Easy plant care with LEGO 10281 Bonsai Tree

The new Botanical Collection from the LEGO Group is offering budding builders the chance to care for a bonsai tree – without the pressure. 10281 Bonsai Tree is the latest 18+ set to offer a relaxing experience for grown-ups.

As part of the new range of 18+ sets for adults who aren’t tempted by minifigure scale buildings or detailed Star Wars spaceships, 10281 Bonsai Tree delivers something different than what fans are used to seeing. The LEGO Botanical Collection is a new area, with collectible plant sets inspired by nature aiming to provide a relaxing experience.

“As adults look for new ways to switch off and relax, we’re delighted to be able to help them seek solace from their busy everyday lives as they immerse themselves in creating these beautiful botanical builds,” said LEGO Design Lead Jamie Berard. “The customisable elements and mindful building experience will hopefully help them express their personality as their creativity blossoms.”

10281 Bonsai Tree

UK Price: £44.99
USA Price: $49.99
Piece count: 756
Release date: January 1

The set can be customised for different looks – the instructions show how to build it with either green leaves or pink cherry blossom. Other sets in the range include 10280 Flower Bouquet, 40460 Roses and 40461 Tulips.

Watch out for the review of this set in an upcoming issue of Blocks magazine.

To get Blocks every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.

Say it with LEGO 10280 Flower Bouquet

With the LEGO Group expanding the range of products for adults, there’s a new range launching called the Botanical Collection. It offers sets like 10280 Flower Bouquet, which builds a bunch of LEGO flowers.

The Botanical Collection is the latest attempt by the LEGO Group to appeal to more adults than ever before, with replicas of plants hoping to pull in people looking for a relaxing hobby. “As adults look for new ways to switch off and relax, we’re delighted to be able to help them seek solace from their busy everyday lives as they immerse themselves in creating these beautiful botanical builds,” said LEGO Design Lead Jamie Berard.  “The customisable elements and mindful building experience will hopefully help them express their personality as their creativity blossoms.”

10280 Flower Bouquet will be available at a wide range of stores including LEGO.com when it launches on January 1.

10280 Flower Bouquet

UK Price: £44.99
USA Price: $49.99
Piece count: 878
Release date: January 1

Flowers in the set include snapdragons, roses, poppies, asters, daisies and different grasses, which once built can be arranged in different ways. Other sets in the range include 10281 Bonsai Tree, 40460 Roses and 40461 Tulips.

Watch out for the review of this set in an upcoming issue of Blocks magazine.

To get Blocks every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.

A message from Blocks magazine to our readers

With the year we’ve all had, Blocks would like to share a message with every LEGO fan who has supported us over the last 12 months.

Hello everyone,

This is a message to every single person who subscribes to Blocks, buys the occasional issue or just tells other LEGO fans about what we do.

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. It’s been really hard. With all of the difficulties we have faced, the most immediate being concerns about the health of our families, friends, communities and selves, then on top of that the huge knock-on impact on businesses, employment and income, there has been a lot of uncertainty and worry.

When all of the shops in the UK and many other countries around the world closed, reduced their hours and became more difficult to visit, Silverback Publishing put in place a plan to make sure that LEGO fans could still get their monthly magazine to provide a bit of a break and be a welcome distraction. I feel very thankful that we have people behind us who were ready to make that happen.

The biggest thank you I want to give though is to you, our readers. When you couldn’t get Blocks from the shops, you came online to order individual copies or subscriptions. You didn’t just shrug and forget about Blocks, you came to our website and placed an order. We’ve even had people buying up every back issue we have in stock!

Your support means that Blocks will continue to bring you a monthly LEGO fix that you can only get in the pages of this magazine.

Thank you again for your support. It really does mean the world to everyone here. We love putting this magazine together for you and are delighted that we are in an excellent position to continue to do so.

If you know someone else who would love the magazine or hasn’t checked it out in a while, be sure to let them know what they’re missing out on!

2020 has been a tough year, and there might be more tough times to come, but a bit of LEGO can help brighten the gloomiest of times – and there will be better days at the other side of this.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year. In case I haven’t stressed this enough; thank you.

Graham Hancock
Editor

graham@blocksmag.com

P.S. I can’t wait for you to see Issue 75, we have some fantastic features lined up! Did you know a certain theme is 10 years old in 2021? Who knows what we’ve lined up to celebrate that…

Need a last minute Christmas LEGO gift?

We know how it goes – it’s days from Christmas day, there’s not much chance of an online order arriving and the shops have barely any LEGO sets left on the shelves. A subscription to Blocks magazine is the perfect last minute Christmas LEGO gift!

LEGO fans can be difficult to buy for – they have loads of sets already, they buy loose bricks in bulk from websites you’ve never heard of and they keep treating themselves to new LEGO boxes right up until Christmas. Then there’s the shortages that always happen around Christmas time, when the shops sell out, Amazon jacks up the prices and online orders might not arrive in time.

So here is the perfect last minute Christmas LEGO gift – a subscription to Blocks magazine. What makes it such a great present is that it keeps giving all year round; every single month, the LEGO fan in your life will find a new 116 page magazine land on the doorstep. This LEGO magazine, made by fans for fans, is packed with build inspiration, set reviews and incredible behind-the-scenes exclusive features revealing what goes on in the LEGO headquarters.

With a print subscription to Blocks magazine, you get;

  • 12 or 24 issues of the magazine delivered to the address of your choice
  • the magazine before it arrives in the shops
  • free entry into a new prize draw every month, with LEGO sets up for grabs
  • it’s cheaper than buying single copies of the magazine

How do you share this Christmas gift with the recipient if the big day is just days away? Design a nice certificate and print if off – or use a blank Christmas card to write a nice message revealing that their first issue of Blocks magazine will be coming soon!

To get Blocks every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.

How Blocks magazine has listened to readers in 2020

It’s been a very rewarding year at Blocks; it’s been an exceptionally strange one, but our readers have rallied around to support our work and we have ended 2020 providing our monthly LEGO magazine to more fans than ever before.

We’d like to take this moment to blow our own trumpet a bit and highlight some of the things we have done this year – most of these have been in response to reader feedback, some of these are just to offer our readers a better experience…

Improved paper quality

One consistent thing we had been hearing was that the magazine needed better quality paper, so in March we went to thicker paper to improve the pages within Blocks magazine. It’s now much nicer to flick through and the images really ‘pop’.

Perfect bound magazine

To really give Blocks a premium feel and match other monthly magazines on the market, we introduced perfect binding. In non-magazine industry speak, that means that each issue now has a spine and looks even better when sat on the shelf.

Monthly subscriber giveaways

Subscribers get every issue of Blocks early, but we wanted to deliver something extra. We started offering a bimonthly prize draw, giving away a LEGO set to one print subscriber. After some really positive feedback, we upped the ante and are now giving away multiple prizes every single month as a thank you to subscribers for supporting what we do.

Direct debit payment option

We know that it can be tricky to pay for a full year, or two years, upfront. For some people, it’s better just to get it out of the way. Following feedback, we have introduced an alternative payment option that means subscribers can set up a direct debit for quarterly payments (contact subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks for more info).

New Blocks minifigures

We have been asked time and time again for new Blocks minifigures, and we are finally getting back to providing these collectible LEGO characters. So far we have had the Blocks Postman Minifigure and the Blocks Christmas Minifigure, with more to come next year.

Redesigned website

If there’s one thing we heard loud and clear, it’s that the old website was not user friendly. With this new website, we had one mission; allow our readers to buy the magazine or renew their subscription with minimal fuss. We’ve achieved that and now we’re enchancing the website further, providing a repository of our review scores and news on the latest LEGO reveals.

Now that’s what we’ve introduced in 2020, but that’s just the beginning of the journey. Please keep getting in touch and giving us feedback – whether it’s something you love or something you think could improve – and we’ll keep listening, to bring you the best possible LEGO magazine every single month.

LEGO A Really Cool World arrives in London’s Covent Garden

To tie in with the big Christmas advert this year, the LEGO Group has presented A Really Cool World in Covent Garden, London. Blocks magazine has been along to check it out and give fans a taste of what the installation has to offer.

The LEGO Group has teamed up with Covent Garden, London’s tourist destination, to offer a special outdoor experience – A Really Cool World. It’s inspired by the new Christmas advert that sees children building with LEGO bricks, before their imagination blows it up to be something bigger and more epic than what’s in front of them.

Each enormous model or oversized element in the exhibition is accompanied by lyrics from the adaptation of It’s a Wonderful World used in the television ad. It starts with a Christmas tree growing sausages, moves on to a mosaic of a blue horse before paying a visit to Iron Man who is dramatically blasting off. Then there’s a princess knight – up for a fight.

Another display depicts the ad’s car chase, before a giant model shows a dinosaur avoiding a meteorite. A smaller model sees the AT-AT taking a nap, while the grandma’s LEGO duck moment is captures by a bath filled with blue bricks. The big closer is a LEGO DOTS dancefloor, designed as a video or photo op.

Some of the models have appeared elsewhere before, but it’s free to visit – you just need to book an advance ticket at the Covent Garden website. What’s more, for those who aren’t local to London, there’s a virtual walkthrough version so everyone can enjoy it.

Elsewhere in Covent Garden, there’s a LEGO Christmas tree nestled among the real ones, as well as models of LEGO Super Mario and Santa Claus himself. It’s not all LEGO bricks though, as there is also the enormous Christmas tree to admire and decorations all around the square – while much of Central London has a nice holiday atmosphere, Covent Garden is one of the very best spots for feeling festive.

To get Blocks every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.

LEGOLAND Windsor Resort celebrates Christmas

The UK’s LEGO theme park, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, is opening a selection of attractions and offering some special activities or the Christmas season.

From December 4, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort is going to be offering Christmas days out. Santa Claus will be there to greet guests but will be offering socially distanced snaps this year rather than the traditional close quarters meeting.

Heartlake City will be present Holiday Harbour Lights Show, a music and dance live show featuring Father Christmas. There will be sing-a-longs with the LEGO Friends – Andrea, Mia, Olivia, Emma and Stephanie will be singing festive favourites including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Huge Christmas models will also be part of the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort’s winter transformation, including Santa and a dragon shaped Christmas tree made from 150,000 LEGO bricks. Characters around the park will include Toy Soldier and Ollie the Dragon in his Christmas Day best. DUPLO Valley Theatre will offer daily puppet shows, alternating between Cinderella and Elves and the Shoemaker.

Attractions open will include Driving School, Deep Sea Adventure, DUPLO Dino Coaster, DUPLO Express and DUPLO Valley Airport.

Father Christmas visited The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort today to add the festive finishing touches to the Resort’s Christmas experience ahead of its opening on the 4th of December. After ‘clocking in’, he stopped by Miniland to check every LEGO® brick was in place, boarded his sleigh with his elf to oversee the final decorations be put up, before heading back to the North Pole.

A note has been shared by the LEGOLAND team relating to coronavirus safety:

The reopening of LEGOLAND Windsor is in line with the latest Government guidance and follows confirmation that Windsor and Maidenhead will be in Tier Two from Wednesday 2nd December. The Resort’s extensive hygiene and safety measures that were introduced in the summer will continue for Christmas, including temperature checks on arrival, enhanced cleaning, one-way systems, and social distancing markers in ride queues, shops, restaurants and more.

“This year we’re pulling out all the stops to make Christmas extra special for families. We’ve been working closely with Father Christmas and his elves and they are looking forward to spreading some festive cheer and saying hello to guests from a safe distance on their new sleigh,” says Karen Glassey, Operations Director at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort. “Everyone’s health and safety remains our top priority as we prepare to reopen for Christmas and we ask all guests to visit our website before they visit so that they know what to expect and to play their part by observing Government advice and our own measures at all times.”

To get Blocks every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.

It’s 25 years since the first ever LEGO video game

Sure, we celebrate LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game as the game-changer (excuse the pun), but it all really started with Fun to Build in 1995. It’s 25 years this month since the game was released exclusively in Japan.

Things have changed since then, with TT Games handling the incredible LEGO console games and various companies collaborating with the LEGO Group on mobile games. Video game play has even crept into physical LEGO products, with themes like Hidden Side and Super Mario requiring users to pull out a device.

Of the 80 titles that have been released in the past 25 years, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is the best-seller. While the LEGO Group hasn’t revealed the rest of the ranking, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, LEGO Batman: The Video Game and LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes also make the top five. In total over 200 million games have been sold.

To find out how TT Games has evolved the LEGO video game experience since LEGO Star Wars was released in 2005, order a copy of Blocks magazine Issue 70, which covers every single title the studio has worked on with exclusive behind-the-scenes insights.

Game is currently offering two LEGO video games for £25. There are even game/movie double packs included, so you can get two games and two movies for £25! Be quick though – it ends on December 3.

“Over a quarter of a century after the launch of the team’s first video game, the LEGO brick and LEGO System in Play continues to provide the ultimate creative medium for gaming fans of all ages.” says Ronny Scherer, Senior Director of LEGO Games. “It offers builders and game developers unlimited opportunities to create, play and develop in a way that is continually evolving to provide new, exciting play and gaming experiences and that can help introduce new gamers to digital play. We are proud to have long embraced the digitalization of the LEGO brick both through products and gaming to extend the enjoyment of LEGO play across both the real and the digital worlds, opening up new playgrounds for all.”

A new podcast, Bits N’ Bricks, launches today and will cover history of LEGO video games. It’s available at LEGO.com and on podcast streaming apps.

To get Blocks every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.