The site hasn’t been the most active lately… 2023 has been a sledgehammer to the face of a few of us and it’s hard to get the time to keep up with everything. I can’t speak for everyone here, but the annual tradition of us opening all the calendars and being shocked at the iffy builds is something that we look forward to.

We’re doing it a bit different this year, or more specifically, Nick just couldn’t find all that much joy in just doing the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. So he’s decided to do more than that one and compare them all a bit. Ace is going to do his normal review of it as well, and Eric will be covering Harry Potter yet again, for whatever the wizarding version of Groundhog Day is. And double the Star Wars!

We’re also bringing back our “random advent” calendar tradition, because it was fun last year. So tune in to see we go through and talk about. Maybe I’ll even bring in a special guest expert to talk about the one that I picked up…

Star Wars Day 1 – Ace

I’m not entirely sure about this, but I think this is Omega from the Bad Batch. Either that or it’s a youngling trying to escape from Anakin by way of sled during the Great Cleansing of Young Jedi. I can’t believe this is Day 1. Not only are we treated to (what I think is) Omega, but we also get a small build that is on theme. Are the days of having a single minifigure for an Advent’s day gone? Is this the dawn of a new era? I don’t know but this is a good sign. Of course, like everything else, I’m ready to be severely let down tomorrow. We’ll see.

And for my fun calendar, I chose chocolate because I make bad life choices and have an uncontrollable sugar addiction, so why not?

I picked up this monstrosity from Costco. It’s a Lindt chocolate advent calendar. I love Lindt chocolates. Even took a trip the Lindt store in New York many years back and loaded up on all kinds of stuff I had no idea they made. Most of the time you can only find those bags of truffle balls and maybe a selection of bars depending on how exotic the store you’re shopping in is. That trip was quite an experience.

Day 1 was a “Lindt Mini Milk Chocolate Elf with Hazelnut filling”. Looking back I should have taken a picture of the chocolate unwrapped but based on the back of the box I have two more of these things to look forward to so I’ll get that picture next time. And while I’m regretting pictures not taken, I should have taken one of the chocolate half eaten so you can see what it was like visually on the inside.

Anyway, the chocolate itself had a milky texture, like any other Lindt chocolate ball. But unlike the truffle balls, the inside of this elf was not melt-in-your-mouth soft. It had a surprisingly crunchy texture that was more akin to crispy rice. The distinct hazelnut flavor was there though and that part was not overly sweet. The chocolate and hazelnut flavors were distinct and the elf was the right size to leave me feeling satisfied and not wanting more. Fun fact: I love hazelnut but can’t stand Nutella. I find Nutella to be way, way, way too sweet, so much so that I can’t really taste any hazelnut. It’s just dark brown sugar paste to me. If Nutella was hazelnut dialed up to 11, this was a nice subtle 3.

I give this day a thumbs up because chocolate. From my favorite brand no less.

Harry Potter Day 1 – Eric

Thank God, hot sauce is off the table this year. I’ve stored all the bottles in the back of a cabinet and will uncomfortably stare at them every once in a while.

I hear them calling to me…

I’ve decided to go with a safer option this year. But we’ll get to that later. First – Harry Potter!

After a pretty weird calendar last year, this year we’re back to focusing on one movie for all the builds. This year, we’re in movie 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban. Specifically, around Hogsmeade, based on the box art.

I’m also doing something a little extra (or I guess extra extra) this year. Since this is the 5th year I’ve done a Harry Potter calendar, I’d like to compare some of the similar builds over the years. Stuff repeats, and not just minifigs.

Speaking of, as is tradition, we get Harry Potter for Day 1.

At least this is a totally new Harry for the Advent Calendars. New face, new clothes, new hood. I’m all about it. And I can never get enough of those middle-height legs.

But yes – this is the 5th Harry Potter. And you’d think I’d be sick of him by now. And I am. Very sick. Especially of very young Harry. Still, 2023’s Harry is one of the best. So I’ve got to give it a thumbs up.

AND – we’re doing tea this year!

Why tea? Well, I love tea. That’s as far as my thought process went. Plus, it’ll be nice not to be in pain.

Today’s tea is called FEEL NEW. Will it work?

Ehhhhh, kinda. It’s a very light tea – and I’m not just talking about the color. There’s a very sort of vague flavor that doesn’t really linger. This tea’s made of three ingredients, none of which are extremely powerful, and I feel I could’ve gotten the same effect by sprinkling fennel seeds into hot water.

Not a strong start. I’m giving it a 1/5.

See ya tomorrow!

City Day 1 – Nick

In the late 90s / early 00s, there was a fever-dream known as the X Games… yeah, it still exists, but nothing like it was back then. There were so many tie-ins and spinoff, and in an era before all EA did was suck and overprice buggy games, they released the pinnacle of the era in the form of SSX. Snowboards, winter sports, and who knows what else took the Tony Hawk formula and thought “wait, what if we put it on snow… TO THE EXTREME!”

I can’t help but think of those dark times when I look at this guy. A snowman on skis? Yeah, that tracks to some of the nonsense you would have gotten in that era. At least it’s winter, and it is very, very goofy. I’m going to call it a hit, even if it’s a very weird way to start.

Marvel Day 1 – Nick

My biggest complaint about last year’s calendar was that it didn’t feel holiday-themed at all… it was just a bunch of Marvel crap thrown in and very little of it felt like it belonged together. My second biggest complaint was that the calendar spread builds that should be together across multiple days. So hopefully we’ll see it improved this…

… wait, why does this Calendar have the fewest parts out of all the ones we are reviewing and only a few more than the Friends advent, a line that has always carried fewer parts. Well, hopefully they at least give it more of a holiday theme.

Oh. So that’s how its gonna be, then? No one needs another Iron Man. Huge muss to start this thing off.

Bonus Star Wars Day 1 – Nick

Out of the gate, the Star Wars calendar has decided that it’s going to just shame the other calendars. We get Omega, which is fun, because she has only shown up in the “who cares about this stupid ship” Justifier set. Like most Star Wars sets, it was too expensive and boring to look at, so a lot of people likely passed on it.

She even has a sled, which is very on brand for Omega, gives a little holiday feel, and we start with what would be spread over five days in the Marvel calendar.

Pokemon Day 1 – Nick & Family

It’s been an explosion of Pokemon fever in my household, with my daughter going full-in to obsessing over all things Pokemon, sprinkling in some Minecraft, and making the rest of us go a little bit nuts with the endless talk of it. My son gets in on the fun too, and plays Let’s Go and Pokemon Violet as well, going so far as dressing up as a Pokemon Trainer for Halloween. In other words, its inescapable around here, so I figured why not add more to it.

My daughter will be chiming in from time to time on these too… it might be I just listened to what she was talking about on Pokemon for a couple of minutes and I wrote it down, or maybe I’ll make her type for awhile to see how well she knows a keyboard. For her generation, knowing how to actually type will effectively be a superpower.

Anyway, we picked up the Pokemon Deluxe Figure Advent Calendar 2023. This is apparently a long-running series, and there are multiple versions available out there. We got ours at Target, and it’s more expensive than that LEGO Calendars… $60 base (I got it on sale, and used a Circle offer to take another 25% off).

The extra cost, in part, comes from the box. The whole thing comes with a display board, complete with a little chiptune-esque holiday theme.

Outside of that, Day 1 opens with… a Spheal? The pokemon that you get bombarded with in Pokemon Go if you wander anywhere near something that’s even vaguely tangental to water.

Still, he’s little and cute. So that’s fun.


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