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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

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.