Steamrolling into Autumn – LEGO City Magazine, October 2022

Blue Ocean really caught me on the wrong foot. Just when I was ready to ditch the LEGO City magazine for good, they start bundling them up with interesting extras that I can’t resist. So here we are again with the October 2022 issue and a very positive surprise.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, Cover

First things first, though. The comic is what it is – it’s certainly the most interesting across al those magazines in terms of how the visual style has evolved, but the stories really are for the 5+ generation and the flat jokes and repetitions just don’t land with me.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, Comic

The safety and security transgressions in this issue alone would make any building site’s supervisor hair stand on end. I also don’t quite get why we still have to put up with American style hard hats in for a European magazine. It seems like LEGO really need to fix this and create a new mold. It just seems weird, especially when they appear in mass liek here.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, Comic

The posters are okay and at least have a sense of visual clarity and communicating their intent, not just being lumped together excuses. The frontal lighting on the one with the steamroller is a bit odd, though. Like they shot it in a studio and not on a construction site.

LEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, PosterLEGO Magazine, City, October 2022, ExtraNow for the goodie, the steamroller itself in miniature form. I so friggin’ love it! When I saw it on last month’s preview page I had to giggle. This is just cool. It makes good use of the 3 x 3 cylinder piece that came out last year and even better, you get four of them without having to buy e.g. a Star Wars X-Wing or similar where they are used as part of jet engine exhausts or intakes. That alone is some decent value and overall the vehicle just looks cute and believable. If they had thrown in some of these discs to cover the ends it would have been perfect. I guess they just didn’t want to go through the trouble, as it would also have required 7L axles and some extra 2 x 2 plates to offset the side skirts holding them. Anyway, it’s still pretty good even without that. I just had so much fun crunching up some cookie crumbs on the coffee table! ­čÖé

Of course this edition wouldn’t be much without the extra and it’s the major selling point. If I as an old guy can have fun with it, then your kids can definitely have it, too. I seriously recommend this issue for that reason alone.

Enjoy the Silence(r) – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, October 2022

Time flies as fast as a TIE Fighter and so here we are again at it with the LEGO Star Wars magazine only four short weeks after the last one. This is because next weeks holiday weekend here in Germany is messing with the calendar and release schedule, so we’re getting the October issue almost one week earlier.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2022, Cover

The comics are getting a bit concerning. Every second one of them is in some way ridiculing Darth Vader and Blue Ocean really need to stop it. It’s not that everything needs to be dead serious and strict to canon, but these “Vader is bored and messes up his surroundings” stories are really reaching a level of nonsense where it’s hard to enjoy them if you’re not a three year old.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2022, Comic

The secondary comic follows in a similar vein and makes even Kylo Ren look bad and the empire once more like a congregation of morons.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2022, Comic

The posters have a distinct 1970s early 1980s vibe with striped patterns, but don’t quite mange to pull it off. The back side with Obi Wan is a bit better than the front with Vader, though.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, October 2022, Poster

The extra is Kylo Ren‘s TIE Silencer from The Rise of Skywalker where it gets sliced to pieces by Rey. The model more or less follows the standard build pattern for these vessels we have seen so many times, but swaps out shorter panels for more elongated ones. Just like the Mandalorian Starfighter it uses the new 2 x 6 wedge plates, this time in Black of course, so if you don’t have any yet, here’s a good way to start adding some to your parts collection.

The extra once more saves the day, but otherwise this isn’t a great issue. There’s very little to gawk at and beyond the “I buy it every month, anyway.” There’s really not much to say about it. There’s just nothing standing out.

Explorer-ing… Dragons – LEGO Explorer Magazine, September 2022

There’s certainly no shortage of mythical creatures in the LEGO world, be that the good old Elves dragons, Ninjago dragons, Wizarding World creatures (Harry Potter et al)or even more generic variations on the theme in Creator 3in1 sets. Heck, they even opened up a new Mythica section in Legoland Windsor and the German Legoland is going to get one next year. They even have a dedicated promotional set for it with a winged lion (set 40556; if anyone knows a good way of getting one cheap hit me up). In light of this over-abundance of potential material, the latest edition of the LEGO Explorer magazine was an inevitability. In fact they could probably do another five issues to cover all of their own dragons alone. For now let’s see what we have here.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, September 2022, Cover

As usual we get a short editorial/ a few info pages roughly covering the most common mythical creatures. Well, at least the ones we all know rather superficially from them being talked about in documentaries on TV and in a very limited, uneducated typical European/ US American way. The old Babylonians would be upset about not even being mentioned and so would no doubt some South American, Asian and other cultures. At best it’s a course starter for kids, but not a complete meal by any stretch of the imagination.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, September 2022, Info Page

The comic follows suit and while I’m not getting much out of it, the depiction of “monster” minifigures, be that just the “guy in costume” variety almost makes me regret I started so late in LEGO and never collected minifigs. It’s really that you kind of develop a taste for it (at least the more interesting specimen from each series/ set) the more you’re exposed to it. I got the Centaur from the Collectible Minifigures Series 21 as a free gift when I bought something in the LEGO store last year, though. Go, figure! ­čśë

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, September 2022, Comic

As mentioned earlier, the poster could be filled with Ninjago dragons alone and that would in fact be true for every year even. I think in 2018 or so there were at one point nine dragons/ dragon-like creatures from two overlapping release cycles and if you count all the Elves dragons they, too would cover the entirety of this poster. Sneaking in the Komodo Dragon is an epic fail, though. The English name for this creature means nothing to Germans, where its correctly called a Waran (Varanus) based on its actual genus.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, September 2022, Poster

The extra unmistakably is modeled after the classic green LEGO dragon, variations of which are still prominently used in the promotional materials for the Legoland parks. The small model is done nicely enough, but does not offer any fancy building techniques and the only “special” parts are the pointed Red wedge plates used for the wings. In fact they make it look like a baby dragon whose wings haven’t fully unfolded yet.

The LEGO Explorer magazine really gives me an itch in places I cannot talk about. I always see the potential of what it could be, but most of the time we get those watered down articles that even as a kid would have bored me. You know, this could be a really fun STEM mag with a LEGO twist, but somehow it ends up being just another weird low brow effort. Well, at least the extras are good and for that I can recommend this issue. If nothing else, the little green dragon will give you ten minutes of good fun.

Silver Linings? – LEGO Speed Champions, Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance & Project One (76909)

I’m far from a car buff as you well know, but Formula 1 has a special place in my heart. It’s not that I was particularly interested to begin with, but in the early 1990s my brother couldn’t get enough of it and so I casually picked up a few things from his magazines and of course watching races on TV. That and of course the Michael Schumacher era began soon to be followed by Sebastian Vettel. That’s why even today I try to keep an eye on developments there, if only tangentially. Checking out the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance & Project One (76909) therefore was also a bit of a given, be it just to poke a bit of fun at my brother and have a discussion about the details of the model(s).

LEGO Speed Champions, Mercedes AMG F1 W12 E Performance & Project One (76909), Box

Contents and Pricing

As a dual pack this set initially cost 40 Euro MSRP, but after LEGO‘s ridiculous recent price hike costs 45 Euro. The good news is that despite all this, this more or loss still equates to merely twice the price of single-item sets. Unlike e.g. with the Lamborghini Urus ST-X & Lamborghini Hurac├ín Super Trofeo EVO (76899) they didn’t throw a large premium on top. At the same time the less good news comes in that you won’t be able to shave much off those 40 Euro. As an exclusive set only available at LEGO stores and a handful select retailers there’s no wriggle room for large discounts.

However, effectively I got mine for 38 Euro, which in a funny way is even LEGO‘s fault. they appear to be producing this set in such low numbers that they’re constantly running out and it’s out of stock. I tried to pick it up directly in the Leipzig LEGO store on three separate occasions before I gave up and ordered it from one of those few alternate vendors that still had some packages. You should be prepared that it may take a moment before you can get your hand on this.

LEGO Speed Champions, Mercedes AMG F1 W12 E Performance & Project One (76909), Overview

Sticker Madness

Another of those things I keep boring you with is of course my dislike for stickers/ decals and in this case it’s really, really bad. As we all know, the Mercedes Formula 1 cars aren’t called Silver Arrows for nothing and consequently this would have meant that LEGO had to produce a ton of pieces for this set in Flat Silver, which of course never happens. Instead they are trying to compensate this with “illusion painting” by means of printed adhesive foil and here once more the sheer number of sticker pieces is beyond belief. And the AMG Project One doesn’t do much better, since in reality it’s also another silver Mercedes. So ultimately you end up with two relatively large sticker sheets and what makes it even worse for me is that you right away can see how they’re even trying to cheat the surface curvature by using gradients on the F1 car’s spine.

LEGO Speed Champions, Mercedes AMG F1 W12 E Performance & Project One (76909), Stickers

The Formula 1 W12 1

LEGO Speed Champions, Mercedes AMG F1 W12 E Performance & Project One (76909), F1, Variants PiecesInevitably LEGO‘s heavy reliance on stickers is a two-edged sword and while not using them increases the re-usability value of the sets, but it also diminishes the aesthetic value. Often this can be overlooked, but with the Formula 1 car it really shows very painfully. It has none of the magic it should have and more or less just looks black. This also affects the minute differences between Hamilton‘s car and Bottas‘ version for which some extra pieces are included. Aside from the distinct Yellow camera bar the differentiation is lost without the stickers.

As such, only the Dark Turquoise and Dark Red elements will really stand out and add some flair. The Dark Red 1 x 4 modified plate is exclusive to this set and so are the little knobs used for the rear view mirrors. The wedge slopes have since appeared in more sets, but initially were also limited to this one. There’s a few unique printed parts like the wheel covers used to shim over the regular wheels and create the illusion of those specially marked tires to indicate their softness rating. I feel that this is a bit of a missed opportunity. While the Blue looks very harmonious and calm for a display model, in light of the overall lack of contrast I would have preferred Yellow or Red markings. In fact it would have been cool if they included at least one of those options as an alternative. Other printed pieces are the Mercedes star of course or the faux air intake above the cockpit.

The assembly of the car is simple enough, but make no mistake – this is overall rather fragile. Many elements literally only hang by a single stud or clip and handling requires a tender touch. The model should be held by the modified plates mimicking the chassis or the wheels, but other areas will immediately come off if you don’t have a tender touch. That’s almost like on the real thing except that it doesn’t require racing at 300+ kph or bumping into a wall for the front or rear wing to fly off.

The other apparent issue is the lack of smoothness. At this point I don’t consider it so much a general limitation of using LEGO bricks, but rather of the scale. Point in case: With introductions like the recent “jester shoe” arch it would be possible to create some of the subtle, yet complex curves, just not at this size. This also goes for the suspensions of the wheels, which of course aren’t big fat tubes on the real thing. Neither are spoilers and winglets big and chunky, but I guess there’s really no good way to translate all those paper-thin carbon fiber bits into bricks.

LEGO Speed Champions, Mercedes AMG F1 W12 E Performance & Project One (76909), F1, CockpitThe cockpit is surprisingly adequate in its sparseness and even using the game pad once introduced for the Collectible Minifigures series for the steering wheel is fitting. However, since there is no sticker for it I feel that including the printed version from way back then might still have been better, even if it doesn’t represent the actual button layout. A point that has caused much discussion is the largely inaccurate depiction of the HALO device. Using a rigid tube is really not ideal and overall it looks way too bulky and too large. Short of creating a new piece I can’t think of a much better solution, though. All the swords/ blades or hotdogs that come to my mind are not curved enough to capture the shape.

The Project One

The second car in the package is apparently one I know even less about than the F1 one. That’s why it more or less looks like the many other (super) sports cars in the series. Indeed it also almost builds like the Aston Martin Vantage or the Corvette, give or take the necessary variations to accommodate each car’s specific details. In this case this in particular refers to the large fin blade in the aft section.

Otherwise the car is rather mundane and once more one can only bemoan that there are no genuine silver parts. This would make things look so much more interesting even without the stickers.

Similar to other cars in this year’s Speed champions line-up this one also uses the new 2 x 3 curved wedge slope and all the same these are also printed with the shapes for the headlights. The other printed parts are the AMG logo on the intake grille and of course the canopy piece. The latter lacks opacity, something which sadly has become an “expected” (or dreaded?) standard, even if it didn’t need to be this way if LEGO invested a bit more time and care.

LEGO Speed Champions, Mercedes AMG F1 W12 E Performance & Project One (76909), AMG, CockpitThe cockpit is very plain again and shamelessly exploits the fact that a) those racing cars have very stripped down interiors in the first place and b) the dark tinted glass would further restrict visibility. Would be nice to have some bright red Recaro seats and support tubing from the inner frame shining through from time to time, though.


Concluding Thoughts

Despite my criticisms this is quite an okay set. LEGO (and by extension Mercedes AMG) had the good sense to not gouge their fans with excessive pricing inflated by licensing fees and that alone deserves some recognition. As someone who builds these models only for fun it would of course have been even better if the set were broadly available in retail and thus I could have gotten some discount, but sometimes it can’t be helped.

The Formula 1 car is clearly the weaker of the two due to the limitations of the system. This would probably make more sense as a Creator Expert/ Icons set in around 1/12th scale, but ironically then I might not be able to afford it. I guess I’m caught between a rock and a hard place on that. If you take the set at its face value it is definitely okay and will fit nicely into your collection of similar Speed Champions models.

This must be Underwater Love – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, September 2022

The LEGO Minecraft magazine really is a bit of a sleeper hit with some positive surprises in store for every issue. Of course that’s easy to say with being only on the market for a year and a meager six issues in, but compared to e.g. Hidden Side it feels so much varied and a lot less repetitive. Let’s have a look what the September 2022 issue has on offer.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, September 2022, Cover

This one is built around some underwater adventures, which is a subject I always like, given my general love for sea creatures. Even the puffer fish from The Guardian Battle┬á(21180) make an appearance as do of course some of the temple ruins. There’s also a nice brick-built dolphin featured throughout, which would have made for a cool extra. Perhaps they’ll make it happen some day?

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, September 2022, Comic

The posters are rather generic with a “Wanted!” poster for a skeleton on the front and a scene with the Iron Giant from two issues ago on the back.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, September 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, September 2022, ExtraThe extra is made up of two minifigures, another version of Steve and a “Drowned” Zombie and there’s some pieces to build a small boat or float. Zombies are always nice to have should you decide to build your own swamp or temple scene or buy those sets and want to add some more action. The boat is done well enough, but overall I think the dolphin really would have been the better option here.

While it’s not a particularly surprising issue, this one is solid enough to provide some fun. With the dolphin in place of the boat it would of course have been awesome.

Poodle-tastic Care – LEGO Friends Magazine, September 2022

As you may have noticed, this blog isn’t as much about LEGO Friends as it used to be (I could go into all the details why, but maybe that’s for another time), but that doesn’t mean I’m not into it at all anymore and still follow developments in that theme just as I still read the magazines. So here we go with the September issue.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Cover

One of the big topics in the series this year has been animal care with multiple sets and I reviewed the Pet Adoption Caf├ę (41699) and Pet Playground (41698) earlier this year. This months edition of the mag is all about that, too. The comic deals with some mayhem at the pet daycare center. The story is nothing to write home about, but the kids will buy it. It’s also an interesting observation that the more the comic veers away from slavishly rendering the characters in the style of the actual minifigures, the more tolerable it becomes. The protagonists looking more like regular people really does the whole thing good.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Comic

Unlike the previous issues this one comes up short in the coloring department with only a partial page as opposed to the double spreads before. that seems a bit odd, as no doubt kids would love to color their favorite dog breed or kittens.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Coloring Page

There’s an info page with a few rather generic photos, but it’s really not that specific on anything.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Info Page

The poster is kind of okay, but I’d bet most people will prefer the back side featuring quadruple Labrador/ Golden Retriever puppies. ­čÖé

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Poster

The extra is one of those “pet grooming” scenarios we’ve gotten a few times over the years featuring the standard brush, a small basin with a water tap and some accessories. The teeter board similar has been seen before just as well. The poodle is the version with the Dark Turquoise print for the collar that otherwise can only be found in two other sets, so at least that’s a simple way of getting it here.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, September 2022, Extra

This issue is pretty mundane and even boring, so there’s no real urgency to buy it. It has very little to offer on all fronts. This becomes even more apparent after the pretty decent horse-themed previous issue.

Noodles in the Flesh – LEGO Creator, Downtown Noodle Shop (31131)

I would love to deck out my flat with LEGO‘s Modular Buildings as much as the next guy, but sadly I have neither the money nor the storage space to keep them all around. Therefore I have to settle on smaller fish and make do with the building-themed sets in the Creator 3in1 range and other series, but even that is an exercise in itself for similar reasons. There’s just an over-abundance of options, yet models like the latest Sanctum Santorum (76218) are out of my class, either, due to their price. For now let’s have a look at the Downtown Noodle Shop (31131) therefore.┬á

LEGO Creator, Downtown Noodle Shop (31131), Box

Contents and Pricing

Unfortunately even these smaller buildings don’t come cheap and so you’d have to invest at least 40 Euro MSRP. That is before the price increase as since this very September 1st you have to add 5 Euro more on top. The irrationality of LEGO‘s greed is a discussion for another time, but of course it sucks having to pay even more. For now this is obfuscated by many retailers still selling it for the old price minus their usual discounts, but after the transitional phase this no doubt this wear off and prices rise, regardless, once consumers have been conditioned to just accept it.

In theory paying 40 Euro for 569 pieces isn’t half bad, but as you can already see in the overview image this number also is made up by many smaller elements that are good to have to detail and enliven the scenery, but do not contribute much to the bulk/ volume of the model. Even the walls are actually to a good extent just 1 x 1 bricks to build support columns and frame the windows. Realistically, you only have around two thirds of “substance” with the rest being decorations. Of course this is not an unusual ratio and on some level even good compared to e.g. some City sets. However, the lofty impression is furthered by the overall very open structure and no real big parts giving the package some “weight”.

LEGO Creator, Downtown Noodle Shop (31131), Overview

With that in mind, hunting for discounts can be really worthwhile. Typically you will be able to find this for around 34 Euro, representing 20 percent off. I got mine for 31 Euro and at some point an online retailer fired it out for 26 Euro. This really helps, especially if you buy multiple boxes to either build all three models from the instructions or simply create a bigger house.

The Figures

There are only two minifigures in this set, which is a little underwhelming, given the subject. You cannot even fill the little noodle stand completely, much less add some bustling activity in other areas. At the very least this should have had four figures and five would have been ideal. That way you could add a customer buying some Asian food, place a child near the bike buying some ice cream and so on. The minifigs themselves are just run-of-the-mill. You’ve seen the individual pieces used a million times and they get just remixed a bit like the lady having one of the new heads with the hearing aid printed on. In addition there’s a buildable dog, but as you well know I’d much prefer having a molded animal. After all, there’s enough different breeds available, it just seems LEGO are too hellbent on keeping Dachshund, French Bulldog et al exclusive to their Collectible Minifigures series and it takes so long for these to appear in mundane sets (usually as other color variants, no less).

The Bicycle

The bicycle, or more exactly tricycle frame is another variation on the small food cart as already seen e.g. in the Heartlake City Organic Caf├ę (41444). Looking back at this set the green wheels/ tires look just odd in conjunction with the white frame (they may have worked better if the frame was Lime Green or Bright Green), so I’m glad we get “ordinary” Black tires here. The ice cone is an interesting build, but feels too heavy and overall whoever would drive this bike would be very unsafe, given that he barely can see anything. ­čśë This would likely work better on a classic roof on four poles.

The Building

Important preface: For this article I’m going to focus exclusively on the primary model, the noodle shop. The alternate builds, a bicycle shop and a small arcade struck me as stylistically too similar and/ or too small to be worth going through the trouble of rebuilding the one set I had at hand into the other variants. I may consider buying another one of these when there’s another good discount and maybe then I can give those secondary models a whirl. Now on to the good stuff.

A trend that as someone who never can have enough colors at hand certainly views positively is the fact that someone at LEGO must have realized that skin tones are actually “real” colors and could be used for regular pieces and not just minifigure components as well. This change came about around two years ago when they started doing the LEGO ART packages and had to recolor all those 1 x 1 round plates and studs, anyway, and shortly after that they released the buildable “huge minifigures” Harry Potter & Hermione Granger (76393), containing more flesh-colored pieces for the hands and face. From there it probably took on a life of its own and simply became a standard thing. I’m pretty sure, though, that there was some heated debate on the matter internally, given how long they refused or had not considered producing parts in skin colors.

To get to a point: One of the things that attracted me to this set was the use of Light Flesh/ Light Nougat pieces. I just didn’t have any in my collection yet (yes, that price thing again preventing me from buying costly sets) and wanted to check out how it would look in person. To boot, there were some other interesting elements in useful colors like more Olive Green bricks, the Dark Red slopes and the flat “arch” slopes in Dark Green and Bright Green. At least my nerd genes would be stimulated and I could live out my obsession in that department.

The build overall is pretty straightforward, but also somewhat delicate. This is due to the building being very open to begin with and consisting of a lot of individual one brick thick walls that are not interconnected. This means everything is very wobbly and only stabilizes once you cap it off with the plates for the next floor or other transversal elements. Until you do so, things are prone to being pushed out of alignment again or snap off entirely. You have to have a tender touch to not apply too much force. In the end everything works out, but a little care goes a long way. The assembly order can also be a bit frustrating as it jumps across the model. It’s kind of structured in slices instead just finishing off one corner so you find yourself adding something to the noodle stand only to then be asked to add an Olive Green brick on the other side. Flipping a few pages ahead in the instructions every now and then can help to make this more efficient by doing multiple steps at once.

The default layout for this building is a sort of “cheat” square layout for a corner building. This is technically plausible with the main facade facing the main street and the noodle stand being tucked away into a branching side street or alley. However, this also exposes what perhaps is this sets biggest shortcoming: the lack of height. You never really believe (at least I do) that someone could live there above the shop and those rooms are at best a small business office for the snack bar’s owner. It’s also visually odd since in particular the right-hand side of the building with the stairs and the door has no thickness and doesn’t even pretend there would be something else. It’s like where there is the hollow in the back there should be the actual building and everything we see are just additions that were constructed later. Anyway, I think having a third floor would have helped hugely to avoid this impression and made things more functional and believable.

The small insert with the vending machine is only loosely attached with some pins and once removed you can play around with different configurations for the house. Because the model is built with hinges, you can just close it up. This would also be a good option for storing it since it prevents the interior from getting too dusty. In this closed state the kitchen sink under the stairs is at the back of the noodle shop and likewise, the second floor gets more logical as the previously unconnected door now acts as the entry to the living room. The big downside is of course that you cannot get inside and visibility of the interior is seriously restricted as well.

The second possible arrangement is simply forming a straight line. This looks nice, but all the same exposes the identical problem as the initial layout – the lack of depth. This really screams “Buy me a second set to extend the rear!”, a recurring theme with this package. In this configuration you would also have to adjust the width of the sidewalk for the building to be integrated into an existing neighborhood.

Since the building itself already is made up of mostly small elements despite a relatively high piece count, the interior isn’t hyper-detailed, either. Not that this would be too much of an issue, given that there isn’t much space, but you can somehow feel that the designers struggled and had to sacrifice one for the other to stay on budget. Not meaning to propagate stereotypes, but certainly a real noodle shop would be more cluttered and also have some more utilities. There isn’t even a fryer or a fridge anywhere in sight.

Incomplete as it may be, the living room on the second floor feels cosy. Similarly, the tiny hallway reminded me of those small British hotels – crammed and a bit stuffy, but always a table with fresh flowers near the window. The roof ladder/ emergency ladder also fits.


Concluding Thoughts

While overall this model is just fine and really captures that feeling of early 20th century American urban/ suburban buildings as you would find them e.g. in San Francisco or some areas of New York, the flaws/ shortcomings can’t be overlooked. They really show without looking for them even if you may not be able to exactly pinpoint what bothers you at first.

For one, the all too apparent lack of height by not having a third floor is felt immediately. As can be seen in the photos the building looks very square. Other buildings like the Townhouse Toy Store (31105) from two years ago were effectively not much larger, but never felt as vertically compressed. Arguably the balance just isn’t there in strict architectural terms. The second issue is the overall feeling of incompleteness. The building comes across as an half-finished skeleton of what it could have been. The many open spaces contribute to this feeling as does the lack of some “interior” when the building is at a 90 degree angle or perfectly straight. Certainly some inserts on the inside similar to the one with the vending machine would have made a huge difference.

All that being the case, the path to happiness most definitely is buying multiple packages of this set, but then it really becomes a question of whether this is still cost-effective. Buying two is certainly feasible, but adding a third already gets you dangerously close to the price of actual Modular Buildings or something like the big Sanctum Santorum (76218). Likewise, you could then find alternatives in other series and bash something together from multiple Friends sets or similar. In that regard one might even call this noodle shop a failure. If you get my drift: When it’s easier to cobble together a larger building from other sets, then the point of buying a dedicated set to that effect is defeated.

Unfortunately this set doesn’t quite know what it wants to be and the conditions when a purchase pays off will be very specific. Regardless whether you use it standalone or want to integrate it into your existing LEGO city you will have to put in some extra work to make it look nice. Therefore my view is that it would have been better had this been a slightly more expensive, but also more complete set in the 60 Euro range with at least some of the issues fixed. in fact even if they had just duplicated the second floor and given it a different interior this would have improved things a lot.

Pyro Raptor Buggy – LEGO Jurassic World Magazine, September 2022

The summer heatwave having dissipated and more regular temperatures now being prevalent again certainly also makes that LEGO business more enjoyable just as it facilitates writing reviews. So here we are having a look at the Jurassic World magazine, September 2022 edition.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, September 2022, Cover

The all too apparent differences between the various artists doing the comics’ drawings are still a bit funny to me and in a way also odd, so this month we’re back to one of those 50/50 illustrations, where some panels are reasonably detailed and look good, but a lot of the others don’t. Thematically we at least get to see a few dino species that haven’t been represented in their LEGO-fied form for a while. It’s been a moment since the Brachiosaurus made an appearance.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, September 2022, Comic

The same goes for the Mosasaurus and the mere depiction in the comic makes me wonder if LEGO ever have any plans of doing sets with those creatures. Aside from the potentially insane price I could totally go for that. The aquatic side of prehistoric life has never been explored in this form, anyway, and doing so could actually inject some new life into the series as a whole, even in the movies themselves. Since Dominion was such a failure, though, I’m not sure if this will ever happen. We might have to settle for more half-baked content like this.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, September 2022, Comic

The posters both feature a T-Rex, but are equally boring, regardless which side you display. At least there’s not too much visible poor photo editing.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, September 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, September 2022, ExtraAs hinted at last time the extra is the towing vehicle to the trailer that came with the previous issue. Stupid little me just forgot about the whole thing and then I disassembled the cart prematurely and buried the pieces in my boxes. Therefore I can’t show you the whole combination. Sorry about that! As predicted, the buggy/ quad is standard fare like we’ve seen it a ton of times, but the designer deserves at least some praise for custom-building the steering from multiple elements instead of relying on the existing molded element. Owen has one of those prodding sticks seen in the movies, but overall he remains not just a boring character in the films, but easily also one of the dullest and most repetitive minifigures.

If it wasn’t for the buggy connecting to the last issue and presenting it here, I’d probably have skipped this one. It just doesn’t offer much that would be interesting.

Neon Fire Jet – LEGO City Magazine, September 2022

My own resolutions somehow always come back to haunt me, so here we are at it again with the LEGO City magazine for September after skipping the August one The reason is very specific and will no doubt make me look like an utter weirdo, but more on that later.

LEGO Magazine, City, September 2022, Cover

Interestingly, when you skip issues you sometimes inevitably thematically pick up where you left off. This is the case here and while it’s an utter coincidence, it’s still in a way funny. We’re indeed getting another fire patrol story in the comic, though of a different kind. At least it features a freight train, a subject far to rarely seen. It’s really too bad that LEGO have neglected this particular sub-genre so much or we could see many more rail-based fun.

LEGO Magazine, City, September 2022, Comic

The story with a cargo load turning into popcorn is sure to entertain a seven year old, but otherwise is one of those “stranger than fiction” things that you have to try really hard to suspend your disbelief.

LEGO Magazine, City, September 2022, Comic

As a pixel musher myself the poster creeps me out. There’s so much wrong with it and it’s just another in a seemingly endless line of terrible Photoshop hack jobs. the alternate one on the back doesn’t fare much better.

LEGO Magazine, City, September 2022, Poster

Now for the fun part. As I already told you, the rationales for if and when I get these magazines (and by extension pretty much any LEGO set I buy) can sometimes be rather weird. From reading my blog you may know that one of those reasons is my occasional obsessing about specific parts/ elements. Not only do I have certain favorites and keep forever pondering their uses, but I also have this thing that makes my brain tick where I want an element that I have in a certain color also in as many other colors as possible. Now guess what happened here!

LEGO Magazine, City, September 2022, Extra Yes, I got it in my head that I wanted those Red wing/ tail fin elements when I already have some in White, Blue, Bright Light Orange, Black and so on. Go, figure! Buying this magazine therefore seemed as good an opportunity as any other and getting a minifigure and a few more pieces to boot doesn’t hurt, either. The model itself is nothing special, though. The wings are rather sloppily attached to 1 x 2 x 2 SNOT bricks (that aren’t even’ Red, though they exist in this color) and since there’s no counter-locking by ways of brackets or extra slopes, the whole block can easily be pulled off the model. Not too much of a concern for kids, but certainly they could have thrown in some extra pieces to allow for that. On a side note, the Red elements look really saturated, which is nice, too. At times it’s one of those colors that can look a bit translucent when the in-machine-mixing with the pigmented pellets doesn’t work quite right. In fact to me it almost feels like there were a few Dark Red grains accidentally mixed in, so deep is the color.

This is by no means a great issue and I really only got lured in by wanting the pieces. Given the recent price hike for those mags I’d think twice about buying it, but of course you may have no choice in the matter if your little tyke keeps bugging you about it… ­čÖé

Mandalorian Blue – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, September 2022

Being a lazy slob in the summer heat unfortunately doesn’t actually make time flow slower, so here we are again already with another edition of the LEGO Star Wars magazine, this time the September 2022 issue.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Cover

I really like the comic this time around, which is rare enough, as you know. It takes us back to Solo – A Star Wars Story, a film which hasn’t been covered that much in the magazine to begin with, and it’s done in an interesting way. Yes, of course the story has nothing to do with the actual movie, but it’s credible and could be a real side quest. The Corellian Hounds remain ugly, though, and the colorfulness of the drawings can’t make them any more appealing in my eyes. Anyway, the comic as a whole is still pretty to look at.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Comic

The second comic is not nearly as colorful, but that’s inherent in what it depicts. When you come to think about it, the Star Wars universe is oddly monochromatic at times, not just when it comes to the many white Stormtroopers. The denim blue Mandalorian troops are just as unusual once there’s more than one guy.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Comic

It’s not yet quite a standard feature in this particular LEGO mag, but coloring pages are always a good way to beef up the content in that apparently it takes a while to fill them in and thus keeps the kids busy for that much longer. I only wish they’d start making this really good with a full-sized blank page on thicker, more felt pen friendly paper.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Coloring Page

The poster is once more giving us Din Djarin, a.k.a. The Mandalorian and his little fella Grogu, formerly known as The Child. The reverse side isn’t bad, either, with a decent rendition of Darth Maul.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, September 2022, Poster

While in the last issue we got one of its occupants, we now get the actual Mandalorian Starfighter in miniaturized form. Compared to the big version from set 75316 of course the detail level isn’t anywhere near as good with the absence of the longitudinal blue stripes being the most apparent omission. The grate tiles really don’t make up for that. Similarly the tips should actually be sharp and pointed, so I wonder why they didn’t include some of these wedge slopes. On the other hand there’s three pairs of the relatively new 2 x 6 wedge plates, which is nice for people who haven’t bought a set yet where they would be featured. They also implemented a swivel mechanism for the landing position, but the smallness of the model apparently prevented them from also rotating the wings vertically like on the real thing.

Overall this is a nice issue and I really enjoyed it more than usual. It’s definitely worth a look, be it just to get a glimpse at what this magazine can look like if only Blue Ocean put in enough effort.