Slekk024’s S-70 Firehawk Helicopter Needs Support on LEGO Ideas; CAL Fire and Sikorsky Are Asking

Now that we got the ball rolling yesterday, let’s see if we can find more LEGO Ideas submissions needing support. Vertical News, an online news source and marketplace for helicopters, gives us this beauty. The subject: the Sikorsky S-70, in particular the “Firehawk” variant used as a water-bomber. This helicopter’s been in use with the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CAL Fire) since 2019. LEGO Ideas member Adrien “Slekk024” Pecquet launched his product idea for a brick-built Firehawk in June. With about 3,000 pieces this submission promises great detail and playable mechanical functionality.

Regarding the copter the set’s based on, the Firehawk starts out as a Polish-manufactured S-70i. It is then reconfigured by United Rotorcraft stateside for water-bomber duties (featuring a 4,500-liter belly tank).

Slekk024’s LEGO rendition has the CAL Fire livery, honoring the around 13 S-70s currently used by the organization. It also comes with three minifigures: pilot, co-pilot and two firefighters. The product idea’s pretty good that both CAL Fire and Sikorsky Aircraft have given it shout-outs on their social media.

At present it has 3,738 supporters with 33 days left to reach 5,000 (and an extension towards hitting 10-K). This looks like another worthy creation worth pushing to Review Stage.

LEGO Thanks Employees for “Extraordinary Year” with Bonuses, More Days Off

COVID-19 was a bane to businesses worldwide when its pandemic spread and workplaces had to close or hunker down. The end of 2020 was hopeful but restricted. As this year of 2021 comes to a close however, the world has opened up more. Businesses thus can report record comeback earnings. LEGO is no exception.

The Brick Fan tells us by way of Bloomberg that LEGO’s operating profits in this year’s first half doubled. In celebration for their “extraordinary year,” the world’s most powerful brand is tipping its hat off to the employees. Long story short, they’re getting some added perks.

LEGO spokesperson Benjamin Hjorth mentions increased annual bonuses and added vacation days for about 20,000 of the company’s employees. This may be same-old news to fans aware of how generous LEGO can be to its workforce. But the timing of the new benefits, at the second pandemic Holiday season, gives it greater meaning.

Three more vacation days to a year, plus additional bonuses arriving April 2022, underscores how valuable employees are to LEGO. The rank-and-file make the brick-building magic happen after all. Do we have to wonder why LEGO sets now and coming soon are so good? This is why.

Support “It’s a Wonderful LEGO Life” on LEGO Ideas in Time for Classic Film’s 75th Anniversary

LEGO Ideas-wise, we at The Brick Show have lately covered product ideas achieving 10,000 supporters for review. The Third 2021 Review Stage needs entries after all. We’ve also covered the reveals of official sets and their releases: several in this year alone. What we haven’t done lately is feature a product idea still garnering support. A recent news item courtesy of WTAE-TV Pittsburgh brings a particularly topical submission to our attention however.

It’s an anniversary celebration, one that LEGO Ideas loves to jump on. In 1946 a movie premiered that would become an indelible American Holiday viewing tradition. It’s turning 75 years old this 2021.

We’re talking about “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring James Stewart. It’s a miracle tale of an angel helping a suicidal man by showing him a “what-if” timeline without his presence. And a father-daughter tandem of fans has translated that into a spectacular product idea. Jason and Jane Middaugh created “It’s A Wonderful LEGO Life,” that turns Bedford Falls into a brick-built Christmas Village.

The Bailey home, family car and even the bridge where George Bailey attempts suicide are all replicated. It even has minifigs of George with his wife and kids, his guardian angel Clarence, and miserly Mister Potter.

The Middaughs initially custom-built the LEGO set to display at the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA. Now, their work is documented as a product idea for LEGO Ideas (twrt0es, 10K Club Member). “It’s a Wonderful Life” celebrates its 75th anniversary this December 5. Already the build is over halfway there to the 10-K support milestone. If you’re an Ideas member then let’s help this wonderful set earn its wings!

LEGO Foundation Donates Near 1M Euros for July Flood Victims in Germany

Even as fans/collectors worldwide buy their products and make them a global toy giant, LEGO still has a big heart. Sometimes, they might encourage their fans to engage in an activity that they’ll then match in charitable action. But when the chips are down, The LEGO Foundation doesn’t hesitate to lend a helping hand. Promobricks.de has it that LEGO made a near-million-Euro donation to help German families and children affected by severe mid-2021 floods. The disaster, which gripped Europe throughout July, was considered the worst to hit Germany since 1962’s North Sea flood. But now, LEGO is helping them recover.

As detailed on their Twitter November 23, LEGO donated 7.1 million Danish Kroner to the German Red Cross. That’s equivalent to €960,000 ($1,076,616 in direct conversion). LEGO’s donation will help rebuild 10 kindergartens damaged by July’s flooding in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state. A new family aid center also counts among plans by the German Red Cross, made possible by LEGO’s charity. This is merely the latest in a series of 2021 donations by LEGO. Other beneficiaries this year include children in Afghanistan and Haiti. LEGO has also been prominent in helping address the COVID-19 pandemic. You can expect nothing less from one of the biggest brands ever in all-ages toys.

Reddit User Motorizes LEGO Titanic (10294) Pistons, Screws

Quite a lot of recently-released LEGO sets could be considered newsmakers, each and every one. But the set that really holds that distinction would have to be the LEGO Titanic (10294). A scale model of one largest early-20th Century ocean liner still translates into one of the biggest LEGO sets. Such is the size of this brick-built Titanic that it could be divided into sections to show off the interior. The insides feature moving parts, from the steam engines to the outside propellers they drive. At first glance the 10294 interior looks too cramped to insert motor functions. But a Reddit user refutes that perception.

Featured on r/lego over in Reddit, user bertr0id showcased a video of his motorization of the LEGO Titanic (10294). Looking at the model’s insides, with the ultra-micro-scale inner decks, it doesn’t seem feasible to put a motor in. One might have to remove some of the 9,090 set pieces to make room. Somehow bertr0id found a way, leaving only the motor battery outside with wires leading in. The motorization makes the steam pistons pump and the rear screw-props spin. However the first setup had the screws rotating in the same direction (they don’t in actual ships). The second attempt, uploaded over the weekend, corrects this.

The LEGO Titanic set (10294) has been a mind-blowingly beautiful and expensive new addition to collector’s wish-lists. The tiny details and the engine-propeller articulation gained much praise from builders. It may never have been meant to be motorized, but the efforts of bertr0id deserve recognition. Interestingly, his Reddit post got removed by moderators. You can still check it there.

ADDENDUM: Thanks to the creator himself, Bert “bertr0id” de Jong, for stating the correct action of the Titanic screw propellers.

LEGO Japan Showcases Two-Set Fusions of Sets Available on Amazon.JP

The key concept of LEGO has always been that, with any given number of bricks, one can build anything. True, most packaged LEGO sets are to build a specific building/vehicle/etc. They even have instruction manuals so that builders can assemble the pieces exactly as pictured. But ultimately, building with LEGO bricks can be one of the best outlets for creative freedom. LEGO Japan two Saturdays ago demonstrated that fact in partnership with Amazon Japan. The results of that promotional activity on social media would grab attention and ignite builder creativity.

Brick Fanatics brings us this interesting social media activity made possible by the Japanese divisions of LEGO and Amazon. The challenge: How would you combine two different LEGO set builds into a unified creation? LEGO JP’s original Twitter post (November 13, 2021) even provides an example.

The “Before” photo showcases the completed LEGO Technic Off-Road Buggy (42124) and LEGO Monkie Kid Lion Guardian (80021). The “After” photo reveals the Buggy revamped to have the Lion Guardian as a motif. LEGO Japan invites viewers to visit Amazon JP’s page, and post their own two-set fusions in the comments. Let’s go over to Amazon’s Japanese page now.

In the page, we see two LEGO Friends sets, Friendship Bus (41395) and Heartlake City Organic Café (41444). They get fused into a curious double-decker food truck.

Two Ninjago sets – Jungle Dragon (71746) and Zane’s Titan Mech (71738) – fuse into a dragon robot. It looks similar to mecha plastic models by Bandai.

The real Japanese essence of this LEGO-Amazon team-up lies in this particular build. LEGO Ideas Tree House (21318) plus Botanical Collection Bonsai Tree (10281) equals Sakura Tree House. The featured LEGO sets are mostly available on Amazon.jp, or you can just go LEGO.com. They’re very inspiring fusions, right?

Not Two But Four LEGO Astronaut Minifigs on Artemis 1 2022 Space Mission

As 2021 nears its end, space flight fans await February 2022 and the first (unmanned) launch of the Artemis program. This unmanned mission will send an Orion spacecraft on a trip around the moon. The journey will test these all-new space delivery systems in anticipation of carrying a manned crew. But “unmanned” doesn’t mean “unoccupied.” The Orion capsule will carry humanoid test dummies to simulate flight conditions and test for radiation. Extra “passengers” include astronaut minifigures from LEGO, a partner with NASA for promoting the Artemis program. Initial reports noted two minifigs for the mission. Apparently the number’s actually double.

Brick Fanatics reports that there will be four LEGO minifigures going up with the Orion spacecraft on Artemis 1. We already know two of them: animated characters who star in LEGO Education’s “Build to Launch” STEAM exploration series. Their names, if you recall, are Kate and Kyle. Now apparently, they will be joined by two astronaut minifigs from the main LEGO City theme. The names of the new additions: Julia and Sebastian. The quartet gets to follow in the space-flight footsteps of three aluminum-built minifigures aboard the Juno space probe. They reached their destination, the planet Jupiter, back in 2016.

LEGO looks to be harnessing their NASA partnership to synergize their upcoming space-flight LEGO City sets. We already covered the rumored Rocket Launch Pad (60351?) supposed to launch (product-wise) on March 2022. We have to wonder if Artemis 1 “astronauts” Sebastian and Julia are part of that set’s minifigure crew.

Dubai Toyota Dealership Showcases 1:1 Scale-Build LEGO Land Cruiser 300

LEGO and cars make a perfect combination, and it has been since the brand’s early days. The evolution of LEGO bricks and pieces led to many automobile sets over the years of varying complexity. Even actual car brands know the power of promotional partnership with LEGO. Car enthusiasts must have been just as excited as LEGO collectors were to see the 1:1 scale Bugatti Chiron. That reconstruction may have made news due to being fully-mobile, but other parties have been building life-sized LEGO cars. So, in a topic we haven’t covered in some time, consider this to-scale LEGO car MOC from the Middle East.

Car and Driver tells us that the MOC build was commissioned by a Toyota dealership in Dubai, UAE. The subject: the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser 300. Luckily for Al-Futtaim Toyota, they were able to contact a locally-based certified LEGO builder to work on this masterpiece. Said certified builder led a 12-member team to work on this life-sized brick-built Land Cruiser. It took them 2,688 total work-hours to complete the sculpture using 440,000 LEGO bricks. But what beauty the result was! The LEGO Land Cruiser 300 copies the actual SUV’s dimensions perfectly. Its combined brick-weight of 4,500lbs/2,050kg even comes close to the original’s over 5,700 lbs.

This LEGO Toyota Land Cruiser will be on display next to the real thing at Al-Futtaim’s showroom inside Dubai Mall. Emirati shoppers and tourists can drop in to check it out up until December 15. One might just imagine an official scaled-down LEGO set (Technic/Speed Champions?) just looking at it. Interestingly, the real Land Cruiser 300 is not going to be available in the US. Only the luxury-edition 2021 Toyota Lexus LX is coming over.

Recycled LEGO Brick Part of TIME’s “100 Best Inventions of 2021”

LEGO’s been on the material sustainability kick for well on several years now. One can safely say that the toy megabrand’s efforts go well beyond mere lip service. When their products are made of lots of plastic, LEGO owes it to the environment. Thus the company has been studying various alternative raw materials for their bricks and pieces. One example would be using plant-based materials for LEGO plant elements. Then in the middle of this year, LEGO produced a prototype brick from recycled PET plastic. It’s a start and there’s still a long way to go, but their breakthrough just got some major media recognition.

According to The Brick Fan, LEGO got a mention in the 100 Best Inventions of 2021 by TIME magazine. The citation mentioned LEGO’s long-term pledge to make their bricks out of sustainable materials by 2030. And their triumphant prototype brick introduced back in June was the result of three years of research. The aforementioned piece is touted as being identical to the feel of a regularly-molded LEGO brick. With the process now proven possible, the company could begin increasing use of sustainable pieces in their sets. This immediate goal has been given a timetable of about 18 to 24 months.

To give a perspective, TIME notes that LEGO’s annual manufacture of plastic resin for their products is 100,000 metric tons. Why make lots of new plastic that could go to waste when waste plastic could be recycled? We wish LEGO luck in implementing their breakthrough, and congratulate their inclusion in TIME’s 100 Best Inventions 2021.

Neat UCS AT-AT Promo Video, Plus “LEGO Vidiyoland” Teaser

Given the epic nature of the LEGO Star Wars UCS AT-AT (75313) reveal, a grand promotional video is expected. LEGO certainly did not disappoint with their ad for the set, posted on Twitter November 9 according to Brick Fanatics. Viewers will be treated to a minute of superb visual storytelling with lots of “Star Wars” shout-outs. It starts innocently with a guy walking out of a London LEGO Shop, UCS AT-AT in his arms. Then we hear the actual AT-AT sounds as he walks. He sees a car with a Millennium Falcon license plate, then Princess Leia. The rest of the shout-outs are seen in the eyes of the audience.

While looking at that LEGO Star Wars ad, we at The Brick Show also stumbled onto this interesting new video. It features Vidiyo, the hybrid minifigure-AR music video theme launched just this year. While an exciting bop during its introduction, sales-wise LEGO Vidiyo was a bust. It wasn’t surprising when LEGO announced that no new Vidiyo products were coming next year. They apparently plan to revamp the theme for a 2023 soft re-launch. So what is this LEGO Twitter teaser video trying to tell us?

Judging from the animation style reminiscent of “Animal Crossing,” “LEGO Vidiyoland” could possibly be a new animated series. Of course, that’s only our opinion based on a 15-second video. Don’t take our word for it and probably just wait for LEGO to elaborate on this. Unless…the character design is less “Animal Crossing”-like and more an actual “Animal Crossing” crossover, now that would be surprisingly exciting.