Posts Tagged ‘Lego’

Last year I was a bad kitty. I didn’t keep up with the blog. This year is going to be different. There will be a new structure to the blog, with three weekly articles and a bunch of revolving monthly blogs. That way things are more consistent for you, the reader.

(Hope no one is offended by the graphic below.)



Wednesday – Life in a Box – Talking about geeky memories and emotions.

Friday – Card Shark – Weekly card spot light. How to use it, how it’s broken, or just how it’s awesome.

Sunday – Movie Time – Reviews, coming attractions, old movies


What’s in the box?! – What we’re doing and where we’ll be.

Casual Time – Casual games I enjoy.

Brick by Brick – Talking about Legos… and sometimes Mega Blocks.

The Sandbox – Anything at all.

Toy Box – Toy reviews

Breaking Down 2015



Some amazing movies and games came out this year. If you haven’t played Fallout 4 yet, or Santa thought you ordered Fallout 3, you are missing out. You need to save up the $60.00 and go get it. It’s $49.99 on the Steam Sale right now. They’ve made major changes that allow you to build settlements and craft items easier. You have a home base but it can be customized. It’s also work the investment to buy the guide, which was only $18.00 when I bought it two days ago. Animal Crossing also came out with a spin off game called Happy Home. It’s fun if you like grindy games with no end. I’ll write more about these two later. Rock Band 4 came out. We’re finally getting to play it tonight… hehe.

LEGO! How could you lose the TMNT license to Megablocks? Seriously, why did your stuff have to suck so much for that franchise when everything else was amazing. ( Side note: the Back to the Future car… also terrible.) Lego did a great job this year on their Friends, Elves, Disney, City and Star Wars lines but kind of dropped the ball on a few other licenses they were holding. The Jurassic Park sets were amazing but they had a hard time keeping up with demand. This left a lot of collectors flapping in the wind. The architecture line has been amazing the past few years but this year they didn’t do their big box of all white blocks. Color me disappointed. This is a Christmas time set that they release only in Lego stores. It wasn’t release this year but they did a smaller box. I have to give Megablocks their dues though. They came out with some really great looking historical military sets and Call of Duty brand Zombie sets.

Tanto Cuore, I love you. I will never leave you… EVER. I can’t wait for OktoberFest to come out. I had the good fortune to volunteer with Japanime Games this summer. It was amazing and I can’t wait for the conventions to start up again this year. Luckily they had demo sets to show people for Pre-Orders and Previewing. The game introduces a new mechanic, beer cards, which affect your ability to play certain cards. It’s going to be a lot of fun. If you want a GOOD FUN card game for 4-5 people, keep an eye out for it. They should be shipping them out in the new year. Also, they have an associated company called Kamikaze games. They produce Barbarosa, which is an irreverant, sexy, World War 2 card game. You really have to be a good sport to play this because they base it off real battles, so… you sort of play as an invading Nazi army, featuring chibi sexy Hitler. It’s a great game though. There is a version of the game that has historical photos instead of the Ladies if that makes you feel more comfortable. ( I like the Anime version.) They also have several other new games coming out. One is called Gods Gambit, which they let me try out when I was at Kumoricon! I’m looking forward to Gods Gambit so much. It’s an Uno Style game. It will be a great fast game you can play with your buddies at a party. The art is really interesting too. I have some photos, I’ll dig out later and write about it in depth.

Cell phone games… well… If you didn’t play Alpha Bears, go work on that right now. They have made so many improvements to the game. They added a VS mode. They added a better system of replenishing coins. They’ve added seasonal, special event content. Kudos to Alphabear for listening to their users. It’s amazing. They are also developing a new game for Android in 2016.

Movies were really great this year. Do I even have to mention Star Wars? Holy Carps. Holy, holy Carps.


Crimson Peak, Mocking Jay part 2, The Martian, Jurassic World were all pretty incredible movies. I hope Hollywood keeps up the momentum because so far all I want to see in 2016 is Civil War and Dead Pool. Hopefully, it will rev up quickly and not be an off year for movies.

That’s all for now. 2015 was a great year and 2016 is going to be even better. Happy New year!


LEGO Turtle Lair Attack

Posted: January 11, 2014 by Kane Blaireau in Kane, Legos
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We are in the midst of a massive LEGO collecting spree. In that theme, as Noccie mentioned, we ventured to Wal Mart and found nothing of value except the LEGO Ninja Turtles sets. Here is a look at the Turtle Lair Attack!

TMNT Lair 1


The part I call “Splinters Grotto”.

Pictured is the “left” side of the set as well as the skateboard ramp and ninja-launcher. Nice build with a great tree and slime drips. The Shredder dummy is a nice touch and turns with a little gear on the front.

TMNT Lair 2

The “tall part”. Yeah, I got nothin.

Lots of neat little sciency doo-dads on this part.  A TV with uh…color coded seats? OK, sure. Why not. Bottom level has a chalkboard with a blow away wall that pulls off with a little dial on the back. Nice little feature! Middle level has a pizza oven that flicks the pizza out. Gimmicky but…its TMNT. Had to have pizza somewhere. To the right of the oven is a skateboard rack. Problem is, the clips are actually TOO BIG for the boards to clip to! Its completely useless, unfortunately, despite being a good idea. Their is a ladder going up to the surface right NEXT TO the opening manhole street section. VERY strange choice of assembly there. The little street vignette is not bad. A fire hydrant, a graffitied wall and a lamp post. Could use a bit more wall to sell it being the surface, but good effect with the layers going down to the  sewer proper.

TMNT Lair 3

The sewer.

Overall, a nice set with lots of nice little touches. The turtles themselves are great. Splinter looks amazing. The evil ninjas are sufficiently ninja-y. Plenty of extra weapons and accessories. A few odd design choices put this in my “get it if its on sale or nothing else is striking your fancy” pile. Worth it for the little characterful touches and the minifigs.

Good Guys Always Ride Plastic Horses

Posted: January 10, 2014 by Noccie in Legos
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Kane went a little nuts… He bought me three sets from the Lone Ranger for Christmas. We have four Lone Ranger sets total though. We managed to get a poly bag set just before Christmas, before I knew what he had purchased me.


The three sets he bought me are the Stage Coach (79108), Constitution Train Chase (79111) and Cavalry Builder Set (79106). The first two are pretty big sets to put together. The train alone took me 3-4 hours. The Stage Coach took me about 2 hours. They have some interesting peices I would like to talk about at length later.

Here is the Poly bag set. The white and gray plates didn’t come with the set. I used that to attach it to our Lego Christmas tree.


The Minifigures are funny, each set came with Tonto. We keep joking about recreating the scene from Pirates of the Carribean, on the boat in the afterlife with Tonto.


I respect the train set immensly. Growing up my Brother was a train nut. He would build the models and go out to take photos of real trains. He went to the conventions too. Since he was going, my parents were going so I was dragged along as well. Good thing I thought it was all fun! The set makes an Engine, Coal Car, Flat Bed with a gun and box car. The set also came with a set of rocks and a water tower. I don’t have room on the able right now to set up the tracks, but it came with a ton of track too!

The engine for the train has a really cool build for the body. Here is what it looks like before you add the green curved plates.


I honestly haven’t seen the movie. All my friends say it’s truely horrible, which is sad because Johnny Depp was involved. The Lone Ranger was awesome during the black and white days. Where I grew up they showed the old serials on TV on Sunday.

Almost every section of the train has something that “explodes.” They set up sections with switches you can hit. Doors fly off, the water tower flys back and the rocks launch. The train wheels were actually really well set up with metal axels. The train cars have magnetic connectors that have a curiously strong magnet enclosed by plastic.

One funny thing, they use robot arms to make the bell on the train engine.

The Coal Car actually opens up and according to sources online, has enough room to house a real engine. You could really turn this into a running training. I’m very tempted to do just that.


The Stage Coach was a cool model but there were parts of the instructions that were confusing. I think the book was not quite right. The diagrams just weren’t proportioned quite right so I had a few issues constructing it. Altogther though, it was very educational. This was the first real vehicle I’ve built. Setting up the inside of the coach was fun, figuring out how to set up the frame so you can actually have characters ride inside. They have cool doors made for this kit as well.


They also have you build a safe, that you can open. They give you a silver bar to put inside the safe. If it’s attached to the vehicle though, you can’t open it. The door opens too wide and it hits the rails on the roof. Basically, you make a box and set it on a bottom part that looks like a boat hull. Where I had trouble was fitting the bottom part to the retangular frame of the actual stage coach. The pictures just didn’t make sense. Turns out I need to fit those dark red seat peices in wards one more space. Otherwise they sit to high and you can’t fit that to the actual body of the stage coach.



 Once I had it together, I was surprised by how good the model looks. The wheels also seem a little flimsy but are quite sturdy once they are attached to the steering frame. wpid-20131225_181953.jpg

I love all the components used in this set. It has a numver of rare peices, like the long curved parts that are used for the bottom of the stage coach. All of the parts used to attach the wheels, axels and the steering components are really useful in general builds. Kane is already eyeing some of the parts for his WWII trucks.

If you have a chance, pick up these kits before they are gone. The sets have already made “retired” status for Lego. That means stores will be trying to get rid of them but rarely do they mark down sets this big. Get them now! They still have decent prices on Amazon. Another reason you should get these sets are for the Civil War peices. Lego has rarely produced sets for Civil War period scenes. They are a great addition to anyone interested in making historical dioramas.

Those are my two scents. I love them. Looking forward to the other Lego sets we bought and gifted!

LEGO Mines of Moria

Posted: January 8, 2014 by Kane Blaireau in Kane, Legos
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The holidays brought a plethora of nerdy goodness. With the holiday spoils, we ordered a copy of the soon-to-be-discontinued Mines of Moria LEGO set. It looks good on the box, but rather small in scale for how expensive the set is.

LEGO Mines BoxBox art.

Have just put it together, I have to say the scale is MUCH bigger than it appears. It looks to be a bit over a foot long counting both pieces. The pieces are about 6 inches tall as well. The Cave Troll looks about twice the height of a minifig in the pictures, but in person, it is MASSIVE.

LEGO Mines 1Hobbit’s eye view.

You can see a few nice detail bits that are added as stickers on the bricks. They give it a nice touch without going too overboard. Their are some great little brick details as well leading to a nice overall look.

LEGO Mines 2The Fellowship vs. Moria Goblins…and friend!

You can kind of see the action features in this shot. The big door behind the Cave Troll opens and includes a long axe to bar the door with. The sarcophagus  top comes off with a skeleton “launcher” built into it. The pillars have levers that knock them over. The treasure chest slides out from below the walkway. Not all interesting, but enough good action features that it still ends on a high note.

Overall impression is that the set is WELL worth the asking price. The LotR and Hobbit sets have been consistently high quality and include interesting techniques that are new to me. Definitely recommend if you like the LotR LEGO sets!

The Lengths We Go For Legos

Posted: January 7, 2014 by Noccie in Kane, Legos, Life in a Box
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The last Christmas gift Kane and I received was from my Brother. He sent us a gift card to use at Walmart. In the past, Kane and I received these and just let my parents have them. They would give us cash in exchange and we would be all good. We aren’t really near a Walmart. Seattle is just sort of like that. We have a Target, Ross, Macy’s, another Target and all kinds of other things but not Walmart. The closet one is in Renton. This is not a place I like to go but the lengths we will go to for Legos can be a little crazy. Normally Kane and I don’t go further than SeaTac or in the most extreme, Lynnwood. My parents decided they would take us out to a Walmart.

Mapping the trip, we found one in Bellevue. Turned out, that Walmart was just a grocery store. So we went to Renton. Pulling into the parking lot was not as easy as it seems. There were a lot of people going there and all the lanes of the lot were packed with people waiting for other people to pull out of their spots. We parked in the back 40, so to speak, so we could avoid these people. The drivers were all a little crazy. As we got closer to the front of the Walmart, we noticed TWO police cars parked out front with two police officers each. They weren’t there for any particular reason just on duty there. They were parked right outside the front door on the stone landing. All four of us were like… um… what did we just get ourselves into.

I’ve been in Walmart plenty of times. When we lived in Montana, Walmart was the only thing open at 2 am but there were big differences between this store and the one in Montana. The part of Renton this Walmart is in can’t be described as either a good or bad neighborhood. Maybe let’s say, it’s on the edge. I was really surprised to see the cops there though. Once we were inside it was apparent we were in a different world. I’ve never been in a Walmart quite like this because it was actually quite small. The shelves were short and everything felt a little dirty. The toy section was only a few isles and looked picked clean from Christmas still. Most of the store looked pretty barren actually. I’ve never seen a Walmart so poorly stocked. Finding the toy section, they didn’t have much of anything but they did have some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sets and Ninjago sets. They had one set for the Lego movies. We were hoping for some LOTR or Hobbit sets so we looked at the Skylanders and My Little Pony items first. They were even thinner. We decided get the two TMNT sets and get out of there.

Something about the place put me on edge. The people were all a flurry of activity and the lighting was harsh. The store was a mess and the presence of the police outside made me nervous. We hurried out of the Walmart, went through the Self Check out to make it out faster. We practically ran to the car because people were acting crazy and driving like idiots in the parking lot. Once we were back in the car it felt much better and I am happy with the two Lego Sets we purchased but man… I hate going to Walmart.

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Kane and I pretty much bought each other blog material for the next few weeks.

Christmas was wave after wave of geeky past times.

Kane bought me three different Lego sets from the Lone Ranger. I bought him a Lego Poly bag set from TMNT that I found at Target for nearly nothing.

Video games abounded. Our lovely friends from Montana sent us Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3 and Dead Island. I bought Kane, Dead Island Riptide; Guitar Smith; Rock of the Dead; Lego Batman 2 and Kung Fu Riders.

Kane had a failure in judgement right before Christmas and bought Skylanders Giants. “It was on clearance!” – Kane

This made me a little Skylander happy. I bought him 5 Skylanders as gifts and bought him more in passing. Omg… why?! WHY did you do this to me? I think I actually enjoy the figures more than he does.

Kane bought me “Explore the Dungeon because I don’t know!” for 3 DS and Pokemon X. I love him so much. All this means is I will spend hours trying to listen to him and play the game at the same time. You did this to yourself Kane… you did this to yourself.

Not to mention all the other crazy stuff we got each other AND the Steam Winter Sale going on right now. Wow… yeah.  More to come later.

Kane and I are heading to the Lego Store tonight to see what’s on sale. MWAAHAHA!

What ever happen to the song Toys R Us used to use. You know what I mean. ” I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us Kid.” Well… here’s a ling to a video. (And here are those kids 14 years later. Sorry for the terrible quality, it’s the only one I could find.)

Yeah I know, I am an adult. I go to Toys R Us for a few things Legos, My Little Ponies and now Skylanders. There is nothing that says you have to have a child or be a child to shop there. Yet, when I go there people give me the stink eye.

This Christmas was especially awkward. Kane and I were at a Toys R Us to purchase a gift for a friend and his daughter. After we picked that out we moseyed over to the My Little Pony section to see what Toys R Us exclusive figures they had and found blind bag ponies! I spent a bit checking codes and digging through the bags for some of the Wonderbolts figures I needed. Gawking at all the neat toys and figures. A lady asked my why they had a scary pony named Nightmare Moon. Without missing a beat I explained that “Nightmare Moon is the form that Princess Luna takes before the Elements of Harmony bring her back from the dark side.”

Now, I wasn’t expecting anyone to be impressed but she was more weirded out. She said her daughter probably would have explained that no problem. She joked about being a bad parent or something and I assured her that it was not that. I just watch the show. They passed by and then we bumped into each other looking at the Monster High dolls.

Monster High is the favorite topic of discussion for my friend’s adorable daughter, Sheeny. Sometimes I babysit her and it’s the only thing we can talk about or we play with her dolls. It’s better to know when I am doing so she doesn’t get disappointed when I don’t know Cleo is an evil mummy girl and that Draculara is a vegan. While doing my duty as the coolest babysitter ever, I watched the show and I keep track of the dolls coming out. They are pretty cool actually. Well the lady laughed and asked if we were following them. I blushed and said no with an awkward laugh. Then she asks me, “How old is your daughter?”

This stopped me in my tracks. I want kids very badly but Kane and I are having problems in that department. Honestly, I don’t know if we will ever conceive. If it is possible, which I hope it will be in the next year, we will have as many children as we can. Two would be fine with me… or even just one.

I admitted, we were buying the ponies for me. That I am a collector and have loved My Little Pony since I was five. The couple was very weirded out by this fact. I spent a few awkward minutes explaining I was looking at the Monster High Dolls because of Sheeny. That made them feel a little less weird. Then she asked me, openly and honestly out of curiosity, “Do you play with them?” I laughed, no I don’t play with them. “Do you just keep them in the package.” I took a bit to explain that I put them on display but I don’t play with them. Even if I did… ( ok sometimes I have been known to play with them) there is nothing wrong with that. Who am I harming by having these toys?

Sometimes I forget about the real world outside the fandom. Sometimes I forget that some people don’t live in a place where it’s ok to be a little immature or still like toys or play video games. Back in October I asked my Mom, “Did you ever think you would still be buying me toys?” She laughed and said, no. She had never expected this. I guess I don’t really understand why not.

There are ALWAYS collectors. Without the collectors we wouldn’t know so much about the toys of yesteryear. Even if you aren’t a collector, it’s still OKAY to appreciate cartoons, toys and games. It doesn’t mean I am a weirdo or a pedophile.

Alright, I am going to go play Skylanders now. The game is marketed to kids but it’s really well crafted. The models are COOL and the game is harder than it looks.

LEGO : The Video Game Series

Posted: December 5, 2013 by Kane Blaireau in Kane, Legos
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LEGO entered the video game world years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that the name has come to be a reliable brand for quality licensed titles. The turning point was LEGO Star Wars by Traveler’s Tales. This game, released in 2005, was not only the best LEGO video game at the time, but arguably one of the best Star Wars video games as well.

LEGO Star Wars

The game supported two players and minimal penalty for “dying”. Your character would lose some Studs (the games currency used to by extra characters and other add-ons) and you would re-spawn. This made it great for not only younger players, but for people who didn’t necessarily play video games very often. The comedic approach also made the whole thing more approachable and accessible in comparison to most “hardcore” gaming titles then or now. The familiar Star Wars trappings did nothing but favors to the whole proceeding. Kids and adults could enjoy interacting with some of their favorite characters in familiar locales told in a comedic fashion with no voice-work, just pantomiming and general grunts. Win all around!

LEGO Star Wars 2

Of course, success, especially in the video game world, always breeds sequels. The followup, LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy followed the story of the original movies and refined the formula subtly. No large changes were made, but the formula was still fresh and it still worked. Good thing because it didn’t change through Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Batman and Indiana Jones.

LEGO Batman

One thing that remained consistently entertaining through all of these early titles is the sense of humor. For example, Batman feels like Adam West trying to be Micheal Keaton. The silliness was enough that we had to stop to laugh at the game several times in the first level. You are given special suits for environmental puzzles. Batman makes himself a glide suit. For Robin…magnetic shoes. That look like trash can lids. Yeah. This kind of silly humor is all over the series and makes it very much worth playing through the back catalog.
The first innovation in the series after this point didn’t come until LEGO Indiana Jones 2, the 6th game in the Traveler’s Tales LEGO series. This was the first title to support split screen play. Early games relied on fixed camera and players were forced to stay within a fairly close proximity. The split screen shifts and adapts to the characters position relative to each other on the map and lets the players explore individually while still being able to figure out where they need to go to get back together. This allowed for larger levels and more exploration leading into the Harry Potter games and Pirates of the Caribbean.


Each of these follow ups added a more extensive and interactive hub area where the players could unlock items and select what levels to play next. Harry Potter focused more on exploration, the levels all branching out from a central hub in the middle of Hogwarts school. Pirates of the Caribbean had a dock area with two extensions where there were further puzzles to play with and being a hub for all of the unlock-able characters to play in. Some unlocked characters were even required for some of the hub puzzles!
The next innovation was added in Star Wars III: Clone Wars. It was the first LEGO title to include voice acting in addition to the pantomimic comedy of the early titles. Batman 2 followed and is considered the first fully voiced LEGO title.


Following on that was Lord of the Rings. This one stretches across the whole trilogy and includes voice samples from the movie in addition to the usual pantomiming. You would think that something so very dark in subject would be difficult to make funny, but you would be very, very wrong. The other thing that Lord of the Rings added was a fully realized over-world. You travel all over Middle Earth and interact with towns that have their own puzzles and unique interactions. That is broken up by the more action oriented scenes from the movies in their own scene that then leads you back to the next part of the over-world. This is (according to Wikipedia) the first “open world” game in the series and I would not disagree. This open world has lead into the latest game in the series; Marvel Super Heroes which (I am told) also features a narrator in many parts in addition to the voice-work.

collect all

Once these games get their hooks into you, they stay there! You want desperately to unlock every hidden gem. They become engaging on a level that most “kid oriented” games do not. Noccie and I just recently beat the story mode of Pirates of the Caribbean (review coming soon!) and are still going back to finish of those missing bits we missed. It simply has not gotten old yet. We are also working our way through the first Batman title and first Harry Potter. Highly recommend all of them to anyone who has kids or is in touch with their inner kid. Thoroughly enjoyable and a TON of fun!

Loot Crate: Celebrate!

Posted: December 3, 2013 by Noccie in Life in a Box, Noccie
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My Loot Crate is here! YAY! I can’t wait to open it. We picked it up from our building’s front office. I actually opened it on the bus while running errands but we waited till we were home to take picutres of the UNCRATING!

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The theme this month is Celebrate! It’s for partying and all the items inside help you celebrate.

Cellphone I take to many photos 229Here is a look at the goodies!

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That balloon has a police box on it. This goes with the sticker in celebration of the Day of the Doctor! That takes care of the decorations. The wallet is for money. You need that to drink right? I think it’s funny that it’s a Batman wallet. I love Batman. Kane and I spent a good part of yesterday playing Batman the Lego video game. That game is hilariously bad. At one point I was playing Robin and I had on magnetic boots. Batman had on a glide suit. Who is more practical in factory where is everything is made of raised platforms made of metal.

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This is a mini-speaker. It’s pretty cool and battery operated. That takes care of the music. Kane’s going to use it at work. His speakers are starting to go bad.

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Cards are for games! Let’s play poker. Poker? I don’t even know her.

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There we go… Shot glass and drink. Eat, drink and be merry. I love it. This shot glass is going with the collection. We have a bunch from all over the place and we also have one with a skull inside. You pour in the drink and it fills the skull.

Finally, they included my member card.

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WOOT! It was a good box this month. They also included a coupon to get more of that breakfest drink.