Thursday, February 1, 2018

Lepin 02012 - Deep Sea Exploration

By the end of December my son asked to browse through AliExpress, I showed him how to look for the best deals from reliable sellers. It didn't take him too long to find the Deep Sea Exploration set from Lepin (Lepin 02012), based on the Lego Deep Sea Exploration 60095, he has been saving money for a while, and tries to get the most value for his pocket. He paid 51 CAD$, shipped via ePacket, the package arrived three weeks later to the mailbox.

Here's the original listing from AliExpress: Lepin 02012 - Deep Sea Exploration

I was gladly surprised with the seller, everything was properly packaged and protected inside a box.

The build was long but simple, the bags were numbered, so it was easy to follow the instructions, however there were some parts spread in other bags. There were no missing, or damaged parts. Transparent pieces came in separate, and sealed bags, no scratchs.

Lepin minifigs arms and hands had to be assembled to the torso. These are the first Lepin minifures I have had in my hands, I am gladly surprised with the quality and detail. I have an original Lego captain, below is a picture of both minifigures (Lepin at left, Lego at right).

The finished build...

I am almost certain that I will buy more Lepin sets in the future, the quality is far above what I have seen on other brands (Bela, Enlighten, Kazi). In fact there are some in my wish list for soon.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Lepin 20033 - Technician Green RC Tracker Racer

It's been a while since my last post, in the meantime I have bought some items but didn't take time to write about.

My 8 year old son wanted an RC vehicle for Christmas, instead of a standard RC car we thought it would be a good idea to introduce him to more advanced blocks and construction techniques, so Santa brought the Lepin 20033. He built it in a couple of hours and has been enjoying it for the last three days. It's a copy of the Lego RC Tracker Racer 42065, and it costs half the price, it arrived in less than three weeks via DHL. Here's the AliExpress original listing: Lepin 20033 - Technician Green RC Tracker Racer

He went throught the construction steps with ease, he just made a couple of mistakes that I had to help him solve, mostly because it was his first time building with these techniques.

I am positively surprised with the Lepin Power Functions, these are not IR, but 2.4 Ghz, no need to point to the sensor. My son has the Lego Blue Cargo Train 60052, I never liked the IR controller behavior, we tested the Lepin receiver and controller with the train it worked perfectly! I'll be looking for more Lepin Power Functions to use my own vintage Lego Technic.

The brick quality is excellent, great fit, no missing parts. When the build was finished the car falled from the table and a 3m axle broke, fortunately I had a Lego spare one that fits perfectly, I can't blame Lepin on this, the drop was hard, and nothing else was damaged. I haven't had the chance to have the Lego original model in my hands, but I have lots of Lego Technic from the 80's and 90's, I liked the Lepin, I will be looking for other models from them.

Here are a couple of videos, my son took it to the outside to try it in the snow, the tracks blocked with the ice, but on compact snow it behaved fine. After drying it continued working perfectly at home.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

DIY - Lego play table

When I was young I never had a specific place to play with my Lego, usually I used my desk, with the disadvantage that I had to clear everything at the end of the day or before.

I introduced my kids to Lego very young, they were almost three years old, at first they used an old Ikea center table, but quickly it became clear that they needed a bigger platform:

It was time to build a table, the main idea was to have a place where they could build and play, but also be able to let everything in place so they could continue at any time (the same day or any other day). They were young and I didn’t want to deal with bricks all over the floor, or at least minimize the quantity of bricks laying around, so the table had to have raised borders to stop the parts from falling.

I had a chipboard panel with white melamine, 26”x66”, and some ½”x2” pine for the borders, so I started with that. It went directly over the Ikea table:

After a couple of years my son was in need of some storage space, he had grown up too, it was time to raise the table and include a drawer. I integrated the drawer in a way that the outside panel would be raised and be at the same level the platform borders were, this way it would be easy to push all the bricks from the platform to the drawer without making anything fall to the floor:

Since then the table and bricks moved to the basement, and just last week a friend gave them a big industrial desktop, 35"x75", the cargo train is no longer on the floor.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Block Tech 20x20 plates

In the « Bricks And Figures » blog I read a note about Block Tech bricks available at Walmart, I took a chance and went to my local store to see what they had.

I ended with four 20x20 plates (one per bag), I took two blue and two in sand color, blue matches perfectly with Lego, sand is a bit lighter. The size is not a standard one but it would work with what I had in mind.

When I got home I took care to check if the size was the right one before opening all, some time ago I bought a Brictek baseplate package (two 16x32 studs) those are almost 1mm longer than the Lego ones, it adds a lot of stress on the bricks and causes problems when trying to build something (starts bending) completely useless. The Block Tech ones are perfect! I will probably buy more.

I have the Lego set 6490, it was a good improvement for the display, more playable...


Then I added the Lego set 6665, a Kayak from the ToysrUs Build&Take events, the Hiker from the collectable series 16 and a customized 4x4 I built over the red car that comes in the Lego set 6375 (Exxon gas station):

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

LED Light Bricks

I had seen these LED Bricks in the « It's Not Lego! » blog, so I took a chance and bought five bricks from AliExpress (I spent 5 CAD$, shipping included)

There are multiple color choices, I took the transparent ones, I can always put a tainted brick to get a different light effect.

The bricks size is 2x3x1 1/3, same as the original Lego Light Brick. What I like of this one is that it has a switch that allows the LED to stay on, the downside is that I must figure out a mechanism to turn it on/off easily. The USB LED bricks might be a better choice next time.

Here are some pictures when I tested the bricks on my sets, I like the look:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mixed harbour

For a long time I have been dealing with the idea of building a Lego harbour (port) layout, last weekend I took some time to start with.

Whenever I can I recycle material, this time it was not an exception. I had some chipboard wood panels with white melamine stored, and a textured acrylic panel, so I quickly built up something in my “play room”. 

The idea is having two levels:
  • Sea level
  • Port/harbour level
I measured everything in order to have baseplates on the raised level that would be exactly at two bricks height compared with the sea level:

I forgot that the raised baseplates from the 90's had the road a bit higher, I should have planned a height of 2 1/3. I will need to adjust this next weekend.

Anyway, here are some views of the first mockup:

The last two pictures were taken after adding a blue colored paper and a transparent textured acrylic, to create the water effect.

Mostly Lego, but also the Enlighten Rescue Center (copy of Lego set 6479), some MegaBlocks base plates and a BlockTech 20x20 blue base plate that I bought at Walmart some days ago (see « Bricks And Figures » blog).

Ausini train tracks

I bought these tracks in eBay for my son's cargo train. Worth the price (20 CAD$, with free shipping)

  • 16 x curved tracks
  • 8 x straight tracks

The fit is perfect and plastic quality is great, he's had hours of pleasure with!

Lepin 02012 - Deep Sea Exploration

By the end of December my son asked to browse through AliExpress, I showed him how to look for the best deals from reliable sellers. It did...