Minifigure Monday – Take A Look Into My Cup

Take A Look Into My Cup
(An original Harry Potter and LEGO® Minifigure inspired poem from True North Bricks)

I can tell you what will be,
If you really want to see.
Take a look into my cup,
Your future it will offer up.
Ask what will tomorrow hold,
If you find you’re feeling bold.

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This poem was inspired by the Harry Potter series of books, and the Professor Trelawney LEGO® Minifigure.

Coloring Page – Sybill Trelawney

After collecting some of the Harry Potter series of Minifigures, I have decided to start turning my favorites into coloring pages. I spent quite some time at the LEGO® Store feeling blind bags, trying to find my “must have” characters. I read the books, and I saw the movies. I like the books more, especially the earlier ones. In any case, after finding the characters that I wanted (or at least thinking that I had), I decided that I would open them one at a time to still have some element of surprise. The first one that I got was Sybill Trelawney, professor of divination at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Use the link below to download a free, printable PDF (it will open in a new window). Stay tuned in the coming days and weeks for more LEGO® Harry Potter themed coloring pages and posts.

Click here to download the Sybill Trelawney coloring page.

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This is a sample of the Sybill Trelawney coloring page, it is not print quality.

October 2018 LEGO® Haul

This year was supposed to be the year that I finally took part in Bricktober, and finally got myself one of those exclusive Toys R Us Minifigure packs. In the past, I have always made my October purchase at the LEGO® Store because I have always felt that double VIP points, and whatever monthly freebie that went with it, was always a better deal. Don’t get me wrong, I think those Bricktober Minifigure packs are awesome, and I have been tempted by them each and every year. But, double points and a freebie trumps four Minifigs in my personal opinion. This year, with no announcement of double VIP points when the October LEGO® Store calendar came out, I decided to go with Toys R Us. But, it was not meant to be…

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My October 2018 LEGO® Haul (with some festive props).

As it turned out, double VIP points was back this October. Instead of being the whole month, like it has been in the past, it was announced partway through the month, and only for the last two weeks of October. On a recent trip to the LEGO® Store, I asked an associate about the fact these events have not been advertised the last few times, and I was told that LEGO® Store employees don’t even know they are coming until they start nowadays. In any case, I opted to make a big purchase that I have been eyeing for some time in order to rack up my points. I bought Ninjago City Docks, and a pick-a-brick cup (they had 1×1 and 1×2 dark grey bricks that I am in desperate need of for my MOCs). That also landed me the freebie Minifigure frame that is currently being offered with purchases over $75.

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Box art for the October 2018 Minifigure frame freebie.

In terms of the frame, I was a little underwhelmed. I have seen Minifig frames for sale before, and have even been tempted to get one. However, this one is nothing really special. The whole thing is actually cardboard. I will still put it up for now, but one day I might change it for a higher quality one. I can’t complain too much about this because it was free. You also get a 32×32 baseplate with it, and  bunch of pieces used to build the Minifigure stands. A baseplate this size with normally set you back $10. So, if you don’t like the cardboard frame, you can trash it for a the new, dark grey baseplate that is glue to it. There is also a LEGO® printed tile in the mix.

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The freebie LEGO® frame with the Minifigure stands assembled.

This frame also comes with an exclusive Minifigure. I quite like this character. He comes with a rubber duck flotation device, like the one we saw in the LEGO® Batman Movie Minifigure series. It is really his facial expressions and t-shirt that I find amusing though. He has a double-sided face, with one side featuring Kanye-style sunglasses. The other side, which you don’t get to see on the packaging and ads, is this hilarious whistling expression that makes him look like he’s checking out some hottie walking by. To add to the story, he’s wearing a cheese-ball tank top that shows a muffin with the word “stud” written on it.

So, am I sad that I missed out on the great Bricktober promos this year? A little. But, I now have enough VIP points to get a pretty decent sized, free set. The frame was nice to get as a freebie, and at worst it gives me a cool Minifig, and a free baseplate. While it is cardboard, I will still use it to display the Minifig series I am collecting at any given time. How do you feel about this year’s Bricktober versus double VIP points/frame promotions? I’m curious to hear which option you went for and what your reasoning was.

Until next time,

-Tom

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Alternate expression of the exclusive Minifigure that comes with the October 2018 LEGO® Store Minifig frame freebie.

Coloring Page – Pig

LEGO® animals are so much fun. This week’s coloring page is a LEGO® pig for that very reason. Use the link below to download your free, printable PDF (it will open in a new window). Happy coloring!

Click here to download the pig coloring page

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

Pick-and-Build Minifig Update (Sept. 2018)

I made my way to the LEGO® Store recently to check out the pick-and-build Minifigure station. It is always good to check at least once a season for some new, holiday related part. Luckily, I was not disappointed on my recent trek, and Halloween pieces were aplenty.

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The reason for my Pick-and-Build purchase at the LEGO® Store.

The parts available now allow you to build variations on past ghouls from retired Minifigure series, but you can also get your hands on Jack-o-Lanterns. Despite my recent Harry Potter Minifigure purchases (made on a separate trip), I could not resist. I made myself three characters, and scored three pumpkins in the process.

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Most of the parts for Spider Lady from Minifigures Series 14 are available in the new selection of parts at the LEGO® Store.

The first Minifig that I built was essentially Spider Woman, from Series 14. The only parts missing in the current pick-and-build selection are the cape pieces she originally came with. In terms of differences, her face print is ever so slightly changed when it comes to the makeup. The detailing on her dress is the same in terms of pattern, but it has been printed in pink instead of red. The silver spiders from the original have been replaced with a darker grey, and a necklace has been added as well. Finally, the hairpiece does not have the spider web printed on it.

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Witch pieces available in the current LEGO® Store pick-and-build selection for fall 2018.

You can also make a variation on the Wacky Witch from the same series. Her pants were not available when I went, but they were a couple of months ago. So, your local store might have them. Again, the cloth piece (skirt) was not available. Like with the Spider Woman, the makeup printing is slightly different from the original in terms of color. The colors used on her torso appears to be the same on first glance, but side-by-side, you can see that the coloring on the newer version is more vibrant. The hat/hairpiece is also a different color, going from purple and grey on the original to different shades of tan on this variant. You can get a broom stick, but I really wanted those pumpkins.

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Vampire pieces available in the current LEGO® Store pick-and-build selection for fall 2018.

My last Minifigure is a vampire. He looks pretty similar to Lord Vampyre from the Monster Hunters theme of old. He does not have a double-sided face though, and the head is not glow in the dark. Instead, he comes with only the fang-bearing print, and a grey skin tone. Like with the others, you can’t get the cape. Finally, the detailing on this Minifigure’s torso has been changed from red to purple. You can get a bat as an accessory if you so choose.

I thought these were fun, seasonal changes to the pick-and-build station. The Jack-o-Lanterns are great, and can actually be worn over a Minifigure head. I guess this really means that fall is in the air though… Did you build your own Halloween characters? Feel free to comment below.

Until next time,

-Tom

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Review – Modular Modern Home [31068]

My hopes were pretty high when I first heard of this modular series of Creator homes. I guess I imagined a series of buildings with interchangeable parts that were designed similarly to the Expert series of modulars. I have to say, that is not what I got with this first foray into the series. Without going into much detail just yet, I have to say that I am disappointed. But, let’s take a closer look at why.

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Modular Modern Home box art.

SET SUMMARY

NAME: Modular Modern Home
SET #: 31068
THEME: Creator 3-in-1
COST: $49.99 CAD
BRICK COUNT: 386
MINIFIGURES: 2
RELEASE DATE: May 29, 2017

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Modular Modern Home box contents.

SUMMARY REVIEW: 61%

VALUE: 80% ($0.13 per brick is fairly average.)
BUILD:
50% (I am not a fan of the new modular design of this building.)
MINIFIGURES:
74% (Somewhat bland design, but good brick-to-fig ratio.)
ENTERTAINMENT:
 40% (Terrible build-time value, I will re-purpose the parts.)

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Brick-built dog from the Modular Modern Home set.

REVIEW

VALUE: 80%
The Modular Modern Home costs $49.99 in Canada. It also comes with 386 pieces, meaning each brick will cost you $0.13. That is pretty average, and I give this set 4/5 (80%) for value.

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Electric car and charging port from the Modular Modern Home set.

BUILD: 50%
I only built the model depicted on the front of the box, but it is a 3-in1 set. I like the overall, exterior look of the building. That is what drew me to this set to begin with. I was pretty excited about modifying this building for use in my LEGO® city. But, on building it, I was very disappointed with the construction. It is modular, but not all in the sense that I was expecting. There are two basic structural units that are used to build all three possible variations of this 3-in-1 kit. Everything else is built to be popped into place. Imagine those City or Super Heroes sets that have walls that can be popped out of place to simulate explosions or break-ins. All of the walls on this set are like that. Every modular component of this set is very loosely attached to the two main structural units. As I was putting the whole thing together, many of the parts popped out and had to be replaced. This says to me that the Modular Modern Home will not withstand much rough play… unless you are aiming for blowing things up…

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Modular components for the main build of the Modular Modern Home set.

I expected this set to be made of complete structural units, like the floors of the Expert modular buildings. I did not anticipate the two base units into which everything else loosely clips. Personally, I feel like this takes some of the joy out of building. Say, for example, you want to build all three possible models. It cuts corners in building to have these base units. I don’t have any other sets from this modular series, so I don’t know how well each of these sets can be interchanged. But, I don’t think I like this concept.

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Wall components slip into place on the Modular Modern Home. They are a snug enough fit, but are only held in place by studs on the bottom, making them easy to pop out of place.

As I mentioned earlier, I do like the overall look of the building. I also like the little electric car and charging port on the side of the building. The interior of the building is a little empty. You get a chair and couch on the ground floor, and two little beds upstairs. The upstairs is pretty small, so only the beds are up there. The downstairs is pretty empty. Overall, I don’t like the modular aspects of this set, and I find the interior of the main build a little bland. I give this set 5/10 (50%) for its build score.

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Ground floor of the Modular Modern Home set.

MINIFIGURES: 74%
There are two Minifigures included with the Modular Modern Home. You get one adult, and one child. If you have read many of my past reviews, you already know that I don’t like the child Minifigures. I am not a fan of the un-moving legs. The arms are also regular Minifig arms, which look disproportional to the stumpy legs. So, these characters already lose some points there. Neither has any leg printing, nor do they have double sided faces. One comes with hair, the other a hat, and both have front and back printed torsos. The only accessories included in the set are two pairs of scissors. I give these characters 20/30 (67%) for design.

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Front view of the Minifigures included in the Modular Modern Home set.

With two Minifigures and 386 bricks, the Modular Modern Home has a brick-to-Minifigure ratio of 193:1. That is not the best I have ever seen, but I would still rank it as good. In that regard, I give this set 4/5 (80%). Averaging the design and ratio scores gives the Modular Modern Home an overall Minifigure score of 74%.

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Rear view of the Minifigures included in the Modular Modern Home set.

ENTERTAINMENT: 40%
The Modular Modern Home took me 48 minutes to build. At a price tag of $49.99, that means that each minute of build time cost me $1.04. That is a terrible value. I am not entirely sure why this set was priced at $49.99, to be honest. The Sunshine Surfer Van, for example, has almost the same number of parts, but is priced $10.00 cheaper. It is also a more elaborate build, taking longer to complete, and with more detail. While the Sunshine Surfer Van is more of an exception than a rule in terms of price, it just goes to show that there are much nicer sets in this piece range that come at a better value. I give the Modular Modern Home 1/5 (20%) for build-time value.

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Toy helicopter build and trampoline build from the Modular Modern Home set.

As for my enjoyment of the set… I am not really feeling it. I mentioned earlier that I like the exterior look quite a bit. But, the rest of the set leaves a lot to be desired. I will be taking this one apart and re-purposing the parts. On that front, you do get some nice pieces to use in other projects, such as windows and doors. The light blue and white are also colors that I need currently. I may try to develop a more sturdy MOC using the the exterior look of this set in the future though. The Modular Modern Home earns 3/5 (60%) for my enjoyment of it. Averaging this with the build-time value score lands this set a total entertainment rating of 40%.

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Upper floor of the Modular Modern Home set.

OVERALL: 61%

While the cost per brick for the Modular Modern Home is ok, and the exterior design is nice, the rest of this set just doesn’t do anything for me. The interior of the building is pretty bland. The modular construction comes apart too easily, and it feels like a cop out in terms of design to use the same basic structure for all three possible builds. You also don’t get much build time at all for a really high price tag. I was really looking forward to this set, and I really feel let down by it. Maybe I will try to keep the exterior design alive in a custom project some day, but I will certainly do away with the pop-in wall design.

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Cruisin’ in the petit electric car.

I don’t generally read too many other reviews of a set before I review it myself so as not to bias my opinion. But, now that I have seen and built this set, I am curious if anyone else feels the same about this type of modular design as I do. Feel free to constructively comment in the space below.

Until next time,

-Tom

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Top view of the Modular Modern Home.