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J.A.F. Team

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About this blog

Just a lesser evil, born unequal

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Best Lego Sets of 2018

2018 has been an interesting year for me for Lego. I generally bought fewer sets compared to the last four years, but my budget was dominated by a couple of large purchases this summer, thus forcing me to hold out on buying a lot of sets in the second half of the year. I’ve also bought a couple of sets that I have yet to open, which is a strategy I haven’t applied before. (Usually I build any set I get soon after purchase. But this year, I bought a few sets exclusively for the pieces, and I want

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Review 70644 Golden Dragon Master

Here is Lego's latest Ninjago spinner / action / unique character only available here set: 70644 Golden Dragon Master! Some people might be enticed to buy these because of the figs. (Guilty.) Some people might do it for the pieces. Some might do it for the action. And some people might mistake the price of these things and think they're getting a legit set. (I mean, really, $15? I get there are more pieces, but did this new design really need to be this big... or needed at all?)   Piece wise, th

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Review: Harry Potter Collectible Minifigures

Technically the Harry Potter Collectible Minifigures aren't supposed to hit shelves until August, when the whole Wizarding World line releases worldwide. But my local Fred Meyers scoffs at such release dates, and there were at least five boxes to choose from, three unopened! So I spent way too much time feeling out my favorites... which accounts for most of the series!     For the record, I did not get Dobby, pajama Harry, or Credence because I don't want them. I did miscount and so I didn't bu

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2018 Bio-Cup Entry: Elemental Duel

Full Album     Honestly, I was not aware of the Bio-Cup competition, but then again I'm not exactly in the Bionicle MOCing community on Flickr. Honestly don't know if this model stands a chance. I'm really pleased with my Onua and Tahu models, and the stone hand turned out nicely. But the fire phoenix was kinda thrown together... and it features prominently in the entry pict, so... Anyway, I hope the image conveys more of a scene with some motion than you'd normally get. But I've seen some of th

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Review 10261: Roller Coaster - Night 04

Aaaaaand done!     Bag 10 builds up the rest of the left side, including the large pole tower with the angled supports. As precarious as it is, the geometry on the angles is impressive. Honestly, I don’t know how I could MOC my own Roller Coaster; I was not keeping up with the various brick heights to get the math just right. I did have one column that wouldn’t fit on right… and lo and behold, it was because I forgot a single 2x2 round plate in the stack. You start off Bag 11 by building the ro

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Review 10261: Roller Coaster - Night 03

Yeah, I skipped a night, sue me. And then sue me for this... SMOKE BOMB!     Today I got through bags 6 - 9. 6 build the base, 7 added more columns (ugh), 8 added the ticket and fruit stands, and 9 built the gearbox beneath the loading zone. Overall, I've probably put in 5-6 hours of build time into this, but splitting this up across multiple days does make it seem like a less monumental task. (I have two bags left to go, so I'd estimate another hour and half of building time left.) It's going

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Review 10261: Roller Coaster - Night 02

And the building continues...     So tonight I finished bags 3 - 5. Well, mostly; I left out the sign bit to do later, and I jumped to the end to build one of the cars (literally the last bits you build for this set.) But in general, the right half of the Roller Coaster is finished.   The build was tedious, to say the least. If I wasn't building more columns (which had enough slight variations that I had to pay attention to each one) then I was building one of the supports. The whole thing is m

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Review 10261: Roller Coaster - Night 01

So I caved in and bought this. It's now the most expensive set I've ever purchases, beating Ninjago City by about $80, and it's definitely looking to be the set that takes up most of the shelf space; it will be taking over the display space where I previously had Ninjago City and the Ferris Wheel. But it just looks so cool that I couldn't NOT get it, right? Now, this does kind of kill my Lego budget for the rest of the summer, and there are some cool sets still coming out, so I am going to have

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Review: Gahlok Pen

There was some talk in the forums a while ago about the Bohrok pens, an abstract collectible item from the era of excessive Lego merchandising. In looking up some pictures, I discovered a relatively cheap copy of a Gahlok pen on BrickLink, and because I have no impulse control, I now own it. And since I previous wrote a review on the Lewa and Onua Mata pens, I decided to do the same with this one. So without further ado...     It seems like the standard pen case for the Lego pens at the turn of

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Build the Chronicler's Company

I was chatting with Swert the other day and somehow we started talking about Matoran designs, so despite everything else I really need to do, I designed and built these.     They're not really much smaller than the original McToran / Tohunga, which was my intention, but the system builds allow for some more varied colors (like teal). Couldn't figure out a decent way to do their throwing arms, so instead they get socket hands. Yayz. (Fun fact, I wedged round studs behind their masks for eye colo

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Set Review: S.O.G. Headquarters

Ninjago occasionally releases a set that’s basically an arena for the latest spinners. Usually it’s a couple of walls built to contain the spinners with a few functions and themed sculptures thrown in. Some of the designs are better than others, but mostly their appeal is in playability or unique minifigures. Well, in the case of 70640 S.O.G. Headquarters, I totally got it for the figs, although 530 pieces for $40 did convince me to get the full set and not just Bricklink Lloyd’s exclusive fig.

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Set Reviews: Black Panther Royal Talon Fighter and Rhino Face-Off

The Black Panther movie was pretty epic, and there were two Lego sets to go with the film (in addition to a jet released with Civil War). So today I’m taking a quick look at 76100: Royal Talon Fighter Attack ($29.99, 358 pieces) and 76099: Rhino Face-Off by the Mine ($19.99, 229 pieces). There will be some moderate spoilers, but I won’t go too in depth to the movie.     Between the two sets, you get seven figs from the movie, hitting most of the main cast. T’Challa appears in both sets in two d

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Review: 70639 Street Race of Snake Jaguar

I was planning to do a full review of this set, but after sitting on it for two months, I realize I don’t have an awful lot to say about it. Soooo... I’m saving myself the effort and just doing a short blog review.     This set consists of two motorcycles, a popular vehicle to create in the theme. (There’s generally at least one motorcycle set per year, usually around the $20 mark.) This set goes for $29.99 and has 308 pieces. There’s not exactly a lot of great pieces here, but white, dark azur

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This will be a pain to sort...

Instagram pict here   I'm trying to prepare for BricksCascade, and I have a couple of models I want to construct. But I inevitably have to go thru the pile from last year, which includes a bunch of partial MOCs and sets that I've been meaning to part out and sort, but never got around to it. And... that pile is intimidating. I wish I could get a full team of AFOLs to come sort it all in an afternoon like I've seen em do at PortLug... but I don't know that many people in the area, and my house is

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15 Year Anniversary

Yesterday blew past before I even realized that I had reached another BZPower Anniversary. 15 years this time (2003 - 2018). This will be the last year where I have NOT been on BZPower for more than half my life. (I mean, I suppose I could quit cold turkey next year, but that seems a bit extreme just to nullify a meaningless stat.)   Anyway, I now have Makuta's (Gen II) Mask of Control spinning underneath my name. Yayz?   Also, its fun to host a mafia game for once and see everybody's poor decis

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Join Bionicle Mafia XLII: Graveyard!

Bionicle Mafia XLII: Graveyard I'm a long time(ish) mafia player, but this is my first time hosting a game, so I'm hoping it'll be a fun one.   Please sign up for it. New players welcomed! And guess what, even if you die there's still a chance you can affect the game! Who doesn't want to play from beyond the grave? Sign up now!  

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Best Lego Sets of 2017

Another year has come and gone, and with it I’ve spent a large sum of it on Lego. There were a lot of sets that I wanted to review this year, but alas I have not been able to touch on a lot of them. Some sets were great, others not so much. Some had great figs, some had great builds, and some had great pieces. Instead of doing a comprehensive review, I figured I’d do a quick “Best of 2017” list. So, in no particular order, here are my picks for the best Lego sets of 2017 (based on what I’ve purc

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Review: 60162 Jungle Air Drop Helicopter

Man, that was an exhausting review to put together, although I took my sweet time on it. Got the set in August, filmed the review in September, touched up the pictures in October, ignored it completely in November, and then got it all edited together in December.   Of course, it was a fun set, but it's essentially five playsets merged into one, which meant this was five reviews merged into one. But glad to get it finished. For the record, my favorite part of the set is the tiger. My favorite

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Set Review: 75529 Elite Praetorian Guard

Man, I've been putting this one off for months waiting until just before the movie premier to post this! (Truth time, there are older set reviews that I'm still working on. Sigh.)   I'm waiting to see how many angry Youtube comments I'm going to get on this one. I hummed the theme music, added snarky captions, and generally felt meh on the set, so it's bound to set off a few folks. (Tis good to know I set the bar pretty low as the worst BZPower reviewer.)   Anyway, for the TL/DR (which probably

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Ninjago Mosaic Completed

So this is what I've been building for the last couple of days. (Helped that Andrew sent me back some of my older mosaic plates, because I really needed to steal some pieces from them.) This is a scene from the Skybound season where Jay and Nya get back together at the end of it, which is one of my favorite scenes. However, the background in the screenshot was meh, so I swapped it out for a more unique skyscape shot of Ninjago City, including Borg Tower.   As for interesting techniques used here

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A Glitchy Convention Colab Idea

Make Bionicle / CCBS / System builds of the Galidor characters.   Who's in?   (It'll be like recreating the original Toa using newer styles and pieces, only without the happy nostalgia.)  

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Collectible Minifigure Audit

Lately, I've been reading posts from people who were putting together displays for their collectible minfigures. Some people have gone all out, with fully enclosed framed collections, whereas others build colored stands and such. Me, I had them all tossed in a bucket, but it got me thinking about a display. I got my Ninjago characters up on display (kinda annoyed that the next batch don't look that great but I really want to continue collecting full sets of the main cast) but I really do have wa

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Ninjago Mosaic?

This might be my next mosaic project, based on one of my favorite scenes from the skybound season. I'm not 100% behind the background design... I may need to add subtle details to the buildings and maybe a few more clouds. But I think it could be a fun mosaic.  

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Who Would Want Custom Printed Toa Minifigures?

I've been trying to work out a deal for some custom printed minifigure torsos for another project, and then I got thinking about how cool it would be to have printed torsos for the Toa, and then perhaps even printed heads too! Custom Lego fig prints are more common nowadays, so in theory it wouldn't be too difficult to pull it off. But it would still be pricey... but one way to bring down the price is to order in bulk. And it occurred to me that there might be other fans out there also intereste

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Review 70620: Ninjago City - Level 3

I have finished the Ninjago City model, so one last rambling of thoughts on it. The third and top level here consists of the rooftop sushi restaurant and the radio tower.     The Sushi restaurant isn't too extravagant, because it is just sitting atop a rooftop. The edged of the curved roof are nice, with the two straight bits being made of door pieces. (One side is right hand doors, the other is left hand doors, so if you part this set out, you've have a full set of matching pairs.) There's ple

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