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Friday, February 28, 2014

JANGBRiCKS LEGO City update & walkthrough Feb. 27, 2014

It has been quite awhile since I last did a walkthrough of my city, and though progress on the layout has been very, very slow and deliberate, I felt there were enough new details since the last update to warrant a new tour.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

LEGO Classic Space 483 Alpha 1 Rocket Base Review!

Happy Flashback Friday everyone, a little early this time to make up for the last couple of late ones!  This time I again go into the classic space line with a set from all the way back in 1978, when minifigs were a new thing!

LEGO Mixels custom Murp-MOC: FIZL

Okay, one more LEGO Mixels MOC, this one the weirdest yet :)  This guy has three legs, an insect-inspired mouth, and a surprising spin attack!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

LEGO 4-Wide Power Functions train update Feb. 25, 2014

See what I mean?  With the last update I mentioned that things were changing again, and here are those changes now in the form of a full revamp!
This is the result of about 20 hours of failed experimentation followed by 10 hours of building & fine-tuning the one actually feasible concept.  This train is now entirely 4 studs wide at last, while the first version had a wire ribbon that traveled along the outside and both v1 & v2 had vanity tiles covering some unsightly bits.  The motive & battery cars look rather rough around the edges and unnecessarily asymmetrical front to back, but believe me, there is rhyme & reason to every piece on this thing.  I even built the new rearmost car with lightness in mind, carefully substituting parts repeatedly to minimize the mass plastic used to create a desired shape or connection.

Is this the final version of this 4-wide train?  I am certain it is not.  However, I should be able to leave it alone for good while, as it no longer bothers me when I look at it.

Man, I need a break!  This was tough!

LEGO Mixels MOCs

I built these two last week, because I had to.  I couldn't not do it, especially the Mega-Murp!  Take my word for it.  If you get two or more Mixels sets, build them by the instructions once, then tear 'em apart and make something completely custom.  You'll be glad you did!

LEGO 4-Wide narrow gauge RC train update Feb. 24, 2014

Never satisfied, I am!  My custom 4-stud-wide intra-city commuter train was working just fine, especially with the help of tiny tweaks over time that improved reliability.  However, I couldn't leave good enough alone.  After all, "good enough" isn't!

With this change I shortened the little train by a worthwhile margin without changing the function at all.
Not long after this video was recorded, though, the brain-wheels got to spinning again, and I dove back in for another round of changes, major this time.  Wish me luck!  Working in this small scale with the relatively unwieldy Power Functions components is maddening!  Out of desperation I actually spent a couple hours trawling the Interwebs for inspiration from other builders, and I found none!  The small handful of other RC, PF-powered narrow gauge trains I could find are all thicker in the bodies and/or use completely custom batteries & wiring.  I remain determined, for now, to stick to an actual 4-stud width (as the old monorail sets remain my inspiration) and unmodified LEGO components!

NEW: See the Feb. 25, 2014 update & complete rebuild!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My custom LEGO Zoo & aquarium is complete!

This has been a long time coming, but finally yesterday I unveiled my completed (for now) zoo.

Shockingly, in less than 24 hours, it has already become one of my top 5* most "liked" videos (over all time cumulatively, not just for the first day).  I never in a million years would have imagined this sort of reception for the thing.  When I look at it, myself, I see all of the flaws, all of the things that could be improved, all of the compromises.  I guess I've just been looking at it for too long, and for that reason, I'm glad I decided to force myself to call it "done" (again, for now) and make it official.

Take a step back in time and check out the November 2013 zoo update.  Back then (and most of the stops along the way since) about half of commenters were telling me what I "should" do or what all was "wrong" with what was already "done."  I hope folks who have followed along since the start can now see the major lessons of the whole series of work-in-progress posts & videos:
  • A good plan can sometimes take months (or even years) to execute, what with the rest of everything in life continuing along the way.
  • MOC-making is a process, and creations don't start out looking complete & polished!  
  • A little bit of patience and dedication can go a long way!
* Update: Two days later, it's #1.

Goruz returns to YouTube, but is it the last time?

Two years.  For two years this old Hero Factory MOC has been sitting around, waiting for its time to shine.  Sadly, that time has never come.  I finally got tired of keeping it to myself, though, and have put Goruz into a raw overview video, including a ridiculously expensive accessory that I've never shown before:

LEGO Mixels Series 1 Mix, Murp, & MAX combinations!

These two videos show just some of the official possibilities for mixing up Mixels as LEGO has suggested.  Naturally if you're willing to do your own thing, you can come up with an infinite number of others!

I've already done a few custom ones, myself, and will post those up in the next couple days or so.

Two new, quick LEGO Movie polybag reviews

One of these came with the Sea Cow order, the other I got off eBay.

This week's vintage LEGO set review

Every Friday (or thereabouts) I put up a new review of an old LEGO set.  This most recent time I again dipped into the timeless Classic Space theme with a set from 1986.

Friday, February 21, 2014

LEGO Mixels series 1 reviews complete!

Mixels are a cool new original theme developed by LEGO in conjunction with the Cartoon Network.  There are some free online games, plus there will be at least one downloadable app-style game, and with any luck there'll be some animated shorts on TV as well (though that's speculation).  In the meantime, nine initial little $5 USD sets have been released and I've reviewed them all in groups based on their tribe/element.


Series 2 & 3 are already designed and will be released later this year.

I'll be doing at least two videos covering some of the official combination models for this series as well!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

LEGO Movie Metalbeard's Sea Cow 70810 set Review!

Holy Sea Cow, this LEGO Movie ship is huge!  At over 2,700 pieces, this is a real project to assemble.

Now the question is, do I take it apart like I do almost everything else, or do I make an exception and try to find a place to store & display this enormous thing?

LEGO Movie character comparisons: Benny vs. classic, Metalbeard vs. Metalbeard

Two much-needed comparison videos today coming out of my review of the Sea Cow set.  First up is a comparison between the one & only official "Benny" figure and his predecessors, covering three different authentic "Classic Space" styles plus a re-release.  Next up is a side by side look at the original Metalbeard from his Duel set and the much smaller version included with the Sea Cow.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Behind the scenes: NOT what my LEGO city looks like

If you ask for a video tour of what you see above, it will be for naught, as the photo was taken a week ago and my LEGO city looked like this for only a few minutes.  I remain, as from the start, vehemently opposed to hosting official sets on my layout, but since I had all of these modular buildings, well, built, I decided to exploit them very briefly.  I moved them around in various configurations just to give me an idea of what it will look like to have structures of certain heights in different places.  In hindsight, I suppose I could just as easily have done this with plain cardboard boxes.  Oh well!

The good news is that even when I forcibly blocked my personal anti-set bias, I still didn't like the look of these modulars in my city.  Not at all.  They don't match my style or the intended timeframe.  Even worse, so many thousands of little LEGO cities around the world are anchored around official modular building sets that placing these in mine made the whole thing instantly look generic and unimaginative.

Back to MOC building I go.

LEGO Town Hall 10224 modular building Review!

This will likely be the last LEGO "modular" building I do for quite awhile, but quite by coincidence, I saved the largest for the end!

LEGO Movie Pyjamas Emmet & Radio DJ Robot minifigures!

Got a couple of the LEGO Movie promotional polybags in the mail and put up really, really short videos showing what these figures look like up close:


Friday, February 14, 2014

LEGO classic 6930 Space Supply Station set review, plus bonus

Happy Flashback Friday (at least for folks in the same hemisphere as this post!). Here's another classic from 1983, a timeless vintage LEGO Space series set with a base, four vehicles and four little dudes :)

Today's bonus?  Another Bricklink haul!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

LEGO custom Citi Mini Bus MOC(s)

I hesitate to call the subject of this video a pair of MOCs.  It's really just one MOC, plus a quickly-assembled duplicate.  Busses at last!  I got the itch to build these out of nowhere, and had fun with it.  They look good on my city streets.

Continuing with the transportation theme, I've also started working on my main passenger train station.  Hopefully that one won't take as long as my zoo did since I'm not reviewing 150+ products now like I was earlier in the season!  

(By the way, the zoo was finished a week or two ago, I just haven't had time to set things up to film it yet.)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

LEGO Pet Shop 10218 modular building Review!

One more of these modulars down and one more to go before a bit of a break to take them all apart!  With over 2000 pieces each, it should take some time to get everything sorted away.

Mega Bloks Call of Duty 6862 WWII Platoon Patrol reviewed!

This troop builder set evidently just hit shelves and I was lucky enough to find one at my local Toys R Us.

As a bonus, I've also uploaded my last MB Halo minifig mystery pack opening for awhile!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Behind the scenes: Taming the instructions

Instruction overload!  I've been keeping all of my set instructions in cardboard magazine holders, but I filled up two full bookcase shelves with 'em and the last big review series had the holders literally busting at the seams.  Since instructions are always available online, I never use these hardcopy ones after the initial build, so I've finally moved them into storage boxes to get them out of the way.  I'm not sure exactly why I keep them, but they don't take up much space at all like this, so for now, I'll let 'em live on!

LEGO Fire Brigade 10197 modular building Review!

Yet another modular set I've had on hand for awhile!  Still more of these to come since they're not going out of style!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Four new videos for the weekend

This week ended on a hectic note, so I apologize for being a little slow on the blog posting draw.  The latest upload batch features two brand new Mega Bloks sets that are just hitting the streets, plus a late Flashback Friday review and a very, very small polybag.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Behind the scenes: When Friends are torn apart...

Another glorious selection of parts from destroyed sets!  What you see here is the entirety of the 2014 wave 1 LEGO Disney Princesses and Friends lines after being savagely decimated by my wife in one evening!  The following day, all of these parts were neatly sorted & filed away!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Three new MOCs & a Bricklink haul finish the weekend

I had a busy Sunday and wasn't able to get a blog post up in a timely fashion, but I've added four more videos to the fray:

Now that things have quieted down, I've had a chance to reflect back on my earlier drum compactor MOC and decided that I just can't live with its size.  Its scale is very reasonable relative to a minifig, but it's just too large compared to other vehicles in my slowly growing MOC collection.  Time to tear that one down & make it into a more modern, low-profile, long-wheelbase asphalt roller!