Archive for the 'The Toy Box' Category Page 2 of 2

Gifts from Munich

Gifts from Munich.

I like to bring back little presents for the family when I’m traveling without them. Like a puzzle of a German police station, Playmobil postal workers or Ravensburger Mini’s, small boxes with surprise a toy, game or charm inside. For Annabel, I look for local magazines like LandLust, a German country living magazine. And there is always chocolate, though this time I couldn’t find Kinder Surprise Eggs.

The Best Lego Catalog Ever?

A boy and his catalog.

What could be better than Lego Star Wars? Nothing. But a close second is the new Lego Indiana Jones sets that are featured in this month’s Lego catalog. Peabody and Nettie couldn’t wait to show it to me when I got home. In fact we skipped our usual bedtime story and just poured over it. As they guessed, I was blown away by the new sets. The Indy Minifig has a bull whip, fedora and ammo bag. There is Belloq the bad archaeologist, Jack the pilot, Professor Henry Jones and an assortment of “guards” (they’re not called Nazis in the catalog). The Minifigs are flesh toned instead of yellow which looks weird. But the Lost Tomb set even has an R2-D2/C-3PO hieroglyph, the famous Easter Egg from Raiders of the Lost Arc! Brilliant!

More exciting to Peabody and Nettie, who haven’t seen the Indian Jones movies, is the new “Town Plan” that recreates one of the original Lego sets from the 50s. The set, which has a movie theater, gas station and town hall, is being released in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lego bricks. It’s available on January 18. So far 2008 is a great year for Lego fans!

Next Stop: Plasticville


This Christmas, Annabel’s dad set up his Plasticville train set in the basement. Everyone was mesmerized by the train’s trip around the little town. Peabody especially liked his turn at the controls. There is something about the automatic motion, sound and smell of an electric train that magically brings the scene to life. We love miniature worlds and our home is filled with Legos, Playmobil, Calico Critters (Sylvanian Families), Brio and Plan City, but we have no electric train. So we’ve started considering our train options.

Both Lego and Playmobil have train sets. The Playmobil sets look wonderful, but they’re big. The Lego sets have the advantage of being smaller and customizable. Much to the sadness of adult train geeks, Legos’ designers decided a couple years ago to move away from the hard-core 9V train system to a more kid friendly RC (remote control). To add to the confusion, Lego recently announced that they will unveil a new train system in 2009. Our choices are 1) invest in the old 9V system which is still available online; 2) purchase an underpowered RC system which may not be supported in a few years; or 3) wait until 2009. We’re going with 3.

Lazy Lego Sunday

Nettie and Peabody working on their projects.

We’re back from St. Louis with runny noses and a stash of new Playmobil and Legos, our favorite toys. Santa brought Nettie the new Playmobil dollhouse which she is using to create a comic about its Victorian residents. Thankfully we had a good collection of Victorian Playmobil characters and furniture before they ended that particular toy line. Peabody and I have been working on a Lego port as a berth for the Firefighting Hovercraft he got from Santa. It’s made up mostly of old parts, including a batch of Lego Tie Fighter wings. A lot of the characters and props came form this year’s Lego Advent Calendar. The Lego calendars are not nearly as awesome as the Playmobil calendars, but St. Nick always brings both. You can see pictures of our Lego projects on Flickr.

Christmas Glyptodon

Glyptodont in the park

The glyptodon has been Nettie’s favorite prehistoric creature since writing an Ice Age report last year. They’re giant cousins of armadillos. that just have the sweetest look about them. Nettie was lucky enough to find a nice plastic model of one at the Natural History Museum in Vienna this summer. In celebration of the identification of the remains of a new species of glyptodont in Chile, Nettie’s toy version joined the merriment at the Playmobil advent calendar park. The Weiner dog doesn’t look surprised.

Whittle Shortline Railroad

Metra passenger train

During Thanksgiving break, Uncle Dave brought back a stash of wooden trains from Whittle Shortline Ralroad. Whittle is a small family owned toy maker in Valley Park, Missouri. Their handcrafted, “Made in the USA” trains are compatible with Brio and Thomas sets. Uncle Dave’s favorite is the small version of the Metra passenger train he commutes in. In addition to trains, Whittle also makes trucks, tracks, and railway buildings.

Lewis & Clark: Lego Adventurers

Ocian in View!

Andrew Becraft of The Brothers Brick, one of our favorite Lego blogs, recently posted a great flickr photo set of Lewis and Clark Minifigs exploring the Long Beach Peninsula. I like the idea of bringing a couple Lego traveling companions with us on our trips to provide a silly perspective on the journey.

Lego B-wing Takes Flight

Peabody with our new B-wing.

The B-wing is by far the most elegant fighter from the Star Wars movies. Peabody and I completed our Lego version this afternoon. We used set 6208, the more recent of the two B-wing models created by Lego. It’s much larger and more detailed than the original, model 7180, released in 2000. But the original has some extras not featured in the new set: a red R2 unit, a rebel maintenance man, and a small rebel base with a situation map showing the location of the second Death Star. This new model will take its place with the Millennium Falcon, X-wing, and Imperial At-At at my desk.

Lego Adventurers in Thebes

Archaeologists in Thebes

We love the game Thebes, but Nettie doesn’t identify with the male archaeologist figures that come with the game. So we’ve swapped them with some Lego mini-figs. From L to R: Nettie, Merriweather and Peabody. We haven’t convinced Annabel to join us in a game yet.

Giant Lego Man Mystery Solved

Ego Leonard on the Dutch coast

As if to mark Friday’s 75th anniversary of the founding of the Lego Group, an eight foot tall Lego man washed up on a Dutch beach on August 7. The origins of the giant “mini-fig” weren’t reported by news sources. One witness noted that it came “from the direction of England.” The only clue to his origin was his shirt which read “NO REAL THAN YOU ARE”. A quick Google search on that phrase led me to a Dutch site: The giant is Ego Leonard, last seen in the UK at an event called Dance Valley. You can see pictures of him dry and posing with attendees. According to the site, Ego is “here to discover and learn about your world and thoughts.” We suspect his creators released him into the North Sea as part of his quest.