Mini Lorry – LEGO City Magazine, May 2022

After last month’s issue was such a major low point, the LEGO City magazine for this month needs to make up a lot and something enticing. Will it succeed? Let’s find out!

LEGO Magazine, City, May 2022, Cover

The immediate bad news is that the comic doesn’t live up to that expectation. The story about corking up some soda volcanoes is rather nonsensical to begin with, but kids probably won’t make much of that. However, I’m miffed by the inconsistent drawing style. The regular panels are decent and some of them are even quite good in their expressiveness, but every time the volcanoes or corks come into view, the quality massively drops. That’s quite similar to the one with the Mount Rushmore figures two issues ago. Somehow the artist(s) struggle with rendering the textures in a convincing way and the perspective also seems off.

LEGO Magazine, City, May 2022, Comic

LEGO Magazine, City, May 2022, Comic

In brighter news, we get a decent poster this time. This applies to both the composition and also the technical aspect, as this one actually has pristine colors and hasn’t been turned into a mess in pre-press. Someone really must have screwed up in the other editions, as this clearly shows that they can do it if only they want to. Otherwise there’s not much to report. at least I didn’t discover any extraordinarily gripping puzzles or other activities. It’s really just standard fare.

LEGO Magazine, City, May 2022, Poster

The extra is a small mini dump truck as you occasionally see them at construction sites as small utility vehicles to distribute materials and goods from a central unloading area to the actual locations where the workers are busy. It’s another super simple build with everything being just plugged onto a central 2 x 6 plate, but at least the result looks believable enough. The tipper bed/ gravel container is a new element for my collection, being that otherwise it is mostly used in 4+ ish sets and since I never bought any in which it was contained, I never had one before. I don’t feel it’s something essential everyone should have, but my gut tells me that it may one day come in handy for an unexpected creative use. The minifigure is just “construction guy no. 5” with orange legs and a plaid shirt, so not much extra value here, either.

If it wasn’t for the small surprise with the buildable extra, this issue would be just another disappointment for me. There’s really very little here and it’s just not particularly good. *sigh*

Orange everywhere! – LEGO City Magazine, December 2021

The inconsistent quality of the various LEGO magazines really annoys me at times and this time I feel it’s particularly annoying with the City mag, December edition.

LEGO Magazine, City, December 2021, Cover

It starts off badly already with the comic. It’s plastered like crazy with those phonetic descriptions for sound effects. On some panels it’s so bad, you can barely view the actual drawing. I get that they wanted to visualize a noisy city, but this is way overboard and beyond any reasonable measure. It’s even more distracting due to the odd orange color. Might be a good reference to Halloween season and pumpkins at this time of year, but really just looks ugly.

LEGO Magazine, City, December 2021, Comic

This is quite frustrating, as once you try to filter out all the distracting type work in your mind the comic comes across as well drawn and pretty acceptable. Not the best there ever was, but at least bearable.

LEGO Magazine, City, December 2021, Comic

The madness continues with the poster, which is really, really bad. Not so much in terms of style, but the rendering is extremely flat and on top of it someone majorly screwed up in pre-press. The colors are all murky.

LEGO Magazine, City, December 2021, Poster

The extra isn’t particularly exciting, either. Construction workers just like police officers and fire fighters pop up frequently and there almost identical appearance every time doesn’t provide much variety on the menu. In this case at least the dual-molded hard hat with the ear muffs brings a bit of fresh air and the traffic light with the fence element would offer at least some play value if you have a suitable vehicle at hand to reenact that traffic jam…

LEGO Magazine, City, December 2021, Extra

If I wasn’t a regular reviewer of these mags, I’d likely have skipped this issue otherwise. It’s really rather dull and bland and as they say, the production value just isn’t there. Thankfully the outlook for the next issue is much better, but I’m not going to tell you what it is… 😉

Summer Double

The ongoing Corona pandemic is still messing up the release dates of the various LEGO magazines and it’s a bit of a jumble. That’s why today I’m rolling two of them into one review, the slightly late Friends magazine that was supposed to come out a week earlier and the current City issue.

LEGO Magazine, City, August 2020, Cover

As has become a bit of a tradition, the summer editions of these magazines are themed around matching activities such as swimming and diving, and lo and behold – we do indeed get another diver. I hinted at this of course already in my last review. The minifigure is from the “old” city series, not this year’s collaboration effort with National Geographic, so except for the colors of the swimming fins and the air tank it matches with the one from last year.

The shark is a nice addition, but also just the classic mold that has been around for forever. Nothing wrong with that. They just could spice things up every now and then. I would love to have this in Sand Blue (Blue Shark) or in Dark Tan (Sand Shark/ Bull Shark) or maybe they could have added some flair with Black or White fin tips (Black Tip/ White Tip Reef Shark). So many ways! Well, maybe we get lucky next year! 😉

The comic is called “Day of the Tentacle”, which sounds very familiar if you have ever heard of the game of the same name. It deals – of course – with a giant squid and the action surrounding a photo hunt for it. Some of the panels are drawn scarily realistically, so if you (or your kids) are sensitive to that sort of thing don’t read it before bedtime! That could apply to other stuff as well, as for all intents and purposes the creatures of the deep just look weird sometimes and are not for everyone. I happen to like them, so this month’s City magazine is quite nice for me.

LEGO Magazine, Friends, July/ August 2020, Cover

Elsewhere, in Heartlake City to be precise, things are a bit more harmless with a cutesy baby dolphin being rescued from an oh so evil shark. There’s really not much more to say about the comic than this tired trope. Most activities are picture-based with trying to find flaws or matching shapes, which i guess might be appropriate for five-year-old girls or something like that. There’s also a coloring image and this time you can assemble a larger panoramic poster from two double-page folds showing the girls’ faces.

The buildable parts come with a small raised lifeguard/ beach watcher seat and the Light Aqua baby dolphin found in last year’s sea animal rescue series, which unfortunately wasn’t continued this year and had to make way for the NatGeo collab around land-based animals as well just like in City. As usual nothing earth-shattering, but still nice to have a few extra parts for the collection.

Construction July

The months keep slogging on in these weird times and I’m still always surprised how quickly those weeks inbetween pass, yet here we go with another issue of the LEGO City magazine, this time for July.

LEGO Magazine, City, July 2020, Cover

The City theme has become kind of stale in the sense that they are walking on trodden paths all the time with the current subjects of the commercial sets being all too dominant, so I for one at least am glad that instead we every now and then get some diversity. Construction workers are a trope unto themselves, of course, but at least it’s not the umpteenth police officer.

This one comes with a ground compactor and some extra mobile fencing. Lovely stuff for an actual play scene. I also realized that until now I didn’t have a single of the 2 x 2 pillar-stile round bricks in Dark Bluish Grey in my collections. The wonders of incidental LEGO purchases! The name of the little guy is weird, though. Harl? SRSLY? Neither Harley nor Harlow or any derivations thereof are common names in German and it just doesn’t work for me. It certainly feels forced to squeeze the alliteration of the letter H in the name.

The rest of the magazine is pretty well-rounded. There’s lots of activities and while the puzzles, games and coloring image are not overly complex, they will keep your kids busy for at least an afternoon. I even like one of the posters. not that I would necessarily put it up on my wall, but as a graphics artist I have to say that its composition and execution are up to a certain standard that makes it perfectly acceptable. The comic doesn’t do much for me, but I guess that’s due to my general lack of interest and knowledge about soccer/ football.

The next issue will be a kind of dèja-vu, as it gives us another of the divers we already had in last year’s summer issue, just with variations on the accessories. It will also include a shark, but the old standard mold. Would have been nice to get the hammerhead from the just released new underwater series  instead… 😉

Yellow April

Just another month, just another LEGO City magazine one might say. Yes, the April issue is already here.

LEGO Magazine, City, April 2020, Cover

First thing to note: Blue Ocean seem to be using a different glue for the tacked on bag with the buildable elements (and also in this case a free sample pack of Ninjago collectible cards). It appears to be a bit less elastic and thus sticks to the paper more. Being unaware of this and following my usual method i therefore managed to shred the cover and rip of bits of the top layer of the paper, hence the white areas. I need to be more careful next time.

The parts included are touted as being for a bulldozer, but honestly words begin to fail me. It’s quickly becoming pointless to even include these elements if the supposed vehicle is barely even recognizable. They are clearly taking the reductions too far. The pieces are not without merit for me, though. Funny enough in all those years I never had come across this particular wheel hub type in yellow nor did I have the shield element in Dark Blueish Grey yet. So at least it’s a minor addition to my parts stock. The yellow hubs might come in handy if I ever decide to build a DHL/ Deutsche Post (German postal services) vehicle at least.

The comic is pretty wild and colorful, which I guess is natural when it’s about a rainbow-colored theme park being built. The activities, i.e. puzzles and so on also tie in quite well with this subject. And for once there’s even a pretty good poster (the one with the construction worker standing on the steel bar in mid-air). While certainly not essential, this is overall a good enough issue.