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.

Cookie Bird – LEGO Disney Princess Magazine, June 2021

The odd publishing cycle for the LEGO Disney Princess magazine still causes me a lot of trepidation as chasing down the latest issue is still a major pain (at least without back-ordering it directly from Blue Ocean‘s web site), but this time I once more got lucky on one of my trips to the doctor. The June issue is in fact already out for two weeks now, but that’s still close enough.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, June 2021, Cover

The topic of this edition is baking and the comic goes quite fanciful in that it throws in a lot of stuff on the subject from the Friends series where it is much more prevalent. A bit nonsensical, but adequate. It’s also surprisingly short overall, because the rest of the mag is filled quite well with quizzes and puzzles, crafting and coloring pages.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, June 2021, Comic

There’s a big double spread that should keep your kids busy with their crayons or felt pens for quite some while plus there’s some additional smaller ones to move on to after that. The crafting part, a stowage box, is perhaps a bit too complex both in execution and source materials required, at least for kids below a certain age. I would estimate that you shouldn’t try this with first-graders lacking the precision and dexterity or you’d see a lot of bleeding fingers…

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, June 2021, Coloring

The posters are rather average and don’t expose much finesse in their design, but I guess this won’t deter some little girls as long as it shows their favorite princess.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, June 2021, Poster

The buildable extra is an old-fashioned kitchen oven fired with wood as it apparently plays a role in that infamous scene in Cinderella. The construction is super simple, involving only three arches more or less with a few plates, but sufficient and stable enough. It even comes with one of the small birds/ pigeons, which is always a bonus. The White version is more readily available than the Dark Azure one, but still surprisingly costly on Bricklink. Therefore getting one “for free” can only be a good thing.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, June 2021, Extra

All in all this is an okay issue as in particular it offers enough on the activities front and the extra is pretty acceptable. If you find it wherever you live you can buy this without having to think about it too much.

Bang the Drum! – LEGO Disney Princess Magazine, February 2021

I’m currently not hitting the road for my many doctor’s visits as often as I used to for reasons that should be obvious, so keeping up with the slightly elusive LEGO Disney Princess magazine has become even more difficult. I was almost ready to order the February issue from the Blue Ocean online store directly when by sheer luck I discovered one of the magazines buried under a stack of others at a newsstand at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (main station). The mag has been out for a month already, so I’m a little late, but that shall not stop us from having a look at it evaluating its value.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, March 2021, Cover

As so often the comic is kind of weird with the different Disney princesses appearing out of the blue together and Moana (or Vaiana, as she is called here in Germany) definitely doesn’t even make a good fit for most of the others inspired by the European Renaissance and Romanticism eras. I think they need to broaden the scope here and come up with better stories. I’m also puzzled by the drawings referencing old LEGO parts like the four-petaled 1 x 1 flower stud that hasn’t been used in any official set for almost three years now. Maybe they need to bring their illustrator’s guidelines up to standard?

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, March 2021, Comic

Regrettably there is no reading story on the last few pages, something which I always considered something to elevate the mag as a whole. It gave it a bit of classiness and didn’t put it in the kindergarten category. We’ll have to see if they bring it back. Outside that there’s the usual labyrinth puzzles, a few coloring/ drawing pages and some info pages on the characters. They are centered on Moana‘s musical inclinations and what instrument you/ your kid might want to play, given the chance. One thing that stood out to me is the little crafting section on building a small drum with sticks from a cardboard roll, rubber bands, lollipops and bottle corks and then painting and decorating it. This could make for an interesting afternoon project to distract your kids.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, March 2021, Crafting

The Belle poster is okay in my opinion, the reverse with a group shot of the princesses perhaps not so much. Either way, I think it’s already getting repetitive and they need to change things up here as well.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, March 2021, Poster

The extra is Moana herself with her drum. I already have the figure from the Moana’s Boat (43170) set, so this doesn’t set my world on fire, but if you don’t have it yet, you’ll like it. It’s well-produced and definitely worth a look. At this point the set I mentioned, which is the only one containing this figure, is marked to end its run. Therefore this represents a good opportunity to actually get the minidoll with minimum effort. the rest is not really worth mentioning, but I’m just as glad they left the bowl piece of the drum in Dark Red, so it could at least be useful as a realistic flower pot one day.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, March 2021, Extra

Really not much more to say than what I already wrote, but once more it seems to me that they don’t quite know what to do with the mag. You couldn’t even blame them for using it as an ancillary marketing tool because the content is so misaligned with what’s actually on shelves. I’m still stumped over this…

Raise your Cup! – LEGO Disney Princess Magazine, December 2020

Chasing after the LEGO Disney Princess magazine still proves difficult due to the odd release cycle and Blue Ocean still not having a handle on distribution, so I completely missed the last issue in September. Not a big loss for me at this point, but I might back-order it in their online shop one of these days. Either way, here we are having a look at the December issue instead which lucky enough I was able to obtain in a timely manner only a few days after release due to coincidentally hitting the road for one of my endless doctor’s visits.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, December 2020, Cover

The cover gives off a Christmas-y vibe as it’s based on The Beauty and the Beast, a story which plays out in large parts through the winter (well, at least in the various movies). I’m pretty sure there are some families who in fact have this as part of their regular annual holiday viewing schedule. I haven’t watched any of that in years, so I have only a passing memory of the first animated Disney movie from the early 1990s.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, December 2020, Coloring Page

Inside the magazine things are quite different, though, with the stories and comics not at all being specifically centered on the festive season or for that matter the cold season. Would have been nice if they had made it a bit more consistent as clearly there is enough material that could be pieced together from various movies and series. Overall it’s okay, though. there’s also quite a bit of “activities” stuff this time around with several puzzles and two coloring pages, one being the smaller pony shown above and a second being a large center spread hidden under the posters.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, December 2020, Poster

Stylistically I like the posters, but they’re already getting a bit stale thematically with the ever same poses and scenes. I’m also wondering how many of them you can actually have in the long run without this getting too repetitive or causing chaos once your kid has picked its favorite and won’t allow anything else.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, December 2020, Extra

The extras in this series so far have been okay, but this one really disappoints in that recognizably only the bare minimum has been done. The roller tray with Mrs. Potts and her son would offer so much more potential and disappointingly to me this is once more one of those “a few pieces more” cases where perhaps another ten parts would have allowed to build it taller and with a larger surface area, possibly even allowing to include Lumiére by ways of a simple candle on a golden telescope piece. I guess we should be happy they actually kept the printed versions and didn’t use a plain kettle and cup, but it still feels unsatisfying.

All things considered, the LEGO Disney Princess magazines remain in that weird place of being kind of non-essential – not because the idea doesn’t have merit, but simply because it’s executed in the most lazy way possible. Even just looking at the preview for the next magazine makes me sad, as it’s clear that they are kind of winging it and making content up as they go with no real long-term strategy other than making it to the next issue. Don’t let that stop you from purchasing this one, but I’m getting more and more skeptical with every new edition…

Lucifer-ific!

It literally took forever – the LEGO Disney Princess issue no. 4 (July/ August) was originally previewed in the last edition for June 6th, but only came out this last Saturday, meaning 1.5 months later. Lucky enough I was on the road for a doctor’s appointment and was able to snatch up a copy without much delay this time.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, August 2020, Cover

I was rather keen on this issue for the buildable parts because of course Lucifer, the deceitful cat from the Cinderella animated movie. It has only been in two or three sets recently and those are ones from the 4+ range, thus most adults won’t buy them, and it’s therefore nice to get the figure this way. The other parts are useful, too, with in particular the white arched window and a matching arch on top standing out. That’s always nice to have for MOCs. Even the 1 x 4 roof brick in Dark Blue falls into that category. The small window corner also goes well together with the Cinderella Mini Castle (30554) polybag set as illustrated in the photo.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, August 2020, Buildable Parts

Lucifer himself makes an appearance in the illustrated readable story in the second half and his devilish cunning is captured so well, the pictures would make for a good poster. At least it put a broad grin on my face. The main comic on the other hand feels weird this time. It reminds me too much of those terrible LEGO Friends comics and on top of it it feels stylistically rather disjointed with different graphical elements. I get that they were trying something new, but the result doesn’t look attractive to me.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, August 2020, Poster A Speaking of which… the same could be said about the posters. The vertical one looks nice, but the second, horizontal one feels overstuffed and lacking in contrast, making it more difficult to recognize what it is even about.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, August 2020, Poster B

 

Derived from the comic is a bit of crafting activity. As you can see there’s a rather colorful owl in there (which would actually be cool to have as a physical LEGO animal figure) and you can build a small deco version of it to pin on your wall or door. Unfortunately, and that’s a serious criticism, it’s once again not printed on thicker, more stable stock. So if you and your kids feel like building the little critter you may want to glue it on cardboard or alternatively scan it and print it on photo carton with your home printer.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, August 2020, Owl Crafting

Overall still a nice issue despite some shortcomings. If you have been paying attention you also already know what’s coming in the next edition. Yes, Belle is featured so prominently in the comic and the poster she will be included as a figure next time. The obvious question is, however, whether we will have to wait just as long as for this one. The current plan according to Blue Ocean‘s web site is to release at the end of September, but whether this date sticks is anyone’s guess…

Cinderella Blue(s)

The unpredictable nature of the LEGO Disney Princess magazine’s release cycle and distribution still rubs me the wrong way. I was genuinely surprised when Blue Ocean announced the new issue on their Facebook page as apparently no planned release date had been given in the previous edition. Since I wouldn’t hit the road this month and thus not come across one of the few newsstands in my area where the mag is sold, I ordered it from their online shop, adding a costly 2.10 Euro for postage on top of the 4.50 Euro price.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, May 2020, Cover

The third issue in this still very young series follows the same pattern as the other two that came before. The highlight for me is still the actual written story, which makes good reading for a second or third grade kid or as a bedtime story. Some simple puzzles round off the content along with some acceptable posters. The crafting tip for some ruffled paper flowers is a bit of a head-scratcher. The templates in the mag are just stars, but since they’re not printed on stronger stock they are pretty useless as the real patterns. You better create your own ones from cardboard for improved stability and durability.

The Cinderella mini doll is okay, though obviously my preference still lies with buildable parts such as will be included in the next issue again. I already found out via Blue Ocean‘s web site that it’s supposed to come out on June 6th and if that holds up I should be able to pick it up only a few days later when I have one of my doctor’s appointments…

Aurora goes to Bed

In these trying times every bit of good news helps to lighten the mood, so I was pretty happy when I got the chance to pick up the latest LEGO Disney Princess magazine. Since it’s still not being distributed through the regular channels like the other LEGO magazines and only available at a few select sales outlets, of course once again it took one of my many excursions to a doctor to get the opportunity. At least that’s still allowed under all those restrictions.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, April 2020, Cover

Of course my primary focus are still the buildable parts that come with those magazines and as far as that is concerned, this issue is pretty nice. Most importantly you get some of the relatively new 1×2 bricks with a curved top and having a white 4×6 plate isn’t to bad, either, loatest when you’re getting into building Christmas-y/ winter stuff later this year. The whole thing would have been even more useful to a MOC builder if the cat tail elements at the head end would have been in Reddish Brown or Tan instead of Dark Pink. Can’t have it all, I suppose.

The magazine follows the same style as the last one, meaning there is some coloring images, a readable story and some decent comic. One of the posters features the cover image from the last issue in full glory and along with the complementary pieces for the bed kind of closes off the Aurora theme in a nicely rounded manner.

Another issue is previewed on the last page, but no concrete date is given, which could be a sign of the times or mean that the magazine may not sell that well and could be cancelled at any point. Then again, of course, they are not making it easy to actually buy it, so what do they expect? We’ll have to see if there’s some movement on this at the end of May/ early June. I’ll keep you posted…

Belated January Princess

Our friends at Blue Ocean have decided that the world needs another LEGO magazine, so naturally I got a bit excited when first news came out late last year about the new LEGO Disney Princess line. As you well know I do have a soft spot for this girl-ish stuff in crazy colors and with the Friends magazine only coming out every two months in these parts I welcome every additional alternative.

LEGO Magazine, Disney Princess, January 2020, Cover

The first issue actually already was released mid-January, but unfortunately they chose to only distribute it through some larger outlets for the time being in some sort of test drive. Therefore I was only able to catch it this week while I was on tour for a medical appointment in one of the nearby bigger cities. Here’s hoping that this will get popular enough that they decide to also pour it into regular channels and I can pick it up on my local newsstand some day.

Having only recently bought the pink carriage set, I of course had no urgent need or desire for the included Aurora figure, but it’s not that bad overall and should be of interest for your kids. beyond that I really only wanted to check out the magazine. As far as that goes, it’s pretty much in line with any of the other LEGO magazines and follows the same pattern. There’s some comics, a coloring picture, posters, some simple puzzle, some crafting activities in the form of instructions for a crown-shaped pillow and even an actual readable text story. Apparently I’m not the core demographic for this, but this seems okay.

I’m also pleased that there’s a lot of painted stuff. Admittedly a lot of it looks like digitally over-painted CG-renderings, regardless, but the natural touch and a few irregularities make it much more bearable and less creepy. It’s still kind of inconsistent, though, with photos, cheap CG, the mentioned over-paint style, the comic illustrations and then of course other graphics often appearing next to each other. this certainly could be smoothed out a bit, including better typography and font use. Sometimes it feels very lumped together.

It remains to be seen how this develops and stabilizes, but if you get a chance there’s no harm in picking this up. I’m already looking forward to the second issue which is due mid March and will contain some actual buildable pieces to create Aurora‘s bed. I just hop that I’ll be able to get my hands on it without that much of a delay and hunting it down will not be so complicated as the first time…