3/31/11

Have We Just Seen a Minifig Davy Jones?!



It would seem that more LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean game trailers are being released online. The one above focuses on action in the Dead Man's Chest section of the game. Clearly shown is a minifigure version of Davy Jones!

Now that doesn't mean Davy will ever make an appearance in ABS, but one can hope for a holiday exclusive set of The Flying Dutchman. Atlantis molds can be re-purposed for the crew, and the lobster claw element has already debuted. His face tentacles could be a beard-like accessory from the pictures, which would be unfortunate. I think the Atlantis Squid Warrior head looks much better.

On a separate but related note...I love that Jack in the game sounds just like Johnny Depp using LEGO-speak! I sold my game system a little over a year ago, but this really makes me want to pick up a controller and set sail!

New Polybags - Pharaoh's Quest and PotC


Brickset is reporting there are four new polybag sets in the LEGO system. Two of the bags are related to Pharaoh's Quest and include minifigures, while the Pirates of the Caribbean sets are a brick built mini-ship and the promotional Captain Jack included with pre-orders of the video game.

The package art doesn't give us any additional clues at to what that Captain Jack minifigure is supposed to be. There are 'motion lines' around the hands, and it seems to be walking in the pic (a mechanized Jack?!) I'm still going to stick to my guns and say it's supposed to be a voodoo doll.

You can read the full article and see all the polybag pics at Brickset.

LEGO PotC In the Wild!


Daniel of The Brick Blog dropped me a message to let me know that 'Versen' had been able to lay hands on a few LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean sets in Russia (assumed because of the '.su' designation in the forum url).

Versen provides some great pics of the Isle de Meurta set and nice 360 views of the minifigures. There's even a shot of a 'Captain Jack' line up suggesting Versa has more than one set.

The biggest question remains unanswered, "Will those pirate hats fit over hair pieces, or not?" I fully expected LEGO PotC to launch in April, but more towards mid-month. Here's hoping a launch might be sooner.

You can see the review here. Big thanks to The Brick Blog for the heads up!

UPDATE: Captain Thom and Apples have done a little digging on said forum and have found additional reviews  for Whitecap Bay and Cannibal Escape. Alas, it appears the pirate hats are attached to the hair pieces...

3/30/11

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Minifigures - Hadras


Hadras is exclusive to LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean set 4183, The Mill.

Parts and Accessories
Hadras is composed of four parts - head gear, head, torso, and legs.

The head gear is a new part resembling a conch shell in dark tan. The part has print to resemble barnacles.

The head, in sand green, has a new head print with the barnacle print continuing on the face. Part of the facial print is obscured by the head gear. It is not known if the head is dual sided, but the head gear could support it.

The torso, arms, and hands are all sand green. The print on the torso continues the monstrous appearance. It is not known if there is print on the back of the torso. 

The legs and hips are dark tan with print on both the legs and hips.

The accessories I've seen with this figure are the standard Pirate sword in dark blueish gray and a trans-red cylinder with a heart print. This is supposed to represent the heart of Davy Jones.

Hadras resembles the movie character fairly well. The main difference being that the skin color is not quite the same. If the skin were more gray, it would be a rather 'bland' figure though...

LEGO.com Bio
Hadras is a sailor turned sea creature aboard the cursed Flying Dutchman. After a long servitude under Captain Davy Jones, Hadras’s head has morphed into a hermit crab. Don’t let him get his claws on the keys to the Dead Man’s Chest! Knock his block off and it just might scuttle away!

Army Building Potential
The ABP for this minifigure is low. We'll see if The Flying Dutchman is in our future, but even MOCs might have a couple of these guys in the crew.

The Big Draw
The head gear is definitely a unique part and potentially sought after. The head and torso prints can be a great addition to your growing collection of monster minifigures.

(Back to the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Guides)
 
Thanks to Smashing Bricks for the hi-res images

LEGO Warhammer 101

A few weeks ago I reached out to two of LEGO customizers regarding how one might incorporate pieces from the Warhammer line of gaming figures into their minifig customs. Life being what it is, I hadn't been able to write up this article until now. Although 'Warhammer fever' has since cooled, I thought it would still be worthwhile to share these tips.


Warhammer and Warhammer 40K are table-top gaming systems that utilize small figurines. The painting and customization of figures via 'bitz' is as much of the experience as the role-playing game. Warhammer largely takes place in a fantasy setting much like Dungeons & Dragons, while Warhammer 40K is set in a dystopian science fiction universe. The scale of the Warhammer figures are not quite aligned to minifigures, but if you know where to look, you can find some great pieces.

In order to find answers to my questions I sought the help of two experts in both Warhammer and LEGO customization, JasBrick and Geoshift.

The first question I had was where to even begin looking if I wanted to see what might be available. A quick Google search on 'Warhammer' quickly lead me to the Games Workshop website. Games Workshop is the parent company that owns and produces the figures for both games. Even though I had found the 'mothership' it wasn't immediately clear which elements would actually be compatible with use on minifigures.


JasBrick offers up that the plastic parts (versus metal) are going to be your best bet. In fact those parts associated with the Tau Empire or Space Marines from 40K work quite well.

JasBrick: "The scale is not quite right, however GW uses a heroic scale which means that some of the pieces are exagerated in size.  The best kits to use are space marine and Tau kits, with the former having lots of nice details and bits like ammo packs and heraldic symbols, and the latter being good for sci-fi weaponry (from the battlesuit kits)."

A quick perusal of the Games Workshop site shows lots potential across the board, but what's difficult to discern is which parts are the right scale for minifigures. Geoshift had similar issues when he started to incorporate these 'bitz' into his work...

Geoshift: "I wish I had a good answer for this, but the truth is that it's very difficult. In fact, MOST of the parts I've purchased can't be used at all because they are simply too small and I don't have a good alternate use for them. Unfortunately it is often impossible to determine size from the photos [online]..."


So it's definitely 'buyer beware' when exploring parts for usage where you aren't certain of the scale. Looking around at Jas' and Geoshift's Flickr streams may give you an idea if a part you're considering has been used in their work previously.

So you've scoped out some parts and decided on which you want to buy. Do you start purchasing kits? JasBrick has some advice here...

JasBrick: "Would I recommend buying the kits for those that don't play WH40K.... NO.... these are expensive and the amount of usable parts in most cases do not warrant the expense.  What I would recommend is to use eBay for bits as a lot of people break down the kits.  Alternatively is try and find out if anyone you know is a GW player and ask for access to their 'Bitz Box' which any modeller worth the name will have.  You may find parts that they will have no use for that you can use to create a new custom."

Geoshift has purchased all of his parts off of eBay...

Geoshift: "I've found a few good sellers for these parts, including 'hoard_*_bits', 'window-box', and 'krazy_marine'. The best search terms are 'Warhammer bits' or '40K bits'. You will then find these guys and others selling just parts."

So you've raided the 'bitz box' and put in several orders on eBay. Now what?! What do the experts recommend on how to bring it all together...

Geoshift: "Because of the scale issues, the challenge is to find useful parts, then bring them together on a particular build in a way that flows and seems to make sense. So, I'm using parts in ways they were never intended in most cases (a jet pack becomes part of the armor chest-piece, or the top of a banner staff becomes a decorative shoulder guard). Of course, this is part of the fun as well!"

I want to thank Jas and Geoshift for sharing their wisdom on this topic. Hopefully this has been helpful for readers who may have considered using Warhammer in their customs but didn't know where to begin.

A quick review would suggest the following:
  • Choose plastic over metal for minifigures
  • Tau Warriors and Space Marines are a good place to start, but opportunities are everywhere
  • Buying full kits may be pricey - raid the 'bitz box' or shop on eBay
  • There's not a good way to check scale in advance - look for parts used by others previously, otherwise 'buyer beware'

3/29/11

V&A Steamworks Now Offers Stovepipes to Public


Prior to Bricks by the Bay last week, we discussed that V&A Steamworks would be selling their minifig stovepipe hats at the convention. There was a promise to make them available to the public at some time down the road...well today is your day!

Available in seven colors, the cost is $4 USD apiece or three for $10 (plus shipping). Guy is even offering to do custom color runs with a minimum order of 10 hats!

You'll need a Flickr account to place your order, as you need to send V&A a Flickr Mail to start the process.

What more do you need to know. Head on over to V&A Steamwork's Flickr stream and place your order today!

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Minifigures - Angelica


Angelica is exclusive to LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean set 4195, Queen Anne's Revenge.

Parts and Accessories
Angelica is composed of four or five parts depending on the hat/hair combo - hat and/or hair piece, head, torso, and legs.

The hat and hair may be a single part. If so it will be new to the LEGO universe. If separate...they will both be new parts. The hat is a new style with a buckle and a hole for a tan plume. The hair is a new female style in brown. This may be the same hair piece that appears with Syrena.

The head is a new female print in light flesh. It is not known if the head is dual-sided, but the design of the hair could support it.

The torso appears to be dark green with white arms and light flesh hands. The print on the torso resembles a blouse/vest/corset combo. It is not know yet if there is print on the back of the torso.

The legs and hips are black with no visible print.

The accessories I've seen with this figure are the standard Pirate sword and what I believe is a voodoo doll. The voodoo doll is the minifigure statute that has appeared with Collectible Minifigures from the past. It has print to resemble Captain Jack (this is only a guess as the video game pre-order fig of Jack also appears to be a wooden doll of some kind).

LEGO.com Bio
Angelica is the beautiful pirate daughter of the bloodthirsty Captain Blackbeard and past love of Captain Jack Sparrow. She’s a con artist and a scoundrel that rivals Jack Sparrow in nearly every way. When she’s not disguised as Sparrow, she’s searching for him in the hopes that he can lead her to the Fountain of Youth and extend the life of her aging father. Although she’s got more than one reason for wanting to knock his block off.

Army Building Potential
The ABP for this minifigure is low.

The Big Draw
The hat and/or hair piece will be the real draw of this figure. If the hat is separate and fits over most LEGO hair pieces, then it will really be a sought after item.

(Back to the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Guides)
 
Thanks to Smashing Bricks for the hi-res images

Citizen Brick Review on Brother's Brick


It seems the folks at Citizen Brick set Nannan up with some printed minifigures, bricks, and tiles. In turn, Nannan has put together a review of their products on The Brothers Brick.

If you've been considering a purchase, but wanted a the opinion of an unbiased third-party...well now you have it! I personally think that there's a lot of potential from this relatively new company, given the inventive and witty nature of their products to date.

You can see the full review on The Brother's Brick, or just cut to the chase and visit Citizen Brick today.

New Hazel Visors Have You In Their Sights


Hazel Tam has been 'flashing' pics of a new variant of eye protection on Flickr. These visors appear to be a custom design for Nightmare System in Japan, but may still make it to the US via United Armory. So far there appear to be versions in black and tan.

Once these go on sale, I'll let everyone know.

Series 4 Now in US LEGO Stores and Singapore


I've received a couple of reports that Series 4 Collectible Minifigures are now appearing in LEGO Stores in the US. The confirmed sightings include the Queens Center LEGO Store in NY and the Baybrook Mall location in Friendswood, TX (Thanks David and Thomas!) LEGO had listed April 15th as the official release date, but perhaps they are a bit squeamish about TRU launching so far in advance. You may want to call your local LEGO Store to check for availability. It's not uncommon for stores to put stock out early and then be asked to pull it until the official release date.

Andrew at Smashing Bricks also wrote to let me know that Series 4 appears to be in Singapore now. I'm still waiting for a location, but I'll post it once I have it in hand.

There were some weird 'technical difficulties' with Google Maps this morning. I'll post these locations on our Rollout Map as soon as those clear up.

UPDATE: Andrew let us know that the Singapore locations include BricksWorld, BrickStation, ToysHunt, and Secret Chamber. Metro Departmental Store and Toys R Us (SG) will have stock in a couple of days.

3/28/11

Tiny Tactical Packs and Radio


Steve has more great custom accessories soon to hit the shelves of Tiny Tactical. There are three new items pictured above:
  • ULS - Ultra lite strike pack (Dark Tan, Black and OD Green)
  • TDA- 3 day assault pack (Dark Tan, Black and OD Green)
  • MSRV2- Tactical Radio in pouch (Black/Dark Tan, Black/Black and Black/OD Green)
The packs may come in two 'flavors' - one which attached to the TT vests, and another that attaches to the fig via a neck piece.

The radios can't be removed from the pouch, but will look great as an accent item on your custom figure.

No dates yet on when these will be available, but be assured that we will let you know.

Many of the Tiny Tactical accessories sell out quickly, so check their BrickLink storefront often for news and updates.

Inside the Customizer's Studio: Pecovam's Emile

I'm very excited about a change to the 'Inside the Customizer's Studio' series. In the past we've focused on longer interviews that debuted over a series of days. These have been fantastic opportunities and I enjoyed each and every one.

Since then, Ka.lego has launched his Ka-GO site and 'Behind the Build' interview series*. The concept is instead of finding inspirational builds and saying, 'Isn't this cool?' there's additional information provided through a discussion with the artist. I've blatantly stolen been greatly inspired by the concept and thought it would be a perfect way to bring more quality, original content to the site.


The first subject of the new format is a custom Emile minifigure that Andrew Pescovitz (Pecovam) had sent to me. The helmet and armor are produced by Hazel Tam and sold through United Armory. As you can see from the side-by-side picture above, Andrew has added Emile's signature skull design to the EVA helmet and a fantastic paint job. We start our interview here...


I remember on Flickr you mentioned that your hands were sore after working on several helmets. What technique did you use to create Emile's signature skull on the EVA helmet? 

The technique I used for creating the skull was very simple. I took a regular exacto knife, and then took a smaller exacto knife blade with an extremely small and sharp point, and I fixed the smaller blade inside the larger holder and secured it in place. The larger holder for the blade allowed for slightly more control over my carving in my opinion. None the less, after about nine of them, my hands were really sore.


What type of paint did you use on the figure? Do you tend to add layers of paint or just have one coat? 

I used two different types of paint on the figure. Mr. Color metallics and Citadel paints. On the majority of my figures, aside from ones I paint with camouflage, I try my best to keep the paint to three to four 'layers', I guess is what you would call it. Whenever I paint something, I am always thinking about the most efficient way to achieve the desired effect with the least amount of paint. This is also slightly money saving as well (lol). I always start with a base coat of a metallic color, and then go from there adding solids, weathering, battle damage etc. to make sure I can always achieve a realistic look to the best of my abilities.


There's an amazing amount of detail on the figure. How do you achieve such a clean look on such as small scale?

As for the cleanliness of the figure itself, I would chalk that up to two to three simple things. First, if you do something enough, you will eventually get better at it. I utilize paint on every single one of my customs in one way or another, practice makes perfect. Second would have to be my attention to detail, as well as my personal desire for everything I make to look as good as possible. If I paint something and it doesn't look as good as I can possibly do, I do it again, and again, until it's where I want it to be. Patience, a steady hand, and a knowledge of how your favorite brush and paints react to the surface of plastic and your strokes, eventually it will start to become second nature. Lastly, I would have to say the types of paints used make a big difference. I like to go with paints that dry extremely thin. This allows me to add a lot of color detail without filling in the detail on my parts.


It looked like you painted a pair of Space Police legs keeping the pockets and pads, or did you pant the legs and add decals?

I did actually just paint the space police legs around the pockets and left those in. This technique I actually got from a very good friend, Pedro. I saw him use this a few times in his photo stream and loved the way it looked. It adds a level of realism to the legs while maintaining the 'LEGO' look.

Did you use any 'new' techniques when developing the fig?

As for new techniques when developing this figure, I would have to say no. For a few reasons, when I make figures for myself to keep, I like to go all out. I like to go in all sorts of directions for modding in terms of how I like to make ball jointed arms for my figures, and such. When I make figures for other people, not to say I wouldn't try anything upon request, I try to keep a more 'LEGO' feel to the figure just because I know not everyone is all about the type of modding I do for my figures.

What was the most difficult part of the custom? What was the most fun?

The most difficult part of the custom and the most fun are actually one in the same. It was the skull. In terms of difficulty, making sure I did not scratch the raised portions of the skull for the mouth and eyes was a big challenge. But in the end, once you see the final product up close, it's very rewarding. As well as seeing how happy people were when I sent them out, including you.

A big thanks to Andrew for taking the time for the interview, and especially for the custom minifigure! I have more of these interviews planned for the future, so hopefully you enjoy the new format. In the meantime, you can see more of Andrew's work via his Flickr stream.

*If you've not been following the Ka-GO site/blog, I highly recommend it!

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Minifigures - Will Turner


Now Showing
Will Turner, captain of the Flying Dutchman, appears in sets 4182 (The Cannibal Escape) and 4183 (The Mill).

Minifigure Parts and Accessories
Will Turner is composed of five parts: hair, head, sheath (although it does not appear in the picture above), torso, and legs.

His hair is a new part in reddish brown. It is a swept back hairstyle with a ponytail in the back.

The head is a new print in flesh color. It features a raised eyebrow and extended sideburns. He also has his goatee printed on for an uncanny likeness to Will Turner himself.

The sheath is a new piece currently exclusive to the Pirates line in brown that goes across the minifigures torso similar to the Indiana Jones satchel but instead of a bag there is a slot for a sword.

The torsos is light grey, with white arms, and flesh colored hands. There is a new print featuring an open colored shirt showing his chest. There is also a thick brown belt across the front. It is unknown if there is print on the back as of yet.

The legs of this figure are brown with no print.

LEGO.com Bio
Will Turner risks his bricks for love, honor and adventure. Once a humble blacksmith, Turner’s adventures on the high seas, and humble self-sacrifice for those he loves, have imprisoned him as the cursed Captain of The Flying Dutchman, bound to sail the Netherworld offering salvation to sailors lost at sea. Though he can only step on land once per decade, his heart (locked inside of the Dead Man’s Chest) belongs to his beloved wife, Elizabeth Swann Turner.

Army Building Potential
The ABP for this figure is low. There is only one Will Turner so why would you need more than that?

Big Draw
The big draw for this fig is the torso. It's a nice new print that could fit a variety of figures. The new sheath is a big draw as well for the pirates line. Also for collectors trying to get every PotC figure, this is a must have.


(Pictures via Smashing Bricks)

Smartgun Tutorial by Catsy


Brandon Bannerman (Catsy) is both a customizer and fan of the Alien's movies. Thus, it's no surprise that he's put together a tutorial on how to create your own minifig smartgun using BrickArms and LEGO parts.

Pricey? It can be if you don't have the requisite BA parts, but what can you do until Hazel releases his version via United Armory?

You can see the full tutorial on Brandon's Flickr stream.

3/26/11

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Minifigures - Syrena


Syrena the mermaid is exclusive to the set Whitecap Bay (4192).

Parts and Accessories
Syrena is composed of four parts - hair piece, head, torso, and fish tail.

The hair piece is a new part in brown.

The head is a new female print in light flesh. The head is likely dual sided, one showing a sad countenance and single tear, and another showing the fearsome face of the mermaid.

The torso, arms, and hands  are all light flesh light flesh. The print on the torso resembles scaly skin and a sand blue area to keep everything PG. It is not known if there is print on the back of the torso.

The new mermaid part takes these maidens out of their stiff poses and gives them the ability to stand on their own. Syrena's piece is sand blue and has print on the front.

LEGO.com Bio
Syrena is a beautiful and deadly mermaid that encounters Captain Jack Sparrow on his hunt for the Fountain of Youth. On land, Syrena takes to minifigure form, but under the sea she transforms into an underwater creature. Don’t be fooled by her sweet song – it’s fishy business to tangle with the Mermaids of the Caribbean but it may be the only way to find the Fountain of Youth.

Army Building Potential
The ABP for this minifigure is moderate. I could see collectors wanting to add variety to their undersea cities or trade in their old fish tails for new ones.

The Big Draw
A new female hair piece is always a sought after item. The new mer-person tail will also be attractive.

(Back to the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Guides)
 
Thanks to Smashing Bricks for the hi-res images

TBB's Charity Relief for Japan

The Brothers Brick is organizing efforts to help those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. They have banners on the site where you can donate to the Red Cross, and they are currently organizing a series of auctions via Creations for Charity. If you recall Creations for Charity usually has a big event around the holiday season where people can donate items to be sold and the proceeds were used to support Toys for Tots. This time around the items are being auctioned via eBay, but the mechanism is generally the same.

Over the holidays there was a strong show of support from minifig customizers for Creations for Charity. If you have the time, please help those affected in Japan.

You can find out more on The Brothers Brick or visit the active eBay auctions.

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Minifigures - Blackbeard


Blackbeard is exclusive to sets Aqua de Vida (4192) and Queen Anne's Revenge (4195).

Parts and Accessories
Blackbeard is composed of five parts - hat/hair piece combo, head, beard, torso, and legs.

It is expected that the hat is a separate piece from the beard. The hat is a new part for the LEGO universe in black. As 'Captain Thomas Foolery' pointed out, the gray tendrils are lit cannon fuses, a trait the real Blackbeard was purported to wear to intimidate the enemy.

The head is a new print in light flesh. Bushy brows and wrinkles around the eyes. There may be a beard print on the face, in the same way that recent bearded figures like Sensei Wu and the Lawn Gnome, but it remains unknown for now. It's also unlikely that the head is dual-sided, but possible.

The beard appears to be a new part in black. There didn't appear to be any beards with four braids on BrickLink.

The torso and arms are black with light flesh hands. The print on the torso resembles a captains coat with belts. It is not known if there is print on the back of the torso.

The legs and hips are black with print continuing from the torso.

The accessory shown with this figure is the Sword of Triton. It is not known how the sword factors into the mythology of the movie, but is definitely a new part.

The figure matches Ian McShane's character quite well. Although it's difficult to tell for sure, it would have been neat to have his large stomach represented on the torso in a similar fashion as The Sumo Wrestler from Series 3.

LEGO.com Bio
Coming Soon

Army Building Potential
The ABP for this minifigure is low. There is only one Blackbeard...

The Big Draw
There's a lot to like about Blackbeard. The torso and leg prints will be popular among Pirates fans, as will the hat. The beard can be a new addition to dwarven armies, and the Sword of Triton is just 'neat'. Expect this to be a popular minifigure from this series.


(Back to the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Guides)
 
Thanks to Smashing Bricks for the hi-res images

3/25/11

Quick Hits: Series 1 is Back and Ninjago Gets Re-upped

A couple of quick news items this morning...

Reports are surfacing over various sites that the Build a Minifig bins at US LEGO Stores are now getting Series 1 Collectible Minifigure parts. This shouldn't be a terrible surprise as the LEGO Store calendars declaired this was coming. The only questions that really remains is which parts will be available. The same pic taken by JAYMATIK seems to be up on the sites currently reporting. It shows The Forestman, The Clown, and a couple of Mermaids (not Series 1 I know). The stories also state that parts for the Cheerleader and Magician are making an appearance. If the Zombie parts ever surfaced, that would really be a coup! Build a Minifig prices are three minifigures for $9.99 USD.

The second item of interest is that Cartoon Network has picked up Ninjago - Masters of Spinjitzu for renewal. Likely to appear in late 2011, this will be a series and not just a three or four episodes. This is both a first for LEGO and evidence that the Ninjago sets will be around for some time. This isn't a terrible surprise for me as the Ninjago Minifigure Guides are still one of the most visited portions of the site. You can read more about this story at Toy News.

That's all for now. More as it happens...

UPDATE: I kid you not, here is the brief on the new Ninjago series released by Cartoon Network:
After a time of peace in Ninjago, our four Ninja heroes are about to face a new dangerous enemy. Lloyd Garmadon, son of their archenemy Lord Garmadon, has unleashed a new evil with unique powers. Soon all his ambition to follow in his father's footsteps has put all of Ninjago in jeopardy.

I  can't wait to see the Lloyd Garmadon minifigure...

3/24/11

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Minifigures - Jack Sparrow


Captain Jack Sparrow will be appearing in all of the upcoming LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean sets due in May...and then some. We will refer to this version as 'Jack Sparrow', but he comes in several variants including 'Cannibal Jack' and 'Undead Jack'.

This regular version of Jack Sparrow is exclusive to the sets The Mill (4183), The Captain's Cabin (4191), and Aqua de Vida (4192). 'Cannibal Jack' can be found in set 4182, Cannibal Escape, while 'Undead Jack' can be found in set 4181, Isla de Meurta.

Parts and Accessories
Jack Sparrow is composed of four parts - hair piece, head, torso, and legs.

The hair piece is black and features print for a red bandanna and various trinkets in Jack's hair. This is a new part for the LEGO universe.

The heads are where many of the Captain Jack minifigures are differentiated. As with many of the licensed themes the head color is light flesh. It is also expect that the heads are dual-sided. The head for the figure is features a 'smirk' and is shown above.

The 'cannibal' head features Jack with tribal paint on his face. The expression shown here is panicked but I've seen another for this figure.

The 'undead' head has one side which is normal and the other which is all white to represent a skull.

The torso is some shade of blue and arms are white with light flesh hands. The print on the torso resembles Jack's vest with the addition of belts and a striped sash. It is not known if there will be back printing on the torso.

The legs and hips are reddish brown with print continuing the vest and sash design that began on the torso.

The accessory shown with this figure is the standard Pirate cutlass in light blueish gray that has appeared in LEGO Pirates sets for some time.

LEGO.com Bio
Jack Sparrow is dueling to the death for the key to the Dead Man’s Chest. He’ll have to be sneakier than ever to clench control of that key and make a break for it before the other pirates have him in pieces.

Army Building Potential
The ABP for this minifigure is low. There is only one Captain Jack...

The Big Draw
Aside from the figure as a whole, the torso and leg print combo will be desirable for Pirate fans.

The various dual-sided heads will also be fun additions to anyone's collection.

(Back to the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Guides)

Thanks to Smashing Bricks for the hi-res images

Great Interviews at Ka-GO Blog


The Ka-GO blog scored a great interview with Mike Napolitan, who we put the spotlight on last week. Mike's rendered depictions of Marvel minifigures are absolutely fantastic and ka.lego gets the skinny on how it's done.

Ka.lego has quickly shown himself to be an adept writer with a great eye for blogworthy topics. So if you read only one LEGO blog everyday...read The Ugly Duckling. If you read two, however, read UD and Ka-Go's blog.


If you're at Bricks by the Bay this weekend, say hello to 'Ka' he'll likely be wearing one of these great t-shirts of his own design.

(Via Ka-GO Blog)

V&A Steamworks Stovepipe Hats at Bricks by the Bay


Bricks by the Bay is this weekend, and those attending are starting to put up some of what they'll be bringing. V&A Steamworks will be selling stovepipe hats in black and white and some with printed bands as well. They will be selling for $4 USD each, or three hats for $10 USD.
Not going to be in Northern California this weekend? No worries. It sounds like the hats will be available to the general public soon.

There's a Solanum Outbreak on Flickr

There seems to be a rash of custom zombies popping up on Flickr this morning, leaving the Hazmat Guy with plenty to clean up.


The first custom zombie comes to us courtesy of Victor (eclipsegrafx). His 'tourist' is the first in a line of zombie designs he'll be selling through various channels. As Victor points out, lots of great layers happening with the decal designs. The I 'heart' NY tee is a nice touch too.


The second strain of the undead creeps forward from Roaglaan's workshop. It would appear these guys were infected at the gym as they are some of the 'beefiest' zombies I've seen to date. The soldier zombie will be great for those inspired by the movie Sucker Punch which comes out this weekend. There's a whole portion of the movie set in a Weird War II universe and the enemies seem to be a mix of the Helghast from Killzone and the living dead.

All in all some fantastic designs and great way to add variety to those Zombie hordes whene the Series 1 Brooks Brothers brigade just won't cut it.

(Via eclipsegrafx and Roaglaan's Flickr streams)

3/23/11

BrickArms Micro D.O.G. Pack at Bricks by the Bay


Dan Siskind just put out a blog post on Brickmania announcing that a new BrickArms pack will be available first to those attending Bricks by the Bay this weekend. The Micro D.O.G. Pack will feature a selection of dark olive green items, a color not previously available.

Not attending Bricks by the Bay? No worries. Brickmania will be selling this online in a few weeks.

You can read more about this on the Brickmania blog.

I Can Feel A Change Coming On


Legoagogo returns with this great depiction of a lycanthrope's transformation. Mark nails the concept with great lighting and the use of Fenrir Greyback as the midpoint of the metamorphosis.

Mark's been away designing large displays for his local game store. It sounds like we'll be treated to a new display featuring a certain pirate captain very soon.

See more on Mark's Flickr stream.

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Minifigures - Captain Jack Sparrow


Jack Sparrow will be appearing in all of the upcoming LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean sets due in May...and then some. We will refer to this version as 'Captain' Jack given he's wearing his tricorne hat and coat.

Captain Jack Sparrow is exclusive to Whitecap Bay (4192), London Escape (4193), and Queen Anne's Revenge (4195).

Parts and Accessories
Captain Jack may be composed of as many as four or five different parts depending upon the design of the tricorne hat - hat and/or hair piece, head, torso, and legs.

As we just mentioned, the tricorne hat may be a soft plastic piece that fits over the 'standard' Jack Sparrow hair piece. The hair piece features a red bandanna and various trinkets in Jack's black hair. If the part is a singular piece, then it will still be spectacular nonetheless. One piece or two these are all new parts for the LEGO universe.

The heads are where many of the Captain Jack minifigures are differentiated. The head for this figure is dual-sided with a 'smirk' on one side and a worried expression on the other. As with many of the licensed themes the head color is light flesh.

The torso and arms are reddish brown with light flesh hands. The print on the torso resembles Jack's leather coat with the addition of a belt and striped sash. It is not known if there will be back printing on the torso.

The legs and hips are brown with print continuing the coattails and sash design that began on the torso.

The accessory shown with this figure is the standard Pirate cutlass that has appeared in LEGO Pirates sets for some time. Light blueish gray, however, is a new color for this part. There is also a 1x1 tile with a compass print that's seen with Jack in many of the sets.

I've been both amazed and amused at how well TLG captured the character's likeness in minifigure form. There's not much else they could have done to match the source material.

LEGO.com Bio
Coming Soon

Army Building Potential
The ABP for this minifigure is low. There is only one Captain Jack...  

The Big Draw
If the tricorne hat is a separate part which fits over the hair piece, it will likely be a very desirable element. To date you have had to make a make a choice between head gear or hair.

The torso and leg assembly combo could also be desirable for Pirate fans, as well.


(Back to the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Guides)

Thanks to Smashing Bricks for the hi-res images

New Pics of LEGO Alien Conquest and Ninjago Spinners


Just as I suspected...website Mikado Spieleland also has new hi-res images of LEGO Alien Conquest as well. We get a good look at that new gun design and nice close ups on the minifigures.

I was also able to confirm that the new Ninjago spinner sets have pics up too. Although the pictures aren't quite as good, you do get a sense of what the new Sensei Wu, Kruncha, and Wyplash will look like.

You can see more of Alien Conquest and Ninjago on Mikado Spieleland.

Best Buy to GameStop - "Not So Fast"!


It seems that GameStop won't be the only one who'll have the promotional Captain Jack. Best Buy is also offering this exclusive minifigure when you pre-order the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean video game through their stores.

Have we seen the last of these promotional offers? Will this minifig be the White Boba Fett of the season? Stay tuned to find out...

You can find out more at the Best Buy website.

New Pictures of Series 5 Collectible Minifigures


Series 4 is so-o-o five minutes ago...Series 5 is where it's at! Readers Jacob and Troy both sent me word that new images of the Series 5 Collectible Minifigures (8805) are currently on the toy site Mikado Spieleland. The image I could grab (above) was quite small, but there's a viewer on the site that gives you a close up look. There's also an image of the customary four by four grid of actual figs.

I'll be returning to the site shortly, as Brickset has seen new Hero Factory and I hear that new Ninjago spinners are on the site too. It's possible other treasures can be found.

Check it all out at Mikado Spieleland now.


UPDATE:  I was able to coax a much better picture from their site. I'm also including the grid pic of the actual figs above. Click on both for larger images.

Days of Future Past: LEGO Prototype Minifigures


I feel that I'm a fairly informed member of the AFOL community. I probably see 80% of the LEGO news and information that comes across the interwebs because of my involvement with the site. So I'm often surprised when I find a new trove of existing information that hasn't come across my desk.

Earlier today Flickr member Highonbricksshared a picture that was labeled 'Space Police 3 Proto Drawings' (you can see the image above). Several people asked where the picture was from to which he replied 'research'. Jumping to action I sought guidance from the love child of Sergey Brin and Larry Page (AKA I did a Google search), and I quickly found that Brickpedia has a 'prototypes' page where images of TLG protos can be found. There's a mixed bag of stuff in there, but there's an entire section dedicated to minifigures.

You can easily see from the image above which figs made the cut on Space Police 3 and those that didn't. There's are also early sculpts of the heads from Atlantis and a fig from a line that never launched called 'Seatron' (perhaps supplanted by Atlantis, me thinks).

Lot of great stuff to see! You can find the page on Brickpedia.

A special thanks to Highonbricks and The Brick Blog who eventually pointed the way.

3/22/11

Series 4 World Tour: Germany, Austria, and US East Coast

A couple of updates on Series 4 availability have come my way...

Brickset is reporting that Mueller Markt stores in Stuttgart and Winnenden, Germany are now getting Series 4 Collectible Minifigures. The reported price is €1.99 per pack.

Also via Brickset a commenter says Toys R Us in Graz, Austria has them in stock.

Finally there have been reports that Toys R Us in Virgina (US) are starting to see these rascally rascals too. The eastern seaboard has been fairly bare of pins on the Series 4 Rollout Map to date. This may be a sign they are starting to arrive.

More as it happens.

Hi-Res Renders Now Up on PotC Minifig Guide


Thanks to Leper, our resident Keeper of the Scrolls, and Smashing Bricks, we've been able to post hi-res renders of the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean minifigures! In the past we've held images like this back until we had a full guide entry ready to go...then we realized that was a rather silly thing to do!

On the main guide page, you will see items with the tag 'Coming Soon' those are links to the hi-res images. The links with the tag 'New' or 'Updated' have guide entries behind them.

In hindsight this seems like such an obvious 'fix'. We will likely do the same for other guides like Harry Potter and Star Wars. Do give us time, because the updates of Series 4 and Pirates of the Caribbean will take a little while.

So what are you waiting for?! Head on over to the PotC Minifig Guide and see all the images.

Thanks again to Smashing Bricks for providing the hi-res images!

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Minifigures

With Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the forth movie of the series, about to be released on May 20, 2011, we begin our guides on these LEGO minifigures. We may start seeing these sets in stores as early as mid-April.


Check back here for guides about mermaids, zombies, and Blackbeard, the pirate all pirates fear. Is that it? Well contrary to what Captain Jack Sparrow says, I think not!

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.
A big thanks to Smashing Bricks for all of these hi-res images!

The Series 4 Guide 'Upgrades' Continue

"You have something in your teeth, dear."
I was able to add the Hockey Player and Ice Skater to the upgraded guide entries last night. It looks like I'll upgrade a couple each night until I'm through the whole series. I could just take a single pic of each fig and put it up...but what fun would that be.

As always if you have specific questions about a figure, let me know and I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Cygnet
Minister of Information
Ugly Duck Command Center
Minifig Nation

You Have to Admit It...The Man Has Skill


JasBrick has recently procured a 'very expensive printer, with very expensive ink' and has since been testing various torso designs on minfigures. One of those tests was for a couple of henchmen for a Dark Knight style Joker.

Putting the printed torsos aside for a moment, you really have to appreciate how difficult if must be to paint a face that small and pack it so full of detail. I've seen similar designs on printed heads, but this is quite amazing!


If you are more keen on those printed torsos, you can check out more of Jas' tests on his Flickr stream.

Series 4 World Tour: Singapore


So are ya sick of me talking about the Series 4 Collectible Minifigures yet? Don't worry pretty soon you'll be sick of me talking about the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean minifigures...but back to the issue at hand.

Smashing Bricks informs that Series 4 may be available within the week. BricksWorld is promising product in stock at their Ngee Ann City location by March 29th and Plaza Singapura by the 31st.

Again, it feels like the global roll-out of this series have happened in record time, which I'm certain was no small logistics feat by TLG.

If you would like to learn more about Series 4 in Singapore, visit Smashing Bricks.

3/21/11

Let the Series 4 Photos Begin!


One of the things I always look forward to when a new Collectible Minifig series or play theme launches, is how the various LEGO photographers will use them in new compositions. Chris McVeigh (powerpig) gives us this outbreak of the solanum virus in what appears to be Wall Street (why else would all those zombies be in identical suits?)

If the radiation symbol was a 'biological hazard' icon this shot would be perfect!

I think it's safe to say that The Hazmat Guy will be appearing in many more shots in the coming weeks. I'm hoping to also see some creative use of the 'B-team' of collectible minifigures. There's one custom minifig I'm really holding out hope for. I've even decided on a title for the post when I see it. I'll give you a hint...'Happy Trees'.

You can see more of Chris' work on Flickr. As always, Chris also sells his work via RedBubble.

UPDATE: Chris has posted a lighting 'how-to' on his Set-Ups page for this very shot. Very informative for those budding toy photographers!