Dalmatian Invasion – LEGO Friends Magazine, January 2021

While I was prepared for a flood of new magazines to come out due to the festive season’s unusual timing this year, this was somewhat mitigated by a slight delay in the LEGO Friends magazine. It arrived two days late at my resident newsstand and then I didn’t get around to actually writing the article. Go, figure! So here we are for a slightly belated look at the January edition.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, January 2021, Cover

This one is all about “speckled dogs”, as they call it, a.k.a. Dalmatians and similar dog breeds. As usual the comic just isn’t my thing, be that the annoyingly cloying writing or the nightmarish depiction of the girls, but at least this time they had the sense to squeeze in an info page featuring adorable puppies all over the place.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, January 2021, Info Page

This continues on one of the posters and while it would be a good idea to veer away from their ugly CG abominations – oh my, did they screw it up with one hell of a lousy photo montage. The dog on the left looks completely fake and out of place! I wish they had just used the original photo of the right dog and sized it to fully cover the poster, including omitting the purple arch. Really makes me wonder what hacks are working at Blue Ocean… *sigh*

LEGO Magazine, Friends, January 2021, Poster

As has been an ongoing trend, unfortunately, the buildable extra is as lo-fi as you can imagine. at this point it’s probably safe to say that I have way too many of those Magenta jumper plates and Flame Yellowish Orange round plates that I’ll never use for anything. Even the dog isn’t anything special, as it’s just the variant with the grey eye patch that can also be found in many of this year’s sets. If at least they’d create special prints to fit the topic of the mag, this would greatly enhance its desirability and usefulness.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, January 2021, Extra

So for all intents and purposes this is not a great issue, but I guess anything is better than nothing while parents are stuck at home with their kids with schools closed and all that and will buy it, regardless.

Saturday Triple

I’ve distracted myself with way too much other stuff this week, so I didn’t get around to catching you up on the latest LEGO magazines and thus I’m rolling three of them into this single article.

LEGO Magazine, City, June 2020, Cover

The June issue of the City mag this time is themed around the new racing/ car workshop sets from this year’s spring releases and consequently therefore we are getting a small kart as buildable parts. It’s nothing too special, but at least it uses the same base plate as they did in the failed Friends kart racing series, so building your little vehicle is super simple and at the same time super robust. The minifigure is also nice in that it’s plain and generic enough to fit many scenarios. Even the red helmet is a welcome change from the usual, as lately I seem to have only come across black and white ones in most sets.

The aforementioned figure is also featured on one of the posters and this, too, benefits from the somewhat unspecific, unbranded nature. If you will, it’s not as obtrusive as some other figures that are plastered all over with advertising, be that made up or real. The comics seem to now have fully transitioned to the newer, more dynamic style in all magazines, so it’s pretty acceptable and, which is a bonus, can also almost be followed without reading the speech bubbles.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, June 2020, Cover

The Friends magazine is giving me a lot of grief, not just because they reduced its publishing frequency to only every two months. It’s just done so poorly from the lackluster comic to the ugly CG figures. The only reason I still buy it are indeed the extra buildable pieces. With the puppy training theme being the latest weird trend in the commercial sets it was inevitable that it would show up here one day as well. The good thing about it is that this way I’m getting a white little doggy without ever having to buy one of those sets, as indeed Bello with the grey dotted eye patch is completely new print variant of this molding.

The rest is really not worth mentioning, though at least it seems they have adjusted their target demographic’s age a little and the activities and some other things at least make sense in that context.

LEGO Magazine, Hidden Side, June 2020, Cover

Finally there’s Hidden Side. The graphical fidelity of the series still impresses me and shows that a lot of labor was poured into it, the actual story and content not so much. At least the J.B. figure is pretty decent and they even were smart enough to include the ghost-hunting gun. That’s cool because it’s based on the newer 1×1 pistol piece, which due to its compact size and strategically placed studs opens up lots of possibilities to build custom weapons, household appliances etc. or even integrate is as a brick/ bracket of sorts into regular builds.

The poster with the different ghosts would actually be okay if it wasn’t so overstuffed, but Jack? SRSLY? Isn’t it bad enough that we’re getting yet another boring figure of him in the next issue? I’m sorry, but I’m literally facepalming myself over this…