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.

Coloring Page – Islander Woman

Here’s another blast from the past. I have already made one Islanders coloring page, but since it was one of my favorite themes growing up, I thought it was time for another. This time, I have drawn a tribe woman for your coloring pleasure. As I was making this page, I couldn’t help but think how Minifigures have come a long way since the 1990s. The Islanders were pretty detailed for their time, but now they seem pretty simplistic next to, say, a Super Heroes character. While I love my detailed Minifigs, there is something to be said about simplicity and the good old days. But, without further delay, click here to download your free page (it will open in a new window).

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

Top 10 Biggest LEGO® Sets – Summer 2018

It’s that time again… the LEGO® Group has outdone themselves once more. With the release of set 71043, the list of the top 10 biggest LEGO® sets has changed. Hogwarts Castle is now the second biggest set ever produced, and it has knocked the Death Star out of the rankings. Hogwarts became available to VIP card holders in August 2018, and will be on sale to general public on September 1. Here is the current list of the top 10 biggest LEGO® sets:

10. The Disney Castle (71040)

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Official product image for The Disney Castle (71040) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 4,080
Price: $399.99 CDN
Cost/Brick: $0.10
Minifigures: 5
Released: October 6, 2016
Availability: This set is still commercially available

09. Roller Coaster (10261)

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Official product image for the Roller Coaster (10261) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 4,124
Price: $479.99 CDN
Cost/Brick: $0.12
Minifigures: 11
Released: May 17, 2018
Availability: This set is still commercially available

08. Big Ben (10253)

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Official product image for Big Ben (10253) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 4,162
Price: $299.99 CDN
Cost/Brick: $0.07
Minifigures: 0
Released: July 2, 2016
Availability: This set is still commercially available

07. Tower Bridge (10214)

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Official product image for Tower Bridge (10214) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 4,295
Price: $299.99 CDN
Cost/Brick: $0.07
Minifigures: 0
Released: October 3, 2010
Availability: This set is still commercially available

06. Ghostbusters Firehouse (75827)

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Official product image for Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters (75827) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 4,634
Price: $399.99 CDN
Cost/Brick: $0.09
Minifigures: 9 + 3 Ghosts
Released: January 2, 2016
Availability: This set is still commercially available
Click here for my review

05. Ninjago City (70620)

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Official product image for Ninjago City (70620) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 4,867
Price: $349.99 CDN
Cost/Brick: $0.07
Minifigures: 16
Released: August 16, 2017
Availability: This set is still commercially available
Click here for my review

04. Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon (10179)

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Official product image for the Millennium Falcon (10179) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 5,197
Price: $499.99 US
Cost/Brick: $0.10
Minifigures: 5
Released: October 24, 2007
Availability: This set was retired in 2010

03. Taj Mahal (10256)

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Official product image for the Taj Mahal (10189) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 5,923
Price: $449.99 CAD
Cost/Brick: $0.08
Minifigures: 0
Released: September 24, 2010 (as set 10189)
Re-released: December 2, 2017
Availability: The original set was retired in 2011, but the re-release is still commercially available

02. Hogwarts Castle (71043)

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Official product image for Hogwarts Castle (71043) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 6,020
Price: $499.99 CAD
Cost/Brick: $0.08
Minifigures: 4
Released: September 1, 2018 (August 15, 2018 for VIPs)
Availability: This set is still commercially available

01. Millennium Falcon (75192)

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Official product image for The Millennium Falcon (75192) from shop.LEGO.com

Brick Count: 7,541
Price: $899.99 CAD
Cost/Brick: $0.12
Minifigures: 7 + 1 droid
Released: September 14, 2017
Availability: This set is still commercially available

Coloring Page – Secret Ninja Force

Truth be told, this week’s coloring page is not an original work. By browsing my previous Ninjago coloring pages, you will note that I have drawn all of these ninjas in these exact poses before. Even then, they were replicas of official LEGO® promotional images. But, I thought it would be fun to have all of the characters on one coloring page, so I used Photoshop to stick all of them together. You can 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 Secret Ninja Force coloring page, it is not print quality. Use the link above to download a free, printable PDF.

Review – Ninjago City Chase [70607]

I have actually had Ninjago City Chase for a really long time… since Christmas. It has been sitting un-built, sealed in its box, until now. I have been imagining a custom extension to my Ninjago City set (click here for the review), and this little guy will feature in it as part of the traditional lower level. But, that project is still a long ways off, so I was not in a rush to build Ninjago City Chase. However, I recently came to the conclusion that I should review this set before it is retired, especially since it can be found on sale quite often these days. Who knows, someone out there might want a review before picking it up on the sale rack?

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Ninjago City Chase box art.

SET SUMMARY

NAME: Ninjago City Chase
SET #: 70607
THEME: The LEGO® Ninjago Movie
COST: $24.99 CAD
BRICK COUNT: 233
MINIFIGURES: 5
RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2017

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Ninjago City Chase box contents.

SUMMARY REVIEW: 86%

VALUE: 90% (At $0.11 per brick, it is a little cheaper than average.)
BUILD:
80% (Nice set, but I wish there was more to the vendor’s stand.)
MINIFIGURES: 98% (Really nice Minifigs, lots of accessories, excellent brick:fig.)
ENTERTAINMENT: 75% (Good for building up a city, but lacks substance/playability.)

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Front view of police tuc-tuc vehicle.

REVIEW

VALUE: 90%
Ninjago City Chase costs $24.99 in Canada. At that price, you are look at a cost of $0.11 per brick. That is just slightly below the current average of $0.12, calculated using the last catalog that I got in the mail. The overall average for all of the 2017 catalogs was $0.13, so Ninjago City Chase is actually a pretty decent value. I rate it at 4.5/5 (90%).

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Side view of police tuc-tuc.

BUILD: 80%
Ninjago City Chase consists of three little builds. The first is a tuc-tuc for the police officer to drive. It is a cute little build, but nothing overly impressive. The tuc-tuc has a front driver’s seat, and a back seat for a passenger or cuffed-prisoner.

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Vendor’s stand from Ninjago City Chase.

The second and third builds go together. You have two lamp posts connected by a string of lanterns, and fish/fruit stand. Both come with great signage in the Ninjago language to add to those seen in the Ninjago City set. There is not much depth to the stand, but it looks pretty good when examined head-on. There is an unattached barrel of apples that can be placed beside it. One thing that I really liked about this build was the design for the fish and cherry bins. They are slanted in order to hold the food, but they are also angled inwards to give the stand a tiny bit of dimension. I like this set, but it doesn’t thrill me like some others. I wish there was a little more to the vendor’s stand, and not just a facade. I give Ninjago City Chase 8/10 (80%) for build.

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Angled food displays give the vendor’s stand a little depth.

MINIFIGURES: 98%
There are five Minifigures included in Ninjago City Chase: Lloyd, Nya, Officer Toque, Ham the vendor, and a shark army thug. Only Nya and Lloyd have double sided faces, but all of them have front and back printed torsos, and some kind of head covering. The only character without leg printing is Officer Toque. Based on my rating scale, I would give them 56/75 (75%) for design alone. But, you also get a number of nice accessories, including: a hammer, three fish, four cherries, three apples, a cell phone, a $100 bill, a walkie-talkie, and handcuffs. 15 accessories bring the score up to 71/75 (95%).

 

Ninjago City Chase has a total of 233 bricks in the kit. With five Minifigures, you are looking at a brick-to-fig ratio of 47:1. That is excellent, and earns a full 5/5 (100%). Averaging the ratio score and design scores gives this set an overall Minifigure rating of 98%.

 

ENTERTAINMENT: 75%
Ninjago City Chase took me 35 minutes to build. With a price tag of $24.99, each minute of build time set me back $0.71. That is not the best build time I have ever gotten, but it is not the worst either. I will rate this set at 3.5/5 for build time value.

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Swingin’ by some signage.

In terms of enjoyment, you get a lot of fun characters, with a little corner of the city to interact with. I wouldn’t say this is the most fun LEGO® set that I could imagine getting as a child, but it has some good city-building value. I will be incorporating this into an upcoming custom project, but I will probably give it a little more substance. For that reason, I rate it at 4/5 (80%) for enjoyment. Averaging this score with the build time score gives an overall entertainment rating of 75%.

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OVERALL: 86%

I like Ninjago City Chase for its potential in terms being added to my LEGO® city. You also get a very good value in terms of the cost per brick, and the build time. The set comes with an excellent brick-to-Minifigure ratio, and the characters are well designed. Even at full price, I would say that this set is worth the purchase, though I do wish Ham’s stand had a little behind-the-scenes substance. What are your thoughts on Ninjago City Chase? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Until next time,

-Tom

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Hasta la vista, baby.

Coloring Page – Nya

To go along with this week’s set review, the coloring page up for grabs is Nya from the LEGO® Ninjago Movie. While I have made a Nya page in the past, this time she has been drawn as the street clothes variant seen in the Ninjago City Chase set. You can click here to download a free, printable PDF file (it will open in a new window). Happy coloring!

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