Mini Shop Series in the Cuusoo review

The latest Cuusoo project to pass the 10,000 supporters mark and get into the review waiting listing is the Mini Shop Series. This project cunningly drew upon multiple fan groups by featuring small versions of several well know shops.

Should the idea get through the review stage I guess the question is, which shop will be chosen to be made into an actual set? I'm sure the comments left by the 10,000 supporters will help Lego here; if 50% of them went for one particular brand, then obviously that drove support for the project overall. There will also undoubtedly be consideration for which shops best fit the Lego brand. And of course they would have to see which brands actually want to work with Lego.

The obvious easy one for Lego to arrange, and one that undoubtedly fits with the Lego brand, is their own Lego shop. They have already done this, at micro-scale, as a promo set for when a few new shops have opened. I'm sure a minifigure scale version would be very popular though, as would making it more widely available!

The next most likely option to me would seem to be McDonald's. Lego have previously done promotions with McDonald's, so their may be an ongoing relationship they can draw upon. In fact they have already done a McDonald's branch, as another promo set, back in 1999.

Of the remaining four I think Apple or Starbucks have good chances, as they are global brands. Although both seem a little adult to me. The last two, Dunkin Donuts and 7 Eleven both strike me as more specifically American, which would mean limiting the potential market of the set.

One other thing to consider is the purpose of Cuusoo in the first place. The aim is to expand Lego's markets, to tap into new groups of customers. So with that in mind would the obvious and easier routes like Lego and McDonald's be the ones Lego wishes to pursue? I guess we'll find out a few months down the line when we get the review results for this project.

Theme Guide: The Lord of the Rings (2013)

With a little interlude in the realm of The Hobbit, Lego's Middle-Earth adventures return to The Lord of the Rings this summer (and I'm sure will flip back to The Hobbit in time for the next film at the end of the year). There appear to be just four regular sets in this summer wave, plus a new Lego Game. With the potential for this theme to only continue as long as the new Hobbit films are coming out, it makes one wonder which bits of Middle-Earth might never get Lego releases. Let's have a look at the elements that are getting the brick treatment this year.

Official images have so far only been released of two of the sets, posted on Eurobricks by GRogall. I've used images from Toy Fair displays, from FBTB's coverage, for the rest for now. I'll update this article with better images as they become available.

79008 Pirate Ship Ambush
  • The largest set of this wave, is a bit of an obscure surprise, one of the ghost army pirate ships which are in the films ever so briefly from my recollections. It's a welcome addition though, because that's one nice Lego ship! We've had a junk-style boat quite recently, in the form of the Ninjago set 9446 Destiny's Bounty; it's a really nice set, but it will be good (ironically considering the theme) to have this less fantastical version, and much larger version too. That said, there are certainly many fantasy elements with this boat, including three members of the army of the dead - Hopefully these will have some glow-in-the-dark parts, I'd guess from the photos that maybe their heads and arms are.

79007 Battle at the Black Gate
  • Next up we have, a big chunk of wall. As chunks of wall go this isn't a bad one; it has big swing-open doors, and lots of spiky detailing. What this set is all about for me though, is the eagle! I love Lego animals, and will often buy sets just to get them, which would certainly be the case here. The wings on their own could be very useful parts too, considering they're attached with regular clips. The only thing that disappoints be a little about the eagle are its joined up massive feet. I want talons for picking up minifigures in distress!

79005 The Wizard Battle
  • The smallest set in the range gives us Gandalf battling Saruman. A little dull, but for the size I suppose it does the job. What I really want is for this to be one tiny part of a huge Orthanc tower set! One nice little element in this set that is rather tempting; there's a printed Sauron eye in that glass ball!
79006 The Council Of Elrond
  • A little chunk of Rivendell in this set. Can't really go wrong with that lovely elven architecture with hints of gold, and autumnal trees all around. Plus that Arwen minifigures looks superb.
50011 The Battle of Helm's Deep
  • This second Middle-Earth Lego Game looks rather more exciting than the previous Hobbit game; thanks mainly to the more varied design of the whole thing. I'm normally most drawn to Lego Games that have unusual parts in which, which isn't really the case here. The micro-figure versions of the characters should be fun though.

What a kraken MOC

One of my favourite things to do with a new Lego set is to modify it; tweak and/or improve the design, swap out colours or parts for things I think look better, expand it, or build an environment around it. Iain Heath has gone to town with that sort of idea, taking the big grey wedge that is 10221 Super Star Destroyer, and adding a big red cephalopod to devour it!

Here's the nice in-universe story explaining this alien attack:
A rare species of Space Kraken, known to exist only in the vast Dreighton Nebula, were sought out using the the Jedi's most powerful clairvoyants, and brought under the Alliance's control by flying super-computers directly into their brains. Many brave Ewok pilots were unwillingly sacrificed to accomplish this difficult task. Far from being cruel to the Kraken, this arrangement was completely symbiotic, as the creatures had evolved to prey on starships, their diet being composed entirely of metals such as quadanium steel.
I love the details in this; the hull plating being bent back, the little big of engine tumbling away, and the noble Star Destroyer making a last ditch effort to save the day by ramming into the mega-octopus. This beautiful creation now lives at Heath's place of work, for all his lucky colleges to enjoy. Here it is on display:

You can see a few more photos in Heath's Flickr gallery.

The Brickverse now on Facebook

I have created a Facebook page for The Brickverse, so to keep up to date with all the latest Lego news and creations, make sure you "like" me.

You can also follow me general twitter and tumblr feeds for news from all my blogs.

This huge glassy chandelier, is made from Lego!

Believe it not, this giant chandelier, large enough for a person to stand in the center, is made almost entirely from Lego bricks, standing on just a few rings of metal:

It was designed and, rather delicately, built, by Tobias Toestesen, for Milan Design Week. The idea, taking the same basic transparent shape to create a larger construct, is to manipulate the light, using the Lego pieces to create shifting patterns and distortions.

Some eight thousand of the large half-cyclinder pieces are used in it's construction. Here is Toestesen at work building it:

You can see more images on Design Boom.

The Lone Ranger alternative images

Amazon in the UK has added listings for the The Lone Ranger sets, including new alternative images showing play features in each set. These look so fun! The silver mine and train set look especially good play-wise. Have a look below. To see the main images and box art, plus my thoughts and analysis on each, check out my The Lone Ranger theme guide.

79110 Silver Mine Shootout:,,,,
79108 Stagecoach Escape:,,,,,
79111 Constitution Train Chase:,,,,
79107 Comanche Camp:,,,,,
79109 Colby City Showdown:,,,,
79106 Cavalry Builder Set:,,,,

Theme Guide: Lego Minifigures, Series 10

Lego have updated their Minifigures website with all the details for series ten. So the next batch should be finding its way to us soon. To celebrate the new series (and/or as a way of continuing to drive sales of the series), this tenth collection has one extra figure; Mr Gold, an all gold figure, which is distributed randomly among the usual assortment. There will only be five-thousand Mr Golds in the entire production run. Let's have a look at the latest batch of brilliant new Lego characters on the way (more after the jump):

Bubblebee Girl
  • Continuing my favourite recurring theme in the Minifigures series, we have the latest character in an animal costume; this time a really cute bee! Our bee-girl has a pair of wings, similar to the previous Fairy, and comes with a pot of honey, reusing the Leprechaun's pot of gold, with a lovely little Winnie the Pooh style bee printed on the side. I'll definitely be getting multiple of this one, I need a little troupe of bee-dancers!
Roman Commander
  • Another of my favourite subjects in the Minifigures range, the all to rarely seen in other parts of Lego, ancient world figures (seriously Lego, when are you going to give a full on historic Roman/Greek mythology theme?). This is the second time we've had a member of the Roman military, but this time he's got that important missing element from the first Roman Solider; the plume on his helmet. Worth the wait I think, what a brilliant figure; I'm sure we'll all be getting a legion's worth of this guy.
Sea Captain
  • One of the things I love about the Minifigures series, is that we sometimes get an animal thrown in as an accessory - This time we get a new gull. Even if this was just a blank yellow figure I'd want multiples to build up a flock! The actual figure here is quite good too though, our new sea captain will make a great companion for the sailors, and other nautical characters that we've had over the series. His hat will be a welcome addition to the minifigure head-wear range, and he has lovely detailing with the printed sleeves.
Warrior Woman
  • Another visitor from the ancient world, I guess this one is an Amazon warrior (just slightly influenced by Xena: Warrior Princess). She comes with the new familiar two-tone spear, I believe for this first time in this colour combination. I especially like her shield, it will be worth getting a few of her just to get a bunch of eagle-shields!
Tomahawk Warrior
  • Until the launch of The Lone Ranger this year, the Minifigures range was the only place you could get some new Western figures for years. I'm glad to see that's still continuing too, with this latest addition to our wild west collection. The Tomahawk warrior makes excellent use of the mohawk hair-piece first seen in bright pink on the Punk Rocker figure, and later released in bright green on a variant of the same figure in a multi-pack - So this is the first time we get this in a more natural colour! He comes armed with the new Native American axe from The Lone Ranger sets. I love the printing on this guy too, with interesting markings on his torso and arm, and that brilliant mostly red face.
  • Back to the ancient world for this latest addition to the mythology series of figures. Medusa here makes use of the snake-tail leg replacement piece introduced in last year's Ninjago sets; which is a pretty huge piece, I'm impressed they're going to squeeze it into one of the bags these guys come in. Here snake-hair is all new, and will hopefully get reused one day in that mythology theme I was dreaming of earlier... They've really gone to town with the snake motifs on this one, with here top being a pair of snake fangs, topped with two snakes along the top hem; really nice details.
Revolutionary Soldier
  • The latest of the many soldier types in the Minifigures range. These are ideal for army builders types, and I've certainly got a nice little collection of Romans and Aztecs. The more modern history eras I find less appealing however so I'm not that excited by this guy. Nice wig though, and I never get tired of Lego muskets.
Sad Clown
  • A lovely classic clown. After two garish circus clowns it's nice to have something a little more refined joining the Lego entertainers. I imagine it might be fun to mix and match parts with the equally monotone Mime. This unhappy chap uses the same ruff piece as the Actor, but this time in black, and has a new hat!
  • The latest addition to our modern workers collection is a librarian. However this figure to me is definitely no one else but Amy Farrah Fowler (from The Big Bang Theory). She comes with Amy Farrah Fowler hair, Amy Farrah Fowler glasses, and an Amy Farrah Fowler style slightly frumpy outfit. Helping our under-cover neurobiologist blend in at the library she has a book, and an awesome mug that says "shhh" - A nice counterpart to the Computer Programmer and his emoticon mug.
  • And the award for best minifigure face ever goes to... the new Skydiver! You could have so much fun using this crazy face in other models. The rest, maybe a bit less exciting, although it is nice and bright at least, and actually, I suppose a body covered in straps could become useful somewhere. He has a new parachute back-pack, which might be handy for other things too. What would have made this figure amazing, is if it came with some sort of thin plastic parachute that plugged into the back-pack; so he could actually do his thing - I guess that would have been too fiddly for the price point alas.
  • Here we have a very domestic figure, the Grandpa, complete with amusingly high waisted trousers, and a nice nostalgic printed newspaper. What, literally, tops this guy off, is the hair-piece which gives Grandpa a receding ring of hair, with a few strands combed over the top - I want to like this comical new lack of hair, but I struggle to. It was always easy to make Lego people bald, you just popped there hair off, and the empty stud symbolised their lack of hair. This smooth mound instead is weird, for a Lego-person.
Paintball Player
  • Can't say paintballing is my thing, but this is a great, and really unique, minifigure; love all those paint splats! I imagine the new paintball gun could be put to good use in other ways too.
  • Here we have a second character that comes with an animal, and it's another new animal too! Admittedly that new animal is something of an acquired taste, but it doesn't hurt to have an extra variety of Lego dog to choose from. We also get a nice printed phone tile, and a pretty nice new female hair-piece. I think the big sunglasses female face could work well on lots of other figures too.
  • Another modern worker to help out around the Lego city, and another individual with a generous amount of paint splattering. Our painter comes equipped with a new roller part; I love how it uses the standard round 1x1 brick as the actually roller, meaning you could swap it for almost any colour. He has the same design cap as the Plumber, but in white. I wonder if we're seeing the start of a new construction trades series here; maybe we'll have some more new tools to look forward to in future waves.
Baseball Fielder
  • There have been quite a lot of sporting characters in the Minifigures series - All the way back in Series 3 we got a baseball player. Now finally he has someone to play with! Like the boxer before, this guy has permanently sacrificed his normal hand in order to use a baseball glove; that's dedication to sport!
Motorcycle Mechanic
  • We got the slick, Grease-style, Mechanic back in Series 5, and now we have his rougher counterpart. Despite first impressions, in many ways this guy keeps himself tidier; the first mechanic was cover in oil stains! Bit of a shame we don't get the mechanic's toolbox again, but I imagine that was trade-off for that pretty nice tattoo printed on the arm. Barring various representations of aboriginal peoples, might this be the first tattooed minifigure?
Mr Gold
  • Finally we have the elusive, and larger than life personality, or Mr Gold. He's got different facial hair, but being so dapper, and clearly with a taste for the finer things, he rather reminds me of the Monopoly man. I think fun could be had with this gold suit if you swapped in a normal yellow head. I believe this is only the sixth chrome minifigure there has been, and only the second one not based on a Star Wars character (and the previous was only a featureless keychain version).

Amazingly unLego-like Lego bike

Check out this brilliantly elegant, in scarily fragile looking, Lego bike from MOCer Silva Vasil. It uses all sorts of naughty building techniques, and lots of fiddly not-brick sort of pieces, including some really neat uses; such as a ski for the saddle, and big transparent discs for the wheels:

You can see more angles, and an earlier prototype, in Vasil's flickr gallery.