Minor Hiatus

So I was recently the victim of someone taking my laptop, and it will take me some time to get myself back to status quo where I can go back to a regularly scheduled review – only a few weeks. Apologies all, but I shall return with more set reviews – and a in-depth review of the VersaBrick from Kickstarter.

Lego Classic – Brick Separator vs. Brick Popper – Battle Review

Sorry there’s not a typical review this week, but something I’ve been meaning to document for a while now is the new Brick Popper (I actually got a free one from Pley with my first set), and how it fares compared to the Lego Separator.

main_image

Now for those unaware the now iconic orange separator above is actually a rather recent addition having only come around in 2011. There was a previous version but it lacked the technic axle, and the razor edge on the opposing side. However in some respect the official separator isn’t perfect, but then neither is the new kid on the block (Brick Popper) a fan creation that has gotten some serious production and marketing penetration. How though do they rank against each other? Well I’ve devised a 16 point test of various time you would use a separator (if you know of more, please add them in the comments.)

 

Test 1: Large Plate on Large Plate

test1

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 2: 2 Large Plates (Same size)

test2

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 3: 2×6 on Large Plate

test3

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 4: 2 2×6 Plates

test4

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 5: 3 2×4 Plates connected together on Large Plate

test5

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 6: 1×2 with Center on Large Plate

test6

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 7: 1×2 Plate on Large Plate

test7

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 8: 1×2 Flat Plate on Same Size Plate

test8

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 9: 2×2 Flat Plate on Large Plate

test9

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 10: 2×2 Circle Plate with 2×2 Circle Flat Top

test10

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 11: 2×2 Circle Plate with 2×2 Rounded Bottom

test11

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 12: 1×1 Flat Plate on 1×1 Flat Plate

test12

Lego: / Brick Popper:

(Notice for Lego I used a slightly different method)

test12a

 

Test 13: 1×1 Flat Plate on 1×1 Circle Plate

test13

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 14: 1×1 Circle Plate on 2×4 Plate

test14

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 15: 2×4 Plate on 2×6 Plate (Lined up)

test15

Lego: / Brick Popper:

 

Test 16: 2 1×2 Plate (Lined up)

test16

Lego: / Brick Popper:

(Again I used a slightly more unorthodox method that works better with Lego’s separator)

test16a

 

So then the big question – who won!?

In short it seems like if you had to choose one, that choice should be Lego’s Separator. The score’s tallied up are:

Lego Popper
Total 63 55
Average 3.9375 3.4375
Median 5 3

 

However while the score is Lego 7 Wins, Popper 3 Wins, and 6 Ties – without some bending that first test is a sure win for Popper, which really can happen often enough. On the other hand though there is a slight bit of worry that the metal of the popper could over time deform pieces. At the end of the day I think it makes sense for any serious builder to get both tools, and as usual – use the right tool at the right time.

Lego Architecture – Brandenburg Gate (21011) Review

21011_main_image

Lego Architecture – Brandenburg Gate (21011): Another Architecture build, this one which isn’t a terribly great piece of architecture, but a great provider of certain pieces for unique builds. Also unlike other builds from architecture where it seem more tall – this looks small on an image but is actually a pretty decent size – which is actually not a good thing from me, because it wouldn’t want to have this built to use for a display piece.

 

Time to Knoll: 13.5 Minutes

21011_knoll

Time to Build: 22 Minutes

21011_build

 

Metrics:

  • Pieces: 363 and 40 Steps – Manual (41 Pages)
  • Price: $34.99 on Lego and $28.99 on Amazon
  • Weight 241 grams
  • Combo Points: (4X32X1X1) = 128 points
  • Volume (Based on Blob length/width/height): 48mm x 96mm x 86.4mm or 389.1 cm³ of course there’s a little bit more on the top so it’s really 418.6 cm³

21011_blob

 

Scores:

  • Uniqueness: 4 out of 5 Stars
  • Aesthetics: 3 out of 5 Stars
  • Fun to Build: 1 out of 5 Stars
  • Hoarding: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

Spectrum:

 

What Else?

One of the main things that Lego has categorically not really done is to make sets that are really more military based – there’s even people who go massively out of the way to provide arms and armaments for those who want them in their Lego builds or videos. To a degree this makes sense since they are a toy company (although I don’t see Architecture as a child’s toy), but I can understand how it goes against the ethical and moral ground Lego is built on.

This is actually kind of sad though because some of the best model kits you can buy are usually from military vehicles and planes, but we sort of lose that aspect from Lego. Of course this being a more adult-themed set from Germany I kind of wish though that I could get something like a German Marder III

marder3

Of course the internet feels the same way and has responded by offering a whole bunch of sets you can get from Brickmania or even Ebay – all custom sets using Lego pieces (and often BrickArms as well) Just looking through these the builds look fantastic, and I’m already looking into sets with tank treads so I can see if I can re-create some tanks for my own collection.

 

Remix: So for my remix this time I actually kept within the gate theme (and of course my typical rules – this is another build where I use all pieces, but of course most are hidden). This however is a more asian-style temple gate which I thought of when I decided to use all those roof pieces as steps which felt neat.

21011_remix2

Now if you’re wondering about how that angle was achieved without using some angle bending pieces that didn’t come with this set – you can see the mechanism below.

21011_remix4

If that looks weak though, and you;re assuming that big backend piece is holding everything up though – you’d be wrong. The combo of distributing the load across the stairs, a heavy bottom, and that small 2×4 plate actually locks in the stairs well enough that it’s fine free-standing.

21011_remix3

 

Final Thoughts: Overall I think this build applies to those who are German, but mostly those looking for certain pieces to use in their other builds. In that respect I liked working with what the kit has to offer, but just not it’s finished product.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars