March 2023 LEGO News Roundup
March has been pretty quiet in the world of LEGO. There haven’t been any earth-shattering product announcements or other major announcements from The LEGO Group. It’s also been pretty quiet in the fan media...
March has been pretty quiet in the world of LEGO. There haven’t been any earth-shattering product announcements or other major announcements from The LEGO Group. It’s also been pretty quiet in the fan media world, although I found a handful of articles that I hope you will enjoy.
Here at Brick Architect, we were quite busy this month catching up on reviews, including two sets which will be released in April, and two older sets that we wanted to go back and revisit. If you like getting nerdy, you will enjoy the geometric analysis of the ramp and loop elements in Review: #60339 Double Loop Stunt Arena. If you want to geek out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jeannie did a great job comparing the LEGO set to the movie source materials in Review: 76218 Sanctum Sanctorum.
Things may slow down a bit in April as I am hoping to work on some original content. I’m also excited to attend BrickCan LEGO Convention later in April in Vancouver, BC. It will be my first convention outside of my home state since 2020, and my first time attending the in-person BrickCan event since 2016 (their inagural year).
I’m also planning to continue my reverse-chronological look at the Modular Building Series, with the goal of going back in time all the way back to 2013’s Palace Cinema. (The following year’s Parisian Restaurant is often cited as the beginning of the ‘modern era’ of the Modular Building Series due to more intricate interiors and greater minifig-based storytelling.)
New at Brick Architect
- Review: 76218 Sanctum Sanctorum (Marvel)
A licensed LEGO set that’s compatible with the Modular Building Series? Let’s find out how well this iconic building from the MCU was adapted into a LEGO set.
- Review: #60339 Double Loop Stunt Arena
This wildly overpriced set looks cool, but good luck completing a double loop with the cool flywheel motorcycles. Let’s find out about the major flaws in the design of these new loop elements.
- Review: #77015 Temple of the Golden Idol
One of the most iconic scenes from the entire Indiana Jones series captured in a diorama for adults that’s still packed with play features — yes, please!
- Review #77012 Fighter Plane Chase & #77013 Escape from the Lost Tomb
In addition to a large diorama aimed at older builders (which we will review soon), The LEGO Group produced two smaller sets with younger builders in mind. That’s why I recruited my son to help build them!
Exciting new sets for AFOLs
Last month’s #10316 Rivendell will be hard to beat, but we do have some nice sets coming out in April, including the three Indiana Jones sets which we reviewed (and enjoyed).
- #77015 Temple of the Golden Idol
This large set is a play-packed kids set designed to delight grown-ups. I only wish it was 20$ cheaper.
1545 pieces, ages 18+, $150, available now at LEGO.com
- #43217 ‘Up’ House
This is a cute but modest take on the iconic balloon-powered home from the Disney/Pixar film ‘Up’. (I would have preferred to see a larger, more detailed version with a lot more balloons at a 100$ price point.)
598 pieces, ages 9+, $60. available now at LEGO.com
- #77013 Escape from the Lost Tomb
Good interactive play features and an unusually good value in a licensed set make this set a winner.
600 pieces, ages 8+, $40, available now at LEGO.com
- #77012 Fighter Plane Chase
The weakest of the three Indiana Jones sets is still a pretty good set.
387 pieces, ages 8+, $35, available now at LEGO.com
- #10317 Land Rover Classic Defender 90
I have not built it, but this brick-built vehicle looks great in it’s vintage 151Sand Green color, and is ready for adventure with off-roading gear strapped to every side of the vehicle.
2336 pieces, ages 18+, $240, available now at LEGO.com (with VIP membership).
To see all of the other new sets this month, including three additional Marvel sets, check out lego.com store.
Best articles from around the web
Here are some highlights this month from around the web – Happy reading!
- LEGO element design interview: 10316 The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell
In this interview, New Elementary learns more about the popular new ‘fern’ element, as well as some interesting details on how parts which come in ‘family packs’ are moulded a bit differently than other LEGO elements.
- How to Organize Your LEGO Parts Collection, Part 1: Organizing Strategies and Constraints
This is the first in a three-part series at BrickNerd that offers a fresh look at how to organize your LEGO collection. The article links back to my own LEGO Storage Guide as a key resource, but I appreciated seeing someone else’s take on the topic.
- Reimagining LEGO sets
Artificial Intelligence in the forms of Generative Art like Midjourney and Dall-E, or Conversational AI like ChatGPT are all over the news. In this article, AI engineer Pawel takes a bunch of popular LEGO Sets, and sees if AI can reverse-engineer photos of the real objects the models might have been based on. It’s interesting, but not always pretty.
- LEGO Pop Art in Paris: The Modern Minifgures of Wawapod
Here’s something a little different – a street artist in France who takes inspiration from the LEGO Minifigure in creating vibrant pop art that will surely resonate with many LEGO fans.
- Erling Dideriksen, designer of the LEGO Headlight brick has passed on
This article offers a sincere tribute to one of the most influential LEGO parts designer. Erling Thue Dideriksen passed away on March 1 – but his legacy includes at least 25 iconic LEGO elements including the 2×2 turntable and most importantly, the 1×1 Headlight Brick – the quirky element that made SNOT techniques practical for the first time.
- MOC Review: MOC-120859 – Cherry Picker – 42144 B Model
Check out this in-depth review of a fan-made Cherry Picker ‘b-model’ using just the parts in set #42144 Material Handler (which we reviewed last year). They managed to use all but 16 pieces from the original set in the model, which is pretty impressive. (Rebrickable has a lot of fan-designed models that just use the parts from a single set, turning any set into a “3+ in 1”.)
If you have pieces all over the place you can’t utilise them properly because you spend so much time searching for them. You could have millions of pieces but if they’re all in one jumbled pile, they’re no good to you.
Jessica Farrell / Irish Times
- I’m a LEGO artist. People say your work can’t possibly be art because it’s LEGO, but art is art
It’s too bad that LEGO artists need to defend their choice of medium. Naturally, you can’t talk about building LEGO without talking about sorting and storage.
- Victorian-Style Interior Design with LEGO
This short article showcases a selection of gorgeous brick-built interiors. I would have liked more information from the designer, but it is an inspirational gallery of images.
—The Brick Blogger
- How to Build Bionicle: Combining Constraction with the LEGO System
This article offers a good introduction to some of the connection types popularized in both Bionicle and other themes that leveraged the CCBS (Character and Creature Building System), most notably the large ball joints popularized by these large posable figures.
LEGO Masters around the world
LEGO Masters New Zealand is returning with Season 2 on April 10th. I enjoyed the first season which featured just 6 teams over 9 episodes. This makes it smaller in scope than the USA or Australia show, but it feels more intimate and you really get to see the entire build process.
We’re Big Brother, eye in the sky. We can pop in when we see someone’s having trouble or they need a bit of encouragement or they might be going completely in the wrong direction.
- Dai Henwood reveals what happens behind the scenes on LEGO Masters NZ
Dai shares what happens behind the scenes on the show, as well as his personal journey fighting bowel cancer while filming season 1.
I’m excited to see the return of official LEGO Designer Videos.
- LEGO Lord of the Rings Rivendell | Designer Video (08:00)
I love seeing behind-the-scenes with LEGO set designers in this Rivendell Designer video with Chris Perron, Wes Talbott, and Ashwin Visser.
—LEGO @ YouTube
Just a couple podcasts that caught my attention this month. Enjoy!
- Why We Can’t Resist ‘Best Of’ Lists (15:47)
As a member of the LEGO Fan Media community, I often find myself reflecting on the role of reviews, ‘best of’ lists, and other articles we create in shaping our hobby. This episode from January highlights the curatorial role of the media, but also the pitfalls in excluding important content due to bias.
—Consider This (NPR)
- The Panopticon Effect (38:46)
Form follows function, even when the intended function is poorly conceived. This story explores how a desire to keep prisoners in solitary confinement and under constant observation resulted in beautifully designed, but frightfully flawed round prisons.
—99 Percent Invisible