February 2023 LEGO News Roundup
February might be a short month, but it was packed with great LEGO Articles from around the web.
In January, we covered big news at The LEGO Group — moving their North America headquarters to Boston. February was quieter, without any major announcements besides a handful of new products coming out in March. The most exciting new set is #10316 Rivendell (Lord of the Rings). We were fortunate enough to receive an early copy, and were very impressed with what we discovered in our in-depth review.
We started the month by celebrating Black History month with a review of two great books by Black LEGO Artists, Ekow Nimako and Adam Ward. Both of the books are aimed at younger builders, but the approach in each book is unique. Adam’s book has a playful tone that focuses on positivity and problem solving. By contrast, Ekow’s book is all about teaching kids about animals from around the world by building elegantly designed brick-built sculptures.
I also found time to go back and revisit an earlier set in the Modular Building Series — #10264 Corner Garage. I’ve decided review many of the modulars that I have not had a chance to build. I was excited to start with this set as it’s one of the less popular recent sets in the series… I wanted to find out if there’s more to the set than people think? (I think there is, but it still isn’t a great set.)
Standing with the trans community
One topic that kept coming up this month (both within and outside the LEGO community) is the continued frustration by many Harry Potter fans about author JK Rowling’s ceaseless transphobic rhetoric. Here at Brick Architect, we have been including language condeming the authors hurtful views in both our 2021 and 2022 LEGO Advent Calendar reviews.
Going forward, we will stand with other LEGO Fan Media outlets by no longer reviewing new Harry Potter sets. If we must reference a Harry Potter set in the context of another type of article, we will include a stronger disclaimer and will not include links to the product being discussed. (We may choose to highlight a MOC based in the Harry Potter universe if it makes sense to do so, because long-time fans of the theme can continue building models in that world using the parts they already own.)
Our stance borrows heavily from the unflinching article on the topic by Tips and Bricks. They have done a fantastic job of explaining the harm that JKR has done to the trans community, the reasons why her words are so harmful, and the real-world consequences to the trans community.
Brick Architect stands with the trans community. We strive to be an inclusive community where LEGO fans from around the world can come together to learn and lift each other up. The LEGO Community is at it’s best when people with different backgrounds find ways to use the LEGO hobby to bring us together.
New at Brick Architect
- Review: #10316 Rivendell (Lord of the Rings)
This 6000-piece set is the largest Lord of the Rings LEGO model ever released, but is it the best? At $500, I certainly hope so!
- Looking Back: #10264 Corner Garage
Let’s revisit one of the less popular recent sets in the series to see how it compares to the four sets that came out after it…
- Review: Books by Black LEGO Artists Ekow Nimako and Adam Ward
February was Black History Month — Let’s celebrate by learning about two books by talented Black LEGO Creators!
Exciting new sets for AFOLs
Two sets dominated the new releases this month (BTS and Rivendell), but there are several more sets worth considering depending on your interests – although I only highlighted a few…
- #10316 Rivendell (Lord of the Rings)
The largest LEGO set based on Lord of the Rings is absolutely excellent and worth the steep price of admission.
6167 pieces, ages 18+, $500, available now at LEGO.com
- #21339 BTS Dynamite
Fans of the world’s most popular K-Pop band caused the set to sell out within minutes. It feels a bit overpriced and relies on a lot of stickers, but does include 7 minfigs.
749 pieces, ages 18+, $100. Released March 1 at LEGO.com
- #75351 Princess Leia (Boushh) Helmet
There are three new Star Wars busts, but the Leia’s Bounty Hunter helmet is my favorite. (You might prefer #75350 Commander Cody or #75349 Captain Rex.)
670 pieces, ages 18+, $70, available now at LEGO.com
- #75356 Executor Super Star Destroyer
This is the rare beautifully-sculpted Star Wars ship at an approachable price.
630 pieces, ages 18+, $70, You may be able to preorder now at LEGO.com (May 1 release).
To see all of the other new sets, check out lego.com store.
Best articles from around the web
Here are some highlights this month from around the web – Happy reading!
- What are the new LEGO parts for March 2023 and which sets contain the most?
There are a lot of new parts this month, including a ton of wedge-shaped elements and 1×3 and 1×4 plates with rounded corners.
You can learn more about many of the new parts in their review of 76918 McLaren Solus GT & F1 LM and their review of #76914 Ferrari 812 Competizione
- Jack Stone’s Cockpit: A Molding Manufacturing Mystery
I’m alwasy eager to learn about the LEGO Mould design process. This and the seemingly strange shape of certain LEGO parts needed to meet those requirements. This article reverse-engineers a weird and bulky part from Jack Stone, explaining some of the quirky details of the part design, such as the thinner than usual front edges needed to reduce stress on a Technic Pin.
If a LEGO Ideas set can be approved and make it to market in a year, there isn’t a valid excuse for why LEGO hasn’t made diverse minifigures more available … other than the obvious and dismaying reality that they choose not to.
Levi Knighten / BrickNerd
- Finding Myself in LEGO: The Struggle to Make a Black Sigfig
This article does a great job of highlighting both the difficulty, higher cost, and limited selection of parts available to people who want to create a Minifig of themselves using a darker skin color. It’s a disheartening but important reminder that The LEGO Group could do better, but chooses not to.
- The Road Goes Ever On: In Search Of Hobbits…
I’m not usually drawn to ‘rambling’ stories, but Richard’s story about digging through a large backlog of old sets to find the 2013 Lord of the Rings minifigs is extremely relatable to anyone with a large collection.
- When and why did LEGO include progress bars in instructions guides?
I love articles that take a very specific detail in our hobby and explore it in depth. This article explores the addition of a ‘progress bar’ along the bottom edge of some LEGO Set instruction booklets. What I enjoyed most was seeing the playful visual style used in some sets.
- LEGO® Speed Champions interview: Christopher Stamp discusses new parts 3385 and 3387
We rarely get to see unreleased prototype parts, but in this article we get to see prototype versions of the new chassis used in Speed Champions sets, and a new mudguard element.
— New Elementary
- LDU and You: The Oldest New LEGO Measurement Unit
When people talk about LEGO ‘units’, the most common metrics that people mention are the height of a brick without stud (9.6mm) or the width of a brick (8mm). I prefer to think in what I call ‘plastic’ or ‘p’ – where one ‘p’ is the thickness of the wall of a LEGO Brick. Another common measurement is LDU which is the system used by the LDraw app – it is explained very well in this article.
These new findings made me want to set myself the goal of creating a collection that included all the original pieces from each of these companies. It took me 7 years to put it all together, and finally I am ready to show it to the world.
Carlos José Baragaño Móner / Brickset
- Bricks on Display: a collection of interlocking building bricks
The author has gone to great lengths to collect a wide range of LEGO-like interlocking plastic bricks from around the world, which are displayed in a beautiful custom 3d-printed box.
- Making Trains Move: The History of LEGO Trains, Track, Motors and More
While I’m not all that invested in LEGO Trains, this is an exceptional article that walks through the history of LEGO Train systems. The best part are the exceptional illustrations throughout the article.
Here are a couple videos that might catch your interest. (I’m excited to see the return of official LEGO Designer Videos.)
- LEGO Totem Lake Connector Bridge at BrickCon 2022 (04:54)
I helped a little in the planning stage for this incredible LEGO model that was made in partnership with the City of Kirkland, WA. It’s great to see this kind of civic outreach, making infrastructure investments approachable to all ages.
—KirklandTelevision @ YouTube
- LEGO Dried Flower Centrepiece | Designer Video (02:33)
This one features Senior Designer Chris McVeigh, who shows off the different flowers and parts/techniques used in #10314 Dried Flower Centerpiece. His favorite is the rose which features a new element.
—LEGO @ YouTube
- LEGO Wildflower Bouquet | Flower arranging with LEGO Designers (06:25)
LEGO Designers Milan Madge and Annemette Baaskjær show off the flower arranging possibilities in #10313 Wildflower Bouquet. They not only highlight the building techniques, but also where in the world each wildflower comes from.
—LEGO @ YouTube
Just one podcast piqued my interest this month. I hope you enjoy it!
- The Chinatown Punk Wars (49:04)
This episode offers a pretty wild ride, showing how a failing restauraunts in Chinatown became the center of a burgeoning LA Punk scene.
—99 Percent Invisible