Monday, December 31, 2018

Yearly Look Back, 2018 Edition

Let's take a look back at the past year.

I'm up 17 posts from last year, for a personal best of 185 posts. I'm holding my "slightly more than three posts per week" average for the fifth year in a row and actually increased it to 3.6 posts per week this year.  I've passed 1,000 posts.  I'm estimating cracking 2,000 posts sometime around July of 2024.

The Central MA gaming group continued to meet this year.   We only managed seven games together, but I managed to play in twelve games this year.  I'm working on setting up a meet'n'greet for all the Massachusetts players I can track down, and maybe even any Greater New England players that can make it.  I still want to implement my "Game Store Grand Tour" plan and cycle through several game stores to get us in front of more people.

I managed 105 reviews this year; 7 non-building block, 9 Mega Bloks, 11 clone bricks, 11 Kre-O, and 67 Lego. That comes out to an average of 8.75 per month. Which is an increase of 0.92 reviews per month.

I'm closing in on 800K views, which is roughly another 100K views since last year.  Thank you to everyone for that.   My Flickr stream is over 2.2 million views which I must thank everyone for as well.

I got to attend PAX East and PAX Unplugged again.  I got to meet more great MoF0s, see some old friends, hopefully make new ones, and play some fun games.  I finally got to share a table with Vincent and Joshua this year which was a real high point.

See you next year!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Terrain & Scenery 13

Everything in this post was purpose built for Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack.


Rocky Terrain by Mark vanWeerd.  Neat stuff.



A different kind of wall.





MFZ - Plants & Terrain by Moctagon Jones.
I like the look of the rock formations.




neat, has a fantasy vibe.



Porta-john by milt69466.  Too fun to pass up on.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Purity: Kre-O B5715 Blizzard Strike Bumblebee Kreon Review

I've been sitting on this review for a while.  I reviewed a similar version of this set earlier this year.  It's similar to the other one with palette swapped pieces.  I'm still using the Non-Building Block review system for these since they look like they could be a Frame-in-a-Box.


Box. I paid $5.00 for this at Dollar General.


Instructions.











Disassembled.  All that Trans-Yellow is pretty
 cool.  The 1x1 Bar Plates are very useful.

Assembled.  2Rd+d8 for the gatlings, 1Y
for the pistol, and 1B for the helmet.







Size Comparison.



The Questions:
Is it below, at, or above $10 per Frame?  Below.  (+5)
Is it a good size to use in a game?  Yes.  It looks roughly the same size as a Chub.  (+5)
How many parts does it have to represent systems?  Four.  (+5)
Does it have enough parts you can remove to represent White Dice damage?  Yes.  (+5)
Score: +20 (A+).  Another Frame-in-a-Box.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Purity: Block Tech Robo Machines Review

I was alerted to the existence of these sets by a kindly post on the MFZ Facebook group the other day.

Box.  I paid $5.00 for this at 5 Below, this gives us a $0.03 Price per Piece.



Instructions.




Parts 1.Wheels, Ball Joints, Brackets, Tiles, Mudguard Plate, Minifig Helmet, Minifig Assault Rifle, and Cars Windshield Brick.




Parts 2.  Plates, Axle Plates, Clip Plates, Jumpers, Tile, a Grille Tile, Bracket, Slopes, Plates w/Door Rail, and Minifig Head.


Parts 3.  Plates, Axle Plates, Plates w/Door Rail, Jumpers, Brackets, Tiles, Grille Tiles, Brackets, Bricks, Headlight Bricks, a Panel, and a Turntable Base.




Parts 4.  Plates, Wheels, Ball Joints, Slopes, Lampholders, Antenna, Tooth Plates, Clip Plates, Mudguard Plates, Technic 1L Connectors, Round Plates, Minifig Gun, and Brick w/2 Studs.


Parts 5.  I'm not sure if you can tell but the anti-stud in the bottom section of this plate is mis-molded and barely there.  This lets you know the quality control on these parts.  Also, the clutch on some of the Ball Joint pieces is very variable.


Build 1.  2Rd/1B/2Y quad.





Build 2.  Brawler.

The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Below.  (+5)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  Yes.  (+5)
Score: +20 (A+).  I'm conflicted about this score.  The quality control isn't great yet you get two Frames and plenty of spare parts out of this set for $5.00

Friday, December 21, 2018

Terrain Workshop

I had a little time to kill one day after work and before an appointment so I wandered into a Michael's to take a look around.  I knew they carried clone brick sets at one point and I figured I'd have a look see at what they had in stock.  Turns out they now carry Lego but that's a different story.

I wandered into the scrapbooking aisle and saw multiple types of paper with colorful designs and prints on them.  This immediately gave me an idea for a table cover that wasn't made of felt and also had multiple colors, prints, and/or textures that made it look like the covering was multiple terrain types at once.

That was the initial idea.  Later, I had the thought that these paper products could be combined with a felt covering in a sort of "mixed media" effort at creating a cool table-setting.  I didn't abandon the original idea but with PAX Unplugged coming up quickly I got working on incorporating the second idea into the terrain I had already planned on bringing to the con.

This is what I started with.  I've always thought that water was a hard thing
to represent well so a picture of ripples in actual water looked good to me.












I then cut the pages -- three of them -- into sections of straight
lines and curves.  These can be assembled into a straight line or a
series of bends.  This can represent a river, canal, or whatever.


I also had plenty of paper left over to cut into "greebles" or smaller sections
of water.  (And looking at that picture I now have another idea for terrain.)










I took two of those leftover bits and cut them into smaller
sections. It's amazing what you can do with negative space.




Next is sand.  The original idea was using this as a section of beach.











To implement the second idea I purchased more -- this is just
one page -- and cut them into sections to act as a road or path.




Once again, plenty of leftover sections and fun with negative space.










All of these were added to the forest section of the "Sand & Trees"
set-up.  Which then became the "Cherry Blossom Forest" table-setting.


The main problem is going to be storing these so they don't get bent or crinkled.

And I feel like I'm going to be doing enough of these terrain posts that I'm not going to bother numbering them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Review: 30551 Cinderella's Kitchen Polybag

I've been sitting on this a while, time to clear it off the "To-Do" stack.

Bag.  I paid $3.99, for a $0.11 Price per Piece.


Instructions.











Minidoll.

Parts.  Plates, Round Plates, Swirled Top Plates, Round
Tiles, Large Round Jumpers, Jumper, Slopes, Brick
 Bricks, Arch Brick, Window Frame, Windows,
Printed Tile, Bracket, Support, and Minifig Parts.






Build.  Station and a 1 Hit piece of Cover.

The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Above.  (-10)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  No.  (-5)
Score: -5 (B-).  Sounds about right to me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sales Alert

Target has a 20% off select City, Super Hero, Duplo, and Friends sets sale this week.  I'm hoping it's not just the four pictured in the ad.  41346 Friends Friendship Box has some great parts and colors though.

Also, Brickforge is doing a 60% off Inventory Reduction sale.  Plenty of fun stuff there.

Good hunting.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Review: 30381 Star Wars Imperial TIE Fighter Polybag

After a trip to a third Walmart last week, I found this polybag.  It was in a diplay of other polybags and small Lego sets in the middle of an aisle in front of the toy section.

Bag.  I paid $3.97, for a $0.10 Price per Piece.



Instructions.











Parts.  Plates, Wedge Plates, Round Plates, Round Tiles, Brackets,
 Round Big Jumpers, Dishes, Technic Bricks, Mod. Plates,
2x2x2 Supports, a Boat Bumper, a Jumper, and a Technic Axle.



Build.  Frame & Station.  I tried
 to wrangle something decent out
of this but it would probably be
 better built as is for an IO Frigate.


The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  At.  (0)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  No.  (-5)
Score: +5 (B+).  I'd say the Star Wars tax strikes again but that isn't really the case here, is it?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Review: 30360 Arctic Ice Saw Polybag

I found this last weekend in Walmart.  It was in the bins they have for polybags in the Lego aisle.

Bag.  I paid $3.97, for a $0.09 Price per Piece.


Instructions.









Minifig.

Parts.  Tires, Rims, Axle Plates, Plates,
Wedge Plate, Jumper, Grille Tile, Hinge Brick,
Slopes, Technic Axle, Technic Axle/Pin
Connector, Cone, Round Brick, Panels, Minifig
 Steering Wheel, Minifig Saw, Clip Plate,
Hinge Plate, Hinge Cylinder, and Propeller.





Build.  2Rh/1G cart and a 1 Hit piece of Cover.

The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Below.  (+5)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  No.  (-5)
Score: +10 (A-).  A couple more pieces and this would have had the top score.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Review: 30547 Ninjago Dragon Hunter Polybag

I found this last weekend in Walmart.  It was in the bins they have for polybags in the Lego aisle.  I remember the Discord channel talking about this a few months ago when it debuted.

Bag.  I paid $3.97, for a $0.06 Price per Piece.


Instructions.










Minifig.




Parts 1.  Plates, Wedge Plate, Tooth Plates, Ball
Joints, Minifig Blades, Slopes, Clip Plates, a Bar
Plate, and Round Plates (including the new 1x2).






Parts 2.  Slopes, Tiles, Padlocks, Bar Claws,
Round Plates, a Plate, an Exo-Force Arm,
a Minifig Boomerang, and a Modified Brick.





Build.  I put together the set just to
see how big it is.  (2Rh+d8/1Y)





Size Comparison.  It covers about the same amount of space as a Scrambler.



The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Below.  (+5)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  Yes.  (+5)
Score: +20 (A+).  Frame-in-a-Bag.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: 30543 Christmas Train Polybag

I found this last week in Target.  It was in the checkout aisles, although with that name you might find it in the seasonal section.


Bag.  I paid $3.99, for a $0.06 Price per Piece.


Instructions.









Parts.  Plates, Mod. Plates, Panels, Brackets, Round Plates, Bricks, Headlight Bricks, Train Wheels, Dome Brick, Round Brick w/Pin Holes, and a Cone.


Build.  A small IO Frigate (2Ra+d8)
 with room for more Attachments.



The Questions:
Can you build something -- a frame, station, or starship -- right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Is it below, at, or above the golden ratio?  Below.  (+5)  (The Golden Ratio is $0.10 per part.)
If you can't build a frame right away, or choose not to, does it have parts you should be able to put into use right away?  Yes.  (+5)
Does it have more than a handful of immediately useful parts?  Yes.  (+5)
Score: +20 (A+).  The value is good, the parts selection isn't.