Saturday, September 16, 2017

A bit of a slow-down

Hey all, I just wanted to post a bit of an update on the recent reduction in my upload rate.  About a week ago I gave myself some time for a much-needed reprieve from the 7 day/week work schedule, to be a little more present around the house, catch up with friends, and play some video games.  Then, a few days ago I fell a bit ill with something that has kind of knocked me off my feet and ruined my focus in waves.  Right now I'm spending a lot of time resting so that I can get back to full strength.  I've tried working on some builds from the couch, but found my brain to be too scrambled to do things right.  So, I'm going to wait this one out.

Don't worry, I'll be back in business soon :)

[Update: Turns out it was a potentially more serious bit of illness than I originally thought.  Yikes.  Good thing I rested and my immune system was able to take care of things.]

Thursday, September 14, 2017

LEGO Creator Winter Village Station review 10259

I might not have gotten the UCS Falcon, but here's another set that was released in stores today, and I think it's quite nice!  It costs 1/10th as much and comes with just two fewer minifigures :)

The best thing that could have happened to me today?

If you haven't heard by now, today was the launch of the biggest & biggest-deal LEGO set of all time, the second UCS Millennium Falcon.  It was also another frustrating day for countless fans who experienced outages & errors on Shop at Home (as on every. single. major release day) and ludicrous shortages at brick & mortar locations.  I encountered exceptionally bad traffic on my way to my nearest LEGO Store this morning, arriving 1.5 hours after I departed, just in time to see one of the $800 sets rolling out to the parking lot with its new owner (who had staked out the store since a little after 5am).  Before it, I would soon learn, had departed only two others.   To reinforce the arithmetic, I've just accounted for a total of three UCS Millennium Falcons leaving this site.

Three.  Also known as "a few."  That is the total number of sellable copies of the single largest & most-anticipated toy that were available at this brand storefront of the largest toy brand in the entire world.  You might think I have a run-down, forsaken LEGO brand store in a particularly poor retail location.  However, in the parking lot right outside was a Maserati, a Bentley, and more Teslas, Benzes & Bimmers than I cared to count.  Also, from what I've since heard, there were other LEGO stores that received the identical allocation of "a few."  The largest numbers I've heard of so far were in the mid-teens.

Nearly three hours after I left my house, I had returned, disappointed, but pondering whether to venture back out the following day per the store manager's suggestion that additional stock might arrive overnight.  Once again I considered the long drive and how early I'd need to embark.  I mapped out an updated best-case schedule in my mind with at least 4 hours of near-zero productivity just to buy the thing and put up a quick "look I got it, I'm going to build it, it's as big as you know it is, please be patient" video.  Then would come an estimated 2 days for building, publishing the time-lapse build, and prepping the studio for the review.  A proper review would take at least another full day to create.

After all of the dust settled, I would then need to figure out what to do with the completed monstrosity.  I have no place to display it.  I have no interest in re-arranging any major part of my house to create a space to display it.  I personally have little interest in owning this thing. Meanwhile, sponsored media outlets received the product a week ago and some have already completed their builds.  What am I doing?!  This is madness!  I'm pressuring myself to spend nearly $900 USD (tax is a thing) on one single LEGO set, that I don't personally want, to then spend a further 3-4 days building & filming it (with no time for anything else), to publish a review video that will provide little to no value to potential buyers (who've already bought it or at least tried), and be left with a huge burden of an object I don't know what to do with.


I'm confident it would be a huge waste to proceed, probably the dumbest decision I'd have made with respect to any hobby ever, and certainly a bad choice for you viewers.  The amount of original content I can create with that outrageous sum of money and/or that shocking number of hours makes the option of toiling to publish one of 30 or 40 UCS Falcon YouTube reviews (all showing the exact same things) seem... inadvisable.

Of course not everyone will agree, but my decision is not up for debate.  I will not be returning to the LEGO store tomorrow.  Will I ever buy the mega-Falcon?  I won't rule it out 100%, but I'm looking forward to doing a lot of better things with my money & time before I even begin to consider it again.

Talk about a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

LEGO Star Wars The Last Jedi & TFA minifigs so far!

A quick look at the sequel trilogy minifigs & droids that have accumulated up to this point, as well as a comparison between the TFA & TLJ collections as things currently stand.  Expect a lot more to come for the latter, and not much more for the former.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

LEGO Dimensions Wave 9 set preview

Yet another different agency processing some of LEGO's promotions has sent over a box of stuff, this time the as-yet unreleased final wave of Dimensions boxed sets.  No word yet on the Lord Vortech release.

Mega Construx Halo Arctic Jackrabbit Assault review

Mega's Halo-related releases have slowed a bit recently, but this is a nice figure pack with a good small vehicle from Halo Wars 2.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

LEGO Star Wars The Last Jedi full wave mini-review

With the legal threat expired and LEGO having apologized, I'm able to get back to normal content, including stuff related to The Last Jedi.  For Force Friday II I've tried something new, with a single video not only bringing all of the sets together on-screen at once, but re-reviewing them rapid-fire style.  For folks who haven't seen my long-form reviews and who don't want to spend the time, this allows me to still provide a decent in-person overview of features along with my thoughts.

Want to buy any of these and also help support the channel? You can use my Amazon affiliate link to the most recent LEGO Star Wars sets (or browse/search for anything after clicking). Everything will be the standard price for you (when in stock), but I may get a very small commission.  Completely optional though and please don't buy anything you don't want :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why I took down my Star Wars The Last Jedi reviews (for a bit)

Update: On Aug. 31 LEGO posted an apology as comment on YouTube and explained that the takedown notice was a mistake.

Earlier this past day I abruptly took all of my LEGO SW:TLJ reviews offline in response to an email from "The LEGO Group Brand Protection" demanding the same.  This email carefully listed each relevant post on this blog and each YouTube video individually and closed with a very clear threat:
"Further legal action may be pursued if this situation cannot be resolved."
After meticulously evaluating every word of the nearly screen-sized message and investigating its source, I chose to comply first, question later, and question later I did with a reply (to which no follow-up response has been received as of this writing, though in fairness it hasn't been very long).  Within less than one minute of taking my videos down, though, there were fan questions as well as theories about the disappearances being posted on multiple videos.  Obviously I needed to make an explanation to viewers, and fast, so I put together a brief, but very carefully crafted, text-only message on my channel:
As noted there, I do not believe LEGO is the original source of this threat, though they delivered it fully under their banner (via an agency they employ).  As noted there, I am confident this threat is erroneous and unfounded and that I have committed absolutely no wrongdoing in the matter.

I will not lose any sleep over this.  I will not be calling for a boycott of LEGO or Disney over this.  I will not make a video of me smashing LEGO Star Wars sets with a sledgehammer over this.  I will not stop reviewing LEGO sets or building my LEGO city over this.  Heck, I have not lost any of my passion and love for LEGO products over this.  

Believe it or not, I have not even lost any of my feeling that LEGO is one of the most very most ethical of the money-minting big corporations in the world.  One mistake, how ever aggravating, does not change everything for me just because I was wronged personally.  There's a much bigger picture in life in general, and over-reaction based upon personal emotion is nearly always 100% detrimental and non-constructive.

Star Wars The Last Jedi products from LEGO and other companies have been appearing on shelves with no checkout restriction at ever more major chain stores across the United States over the past couple of weeks, coast to coast, and are now in the UK & Australia* as well (and even official LEGOLAND stores!!!?!!).  In just two short days, these things will be released at even more locations, at which point this whole ordeal will become fully moot and I will bring my videos back from the dead.

* As of Aug. 30 evening, user "Black-Key Productions" on YouTube reports that Myers in Australia has pulled TLJ sets from shelves and Melbourne's LEGOLAND Discovery Center has none out.  It's good to hear that some attention is being pointed in the correct direction, towards the actual problem.  I hope the significant social media buzz about the issue following by my decision to comply with the demands rather than quietly defy them will help reduce the mess of the next big release.

Saturday, August 26, 2017