Lego Disney Minifigures

An image was leaked the other day of a new set of collectable Lego minifigures. They are all based around Disney characters. It is common knowledge that Disney has had a link with Lego for years. So this new series makes perfect sense. I will go through the characters and discuss some others that I think we will see in future series.

Lego Disney Minifigures

The characters in the first series are:

Mickey Mouse

Minnie Mouse

Donald Duck

Daisy Duck

Peter Pan

Captain Hook

Dash

Syndrome

Aladdin

Genie

Buzz

Alien

Stitch

Ursula

Ariel

Maleficent

Alice

Cheshire Cat

I would say this is a great start to a series. We haven’t got all the famous characters out, so they have something to bring out in future lots. I also find it great to see some Pixar characters. I have not seen a single classic Disney film like Aladdin, Snow White, or The Little Mermaid, but I am a massive fan of everything Pixar. If I were to collect these I would probably try and “feel out” the Pixar characters and probably Mickey and Donald, while leaving all the other characters. I was a fan of some of the old Disney cartoons like Recess and Fillmore, so if they decided to bring out some figures from that I would also be interested. I know Stitch is probably a more popular character than those from Recess and certainly more popular than Fillmore, but you can’t blame a guy for dreaming. Who wouldn’t want a minifigure of TJ, Spinelli, Gretchen, Gus, Vince, or Mikey?

recess lego disney minifigures

Lego-Disney-Series-16-Collectible-Minifigure-Series

This image above has circulated a few sites recently. This is supposedly some of the figures we can expect from the new series. Some of them seem plausible as we have seven of the characters confirmed. The look slightly different in the real pictures, but the representation is pretty spot on. I don’t buy this image though. Six figures representing Kim Possible? I don’t think so. A Barbie and Ken figure? Unless Hasbro has done a licensing deal with Lego this is never going to happen. That is why I question the validity of the picture. You can believe, but unless most of the figures get made I won’t be.

In the confirmed image, the different properties featured are varied. We have the classic Disney characters like Mickey and Donald, the old cartoon characters, as well as the modern 3D characters. With some of the characters you can almost guess some other characters that will appear.

As we have Buzz and the Alien we can only assume we will have Woody too, maybe even Jessie. I can’t see them being the same as they appeared in the sets a few years ago. The alien still looks the same, but Buzz has lost his special moulded head and has a normal head with a decal. This is why I think Woody and Jessie would also have a normal head and probably have normal length legs too.

toy story lego disney minifigures

The inclusion of Dash and Syndrome can only mean Helen, Bob, and Violet are to come? I would like to think so. Why would Lego put in the two characters if they didn’t plan on adding the other three characters? I wouldn’t say Syndrome and Dash are the most popular characters. If they do make a figure of the rest of the family I will find it interesting to see how they make the figures portray their special powers. Will Helen and Violet be taller? Will Bob be a bigger figure?

incredibles lego disney minifigures

With it being the first series, it is obvious why they included the favourites of Donald, Mickey, and Minnie. These three characters are Disney personified and are the faces of the company. Putting these main characters in the first series is a good start and hopefully get people in the series. I am slightly bemused by the inclusion of Daisy though. Unless Daisy is more popular in the US than in the UK, I can’t see she has the same kind of pulling power as the other three, but maybe she is there as the “girlfriend” of Donald, like Mickey and Minnie.  These four main characters are good for a start, and it also leaves room for another lot of characters to be the linchpin of the other series. I would like to see Goofy and Pluto in the next series. Characters like Oswald the Unlucky Rabbit, Chip and Dale, and Scrooge McDuck will be some other well-known Disney characters that could be included.

The rest of the characters hint at some more characters we could be seeing. No Lilo with Stitch? No Tinkerbell with Peter Pan? We should be seeing the rest of the characters from the films represented. We will probably see all the Disney Princess represented in future series. I can see Tinkerbell, Lilo, Mad Hatter, Jasmine, and Snow White being made later on to fit in with the characters already here.

This leaves me to question what characters I think they should do. I think having a couple of Princesses in each series will really draw people in. Lego have already made the princesses in the Friends style. I also think a good spread of Pixar characters will see them right. They will probably continue with characters from old films too, like Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Winnie the Pooh.

Now onto the characters that I want to see.

As I have mentioned I would love to see some Recess characters. If they have done Lilo and Stitch they obviously don’t mind taking characters from Disney Toons.

I love the Pixar films so including a few main characters from every film would be great. I don’t think they will try to do any Cars or Finding Nemo characters, but I think they could mould some heads for Bugs Life, Monsters Inc, and Ratatouille characters.  If they could pull off some great likenesses of these characters I will be more than happy.

Now I like Pixar, but I also like some of the original Disney 3D films. Some figures representing this side of Disney would also be cool. I would love to see some Chicken Little, Wreck It Ralph, and Big Hero Six characters.

big hero six lego disney minifigures
What they could look like.

I love Phineas and Ferb too. So some figures of them would be nice. I do know Lego planned to use the two in a Lego game before so you never know!

lego phineas and ferb disney minifigures
Lego Phineas and Ferb Board Game

This has also got me thinking. Will Disney be taking any characters from Live action properties? Will we be seeing High School Musical, Suite Life, or National Treasure characters? I doubt it. What about Muppets?

muppets lego disney minifigures

I am excited about this development, and will certainly be buying some of the bags. I hope they include some great characters and both sides, Lego and Disney, do well enough from it that they carry it on until almost every Disney character has been done!

 

 

 

lego feature

Lego Week is Cool when its on BB! We all love the interlocking brick toy! As always the schedule:

Tuesday: A look at the new Disney minifigure series

Wednesday: Lego Sets that are worth a fortune

Thursday: A look at a Lego project I am involved in

Friday: My favourite Lego sets

These are subject to change!

The Culture Clash this week is between three things instead of two!

We have the classic Lego themes battling it out!

Space vs Pirates vs Castle!

lego castle pirate space theme culture clash

herge and marie louise milou snowy

If you asked people for a list of famous literary double acts, surely Tintin and Snowy would be mentioned. Snowy is Tintin’s friend, his companion, and his confident. Snowy is there for Tintin when no one else is. Snowy would appear in every book by Tintin’s side, and often help him along on his travels. Could you have gotten a closer bond between man and an animal?

snowy Tintin

This makes sense when you realise the history behind the character.

It has often been said that Herge created Tintin as an alternate version of himself. It is also said that the many characters that Tintin encounters are actually based on real characters from throughout Herge’s life. So if Tintin is Herge, and the other characters are people Herge met, what does that mean for Snowy?

Herge has said that Snowy was based on a wire fox terrier he used to see in a local restaurant. He thought it was intelligent, brave, and funny. A perfect companion to Tintin. The thing is it is much more complicated than that.

Wire-Fox-Terrier Tintin Snowy Milou

Snowy is not the real name of Tintin’s companion, in the original French version, Snowy is called Milou.

Milou is actually a sweet homage to Herge’s first girlfriend. It is said that he went out with a girl named Marie-Louise van Cutsem. It was young love.

herge and marie louise milou snowy
A Young Marie-Louise

Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. Marie’s father did not approve of the relationship as Herge was of a lower social standing than his daughter. He obviously wanted his daughter to marry at her level and lower herself because of a mere infatuation. The relationship ended after this. After this Herge still had feelings for Marie and supposedly named Milou after her. Marie-Louise became Milou.

herge and marie louise milou snowy
Herge and Marie-Louise

It is interesting to point out that if Herge is Tintin and Milou is Marie Louise, Herge made the two inseparable in the books. Tintin could not go anywhere without Milou, and would often risk his life for him. Maybe Herge used the Tintin books as a kind of escapism from his heartbreak?

So we know how Milou got his name. But why Snowy.

Apparently the name Snowy was chosen, because it was the same amount of letters as Milou so it would fit into the speech bubbles. It was also chosen because he is white.

herge Tintin snowy milou

So Herge was a hopeless romantic and ended up naming one of his most popular characters after an old girlfriend. I wonder if Marie-Louise knew?

tintin feature

Before Herge died, he gave the rights of a Tintin film to Steven Spielberg. Although the film deviated from the book plot, I think Steven did the young reporter justice. According to some sources, Steven first became aware of Tintin after someone told him he was similar to Indiana Jones. I really enjoyed the film. I also really enjoyed the little nods Steven put into the film as a fan. These nods are what I have included in this post.

As you can imagine all the Easter Eggs point towards the different Tintin books.

In Tintin’s room we can see the statue from the Broken Ear.

Broken Ear Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

broken ear Tintin

In the palace and the docks we can see two golden crabs. This is the logo found on the crab tins full of opium in The Crab with the Golden Claws book.

Crab with the golden claws Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

Golden Grab Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

The Crab with the Golden Claws Tintin Easter Eggs

I love this little addition. In Red Rackham’s Treaure, Captain Haddock bumps into a news poster advertising the Daily Reporter with the same tagline; the News Which Hits You.

Daily reporter Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

A running joke throughout the last few Tintin books plays on the fact that people keep calling up Captain Haddock at Marlinspike, when they really wanted E. Cutts the Butchers.

E.Cutts Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

This one is an interesting nod towards one of Spielberg’s films. On the typewriter in the opening scene we see E T being typed.

ET Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

This next one should be obvious. Its Herge!

Herge Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

During the opening scenes we see a lot of different elements of the many books. This wallpaper is actually the end papers of the Tintin books.

inside pages Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

tintin endpapers

Surely that isn’t Mr T?

Mr T Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

Also during the opening sequence we we a list of destinations. All of the destinations are ones that Tintin has visited in his books.Place names Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

This shooting star must be a homage to the Shooting Star book!

shooting star Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

Last but not least is also from the title sequence. The logo above the pub is the bird from the Syldavian flag.

Syldavian Flag Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

Syldavian Flag

It was nice to watch the film though again. I know I missed some, but I found a great site that has gone through the film with a fine tooth comb. You can see this site here.

tintin phoenix comic feature

I love it when comics pay homage to things that inspire them. It is obvious that the artist loves Tintin and all the other classic comic characters. If you have never read the Phoenix, I would definitely recommend it. It is full of great stories and strips. It is also full of great artwork.

The strip that pays homage to Tintin is called Von Doogan. Von Doogan, or the Doog as he is sometimes called, is a strip dedicated to puzzles. Each week a puzzle would be given to the readers for them to solve by the next week’s issue. The artwork is brilliant and the puzzles are tricky. It was in one series where the Doog is in search of the mystery Asteroid X. A story I would say is similar to Tintin and the Shooting Star. I will just let you see the page and see how many Tintin nods you can see.

Tintin Phoenix Comic

The artist, Lorenzo, must also love some of the other classic comics because the puzzle the week after features 5 characters; Asterix, Obelix, Calvin, Hobbes, and Snowy!

Tintin Phoenix Comic 2

I had found these great little details quite a while, but I waited until Tintin week to show them! I hope you find them as cool as I do!

tintin week feature

As I am sure you have gathered this week is Tintin week! Every post this week will be dedicated to the young reporter and his many adventures. As always I have written out a schedule. Bare in mind I probably won’t stick to it, but one can dream.

Tuesday: A nice page from the Phoenix Comic in honour of Tintin.

Wednesday: Easter Eggs in The Tintin Books

Thursday: Easter Eggs in The Tintin Film

Friday: Snowy, Milou, and Herge’s young love.

Saturday: My day off as always.

Sunday: Review of Herge’s Adventures of Tintin Cartoon DVD Box Set.

This week’s Culture Clash is between two old friends. It is…

Captain Haddock vs Tintin

Who is your favourite character?

tintin vs captain haddock culture clash tintin week
Click the picture to cast your vote!
cosmo moose

I have long wanted to do an interview for the blog, so when the opportunity arose to interview a great electronic musician I jumped at the chance. Here is the interview I had with CosmoMoose:

1. What got you into creating music?

Once, when I was at school (late 1980s), our music lesson homework was to compose some music. I found this strangely easy and enjoyable, with pleasing results. Eventually this turned into a composition project towards a music qualification. Two pieces on my latest album, ‘SunRise’ and ‘Organic Manoeuvre’, originate from this project. I’ve always had music in my head since I was young and as I’m answering this question there is some tune lurking in the background. I often feel that I do not compose music but I receive it from somewhere as if I am faintly listening to some radio station in my brain. It is my job to replicate what I hear in my head, which is the hard part! I am a Christian and feel very blessed that God has given me such a gift of creating music so naturally. Over the years I have written in many different music genres, including musical theatre, rock and children songs but instrumental electronic music is my first love!

2. Who are your Musical Influences?

My electronic music is mostly influenced by Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis. I like the way they paint sonic pictures and create moods and emotions with synthesizers which can, by nature, be cold clinical instruments. My upbeat music is also heavily influenced by 90s / ‘classic era’ dance/trance music. I also like the thematic concept of Daft Punk (two robots making music) and Kraftwerk who influenced my more robotic sounding songs such as ‘RoboDrama’ (which is like a dystopian response to Kraftwerk’s ‘The Robots‘). Outside electronics, I really like later romantic-era ‘classical’ music, particularly Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov. They use the orchestra to the full to paint tonal pictures and that’s the reason why my music often strays away from pure electronic instrumentation.

Vangelis electronic music
Vangelis
jean michel jarre electronic music
Jean Michel Jarre

3. Do you use real instruments or just samples?

My CosmoMoose music is so far created using software synthesizers, loops and samples. My studio is my laptop which I often take on train journeys to and from my day job to create and edit music. You can see me on the early train with headphones on! On Cosmic Invasion, I used a lot of Theremin and Mellotron sounds but have never touched those instruments – nor Moog Synthesizers! My Moosetopia album uses African choirs but these are samples played on a keyboard as were the bird sounds, rainsticks and a bamboo flute on ‘Bamboo Forest’. The track ‘JiGiToN’ has an accordion lead melody but this is reworked from a sample library. Most interestingly, the female singer on ‘My Beautiful Day’ is actually software called Vocaloid Avanna. I type in the words and notes, add vibrato and expression and the software sings those note with those words. That really makes a train journey more fun! However, I am not adverse to real instruments. I recorded an album of kids songs in the past where I strummed guitar, played panpipes…and kazoo,,,,and even recorded a toilet flushing, as well as singing (in the loose sense of the word!)

Cosmo Moose Chris Medway
Chris working hard on his latest track

4.What is your Favourite song and why?

My favourite is probably ‘Distant Longing’ (from Memories of Moosetopia) because it is pure expression; a song without words, from the heart. The song originated on the train on the way to work one day when I opened up my laptop (my portable studio) and I didn’t know what music to work on. So I thought I would just express how I felt at that time using a tiny 2-octave MIDI keyboard (connected via USB to the laptop). The piano line just came out naturally: simple, beautiful and melancholy. The English horn and strings just fell into place and the piece was complete relatively quickly, which is unusual as it can take weeks or months to complete a piece sometimes. Therefore, although there are more popular, groovier pieces like ‘Shooting Stars’ and ‘Get Funky’ it is this simple music of the heart that appeals most to me personally.

5. How do you release your music?

The simple answer is ‘badly’! I put so much effort into creating the music and artwork that by the time I come to release and promote it, I’m too exhausted to do it properly. So far, as CosmoMoose, I have released 2 albums and a single on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp and my own website. I intend to release singles from the new album throughout 2016.

Chris Medway Cosmo Moose
Chris in his home studio

6. How do you create your album artwork?

My wife is a prolific photographer and I trawl through her photographs to find the right images and feel for my album artwork. Most of the photographs I chose were taken in my hometown of Dawlish, Devon, UK. I add graphics and logos, such as the light beam on the front of Cosmic Invasion (no, Dawlish didn’t really have a bright cosmic encounter!!) and I designed the moose-in-a-spacesuit character which appears on artwork.

7. Why Call yourself CosmoMoose?

I could have used my own name but this electronic music is soooo different from my previous work (kids songs, stage musicals etc)that it needed something new. So, I like mooses with their big noses and big antlers and “cosmo” is rather spacey like some of my music, so “CosmoMoose” was born. Also my initials are “CM”!

Here are some samples of Cosmo’s music found on Youtube.

 

game show board games feature

I like board game and I like game shows. But it is often very hard to put the pair together. Often these game show board games are seen as cash ins on the popular show. For this reason most aren’t very good. Yet, a few do get through and  surprise us.

The Good:

QI Board Game

I have never really watched QI, but I do know the format. The board game stays true to the format. You must answer a question from a booklet, and try to answer it correctly and not falling into the trap of the obvious but wrong answer. You then get points for your answers; if you were right you move forward, but if you were wrong and gave the obvious answer and are called out you go back so many spaces. The winner is the person to get to end of the board.

The thing I like about the game is the sheer amount of questions. There is just over 2500 question contained in 4 booklets. The thing I really like is the way the questions are picked. Rather than just picking out the card and reading the question, the play whose round it is rolls the dice. The colour booklet corresponds with the place you are on the board, while the dice tell you the number of the question from 1-666. I like the way this works as you feel the questions are incredibly random, and not just what the question master picks out of the card stack.

The board game certainly resonates with the programme, so I think any QI fan would enjoy it, once they figure out all the complicated rules.

qi board game game show board games Q I

Countdown Board Game

It is a very simple format, but Countdown has longevity. The show consists of 3 different rounds each designed to test your spelling, maths, and logic. I am sure you know the format by now. You start with a letters round where different letters are put up on a board and the player must make the longest word out of the those letters. The next kind of round involves numbers. The player must make a 3 digit number by adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing the 5 numbers they are give. The closest player to the total wins. The last round is the Countdown conundrum, where a nine letter anagram and a clue are given to the players. The first one to correctly guess the anagram wins.

The game is very similar to the show. It gives so much playability that you could play it forever, provided you leave out the conundrums. This is because all the letters and numbers are on separate cards and can be shuffled to give randomness.  The number who have to make in the maths round are chosen by a 8 sided dice. A fan of the show will undoubtedly enjoy it, and should get years of fun out of it.

countdown board game game show

The Bad:

Pointless Board Game

The point of Pointless is to get the most pointless answer. Got it? Good. Each player has to try and guess the answer which no one else has given. The show has different rounds with different styles of question. Some rounds just ask a straight out question, others give you ones to choose, and the head-to-head ones gives you fewer options. These different rounds are represented in the cards with the questions in the game.

As much as I like the programme, the game just doesn’t live up to it. As soon as you have used up the cards it seems like you can’t play again as most people would know the good answers. It also kicks out the players who lose the round, until the final round to have a stab at winning. It is a good game to play, but won’t be fun forever.

pointless board game game show

The Chase Board Game

The Chase board game has similar problems to the Pointless board game. The format is good fun, yet you still have the same problem with the cards. You only have so many questions until you know the answers to them all. I have heard someone say that they have only played a few times and already got through 25% of the questions. If you are beaten by the Chaser you have to sit out again too.

Not many people would like the fact they if they lose to their “chaser” they are out of the game, especially if they were the first contestant. The Chase is a fun concept, and being able to play against your smartest family member is also good fun.

the chase board game game show

The Ugly:

The Crystal Maze Board Game

It must have seemed like a good idea to make a Crystal Maze board game, but in reality it wasn’t. The show is based around four different zones each with varying mini games. The board game aims to provide the same kind of fun mini games as seen in the programme. Unfortunately, the components are so hard to use, and the game so fiddly, it is very hard to actually play the game. I once had a copy and struggled to play it and thus never played it again. It may well have been better than I remember, but I remember a very clunky and poorly made board game.

crystal maze board game game show

British vs American Game Shows

It is no secret that many British game show formats make it across the pond to be revved up by the Americans. But then again us Brits get some American shows come over here. In this post I hope to provide a some details about the differences as the shows moved across the Atlantic.

The Chase

British vs American Game Shows

A game show where contestants must go up against some of the best quizzers in the country and avoid being caught. The British version started in 2009 and has since had some of the best ratings for daytime TV. It even won an National Television Award recently for daytime programmes. The American Chase first aired in 2013. The Uk version is hosted by Bradley Walsh with 5 different chasers, while the US version is hosted by Brooke Burns with only one chaser, who is Mark Labbett from the UK show.

In my opinion Bradley Walsh is a far superior host, mainly because he is absolutely hilarious. Brooke is good and her chat with Mark is often interesting. The fact that the Uk version has 5 different chasers the variety makes it more appealing. The US show has a lot more drama. Everything is built up with tense music. The format is also slightly different with each question in the cash builder worth $5000, and there are only three contestants instead of 4.

UK

US

 

The Weakest Link

British vs American Game Shows

The Weakest Link is a very simple show in premise. The contestant must answer questions correctly to accumulate cash in the bank, and then vote out who they feel is the worst player. The added spice of the host makes it much harder. Anne Robinson was the host of the UK version as well as the American version. The formats were exactly the same, apart from the last round where in the US version they would not do a cash builder with the final two contestants, and rather go straight to the head-to-head. Anne was the best presenter, so when the the US version changed hosts from Anne to George Gray only after a year, the show wasn’t quite the same. Even though both shows had a live studio audience, the US audience always seemed to find things funnier and cheer much more than the reserved British guests.

There is no denying Anne made the show. Her quick quips and insults became a regular feature of the show with people tuning in just to see her slam into a poor, unwitting contestant.

UK

US

 

The Price is Right

British vs American Game Shows

In 1956, the original Price is Right game show appeared on US television. It was a show based all around the price of items. The show had various “mini games” each with the price of items at the forefront. The US version is still around today with new episodes still being aired. The British version, however, started much later. 1984 was the year for the Brits. The formats were very similar from across the pond. The American version had Bob Barker at the helm until he was replaced in 2007, while the Brits have had 4 different hosts. The most memorable being Bruce Forsythe. The Bruce era and thereafter is the most reminiscent of the US show. The UK Price is Right did try and stage a comeback, but failed to get the viewers, and ended in 2007.

Bruce played to the audience and was a real crowd favourite. He was a seasoned presenter and knew exactly how to get the best out of contestants. Bob is very similar in the US version. The Us version also contains a lot more advertising.

UK

US

What shows do you prefer? The funny and humourous British ones, or the dramatic and tense American ones?