Explorer-ing… Mighty Machines – LEGO Explorer Magazine, February 2023

While it seems that the apocalypse has been cancelled for the LEGO Explorer magazine in the sense that it hasn’t been send to the pasture for good, something is fishy in Denmark in the quite literal sense. Imagine that: The next issue is scheduled for end of March! They are seriously stretching the publication cycle as a cost saving measure. This means we’ll effectively only be getting six issues this year, if at all. It must really be selling poorly or paper has gotten super expensive… Anyway, let’s move on and see what we have here.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2023, Cover

This issue is about “mighty machines”, which in the world of a child of course simply means they are big/ bigger than others. As it is, we therefore only get a rather generic and loose selection of a few specialized vehicles, ships, machines and so on. It’s way too broad to really dig into the specifics of one of them, which is always what massively diminishes the value of these editorial pages. I’m sure that even if you don’t nerd out completely, a detailed view at a tunnel drilling machine or one of those super size mining excavators would be more than enough to fill one magazine.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2023, Info Page

The comic takes a spin on the agricultural theme introduced in City last year and looks oddly familiar, especially after having built the Farmer’s Market Van (60345) with its strip of field.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2023, Comic

The poster depicts a bunch of super cars/ hyper cars. It’s not necessarily my favorite subject, but at least it looks reasonably tasteful and fits the “mighty” topic on some level.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, February 2023, Poster

The extra is the small blue tractor seen in the comic. It’s more of a lawnmower tractor rather than a real one for real field work, but serviceable. I intentionally mounted the main wheels the other way around, as tractors usually have hollow wheel hubs with the nuts visible, not spoked ones. The designer of the model and/ or the comic artist got this wrong.

All things considered, this is a rather hum-ho edition and I’m afraid if things don’t improve, they will never get out of their slump and won’t convince more people to buy the mag. It’s okay for what it is, but they really need to improve. The only consolation this time was that the thing came with two polybags as apparently they have tons of those from unsold previous issues. I got another skull, but yours may contain a different model. It’s not completely “free”, though. They ramped up the price by an extra euro for that.

Explorer-ing Humans – LEGO Explorer Magazine, April 2021

Closing off the “LEGO magazine race” in the first week of this month we of course have the LEGO Explorer magazine to look at, this time for April 2021. This time it deals with humans in the broader sense and, unlike the front page suggests, only partially with the human body as such.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, April 2021, Cover

This edition feels a bit all over the place as it’s my impression that they didn’t quite know what to do with the subject of human anatomy. Understandably they may have wanted to spare kids some more grueling imagery, but the issue feels a bit superficial therefore. There’s only a double spread explaining some facts about the skeletal system and that’s pretty much it. Only the poster picks up on the subject again. It’s done nicely enough and if your kid is at the right age could serve as a simple primer for basic biology lessons in school even.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, April 2021, Poster

The rest of the mag is stuffed with other activities such as this minifigure head coloring exercise, some trivia quizzes and some puzzles. There’s also a few more informative pages, including one on optical illusions that should provide some distraction as your kids squint their eyes while they hold the magazine in front of their faces or build stuff with their bricks.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, April 2021, Coloring Page

One of the articles deals with some special people that have made some special human achievements. The selection is rather random and arbitrary, but at least eclectic and diverse enough to be reasonably representative.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, April 2021, Info Page

The extra is a skull to be built from bricks. It has, however, very little to do with a human skull. It looks more like that of a small primate due to the upper and rear sections being proportionately way too small for a human brain. People always underestimate how big that thing is, something I also had to learn the hard way in my drawing and painting endeavors. For the limited number of pieces in these sets it’s adequate, but of course a little more detail would have been nice. It might also have helped had they actually included a page explaining the anatomy of the skull a bit to make it easier for the kids to recognize the features.

LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, April 2021, Extra  LEGO Magazine, LEGO Explorer, April 2021, Extra

As it is, this edition is just fine, but somehow this doesn’t live up to the quality of previous issues. It’s just not as much fun and the skull model ultimately is underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong – still more value in here than the comic-based LEGO mags, but if they’re not careful, their quality will decline and then the mag might become uninteresting rather quickly.