January 2019 Haul

It feels like it was just over a week ago that I posted my last haul article… oh wait a minute, it was… I had originally planned to wait until later in January to make another LEGO® purchase. However, this week the LEGO® Store surprised me with a unique freebie. Apparently the LEGO® Group has now opened its 100th store in North America, and to celebrate, they released a commemorative Minifigure. I had some gift cards from Christmas to spend, so I figured why not? In addition to that, I have an update on the Build-a-Mini tower for you, some other freebie info, and my haul!

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My January 2019 LEGO® Haul.

To begin with, you needed to spend $50 in store to get yourself the commemorative Minifigure. So, I spent a while contemplating just what I should get. It was a hard decision. I ended up picking up Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate (75930). I have wanted this set for a while because I love dinosaurs, the Jurassic Park franchise, and I can see loads of MOC possibilities with this set. Plus, like I said, I had some gift cards. So, I had the option of going with a more extravagant set this time around. You all seem to like Jurassic World content as well. For the last few weeks, my Jurassic World posts have been getting some major hits. So, I’ll have more of those articles and coloring pages heading your way soon.

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Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate

The second set you see in the image above is actually not part of my purchased haul, but I did get it this month. I caught up with a good friend who gave it to me as a belated Christmas present. So, since it missed the Christmas haul post, it gets a mention here. I am actually pretty excited to put this one together. One of my favorite Batman story lines in recent years has been The Court of Owls. This set, Batman: The Attack of the Talons, is based on that (Talons were assassins for the Court of Owls in the comics).

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Batman: Attack of the Talons

I also check the Build-a-Mini tower every time I go to the LEGO® Store, just to see if there are new pieces. As luck would have it, this time there was. There were some leftovers from Christmas (you could build Mrs. Claus, there was an elf hat with elf ears, and Santa hats too). But, those were out of season, so I didn’t go for them. There were other unique parts that are worth mentioning though. As many of you know, if you are patient and willing to collect odds and ends from the Build-a-Mini tower, you can eventually put together pretty good facsimiles of Minifigures from a retired series. This time around, I saw the pants and hair for the Karate Master from series two. I didn’t get those though. But, I did pick up the following:

  • the red mohawk from the Battle Dwarf seen in series 17
  • a different color variant of the backpack worn by the Hiker in series 16
  • the panda mask from series 12
  • the saw from the Construction Worker in series 13
  • the bulldog from series 17
  • torso from the Thespian in series 8
  • torso from the Motorcycle Mechanic in series 10
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Front view of the Build-a-Mini figurines that I put together.

As I mentioned with the backpack before, it is not unheard of to get different color variations of parts seen in sets or from the Minifigure series. I was particularly intrigued on this trip to find a blond version of Barbara Gordon’s hair from the LEGO® Batman Movie. Until now, that piece was uniquely seen in those sets (to the best of my knowledge). There was also two different options of two-toned legs sporting the pants and boots looks (I picked up one version). Two of my characters were made to have an oriental style of dress to go with the MOC I recently started. The third was built to have a punk look.

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Rear view of the Build-a-Mini figurines that I put together.

And now, on to the pièce de résistance… the commemorative Minifigure. This is actually a two part freebie. First, you get the Minifigure. It comes in a Comic Con-esque blister pack with a golden card insert. The Minifigure is actually a variant of the polybag that was given away at the LEGO® Store in 2013. However, this time, he comes with a front and back printed torso, and a printed 2×4 brick. The other part of the freebie is a golden poster.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, any purchase at the LEGO® Store got you a LEGO® Movie 2 double-sided poster. My LEGO® Store was even kind enough to give me TWO of these posters, so I can display both sides simultaneously!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and feel free to share any thoughts in the comments space below. More of you have been reaching out in recent weeks, and I have genuinely enjoyed the interactions (meeting new LEGO® fans was one of the reasons I started True North Bricks, after all).

Until next time,

-Tom

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Coloring Page – Franklin Webb

This week’s coloring page is one of my favorite characters from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Franklin Webb often provided comic relief throughout the film, and I appreciated his character. This Minifigure is from the Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape set, which I reviewed a few weeks ago (click here to read it). You can download a free, printable PDF file of this coloring page by clicking here (it will open in a new window). Happy coloring!

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This is a sample of the Jurassic World Franklin Webb coloring page, it is not print quality. Use the link above to download a free, printable PDF.

LEGO-fied: Jurassic World (and movie review)

Warning: I don’t like spoilers, so I have tried not to give any in this article. I do reference things that were seen in the trailers, and discuss how the LEGO® sets relate to the movie. If you have avoided any media regarding this film, perhaps you might not want to read on…

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom poster re-imagined with LEGO®

I love the Jurassic Park franchise, and the fact that it comes in LEGO® form as well makes it even better. I have reviewed a number of Jurassic World sets over the years, and plan to review a few more. But now, I have actually seen Fallen Kingdom, and can comment on the movie too. I have already discussed the Fallen Kingdom sets in a previous post (click here to read it), so I won’t go into too much detail about them here, and will chat a little more about the movie.

To start off, I want to say that I liked Fallen Kingdom. I would even venture so far as to say that I liked it more than the first Jurassic World, though it still doesn’t come close to the first Jurassic Park. I found that Fallen Kingdom tried to focus more on the chill factor than previous films. However, it tried a little too hard to achieve an old horror movie vibe in certain scenes. I think I would have liked this movie more if it had stayed truer to the early previews which focused on saving the dinosaurs from an erupting volcano. In the end, that story makes up less than half of the film. That plot would have been enough to make a good, entertaining movie. I still liked Fallen Kingdom though.

In terms of the LEGO® sets, many are relatively true to the movie. A large part of the film occurs at the Lockwood Estate, which is the largest set in the series. I think that Blue’s Helicopter Pursuit should have been a T. rex set though. Taking a look at my LEGO-fied movie poster, you’ll understand why. That scene happens early on this movie, and it is brilliant. The whole opening sequence is one of the highlights of the movie. The T. rex set we did end up with in LEGO® form is still pretty accurate though. Another more-or-less accurate sets was the Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape (click here for my review). While the gyrosphere is not found at the ride’s launch in the movie, the gryosphere does encounter the carnotaurus none-the-less.

In terms of inaccuracies, Stygimoloch Breakout (click here for my review) is not very on point. While the stygimoloch plays an important part in the film, and does breakout, the environment is significantly different from what is portrayed in the set. Another set that does not match the movie is the Dilophosaurus Outpost Attack. There isn’t even a live dilophosaurus in the movie, let alone an outpost for it to attack.

All in all, it was a great movie, and inspired me to make a new LEGO-fied poster. I was entertained. Not all of the LEGO® sets actually match events in the film, but in the end, who really cares? The sets are fun, and come with dinosaurs. What are your thoughts on Fallen Kingdom and the associated LEGO® sets? Are there any scenes you would have liked to see in brick-from? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Until next time,

-Tom

Coloring Page – Carnotaurus

This week has been all about Jurassic World in terms of my Instagram pics and LEGO review of the week. To go along with that theme, this week’s free coloring page is Carnotaurus! Click here to download your free PDF (it will open in a new window). Happy coloring!

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This is a sample of the Carnotaurus coloring page, it is not print quality. Use the link above to download a free, printable PDF.

A Visit to Jurassic World (Part 2)

A few weeks ago, I shared my first visit to Jurassic World for the summer, featuring Stygimoloch (click here to see the photos). I reviewed the LEGO® Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape earlier this week. I had a lot of fun photographing this set. I have posted some of the shots on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest throughout the week. I’ve posted them below, with a few additions that I also quite liked but that haven’t made my other social media accounts yet. Enjoy!

Review – Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape [75929]

June 2018 is the month to get yourself a Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape set at the LEGO® Store. All month long, this set will score you double VIP points. It will also get you this month’s freebie, the Creative Storybook set (click here to read my review). Today’s review set was on my wish list for the Jurassic World theme because of the Carnotaurus. It was a great deal, and the set did not disappoint either.

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LEGO® Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape box art.

SET SUMMARY

NAME: Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape
SET #: 75929
THEME: Jurassic World
COST: $99.99 CAD
BRICK COUNT: 577
MINIFIGURES: 3
OF INTEREST: Carnotaurus & Baby Dinosaur
RELEASE DATE: April 17, 2018

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Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape box contents.

SUMMARY REVIEW: 76%

VALUE: 70% (A bit expensive at $0.17 per brick.)
BUILD: 90% (Nice gyrosphere launch, satisfactory truck.)
MINIFIGURES: 90% (Nice Minifigs, loads of accessories, awesome dino!)
ENTERTAINMENT: 55% (Really expensive build-time, but fun set.)

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Dilapidated gyrosphere launch.

REVIEW

VALUE: 70%
With 577 bricks, and a price tag of $99.99 in Canada, each piece in Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape will cost you $0.17. That price is a little high considering that the average price per brick in the last LEGO® catalog was $0.12. The set is licensed though, and you get a large dinosaur, so the higher price is not completely unexpected. I give Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape 3.5/5 (70%) for value.

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Gyrosphere launch

BUILD: 90%
You get a couple of builds in this set. The first is the dilapidated gyrosphere launch. The structure itself looks old and overgrown, as it should considering Jurassic World has been abandoned. The gyrosphere even comes with printed cracks, and with less vibrant blue paint than in the 2016 sets. There is a small nest with some eggs on the side as well, and a baby dinosaur. I really like the look of this build. I didn’t put the stickers on most of this set for re-usability reasons, but I liked the gyrosphere sign quite a bit, so I put that one on.

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Lava play feature.

There are two play features on the launch site. One is a fairly typical trap door that allows “lava” to fall from the tree canopy. I guess it is meant to be volcanic material flying through the air after an eruption. The other play feature is the gyrosphere launch. It works by simply pushing a rod. Both features work well, but are nothing new.

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Gyrosphere launcher.

The other build that you get is a truck, and a trailer for the gyrosphere. The trailer also has a launcher feature. As for the truck, it is not my favorite, but it’s not bad either. I find that the frame of the truck is too high off the ground, but I do like the simulated shocks. I miss the science-y touch that the 2016 sets had though. They each came with some partially accurate research equipment. This set lacks in that department. Sure, there is a satellite dish attached to the trailer, and a work bench in the truck. But, I miss the parabolic antennas and computers displaying recorded sound waves from 2016.

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Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape truck.

The gyrosphere launch is great, and gets full points. The truck is ok, but a little lack-luster. It also loses a little for the lack of science equipment. I would give it 8/10. So, if we average the 100% for the gyrosphere launch with the 80% for the truck, this whole set earns 90% as its build score.

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The truck is designed to separate.

MINIFIGURES: 90%
Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape comes with three Minifigures: Owen Grady, Claire Dearing, and Franklin Webb. Owen and Claire were, of course, in the last Jurassic World film. I suppose we will find out who Franklin Webb is when Fallen Kingdom hits theaters on June 22. I have to say that I do really like the Minifig though, especially his look of horror. It is interesting to note that Owen and Claire also came together in the truck set from the 2016 line of Jurassic World sets (Raptor Rampageclick here to read my review). Without going through my whole rating system (you can click here to read the details if you are interested), I would summarize these Minifigures as being pretty nice. I don’t like this version of Owen as much as the 2016 version, but overall, I would give these characters a design rating of 27/45. You also get a few accessories, namely a baby dinosaur, three eggs, a shovel, a gun, a wrench, four darts (2 green, 2 blue), and two bones. Those bring the score up to 40/45 (89%).

 

I did not include the Carnotaurus in the above score because it is not really a Minifigure. But, it really was the main reason that I bought this set. It is really nicely detailed, and features seven points of articulation, one of which moves in multiple planes. The body mold is identical to the Indominus rex from the 2016 sets, only in a different color. It features a new arm and head mold though.

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LEGO Carnotaurus

Though I didn’t count it in the Minifigure design score, I will count in the Carnotaurus in the brick-to-Minifigure ratio. With 577 bricks, 3 Minifigures, and a big dinosaur, Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape has a brick-to-fig ratio of 144:1. That is really not bad at all. In fact, it is actually really good. I give this set 4.5/5 (90%) for its ratio score. Averaging that with the design score gives Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape an overall Minifigure rating of 90%.

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Rear view of Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape Minifigs.

ENTERTAINMENT: 55%
Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape took me 94 minutes to build. While I greatly enjoyed the build time that I got, it was expensive. At $99.99, each minute of assembly cost me $1.04. Again, with the licensing, and the specialty pieces involved in the dinosaur and gyrosphere, a high price tag is not entirely unexpected. But, it still earns this set a low build-time score of 1/5 (20%).

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Gyrosphere trailer.

Despite the expense involved with this set, I still really like it. The dinosaur is amazing, and the gyrosphere launch is a lot of fun. I can see this set having some great play value for kids. If I had space to build my own Jurassic Park, I would totally adapt this set as one of the rides in my park. I probably would not keep the truck built as is though, it just doesn’t impress me much. The trailer might be a keeper though, to help transport gyrospheres around the park. I will give this set 4.5/5 for my enjoyment of it. Averaging this with the build-time score gives Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape an overall entertainment rating of 55%.

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Dinosaur nest.

OVERALL: 76%

Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape has a lot going for it. You get some really nice Minifigures and accessories, as well as a fun set with lots of play value. Most importantly, you get a big, new dinosaur. This set really suffers from a high price tag though. You can offset the price a little in June 2018 by taking advantage of the LEGO® Store’s double VIP points offer specifically for this set. That will also allow you to get the concurrent promotion of the free Creative Storybook set. Alternatively, you can wait for the Jurassic World sets to go on sale. I like this set a lot, but I would recommend waiting for a sale, or taking advantage of another promotion before buying it.

How do you feel about Carnotaurus Gyrosphere Escape? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Until next time,

-Tom

Jurassic World – Dr. Wu GIVEAWAY!!!

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is hitting theaters later this month, and the LEGO® sets are already on store shelves. To celebrate, I thought I would do a Minifigure giveaway. It is not just any Minifigure either, but Dr. Wu from Jurassic World. To make the deal even sweeter, it’s not the new 2018 variant of Dr. Wu, but the unopened 2016 polybag.

It just so happens that I have a few of these polybags hanging around. Four of them were given to me a while ago, and they have been just sitting in my drawer. The time has come to part with one, and maybe you can be the lucky winner! What do you have to do for a chance to win? Simple, head on over to my Facebook page, and click “Like”. The contest will run until June 30. Everyone who has liked my Facebook page on June 30 gets a chance at the draw (so, if you already like the page, you are already entered). I will ship anywhere in the world.

The polybag you see in the image above is the actual one that I will ship to you should you win. The other photos are from one of the four bags that I opened to keep for myself. Head on over to Facebook, hit “Like”, and good luck!

Until next time,

-Tom