You might remember that back in March we talked about a new series on LEGO’s YouTube channel titled Beyond the Instructions. In the series, Erik Beck from Indie Machines takes a wide variety of official LEGO sets and transforms them into something even more awesome – usually by motorizing them and making them fly, launch, jump, shoot, and more. I highly recommend the series as Erik is somewhere between a big kid, a mad scientist, and a crazy mechanic, and his creations are very impressive and educational. So, put on your lab coat, safety glasses, and let’s do science! 🙂

We have already discussed the first twelve episodes previously that you can watch here: LEGO Beyond the Instructions Video-Series, and today, I wanted to bring to your attention five more episodes that have been released since. Just like last time, I put all the episodes in a playlist for your convenience, so you can watch them one after the other, or select the ones you are most interested in by using the drop-down list in the upper left corner of the player. Under the videos, I also included a summary of each project.

BEYOND THE INSTRUCTIONS EPISODE 13: Erik swoops in for a new episode of Beyond the Instructions featuring the #70916 LEGO Batman Movie The Batwing. To get this set really flying, he goes beyond the set to build an insane Batman Super Coaster with 30 feet of track! Building a LEGO roller coaster is not an easy task, and I really like his method of using commonly found LEGO Technic pieces and flexible hoses to build the track.

BEYOND THE INSTRUCTIONS EPISODE 14: In this episode, Erik packs more power into the #76086 LEGO DC Super Heroes Knightcrawler Tunnel Attack vehicle to take down a couple pairs of parademons. He adds a rechargeable battery pack, two infrared receivers, and two large LEGO motors to operate the stud-shooters with automatic fire, the beefed up legs, and a bunch of LED lights. I told you Eric is totally nuts! 😀

BEYOND THE INSTRUCTIONS EPISODE 15: In this episode, Erik amps up the #70612 LEGO Ninjago Movie Green Ninja Mech Dragon by transforming it into a dragon launcher that hurtles Lloyd into battle. The launcher is basically a slingshot that is operated by LEGO Mindstorms components, so the dragon can get activated by Lord Garmadon’s laser pointer, a.k.a. The Ultimate Weapon.

BEYOND THE INSTRUCTIONS EPISODE 16: Welcome to the Jungle! In this episode, Erik takes the #60160 LEGO City Jungle Mobile Lab to the extreme by building in tons of torque to tackle the steepest of terrain. This includes converting the vehicle into a six-wheel drive with a medium LEGO motor, battery box, and IR receiver. Erik also added a kayak launcher, you know… for science…

BEYOND THE INSTRUCTIONS EPISODE 17: In this episode, Erik heads to a galaxy far, far away to take the #75185 LEGO Star Wars Tracker 1 beyond! Inspired by the actual ship from Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, Erik decide to make the spacecraft levitate in real life, using some magnets. Really cool!

As you can see, Erik is an incredibly talented and creative builder, and watching the modifications he makes to official LEGO sets is very inspiring and enjoyable. I also like how he makes scientific experiments so much fun. You don’t even notice that you are learning! I could definitely see these videos inspiring families to do some great projects together. As you may have noticed, Erik uses a good number of LEGO Power Functions elements. If you don’t have some of the pieces, they are available at the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? How do you like the Beyond the Brick episodes? Are you inspired to modify any of your own LEGO sets? What would you build? Feel free to share your own ideas in the comment section below! 😉

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LEGO Ideas Women of NASA revealed!

by admin on October 19, 2017

in LEGO Exclusives

You might remember that back in March, LEGO announced that the next LEGO Ideas set was chosen to be the Women of NASA project by Maia Weinstock (a.k.a 20tauri). After months of working out the details of the set, yesterday, LEGO revealed the final design, pricing and release date at the LEGO Ideas blog. Below are the details. 🙂

Just a bit of history, in case you are not familiar with the project; as a science editor and writer for MIT, with a strong personal interest for space exploration as well as the history of women in science and engineering, Maia’s Women of NASA project was a way for her to celebrate accomplished women in the STEM professions. In particular those who’ve made a big impact through their work at NASA. Her project obviously resonated with others as it reached the required 10,000 votes on the LEGO Ideas platform in just 15 days! There is an interesting interview with Maia on the LEGO Ideas blog, which we discussed here: LEGO Women of NASA Set Coming!

The LEGO Ideas team left the following comment to Maia when the project reached 10k votes, which I think sums up the success and significance of the model very well: “You have rocketed your way to the 10,000 supporter milestone, seemingly supported by the entire internet, and you’ve done so by educating us about these particular women’s achievements in the U.S. space program and STEM in general, but beyond that showing us all that there are always plenty of very hard working and talented individuals who go unrecognized for their accomplishments. Your individual vignettes clearly contain plenty of educational value, but bring forward a splash of humor as well, in order to make this a well-rounded set.”

And yesterday, the LEGO Ideas team followed up with this announcement: “Build, play and learn from inspiring women of NASA! We’re incredibly excited to finally show off the first official images of the inspiring #21312 LEGO Ideas Women of NASA set designed by LEGO Ideas member Maia Weinstock (a.k.a. 20tauri) from the USA. The Women of NASA set will officially be landing on store shelves from the 1st of November, 2017 for a recommended retail price of USD/Euro 24.99.”

Here is the official description of the set: Follow in the footsteps of 4 pioneering women of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration – America’s space agency) with this fun and inspiring LEGO set. Build the Hubble Space Telescope and learn astronomy with the ‘Mother of Hubble’ Nancy Grace Roman. Develop the software for space missions with computer scientist Margaret Hamilton. And launch the space shuttle with Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, and Mae Jemison, the world’s first woman of color in space. Build, play, learn and one day you too could become a science, technology, engineering or mathematics superstar!

Science editor and writer Maia Weinstock combined three of her personal passions in designing the Women of NASA set for LEGO Ideas; space exploration, the history of women in science and engineering, and LEGO building. “I thought people might like to build their own display featuring minifigures of accomplished women in the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] professions. For the vignettes, I wanted to contextualize each person in terms of her contribution to NASA history. I was absolutely elated when the project reached 10,000 supporters! The set clearly touched and inspired many, as it reached 10,000 supporters in just 15 days. The night on which it appeared we’d reach 10K, I stayed up until 4:30 or 5 in the morning so that I could watch the 10,000th vote come in. I didn’t get much sleep that day, but it was thrilling!”

LEGO designers Gemma Anderson and Marie Sertillanges were thrilled to help refine Maia’s model into an official LEGO set. “I was extremely excited about working on this one, especially as I had already heard of it and really wanted it to become a set,” says Gemma. “My focus was on ensuring that the model had stability, the colors were aligned and the subjects were accurately portrayed, all while staying respectful to the design of the original model.” For Marie, “The main challenge in designing the minifigures and the decorations was that I could not make anything up. Every detail was important and needed to match reality, since they represent real-life women. It was beautiful to hear some of the stories behind the scenes, like how Sally’s name tag was changed from ‘Sally Ride’ to just ‘Sally’ at her own request.”

As mentioned above, the LEGO Ideas Women of NASA set will be available on November 1st, however, if you’re in New York City, you can get it a bit early on the 28th of October. To celebrate the upcoming release, Maia will be at the Flatiron District LEGO Store in New York City from 10AM-2PM at an exclusive pre-release event, to meet and greet fans and sign the set. If you haven’t been to this LEGO store before, the addess is: 200 5th Avenue, Flatiron District, New York City.

It is interesting to note that Maia’s original submission also included Katherine Johnson, who was featured in the recently released and very well received film titled Hidden Figures. The movie follows the lives of three African American female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race of the 1960s. Katherine Johnson was a mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions, Dorothy Vaughan was the first black supervisor at NASA and one of the few female supervisors, and Mary Jackson was NASA’s first black female engineer. Unfortunately, LEGO was not able to get approval to include Katherine in the set. However, even with only four minifigures, the set actually turned out better than many people expected. LEGO designers who worked on the project did an excellent job both on the small vignettes and the minifigures. The space shuttle and telescope are particularly great designs, and it appears that all the decorations are printed.

It is also interesting that from the nineteen LEGO Ideas sets released so far, this is the fifth project with space exploration as the subject. The #21101 LEGO CUUSOO Hayabusa from 2012, the #21104 LEGO Ideas NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover and the #21110 LEGO Ideas Research Institute from 2014, and the #21309 LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V all feature space exploration at least partially. I just hope that LEGO will do a better job judging demand, which they severely underestimated with the previous sets.

Speaking of the #21309 LEGO Idias NASA Apollo Saturn V, which has been sold out from pretty much the day it became briefly available back in June, according to the latest update on the LEGO Ambassador Forum, more stock should be coming in November. The first priority is to fulfill orders that have been already placed on backorder, and hopefully, there will be some left afterwards for people who haven’t had the chance to buy the set yet. While this is not the best news, it does give some hope that LEGO will catch up with demand. Unfortunately, as all LEGO Ideas sets are limited release, it is not going to be in production for long, so if you see it back in stock, jump on it at the Online LEGO Shop.

Also, remember that the Voltron – Defender of the Universe by Leandro Tayag (a.k.a. len_d69), and the LEGO Ideas Ship-In-A-Bottle – The Flagship Leviathan by Jacob Sadovich (a.k.a. JakeSadovich77) have also been approved, but the final designs have not yet been announced. Keep an eye on the LEGO Ideas blog for any updates. And you can also check out the currently available LEGO Ideas sets, including the beautiful #21310 LEGO Ideas Old Fishing Store, the nostalgic #21306 LEGO Ideas Yellow Submarine, and the classy #21307 LEGO Ideas Caterham Seven 620R under the LEGO Ideas section of the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? How do you like the LEGO Ideas Women of NASA set? Do you think it’s better or worse than the original submission? Are you planning to get it when it becomes available? What other LEGO Ideas projects are you looking forward to the most? And which are your favorite LEGO Ideas sets so far? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:


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I recently had a chance to try out an interesting new product called Bakku Backgrounds. They are basically a combination of a playmat and a backdrop, and can be used with LEGO, or other toys and collectibles. 🙂 Bakku Backgrounds was created by Brian Woodman from Canada, who watched his own children play with LEGO. […]

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LEGO wear & play T-shirt collection by LeBrick

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