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Cuusoo: World Map

Here's an excellent example of Cuusoo innovation: A brilliant proposal for a Lego world map, designed with the intention of it being hung on the wall. Lego have occasionally released mosaic-type sets, experimenting in using Lego as a two-dimensional or low relief medium, but this idea goes a little further, as it's not just a pretty picture of the world: Making it out of Lego gives it instant functionality, with the possibility of being able to add Lego plates or tiles as markers on the map (like pins on a normal map) to keep track of your travels, or fantasy expeditions. The proposal also suggests it could come with a set of tiles printed with national flags, which of course you could stick on in the appropriate places (could be quite a fun geography game in that).



At the proposed scale it would be a huge set, requiring multiple base-plates, especially if you made it large enough to include flags of the world, even on 1x2 tiles. But it would surely be worth it for the impact and fun you could have. After all you needn't stop with flags and markers, you could build micro-scale landmarks, or stick on your favourite national-dress minifigures. Great fun! It's still more than nine-and-a-half-thousand supports short of Cuusoo review though, so go and support it!



Lego Minifgure book preview

Due out in September is Dorling Kindersley's latest Lego reference book, Lego Minifigure: Year by Year, A Visual History. This looks to be a real treat for any minifigure fans, presenting a pretty comprehensive guide to minifigures, broken down by both years and themes. It also comes with three minifigures (the ones in silver circles on the cover)! Here's the cover and blurb:

Take a trip down memory lane and explore the origins and growth of the amazing LEGO Minifigure with LEGO Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History.

Year by year, every range of LEGO Minifigures is included chronologically and by theme, running from the first minifigures introduced in 1978 to the brand-new Legends of Chima, Star Wars, Batman and Ninjago minifigures popular today. Perfect for any LEGO fan, this visual chronicle is filled with more than 2,000 of the most significant, popular and rarest Minifigures complete with stunning photos and additional information on key favourites. Plus, with 3 classic Minifigures embedded in the cover, it's the ultimate guide to the world of LEGO minifigures.
Dorling Kindersley have released a few sample pages, here's a taste of what you can expect to find inside:


This looks much more like what I was hoping the Lego Minifigures: Character Encyclopedia would be, when the title first appeared - That book turned out to be about the collectible minifigure series characters only. Should be good.



Brick bags for the Lego fashionista

Check out these awesome Lego-inspired bags. They're designed and hand-made by Karen Booker, who sells them through her Etsy shop, Luxford St. She make both bricks and plates in a variety of colours, out of cotton demin, with leather straps. The front flap is held down magnetically.


Cuusoo: Burj Al Arab

I really like the idea of the Architecture series, but so far I've found most of the sets don't excite me; either because they're buildings I don't like, Lego interpretations that I don't feel have worked that well, or they just come out looking a bit too simplified or plain dull. The latest Architecture proposal on Cuusoo has managed to avoid all those problems! Srezkall's rendition of the Burj Al Arab, the iconic hotel in Dubai, takes a subject that could be difficult to render in Lego, and captures it perfectly. It's refreshingly bright and colourful for an Architecture set too, with that lovely sea of transparent blue tiles for the base really setting it apart from other sets.


Isn't it exquisite? I hope you agree and give your support to the Cuusoo project, it's got a long way to get to ten thousand!


Meet the Mixels

Lego have launched a teaser site for a new range due next March: Mixels will be a new Cartoon Network series, with associated Lego toys.

UPDATE: Lego have now put out a press release detailing the new theme. Mixels have been co-designed by Lego designers and Cartoon Network animators from the bottom up, to create a new TV and play collaboration, which will also extend to an interactive game, books, and other merchandise. The Lego sets will be released in three waves over the course of 2014. The series will embrace the buildability of the Lego toys:
...the colorful Mixels creatures that can mix and combine with one another in creative and unpredictable storylines.
It appears Lego are aiming to make these accessable to child-collecotrs too, with the entire range consiting of small lower-priced sets. You can read the full press release, here. And here's the teaser image from the website, which highlights the use of some really nice new elements, or elements in new colours:


UPDATE: Lego have released photos of each of the characters, giving a great look at all the lovely parts they contain; the new ball-joints should be especially interesting:


Each character will be it's own set. Flickr user Allen Tran posted a photo of a display of these first three sets at the San Diego Comic Con. You can see the cartoon versions of each character on the boxes behind.


The sets pictured are 41508 Volectro Electroids, 41500 Flain Infernites, and 41504 Seismo Cragsters. Each character is based on natural elements, these three appear to be something like electricity, fire, and geology. The characters so far look kind of fun to me, but more exciting is the parts selection they offer; I look forward to seeing what other characters are in the range.


First look at 2013 The Hobbit Lego

At the the San Diego Comic Con Lego revealed the first set in their 2013 range of The Hobbit sets, due to come out along side The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, in December. Here's the first look at 79013 Lake Town Chase (image via Lord of the Brick):


Doesn't seem to most exciting of sets to me, although I do like using the little row-boats like that to make one big boat, and some of the new minifigures are pretty elaborate!

Speaking of new minifigures, Lego also gave away a few Azog minifigures at the Comic Con. He has a non-standard head, and a nifty artificial hand-piece (picture again via Lord of the Brick):


This minifigure is a Comic Con exclusive, but he will apparently be released in a different colour in one of the future sets.


Big new trailer for Marvel Super Heroes video game

Marvel have released a new trailer for the forthcoming Marvel Super Heroes Lego video game. This particular trailer focuses on the numerous big-figures featured in the game:



For more trailers, and other details of the game, see my previous report.




Collectible Minifigures Series 11 revealed

The forthcoming eleventh series of Collectible Minifigures has been revealed! Brickset posted scans of the usual leaflet from one of the packets, from a user who found them in Poland already. Check out another brilliant collection of characters:


I'm impressed Lego continue to make series after series of such appealing characters. My personal highlights here are that amazing yeti, the very impressive Tikki warrior (what a brilliant mask), and hurrah for a female scientist!

Here's the other side of the leaflet, which as usual highlights some of the accessories included. 



2014 sets revealed at Comic Con

Lego have teased a couple of sets due out next year in reveals at Comic Con. One of the DC Super Heroes sets will be Batman: The Riddler Chase. USA Today posted this image, showing a Batmobile, and a dragster for the Riddler. The Riddler himself is a relatively rare minifigure, while I believe The Flash, who is also included in the set, is getting his Lego debut here:


Lego is also previewing a Star Wars set, a new AT-AP. The design seems to have grown an extra leg since Lego's last version, back in 2008, it also comes with more figures, droids and a Wookie as well as a Clone trooper. FBTB posted this image:



Comic Con mini-sets

FBTB has posted details and images of two Comic Con exclusive Lego sets. Both sets are essentially smaller versions of regular sets. From The Hobbit there's a Micro Scale Bag End (with a normal-sized Frodo minifigure), the smaller brother of 79003 An Unexpected Journey. While the Star Wars offering is a JEK-14 Mini Stealth Fighter, a smaller version of the forthcoming original Lego design from The Yoda Chronicles, 75018 Jek-14's Stealth Starfighter, which includes the super cool JEK-14 figure, with a transparent arm! Check them out:




New Minecraft sets announced

Lego has announced two new Minecraft sets. Like the first, 21102 Minecraft Micro World, the new sets are at a microscale, and split into four modules, allowing you to reconfigure them in a variety of arrangements. The new sets will be released in September, and are being previewed at the San Diego Comic Con this week. Brickset posted images along with the press release. UPDATE: Higher res images from Leg Godt. The sets are:

21105 The Village
With this model, fans can create and customize their own Minecraft village with LEGO bricks. Just like the game, fans can build houses, grow crops and beware the mines in their own micro-world as well as play out their own storylines with Pig, Villager and Zombie constructible Micromob figures.

21106 The Nether
Builders can create the Minecraft Obsidian Portal and The Nether to explore the newest biome with this microscale LEGO model, complete with Netherrack, gravel, flowing lava and bedrock. This model includes two Ghasts and one Zombie Pigman constructible Micromob figures.

What's most interesting about these new sets is the fact that the original Minecraft set was a Cuusoo release. This is an exemplar case of the success of the Cuusoo initiative; Lego have been able to tap into a different fan base, create a unique set, and do so well out of it that they feel confident in expanding that initial success into an ongoing product line. One-off Cuusoo treats can grow into more Lego sets, an exciting prospect!




First details of The Lego Movie sets, video game, books, and other merchandise

Coming Soon has announced details of Lego's merchandising plans surrounding the release of The Lego Movie next year. Those plans of course include the release of a range of Lego sets based on the film. Seventeen sets are planned, which will take full advantage of the diverse Lego universe featured in the film, including City, Western, and Space settings. One image has been released, showing a set featuring the exotic motor bike seen in the trailer, apparently being chased by what looks like robotic police:


In addition to the sets one series of the Collectable Miifigures will be turned over to the film. The usual assortment of sixteen characters will include new and "new-again" minifigures, presumably meaning some of the vintage Lego designs seen in the film will be getting new life as minifigure releases.

As well as sets there will be a new Lego video game based on the film. Due to be released for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC, 3DS and PS Vita, the game will feature fifteen levels and ninety characters, allowing us to use building skills to play through the events of the movie. Comicbook.com posted this teaser poster for the game, featuring the same moment in the story as the above Lego set:


Meanwhile Video Gamer posted screencaps, showing events in the City and Western settings. Continue after the jump to see those, and for details of other merchandise:


Coming Soon also detailed a plethora of other tie-in products, as one would expect alongside any big childrens' film. Many of Lego's usual partners are involved. We can look forward to:
  • Novels, sticker books, activity books and movie guides from Scholastic, Penguin, Ameet and DK Publishing.
  • Various clothing including:
    • T-shirts from Mad Engine, Isaac Morris, Kabooki, TV Mania and Casco Blu.
    • Hoodies from TV Mania.
    • Pajamas from SGI Apparel, TV Mania and Kabooki.
    • Undergarments from Handcraft Mfg. and Kabooki.
  • Bags, backpacks and cinch bags from Carry Gear and Grown Up.
  • Clocks and buildable watches from Clic Time.
  • Stationery, including notebooks, journals, folders, pens, pencils and pencil cases, erasers, rulers and luggage/bag tags from MZB Imagination and Funtastic.
  • Lego minifigure keychain torches from IQ HK.
  • Lunchboxes, lunch sets, drinking bottles and storage and sorting boxes from ROOM Copenhagen.
Amazon already has listings for two of the books: Scholastic's The LEGO Movie: Guidebook, and The LEGO Movie: Activity Book, the latter of the two apparently comes with a minifigure. Both are using the same generic blurb for the film, which does provide some new information on the identities of the characters in the film:
The first ever LEGO(R) movie hits the big screen February 7, 2014! This animated, family-friendly movie has an all-star voice cast.

Written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), The LEGO(R) Movie is a hilarious adventure that takes place in a world made entirely from LEGO bricks. Emmet, an ordinary LEGO Minifigure, is mistakenly thought to be an extraordinary Master Builder and he is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant (Lord Business) from gluing the universe together, thus destroying creativity. Now Emmet and his friend Lucy need to go on a quest through various LEGO lands to save the world.

The movie is being produced and distributed in conjunction with Warner Bros and has an all-star cast including Chris Pratt (Emmet), Will Ferrell (Lord Business), Elizabeth Banks (Lucy), Liam Neeson (Bad Cop), Allison Brie (Uni Kitty), Nick Offerman (Pirate), Morgan Freeman (Wizard), Will Arnett (Batman), and more!
One other bit of The Lego Movie news, Digital Spy posted this Comic Con poster for the film, featuring Emmet, and his pokey-out bit of hair:


If you've not seen it yet, check out my previous post with the trailers for the film, including lots of screencaps to scrutinise the details of this new corner of the Lego universe.

Official images of the Back to the Future Cuusoo set

Eurobrick's GRogall has released official images of the soon to be released Back to the Future Delorean time machine set, the fourth Cuusoo set, selected via social media support on the Cuusoo website. It's awesome to see Cuusoo used to get a cinema classic in Lego form, something which almost certainly would never happened otherwise (without a Back to the Future 4/reboot at least). Check it out:


No images yet... UPDATE: 1000steine has posted a photo of the back of the box... UPDATE 2: Brick Fanatics posted a clear version of the image from the back of the box, showing the alternate builds that are  included to model the Delorean after its other appearance in the Back to the Future trilogy:


Brick Fanatics also posted images showing the printed parts from this set. See those after the jump:


Can't wait to have the real thing! I guess I'll have to get used to having the Back to the Future theme on a loop in my head; I can't see the Delorean without bursting into enthusiastic humming!


A market comes to the winter village

Lego have announced the fifth set in their annual winter village series of Lego exclusive sets. This year's set, 10235 Winter Village Market, brings a classic Christmas market to the village; complete with a variety of stallholders and entertainment. This time the set is being released under the Creator theme, specifically the Expert line, which was introduced this year as a catch-all for the more advanced/exclusive sets. Here's the box art (images via Eurobricks):


And here's the designer video to introduce you to all the set's features:



The centerpiece of the set is of course the carousel, which includes two horses with a lovely new bridle design, both of which move up and down with the mechanism of the ride.


Here's a better look at one of those new horses:


Continue after the jump for a closer look at the other elements of the set:

Here's the bakery stall, complete with croissants and a pie:


A little BBQ, supplying the meat-eaters at the market:


A gift/sweet shop, including a cool new spiral print round tile for a lollypop:


A little bench, with one of two lampposts in the set:


And all the other elements to sprinkle around the marketplace: