Tom Alphin Author: Tom Alphin

Tom is the Editor-in-Chief at Brick Architect. He founded the website in 2015 just before releasing his bestselling book The LEGO Architect (which teaches 7 architectural styles using LEGO bricks). In addition to reviewing new LEGO Architecture sets, he likes to write articles exploring technical aspects of the LEGO hobby including LEGO storage, and the LEGO color palette.

Tom has written 140 stories for Brick Architect.

July LEGO News Roundup

This month, we learned that LEGO+IKEA=BYGGLEK, new sets for adults were revealed, BrickCon goes virtual, and we discovered another set that got away…

While it’s been a quiet month here at Brick Architect, there’s been a ton of interesting LEGO News that I’m excited to share with you. We’ll be back with new reviews and articles soon!

IKEA + LEGO = BYGGLEK (Photo: stonewars.de)

IKEA + LEGO = BYGGLEK (Photo: stonewars.de)

Last year, The LEGO Group and IKEA announced a partnership to “explore and develop solutions to stimulate play all around the home.” The result is BYGGLEK, a series of three different LEGO-compatible storage products which you will be able to purchase at IKEA stores. They are not available yet, but stonewars.net was able to purchase and review them early. (While I hope to offer a detailed review in the future, I’m not impressed with what I’ve seen so far.)

BrickCon 2020 goes virtual.

BrickCon 2020 goes virtual.

Following on the heels of major LEGO conventions around the world, The BrickCon convention in October is going virtual. Unlike many of the other conventions that have gone virtual (such as Bricks by the Bay and Brickworld Virtual), BrickCon 2020 is trying to re-create as much of the convention experience as possible for AFOL’s, with a full range of “awards, classes, workshops, prizes, vendors and more.”

The BrickCon Private Convention for AFOL’s starts at $25 (Tickets available August 1), or you can attend the Public Expo for a lower price (Tickets available September 1). P.S. No promises, but I will probably give a talk at the Private Convention.

I’m also excited to highlight two sets coming soon that will be of particular interest to Adult Fans of LEGO:

#71374 Nintendo Entertainment System (Photo: The LEGO Group)

#71374 Nintendo Entertainment System (Photo: The LEGO Group)

#71374 – Nintendo Entertainment System will contain 2646 pieces for $229.99 (229.99€ / £209.99). Learn more on YouTube.

#21323 LEGO Ideas Grand Piano (Photo: The LEGO Group)

#21323 LEGO Ideas Grand Piano (Photo: The LEGO Group)

#21323 – LEGO Ideas Grand Piano will contain 3662 pieces for $349.99 (349.99€ / £319.99). Learn more at LEGO.com.

Both of these sets will be released on August 1. (You may be able to pre-order them at LEGO.com soon.)

The last big news is that LEGO has cancelled yet another new LEGO Set before widespread release. #42113 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Helicopter was based on a Tiltrotor Vertical Takeoff aircraft designed in partnership between Bell Helicopters and Boeing.

#42113 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Helicopter (Photo: The LEGO Group)

#42113 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Helicopter (Photo: The LEGO Group)

The set depicts the Helicopter in a domestic Search and Rescue context, despite the fact that it has only been deployed in military contexts so far. Protests by the German Peace Society contributed to the decision to cancel the product release, which was scheduled for August 1. (As with #21038 Las Vegas Skyline, it looks like a few copies of the set were sold before this decision was made.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this news roundup. Stay tuned for new articles and reviews soon!

New LEGO Mindstorms; New Labels for Hubs, Motors, and Sensors.

After 7 years, LEGO is finally releasing an updated MINDSTORMS set which uses the new “Powered Up” standard. I’ve celebrated by releasing a beta version of LEGO Brick Labels for these next-generation electronics.

#51515 LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor was announced today, replacing the 7-year old #31313 LEGO Mindstorms EV3 set for consumers. (The new set uses many of the same components as the recently released #45678 LEGO Education SPIKE Prime Set.)

#51515 LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor (Coming soon)

#51515 LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor (Coming soon)

#51515 LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor — $359.99 (359.99€ / £329.99), 949 pieces, ages 10+. (Available early in Q4 2020)

Beta version of LEGO Brick Labels for Powered Up components.

Beta version of LEGO Brick Labels for Powered Up components.

I’m most excited because this means that almost all LEGO Electronics components have finally moved away from proprietary connectors, in favor of the new Powered Up interface. To celebrate this milestone, I’ve released a “beta” version of new labels for all of the current Powered Up components.

Download and learn more on a new page that explains the Powered Up system.

Will you be adding the new Powered-up compatible MINDSTORMS set to your collection this fall?

ɴᴇᴡ: LEGO Brick Labels 3.4

Version 3.4 adds 66 new labels, for a total of 1263 parts!

This update includes popular new pieces, more minifig accessories, and some common LEGO Train pieces.

Version 3.4 adds 66 new labels.

Version 3.4 adds 66 new labels.

This update also adds some older parts which have continued to grow in popularity over time, and some of the parts requested by Brick Architect readers like you. Thanks for your support!

Learn more and download at brickarchitect.com/labels.

New design for adult-focused LEGO products

Has The LEGO Group finally admitted that Adult Fans are important with updated packaging, 18+ recommended age, and more…?

#10273 LEGO Haunted House was announced today, alongside an official statement about the new packaging design (which we have already seen on several previous 2020 LEGO sets aimed at adults). According to LEGO, these sets “feature the new stylish packaging designed to reflect the sophisticated nature of the creative process.”

New packaging marked 18+ designed to appeal to adults.

New packaging marked 18+ designed to appeal to adults.

These sets have revised packaging with a smaller LEGO logo in the lower-left corner, and additional product details displayed on a ribbon across the bottom of the box. Eagle-eyed readers will also notice that they are all marked with an age recommendation of 18+. I don’t think this reflects an increase in technical difficulty, so much as a consious branding decision to use the age associated with adulthood in most of the world.

A narrow ribbon includes product details along the bottom of each box.

A narrow ribbon includes product details along the bottom of each box.

The press release included this quote from Senior Marketing Manager Anders Hellegaard Iversen: “So many of our older builders love the Creator Expert products, as they allow them to show off their passion for the bricks. Whether it’s their favorite film moments, sport icons, travel destinations, buildings, fairgrounds or vehicles, LEGO sets help to bring these to life in brick form. That’s also why we have decided to stop using the Creator Expert branding and, instead, use the new adult-focused packaging design to make it clearer which hobbies or brand products they can relate to. We hope this will make it easier for fans to track down models they would be proud to display once completed. Of course, our product range will continue to include the same advanced-build, collectible products that guarantee hours of building enjoyment for fans.”

As Anders indicated, this change coincides with the end of the “Creator Expert” branding, which was first seen on packaging for 2013’s #10232 Palace Cinema. (Previous sets in the Creator Expert series have had various recommended ages, from 12+ for #10267 Gingerbread House, 14+ for #10248 Ferrari F40, and 16+ for #10270 Bookshop.) We will have to wait and see how the next set in the Winter Village series is branded, but I suspect it will not be included in this adult-oriented branding program.

One other line in the press release caught my attention: “All new products in the LEGO Group’s ranges that appeal to adults will now feature the sleek, minimalistic new design across related packaging, building instructions, exclusive content and in-store and online store design.”

It’s about time that The LEGO Group made visible changes to acknowledge the importance of their Adult Fans. I can’t wait to see more excusive content and in-store/online design changes soon!