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Entertainment Earth



Times Square Trip
Posted by Richard on June 14, 2007 at 09:25 PM CST:
The travel was about five hours long, with a couple months in advance of gradual planning. Since I still haven’t made the best attempts to learn how to drive, I had to get my parents behind it as a family trip. On the way me and my brother, who goes by “Toa Faust” on our forums, got into a game of “fishing” with Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops, which lets you search for wi fi access points to recruit new soldiers in the game, so we were trying to recruit from access points before we drove past them for most of the trip up. During the trip my father was playing an audio book, and by what may not have been pure coincidence, it referenced LEGO® bricks as part of the description for the monsters that were attacking the people in the story.

When we arrived at the hotel my father set up his own base of operations with the limited space, a four person room near times square had nearly no room except the space around the beds and furniture to walk. From there it was around a twenty minute walk to get to the other hotel where the actual even was being held. The closer you walked to the destination, the more gigantic building-mounted televisions you could see. One of the stops I wanted to make was to the times square Toys R Us, the closest I got to see of it was looking into the front window before having to keep going since it was on the path to the preview. I had too much stuff with me after the preview was done to go in and it was closed the next morning and didn’t open until it was time to leave for home.

Once we were at the hotel where the event was being held, we had to figure out what floor the preview was, and there were plenty of tv screens set up with a scrolling list of events throughout the hotel, so it was more of place for gatherings like this than a place for a family to stay at. The lobby where we waited for the event to begin was pretty spacious and almost had a view of its own, and accommodated the various other press pretty well, however the room where the actual sets and displays were located was almost depressing by comparison. If only the LEGO company could have commandeered the lobby itself and not potentially blocked traffic to other areas of the hotel and uninvited guests from snapping pictures without permission, it would have been a more comfortable choice.

Before entering everyone had grabbed their name tags, each with one of a few minifigures printed next to the name (not the actual minifigure, which would have been a nice touch), mine being “Batman”. There was also a slot to drop your name or a business card, which later turned out to be a drawing in which the winner received a solid gold C-3PO minifigure, one of five, to announce the start of a C-3PO themed contest. Now I must say, the day before when I was packing I came across my toy lightsaber and thought “Should I bring this? Noooo.. I’d look like a dork, why would I bring a lightsaber to a preview for the LEGO toy line ? I’ll probably look out of place as it is with the BIONICLE® three-in-one gauntlet strapped to my fore arm.” Turns out they even had four or five people in full blown star wars costumes which for all I knew they could have even been the actual actors who played in the movie and I’d never have known the difference. They even had the lightsaber that when photographed or recorded looked like the real thing from the movies.

The room with the displays had plenty of room but was very crowded, but seeing as the majority of press focused on the rest of the sets first, the BIONICLE table was fairly easy to get to. A LEGO represenative pointed out early on when we entered the room that the BONICLE line had a lot of prototype parts and indicated that we couldn’t touch any of the displays, so get a LEGO rep to manipulate it for you… especially the BIONICLE line…This proved quite aggrivateing when about a third of the toys where not properly posed and several of the models werent properly constucted. I could hardly get ahold of the LEGO reps because they were very busy trying to keep the event running smoothly, and I’m not the type of person to interupt someone to ask for their help. So, I started with the Toa MAHRI, which were on the far left of the table. The Barraki were at the opposite table with the rest of the sets, the titans and the playsets, on a lower table between the MAHRI and Barraki.I took a couple hundred pictures throuout the event, and as I learned the hard way, A, the Cannon SD100 is not a good camera for events like this and a room with low lighting, and B, the batteries I bought and charged the night before didn’t keep their charge so I couldn’t get picturees of much of anyhting else.

About a half an hour through the event, the center table had remained covered with a cloth, and was eventually revealed to be the latest incarnation of the Millenium Falcon made of LEGO bricks, the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon™, and I belive to be the most expensive LEGO product I have seen, at about $499.99 USD. I didn’t take too many pictures of it due to a lack of battery charge but I can tell you it was a pretty impressive set, dwarfed only by a much larger version of what I think was the imperial ship that I saw at the first Brick fest I went to about two or three years ago, which is not available to purchase from the LEGO company unless you count the smaller (but still quite large) retail version. I managed a couple fairly good pictures, including one of the set designer holding it up via some sort of internal handle or reinforced point inside the ship, which greatly demonstrated how well constructed it must be.

Other than the bionicle sets, I can’t say I liked a lot of what else I saw, but I was interested in one of the new exoforce sets coming out (which by now might already be out). So far Exoforce is a great way of combining your traditional bricks with the socket system and technic stuff, plus they have some interesting features and details, but I can’t say I’d get into collecting them like I do the bionicle line, instead I’d use them to augment some of my MoCs. I took out the light up brick and optic cable on one set and used it on a rapid fire gun for a MoC to make the barel flash as it spun, for example. I also want to run the optic cable through Nuparu’s tool in place of the red transparent part to give it a red laser sight when you light it up. But the one set I really want out of the bunch, is the Mobile Devastator, in which I plan to build the main model, then strip it down and turn it into some kind of bionicle vehile for a full sized toa or a giant mobile base for the minifigures. Unfortunatley it’s a little too steep for me at about 90.00 USD, and a little bare in some respects but I plan to add on to it since it has a great variety of technic studded beams.

A couple hours went by and we (myself and the other press) managed to get the costumed Star Wars characters to play the LEGO Star Wars game and do a few poses, but other than that there wasn’t much else to do afterwards. The LEGO represenatives pulled cards from the container and gave the gold C3PO miniature, the first of five if I remember right, to the name drawn. Afer that the press started leaving and there werent that many people left, so I took advantage of the unused bricks that had been placed in bowls around the room to make an articulated figure out of standard bricks and then proceeded to use my three in one gauntlet’s disk shooter to try and know him off the table, and managed a few pictures of that before the battery finaly ran out. I finnaly left when my family came by to pick me up, and on the way out was givedn a bag with some free promotionals for attending. Sadly there was nothing special about the Barraki Mantax with the promotionals, but I did get two books, one Bionicle and the other Exo Force, that had been signed by their auther, Greg Farshtey. Also contained in the bag was a press release guide, a Brick Party T shirt featureing the Star Wars anniversary on the other side, a barraki poster and two small LEGO sets, the Claw Crusher and the Clone Troopers battle Pack.


There are two things I regret about the event, the first was missing out on going to the Times Square Toy’s R Us store, and the other was finding out shortly after I returned that the main event had the correct Bionicle Miniatures with the displays, that the caracters were posed in a well lit area and their construction errors fixed and the Toa MAHRI were displayed with their appropriate cannisters… Next year I plan to go to the full event rather than just the preview. But I did have the honor of being one of the first, if not the very first press member to get pictures of the event on our web page thanks to my father’s verizon internet card on his laptop…

>_>

<_<

Ignore that this fallow up article is roughly four months late.

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