collector item. It also brings attention to some special but less known items, for example, I only learn about the Zam Wesell's Airspeeder after reading this book. Other examples are the Geonosians and wookiees sections. There is also a Community section where great lego fans' work are being highlighted, I am not surprised to see that one of my favorite, Mark Borlase's recreation of Echo base, is there.

One of the most wanted set, the 2006 Slave 1 makes it at front page, it is a sign on how special this craft is!

The new minifigs displayed on content page

An example: A page telling you almost everything you need to know about The imperial army

Since I intend to keep it as a collector item, I am not going to take Luke out yet, so I just keep it there, please note the way it is packed, I think it would take quite some effort to remove it without causing some damage to the book's look.

By the way, the book is not as thick as it appears to be, 50% of it are for containing the minifigs, so you get 95 viewing pages, which is less than 50 physical pages I believe, but since the price is quite reasonable, it is still very much worth the money.

Monday, October 5, 2009 8:08:51 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)