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If you’re using the LEGO Builder app on you’re iPhone or iPad, you may have noticed an update that added the official images of the crowdfunded LEGO Bricklink Designer Program sets. If you recall, the Bricklink Designer Program began first as the AFOL Designer Program in 2018 to bring together the best original creations from the LEGO builders community. The goal is to gather as much support as possible through a crowdfunding platform that will enable these LEGO MOCs to be mass-produced and recognized.
And thanks to a recent LEGO Builder update, we can now glimpse what we can expect from these sets’ official packaging. There are five sets under the LEGO Bricklink Designer Program; each set is intended for advanced LEGO builders due to their size and complexity.
Pre-orders have unfortunately ended, but if you happen to be the first 10,000 supporters who pre-ordered these sets, you can expect them to be shipped any time soon. The good thing is that building instructions in PDF format will also be available, so you can try and see if you can build these sets using your existing LEGO pieces, or you can order them through Bricklink.
Click on the following links if you want to know more about these LEGO Bricklink Designer Program sets.
LEGO partnering with videogame companies to make licensed tie-in sets has been one of their best decisions in recent years. Fans have never been happier getting to build anything from game levels to vehicles to cyber-creatures. The first item warrants special mention. Who knew making LEGO versions of “Super Mario” or “Sonic the Hedgehog” levels could be such big hits? And those are just the official releases. LEGO builders have been doing it for longer, and with gaming IP’s yet to be considered. Now, it’s been a while since we featured interesting LEGO MOCs that aren’t Ideas hopefuls. Here’s one that LEGO ought to consider.
We found this courtesy of Game Rant, which featured a Redditor recreating the Kanto Region from “Pokemon” in LEGO. User Buscags1 posted his work on the r/Pokemon Reddit, using Bricklink’s LEGO Stud.io software to depict the in-game Kanto regional map. Thus far he has recreated Pallet Town and Viridian City plus connecting Routes. Also featured are Diglett’s Cave, Viridian Forest and its bypass area. Features include micro-buildings in towns, and plants tiles of varying heights representing grass/trees. The details actually check out if you compare the images to a map in “Pokmon” games featuring Kanto.
Buscag1 notes on r/Pokmon that it takes him several days on Stud.io to render each section. Still, he plans to complete the entire Kanto Region eventually. Even better, Buscag1 is also apparently going to get on the Johto Region in future. When that’s done, both LEGO Pokemon MOC recreations of the first two videogame regions will be connected. One might wonder if he could be encouraged to submit this to LEGO Ideas too. That might give LEGO more Nintendo franchises to make tie-in sets out of.
Building with LEGO bricks may be as old-school as play activities can get. Still, even with the timeless appeal of the toy brand, LEGO does keep pace with the advance of technology. One example lies in digital brick-building software. LEGO launched its official digital brick-building utility, LEGO Digital Designer, in 2004. LDD used 3D digital rendering of actual LEGO bricks in real-time. The software would even be used in videogame and film development. Meanwhile, Bricklink launched its own Studio software in 2014, and quickly rose to wide usage itself. The popularity of BrickLink Studio with digital LEGO builders has led to this rather surprising announcement.
The Brick Fan reports that they’re shifting official 3D building software status from LEGO Digital Designer to BrickLink Studio. In a statement last Wednesday, January 12, LEGO declared the end of support for LDD. On the software’s official page at LEGO.com, they warn that LDD 4.3.10 will stop being available on January 31. Presently, the software will also have errors when launched except when working in offline mode. LEGO advises LDD users to download BrickLink Studio instead and import their LDD files. Bricklink will also replace the LDD page at the end of the month.
It’s the end of an era for LEGO Digital Designer, the development of which began as early as 2002. The software’s first-gen producer Tommy Scheer envisioned LDD as a simple digital-LEGO building tool for children with computers. He was impressed by the user community evolving the experience into something greater. This in turn led to Bricklink similarly developing BrickLink Studio. The torch has been passed, and LDD’s retirement on January 31 will make things official.
The Bricklink Designer Program is back this year, with its first round of crowdfunding slated to kick off this July. Formerly known as the AFOL Designer Program when it was introduced in 2018, the Bricklink Designer Program brings together some of the best original brick-built creations from the LEGO fan community and seeks to gather the needed crowdfunding support to be mass-produced and duly recognized.
This year, due to the limitations brought about by the pandemic, three crowdfunding rounds have been introduced with the 2nd and 3rd rounds to happen in September and November respectively. And for this first round, there will be 7 projects to support and choose from starting July 1 until August 10. You may head over to Bricklink’s pre-order page to have a better look at these 7 projects, or you may check out the following images below to have an initial look. In case you want to vote or support a particular project that you see, just click on their respective links below. My personal favorite is JK Brickwork’s Pursuit of Flight, which also managed to receive 10,000 fan votes qualifying it for the Second 2019 LEGO Ideas Review Stage.
In a rather surprising turn of events this morning, The LEGO Group has officially announced that it will be taking over Bricklink – the world’s largest online marketplace by AFOLs for AFOLs – with the intent of “strengthening engagement” across its growing community of adult fans.
The announcement came in the form of an official press release issued by the company. Bricklink has been in existence for almost two decades when it began as a brainchild of LEGO fan Dan Jezek. Since then it has grown to be the world’s largest LEGO fan-based market place consisting of more than 10,000 stores across 70 countries. It was then acquired by NXMH LLC in 2013 by Korean entrepreneur Jung-Ju Kim.
According to LEGO top brass Niels B Christiansen, Bricklink’s acquisition of the LEGO Group will further deepen collaboration between the company and its growing number of brick fans. It is yet to be seen, however, on how this will be spelled out in actuality. Together with Bricklink, LEGO has also included in its acquisition Sohobricks – a clone brand that specializes in creating bricks that cater to artists and businesses.
Though I would like to give the benefit of the doubt on all of LEGO’s good intentions in taking over Bricklink, I couldn’t help but think about the repercussions that it may have on the many sellers out there on the Bricklink platform. As a fan-based and fan-driven LEGO marketplace, it has always thrived because of its decentralized nature without any corporate influence. So we’ll just have to see how LEGO will live up to its word in creating a more positive experience and engagement to all buyers and sellers in the marketplace. Hopefully, all of the details will be ironed out by the end of this year.
Here’s the complete press release as announced by LEGO, and feel free to comment down below on what you think will happen to Bricklink with the LEGO Group taking over.
The LEGO Group acquires BrickLink, the world’s largest online LEGO® fan community and marketplace to strengthen ties with adult fans
BILLUND, Denmark, November 26, 2019: The LEGO Group today announced it has acquired BrickLink Ltd (www.bricklink.com), the world’s largest online community of adult LEGO fans from NXMH to strengthen its connection with its important adult fan base.
The BrickLink platform has more than one million members and comprises an online marketplace of more than 10,000 stores from 70 countries; a digital building software where builders can design and showcase their creations; and a vibrant online community where fans share ideas and builds.
The platform was founded in 2000 by Dan Jezek as a way to connect like-minded adult LEGO fans from around the world. It was acquired in 2013 by NXMH, which is owned by Korean entrepreneur Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim. BrickLink is headquartered in Irvine, California.
The LEGO Group CEO, Niels B Christiansen said: “Our adult fans are extremely important to us. They are passionate, committed and endlessly creative. We have worked closely with the community for many years and look forward to deepening our collaboration. We plan to continue to support BrickLink’s active marketplace and evolve BrickLink’s digital studio which allows our talented fans to take their creativity to the next level.”
Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, owner of NXMH, said: “It has been a privilege to lead the transformation of BrickLink during the past six years. I am grateful to the community for being so welcoming, supportive and constructive. I am constantly amazed by everyone’s endless creativity and their love for building. I am confident the platform will be in good hands with the LEGO Group. As a fan myself, I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
The LEGO Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Julia Goldin, said: “BrickLink provides the LEGO Group with a unique opportunity to connect with adult fans through new channels and exciting experiences. We’ve recently collaborated with BrickLink on a range of crowd-sourced sets to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brick. We learned a lot and are keen to explore more ways of working together to create value. We look forward to collaborating further with our adult fans, while retaining and nurturing the independent spirit of the digital platform.”
The acquisition also includes Sohobricks which makes small batches of building elements. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Closing is expected to occur before the end of 2019.