Yellow Digger – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, March 2023

I may not be into Minecraft or for that matter the LEGO version of it, but the LEGO Minecraft magazine certainly keeps on giving and still holds my interest. That is of course a bit of an inevitable paradox, as no doubt I may marvel at things that are everyday breakfast for someone engrossed in that world. Anyway, for now I’m discovering enough new things that I like, so let’s have a look at the latest issue for March 2023.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Cover

One of the main issues with the series is of course the limited color palette because everything is based on blocks in a few standardized colors. This adds a level of complication for making the comics look interesting, but as far as that goes the one in this issue ain’t that bad. The illustrators seem to understand the process better now after two years doing this stuff and they also get a bit more daring with applying extra shading and light effects.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Comic

One thing that still annoys me is the scattershot nature of how the pages are laid out and every other page interrupts the comic with puzzles or some unrelated info. Are kids’ attention spans these days really so bad they can’t be asked to read the comic as an entire block? In any case, it makes the mag quite noisy and look cheap.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Comic

Last month’s poster was quite okay, but this month we’re back down in the dumps. Re-using the November cover image? Mirroring it? You must be kidding! Calling this bad Photoshop editing would be doing favors. It’s really a lot worse than that and downright awful. The backside doesn’t do much better with the umpteenth use of the same Creeper image…

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Poster

The bright spot is once more the extra(s), which is quite plentiful. Not only do you get two minifigures, the yellow explorer and another Creeper, but also a sizable piece of landscape. Not by any means anything too special, but usable. The Trans Neon Green “slime blob” is particularly nice and I almost wish it didn’t even have the eyes printed on, so it could be used more universally (without resorting to trickery like turning the cube in order to hide the decorations).

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2023, Extra

All in all this is an okay issue when you figure in all the little pieces, but I’m somehow baffled by Blue Ocean making strides and improving in one area (the comic) and then being cheap and falling back on those terrible hacks (the posters). A more coherent and consistent approach really would improve matters quite a bit.

Anvil Knight – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, February 2023

The LEGO Minecraft magazine is certainly shaping up to become one of the more favorable magazines in my little universe despite me having zero interest in the actual game. That’s not least of all due to the extras being useful, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves and see what the February issue offers otherwise.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, February 2023, Cover

The comic is a bit of a mixed bag as usual. This time at least it offers some variety with regards to the coloring of the panels and there even are a few really good ones with the knight and lama, but of course the underlying problem remains that the underlying system of blocks is not necessarily very diverse and there’s only so many ways you can add interest to all those perpendicular angles and straight lines.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, February 2023, Comic

The comic is also spread thin with it being stretched across the entire magazine by inserting games, puzzles and quizzes and other activities on every other page. The two double spreads shown are literally the two only ones in the publication where the comic is covering two adjacent pages. This makes the alternate pages even more feel like stuffing.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, February 2023, Comic

The main poster is quite neat. As you know I like those clean, graphical designs and even though this is just a “comic” style filter thrown on top of a photo instead of everything being re-drawn in a graphics program, it looks the part. The alternative poster on the back features that scene with the underwater temple guardians again. This must now be the third time or so… Not that I don’t like puffer fish, but it’s getting a bit repetitive.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, February 2023, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, February 2023, ExtraI’ve complained about the ever same Steves and Alexs enough and thankfully we’re really getting something different this time. It’s a knight in a shiny armor, and you can take that at its word since the pieces are in Flat Silver indeed. If nothing else this stuff is always useful for kit-bashing together your own minifigures from different individual parts. The ingot/ bar elements in Dark Pearl Grey should also be interesting. The anvil and treasure chest are just standard stuff you find in every set. Throwing in the new mold for the lid with the flattened top would have made this more interesting and if it was in a metal color as well that would have been killer. Can’t have everything, I guess! 😉

In summary this is an okay issue which in particular benefits from the extra being very acceptable and useful. The comic didn’t really do it for me and there’s a lot of filler, so it’s not going to keep you or your kids busy for a long time, though.

Blue January – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, January 2023

Continuing this week’s little LEGO magazine sprint the next on the list is the one for Minecraft.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2023, Cover

The first thing that jumps to your eye is, quite literally, that this issue is very blue. The cover alone is a nearly indiscernible mush of azure and a few other shades and this continues in the comic, because of course it is ice-themed and to boot the character they chose is Steve with his blue shirt. *yikes* At least the perspectives chosen for the panels are interesting, but the some more color here and there wouldn’t hurt.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2023, Comic

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2023, Comic

For the poster I opted to show you the back side. As you know, I prefer clean graphic designs and this one hits the mark quite well with its heraldry-like approach. The one on the front has a swarm of flying phantoms/ bats in Dark Blue, which contributes further to this issue coming across as a bit too monochromatic.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2023, Poster

The extra is interesting, in particular the spider. It is nearly identical to the one included in The Mushroom House (21179), give or take the bracket for fixating the minifig. Not much else to report otherwise.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, January 2023, Extra

This is an okay issue, but I’m beginning to feel that they’re kind of milking it. We never really get something fresh from the current line-up and the ever same Steve and Alex figures are really getting long in the tooth.

Skeletons Galore – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, November 2022

Minecraft somehow isn’t my thing and as much as I want to, I just can’t get myself to even play it once. There’s some value in LEGO Minecraft, though, as I often enough find myself buying some sets just for the bricks. Out of necessity (because all the bricks are exposed and visible) they keep introducing interesting recolors and new elements. That said, of course the corresponding magazine is another way to sometimes snatch up the goods.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, November 2022, Cover

The November edition of the LEGO Minecraft magazine doesn’t offer too much that would get me excited, though. The comic is one of those uninteresting ones with lots of empty sky and endless green planes.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, November 2022, Comic

The poster is quite acceptable in that it is colorful and lightens the mood. On the other hand the one on the back with a Creeper head and informing you “When you see this, it’s already too late” sucks up this positive energy.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, November 2022, Poster

The extra is interesting in that we get a skeleton horse built from plates and bricks  plus of course one can never have enough skeleton minifigures, Minecraft or otherwise. The Alex figure is nothings special, on the other hand.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, November 2022, Extra

This edition is not really anything special, but serviceable. The little bone horse is fun to build and looks the part. The rest of the magazine can’t really hold a candle to that, unfortunately. It’s definitely not a must-have issue.

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 (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.

The one with the Creeper – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, August 2022

There was a slight delay in the LEGO Minecraft magazine making it to my newsstand and it’s still so damned hot that i can barely focus on the simplest things, so this review is a few days behind the times. Still, it’s not like the mag wouldn’t be available for a while to come, so maybe it can still be useful for you to make a purchase decision.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Cover

The comics are getting notably better with every issue, though of course there’ll always be distinct differences in style across the different artists doing the illustrations. either way, it seems they’re getting more and more a handle on understanding what works and what doesn’t and while one can’t rule out that there will be murky “seas of grey” in upcoming editions, this one offers a nice balance of bright colors, good contrast and interesting perspectives.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Comic

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Comic

The posters do not quite live up to that level, mostly because they’re simply shoddy 3D renders with a lot of Photoshop effects thrown on, but I guess we’ve had worse. The ghostly Creepers are okay and the reverse one with the cutaway view of some underground halls in moonlight isn’t entirely terrible, either. Would I hang them up in my room? Probably not, but that’s just me…

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Poster

The extra is pretty decent value with effectively two minifigures and another little side build, especially for folks like me that rarely ever buy an actual Minecraft set. If you really just want some more figures and don’t care for the specific characters that’s an easy way to get them and have some play fun. Incidentally, my Creeper had a bit of damage with the semi-lifted “legs” showing stress marks because there was too much pressure on the thin walls while the pieces were squeezed in a stack of magazines. I don’t mind, but you may feel otherwise, so keep an eye out if your magazine has suffered a lot during transport and the foil back looks too crumpled or compressed on the shelf.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, August 2022, Extra

All things considered this is a fairly acceptable issue, especially with the comic not being such an eyesore. Definitely worth a look if you’re even only half interested in Minecraft!

Iron Man? – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, June 2022

At this point I’m inclined to believe that Blue Ocean‘s publishing schedule is completely off the rails. It’s really a jumble of some magazines being delayed while others fill the initial release slot. It’s getting ridiculous to the point where even the employees at my newsagent’s get confused which old issues to keep around for a few more days and which ones to replace with the new editions. Can’t really blame them as I myself got confused this time, but alas, here we are with the June issue of the LEGO Minecraft magazine.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, June 2022, Cover

My reservations about the comics likely will never fully go away, but it looks like they are more and more getting a handle on how to make this world of perpendicular edges and people with cubic heads visually interesting. This one has some nice panels and a good density with relatively many characters and environmental details, so it doesn’t feel all too shabby. My only complaint would be that there’s a bit too much green and blue, which makes it look cold and gloomy.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, June 2022, Comic

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, June 2022, Comic

The posters are okay and in fact now that I think about it I should probably have done the cool thing and shown you the backside which depicts the battle at the underwater temple, including the two puffer fish. The wanted poster for the golem ultimately feels a bit redundant and like a low effort, as they didn’t even fancy it up with some statistics or adding some “bad photocopy” filter.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, June 2022, Poster

Other than that there’s a “witch hunt” board game worth mentioning that’s also on a two-spread and looks like it could be fun for a while. It doesn’t add much to the “chase game” formula and pretty much copies all the tropes, but appears balanced enough to be fair and not frustrate kids too much. It could keep the little ones busy and add at least an hour of distraction on top of the other simple puzzles scattered throughout the mag.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, June 2022, ExtraThe extra is the Iron Golem from the poster. He’s certainly not the most attractive guy, but I guess it’s okay. As usual I have no idea about his relevance in the game. The build is reasonably complex, but at the same time also simple. The printed 2 x 3 tile is another nice piece for the collection and incidentally so is the modified tile with the minifigure head stump. In researching it I was surprised to find out how rarely it has even be used despite being around so long. Seems a bit odd, as I could imagine quite a few scenarios where it could be used to add some interest to a setting or allow for some unusual construction.

Overall this issue is just fine. Not outstanding, but just fine. Minecraft still doesn’t quite jibe with me, but at least what you get here is enjoyable and provides a few minutes of fun.

Paper Creeper – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, May 2022

The LEGO Minecraft magazine definitely is not the most attractive one in terms of design, which can easily be proven with the May 2022 issue’s cover. i could barely believe that such a distasteful abomination left the print shop. *yikes*

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, May 2022, Cover

As I’ve written the last few times already, the comic is more of an acquired taste than an actual thing of beauty. Somehow it just doesn’t click with me and most panels just look ugly or even creepy. Maybe if you’re steeped in the lore of the game you can overlook these things and get something out of it, so I’ll leave it at that.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, May 2022, Comic

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, May 2022, Comic

The poster is another hack job from the subterranean floor at the Blue Ocean headquarters where someone is chained to a desk in the cellar and it looks bad in more way than I can count. Not quite as terrible as the last one, but still pretty awful. Not was Photoshop was invented for!

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, May 2022, Poster

A small interesting bonus is a paper cut & fold creeper on the back cover. It comes in two flavors thanks to a double-sided print – in regular form and charged with blue lightning. It’s not a full creeper model, though, just a cube you glue together. I’m always for this kind of activities stuff. It’s much more preferable than those nonsensical and way too trivial puzzles inside the mag.

The extra is quite substantial with a minifigure and two animals, the latter being an ocelot and a sheep. These are always desirable for their heads and Bricklink suggests that in fact the yellow guy as seen here has otherwise only been in one set. The Alex minifigure is nothing to write home about but I’ll gladly take another silver fish and a brown whip for my collection. You never know when you might need another vine on a wall or tree…

Granted, I’m a victim of my own ignorance when it comes to Minecraft, but somehow this magazine just doesn’t light my fire. Except for the extra I’m not getting much out of it and even from an abstract graphics design standpoint it turns me off. Maybe you feel differently, but overall I don’t think you would be missing much not buying this issue.

Explosive Block – LEGO Minecraft Magazine, March 2022

The LEGO Minecraft magazine is relatively fresh, but seems to do surprisingly well. At least the initial issue was quickly sold out on my local newsstand, something which barely ever happens with most of those other LEGO comic magazines. We’ll see if the second outing can repeat this and will be just as popular.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2022, Cover

I still have my doubts about the subject being suitable to be turned into a comic and the one in this issue seems to confirm these reservations. some panels look pretty decent, others extremely flat and uninteresting and there’s any number of degrees of variation inbetween.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2022, Comic

The inclusion of a puzzle page is not an accident, as frustratingly this edition literally has only two double-spread pages for the comic with all the others being single spreads with the opposing page having a puzzle, quiz or info bit on them. This further interrupts the flow of the story and I find it rather confusing plus it makes things unnecessarily look more ugly.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2022, Comic

Speaking of ugly – the posters are just terrible. I never had much faith in whoever is “Mr. Graphics Guy” at Blue Ocean, but man, is this just a crappy piece of work. They didn’t even pay attention to draw straight paths for their fake shadow overlays and of course the whole composition is just bad, bad, bad to begin with. Someone teach them Photoshop, please! The alternate poster on the back is better, but not an achievement of artfulness, either.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2022, Poster

The buildable extra is nice. Skeletons are always a good thing to have and the bricks are useful, too.

LEGO Magazine, Minecraft, March 2022, ExtraWhile it’s too early to truly judge the quality of this magazine series after just two publications, this one certainly is a misfire and disappointment. I sure hope the next one will be better again…

Foxy Mushroom – LEGO Minecraft, The Fox Lodge (21178) and The Mushroom House (21179)

LEGO made a boatload of money last year, which speaks for the popularity of their products, yet the downside to that is that they still appear to struggle with keeping up with demand. Thus availability of some products is lagging behind and the company churning out new sets every month doesn’t make things better. Supplies are low and prices are high. As a customer that severely limits your options on what to buy (well, at least in my budget range), so I ended up buying these two sets much sooner than I might have otherwise, considering them optional purchases when prices might be lower in the future. I really didn’t mean to turn this into a streak of Minecraft reviews, but alas, it just so happened.

Pricing and Contents

Though some people might say otherwise, Minecraft sets are relatively expensive for what little content they offer. Both The Fox Lodge (21178) and The Mushroom House (21179) retail for 20 Euro at 193 and 272 pieces, respectively. On the face of it that doesn’t sound too dramatic and yes, you get some decent volume and sizable parts, but no matter what, most of it is just basic bricks and plates, not fancy custom molded elements. Even the Mushroom House only makes it look like a good value proposition with a seemingly higher parts count owing to a ton of 1 x 2 plates and associated 2 x 2 corner plates. Point in case: LEGO could and should have shaven off 5 Euro right out of the gate and one shouldn’t have to rely on discounts so much.

The Fox Lodge (21178)

This set admittedly triggered my “Oh, that’s cute!” sensors. The curled up sleeping fox turned into a building is just adorable! I also like the small foxes and the guy in the fox costume. If that doesn’t count as “clear messaging”, then I don’t know.

LEGO Minecraft, The Fox Lodge (21178), Box

As you can see, the set is relatively compact and mostly built on a single 16 x 16 plate with the real news here being that this plate is the first time it has been available in Sand Green. surprisingly, LEGO only started manufacturing larger plates like some 8 x 8 in this color last year in the Harry Potter series to represent the roofs. For someone like me who uses the 16 x 16 a lot for MOCs in favor over base plates having more color options can only be a good thing.

LEGO Minecraft, The Fox Lodge (21178), Overview

The small foxes are built from a custom head mold and regular pieces for the body. Some reviewers like Jangbricks have criticized the proportions as being inaccurate to the games’ internal logic of how thick and wide elements have to be, but I tend to see it just the opposite. Adapting sizes to get stuff looking nice and integration in the overall system strictly in the context of brick building is absolutely fair game. Even if they may not have immediate plans, LEGO may one day decide to creatively use these heads as decorative elements elsewhere and they wouldn’t want to preclude that by making the design “true” to the game, but incompatible with their underlying grid measurements for their bricks.

LEGO Minecraft, The Fox Lodge (21178), Minifigures The minifigures are limited to the guy in the costume I already mentioned and a swamp zombie. The prints are nice, though once again the White parts noticeably lack opacity, making them appear pink-ish on the orange guy. Sadly this looks to be the new normal we have to get accustomed to and LEGO just don’t seem to care.



The building itself is rather simple, after all, despite the original idea. It almost entirely consists of 2 x 2, 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 bricks and a handful of plates with the differentiation of details being expressed via colors. That to me is one of the biggest regrets I have about this series. If LEGO were to interpret this more loosely instead of slavishly adhering to the game’s logic and added some finer details, this could be a whole other level. For instance the eyes and ears could have insets with jumper plates and no doubt some irregularities in the “fur” could have been added with differently colored 1 x 1 and 1 x 2 plates and leaving small indentations and bumps in some places to represent ruffles.

The interior is appropriate for a single occupant of a lodge, I guess, with a bed, a chest and a hearth. Not much else to see, but thanks to the roof being removable perfectly accessible.

A little surprise is hidden behind the map on the wall. It may not look like much, but yes, at long last we’re getting a proper SNOT “jumper” brick and this set is genuinely the first to feature it. Other manufacturers probably have beaten LEGO to the punch and have had it for a while, but it really feels like this should have existed already. Of course you always could use this Technic brick with a matching stud pin, but since the pin is frictionless, everything attached to it will of course swivel around easily. The new brick solves this dilemma.

LEGO Minecraft, The Fox Lodge (21178), New Brick

The Mushroom House (21179)

I only picked this one up as some sort of filler for the box when I was ordering the Fox Lodge and because it has a few usable parts. However, had I known how bad this is I would have abstained.

LEGO Minecraft, The Mushroom House (21179), Box

Calling the content lackluster would almost be an understatement. It’s really quite underwhelming. Aside from the mushroom cow’s head piece there is very little new to be found here and the rest is just re-using techniques and ideas from other sets in the series.

LEGO Minecraft, The Mushroom House (21179), Overview

LEGO Minecraft, The Mushroom House (21179), AnimalsSaid cow is otherwise built from various small plates and the two bricks for the legs. The same goes for the spider, only that it uses hinges to spread the legs out. It has a bracket on top to which the skeleton’s feet can be attached so it can ride around and be a nuisance.


LEGO Minecraft, The Mushroom House (21179), Minifigures

For the minifigures we’re getting yet another Alex and the skeleton already mentioned. The quality issues with the White also pervade this set and make this frustrating.



The building is basically just a big square block perched on a few supports and has very little semblance with an actual mushroom. There are a few white 1 x 1 plates sprinkled in to create the appearance of an amanita mushroom, but I found that this in combination with the 25 (!) 2 x 2 corner plates in Red to fill in the rest only prolongs the build and not in a good way at that. It felt really tedious and unsatisfying. The funny thing is that I probably wouldn’t have minded if it actually resulted in a more varied and detailed structure. That’s why I can only reinforce my point from the Fox Lodge: A more liberal interpretation of these things would really be beneficial to making this more interesting.

Another big problem in this model is how the bottom plates are held together. All connections are based on the 2 x 4 jumper plate introduced a while ago with no extra bricks or plates to strengthen them. This simply cannot work and as you would guessed everything just falls apart when you try to lift it as a whole. The only consolation here is that the plates for the water and tree can perfectly exist as separate sections.

The interior is even more spartan than the Fox Lodge, but at least you can access it easily be not only removing the roof and wall on the entry side, but also the other walls. That’s nice, but has very little extra value for play and such.

Concluding Thoughts

Unless you are a Minecraft die-hard, I’d consider neither of the sets essential. The Fox Lodge is cute, for sure, but ultimately that may not be enough to justify a purchase. The Mushroom House at the end of the day is pretty terrible and I would not recommend it at all, even more so since it does not include any of those little gimmicks that might tilt the balance in its favor. Also the execution of the build is very poor, further subtracting from its value. I’m baffled how this even passed QC. For the right price both can be nice parts sources, though.