We always try to keep an eye out for news items that highlight just how fun and effective LEGO can be as an educational tool. On Wednesday, August 1, the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines made a LEGO-related announcement that we’re now going to shine a spotlight on. The SCI usually serves as a home for a wide variety of science-related exhibits and displays that come and go with the seasons and important events. But now they’re planning a new addition to their uncommon permanent exhibits, build entirely of LEGO bricks and aptly named as Brick by Brick.
“Brick by Brick” is described by SCI President and CEO Curt Simmons as an exhibit to inspire children to “think and build”. That’s because the exhibit will be composed of an eclectic collection of architectural masterpieces, from the Roman Colosseum of ancient times to modern-day edifices like the St. Louis Gateway and Golden Gate Bridge.
These structures will be replicated in scale by using LEGO, the Golden Gate Bridge mentioned will be a 60-feet long brick-build, and that won’t be the only one. Simmons says “Brick by Brick” marks a shift in the exhibit strategy for the Science Center of Iowa, “an investment in the experience that our visitors can expect on a daily basis.”
The inspiration for “Brick by Brick” at the SCI comes from Iowa’s implementation of new standards in teaching science at school, calling for added lessons in engineering principles. Indeed, rather than just gawk at the LEGO architecture visiting schoolchildren will also be given a space and a pile of LEGO pieces to practice their structural design ideas with accompanying lessons.
Brick by Brick is set to debut at the Science Center of Iowa on Labor Day, September 5, as a permanent part of the museum.
There are over 90 LEGO Stores located across North America alone, and the branded-store footprint of the world’s most recognized toy brand is steadily growing all the more. Greenville in South Carolina has one new LEGO Store opening in November that could be US store #94, but Metairie, Louisiana might try to beat them to that distinction with their own LEGO Store opening in fall.
While not a duly incorporated city, Metairie is still a record-holder of sorts with being the fifth-largest census-designated place (CDP) in the country. That’s quite the concentrated population which might be full of LEGO fans that are all anticipating the time when the LEGO Store opening at the Lakeside Shopping Center mall, will finally happen.
Sized at a respectable floor area of 2,000 feet, the future Metairie LEGO Store will follow the same general layout and features as its fellow store, with expansive shelves of LEGO products to buy and wide areas for hands-on play experiences with the whole family.
The arrival of a new LEGO Store in Metairie’s Lakeside Shopping Center is hailed by the mall’s leasing and general manager Tricia Thriffiley Phillpott to be a “perfect fit” for their establishment, which is currently in the middle of a long-term renovation worth $10 million that would bring new branded shops for shoppers to enjoy.
After opening its first LEGO Store in Germany back in 2002, The LEGO Group now has over 130 of these worldwide. The biggest concentration is North America, with LEGO Stores operating or soon to open (as with Metairie, LA and Greenville, SC) in 32 US states and five Canadian provinces.
Source: NOLA – The Times-Picayune
We had once described the Product Ideas that have now passed into the purview of the LEGO Ideas Second 2018 Review Stage, as a “space theme” group, what with no less than two models of SpaceX rockets and one of the International Space Station. Later additions have broken the trend, and this new shoo-in may have ended the “space-only” distinction. The newest Product Idea to receive the yearned-for 10,000 supporters is one that’s designed after a specific LEGO product line: Speed Champion, featuring brick-built models of real-life racing cars. LEGO Ideas member AbFab1974 created the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 set.
This rally car, created by French automaker Peugeot, became famous for its performance in the World Rally Championship (WRC) Group B in 1985 and 1986, and might have continued to dominate there if not for its 1987 cancellation. Details were replicated from the 2-door setup to its giant black spoiler.
While LEGO Speed Champions sets usually include race buildings and facilities alongside the cars and drivers, AbFab1974’s Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Product Idea comes with a section of rally track, a bump providing a nice jump, plus a roadside area with route markers and spectators getting close-ups of the action.
Should this 10-K Product Idea passer also get through Review to become an official LEGO Ideas set, it would be interesting if the makers might also include the Speed Champions branding on its box. This is a real (rally) racer, and reading “LEGO Ideas – Speed Champions” seem really awesome sounding.
The LEGO Ideas First 2018 Review Stage is still ongoing. For now the Second Stage entries will keep coming, added to the seven already there.
What do movie stars do in between film projects? Star in a flashy airline safety guidelines video, of course! Well, at least that’s what the stars of The LEGO Movie 2 did. Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and several of their costars in The LEGO Movie and sequel reprise their characters for a quirky and fun aircraft safety video for Turkish Airlines that was recently uploaded online.
It’s also one cool way to hype up the still-in production The LEGO Movie 2 The Second Part over in the Middle East, and in one of its major countries to boot. For the benefit of Turkish Airlines’ international passengers, the safety video is in English (how else to hear the voice talent?), though the video could probably be subtitled when it is issued later on for their aircraft’s use.
In true LEGO Movie fashion, there are some cool visuals all around during the nearly four-minute safety video. It starts with a LEGO Turkish Airlines plane being assembled in the background while Emmet and Wyldstyle are introducing the whole video.
Of course, actual guidelines like luggage storage and seat-belts get interspersed with fun gags like “include shameless cameos in safety video”. Cue LEGO Batman (who discusses the “No Smoking” regulation). Then comes the “flight mode/switch-off” rule for all electronic devices. We also have Lloyd and Garmadon “demonstrating” the oxygen masks.
Finally, the latter part of the safety video consists of Unikitty singing the expected “airline safety video song that gets stuck in passengers’ heads”, with the likes of Alfred and Harley Quinn as backup dancers. After that, the LEGO DC Super Heroes pitch in for the emergency landing procedure portion.
And with the mandated “earnest closing remarks”, the LEGO Movie crew, plus others, gets to sit back and enjoy the flight. After all, it’s a party in the sky with Turkish Airlines, in cooperation with Warner Animation Group for The LEGO Movie 2, coming 2019.
The middle of the year seems like a good time to hold LEGO conventions, if the series of events we covered just last month is some indication. Now we have news on another LEGO con happening in Dayton, Ohio two Saturdays from now. This one’s got a celebrity-level LEGO artist. During August 18 and 19, the Dayton Convention Center will play host to the Brick Universe Lego Fan Convention. As with the other convention events we mentioned above, visitors can look forward to being wowed by LEGO brick-built exhibits on expansive display zones, plus wall-mounted brick mosaics, free self-build zones and LEGO merchandise merchants too.
But it’s the personal galleries of the guest LEGO artists that will be the main attractions of Dayton’s Brick Universe. In particular, the displays of Paul Hetherington from Vancouver, Canada are the most anticipated of them all. His LEGO-building skills have even gotten him an appearance on The Discovery Channel.
For the Brick Universe LEGO Fan Con, Hetherington will be bringing his prize-winning build exhibit “Batman vs Joker Gotham Theater Showdown,” which got awarded by LEGO news source The Brothers Brick in 2016 as LEGO Creation of the Year. He’ll also be joining other LEGO pros for panels and meet-and-greets during the con’s two days.
If you’re a LEGO fan anywhere near the area you can head on over to Dayton for the weekend and have fun with the Brick Universe LEGO Fan Convention, open Saturday and Sunday this weekend from 10 AM to 1 PM, and then from 2 PM to 5 PM. Tickets are available on their website (valid for their specific periods only), although child guests aged 2 and younger are free.
Fans of Star Wars, especially those of a certain inclination, might say that the hype for Solo didn’t die to thunderous applause the way the Old Republic did to become Palpatine’s Empire. For more casual followers, it really doesn’t matter. For LEGO fans, they might argue that the tie-in sets at least were quite cool. Aside from the big box sets, there were also LEGO Star Wars polybags for Solo that got revealed earlier on. Some, like the Han Solo Mud-Trooper (40300), were originally presented as exclusive Toys ‘R’ Us freebies. We all know what happened; but that also left the status of these polybags in limbo for some time.
We can stop wondering now. Promobricks from Germany has just broken the news that since the last weekend of July, LEGO Stores in that country, particularly the one at their LEGOLAND Deutschland in Günzburg, have the Han Solo Mud-Trooper (40300) as a gift-with-purchase polybag.
Yes, word is that certain Solo-related LEGO Star Wars sets were going to be released in August 1. But some LEGO markets love jumping the gun, and Germany did by a few days. Plus, any LEGO Star Wars total purchase of at least €65 at LEGOLAND Deutschland’s store gets a free Han Solo Mud-Trooper (40300) minifigure polybag.
Well, it’s now the first day of August as of this writing, so we can expect other LEGO Stores to start offering the scheduled release sets for this day. And now we know that will also include the LEGO Star Wars Mud-Trooper Han Solo (40300).
By this point in time, the media focus for Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World is on The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second film in the Fantastic Beasts film series. But for LEGO and retailers in general, there’s still a lot to promote about the original Harry Potter franchise. In the recently concluded month of July, Target had held a LEGO Harry Potter event on the 21st, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the US release for Rowling’s first Potter book. Giveaways included bags, posters of LEGO Harry, Ron and Hermione, and a prize brick-built statue of Hedwig, Harry’s owl. Well now, it’s Barnes & Noble’s turn to make a LEGO Harry Potter build and take event, and it’s happening this coming Saturday at selected B&N stores, and the set to be built and given away is a scaled down model of the LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express (75955).
If you’re a fan of LEGO and Harry Potter, it might be a good time to check the events calendar for your nearest Barnes & Noble to see if they’re included in this LEGO Harry Potter Build and Take event this August 4. B&N advises that it might be necessary to sign up to participate, and that supplies and spots for a store’s event may be limited.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will premiere November 16.
In 2010, Traveller’s Tales published through Warner Bros. Interactive their first LEGO videogame based on the Harry Potter series, which at that point was winding down with its film adaptations. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 covered the events of the first four books and films, while 2011 sequel Years 5-7 was based on the last three books and four films. These games, originally for Windows and Mac OS-X, were re-released on the PS4 in 2016 as the LEGO Harry Potter Collection bundle. And in keeping up with the times, this classic bundle is offered once again as the LEGO Harry Potter video games collection for Nintendo’s Switch.
Now, this little bit of info may have remained nothing more than a rumor for at least a few days yet, were it not for eagle-eyed observers who spotted that a listing for the LEGO Harry Potter video games collection for Nintendo’s Switch was registered with the Game Software Rating Regulations board of Taiwan.
The Switch reissue of this LEGO Harry Potter game bundle from WB Interactive and Traveller’s Tales was first floated at a retail catalog from Argos in the UK. Now, a visit to the Taiwanese Game Software Rating Regulations website shows a rating of “Auxiliary 12” (Google translate) for LEGO Harry Potter Collection, though the game’s listing date is not stated. Type the title in “Search”.
According to Argos’ listing, the LEGO Harry Potter Collection will arrive on the Nintendo Switch in November, priced at £24.99 or around $32.86, with DLC included.
Towards the end of last week we caught some small bit of news concerning the recently released and heavily wish-listed LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (71043) micro-scale set. Apparently some LEGO Stores in the US have been processing pre-orders for the set, and LEGO Harry Potter fans were left to wonder, were all US LEGO Stores involved? Did other countries also have the same in-store pre-ordering in their local LEGO brand stores? The answer, as it turns out, is quite positive, even up to north in Canada. LEGO apparently cottoned on to the possibility that in-store LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (71043) pre-orders will be a good measure to determine demand versus supply for this highly sought after set.
It’s most likely that LEGO is trying to get a good grip on how to ensure that supplies are enough in relation to the sheer number of LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (71043) pre-orders, and to preempt complaints like when the LEGO Star Wars UCS Millennium Falcon (75192) kept running out in stores and retailers for months.
The LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (71043) is already available to VIP members before its general release on the first day of September, which is when all those who have made pre-orders in the US and Canada will receive theirs. One only needs to put down $40 of the $399.99 price and they’ll have a lock on one set of the micro-scale castle in September.
As July ends, two weeks have passed since a special edition of Newsweek magazine on LEGO was made available. Entitled LEGO – The Toy That Changed Our Lives this issue was loaded with articles and features on everything related to the world’s biggest toy brand, whether it’s on their milestone anniversaries, their various brick-set lines, or even their upcoming media offerings.
Now, this special Newsweek edition is published with the intent of being a media collector’s item. But its contents have been made available by Newsweek itself on its official website, for the benefit of those who can’t get a copy.
So far, at least three featured articles from the LEGO – The Toy That Changed Our Lives special issue have been posted on Newsweek online. They include a special on the 40th anniversary of the ubiquitous LEGO minifigure, an interview with a company executive regarding The LEGO Movie 2, and a spotlight on the LEGO Architecture model-building line.
All in all, they’ve been nice fluff pieces focusing on several different facets that cement the reputation of LEGO as a life-changing toy experience. From discussing the evolution of the minifigure, to getting inside perspective on how LEGO became a viable film franchise since the first cinematic installment in 2014, to a waxing lyrical of LEGO Architecture set 21017 – Tokyo Imperial Hotel, there’s something to catch dedicated LEGO enthusiasts’ fancy.
As of this posting, the Newsweek Special Edition: LEGO – The Toy That Changed Our Lives is currently sold-out online. So in the event that physical copies of this collector’s edition issue becomes really scarce in our local magazine shops, then the Newsweek website is the go to place. Be sure to check with them every now and then since more might be published soon.