LEGO’s SDCC 2018 Exclusive Items to Be Put on Lottery System

June is coming to an end which means, to many adherents of absolute geek-dom, the San Diego Comic Con or SDCC 2018 is now so close they could almost taste it. We already know that LEGO has a presence in the event, and that they even have a slew of exclusive items.

Most LEGO fans wanting to get their hands on such goodies as the Millennium Falcon Cockpit (75512) or the Aquaman minifigure with his seahorse mount Storm (75996) are resigned to the reality that there will be crowds. LEGO’s latest announcement may have just made the exclusives a matter of luck.

You see, they will be implementing a lottery system for all those visiting the LEGO booth at SDCC and want one of their event exclusives. In theory, it cuts down the long lines because those who get a ticket will have a chance for the items, while those at the back of the lines might be stuck waiting very long.

That pretty much leaves LEGO fans with a choice of joining the lottery for an exclusive, or braving the line and praying they don’t get sold out before reaching the counter. The SDCC 2018 will go on from July 19 to 22 at the San Diego Convention Center, so we don’t forget when and where.

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LEGO Ideas Introduces New Logo, Website Design, and More

For several years now, the LEGO Ideas online platform has served as the “dream machine” for many a LEGO builder who has wanted their custom creations to become official mass-produced sets. We’ve covered enough entries on the site that have gone to review, and beyond, so we know its styling.

A lot of that has changed lately, thanks to a website design overhaul of LEGO Ideas to coincide with its adoption of a new logo. Remember that logo design contest they held starting late last year and ending last January? That’s the centerpiece of the new LEGO Ideas website layout.

To check the differences between old and new, we opened up some of the Ideas entries we featured in the past. On those project pages, gone now is the old green progress bar at top. Only numerical statistics are shown to one side. But that’s not the only changes here.

Here’s a rundown of the alterations on LEGO Ideas according to their blog post announcing the overhaul. We also add our own opinions as to whether they “work” or not.

  1. LEGO Ideas submissions are now officially termed as “Product Ideas” (which we’ll try to use from now on)
  2. Navigation menu redesign to make Ideas Contests more prominent (okay)
  3. News feed sidebar with filters to show Product Ideas in terms of newness, top ranking, and amount of support (the last filter seems like a last-minute add-in; it wasn’t there when we first looked)
  4. Ideas Search Engine now has a page of its own, called “Discover” (kind of neat)
  5. Updates on LEGO Ideas Guidelines and TOS for Product Ideas; all PI’s must be submitted by the creator themselves and not on behalf of someone else, while consolation prizes for 10-K supported PI’s that fail review have been listed (reasonable and informative additions)

One more thing. LEGO Rebrick will soon be shutting down in September, with its contests being folded into those for LEGO Ideas by that time.

We’re looking forward to cover more interesting Product Ideas coming from the revamped LEGO Ideas platform in the near future.

This LEGO-Volvo Collaboration Is The Inspiration Behind The LEGO Technic Zeux (42081)

It’s could be hard for casual LEGO fans to fathom that the brand’s trademark interlocking bricks and building elements could be used to make accurate scale renditions or real-life vehicles. To those who doubt this, we point towards the direction of LEGO Technic which has brought us such masterpieces as a Mack Truck (40278) and the new Bugatti Chiron (42083). LEGO’s been able to achieve such meticulous detail for their licensed vehicle builds by closely working with designers from the automakers themselves. Sometimes LEGO even helps with these companies in designing some of their concepts, as with Volvo CE recently, and the LEGO Technic Zeux (42081) is another testament to that.

LEGO and Volvo CE collaborated on the conception of Zeux, a planned prototype heavy wheeled loader. This was realized in a model assembled from LEGO Technic pieces, featuring a big-wheeled machine packing a digger claw. The beauty part of the Volvo CE Zeux is that it doesn’t need a driver.

Why? It’s because Zeux is unmanned. The prototype earth-mover comes with a quad-copter scout drone that acts as “eyes”. Zeux has its own sensors to determine its position relative to its surroundings, while the drone serves as a way for the machine to “see” and react to its (human) handlers.

LEGO senior design manager Andrew Woodman noted how children observers were puzzled by the notion of fully-autonomous vehicles like the Volvo Zeux, but he finds that they’re able to understand the principle behind its design thanks to the addition of the mapping drone, explaining the lack of a driver’s cab.

Volvo CE has no plans on turning the Zeux into a full-scale vehicle anytime soon, if ever at all. The resulting brick-built concept between them and LEGO will therefore be mass-produced as a LEGO Technic set, numbered 42081. Already teased by the company last December, it’ll become available this August.

Netherland Store Confirms LEGO Star Wars Porg (75230) Set

Though leaked images of this upcoming LEGO Star Wars set has been making rounds over the internet for quite some time, it’s good to see that we now finally have our first confirmed, third-party retailer listing of the LEGO Star Wars Porg (75230) set. Speculations have been around since late March that we will soon have a brick-built LEGO Star Wars Porg set similar to that of 2017’s LEGO Star Wars BB-8 (75187). And now it seems that we will be seeing this soon.

As it is, we now have our first official listing of the LEGO Star Wars Porg (75230) set coming from Dutch website Brickshop. This avian-inspired set from The Last Jedi is expected to come in at 811 pieces. The leaked image of this set gives an impression that this is a fairly large build, being almost identical to the size of last year’s UCS-style BB-8. This listing from the Brickshop also shows a price tag of 80 Euros, or probably $95 if offered in the US. It will be available to the general public in October just in time for the holidays. Check out this screenshot from Brickshop.nl.

I hope that this listing is not just another third-party slip-up. Taken as it is, we can probably expect an official announcement from LEGO anytime next month or early August. We can also expect a corresponding listing at shop.LEGO.com by then.

Thanks to StarWarsCollector for the tip.

 

Note: The featured image above is a custom LEGO Porg MOC by Tron of Black from Eurobricks.

More LEGO xtra Polybags Found: Playmat Surfaces for LEGO Set Building

Right at the start of this month we shone a spotlight on a little-hyped new product line from LEGO, for builders of sets and vignettes who need a wider variety of props. The LEGO xtra polybag sets promised plenty of accessories and window dressing for the benefit of dedicated builders. But when we mentioned that LEGO xtra was little-hyped, we also meant minimally stocked. The European LEGO stores that carried the polybags quickly had their stocks sold out. And no word has gone out yet on whether or not there will be LEGO xtra in the North American market anytime soon. Still, those who managed to buy any of the xtra polybags have shared a notable piece of information regarding this uncommon LEGO product line. The LEGO  xtra Playmat polybags have instruction sheets that also featured three more products of the xtra line: not more LEGO props, but three possible play-mats for setting vignettes.

The three additional LEGO xtra Playmat polybags each contain two plastic mats which, lain side by side, depicts a type of surface: roads (853840), grass (853841), and a sandy seashore (85342). Each play may also includes several LEGO pieces with matching colors to that of the mat surface.

We have no concrete idea how much these LEGO xtra Playmat polybags will cost, though it’s possible that they are priced higher than the preceding prop polybags (€3.99 apiece/$4.67). Again, these and the earlier xtra sets (40309 to 40313) are rare sights in Europe, and yet to appear in the US.

Image source: Brickset

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (71043) Rumored As a Micro-scale AND Made of 6,000 Pieces

We capped off our previous week’s lineup of LEGO news with plenty of updates on sets for LEGO’s Wizarding World. We got plenty of info on the upcoming sets themed after either Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts so we’re well appraised on those products when they come out in July. But there’s still more sets under that product line that we’re still fishing for information. One of them is the LEGO Hogwarts Castle set (71043), of which we’ve been receiving only small-steps news, such as the fact that it’s going to be micro-scale with nanofigures included. We’ll, here’s another related update/rumor.

An anonymous source has sent word to our fellow LEGO news source, The Brick Fan with more information on the micro-scale Hogwarts Castle (71043). That is, we’ve now got an estimate on the number of bricks and elements that will form this set. If the source is on the money, we’re looking at an average of 6,000 LEGO bricks.

For comparison, we return once again to the LEGO micro-scale set we made references of with our previous update on the LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (71043). That was the long-discontinued LEGO Marvel Super Heroes SHIELD Helicarrier (76042). It looked pretty massive at first glance, but is still made up of “only” almost 3,000 pieces.

That just hammers home how massive the micro-scale Hogwarts Castle (71043) will be, and how potentially unfeasible it would have been if the scale were mini instead. Now, the 6,000-piece count is only a rumor until we get official confirmation from LEGO, so we wait.

“International Space Station”: New LEGO Ideas Entry Added to 2018 Second Review Stage Makes Group “Space-Themed”

The month of June hasn’t quite ended yet, and now we’ve got another winner, sort of, in terms of having a MOC submission to the LEGO Ideas platform become sufficiently noticed. At this rate it probably won’t be long before the 2018 Second Review Stage is sufficiently “populated” with entries.

Previously, the LEGO Ideas submission to first get listed in the 2018 Second Review Stage is a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket by khehmeyer. With this new 10K support-passer, the stage seems on the verge of becoming a space-themed batch, because builder XCLD has just submitted an impressive International Space Station.

With its first modules launched and assembled in space in 1998, the ISS is the largest man-made object orbiting the Earth today. Its magnificent modular construction, highlighted by the wing-like solar panel arrays, was meticulously replicated by XCLD in his build. He’s got experience as he already made one before.

Prior to his latest submission, XCLD already created an International Space Station for LEGO Ideas that got 10-K support in 2015 (it didn’t pass review however). His new version is composed of almost a thousand bricks and building elements (850), and also has compatibility potential with other LEGO Ideas sets.

What that means is that the space shuttle from the highly celebrated LEGO Ideas Women of NASA set (21312) is perfectly scaled to the size of XCLD’s ISS, which already has four detachable capsule options (2 Soyuz astronaut capsules and 2 Progress cargo capsules). This is a decidedly brilliant gesture.

  

As it stands we are now 2 for 2 in the kind of sets being included in the LEGO Ideas 2018 Second Review Stage. We don’t think the common theme will hold long with any future 10-K support addition, but we’ll see. Perhaps the “SpaceX Ultimate Collection” can now pass?

First Product Listing and Release Date for LEGO Harry Potter Minifigure Series (71022) Found in Germany

With a new cinematic installment of the Wizarding World franchise by J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. coming towards the end of the year, the marketing has been building up to full steam these past months. Bits and pieces of news have been given throughout that time like many puzzle pieces.

For instance, the June-December 2018 LEGO Catalog (US version) dropped little hints of what could well be a new series of LEGO Harry Potter collectible minifigures, set number 71022. That does dovetail into the impending release of the LEGO Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts sets, coming much earlier in July.

At last however, we have more information, thanks to happenings over in the European LEGO markets that have been caught by Promo Bricks. While there’s no official announcement from the manufacturer yet, the LEGO Harry Potter Minifigure Series 1 (71022) has been listed on online LEGO stock store JB Spielwaren.

Said online listing of 71022 also includes a release date (at least for the German market): they’re getting it on September 28, with JB Spielwaren discounting the €3.99 retail price to €3.39 (that’s $4.63, then $3.94). As denoted by the “Series 1” tag, minifigure set 71022 is the first of a set, with its 22 minifigures later to be added up to 60 in total.

While we wait to see how the US LEGO market follows up with its German counterpart, we can be assured that the other LEGO Harry Potter sets are coming early on July 1; others will arrive on August 1. Finally, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will continue the early-20th Century adventures of wizard magi-zoologist Newt Scamander on November 16.

Impressive LEGO MOC of Milwaukee’s Miller Park Stadium Took 9 Years of Building, Featuring in Upcoming Madison LEGO Con

Some LEGO MOCs are just so grand, so elaborate, and so epic in scale that they literally take years in order to be completed. A LEGO Convention happening next weekend in Madison will soon play host to one of the most ambitious building MOCs yet, a famous Wisconsin sports venue.

Tim Kaebisch attended college at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. While there, he spent his free time conceptualizing and beginning work on a LEGO build of nearby Miller Park, home stadium of the Milwaukee Brewers MLB baseball team. The venue is famous for its roof, the only convertible fan-retractable roof in North America, using mechanisms to open or close its roof for a choice of indoor or outdoor baseball games.

While the scale of Kaebisch’s Miller Park stadium is understandably pared down, the structure was able to replicate the real thing’s fan-shaped roof system that folds and unfolds as accurately as can be, exposing a baseball diamond with bleacher seats and enough room for a LEGO minifigure crowd of spectators.

This was a labor of love to capture the shape, color and inner workings of Miller Park. Kaebisch used about 30,000 LEGO bricks for his project, and worked on it for nine years. It was finally completed just in time for him to join many other LEGO builders from all over the world, coming to exhibit their expertise at the BrickUniverse LEGO Convention next weekend.

LEGO enthusiasts in Madison, Wisconsin and nearby areas can go and catch the BrickUniverse LEGO Convention at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. The event runs from June 30 to July, so go ahead and see the Miller Park among various other LEGO creations over there.

First Entry on LEGO Ideas 2018 Second Review Stage: “SpaceX Falcon Heavy” Gets 10-K Support

Late last month, we shone a spotlight on a promising submission to LEGO Ideas, based on the rockets used by the SpaceX private enterprise. On this second week of June, we got word that a SpaceX-themed Ideas entry got the needed 10K support for review. This…is not that previously-featured submission.

It’s no surprise that other members on LEGO Ideas have the same, well, ideas on what they want to submit to the platform. Aside from the Matthew Nolan/Valerie Roche tandem that conceived the rockets of “SpaceX – The Ultimate Collection”, there’s khehmeyer who focused only on one: the SpaceX Falcon Heavy.

This particular MOC was submitted to LEGO Ideas only this early February, roughly the same time as when a real Falcon Heavy rocket took off on its maiden launch. The details are exquisite, with the removable rocket stages and boosters with the trademark SpaceX re-entry features like the landing struts.

In terms of what’s on top, khehmeyer gives the option of having a Dragon astronaut crew capsule or the cargo delivery capsule. Unfortunately the included payload is only a satellite and not Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster like in Nolan’s entry. Still, the whole package is meticulously yet easily put together.

With the LEGO Ideas 2018 First Review Stage already underway, khehmeyer’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy becomes the first 10K submission to be listed for the Second Review Stage. We’re looking forward to what else will make the cut. One must wonder when the SpaceX Ultimate Collection submission might have its day.