Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Minor LEGO city update - Mall plazas, more sidewalks

Progress is progress.  Nothing too exciting to see this time, but hopefully enough little details to be worth sharing.

Bye-bye sponsored cards

Some time ago, YouTube introduced a feature called "Cards" to allow supplemental links to be added into an expandable panel on the side of a video.  This was their replacement for the ill-fated Annotations feature that got overused to the point where almost every YouTube viewer disabled them.  I've happily used Cards to link to related or suggested videos that are either referenced in the content you're watching or likely to be of interest to you once you're done & ready to move on.

I don't recall when, but YouTube eventually started sneaking in "Sponsored Cards" that usually point viewers to vendor sites where they can buy the item featured in the video.  Sponsored Cards only ever show when the video owner has not used any regular Cards of their own.  I was okay with some of this at first, as it was very, very contextual, but the algorithms have gotten pretty aggressive and most of my videos now have a whole bunch of scrollable Sponsored Card ads that I had nothing to do with.  The worst part is that the existence of the literal word "Sponsored" within each Sponsored Card sends the occasional, let's just say, contextually oblivious viewer into a real tizzy, leading to nonsense comments the likes of "PROOF! It says you're sponsored! You're a liar and a horrible person, I'm telling everyone on the Internet, unsubbed."  Ugh.

Today I'm happy to kill two birds with one stone (that's a common metaphorical expression, not literal*) by disabling sponsored cards on all of my 3,400+ videos on the JANGBRiCKS channel and all future ones as well.  This will ensure that any card "teaser" icon or text snippet you see on one of my videos was put there by me.  No more unwanted confusion.  The YouTube user experience is becoming too ad-dense anyhow.

* If I didn't clarify that, someone would actually accuse me of murdering birds. Seriously, what has this world come to?

LEGO Ninjago City set 70620 revealed, nearly 5000 pieces!

LEGO uploaded details of the new largest Ninjago set ever (and one of the most complex sets of all time) on Facebook overnight, and Brickset has us covered as always:

I will review the set once it's released.  As usual, I will not do a video that just shows a slideshow of shrunken, twice re-encoded (reduced quality) versions of the pictures.  Hit the links above to see the full original LEGO description and a convenient gallery of full original quality, zoomable photos that you can browse at your own pace!

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Thor: Ragnarok Ultimate Battle for Asgard review 76084

Long-winded set names, attack!  Actually a little better toy than I expected it to be and a decent value. Maybe not so great for collectors, though?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mega Construx Destiny Aspect of Glass set review

Mega chose this as their second jumpship to model following the mandatory Arcadia that opened up the theme last year.  I think this was a good choice of basic ship style to attempt, with the pick of specific legendary variant being very debatable in terms of desirability.  Next time, though, they definitely need to break free from the warm-on-gray palette and go for something like Sidereal Rumba or Extinction Event for the sake of contrast.

Custom LEGO classic SUV MOC

Oh look, a new... thing.  My first 5-wide build.  Very imperfect. Oh well.  It's going in my city and I'm happy about that.

Friday, June 16, 2017

LEGO Minecraft The Mountain Cave build & review videos 21137

Largest. LEGO. Minecraft. Set. Ever.  Well, technically I believe The Village had a wider horizontal spread, but the height, man, the height...

Plus, this Mountain Cave is more than just a pretty face.  Around the back where you normally expect limited access for a handful of minifigures to just barely fit into some narrow floor spaces, we instead get a proper, cavernous, cave, with room for two human hands to reach inside and manipulate a very satisfying number of details.


LEGO Elves Rosalyn's Healing Hideout review 41187

Have dragon, will review.  Wait! There are two!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I Haz Peoples

As I started working on one of the plazas next to my mall in its new location, I found myself needing people.  Lots of people.  I started out assembling 20, remembering the last time I tried adding just 10 to my city and barely noticed them at all.  Feeling the momentum, I pushed for 50, but ended up near 60.  Seeking a more round number, I targeted 75 before finally giving in to the tantalizing appeal of the double zeros.  Hopefully this is enough to have a visible impact.

Mega Construx Call of Duty Arctic Recon Armory review

This is a fairly insignificant set, but one I was looking forward to nonetheless.  I really like the 20 ft. intermodal containers as they look fantastic on display in person, much better than on video. I have a stack of 4 now with the 3 different colors.

LEGO City Coast Guard Starter Set review 60163

Yet another theme completed for now!  A lone straggler, Sailboat Rescue has not been released for sale on this side of the Atlantic (or Pacific!), so I won't be reviewing it until that changes.

Monday, June 12, 2017

LEGO City Jungle Starter Set review 60157

This should be my last LEGO City Jungle theme review until the Air Drop Helicopter is made available on my side of the world (it's one of many sets released in Europe & Asia months before the Americas this year, following LEGO's standard rotation of distribution).

Sunday, June 11, 2017

LEGO city layout plan & queue (updated June 10, 2017)

The core elements of my plan for my LEGO layout were formulated in 2013 when I began.  When I moved in 2015, I gained some space and added a handful of items to the list.  If you look at my layout in a photo or video and think you see some empty space, pretend it isn't there. Every area the size of a baseplate or larger is already reserved, as are nearly all smaller areas as well.

Here's how the queue looks as of the date in the title of the post...

I will include:

  • Metro area (with very tall office buildings)
  • Freight harbor with ships, containers, crane, trucks, etc.
  • Industrial area with factories, etc.
  • Residential neighborhood with houses and possibly an apartment complex
  • Planetary Defense Force base (above and below ground)
  • Second elevated narrow-gauge passenger train stop
  • Small city maintenance crew yard
  • Pet store
  • Chinese restaurant
  • Night club
  • Cars, Trucks (passenger and commercial), other normal vehicles you'll find in any city
  • People (kids, men, women)
  • Trees & plants
  • And much more!

Already added:

  • One skyscraper (the first of at least 4)
  • Police station
  • Fire station
  • Shopping mall
  • Small marina
  • Zoo
  • Gas station with car wash and adjacent repair/service garage
  • Arcade
  • Ice cream shoppe
  • Two 9V rail loops
  • Elevated narrow-gauge rail loop
  • Large passenger train station with elevated rail connector
  • Large train yard (which I want and will not remove on request)
  • Stand-ins for residential area
  • Stand-ins for harbor
  • Planetary Defense Force base with large army & some vehicles & craft

I will not include:

  • Airport.  NO AIRPORT, PERIOD!  An airport would ruin the plan for the entire city by taking up an absolutely enormous amount of space (if done to my satisfaction, and everything in my city must be done to my satisfaction).
  • Heliport.  Same as above, just smaller (but equally undesirable)
  • Above-ground parking garage.  Again, tremendous waste of incredibly valuable space (would need the area of at least 3 modular buildings to be even halfway decent).  Maybe an underground one some day way, way, way off in the future?
  • Super Heroes area
  • Ninjago area
  • Star Wars area
  • Race track
  • Minecraft End realm/city

Saturday, June 10, 2017

LEGO City Update! Release season winding down

I've wasted no time getting back to the fun stuff.

Mega Construx Halo UNSC Gungoose Rampage set review

With my last large set out of the way, I can finally get to some of the little things that have been sitting in the queue for awhile!

LEGO Creator 2017 Carousel build & review videos 10257

The huge box for this set has been sitting in my physical to-do-queue quite menacingly for awhile and I could hardly be more relieved to have finally gotten it processed.  What a good day it is.


LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Turbo Track Racer review 31070

This set has a nicer 3rd/smallest build option than usual, but the front-of-the-box build is significantly smaller than... the front of the box.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

LEGO Creator Modular house Super-Build - 31067 + 31068 + 31069 combination

Here it is, the ultimate test of this modular thing.  In this video I show, from good angles & bad, the two official super-combinations of the main builds of the Modular Poolside Holiday, Modular Modern Home, and Modular Family Villa.  With this many assemblies to swap around, quickly coming up with new structures is actually a lot of fun.  It's like building with LEGO, but using pieces that are each made of a bunch of LEGO pieces.  LEGO-ception.  Expensive, though!

As I bought three of each set, I hope to make 2 or 3 fully-enclosed semi-custom houses to add to the residential neighborhood in New Jang City, using only the official modules.

Mega Construx Call of Duty Urban Assault Copter review

This is a replica of the Eurocopter EC-635 featured in Call of Duty: Ghosts.  I feel like the subject matter may limit the appeal of the set, but the designers did their job pretty well (with a couple of minor exceptions that I point out in the video).  Missing parts? Zero.  Malformed parts? Zero.  Am I seeing a trend here?  Please be "yes."

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Modular Poolside Holiday review! 31067

Just as my faith in this little "modular" experiment was fading to black, this little thing came along and restored my faith.  Here, the system works, by virtue of a foundation of good basic design of the structure first, to which the extra element of interchangeability is then added.

LEGO Friends Sunshine Catamaran review 41317

This season it's readily apparent in the numbers that fans of LEGO Friends have migrated away to more girl-focused channels, but I will continue to review products from the "pink aisle" that I find interesting.  For example, this catamaran here, surprisingly, is one of the more spacious and playable boats LEGO has ever made, period.  It's a really good toy.

Mega Construx Destiny Goliath Tank Strike set review

Yes!  A new substantial build from Mega's Destiny line, and I'm happy to report that it's a better build and nicer final product than I anticipated.  Also, there were once again no missing or malformed parts, and no stickers.

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Modular Modern Home review 31068

This second largest example of the summer modular house-building system is definitely my least favorite.  The shaping of the main build makes sense, but the colors & textures are really mixed up, and the modules individually have somewhat limited usefulness for customization.

LEGO City 4x4 Response Unit review! Coast Guard set 60165

This set has one of the better uses of the large RHIB hulls I've seen to date, but everything together is somewhat unremarkable, or at least there's nothing more to it than meets the eye.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Price/Part Ratio: Licensed vs. Unlicensed sets, fight!

I'm not sure this was a particularly efficient use of the past [unknown] hours of my life, as I could have taken a few photos that are all over the web, pasted them into a video, and raked in the views.  However, I was really curious to experience a little taste of the sort of data dive that Reality Prose took so effectively at the start of the year I began my brick reviewing journey.  Some of the readily-calculable facts I uncovered line up perfectly with my progenitor's trendlines and painted a more balanced picture than I could have planned. Other results caught me a fair bit off-guard, thus creating an even more satisfying result.

Now I'm going to take a nice long break from selecting ranges and closing parens. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V independent review! 21309

Nineteen hours after setting out to buy the set, here's review of the highly anticipated LEGO Ideas Saturn V rocket, which itself sold out on the Shop at Home website even more quickly than the Creator Shuttle and Friends Heartlake Hospital!  The scale of this monster is almost silly for a retail set; sat on its side, it's nearly as long as the Super Star Destroyer.  Nearly everything about this exceeds my expectations.  The hype really is justified.
Supplement: This review beat out my previous day 1 viewership record holder to became my first ever video to surpass 100k views in its initial 24-hour period.  Considering also the 100:1 like/dislike ratio, it's readily apparent that people really like this set!  It's too bad there is so little subject material in the real world that allows for such a large and accurate model to be made with so few pieces. I mean think about it -- Assembly Square uses more than twice the parts, and even the Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart beats it for complexity.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

LEGO City Jungle Mobile Lab review 60160

This is a pretty near-perfect set for what it is.  The vehicle looks awesome to me and has excellent utility.  The terrain build looks nice and has some play possibilities.  The price of the set, though, at least in the US, is a bit unfortunate in my view.

LEGO Friends Heartlake Hospital review 41318

LEGO City may not receive medical services builds very frequently, but Friends here has tried to take up the slack with a substantial structure.

Cobi World of Tanks Panzer VIII Maus review

An increasing number of viewers have asked me to keep trying Cobi from time to time, so here's one of their more recent releases.  Quality remains high with this brand and the build is good.

PS: I'm still not interested in Brickarms or Brickmania and have no intent to try either in the foreseeable future.

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Space Shuttle Explorer review! 31066

Fantastic, a compact minifig-compatible space shuttle with mostly brick-built nose, plus there are two full alternate builds, to boot.  It's LEGO done right.

LEGO Star Wars Tracker I review 75185

It's blog catch-up time again as I've published 30 videos in the past week alone!