I had hoped the new LEGO City magazine would come out this week already so I could use it as a hook for this article for a specific reason, but somehow Blue Ocean seem to have made an oopsie and instead LEGO Explorer beat them to the punch. I guess that’s what happens when you let stuff be packaged and printed in Poland and then the transport gets stuck on the Autobahn on its way to Germany…
This edition of the LEGO Explorer is centered around dangerous animals of different types, some of which are large predators, some equally large otherwise harmless animals that would simply run you over under threat, others who are venomous hunters and then a few that would just kill you with their toxins if you ate them. As usual this is explained on a few informative pages and also on the poster. Without trying to get on anybody’s nerves, but it would of course all look so much better if these were dedicated custom photo sets instead of just randomly pieced together images from stock libraries.
As a novelty, this magazine now gets its own comic For the time being it doesn’t try too hard too look completely LEGO-ish, even though there definitely are recognizable elements and stylistic similarities to other ones, but it’s not as “in your face” like in City, Ninjago and the other magazines. If they maintain that delicate balance while introducing other characters and stories this could actually work. For now it’s just four pages, anyway.
The quiz is turned on the side and the shark mouth is kinda cool, but offers little real content.
The extra is a male lion built from a bunch of bricks. The pose is a bit too static for my taste, but of course this is meant for kids. At least this makes it more stable and easy to handle. my only real complaint otherwise would be that they really, really, really could have included the droid arm used for the tail in Tan as well. The Dark Bluish Grey just stands out too much.
It’s pretty cold in large parts of Europe currently and even in the area where I live we had a decent helping of snow those last few days, not to speak of other regions like Madrid that struggle with more than one meter thick layers, something only occurring every 50 years or so. That’s why it seems all the more a fitting coincidence that the February issue of the LEGO Explorer magazine is based around everything to do with the Antarctic and Arctic polar regions.
The first pleasant surprise in the contents of the mag is a quite comprehensive overview of the various penguin species, those funny birds that can’t fly and inhabit large regions of the Southern hemisphere from the Antarctic up to the southernmost regions of Africa and South America. There’s actually another double spread after the one in the picture. I haven’t checked for completeness and exactitude of the details, but for kids this should be more than enough to digest.
There’s some more info about animals on the central poster, this time with an emphasis on the Northern regions, including a Snow Owl. Sounds familiar? I sure hope so!
There’s several pages dedicated to puzzles, quizzes and drawing activities, which under current lockdown conditions is good news for parents. Your kids will be busy for quite a while, even though most of this stuff is till too simplistic for my taste. I feel the magazine should orient itself towards a slightly older audience instead of trying to be only for third-graders…
The buildable model is of course a penguin as well. At around 7 cm tall it’s reasonably large. The beak looks more like that of a Tucan or Puffin, though, meaning it’s perhaps a bit too large for its own good. At this scale the rest of the model likely would have to be twice as large for reasonable proportions. The construction is nothing special, as this is essentially just a stack of 4 x 4 plates and SNOT bricks and brackets in the middle onto which a bunch of slopes and plates are plugged sideways. No extraordinary pieces, but you can never have enough different curved slopes. You never know when you will need them.
Overall this issue turned out better than I had anticipated from the preview in the last one and it feels pretty satisfying, all things considered. The penguin model is appropriate and feels like you got some good value for your money and the rest of the magazine feels rich enough to warrant spending your money on it.