World’s Oldest Known Computer, LEGO Style

New Scientist has an article up about the world’s oldest known computer being revived with the use of LEGO. The Antikythera mechanism dates back to over 2000 years and had been found sitting on the bottom of the ocean in a shipwreck over a hundred years ago, in 1900. Andrew … Read more

LEGO at Barnes and Noble

I’m always interested in how LEGO is portrayed and sold in other stores outside of the official LEGO retail stores. I’m lucky enough to have had a LEGO retail store open up in my area in the past year, which means no more sporadic trips to the LEGO stores in Houston or Dallas when I’m visiting family and friends there.

Now of course, I’ve got plenty of Targets, Wal-Marts, even Sears, in my area, with plenty of LEGO sets to choose from. I can’t forget Toys R Us as well – have a couple of those.

There is one place that has quite a few LEGO sets available, as well as some nice displays, that often gets overlooked, and they happen to carry LEGO-related items that the other non-LEGO retail stores don’t necessarily carry.

I’m of course referring to Barnes and Noble. I visit the one in south Austin occasionally, and this time around I decided to take some photos of their LEGO sets and displays, because I don’t think most people realize what all they have – they aren’t just selling books, magazines, food and movies/music. They’ve been adding a toy and hobby section, and the one I visit has quite a bit of LEGO-related items. The store I’m referring to, they obviously have put some effort into the LEGO displays – I’m not familiar with other stores, but I am impressed with this one.

Some notes/observations:
* The main LEGO display was fairly prominent – it had it’s own little dedicated section in the middle of the toys and hobby section.
* The LEGO alarm clock/flashlights were in another part of the toys & hobby section.
* The LEGO games and the LEGO Architecture displays were next to one another, however they were off in the game section of Barnes & Noble and weren’t near the main LEGO display. They were still easy to find.
* I did a really poor job of taking photos of the LEGO Harry Potter and LEGO Star Wars stuff!

LEGO items and lines I saw:
* LEGO Architecture – Empire State Building, Sears Tower, John Hancock Center, Fallingwater, Guggenheim Museum, White House
* LEGO Games – Pirate Code, Robo Champ, Magikus, Minotaurs, Ramses Pyramid, Creationary, Race 300, Dragon, Harry Potter/Hogwarts
* LEGO Accessories – flashlights, nightlights, alarm clocks, pens, keychains
* LEGO Books – Minifig stickers, Star Wars Visual Dictionary
* LEGO Atlantis (a nice mix!)
* LEGO City
* LEGO Creator
* LEGO Kingdoms
* LEGO Star Wars (both original and Clone Wars)
* LEGO Technic
* LEGO Toy Story
* The beginner LEGO tubs
* Duplo

Anyways, here are some photos of the various LEGO displays in our favorite B&N. I apologize for the poor picture quality – I’m not using a flash in a store, and I’m not the steadiest of hands when it comes to photo taking. You can click on any of them to take you to a larger version at flickr.

LEGO Displays at Barnes & Noble (South Austin)

LEGO Displays at Barnes & Noble (South Austin)

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LEGO at the London Toy Fair

Update: February 14, 2010: Photos of the 2010 LEGO Harry Potter sets are available. Huw over at Brickset attended the London Toy Fair today to look at LEGO’s upcoming offerings. No photography was allowed unfortunately. Huw made plenty of observations on the displayed sets. A few notes on Huw’s observations: … Read more

Review: LEGO Technic 8048 Buggy

I was able to get my hands on a LEGO Technic 8048 Buggy this weekend. It’s a dual-purpose set, it can be built as either a buggy or a tractor. This is a Technic set that I’ve been wanting. I’ll say up front that I’m not a big fan of Technic normally – I simply don’t have the time or money (or space) to invest in Technic sets and in customizing them once I’ve built them, but this set plus the 8045 Mini Telehandler were two that I wanted out of the early 2010 batch. Some of the red pieces had me definitely thinking about maybe using them with an Atlantis-based MOC. Some of these larger pieces also showed up in the Space Police 5981 Raid VPR set as well.

Overall, it’s a decent set, although as with most Technic sets, I would say avoid it if you aren’t a fan of Technic. With that said, it does have some really good pieces that could make their way into offroad-based MOCs. It’s just a matter of cost – $40 could be very expensive for a set of wheels and shock absorbers.

On with the review and a warning – if you are reading this on the front page of, it is image-heavy. If you are reading the full review, you already realize that. You may just want to scroll to the bottom to read the full review and then come back up and look at any photos.

2010 LEGO Technic 8048 Buggy - Finished

By the Numbers:
Set: LEGO Technic 8048 Buggy (2-in-1 – converts to tractor)
Year of Release: 2010
Type: Technic 2-in-1 Vehicle
# of Pieces: 314
# of Extra pieces: Depends on build
# of Minifigs and what kind: N/A
Stickers? Yes, 7
Price: $39.99 at or
Ages: 9-16
Time to Complete: Right around an hour or so (Nearly two hours including laying all pieces out and photos)

Remember: click on the photos to see larger images at flickr (Full 8048 Buggy gallery at flickr)

Box Art – Front:
2010 LEGO Technic 8048 Buggy

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Toys R Us Trip Report – Lots of New 2010 LEGO Sets

Update: Toys R Us Trip Report Part II – November 28, 2009.

Paid a trip to the Toys R Us in Cedar Park, Texas, to check out the 2010 LEGO sets that are popping up in the various Toys R US stores around the US, and came away with a couple of the cheaper sets, Creator 5866 Rotor Rescue, and Power Miners 8188 Fire Blaster, and I’ll get reviews of both up later today/tonight. I also took photos of the sets on the shelf to give you an idea of pricing and the fact that they are “official”, at least as far as Toys R Us is concerned. All had shelf stickers/price tags, and I didn’t come across any empty places. It’s in fact been a week since these have started showing up, and obviously they are not being pulled at the request of LEGO.

Here’s the list of what I saw tonight, followed by photos of each (remember, click on the images to see a bigger photo at flickr):
* 7207 City – Fire Boat ($49.99)
* 7208 City – Fire Station ($79.99)
* 5866 Creator – Helicopter ($12.99) ($16.99 at Amazon)
* 8188 Power Miners – Fire Blaster ($9.99) ($12.99 at Amazon)
* 7967 Racers – Fast (Probably $12.99) (Not at Amazon)
* 7968 Racers – Strong (Probably $12.99) (Not at Amazon)
* 8198 Racers – Ramp Crash ($14.99) (Not at Amazon)
* 8045 Technic – Mini-Telehandler ($10.99) ($12.99 at Amazon)
* 8046 Technic – Helicopter ($19.99)

That’s in addition to the ones we’ve already reviewed:
* 8056 Atlantis – Monster Crab Clash
* 8058 Atlantis – Guardian of the Deep
* 8060 Atlantis – Typhoon Turbo Sub
* 5981 Space Police – Raid VPR
* 5982 Space Police – Smash ‘n’ Grab

Besides the two I bought, I came very close to picking up the 8045 Technic Mini-Telehandler – a decent number of very usable parts for the price – 117 for $10.99, and while I could ignore the 2-in-1 conversion into a motorcycle and sidecar, that was kind of an interesting conversion. It’s interesting that Toys R Us has a lower price for the 5866 Helicopter, 8045 Mini-Telehandler, 8188 Fire Blaster. I would assume ends up a little cheaper at some point.

LEGO 2010 Sets Spotted at Toys R Us - Technic 8045 - Mini-Telehandler

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