LEGO Designers Make Brick-Built Captain Marvel Statue to Help Promote “Avengers: Endgame”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will come to an ending that’s been ten years in the making this month. Fans of the franchise and Marvel superheroes can catch that this April 26 when “Avengers: Endgame” premieres. Merchandising partners such as LEGO have already begun releasing their tie-in products. But leave it to LEGO to do extra.

In what’s undoubtedly another contribution to promoting the upcoming MCU movie, the longest running-time of all series so far. LEGO designers have constructed a brick-built statue of one of the heroes involved. It’s none other than Captain Marvel, the superhuman cosmic champion lead character of her own film last month, and the most powerful good guy in the franchise yet.

With possibly all the LEGO-piece resources they could need, LEGO’s pro builders used 17,661 of them over the course of around 165 hours to assemble the brick statue. They even went the extra mile to match the physical dimensions to the character’s actress Brie Larson.

Upon completion, LEGO’s brick-built Captain Marvel statue matched Larson’s height of 5 feet seven inches. The design team even included an Avengers logo for background, making the figure a prime photo-op opportunity for MCU fans.

LEGO hasn’t quite revealed yet where this sweet build will be located for promotional purposes. It’s also possible that it could be located away from an obvious spot like a cinema. The Porg promotional statues during “The Last Jedi” were scattered in London, for example.

“Avengers: Endgame” arrives at last in theaters on April 26.

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Brick Formation Introduces Licensed “Homeworld” Spaceship Sets Built with LEGO Bricks

Among the many imaginative constructs that have been designed by LEGO as official products are star-faring spaceships. The most easily recalled example may be the LEGO Star Wars UCS Millennium Falcon (75192), but there are others. Indeed LEGO pieces are prime material for assembling model spaceships. Just ask Brick Formation.

As a company, Brick Formation treads a fine line by taking official LEGO elements and using them to make construction kits of vehicles from licensed properties. The kits are official merchandise to the franchise they depict, but they’re not official to LEGO which doesn’t “sponsor, authorize or endorse” these products by Brick Formation. Confused yet?

Currently Brick Formation has revealed their LEGO-built construction sets based on the innovative PC game series “Homeworld,” developed by Relic Entertainment since 1999 but now IP-owned by Gearbox Software.

For the moment, Brick Formation only has three “Homeworld” ship sets ready for orders. Each are worth at least $250, so they’re incredibly pricy stuff. But it only makes sense considering there will only be 100 of each set being produced. Instant collector’s items, these sets:

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Aside from Gearbox’s “Homeworld,” Brick Formation is also looking for more licensing partners to make their LEGO-built sets for. In a way, their “official-for-this-franchise” but “not-official-for-LEGO” approach is novel, though it does sort of give some IP franchises that tend to be passed over by LEGO to get their own toy merchandise made out of LEGO’s iconic building bricks.

Note: Much obliged to Doug Rass for the correction offered.

Introducing New LEGO Education Brick-Digital Product: SPIKE Prime

It’s already said that LEGO products make for potentially helpful teaching aids at times. But the brand also has a focused line just meant for that: LEGO Education. The Education product lines are non-retail, available only on LEGO’s online portal. We’ve featured several of these sets before, and LEGO has a new one to introduce.

A number of the more recent LEGO Education specialized sets have been geared towards introductory coding and programing. The new LEGO SPIKE Prime is no different. With over 500 Technic-like mechanical pieces and an electronic hub, it’s a fantastic new building system allowing for coding to articulate and drive constructs.

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The digital aspect of LEGO Education’s SPIKE Prime is, as usual, a downloadable app for mobile devices that can develop programs using Scratch coding language. These programs are then transmitted to the electronic hubs on any SPIKE Prime build, to perform the desire motion or animatronic effect according to instructions.

SPIKE Prime will be getting its first major test as an educational tool with LEGO packing it along with other Education products in a “Confidence in Learning” toolkit. These kits will be provided by LEGO to select schools around the world, to establish LEGO Education and SPIKE Prime as valuable aids in a hands-on education.

For schools in the US interested in trying LEGO Education SPIKE Prime, they can already preorder the system on the Education portal of LEGO’s official website. It will become generally available later on August 2019.

A Look at LEGO’s April Fools Prank for 2019

We decided to write this stuff after the day in question itself to make sure its true nature is known. Anyway, yesterday was April Fools’ and that means there were plenty of zingers for suckers both in real-life and online. LEGO’s an old hat with this in their social media.

If you might recall, last year the LEGO Twitter page “introduced” a “brick vacuum cleaner” for sucking up loose pieces. This year they’re continuing the April Fools’ theme of wacky tools for managing LEGO. Now the problem being ostensibly addressed is helping builders find the right pieces in a pile.

To “help” with that they announced the “Find My Brick,” a phone app that obviously rips off similar apps on the market. At least LEGO’s trying to put spins on the joke. Find My Brick apparently uses some AR offshoot, where users select a particular brick on its online database and points the phone-cam at a pile of LEGO bricks.

As seen in the image above, the app would scan the brick pile and pick out the bricks matching the selection made in the app. They even get glowing outlines on the screen like a standard sci-fi HUD. Frivolous? Yes. Self-indulgent? Yes. Funny? Definitely yes.

Comments on LEGO’s April Fools Twitter entry even contain some posts that feel the Find My Brick spoof app to be potentially useful. They even asked the toy giant to make it real. For this writer that indicates the one-day gag just works too well.

LEGO Ideas Releases Steamboat Willie (21317) Designer Video

As its release nears, fans waiting for the LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie (21317) must be hearing whistling in their heads. Indeed, Mickey Mouse’s whistling ditty from the 1928 short is looping in this writer’s head as the anticipation builds. Disney fans who appreciate the classics can’t say no here either.

With the Steamboat Willie set (21317) arriving April 1, the time’s arrived for it to be documented, as major sets usually are, with an official designer video. To sell the iconic age of the media the set depicts, said video is in black and white, with characteristic dots and scratches.

LEGO designer John Ho, who led the team that created the final official version of the original Product Idea by Máté Szabó, talks about the set’s build. He draws attention to the internal mechanism wherein, when the steamboat is rolled along the floor on its concealed wheels, they in turn drive the side paddle wheels and the alternating twin smokestacks.

Collectors will definitely love the LEGO Ideas Steamboat Willie (21317) for its effective reference the original medium to make an attractive set despite being only in shades of black, white and gray. The mechanics involved also make interesting brick-building study.

Don’t forget that this Ideas set is averting April Fools’ Day by releasing this Monday. Collectors in Florida and Paris can even try going to their nearby Disney theme parks later this month if they want their Steamboat Willie (21317) sets signed by the creator.

LEGOLAND Florida Opens LEGO Movie World

“The LEGO Movie 2” may have already concluded its theatrical run, but the franchise experience is only just starting. The best place to immerse oneself in the world of Bricksburg is in the LEGOLAND Resorts. In particular, LEGOLAND Florida has had the honor of getting the first LEGO Movie World themed area. Announced months ago, it finally opened this week.

As the song goes, “Everything is Awesome” as LEGOLAND Florida Resort finally opened the doors of LEGO Movie World to guests this Wednesday, March 27. Repurposed from the old “World of Chima” land, LEGO Movie World is easily LEGOLAND Florida’s biggest expansion, almost a theme park in and of itself.

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Three rides dominate LEGO Movie World: Unikitty’s Disco Drop which is the tallest feature in the area, the Battle of Bricksburg splash ride-and-shoot, and the LEGO Movie Masters of Flight flying theatre ride. Minifigure characters from the films hang out there for meet-and-greets, while other amenities include the Taco Tuesday restaurant, a retail store, children’s play area and a performance stage where the opening program was held, with “Catchy Songs.”

Project director Kieth Carr of Merlin Entertainment’s “Magic Making” division, which designed LEGO Movie World, noted that the new area will serve as a game-changer.

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“The immersion and theming that we’ve incorporated into the area is unlike anything we’ve ever done,” Carr relates to Florida Today. “Our guests will have so much fun on all three rides, but the land’s marquee ride, The LEGO Movie Masters of Flight encompasses the only 180-degree turn on a flying theater in the world.”

Visit the LEGOLAND Florida Resort official website for more details, inquiries on tickets and special packages, and to actually book your future trip to experience LEGO Movie World for yourself.

Potentially Non-Expiring Points, and Other Changes to LEGO VIP Program

Earlier this March, LEGO announced what might be the most significant developments to their VIP program yet. This involved the introduction of a digital VIP card version, already being tested with selected existing VIP members. That’s merely the beginning, if the LEGO emails being sent to members is any indication.

Our fellow LEGO news source, The Brick Fan, has made public the contents of this message from LEGO regarding upcoming changes to the VIP program. We already know about the implementation of digital cards, but LEGO’s now stressing the importance of having all existing (physical card) VIP accounts registered online.

The biggest part of the news is the new duration of earned LEGO VIP points before they expire. Originally they can only be kept every two years before a member’s point-count is reset to zero.

Two months from now, they’ll only last one-and-a-half years, but potentially they can remain valid “forever.” How is that so? It’s because LEGO VIP’s online digital point meter will reset the 18-month validity of VIP points every time you make a purchase and use your LEGO VIP card doing it.

So even if you buy LEGO only once every 18 months, that’ll restart the “validity clock” all over again. Technically that means what points you don’t use will remain okay to use forever; awesome, right?

One last thing: LEGO recommends that registering multiple VIP accounts in your name be done with a unique email address for each. Otherwise you might see different accounts using the same email address end up being merged by the online VIP system. Conversely, if a single registered VIP account has more than one email address registered to it, it might be split into separate ones.

LEGO Builds Another 1:1 Brick (Non-Functional) Sports Car: McLaren Senna

Using LEGO bricks to build life-sized vehicle models isn’t a new thing. The practice did get a boost following LEGO and Bugatti’s 1:1 recreation of the Technic Chiron set as a functional brick-built car. Many creations from other builders followed, though they lacked the Chiron’s ability to move under power.

Recently LEGO has partnered with McLaren to once again do an official life-sized brick build. The subject is McLaren’s Senna sports car, currently interpreted as one of this year’s LEGO Speed Champions sets (75892). A 42-person team took 5,000 hours in total to assemble 467,854 to form the finished product.

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In comparison, within the same timeframe as the LEGO and McLaren collaboration, the latter could have manufactured nine real Sennas. Like the brick-built Chiron, this creation also included non-brick components from its namesake car. We’re talking real McLaren tires, steering wheel, pedal box and carbon-fiber driver’s seat in the thing.

Again, however, this impressive 1:1 LEGO McLaren Senna is lacking the multiple Power Functions motor setup that enabled the brick-built Bugatti Chiron to actually drive. In compensation, the car’s start button will instead play a recorded Senna engine sound over loudspeakers. It’s a poor substitute for the real thing though.

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The LEGO McLaren Senna build can only be appreciated in images for now, but it will debut “in the plastic” later this summer. UK fans can catch it on exhibit at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England.

Third-Gen LEGO Owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen Leaving LEGO Holding A/S Board of Directors

What’s quite impressive of the global toy brand LEGO was that for its worldwide reach it never needed to go as a publicly trading company, but one that remained a true family business. To this day ownership of LEGO ultimately rests with the Kristiansen family of founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen.

In the latest development concerning the Kristiansen family, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen has announced his departure from the board of directors for LEGO A/S effective next month. The now 71-year-old grandson of the original LEGO founder is leaving his son Thomas Kristiansen as deputy chairman of the board, again passing the family baton, generation to generation.

Kristiansen tells The Financial Times that his stepping down from the LEGO board of directors is part of the whole family’s procedure on maintaining generational ownership of the global toy company. With this step complete, the only position Kristiansen still holds is the chairmanship of their investment firm KIRKBI A/S.

His successor Thomas Kristiansen became a board member of LEGO back in 2007, and was appointed to the deputy chairmanship two years ago. His presence ensures the Kristiansen family retains a voice among the directors as “the most active owner.”

Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen took over as LEGO CEO following the death of his father Gotfried in 1979. He stepped down from active management of the company in 2004, replaced by the first non-family CEO of LEGO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. He himself was replaced by Niels B. Christiansen, though he remained chairman. Knudstorp and Thomas Kristiansen are now selecting candidates to replace Kjeld on the board.

Researchers Use LEGO Pieces to Build Setup to Create Lab-Grown Meat with “Organic-Like” Texture

This won’t be the first time we’ve featured a LEGO MOC that’s geared towards scientific ends. Before, we’ve covered a brick-built sundial and even a scanner setup for detecting nerve gas and airborne biological agents. And now, we’ve come across another far-out scientific application for LEGO bricks, producing cultured meat.

Lab-grown meat research isn’t exactly new, but using LEGO pieces to make equipment to do so is now a thing. Researchers from Penn State University and the University of Alabama have been pondering on how to make cultured meat from starch fibers have an “organic” texture. The solution was a device that spins the starch fiber into a “meat-like” structure.

According to Food and Wine, the research teams hit upon constructing a spinning wheel for the cultured-meat fabric using various LEGO parts and moved by Power Functions motors. Plastic was the material of choice they used due to being non-conductive.

Using the setup pictured above, the researchers were able to have the spinning mechanism cause the starch fabric to align into muscle cells just like with real steak-grade meat. Of course, the small LEGO setup used means the quantity of lab-grown meat isn’t much, but the experiment has proven the concept, making the team confident in replicating the method with a larger version in future.

If you’re curious as to whether the experimenters will continue to use LEGO in their later studies of making organic-like cultured meat, the answer’s actually no. But again, the iconic toy brand has come through with its wondrously wide applicability that even scientist can rely on it for their work.