Hop Into Donald Duck’s Classy LEGO Mini Car 313

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Since the release of LEGO’s Disney Collectible Minifigures, LEGO fans around the world never seem to run out of great ideas on how to proudly display their favorite Disney character rendered in minifig form. We saw how Moko paid tribute to the world’s most famous mouse with his Mecha Mickey Robo a couple of days ago, and it was really awesome. Disney’s magic and appeal seems to be universal.

This time, hailing from a land where Donald Duck is affectionately called as ‘Kalle Anka’, Swedish web developer, illustrator and AFOL Johan Alexanderson couldn’t wait for LEGO to come up with sets centered on his favorite minifigure. Instead, he came up with his own build showing Donald’s refined automotive taste. Johan’s Donald Duck Minicar is so promising that it eventually landed a place to become a LEGO Ideas entry.

 

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Inspired by the popular American Bantam 1938 classic car, Johan opted for the timeless appeal of the Belchfire Runabout, complete with a customized plate number that reflects Donald’s birthday which is March 13.

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Here’s how Johan  describes his Donald Duck Mini Car 313:

Since we now have Disney’s Donald Duck, wouldn’t it be great with a set of his car, also called “the 313”? This model is 6 studs wide so it fits great in a LEGO city.

The car made its first appearance in the movie “Don Donald” from 1937, and in 1938 was introduced in the newspaper comics by Al Taliaferro. The design is originally based on the “American Bantam 1938” car, but has changed slightly over the years and varies from different cartoonists. 

Its name “The 313” comes from the license plate that has the number 313, which also is by the way the day when Donald Duck was born (13th of March).

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It’s impressive how Johan was able to fit all this classy goodness in a build that is just 6 studs wide – something that LEGO can easily do especially that they already have the similar Mighty Micros line. If you find his work promising, just head over at his LEGO Ideas project page and show your support by voting for his MOC. We wish Johan all the best in hitting that 10K mark!

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Moko Does It Again With This Mecha Mickey Robo

When it comes to creative LEGO mechs, Master Builder Moko never runs out of wild ideas. From a transforming LEGO brick to a futuristic Mechatrobot, his creations never cease to surprise us with its simplicity and impressive articulation. So just imagine what happens when he gets his first LEGO Disney minifigures set – well, the result is one seriously hilarious mashup of Disney magic and action-packed Japanese anime. Enter the Mecha Mickey Robo.

Over at his Japanese blogsite, Moko confessed how excited he is upon getting his new Mickey Mouse minifigure, that he has to come up with a mecha build that is a fitting tribute to the most popular mouse on the face of the planet. Building on the charm and simplicity of Mickey, Moko came up with a down-to-earth, but pleasantly attractive Mecha Mickey Robo to complement the iconic character. If you’re familiar with Nintendo’s Kirby and his most recent game Kirby Robobot, you may have a pretty good grasp on where Moko is coming from.

Similar to his other builds, Moko’s trademark emphasis on articulation is very well seen in his Mickey Robo build. He also plans to make a similar ride both for Minnie and Donald Duck anytime soon. Just imagine a battalion of all your LEGO Disney minifigures on top of their own awesome mechs. That is one set that we will really look forward to. Just imagine how Ursula or Maleficent’s rides will be…So if you want to see more of Moko’s work or give him a compliment or two for his builds, you may drop him a note over his Flickr account or head over his blogsite.

 

 

LEGO Opens World’s Largest Flagship Store in Shanghai, China

Last Wednesday marked the opening of the world’s largest LEGO store in Shanghai Disney Resort in China with the hope of attracting more customers once the Disney theme park opens in June. According to LEGO Shanghai store’s General Manager Jacob Kragh, China had been one of the best performing markets last year that saw an increase of more than 30% of sales in LEGO products. LEGO’s presence is keenly felt in this part of China, especially considering that the company has plans of setting up its first factory in Jiaxing, which is expected to be operational by 2017 employing 2,000 personnel. Construction of the factory has already begun since 2014.

The massive two-storey, 1,000 square-meter Lego store features models ranging from a giant dragon, well-known Disney and Marvel characters, and the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac. Here’s a look at some of the sights in and around the world’s largest LEGO Store courtesy of Reuters and China News.

A lion dance performance is carried out during the opening ceremony for a Lego store, the company's largest retail store in the world, near the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai Tourists visit a Lego store during its opening ceremony, the company's largest retail store in the world, near the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai Tourists take pictures at a Lego store during its opening ceremony, the company's largest retail store in the world, near the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai People visit a Lego store during its opening ceremony, the company's largest retail store in the world, near the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai A boy plays at a Lego store during its opening ceremony, the company's largest retail store in the world, near the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai

Considering the amount of attention LEGO is giving to the Chinese market, it will not take long before we see other LEGO Stores setup in the country. This might be a good way of counteracting the selling and distribution of certain Chinese-made, LEGO-like knock-offs, especially if LEGO can lower the costs of their sets within the area. Here’s a look of some of the promotions as seen from the store’s May and June calendar, as uploaded by a local LEGO Store visitor Capitalism Village (I hope Google Translate got this right).

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The store’s calendar didn’t hold back in its promotion, featuring some of the larger sets that LEGO has just released recently, including this year’s LEGO Star Wars UCS Attack on Hoth (75098), 2015’s LEGO Star Wars UCS Tie Fighter (75095), and  Imperial Assault Carrier (75106). It also featured sets from different names such as the DC Comics Batman Classic TV Series – Batcave (76052), Ninjago Temple of Airjitzu (70751), and Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters (75827). There’s also a promotion for what seems to be some Nexo Knights and Friends polybags, plus a corner for the LEGO Nexo Knights Merlok 2.0 app.

So what do you think about this development? Are you excited to pay this LEGO Store a visit? Share us your thoughts in the comments section below.

CAN YOU GUESS WHO THIS COOL TRANSFORMER IS?

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Those who grew up with trading cards and collecting posters from the 80’s knew very well this unassuming transforming mech. If you said ‘Soundwave’, then your knowledge of classic transformers is impeccable. This very excellent rendition from master mech builder Joe Perez (aka MortalSwordsman) gives Megatron’s right hand man a LEGO build worthy of this iconic Decepticon.

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This is how Soundwave looks like in his classic 80s Transformers look. The mech at the right is Autobot Blaster – a boombox changing cassette deck similar to Soundwave. As the Decepticon’s Communications Officer, Soundwave is capable of detecting and jamming radio transmissions which makes him very useful for Decepticon leader Megatron.

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Since we featured Moko’s transforming LEGO brick last month, this is perhaps the most excellent, and realistic classic Transformer MOC that we have ever seen. Joe even went as far as building three of Soundwave’s most favored minions: Laserbeak, Ravage, and Frenzy.

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These ‘microfighters’ can also easily transform to their cassette tape versions as seen in the classic Transformers TV series. They are usually used for intelligence gathering and reconnaissance missions and are very good at it. Fully transformable without the need to remove any pieces, Laserbeak, Ravage, and Frenzy all fit nicely into Soundwave’s chest and are ready to spring into action at the behest of their master.

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With such abilities and firepower at his disposal, no wonder Megatron gives much premium to his trusted Communications Officer. Be sure to check the rest of Joe Perez’ rendition of Soundwave over at his Flickr address. Can you think of any other great transforming mech rendered in LEGO form? Share us your finds in the comment section below.

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Is This Custom LEGO Mechatrobot the Future of Transportation?

Billed as the “world’s smallest Mechatrobot for children”, the Mechatro WeGo is Japan’s take on the future of children’s school commute. Playfully conceived by Sentinel Co. Ltd. as the ‘ideal’ mode of transportation in extremely mountainous areas and a new way of engaging in various recreational purposes, all of these may sound pretty cool more so if it can be actually real. We don’t know much about this mechanical wonder – where it came from, or what is its ultimate purpose. But one thing is for sure: it caught the attention of our mecha-genius LEGO designer Moko. We featured his transforming LEGO brick a couple of days ago, and now another robotic creation sprung into life in from his workshop – the aptly named LEGO Mechatrobot.

His rendition of the Mechatro WeGo maybe unassuming, not until you start peeling away the layers of this build will you see the depth of Moko’s inventiveness.

Like his transforming LEGO brick, Moko’s LEGO Mechatrobot is similarly articulated, capable of various poses and gestures.

You may follow Moko through his blog and same as before, it will be very, very helpful to hit Translate in Google Chrome’s address bar. In case you are still bit confused about this wonderful piece of Japanese pop-culture, RocketPunchArmy has a pretty neat product review on the actual Mechatro WeGo toy. Check this video.

 

DK RELEASES TWO MORE BOOKS UNDER ITS “LEGO BUILD YOUR OWN ADVENTURES” SERIES

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DK Publishing is set to release some LEGO themed books based on its Build Your Own Adventure (BYOA) series sometime in August. With the successful release of their two previous  BYOA series books also of August last year, LEGO Ninjago: Build Your Own Adventure and LEGO Friends: Build Your Own Adventure, Dorling Kindersley adds another two in the roster.

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DK’s Build Your Own Adventure Series helps readers to have more building ideas under a particular theme. The third in the series, LEGO Star Wars: Build Your Own Adventure comes with a 73-pieces, micro-fighter version of the Y-Wing Starfighter together with a Rebel pilot minifigure exclusively distributed with the book. The minifig is somehow similar to Dutch Vander as seen in LEGO Y-Wing Fighter (7658). Here is the complete description from Amazon.

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A book with bricks that inspires kids to build, play, and learn, LEGO® Star Wars™: Build Your Own Adventure combines more than 50 inspirational ideas for building with enthralling story starters from the world of LEGO Star Wars.

Organized into five chapters based on different planets in the Star Wars universe, readers will use their builds to break prisoners out on Cloud City and spy on the Imperial Army on Endor. Model ideas will inspire readers of various ages and abilities, with an appropriate mix of easy, medium, and harder builds.

LEGO Star Wars: Build Your Own Adventure will get kids inspired to build and play out adventures of their own, and it comes with bricks and instructions to build an exclusive LEGO Star Wars model to add to their collection.

Next to be released by DK on August 2 is LEGO City: Build Your Own Adventure. The set also comes with a free 99-pieces, Fire Truck set together with a Firefighter minifigure. Similarly, the book will provide you with several cool suggestions on how to come up with your own LEGO City building ideas. Here’s the official description.

DK City

A book with bricks that inspires kids to build, play, and learn, LEGO® City: Build Your Own Adventure combines more than 50 inspirational ideas for building with enthralling story starters from the world of LEGO City.

Organized into five chapters structured around different environments from the city world, readers will use their builds to aid a sunken boat in the city’s marina and help control a forest fire in a nearby park. Model ideas will inspire readers of various ages and abilities, with an appropriate mix of easy, medium, and harder models.

LEGO City: Build Your Own Adventure will get kids inspired to build and play out adventures of their own, and comes with bricks and instructions to build an exclusive LEGO City model to add to their collection.

 

Both books come in hardcover format and may now be pre-ordered via Amazon.com scheduled to be released on August 2 of this year. LEGO Star Wars: Build Your Own Adventure retails at $24.99, while the LEGO City: Build Your Own Adventure retails at $19.84.

This Transforming LEGO Brick Is More Than Meets The Eye

Japanese LEGO builder Moko shared in his blogsite what seems to be a highly articulated, LEGO MOC that shows an unassuming LEGO brick transforming to a cool, ‘mecha’ or robot. The build is actually similar to the Autobot named Hot Rod as seen in the 80s animated series of Transformers. Based on a rough Google translation, the transforming LEGO brick was designed at a 1:27 scale of the typical 2×4 brick, big but comfortable enough to hold at the palm of your hand.

This particular creation is highly articulated, with plenty of joints that allow this MOC to easily transform from one mode to another.

It is highly posable as well, rendering the transforming LEGO block to do some pretty cool battle stances.

I wish I could get more info on our Japanese creator’s blog without being lost in Google’s translation. So what do you think of this particular MOC? Share us your thoughts (and interpretation in case you know how to read and speak Japanese) in the comments below.

 

THIS MIGHT BE THE COOLEST LEGO BB-8 THAT WE HAVE EVER SEEN

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There has been plenty of fan-built LEGO BB-8s all over the internet, but none like what Mark Smiley created and contributed at LEGO Ideas. So, what set it apart from the rest? This LEGO BB-8 ACTUALLY rolls while keeping its ahead afloat, and Mark goes on to show that his rendition of the skittish but loyal astromech droid is made of 100% authentic LEGO parts. Watch its demo video below:

Mark’s BB-8 received a great deal of thumbs-up from fellow LEGO Idea supporters, running at 2398 votes as of this writing. The interesting part is that it gained almost 2,000 votes since last Friday when Lego Gizmodo featured Mark’s ingenious creation. As you may notice, the design of Mark’s BB-8 is reminiscent of that of Sphero’s BB-8 robotic toy.

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Unlike, Sphero’s absolutely cool and sophisticated version, the build of Mark’s BB-8 is surprisingly simple. Using magnets that are bolstered up from a central axle and stabilized by LEGO weights, BB-8’s manages to keep afloat while his main body is rolling. It lacks any electric motor that allows independent motion, however, it comes with a desert-themed docking station that allows BB-8 to roll using hand-cranked wheels while he remains stationary. As expected, there is no standard LEGO piece for BB-8’s spherical body giving Mark experimenting on certain parts as the only option. After countless trials and errors, Mark found the perfect spherical candidate: the desert planet from the Sebulba Podracer and Tatooine set (9675). Mark said, “It took a lot of experimenting…I think I ordered one of every dome and ball shaped piece Lego has ever made off of Bricklink just so I could try every option.” After a quick paint job, the desert planet of Tatooine now houses the mechanisms for this adorable rolling astromech.

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Here is Mark’s commentary on his BB-8 design.

This unique BB-8 was designed with the primary goal of being able to move with his head staying up on top.  The entire model was made using 100% Genuine Lego parts.  His shells were of course carefully painted (and if this model is approved and created by Lego, the parts would come printed as so many Lego parts are).  Inside you’ll find Lego weights suspended from the central axle that bolster up two Lego magnets.  Those magnets are held up close to the top of the ball and attract the two magnets built into BB-8’s head.  The head uses a cockpit dome (painted), hinge parts, and the smallest Lego wheels to skate on top of the body.  The body’s shell started out as Tatooine from the Lego Star Wars Planet series. The total part count is around 180 pieces.

This Rolling BB-8 is super fun to fidget with, roll about, and satisfies a midpoint between static model and full on electric RC.  It would make a great addition to any Lego or Star Wars Fan’s collection!

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We hope to see more support for Mark’s BB-8 (I certainly voted for it) as LEGO gave him additional 182 days as a way of giving a thumbs-up for the project. Perhaps future builds will incorporate NXT programming. The design potential is limitless. Just visit his LEGO Ideas page and click Support if you like to see this LEGO BB-8 roll out in store shelves later on.

DK’S “LEGO STAR WARS: CHRONICLES OF THE FORCE” PLUS EXCLUSIVE MINIFIGURE OFFICIALLY REVEALED

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Several months, ago prior to the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Amazon announced the release of a new DK Publishing book that will help any young Padawan learner explore the bricktastic Star Wars galaxy. Just recently, the movie’s website officially announced the full-details of the newest Dorling Kindersley book about the galaxy far, far away retold in a fun and entertaining way that only LEGO can deliver.

Here’s the full description as quoted from Starwars.com, as well the great reveal on the exclusive Star Wars The Force Awakens minifigure.

Looking to learn the ways of the brick side of the Force? DK Publishing is your master now.

StarWars.com is excited to reveal LEGO Star Wars: Chronicles of the Force, an in-depth, photo-filled companion to LEGO Star Wars, coming in June from DK. Written by veteran Star Wars authors Adam Bray and Cole Horton, the new tome spans the entire saga, featuring detailed information on the latest sets and minifigures of the LEGO Star Wars galaxy — and comes with an exclusive minifigure of its own. Meet “Unkar’s Brute,” one of the junk trader and thugs employed by Unkar Plutt from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, available only with LEGO Star Wars: Chronicles of the Force.

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Based on the above photo, the ‘Unkar’s Thug’ minifigure comes with a sand, brown color combination staying true to the harsh desolate environment of the planet Jakku. The minifig’s torso also closely resembles the old, tattered shirt of Unkar’s desert minion. While the head is a little far off from the actual character, it will be better if a helmet is added as seen from the movie. Overall, the minifigure is great and its exclusivity gives it a more “take me” appeal.

DK also has something for all LEGO Star Wars trivia lovers out there. Starting May, DK will release its Ultimate Factivity Collection: LEGO Star Wars. Designed for all Star Wars sages and Jedi in-training, it will test your knowledge across the Star Wars galaxy through cool activities, games, and puzzles jam packed together with a set of more than 500 collectible stickers. Here’s the official cover of DK’s LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Factivity Collection.

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DK’s LEGO Star Wars: Chronicles of the Force will be available in hardcover by June 7, and can be preordered through Amazon.  The Ultimate Factivity Collection: LEGO Star Wars activity book will be available in paperback by May 3, and can also be preordered via Amazon.

OUR TAKE ON THE COOLEST PODCASTS FOR LEGO FANS

If you’re like me who is pretty into music whenever I’m creating the next ‘big’ LEGO Idea concept (tongue in cheek), or simply while sorting out my long, neglected LEGO bricks, having something to listen to focuses your energies at any task at hand. Perhaps an even better alternative is to listen to a podcast – much more if it is geared towards LEGO. As TheBrickBlogger aptly observed, there is not much of very dedicated LEGO podcasts around, but there are some that is faithful to the craft. Here are some of them that is not just informative, but kind of funny and entertaining as well.

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Jeff and James “All Sorted” LEGO Podcast.

Whenever these two stay-at-home Canadian dads are not busy taking out the garbage or mowing the lawn, you can find them chatting their way running three separate podcasts: Breaking Dads which runs every Mondays dealing with the lighter side of parenting; Epic Gumdrop which talks about video gaming and airs every Fridays; and of course All Sorted every Wednesdays. Now on their 40th episode and going strong, this dynamic dad duo runs the show with such interest and zest that you’ll hardly notice that 20-30 minutes have passed already. With topics that are thoroughly researched, Jeff and James can communicate them in a way that is uniquely LEGO: fun and engaging. You can listen to their episodes via YouTube and iTunes.

 

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Joshua Hanlon and Matthew Kay’s  “Beyond the Brick” LEGO Podcast

Joshua and Matthew started Beyond the Brick back in 2011 with the goal of having a thought or two from the world’s leading LEGO builders and designers and as a platform to showcase awesome LEGO MOCs. Highly respected within the LEGO community, the tandem has already produced more than 150 podcast interviews and sharing recent developments within LEGO’s brick world. Each episode is around 30 minutes to an hour, and features some minimal video and images depending on the topics being discussed. You may catch them through their YouTube Channel right here.

I hope you enjoy their episodes as well as I do. If you happen to stumble upon a similar LEGO podcast, be kind enough to hit the comment button and let us know.