Lego Architecture – Big Ben (21013) Review

bugbenlego

Lego Architecture – Big Ben (21013): This build is actually a bit more special for me as it’s one I’ve actually seen in real life. While the Architecture line is meant to be a showcase of buildings, my main gripe with this particular model is that it’s not just surrounded by an equally scaled London with other buildings like the Shard and Cheese Grater with the Thames running through it. I see this, and I just want a mini London (begins planning side-project)

 

Time to Knoll: 9.5 Minutes

knollbigben

Time to Build: 25 Minutes

builtbigben

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 346 and 52 Steps – Manual
  • Price: $29.99 on Lego and $48.42 on Amazon (Because it’s currently Out of Stock on Lego)
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 48mm x 80mm x 64mm or ~245.8 cm³

bigben_blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

What Else?

So I think we’re all familiar with this iconic finale of V for Vendetta. Here we see Big Ben and the Buildings of Parliament being blown to pieces very spectacularly. They use a train to explode the building in the movie, but it begs the question of how much explosive force would we need to use to blow up our miniature building.

Now of course a very very small amount of high explosives or C4 could do the job, but since we want a showy explosion let’s use gunpowder. Because we also know (thanks to 3d printed firearms) that a 5.7×28 rifle cartridge contains enough explosive force to destroy ABS plastic of something of about the same size let’s use one of those. (If we got fancy we could even pack  our own bullet and add some other chemicals such as Barium Nitrate or Lithium Carbonate to make it more showy)

Based on dimensions of the bullet from Wikipedia we know a few things. First even if we don’t take the casing off – the bullet has a diameter of 7.9mm meaning it’d happily fit in a 1 wide Lego train interior! However because it’d be 40.50mm long we’d need to have a train car interior be 6 wide to fit the whole bullet (we could then try to fit a firing mechanism in another train car behind it)

Of course since I don’t have a gun license (although apparently most anyone can buy ammo), and a desire to blow up some of my Lego set. I’ll leave a physical demonstration to some enterprising soul in the comments.

 

Remix: So then as is usual with my reviews I’ve chosen a remix, and this time I decided to use the nice tan blocks and made a sort of whirlygig airship. I’m particularly pleased with the misshapen sides that look like boards thrown on clearly showing airgaps to give it a more rustic look. Happily I was able to use all pieces and didn’t even need to add any keeping well within the remix rules.

bigben_whirlygig

 

 

Final Thoughts: Like I said, this is a great model to have, but I want a mini London to use like a Dresden-style Little Chicago. And for those who want some nice clock pieces as well as a bunch of tan bricks it’s a good buy (wait until it’s in stock though and at a normal price)

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

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Lego Minecraft – Crafting Box (21116) Review

crafting

LEGO Minecraft – Crafting Box (21116): I have long been a huge fan of Minecraft so much so that I consider myself not a fan of Minecraft, but 2 years clean. I was one of the few to be able to purchase this set this year (Amazon has it at a premium and Lego is out of stock currently), and while I had buyer’s remorse seconds after purchasing (I mean paying 2 and a half times what I paid for the game!) but once I had it in hand, I can say I’m rather pleased.

 

Time to Knoll: 28 Minutes – I love knolling, but if this was not a review, I think I’d almost just separate pieces by the way it’s given to you in Lego’s bags – there’s just too many unique pieces with not enough of them to warrant knolling.

mckern

Time to Build: 8 Minutes for the common build parts. Then I had a dilemma – this is an 8 in 1 – so do I just choose one, or do a I build them all because I feel that’s a full review. Kidding I did them all. (Click to Enlarge)

Prep: 8 Minutesprebuild

Config 1: 19 Minutes

build1

Config 2: 27 Minutes

build2

Config 3: 27 Minutesbuild3

Config 4: 20 Minutes

build4

Config 5: 22 Minutes

build5

Config 6: 24 Minutesbuild6

Config 7: 27 Minutes

build7

Config 8: 25 Minutes

build8

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 518 and a variable number of Steps (due to manual(s) offering 8 configurations) And oh yes there are 2 manuals, 1 for the main setup, and another for sections. Also be aware, configurations often leave many pieces behind (up to 100+).
  • Price: $89.99 on Amazon, and $49.99 normally on Lego (but out of stock)
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): (minifigs not included) 64mm x 128mm x 144mm or 1180cm³

blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 5 out of 5 Stars (Since it’s kinda very up to you)
  • Aesthetics: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 5 out of 5 Stars (Just so many earthy tone pieces)

 

What Else?

I like the sections, but I do have an issue with them, they are just too flimsy when connected. I really like the modular construction idea (which shows in my remix), but on it’s own I can’t lift the set up without it falling apart. So I decided to make my own variant (it’s Minecraft for pete’s sake) and posted that here. But as a treat it’s here in Lego, and in actual Minecraft.

mymc

mymcback

mcbuild-Minecraft

However despite the nature of this build, I did try and do a proper remix, and decided on a modular space station (inspired a bit/lot by Spacebase DF-9) Which let me change enough that it doesn’t feel too much like just MC in a different way.

Remix:

IMG_0926

Keeping with rules of the remix I’ve not included the bread and carrot (as this is a slightly larger scale). Note this doesn’t have minifigs as those are exempt from remixes (and the scale again would be wrong)

 

Final Thoughts: While I saw the vignettes, and the micro worlds for Minecraft before – in truth the second I heard there was going to be a Lego set based on the game, I wanted this crafting box. It’s not perfect, and I think it owes a lot to Minecraft’s desire to make things in your own image (a lot of the things they show in the set kinda violate MC’s ‘physics’) It’s a great set to have, and for me its benefits mean my friends (read: jerks) can mess around with the set when they visit putting things out of place.

Final Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

Lego Architecture – The Leaning Tower of Pisa (21015) Review

tower

Lego Architecture – The Leaning Tower of Pisa (21015): Well here goes this crazy review thing. I couldn’t think to start with a better model though. I’ve always been a fan of the Lego Architecture series, and I’m a bit surprised by the Tower of Pisa model. Partly for how sturdy it actually is (haha bad jokes), but on how much it’s a great size to capture it’s essence. Any bigger and it’d feel off trying to replicate, and smaller just couldn’t give you the details as effectively, anyway onto the build.

 

Time to Knoll: 13 Minutes

IMG_0871

Time to Build: 28 Minutes

IMG_0872

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 345 and 65 Steps – Manual
  • Price: $34.99 on Lego and $31.26 on Amazon
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 64mm x 96mm x 89.6mm or 550.5 cm³

IMG_0879

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 5 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

What Else?

So then looking into the dimensions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from here and here, we can see that the outer diameter is 15.484m, and the inner diameter is 7.368m. Then based on the height (including foundation) of 58.36m (of which I’ve assumed the wall height to be akin to the ceiling height) we get an outer volume of 10,989.3m3 and an inner volume 2,315.29m3 of giving us a total volume of ~8,674.01m3

From there we have this. Which gives us that to recreate the real leaning tower with the sets of just this Lego set would be about ~15,757,000. Which in truth 15.7 million isn’t actually that much. However this doesn’t account for structural needs, and note there are a lot of flat-top pieces of which there would be a lot of need, but likely not this much.

Anyway I made a mountainside processing plant for something like chemicals and such. Keeping with the remix rules (see About page) I added nothing to this build, and actually only kept out the single piece with the name.

Remix:

IMG_0881

 

 

Final Thoughts: Overall I’m happy signing up for the Pley service because while I like sets like this, I don’t see this as something I’d like to buy and keep around (there’s a lot of other architectural sites I’d rather have), but it’s a neat build.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

Top Brick – Explained!

top_brick_logo\

So then what is this nonsense. Well as someone who spends their time making tabletop games, working for a simulation company, metal crafting armor out of soda cans, reviewing spirits, and doing critical genre analysis of anime and video games – I felt like I needed a hobby.

So I’ve once again gotten back (more) into Lego – and because I’ve spent the last 5 years or so reviewing things – I can’t do something without thinking, hmm maybe I should review this if for nothing else to color how I see it. (and based on HonestBoozeReviews, for others to look at)

So then how will I go about reviewing lego sets? Well I’ve decided to to it much like a proper Top Gear review – so it’s not just me talking about some ‘feelings’ or explosions and general tomfoolery, but a serious review of everything regarding the steps, pieces, miles per gallon, whether you could build a hang glider with it, and how exactly it can explain the universe – but more of that in the coming weeks. As a primer here’s an overview of a review.

[Stock image of product]

Series/Name: I say some things so this feels like an actual review instead of a spreadsheet.

Time to Knoll: XX Minutes (How long it takes to set out the pieces)

[Knolling Image]

Time to Build: XX Minutes (How longs it takes to build)

[Built Image]

Metrics:

Pieces: XXXX and XXX Steps With a link to the manual

Price: $XX How much it costs you on Amazon, Lego, and the internet.

Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): So taking the minimum longest width and height of the set I make a ‘square’. I then try to build up from that and do so in as compact a way as possible that uses all the pieces. I would then measure the overall volume of that using maths.

[Blob picture]

Scores:

Uniqueness: X out of 5 Stars – Does it feel novel in concept and look.

Aesthetics: X out of 5 Stars – Is it pretty enough to keep on my shelf

Fun to Build: X out of 5 Stars – Is building it fun or tedious?

Hoarding: X out of 5 Stars – Are there are a lot of good pieces, or rare bricks?

What Else?

Here I’ll do something unique to the model in question – such as calculate how much it would take to make in reality, whether it could deflect a nuclear blast, and what the fuel/mass ratio is for it to be sent into space. Essentially I’ll go off and do a bunch of research for it to be summed up in a paragraph.

I’ll then also build an alternate version. This is something that uses the pieces included in the set as something complete different. To give me a bit of leeway I have an under/over 5 pieces rule. Meaning I can add up to five pieces not from the set (if I feel it needs them) and I can remove 5 pieces from the official set from my remixed build. However those are the limits, with the goal to do that as little as possible. Minifigs are not included into this (or the above Volume calculation)

Remix: [Image of alternate build]

Final Thoughts: To wrap everything up before giving a final score of which people will hang every bit of their life on despite what I say here about things like. Mentioning that scores are an objective look into whether you’d like something subjectively, the futility of man, and finally if I actually liked a lego set.

Final Score: X out of 5 Stars