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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

LEGO Star Wars The Last Jedi Resistance Transport Pod review 75176

Here's one of the littler sets of the first wave of TLJ releases, and I think it may be one of the better.

LEGO Star Wars The Last Jedi First Order Heavy Scout Walker review! 75177

Funky!  What a bizarre design to bring to the Empire.  Er, I mean First Order.  I would expect this Jansen walker-inspired form of locomotion to be associated with a non-human fighting force.  It just looks all sorts of weird to me.

LEGO Star Wars BB-8 large scale model review! 75187

This isn't overtly branded "Ultimate Collector Series," but it's essentially a UCS BB-8, scaled similar to the previous large R2-D2 build.  It's not particularly large in person, but the features are pretty sweet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

LEGO Star Wars The Last Jedi First Order Heavy Assault Walker review 75189

Hot on the heels of the official revelation of the AT-M6 walker, here's my first Episode VIII set review.

Mega Construx Destiny 2 Cabal Harvester Dropship review

The latest big set of the older-builder lines from Mega released this week and I spent a solid day and night sorting, building, and filming it.  The Destiny 2 hype could not be more real for me!  It'll be sad abandoning my three lvl. 400 characters with their 700+ hours of investment and especially my 2014 beta & legacy emblems, but the D2 beta showed great promise for the styles & pace of gaming I enjoy.

Anyway, let's have a good look at this 2,300+ piece Mega Construx set.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The biggest ever expansion to New Jang City revealed

After countless hours spent measuring potential changes in this room and simultaneously developing several dramatic redesigns of my layout in BlueBrick, a final plan was locked in and hundreds of pounds of LEGO and furniture have been moved.  This is only the first step, though.

Ninjago City 70620 vs. LEGO Creator modular buildings

This was a contextual comparison just begging to be made, so I took a few minutes to quickly make it happen.  It looks a lot better than I thought it would, actually, and almost seems like it could make sense in the fanciful world of LEGO.

Friday, August 18, 2017

LEGO Ninjago City build & review videos 70620

My latest two-day building & reviewing excursion has been dedicated to what I believe is the single largest & most detailed made-for-minifigs set yet.  It was time well spent and I look forward to harvesting many of these juicy delicious new parts for reuse!


LEGO Caveman & Cavewoman promotional minifig pack review 5004936

New freebie for August here featuring exclusive new variations of some older CMF figures.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

More major city progress already

For the first time in what feels like forever, I was able to dedicate time to work on the city without having to film a highly-anticipated build or review.  It was nice while it lasted.  Back to total dedication to building & reviewing for another day or two, before getting back to what I really want to work on for a handful of days before the September 1 Star Wars deluge.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Big changes to the LEGO city begin!

I told you all I'd start tangible work on this big quickly, and here we go!  I'm pretty confident things are going to end up looking much different than this first video suggests.  I never expected to make as substantive of a change to this layout as has just begun to unfold, but it's going to make so many things, so much better, in so many ways.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

LEGO Ninjago Movie Master Falls review 70608

I've become so accustomed to LEGO's inclusion of transformative play features in nearly ever set that when there are none, I almost don't know how to react.  Is this real life?

LEGO Disney Cinderella's Enchanted Evening review 41146

It's hard to believe it has been almost 4 years since I reviewed the last version of this set, back when I was still a total newbie with a poor handle on audio EQ and hadn't yet figured out how to film white sets against a white background :)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

LEGO Juniors Ninjago Movie Shark Attack review 10739

I would expect a Juniors set for a LEGO movie to mostly recycle existing elements & themes with really simple builds, but this one introduces some pretty nice prints and has a decent amount of play value.

LEGO Ninjago Movie Spinjitzu Training review 70606

The LNM theme needs more truly small, impulse buy style sets like this!  Well let's be honest, every theme does :)

LEGO Technic Air Race Jet 42066 review

This build too much longer to complete than the parts count would suggest.  Each moving part inside seemed to be connected to at least 3 other moving parts in convoluted chains of beams & adapters.  Most of the mechanisms actually remained incompletely & only partly testable until very late in the assembly when vanity panels were being introduced.  Definitely not for novices.

LEGO Technic 2-in-1 Container Yard review 42062

This 2-in-1 set actually gives you the option of two pairs of builds, each being functionally similar, though quite different in overall design.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

LEGO Ninjago Movie Manta Ray Bomber review 70609

This set left me with the most unusual feeling that LEGO included too much and would have been better trimmed back with less details & features.

LEGO Ninjago Movie Lightning Jet review 70614

This is nice!  A different look, a different build, very high swooshability, a feature-rich compact bad guy vehicle, and a good selection of figures.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

LEGO Ninjago Movie mini Ice Tank polybag review! 30427

This thing is like high art for the incredibly restrictive constraints placed upon polybag set design, with a low part count and extreme ease of assembly required.  I definitely could not have done better, myself.

LEGO Ninjago Movie Garma Mecha Man build & review 70613

They should have released a puppymonkeybaby set instead.

See the video.

It'll all make sense.



LEGO Ninjago Movie Destiny's Bounty build & review 70618

Bravo, LEGO, bravo.  With the notable exception of one missing type of detail, this is close to perfection for a set that has to be buildable by the mass market.


Friday, August 4, 2017

LEGO Justice League Battle of Atlantis 76085 review

More sand green, a few new part colors, one more over-achieving Parademon.  How I mention to spend 8 minutes looking at this very small set, I may never understand.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

LEGO Ninjago Movie Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon review 70617

Here's another of the larger sets from the first wave of the Ninjago Movie theme.  Its aspect ratio is completely different from what I was expecting based on the box art!  One dimension is much greater than anticipated, but another is disappointingly average at best.

DK Books LEGO NEXO Knights Build Your Own Adventure set

I've not tried out any of these Build Your Own Adventure books prior to this week, but they're really, really good.  I bought mine for the included figure and build, but was impressed by the main content.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mega Construx Destiny Iron Song Ghost Shell unboxing & review! SDCC 2017 exclusive

I thought 2015's Halo-themed convention exclusive set was nice, but this takes things to an even higher level still.  The packaging alone is stunning and the figure is near perfect.  I'd say the buildable ghost shell itself may even be the least impressive item here.

The very brief bonus edit at the end of the video will only be fully appreciated by some of the more dedicated players of the game :)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

All 25 LEGO Collectible Minifigure series -- 400+ figures!

It has been almost a year since the most recent (and first) video of my wall o' minifigures, and with a full new column filled up I thought it'd be a good time to revisit the scene and also take more of a proper trip back through history in contrast to my previous focus on the layout & construction of the display.
The very next series that comes out will require me to compress everything to the left for the first time, but that'll take care of the space needs until 2019.  After that, I'll need to reduce the sizes of the plates to fit!

Friday, July 28, 2017

LEGO Power Miners Titanium Command Rig 8964

Happy Flashback Friday everyone!  Here's a large set I remember seeing on shelves towards the end of my last dark age.  I never realized what all it could do.

Looking at sets from this theme recently has me realizing something peculiar.  Power Miners invokes a ton of nostalgia in a notable, vocal segment of my viewerbase.  It seems to be 2000s version of Classic Space in that way, having captured the hearts of a generation of LEGO fans.  However that nostalgic love clashes with a major factual reality of the theme, and with parallel distaste for some aspects of modern sets.

People frequently complain that LEGO prices have gotten so much higher than they were in "the good old days."  However, adjusted for inflation, the widely loved Power Miners series averaged a cringeworthy $0.15 USD per part!  Many of these sets had an unusually high percentage of larger-than-normal parts, but still, 8708 Cave Crusher was an Earth-shattering, wallet-obliterating inflation-adjusted $.22/part!  Folks say that licensed themes especially have driven prices sky high, yet obviously Power Miners was a LEGO original IP with its exorbitant price/part ratios.  

I also regularly hear laments about today's sets focusing too much on action features to the detriment of everything else, and much of this feedback comes from teens for whom "the good old days" means the 2000s.  When I look at this shining lime green & bright orange star of that decade, I see action features positively dominating every build.

Nostalgia certainly bends perceptions, but has it led to double standards that are completely beyond the realm of reason?

New 2017 Mega Construx Halo ODST Drop Pods reviewed

Hey, hey!  I managed to catch these online before they went out of stock!  They're not yet at stores in my local area, though evidently they've been available in some regions for months, along with the cryotubes and a number of other sets I continue to wait for most impatiently.

LEGO City Jungle Buggy review 60156

Here's one of the smallest sets in the Jungle Exploration line, released with what in the US is the second wave of Summer sets for City.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Updated LEGO NEXO Knights year 2 battlefield display!

Well, then!  The last time I showed this space I was pretty embarrassed about how plain & empty it appeared, but no more!  With the season 4 sets added, it's absolute mayhem!  Based on my experiences with this display, in the future I think I'm going to keep these sorts of dioramas more shallow (speaking of physical dimensions) to improve accessibility.  It gets tricky reaching the back and center areas without knocking anything else down, and maneuvering the camera around is especially challenging!

LEGO Ninjago Movie Cole's Quake Mech polybag review 30379

What a tease, LEGO can be!  Previously they released the 4-stud-wide minature London Bus as a promotional item, and only months later did they come out with the real deal.  I'm 95% certain we'll be witnessing the same pattern with this mech, and I'm eager to see how they solve the monowheel stability challenge on the big one.