About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

News, Views Etc . . . Lego

Whatever your opinion of Lego (and mine is pretty poor!) it is a fact that in any given period of time be it two weeks, seven-and-a-half months or three years; whatever parameter you set, press stories about Lego will out-number those of Hasbro, Mattel, Tomy-Takara and Hornby Hobbies . . . put together!

Whether this is down to a superb publicity machine, or just lazy journalism is a moot point, and my own suspicion is that it's a combination of the two, in that Lego like to trade on their cuddly-wuddly image of playful loveliness (when I [and the world's IP courts] think they are ruthless pirates), while for lazy journalists the rule-of-laziness is 'Everybody loves Lego - run the story'!

But it does mean that from time to time we will have one of these posts . . .

1 News Views Etc Small Scale World Lego Press Articles Stories DSCN8603 Construction Toy; Lego Bricks; Lego Construction Toy; Lego Mindstorms; Lego Minifigs; Lego News; Lego Space; Lego Superman; Legot; Mindstorms; Minifigs; News; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Cuttings Newspaers magazines articles adverts advertisements
All since last October bar the big two-page spread which was from an early issue of the European back in November 2016. I have been collecting 'Toys in the media' stories on-and-off since the mid-1990's, of which Lego always makes-up a fair whack and I now have 3 lever-arch box-files full of Lego stuff!

I won't bore you with all the details, but with a few images to clear from Picasa, we will skim-over some of the recent stories. And starting with the European piece, it was a really sycophantic filler-piece designed to get the curious (or non-remainers) to buy the new pro-Europe monthly broadsheet - although, in its defence, it did mention Hilery Page, not all the court stuff, but he did get a mention!

2 News Views Etc Small Scale World Lego Press Articles Stories -050 Construction Toy; Lego Bricks; Lego Construction Toy; Lego Mindstorms; Lego Minifigs; Lego News; Lego Space; Lego Superman; Legot; Mindstorms; Minifigs; News; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Lego in advirtising, toys in the media
Toys in the media - pastel bricks in
an advert for CDO's (my thought exactly!)
 
Housing
Lego announced last November the opening of a house to host Air-bnb guests; unlike James May's idiot house which discovered the limitations of the laws of physics on large Lego constructions (and started cracking before it was finished), this house is a normal brick/concrete/timber and tile construction, filled with lots of Lego stuff - furniture, a cat &etc...

Branding
In March Lego was found to be the UK's most recognised brands, beating such luminaries are Gillette and Apple!

Model Events
In July a Lego model of a cinema was included in a UK Film pop-up event, reportedly built from 25,000 bricks, I assume it's a copy (simplified?) of one of the Legoland attraction models?

The same month Raymond Wirick (almost a Star Wars name!) produced a large sand-sculpture for the actual Legoland theme park at Windsor. Back in March Windsor announced the completion of a new model for the summer, a quite accurate-looking Sydney Opera House.

Back in April the shopping precinct at Basingrad (Festival Place) was decorated with 20 large-scale (life-size?) animals made of Lego, there is more and more of this type of thing, and the companies behind them - needing to re-coop their investment (in tens of thousands of Lego bricks) will no doubt hawk them round all sorts of likely venues, so they - or something like them - will be near you at some point! The local paper showed an alligator and the most heavenly snow-leopard cub with fat, fluffy tail, standing on a snow-covered rock-ledge

Further-back; in October 2017, I missed a Farnham and District Model Railway Club exhibition in Aldershot, at which a Lego railway (grey-rail type) took center-stage in the press-release.

3 News Views Etc Small Scale World Lego Press Articles Stories -051 Construction Toy; Lego Bricks; Lego Construction Toy; Lego Mindstorms; Lego Minifigs; Lego News; Lego Space; Lego Superman; Legot; Mindstorms; Minifigs; News; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Sally Ride Mae Jemison, Shuttle space craft astronauts
In Space No One Can Hear You Brick-Click!
All the national papers seem to have found room for a news story on the Space Suttle model with female mini-figures of Mae Jemison and Sally Ride (astronauts), Margaret Hamilton (NASA scientist) and Nancy Grace Roman (Astronomer). The set, available on-line back in November was part of a programme of crowd-sourced suggestions for sets, and was put-forward by Maia Weinstock (a science writer), who garnered 10,000 votes for her idea.

Wizardry
While I also seem to have missed another story last October! Merlin (who own/manage the theme-parks announced the opening of a new park in New York State (not city, it'll be 60-clicks outside the city), throwing $350m (£264-million quid) at the project in Goshen, Orange County.

Fake News
Having in the past pointed-out the inordinate number of Lego, Lego-related or Lego-themed stories in the 'i' newspaper, I've noticed recently that the Metro is very good at putting new Lego sets in their lust lists, wants lists, tech-gadget  lists, what's new this weekend lists &etc . . . ad infinitum. They have recently covered a Star Wars A-Wing (£169.99p - on-line!), and a US-style Downtown Diner for £129.99p.

4 News Views Etc Small Scale World Lego Press Articles Stories Construction Toy; Lego Bricks; Lego Construction Toy; Lego Mindstorms; Lego Minifigs; Lego News; Lego Space; Lego Superman; Legot; Mindstorms; Minifigs; News; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Superman Mini Figure, Minifig, Mini
Superman came to stay in June
(Charity shop mixed-bag)

Losses
The best news (if you hate Lego) came in March with a profits fall which Lego told the BBC, was due to their having made too-many bricks? Revenues were down 8%, while operating profit dropped 17%. Personally I celebrate every rival set I see, and there are more and more of them.

As an aside - not a recent news story - I believe that the recent developments with Lego, especially their finally following Mega Bloks to more colours has diluted the Lego brand far more than losing court-cases to their rivals, and the QC on some of the new colours is not as stringent as it used to be on the core-five, further muddying the brands identity and making it easier for Lego fans (and parents) to accept the [always cheaper] substitutes.

Lego Crimbo
Last December saw a festive story in the Metro (and other papers - I'm sure) in which they cheekily (and self-reverentially?) managed to include the phrase 'click bait'! Catherine Weightman and Mike Addis had built a large 'Victorian' dolls house out of Lego; they do a Lego display every Christmas; and this was their biggest to date. It was claimed to have 15-rooms, but no matter how I counted them, I could get no less than 18?

Low Blow
Harking back to both the other days Toys Я Us post (location) and a previous story of stolen gnomes; someone stole the head of a large 3-foot Lego figurine which was outside the Crocodile Toy Shop in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and beat him about a bit!

However after a campaign on local social-media sites and Faceplant, the head was returned with a "Sorry was very drunk xx" message attached. The Lego mechanic (whispers . . . "I think he's Duplo"!) was repaired and his hands replaced!

5 News Views Etc Small Scale World Lego Press Articles Stories DSCN7419 Construction Toy; Lego Bricks; Lego Construction Toy; Lego Mindstorms; Lego Minifigs; Lego News; Lego Space; Lego Superman; Legot; Mindstorms; Minifigs; News; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Superman Mini Figure Minifig Mini
He's been converted [back] from a key-ring

Finally
The most recent Lego story seen by me was in the 'i' last Thursday; a two-page spread on the Lego digital-robotics designers Eric Hansen and Gaute Munch. It was a genuinely-interesting look at the educational benefits of the Mindstorms range - programmable, interactive, USB-supported, electronic construction-sets and add-ons.

It covered other products too like Raspberry Pi, Minecraft and summer activities for kids such as the International Hour of Code, local coding clubs (www.codeclub.org.uk) and Fire Tech summer-camps (firetechcamp.com).

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