Advent 2011 Day 4

Day 4 of the LEGO City and Star Wars Advent Calendars for 2011.

Our City miscreants have their marshmallow shooter ready, but now they have something to shoot at. The prison wall! If only they can knock it down, freedom awaits!!!

On the Star Wars side we have a very nice parts pack that builds what is obviously the legs for a lovely dining room table. Perhaps the table top is coming in the next day’s kit? (Seriously I guess it’s a battle droid, or perhaps a microscale space station)

Here are the accumulated items so far:

Advent 2011 Day 3

Day 3 of the LEGO City and Star Wars Advent Calendars for 2011.

Today, from the City calendar, we get a confederate for our convict, this one dressed in a cop’s uniform, the better to sneak them out of prison. That’ll probably work better than the marshmallows.

Star Wars gives us a giant foot from some kind of giant monster or dinosaur. I don’t remember dinosaurs in Star Wars, but it’s probably from Clone Wars – at least that’s what I always say when something I don’t recognize from the original Star Wars movies turns up.

Here are the accumulated items so far:

Advent 2011 Day 2

Day 2 of the LEGO City and Star Wars Advent Calendars for 2011.

The City box reveals a little catapult. Perhaps instead of a shiv, the convict is using the marshmallows as ammunition to try to bust a hole in the wall.

On the Star Wars side, we get a minifig having a really bad hair day.

Here are the accumulated items so far:

Advent 2011 Day 1

Day 1 of the LEGO City and Star Wars Advent Calendars for 2011.

In City we get our first minifig, a dangerous convict holding a marshmallow, which he is obviously planning to turn into a shiv.

The Star Wars box builds a nice little spaceship. I’d like to tell a little story about it, but I got nothin’. I am assuming it’s from Clone Wars, but I’m not familiar with that part of the canon. But it’s not a bad little collection of parts.

I reshot the photo to fix the white balance on 12/2, but it’s still really dark.

2009 Advent Calendars

Like last year, LEGO came up with two advent calendars, only one of which was sold in the U.S. The 7687 City advent calendar was sold everywhere, but the 6299 Pirates calendar was only available in Europe. (If you’re not familiar with advent calendars, they basically consist of 24 different gifts, one to be opened on each day of Advent, the traditional Christian season that precedes Christmas, or in other words December 1-24. These days, it’s secularized – fine by me, since I’m not religious – but the name has stuck.)

Pirates advent calendarLast year, LEGO accidentally shipped a few sets of that year’s specialty calendar, which had a Castle theme, to the U.S. Shop-At-Home warehouse, and since the fans were complaining so loudly about it not being available in this country they were convinced to make them available through a special mail-order setup. But we didn’t have any such luck this year with the Pirates calendar, so unless you had a friend in Europe willing to ship it to you, there was no way to get it.

Well, my friend Holger Matthes in Germany was willing to do this favor for me, and I was hoping to get it in time for December 1st so I could post each day’s set like I did last year (each of those words is a link to a different day’s calendar from last year; days 1-7 and 24 are shown, but I bet you can find the rest). But alas, the package took a long time getting here (not Holger’s fault; he shipped it as soon as I gave him the details – but DHL took its sweet time in delivering it. Next time I’ll pay extra for airmail/express, or just order sooner. Though hopefully LEGO will have learned its lesson and won’t require me to jump through such hoops…)

If you want to see more clever coverage of the Advent calendars than I can provide, check out Chris Doyle’s Reasonably Clever blog where he’s included each day’s calendar prizes into the BRiCK House web comic.

Anyway, I didn’t get the Pirates calendar until December 18th, so I put photos on Flickr of the first 19 days the next day and have updated it today with the rest. You can see the City and Pirates sets for each day in my 2009 Advent Calendars set (or view as a slideshow).

I was surprised to see that both calendars had the days in the same quasi-random order. It made it easy to build them side-by-side; once I found that day’s door in one calendar, the other calendar had the same number in the same position. It did seem to me that all the doors were printed upside-down; the flap of the box was in the way if you tried to open the doors with the printing facing right-side-up. Last year, the direction of the printing was opposite on the two boxes, if I recall correctly.

Pirates Advent Calendar Petitions

You’ve probably heard by now that the Pirates Advent Calendar is not going to be sold in the US. After last year’s debacle with the Castle Advent Calendar, you’d think LEGO would know better. Well, the good folks at Classic Pirates over on Eurobricks have a petition going, and The Brothers Brick also have a similar post calling for support for the Pirates advent calendar. Post your support now!

Spirit of St Louis

One of the first LEGO sets I ever owned was the Spirit of St Louis, a little yellow and black (the original one was silver – see pictures on Wikipedia) airplane set that represented Charles Lindbergh’s plane from the first trans-Atlantic solo flight. It was sold as set # 456 or 661, depending on where in the world you bought it. I was six years old in 1977 when this set came out, and my parents bought it for me. I still have at least some of the parts – all mixed into my LEGO collection, of course…

456 Spirit of St Louis - image courtesy Peeron

Why bring this up now? I just recently saw the review on Eurobricks that was posted recently.

One of the unique bits from this set is this special 2×3 brick with stickers. I was very young when I got this, so I don’t remember if I put the sticker on or my parents did – I assume the latter. But 30 years later they still are in great shape! In fact, I had thought the bricks were printed until I saw the Eurobricks review that mentioned they were stickers, and then found my brick and realized that they are in fact stickers. I took pictures of my brick for this blog post:

Stickered Brick 1Stickered Brick 2

I think this set stands up pretty well today. Though the color scheme is bogus, as was often the case with LEGO sets from that era, the proportions are about right and it’s quite swooshable. It doesn’t use the fancy curvy pieces that modern sets have, but it doesn’t really need them.

Frisco Bucking Bronco

When I heard that LEGO was opening a store in Frisco, TX I asked my friend Sylvia who lives there if she could stop by the grand opening and try to score one of these bucking bronco sets. They were given out to the first 300 customers at the new store. But Sylvia is not one to do things halfway – she was third in line to get into the store, and first to check out. That’s right, this is the first ever bucking bronco given out at that store! Check the timestamp on the receipt…

Frisco Bucking Bronco

Emerald Night is Here!

I came home this afternoon (Wednesday April 22) to find a nice box on my back porch… just finished building it at about 2:30 AM and here it is!

I ordered K10194: Emerald Night Collection consisting of the engine, (10194, Emerald Night), power functions parts, and the new flex track. It works quite well with the IR remote control and the track is indeed flexible. But now, bedtime.

Advent Calendars, Day 24 & Wrapup

Today is Christmas Eve, the final day of Advent. Though I don’t practice religion these days, I appreciate the tradition especially when it involves getting LEGO :-)

Anyway, today’s entry for City is a girl building a snowman; on the Castle side we have the famous Court Jester minifig that people have been so excited about. I put him to work helping with the snowman:

Advent 24

Over the course of the past 24 days, we’ve had a number of extra parts accumulating. LEGO always throws in a few extra items from a few parts which are easily lost. I guess they are worried about reducing the call volume to Customer Service. Anyway, over the span of the advent calendars these pieces have added up to quite a pile:

Advent Calendars: Spare Parts

Finally, remember the Good Twin and Evil Twin? Well, I went through all the models from both calendars and sorted them out into good and evil factions. Here are the good guys first:

Advent Calendars: Forces of Good

And the forces of evil ready to do battle with them:

Advent Calendars: Forces of Evil

The snowman, of course, is the king of the evil side, and today’s minifigs are his minions. Mwahahahaha.

Happy Holidays to everyone! Hope Santa brings you plenty of great new LEGO sets!