I think ToyFair is a little like getting too much of anything good. After awhile it just all turns to shit. No… not another aisle of puzzles. Whatever, you don’t care about that. Here on BrickPOP it’s all about the Lego. So let’s get to it. I headed over to the Lego booth and wrangled an appointment as a member of the media. It was nice that the Lego folks have decided that bloggers count. Yay. Of course when I got there for my appointment the lady at the front desk told me I didn’t have one and tried to shoo me away. But eventually she let me in anyway. Rachel from the Lego PR agency was a sweetheart, informed, and unhurried even though it was the end of the day and everyone was tired.
I know pictures are circulating already so i’m not telling you much you haven’t heard. Here are the highlights that made an impression on me (corresponding pictures are below in the gallery):
- Like the Lego booth, the MegaBloks booth was cordoned off and by appointment only. I couldn’t bring myself to go in there. They did have a requisite statue made of MegaBloks out by the entrance. A big dragon. All the bricks looked cheap as usual. But even worse, they did some airbrush painting on the sculpture to give it some flair. Ugh.
- I saw the NanoBricks from Japan. (I’d seen them before at BrickCon.) I don’t know why they don’t elicit the same reaction as the MegaBloks do. They’re small and cute and adorable I guess. Notice the tiniest Taj Mahal ever. I took a shot of some loose brick so you could see what the bottoms look like.
- I couldn’t find the Hasbro booth to see their new Lego competitor. I don’t have some sort of religious loyalty to Lego. I am loyal because they put out great products. MegaBloks puts out garbage. Just the feel and look of the raw brick is crap. But after I saw this picture of one of the new KRE-O sets I was half bummed, half relieved at how bad it looks up close. Bummed because I think competition is good, and KRE-O isn’t in the same league as Lego from these early pics. Relieved as if it was good, I’d have to pick sides in the religious war that would ensue.
- OK. Enough about the wannabe competitors… onto the good stuff. Saw a cool Atlantis set. Lots of gold pieces as well as those striated column pieces from Diagon Alley. Rock!
- Nice splitting/sliding action on the Ninjago building.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the Alien Conquest theme. The nod to the vintage blue Space vehicles was cute. The boxes look gorgeous though the actual colors on the models aren’t as exciting. The sound and light bricks are way cool. SOUND BRICK!!!! (Can I upload my own MP3 into it???) But best of all were the tentacle bricks under the flying saucer. One piece made from one mold where half the piece was regular ABS Lego plastic, and the other half was this rubbery stuff that held onto the minifig as the beam of light sucked him in to no doubt receive his Lego anal probing. Ouch!
- I’m not that into the Lego board games though they seem fine and all. I took particular notice of Lego champions because of the healthy number of pink and purple 2×4 bricks. 😉
- The Pirates of the Caribbean sets looked fantastic of course. Love those mermaids. And another light brick. Some of the sets feel like they could sit comfortably with the Medieval Market Village set.
- As for Star Wars… I don’t mean to be blasphemous, but I really feel like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. Some of these ships… where are they from? Some of the novels? Knights of the Old Republic? Whatever. They did have the new Millenium Falcon. It does have an interior including some recognizable spots. But it could have used even more detail. What the hell do I know. The PR lady said it still sells like a motherfucker. (I may be paraphrasing… I don’t remember exactly.)
- The collectible minifigures weren’t there except for their cases. No news here. (BTW, the box for series 5 is teal, not blue despite what my shitty iPhone camera thinks.
Most importantly however is the picture that I couldn’t take. the Cars 2 Lego. This is what I’m saving up for. Mainly because of the colors. There are two sets with small models of all the Cars characters. In terms of scale, the cars themselves aren’t much bigger than Hot Wheels. Pretty small. But the colors were fantastic. Sand green and some other goodness. But the best was what looked like two new colors to me. One looked like Magenta on from the BrickWiki color chart. But the other was a sort of 1950’s kitchen appliance sky blue. The closest thing I saw on the color chat was Bright Light Blue but that didn’t do it justice. The last image in the gallery below (of the chair) is the closest approximation I can find (after investing 12 seconds in Google image search. I have a decent memory for color so I think this is pretty close.
Anyway, all in all a fun time checking out the new Lego goodness.
A word to the competition. I have no doubt you can take small bites out of Lego’s market share at the low end with pricey licenses, lower prices, lots of marketing, and sustained effort. But I believe the AFOLs are influential. And while there’s a degree of religiousness about them, the ones that I respect ultimately care about quality and creativity. To be fair to Hasbro, I haven’t seen KRE-O up close. But if the pictures that they published are any indication, you’re not even close on quality. And as for creativity, even the Lego PR lady was laughing that your Transformers don’t actually fucking transform. WTF!?!? (Again, I think I may be paraphrasing.)