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Blocks Magazine - What do you think?



  • andheandhe Member Posts: 3,940
    ^I keep hearing this term 'casual hobbyist' or 'casual reader' but does this person actually exist?

    I had to properly hunt for Blocks in a large city centre WHSmiths (bottom shelf, hidden from passing view, next to the model train mags) so I'm just a bit doubtful that someone is likely to stumble across it unless they're a badge wearing AFOL.

    While I'd love for the magazine to do well I just wonder if it will struggle without 'exclusive' content. I subscribe to Empire movie magazine because I know they'll have insider interviews and exclusive backstage news before anyone else.

    These exclusives usually dripfeed onto their website after the magazine has been out a while, but the dilemma I see blocks magazine having is that they're unlikely to ever reveal something first due to the plethora of other lego sites and leaks.

    This leaves them with doing things well. I flicked through the various reviews in the magazine but my problem is I've already read any review I want to about the same sets. If it was a designer interview then there might be some insight I'd be interested to discover, but otherwise it's just another persons opinion. And when I can get that for free online I'm hesitant to pay £5 for that in print format.

    As I said, I hope it does do well, and I will continue to flick through any future issues, but it hasn't hooked me yet.
  • JayEmJayEm Member Posts: 62
    Just to clarify, is this magazine only available in WHSmiths in the UK? The website doesn't mention anything about buying it, other than ordering online.
  • MrGudzMrGudz Member Posts: 210
    I picked my copy up in Tesco.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    What is the joke about cracklink? Is it the cocaine meaning, as in a place to fulfill your needs. Or is it describing the quality of used bricks bought there?
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    I guess the addictive nature of it
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    It's a stupid term that won't be appearing in future issues, along with other cringeworthy ones.
  • kyrotekkyrotek Member Posts: 212
    Still can't find it in the shops on the West side of Southampton, either its really popular or they haven't been stocking it. Annoying as I'd like to check out more of the content before thumbing out for subs.

    (Just had to replace the family car, can't even buy "sale priced" Lego!)
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    Fareham had plenty just now.
  • andyscouseandyscouse Member Posts: 365
    edited October 2014
    bmwlego said:

    As for Blocks, I am happy to read here that it will be available in the States. The BN coupons now exclude LEGO toys but hopefully they can be applied to LEGO magazines!

    If you happen to see it before I do - would you let me know it's out there? I'll do the same in case I see it first! Looking forward to it, as my brother sent me issue #0 thereof.

  • pricey73pricey73 Member Posts: 352
    @andyscouse‌, The YORBRIX review is of particular interest ;))
  • mbryantmbryant Member Posts: 3
    I bought the first issue and was reasonably impressed and quite looking forward to the 2nd issue but when I flicked through in my local wh smiths I was left a bit disappointed and decided not to buy it.
    I'm 28,I check brickset twice a day and occasionally euro bricks and consider myself a little obsessive with lego. Overall the magazine didn't seem to offer me anything new I didn't find online, even the mocs id seen on eurobricks I think so couldn't justify the price.

    I will say I think overall though for someone with a more casual interest in Lego may find this publication much more enjoyable. The general composition of the mag is nice and well presented and the articles are written quite well.

    it was just the lack of original content for me that let it down for me but without official backing I sympathise this must be hard.
    If they were officially backed by Lego though would we trust there reviews?

    I think the people who made this mag deserve some applause though for what they have achieved so far with the mag and I'm going to check future issues in the hope theyll have some MOCs I haven't seen and a larger focus on them as their photo shoots of them are well done.

    Oh if they were able to package the mag with some interesting Lego I think they could see sales go insane. If that isn't to obvious a point to make.
  • Steve_J_OMSteve_J_OM Member Posts: 995
    @CapnRex101 thanks, I checked my local on Saturday but couldn't find it, I'll try another branch during the week.
  • kyrotekkyrotek Member Posts: 212
    edited October 2014
    @Huw in Fareham Centre? I'm looking in Whiteley as its closest to work (I'm sure you can guess where), the Smiths there were particularly unhelpful about finding it...

    Probably have to go into Southampton City Centre to find a copy at the weekend.
  • CHERUBboyCHERUBboy Member Posts: 98
    I've bought a couple of issues of BrickJournal in Lego stores, but it's more for builders than collectors like me.

    One issue had quite an interesting article about motorising the Lone Ranger train. I'm sure it's cool but the detailed instructions gave me an overwhelming sense of, 'Can't be arsed!'
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    Went to my local Smiths to look for a Blocks today. They were expecting it but it never arrived and apparently wont. Its not a big Smiths, but enough for 4 magazines about buses and about 12 on railways/trains. Will check a bigger smiths tomorrow.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    edited October 2014
    @kyrotek, Fareham centre, no sign of it in Whiteley.

    NATS? Zuriuch?
  • PeteMPeteM Member Posts: 447
    Found my copy in Smiths in Cribbs Causeway Bristol, but it took a bit of finding as it was shelved under 'Culture & Media'. Had a cursory flick through, looks great - especially happy that my favourite castle set from my childhood is the subject of a 'retrospective' report... :)
  • prof1515prof1515 Member Posts: 1,550
    "Print is dead." --Egon Spengler (the late, great Harold Ramis), Ghostbusters
  • kyrotekkyrotek Member Posts: 212
    @Huw NATS, although now moved to another building. It's how I was introduced to Brickset, hearing about yourself then how you built this place.

    So a trip to town centre is required to get a copy of Blocks. Could be worse I suppose.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    edited October 2014
    Finally found a copy in the main Manchester store - had it in one of the little display trays sticking out slightly from the shelf. Must have had about 12 copies when I went in. And that will certainly make it more available to the casual crowd.

    Had a decent flick through - I have to say it looks really really nice, properly, professionally, done etc. There may be some typos etc but irrespective it looks great - and to me that's far more important. Some of the articles looked interesting - the new elementary one about SNOT particularly grabbed me as did the Zulu photos.

    Sadly overall I didn't want to buy it. Maybe it suffers from almost all the contributors being brickset people, making it feel like stuff I've already seen/heard, it certainly suffers from being behind the internet. How long ago did we see the first Tumbler reviews? As Huw mentioned the greenpeace thing was unfortunate timing wise too, especially with the callout. The review of Ideas sets was, well to be frank not half as good as Glenbrickers bits on brickset and will there be the same next month or will everyone choose different favourites? At the same time it all feels a bit cliquey - again the brickset connection and the exosuit article in particular felt over the top. At times it also feels like its trying to hard to fill pages - as others have alluded to the glossary of LEGO terms screams that. It might be I'm not the target audience, but I'm not sure who is. Lego enthusiasts will surely know almost everything a month or more ahead of receiving their copy, but I'm not that sure non-lego enthusiasts would want it either - the guarded inn item might seem out of place to a non enthusiast as it certainly jars with the modern sleek complexity of the tumbler.

    Presumably there is a market, as people buy car magazines although do they get new knowledge ahead of print deadlines due to relationships with manufacturers? Perhaps we've just been spoilt with the content we get on brickset covering such a wide range of Lego topics, perhaps Im just tight or maybe for me print is dead. I got five three issues of Top Gear but only two ever got opened. Whilst I can see some would like the ability to hold it, see the images beautifully rendered at 300dpi rather than 72 and keep them for ever, I just see a decision in 18 months of whether to throw the pile of magazines out now or wait another two years until I inevitably decide to make room. Where magazines don't have knowledge ahead of time, and where theres already a large internet presence perhaps a less time sensitive bookazine works better (the plethora of them regarding minecraft, android, raspberry pi etc might suggest so) than what is really an out of date news (as reviews are basically that) based magazine.

    That said i hope it succeeds, a lot of time and effort has clearly been put into it and its success can only be good for everyone, hopefully there is a market that will keep buying it and that theres enough quality content to keep it fresh month after month.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    An interesting perspective, thank you. Time will tell whether there's an audience out there and if it's delivering what they want to read.

    In this day and age it's virtually impossible for a print publication to offer anything timely, even the daily papers are full old news you read on BBC news the night before, but people still buy them, although less than they used to, I concede.

    Personally, I think there is a market for it but whether it's big enough to sustain it remains to be seen.

    I'd still like someone unconnected with it to write a frank review that I can publish on the home page. Any volunteers?
  • LegoboyLegoboy Member Posts: 8,827
    edited October 2014
    Huw said:

    I'd still like someone unconnected with it to write a frank review......

    That doesn't leave many of us does it! ;o)
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Member Posts: 1,533
    Sorry Huw! I've started writing it! Will get it to you in the next 48 hours.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    The position it had in Manchester smiths was great and it would certainly get noticed by a casual looker or even a passer by especially with the tumbler on the front. So that's surely a good sign.

    I'd be interested to know what those that like it, want it and have subscribed would say theyre getting for the £5. Obviously to many its peanuts, two coffees or less than a tank of petrol for a whole year but still there must be some value.

    As an aside, If there was a bookazine of 50 great Lego mocs and how they're built I'd be all over that. Or even 50 amazing official sets, 10 from each of the last 4.5 decades with little builds in the style of or parts of them. Just something that moves away from the timeliness of news and reviews.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    I also picked it up, had a flick through and put it down again.

    First impressions for me was that I had seen most of the content before, either here or Eurobricks. In fact, my first first impression was - this magazine is in the kids section, next to the lego Chima, WWE and a few pink magazines, is that really the place to put it? Although that is a retailer issue, not editor issue.

    I'd probably buy a three monthly bookazine style as cheshirecat describes, sort of a more fleshed out Lego Play style book, with intermediate steps in the building of MOCs, especially showing techniques used to create an effect. I'd probably buy a years worth and stop as no doubt they would get repetitive (just like photography or gardening or recipe magazines do).

    That comes from the perspective of someone that reads related content on the internet and - I think also important - cycles to work. I do not sit on a commuter train, so I have little dead time to fill where I might read a magazine.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    Thanks @Boo
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Member Posts: 2,116
    I had a flick through today at my local wh smiths. And I would echo the others opinions that as a established fan of Lego this won't add anything that I don't know/can't find easily. But as others have said this mag isn't really aimed at me, rather, it is targeted at new fans of Lego. Which I think makes perfect sense as it provides the biggest target market. But also as they are new to the hobby magazines as well as the internet is always a good place to start.

    It is certainly perfectly designed for them with a good chunk of Lego news, reviews and Mocs to keep people interested as they get more involved in the community. I did think the pictures were great quality and thought the blue print was a clever touch. While I found the glossary cringey for a newbie (for want of a better word) would agin find it useful. I think a bit more could be made with the Mocs though. So perhaps for each one, or a theme could be chosen e.g castles and then an interesting feature could be looked at in more detail; with tips to show how to build that, for example, circular towers or getting a good cliff face.

    Personally I won't buy it now. But if this was out 5 years ago when I got back into the hobby i certainly would have. And I can see a well meaning relative or friend buying me a subscription to it for Xmas.
  • ShibShib Member Posts: 5,469
    Realised I read this last week and never got round to posting about it!

    I for one really enjoyed it. The interviews and the story behind the Exo-suit were the stand outs for me, I'd love to see more of that kind of content, the stories that you don't get from just looking at a MOC or building a set.

    There were only really two disappointments for me.

    1. The Arkham Asylum build - There was so little lego content in that compared to masses of screenshots from the Arkham Asylum game that I felt like I was reading a game magazine, It's a nice idea and I could see what the intention was, but it's a Lego Magazine, there needs to be more of the MOC shown per issue than that. If stuff like that is going to be streched out across more than 5 issues I'd say it's poor value for the reader.

    2. The Speed Build challenge - I like the concept of this, and I enjoyed it in issue 0, but if it's going to be in every month then I'll skip it. From the pilot issue I was hoping for an occasional feature with different challenges rather than different people doing the same challenge each week with different parts. E.g you could do an Alt build for an established set, speed build mixes max etc.

    I'm definitely interested in seeing the next issue but still not sold on it enough to buy a subscription.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 Administrator Posts: 2,364
    edited November 2014
    @Shib‌ - The trouble with the Arkham MOC is that I do not have time to build extensively every month. The first part could only include plans and screenshots as that was what had been done up to that point, with very little building actually taking place.

    I am hoping to get a substantial amount done over the Christmas period, but so far it is being constructed in 'real time,' so the reader is seeing the progress as it happens. If I decide I have not progressed far enough to justify an article in a particular month, the Arkham segment will drop out until there is something to talk about.

    That is the plan anyway :o)
  • ShibShib Member Posts: 5,469
    I appreciate its a big project, but when you flick through that section really has a notable lack of Lego. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished thing, Arkham Asylum got me into comic books, but it's definitely going to be wise to miss issues rather than putting in an article on it for the sake of it.
  • ThirdBuckEyeThirdBuckEye Member Posts: 44
    Has any one found a copy at Barnes Noble or any other retailer in the states? I would really like to get a copy!
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 Administrator Posts: 2,364
    @Shib - That is a fair comment and I will make sure to do just that. We wanted to include the feature from the start as it will be a fixture for the next few months.
  • AndyPolAndyPol Member Posts: 406
    Ok, so has the second issue got better/worse, or persuaded you to subscribe?
  • bluedragonbluedragon Member Posts: 506
    It is running a month behind at B&N in NYC. Issue 1 was put on sale on Nov 20th or thereabouts.
  • AdeelZubairAdeelZubair Member Posts: 2,704
    edited December 2014
    I got my copy on Friday while at Brick2014 and had it signed by Mark Guest (the editor)

    Blocks Magazine

    I'm still in the process of reading it so when I have I'll post my thoughts.
  • andheandhe Member Posts: 3,940
    I picked up the recent edition after searching for it on the shelves of WHSmith (never realised the magazines are in alphabetical order...) mainly because it had a few interviews with builders I 'know' online and so was interested to read a bit more.

    Seemed to be the only copy on the shelves, so don't know if it was popular, or unpopular.
  • msandersmsanders Member Posts: 1,017
    I'm really enjoying the November edition. Its different from the previous ones (less reviews of sets), more MOCs and interviews.

    I'm not new to Lego, although it depends on what you class as new (1,2, 3 yrs?). I enjoy having a hard copy of a magazine that I can read out and about, as well as at home, rather than being fixed to my iPad or laptop. OK, so its £5 a month, but for me its the only magazine subscription I have so I don't mind.
  • chertikchertik Member Posts: 43
    For anyone interested in buying this magazine in the US - I was able to finally find it in a Barnes & Noble in downtown Bellevue, WA. I saw 2 copies in the Arts & Crafts section of the magazine aisle.
  • KevBrickstructKevBrickstruct Member Posts: 42
    Sure, if you don't mind spending $16.99 on a single magazine.
  • jediami65jediami65 Member Posts: 474
    Have to check the B&N by me to see if they finally have them, went last month and they could not even find them in the computer.
  • jediami65jediami65 Member Posts: 474
    edited December 2014

    Sure, if you don't mind spending $16.99 on a single magazine.

    Well $18.19 after tax here in NJ, B&N finally had them...not sure I will pay almost $20 per month, that's more than a UCS Slave 1 by years end.
  • AndyPolAndyPol Member Posts: 406
    OK, bumped up again, the third issue any better/worse? It enlightened me to the light sets available, and in fact how easy it was.
  • JdslaterJdslater Member Posts: 59
    Just got mine. Had a quick flick through and I agree about the lighting sets. I have a few LED light sets from Hobby Link Japan for some diorama sets that they sell and I was wondering if they could be adapted.
    Also interested to learn the the 3rd most owned set is the Star Wars Death Star troopers set. I own a few due to a scene I'm doing at the moment but I'm still shocked to see it that high up.
  • JdslaterJdslater Member Posts: 59
    Read the B Wing review last night as I got one for Christmas.
    Good but the problem with nearly every review (regardless of the subject matter) is that it boils down to this.

    If you like it, get it!
  • AndyPolAndyPol Member Posts: 406
    Bumped to the top again, next issue is out..... What do you all think?
  • BastaBasta Member Posts: 1,259
    Wow $17 in the US. BLOCKS showed up at Australian News stands over the last week or so, at only $12.99 ($10.68 USD).

    As some one who stopped buying magazines 10 or so years ago it was a little nostalgic flipping through the pages of a physical publication, which was nice. From what I have read so far I have enjoyed it, but I don't read or watch many set reviews online so some of it was new to me.

    I'll probably continue to buy for the time being.

    Good luck with it :smile:
  • JdslaterJdslater Member Posts: 59
    Looking forward to reading 2 articles. The Slave 1 piece is a fair few pages long.
  • andheandhe Member Posts: 3,940
    Haven't found it in any of the Supermarkets or WHSmiths I pass. Don't know whether it's moved sections (previously found it in crafts and also with trains magazine etc) or hasn't been stocked.

    That said, I still haven't finished my issue 2.
  • ShibShib Member Posts: 5,469
    I assume this was an oversight...
  • bluedragonbluedragon Member Posts: 506
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