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.

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.

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.

Blocks magazine launches direct debit option for international subscribers

LEGO fans around the world who want to stay up to date on Blocks magazine can now pay by direct debit, spreading the cost of a subscription across the year.

We know that paying for a full subscription up front isn’t for everyone, so Blocks magazine is delighted to announce that we are now offering direct debit payments to readers around the world. You can get your monthly LEGO fix while spreading the cost across the year.

Subscriptions for addresses in the UK, Europe and Rest of World areas are now eligible for direct debit payments. The payments are taken four times per year, spreading the cost as an alternative to an annual payment.

For those of you who like to just get it paid upfront and out of the way, that option is still available too! Our aim is to give readers as many helpful choices as possible.

To set up a direct debit subscription, email subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.

To buy a subscription with a one-off payment, visit the Blocks subscription shop.

Subscribers can get a bonus deal right now on the new Blocks Postman Minifigure, which costs just £5.99 using the code postie1 when ordered with a print subscription.

Print subscribers get the magazine early every month*, are in with the chance to win a new LEGO prize every two months and save money compared to buying the issues individually.

Get a taste of what LEGO goodness – including Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Ideas Grand Piano and LEGO House’s Stuart Harris – can be found in Issue 72 here.

*Due to delays in postage as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we cannot guarantee how quickly magazines will arrive at present. They are always dispatched in time to arrive more quickly than they will arrive with retailers.

Special delivery! It’s the Blocks Postman Minifigure

Blocks Postman Minifigure is the latest exclusive minifigure for LEGO fans and is in stock now.

As regular readers know, Blocks has been taking on reader feedback to offer the best magazine experience for LEGO fans. In the past year, Blocks has switched to improved paper, perfect binding and introduced an easy-to-use website.

But we’ve heard one thing loud and clear – Blocks readers want more exclusive minifigures to add to their collections! So here is the new Blocks Postman Minifigure.

Given that this year has seen more and more readers switch over to having the magazine posted out, the Blocks Postman Minifigure seemed like the perfect character to add to the collection. The minifigure is made of authentic LEGO elements, with exclusive printing.

‘Brickish Mail’ is a nod to the British home of Blocks magazine, but this postie is happy to travel worldwide. As well as featuring a satchel accessory, the minifigure comes with two exclusive 2×2 tiles. One features the classic Blocks minifigure and Brick Wife, while the other features a ‘Happy Birthday’ message so this can be given as a gift.

To really customise the minifigure, you can of course swap out the head and hat with others from your collection. We’d love to see the scenes you build and incorporate the minifigure into.

This exclusive Blocks minifigure is priced at £11.50 and is available to buy now.

For those ordering a print subscription, there’s a special deal – using the code postie1 at checkout, Blocks Postman Minifigure costs just £5.99.

Check out the latest issue of Blocks magazine and the 12-month and 24-month subscriptions available in our store. We also have a direct debit payment option available – email subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks for more information.

New additions to the Blocks Review Index: Haunted House, Hidden Side and Disney

The Blocks Review Index now contains our LEGO set review scores from Issue 70. This spooky issue leads with our verdict on the latest Fairground Collection ride, 10273 Haunted House, along with a behind-the-scenes interview with LEGO Design Manager Jamie Berard.

We’ve then kept the theme going by dissecting the third – and possibly final – wave of Hidden Side sets, before opting for some light relief with a pair of Disney sets. You’ll find the scores from those reviews in the tables for each theme, either by navigating to the Review Index in the top menu, or clicking below:

Creator
Disney
Hidden Side

If you haven’t yet spotted our handy Review Index, now is a great time to check it out. You’ll find our numerical verdict for every LEGO set reviewed in the pages of Blocks, along with the issue the review was originally published in. And if you want to read the full reviews, we have plenty of back issues available in our online store, including Issue 70.

Issue 71 of Blocks magazine is also available to order now. The latest edition features a deep dive into the world of LEGO Super Mario, an in-depth analysis of the three Technic supercars released to date, and reviews of all the latest and greatest LEGO sets.

Introducing LEGO Star Wars 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina

The latest addition to the LEGO Star Wars Master Builder Series takes a trip to the sands of Tatooine with 75290 Mos Eisley Cantina. This is by far the biggest brick-built recreation of the infamous intergalactic watering hole to date, coming in at 3,187 pieces. And it includes not only a full cantina, but even a separate Jawa trading post – along with a dewback, two landspeeders and an incredible 21 minifigures.

Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi are all present and correct, of course – but the LEGO designers have also taken a deep dive into the obscurities of the Star Wars databanks, pulling up a whole host of barely-glimpsed background characters. If the names Labria, Hrchek Kal Fas and Momaw Nadon mean nothing to you, well, you’re probably a well-rounded person with interests beyond Star Wars. But that shouldn’t stop you from heading to Wookieepedia to learn more about these enigmatic aliens, who doubtless all have fully fleshed-out backstories.

75290 Mos Eisley Cantina will be available for LEGO VIPs from September 16 for £319.99/$349.99/€349.99, while everyone else will have to wait until October 1. Signing up to the VIP program is completely free, though, so it’s a no-brainer if you’re ordering directly from LEGO.com.

Check out the full press release and gallery of images below, and keep your eyes peeled for more on this massive Star Wars set in a future issue of Blocks. In the meantime, you can now order Issue 71, which features our own deep dive into the world of LEGO Super Mario, the anatomy of a Technic supercar, and a guide to making your minifigures move.

Coming from a galaxy far, far away and into to the homes of LEGO enthusiasts and Star Wars fans across the world – the LEGO Group’s new LEGO Star Wars building set,  the Mos Eisley Cantina set, will dazzle adult builders and film fans alike. Bringing to life one of the Skywalker saga’s most iconic locations, the new set is sure to become an instant classic as Rebels immerse themselves in the famous cantina’s world of smugglers, musicians, bounty hunters and Jedi Knights.

The impressive building kit gives adult LEGO fans the chance to relax and enjoy a mindful building experience as they reconnect with their passion for the original trilogy. Intrepid builders can even open up the set’s removable roof to admire its intricate details and act out their favourite Star Wars: A New Hope scenes, using iconic character mini-figures including Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, C-3PO. Additionally, the set features eight character minifigures that have been introduced in LEGO form for the first time, including Ponda Baba, Dr. Evazan, Garindan, and more.

As they embark on their journey to bring Mos Eisley’s quintessential taverna to life, films lovers and Star Wars devotees will be thrilled to discover the set’s special features, such as the attachable buildings, two Landspeeders – one of which has never been built in LEGO before – and a dewback LEGO figure. The LEGO Star Wars: A New Hope Mos Eisley Cantina is also dotted with hidden details throughout, such as a “Wanted” poster featuring R2-D2 and C-3PO, to the kyber crystals hidden in one of the exterior buildings.

Once built, the 3,187-piece LEGO Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina construction set makes for an extraordinary display piece, standing at over 7.5” (19cm) high, 20.5” (52cm) wide and 23” (58cm) deep when opened.

Part of the Master Builder series, the new Star Wars building kit is the latest example of how the LEGO Group aims to inspire builders to build, rebuild and get excited by the process of creation. Speaking about the creative process behind the new building kit, set designer Cesar Soares said:

“The first time I watched the Cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, I was just 12 years old. I remember thinking, ‘this is where the adventure starts!’ Years later, when I then became a LEGO Star Wars designer in 2016, this was the first set I built. With this design, we’ve added external buildings like the Jawa shop, refined the details, and chosen an impressive 21 minifigure characters, including all-new alien figures. I love that all Star Wars characters have cool backstories, no matter how briefly they appear, it wasn’t easy to decide which characters to include in the set, but we hope fans will love the entire model and its line-up of heroes and villains.”

Issue 71 of Blocks magazine features LEGO Super Mario, Lamborghini Sián and more

LEGO Super Mario leaps onto the cover of Issue 71 of Blocks magazine, available now in UK stores and online. Technic supercars, classic Pirates and moving builds are also packed into this latest edition of the monthly magazine.

Issue 71 gives LEGO Super Mario a full play through, both reviewing the sets and finding out from the LEGO team how they collaborated with Nintendo to come up with this unique technology-driven product theme. A look at Super Mario wouldn’t be complete without a look at that nostalgia-inducing Nintendo Entertainment System set, which gets the spotlight review.

Nintendo’s not the only brand with dedicated fans though, so Blocks takes the Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 for a spin around the review track, before lining it up alongside the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and the Bugatti Chiron to take a deep dive into the design of the special Technic supercar series.

Adding motion to LEGO models can be great fun, so this month there’s a handy guide showing how to put together different mechanisms that can make minifigures move. There’s also tips on building historical weaponry, with plenty of useful ideas that can apply to various LEGO MOCs.

Brickset, the ultimate LEGO database, celebrates 20 years of helping fans keep track of their collection this year, so Blocks catches up with Huw Millington to celebrate the milestone and reflect on how the fan-driven website has evolved over the years.

There’s always room for some Blockstalgia, with this month’s look back at classic LEGO spotlighting Pirates – specifically the beloved Bluecoats. As well as revisiting several classic sets including 6276 Eldorado Fortress, the section includes exclusive instructions for building a mini Caribbean Clipper.

Elsewhere this issue, LEGO Art Design Manager Sam Johnson shares the thinking behind the new theme, the Blocks crew reveal their views on the cancelled Technic Osprey and there’s a countdown of the top 10 videogame sets.

Want to win 71360 Adventures with Mario Starter Course? To be entered into the new prize draw and to get Blocks magazine delivered every month – ahead of the shops – check out our money-saving subscription offers.

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).

Along with the 12-month and 24-month subscriptions available in our store, we now have a 3-month direct debit option available. If you’d like to set that up, get in touch at subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.

Go wizard shopping with LEGO Harry Potter 75978 Diagon Alley

Does your burgeoning LEGO Harry Potter minifigure collection sorely need somewhere to pick up wizarding supplies? Consider it done. The LEGO Group’s design team has waved its collective wand to come up with 75978 Diagon Alley, an enormous brick-built recreation of the famous magical shopping destination.

The full street stretches over a metre wide, and includes Ollivanders, Scribbulus Writing Implements, Quality Quidditch Supplies, the Daily Prophet, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, Flourish & Blotts, and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. With over 5,444 parts and 14 minifigures in the box, this is another show-stopping set for the Harry Potter theme, with the price tag to match: you’ll need to part with £369.99 / $399.99 / €399.99 to get your hands on Diagon Alley when it launches on September 1.

Stay tuned for more on 75978 Diagon Alley in a future issue of Blocks. For now, check out the full press release and gallery of images below – and if you haven’t already, make sure to grab a copy of Issue 71, as we’ve gone behind the scenes on the LEGO Group’s collaboration with Nintendo for LEGO Super Mario.

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 before September 1 will put you in the running for 80009 Pigsy’s Food Truck, as well as all subsequent draws – including our next one, which sees 71360 Adventures with Mario Starter Course up for grabs.

Launching today, the spectacular new LEGO® Harry Potter® set allows fans to be transported to the most magical shopping street in the world, now in brick form!

Diagon Alley™ is one of the most iconic locations in the Wizarding World. It’s where Harry Potter gets his first glimpse of the exciting new world he is about to join, as he’s guided through the magical shopping street by Hagrid. And now LEGO and Harry Potter fans alike can build and create the iconic street in their own homes.

The set brings the two worlds together in a magical hybrid: a rich and versatile display model, with a modularity aspect that allows fans to choose how to display the shops (all in a row, swapping them around, or even placing individual shops on different shelves!).
Measuring more than a meter wide and made up of over 5,000 pieces, LEGO Diagon Alley features the famed wizarding world shops packed with authentic details from the movies to truly capture the ambience of the street.

Behind magnificent and detailed storefronts lie intriguing interiors, fascinating features and familiar characters. Fans can recreate some of their favourite moments from the Harry Potter film series including; discovering the wands at Ollivanders™ from Harry Potter and the Philosophers / Sorcerer’s Stone dropping in on Gilderoy Lockhart™’s book-signing event at Flourish & Blotts™ bookstore from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; or obtaining a love potion from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes™ from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Marcos Bessa, LEGO Harry Potter Design Lead commented: “I love how faithful the final design is to the architectural details in the film. You can barely see some of these buildings zooming past your screen, but we tracked down different photographs from the sets – some of them from nearly 20 years ago – to make sure everything is spot on. Diagon Alley is the biggest set I’ve designed to-date and I am really proud of how it has come together.”

The set also includes 14 minifigures, including new versions of lead characters Harry, Ron, Hermione and of course George and Fred Weasley who have their own joke shop in Diagon Alley. There are also minifigures of Florean Fortescue and the Daily Prophet photographer, who have never been seen in LEGO form before.

With Christmas just around the corner, the LEGO Diagon Alley set makes an impressive and inspiring gift for Harry Potter and LEGO enthusiasts alike.

Issue 70 of Blocks magazine features Haunted House, LEGO videogames and more

The latest issue of Blocks magazine is now available to order.

In an exclusive feature as epic as the games themselves, ’15 years of LEGO videogames’ looks back at every single LEGO game that has come from TT Games since Star Wars set the trend in 2005. Head of Design Arthur Parsons and four of his talented colleagues share unique insights, reflections and behind-the-scenes secrets as they look at the development of the games over the years, from Harry Potter to Marvel’s Avengers and everything in between. They even provide a sneak peek at LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

Physical bricks are never far from the Blocks crews’ minds though, with attention turning to the incredible Haunted House that recently launched in the Fairground Collection. As well as reviewing the set, Blocks sits down with Design Manager Jamie Berard to find out about the collaboration that went into designing this incredibly tall model. There are images showcasing the various sketch models and prototypes that the design team built, too.

With so many fairground and theme park ride sets now released, what’s the best way to set them up in a layout? A special feature looks at just that, showing how to build complementary models such as a ticket booth, entrance, shooting gallery and walkway. It’s not this issue’s only building guide, with Technique revealing how to put together attractive display bases.

As much as the LEGO hobby is a distraction from the outside world, lockdown has been happening – and now that he’s back in the office, Model Designer Milan Madge reflects on his experience designing a really, really big set away from the LEGO Group’s resources. Working from home might be tricky for anyone, but it’s all the more so with thousands of LEGO bricks to accommodate.

If nostalgia for LEGO themes had a name, it would be Blockstalgia. In this month’s edition, Blocks takes a look at Indiana Jones’ memorable appearance in the brick. Spotlighting three classic sets from the theme and introducing three new vignettes – one for each of the first three films – it’s a celebration of the whip-cracking archaeologist that belongs in this magazine.

The 116 pages of Blocks Issue 70 are rounded out with a guide to LEGO Super Mario, reaction to LEGO Art and an interview with the designers of the exclusive LEGO House Wooden Duck. All of the regulars are in there too, including Top Ten, Month in MOCs, Rebuild Challenge, Ideas Showcase and Piece Perception.

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

Along with the 12-month and 24-month subscriptions available online, we now have a 3-month direct debit option available. If you’d like to set that up, get in touch at subs@silverbackpublishing.rocks.

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.