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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Out & About in Toronto

For the last week, I have been in Toronto. The purpose of the trip was actually work related. I was sent to a conference for some professional development. My wife and I decided that we would extend the trip a little to visit family and friends in the area. Of course, I had to squeeze some LEGO related activities into the mix. The first stop was the LEGO Store in Yorkdale Mall. It was pretty much the same as my local LEGO store back in Montreal. However, I did find that it was not as well organized or stocked in terms of the Minifigure station and pick-a-brick wall. I was there the day after the release of the new Ninjago Movie Minifigures, so I stocked up on a few of those.

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The LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Toronto

Towards the end of the week, I hit the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Being an adult fan of LEGO, I am actually not allowed into the center by myself. They do have special adult nights, but I was not in town for one of them. The Discovery Center is really meant for little kids, and focuses on their entertainment and safety. So, it is understandable that there are no adults allowed in without a child. Luckily, I have two nieces in the area who had never been. So, I borrowed my sister’s kids and we went out for the day!

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A view of LEGO Toronto from the Discovery Center

When you walk into the Discovery Center, there is a sizeable LEGO store on the left. You can access the store without paying for entry into the center itself, and adults can go shop on their own without kids. There was a pretty good selection, especially on the pick-a-brick wall. I find LEGO Stores tend to have generally the same bricks from store to store (at least the two in Montreal and the one in Yorkdale have pretty much the same selection). The Discovery Center had a lot of bricks in a variety of colours that were not the usual fare. It was a little more expensive though. At the regular LEGO Store, you buy LEGO by the cup. This means that you can cram as much LEGO in as possible, and the price doesn’t change. I like to think that I am getting pretty good at that. At the Discovery Center, you pay by weight, so the more you cram, the more you pay. I guess the advantage of that is that if you only need a few bricks, you don’t have to buy a whole cup.

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Toronto City Hall built from LEGO at the Discovery Center

The Discovery Center itself was filled with activities to entertain little ones. There was a Ninjago jungle gym and training center, a Friends house, a Duplo playground, and various build pits. We enjoyed a short Nexo Knights film in the 4D cinema. The video was a little more violent than I anticipated, and my four year old niece was a little frightened. My five year old niece really liked it though, and especially got a kick out of the evil book spitting on the crowd, and how people actually got sprayed (the fourth dimension of film involves actually feeling stuff like wind and little water sprays). There was also two little rides, but my nieces didn’t want to try those.

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“Ticket booth” at the 4D cinema entrance in the Discovery Center

My main purpose for wanting to visit LEGOLAND was the builds. There were a lot of character statues, and the Toronto Miniland was really cool. I would love for my LEGO city to be on that scale one day. There were even little subway stations beneath the city that you could see through windows in the base of the stage supporting the buildings. Off to the side, there was even a Niagara Falls display built out of LEGO. All in all, it was a fun little side trip. I had two-for-one coupons as well, so it wasn’t too expensive to get in either.

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Temple of Airjitzu jungle gym at the Discovery Center

On the weekend, I visited another LEGO Store, this time at Sherway Gardens Mall. This LEGO Store impressed me. The pick-a-brick wall actually had some good selection, and even some 2×2 tiles, which are harder to find. The Minifigure Station also had some parts that I had not seen before, so I found myself filling a cup and building some Minifigs. The staff was also super friendly. I have never had unfriendly staff at a LEGO Store, but this time, a couple of the employees actually engaged me in conversation about my brick selection, which was fun. Other than writing about LEGO here on my blog, I don’t often get to converse about my hobby with people who seem interested.

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LEGO Batman at the Discovery Center

As I left Toronto on Sunday, I made one last stop at the Fairview Mall. There is another LEGO Store in it. I figured that I had been to all of the other LEGO Stores in Toronto, I couldn’t leave just one unvisited. It was along the same lines as the Yorkdale Mall location. The brick selection was the same as most other stores, as was the Minifigure station (which was not well stocked).

Are there any Torontonians out there? My visits to these stores were one-offs. I would be curious to know if I just hit some of these stores on bad days, or if their stock is regularly low? If anyone else has been to the Discovery Center (or others) I would love to hear how your experiences compared in the comments below.

Until next time,

-T.N.B.