Thursday, December 31, 2015

LEGO Bionicle 2016 Pohatu Uniter of Stone review! 71306


New Bionicle review season kicks off with the Toa, I mean Master, I mean Uniter of Stone, Potato, I mean Pohatu...

JANGBRiCKS Bionicle 2016 wave 1 FAQ!


It's frequently asked questions time!  This post specifically covers questions applicable to my 2016 wave 1 LEGO Bionicle set reviews.
  • Q: Why change the speed build style? Where are the clicking sounds?
    • A: The previous way took an inordinate amount of time to edit.  I need more time to work on (city) MOCs, so this was a conscious and essential compromise.  I will not change back.
  • Q: Why did you not show all of the new parts in the _________ review?
    • A: Going into depth about the same new parts in every review would be unbearably repetitive and annoying to viewers.  I will do some summary work after all of the reviews.
  • Q: Which do you prefer, 2015 or 2016 sets?
    • A: After reviewing all of the sets I will cover this in a summary video.
  • Q: What's your favorite set from 2016 wave 1
    • A: After reviewing all of the sets I will cover this in a summary video.
  • Q: Will you do 2016 Bionicle MOCs?
    • A: It depends upon whether inspiration strikes.  My city is my top priority for MOC work.
  • Q: How do I make my videos look exactly like yours?

FAQ: Why do you pronounce "AT-AT" phonetically?

Q: Why do you pronounce "AT-AT" phonetically?

  • A: The term "AT-AT" is never mentioned in any of the Star Wars movies -- they're referenced only as "Imperial Walkers."  However:
    • ILM model maker Charlie Bailey, who physically worked on the AT-AT scenes in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, says the English word "at" twice in rapid succession in the Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-Ray extras.
    • J.J. Abrams, director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, uses the phonetic pronunciation on the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-Ray when referencing the AT-AT that Rey lives in.
    • See the very first public mention of the AT-AT by name in the original 1981 Kenner commercial. Phonetic.
    • See the second commercial mention.  Phonetic.
    • Even LEGO previously used the oldest & once most common, military-style phoneticism.
    • This phonetic pronunciation was once even verified "correct" (or certainly at least quite valid) by a Lucasfilm representative.
I do pronounce the letters of AT-ST, AT-TE, AT-DP, etc. I'd say the vast majority folks who were actually alive during the times of the original trilogy use the original phonetic pronunciation, while much younger folk gravitate towards uniformity across the entire AT line.

The fact is, pronouncing the letters is always perfectly fine for acronyms*! 

  • Dave Filioni, Star Wars: Clone Wars (animated TV show) director and Star Wars: Rebels director, casually called out the phonetic pronunciation, "My favorite Imperial's the at at driver," in this interview at the 3:27 mark.  He then immediately pivots the conversation directly towards the vicious worldwide fan debate over the pronunciation of the 4-legged walker's designation:
    • "I say you can say at at, you can say ay-tee ay-tee, and you can say walker. I'm for all three. And that's canon because in the show I have Imperials say 'walkers,' I have them say 'at at,' and I have them say 'ay-tee ay-tee.' But you get these extremists that just want to say it's one way all the time..."
So to be even more clear on my own personal stance, you can (and should) quote me when I say there's absolutely nothing wrong with saying "ayy-tee ayy-tee." However, being a 30+ year fan of the franchise I personally choose to stick to the original way.
How come nobody ever complains about phonetic pronunciation of "TIE," "ARC-170", or "4-LOM?" Talk about double standards.  Can't we all just get along... together?


* I had to made that sentence ridiculously huge a year in because detractors always conveniently, intentionally tried to ignore it every single time they read this FAQ just to be stubbornly argumentative and falsely claim that I said the exact opposite. Sigh.

FAQ: Is Disney licensing jacking up LEGO Star Wars & Marvel set prices?

Q: Is Disney licensing jacking up LEGO Star Wars & Marvel set prices?

  • A: That's a major (though common) misconception. Actual data shows that on the whole LEGO spreads license costs across their entire product range; licensed sets on average have nearly identical price/part ratios to non-licensed, original themes. You can research the numbers for yourself on Brickset. A quick example search for 2016 shows 60108, a fire helicopter set, at $0.156/part with 3 figures, compared to 75139 Battle on Takodana (which is unquestionably expensive for what it is) at $0.147/part with 5 figures. City police 60128 is $0.136/part with 2 figures, compared to the SW Resistance Transporter at $0.108/part with 4 figures. The reality is, LEGO sets are becoming ever more complex with ever more parts, and prices are growing with that complexity. Take the 1999 X-Wing, with 266 pieces ($0.16/part adjusted for inflation), compared to the current one, with 717 ($0.11/part).  For a fascinating, purely objective, data-based exploration of this phenomenon from a few years ago, see the Reality Prose article "What Happened to LEGO."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LEGO City 2016 Van & Caravan build & review! set 60117


I believe I've yet to see a LEGO camper, RV, or travel trailer set I disliked.  There's something about this subject matter that seems to lend itself extraordinarily well to the LEGO format.

Videos:

LEGO Nexo Knights Knighton Battle Blaster build & review! set 70310


So many Nexo Knights sets to cover!  Here's one of the smaller boxed sets of the first wave.

Videos:

LEGO Star Wars First Order Battle Pack review! set 75132


Stormtrooper-focused battle packs are probably the most desirable of the inexpensive figure-massing sets LEGO makes, but I feel like they didn't quite get this new one right.  I feel the call of a minor revamp...

LEGO Star Wars Resistance Trooper Battle Pack review! set 75131


Here's LEGO's first tool for massing Rebel, I mean Resistance scum, I mean fighters, for the Star Wars sequel trilogy era.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

LEGO City 2016 Fire Ladder Truck build & review! 60107


Here's the latest basic fire truck-by-itself set from the 2016 LEGO City line.  It's similar in overall design to the version that came with 2010's fire station set and replaces the 2013 fire truck that had a larger cabinet section.

Videos: 

LEGO Friends Heartlake Supermarket review! set 41118


Two things:  1) Sushi, 2) chocolate bar.  Both of these appear in this set as new prints, and they are brilliant.  The rest of the set is pretty cool, too.

LEGO Star Wars Poe's X-Wing Fighter mini polybag! 30278 review


Well, this polybag didn't make it to stores in my area for Christmas, but I nabbed it the first time I saw it to bring you all a very quick look at it, along with a view from a couple angles next to the larger model.

Monday, December 28, 2015

LEGO City 2016 Police Patrol Boat review! set 60129


Some of the elements of the main boat in this set I really like, but for the price overall I feel it falls a little flat.  I think after I've collected the full Police series for this season I'll do a little revamp to this one.

A look through the LEGO US January 2016 catalog


A surprising number of viewers have enjoyed my looks at vintage catalogs in the past, so this time I decided to share a browse through something current, for kicks.

Mega Bloks Halo Heroes Series 1 Spartan Defender review


This single figure pack has one of the coolest weapon paint jobs Mega Bloks has ever done, but the Spartan is easily my least favorite from this Heroes series so far.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

LEGO City 2016 Fire Station review! set 60110


LEGO's latest City Fire Station incarnation is bigger and has far more pieces than the last, and in my opinion most of the sub-assemblies are significantly better than their equivalent predecessors.  A lot of LEGO fans love to complain about the existence of the always-popular police & fire lines, but countless kids love 'em, and I think LEGO did a great job with this playset.

LEGO Star Wars Poe Dameron action figure review! set 75115


Saw the movie for the second time with my wife today, came home & got right back to work on another LEGO Star Wars review for y'all :)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Custom LEGO hospital MOC progress #4


Amidst the work of acquiring, building, and reviewing the countless new sets coming out this season, I've made sure to save some time for some advancements on the ol' hospital!  It's time to get vertical!

LEGO Nexo Knights Jestro's Evil Mobile reviewed! set 70316


It's bad guy time for LEGO Nexo Knights!  Many more reviews from this theme to follow -- I'll be covering them all!

LEGO City 2016 Fire Response Unit review! set 60108


It's a fire services year in LEGO City and here's the helicopter set this time around.

Friday, December 25, 2015

LEGO City 2016 Ferry review! set 60119


"And now for something completely different."  LEGO has done a fair number of sets with "ferry" in the name, but this seems to be the very first to be designed to specifically work with minifigs.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

LEGO City 2016 Fire Boat review! set 60109


The latest LEGO City Fire Boat (literally) is upon us and it's pretty big, making only the second use of the split-stern hull from 2015.  Gotta say, I'm not too thrilled about the value here.

LEGO Nexo Knights: Fortrex + Merlok's Library combined!


I felt the Merlok's Library set was a bit lacking, but there's some good magic that happens when you connect it to The Fortrex, even reversing a bit of my original negative feedback about the former.

LEGO Nexo Knights Fortrex castle review! set 70317


Alright, for everyone who's already a fan of, or even just curious about LEGO Nexo Knights, this is the heavy hitter of the first wave, the big mobile castle headquarters.  This theme is not for everyone, but for folks who do like it, I feel this is a great investment with more fun play value packed into it than I've seen in most sets, ever.

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes Heroes of Justice: Sky High Battle 76046 review!


The full official name of this set is so long it's just silly.  This is Batman's new Batwing from the upcoming Dawn of Justice movie.  It presents a good price per part ratio, new design concepts, and a desirable selection of named character minifigs, but it's not without its flaws.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

LEGO Creator Brick Bank detailed review! set 10251


Here's the latest LEGO modular building, the Brick Bank, in hand & looked over from all angles.  This one has some fun & sneaky play features that can be used to tell a story much like the Detective's Office.  The set introduces some new prints (zero stickers!) as well as useful new colors of shared parts.  Some nice minifig components in there, too!

Monday, December 21, 2015

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Avenjet Space Mission review! set 76049


Here's another LEGO Marvel Super Heroes set derived from the Avengers Assemble cartoon.  I suspect this'll appeal to a pretty broad range of fans, not just followers of the show.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mega Bloks Halo Heroes Series 1 Master Chief Mk. IV review!


This is an extra-detailed micro action figure version of John-117 as seen in the movie Forward Unto Dawn and also the animated short The Package.  I think it's a fantastic collectible to be able to purchase at such a low price, but it's not perfect.

Mega Bloks Halo Heroes Series 1 Spartan Thorne review!


Finally (after a whopping two weeks) something new from Mega Bloks' Halo line has been released for their fans to look at :D

Saturday, December 19, 2015

LEGO Star Wars TFA first sets vs. real: How'd they do?


No plot spoilers here, no spoilers in the video either!  With Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens now out, I'm finally able to put away all of the theories & interpretations of tiny bits of blurry trailer framegrabs and compare these LEGO sets to their real movie counterparts.  I take a look at each wave 1 vehicle up close once more, one at a time, and discuss how I feel they compare to the actual source material.

Wave 2 sets hit stores January 1!

Improved LEGO Kylo Ren's Shuttle - Star Wars TFA movie version MOD


LEGO had to design their first Kylo Ren Command Shuttle set based upon what we can only assume was limited, early information.  By September when the set was released, we consumers already had the benefit of some production renderings of the ship to refer to, and I quickly discovered an easy modification to allow the wings to fold as needed.  After watching the movie today, I was inspired to immediately begin work on a couple additional modifications to make the model significantly more faithful to the fantastically evil beauty of a beast.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

LEGO DC Super Heroes Kryptonite Interception review! set 76045


The new LEGO Dawn of Justice version Batmobile is upon us in full minifig scale!  How well did they do?

LEGO Nexo Knights Clay's Rumble Blade review! set 70315


This is my first review from the new LEGO Nexo Knights theme, and I think I may have mistakenly picked my favorite to lead off with.  There ended up being really nothing I disliked about the set.  I wish it was a little cheaper, but given that this is really a whole playset that happens to assemble together into one vehicle, it's really not bad.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Iron Skull Sub Attack review! set 76048


Here's a new LEGO Marvel Super Heroes set that draws its inspiration straight out of the Avengers Assemble cartoon.

A proper minifig-scaled sub would probably have been a $3,000 set, but I'm pretty happy with what LEGO came up with for a $30 version :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

LEGO City 2016 Fire Utility Truck review! set 60111


For 2016 LEGO City's fire and police lines both get revamped, and this is the first representative of the former I've been able to find in stores.  More to come over the next 2-3 weeks!

Monday, December 14, 2015

LEGO Mars Mission ETX Alien Mothership Assault review! set 7691


This set features the largest (bad) alien ship in the Mars Mission line.  It should be pretty fantastic.  It isn't.

Shopkins Kinstructions buildable Bakery review!


The first Shopkins Kinstructions set I reviewed was the big Town Center, and while I really liked the overall idea of the crossover between the brand and standardized brick-based construction sets, that specific building had some assembly oddities to it.  This more modest-sized set has a more straightforward design that's a lot more difficult to get wrong.

McFarlane Game of Thrones Lannister Banner Pack review


I wanted to try just one of the three new "Banner Packs" McFarlane Toys released in the first wave of their Game of Thrones construction line.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Mega Bloks Call of Duty Black Ops 3 Wraith Attack set review


Finally found a space to slot this review in.  Fans quickly revolt if I cover too many non-LEGO products in too short of a period of time, even though I run a brick-based construction set channel and not a LEGO channel, so I have to spread other things out :)

LEGO Disney Princess Anna & Kristoff's Sleigh Adventure review! 41066


One more representative from Frozen for this season's LEGO Disney Princess lineup.

LEGO Dimensions Foundation Prime story gameplay pt. 2


Finally some fresh movement on the LEGO gaming front.  I finished recording the campaign and footage from all of the Adventure Worlds in the first half of October, but haven't been able to prioritize editing & rendering them up, especially when many viewers seem to have gone cold on the game overall.

Friday, December 11, 2015

LEGO Star Wars ARC-170 Starfighter from 2010! set 8088


Here's the second minifig-scale ARC-170 that LEGO did, 5 years after the first.  Another 5 years later, instead of another direct redesign, they'd release the Microfighters version :)

LEGO Launch Command Moon Walker from 1995! set 6516


I can never get too much LEGO space-themed stuff, especially ones that were semi-realistic in the vein of space exploration, like the classics.

LEGO Creator Jeep polybag from 2009! set 7803


This little promotional polybag giveaway from some years back looks a lot like the primary build from 2016's little 3-in-1 boxed set :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

LEGO Aqua Raiders Deep Sea Treasure Hunter from 2007


Yet another LEGO yellow submarine.  Will I ever get tired of these?  It certainly hasn't happened yet, as I saw still another in the bin while digging this one out to build :)

Shopkins Kinstructions buildable Shopville Town Center review


Yet another popular brand has made the jump over to the world of brick-built sets, this time with C3 Toys (makers of WWE Stackdown & NBA buildable sets) making Shopkins buildable sets for Moose Toys.  I picked what I believe is the biggest set of the first wave to "check out."