Friday, 27 December 2013

It's Christmastime...

It’s simultaneously both depressing and a testament to the songwriters art that for a long time now, I have been unable to hear the words ‘It’s Christmastime’, without mentally adding ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ to it.  I mean, if you’re going to have a Christmas song stuck in your head, at least make it a good one.  Or indeed, the greatest Christmas song ever! (1)

But while I’ve had Christmas songs on in the background since the first of December (2), the other thing I’ve been doing since the the first of the month is opening the doors on my Lego Star Wars Advent Calender.

As mentioned elsewhere, I missed out on this last year, so ended up with a City one, which was ok, but I didn’t really get excited about it.

But this year though, thanks to some forward planning, it was going to be 24 days of Star Wars.  X-Wings!  Tie Fighters! Luke! Leia! Maybe a Millenium Falcon if we’re lucky!

Were we lucky?

No.  

Having now opened all 24 windows, I would suggest we were not.

It would appear that  all I want for Christmas, despite Mariah Carey’s protestations to the contrary, is a time machine so I can go back and get a 2011 Lego Star Wars Advent Calender.  Because that was the one that had all the good stuff!  The X-Wing!  Chewbacca!  A Falcon, a Tie Fighter!  Yoda as Santa Claus!

2012 seemed to be a bit of a mixed bag, although most people seemed to appreciate the ‘Darth Maul as Santa’ minifig.

But this year?  I haven’t checked thoroughly yet, but at a guess I’d say that at least 20 of the 24 models are from the prequel trilogy.  I mean come on, guys!  At least make it a 50/50 split between the three rubbish ones and the Holy Trinity!



The 2013 Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar - not as great as it might have been

(Image courtesy of Brickset.com)



Maybe it’s just because I’m old.  Maybe it’s because I grew up with the originals, which were simple tales of goodies vs baddies, plus some cool spaceships.  Maybe it’s because I can’t help looking upon the prequels as overly flashy, overly complicated vehicles to sell toys, but this was a disappointment.

Chances are there are plenty of youngsters out there for whom Episodes I, II and III are what Star Wars is all about, and who think that the original trilogy are just some boring films that their Dad makes them watch periodically.  Maybe they look upon a young Boba Fett minifig as an exciting addition to their collection, or immediately recognised the Acclamator Class Republic Assault Ship which appeared briefly at the end of Episode II : Attack of the Clones.

Frankly I was grateful to CapnRex101, over at Brickset.com, who did a daily mini-review of each model.  If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have a clue what half the things were supposed to be!

Still.  It’s been fun having a little mini model to build every day, and if nothing else, I’ve got a few handfuls of spares to go in the parts box.

Maybe next year will be better…

On a jollier note, as it’s now December the 27th, I know what loot (3) I got for Christmas, and I was fortunate that some of it was Lego-related!

Thanks to my Sister and her husband, I got the book ‘Lego Space’ by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard.  It’s an unusual mix of a story, illustrated by Lego models and punctuated by building intructions for some of the more interesting creations.  Ok, Dostoevsky it ain’t, but a bit of relaxing over Christmas and getting some inspiration for building is just what I wanted.



Lego Space - Building the Future.  Out of Lego.

(Image courtesy of Amazon.co.uk

Courtesy of our good friends Tracey & Terry (not forgetting Daisy, Lily and Bertie, their trio of Westies), I got another book, ‘Beautiful Lego’ by Mike Doyle.  No instructions this time, just a photographic compilation of some of the most incredible creations by some of the most talented Lego builders out there.



Beautiful Lego, by Mike Doyle

(Image courtesy of Amazon.co.uk)


And did I get any actual Lego?  Yes.  Yes I did!

A big high-five, a jaffa cake and much thanks to my Eurogamer.net Secret Santa for my parcel of goodies, which included the Lego Architecture set, Seattle Space Needle.  I’ve recently got into the Architecture range, and I am really looking forward to building that.


Lego Architecture 21003 - Seattle Space Needle

(Image courtesy of Brickset.com)

And finally, big hugs to Mrs Boo, who bought me the Mindstorms EV3 set that I’ve been drooling over since before it was actually released.  I’ve treated myself to a copy of Daniele Benedettelli’s ‘The Lego Mindstorms EV3 Laboratory’, which the reviews suggest is a good reference book for those starting out and wishing to dig into the nitty gritty of the set.
Thanks to a certain on-line retailer, I ordered it Christmas evening, and the delivery chap has just dropped it off.



Mindstorms EV3 - Robot-tastic!

(Image courtesy of Brickset.com)





And some help on understanding it!

(Image courtesy of Amazon.co.uk)





Good thing I’ve got next week off work...




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(1)  At mention of ‘the greatest Christmas song’, many of you will be (incorrectly) thinking of ‘White Christmas’.  Some of the more savvy amongst you will be thinking ‘Of course it’s not White Christmas!  It’s ‘A Fairytale Of New York’ by The Pogues and the late, lovely and lamented Kirsty MacColl.’  This, of course, would also be incorrect.

The greatest Christmas song ever is ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by The Waitresses.

Great story, awesome ‘ching, chinga ching’ guitar riff, brass stabs, Tracy Wormworth’s fantastic bassline and the whole thing dripping in 80’s cheese.

It’s the best Christmas song of all time!

FACT!

(2) More like the second week of October!  I love Christmas!


(3) I’m a huge Calvin & Hobbes fan.  For me, Christmas presents will always be ‘loot’!

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