LEGO Ideas 21323 Grand Piano takes the stage at Wigmore Hall

For one night only, LEGO Ideas 21323 Grand Piano made an appearance at London’s beautiful 119-year-old Wigmore Hall for a special Blocks magazine performance.

2020 has been a difficult time for everyone, with the health needs to the public at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Huge measures have been taken so that everyone can protect one another as the world faces a global pandemic like never before.

There has been a knock-on impact from the measures to protect the public though, which is businesses either needing to close or having their activities severely reduced. Activities that were doing well before the pandemic hit are suddenly struggling to survive.

For live performance venues – including concert halls, theatres, comedy clubs and those wonderful grimy rooms where you discover a new band – it remains an extremely difficult climate, with most in the UK still not able to operate at all.

Blocks magazine wanted to share a reminder of the special place that live performance venues are, so took LEGO Ideas 21323 Grand Piano to Wigmore Hall in London, where the model could take the stage. There was no audience of course, but it meant we were able to get some beautiful photographs of the LEGO model alongside an actual grand piano.

Wigmore Hall is 119 years old and every year hosts more than 460 concerts – including soloists, chamber musicians and exceptional young artists. The venue is now livestreaming concerts live on the Wigmore Hall website, providing a taste of classical music to audiences around the world who can’t currently be there in person.

The website also explains how people can donate money to Wigmore Hall, should anyone wish to support the venue. There are many other schemes set up too – if you have a favourite venue or would like to help a life performer, take a look at their website or social media presence to find out how you can donate.

Blocks magazine Issue 72 features exclusive images from the LEGO Grand Piano’s special appearance to support the set review, while in an exclusive interview, Model Designer Woon Tze Chen, Design Manager Sam Johnson and the LEGO Ideas team reveal how the official model came together.

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Five must-read LEGO features in Blocks Issue 72

Blocks magazine Issue 72 is available now and while The Mandalorian may steal the cover, there are some can’t miss LEGO features this month including exclusive Ideas Grand Piano photography, a in-depth LEGO House Master Builder interview and look back at Classic Divers.

Here are five of the features that no LEGO fan will want to miss in Blocks magazine Issue 72

Grand piano takes the stage

The LEGO Ideas product that went viral, 21323 Grand Piano, gets its concert hall debut at London’s Wigmore Hall. To illustrate the Blocks review of the set, Graham Hancock visited the storied venue to take photographs of the functional LEGO piano alongside an actual grand piano, on a stage that has hosted thousands of performances. Model Designer Woon Tze Chen reveals what went into designing the set in an exclusive Q&A.

Making magic in LEGO House

Stuart Harris is a familiar face to LEGO fans, as he frequently hosts live streamed tours and fan spotlights from LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. Not only is he the Master Model Builder, who was part of the team developing the Home of the Brick, but he started his career working on LEGOLAND Windsor ahead of its opening before heading to California for the next theme park. He reveals some stories from this epic LEGO career in an extended interview, illustrated by never before seen behind-the-scenes photos.

Introducing the 501st

75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers brings Anakin Skywalker’s elite troopers back to the brick, but did you know where this particular band of troopers originated? The 501st Legion is the costuming group that raises money for charity while dressing up as Stormtroopers, Sandtroopers, Biker Scouts and many other iconic Star Wars characters. George Lucas was so impressed that he incorporated them into the films. In this exclusive interview, Blocks Editor Chris Wharfe finds out more about the bad guys who do good.

Classic Divers

While some classic themes stick in the memory – Space, Castle, Pirates – some slip the mind until there’s a reminder. When LEGO Town went underwater with Divers in the late 1990s, it offered some impressive sets and plenty of seawater creatures. Blockstalgia looks back at the retro sets and shares instructions for building a seafloor with modern elements.  

Building battering rams

Sure, everyone’s built a LEGO castle. But how do you knock that castle down? With a LEGO battering ram. It’s time to take down the castle gates in this month’s Technique section, which offers tips on building authentic battering arms for siege scenes.

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.

Issue 72 of Blocks magazine features The Mandalorian, LEGO Super Heroes and more

Blocks magazine offers a bounty of exclusive LEGO builds this month, with a special feature focusing on Star Wars: The Mandalorian.

Star Wars is returning to Disney+ with The Mandalorian Season 2, so Issue 72 celebrates the show with a special build series. The magazine is available to order now and arrives in UK shops on October 1.

Using the new Razor Crest set as a starting point, a series of beautiful photographs recreate key moments from the show using LEGO bricks. There are also instructions showing how to build a bassinet in scale with the mini LEGO Baby Yoda – ahem, the Child – and a Blurrg that a minifigure can ride.

To mark the release of the 501st Legion Clone Troopers set, Editor Chris Wharfe catches up with the real-life 501st leaders to find out all about the bad guys who do good, and how they went from a fan organisation to appearing on-screen in the Star Wars universe.

Anyone who has visited LEGO House, or watched any of the recent live-streamed tours, will likely be familiar with the destination’s Master Builder, Stuart Harris. Not only did he work with Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen to develop the Home of the Brick, but his LEGO career started as part of the original LEGOLAND Windsor team, and he has been developing attractions and events ever since. He even reveals his personal audio contribution to the Fairy Tale Brook ride…

Blockstalgia takes a look at Town, focusing in on Divers – the first time that real-world underwater exploration was covered by the theme. As well as reviewing specific sets from the 1990s classic, the section includes exclusive building instructions for a whale skeleton as part of a modernised seafloor.

To really show off the Grand Piano, Blocks visits London’s Wigmore Hall to photograph the set and interviews the LEGO Ideas team who took the fan design and turned it into an enormous and functional official set.

History buffs will find plenty to build in this month’s Technique guide, which shows how to build a variety of battering rams – some for minifigures to use themselves and some as part of larger contraptions. Whichever version builders opt for, these knights will be well-equipped to smash into an enemy fortress.

That is just a taste of what fans will find in the magazine’s 116 pages, with this issue also including the top ten LEGO shop sets, a review of Wonder Woman vs Cheetah, instructions to build a Tusken Raider’s Bantha, a look at LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and so much more.

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Everyone who subscribes to the print edition by November 1 will be in with a chance of winning (existing subscribers will automatically be entered into the prize draw).

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The LEGO Group wants you to decide its next book

LEGO Ideas is hosting a public vote to determine the angle of its first ever book for AFOLs, which will focus on the history of the brick.

There are three options on the table: The LEGO Brick Museum, LEGO History in 100 Bricks, and The Secret Life of LEGO Bricks. Each of these ideas offers a different take on showcasing the variety of LEGO elements released over the past few decades, acting as a springboard to reveal insights from LEGO designers, managers and technicians.

The new title has apparently been developed with input from AFOLs, but it’s the author’s name Blocks readers will recognise. Our US Editor Daniel Konstanski is taking the lead on the book, which is a joint project by LEGO Publishing, the company’s global publishing partner AMEET, and crowdfunding publisher Unbound.

The vote is now live on LEGO Ideas, and will run until August 9, 2020 at 3.00pm BST. Once the winning title has been announced, the book will launch on Unbound’s crowdfunding platform, with bonus rewards for those who back the project. Not only will you get your name printed in the back of the book, but you’ll also get the chance to pledge for ‘additional must-have rewards’, according to the press release.

Robin James Pearson, Head of Publishing at the LEGO Group, said: ‘We are thrilled to be working closely with the AFOL community to identify, co-create, and publish unique books that satisfy the great thirst for knowledge of our adult fans. There have been a number of books published about The LEGO Group and the LEGO brick over the years, but this is the first time we have had the opportunity to work directly with the adult fan community to discover what titles that they would like to see on their bookshelves.’

Head over to LEGO Ideas to cast your vote, and look out for more info on the book in a future issue of Blocks magazine. Don’t forget to pick up Issue 69 now, where you can find our verdict on 75275 A-wing Starfighter and go behind the scenes with LEGO Monkie Kid‘s design team.

Make beautiful music with LEGO Ideas 21323 Grand Piano

The LEGO Group’s latest Ideas set is literally music to our ears. Donny Chen’s Playable Piano project has finally materialised in 21323 Grand Piano, which is billed as the first ever playable LEGO piano. That means the fan designer’s magic has been woven into the final product, with keys that genuinely play sounds – as long as you’ve got your phone switched on.

The key (if you’ll forgive the pun) to making the enormous piano sing is connecting it to the companion app, which acts as its speaker. Strike one of the keys in user play, and you’ll hear the corresponding note. String your notes together, and you can effectively play the model like a real piano. If you’re less confident in your musical ability, choose auto play, and the app will blare out one of four different melodies.

It’s not just the keys that replicate their real-life function, either. There are also moving dampers, a pedal, working hammers for each key, a fallboard and an adjustable bench. Can it teach you to play piano? Probably not, but at least it’s slightly cheaper than an actual grand piano, ringing in at £319.99/$349.99/€349.99 for 3,662 pieces. You can order it directly from LEGO.com (or pick it up at LEGO Stores) from August 1.

Check out the full press release and gallery below, and look out for an interview with the Grand Piano’s designer in a future issue of Blocks. For more immediate behind-the-scenes access, order a copy of Issue 69, which takes a deep dive into the development of Monkie Kid with the LEGO Group’s Senior Creative Director Simon Lucas.

And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our subscription deals. Subscribers get the magazine early, free copies of the mag, and exclusive entry into our bi-monthly subscribers’ prize draw. Signing up between now and September 1 will put you in the running for 80009 Pigsy’s Food Truck.

21323 LEGO® ǀ Ideas Grand Piano

Ages 18+. 3,662 pieces

US $349.99 – CA $449.99 – DE €349.99 – UK £319.99 – FR €349.99 – DK 2699.0DKK

*Euro pricing varies by country.  Please visit shop.LEGO.com for regional pricing.

FEEL THE RHYTHM WITH THE SPECTACULAR FAN-DESIGNED LEGO® IDEAS GRAND PIANO SET

Imagined by an avid LEGO builder, the LEGO Group’s brand-new LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano is a show-stopping set for adult music lovers and builders – available from 1st August from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores.

A dazzling idea from a keen LEGO builder and music enthusiast, has now been brought to life after receiving overwhelming demand from the public – as the LEGO Group launches the brand-new LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano™ set. The latest product is part of the LEGO Ideas collection, which conceptualises and produces the creative wonders imagined and voted for by LEGO fans themselves.

Designed with the intricate elements of a real grand piano, this brand-new set is a fully immersive build. With a clever motor and working keys, when the set is combined with the LEGO Powered Up app, fans can become musical maestros one brick and one note at a time – making it The LEGO Group’s first-ever piano set with the ability to play music.

Talented builders can try their hand at creating their own masterpiece on the LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano™ using the LEGO Powered Up app, which allows them full control of the musical notes and piano keys. Alternatively, those looking to sit back and relax can choose to select ‘auto-play’ and enjoy the dulcet tones of one of the ten pre-set songs available.

The brand-new set is a masterpiece of craft and innovation, featuring all the makings of real-life grand piano to give an authentic musical experience in LEGO brick-form. These authentic features include a removable 25-key keyboard, a top lid that can be propped up, an authentic hammer action and a moving damper and pedal, which help to make the LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano™ as beautiful as it is functional.

Once built, the 3,662-piece LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano™ is made to take centre stage as a spectacular display model for any room, measuring over 8.5” (22.5cm) high, 12” (30.5cm) wide and 13.5” (35.5cm) deep when closed.

The new grand piano set is part of the LEGO Ideas collection, which offers fans the opportunity to submit their own brick creations with the chance to have their concept brought to life with the help of LEGO master designers and a share of the profits. Other recent LEGO Ideas sets inspired by LEGO fans, include the LEGO Ideas Pirated of Barracuda Bay and the LEGO Ideas Friends Central Perk.

Imagined by music teacher and LEGO aficionado Donny Chen, this set was designed as a way for him to combine his passion for music with his passion for building. To add to the excitement and personal feel of the build, the LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano™ even features a music sheet composed by Donny himself.

Speaking about the process, Donny Chen said: “When I’m not building with LEGO bricks, I’m teaching, tuning or writing music on my piano. So, when I first discovered LEGO Ideas, I knew I wanted to build something that not only combined my two passions, but also looked visually stunning. It’s truly an honour to see my idea brought to life by the talented people at the LEGO Group and I hope it brings joy to all the other music fans who voted for the idea on the LEGO Ideas platform.”

Federico Begher, VP of Global Marketing at The LEGO Group added: “We get so many amazing concepts submitted through our LEGO Ideas platform, but when we saw Donny’s piano design it really stood out as something extraordinary, with great potential to become a truly unique LEGO set.   

The accompanying images and video submitted by Donny really sparked some ideas within the team. We believed that including power functions as part of the model to enable the set to play real music in real life would elevate the design even further. We simply could not pass on the opportunity to create the ultimate LEGO Ideas Grand Piano model for music and LEGO fans alike!”

The new LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano™ set is the latest example of how the LEGO Group aims to inspire builders of all ages to build, rebuild and get excited by the process of creation.

LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano™ will be available directly via LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from August 1st

Set sail with 21322 LEGO Pirates of Barracuda Bay

The LEGO Group has announced the latest Ideas model to set sail from Billund, and it’s a doozy. 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay reimagines the classic LEGO Pirates theme, bringing the seafarers back to the portfolio for the first time since 2015.

You have Pablo Sánchez Jiménez to thank for that, because the talented builder’s Ideas project The Pirate Bay was the foundation on which 21322 has been built. While the bones of the original idea are there, the LEGO design team seems to have just used it as an excuse to write a LEGO love letter to 1989’s 6285 Black Seas Barracuda.

That makes the 2,545-piece set effectively a 2-in-1 model, as the various sections of the classic pirate ship can be torn from their island home and reconfigured into a vessel worthy of Captain Redbeard himself. The classic character is present and correct, of course, only looking a little greyer for his time shipwrecked. So the set’s story goes, Redbeard and his crew washed up on the shore 30 years ago, and the eight minifigures all show signs of the passage of time.

You can check out more images and the full press release for 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay below. It’s available from LEGO.com for £179.99/$199.99/199.99. Look out for our verdict in Issue 67, on sale May 7.

Become a pirate with this brand-new LEGO Ideas set, inspired by the 1989 Black Seas Barracuda pirate ship model. Adventurers can now explore the island and the wreckage of Captain Redbeard’s famous ship, which was lost at sea over 30 years ago.

The new LEGO© Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay set has been created based on a submission to the LEGO Ideas platform by fan designer Pablo Sánchez Jiménez, who has a passion for all things pirate and was inspired after building LEGO brick models with his dad when he was young. The concept behind the LEGO® IDEAS Pirates of Barracuda Bay set reached the 10,000-supporter milestone in just 25 days – making it one of the quickest sets to hit the target.

With 2,545-pieces in total, the model contains everything a pirate or LEGO fan needs to create the ultimate shipwreck – including a captain’s quarters, food store and supply dock. LEGO builders can even uncover buried treasure on the island by removing parts of the ship to explore new areas and create new stories.

This set also contains 8 Minifigures all based on pirate characters from the classic pirate lines, including the iconic Captain Redbeard, Lady Anchor, Robin Loot and the twins, Port and Starboard, as well as 3 other pirates and 2 skeleton figures and various animals to discover on the island.

When builders tire of being stranded at sea, the island can also be reassembled to create Captain Redbeard’s legendary ship, the Black Seas Barracuda. Rebuild the ship to launch a rescue mission to take the ship’s crew back to safety and find the buried treasure.

The LEGO® Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay set measures over 23” (59cm) high, 25” (64cm) wide and 12” (32cm) deep and is sure to catch the eye whether proudly displayed or placed amongst other LEGO Pirate sets.

LEGO Ideas offers fans the opportunity to submit their own brick creations with the chance to have their concept brought to life with the help of LEGO master designers and a share of the net sales.