State of the LUG – 2023

Hi all – Happy New Year, and welcome to our new members! It’s been a minute since we had an update, so let’s talk about what we have coming up in 2023.

LUGBulk

If you are waiting for the next update on LUGBulk – so are we. We should see the parts list by mid January, and we will move fast when that happens. Next steps are:

  • LEGO releases list
  • Eligible LUGBulk Participants select 4-5 elements
  • Run Mock order for all participants
  • Use Mock order to reduce list to final 85 elements
  • Run the real order
  • Submit to LEGO

Watch this space and your email, we will need to move fast!

LUG Showcase

We will be at the Holiday Inn on March 31-April 1. Save the Dates!
If you are planning on having a table to display your LEGO Builds, we will be taking signups shortly. We’ve also had some interest from kids who’d like to display, so we will be discussing how that’s going to work.

Meetings

Meetings will continue – we want to try and have a meeting about once a month, so we will be scheduling something soon.

Build Challenges

We will also be bringing back monthly build challenges – if you have an idea for a theme, post in the comments!

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Our Final Thoughts!

With the battle now concluded, our reviewers share their final thoughts on this year’s advent calendars:

Steve Churchill (MCU Reviewer):
The MCU was in the lead for precisely one day – Day 1.  By Day 2, they dropped to second, and there was never a time after this that they felt competitive.  They were mathematically eliminated on day 20, but realistically they had been out since the half-way point, leaving Star Wars and Harry Potter to battle for the win.

In a year when both Harry Potter and Star Wars stepped up their micro-build game considerably (both in quality and piece count), the Guardians never really matched them there.  The minifigure-scale builds were, in a word, terrible.  Two “tool” related builds?

The score tells the tale here – outside of the minifigures the MCU only scored FOUR POINTS.

Those minifigures were the one shining star of the MCU Calendar this year. Every single one of the 6 figures in the mix were a winner on their respective days, including some 3-way battles.  This does, however, bring up a glaring issue – Harry Potter offered 8 figures (counting one “buildable”) and Star Wars offered 7 minifigures (again, one “buildable” figure).  The MCU only had 6, leaving them with the least.  Given that figures are the most prized build (by the reviewers, anyway), this added insult to injury.

Overall, the MCU came with a very disappointing sophomore year.  Focusing on a single sub-theme (the Guardians) seems to have reduced the scope of what they could offer, and as a result a lot of the builds felt forced or off-theme.  Star Wars did the same thing in 2021 with a “Mandalorian” focused calendar, and that hurt them as well.  Let’s hope LEGO learns a lesson here.


Patrick Barnes (SW Reviewer):
This has been my 12th year opening Lego Star Wars advent calendars daily in December, and I truly look forward to opening them during the holiday season. It’s synonymous with Christmas now for me, so I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for them, regardless of how bad they could get.

With all of that in mind, how has this calendar fared overall? Does it recapture that nostalgic experience opening advents quickly before being rushed to school? I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, this has been the best Star Wars advent calendar in years, and arguably its best ever. The days of unexciting weapons racks and unidentifiable micros are over, and I’m happy to say the calendar flexes the $10 cost increase where it counts – bigger micro builds, more minifigures, and fewer “insta-bulk” gifts. Though there were a couple subpar builds, the vast majority of these gifts are worthwhile additions to my collection and phenomenal individual gifts leading up to Christmas. Tie, win, or loss, I’m very proud of how far the Star Wars advents have come in the last few years – they were looking a bit grim for a while there (*flashback to BB-8 in a Santa Hat on a snowboard for the final festive fig*).

From a content point of view, Star Wars drew from a good variety of source material, introducing both new micros and minifigs, as well as overhauling old designs, overshadowing them now two or three times in size in some cases. It is interesting I think how the Star Wars advent seemed to follow a rough chronological release order. We got prequel and Clone Wars builds, followed by a Bad Batch build and some Holiday Special stuff, then Tatooine builds, followed by a couple micro ships, and finally Hoth builds and minfigs. There’s a couple strange things about this scheme, primarily the inclusion of the B-Wing and TIE Interceptor before Hoth builds and the lack of Episode 6 or sequel stuff otherwise. I realize there’s only so many days to cover, and getting the odd micros out earlier may have been convenient for leading from Hoth into the final days, but why include Bad Batch and extremely obscure Tatooine builds if you’re not gonna make it to Endor by the 24th? We even got an AT-ST, but on a white plate, implying it’s on Hoth. Seems like it would make more sense to shorten the Hoth run by a piece of rebel arsenal, maybe drop the V-35 Courier speeder and the Ammo Rack wall, and include a couple builds and minifigs specifically from Episode 6, after Hoth but before the 24th. That’s a real nitpick at the end of the day though; I’m happy to get some more micro, lesser-known stuff as long as the quality is high – not a problem this year!

Thanks for reading this year!! Merry Christmas, and touch base with me on Facebook if you’d like to discuss the calendar or advent competition further!!


Matt Zwicker (HP Reviewer):
I feel like over the past two years of HP calendars, I tend to judge a book by its cover, or in the LEGO world, a set by its box art. Just going by what I saw previewed on the 2022 Harry Potter Advent Calendar box, I wasn’t expecting much this season. In the end, however, I was mistaken- this calendar actually put up some of its best microbuilds to date as well as exclusive figures. As a result, it made for one of the better HP calendars to date, maybe second only to the inaugural calendar in 2019.

In terms of the actual Battle, HP made hay in the mid-game as it typically does, managing to snag 1st and 2nd place points off strong micro builds (gringotts, burrow, dementors, knight bus) or system scale builds (goblet of fire, triwizard cup). Where the calendar really suffered within the context of the Battle was in the head-to-head (to head!) minifigure matchups. Consider this- of three exclusive minifigures (Sirius Black, Voldemort, and Neville Longbottom), HP was only able to produce ONE single point (courtesy a second place finish for Voldemort)! Such was the nature of the excellent competition in the minifigure department from both MCU and SW. It’s really hard to win any battle if a calendar can’t capitalize on its minifigs. The silver lining here was that the minifigures still represented great advent gifts and honestly that’s what it’s all about.

I don’t have much to offer on the board game aspect as I’m not quite the target audience for this. I respect the fact that the designers had a plan (ie. all builds on a colour-coded 2×4 plate, or equivalent) and that the calendar followed a chronological order (for the most part- Moaning Myrtle appeared after the Chamber of Secrets micro, which doesn’t exactly line up). 

In terms of positive changes from last year, we didn’t get a standalone dreidel gift on the 24th, which is required to play the board game. Instead, we got this many days earlier, included with Hedwig the Owl. I think this was a positive change as it paved the way to get Neville Longbottom on the 24th. This is more in line with the other licensed advent calendars who always finish strong with an exclusive, festive fig. I’m glad the designer and LEGO brass implemented this change, so it’s two thumbs up from me in this department.

Speaking of which, my colleagues and I remarked that HP could really do something special if they started incorporating Christmas/festive elements into their figs and other builds. While this is something I have talked about at length in the past, we figure that an IP law or copyright is preventing LEGO from exploring this, as they do with SW and MCU. Unless this changes going forward, that will always present a challenge for HP under our current scoring rubric. Nonetheless, its strengths lie in the design of their other gifts and hopefully they can build upon that in years to come.

A big thanks to special guest reviewer Andrew House for taking on multiple days of HP reviews this year! We hope to see Andrew back again next year, and perhaps some more guest reviewers from NewfoundLUG!

That’s it folks! I’d like to take this time to thank Steve, Pat, and Andrew for their insightful reviews and daily commitment to the Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars during this busy time of year. I hope that you, the reader, enjoyed following along with our daily matchups for a laugh, and if you have any thoughts or suggestions of your own, we’d love to hear the feedback!

On behalf of my fellow reviewers and the rest of NewfoundLUG, we’d like to wish you and yours a safe, relaxing, and brick filled holidays!

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 24

It all comes down to the final day! HP has a tenuous one point lead, but SW and MCU are ready for the grand finale. What will the outcome be? Let’s find out as we conclude the 2022 Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars!

Day 24 – MCU

Steve: On the twenty-fourth day of Christmas, the Guardians gave to meeeee…… Drax in sweater for some gleeeeee

(if the quality is back, so is the song)

Door #24 for the MCU is a unique and festive minifigure – Drax in a Baby-Groot-themed Holiday sweater.  The printing here is crisp and clean, although there is no leg or arm printing.  The head has a frowning expression, and of course there’s no alternate face, as he appropriately comes with no hair or hat.

For accessories, we get the purple “Power” stone and a spoon and fork, indicating Drax is gearing up for a very interesting holiday feast. We actually get a full sprue of Power Stone moulds, which is good.  The fork is also a relatively uncommon accessory (BrickLinks says it was released in 2021).

A great fig like this is a welcome sight after a long Christmas season of fairly disappointing gifts.  

Day 24- SW

Pat: Star Wars advent calendars, traditionally, round out the season with a great gift, and this year is no different (though I’d say, a little odd for the calendar). Day 24 gives us a sweet festive R2-D2 Minifig, serving as the other half to the matching sweater R2/3PO duo of the calendar. The R2 minifig uses the same dome and legs as other R2 minifigs (some red legs would have been nice), but has a wicked red torso with printing on both sides. On the front is a stitched print of Lego C-3PO’s head, and on the back is a stitch of the Rebel Alliance insignia. This is our first time ever getting an Astromech Droid torso in the standard red, and it really pops against the white and green stitching print. 

Though it’s a surprise the R2-D2 and C-3PO minifigs appeared in gifts like, 15 days ago, they make a wicked pair of minifigs. The “matching sweaters with each others faces” is super adorable, and it’s a super high quality festive “get” of the calendar (wayyy better than Santa C-3PO and Reindeer R2-D2 from the 2015 calendar), and quality additions to the “festive sweater” Star Wars collection.

I would like to note, it’s pretty strange they include only one of the duo at the end of the calendar and not both. It was nice to space the desirable figures out, but it’s completely out of character for Lego Star Wars advent calendars, which always save the BEST festive fig for the final day. Once 3PO came before the 10th day, I assumed Beach Vader would be 24th for sure. Not a complaint or anything, it actually made the calendar less predictable, but worth noting!

Day 24- HP

Matt: Well, after 23 days, we’re finally here. It’s been a decent calendar season for HP and one that certainly surprised me in a few ways, which I’ll touch on in our “Final Thoughts” article. For now, let’s see what HP has to offer us on the final day.

Behind door #24 is none other than The People’s Champ, Neville Longbottom. For starters, what a fantastic decision by LEGO to actually include a minifigure on the final day of HP, for the first time ever- joining its counterparts in the MCU and SW universe. Secondly, to give the spotlight to a “semi-main character” is a bold, but in my estimation, a spectacular decision as Neville is one of the more beloved characters in the entire series.

This version of Neville is brand new and exclusive to this calendar, courtesy his new torso print featuring the sweater he’s wearing in the final few scenes of DHP2. He has a dual sided face with a surprised expression and a smiling expression. The cherry on top here is that Neville is holding the sword of Gryffindor. This sword is only previously available with Griphook CMF Series 2 (a random blind bag), Dumbledore’s Office (a pricey and premium retail set), and the Chamber of Secrets (an even more pricey, premium retail set). Getting this sword accessory here is of tremendous value. As all fans would know, Neville is able to pull the sword out of the Sorting Hat and kill Nagini, Voldemort’s pet snake and final Horcrux, paving the way for Harry and the allegiance of the Elder Wand to finish the job.

While Neville, like many HP figs before him, will likely not score any points in the Battle today, he certainly scores points in our hearts. This is the way all advent calendars should finish the season, regardless if it’s HP, SW, MCU, or other non-licensed themes. More than anything, I’m happy the designers of the calendar opted for a fig today and like Neville himself, showed bravery to include a supporting character at the end of 2022.

 

Verdict

With two festive exclusive figures on the final day, it’s MCU coming out on top with a rarer character complete with rare accessories. In second place, SW, with an exclusive festive R2 to go with C3PO from early on in the calendar. Finishing off the scoreboard is an exclusive Neveille Longbottom with the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. 

Based on how the scores played out over all 24 days, HP and SW have ended up in a tie, with 28 points each. The final tallies are:

SW- 28

HP- 28

MCU- 14

We will follow up with out “Final Thoughts” article in which each reviewer will wrap up their respective calendars and give their overall take on the 2022 battle. Stay tuned!

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 23

After a debatable Day 22, we only have two days left in the season. Read on to find out how our Battle draws to a close.

Day 23 – MCU

Steve: Door # 12 brings the week of the sleigh to a close.  It’s not that it’s a bad build, but spreading it over three days really saps it of any joy.  It doesn’t help when we can see Star Wars putting up micro builds in a single day with almost the same piece count.

For the final day, we add a cargo trailer to the sleigh with a hinged hitch point and a green “Toy sack” piece that is a nice addition.  As I have mentioned before, my primary complaint with the overall build is that it really doesn’t have a good connection to the Guardians’ universe.

Day 23- SW

Pat: As we’re nearing the end of the calendar competition, Star Wars still trails by 2 points and needs to make up ground quickly to overcome the stellar Harry Potter calendar. Thankfully, the advent opens Tibb’s Eve with a banger – a Santa Gonk Droid minifig! Gonk Droids have become pretty common in advent calendars in recent years, and from Lego Star Wars in general to be honest, which is super fun to see. These little battery droids have developed a pretty big cult appeal from the Star Wars fanbase for just being omnipresent and neutral in the greater galaxy, and I think Lego really capitalises on that popularity by producing as many as necessary. They’re a great accompaniment to a sets’ minifigure lineup, an easy gift for advent calendars, and popular enough to continue producing.

We’ve received 11 Gonk Droid minifigures throughout the years (with another on the way in the 2023 TIE Bomber), and tons from advent calendars – traditional designs in 2012 and 2016, the droid wrapped up like a gift in 2019, and a snowman version of the droid in 2020. So how does this one compare to all the ones we’ve received before? I’m happy to say that, excluding some iconic standard versions of the droid that are too versatile not to adore, this is probably the best version of the droid yet!

The Santa Gonk Droid is a substantial 26-piece build using mostly red bricks and tiles, and a white foot/terrain piece as a Santa beard. The build features a cool combination of studs and rounded 1×2 pieces to make boots for the feet, and the 2×2 hat build is awesome. I also really appreciate the use of 1×3 red tiles on the sides of the build to achieve the midsection ridge present on the droid, as most Lego design are simply 2×2 or 2×3 bricks. Overall, fantastic minifig, I’m happy to get it!

Day 23- HP

Matt: After a very close Day 22 which saw HP finish atop the leaderboards, we’re entering “sketchy” territory for the HP calendar. Let’s see what happens today.

On Day 23 we get a microscale Hogwarts Express. Since we’re on the Deathly Hallows Part 2 of the calendar, this scene perhaps represents the “dream sequence” where Harry speaks to Dumbledore after sacrificing himself to Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. 

We’ve seen a previous iteration of the Hogwarts Express in the inaugural 2019 HP calendar on Day 2. I will say that although we don’t get an additional train car here, the design of this train is much improved. Using SNOT (Studs not on top) techniques, I feel the designer achieved a more accurate look for the famed train here. Adding the tan arches completes a little scene.

Overall, I feel like some may consider today’s microbuild the best of the season. I think The Burrow is still my favorite, but this likely takes the silver medal of micros this season.

Verdict

With its festive Gonk droid (a minifigure per Bricklink), SW takes the win today. In 2nd, HP with its micro Hogwarts Express. In 3rd, MCU, with its final part of Rocket’s sleigh.

With the win, SW ensure this will come down to the wire. The scores are now:

HP- 28

SW- 27

MCU- 14

To be concluded…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 22

With only three days left, the battle is coming down to the wire. Who will grab top marks today? Let’s find out.

Day 22 – MCU

Steve: Day 22 and the slog to mediocrity continues for the MCU Calendar

Door #22 is another fraction of the rocket sled – as we feared, we are facing the first 3-day build to appear in a LEGO Calendar. The colours are nice, and it’s good to see the sled taking shape, but it’s hard to feel excited about a build that doesn’t appear in the movies, isn’t in the Christmas special, and after 2 days is still incomplete. 

Day 22- SW

Pat: After years of awkward micros and infamous weapon racks, I struggle to imagine a built-up, non-minifig advent calendar gift Star Wars has produced that compares to getting a minifigure. Minifigures are just so usable, versatile, collectable, and such a huge part of Lego’s brand image – I’d buy an advent of 24 minifigures in a heartbeat! However, I think Star Wars finally produces something almost equally as appealing as a minifig, and something I’ve been suggesting for years – an accompanying minifig vignette.

Day 22 for the Star Wars advent gives us a small build of a Hoth Wampa Cave. The build is significant for an advent gift, building off a 2×6 plate and creating a larger footprint than two 1x6x5 wall panel bricks. The build is mostly white bricks and modified angled bricks, with a couple toothed pieces used to simulate icicles, and a 1×1 tan clip to hold a bone. This build is clearly the Wampa Cave from Episode 5 on Hoth, where Luke is taken back after being attacked by the Wampa and strung upside-down on the ceiling. This is a build we’ve seen a couple times before from Lego (once in 2010 and once in 2016, both appearing with the Luke minifigs discussed in yesterday’s review) but this is a super effective downsizing of it.

On it’s own, this isn’t exactly considered a minifig vignette – it doesn’t have a plaque or display stand insinuating it as exclusively a minifig vignette, but that’s clearly what it’s intended to be. It comes the day after we get the Luke Skywalker minifig wearing his outfit from the Wampa Cave scene, dangling by the icy ceiling with his lightsaber encased in ice out of reach below. In addition, there’s a couple of white studs exposed, where the backs of Luke’s legs can be attached, and by removing the tan bone, there is a perfect spot to connect a lightsaber. The resulting scene is a PERFECT little scene for a minifig. 

These displays could be stacked, connected modularly, and come with every calendar, or even every minifig in every calendar, annually. I would happily take 5-6 of these in a calendar instead of 5-6 more micro builds, and they could make weapon racks obsolete by simply attaching the minfig’s weapon to a clip on the build. I half think that’s what the star wars advent calendar started soft-running last year, with every minifig appearing with an accompanying build – vehicles for the Scout Trooper and Grogu, but weapon racks built up off small plates with room to pose the minifig – some examples include the Tusken Weapon Rack for the Tusken and the Imperial Weapon Rack for the Stormtrooper. This is clearly an improved version though – I hope its a sign of good things to come from the Star Wars advents!

Day 22- HP

Matt: After failing to retrieve top marks yesterday, HP is looking to capitalize over the next couple days as they typically bow out on Day 24. Let’s see what they have today.

Behind door 22 is a microscale rendition of Gringotts Bank and the Dragon. This hearkens back to the scene in Deathly Hallows where Horcrux-hunting Harry and Co. escape Gringotts on top of the dragon. I don’t know the exact species of this dragon, but a little research tells me it’s a Ukrainian Ironbelly, which sounds pretty awesome. 

The build is one of the more parts-intensive of the calendar at 22 parts. I like the use of the white telescope pieces and white dome to evoke the Gringotts facade. But the highlight for me is the dragon itself, built around a Travis brick. While the dragon’s head design leaves something to be desired, the wings are great and offer some functionality. The highlight for me is the use of the dark grey cattle horn as its tail. This is a rarer part to come by, and we actually get an extra here today, which will come in handy.

While microbuilds are not high up on our tier list, I tend to judge them based on their design and if they are instantly recognizable. I feel as though this one accomplishes both. While I still prefer The Burrow as the best micro of the season to date, I think this is runner up, edging out the Knight Bus. 

Overall, I may not keep the Gringotts facade assembled post-season, but the dragon could have a use as the mini-dragon popping the popcorn in the Weasley’s diagon alley shop, or perhaps one of the four dragons drawn by the Triwizard Champions prior to their 1st Task.

Verdict

Today’s matchup was one of the more debated matchups of the year. Ultimately, the majority felt that HP (slightly) beat out SW for top spot, as the gringotts/dragon micro edged the wampa cave (without minifig). In second place, SW, with its mini Wampa cave-frame to host Luke Skywalker from Day 21. In third, it’s the same old song and dance for MCU, still working its way through a complete sleigh build.

With the win, HP gains an additional point up on SW to give it a two point lead late into the season, and the scores are now: 

HP- 27

SW- 25

MCU- 14

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 21

With MCU mathematically eliminated, it comes down to a two-way battle between SW and HP. MCU can still play the role of spoiler and finish off their calendar strong. Let’s see how it all shakes out on Day 21.

Day 21 – MCU

Steve: No more cute rhymes after that debacle – the MCU is eliminated from first, and faces long odds to place second – Can we stay in the running to at least place #2?

-sigh- No.

Door #21 is… part of a sleigh. Spreading full builds over multiple days has been an ongoing point of contention for the reviewers – it cheapens the gift and makes for a disappointing day of building.  Based on the box art, I hesitate to even say this is HALF of a sleigh – it may only be a THIRD.  This would be a new low point for the LEGO Advent Calendars.

It’s hard to even critique the build as it’s obviously incomplete. This is the death knell for any ranking higher than last place overall- our score for today puts us well out of the running.

Day 21- SW

Pat: After a rough few days on Hoth, Star Wars needs to close the gap with Harry Potter if they have a chance of winning the race this year. Thankfully, for day 21 we get none other than Mr. “I blew up the Death Star”, Luke Skywalker! This is a version of Luke seen in Episode 5 on Hoth before he gets attacked by the Wampa and dragged to his cave. While not exclusive to the advent calendar, this version of Hoth Luke appears in only one other set, the 2021 75298 Microfighter AT-AT vs. Tauntaun, making him relatively uncommon. 

This is the 3rd time Lego has released an official “Luke in Hoth uniform” minifigure, and it is easily the best. In 2010, we received the first Hoth Luke, who had relatively common parts other than a nice torso print. In 2016, we received the second Hoth Luke in the UCS Assault on Hoth set, and while the torso was a step backwards from the 2010 version, it featured Luke with a cool unique head print, showing damage after the Wampa attack. This is definitely the most complete and accurate version of the character, with an accurate torso print, clean leg print (the first for this version of Luke), and primarily, a white balaclava. The face is actually printed on a white head piece with a flesh-tone patch (on both sides of the dual-sided expression) to reflect Luke’s face. Oftentimes when Lego prints flesh tones on a solid coloured head (black, white, even purple like on the Buzz Lightyear minifigs) the skin tone becomes skewed by the odd colour its being printed on, creating a pasty or pale coloured skin. Thankfully, this minifig does not have that problem, with crisp prints and bright colours. 

Interestingly enough, none of these Hoth Lukes have kept the same colour headpiece, though they all use the same piece. The 2010 version was in tan, the 2016 in white, now the 2021 in dark tan. The 2016 version likely used the headpiece as an equivalent to the balaclava, making it white. However, based on the Luke outfit seen here, dark tan is definitely accurate. Plus the lightsaber, spare goggles and spare hilt? Overall, great figure to get!

Day 21- HP

Matt: After one of the better microbuilds of the season, I wouldn’t be able to predict what comes next for HP. Let’s check it out.

Behind door #21 is the dreidel/spinner for the board game AND Hedwig. I’m legitimately shocked! As a fan and reviewer of HP calendar’s since 2019, today’s entry is a positive departure from calendar’s of years past- for two main reasons. I’ll explain below. 

First, we actually get the “dreaded dreidel” (spinner) piece out of the way PRIOR TO Day 24 of the calendar! This is huge, as it means HP has a chance to put up another cool gift on the 24th.While we don’t award HP any points for creating a playable board game throughout the season, I do recognize that the dreidel piece actually allows players to play the game.  The dreidel features a printed medium-nougat half-box displaying the moves/options the player makes after spinning. I do like the dark brown rounded tile and “flower pot” piece. And to confirm, the dreidel does actually work, and I would say much better than its previous iteration.

Secondly, we get a secondary gift in Hedwig on a 2×4 medium blue plate. This is a great value-add because last year, the dreidel was a standalone gift on Day 24. Adding Hedwig here is great. And again, for the hardcore fan at home, we now have a clear picture of Deathly Hallows Part 1 here- Hagrid’s bike, The Burrow, and Hedwig. Alas, this is a fitting tribute to one of Harry’s best friends who he tragically loses in this film sequence, while escaping from Privet Drive on Hagrid’s bike en route to The Burrow. I think it’s a great way to honour Hedwig’s legacy and to include him with the required dreidel piece, is fitting for today.

Verdict

By virtue of its Luke Skywalker minifig, SW grabs a commanding two points today. In second, it’s HP with the game-board dreidel and Hedwig. In 3rd, MCU doesn’t manage to steal any points today with a portion (?) of Rocket’s sleigh.

With today’s results, HP’s lead is cut in half once more, and SW is ensuring this will come down to the wire. The scores are now:

HP- 25

SW- 24

MCU- 14

To be continued…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 20

All three calendars are still in contention, but MCU is staring down the barrel of elimination. Will today be their final hurrah? Read on.

Day 20 – MCU

Steve: On the twentieth day of Christmas, the Guardians gave to meeeee…. Mathematical elimination.

Every day of the last 5 were do-or-die for the MCU, and today they chose… death.  Door #20 is a Christmas Tree decoration for the Groot figure from day #19.

I’m not going to lie – as a combined figure, the Christmas-Tree-Groot is easily my favourite figure so far across all three calendars.  Alas, LEGO decided to spread this top-tier figure across two days, leaving day 2 of the build lacking.  No great parts or prints, this harkens back to day 2 of the 2021 Calendar when all we got was the energy blasts to go with the Tony Stark figure from day one.  Even the distinctively festive element doesn’t save this as an add-on.

With this, the MCU must tip its hat to our worthy foes, and let the giants battle for first.  Second is still a possibility, but it would require quite a stumble from Star Wars and Harry Potter.

Day 20- SW

Pat: Star Wars breaks the 20th of the month with… another Hoth micro, this time the Rebel Laser Cannon. OK, to be fair, I think this is the best of the three we’ve received so far because it’s almost impossible to mess up. Not only is it not scaled down much from the in-universe design, but it’s essentially a mounted satellite dish, making it extremely versatile for MOCs and battle scenes. A 2×2 and 3×3 dish make up the head of the laser, with a grey ski pole (which seems to be THE piece of the advent calendar, appearing in 4 builds, with a spare in each) serving as the barrel. The build is mounted on a white plate, attached to an inverted grey battle droid torso as the body of the cannon itself. Overall, it’s a pretty simplistic build, but it’s valuable for any Star Wars collector, in my opinion!

Day 20- HP

Matt: After a questionable microbuild yesterday, I’m hoping HP can get back on track in a hurry. As we know from previous years, they tend to finish calendars very poorly. Let’s see what happens today.

Behind Door 20 is a microscale rendition of The Burrow. This is of course the Weasley’s magical home. Placing my overall dislike of micro builds aside, I might rank today’s offering as the best of the bunch in HP’s 2022 calendar- for a couple of reasons. Instantly recognizable, this build uses some great colors- medium nougat, red, green, tan, olive green, and medium blue. I think the choice of color here evokes the existing renditions of the burrow seen in previous LEGO sets. Secondly, we get a lot of new parts here that many of us don’t yet have, namely the small red slopes that kinda look like Monopoly pieces and the “double plate brick” officially called a “Modified 1 x 1 x 2/3 with Open Stud” per Bricklink. 

Overall, I think this build achieves the angles and feel we’ve come to associate with The Burrow. Depending on your HP layout, you might even be able to keep this one intact at season’s end. 

Verdict

With no heavy hitters today, it came down to the best build of the bunch. Ultimately with its microscale rendition of The Burrow, HP comes out on top. In second place, SW with another Hoth micro, this time with a Rebel Laser Canon. In 3rd place, MCU, with a festive branch to now complete its previous Goot minifig.

With the loss, MCU is now mathematically eliminated from this years battle. I’m sure Steve will have much more commentary to provide in the days to come, and in our final thoughts article on the 24th. MCU now takes on the role of spoiler and can steal critical points away from the other two contenders.

With the results today, the scores are now:

HP- 24

SW- 22

MCU- 14

To be continued…