We’ve seen LEGO being used in realms well outside simple play, from building scientific equipment to being used to rally charitabledonations. Now, it’s finding use in the UK, particularly in the west of England, to draw public attention to a growing problem: skill gap between recruits and available work.
Certain jobs net a particular set and level of skills gained from education or training, and the sad thing is, 70% of businesses in western England – almost three-fourths – have problems hiring employees to fill vacancies because the labor pool tends to lack in skilled workers. Bristol is such a case.
Skill West, a business advice outfit, has decided to launch a public campaign in the city to increase public awareness on skills gap that results in large numbers of job vacancies due to under and non-qualification. They’re using LEGO minifigures of people in various professions as part of the “Find Your New Recruit” encouragement drive.
In line with this, Skills West is scattering work-themed LEGO minifigures in famous landmarks of Bristol. Any worker or business owner who finds these LEGO minifigures can take them back to their workplaces, snap a photo of the minifigure inside their offices, and post the pictures on Twitter under hash-tag #pledgeyoursupport.
Selfies of the “Find Your New Recruit” campaign minifigures will be entered into an online raffle, with winning employees/employers to be treated to an “experience day” courtesy of Skills West and their partners. The organization head Nicky Williams states that west England is in a low-unemployment rate period similar to 1975; he says that while good, in the long run that situation “intensifies the problems local businesses are having when it comes to finding skilled people to join their team.”
Experiences being discussed for “Find Your New Recruit” include trade apprenticing, on-the-job-training for students and career fairs. Williams hopes the campaign gets local businesses to offer these activities which Skills West will then match to individual jobseekers or employment organizations.
In case you missed it, DC fans all over the world is now celebrating the Dark Knight’s annual Batman Day in honor of the Caped Crusader’s first comic book appearance in Detective Comics #27 way back in 1939. And to mark the occasion, the official Twitter page of The LEGO Movie 2 has posted an alternate costume of the Dark Knight that I hope will find its way in becoming a physical minifigure. Dubbed as Wasteland Batman, it shows how our hero managed to survive post-apocalyptic Bricksburg after the Duplon Invasion of Taco Tuesday.
The LEGO Movie 2 has introduced a lot of changes to our minifig heroes when we first saw them in The LEGO Movie. Perhaps the most striking of them all is the ‘evolution’ that Unikatty went through – from being the ambassadress of joy and happy thoughts, to a full-grown battle cat that even other LEGO mechs will steer away from. We also Wyldstyle sporting a new desert wasteland look, while the rest of Bricksburg’s residents became like Mad Max extras. As far as we can see it, it is only Emmet that somehow managed to retain his cheery attitude and typical garb.
If you recall, we had our first glimpse of our revamped characters when the official poster for The LEGO Movie 2 first came out last June, and a partial Wasteland Batman was seen reflected on Sweet Mayhem’s visor, and later on in the film’s official trailer.
LEGO has already announced three initial LEGO Movie 2 tie-in sets that will be released in January 2019. However, notably missing is the new Wasteland Batman minifigure that we saw frequently on the film’s early promotions. My best bet is that we will see this new version of Batman in a soon-to-be announced set. And in my opinion, this is perhaps one of the best costumes that our minifig Dark Knight has ever worn. I like how the large, half-tire shoulder pads turned out, including the tattered cape, and metallic bat logo in front. He also has his yellow utility belt piece first introduced in The LEGO Batman Movie, which is a kind of interesting choice given that in first TLM film, we saw him having a printed belt instead rather than having a physical counterpart.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is slated to hit US theaters on February 8, with several LEGO tie-in sets to be announced early next year, or late December.
One good thing about some official LEGO Magazines for some of its major licensed franchises is that sometimes their freebies are fairly uncommon little things. They can, for instance, be a certain minifigure from a large set; but as a freebie in a LEGO mag you get one technically free. That’s the deal going with the latest LEGO Star Wars Magazine Issue 39 of the official LEGO Star Wars Magazine, as it features one of the minifigures from the LEGO Star Wars set for the Jedi Starfighter with Hyperdrive (75191): Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is a fairly uncommon rendering of the Jedi Master as pilot.
As for other content, LEGO Star Wars fans will certainly enjoy another month’s issue filled with fun puzzles, posters for their walls, and a variety of LEGO-styled comic stories. Some of them are tied into the included pilot Obi-Wan minifigure, but there’s also a mag promo to win a Kessel Run Millennium Falcon set (75212).
If you’re keeping up with collecting the new LEGO Star Wars trading cards introduced last month, then you’ll get the limited edition card LE02 from this issue 39 of the mag. Naturally, it’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. The official LEGO Star Wars Magazine from The Egmont Group is priced at £3.99 and is available now in Europe.
After confirming that the LEGO Harry Potter Bricktober 2018 minifigures will be made available in the US via Barnes & Noble, it seems that LEGO is now teasing on where we can expect the rest of this highly collectible minifigures. We know that these annual releases are usually available in Toys R Us before the toy retail giant closed all its stores in the US, UK, and Australia last June. Many LEGO fans were anxious then on whether the LEGO Bricktober minifigure promotions will still run in spite of TRU’s demise. But thankfully, LEGO still has something in store and the release of the official LEGO Bricktober 2018 images a few weeks ago has confirmed that we will still have our usual LEGO Bricktober minifigs soon.
A LEGO customer service email shared via social media seems to suggest that we will not need to look far and wide to find our share of these minifigs. According to an Instagram post that is now making its rounds across the LEGO community, LEGO’s costumer service has confirmed that the LEGO Bricktober 2018 minifigures will available in US LEGO stores this November and December. To quote,
“The Bricktober promotions will be available through the LEGO stores throughout November and December. This is the only information we have to share at this time. Please keep an eye out for more information.”
Well, I guess we should better start calling this Brickvember and Brickcember for that matter.
We should bear in mind that even if LEGO’s customer service email seems to have confirmed the availability of the LEGO Bricktober 2018 minifigures in local LEGO stores, it will still be wise to consider this as a rumor. In the past, LEGO’s customer service and their social media managers were a bit off the mark when it comes to accurately telling when and how new LEGO sets will be released.
We’re also not sure as of the moment if this will be a future store promotional of some kind. And since the LEGO Store October Calendar has already been released, and there was no mention of any Bricktober promos, then we have to probably wait for the November Store Calendar to be released next month. The LEGO Shop@Home portal is also mum about these LEGO Bricktober 2018 minifigs as of this writing. My best guess is that it may be a part of a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal in November. Whatever the case, we will soon find out.
If you still remember back in May, we reported on two LEGO Star Wars collectible minifigures that were released back then as a promotional in connection to the release of the Star Wars Han Solo film. Following the likes of other collectible minifigures that were launched together with previous Star Wars films, the LEGO Star Wars Kessel Mine Worker (40299) and a version of Solo in disguise as a Mimban Mudtrooper or the LEGO Star Wars Han Solo Mudtrooper (40300), are now next in line as the theme’s promotional CMF. We also noted back then that these were supposed to be Toys R Us-related freebies, but since TRU’s closure and unfortunate demise, we were left hanging on when and where these minifigs will arrive in the US. It also seems that Europe has the better end of these promotional deals since the sighting of Han Solo Mudtrooper (40300) in the LEGOLAND Store in Germany.
But thanks to the recently released LEGO Store October 2018 store calendar, we now know for sure that the Han Solo Mudtrooper (40300) collectible minifigure will now land in LEGO Stores in the US and at shop.LEGO.com this October.
From October 1 to 14, any purchase of LEGO Star Wars sets worth $35 and above will entitle you to this free collectible Han Solo Mudtrooper minifig. This offer is valid only during the dates mentioned above or while supplies last. This particular collectible joins the ranks of other previous Star Wars collectible minifigures such as DJ (40298) from The Last Jedi, the Scarif Stormtrooper (40176) and R3-M2 (40268) both from Rogue One.
In the aftermath of the disintegrating conclusion to Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War on cinemas this past April, among the plentiful LEGO tie-in items that came out was a polybag for a minifigure keychain of Teen Groot (5005244). It’s been available at LEGO Stores and shop.LEGO.com (via May promo) since. Now, Infinity War has also been available for digital download since the end of July and on DVD/Blu-Ray since the middle of this month. But UK store chain Sainsbury’s isn’t releasing their home media for the film until September 3 next month, and it comes with a nice surprise: a FREE Teen Groot minifigure key chain that LEGO fans will surely welcome.
Long story short, Sainsbury’s shoppers who would purchase Avengers: Infinity War on DVD, Blu-Ray and Ultra HD Blu-Ray will receive a free Teen Groot minifigure key chain (5005244). That’s another means of acquiring a representation of the heroic (and sadly doomed) adolescent talking tree before Avengers 4 arrives 2019.
Aside from this upcoming Infinity War home media promo, Sainsbury’s is still in the middle of its ongoing promo period for the second wave of LEGO collectible cards for the new Create the World line “Incredible Inventions”. All in all, the UK store chain’s shaping up to be a great place to get some peripheral LEGO products such as these.
College Football season is starting all over again in the US as this week draws to a close. That makes it a great time perhaps for LEGO builders to be inspired in making some new football-related MOCs in celebration. Granted, there have been MOC builds of football stadiums before, but this one’s a real eye-catcher. Builder Jared Jacobs, aka @goldyeller on Twitter, has recreated a significant moment in college football from five years ago in 2013 during the Iron Bowl match between longtime rivals the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Followers of ACFB would remember this momentous play as the Kick Six event.
As a recap, on that November 30 Auburn-Alabama clash, with 1 second left and scores tied 28 all, the Crimson Tide decided to go for a 57-yard field goal for the lead and the win. It was short and fell onto the hands of Tigers Captain/cornerback Chris Davis, who did an epic run, end zone to end zone, that resulted in a spectacular Auburn win with memorable reaction shots in the stadium caught on TV. It was since then burned into the memories of fans and was dubbed eventually as the legendary Kick Six moment.
You can see above, not only did Jared Jacobs make a detailed set of Jordan-Hare Stadium – complete with teams, officials, coaches and audience – he also rendered the whole Kick Six event in stop-motion animation, capturing every iconic scene from the televised footage.
This is the kind of commemoration that’ll be just right to welcome another season of College Football, and another feather in the cap of his various LEGO recreations of various sporting events shown on Twitter.
The primary draw for playing with LEGO sets and minifigures has always been the opportunity to imaginatively play out stories and adventures with the characters, props and settings provided by the massive toy line. Some have taken things further by producing elaborate stop-motion mini-movies with their LEGO sets, uploaded online. Even The LEGO Group is getting into this craze, and they want to share the set-movie making experience with Australians in Sydney next month. This is the LEGO Star Wars All-Stars Studio Experience, a prime opportunity for parents and their children to bond by learning to shoot mini-films using LEGO Star Wars sets and minifigures in stop-motion.
Interested parent-and-child pairs can head on over to the Comber Street Studios in Paddington, Sydney where they will first sit down to a one-hour class on stop-motion animation and filming techniques. Then, they’ll have the run of the studio and provided LEGO Star Wars sets: posing minifigures and props, filming, editing and even voicing their very own Star Wars movies.
While the LEGO Star Wars All-Stars Studio Experience event is free, interested participants need to book tickets in advance, and they better hurry because this happens on Father’s Day Weekend, September 1 and 2. But what a Father’s Day gift for Aussie dads this is! After they’re done producing their LEGO Star Wars stop-motion movie, they can bring it home in video form. Thanks to Star Wars fan site Rebelscum.com for bringing our attention to this special event.
Today marks the 40th birthday of the iconic LEGO minifigure and to mark this special occasion, The LEGO Group has shared several images and videos that traces the history of one of the world’s most recognizable toy element. To be exact, it was in 1977 that LEGO patented its unique yellow, plastic minifigure with the first minifigures rolling out in to the market a year after. Since then, LEGO’s minifigures have evolved from being single modular-like accessories to a full range of articulated figures that unmistakably give life to any LEGO set.
Read on for LEGO’s full press release and a video snippet highlighting the LEGO minifigure’s journey throughout the years. While you’re at it, and in case you have not gathered all 17 minifigs yet, be sure to check out the special 40th anniversary LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 18 (71021) blind bags over at Amazon.
LITTLE FIGURE, BIG STORY – CELEBRATING THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LEGO® MINIFIGURE
In 1978, Disco was dominating the charts, mobile phones were non-existent and the Internet was still more than a decade away. It was also the year the very first LEGO® minifigures went into production. Fast forward to today and those inaugural characters have evolved nearly as much as the world around them, offering endless roleplay possibilities. So, as one of the planet’s tiniest icons celebrates its big 4…0, here are some milestone moments from its very big story.
The evolution of the LEGO minifigure
It all started in 1974 when the LEGO building figure was launched, made mostly of large square LEGO bricks with moveable arms but immoveable legs. This was followed in 1975 by LEGO stage extra figures with solid torsos, immoveable arms and legs, and no printed features. Basically, very different to the LEGO minifigures we know and love today! Not that we had to wait too long for them to arrive, with 1978 ushering in a new era of LEGO minifigures equipped with moveable limbs and simple facial expressions comprising two solid black eye dots and black painted smile. Fast forward to 2018 and there are now more than 650 unique faces in the collection, meaning children can have fun roleplaying different characters and personalities – anytime, anywhere.
From 20 to 8,000
To begin with, there were around 20 different LEGO minifigure characters, including a police officer, doctor, firefighter, knight and astronaut. But in the four decades since, the number of minifigures available has risen to more than 8,000. To put that into context, if the global population had grown at the same rate, there would now be nearly 144 trillion of us living on Earth!
The perfect height Take away the hair or any other headpiece and LEGO minifigures are exactly the same height as four LEGO bricks fitted together. This means they fit perfectly into the LEGO System in Play. Oh, and if you stacked them head to toe, you would need 20,750 to reach the height of the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
Jack of all trades
Over the years, LEGO minifigures have shown they can turn their hand to pretty much anything. From pirates to paramedics, engineers to elephant keepers, veterinarians to Vikings, there have been thousands of different minifigure characters. Three LEGO minifigures even blasted into space onboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft in 2011. But one thing has remained consistent throughout: whatever role, character or personality children fancy playing, there’s sure to be a minifigure to match.
Did you know the traditional yellow colour of the LEGO minifigure’s head was chosen based on focus group feedback in the early and mid-1970s saying this was preferable to white ones? Since then, minifigures have become increasingly diverse – from the first figures with natural skin tone in 2003 (Lando Calrissian from Star Wars and NBA basketball players) to 2016’s inaugural wheelchair. LEGO minifigures have also done their bit for unstereotyping gender roles with the likes of female firefighters and ninjas, through to fathers equipped with baby carriers. In fact, the whole point of minifigures is they let children create and be anyone they want – male or female, helmet or hair, freckles or glasses, anything. And if you’re worried about our robotic friends, don’t be. There have been plenty of C-3POs and R2D2s (not to mention other robots) too.
The LEGO minifigure has starred in a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including THE LEGO® MOVIE™, THE LEGO® BATMAN MOVIE™ and THE LEGO® NINJAGO MOVIE™. In 2007, LEGO Group even created 10,000 gold chrome C-3PO minifigures packed in random sets to mark the 30th anniversary of Star Wars.
1978-2018 precision mates
Did you know that eight different moulds are used for the production of every minifigure? Two sets of these moulds are the same in design but reversed to mould the right and left minifigure arms and legs! The precision that goes into these moulds is exceptional, and because the original moulds are almost identical to the ones we use today, minifigures from 1978 can be mixed and matched with the more modern characters from today! However, one thing that has changed is the number of elements each mould can produce and the speed scale of this – for example, the minifigure head mould construction has improved from an initial eight elements per 9,8 sec. to 128 elements per 14.7 sec. today!
More than just a figure
LEGO minifigures may be made for fun but there’s a serious side to them as well. By offering an endless choice of roleplay possibilities, they’re designed to let children play inventively, engage with different emotions and tell their own stories. First and foremost, that means a whole lot of enjoyment. But, crucially, it also allows young people to develop key life skills like emotional intelligence, creativity and communication – skills that, according to new research for the LEGO Play Well Report, parents believe will be vital to helping their children build their own bright future.
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.