January 2022 LEGO News Roundup
A new transparent LEGO brick formula, updated analysis of the most common LEGO Bricks and Colors, and a trademark lawsuit between The LEGO Group and a clothing designer — 2022 is here and there’s lots to discuss.
This was not a big month for brand new content at Brick Architect, but we updated several popular articles with new information. You will also find our lengthy (belated) review of #45678 SPIKE Prime (LEGO Education), and a bunch of interesting LEGO links from around the web.
Beyond a range of exciting new sets, the biggest news this month out of The LEGO Group is the continued efforts to unify their message for the AFOL Community. This includes a formal decision to stop supporting LEGO Digital Designer app in favor of BrickLink Studio.
It also includes their plans to streamline the process of ordering specific parts directly from LEGO (by unifying Bricks and Pieces and Pick a Brick programs). It’s hard to see how this won’t undercut BrickLink sellers profitability by offering many common parts for a predictable price. By manipulating supply and prices, they can significantly reduce the incentive BrickLink sellers have to buy brand new sets and part them out quickly.
New at Brick Architect
- Review: #45678 SPIKE Prime (LEGO Education)
Let’s take a closer look at the contents, the curriculum, and storage solution that comes with the Education-focused Spike Prime set (and related Expansion Set). We’ll also compare it with similar consumer-facing LEGO Mindstorms products.
- Update: How LUGBULK works—and strategies for making the most of it!
I’ve updated Brick Architect’s guide to the LUGBULK program with data from January 2022. It’s a great way to see which elements are common, and which are are costly (or hard to find).
- Update: Giant LEGO parts in the LEGO×Target Collection
I’ve updated the article to include photos of the holiday cookies we made using the $3 Cookie Cutters (one of the cookie cutters is really problematic), the horribly bunchy pyjamas which I returned, and the better-than-expected Wrapping Paper.
- Update: Guide to LEGO ‘Powered Up’ System
I added a short section comparing the new 6-port Programmable Hub (2020) to the EV3 Programmable Brick which it replaces, and a short explanation of the Raspberry Pi LEGO Build Hat (which allows you to use Powered Up sensors with the massively more powerful Raspberry Pi microcomputer.)
Exciting new sets for AFOLs
At least in North America, the really nice looking Lunar New Year sets were released mid-month. Also consider taking the globe for a spin (pun intended).
- #80108 Lunar New Year Traditions
This set leans heavily on Chinese traditions, and is designed for multiple family members to build together. (Learn more in this review at Jay’s Brick Blog explaining the underlying cultural context of this set, or a detailed new parts analysis at New Elementary.)
1066 pieces, $80, available now USA at LEGO.com
- #80109 Lunar New Year Ice Festival
The second Lunar New Year has widespread appeal, ans it features a gorgeous Ice Skating scene and a ton of parts in new colors. (This review at Brickset highlights some of the interesting new parts, including lots of Transparent and Opalescent White parts.)
1519 pieces, $120, available now at LEGO.com
- #21332 The Globe
This gorgeous new model adheres closely to the design proposed by French LEGO artist Guillaume Roussel.
2585 pieces, $200, available now at LEGO.com
Best articles from around the web
Here are some highlights from January from around the web – Happy reading!
- A Clear Path Forward for Transparent Bricks
One of the challenges in designing moulds for plastic parts is that the plastic shrinks a little while cooling. I had heard that transparent parts need different moulds than regular parts, and this article explains why — until recently, they were produced with Polycarbonate, a different plastic which shrinks more than ABS while cooling. A new clear plastic has arrived, it sounds like MABS will replace Polycarbonate, with the added benefit that it works in existing moulds.
- LEGO is Being Sued for Copyright Infringement Over Leather Jacket Design
TLG may have copied a trademarked Leather Jacket design in last year’s #10291 Queer Eye – The Fab 5 Loft. I’ll leave this one to the courts to decide…
—The Fashion Law
- LEGO Ideas: Original Projects vs. Final Sets (2022 update)
Brickset compiled before and after photos plus some analysis to see how much recent LEGO Ideas sets changed from fan idea to official set.
- LEGO Creator Review + MOCs: 77940 & 77941 Mighty Dinos
It’s interesting to see just how many exclusive recolors were required to re-release a classic 3-in-1 dinosaur set in two additional colors for the UK test market promotion.
- The creative life: LEGO’s Julia Goldin on play at work
This short interview with Julia Goldin (Chief Product and Marketing Officer at the LEGO Group) highlights the importance of creativity in the workplace, especially in the face of adversity. She cites the wide range of type of creativity needed to overcome challenges like Covid-19 and hybrid work.
- Overmolding & Dual Molding: What’s the Difference?
This short article explains two techniques that The LEGO Group employs to produce parts with multiple colors. (Over-mouding which results in crisp color lines, and dual-moulding which results in swirling color mixing.)
- LEGO Trivia Challenge 2021
Here’s a challenging 15-question multiple choice trivia challenge based on sets released in 2021.
- Review: Wicked Brick wall mounted minifig display cases
I love learning about LEGO Storage products. Here’s a new wall-mounted option for displaying your Minifigures.
- What Happened with LEGO
This is a 5-year old article, but I only discovered it this month. It’s the only detailed analysis that I’ve seen looking at LEGO Set price as a function of set weight (instead of number of parts). It also attempts to adjust for inflation, which is not something I’ve seen elsewhere.
—Reality Prose (2017)
Best podcast episodes:
As always, here are some of the best audio-based stories that I’ve heard recently. Happy Listening!
- #47 – The Rise of BrickLink (1:10:21)
This one-off episode covers the parallel journeys of The LEGO Group to develop 3d modeling tools, and similar tools produced by the growing AFOL community.
—Bits N’ Bricks
- #473 –
Mini-Stories: Volume 14 (35:36)
The first mini story piqued my interest. It explores how architecture and history worked it’s way into the TV annoucers narrative during the Tour de France. (Continue listening to learn about inventions mis-attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and the invention of the fireman’s pole.)
I loved the mini story about the Tour de France, too! We’ve loved watching for years and the commentary is a highlight!