First a little history. Growing up back in the 1970s and 1980s, LEGO didn’t have greens or browns and certainly DID NOT have guns. War was something that just wouldn’t happen in LEGOLAND – the policemen would just walk around saying “Hello” to Mrs Timmykins because there were no robbers or criminals. They were, as the older folk might say, peaceful times.
But then LEGO space came in and there were “blasters” (nope, still not guns). There were cannon, spears and bows and arrows, but these were for the medieval sets and pirates… so LEGOLAND could still exist in the Heartlake Happy Bubble. In fact, weaponry (in the more conventional sense) is only a recent affair (and I could be wrong, but I think it was the Lone Ranger set that first had anything that looked actually pistol shaped).
The other interesting fact is that for many years, LEGO has held the patents on building brick construction, which has just run out and which is why we are now seeing a number of manufacturers bringing out compatible sets. One of which is Mega Bloks. As well as that, in recent years the ability to produce high quality custom build parts has also come forward.
And for my Heartlake Welcome Committee* this is all good stuff.
I recently bought the “Call of Duty” Desert Outpost set by MegaBloks. I was impressed by the colouring of the bricks – and also the detailing of the accessories, which of course, work with my favourite building construction toy. The figures themselves are a lot more articulate than the Minifigures, with Ball joins and hinged joints enabling a more realistic posability. I quickly returned to the toy shop (no surprise there) and bought the “Platoon Patrol” set. The bricks (and that barbed wire!) have been quickly incorporated into the new Heartlake Welcome Committee outpost… and the rest… well…
Going forward, I know that I will continue to take pictures of the LEGO minifigures. There is something quite fun about them, and their limitations in movement also provide their greatest strengths. The MegaBloks characters – at a macro photography level – do allow a little more photo realism; the fact that I can create an image of a soldier looking like he’s been kicked somewhere painful is an interesting (and fun!) opportunity; however, there is something in their construction that makes some of them look “odd” when I get close up – so I don’t think it will be something that will replace my favourites…
*The Heartlake Welcome Committee was an idea that I came up with about a year ago. The Friends theme in LEGO has been interesting (so many cool accessories!) but somehow saccharin sweet (at least LEGO city has a police station, even if it has taken a while for the neighbourhood to go down to the point it needs one!) and I figured that the only places I knew that were that “nice” were gated ones… and as Heartlake was a town it must have a pretty strict gate policy. But it wouldn’t be called “security” as that sounds mean – and taking the lead from science fiction I figured something polite for something that wasn’t was in order. Since then, the HWC has seen a change in Friends characters being armed with colourful guns and officer helmets, as well as non-Friends female characters providing further strength to the Committee.