Sunday, December 31, 2017

Star Wars The Last Jedi set collection summaries


With the second wave of TLJ sets in the books, I've gone back to take a look at the entire lot together, first checking out the (brick-based) builds, then the series of minifigs that so far number far less than we got for TFA.

Videos:


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Epic set review season continues


Over the past two short weeks I've purchased more than $2,700 USD worth of new sets (above is pictured barely over 1/3rd of that) and published 42 videos of them.  That adds to the over 45 reviews made during the 5 weeks prior, with a sprinkling of hauls & throwbacks interspersed.  I haven't gone back to check previous years, but this feels like my most productive Winter season to date, though it's not yet over!  Still at least two dozen late-2017 & early 2018 items remain in the queue to cover before I can take a deep breath & relax for a moment or two. 

With this volume of production obviously I've not been able to keep the blog updated, and I must apologize for that; it's not a situation I'm happy with, but I'm running right around maximum capacity, requiring some things to fall by the wayside in favor of the top priority.  As always, if you want to stay on top of what I'm publishing on YouTube, the best thing to do is check the channel itself on a regular basis.  Keep in mind that even if you subscribe, and even if you click "the bell," YouTube will still often decide not to notify you of new content from me, instead prioritizing things "the algorithm" believes will lead to higher ad revenue for the company.  'Tis just how 'tis.

Well, back to work I go!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Another big win for the channel

A couple of months ago I wrote about a milestone I had achieved in a process with YouTube that got a little flag of what I simply called "trust" applied to my account.  That flag allowed me to proceed down a path that's very rarely opened to content creators as small and independent as me, and I'm happy to report that this week I have successfully reached the destination.

I have been granted use of the Content ID system, YouTube's semi-automated copyright protection framework.  The system is unfortunately much maligned due to a history of hyperactivity and abuse by improperly-trained and overly claim-happy administrators, but in the past year or so it received an important rework that has made it much more fair for everyone.  Besides, I have no intention to use this thing for evil.  I couldn't get away with it if I tried.  Remember, I'm the guy who got a what amounted to a cease & desist order from a LEGO IP agent for reviewing toys that were being sold... at LEGOLAND. 

What Content ID will do for the JANGBRiCKS channel is provide better protection from the vast re-upload industry; people around the world who blatantly copy entire channels worth of videos to try to skim off traffic and revenue from unsuspecting viewers.  Rather than relying on vigilant viewers reporting illegal copies of my work, and then having to use the slow and agonizingly repetitive manual copyright claim process, I will begin to see potential claims brought to me directly in the system, and I can act upon them with a few clicks.

Interestingly, Content ID is not fully automatic like I used to think.  Though I'm fully set up, I still have to manually activate it on a video by video basis, which means it'll be awhile before all of my existing content is protected.  I'm also going to take care to follow the terms of service and code of conduct in the most strict manner, which includes manually self-reporting any segments of videos that feature content that I did not fully create.  Mega Construx videos with little bits of video game footage, for example, need special treatment.  Older reviews with longer intros before narration begins require exclusions where I used licensed music versus tracks I produced myself.  I don't want anything to go sideways with this.

Though I have a lot of grunt work ahead of me, the most harrowing and uncertain part of the process, getting in the door, is behind.

LEGO Technic Racing Yacht 42074 review


I hoped this set would be good.  The main build is.  The second build makes it even better!

Full set of Mega Construx Destiny Series 1 individual figures reviewed


Mega's Destiny line has demonstrated, in my view, the pinnacle of their design and production capabilities since its inception.  That has certainly not changed with this latest lowest-cost product offering.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

LEGO City Mountain Arrest 60173 review


Black bear!  Beehive!  Double-face head!  Alright!  Net shooter, large heli with hardly any space, hrmm.  It's a fairly average set overall, but one thing that really hurts is the price.

Mega Construx Call of Duty Flamethrower Shock Troopers review


I'm happy to see Mega being able to take advantage of some of their WWII-themed molds actually during an era of a WWII themed Call of Duty game.  Beyond the marketing stuff, though, this is actually a rather excellent WWII miniatures set in general.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

LEGO 2017 promotional Nutcracker 40254 review


One of the more visible, "present" holiday presents from LEGO in recent memory, this seasonal freebie even has a working action feature!  Well, sort of...

LEGO City 2018 Monster Truck 60180 review


Big truck!  At first glance I thought this thing was comically oversized, but in reality it has a standard sized cab plays (really) well with the modern standard size of City cars.

LEGO Technic WHACK! & BASH! pullback cars reviewed


Those names.  Oh, those names!  I don't even know what to say about that.  These are two good cars to play with, though a bit expensive for their size & complexity.

Mega Construx Halo Banished Banshee Brawl review


Color me happily surprised.  I am not a big Banshee fan and expected this to be just another fine representation of an unexciting piece of source material.  Well, I was wrong.  The main build is very good with 10 unique printed parts, the figures are unique & recognizable, and we get the brand new splaser with splaserbeam.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

LEGO City Dirt Road Pursuit 60172 review


Well hello, Mountain Police, nice to meet you, how do you do?  I see you forget the old adage, "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression."  Pity.

LEGO City 2018 Forest Tractor 60181 review


This.  This is a good toy.  The articulating arm is so simple in its construction, but its playability gets a 10/10.  Plus the whole vehicle looks pretty nice just sitting idle on a table.  This is City at its very best, a proper modernization of everything that made the late 80s & early to mid 90s Town vehicles so well-loved.

Monday, November 27, 2017

LEGO Batman Movie The Joker Manor review 70922


Here's another one of those reviews that took an entire weekend to produce, from assembly of the 3,444 piece set with the help of its 2 lb., 451-page instruction manual, through uploading of the 22-minute edited-down video that drew from about 60 individual clips.  What a shame it is, then, that my overall opinion of the flagship set is less than glowing.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

LEGO City Ambulance Helicopter review 60179


It's always good to see LEGO retaining their focus on making what their primary market wants & likes.  This may even be one of their better medevac chopper toys (for play) of all time, thanks to a handful of much-needed and often missing details.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

LEGO Ninjago Movie Piranha Attack review 70629


Props to the designer of this set for using a host of the big specialized heli/airplane fuselage parts in a completely new way, that completely works!

Friday, November 24, 2017

LEGO City 2018 Pickup & Caravan review 60182


I feel like a broken record at this point, repeatedly conveying my jubilant satisfaction with every camper & RV set LEGO makes.  I almost feel like I'd be excited to see them get one wrong.

LEGO City Heavy Cargo Transport review 60183


Welcome to Flashback Friday!  Here's a 2018 set that hearkens back up to 30 years into the past.

LEGO Ninjago Wu Cru Master's Training Grounds review


In some regions this came out in early 2017.  In a limited number of others it came out in the middle of the year.  In my region, it just hit store shelves and was actually the first set of the season for me to come up with a "DO NOT sell until" embargo at the checkout register, listing a street date of Dec. 1, 2017.  A manager was kind enough to do an override... for this months-old... $4 set.

It's funny to see the diametrical shift in comments between two back-to-back videos, from "It is impossible for you to have this set because it does not yet even exist on the planet" to "This is set is so old it makes absolutely no sense for you to review it [sic]" in minutes!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

LEGO NEXO Knights Berserker Bomber review 72003


The value is strong in this one.  I think this is one of the most variably playable sets we've gotten at the $30 USD price point in recent memory.

Mega Construx Halo Spartan CTF Base Crashers review


This figure pack is about as straightforward as they come, with the only really special thing being the active camo figure and his weapon.

LEGO NEXO Knights Axl's Rolling Arsenal review 72006


I went down a bit of a roller-coaster of emotion with this set today, starting out liking & looking forward to it, then feeling really let down after completing the main chassis, and finally returning to a calm state of satisfaction with the removable components docked in place.

LEGO Ninjago "garmadon, Garmadon, GARMADON" set review 70656


A little bit of the spirit of Benny from the original LEGO Movie lives on in at least the title of this walking, large, yet miniaturized shark mech set.  This is definitely one of those times I do not envy LEGO designers, the development of this set being plagued by so many battling restrictions & requirements.  Against very difficult odds, I think they did about as good as anyone could reasonably ask.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Drone Explorer review 31071


The word "drone" entered the popular lexicon via early media hype over the rise of military recon & attack UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) around the turn of the millennium.  Originally the term was a reference to the sound and "dumb" flight characteristics of UAVs, which resembled that of male bees.  A decade later, media again mucked with the English language by applying the term to any and all multi-rotor remote-controlled aircraft, including cheap toy versions, regardless of capabilities.  Many ignorant news reports would even call single-rotor RC helicopters & airplanes "drones" and use quadcopter visual references because that's what they had gotten the public temporarily worked up about (with worries over privacy & safety).  Now LEGO has picked up this linguistic misappropriation and applied it to a model of a flying vehicle that's clearly supposed to be operated by an onboard pilot.  In other words, it's just an aircraft.  To be more specific you could call it a twin-rotor helicopter or bicopter, but it's not a "drone" by any stretch.

That concludes today's unsolicited lesson.  For weekend homework, write a 500-word essay on the the legal and ethical precedents for government regulation of remotely-piloted model aircraft for commercial vs. recreational use.  Pass/fail grading will be used.

:)

Mega Bloks Call of Duty Zombies Nuketown set review!


Timestamp 0:00 in this video sums up my strongest feelings about this set: "I can't believe I actually have this!"  High-quality photos of a pre-production version were leaked out in 2014 with an expected release of 2015, but that seemed to be the end of it.  Fast forward to 2016, and a few production sets went out to reviewers, suggesting that a release was actually going to occur, but that seemed to be the end of it, again!

Then, last week, I was browsing Amazon when the myth finally became reality for me, priced at $40 USD, shipped from Amazon warehouses with free shipping for Prime members.  Now, some viewers are reporting seeing this on shelves at Ross.  It's another case of a set that was produced in quantity, but never picked up by retailers as expected, then finally liquidated through clearance channels down the line.

Friday, November 17, 2017

LEGO NEXO Knights Aaron's X-Bow review 72005


Just from the pictures I expected the main build in this set to have scissoring wing transformation, Technic geared rotors with remote activation, and trigger-launched missiles.  Well, it has none of that.  It's evidently... less than meets the eye.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

LEGO Star Wars BrickHeadz Finn & Capt. Phasma review


Yep I got a couple more of these little things and I'm not particularly proud of it.  I felt like they had limited potential early on, and the situation hasn't particularly improved with time.  They're not bad, I just think they're not particularly great.

Mega Construx Destiny Heavy Pike Patrol review


While this is technically a Destiny 1 set, most of it is D2-relevant and the part that isn't still looks great to me.  The main build, though, is far too good for its own... good.  Color me impressed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Outback Adventures review 31075


That right there is a really nice, unique, detailed off-roader build with possibly an equally nice doge.  The other two official builds, though?  NO!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

LEGO NEXO Knights Twinfector review 72002


I have no idea what season 5 of the NEXO Knights TV show is going to be like, but the sets sure are shaping up nicely.

Monday, November 13, 2017

LEGO Friends 41325 Heartlake City Playground review


The social media popularity contest that is LEGO Ideas has produced a good number of compelling sets, but to date not a lot of real toys, like for kids.  UK LEGO Friends team to the rescue!  A set contest was run last year, open only to kids 6-12 years old, and the winning entry was used as the starting point to create... this!

LEGO NEXO Knights year 3 Tech Wizard Showdown feat. mech-ception


I felt like NEXO Knights was losing steam in the show and the physical sets alike in season 4, but here it looks like the franchise is poised for a valiant comeback attempt.  This is not just another colorful medium-sized mech.

Another, smaller LEGO Creator 3-in-1


Few people would call this an especially noteworthy set.  However, it costs a mere $10 USD (per build).  No bad, then?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Modular Skate House review 31081


This set has a couple major points of irony that luckily do not prevent this from being a very successful set.  However, do note the price and consider how much value you feel you would be getting.

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Daredevil Stunt Plane reviewed


It begins! Here's my first review of a LEGO set that has "2018" on the box, thus opening the yearly floodgates of viewer questions about how I got a set that's "not out until next year," adding to the normal seasonal "[I wrongly thought] this wasn't released yet therefore you are obviously a shameful lying fraud who sold your soul to LEGO" nonsense.  I will push through the completely unwarranted trash as I always do!  Viva la "block" button!

Mega Construx Halo 5 Grunt Mech set review


Sometimes less is more.  This build is far more compact than expected, and it just works.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

LEGO Ninjago Movie Quake Mech (big version) reviewed! 70632


New release season has begun, in typical roundabout fashion with some products appearing only at the handful of LEGOLAND locations in the world, some only in Asia & Europe, etc., etc.  You know the drill.  With both aftermarket & import prices continuing to balloon year over year, you will see me reviewing fewer & fewer LEGO sets when they hit the market.  I will instead wait for them to become available en masse in my region or at least at regular retail prices online, just like with Mega Construx products.  I can't keep chasing the ever increasing silliness.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Verified JANGBRiCKS accounts

In this post are listed real accounts owned & operated by me. Assume anything else is fake.

These are me:

Don't get fooled!

  • Check carefully for simple spoofing such as:
    • Extra spaces.
    • Dashes & underscores.
    • Substitutions between uppercase 'i', lowercase 'L', and the number '1'.
    • Swapped letters & misspellings. 
  • If you see any unusual content claiming to be from me, always first assume it is fake, then verify.
  • If someone contacts you claiming to me, assume it is fake, then verify.
  • If someone contacts you claiming to be my friend, personal acquaintance, or family member (whether close or distant), definitely assume it is fake; it most likely is.
  • If someone contacts you claiming to have met me, talked to me over the phone, or been messaged by me, you should automatically assume it is fake; 99.999% of the time it is.
  • If someone posts a "screenshot" of a conversation with me or a piece of content I supposedly since "deleted," obviously assume it is fake; that's the oldest trick in the book, commonly referred to as "Photoshop."
  • If you see uncharacteristic content (foul language, insults, xenophobia, etc.) coming from a source that does appear to be a 100% verified account of mine, assume it is fake as the account may have been hacked.
  • If someone tries to impress you with purported "private" information about me, it's either a) fake or b) actually public information copied from a public source. Avoid contact with people who openly represent themselves as stalkers.

Other accounts that are me:

  • https://youtube.com/thejang
  • https://youtube.com/c/jangmobilvideo
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/thejang
  • https://youtube.com/UltimateRCnetwork
  • https://www.youtube.com/RCManiaDotCom
  • https://www.youtube.com/user/EverythingAnswered
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI-GvuSX3Xsc82W4gY1BwxQ

Other websites I own:

  • http://thejang.net
  • http://UltimateRC.com
  • http://UltimateTraxxas.com
  • http://UltimateTamiya.com
  • http://RCMania.com

Verify, verify, VERIFY.  The Internet is flooded with fake news, fake content, and fake accounts.  This is extremely well known has been well documented by major media coverage almost every single day.  Any random person can sign up for any random site and give themselves an alias that sounds like someone else.  Elevate your awareness and wariness and don't fall victim to the simplest of traps.

Remember the Mega Bloks/Construx Halo line?


We've gone through quite a dry spell when it comes to substantial new releases in the traditional flagship Mega Construx line.  A lot of folks have been wondering why I've not had any relevant content to offer, but the simple fact is, stuff hasn't been released!  That is, stuff hasn't been released anywhere I could buy it.  Some extraordinarily lucky locations got limited quantities of the entire newest Halo Heroes line, for example, but most of us fans just have to sit & wait & wonder.  Heck, some stuff still never really makes it out to the wild.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Starting work on my largest cargo port crane


After over three years of waiting for this moment, I've finally started on my custom ship-to-shore freight dock crane!  This first step involved simply figuring out the dimensions of the thing without any concern for realism or structural integrity.  Next I'll rough out the trolley and figure out a spreader design.

Friday, November 3, 2017

LEGO Ideas Women of NASA review! set 21312


The latest Ideas set has hit the streets and it's another one that I was disappointed to see picked at the expense of, in my personal opinion, more substantive and exciting 10,000 vote winners in its review period.  However, with product in hand, I find this set to be actually really, really nice.  As usual my main interest is in the builds, but I can't help but take note of the excellent design work done on the figures.

There does, though, remain that controversial sociopolitical undertone here, and with an audible "gulp" I made the decision to address it head-on at the end of my review video, with my unfiltered personal feelings.  Surely this will drive my subscriber count down since many people cannot accept anyone else having an opinion, but I think it's very much worth it.  I choose my battles very carefully, but that doesn't mean I don't fight.

LEGO Thanksgiving Harvest set review 40261


It brings me great joy to put up a video about a holiday/seasonal set within the actual month of the holiday.  Product release schedules have become pretty silly with many things these days, with Christmas decorations showing up in stores in September & what not!

Of course now that I say that, I will very, very soon be reviewing a series of Christmas-specific sets. In the first week of November.  Oh, well.  I tried!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It's finally time to make that cargo seaport


I've of course been looking forward to moving on to my Planetary Defense Force Base forever, but before I start laying its labor-intensive foundation I need to really lock down its dimensions.  There's plenty of room to work around, though, and I'm not married to any specific shape or individual dimension.  Thus, I must defer to its neighbors to really define the constraints, and work backwards from there.

The zoo has much more than enough space for its own planned expansion & revamp, leaving the new cargo harbor with all of the power to determine the fate of this entire end of the city!

Today's progress involved determining and securely building in the foundational shape of the port, moving rail sidings and rotating much of the setup 90 degrees while adding two piers to provide a lot more docking space.  Hopefully pretty soon I can start working on cranes.

Friday, October 27, 2017

LEGO train station MOC home stretch


Nearly "done for now," less than a week after I began!  I wish all of my structure projects could move this quickly.

After this, the zoo is ready for its remodel, but I'm leaning towards skipping right past it for now and doing some work at the new Planetary Defense Base location.  We'll see how I feel inspiration-wise in a few days when I'm fully ready to move forward.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Still more on that second train station


Told y'all I'm trying to get this done quickly!  Secretly though, I'm just playing a game with fate, forcing it to accelerate the release timeline for the first winter LEGO sets.  The deeper I go into custom building mode, the sooner releases come as it's their sworn duty to stop me and hog all of my attention.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Second update on the new train station


I'm tellin' ya, I'm trying to get this thing done quickly.  The first winter set release season fast approaches and I want to squeeze every last bit of value out of this down/free time that I can.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

And the next MOC for the city will be....


Train station #2!  As I touch upon in the later part of the introductory video, creating the space for this newest creation helps set the dimensions for most of the future work on the entire back edge of my tables.  With any luck, this will go pretty quickly, and we'll see where I decide to go from there.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Another music store & laser tag arena MOC update


Hey!  Look at that!  Both floors together, with a roof on top & everything.  I'm not 100% satisfied yet and will surely do some tweaks, but with all of the important components in place I'm nearly ready to call this "done for now" and turn my attention elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

LEGO October 2017 VIP exclusive promotional polybag review! 40178


As seen in a recent haul video, I had to get two of these for the wonderful sticker sheets and also the much improved new LEGO store employee minifigure.  The rest is nice for display when just (mostly) built as designed, too.

Ultimate LEGO Star Wars book by DK


In an uncharacteristic move, I bought a LEGO-related book with no bundled physical LEGO parts, but oh, was it worth it.

Monday, October 16, 2017

LEGO Laser tag arena almost done!


Work in progress is work in progress!  I hit no snags over the weekend and only ran out of one needed part for which I had an acceptable substitute.  There's a lot of building trickery in this thing that'll never been seen by anyone, but I'm fine with that as I just want the result to be decent.

A part of me really wishes I could shrink down & play-test this arena with some family & friends!