Meet a Member- Jason Denief

As part of growing our group and local community, we started the Meet a Member initiative on newfoundlug.ca, to feature the people who make up our local LEGO community.  This initiative is 100% voluntary. Each month, we will interview a member of NewfoundLUG to find out how LEGO makes them tick, their passion for the hobby, and other fun facts about their LEGO journey.

This month’s featured member is: Jason Denief!

NewfoundLUG: What is your first LEGO memory?

Jason Denief: My first memory of LEGO was in about 1983 playing with the Crusader Knight minifigures. Remembering those early sets is bittersweet as most of my childhood Lego was passed onto cousins.

NewfoundLUG: Did you have a dark age (a time in your life where you weren’t using LEGO) and if so, what caused you to emerge from it?

JD: After some of my Lego had been given away around my teenage years, I stopped actively collecting. It was never completely out of view as I would occasionally bring my Lego out and play with it.

What reintroduced me to the hobby is after a hand injury at work I experienced around 2015. I was unable to continue with my other hobbies and activities, and Lego was a great outlet that provided both dexterity-improving motions and a pass time.

NewfoundLUG: Which set or theme has been most influential upon you, as a LEGO fan?

JD: The Modulars and Architecture sets appealed to me the most due to the fine building and design techniques used to create obscure angles, shapes, etc. My next step with Modulars is to make one myself at a similar scale and quality as an official set.

When Technic started to get more refined (into the 2000s), it appealed to me much more as well, and is what I’m currently immediately interested in collecting.

NewfoundLUG: What is your favorite part of the hobby?

JD: What began as a reclusive thing has now spun into an interactive medium where I’ve met lots of great people and learned lots from other members.

NewfoundLUG: How do you store your LEGO?

JD: Most of the Lego I own is in the form of assembled sets I have displayed on a variety of shelves and bookcases. Most of my sets are displayed by their theme with their respective figures. Outside of my assembled stuff, my bulk collection is sorted via color.

NewfoundLUG: Do you build MOCs? If so, of what?

JD: Yes I build MOCs. There is no real rhyme or reason to what MOCs I design; I may want to build a tree and make an attempt at a tree MOC. There might be a set I don’t want to buy or can’t afford, and I will make an attempt at building it myself.


NewfoundLUG: Do you have a favorite part?

JD: I was going to say a SNOT brick due to its versatility but there are multiple pieces like the SNOT brick that do achieve the same thing. Turntable pieces, and 2×2 Jumper Plates, also efficiently capture non-angled and non-square shapes.

NewfoundLUG: What theme would you like LEGO to produce?

JD: I would have liked Lego to make a Rick and Morty theme when it was more relevant a couple years ago. I would also have liked Lego to flesh out the Adventure Time theme they did a couple small sets of, especially the Treehouse which had been an Ideas set.

NewfoundLUG: What’s your favorite thing about being a member of a local LEGO club like NewfoundLUG?

JD: My favorite aspect of being part of a registered LUG is inspiring, and being inspired, by other local members with a shared common interest in a great hobby.

NewfoundLUG: As the unofficial photographer of the NewfoundLUG, you have significant experience with high quality photography and Lego. Why do the two hobbies work so well together?

JD: Generally, the hobbies don’t overlap, the enjoyment comes with making it work. With a macro-lens, I can achieve a view from a minifigure scale, and provide a point of view of what it could be like to be there at that level. With clean, close-up shots such as these, more is appreciated and more can be seen. The more you look, the more you see, and the cleaner the images, the more to enjoy.

NewfoundLUG: Anything else you’d like to add?

JD: Lego has been medicine for hard times, which is no more evident than at our Blocks on the Rock event and the reception it received. I hope more members enjoying the hobby in recluse come out of the woodwork and become social like I did!

Meet a Member – Charlie Mudd

As part of growing our group and local community, we started the Meet a Member initiative on newfoundlug.ca, to feature the people who make up our local LEGO community.  This initiative is 100% voluntary. Each month, we will interview a member of NewfoundLUG to find out how LEGO makes them tick, their passion for the hobby, and other fun facts about their LEGO journey.

This month’s featured member is: Charlie Mudd

Continue reading “Meet a Member – Charlie Mudd”

Next Event- NewfoundLUG at AvEx 7

NewfoundLUG will have a manned display at Avalon Expo 7, Sat-Sun, Sept. 18-19, 2021, Holiday Inn, Portugal Cove Road, St. John’s, NL, Canada. Here are some quick notes:

  • We are being given six (6) tables (likely 2.5 x 6′) to use for display during the event.
  • We are being given up to six (6) event passes. The LUG may provide a couple more, pending interest.
  • We will be limiting each participating member to 1-2 small sets or MOCs, to ensure everyone who wants to participate is able to. 
  • If you are interested in participating, we are asking that you notify an exec member as soon as possible, and we will add you to our Facebook thread for the event.

We have now posted our Table Staff Sign Up Sheet to Google Drive. We ask that any interested/participating LUG members type their name into their preferred time slots for the weekend. This really helps us organize and schedule the event.

Since this will be more of a “shift-work” type event, we would strongly recommend filling out a display card and small write-up on your sets/MOCs so guests can read about your display even if you are not present.

Links to the sign up sheet and display cards posted on our FB page and in our September newsletter.

Reach out with any questions!

7166 Imperial Shuttle Review by Patrick Barnes

“Senior” Set Reviewer & Star Wars expert Patrick Barnes is back with another set review for our website. Found out what he has to say about 7166 Imperial Shuttle:

Patrick: As someone who got into collecting Lego Star Wars in ~2006, there were some great sets I missed out on that came before and set 7166 Imperial Shuttle is no exception! Coming in at 219 pieces with 4 minifigures, this set effectively captures the look of the Imperial Shuttle seen in Star Wars: Episode 6, with large wing and slope pieces used to capture the dainty design of the ship. However, as a 20 year old set, the build is relatively basic, with simple ratcheted joint connections for the cockpit and wings, and not a single technic pin to be seen.

Much like most Star Wars Lego sets, the ship looks drastically better in its “wings down, flight/attack position” mode than its “wings up, landing position” mode. Unfortunately, the ratcheted joints don’t allow the wings to lower beyond this, but it still captures the design effectively.

Because the model doesn’t utilize most its core for technic mechanisms, there is sufficient room in the core to house Palpatine and both his guards, as well as their accessories, on a small, slide-out platform. The hatch also folds down and resembles a ramp, though I don’t know if this was deliberate or a coincidence when designing the platform.

Towards the front of the ship, the printed windscreen (which is a great looking piece) can be removed to allow access for a pilot. The console piece used is pretty weak, looking more like some kind of wired connection than driving controls. However the cockpit itself is pretty spacious, almost fitting two figures. Above the cockpit, two printed pieces are visible, both of which are great and add necessary detail to the ship. On both sides of the cockpit, bar pieces are used to imply forward cannons, which could have been easily improved by a small pin, or even a lightsaber hilt, at the ends.

The set features 4 minifigures, which are (from Left to Right), Emperor Palpatine, Imperial Shuttle Pilot, and two Imperial Royal Guards. These are great figures to include in the set as a pilot is necessary and Palpatine is always escorted by his red-robed guards. The printing used on Palpatine’s face is iconic for the character, with deep wrinkles and squinted eyes, and the Royal Guards must have been good for the time as Lego has been using their headpiece ever since. The standout of the lineup for me is the Shuttle Pilot, who has clean and efficient torso printing for a 2001 figure and is exclusive to this set. My sole complaint is Palpatine not getting a lightsaber and the pilot not getting a blaster, but otherwise a great selection.

Overall, this is a great set to pick up if you can find it semi-cheap on the aftermarket. Lego just released a new Imperial Shuttle that I believe is similar in scale, though even this set, at 20+ years old, can likely be found cheaper. I thoroughly enjoyed the more simplistic build, and I am eager to purchase more older sets!

Thanks Patrick!

Featured Review: 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina by Patrick Barnes

As part of our new Monthly Newsletter initiative, longtime LUG member and Star Wars fanatic Patrick Barnes has written an extensive in-depth review of 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina for out LUG website. Read on!

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars (1977)

Continue reading “Featured Review: 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina by Patrick Barnes”

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:

Stephen Churchill (SW Reviewer): Final thoughts on the whole thing- Both Matt and I went into December expecting an easy overall win for Star Wars, and we were both wrong. Thanks to some lucky/strategic matchups, Harry Potter kept the score interesting and it was a nail-biter right to the end. Looking back, an overall tie actually feels right. Both Calendars have had good days and bad this year, and overall 2020’s Star Wars calendar turned out to be a middle-of-the-road offering – neither the worst nor the greatest.

Patrick Barnes (SW Weekend Reviewer): As someone who has been getting the annual Star Wars advent since 2011, I was really happy with this years calendar. The majority of the vehicle builds were great and I’ll likely keep them built, which is more than I can say for a lot of previous advent builds, and the calendar came with a whopping 10 figures, so days with gifts like the Battle Droid and Porg didn’t feel like a wasted slot. I would have liked to have seen more Mandalorian and Clone Wars builds, as those media have been staples of Star Wars this past year, but it was nice to get stuff over all three trilogies regardless. I think the highlight of the calendar has got to be Poe and Vader in their Christmas sweaters!!

Matt Zwicker (HP Reviewer): This is the second year for the Harry Potter Advent Calendar, and first year that we’ve run a seasonal “battle” (for fun) on NewfoundLUG.ca. I had previously run this in the comments section of Brickset (a popular LEGO Fan wesbite) and it was well received, so together Steve and I thought it would be a fun competition to bring in-house, and run on our LUG’s website. I’m glad we did.

I think overall HP’s inaugural 2019 calendar was better, maybe just based on the figs or the novelty at the time. My initial thoughts upon seeing the 2020 box art was that this year’s calendar was going to be far weaker. Despite my initial take, I actually welcome the strategy of sticking to Year 4 (Goblet of Fire) as the overall theme for the calendar. I think that’s a smart play by TLG and gives them a strategy moving forward. There’s so much content in each novel/film, that sticking to a single one for each HPAC is pretty cool. That said, while the Yule Ball does take place around Christmas, I felt like it hemmed us in a little bit in terms of daily offerings. Getting multiple mantle/windowsill days as well as two halves of an ice sculpture felt a bit cheapened. I would prefer if each HPAC told a visual story of the novel/film as we worked our way through December month. That said, the “coherent scene” theme that’s come to define the HPAC’s from both 2019 and 2020 might suffer under that strategy I just mentioned. It’s always give and take with these things.

The 4th novel is my favorite although ironically, my least favorite film. That said, there were a lot of missed opportunities in my opinion. How about a Quidditch World Cup Viktor Krum in Bulgarian colours? A microscale Hungarian Horntail? Something from the 2nd Triwizard Challenge? Mad-Eye Moody/exclusive Barty Crouch fig? Fleur or Madame Maxine? So many possibilities. And as mentioned in the Day 24 review, I would have liked the last couple days to be both festive and HP related, with a definite Dumbledore/Voldemort presence (If SW can get its main antagonist, why can’t we?!).

In the end, as Steve mentioned, HP pulled off some strategic wins where it mattered and were able to secure 12 days worth of points, which came as a definite surprise to me. All’s well that ends well.

That’s it folks! I’d like to take this time to thank both Steve and Patrick for their insightful reviews and commitment to the Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars on NewfoundLUG.ca. 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

With SW down a single point, can they complete the comeback to tie the overall seasonal battle, or will HP secure it’s final point for the win? It has all come down to the final day of the season. Let’s see how the battle concludes:

Harry Potter- Day 24

Matt: After giving back a point on a very close decision yesterday, HP still requires one more to secure the overall seasonal victory. Behind Door #24 is the Triwizard Cup. While faithful to the on screen version, I am reticent to grant this entry a passing grade, especially on the final day of the calendar. Although it is a critical item at the end of the 4th film, acting as a portkey to the graveyard scene, it really doesn’t have that festive, HP vibe I was hoping for. I’m surprised that we haven’t seen a Santa Claus Albus Dumbledore for the second straight year, or maybe a festive Voldemort (yeah, I said his name) on the final day of the calendar. Or any fig for that matter. I do enjoy the overall design, and the snake pieces on today’s entry but find the inverted trans-light blue 2×2 round brick to be a bit bulky. A shame for HP to finish off the calendar in such a mediocre fashion, and I’m sure most fans were hoping for a better finish. It’s definitely a bit of a head scratcher. Today’s entry leaves us on a ho-hum note, and certainly can’t match SW’s entry today. I’ll touch more on this year’s HPAC in the final thoughts section, but for now, this is the way (wait, that’s a SW thing).

Star Wars- Day 24

Steve: The final door for Star Wars isn’t a surprise, we’ve seen him on the box so he had to show up today – It’s Darth Vader in a Holiday Sweater! Needless to say, this is a unique fig, depicting Vader in an appearance in the 2020 LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. The printing on the torso and legs is clean (no arm printing, though). The helmet is the new ‘split’ style, which is always appreciated, and the face underneath is a good print with scars printed around the entire head. Overall, this is easily the best fig that Star Wars has had for the calendar, and easily takes the day.

Verdict

With a bizarre final HP build versus an exclusive and festive SW fig, it’s really one of the more lopsided wins of the season with SW cruising to an easy victory today. With the win, SW goes back to back to tie the overall battle, and the score concluded as a tie with:

HP- 12

SW- 12

Stay tuned for our concluding article later this evening, where we will recap the seasonal battle and our reviewers will share their final thoughts on this year’s advent calendars!

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 23

With only two days to go, HP has already secured an overall tie in this year’s calendar. SW needs to sweep the last two days in order to secure an overall tie this year. Can they come back or will HP grab the win? Let’s find out:

Harry Potter- Day 23

Matt: After Hermione came to the rescue yesterday, HP needs to grab a point today or tomorrow to secure the seasonal victory. Behind Door #23 are festive Hogwarts house presents. Owners of last year’s calendar will recognize today’s gift as the 2019 calendar also offered 4 gifts representing each of the Hogwarts houses (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin). Worth nothing that the shapes of each gift are different than their 2019 counterparts adding to the variance from year to year, which is nice if this is your 2nd annual HPAC. The main difference, however, is the wrapped Firebolt as the Gryffindor house gift. I think this is a cool addition, and it is synonymous with the 4th novel/film, as Harry gets an upgrade to his Nimbus 2000 at Christmas time by receiving the Firebolt from an anonymous sender (his godfather Sirius Black). I think the gold and dark red work best here on the broomstick, unlike the dark yellow/dark red Gryffindor present colours last year. The main knock on today’s entry are the use of 1×1 clips on the presents. With all the accessories now available to us via Clickits and Friends theme lines, they could have instead gone with pieces such as bows, flower, star, heart, quarter tiles, etc. It’s a minor gripe, but I definitely think this would have improved today’s offering. Overall though, a solid to-scale, festive and themed gift today. Could there have been better options for the 23rd of December? Yes, no doubt. But the gifts today certainly aren’t among the lower tier entries this year and I look forward to tomorrow’s offering.

Star Wars- Day 23

Steve: Star Wars needs the ‘W’ today to stay in it. Behind door 23 we have a microscale version of Darth Vader’s castle! This is a well designed build, a great example of microscale – it evokes the shape of the original in just a few well-chosen pieces and techniques. The model itself may not be iconic to more casual fans, having only appeared on-screen for a brief shot in ‘Rogue One’ but we’ve seen it in many games and other media before and since. Accompanying the castle is the smallest (nanoscale?) TIE Fighter I’ve ever seen. Ideally, this should be Vader’s custom TIE, but the twin hulls mark this as a TIE Bomber variant. It’s hard to criticize at this scale, given it manages to say ‘TIE’ with only 3 pieces! Darth Vader can feel the presents of today’s HP build, but takes the win today to force the contest down to the wire for Day 24.

Verdict

While HP provided a to-scale, festive, and on theme build today, it was SW that came out on top with a microscale rendition of Vader’s castle with nanoscale TIE fighter. With the win, SW keeps their hopes of a seasonal draw alive, and it comes down to the last day of advent. With the win, the score is now:

HP- 12

SW- 11

To be concluded…

Battle of the Licensed Advent Calendars- Day 22

With only THREE DAYS LEFT (can’t believe we’re here already), HP has a single point lead over SW by a score of 11-10. Can SW complete the comeback and even the score, setting us up for a dramatic finish, or will HP clinch at least a seasonal tie? Let’s find out on a critical Day 22:

Harry Potter- Day 22

Matt: Oh HP, the up and down roller coaster continues until the end. With only 3 days left, HP needs a single point to clinch a tie, and two for the win. Can they pull it off? Behind Door #22 is none other than Hermione Granger! It wasn’t a stretch to imagine that she’d show up at some point, given her presence in last year’s calendar and the fact that both Harry and Ron have shown up so far in 2020. Furthermore, the Yule Ball is where the star Gryffindor student really shines and cleans up well (to say the least). Her dashing appearance at the ball was the salt in the wounds of one Ronald Weasley on that night, and it’s no wonder he was so sour. At least she enjoyed the evening with Bulgarian Quidditch prodigy Viktor Krum. But alas, back to the fig. This variant of Hermione appears only once before in a $120 dollar set, making her presence here that much more welcoming. Her Yule Ball attire looks fantastic, with superb printing adorning her light pink torso and dark pink/magenta leg piece (1×2 brick). I also like how the fuchsia 1×2 plate looks to cap off the fig. The hair piece is true to her appearance in this scene, and there is a small hole on the top of her head to place an accessory, if desired (although none are included here). She carries her typical dark tan wand and again, we’re treated to an extra sprue. Apart from the exclusive figs we received in this year’s calendar, I think this one is the next best offering in the minifig category. Once again and true to form, Hermione shows up to save the day for the HP calendar assuring that it can do no worse than a tie this holiday season. Clutch.

Star Wars- Day 22

Steve: Minifig vs. minifig battle! Against a very nice Hermione, Star Wars puts up…. an Imperial Stormtrooper. It’s the new dual-molded helmet outside, but the old “angry clone face” inside. I’m not a huge fan of the newest helmet mold for Stormtroopers, as it limits the ability to rotate the head for posing. There’s nothing wrong with this figure, it’s just not particularly exciting. Harry Potter wins the day and secures at least a tie – Star Wars needs to sweep the last 2 days just to even it up.

Verdict

Hermione takes a commanding point today over the stormtrooper. With the win, the Harry Potter Advent Calendar is the first to reach the magic number of 12 points- meaning it can do no worse than a tie this holiday season. Although it struggled to find consistency throughout, it managed to secure enough head to head victories to get it this far so it should be commended for that. The final question is, can HP grab any of the remaining two points or can SW take back to back days deep in the calendar to tie the battle up? We will find out tomorrow. For now, the score is:

HP- 12

SW- 10

To be continued…