9/30/10

124 Custom Minifigs and Counting

JasBrick posted this preview pic from his display for The Great Western LEGO Show at STEAM in Swindon (UK) this weekend. I counted approximately 124 custom figs in this shot alone, and I'm certain he's bringing more. A lot of fun to be had if you have the time.

For more information about the The Great Western LEGO Show go to greatwesternlegoshow.com.

If you like what you see here, you can always take a little bit of JasBrick home by buying one of his custom minifigures at FireStar Toys.

More from Tigerggyy and BrickTW

Tigerggyy continues to share the test runs of the new BrickTW product. The most recent pics show off the 'skirt' pieces which have a wide variety of applications. I'm really digging the samurai custom on the right. It looks like Si-Dan may have some competition on the minfig samurai front!

(Via Tigerggyy's Flickr stream)

Ultra Kill Indeed

Alex Eylar shoots off this wonderful scene based off of a video game...I think? The reference is totally lost on me. The lettering adds a sense of depth that takes this from good to great.

It sounds like Alex will be on his way to Seattle attending and presenting at BrickCon this weekend. Say 'hey' if you are there...

Hello Halo

With the launch of Halo Reach you can imagine there's been quite a bit of activity and discussion around the custom community regarding all things SPARTAN.

There's especially been a lot of buzz on both the BrickArms and BrickForge forums regarding new products and accessories. BrickForge led the way with their Space Marine helmets and armor as stand-ins for MJOLNIR Exoskeletons. As the franchise has grown and expanded, there's now armor variants for ODST, SPARTAN-III bubble heads, and variants for scouts and bomb disposal units. BrickArms latest release really expands the array of Halo weapons at the minifig scale.

I've even caught the Halo bug despite never have played more than 2 hours of the original game, which I think is a testament to the design of the characters and development of the story. I picked up a copy of Halo Encyclopedia at my library and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to learn more about the Halo universe.

Looking around Flickr you can see all sorts of Halo inspired creations from custom minifigures to brick-built vehicles and aliens (Why is it that no custom house appears to have touched the Covenant side of the equation outside of a few weapons?).

I invite you to head over to my photostream and continue the conversation (or here in the comments if you don't have a Flickr account). What do you love about the current state of Halo and minifigures? Which customizers are really breaking new ground? Who is the MinifigMaker of the Haloverse? What do you want to see next from custom houses?

I look forward to the discussion...

9/29/10

More Tiny Tactical and Si-Dan Toys at FireStar

FireStar Toys just announced that they've not only gotten more Tiny Tactical stock in, but they've also just gotten in a shipment from Si-Dan Toys. Si-Dan is a company that has several LEGO compatible accessories in themes like SWAT, Ninjas, and Samurai. The gas masks alone are worth a look!

In addition to these new lots, FireStar has created a Halloween section on their site collecting all that's eerie, creepy, and spooky about the world of LEGO minifigures. A lot here from older figs and accessories to Collectible Minifigure favorites like The Witch and Vampire.

Only a couple more days to take advantage of FireStar's September coupon code (wg88977) for 5% off your order!

Quick Links

Product Review: BrickForge Musical Instruments

BrickForge Musical Instrument Series
As part of their 2010 line-up of new products, BrickForge has recently released their line of minifigure musical instruments. This review takes a look at the electric and acoustic guitars, as well as their violin and drumsticks.

Electric Guitars
The electric guitars are molded in ABS plastic with print on the body and neck of the instrument. The styling resembles that of a Fender Stratocaster. The detailing shows off machine heads on the headstock, frets along the neck, strings and pick-ups on the body, along with a couple of control knobs. The piece is about 4 cm long, 1.4 cm at the widest point, and 4mm thick.

There are three print variants. One where there's white print is on the body (seen here), representing the pickguard. This design comes in black, blue, red, reddish brown, and tan. There's also a white variant with a black pickguard design. Finally, there are a couple of designs where there's tan print on the neck of the guitar only in black and white.

Acoustic Guitar
The acoustic guitars are also molded in ABS, but the current design has no print on the product. The style of the guitar most closely resembles a folk or classical acoustic. The detailing on the guitar includes the tuning keys and machine heads on the headstock, frets along the neck, strings and bridge on the body along with the sound hole. The dimensions of the product are 3.8 cm in length, 1.4 cm at the widest point, and 4 mm thick. Currently, the acoustic guitar only comes in tan and dark tan. The dark tan variant is shown here.



Violin
The final member in this string instrument trio is the violin. The BrickForge violin details the scroll and peg board at the top, raised strings that descend down the neck to a bridge and tail piece, and F-holes on the body. The violin is roughly 3 cm long, 1.1 cm at the widest point, and nearly 5 mm thick. Similar to the acoustic guitar, this piece only comes in tan and dark tan. The dark tan variant is shown here. This piece does not come with a bow, but a standard LEGO bar of 4L or 3L length should suffice. As with all of the BrickForge products, this is made with ABS plastic.

Connections on Back of Instruments
All of the stringed instruments also have connections on the back of the piece. Both the electric and acoustic guitars have single holes which can be used in a variety of ways. The holes can accommodate any part the size of a single LEGO stud, this includes bars, posts, technic pins, or minifigure hands. This means if you wanted to 'hang' one of these guitars on the wall of one of your MOCs, it can be done. You could also sling the guitar on a minifigure's back if you had an accessory part with a stud on the back, like part 42446

The violin has all of these features but includes an additional post connection on the underside of the piece. This is where the minifig can grip the part to achieve a pose where the body of the violin rests near the shoulder. Without this connection, the minifig would not be able to achieve this stance given current articulation in the arms.

Another feature all three of the stringed instruments have in common are how the minifigs can grab the neck of the instrument. The necks are rounded along the back in a type of semicircle design. I found that if the neck of the instrument is inserted into the hand sideways/flat and then twisted, it achieves a snug connection. This means you cannot have the minifig hold the neck 'sideways' as it would fall out of the hand. Armothe from BrickForge stated this was a design decision to have the pieces better resemble their large-scale counterparts.

Drumsticks
The last 'instrument' from this series comes from the percussion family. The BrickForge drumsticks are a 'fun' little item that can be used to help fill out your LEGO rock band. A simple design, they are roughly 1.6 cm long or comparable to a 2L bar. The main shaft fits firmly in a minfig hand and then tapers down to a tip. These come is six different colors including black, blue, red, reddish brown, tan and white. The tan variant is pictured here. There currently are no drums, drum sets, or cow bells for your minifigure to play aside from those you build yourself. The drumsticks could potentially be re-purposed in various builds. I've also heard that they can make nifty wands for certain students of Hogwarts.

This concludes our review of the BrickForge minifig instrument series. I hope you found this review helpful in deciding if these may be the right product for you. You can check out these products and many others at the BrickForge website (link below).

Additional Stats - Electric Guitars
Custom House:BrickForge
Location:United States
International Shipping: Yes (details)
Colors Available: With White Pickguard - Black, Blue, Red, Reddish Brown, and Tan. With Black Pickguard - White. With Tan Neck Print - Black and White
Retail Price: $1.00 USD

Additional Stats - Acoustic Guitars and Violins
Colors Available: Tan and Dark Tan
Retail Price: $1.00 USD

Additional Stats - Drumsticks
Colors Available: Black, Blue, Red, Reddish Brown, Tan and White
Retail Price: $1.00 USD

Shobrick's The Dark Knight

Two posts in as many days for customizer Shobrick. Can you blame me?! His Dark Knight is chock full of custom goodness, I really like the arrow protruding from the armor. It gives it a nice 'flavor' and breathes life into this pint-size warrior.

Check out his Flickr photostream for more detailed pics of this creation.

Toys R Us Bricktober is Back (CAN/US)

Combining some sales info from both Toys N Bricks and FBTB.net leads to some interesting possibilities come this weekend at Toys R Us.

First up, it would seem that Toys R Us in Canada is bringing back the 'Bricktober' promotion come this Friday. There are two promo offers up for grabs...
  • Get a FREE 30050 MINI Republic Attack Shuttle with any LEGO Star Wars purchase of $35 or more. Offer good while supplies last.
  • Get a FREE LEGO minifigure with any LEGO purchase of $35 or more. Offer good while supplies last.
As FBTB.net mentions it is not known if these deals stack, or if you have to pick one. The free minifigure appears to be from the Pirates line according to the flyer. If the promotion stays true to form from last year, there may be a different minifig up for grabs each week.

There is no confirmation if 'Bricktober' will be coming to the US. This may be announced later this week, as the Canadian deals often go into effect on Fridays while they often start on Sundays in the US.

Over on Toys N Bricks, they've announced that Toys R Us in the US has taken an additional 25% off certain clearance items in store. This deal can stack with the Star Wars offer where you get a $10 gift card for a $50 purchase or a $5 gift card for a $30 purchase. Not only that, you can get a coupon code at Toys N Bricks for $5 off any purchase over $25. If you stack all of these deals together, the savings add up.

Also keep in mind that LEGO Harry Potter is likely to release this Friday in retail outlets across the country. If you are looking to get any of the great minifigures from this series, these deals can only help!

(Via FBTB.net and Toys N Bricks)

9/28/10

Series 2 Restocks at Target (US)

Matt contacted me earlier today to say that his local Target store in Indiana appeared to be restocking shelves with Series 2 Collectible Minifigures. It may be that Target was holding back inventory knowing the first wave would sell out quickly, or that TLG pulsed out stock to retailers. Either way, take a look in the Halloween impulse aisle next time you are there.

Matt did mention that Target has upped the price to $2.99 USD, which aligns with other news I've heard regarding other retailers in the US.

Thanks Matt!

Quick Hits: The Road to STEAM and BrickCon

Just when I think Tuesday's are the big day for news....nothin'! We'll that's not exactly true, there are a few bits of news floating around on the interwebs today...

As I'm sure every LEGO fan in the Western Hemisphere is aware, BrickCon (Seattle, US) and The Great Western LEGO Show (Swindon, UK) are both this weekend. Friends of 'The Duck' JasBrick and Tac will both be presenting at Swindon. JasBrick has been sharing the many, many custom minifigs he's created for the event on his Flickr stream and around the community. I personally can't wait to see them all. He's also promised to debut some new, top-secret BrickArms prototypes with some of his figs. Best of luck to both Jas and Tac this weekend!

Conventions always mean new stuff from the custom houses. BrickArms plans to have several, never before seen prototypes at BrickCon this weekend. The M3 Grease Gun and Flamethrower may make an appearance, as well as the Z5E Pod Gun and Chakram. Given all the testing Will has done with camo patterns using his solvent inkjet printer, it wouldn't surprise me if those made an appearance too. Throw in the Medic and loose WWII US Soldier and there will definately be some empty pockets departing Sea-Tac come the end of the show. Minifig for Life, the official UK reseller of BrickArms, will be at STEAM, but no word yet as if some of these prototype products will be available. BrickForge will also be selling at BrickCon.

Not really news, more hope and anticipation...I'm hoping that both shows will have announcements regarding the new 2011 sets, especially LEGO Star Wars and Series 3 Collectible Minifigures. Given the leaks online of all the set pics, it would seem to behoove TLG to get the official pics out to the public. With only a couple more months until January 2011, I can't imagine the competitive impact would be all that great. I'm completely unbiased by the by. It's not like I've been working on the guide updates or anything...

In custom house news, Tiny Tactical sold out of their panzerschreks, handy talkies, and TL-122 flashlights. The handy talkies and flashlights sold out in two days! Steve promises more stock by the end of this week.

We should have a new product review to debut tomorrow. I'm finalizing the current drafts now for the BrickForge instrument collection. Once I've finished this round, we'll be moving away from BrickForge reviews...because I have Tiny Tactical product on order! It may be a while before those show, because...

...'The Duck' is going on haitus for the next two weeks. Why?! We'll I'm taking some time off and will be doing some traveling (I've also been told, under threat of death, that there will be no blogging while on holiday). I've given Cygnetron 3000 a tune up in anticipation of some automated posts while I'm out, but a lot of that will depend upon what happens this weekend. Regardless, I'll send out a post before I go about all the awesome stuff that's planned to go down while I'm out.

That's all for now, citizens. Here's to hoping this weekend will be big. All the best to those participating at BrickCon and The Great Western LEGO Show!

Cygnet
Minister of Information
Ugly Duck Command Center
Minifig Nation

9/27/10

Shobrick's Afghan CIA Agent

You know, there's nothing quite like finding another great customizer in the community. I will admit, I had seen the name, but had never seen his work.

Originally seen on customminifig.co.uk, this Afghanistan CIA Agent from Shobrick is brilliant! Lots of great details in the both the design of the minifig and the accessories. The camera really makes this for me. Do I spy some Tiny Tactical product in there too?

I highly recommend taking a look at the rest of his Flickr stream when you have the time.

Billbobful gets Innovative with Vader

I've watched customizer Billbobful for some time and he is both prolific and innovative with his customs. His latest is no exception.

First he sculpts a fantastic helmet concept for Darth Vader where the top most part of the helm is removable, a la the scene in Empire with Vader in his meditation chamber. What remains shows the various 'guts' of his helmet.

The second innovation is in his presentation of the LEGO lightsaber. Aiming a laser pointer at the 4L trans-red bar, creates a nice glow effect!

All if this becomes even more impressive when you realize that he's only 14!

Here we go again...

It looks like Nannan and Legohaulic are going to team-up again for a giant collabrative MOC for BrickCon this coming weekend. How do I know? Well the 'dueling banjos' posts have already begun on Flickr. As with 'Containment' these are likely to continue through the week until BrickCon starts this Thursday. Given the sheer expansiveness of the last build, I can't wait to see what these guys have in store.

On a separate but related note, Alex Eylar has decided to throw his hat in the ring and create little vignettes paying homage to their approach. We will have to see if Alex's creations also go through this week.

(Via Legohaulic, Nannan, and Profound Whatever's respective Flickr streams)

9/26/10

BrickArms in Seattle Met Magazine

There's a short little piece online from Seattle Met Magazine interviewing Will Chapman from BrickArms.

Although not big on the details, it gives you yet another look in the world of the man who 'outfits World War Wee' (Hey, don't blame me. It's in the article.)

Huzzah! A Sneak Peek at BrickTWs Latest

Hey, I spent the day at the Ohio Renaissance Festival, what can I say?

Tigerggyy has posted two pics showing off some of the 2010/2011 product planned from BrickTW. Marked as 'test runs', these give us a sense of what the new product will look like. I'm personally very excited about the claw at the top of the pic. It would also appear we will have top knot hair pieces aplenty to choose from. Hopefully we will see production runs for this product very soon.

In the meantime you can peruse through our review of BrickTW's current line-up or check out their BrickLink store.

9/25/10

Vote for LEGO Kylie

Matthew, a certain creative director at a Denmark based construction toy company, has submitted an entry into the Kylie Minogue album cover contest for her latest Aphrodite

Now whether you appreciate Ms. Minogue's music or not, consider submitting a vote for this interesting custom creation.
(Via Kylie.com)

New HP and Star Wars Magents/Key Chains

(Click to Enlarge)
Originally seen on A Modular Life, the Singapore LEGO blog has pics of some new Harry Potter and Star Wars magnet sets and key chains. This has since been added to the Brickset database by Huw, so you know it's official now...

We knew magnet set 853037 featuring Anakin, Ashoka, and a Senate Commando was coming. There are also key chains featuring Anakin, the Commando, and a Clone Pilot, as well.

The surprise for me were the Harry Potter magnet sets featuring the new minfigs! Set 852982 features Harry in Quidditch uniform, Dumbledore, and Hermione in Hogwarts uniform, while set 852983 contains Harry and Draco in Hogwarts uniforms plus Professor Snape. I'll be interested to see if these figures have the dual-sided heads or not. These could be a good opportunity to get the new Dumbledore and Snape figs without having to buy a $120 set!

A few HP key chains are included as well. As we get more details, or better pics, we'll let you know. We'll also let you know when these hit Shop at Home.

(Via A Modular Life and Brickset)

9/24/10

Tiny Tactical Now at FireStar Toys

FireStar Toys just announced today that they have new product from Tiny Tactical! Very detailed military style weapons and vests. Their selection of guns have a modular design to allow for the addition of 'extras' that can enhance the product even more. A great opportunity for European shoppers to save on shipping.

I just placed my first order with Tiny Tactical today and I can't wait until it arrives!

Head on over to FireStar Toys and check out their range of Tiny Tactical product today. Also remember your savings code at check out (wg88977) to save 5% on your order.

If you want to find out more about TT, check out our 'custom spotlight' article on Steve and company here.

This is Halloween, This is Halloween....

I'm digging Morgan's next project for the month of October. Can you guess what it's going to be? MUWHA-HA-HA-HA...(cough,cough)...What's that? It's written in the title of his Flickr post?! Oh! Ummm...well, it's still gonna be awesome. So there...

UD Now an Official LEGO Affiliate

The Ugly Duckling is now an affiliate of LEGO through LinkShare! What does that mean? We'll you will notice we now have a banner ad in the top-right sidebar next to FireStar Toys (who we are also an affiliate with). The way it works is we receive a commission from TLG if you click through to LEGO.com via our site and then make a purchase. If you were already planning on making a purchase with LEGO, then this is a great way to help 'The Duck' grow.

I am, by no means, planning on retiring off of this. I do promise to use the funds to help improve our features and content. So if you appreciate the content from the site, you can help us out by adding just one quick stop here before shopping at LEGO.com. Speaking of which...

You can still pre-order the new LEGO Harry Potter sets which are scheduled to ship on or around October 1st. If you plan on waiting, you may want to sign up for a LEGO VIP card. To celebrate the launch of the LEGO Universe Online game they are offering double rewards points to all VIP members in the US! Based on their points system, this amounts to around 10% back on all purchases at LEGO.com or LEGO stores.

Since we've already mentioned our other affiliate, UK based FireStar Toys is still offering 5% off your order with no minimum spend level. Click through to their site, make a purchase, and enter the voucher code 'wg88977' to take advantage of this offer. Given their recent supply of Series 2 Collectible Minifigures and other cool custom minifig accessories from houses like  BrickArms, Amazing Armory,and Little Arms Shop , there's a lot to choose from.

New WIPs from MinifigMaker

MinifigMaker surfaces from his workshop on Kamino to share his latest WIPs using new decals, pauldrons, and helmets styled after the Clone Wars season three troopers. 

The product really speaks for itself. If you like what you see here, head on over to MinifigMaker.com to see  and purchase more of these Star Wars inspired creations.

(Via MinifigMaker's Flickr stream)

Christo's Ki Adi Mundi Custom

Pedro shares another of Christo's great creations, this custom Ki Adi Mundi minifig from the Star Wars universe.

This is fantastic way to blend the high forehead of this Cerean Jedi master and classic LEGO styling. The face is also printed onto the piece and is not a decal.

If you like what you see here, check out Christo's eBay store. You can also check out Pedro's United Armory on BrickLink if you are in the US or Canada. It may not have this piece for sale, but you can get all the latest from Amazing Armory Ltd.

9/23/10

News from Arealight and Tiny Tactical

 Some new product news from both Arealight and Tiny Tactical. Arealight has been showing around some of the new parts they've been working on for the Star Wars universe. The shot above is for a series of new helmet designs in ABS plastic. Shown here in black, I'm certain there be some options on color. Not only is Arealight working on getting these items into production, but they also have a modular 'Boba Fett' style jetpack with interchangable missles and connections for flames, as well as new visors. No dates or prices yet. Once we hear of these going on sale we will let you know.

Earlier in the week we let you know about Tiny Tactical's new flamethrower prototype and modular pieces for the BrickArms LMG. There were a couple of items we missed, however. Take a look (above) at their 'Handy Talkie' handset and Army flashlight. Both are designed to slide into the minifigures hand, and, no, the flashlight doesn't actually light up (I asked). There's also an OD green tactical vest which can be seen here. The good news is that the radio, flashlight, vest, and modular gun parts are on Tiny Tactical's BrickLink store right now. Supplies are limited so head on over when you get a chance.

(Via Arealight and Tiny Tactical's Flickr streams)

9/22/10

Legoagogo's Death Star Plan

Earlier today Legoagogo marked The Duck as a contact on Flickr...and I'm glad he did! It would seem we have another expert in lighting among us. I'm still wondering how some of these lighting effects were achieved. Are the 'florescent tubes' on the ceiling actual lights, or a light shining through trans-clear 1x1 bricks lit from above? Regardless of the answer this is a phenomenal piece of work!

If you would like to see other innovative ways to light your minifig scenes, I highly recommend checking out Legoagogo's Flickr stream.

ABP Alert - Walmart Hoth Value Packs (US)

Walmart is offering a value bundle of LEGO Star Wars sets 8084 and 7749, Snowtrooper Battle Pack and Echo Base, for $29 USD (plus shipping). This is a great opportunity to build up your collection of Snowtroopers as this would score you four, plus a Tauntaun! Overall this will net you 9 minifigures in total, not to mention some great accessories.

You can jump to the offer here, but don't delay. This offer is only good while supplies last. No word on if this is an online deal only or if you could also pick these up in stores.

(Via Walmart.com)

2011 Set Rumors: Atlantis and Pharaoh's Quest

So I've been seeing some interesting images on the interwebs recently regarding the new LEGO sets for 2011. Atlantis will be back next year as our intrepid explorers continue to seek the lost underwater city. There are some images of a 'man crab' minifig that look quite nice. One of the more interesting features are claw appendages that open and close, but fit in the arms like a standard minifigure hand. I'm guessing this gent, as well as some of the other beasties from Atlantis, may 'reappear' in the Pirates of the Caribbean line as part of Davy Jones' crew.

The next set of rumored pics are for a series called Pharaoh's Quest, which seems to me like Atlantis only set in the desert. Lots of cool minifig parts rumored for these sets, including Anubis heads, khopesh swords, scarab shields, scepters (but not the snake scepter as seen with the Series 2 Pharaoh), and interesting headdresses.

Any way you cut it, I think 2011 is shaping up to be another big year for TLG.

9/21/10

These are the Armies of the Night

Customizer Shmails has a new project - taking the notable gangs from the 1979 movie 'The Warriors' and recreating them as custom minifigures.

Although there were many, many gangs mentioned in the movie, it looks like Shmails is focused against the main gangs of The Rouges, Riffs, Punks, Lizzies, Hi-Hats, Boppers, and AC Turnbulls. Given Shmails great baseball customs I can't wait to see his interpretation of the Furies.

You can see more details about the gangs and their logos here, while you can see more pics of these custom minifigs on Shmail's Flickr stream.

Nothin' says lovin'...

...like a new custom fig from Morgan19.

Jamie has decided to take a break from all those nasties I'm certain will be descending upon us come October to give us this representation of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. The head of the Series 2 Mime really makes this possible. Add some blue eyes and a Pillsbury logo on the hat, and you are good to go.

Makes you want to poke the guy in the belly just lookin' at him.

(Via Morgan19's Flickr stream)

Quick Hits: It's Official, Tuesdays are Big

Based on a scientific sample of one (namely me) I've discovered that Tuesdays have become big days for new news in Minifig Nation. But enough about me, let's get to the good stuff...

First up to bat, we have news of three new 3-in-1 Star Wars packs likely to be available soon in the European market. According to Toys N Bricks, set 66368 is showcased around the hard to find Luke's Landspeeder and the two Hoth based battle packs, while sets 66364 and 66366 are all Hoth focused. Lots of minifigs to be had in each set. No news yet on when these will be available or price (full article).

Hot off the heels of Tiny Tactical's announcement of a flamethrower prototype, BrickArms shows their prototype off as well. Not only that, but Will has some pics of a M3 grease guy prototype that will be available to contributors of the Operation Bricklord collaborative display at the BrickCon. More at BrickArms Flickr stream.

Not to be outdone, Tiny Tactical has some new product soon to be ready for sale. These are detail parts for the BrickArms LMG including an E145 Weapon Sight, M240 Box Magazine, and a M249 Box Magazine. Note that the gun itself is only available through BrickArms, its the modular add-ons that are through Tiny Tactical. Soon to be available at the Tiny Tactical BrickLink store later this week. More pics at Tiny Tactical's Flickr stream.

There's a lot more than I have time to detail now, but if you want the latest and greatest, head on over to 'my favorites' on Flickr. Anyone can view at any time. Also, if you have a Flickr account and would like to let us know when your minifig creations are hot off the photo press, request to be a contact.

Cygnet
Minister of Information
Ugly Duck Command Center
Minifig Nation

9/20/10

Eurobricks Cosplay Custom Minifigure Contest

This contest, sponsored by the Minifig Customization Forum on Eurobricks, is a little...different (so bear with me).

'Cosplay' or 'costume play' is a popular past time at conventions where attendees dress up as their favorite video game, comic book, or Star Wars character. Sometimes the results are kinda cool and sometimes they are not. Nevertheless, the folks are holding a contest whereby you design a 'cosplay' custom minifigure in both costume and real life. The rules are a little convoluted, so I would highly recommend reading them here.

What's up for grabs? A whole mess of BrickArms gear so massive, they had to give it a separate post.

Don't dawdle, you have until October 20th, 2010 to submit you entries, just in time for Halloween. Good luck!

(Via Eurobricks)

ArchBrick's Batman Takes to the Skies

ArchBrick, son of JasBrick, shows that he has inherited his dad's keen design sensibilities. This Batman custom minifigure with jetpack is brilliant! In stealthy black, the Joker and the rest of the inmates at Arkham Asylum won't know what hit them until its too late.

Archie is a man of many talents. Not only does he design awesome custom minifigures, he's also quite accomplished as a reviewer of the new Hero Factory sets. Check out his work on the YouTube MadFigs channel.

(Via JasBrick's Flickr stream)

Roaglaan Designs at Brick Republic

Decal master Roaglaan has made a deal with Montreal based Brick Republic to use his decals in some WWII custom minifigs now on sale. There are three designs in all:
So if you've admired Roaglaan's designs, but weren't certain your decal skills were up to snuff, you now have an opportunity to take one home.

The figures also come with BrickArms custom accessories.

(Via Roaglaan's Flickr stream)

9/19/10

SpastikChuwawa's Batman Brickfilm

It would seem that the ForrestFire Films isn't the only one who can do Batman. The fight scenes are done quite well with some nice effects.

As always, kids, viewer discretion is advised...

Tiny Tactical Flamethrower Prototypes

Tiny Tactical posted these pics of this flamethrower prototype on their Flickr stream. The design is based on a World War II M2 flamethrower used by American infantrymen. Given that it is a prototype, it's not for sale just yet. We will let you know, however, once they go on sale.

Collectible Minfigure Series 3 List Updated

Yes, there are pictures circulating now on various websites showing the Series 3 Collectible Minifigures. No, I'm not going to post them here until TLG officially releases them.

Why? A) The pictures say 'confidential' and not 'please post these on the web at your earliest convenience' and B) TLG lawyers would likely send me a sternly written e-mail asking me to take them off anyway.

If you really want to see them I'm sure you can find them. You can also find the unofficial names updated on our Collectible Minifigure guide. Once the official pics are released we will share them and update the guides.

Brickset Has Series 2 Wallpaper

Now before you plan on redoing the kids room, it's the computer kind...

Brickset has updated their collection of LEGO themed wallpapers with those using the Series 2 Collectible Minifigures.

Whether you want The Spartan to guard your spreadsheets or The Surfer to help you, 'um', surf the internet, you can find them at Brickset today.

(Via Brickset)

TRU Buy 2 Get 1 Free Starts Today (US)

As first seen on Toys N Bricks, Toys R Us stores in the US are offering a 'buy 2, get 1 free' offer on all LEGO sets (excluding Star Wars and tubs). I personally went to my local TRU to do a little army building. The $11.99 sets like the Prince of Persia Desert Attack or the Toy Story Army Men on Patrol are always good for army building, while aiming for a little diversity.

The potential savings are 33% on each item, but only if you buy sets of equal value.

One other interesting item of note, the Toy Story poly bag set Alien Spaceship was on sale for $3.99. If you were looking to stock up on Little Green Men, then you could get one free for every two you buy!

The sale goes through next Saturday (9/25). Check TRU.com or call your local store for details.

9/18/10

Bantha's Hardsuit is Ready to Rock

This is a perfect example of how to showcase a LEGO minifigure. Granted this is a hardsuit, but the posing, the background, the lighting, all come together in a very nice way. This would be a fantastic poster design! Bantha even has a breakdown of the hardsuit so you can build your own.
It's been a rather quiet day in Minifig Nation, but if you want to peruse all the stuff I tag on Flickr, head on over and check out my 'favorites'. There's a lot more here than I would ever have time to blog about...

(Via Bantha's Flickr stream)

9/17/10

Summer, I Miss You Already

Although I much prefer Fall weather, this pic from Chris McVeigh (AKA powerpig) makes me think fondly of those Summer days at the beach.

At a minimum this is a cautionary tale about polluting our oceans. If we aren't careful the sharks will sprout legs and don skimpy bathing suits while terrorizing our surfing communities.

If you like what you see here, check out Chris on RedBubble where you can purchase this as a print or card. He also has several other prints and t-shirt designs, so check it out when you get a chance. 

Comparative Review: LEGO and BrickForge Spartan Spear

Welcome back to day three of our comparative review of the LEGO and BrickForge Spartan arsenals. As we mentioned previously, there were three main instruments that allowed a hoplite to fight effectively in the phalanx, the Corinthian helmet, the aspis or hoplon (shield), and the doru (spear). We will now turn our eye to the spear...

The doru was a spear seven to nine feet in length with a leaf-shaped spearhead and a spike called the sauroter, or 'lizard killer', on the other end. The rear spike was used to leverage the spear against the ground. The rear spike could also be used as a secondary weapon if the doru were to break.

The picture above compares three types of spears in the brick-based arsenal. The top most spear is the classic LEGO design, a shade over 7L in length, and composed of a single shaft tapering into the spear point. This part has appeared in many colors over the years including black, brown, dark-blue violet, dark brown, green, trans-light blue, trans-neon green, pearl dark gray, pearl light gray, and metallic silver.

Next we have the BrickForge javelin. The javelin, like the doru, has spear points on both ends, and is approximately the length of a 7.5L bar. The javelin comes in 12 different colors: black, blue, bronze, brown, dark blueish gray, dark gray, dark orange, light gray, red, silver, tan, and white.

Finally we have the new Spartan spear that comes with the Series 2 Collectible Minifigure. Similar in length to a 8L bar, this new weapon is composed of two pieces. The spear tip is light pearl gray and fits into a pearl dark gray shaft. The spear tip is not easily removed, however. There is no rear spike on this new LEGO spear.

Both the BrickForge javelin and LEGO Spartan spear fit tightly in the hand of the minifigure without any slippage issues.

This concludes our comparative reviews of the LEGO and BrickForge Spartan arsenals. Whether you are looking to outfit 3 or 300 Spartans, we hope this review has given you some ideas on the alternatives that exist for your minifig hoplites. If you have other suggestions on insights, please let us know in the comments.

Additional Stats - BrickForge Javelin
Custom House: BrickForge
Location: United States
International Shipping: Yes (details)
Colors Available: Black, Blue, Bronze, Brown, Dark Blueish Gray, Dark Gray, Dark Orange, Light Gray, Red, Silver, Tan, and White
Retail Price: $1.00 USD

Additional Stats - LEGO Spartan Spear
Availability: Worldwide but in limited quantities
Colors Available: Pear Dark Gray Shaft and Pearl Light Gray Tip
Retail Price: With Series 2 Collectible Minifigure, $1.99 USD (MSRP)/ Average BrickLink price (figure with accessories) $8.14 USD* / Average BrickLink price (spear only) $1.32 USD*

*BrickLink prices as of 9/13/2010

New Star Wars Magnet Set and Max Promo


Toys N Bricks is reporting that Star Wars magnet set 85037, featuring Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker, Senate Commando, and Ahsoka minifigures, are now appearing in LEGO Stores in the US. Likely to retail for $14.99 USD, the Senate Commando is the real draw here, given that the other two minifigs have been available in many other sets previously.

If you do decide to hit one of the stores, also note that there's a promo for a free Max minifigure key chain with purchases over $35 dollars. In store you will need the coupon found in the most recent, free LEGO Club magazine. Call to confirm your store has these in stock before heading out.

You can also take advantage of this offer at LEGO Shop at Home online with coupon code MX09 (US) or MXCA (Canada).

9/16/10

2010 BrickForge Product Reviews Collected

This collects the product review articles conducted on the BrickForge 2010 product line-up. Each of the links below connect to the original articles.

As we conduct more reviews in the future, they will be collected here.

Comparative Review: LEGO and BrickForge Spartan Shield

Welcome back to day two of our comparative review of the LEGO and BrickForge Spartan arsenals. As we mentioned yesterday, there were three main instruments that allowed a hoplite to fight effectively in the phalanx, the Corinthian helmet, the aspis or hoplon (shield), and the doru (spear). We will now turn our eye to the shield...

The aspis or hoplon was the circular shield which formed the impenetrable defensive barrier of the phalanx. A convex shield often made of wood and covered in bronze, Spartan women would present these shields to their warriors before battle saying, "with this, or on this," meaning come back victorious or die trying.

Spartan Hoplon: BrickForge (left); LEGO (right)
The innovation of the shield was in the design of the grip. Instead of centering the handle on the shield, the handle was offset and a leather strap added for the forearm to slip through. This gave the hoplite additional leverage and force when forming the phalanx. Neither the LEGO or BrickForge piece used a handle design that mimicked a real hoplon, likely due to minifigure articulation and the limitations it would have in shield placement. Both pieces use a similar handle design in the center of each shield. Both pieces fit snugly within the minifigure's hand.

Hoplon in fighting formation: LEGO (left); BrickForge (right)
The LEGO shield is medium dark flesh in color and flat with a hallow stud in the center of the shield. Items can be attached to the hallow stud on the front of the shield if desired. The shield measures 2 cm in diameter and has a ridge around the rim. It was not uncommon for hoplite shields to have designs on the front of the shield. The warriors had the Greek letter lambda on the front of their shields for 'Lacedaemon' the ancient name for Sparta in the film '300'. You could place decals or painted design on the shield, but they would have to accommodate the hallow stud in the center.

The BrickForge shield, shown here in bronze, has a convex design with plenty of room for decals or painted touches. The shield is slightly bigger than the LEGO part with a diameter of 2.2 cm, theoretically providing more coverage. The BF round shield comes in several flavors including black, blue, bronze, brown*, dark blueish gray, dark gray*, dark orange, dark tan, light gray, red*, silver*, tan, and white.

Additional Stats - BrickForge Round Shield
Custom House: BrickForge
Location: United States
International Shipping: Yes (details)
Colors Available: Black, Blue, Bronze, Brown*, Dark Blueish Gray, Dark Gray*, Dark Orange, Dark Tan, Light Gray, Red*, Silver*, Tan, and White
Retail Price: $1.00 USD

Additional Stats - LEGO Round Shield
Availability: Worldwide but in limited quantities
Colors Available: Medium Dark Flesh
Retail Price: With Series 2 Collectible Minifigure, $1.99 USD (MSRP)/ Average BrickLink price (figure with accessories) $8.14 USD** / Average BrickLink price (shield only) $1.15 USD**

*This item is currently out of stock.
**BrickLink prices as of 9/13/2010

Roaglaan Expands the WWII Armed Forces

I ran across this custom minifig created by Roaglaan earlier today and applaud the foray into a WWII design that's not infantry or 'commandos'.

The torso design could be used in a variety of ways, as by itself its really just a bomber jacket. The complete design is that of a Japanese WWII fighter pilot. It would be great to see other forays into Air Force or Naval designs that could compliment brick-built vehicles.

If you like what you see here, check out Roaglaan's BrickLink store where you can buy many of his decal designs.

Naruto Shippuden Custom Project Collected

This post collects the articles recording my progress in creating a custom minifigure based on the title character from Naruto Shippuden

This is an ongoing project with more articles/tutorials to be added over time, so check back periodically.

This will live in the sidebar along side the other minifig customization resources.