LEGO Hogwarts Express (75955) Now Available for Purchase After Some Brief Delay

We know the flow of the story by now. LEGO was gearing up a massive wave of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts sets of the Wizarding World franchise in the middle of the year to celebrate the coming premiere of the Fantastic Beasts sequel. They were supposed to be available in August, but it was moved up to July. That certainly got LEGO Potter-fans into a hype frenzy at a chance to get those wonderful sets early, as did the listing of said products at shop.LEGO.com. When July arrived, these sets were marked available for purchase on the site; all of them, except one – the LEGO Hogwarts Express (75955).

LEGO customers who were interested in the LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express (75955) must have been puzzled on Sunday when the set was not listed on LEGO Shop@Home as being available for purchase. It was supposed to come out July 1 with its fellows. What happened then? Quite simply, it was a little bug in the online ordering system of LEGO’s selling portal that day. Thankfully LEGO was alerted and responded accordingly, so now the Hogwarts Express (75955) set is ready for customer orders alongside the others. As of this writing, an order placed today will ship by July 16.

The LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express (75955) is a bit of an odd duck among LEGO train sets, as the distinctive locomotive has a station but no tracks. It is however compatible with tracks from said other LEGO sets. It comes in 801 pieces, and includes the minifigures of the Golden Trio, Trolley Witch, Remus Lupin, and a Dementor.

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DK’s LEGO DC Super Heroes Visual Dictionary Exclusive Minifigure Is The Yellow Lantern Batman

It’s the start of a new month, and it’s usually the best time for LEGO to make new revelations on what products they’ve teased earlier in the year. For instance, back in February, they previewed several new books on original LEGO themes and licensed franchises courtesy of Dorling Kindersley (DK). One of the books featured then was the LEGO DC Super Heroes Visual Dictionary. And like many LEGO books, this one has an exclusive minifigure on the cover and we finally know what it is. DK’s LEGO DC Super Heroes Visual Dictionary exclusive minifigure is none other than the Yellow Lantern Batman.

As revealed by Amazon France, the exclusive minifigure for the Visual Dictionary is Batman with the power of a Yellow Lantern. This version of the otherwise heroic character appeared in the DC Comics line-wide crossover Forever Evil (issue 4), as a member of the Sinsetro Corps. Batman’s hero schtick may have been to put fear in the hearts of evildoers, but this is too extreme. Of course it doesn’t last.

The LEGO DC Super Heroes Visual Dictionary from DK Publishing comes out on September 4. This hardcover volume is priced at$21.99 and is also listed on Amazon US for pre-order. One can avail of the Amazon Pre-Order Price Guarantee to ensure that any price changes for the lower when the book is released means only the lowest price will be paid.

Check Out This LEGO MOC Used As Field Gas Detector For Harmful Biological Chemicals

We at The Brick Show have had the pleasure of featuring some really off-the-wall LEGO MOCs with integrated mechanics or technical stuff on them. Usually they tend to be pretty much big interactive videogame things like a Mindstorms-powered tabletop racing machine or a pimped-out arcade cabinet. This new LEGO MOC however is different; it saves lives.

A research team from the University of Texas, Austin has been puzzling on an effective yet affordable means to successfully detect and identify the presence of nerve gas and similar deadly biological agents. Since purpose-built lab equipment to detect these colorless and odorless poison gases can be rather expensive, the researchers looked for cheaper alternatives.

With a chemical sensor as its core, the team built an enclosed housing for that unit using LEGO bricks, to forgo the original and more expensive solution of 3D-printing. The covering was needed because the chemical sensor indicates gases through fluorescent colors, but these are not easily perceived by unaided observers especially when working outdoors.

So with the LEGO MOC casing for the chemical sensor providing the necessary darkroom shade, the researchers then put a smartphone on top (an iPhone in their case) that will take a photo of any fluorescent gas indicators made by the chemical sensor inside, then analyze it for any trace of dangerous chemicals through a mobile software app developed by a University of Texas graduate student.

With this simple setup using off-the-shelf components (the only true analysis gadget being the chemical sensor composed of a sample collection plate and ultraviolet light source to generate the fluorescent gas effect), it’s possible to have researchers all over the world replicate the build by the research team and thus have a portable field-use gas indicator that can check air samples on-site for invisible killers like Sarin and VX gases.

The real-world field applications of such laboratory equipment that can be assembled with any set of LEGO bricks and a smartphone is highly invaluable in their potential to save lives, and the University of Texas team has indicated such in their paper on this project with the ACS Central Science Journal. There probably has never been a LEGO MOC that was explicitly made as a lifesaving tool; now there is.

“The LEGO Movie: The Second Part” Exclusive Minifigure at SDCC 2018

Early this June, we finally got our first good look at the highly anticipated (for four years) direct sequel to 2014’s The LEGO Movie. Subtitled The Second Part, it looks to reunite the ensemble cast from the original, minifigure characters who are also master builders all, for another zany adventure. Following that initial burst of trailer plus promotion, things have quieted down a bit (after all, The LEGO Movie: The Second Part is premiering on February next year). But now those who would like a little memento for that upcoming sequel might want to make plans for the 2018 SDCC.

This year, three special SDCC LEGO minifigures are up for grabs. First two are a Marvel and DC character (that’s a tradition, it being a comic con and all), and the third is a minifigure character from The LEGO Movie: The Second Part. They haven’t revealed who it is, though.

It’s easy to see why LEGO exclusive minifigures for the SDCC are highly valued. Rather than polybags, they’re packaged like action figures (blister pack with backing card). The limited numbers (single-digit thousands on average) also lends to the rareness factor.

Prospective recipients need to physically attend the Comic Con, register online for a giveaway timeslot, then join the physical lottery draw at the event itself. The SDCC runs for four days, so expect those exclusive minifigure giveaways to be spaced out through the entire schedule. Good luck to you if you’re at the 2018 SDCC from July 19 to 22.

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.

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.