Everyone Is Awesome

Matthew Ashton has created a beautifully simple Lego set called ‘Everyone Is Awesome’.

“I wanted to create a model that is a symbol of inclusivity, that celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love. Everyone is unique, and with a little more love, acceptance and understanding in the world, we can all feel free to be our true AWESOME selves.”

The set really captures the message well. The pieces are not gender defined and this promotes the message of individuality. The range of colours celebrates the importance of acceptance and inclusion perfectly.

I’ll be honest, although I might take the set into school to display to celebrate the equality message, I bought the set for the monochrome minifigures. I have been collecting monochromes for about a year now, adding a new one to my collection every so often. This set adds four new ones to my collection – the light blue being my new favourite. The side effect of this set being released will be that the prices of these figures will now increase as more people get into the hobby.

Just noticed the dust in this picture. How awful – sorry!

The set itself was a nice relaxing build, requiring around half an hour to complete.

For £31 it is well worth purchasing!

Lego Looney Tunes CMFs

Recently Lego released one of their finest ever collectible minifigure sets. The Looney Tunes series features twelve excellent figures that look simply stunning on display.

Here are my thoughts on the figures:

12 Lola Bunny
I have placed Lola Bunny as my least favourite. Whilst it is an excellent figure in theory, I really am not familiar with this character. Also, the accessory, a plain basketball, is not great.

11 Petunia Pig
I can’t really recall this character whatsoever. I have bumped it up to 11 because the design of the figure is interesting and the cup and teapot which joins the character are pretty good accessories. I cannot understand how Petunia and Lola made the cut but iconic characters like Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd didn’t. Gutted.

10 Porky Pig
A really nice figure, but not one of my favourite characters.

9 Tweety Pie
Tweety is a lovely little figure… but it’s not litte enough. The figure needs to be smaller.

8 Daffy Duck
I really love the figure and don’t like placing Daffy so low, but, I guess, the figure is a bit plain. There was probably little else they could do with it, to be fair.

7 Road Runner
Another figure that appears so low on the list and yet, actually, I love him. It’s perfect, and is only so low because the other figures are sublime.

6 Marvin The Martian
I remember the Marvin was so funny when I was a child. The minifigure is absolutely perfect!

5 Sylvester The Cat
What a brilliant figure! Lego have captured his likeness perfectly!

4 Bugs Bunny
I loved Bugs Bunny when I was little. The minifigure version is perfect in every way! Well done Lego!

3 Tazmanian Devil
Taz is a fantastic figure! The beautifully moulded head is incredible and the accessories are superb, including the spinner! Lego have done a superb job here.

2 Wile E. Cote
What a fabulous figure! Looking exactly like his cartoon likeness, poor Wile E. looks determined and bamboozled at the same time. Superb!

1 Speedy Gonzales
Speedy is superb! Whereas Tweety’s dimensions don’t seem right, Speedy’s feel perfect. The way the head is moulded is perfect, and his little tail is very cute. The cheese slopes designed like actual cheese are a sweet inside Lego joke. Absolutely perfect!

One of the best collections ever, I have placed the figures in a frame to be displayed alongside my other collections. The frame I bought can be found here.

Why are Lego sets so expensive these days?

Is Lego becoming an elitist thing?

I absolutely adore Lego but have been really frustrated recently by the expensive sets that they have been releasing. All of their best sets recently have cost hundreds of pounds. Are they trying to price people out of the market? They care clearly trying to target adults, not children.

I am not saying that the sets aren’t worth it – far from it. They look worth every penny. But company seem to have changed tactics slightly, pricing sets at a value that is generally beyond families and aiming at the Lego collectors only.

Here are some examples of Lego sets released in the last couple of years:

Diagon Alley
As a Harry Potter fan, this set is a dream. But at £370 all I will ever do is dream of owning it. Look at that amazing design! Look at all of those minifigures! How is the average person ever going to afford that?

Grand Piano
How class does this look? As a pianist, I would love to have this on display in my house. But at £320, there’s no chance. That’s a deposit towards an actual piano.

Mos Eisley Cantina
This is a classic scene from one of the best childhood films ever. The appeal of the scene in Star Wars was the introduction to all of different characters. And this set recreates it brilliantly with 21 figures. The set costs £320 and so children are not going to be the ones purchasing it!

Hogwarts Castle
Another Wizarding World gem priced at £350! It looks incredible, but we could not afford this one either!

Jurassic Park: T-Rex Ramage
My son would love this for his bedroom. Wait, £220? Never going to happen.

I probably sound bitter because we can’t afford this. And I am! But I also think this is a deliberate strategy by Lego to target adults rather than children with sets that appeal so much to children!

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The Art of the Brick

Ever since I heard that Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick Exhibition was coming to Manchester, I have been desperate to go. Today I was in Manchester for a course so was able to visit afterwards.

As a Lego fan I am always in awe of amazing designs. But I am unbelievably impressed with the exhibition. As pieces of Lego the work is impressive. As pieces of art they are fantastic!

The exhibition is at Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester on Deansgate. It’s not cheap to get in. At £14.50 it’s not cheap. I was on my own – in fact I saw two other people in there whilst I was there. If there were others to talk to I think my visit would have been longer. I was there for around 35 minutes.

The exhibition is in Manchester until 20th April and you can find further details and book tickets here.

Yellow
Probably the artist’s most well known piece

Reminding me of my dad

It’s funny how something catches you unexpectedly. There were two pieces that made me thing of my dad. Hands shows a grey sculpture whose hands have disintegrated. This reminds me so much of how my dad lost the feeling in his hands as his condition became worse. The expression and body language of the sculpture was just like him and the way he would look at his hands and the way he couldn’t understand what was wrong…

And Disintegration made me think about how his dementia completely eroded him away. It was actually very moving. I stood and looked at this for ages, thinking about how his life just faded away.

Hands
Disintegration

Build Yourself Happy

I recently read Build Yourself Happy by Abbie Headon.

Over the last few years I have become a big Lego nerd. I’m only limited by the lack of money. But thank God, because I’d rebuild the house out of Lego if I could.

Over the last year or two we have used Lego Therapy to support children at our school to really positive effects. So, I’ve become more and more interested in the positive effects of Lego. I definitely know that the thing that makes me calm is following instructions and building a model. So when I heard about the book I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Some people might say that playing is just for kids, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Playing is more than just a lot of fun – it brings many real benefits into our lives. It boosts our mood and helps us to think more creatively. It helps us develop more positive responses to challenging situations. And having a playful approach to life is also associated with good mental health and well-being

To help my own mental well-being here are just a couple of simple strategies I plan to try to use:

  • The simplest build – keep a couple of pieces in my pocket. Whenever I’m in thought I can fiddle with them. The book says that ‘the sensory experience of feeling the nubbly studs on the bricks can help release tension’.
  • Stack up your positivity – give a happy thought to each brick I pick up and connect it to the ones before, until there’s a structure entirely built of good things.

The book is full of ideas – I don’t know if I’ll be taking on loads, but just a few to help me relax and unwind and be more positive about things.

Lego Animal Costume Minifigures

During the summer I was inspired by JaysBrickBlog to collect all of the Lego collectible minifigures where the characters wear animal costumes.

I was inspired by this picture. This guy’s Lego photography is far better than mine and the figures looked so good.

I began to collect just a few figures each month. I already had a giraffe and knew I had the chicken suit guy somewhere. I then discovered I had the shark guy too. That gave me a good start.

Finding the figures in the shops can be tricky unless you have a feel guide. So eBay is often your best bet so that you can get the exact figures you want. More recently released figures typically cost anything between £4 and £6. Some of these figures go way back to the very first few sets and cost more.

The most valuable figure was the Bumblebee Suite Lady. She is the most rare of them all and it cost £24. Good grief. But my collection would have been useless without it.

Jay’s collection only counted 18 figures but I have also counted the bear suite guy in Series 19 – if unicorns count then so do colourful bears.

The figures included are:

  • Colourful bear suit guy- a brilliant figure – excellent colours and design. The multicoloured legs are awesome.
  • Gorilla suit guy – an excellent figure – worth quite a bit too. The mould is excellent and I love the banana that goes with it.
  • Chicken suit guy – a classic. It’s brilliant!
  • Giraffe suit guy – at one point I had four of these. It’s such a good figire!
  • Blue unicorn guy – I prefer it to the white unicorn but that’s probably due to the sword and shield that comes with it.
  • Bumblebee lady – Why this is so rare, I don’t know. It’s nice but I am unsure why it is so valuable.
  • Dragon suite guy – What a figure! Again, strictly not an actual animal, but I’m counting it.
  • Penguin suit boy – Way cute. It’s hard to display as it’s so small.
  • Panda suit guy – This includes a panda teddy! It’s perfect!
  • Crocodile guy – This one doesn’t really stand out when displayed with all the others. On its own and you see the detail on the back of the suit.
  • White unicorn lady – A bit plain, but I like the blue hands.
  • Elephant ballerina suit lady – Absolutely brilliant! I love the face expression due to the mouse!
  • Rabbit guy – A fantastic figure. I love the mould of the headpiece.
  • Fox suit guy – Another classic. I love the way it includes a chicken and a bag of grain!
  • Spider suit guy – An effective figure, but probably my least favourite of the set.
  • Pig suit guy – Another excellent figure – I love the detail on the headpiece.
  • Cat suit lady – Another one I’m not fond of. It’s fine but it doesn’t stand out.
  • Tiger suit lady – Another one that doesn’t stand out as particularly special. It was quite expensive, from what I remember.
  • Shark suit guy – This one is so cute – the headpiece is excellent and I love the fins!

There’s a space on the front row of my display ready for the next figure to add to the collection!

UPDATE: FEB 2020

Here’s the completed board – I’ve added Cheetah from the recently released DC Comics collection.
And here’s the first minifigure on the new board – the pink valentine elephant!

Lego Magazines

As someone who loves Lego but can’t really afford to buy it one way that I can get my fix is to read Lego magazines. Here’s a brief review of two that I have found.

Brick Fanatics

This is the newest magazine. I read issue 3 and I bought it online. It costs £5. The magazine is A5-sized. I think this probably causes problems for it. It makes articles shorter. It is considerably smaller in size than other similar magazines.

I like how current the magazine is, including features on The Lego Movie 2 and one on how Brexit might affect Lego supplies. There are interesting articles – I particularly enjoyed the report on how the Darth Vader minifigure helmet has changed, how to tell a genuine from a fake Deadpool figure and the love for a 1×4 tile piece. The report on the effects of combining up to four sets of Harry Potter Quidditch sets was my favourite although it was overlong. If I’m honest though, most of the reports were too short and I am not in the slightest interested in Overwatch, although that’s my personal preference. At 80 small pages long there just wasn’t enough in Brick Fanatics to keep me interested for more than a few minutes.

I feel harsh in not rating the magazine but I hope it develops as time goes on.

Blocks

I’ve been reading Blocks for a while now. It costs £5.40 per issue and until recently I have had a subscription. At 120 pages and A4-sized it comes in as a much more substantial publication. I reviewed the April 2019 issue.

I enjoy the round up of Lego news and upcoming releases. The articles and features feel substantial and have great pictures accompanying them. I liked the Lego plant feature written by Lego Masters Series One winner, Steve Guinness.

The Top Ten of spooky Lego feels a bit odd in April rather than October but I enjoyed it. It was interesting to find out how sets don’t have pieces missing.

There was lots of Overwatch in this edition which I am not interested in but there were lots of reviews of other sets which meant that I wasn’t bored. The feature on building animals was great!

Overall, Blocks is definitely the superior magazine. There’s something for Lego loves of all ages.

Other magazines

A few years ago I bought the magazines Brick Culture and Bricks which I loved both – particularly Brick Culture. I extended my subscription for both and then the publisher went bust and I lost money. I was more gutted that both magazines ceased to exist.