Category: Lego Set Reviews

My Lego Network

My Lego Network – Parent Review

My Lego NetworkMy Lego Network has been around for a few years but seems to have slipped below the radar a little, which is a shame because it has potential to be a great little online “blog” that kids can create and share with their friends and family.

My Lego Network

Lego has such a rich online presence that sometimes it is hard to see what is available beyond their shop and product guide.

From downloads, games, videos and movies to their comic creator and more, it’s hard to get the big picture of everything kids can access.

I know I have often been surprised by the presence of a Lego feature that I never knew about before and one of these is My Lego Network.

In a nutshell My Lego Network is an online micro blogging system catering for kids, specifically young Lego fans. It has been around since 2008 and though it didn’t take off as Lego might have hoped the Network provides a safe place for younger kids to have the interactive and social experience of the Internet in a safe and familiar environment.

How does it work?

Essentially, once a Lego account is created in a child’s name, you can help them set up a Lego “blog” in a controlled and monitored environment where no interaction is made with the rest of the web unless it is done so in a heavily moderated way.

Once a page is created, kids can Create Pages, Make Models and Share everything with new friends on the Lego Network or beyond. By forwarding a link to their homepage to friends and family, they can share uploaded images of new creations with others, no matter where they live or whether or not they are on My Lego Network themselves.

Creativity and Interactivity is also explored when kids decorate and customize their “homepage” and interact with other members of the Lego Network with pre-written email messages designed for use within the system.

Lego MLN Make Collect Create

By playing Lego Games and solving puzzles on the other areas of Lego.com kids earn badges which they can then collect or swap to increase their rank, filling their “blog” pages with cooler stickers, models, music snippets, icons and more.

I imagine this is a huge “make it or break it” factor for many parents – to make the most of the system kids need to spend time playing Lego online games or navigating the Lego website to receive rewards.

I wasn’t particularly comfortable with this “search for rewards” aspect of the site, but I can imagine I might be in the minority 🙂

I am also very comfortable in setting up webpages for people so my kids are able to display and share their creations on their own (moderated) blogs. Not all parents are in this position so My Lego Network offers a viable alternative.

Interestingly, kids can also keep track of stats for their pages (how many people visit, etc), a practical and educational skill that will serve the webmasters of tomorrow very well 🙂

Echo

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Echo-My-Lego-NetworkTo help kids navigate the potentially confusing initial set up process, Lego have designed a virtual robot called Echo. Echo is the first “Friend” in your Network as well.

Echo appears at the start of the design process to introduce kids to the blog and then can be called upon at later stages if help is needed.

Add Photos or LDD Designs

The ability to add photos of your own Lego creations as well as Lego Digital Designer files is a wonderful feature of My Lego Network, however the process of actually adding the images is a little confusing the first time round (at least it was for me!).

The short answer is that you don’t add photos directly through My Lego Network, but instead, use one of Lego’s other image galleries.

Here is the official guide to this process:

“You have two options – either you can take a photo of one of your LEGO creations and upload this to one of the many galleries on LEGO.com (BIONICLE, Creator, etc.) or you can download LEGO Digital Designer and build your very own 3D model and upload this to a gallery.

When you have uploaded your photo or model to a gallery, LEGO needs to approve it, before it gets visible and you can use it in My LEGO Network.

Once you have your model or photo approved, you can go to your Page Builder and choose a Gallery or Factory Module by dragging it to your page. Here you can drag it as you would in the Sticker Module. Hit Save on the Module, Save on the page – and presto!”

As I said, it isn’t straight forward but once you know how, it makes sense.

FAQ

There are a number of steep learning curves in setting up the blog. Thankfully there is an extensive FAQ and help section, along with the presence of Echo who relays advice to you using video screens and also offers short tips for accessing more badges.

The FAQ section is here and I would recommend parents go through this first before starting to create a page with their kids, just so they have an idea of how the whole thing works. It will make the setup process flow much more smoothly.

Lego have also made a Parents FAQ page to assuage any understandable fears parents may have about My Lego Network.

Lego Attack On Weathertop Set 9472

Lego Attack On Weathertop – Lord Of The Rings Set 9472 Review

Lego Attack On Weathertop Box 9472The Lego Attack on Weathertop set is part of the new Lego Lord Of the Rings (LOTR) sets, based on the books and more specifically the films of the same name.

While the set is small and somewhat overpriced (if purchased at retail) it has a number of cool features, not least of which are the (at this stage) exclusive Ringwraiths and their black horses, the nice detailing on the mountain (a rare “natural” feature in Lego sets) and the other minifigures.

We take a closer look at the set and see if it is worth adding to your Lord Of the Rings Lego collection.

Attack on Weathertop – A Little Background

The 430 piece Lego set recreates a rather menacing scene in the first film/book, Fellowship of the Ring, where Frodo and his fellow hobbits, joined by Aragorn, are beset upon by the nine black riders, otherwise known as the Nazgul or Ringwraiths from Mordor.

Lego Attack On Weathertop Set 9472The nine are seeking the “One Ring” carried by Frodo and have perused the small band travellers from their home in Hobbiton, through the town of Bree where they met with the mysterious Ranger known as Aragorn. Finally outrun on the mountaintop outside of Bree, it is here that Frodo sustains a wound that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

The main part of the playset includes the small mountain of Weathertop, known as Amon Sûl or”Hill of Wind”, an old ruin which was once a watchtower to guard against attack. The minifigures in the set include the Hobbits, Frodo Baggins and Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) as well as Aragorn the Ranger and two Ringwraiths with their black steeds.

Other accessories include weapons (Sting and other swords), food and the “One Ring”. Attack At Weathertop is only one of two sets in this first wave of Lord Of the Rings Lego sets that comes with the “Ring” (the other is Shelob Attacks).

Lets take a closer look at the set.

Lego Attack On Weathertop
Set 9472

Lego Set Number: 9472
Pieces: 430
Minifigures: 5 (Frodo Baggins, Merry, Aragorn, 2X Ringwraiths (Dark Riders) and 2 X Horses)
Price: US $59.99 / £49.99 /AU $89.99
Ages: 9-14
Released: August 2012
Theme: Lord Of the Rings Lego
Instructions in PDF: Available at Lego.com
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Lego Attack On Weathertop – Set 9472 Description

Stop the evil Ringwraiths on Weathertop from stealing The One Ring!

Resting in the ancient fortress ruins of Weathertop, Aragorn, Frodo and Merry are suddenly attacked by the Ringwraiths, the evil servants of Sauron! Will the Ringwraiths take The One Ring from Frodo or can Aragorn stop the evil Ringwraiths in time? Includes 5 minifigures: Aragorn, Frodo, Merry and 2 Ringwraiths.

  • Includes 5 minifigures: Aragorn, Frodo, Merry and 2 Ringwraiths
  • Accessories include 2 new LEGO horses, 5 swords, torch and ring
  • Features Weathertop fortress ruin with tree, flick missile function, trapdoor, weapon rack, pedestal and fireplace with food
  • Open the fortress to play inside!
  • Defend Weathertop by firing the hidden flick missiles!
  • Find the hidden weapon rack!
  • Spring the trapdoor!
  • Cook with the fireplace!
  • Weathertop measures 5″ (13cm) high and 6″ (16cm) wide

Attack On Weathertop Image Gallery

Lego Attack On Weathertop 9472
The Brick Life Review

Attack On Weathertop is a cute set but doesn’t really stand on it’s own. I imagine it won’t be the most appealing of this first wave of Lord Of the Rings sets – Helm’s Deep will certainly be a big seller because of it’s sheer size (the box for this set is heavy!).

However, Attack On Weathertop maybe small but it does come with a few attractions of it’s own. Most notably the minifigures – specifically the two black riders and their horses.

New Lego Horses

Lord-of-rings-lego-horsesThe horses included in this set are the first of the new style of Lego horses to appear. Also, unlike the brown horses that appear in other Lord Of The Rings sets, these are the only black ones available at the time of writing.

The original Lego horse has been around, unchanged, for decades. While other minifigures and animals have evolved in both mould and printing, the horse has remained it’s simple and functional self.

The new horses differ from the previous design in that their back legs can move and they have more detailed printing on the head. It is important to note that the front legs cannot move and also that the back legs, while they can be posed, can only be moved as one piece – each leg cannot move independently.

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The change is significant though, and enables you to pose the horses standing, galloping and also rearing up – an important feature for the steed of a black rider!

Lego-LOTR-Frodo-Minifigure-9472Minifigures

The other minfigures in the set include

  • Frodo Baggins
  • Merry Brandybuck
  • Aragorn
  • 2 X Dark Riders

Both the dark riders and Merry are exclusive figures and while great for completists are not essential to the casual Lego fan. Personally I would have preferred a Sam figure to Merry, as I believe he is one of the most essential members of the fellowship and it’s almost as if he should be with Frodo at all times.

Presently Sam only appears in Shelob Attacks, a fairly creepy set that I imagine many parents just won’t be buying (myself included).

Aragorn is a nice touch, though obviously similar to the minfigure that appears in the Helm’s Deep set as, like most characters in the trilogy, he basically wore the same costume right through the series. I can’t wait to see the “king” version in later sets though 🙂

The Hilltop Playset

Lego-LOTR-Attack-On-Weathertop-Set-9472The Hill of Weathertop is pretty cute. It is rare to have a natural landscape feature in a Lego set – more often than not sets are buildings or vehicles, with straight lines and hard edges.

This set allows the Official Lego designers to show off their ability to re-create nature’s curves with straight Lego pieces.

It also provides a wonderful opportunity for young designers to develop ideas about how to create their own mountains and landscapes with different angled slopes.

The Weathertop hill opens up (something that obviously didn’t happen in the movie) and provides a nice playspace inside as well as allowing for a wider, open backed play experience.

Overall it is a nice starting point for future building of the Lord Of the Rings landscapes, and fans familiar with the series can use the included elements to expand into other areas.

Lego-LOTR-One-RingAs an extra not I should add that Lego saw fit to include three of the “One ring” pieces in the set I bought. Considering the importance of the piece and the very small size, I though that was a very nice gesture on their part.

As parents we know how often special parts can go missing and it is nice to know Lego is aware of this and included a few backups. My advice, put two away for safe keeping (just don’t try to put them on:-).

Lego also included an orange brick separator which seems to be standard in sets these days. The company must have received a petition from dentists!

Lego-Separator