The LEGO® Brand

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The LEGO® Brand values

Imagination:
Curiosity asks, ”Why?” and imagines explanations or possibilities (if.. then). Playfulness asks what if? and imagines how the ordinary becomes extraordinary, fantasy or fiction. Dreaming it is a first step towards doing it.

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2016 – Year of Monkey

LEGO 2016

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Lego Creations

Lego Star Wars – Build Your Own Empire

For the Star Wars and/or Lego fanatic in all of us, Lego brought a new era of enjoyment when they agreed to a license with Lucasfilms, enabling them to produce a unique Star Wars line of Lego toys. The Lego Star Wars series has been available since 1999 and has been continually expanded upon. It was introduced with characters and vehicles from the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV-VI). Since then there have been new sets and releases that encompass the prequel trilogy (Episodes I-III) and even the latest Clone Wars animated film and TV series.

All of the mainstays of the Star Wars franchise are available in Lego form. The characters, for the most part, maintain the typical Lego figure. That means that they have a square body with a block shaped head, with just slight variations such as colors and accessories like capes or hats/helmets. However, due to the wide discrepancy between the shapes and sizes of many of the Star Wars characters, unique and original molds were created for the Lego Star Wars line. Darth Vader for example, has his own easily recognizable head and head shape, as do the Stormtroopers, Yoda and many other aliens and characters. Yes, the lightsabers are available with some figures as well!

Outside of the characters, Lego Star Wars also produces all of the recognizable and famous ships and vehicles from the franchise. This includes the ultra-popular Millennium Falcon, which has been tweaked and improved upon since its original release. Also available of course is the X-Wing fighter. Other available vehicles and ships include the Imperial AT-ST, TIE fighters, a Rebel Blcckade Runner (the starship you see being chased by the Imperial Star Destroyer in the opening scene of the original movie) and several speeder crafts. There are also location sets including the Death Star, the Hoth Rebel base and more.

In addition to these characters and vehicles, Lego has released a vast array of Star Wars products, including several additions to their Technic line, which is based on complex parts and movement and are less reminiscent the classic block look, feel and construction of Lego figures. Also released was a mini figure magnet series with a dozen Star Wars characters. Additionally, Lego released several Star Wars products for their Ultimate Collector Series, which are large and highly complex designs. The Millennium Falcon for this series, with over 5,000 pieces, was the largest and most complex Lego product ever released for the public.

The single most popular Lego Star Wars product however would have to be the videogame series. These videogames sold tremendously well and reached critical acclaim across both the Star Wars and videogame community. The first game was based on the prequel trilogy, and the second game was based on the original trilogy. Afterwards, both were released together in one complete addition.

Lego Star Wars toys, figures and products are fun for just about everybody. Whether you are an adult reliving his childhood, or a child discovering the series for the first time, Lego Star Wars combines the best of two great franchises into an amazing line of products that should give you hours upon hours of entertainment.

Chris is an avid Star Wars fan. You can find more information on the different Lego Star Wars sets and characters at Lego Star Wars and remember, may the force be with you!

LEGO Plates – The History

Using a LEGO plate when you play with LEGO is not just to attach the bricks. It also makes the lego built looks nicer and more attractive.
In the long history of LEGO, there have been many plates produced by the LEGO company. Let’s take a look at the history of LEGO plate.

We can trace back to the very beginning of Lego sets (circa 1956). The plates were only produced in white in sizes 2×8, 4×8, 6×8, and 4×8 – right curve, and 4×8 – left curve by then. It was like that until 1963. These early plates had those interesting “square holed” bottoms, and were made of Cellulose Acetate (as were all the other Lego bricks). The 1950’s and 1960’s Esso Service Station (#310) were an early user of all of these plates, especially the curved plates. In fact the Esso Service set had red “hand painted” edges on some of these plates to give that “Art Deco Moderne” red stripe that this set had. Horst Lehner’s excellent website of early Lego Catalogs shows (in the 1958 catalog) the red striped plates in the Esso Service set:

lego catalog

This red stripe (the Esso Service station) was also found in the early Samsonite Town Plan set (#725), as well as the European Town Plan set (#810).

The first small Lego plates came out in a big way in 1963. That year several very interesting thing happened:

1) small plates (1×1, 1×2, 2×2, 2×3, 2×4) came out for the first time in parts packs.
2) small plates were used for the first time in a set – the unique continental European Architectural Sets.
3) small plates did not have the “square hole” bottom common to the larger white plates, but the circular holes like we know them today.
4) Samsonite produced small plates in different colors (white, red, black, grey, clear, green) than were available in Europe (white, red, yellow, blue, black, grey, clear). Green was only produced by Samsonite, and blue & yellow were only produced by TLG Europe.
5) TLG (Europe) produced plates from the very beginning (1963) in ABS Plastic, while Samsonite (USA/Canada) produced small plates (also starting in 1963) in Cellulose Acetate! Figure that one out!

The first plates parts pack that came out in 1963 came out in several very interesting variations. The regular European parts packs of 1963 were colorful boxes slightly larger than USA cigarette boxes, and had flapped ends for opening the box (as opposed to the earlier sliding open box, similar to match boxes – which were used for parts packs from  1956-62). The new plate boxes were the same as other Lego brick boxes. They were #518 (2×4 plates), #519, (2×3 plates), #520 (2×2 plates), and #521 (1×1 & 1×2 plates).

A 1963 German catalog (from  Horst Lehner’s ) showing the small plates for the first time:

lego catalog

These 4 parts packs was the Architectural series of parts packs that had the same set number (and the same number of pieces) as the regular plates parts packs. The major difference for these Architectural parts packs was that they were encased not in cardboard, but in a clear plastic box that had a 8×11 grey plate as the bottom of the box, with a cardboard sleeve (showing “architects” and young adults building modern houses and buildings). This 8×11 grey plate was the very first large Lego plate produced in a color other than white. It is also, believed, the only time an 8×11 rectangular plate was ever produced by Lego.

These Architectural parts packs were produced for the short lived (and not too popular) Architectural Series of sets – #750, #751, #752. This entire Architectural series (plus their parts packs) were only produced
for the continental European countries (not Britain), and were produced from 1963-65.

By that time, Samsonite was only using  Cellulose Acetate bricks for the material, then it  must have switched to ABS plastic after  TLG Europe (which started switching in 1961 – according to “The World of Lego Toys”).

Plates in other sizes that those listed above would come later, and by the 1990’s plates would come in all shapes and sizes.

This LEGO plate history was a write up by Gary R Istoc

What is Samsonite to do with LEGO?

We all know that LEGO was founded in Denmark.  By the mid 1950’s, it was sold throughout the Scandanavian countries of Europe.  In 1956 it started selling in West Germany, Europes largest market.  By the early 1960’s The LEGO Group (TLG) wanted to expand to the USA and Canada.  However, the market was to big for them and had them formed a licensing partnership with the Samsonite Corporation of Denver Colorado.  The license (as was just stated by Anders Isaksson of Sweden) was for 99 years, although TLG purchased back the license in 1972.  So between 1961 and 1972 all US Lego boxes said “LEGO by Samsonite”.

 

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