“Sustainable” LEGO Pieces Made of Plant-Based Material to Start Being Used in 2018

When you’re a toy brand that been around for as long as LEGO has been, then you’ve had plenty of time to establish many advantages for your products that would draw consumers in. LEGO has done it from the beginning with its educational bent, but now they’ve another: environmental sustainability.

LEGO has recently announced its plan to begin, as of this year, to produce a certain line of building elements not out of regular plastic, but of plant-based material. And what better place to start making LEGO elements out of plant-plastic derivatives than with “botanical” pieces like LEGO trees, and other plant elements.

We’ve seen several LEGO sets with building pieces that make plants and flowers, like in the BrickHeadz Valentine’s Bee (40270) or the LEGO Friends Friendship Flower (30404). Both have pieces that, put together, make plants and blossoms. Future elements of that vein, according to LEGO, will be made of green.

To be precise, the new alternative material for these pieces is polyethylene plastic, made out of ethanol extracts from, believe it or not, sugarcane. The resulting material from this process is, while not entirely biodegradable, will most definitely be recyclable according to LEGO, and is as sturdy as ordinary plastic.

The LEGO Group’s vice-president of environmental responsibility, Tim Brooks, noted that this initiative was natural on the part of the company, constantly trying to make “positive change” in the world. “This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials,” he adds.

Warner Bros’ “The Billion Brick Race” Loses Director For The Second Time.

The LEGO Movie, a co-production between the Warner Bros. Animation Group and LEGO, was one of biggest animated film franchises to start up in this decade. After all, from its success, we owe other titles such as most recent The LEGO Ninjago Movie and the stupendously popular LEGO Batman Movie with both films launched in 2017.

It has also been announced that WAG and the LEGO Group have set its sights on offering another brick-built film slated for release in 2019. The Billion Brick Race is a sequel to 2014’s LEGO Movie and another spinoff in the vein of Batman and Ninjago, tentatively set for a May 24, 2019 debut. However, the ambitious sequel seems to be going through rough waters as problems akin to Lucasfilm’s Solo, has been plaguing it recently particularly with two directorial changes.

Jason Segel and Drew Pearce were originally named back in 2015 to be co-directors of The Billion Brick Race. In 2017 however, they were replaced by Jorge R. Gutierrez, who was at the helm for Fox Animation’s The Book of Life. Earlier this month, unfortunately, Gutierrez announced his departure from the project as well. Here’s his parting words as expressed in his Twitter account:

“I would like to publicly and from the bottom of my heart thank everyone I worked with at Briksburg, LEGO and WAG. These last 9 months were a rollercoaster of thrills to say the least. I met so many amazing new people and learned a ton from all these incredible artists, directors, writers, editors, producers and execs. I leave a better filmmaker and it’s because of you all. May our paths cross again. Gracias mis amigos. And as I toasted on my first day there, ‘May we slip n slide on the blood of our enemies!!!’”

Well, that’s quite a bummer. Now that The Billion Brick Race has lost a director for the second time, doubts have clouded the film’s otherwise bright future. With just more than a year to bring things in order, we really don’t have the faintest idea how Warner Bros. Animation will turn things around specially that the film giant hasn’t yet named a successor to Gutierrez. We can only hope for the best at this point.

Thanks to the Flickering Myth for the heads up.

LEGO Store Calendar for March 2018 Now Available.

Hey, it’s the second day of February. You know what that means? LEGO fans and followers of The Brick Show would. It’s that time of the month when LEGO would’ve put up the schedule for their important promotions and events in their LEGO Store calendar, for the month following this.

If the January banner topic is the LEGO Creator Downtown Diner (10260) and February is LEGO City, March gets LEGO Ninjago: Spinjitzu Masters.

Here’s a lowdown on the important dates for all those cool promos and special events LEGO will be having in its stores, starting from the 1st of March all the way to the 31st.

  • March 1 to 15: Free LEGO Ninjago Zane Training Pod (5005230) with a purchase of $35 or more (while supplies last).
  • March 3 to 4: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes new sets and special offers.
  • March 5 to 31: Free LEGO DUPLO Learning Numbers with a DUPLO purchase of $25 or more (while supplies last).
  • March 5 to April 22: Garmadon Temple Take Down Event. Participants get an event-specific sticker in the LEGO Passport.
  • March 6 to 7: VIP Monthly Mini Model Build – Sheep.
  • March 15: LEGO DUPLO Learning Through Play Class. Sign up needed.
  • March 16 to 31: Free LEGO Seasonal Easter Bunny minifigure (5005249) with a purchase of $35 or more (while supplies last).
  • March 19: Minifigure Swap Monday
  • March 24, 31: LEGO Life Meeting

There’s more info on what LEGO’s offering for March and onwards besides what’s been listed up there. Check stores.LEGO.com for when the online version of this March 2018 store calendar comes up, to get more details on what they have in store for next month.

LEGO Architecture Las Vegas (21038) Release Date Delayed Once Again.

It can be tough when tragic occurrences happening in the world around us affect certain events, hobbies and whatnot that we enjoy. Even LEGO isn’t immune to this. Last December they announced how the Architecture set depicting Las Vegas (21038) was delayed due to the grisly October shooting incident there.

A follow-up article earlier in January expressed optimism in getting LEGO Architecture Las Vegas finally released by the end of that month. It’s now February and that didn’t happen. Why is that? Because LEGO has decided to delay the set anew, all the way back into fall later this year.

The sad news was broken during the ongoing 2018 Nuremberg Toy Fair, as might be the case for other significant LEGO news this week. The reason, as stated, goes back to the October 2017 shooting incident in Las Vegas, where the assailant opened fire on an outdoor concert from his room in the Mandalay Bay.

If you remember our December 2017 article, the Mandalay Bay Hotel is one of the structures depicted in Architecture set 21038. LEGO has decided to scrap that model in the set and return to the drawing board for a new Vegas building, serving as a replacement for the bloodied location.

No word has been given on what the new Las Vegas structure will be swapped for the Mandalay Bay. It’ll have to be as distinctive as its fellows: Luxor and Encore Hotels, and the Stratosphere Tower, among others. LEGO could hold a fan poll, but that might ruffle people’s sensibilities too.

Originally slated to come out at roughly the same time as LEGO Architecture Shanghai (21039), the Las Vegas 21038 set’s new release date is now set for September. Hopefully no further delays will ensue.

 

Thanks to Promobricks for sharing the news as it happens at the Nuremberg Toy Fair.

LEGO Fans Mad at “LEGO Batman Movie” Not Being a 2018 Oscar Nominee

The list of nominees for the 90th Academy Awards was announced to the world just this Tuesday, January 23. And in what has been becoming annoyingly routine for the prestigious film awards ceremony, the list of movies in the running for an Oscar leaves quite a few things to be desired.

Or so it would seem if you happen to be a fan of LEGO. The AMPAS is being targeted by builders who love all LEGO media this year, because it’s starting to echo like the nominee list back in 2014. Back then, the critically beloved The LEGO Movie got passed over for a Best Animated Feature nomination.

It’s 2018 and the Academy has messed again for LEGO fans. Last year saw no less than two LEGO films premiere for the community: The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Ask anybody, ANYBODY, and they’ll say LEGO Batman is the best movie ever, and critics agree too.

But no, according to AMPAS. For an animated movie to be listed as a Best Animated Feature Oscar nominee, it must be screened by a panel of Academy members in the animation corner, and usually it boils down to what the panel members personally like in common, and not what they know to be popular.

On that note, it’s inevitable that the nominations would go to the likes of Disney-Pixar’s Coco, Cartoon Saloon’s The Breadwinner and the artistically-visualized Loving Vincent from BrealThru Productions, but after seeing Fox-Blue Sky’s Ferdinand and DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby make the cut, the LEGO fan community have had enough.

At least The LEGO Movie had a nomination for Best Original Song back in the 87th Oscars; it still lost though. Now we can expect the furor for robbing LEGO Batman of a shot at glory all the way to Oscar night on March 4. Will the Academy learn how much they ruined things? Let’s wait and see.

LEGO Partners with Tencent to Develop Local Apps and Shore Up Online Branding in China.

LEGO and China: There would’ve been a time where the toy company and the country wouldn’t seem to be right for each other in terms of market. Those days are long past now. LEGO has a factory in Jiaxing, they’ve released sets related to the country like Architecture Shanghai (21039), and they’re also recognized by the nation’s courts as a protected “well-known trademark.”

What could be new for a now-formidable partnership between LEGO and China? How about teaming up with one of the country’s household names in the tech market? Soon LEGO’s going to be present in China’s highly-regulated internet.

This is thanks to LEGO entering into a development deal with Tencent Holdings, a true heavyweight in China’s internet-related businesses and one of the world’s five biggest firms alongside, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet/Google and Amazon. This partnership aims to develop new LEGO-branded games, videos and social media platforms for Chinese children.

One specific objective that the LEGO-Tencent team-up plans to accomplish is the establishment of a Chinese platform for worldwide LEGO mobile apps such as LEGO Life and LEGO Boost, both of which offer plenty of cool LEGO-related info and entertainment. Tencent would oversee the local content generated for these apps.

“Our most important purpose is to inspire children and help them develop through play,” says LEGO Group Chief Marketing Officer Julia Goldin. “Through our 85-year history, we have always had children’s safety as our highest priority…This heritage and approach is also reflected in our work to ensure safe digital LEGO experiences.”

To this, Tencent VP Thirty Sun adds, “A positive and healthy online experience for children is very important with more and more children connecting digitally.” He notes that Tencent is accountable for protecting children in the online experiences they offer, and also incorporate online child protection in business practices.

These efforts by LEGO to establish an online footprint in China, with Tencent’s, help also factors into their continuing initiatives towards brand recognition with Chinese consumers. In this manner, they hope to make LEGO stand far and above the country’s notorious hosts of imitator building-brick toy companies and products.

LEGO Star Wars DJ Minifigure Polybag (40298) Now Available at Toys ‘R’ US, with Possible Promo Coming.

Viewers who saw the Star Wars: The Last Jedi on cinemas last December will likely remember the brief appearance of Benicio Del Toro as a bit character in the narrative. He played the character DJ, a gambler and code-breaker hired by the Resistance to help them evade the evil First Order.

At first he appeared not up to reputation, then later on proved his resourcefulness to finish the job. While apparently helping Rey and Rose, he alternatively showed greed and compassion. When the deed was finally done, he succeeded in his assignment only to sell out the Resistance to buy his own freedom from imprisonment.

Such a minor, yet game-changing character was ultimately captured by LEGO to be immortalized in minifigure form in the LEGO Star Wars DJ Collectible Minifigure (40298) polybag. First announced as a promotional item in LEGO Brand Stores to celebrate the premiere of The Last Jedi, it has been reported that the  now going to branch out to Toys R Us.

So far, the only information about the LEGO Star Wars DJ minifigure polybag (40298) was that it will be coming to TRU and that it’s priced at the expected $4.99; there’s the possibility that the retail giant might have their own promotional, but no word has been given.

The DJ polybag (40298) is similar to the minifigure polybags of R3-M2 (40268) and Scarif Stormtrooper (40176), in that all three comprise of the minifigs themselves, connectible stands and background cards. If Toys R Us are planning any special promos involving DJ, we’ll find out and keep our readers informed so I hope you keep tabs with us.

LEGOLAND Store Exclusive Set LEGOLAND Castle (40306) Revealed.

These days, LEGO has come so very far from being just a toy company producing children’s building-brick sets. They’ve got licenses to adapt from almost every intellectual property imaginable. Their own properties are now multimedia in reach and scale. They even have their own theme parks, the world-famous LEGOLAND chain.

Much like another theme park chain with a major brand name attached to it, LEGOLAND parks have a particular structure oft-used as a centerpiece image, that being a castle. It seems rather overdue for LEGO to make a set depicting one of their structures, but here it is at last.

The LEGOLAND Castle (40306) set is a mostly-gray model building with colorful accents like flag-topped pennants, surrounding greenery and even a dragon head popping out of one wall. The design appears to be mostly based on the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel at the LEGOLAND in Windsor, Berkshire in England, UK.

From the information gleaned by Brickset, the LEGOLAND Castle (40306) set will have 220 pieces and recommended for age 8 and up. Considering the building it’s depicting, the only place where set 40306 can be found would be as an exclusive offering of LEGO shops in the LEGOLAND theme parks.

That’s too bad for LEGO buyers who aren’t within easy travel of the parks or those who rely on Shop@Home instead. Still, there’s a chance that some LEGO brand stores in other theme parks might end up carrying LEGOLAND Hotel (40306) too. Its retail price is likely $9.99 as usual.

Halfway There: Days 9-12 of LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar (75184)

Whoops, we appear to be slipping in schedule. I should’ve posted the third digest of mini-goodies from the LEGO Star Wars 2017 Advent Calendar (75184) yesterday. But better late than never, so now we’re going to have a look at what models and minifigures were revealed from Day 9 to Day 12.

Day 9: Rey’s Speeder – I remember back when teasers for The Force Awakens were still rather new in 2014, and aside from the shot of BB-8 rolling across the sands full throttle, I was also impressed by a segment showing the Jakku scavenger later identified as Rey (Daisy Ridley) scooting off in her massive motorcycle-type speeder. She looked so small compared to its forward section. Anyway, LEGO does have a full-scale model set of the speeder (75099), so this mini-model is a budget option for those who missed getting that. It’s too small for minifigures, though.

 

Day 10: Jakku Scavenger – Well, Rey wasn’t the only one in Jakku poking through all those star destroyer wrecks. Here’s one of those many other scrappers working the barren planet, whom Rey does business with. The desert gear goes with the cool facemask, but that wooden crook looks incongruous.

 

Day 11: Luggabeast – If you’re wondering what else to do with the scavenger from Day 10, then here’s your answer. The luggabeast is a weird cyborg mount and beast of burden that’s somewhat common in worlds like Jakku. Rey’s had scenes in The Force Awakens interacting with scavengers on luggabeasts, before the start of the great adventure.

Day 12: Millennium Falcon – Didn’t we cover this before in micro-foil form? Indeed, the most iconic spaceship in the whole Star Wars franchise gets yet another micro-model take for this advent calendar. It’s nothing collectors haven’t seen before, but Han Solo’s just never gets old.

 

After careful consideration, I’ve decided to wait until Day 18 for the next digest of reveals for the LEGO Star Wars 2017 Advent Calendar (75184). That’s 6 days’ worth of new stuff to cover, and the next digest after that should be the last one, showcasing the remaining minis all the way to Day 24, Christmas Eve. I’ll see you then, after the premiere of The Last Jedi on Friday.

End-2017 Retiring LEGO Marvel Helicarrier (76042) Set Already Gone on UK LEGO Shop@Home

When movie audiences saw it for the first time in Marvel’s The Avengers back in 2012, the airborne SHIELD Helicarrier was a thing of beauty, a remarkably feasible-looking design of how a flying aircraft carrier would look like built in our world. Since then, the wondrous flying vessels would figure in two more MCU movies (and cameo unnamed in Fox’s “Deadpool”).

But somehow the awe once commanded by the Helicarrier has long faded, and much quickly than they did in the original Marvel Comics versions. Life imitates art; or rather, merchandise imitates media, since LEGO put their SHIELD Helicarrier set (76042) on their end-2017 retiree list back in July.

In fact, the Hellicarrier 76042 is now officially retired for British LEGO buyers, as they can see for themselves in their LEGO UK Shop@Home. For the stateside version, Shop@Home US says that the Helicarrier is currently sold out due to being a highly sought-after set in LEGO VIP’s Black Friday promo.

Outside of the LEGO Shop, LEGO Marvel fans might still be able to snag 76042 on Amazon, at its regular retail price in Prime Shipping. Of course, going by that option means your Helicarrier purchase will get no LEGO points and additional promo giveaways. Still, it at least ensures you’ll have the best of SHIELD in the MCU before the end of 2017, when the set really will say goodbye for good.

The LEGO Marvel SHIELD Helicarrier (76042) runs almost 3,000 pieces with five minifigures included. There’s been no word if Shop@Home US will restock their set or mark it as retired just like in the UK. It’s too bad; while Agents of SHIELD will start its season 5 on ABC this December, the agency has not been relevant in the MCU film corner for so long.