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Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Flashback Friday & five more new videos!

You'd think that with LEGO release season in the books things would slow down.  Naahhh!  This evening I've uploaded an eclectic selection of new videos with a little something for everyone!

Behind the scenes: LEGO Death Star destroyed!

See that? That's the Death Star.  The whole thing. Destroyed!  Yep, I didn't even keep that set together!  By the time you read this, at least 90% of those parts will be already neatly sorted away into my parts bins!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

LEGO MOC: Modern Backhoe Front Loader

A couple days ago I got inspired to launch a private construction company within my LEGO city to "help" with the slow buildup of everything.  The first order of business the construction of all of the construction equipment!

This is going to be fun, because I've always loved heavy equipment, and I have probably 100+ hrs. experience operating skid steer loaders, backhoes, drum compactors, and excavators.  Now I get to recreate some of that interest and experience in LEGO scale :)

Behind the Scenes: It's not new to me!

Above is just another illustration of how little connection there is between when things appear on YouTube and when they actually happen.  The photo was taken on December 13th, and the Emporium box is actually empty because the set was already built!  That review didn't come out until January 9th, meanwhile if you only watched YouTube you'd have no idea I even had the other three shown here.  I never have an empty plate -- there's always work waiting to be done!

LEGO Monster Fighters 10288 Haunted House set review!

Here's another LEGO large structure set that came out some time ago, but is currently still on the market.  I feel like this one doesn't quite get the credit it deserves.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bricklink Hauls 1/24 & 1/27/14, with bonus

This latest little video actually covers two hauls in one.  By the time I was ready to render & publish the first, another order arrived, so I just added that on to the end :)

In the theme of the little "behind the scenes" posts I've made over the past week, here's another peek into my world:

This shows the current status of my Planetary Defense Force army, which was already updated with new parts from the above BL hauls, before that video was published!  

Time is a very relative thing!  More on that theme soon.

Behind the Scenes: The "Sort Me" bins

Yeah buddy!  The picture looks small, but that stack-o-bins is two feet wide, almost 1 1/2 feet tall!  All unsorted parts waiting to go into the proper collection.  The bottom is Mega Bloks parts, followed by miscellaneous LEGO stuff.  Next upward on the left are all of the Hero Factory IFB parts that didn't go in my HF-centric part bins, and the rest is mostly minifig stuff.

With the exception of the handful of Star Wars items in the tub that can just barely be seen in the upper right hand corner, this mountain of stuff is all just extras, not including any of the recent full 2014 sets I reviewed; you saw those still sitting on shelves last time and they haven't been touched yet!  This is just miscellaneous stuff that has accumulated over the past couple of months!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Behind the scenes: The Racks

At the onset of this most recent LEGO release season I erected a couple shelving units to hold built sets that had already been reviewed.  It's a temporary holding place that kept all of this stuff out of sight and mostly out of mind while I kept going through the queues.  Previously, sets that had been reviewed would be stacked up in a spot for quick disassembly, quickly creating an intimidating pile of looming work.

Thanks to these out-of-the-way shelves, I got through the season without any worrisome thoughts about the daunting parts recovery & sorting tasks, and now I can grab a handful of sets at a time, to tear apart just when I'm ready.

(By the time of this photo, all of the Hero Factory stuff had already been processed.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Behind the scenes: The boxes

Everybody sees the YouTube videos that just magically appear online, sometimes ten or so of them over the course of a single hour.  Very, very few people ever see the hours, days, and weeks of overtime effort that go into making those short little videos.

Some of the work is quite unexpected, like the task of discarding packing materials & boxes!  The photo above (click to see it larger) shows just the most recent stack of cardboard items that I had to shred by hand into the recycling bin.  Foot-crushing doesn't work at all -- I need all of this stuff small & absolutely flat to fit!  During peak product release season I generate a stack this size about every two weeks, and the picture doesn't even show the mountain of bags and intermediate packing materials that were dealt with separately.

The boxes in the pile offer interesting hints into what goes on behind the scenes.  There are a number of never-filmed duplicate sets, purchased just for parts for MOCs.  There are some hard disk drive boxes from the newest additions to my many terabytes of raw video storage needs.  In one corner are a couple of boxes from custom-cut Venetian blinds that went into the entirely new studio space I started using last week.

There's no magic to what I do, just a whole lot of work, most of which is never seen!

Happy Flashback Friday!

Here's another mini-set for all of the LEGO Classic Space fans out there.  A throwback to 1983 here, when the thick-chinned helmet was all the rage!

What a DAY!!

What. A. Day.  With the last batch of video uploads I officially finished the first LEGO release season of 2014 (which, of course, started in November of last year).  That's huge for me because I've been busting my behind on these reviews and am desperate to do some actual creative, custom work.

On this same day (for me), I also hit the 1,000 (public) video mark on my JANGBRiCKS YouTube channel.  It sounds like a big number, but I've been there before on another channel and it feels like deja vu to me.

More substantially, I got my 75,000th subscriber, is mind-boggling when I look back just two months to when I was at 50,000.  That's 50% growth in 60 days.  That's bonkers.  I don't even know what to say to this other than the customary heartfelt THANK YOU to all of the viewers who have shown me so much support!

Well, 2014 release season #2 starts in about 4 months, so that's a whole lot of time to really focus on building up my all-custom LEGO city, in addition to kicking off a second large display that I'm keeping a mystery for now!

This is where the real fun begins!

LEGO Star Wars 10188 DEATH STAR reviewed!

Over 3,800 pieces.  A total of 25 minifigs, droids, & creatures.  A completed weight of over 11 pounds.  LEGO's Death Star ain't no joke.  I spent two hours in the studio filming this thing, capturing over an hour of footage.  After ruthless cutting, the finished review slips in just under the 25 minute mark with absolutely minimal fluff!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seven new videos to finish review season!

It was another big evening of uploads over here and with the last video published, the first release season for 2014 is officially over for me!  There will likely be very small numbers of sets unveiled by LEGO from time to time over the coming few months, but the next huge batch shouldn't hit stores until late April or early May!  Finally I have a moment to catch my breath again and turn my attention back towards MOCs and my city!

Two new 2014 LEGO Star Wars set reviews

With the LEGO Simpsons House being such a literally & figuratively big deal, I gave myself a bit of a 'break' this evening and only did three new reviews, including these two SW sets:

Mega Bloks Halo 96835 UNSC Shortsword bomber reviewed!

Here's a blast from the (relative) past of Mega Bloks' Halo series, an eBay find from 2010 when the whole line was still quite new.

Personally, I feel like this is one of the better sets they made in those early days.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

LEGO The Simpsons House 71006 set review!

Members of the online LEGO fan community have known something Simpsons has been coming for months thanks to illegally smuggled mini-figure heads that apparently made their way onto the market through slippery, slimy hands at the factory in Mexico.  On January 8th, The Simpsons' House was officially announced by LEGO, and now less than two weeks later, it's on sale (legally & legitimately), and I've got it reviewed!

It took well over 6 hours to build, 1.5 hours to film 0.75 hours worth of video in 56 snippets, an evening of fighting YouTube's sudden refusal to process an upload, all distilling down to one video for your enjoyment!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mega Upload Sunday: New LEGO Star Wars set reviews!

Tonight's record-breaking upload session (13 brand new videos back to back!) was filled with 2014 LEGO Star Wars goodness!

Mega Upload Sunday: New LEGO Chima set reviews!

Big evening, lots of new videos!  Here are the Chima sets I got through in this latest batch:

Mega Bloks True Heroes Stealth Attack set review

Here's something you haven't seen me try before, one of the Toys R Us exclusive True Heroes construction sets produced by Mega Bloks with the primary intention of providing maximum value to folks who don't have a lot of money to spend on toys.  In plain English, the set is just plain cheap. I give it a fair shot, though, so check out how it fared:

(On the TRU website this is actually called "Military Combat II.")

Mega Bloks Halo Micro-Fleet series set reviews, all 3!

I bought, I received, I built, I reviewed. Mega Bloks is trying micro-sized builds within the Halo franchise again, this time with standard plastic blocks & bits and with a new gimmick on the side.  My thoughts about the individual sets vary quite a bit:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ALL LEGO Hero Factory 2014 Invasion From Below wave 1 sets & combinations reviewed!

It is done!  Every new Hero Factory set has been built, reviewed, taken apart, combined per official combination instructions, re-reviewed, taken apart again, and reviewed in parts!  See it all in this one unified playlist:

This was a monster of an undertaking to get all of these up at once!  Here are two separate videos that cover some details common to all or most of the sets, in order to dramatically reduce the length & repetitiveness of every review:

Time to start the evening uploads!

As I type, 8 videos are on their way to YouTube, with more in the queue.  It's going to be another long night of hard work for me!

Five more reviews today! Star Wars & Chima 2014

Here's the latest group of reviews for y'all.  More to come tomorrow, including the next group of 2014 Hero Factory sets.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Another review marathon evening

First off, I received the tail end of the tidal wave of new sets today, and you can see those unveiled on video!  I didn't even bother filming the last batch of new sets as it was smaller and I was too busy to be bothered with it.  I've got reviews to pump out!  Later I'll post up five new reviews uploaded this evening, but already by the time you read this post, I've finished building and filming all of the wave 1 Hero Factory IFB sets and have moved on to the next round of videos for those sets & pieces!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Five new videos today!

I took it a little easy this evening and put out a manageable number of new set reviews rather than going all-out.  Here are the Chima ones:

I also started on my first 2014 Star Wars set videos:
My wife & I have already built enough sets to last through the next couple of days, so I'll see if I can spend a little more time in the studio and get caught up.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New 2014 LEGO Legends of Chima set reviews!

I made it a good day for Chima fans!  Four brand new set reviews are up!

Mega Bloks Covert Ops Wolverine & Active Camo Jackal videos

I shared some love with the Mega Bloks fans today too!  One video is a review of a semi-recent, but common set, while the other shows the live opening of a sealed pack with one of the more rare MB Halo figures out there.

LEGO Friends Stephanie's New Born Lamb 41029 set review!

I like trying out the LEGO Friends sets with new animals because it gives me a chance to see in person whether I'd want to use the little creatures in my own city.  As a pleasant side effect, it gives me opportunities to publish more reviews!  Here's one of the smaller first-wave 2014 sets for y'all...

Mega-upload batch underway

Lots of videos going up on the JANGBRiCKS YouTube channel today!  I'll summarize everything here later on, but for now I'm going to focus on the primary work.  Make sure you're subscribed and/or checking once per hour or so if you want to see all of the latest uploads as soon as they're made public!

All LEGO Legends of Chima Legend Beast sets reviewed!

From mystery box opening to full review series on one evening, I've got you covered!  Here are all five LEGO Legends of Chima Legend Beast sets for the beginning of 2014 plus a separate video covering my overall thoughts and a close look at the very interesting new pieces:

Friday, January 10, 2014

What's in the box?

It seems the tip of the tidal wave comes in the form of a black box, or should I say, a brown box wrapped ominously in a black bag.

This isn't the single most exciting of the incoming packages, but I'll take it!

It's Flashback Friday! Classic LEGO System set review...

It's not 2014.  No, it's 1995, and right now at your local Toys R Us there's a tiny little LEGO set on sale called... drumroll please... the Dumper, or Diesel Dumper as some prefer to call it, for a little less embarrassment.  Very few pieces, not much to it, but save for the fancy torso print and mustache, this might as well be yet another 10 years older still!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mega Bloks Halo custom: UNSC Bison-B APC

This is my second ever Mega Bloks Halo MOC!  The idea to start it came from just wheel/tire pairs I had to spare, and when it came time to start designing & building, the Call of Duty Hummer windscreen made everything else practically fall into place.
This non-canon creation is intended to be to the Warthog troop carrier (asplodable with just 2 grenades!) what modern-day MRAPs are to the venerable HMMWV. 

LEGO Creator Grand Emporium 10211 modular building Review!

Everybody seems to love the LEGO modular building series, and here's another reason why.  This is another 2000+ piece set painstakingly assembled by my wife for all of you to see, if you haven't seen this in detail before!  The set is still in current production and represents an impressive value at just over $0.06/piece!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Another miscellaneous day in video-land

The highlight of today's video drop is my long-overdue review the Mega Bloks Spartan IV battle pack pictured above.  This thing has been out of stock in my region since its release over the holidays, but my latest trip to Target yielded some good luck, as they had one in stock.

I also finished my second-ever Mega Bloks Halo MOC today, so expect to see that unveiled soon!

A tidal wave approaches...

After my record-breaking reviewing stint with the LEGO Movie sets, I am taking a well-earned break to do a bit of MOC-making.  The break won't last long, though.

I just took a careful tally.  At this very moment, 49 LEGO sets are on their way to me from 3 different countries.  Think about that for a second.  Forty-nine complete, new, unopened sets; all new 2014 releases at that!  My wife & I will be building for weeks once this stuff touches down!  Add to that the 25 more sets we already have on-hand, stacks of minifig mystery packs, and MOCs currently underway or in the near-term plan, and all of you are going to be kept very thoroughly entertained for quite some time to come!

Whew!  This is exciting!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

LEGO MOC: Steam train version 1, 4-4-0 locomotive

Alright!  Less than two days after the first run of the engine section alone, I have what I think qualifies as a full, basic train here.  It needs tons of more details for sure, but it's a start!

With this off the building table for the moment, I now have room to start on another long-overdue MOC while my zoo continues to receive slow & steady updates.

Hero Factory sets are on their way

Good news!  I didn't want to say anything before it was a done deal, but I've purchased all of the first wave of 2014 Hero Factory Invasion from Below sets from the UK where they've been released months before the US!  Transportation across the stormy Atlantic and blizzardy North American continent may take weeks, but it's the best I could do.

Thank you all for your patience!

Monday, January 6, 2014

LEGO Steam locomotive runs for the first time!

Since April or May of last year, my BlueBrick digital mock-ups of my LEGO city-to-be included a single steam locomotive as a placeholder to remind myself of my need to house one of these classic machines somewhere in my layout.  Today, after weeks of off & on work, my first scratchbuilt LEGO steam loco had its very first powered run around my outer loop, and much to my delight, it was a success!  It was harder than I expected to make a steam loco actually work around the tight curves of a LEGO track layout, but this one does it, with no room to spare!

As you can see in the preview pic above, it's 9V motivated and I still have a lot of work to do to get it detailed up, but as soon as I'm comfortable calling it "version 1" I'll share the details on video.  After that I'll give it some time to marinate while I work on other MOCs.

LEGO 60045 Police Patrol alternate build MOC - JANGBRiCKS Remix!

Today, a new "remix" style MOC, making a more interesting (to me) boat out of the 2014 Police Patrol set.  I've thrown in a minifig opening as a little bonus :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

LEGO Creator Parisian Restaurant 10243 modular building Review!

Sorry if this one is a little rough -- busy day in the neighborhood made for a lot of interruptions & cuts. Special thanks to my wife for building this huge modular building set for all of us to check out!

Friday new video wrap-up

This evening's work is finally complete for me, with more independent reviews of just-released LEGO sets!

In addition, today I published my 10th LEGO parts collection video, with hopefully just one more of these to come.  I also put up another "remix" MOC video, this time offering a 60053 Race Car alternate build.

Friday, January 3, 2014

LEGO set #452 reviewed -- Classic Space from 1979!

Happy Flashback Friday everyone!  Once again we dip into the 70s (just barely) and the beloved original Space series.  Enjoy!

What a way to end the year, and start a new one!

The last day of 2013 saw a new record amount of viewer activity on my YouTube channel, but the first day of 2014 pushed the record a shocking 10% higher still!  How did that happen?!

This time last year my involvement with construction-style products was limited to the tiny niche that was LEGO's Hero Factory line.  I did Hero Factory reviews, Hero Factory MOCs, and Hero Factory stories.  That was it.  However, I had just made the decision to try something new for 2013. I was going to take an enormous risk and shift my priorities to reviewing traditional brick-based sets.  There were already a ton of excellent, well-established reviewers out there with millions & millions of video views, and I had no delusions of grandeur.  I just wanted to give this thing a shot because it seemed fun, and I thought I might be able to offer some sort of unique value to the LEGO community.


Three new videos to kick off 2014

Time for me to get back to work!  Three more videos for your brief entertainment today, more to come tomorrow.  The rest of the first wave of 2014 sets are now all at LEGO stores including their online shop, though there are still country-specific restrictions (e.g., Hero Factory & Chima aren't yet in the US).