Some Lego Photography

With Helm’s Deep still hanging around I thought I’d try my hand at a more “theatrical” photo. So I put a CTO filter on one of the flashes I use and voila:

Helm's Deep Toss Me

Have a closer look on Flickr – just click on the image. I’m happy with the result especially since I got it pretty quickly. Someone visiting the site asked for more info on how we take the photos so here goes- BrickKnight Lego photography in a nutshell.

Background: As you can see in the photo above I used a black background, normally I use a white one. When I first started I tried paper but it wasn’t static enough, you had to get it just right and then if you moved the paper the minifigures would fall over and you were back to square one. So, I use Ikea Linnmon table tops. One horizontal as the base the other vertical as the background.

Camera and Lens: I use a Canon 6D with the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens. Canon stuff is great obviously and the 6D is incredibly cheap at this stage for a full frame camera. It’s nice to have a full frame camera for the extra light you get and with the smaller space I have I can be closer to the Lego I’m photographing. A macro lens is a must have, it lets you get the little details.

Lighting: As I posted previously for lighting I use two Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites and the ST-E3-RT transmitter so I don’t have to have any wires connecting the flashes to the camera. This is nice since I’m cramped for space and have to take down and set up the equipment regularly.

Setup: I shoot through Westcott Optical umbrellas, I have a 32″ and a 43″, the size doesn’t seem to make much difference. I place these at roughly 45 degrees on either side of the camera and angle them downwards, placing them as close to the Lego I’m photographing as I can.

So there it is. As you’ll notice it’s not always the perfect setup, with only two flashes there are still shadows present but I don’t do the amount of Photoshopping that the Lego website does to have pristine (and somewhat fake) looking product photos.

Everything I’ve acquired for equipment was cheaper than it is now with the (big) exception of the Canon 6D. Canon usually has rebates going, the 100mm Macro lens should cost somewhere around $800. Obviously that’s a lot of gear. If you don’t have this much gear just keep in mind that the bigger the light source and the closer to the subject you bring it, the softer the light will be.

Review: Lego 70818 Double-Decker Couch Double Decker Couch!!

Pieces: 197  Minifigures: 5  Retail Price: $14.99  Price I Paid: Retail

70818 box f

70818 box b

If this set isn’t from everyone’s favorite set in The Lego Movie, it’s at least from my favorite scene in the movie. I have a feeling the former is true. This is a case of Lego getting it right. Before if you wanted yourself a double-decker couch designed by Lego you had to buy MetalBeard’s Sea Cow for $250. It was kind of a no-go. Now you can get yourself your very own Lego designed couch for only $14.99 plus tax! And here’s a fifteen dollar set that comes with 5 minifigures. Yes I’m counting you too Uni-Kitty!

70818 minifigures

Benny and Emmet and President Business all have two faces. Vitruvius doesn’t have pants but a 1X2XSomething brick. And Uni-Kitty comes with two different sets of eyes and eyebrows, it must be too hard to double side print a brick I guess.

70818 the couch

The couch could be a little better, if the ladders on the sides connected on the top as well and didn’t just stick out awkwardly. The brickset review complained of two different blue colors for the tiles and plates but I don’t have that problem. This does seem to be a mostly Made in China set though.

70818 set

But I can’t really complain too much. I wanted a Double-Decker couch and I didn’t want to spend $250. Even as a $20 set this would be worthy of buying at retail price. If you enjoyed The Lego Movie (and if you didn’t and you’re reading this blog, congrats) you’ll probably want and enjoy this set. I’m giving it an 8.

2015 Updates

It’s a new year and I have new responsibilities so I’ll be blogging a bit less. I plan to do 1 set review a week and probably a max of 3 new posts a week. That’s really not too much less than I had been doing when I look at the past history.

I bought the Detective’s Office last week at the Lego Store and hope to have finished building it soon so that I can post a nice review, I’ve also gotten a few new Series 13 minifigures. Look for a new review on the site on Friday.

Review: Lego 10237 The Tower of Orthanc

Let’s finish up on Lego Lord of the Rings for now with the biggest set, The Tower of Orthanc. This set belongs to my friend who built it, I just photographed it (and not in the usual place so the photos aren’t quite as good as usual).

Pieces: 2359  Minifigures: 5  Retail Price: $199.99  Price I Paid: I didn’t

December January Special! The final Hobbit movie comes out in the middle of the month. Unless Peter Jackson has J.R.R. Tolkein’s body dug up and reanimated to write more books, it should be the last we see of Middle Earth on the big screen for quite awhile. I’m a big fan of the Lego LOTR sets and will attempt to review all of them in the next few weeks. As many of these sets are no longer available, I’m going to use a 1-5 rating system where 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

First of all, this set is quite tall.

10237 main

28″ high to be exact.

10237 minifigures

It comes with 5 minifigures, two Uruk-Hai not shown and an eagle also not shown.

10237 Wormtongue

The only exclusive figure is Grima Wormtongue.

10237 Treebeard

Treebeard is also part of the build. The part that isn’t black pieces.

When you first look at this set it looks like a bunch of black pieces. However the overall shape/outline is extremely true to the movie I’d say and captures the evil and imposing nature of the tower well. Then, on the back side of the set you get several levels of little vignettes.

10237 back

10237 int3

10237 int2

10237 int1

10237 int5

And at the top we get all the little details of the evil that Saruman is up to.

10237 int4

The little details are really what make the set approachable at the $200 price. Even so, there’s a reason I don’t own this set – it’s $200. It would be great to have and put in the midst of a bunch of attacking Ents, but I just never set my sights on it and it’s unlikely I will now. The set is still available from Lego, probably not much longer though. I’ll stick with the usual and give this set a 4 for vision and execution.

Happy New Year! and New Lego Sets!!

It’s 2015. Where’s my hoverboard?

There’s a whole lot of Lego Sets becoming available today including the new Modular Building 10246 Detective’s Office all the way down to the 70818 Double Decker Couch!!

And here are the new Lego Batman sets avaiable – something we’re very excited about here at Brickknight.

I’ll be making a trip to the Lego store later today and hopefully buying the Detective’s Office with my multitude of VIP points. Then after much building I will have a review for you.

Happy New Year!

Review: Lego 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep

Pieces: 1368  Minifigures: 8  Retail Price: $129.99  Price I Paid: $85+tax

December Special! The final Hobbit movie comes out in the middle of the month. Unless Peter Jackson has J.R.R. Tolkein’s body dug up and reanimated to write more books, it should be the last we see of Middle Earth on the big screen for quite awhile. I’m a big fan of the Lego LOTR sets and will attempt to review all of them in the next few weeks. As many of these sets are no longer available, I’m going to use a 1-5 rating system where 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

9474 box f

9474 box b

Well, here it is. The biggest Lego Lord of the Rings set, save the UCS like exclusive Tower of Orthanc. This is the third largest set I’ve built after Arkham Asylum and Medieval Market Village. It took 3 solid hours of building to get it finished.

9474 minifigures a

Helm’s Deep comes with 8 minifigures, 3 are exclusive to this set. The Uruk-hai who carries the torch to light the bomb to blow up the wall, Haldir and King Theoden. King Theoden is my favorite, his printed plate armor piece is very nice. Then you’ve got Gimli and Aragorn (they really should have included a Legolas) and 3 more Uruk-hai – visible in the next photo along.

9474 set

The construction uses light grey, what some call bley, with a few dark grey and some light pastel green thrown in here and there. There are many 1×1 bricks and 1×2 masonry bricks involved. The building is done in sections then completed by “plugging” the sections into each other. With the exception of the keep section, which is meant to be placed directly behind the main doors.

9474 keep

The long plate raises and extends and creates a bridge to the rest of the structure – although there is no ladder on the inside so I’m not sure how you get down.

9474 keep interior

Inside there is no ladder or staircase but there is a lovely throne and some weapons and a turkey leg on a golden bowl/plate. Not nearly as impressive a Lego food display as Bag End.

9474 keep connection

There’s the “connection” – I’m not sure why they didn’t make it a little more complete but oh well, the keep is a nice part to have individually but it’s not going to figure in your massive battle scene.

9474 side door

What surely will feature is the side door that Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas – apparently called the “Three Hunters” – make use of to go back out and join the battle after the main door is sealed. It’s kind of comical when you think of it – “how do we get out of this huge fortress?” “oh, just take the side door” – and it leads to Gimli being tossed across the divide.

There is a big tower in the middle and a succession of three connected ladders to the top – I don’t remember this featuring much in the film, I think the three ladders are just a way to have the set seemingly make the top reachable. Unlike reaching the keep on the other side of the set.

9474 tower interior

9474 back

As you can see this is another mostly 2 dimensional set, the back is not really much to see or look at other than the tops where the armies can walk along. It’s less disappointing here, as there isn’t much shown in the film either.

Here is the set with the 9471 Uruk-hai Army set attached, extending the wall. As cool as it looks by itself, adding the wall really does make it look better – and, again, closer to the film.

9474 and 9471 lego

Once you have the two sets, you have quite a battle already, with 6 of the “good guys” and 8 Uruk-hai.

9474 and 9471

9474 set plus 9471

I may need to get some more elves though.

So, there it is. quite the set in some ways and not quite in others. I really think they should include Legolas here, he’s as crucial to the battle as any. And Gandalf the White would have been nice, at least they released him in a later set. On the outside this does look quite a bit like the scene in the movie, one of the most memorable scenes from all the films I believe.

In terms of rating, I’ll give it a 4. It cost $129 and I held off on buying it until I got it for $85 at Target, but it wasn’t widely available at this price so it wasn’t always a great deal for everybody. But now that I did get it and finally built it, I’m quite happy.

Review: Lego 9471 Uruk-hai Army

Pieces: 257  Minifigures: 6  Retail Price: $29.99  Price I Paid: $23

December Special! The final Hobbit movie comes out in the middle of the month. Unless Peter Jackson has J.R.R. Tolkein’s body dug up and reanimated to write more books, it should be the last we see of Middle Earth on the big screen for quite awhile. I’m a big fan of the Lego LOTR sets and will attempt to review all of them in the next few weeks. As many of these sets are no longer available, I’m going to use a 1-5 rating system where 3 is average and 5 is excellent.

9471 box f

9471 box b

Another small set but it portends the big set – review coming on Monday – Helm’s Deep (which is properly called The Battle of Helm’s Deep). And I like this set a lot – so much I have 2. It comes with 6 minifigures.

9471 minifigures

4 Uruk-hai – making the set worthy of it’s name and 2 Horse-lords or soldiers of Rohan. One of the Rohan soldiers is Eomer so he is useful in your rebooted Star Trek MOCs or Bourne Identity MOCs.

9471 ballista

The Uruk-hai have a ballista which is pretty nice, so that they can attack the wall.

9471 base front

As you can see Eomer gets his own horse, so for those scoring at home, that’s 6 minifigures, 1 horse, 1 ballista and one wall.

9471 base back

The wall is designed to extend the wall of the Helm’s Deep set but even by itself it makes a nice set. The price was really good only $30 for all the figures and the horse and it was frequently discounted below $25.

9471 set

I have to give this set a 5. It’s not a scene stealer but it gives you a nice army and I can’t wait to incorporate it with the rest of Helm’s Deep.

2015 Lego DC Superheroes Pre-orders (might be) available at Amazon

A little Batman discussion among all this Lord of the Rings.

UPDATE: For now – you can access the link above and see the other sets in the related items area and just click “Pre-order” without actually viewing the item. So you can put the item in your cart and checkout even though the page doesn’t come up.

I was just able to pre-order all of the sets except for Braniac Attack, so 4/5 new sets for next year. The estimated arrival is Jan 6 (with Prime shipping) – I’ll update the links as the other sets links become active. Here’s hoping for a price decrease that results in a “Pre-order Price Guarantee” !

As a fun exercise here is a list of all the minifigures the four sets contain.

76025 Green Lantern vs Sinestro
Green Lantern
Space Batman

76026 Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas
Gorilla Grodd
Captain Cold
Truck Driver
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Batman – Grey Suit

76027 Black Manta Deep Sea Strike
Black Manta
Batman – Grey Suit
Scuba Robin – very exciting

76028 Darkseid Invasion
Green Arrow

The Braniac Attack is set number 76040 so maybe this set is coming out later in the year. This is a set I’m keen to get because it has Supergirl. So far Space Batman and Scuba Robin are the most exciting. We have a kind of a Scuba Batman from Penguin Set. Now if only we could get the Penguin Submarine from the original Batman movie…

Whats new at the Lego store?

Well not much as usual. I stopped in last night among the throngs at the mall and they did have about 5 Research Institute sets. They also had more UCS Tumbler sets on display than usual. I didn’t buy the Research Institute because mine came in the mail from Lego Shop@Home. Other than that, nothing exciting, even the sets that are on sale online right now did not appear to be on sale in the store.