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Friday, July 31, 2015

LEGO Scooby Doo The Mystery Machine reviewed! set 75902

I'm not sure if I can characterize this as "saving the best for last," but I will say it's one of the best & most key sets to consider from the LEGO Scooby-Doo line.

I made a boo-boo, and it hurted

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated the arrival of the off-season as I had finally run out of new sets to review.  I saw that another wave was coming on August 1, but I figured I had plenty of time to really focus on MOC building.  Well, things didn't go according to plan, as only a few days after that post the new Mega Bloks Halo and LEGO Scooby Doo & Minecraft sets started hitting stores and I went back into full review production mode.  Of course, all that did was shuffle time around.  August 1 is tomorrow and instead of beginning this final Summer burst of work, I'm finishing it up!  New Mega Bloks Call of Duty & Terminator sets are yet to be covered as well as 2 or 3 more LEGO sets, but that's no biggie at all.

When I was looking back at the first half of the year to collect a few surprising statistics for the aforementioned celebratory post, though, I also discovered something very troubling, almost depressing.  Though my wife & I had literally doubled productivity on reviews versus last year and added speed build videos back into the mix, doubling viewership, our income from YouTube had actually gone down.  Think about that for a second.  You work more than twice as hard, you get more than twice as much done, and you receive less in return.  Ouch?

It didn't take much investigation to get to the bottom of it.  In the first quarter of the year, I made the decision to disable non-skippable video ads across my entire account.  At the time, I was looking at the previous year's data, and I expected to lose 25-35% of my per-view ad revenue as a result of this change.  It was a calculated loss I was ready & willing to accept to save viewers like you from the annoyance of those most obtrusive ads, though in truth, nobody had complained about them since every channel has them and they're standard & commonplace.  I just really don't like contributing to known annoyance & discomfort of people, even if they don't complain about it, especially if I can just make a reasonable personal sacrifice to avoid it.

Unfortunately the personal sacrifice ended up being completely unreasonable, more than double what I expected due to general industry-wide changes in the values of different types of ads. Meanwhile, viewers didn't seem to have noticed the change at all, since again, non-skippable ads are just everywhere.

With all of this new information, though, nothing has changed in how I feel about the matter.  I still dislike non-skippable ads, and I still want to give up a reasonable portion of my income to keep some of the inconvenience away from all of you viewers, especially the biggest fans, the dedicated subscribers, the regular viewers.  Thus, for now and for as long as I can, I am going to continue to publish my videos with non-skippable ads disabled!  Yes, I'm being stubborn about it.  I'm going to keep those most aggressive ads off my videos until all of you biggest fans, dedicated subscribers, and regular viewers have consumed the content and viewership has subsided to the ambient trickle of random passers-by finding stuff in searches & related video results.

TL;DR: I'm turning non-skippable ads back on for older videos you've already seen, but keeping them off for all of the newest stuff you haven't yet seen.

LEGO Minecraft The Snow Hideout review! set 21120

At last, here's the last of the LEGO Minecraft sets for Summer 2015.  I feel like this one finishes the wave on a good note.

LEGO Scooby Doo Mummy Museum Mystery review! set 75900

The smallest of the LEGO Scooby Doo releases -- one more set to go!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

LEGO Ideas The Big Bang Theory set 21302

I don't know The Big Bang Theory.  I don't like The Big Bang Theory.  I don't want to know or like The Big Bang Theory.  I know I wanted this set, though, and I like it.

LEGO Star Wars Sith Infiltrator from 2007! set 7663

Here I've reviewed now the second minifig-scaled version of Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator.  Two more to go, to bring us up do date!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

LEGO Minecraft The Nether Fortress reviewed! set 21122

The biggest LEGO Minecraft set of this wave uses, shall I say, interesting scaling and has a very questionable price/part ratio.

LEGO Scooby Doo Mystery Mansion review! set 75904

Here it is already, my review of the biggest of the LEGO Scooby Doo sets, purchased at the store just earlier today :)  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

LEGO Minecraft The Desert Outpost review! set 21121

New summer 2015 LEGO Minecraft set.  This one's pretty well-priced for the parts count, and the layout of the default build is pretty good.

Mega Bloks Halo 2015 exclusive silver Warrior opened!

Here's a look at the 2015 "exclusive" Halo figure first introduced at Comic-Con.

LEGO Bionicle Skull Scorpio alternate design concept

With as much disappointment as I expressed with regards to the official LEGO Skull Scorpio model, I couldn't help but attempt a remake.  This one doesn't try to be a fully fleshed-out MOC, instead going for a "could have been the set" style in the same size and general layout as the original, even including a Technic action in the tail.  Most of this went together in a single sitting and it definitely could have been better with the help of a lot of aesthetic tweeks by way of experimentation, but I'm mostly pleased with how it turned out, based on how I approached the little project.

LEGO Star Wars Sith Infiltrator from 1999! set 7151

A flashback to the very first year of the now immortal LEGO Star Wars line.  More Sith Infiltrator reviews to come in the following weeks; this one has been remade multiple times, and quite differently.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mega Bloks Halo NMPD Warthog review!

A continuation of the Halo: ODST New Mombasa Police Department inspired line, with an updated Troop Transport Warthog and two VISR-mode Brute interpretations.

Mega Bloks Halo Scorpion's Sting review!

Yet another Halo 5: Guardians element first seen in Mega Bloks form!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Custom LEGO hospital MOC progress

As promised, MOC work is getting some time allotted to it once again.  Progress is (and will continue to be) painfully slow to watch, but that's just how it goes when creating something from scratch!  The real challenge won't even start until I finish this first floor, though.

Mega Bloks Halo Smuggler Intercept review!

Whoa!  Surprise fanservice!  A non-military model from the well-produced Halo: Nightfall miniseries.

Mega Bloks Minions Castle Adventures playset review!

After watching the Minions movie I was anxious to see how Mega Bloks would do a large playset based upon it, and I also wanted to see how they'd build a castle.  There was a lot of potential, but I think most of the play features are flawed.

LEGO Super Heroes Batman: The Penguin Face-off set 76010

Inexpensive Super Heroes set I picked up awhile back.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ready for part deux of 2015

Today I released my last review of the major release season sets from LEGO.  Quite unexpectedly, I also published my 500th video of the year on the JANGBRiCKS channel (plus my 42nd on my Playmobil channel).  According to my collection list at Brickset, I've also now reviewed more 2015 LEGO sets (270+) than 2014 sets, even though we're just past the halfway mark of this year! I knew I had improved productivity, but nearly doubling it blows away my own self-set expectations.

Of course, it's easy to forget that during this same 6 month & 17 day period, I also shopped for a house, bought a house, got all manner of work done on that house, packed up the contents of the previous house (including four brick-built layouts and my studio), moved those contents into the new house, and got everything set back up here.

The story continues...

LEGO Mars Mission MX-71 Recon Dropship from 2007! set 7692

Finally I'm able to publish this video that was recorded over two months ago :)

LEGO Friends Pop Star Recording Studio review! set 41103

Final set from the Friends "pop star" sub-theme for this season!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mega Bloks 2015 SDCC Halo Icons Character Pack review

Here's an up close & personal look at the packaging, full set, and individual figures of the limited edition Master Chief, Spartan Locke, and Arbiter figure that Mega Bloks brought out at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.

LEGO Creator Ferrari F40 build & review videos! set 10248

I'm not playing around with humming & hawing about this & that.  This is one of the best LEGO vehicle sets ever, of one of the best performance cars ever.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


LEGO Juniors Family House review! set 10686

Best. Juniors. Set. Ever.  By the time of this post I've already picked up a second one for parts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

LEGO Creator Future Flyers 3 builds reviewed! set 31034

Not the very newest set in stores, but when has that ever stopped me? :)

LEGO Jurassic World game "free play" demo

Finally I get to show some relatively recent gameplay footage from LEGO Jurassic World.  This is just a demo of the "free play" mode where you can go back through previous levels with new characters & abilities and mop up previously unattainable collectibles.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Firebase review!

Dedicated fans have been asking for a firebase set from Mega Bloks forever, and finally, they've delivered... the front of one!

LEGO Birthday Table Decoration review! set 40153

This little gift piece from LEGO really struck a chord with buyers, who wiped out Shop@Home's stock on two continents in just one day!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Vulture Gunship build & review!

I used to think they'd never make this thing as a minifig-compatible set.  Micro Fleet seemed like a possibility, but nothing like this.  It required compromises, but I think it turned out quite very well.


LEGO Friends Emma's Tourist Kiosk review! set 41098

I think this is a cool little set, but for me personally, it's all about the parts!

Friday, July 10, 2015

LEGO Jurassic World gameplay - JW Movie final level!

It all ends here!  Some freeplay & unlock demo footage to come.  Still figuring out what to do about Lost World & JP3.

LEGO Chima Mammoth's Frozen Stronghold review! set 70226

Farewell, Chima! You will be missed by many, quickly forgotten by others.  C'est la vie.

Mega Bloks Monster High Graveyard Garden Party set review!

I originally thought this was going to be yet another brickification of an existing popular franchise, but the figures here are a BIG surprise. Literally.

Mega Bloks Halo Metallic Series III Drop Pods reviewed!

With the first MB Halo Metallic Series drop pod series, I lamented the replacement of nice, multicolored, detailed pods with simplistic two-piece shells, but the figures had nice colors.  In Series II, we picked up added articulation for ODSTs, which was awesome, though the Elites remained old school.  Now all of the figures are new-gen, but we've lost the "metallic" concept on half of 'em.  It's fun to watch this little product sub-line evolve.  You never know what's next!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

LEGO Bionicle Summer 2015 Combination models! Skull Grinder/Scorpio & Skull Slicer/Warrior/Basher!

It's that time again, combiner time!  I really felt the "combination models" from first Toa wave didn't even deserve the title or my attention as they merely involved swapping a couple armor & weapon assemblies over from protectors.  These villain mixes, though, are absolutely proper combiners, well done by LEGO in my opinion. What do you think, though?


LEGO Creator Adventure Vehicles ALL 3 builds reviewed! set 31037

As I finally approach the end of the insanely enormous summer new release queue (of LEGO sets at least), I'm getting down to some of the least-requested builds.  A lack of popularity, of course, doesn't always signal a lack of quality.


LEGO Jurassic World gameplay - JW Movie level 4

Here's the penultimate mission in the Jurassic World movie campaign.  One more and I'll finally be able to show some up-to-date footage with Free Play and unlock demonstrations.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

LEGO Bionicle Skull Warrior review! set 70791

Last of the first full year of Bionicle sets!  I will yet do a villain wrap-up as well as the combination models.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

LEGO Friends Pop Star Tour Bus build & review! set 41106

A number of viewers have been looking forward to this one, so I'm glad to finally have it all up!


Mega Bloks Assassin's Creed Naval Cannon review!

This is a rough one.  With not the most iconic or interesting source material to start with, quality issues and some awkward design choices (in my opinion) conspire to reduce the attractiveness of this set.