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Ace Kim | September 21st, 2015 | LEGO Star Wars, Sales News

Amazon Discounts The Ghost by 25%

Newly marked down or something I missed from my earlier post? Not sure but no matter because if you’re looking to pick up the flagship set from the Rebels cartoon, 75053 The Ghost, you can pick one up from Amazon with a hefty 25% discount. Its price tag now reads $67.77, down from $89.99. You’ll also score free shipping.

But wait, there’s more! Act now and you can still get 75048 The Phantom for 24% off at $18.99. The Phantom and The Ghost combine to form The Phost.

Nick Martin | September 21st, 2015 | LEGO Star Wars, Reviews, Star Wars, The Force Awakens

Review: 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

75101 - FOSF TIE Fighter Full Set

My love of TIE fighters (and Ewoks) is well documented. I’ve owned every version of the ship, minis, Chibis, and the like included, back to that very first TIE Advanced vs. Y-Wing set in 1999 and the first TIE fighter in 2001. I don’t often buy multiples of any sets other than battle packs or clearance unless I have specific projects in mind, but I liked the last TIE fighter enough that I purchased enough that I’ve been able to use them for gifts, mods, reviews, and still keep one tucked away for my daughter. I haven’t quite been able to justify getting the 6″ Black Series TIE fighter yet, but that’s not to say I haven’t been attempting to justify it.

Just sayin’, I like me some TIE Fighters. One of things that Star Wars, specifically the original trilogy, did so well, was to break away from the idea that space ships look like planes (and something that the PT did way too much). There were certainly inspirations in there, but that first time you saw a TIE, it looked so unlike standard spaceships that it just stuck in your brain. It also spoke to the nature of the Empire, throwaway, mass-produced ships that won with numbers instead of skill. Plus, there were just so many jokes you can make with a name like TIE fighter.

I was really looking forward to reviewing 75101 First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter even after I found out that the 517 part set was going to carry a premium $69.99 price tag along with it. The set is only visible for a few seconds in the teaser, but in those seconds you see it kicking some serious butt. We don’t know a whole lot about the Special Forces, what’s going on (or even if those are Imperials flying it), or how many of this particular TIE exist… we just know it’s got a flashy red and black styling going on and it seats two pilots. I liked Rey’s Speeder well enough, and love the source for this ship, but that price and the fact we’ve had a lot of TIEs lately mean that this ship has a pretty tough hill to climb….

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Ace Kim | September 18th, 2015 | LEGO Ideas, Reviews

Review: 21303 WALL•E

21303 WALL-E 1

When I saw Angus MacLane’s WALL•E project on LEGO Ideas, I had no doubt in my mind that it would be turned into an official set. After all, LEGO and Disney seem to be enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship of licensee and licensor. Angus himself works at Pixar, a Disney-owned company. I would have been more surprised if the set didn’t make it into production. When 21303 WALL•E was officially announced back in September I was excited. After seeing comments online about the crappy neck joint and having built the set myself, I’m pissed. Let me get my rant out of the way and then I’ll sing the set’s praises.

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Ace Kim | September 17th, 2015 | LEGO Star Wars, Sales News

Amazon Discounts LEGO Star Wars

75055 Imperial Star Destroyer

Amazon is applying a healthy dose of discounts to select LEGO Star Wars toys. Unfortunately, none of the new sets based off of The Force Awakens are included (and they probably won’t see a discount anytime soon) but now’s a good time to fill up the holes in your collection.

Nick Martin | September 16th, 2015 | LEGO Star Wars, Reviews, Star Wars, The Force Awakens

Review: 75099 Rey’s Speeder

75099 Rey's Speeder Full Set

When the Force Awakens trailer first launched, and after I’d watched it a few dozen times in a glorious mix of trepidation and fanboy glee, the vehicle that I latched on to more than anything was the ludicrously absurd, yet awesome, speeder that Rey was driving. It was a wonderful mix of Star Wars feel, in a classic-ish setting, and that one absurd vehicle that J.J. Abrams has to put into all of his vehicles (remember that cop speeder in the Star Wars Trek remake?).  It was also nice that we were getting one of the main characters, a woman at that, in the cheapest of the Force Awakens sets. We saw her in the trailer, so I was fully prepared for this to be in a much larger set, or ignored entirely. [Edit. Thanks Gingerbeard Man for pointing out I violated Nerd Commandment #3 and mixed up Trek and Wars when writing this]

At $19.99 (or $21.99 if you pay the penalty for shopping at Toys ‘r Us… don’t judge me, it was less than the gas I would have used to drive to somewhere else for Force Friday), this is by far the cheapest set in the lineup at half the price of the next cheapest set. For our hard earned money, we get 193 pieces and two minifigs, which makes it a bit light, but we get what is already an iconic vehicle. If you’ve seen the trailer, this was the first vehicle we got to see, so it’s the one that was just stamped into our brains. There is something Star Wars about it, that mixture of futuristic and impractical that defined all of their technology (seriously, Speeder Bikes in a giant forest is just an awful idea).

This is also the set that I wanted more than the rest, in part because I wanted Rey, but mostly because I thought it had a lot of promise as a mix of value and pieces. First visual glances says it’s not a prefect representation (what we saw in the trailer didn’t have all those extra tools on the side, let alone the greebling), but still looks like a nifty little speeder. It also helps that reviewing 75099 Rey’s Speeder was made easier by the size and the lack of a comparison set. The closest thing would be the Landspeeder, but we don’t even know how this all fits together at this point.

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Don | September 15th, 2015 | Contests, News

MOC the 80s! Contest Reminder

moc the eighties

We’re two weeks in and there’s two weeks to go in our nostalgia fueled road trip to past. The challenge, if you missed it, is simple: pick an iconic ride from an 80s TV show or film and build it. Land based only please, meaning no boats or planes, but you’re welcome to pick from bike, tanks, and all manner of automobiles. Swing by this post for the full guidelines and check out the submission thread to see what you’re up against.

Nick Martin | September 13th, 2015 | News, Rants

LEGO Doesn’t Care About Your Collection

LEGO Money

Recently, there’s been a whole lot of chatter about this year’s Christmas set, the 10249 Toy Shop. Normally, the release of a new set has been a source of joy (and sadness, because those of us who collect it are going to have to fork out some money and that always hurts), but this is something we Star Wars collectors have been familiar with for some time: a re-release. Toy Shop was the set that kicked off the holiday series six years ago, and now we’re seeing it again.

The outcry has been that LEGO is poking the eyes of those who have supported the line from the beginning, who have put them away hoping for value, or who have the original sets and now see them somehow undermined by that. In short, a bunch of the AFOL community… we are a noisy bunch that loves to complain, after all.

Completionists are always a bit upset when a set gets re-released, but I have to assume that they’re also upset about exclusives, pre-order bonuses, promotional material, retailer exclusives, and every other thing that makes their particular take on the hobby pretty much impossible. I feel for this bunch, because it’s hard to ever follow this path in hobbies… there is simply too much too many places, and their efforts to collect are undone by the success of the product. I feel for them, but the signs were there early with Star Wars… those stupid little figures on stands never even showed up for most of us.

I’m going to focus on the other bunch though, the group that feels slighted because they own the original, the people who are upset because the sets they had put away to sell later lost their value (and with them the scalpers that just buy up sets to sell later… don’t kid yourself, the only difference between speculators and scalpers is scheduling), and more generally the crowd that hates all of the re-releases. Maybe there are some that hate this release for other reasons, but it seems like most of the outrage can boil down to things like that.

The simple fact is that LEGO isn’t a collector’s item, it’s just an item that collector’s like to collect. LEGO cares about having customers that collectors, but they do not care about your collection. They should not care about your collection. They make and sell toys, and sometimes, that means they’re going to redo and re-release products. The fact that you have a collection doesn’t matter all that much to their bottom line or product decisions.

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Ace Kim | September 12th, 2015 | DC Universe, LEGO Super Heroes, News

Bat-Pods Arriving At Doorsteps

Update: Oh look, reddit user uacrobi posted scanned instructions. You can download them here. Grab’em while you still can…

If you were one of the few lucky winners of the Bat-Pod promotion from a few months ago, you should have gotten a shipment notification by now. They are being shipped out from Enfield, CT, so for those of you living on the East Coast, you should be getting them by now. Pics are already starting to surface of the completed model. Kind of crazy that someone would open it and built it instead of keeping it sealed and using it as a nest egg but hey, whatever floats your boat. The picture above was uploaded to imgur.

LEGO fail? I just noticed that the Bat-Pod uses light grey hubs for the wheels. The Tumbler, from which the Bat-Pod is born from, has black ones. /shrug

WTB: 5004590 Bat-Pod. Must be sealed.

Ace Kim | September 10th, 2015 | Events, LEGO

Bricks LA 2016 Registration Now Open


Registration for the Los Angeles area-based premiere AFOL convention, Bricks LA, is now open. Bricks LA is a two-day event happening held at the Pasadena Convention Center in sunny southern California on January 9th and 10th. We also have limited hours on Friday January 8th for early set-up for VIB’s and vendors who need more time. We’ve expanded our space and now have the entire first floor and two activity rooms.

VIB’s (Very Important Builders): the registration fee is $55 and includes access to all of the VIB events (games, activities, giveaways, etc), access to our Saturday night after hours party, custom brick badges, a pretty sweet swag bag, participation in the public exhibition and theme contests, and more! Check out the Bricks LA VIB/AFOL Registration page for more information.

Vendors: vendor registration is now open as well for $100 and we will now be offering WiFi access. Check out the Bricks LA Vendor Registration page for more information.

The Public: for those of you interested in attending as part of the public, tickets are just $5 per person and kids 5 and under are free. It is one of the best family entertainment values in town and I say that without bias because as a father of three, cheap family entertainment is always welcome. Public viewing hours are from 10am to 5pm on both Saturday January 9th and Sunday January 10th.

More information is available on the Bricks LA site. Still have questions? Hit me up here, here or here.

We hope you can make it!

Nick Martin | September 10th, 2015 | LEGO Super Heroes, Marvel Comics, Reviews

Review: 76036 Carnage’s SHIELD Sky Attack

76036 - Carnage's SHIELD Sky Attack Full Set

If you are a fan of Marvel comics, there are few things more capable of arguments than the Ultimate universe and few characters (in any medium really) who continually get the shaft as Spider-man. Of course, that whole running theme of making his life miserable really went to 11 in the Ultimate universe when he was killed by Normon Osborn (spoilers, I guess, to a comic series that’s four years old and was a 20-part series called “The Death of Spider-Man”). Well, mostly… these are comics after all.

In a series that is known for being loved and hated by various groups, it was still a pretty big shock. Yet it also started one of the better revisions to a character in recent years, when a new Spider-man, Miles Morales, took up the cowl after Peter’s death. Those who don’t know the character dismiss him as revisioning to diversify (which it was, I suppose, but I don’t see why that’s a bad thing), but anyone that’s read the comics involving him know that it was a way to look at the things that made Peter Parker interesting 60+ years ago in a different way. He had the insecurities of a teenage Spider-man mixed with the guilt of his predecessors death, on top of telling the story of a kid that’s from two different heritages. It made for some interesting stories (especially when he ran into the 616, or main universe, Spider-man), and in the fall he’s making the crossover to the main universe thanks to the quagmire that is Secret Wars.

He’s also had a growing presence in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, where he’s voiced by Donald Glover. Funny side-note… the original Miles Morales character was in part based on Glover’s wearing Spider-man pajamas on an episode of Community. Because I just love Miles Morales and his take on Spider-man, I was excited to review 76036 Carnage’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Sky Attack, a surprisingly cheap $12.99 set released this summer that includes hillbilly Venom (also known as Carnage) and 97 parts that somehow feels like more. After the incredible disappointment that has been pretty much every other Spider-Man set thus far, it was nice to see something new. This set can’t possibly let us down, can it?

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