5/31/10

Blacktron Strikes Back

This custom Blacktron sky trooper from eclipseGrafx Is a great use of custom parts and a re-painted Buzz Lightyear pack.

eclipseGrafx Blacktron III Heavy Weapon Specialist
When I saw this it reignited my hope that the current Space Police III theme will morph into a new look at the Blacktron line. Why? Well, two of the aliens that debuted from those sets earlier this year appeared to have ties back to Blacktron, Rench and Squidtron. Although Space Police has always contained little nods to the past, I thought these might bridge the end of SPIII to the start of the new Space line. One can always hope...

(Via eclipseGrafx's Flickr stream)

The Bride with the White Hair

Tigerggyy's Female Body StudyTigerggyy continues to post new promotional posters highlighting new BrickTW product due out later this summer.

This most recent pic shows off a torso that is meant to simulate the female figure and a new hair style. The text on the poster itself muses on the differences of the male and female form. The text, however, that accompanies this post on Flickr is much more interesting:

Baifa Monü Zhuan 白髮魔女

Baifa Monü Zhuan (simplified Chinese: 白发魔女传; traditional Chinese: 白髮魔女傳; Mandarin Pinyin: Bái Fà Mó Nǚ Zhuàn; Jyutping: Baak6 Faat3 Mo1 Neoi5 Zyun6), also known as Romance of the White Haired Maiden, The Bride with White Hair or Legend of the White Haired Demoness from its adaptations, is a Wuxia novel serialized by Liang Yusheng between August 5, 1957 and September 8, 1958. It is closely related to another two works Qijian Xia Tianshan (七劍下天山) and Saiwai Qixia Zhuan (塞外奇俠傳) as its characters appear in these novels as well. There have been a few adaptations of the novel, most notably being the film The Bride with White Hair.

(Via Tigerggyy's Flickr stream)

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Luna Lovegood


Ravenclaw student and Dumbledore's Army member Luna Lovegood will be making her LEGO debut in set 4841, the 2010 version of The Hogwart's Express.

Minifigure Parts and AccessoriesLuna is composed of four parts: hairpiece, head, torso, and legs.

The hairpiece has recently been featured in this color on the new Collectible Minifigure Cheerleader (part 62696).

Luna Lovegood Reference PhotoThe head print shows Luna with her signature Spectrespecs on. Looking at the reference photo below you'll see what we mean.

The torso shows off a new, pink coat print that will likely be sought after for custom applications for female minifigs.

The legs also feature a print, albeit in some strange "cosmic" design.

There are no accessories evident with Ms. Lovegood.

Army Building Potential
The ABP for the figure iteself is low, but the hair and torso could be sought after in multiples for custom applications.

Big Draw
The big draws here are the hair and torso, and of course the opportunity to add Luna to your LEGO HP collection.

(Pictures via Eurobricks and Harry Potter Wiki)

5/30/10

Exobrick's Just Playin'

Exobrick's Custom Darth Talon with Si-Dan and Tiny Tactical Accessories
Exobrick is showing off some custom goodness over on his Flickr stream. Using an Arealight custom Darth Talon bedecked with accessories from Si-Dan Toys and Tiny Tactical, this is one Twi'lek I wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley.

A few weeks back, I talked about MinifigCat's store which features many of the Si-Dan Toys. At the time I thought the claws would make for a good Wolverine custom. Now seeing the proportions relative to the fig, its more Lady Deathstrike than Logan!

(Via Exobrick's Flickr stream)

Toys N Bricks Setting Up Trading Exchange

LEGO website Toys N Bricks is setting up a forum to help facilitate trading between registered members for the Collectible Minifigure Series.

A potentially good way to trade duplicates and help others obtain a full set. It looks like Toys N Bricks is only facilitating the forums and not taking responsibility for trades gone wrong, so buyer beware. You'll also have to figure out how to get the figures to your trading partner.

Nevertheless, a great opportunity to connect with other collectors. So head on over and register for their forums today.

(Via Toys N Bricks)

5/29/10

Brickset Has Barcode Scanning Capabilities

The fine folks at Brickset have spent the past few days updating their mobile site capabilities. They now also have an application that allows your to use your Android phone to scan bar codes on the back of the Collectible Minifigure packs!

Not all bar codes and countries may be in the database yet, but Huw and the crew are working to get it all up to date.

Speaking from experience, the bar code approach is likely the best way to net what you want. The "feel" method just didn't work for me.

So if you have an Android phone, get out there and scan some figs.

(Via Brickset.com)

BrickArms Upgrades Minifig Production

BrickArms WWII Custom SoldierBrickArms announced this week that they have upgraded their abilities to print custom designs directly on minifigures. The US Rifleman pictured here was created using a "permanent ink printer", so no decals or pad printing. This soldier is currently back ordered at their store, but retails for $15 USD.

If you read through the forum thread you'll see that there are plans to give a similar treatment to a German solider sometime in the near future.

At these price points its still likely that you'll be using other means to grow your WWII battalions, but its great to see a custom house like BrickArms begin to develop products of this quality!

(Via BrickArms Forums)

5/28/10

Fabu-Force Assemble!

AFOL's Jordan Schwartz and Mark Stafford have dropped their proverbial chocolate in the others peanut butter to come up with this mash-up of Fabuland and Exo-Force: Fabu-Force!

Mark Stafford's Monkey Mike FabuForce MOC
As much as I'm ashamed to admit it, Exo-Force was first theme I purchased when I came out of my Dark Ages a little over a year ago. I was drawn back to LEGO by mecha MOC's seen on The Brothers Brick, and at the time this theme was the closest you could buy in that genre.

So what is up with this "Fabuland" stuff?! We'll Fabuland was a theme that ran from 1979 to 1989 where cartoon-like animals occupied a magical land of LEGO bricks. Fabuland minifigures were larger than a standard minifigure and had large, over-sized animal heads. There were over 20 different types of animals, some in several variants. If you've visited other LEGO websites or forums you may have noticed members using Fabuland as their signature figures. CopMike's use of the Bulldog policeman on Eurobricks is a good example of this.

So what do you think citizens of minifig nation, is the world ready for a Fabuland renaissance?

(Via The Brothers Brick)

Scenes from a LEGO Store: Minifigures Now on Sale (US)

I've just gotten back from my local LEGO Store in southwest Ohio where I picked up three of the dragon faction battle packs from the Kingdoms line (and LEGO exclusives to boot). I was perusing the key chains and what did I see...(wait for it)...LEGO Collectible Minifigures! I picked five bags at random and went happily on my way. It looks like LEGO wants to take advantage of the holiday weekend.

It is confirmed that you can only buy five a day (so bring friends and family). I will also say that despite others claiming you can determine what is in the bag by "feeling it out", I really couldn't tell. If you are looking for a specific figure, then your best best will be to bring some way to id the secondary bar code on the back.

In separate but related news, my local Toys R Us claimed to have the minifigures in store yesterday. I ended up going after work, a couple of hours later, and they were all sold out. The store only had one case! So if you see them somewhere I would pick them up.

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Hogwarts Professors

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures Hogwarts ProfessorsNow Showing
The professors of Hogwart's Castle shown here are all in set 4842, the 2010 version of Hogwart's Castle. Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape have all been available in some variant previously. Professor Flitwick, however, is making his LEGO debut.

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
Professor McGonagall is composed of four parts: wizards hat, head, torso and dress slope. The overall design is very similar to hp022; however, the dress and torso is a darker green, while the head and hands are now in flesh tones.

Professor Dumbledore appears to be a direct reissue of minifig hp072, but is actually a new variant. As seen in this review from Eurobricks member Ras 74, we can see that this new design has a dual-sided head and torso print on the front and back.

Professor Snape is made up of four parts: hair piece, head, torso, and legs. Prince Dastan's hair (part 88283) makes an appearance here in black. The head appears to feature a new print. The torso is very similar to the one used on figure hp082, except the print outline is gray instead of purple as seen here. The legs are a basic black set.

Professor Flitwick is composed of four parts: hair, head, torso, and short legs. Flitwick's hair a bowl cut style (part x219) that has appeared on other figures like Dr. Octopus and Ron Weasley. The head features a new, and humorous facial print. The torso adds a new bow tie design to the LEGO universe. The short legs are part 41879.

The only accessories here are 4L bars (part 30374) in a variety of colors standing in for wands. Although not particular to any one professor, there's also a 'sorting hat' that comes with the Hogwart's Castle set - a witch's hat in brown with print to resemble the hat's face.

Army Building Potential
None of the professors have a strong ABP. I would classify all four as "low".

Big Draw
With the exception of Dumbledore, Harry Potter fans have to get three new minifigures for their collection. The biggest draw among all four figs are the torso and dress slope of McGonagall. Since female figures are scarce the overall dress combo could have appeal in other custom applications.

(Picture via Eurobricks)

BrickTW Week: Capes

Welcome back to our final installment of BrickTW week, where we've been reviewing the various products produced by this great custom house. Our final review will look at the selection of capes they have on sale today.

The design of their king capes are quite unique given the addition of a high collar. It takes a little bit of patient folding to get them positioned on the minifigure head post, but once on there are no issues. In theory you could modify the capes by cutting the collar away leaving a more traditional cape design.

The capes come in a variety of styles and colors. Of the samples I received, the leather cape (shown here) was my favorite. I like the embossed pattern, which added a certain degree of style to the overall design. As you can see here it also worked well when paired with on of BrickTW's custom helms.

Unlike the armor and weapons shown earlier in the week, the capes might be hard to find. There are a couple of styles available on the BrickTW BrickLink store, and the BrickTW website lists that some of the Wizard capes from the Eastern War series will be available as promotional items. If there's a cape you've seen in BrickTW promotional materials or in Tigerggyy's brick comics, I would suggest contacting BrickTW directly.

This ends our coverage of BrickTW's current line. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. A big thanks to the fine folks as BrickTW for providing the products you've seen here. If you like what you've seen please support BrickTW, and other custom houses, by buying their products today.

5/27/10

LEGO Prince of Persia Maxifigures on Jimmy Kimmel

A couple of nights ago, Jake Gyllenhaal was on the US late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live. The video below is the second half of the interview. If you stick around until the 2:50 mark (sorry my YouTube skills prevent me from jumping you right there), you'll see a Prince of Persia "maxifig" of Prince Dastan. If you keep watching until the end, you'll see another surprise.

I'm certain the maxifig was produced for the show, but wouldn't it be great if TLG produced a whole series of these for themes like Star Wars?

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Argus Filch and Mrs. Norris


The caretaker of Hogwart's Castle, Argus Filch, and his cat Mrs. Norris are making their minifigure debut in set 4842, the 2010 version of Hogwart's Castle.

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
Argus is composed of four main parts: a hair piece, head, torso, and legs.

The hair piece appears to be a grey variant of part 40239.

Reference Photo of Argus FilchThe head is features a new print showing Argus doing his best to scowl at the Hogwart's students. Based on images from Eurobricks, the head is not dual sided.

The torso is dark gray with dark gray arms and flesh hands. The torso print is a new, rumpled suit and tie combo which may have some sig fig potential.

The legs are a standard black set with print on the legs to resemble a set of keys, and print on the hips to resemble a belt.

There are three accessories that come with Filch: a brick-built lantern, a key, and his beloved cat Mrs. Norris. The key appears to be a grey version of part x216. Mrs. Norris is a cat in the classic LEGO style (part 6251). Previous cats have only been in black or white, so this will be a new color for this part. Mrs. Norris will also have print on the face as seen here.

Army Building Potential
Argus Filch's ABP is "low". No unique parts that would be sought after in multiples. Mrs. Norris however may have a moderate ABP given that this is a new color for this classic minifig animal.

Big Draw
Argus may have appeal to collectors of Harry Potter, but there's not much to this figure. The torso print and legs may be of interest for certain custom concepts. Mrs. Norris may have appeal for those builders who want a little variety in their cats.

(Pictures via Eurobricks and Harry Potter Wiki)

BrickTW Week: Shields & Helms Review

Welcome back to BrickTW week where we're reviewing all of the quality products from this great custom house. Our review today will look at the various shields and helmets.

BrickTW has three styles of shields available shown here: Rectangle Shield, Round Shield, and the Spear Warrior Shield.

The shields are different than your standard LEGO fare. Instead of flat, smooth surfaces, you have this fantastic detail and texture. As with many of the products from BrickTW, their products can transcend applications for building Asian armies. The square and rectangle shield would feel at home in the hands of a Roman centurion just as well as it would protecting dynastic foot soliders. The round shield also makes a great substitute for vikings or knights.

The shields are made up of two components: the main shield and a minifig handle. The handles fit snugly into the holes in the back, with no signs of slippage. The handles also fit firmly in figs' hands. This design opens up additional possibilities for MOC's and vignettes with different options for connections to other LEGO components.

There are also a wide variety of helmets from which to choose from. The items shown here are as follows (from left to right): Kin Dynasty Steel Helmet, Zhao-Yun's Hair, Army Helmet of Kin Dynasty, Army Cap of Ching Dynasty, Army Helmet of Ching Dynasty.

Again, nice tight connections to the minifig heads. The hair piece ads a new style to the LEGO universe not available in official sets. What's a nice addition to each of the helmets and caps is that there are several ornaments (seen here) that can be placed in a hole at the top.

As with other BrickTW items, the shields and helmets come in a wide variety of solid, trans-color, and chromed variants. Plenty to choose from to fit your specific application.

If you would like to see more, visit their website or their BrickLink store today.

5/26/10

Little Legends Hit Girl Kicks Ass

Little Legends Hit Girl Custom FigureCustomizer Little Legends had designed and is currently selling this custom minifig of Hit Girl from the movie Kick-Ass.

The minifigure design is very simple and clean. Custom decals on the torso and face provide the main features, complemented by a hand painted version of hair piece 62711. This bob was recently featured on a variety of LEGO Agents heroes and villains and Irina Spalko from Indiana Jones.

The guns are star corps blasters from The Little Arms Shop, while the cape seems to be typical LEGO fare.

If you look at this reference photo from the movie, you can see that you could further plus this figure to make it just that much closer to its celluloid counterpart.

Although I couldn't find one online, it would be great to have a minifigure tartan skirt to adorn this mini-mite. I did find some decal templates on Flickr, but it would be great to see a rubberized piece to best simulate the pleats and motion of the fabric.

The gloves could be simulated by using BrickForge vambraces with hands in in the same color.

The mobility lost may or may not be worth using part 41879 to duplicate her short stature.

Finally, replacing those blasters with a couple of naginata from Fine Clonier would really seal the deal.

(Pictures via Little-Legends.com and Reel Movie News)

ToysRUs.com Preps for LEGO Collectible Minifigs (US)

I received an alert earlier today showing that ToysRUs.com had set 8683, Collectible Minifigures Series 1, on sale.

When I clicked through, however, it appeared to just be a placeholder. The good news is that you can set up an e-mail alert for when it does go live.

Prices are listed as $1.99 with no option to buy a case outright (at least that I see). You could always buy 60 bags (which would equal the contents of a case) and take advantage of free shipping. Also, unlike the current LEGO Store policy, there doesn't appear to be a limit as to how many you can buy.

As of today, my Toys R Us bricks and mortar store still doesn't have these items in. Distribution channels and logistics may put you in a similar situation depending upon your location in the US.

So click through via the link below and at least sign-up to be notified when these go live.

Update (6/4/10):
The placeholder now has the figures listed for $2.49 (USD), $0.50 above the recommended sale price! We will have to see if this holds once TRU.com goes live with the figs.

(Via ToysRUs.com)

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Hagrid


This variant of Hagrid will be appearing in the 2010/2011 LEGO Harry Potter sets 4738, Hagrid's Hut, and 10217, Diagon Alley. There have been two other versions of Hagrid in past sets: hp009 and hp061.

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
This variant of Hagrid is made up of three main parts: a combination hair and beard piece, head, and body.

The hair and beard are the same as part x217 and have appeared in several previous sets.

The head features a new print with white pupils and a smiling expression. The head is not dual-sided.

The body has been updated with a new mold and print.

Hagrid is shown with a crossbow (part 2570), a dark blueish grey key (part 40359), and a pink umbrella made of a 4L brown bar (part 30374) and two 1x1 cones (part 4589) in different product shots. The umbrella hides Hagrid's wand.

Army Building Potential
I could see Hagrid's beard being sought after, but not in multiples. Given that most the parts for this figure have been available before, I'm going to state the ABP for this figure is "low".

Big Draw
The beard and torso may be an item that customizers look for, but otherwise, there's not much going on.

(Pictures via FBTB's Flickr stream)

Reminder: Eurobricks/Classic-Town Collectible Fig Contest

Eurobricks Classic Town Collectible Minifigure ContestEarlier in the month we told you about the Collectible Minifigure contest currently being held by Eurobricks and Classic-Town.net.

Entries are starting to appear on the forums now, so if you want to check out the competition have a look. Community members will decide the top three finalists. Contest ends on June 6th.

My personal favorites? I'm diggin' lisqr's frozen Caveman vignette and the Minifig Fashion Show by Stanley Kbrick. Check them all out, or better yet, submit your own vig today!

(Via Eurobricks)

BrickTW Week: Armor Review

Welcome back to BrickTW week where we're reviewing all of the quality products from this custom house. Today we are shifting our focus to the Asian style armor.

BrickTW has four styles of armor available as shown here (left to right): Army Clothing of Ching Dynasty, Ching Dynasty Armor, Zhao-Yun's Clothing, and The Armor of Zhao-Yun.

Each armor has a high degree of detail, using sculpted molds instead of prints or decals to bring these items to life.

The armor also has ties back to the Ching Dynasty and Zhao-Yun, the general whose exploits were made legend in the novel Romance of The Three Kingdoms.

All four sets of armor fit snugly on the minifig once the head is on. There were some instances where the minifigure arms had difficulty moving forward with a little bit of friction with the hands. This was a minor annoyance and is easily overcome by repositioning the hands.

The Zhao-Yun armor and clothing has the potential for applications beyond Middle Kingdom armies. I could easily seeing these items fit in some Space and Castle themes. This is also my favorite armor from the line.

As with other BrickTW items, the armor comes in a wide variety of solid, trans-color, and chromed variants.

So suit up buttercup and visit their website or their BrickLink store today.

5/25/10

BrickTW: Zhou Dynasty

BrickTW Zhou Dynasty armor promotional posterAs we review the best that BrickTW has to offer this week, we are getting a sneak preview of what's to come from this custom house on Tigerggyy's Flickr stream.

Last week we shared the promotional poster for BrickTW's Qin Dynasty armor. Today we have another teaser poster, this time for armor from the Zhou Dynasty.

The product presentation is great with the improved images and historical details in English. I'm really liking the metallic burgundy color of this piece. I also can't wait to see the new hair pieces that Tiger seems to be showing on these rendered models.

The folks at BrickTW tell me that they are hoping to have these new products available around July. If the recent promo pics are any indication, its going to be a long, hot Summer!

(Via Tigerggyy's Flickr stream)

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigure Guide

With the release of new hi-res pictures of the 2010 Harry Potter sets, we begin our guide for these minifigures which will be available in the September/October time frame.

Each of the following links are tied to the original articles. These may be modified over time based on new news, so please check back often.

The Heroes


The Villains


The Professors


The Creatures

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Arthur and Molly Weasley

Now Showing
Arthur and Molly Weasley are exclusive to the upcoming LEGO Harry Potter set 4840, The Burrow. This will be the first time this lovely couple has been available in minifigure form.

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
Both Weasleys are straight forward figures with four parts each: a hair piece, head, torso, and legs.

The hair pieces have both been available on previous figures. The missus hair was most notably featured on the minifig for Mary Jane Watson from the Spider-Man theme (part x220) in dark orange. Arthur's coif is also in a dark orange color and seen on various minifigures like Agent Fuse (part 62810).

Both heads feature new prints and bring yet another design to the senior citizen collection of wrinkled minifigure heads.

The torso prints are also new. Mrs. Weasley's design combined with the torso print to provide the look of a rather full and well used apron. Mr. Weasley's torso looks great with the coat/sweater/tie combo. Mr. Weasley's legs are just standard greys with no additional print.

As with many of the minifigures wizards in this line, the accessory is a grey 4L bar (part 30374) standing in for Arthur's wand. Mrs. W does not appear to come with any accessories.

Overall these figures capture the spirit, if not the exact appearance, of the Weasley's based on their film appearances.

Army Building Potential
I can't imagine either one of these figures being sought after in multiples. I'm calling the ABP for both figures as "low".

Big Draw
The draw of these figures is to help fill out a LEGO Harry Potter minfig collection. Aside from this, there's not much.

(Pictures via Eurobricks and Harry Potter Wiki)

LEGO Business Update: May 2010

The Bloomberg Businessweek website published a report on LEGO's performance to date.

A few of the highlights include the following:
  • CEO Joergen Vig Knudstorp claimed, "The American consumer has returned". The US continues to be a key market for LEGO, generating nearly a third of its sales currently with projections that it will comprise 40% of TLG sales by 2015.
  • TLG hopes to double US market share to 8% by 2015, but faces challenges in some US regions.
  • Economic instability in the European Union has TLG concerned. The value of the euro dropping relative to the US dollar is another key reason for focusing on the US market.
  • LEGO has high hopes for the US release of their board games and the Prince of Persia line.
More details in the article which you can read here.

Scenes from a LEGO Store: May 2010

This last Sunday I visited my local LEGO Store in Southwest Ohio. I was hoping to pick up one of the exclusive LEGO Kingdoms battle packs, specifically for the dragon faction.

Both Kingdom's battle packs were present and retailing for around $15 USD. I almost pulled the trigger, but then I noticed that one of the plumes was out of the great helms, making a 'plink-plink' noise when it contacted other parts of the figures. I don't want to cry "Chinese plastic", but it was enough of a concern for me to place it back on the shelf. If this is not a personal concern or issue, they are quite nice and you get a good variety of armor and accessories.

All of the LEGO Toy Story 3 sets were in attendance, as well as some of the early releases from unlicensed themes such as Atlantis, World Racers, Space Police III, and of course Kingdoms. Wave two of the LEGO board games were also there, not seen at other retail outlets previously.

In LEGO Star Wars news, the infamous Admiral Ackbar magnet set was there, including the overpack sticker to correct the spelling errors.

As I was checking out I chatted up the cashier, mainly inquiring about the Collectible Minifigures due out soon. The cashier confirmed that, in fact, you can only buy five packs at a time at the store. It would seem there are concerns that some may buy them all up for the secondary market. No confirmation as to if the figures will be behind the counter as well.

I continue to be disappointed in the LEGO Store experience as an AFOL. Although I recognize that I'm not the target demographic, I find it somewhat surprising that other retailers, like Toys R Us, actually have the product before them and sometimes at a lower price point. Yes, key chains, magnet sets, and some product are truly unique to the bricks and mortar store, but will that drive repeat business? Now that the VIP program applies to LEGO Shop @ Home purchases in the US, I may stop driving the 45 minutes to get to my local store.

BrickTW Week: Weapons Review

We start off our BrickTW reviews by looking at the varied assortment of bows, swords, and spears provided by this custom house.

BrickTW Weapon AssortmentBrickTW has eight weapon styles available. The items pictured here are from their Eastern War collection in "Jade Wizard" color.

Starting from the top and moving clockwise we have the Dragon Cross Spear, Flame Style Bow, Seven Stars Broadsword, Bloody Broadsword, Dark Hell Halberd, Slaughter Broadsword, Revolution Broadsword, and the Saint Sword.

BrickTW scimitarsOne of my personal favorites from this collection are the scimitars or broadswords. With the recent release of the LEGO Prince of Persia sets, you have many opportunities to create your own Arabian Nights. Imagine substituting this with one of these bad boys.

All of the products I received from BrickTW seemed to be made of good quality plastic. There were no noticeable defects and I had no qualms about product breakage. All weapons fit well in a minifig hand, with no signs of slippage.

There are also a wide variety of colors available in solids, trans-color, and chromed variants.

Prep your minifigure army to cut down the competition. Visit their website or their BrickLink store today.

Three Months and 300 Posts Later

It's hard to believe that three months ago I thought to myself, "Self? What's this Blogger thing, and should we be on it?"

300 posts later, here we are and havin' a blast.

You may have noticed a few minor changes to the site. The first is the 'retirement' of the Fantasy LEGO League. Originally conceived as a regular, weekly feature here on the site, it soon became evident that coming up with a different idea each week is hard work. The posts themselves are not going anywhere, and we may break the occasional idea out here on the blog, but for now the old entries will live on in the archives.

You may have also noticed the addition of Google AdSense in the sidebar. Advertising has never been one of my main goals, outside of alerting those in minifig nation of relevant sales and deals. After an editorial on The Brothers Brick of ways to support your favorite fan sites and blogs, it made me realize that some day soon we may grow out of the basic Blogger service. In addition to this, I'd like to see other improvements to the site and one day to have a contest or two. These things take money. I plan on introducing other advertising elements over time (like affiliate ads), but I really want to keep the site design as simple, straightforward, and uncluttered as possible. In the meantime I encourage you to read the article originally seen on The Brothers Brick, which can be found here.

I want to thank several folks who've helped the site grow considerably. I must give a shout out to Huw and the folks over at Brickset.com. Their decision to link to a story on our site on Collectible Minifigures continues to pay dividends.

I want to say thanks to Kevin and the fine people at BrickTW. They decided to send me some product on their dime, with no strings attached. This lead to my first series of product reviews and a foray into amateur photography, which you'll see this week. I hope I do you proud.

Thank you to Oliver, Nick, and Mariann who e-mailed to provide us with leads and information, as well as words of encouragement and support.

Finally thank you to all of the customizers, custom houses, photographers, and enthusiasts who really provide the fuel for this whole engine. Long may she burn!

Cygnet

5/24/10

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night

Customizer miniBIGS has designed and is currently selling this Green Lantern minifigure. I'm guessing this is Hal Jordan after his rebirth and infection by Parallax.

With Warner Brothers releasing a new film on June 17th, 2011 starring Ryan Reynolds, there's always the possibility of a LEGO Green Lantern line. I could see it being a mash-up of LEGO Space and Batman themes. I could also see a whole series of vehicle sets in trans-green bricks; constructs of Hal Jordan's power ring.

Here's to hoping someone out there is working on an entire mini-Corps and the many hued lanterns; red, orange, yellow, blue...

(Via miniBIGS Flickr stream)

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Fenrir Greyback


Fenrir Greyback is exclusive to the upcoming LEGO Harry Potter sets 4840, The Burrow, and 10217, Diagon Alley. This will be the first time Fenrir will have appeared in the LEGO universe.

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
Fenrir is composed of four parts: a hairpiece, head, torso, and legs.

The hair piece appears to be a new design; a swept-back style with a prominent widows peak.

The head is also a new print and faithful to the movie (see reference photo below). The only other werewolf design in a standard minifig head was part 3626bpb390. The head is dual-sided. The second expression shows Fenrir as being more stoic (similar to the reference photo below).

Fenrir Greyback Reference PhotoThe torso also features a new open shirt print that wouldn't feel out of place on a custom Wolverine or Sabertooth minifigure. The legs are a basic black.

As with many of the minifigure wizards in this line, the accessory is a black 4L bar (part 30374) standing in for a wand, which is strange as I don't believe Fenrir is a wizard.

Army Building Potential
I don't see the entire figure himself being sought after, but individual parts could be. The hair, head, and torso have a high degree of custom possibilities. Overall, I would mark this figure with an ABP of moderate.

Big Draw
The main figure parts are the draw here: hair, head, and torso. Again, the custom possibilities with these parts could be high.

(Pictures via FBTB Flickr stream and Harry Potter Wiki)

BrickTW Week at The Ugly Duckling

BrickTW VignetteWelcome citizens of minifig nation to BrickTW week! Over the past few weeks I've been working on developing a series of product reviews based on the wares from custom house BrickTW. I hope that you walk away from this experience with a better sense of BrickTW's offerings and how they can enhance your custom minifigures or LEGO MOC's.

For those just joining us, BrickTW is a custom house out of Taiwan specializing in Oriental weapons and armor. BrickTW strives not only to develop quality items but to develop products with ties to Asian history and culture.

You may have seen the brick comics by Tigerggyy on this blog in the past. Tigerggyy is one of the designers working with BrickTW, and many of his comics feature their products.

Each day we will focus on one of four product areas: weapons, armor, shields & helms, and capes.

I hope you enjoy these reviews. I personally learned a lot and had a blast putting them together.

If you would like to check out BrickTW's product now, feel free to visit their website or their BrickLink store today.

5/23/10

Kingdoms Figs Now at Store

I now have two sets of figures (and horses) from the Kingdoms 7949, Prison Carriage Rescue.

As always the figures come with all accessories. Goodies include the new great helm and the armored carapace with horn attachment for the horses. All items are very reasonably priced and shipping is flat rate. See store for additional details.

(Picture via Brickipedia)

NNN Returns in June, Film at Eleven

The folks from Nightly News at Nine with Phil and Sherry are back at it again. It looks like they'll be releasing new episodes every month starting in June. This trailer gives you a taste of what's to come.



If you would like to show your support for the gang, they have DVD's of chapter one on sale at their site.

(Via nightlynewsatnine.com)

Karf Oolhu's Extreme Slapstick League

Continuing our theme of extreme violence in the nine o'clock hour...

Karf Oolhu's Slapstick vignette"How do you like yours, light & easy, medium heavy, or down right needlessly extreme"

Great use of The Caveman's club from the Collectible Minifigure Series 1 in the middle category.

(Via Karf Oolhu's Flickr stream)

5/22/10

Marker's Secret Life of Toys

Marker's som HOPE leftA gentleman by the name of Marker has combined his love of photography and toys to create his website The Secret Life of Toys. I'll let Marcos explain via his Etsy profile:

"Hi, I'm Marcos, some know me by Mark and some by Marker.

For the most part of my life I was the official photographer for every family vacation until a few years back when my kids invited me into a wonderful world. Upon my return I created "The Secret Life of Toys"

I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who's bought any of my pieces; it is flattering that people think enough of my work to part with real hard-earned money. The simple thought of knowing that someone has chosen my work to decorate his or her home or office is the ultimate accolade - fulfilling to a level I did not know existed before I started doing this.

To me this experience has turned into something much more than fun and games."

Marcos doesn't just work with LEGO Star Wars and extends his subjects into a variety of action figures.

In addition to his website he also has an Etsy shop. Check them out today!

(Picture via Marker's Esty Shop)

Don't Mess with Anyone Named Shadow Viking

Shadow Viking Decapitation Vignette'Nuff said...except maybe, "Ouch"!

(Via Shadow Viking's Flickr stream)

5/21/10

BrickTW: Qin Dynasty

BrickTW Promotional Poster for Qin Dynasty ArmorTigerggyy has updated his Flickr stream with this promotional poster for Qin Dynasty armor from BrickTW. This armor has not been available previously from this custom house.

I really like the poster itself as it now has some of the historical background in English! You'll also notice the images of the famous terracotta warriors. Talk about "Army Building Potential"! Imagine recreating the tomb of The First Emperor of Qin in LEGO bricks. You'll only need to order 8,000 units of armor from BrickTW's store...and brick-build 130 chariots, along with 670 horses. Oh! Tan minifigs, you'll need a few of those...

The items are not up on the BrickTW website yet, but given the image here, look for them soon.

(Via Tigerggyy's Flickr stream and Wikipedia)

Chris Doyle's Webcomic Podcast Now Available

Webcomic Beacon Episode 119Christopher Doyle, creator of The Brick House comic, participated in The Webcomic Beacon podcast this past Sunday, May 16th.

The podcast is now up on the site and you can listen at your leisure. Dave Rapp creator of The Brickworld Saga was also a guest. Both Dave and Chris discuss everything from do's and don'ts of brick comics, the legal pitbulls at LEGO, and the difference between LEGO bricks and MEGA Bloks. Overall a good listen, check it out when you can.

(Via Reasonably Clever Blog)

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Bellatrix Lestrange

LEGO Harry Potter Bellatrix LestrangeNow Showing
Bellatrix Lestrange is exclusive to the upcoming LEGO Harry Potter set 4840, The Burrow. This will be the first time Bellatrix will have appeared in the LEGO universe.

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
Bellatrix is composed of four parts: a hairpiece, head, torso, and slope brick with dress print.

The hair piece is truly spectacular. Almost a sculpture in and of itself, this is a brand new hair style not previously available. This wild style is fairly faithful to the film version of Ms. Lestrange.

Bellatrix Lestrange Reference PhotoThe head also features a new print and is also fairly faithful to the celluloid character. The head is dual sided, based on images seen in the Fall 2010 LEGO catalog. The expression seems to be of worry or shock.

The torso and slope brick combine to comprise Bellatrix's dress. The overall design is fantastic and really has a gothic feel. It's very believable that this frock would hang in a female Death Eater's wardrobe. The slope is a variant of part 3678, commonly used for similar dress designs.

As with many of the minifigures wizards in this line, the accessory is a black 4L bar (part 30374) standing in for her wand.

Army Building Potential
I don't see the entire figure herself being sought after, but individual parts could be. The hair, head, and dress have a high degree of custom possibilities. Net/net, I would mark this figure with an ABP of moderate; you won't have armies of Bella amassing, but the individual bits might be sought in multiples.

Big Draw
The main figure parts are the draw here: hair, head, and torso/dress combo. I have started to notice that any female oriented minifigure parts are often sought after, likely due to the fact that male figs are often the norm.

(Pictures from Eurobricks and Harry Potter Wiki)

5/20/10

LEGO + Microbiology = Brickfilm Documentary

A fantastic little piece of infotainment from Marcieking. This makes me think back to my days in college studying Biochemistry...on second thought, let's not go there. It was a silly time.



(Via Boing Boing)

Minifigure Photography Tips: Part 2

In part one of this series, we covered some helpful tips on how to improve your photos of minifigures and LEGO creations. Today I'll explain how I was able to create a mini photo studio for under $30.

What we are going for is a photo light box. You can spend a fair amount of money buying something right off the shelf at photography specialty stores. Given that LEGO is an expensive enough hobby, I wasn't looking to try and break the bank. So, when the going get's tough, the tough get going...to IKEA. There are several IKEA hacks like this one on instructables.com.

IKEA Skubb HamperOur shopping list is composed of one white SKUBB hamper ($9.99) and two LAGRA work lamps ($3.99).

To modify the hamper I rolled the top of the hamper and clipped it to the side of the box. The divider was unzipped and then secured to one side with Velcro strips I had left over from another project. The hamper will eventually sit on one of the narrow sides.

I then ran out to the store and bought two sheets of poster board in white and light blue. These were cut to fit as backdrops that ran along the bottom of the box itself. I would recommend buying a few more colors of poster board and experiment for the best effect. I personally found that the light blue backdrop had the best effect.

BrickTW VignetteYou'll have to experiment with the lighting as well to determine what the best angle might be for your shot. I would recommend setting the lights up on opposite sides of the box to help eliminate strong shadows while trying to have details in the figure pop, giving it depth. I discovered that setting the lights on their sides and then placing them on opposite sides of the box worked best for me. The light was kept low at minifig level.

As a final step I turned on my camera's macro setting and turned off my flash.

So how did the picture turn out? Take a look. I'm not going to quit my day job to become a professional photographer, but its a definite improvement. I now feel confident that I've got the tools to take a proper picture.

(Pictures from IKEA.com)

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Dobby


This new version of Dobby is exclusive to set 4736, Dobby's Release. Only one other version of Dobby has been available before, hp017. This will be the first time this figure will have been available since 2002.

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
Dobby is made up of three parts: a head, torso and legs.

The head is a light flesh color that closely resembles the appearance of Dobby in the films. Unlike the head of the previous figure, the eyes have been painted for a more finished look.

LEGO Harry Potter Dobby 2002
The torso is also light flesh/tan and features a new print of Dobby's rags, but nothing terribly exciting.

Finally, the legs are the short variety (part 41879), again in tan.

Depending upon your viewpoint, two accessories come with Dobby, the black diary (part 33009) and a 1x2 tile with a new sock print. The sock might be able to fit in the book as well.

Army Building Potential
Although there are some unique elements, I don't see them being sought after in multiples. I'm calling the ABP for this figure as low.

Big Draw
The big draw here is for a LEGO Harry Potter collector to get an updated version of Dobby. Since the figure hasn't been available in some time, more fans may have come on board since then, and it could be appealing to that group.

(Pictures from Eurobricks and BrickLink)

5/19/10

Collectible Minifigures Bar Code Cheat Sheet for US

The fine folks at Brickset have posted a US version of the bar code cheat sheet for the Collectible Minifigures Series 1. Although I can't read bar code myself, at least you have another resource to try and get that one figure you want or to try and get a complete set.

(Via Brickset)

Gimme a "J". Gimme an "A". Gimme a "S"...

JasBrick's Cheerleader SquadJasBrick demonstrates how a few female hair pieces (and the Collectible Minifig Skater's hair), can be used with The Cheerleader to create a squad of your own.

It wouldn't surprise me to see custom decals start appearing soon for these lovely ladies in various team colors. Especially since the poms are now available.

(Picture from JasBrick's Flickr stream)

Minifigure Photography Tips: Part 1

So I mentioned last Friday that BrickTW had sent me some product for review a couple of weeks ago. I thought "Great! I'll put together some photos and write a rockin' review." What I found out is that its not as easy as some folks on the interwebs make it look.

You can see my progress so far. I built a little vignette to show off some of the goods, got out my trusty point-and-click camera, and took a few pictures. It became very clear that I had no idea what I was doing! Although I thought ahead enough to put a slip of paper behind the figure, the lighting was casting a rather severe shadow off to the left and the picture was rather flat and lifeless.

So I started to scour the 'net looking for any tips or tutorials specific to taking pictures of LEGO or small objects in general. The first one I found was off of the LEGO Design School on LEGO.com. The tutorial really had three tips: 1) place a sheet of paper behind the figure to create a backdrop, 2) experiment with light for the best effects, and 3) use your camera's 'macro' setting. Although these are three very important tips, as we will see, they were fairly general in explaining how to do this. Given that the target is likely the playground set, then it's not surprising.

I was then able to come across some reprints of a series from BrickJournal called Minifig Customization 101. These were actually published a few years back in BrickJournal magazine, and can be found on the Fine Clonier website under 'reference'. I've included a link here to the article on macro digital photography.

This article really dives deep into the topic in just a few short pages. In fact, it shows how you can improve your photos tremendously with a digital camera, some construction paper, a work lamp, and a milk jug. Yes, a milk jug. I would highly suggest this article as recommended reading.

Armed to the teeth with new knowledge, I set out to improve my pics. In the next segment, I'll talk about how I built my own mini photo studio for under $30.

Ackbar Magnet Set Now Available Online

The infamous Admiral Ackbar magnet set is now on sale at LEGO Shop at Home in the US. A great opportunity to get three LEGO Star Wars minifigures that have been in pricey sets previously. Also a great way to stock up on Mon Calimari heads.

LEGO Star Wars Admiral Ackbar Magnet Set(Picture from LEGO.com)

LEGO Harry Potter Minifigures: Lucius Malfoy



This new version of Lucius Malfoy is exclusive to sets 4736, Dobby's Release, and 10217, Diagon Alley. Two other versions of Lucius have appeared in the LEGO universe previously, hp018 and hp039. This will be the first time this figure will have been available since 2003.

Although not listed in the BrickLink catalog as Lucius, its likely the Death Eater figs were supposed to be this character. The Death Eater variant was last available back in 2005.

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
Lucius is a simple fig comprised of five parts: hairpiece, head, torso, cape, and legs. The Diagon Alley variant also comes with a hood.

The hairpiece is new to this figure with previous versions using part 4350 for the hair. This hairpiece is part 40239 in tan which appeared on various Death Eaters in the past.

The head features a new print for this character and what appears to be a new facial expression for minifigures overall (i.e. I couldn't find a match in BrickLink). The head is double-sided with a new Death Eater's mask design on the opposite side.

Lucius Malfoy Film Reference PictureThe torso print appears to give the impression of a fur lined cloak. This would be the first time we've seen this print used. Compare to the reference pic on the right.

The legs and cape are basic black.

Lucius' accessory is a black 4L bar (part 30374) stepping in for his wand. To interject some commentary, it would have been nice to see a snake-head cane instead of the basic black bar. The bar could be a cane, but the figure in the set pics (see above), is holding it more like a wand. Also, the snake head topper would have made the fig much more desirable in my opinion.

Army Building Potential
Although there are some unique elements, I don't see them being sought after in multiples. I'm calling the ABP for this figure as low.

Big Draw
The big draw here is for a LEGO Harry Potter collector to get an updated version of Lucius and/or a new Death Eater mask. Since the figure hasn't been available in some time, and more fans may have come on board since then, it could be appealing to that group.

(Pictures via FBTB Flickr stream and Harry Potter Lexicon)

5/18/10

Tin7 Taps Cerebro to Find LEGO X-Men

Customizer Tin7 has been creating a series of minifigures based on the various X-men movies. Lots to see and like. It seems that great minds think alike...

Tin7 Creations' LEGO X-men minifigures(Picture from Tin7 creations Flickr stream)