Blue T-Rex? – LEGO Jurassic World Magazine, December 2022

The LEGO Jurassic World remains my favorite of the currently available LEGO-themed magazines as I can always find something in it that gives me that good feeling in my tummy and the December 2022 issue does just that as well.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, December 2022, Cover

The comic is not my favorite, being that it’s one of those half/ half ones, but it is a definite improvement over last month’s “empty skies” orgy. There’s some panels with detailed drawings and interesting perspectives, it’s just that there could be even more density with e.g. the jungle looking more alive. It really would make those escape scenarios more interesting.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, December 2022, Comic

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, December 2022, Comic

The posters are standard fare, but at least the one on the front is decent enough. The reverse on the other hand is any Photoshop user’s nightmare. They just stuffed in every existing rendering or cut-out of dinos they could find and arranged them in a fake photo, but it’s really all over the place in terms of colors and perspective.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, December 2022, Poster

The extra will be a familiar sight to regular followers of my blog or for that matter frequent buyers of the magazine. It’s another buildable dino, this time in the guise of Blue, the Velociraptor, bur rge basic structure is pretty much still the same of the original T-Rex we got after the relaunch in January 2020 and then of course we got it again in September 2021 in the form of a Dilophosaurus and even this year already in the February 2022 edition as another variation on the T-Rex. The nice thing about those creatures that you really have quite a bit of building to do and it feels rewarding, but of course it’s also getting a bit stale and repetitive to always have the same structure. Would be nice if they could design a few other species.

All in all this is an okay issue and worth its money. I still think we need an influx of some new dinos and also on a more general level new ideas, though.

Space Wedge – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, December 2022

The LEGO Star Wars magazine remains one of the staples of that whole LEGO magazine business and while not always outstanding, it usually has at least something interesting to show. Let’s see if the December 2022 issue lives up to that.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2022, Cover

I’m not a friend of those “Palpatine behaves like a teenager” as you know, so the main comic doesn’t really go down well with me. Too much implausible nonsense and too way off the mainstream canon even if you take a liberal approach and allow for some wackiness.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2022, Comic

The secondary comic isn’t doing much better, in particular since the vehicle it is supposed to promote as the extra, the Imperial Light Destroyer, isn’t really shown that much.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2022, Comic

The poster on the front features Captain Vaughn from the Armored Assault Tank (AAT) (75283) set in all his glory. Stylistically it is similar to the one in the last issue, so they would look nice next to each other. The backside has an X-Wing zooming toward the Death Star, but it’s not nearly as interesting.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, December 2022, Poster

The extra is the Imperial Light Destroyer mentioned earlier. It was introduced in Rebels and recently played a bigger role in The Mandalorian. As you would expect the model is pieced together from a few wedge plates, which is sufficient to match the contour, but does not really provide the necessary volume for the ship’s body. In terms of pieces there isn’t too much special here. There’s a pair of triangular tiles in Light Bluish Grey, which are always nice to have, but the rest is standard fare – with one exception: Inside there’s a Black 1 x 5 plate (!) for the central spine, which I think is the first time ever this element has ever been used in one of those foil packs on any of the LEGO magazines. If you never encountered it up close and personal in a set (since it’s still being used rather sparingly) here’s your chance to get acquainted with this marvel of modern engineering. 😉

This edition of the magazine holds very few surprises, but is overall a solid affair. The posters are decent and the comics are serviceable, though I’d prefer them to be a bit more serious and in line with the rest of Star Wars. Though personally I prefer buildable models, fans of minifigures will be pleased that next month there will be another one in the form if a Hoth Luke Skywalker with snow goggles, vest and all.

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.

Baker’s Delight – LEGO Friends Magazine, November 2022

It’s that time of the year where we’re making giant leaps towards Christmas and inevitably this has been a recurring subject in the LEGO Friends magazine just as well. Sometimes with Christmas trees, sometimes with fun in the snow and more often than not with baking activities. This year we’re once more going down that route.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, November 2022, Cover

Interestingly, the comic doesn’t delve too deep into this and after a short introduction with the girls baking cookies it’s off to some winter-ly outdoor activities.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, November 2022, Comic

The baking theme is taken up again on a coloring two spread, but strangely enough they’re suddenly making pizza. This feels a bit like they’re recycling a drawing that was originally intended for a different issue. There’s a second coloring page with a Mandala-like round design.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, November 2022, Coloring Page

The poster is the same boring stuff we’ve gotten a million times already, but maybe there’s hope for next year when the revitalized and redesigned characters make an appearance and we get more diverse characters overall.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, November 2022, Poster

The extra is a small cookie selling stand with an oven next to it. It’s serviceable, but really a bit underwhelming and too unspectacular. throwing in a bit more stuff wouldn’t have hurt.

This issue isn’t much to write home about and it’s “just okay”. Definitely not the special celebratory edition one would have hoped for and way too early to count for the holiday season. Thanks to the coloring sections it will keep your kids busy for a little while, though.

Explorer-ing… Spiders – LEGO Explorer Magazine, November 2022

The weird logic of magazine publishers eludes me. The latest issue of the LEGO Explorer magazine is clearly very Halloween-centric, yet at the same time it came out a week to late here in Germany. See the problem? I honestly don’t get why they don’t give themselves more of a safety margin. Even if this may work for the UK version, which comes one week earlier, it just doesn’t make much sense here. The only consolation is that Halloween is nowhere near as important a holiday around these parts, so not too many will be disappointed. Still, it’s an unnecessary oversight/ lapse of foresight.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2022, Cover

In keeping with the scary theme this one is all about spiders (mostly). This will really creep out a lot of people and while I have grown to appreciate these eight-legged freaks and even find some of them quite beautiful, I’m also as arachnophobic as the next guy. I can handle “cute” jumping spiders or small ghost spiders, but I’m really put off by most bigger species. I’m actually pretty glad that in our part of the world we don’t have to put up with Tarantulas, Banana Spiders or Black Widows (usually).

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2022, Info Page

The comic takes a spin on the “mad scientist creating monsters” trope and things of course go terribly wrong. Unfortunately the potential is not fully exploited and overall the comic is a bit tame.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2022, Comic

The poster features more creatures that give some people the heebie-jeebies such as snakes, crocodiles and several underwater creatures like a Spider Crab or the angler fish from the Deep Sea Creatures (31088) set.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2022, Poster

The back cover has a neat little extra in the form of a door hanger, but as noted in my intro it comes a bit too late for really counting as a Halloween gimmick.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, November 2022, Door Hanger

The extra is a really quite disgusting spider with big fangs, long legs and a sizeable “butt”. This is nice and to make it even more realistic they even went out of their way to include all eight legs despite the small scale. The legs are Black, the underbelly is Reddish Brown and the back Dark Brown. My cheap camera and the inadequate kitchen table lighting on an overcast day just make everything look dark.

The narrow focus of the magazine makes this a good one for me. There isn’t too much sidetracking and everything is consistently based around monsters and Halloween. Regrettably the issue does not contain a preview for the next one, so I’m not sure if this is the last one we got. I’d hate this to be a case of “Another one bites the dust.”. Recognizably the mag is struggling to attract buyers, but I’d hate to see it go just because not enough people purchase it. On the other hand they’re still offering subscriptions, so I’m a bit confused on the matter. Perhaps it will relaunch in a different form next year? We’ll have to see, I guess!

Blue Bike Chase – LEGO City Magazine, November 2022

Three times in a row! That’s how Blue Ocean got under my skin by including something actual useful in the LEGO City magazine after I announced my abstinence from this publication. So what’s it for this month? Let’s find out!

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2022, Cover

The comic is another police chase story, only this time on a bicycle. It’s also spiced up (no pun intended) with some Halloween-themed stuff and the evil-doers exploiting the situation by doing their mischief during the spooky night.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2022, Comic

Unfortunately the special holiday is not really put to good use with the emphasis being on the rather mundane police action (and the gangsters not even dressing up for the occasion), so the panels are a bit boring at times in the sense that there’s a lot of “blue night”, but no crazy ghosts, werewolves, vampires or other such creatures.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2022, Comic

The posters reflect the story as well, but are equally a bit too ordinary and lacking an original twist.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2022, Poster

The extra that tempted me into buying this issue is of course the Dark Blue BMX bike/ mountain bike frame. This particular bicycle type is still pretty rare and while I have one in Dark Azure from the Hidden Side Newbury Subway (70430)  (oddly enough, I never reviewed it here) and also the Light Bluish Grey one from the Jurassic World Blue & Beta Velociraptor Capture (76946) (too small to make a review worthwhile), it’s always good to have more options at hand. The minifigures are a so-so affair. The positive thing is that the female police officer has a dirtied up face, but her uniform doesn’t reflect the same. It’s just a standard torso and pants. The same could be said for the thief who really is just “Bad guy no. 3” in a standard outfit.

LEGO Magazine, City, November 2022, Extra

To get back to my opening statement: No, my streak won’t go up to four in a row. I definitely won’t be buying the next issue because I have no interest in the extra, which is going to be an ugly forklift with no “special” parts for my collection that would warrant spending the cash. This one is okay if you want a simple way of obtaining the bike vs. buying an overpriced set, but otherwise it doesn’t really offer much that would get me excited.

She’s that Girl – LEGO Star Wars Magazine, November 2022

I decided to take things easy last week with my birthday and all, so I’m a bit behind on my schedule and only present you with the latest LEGO Star Wars magazine today.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, Cover

The comic takes us underground into some crystal caves and as a result everything is very colorful. It’s always nice to see stories play out in such locations as opposed to the rather sterile imperial ships or the Death Star. The story arc itself is just another of those “Vader chasing someone and being a moron about it” things, though.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, Comic

The shorter secondary comic introduces us to Princess Leia as she tries to escape some admittedly cool looking bounty hunters on an abandoned imperial base.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, Comic

The posters are really nice this time. As you know i prefer a clean graphical style without too much “noise” and the “For Mandalore!” certainly delivers. it immediately reminded me of the poster for the The Rocketeer movie, both in terms of composition and that 1920s/ 1930s graphical style. That reverse poster mimics the style of some movie openings with scenes stenciled into the text, only of course this one uses comic panels.

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Star Wars, November 2022, ExtraThe extra this month is a minifigure of Princess Leia and it’s actually a pretty good one because it’s rare. This version with the new skirt piece depicting her in her classic white dress from A new Hope so far only had been included in the ill-fated (because bad) Tantive IV (75244) and the current Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter (75301) I also reviewed here on this blog. Therefore the little lady has been an expensive investment if you wanted to buy it without getting any of those sets. Just buying this issue of the magazine will give it to you at much lower cost, even if the devaluation probably has Bricklink sellers grinding their teeth.

Already having owned the minifigure I could have skipped this issue easily, but of course this will be the main attraction for many readers. I still prefer buildable stuff and the next edition is going to give us a nice Imperial Star Destroyer once more, so I can live with that. Overall this is a decent issue that will be a nice bit of fun.

Raptor Relay – LEGO Jurassic World Magazine, October 2022

The Jurassic World magazine for October 2022 is not that great. I can tell you that up front. However, despite this in a more general sense the magazine remains at the top of my list of Blue Ocean‘s publications and I always look forward to it, so let’s have a gander at some of its contents.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, October 2022, Cover

The comic can quickly be summed up as “another issue, another chase”, and to boot, of course we’re still stuck in the actual Jurassic Park and on the island. This is really becoming long in the tooth and boring as heck, even more so since there are so few interesting new dinosaurs. There’s only so many ways you can spin a Velociraptor story.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, October 2022, Comic

The graphical style also once more is of the “lots of blue sky” variety and the panels don’t look that terribly interesting. At this point clearly City and Star Wars have the lead with their much more explosive and varied visual storytelling.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, October 2022, Comic

Another department clearly suffering from the lack of new dino species are the posters, which make you think “Didn’t I see that just two issues ago?”

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, October 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, October 2022, ExtraThe highlight of the magazine once more is the buildable extra, which in the Jurassic World magazine tend to be reasonably decked out. Though the cover sells this as a “(communications) base”, it is of course not. It’s more of a relay or one of the many surveillance points and access points to different areas of the park.  It captures this feeling nicely, even if it is rather small. The “bad guy” Rainn Delacourt is from the Atrociraptor Dinosaur: Bike Chase (76945) set and so is the little raptor with the new print, joining his Pyroraptor buddy from the July edition. A small highlight are the two 1 x 6 dual arches. I have a ton of white ones and a few crazy colors like Dark Pink, but the Light Bluish Grey ones so far have eluded me. LEGO uses this element relatively rarely and often in sets that I don’t buy like expensive Star Wars ones, so it’s nice to have them. It would have been ace if they had thrown in a printed tile like this one for instance to connect the two arches and cover the studs.

As said in my introduction, this certainly isn’t the best edition in the series, but at least the extra is its saving grace. I’d really only get this issue for that reason because the rest unfortunately is very forgettable.

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 like 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! 🙂

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.