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.

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.

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.

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… 🙂

Explorer-ing… Treasures – LEGO Explorer Magazine, August 2022

Unlike most people I never had much interest in adventure-centric themes such as pirates when I was a kid, so I’m always skeptical or even adverse when someone is trying to play on that nostalgia. That doesn’t mean I don’t get the appeal, but it just isn’t for me (mostly) bar the occasional review of a LEGO set like the Pirate Ship (31109). Many others of course love this stuff, so the latest issue of the LEGO Explorer magazine should please them.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, August 2022, Cover

The topic of the day is treasure hunting in the broadest sense and that encompasses everything from pirates chasing gold dublones to archaeologists searching for artifacts. This is covered briefly on some info pages, if only in a somewhat superficial way. With the target demographic in mind it’s probably okay, though.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, August 2022, Info Page

The comic is based around a chase inside an Egyptian pyramid and since in this magazine the comics aren’t drawn out across too many pages and thus a quick enjoyable read.  Less is sometimes better!

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, August 2022, Comic

The poster is unfortunately just another advertisement in disguise and I really wish they would stop doing this, especially when the sets are no longer on the market and cannot be obtained easily and cost-efficiently through regular channels.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, August 2022, Poster

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, August 2022, ExtraAll of this is of course leading up to the extra, which unsurprisingly is a little (pirate) ship. I’m not the biggest fan of micro/ nano scale stuff, but for what you can expect from a magazine freebie this is adequate enough. Interestingly it is still one of the few models to feature this inverted curved slope in Reddish Brown as it was introduced back then when I did my review of Moana’s Bot (43170). In addition, I got another extra this time. Clearly Ehapa are trying to get rid of surplus stock and stick a second poly bag on to their magazines just like Blue Ocean do occasionally. Mine was the penguin from early last year, but you may get a different one.

Overall this has been some decent value even if I’m not into the subject matter that much. Getting a second extra alone is worth it.

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!

August Pony Ride – LEGO Friends Magazine, August 2022

Little girls love horses. That seems to be one of those universal cosmic mysteries that nobody can explain. So literally Blue Ocean are right on the money with the August 2022 issue of the LEGO Friends magazine being centered around the subject.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Cover

As you know, I can’t quite get behind the Friends comics due to the unnatural faces looking like ugly grimaces. That said, this one is at least okay in terms of the visual density. Some panels would actually look quite nice if you substituted the characters for more appealing versions.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Comic

As is now an established standard feature there’s a coloring page, this time depicting the girls at the stables. As usual it would be even better if they didn’t plaster everything with those wannabe “funny” text overlays and graphical elements.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Coloring Page

There’s an info page providing some factoids about foals along with some cute photos, which will please the kids.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Info Page

That also goes for the reverse side of the poster, showing yet another of the little horses. The front shows two of the girls with the horse in the middle.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Poster

The extra this time is rather elaborate with a feeding and cleaning station, a water pump, some bales of hay/ straw and – surprise, surprise – an actual horse. It’s just LEGO‘s old foal mold in black that has been around forever, but it’s better than nothing. What’s even better is the fact that this extra would make a nice addition to the Pony-Washing Stable (41696), a low price set that contains another white foal and some more horse-centric elements to enrich your kid’s play fantasy. It’s definitely worth considering, even if only now after reading this brief magazine review.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, August 2022, Extra

Overall this is a pretty neat edition of the Friends magazine. As I’ve written in another such article, a consistent mono-thematic publication is always preferable over scattershot issues that try to cover too many different topics only to fail. The lucky coincidence of out there being a complementary set that would boost the experience can only mean to buy this issue, so just do it! 🙂

Pyro Raptor Capture – LEGO Jurassic World Magazine, July 2022

Creative cover design is certainly nothing to scoff at, but can’t they keep it at least a bit real? Those Dark Red hot dog pieces are gonna cost you an arm and a leg if you were to recreate that cover shot, given how rare they are. Anyway, on to the actual July edition of the LEGO Jurassic World magazine.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, July 2022, Cover

The comic is one of those 50/ 50 ones where you can’t quite put the finger on what bothers you. Well, in a way you can, but it’s rather subjective. I think my biggest issue here is that the comics make it appear as if those dinosaur parks somehow are mostly heavy plain concrete buildings and jungle, but overall have very little else and are not particularly structured. So here we once more get lots of greys and dull browns with occasional greens popping through. It would probably help a lot if some of the walls would be colored or had some signage and posters.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, July 2022, Comic

With regards to the actual story – it’s of course another chase. The positive here is that we actually get to see a few buildings like the visitor center pyramid and an aviary, not just fences and walls. Apart from that there’s not really much that would differentiate it from other such plot lines of which we had tons before. A school class quietly visiting the dino petting zoo would really be a welcome change of pace…

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, July 2022, Comic

The poster is a play on one of the scenes in the latest Jurassic World – Dominion movie where the silhouette of a T-Rex can be seen on an open air cinema screen. A bit too much of an insider gag if you haven’t seen the film or aren’t following film blogs and YouTube channels like I as a film buff do, so the joke will be lost on most people. On its own merits it’s fine and still impresses. However, one has to question the color choices. The black isn’t really black and instead a dark brown and the reds and yellows look dull. This ruins the contrast IMO. It looks like those thinly printed logos on one of those brown recycled paper shopping bags, but this should definitely look a lot more vibrant and contrast-y.

LEGO Magazine, Jurassic World, July 2022, Poster

For the extra, Blue Ocean are pulling a “Reverse November”, that is November 2020. Back then they brought out another small trailer after having brought out a buggy to tow it in the issue before. We will now get such a vehicle in the August edition. The cage cart itself is reasonably detailed and benefits from having the two leaves and the hot dog as decorations. It makes things so much more lively. The cage elements unfortunately cannot be opened in a way so they touch the ground, so using them as a ladder for the dino to get on and off. You know, it would have been nice had they been offset and mounted on a hinge to reach over the wheels. A minor complaint, though. Overall it’s lovely, not least of all because they included a new version of the baby raptor. That’s a Pyroraptor for you with a purple stripe down its back. If you haven’t bought any of the sets from this year’s wave of new sets this is an easy way of adding the little bugger to your collection without spending too much.

Once more this issue is saved by the inclusion of the extra and how nicely it is designed. The rest is slightly forgettable and lacks this extra touch of finesse I would like to see. I’d even be willing to bet that some kids are a bit tired of the repetitive stories and the Jurassic World universe having become to dark and gritty for its own good. Can’t we simply be enawed by nice dinosaurs like back then when the first Jurassic Park movie came out?