It’s time to close the editorial office at Blocks magazine for the year (don’t panic, orders are still being packed and dispatched throughout December), and that means sharing a message with every LEGO fan who has been on this brick journey with us during 2021.
I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well – there have been many ups and downs over the past year and there’s uncertainty again as 2021 draws to a close. Hopefully you get to enjoy a Christmas break regardless and will have a nice festive feeling going on.
Last year was an extremely worrying one for everyone and that was no different at Blocks – thankfully, the survival plan that our publishers put in place has meant that the magazine continued uninterrupted throughout 2020 and was in a good place for 2021.
That’s all due to the support of our readers, who stuck with us during the difficult period in 2020 or joined us for the very first time. Buying a subscription directly from blocksmag.com is better for Blocks and allows us to offer more value back to you – so to make sure you get plenty of benefit, our print subscriptions offer excellent value.
Introducing the digital back catalogue was my highlight of the year in terms of subscriber perks – nothing beats having a paper copy of the magazine to leaf through in my view, but the digital archive is so handy for looking something up or figuring out which issue a specific feature was in. A close second perk is the £1,000 Christmas giveaway – good luck everyone (the draw will take place on Christmas Eve)!
We’ve had some fantastic features this year, starting off with a celebration of 10 years of LEGO NINJAGO. I got together the key people who have been instrumental in making the theme a success and they shared their honest stories about how the action-adventure theme came to be a LEGO evergreen. The concept art we were able to illustrate it with really elevated the whole thing.
Of course NINJAGO was influenced by BIONICLE, and we revisited that theme 20 years after it launched. Once again, the creatives behind it shared the stories of how they broke new ground at the LEGO Group – even if you don’t like constraction sets, it reveals a lot about how the design process works.
Now VIDIYO may not have ended up being a theme that is ‘worthy’ of a Blocks cover thanks to a tepid reception and being quickly curtailed, but the story behind that theme was still very much worth telling; how does the LEGO Group develop tech-enabled themes? What is the creative process like for something brand new? How much testing did they do and still miss the mark?
Design VP Matthew Ashton also shared the story of Everyone is Awesome with us and it was nice to hear him speak so frankly about his personal experiences as a gay man. It’s a unique set, a bold statement and one that it was fascinating to hear about the development of.
Behind-the-scenes stories are great, but there’s something viscerally exciting about seeing amazing builds and we have had some pretty special ones over the past 12 months. An incredible mod from Daniel shows how to adapt the new green roofed Hogwarts Castle sets to fit with those from the past few years, a super handy guide for any LEGO Potterhead.
The conversion of 31120 Medieval Castle into a Christmas market is also great and a fun project for the holiday – but then the opposite is important too and with our handy guide, you can turn 10293 Santa’s Visit into a regular, non-festive house.
That’s quite enough rattling off of highlights for now and if you’ve read this far then you deserve a tease of the year ahead. Our January edition has a spectacular cover that you can see below and an extended interview with LEGO Ideas Design Manager Sam Johnson – he has some cracking stories that give insight into what it’s like to work in the design team and has an inspirational story about reaching for your dream job. Beyond that, we already have some fantastic builds ready for 2022 that I can’t wait for us to share with you.
Thank you all again, whether you subscribe to Blocks or just buy the occasional issue; your support means that Blocks will continue to bring you a monthly LEGO fix that can only be found in the pages of this magazine and we will keep striving to bring even more, even better unique content.
Your support really does mean the world to everyone here. We love putting this magazine together for you.
If you know someone who would like Blocks, but hasn’t tried it before or recently, please recommend the magazine to them. The more readers we reach, the more ambitious the content can be. We have some wild ideas that we think you’ll love!
Blocks magazine has the best readers and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.