Early this morning, The LEGO Group has just finished up their press conference for the annual results for 2014. The press conference started off with CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp talking about the importance of play. He challenged the press to create a duck with six LEGO bricks which is an illustration of creativity and playful learning. There are 23 different skills when you are playing which you can see below.
The LEGO Group enjoyed their 10th consecutive year of growth. They continued with the globalising of The LEGO Group in 2014 by opening two main offices in Shanghai and London. In addition to the growth, the company has also invested DKK 3,115 million in property, plants, and equipment while global investments has increased more than 17%. LEGO has estimated to have reached 85 million children with LEGO products commercially in more than 140 countries. LEGO has also reached 400,000 children through the LEGO Foundation activities. Finally through LEGO Education, the company has engaged with 10 million children.
There were 0 product recalls for the fifth year. They have introduced a more sustainable LEGO packaging with reduces the CO2 emissions and transportation costs. LEGO has engaged in partnerships with the World Wildlife Fund and UNICEF.
Next up, CFO John Goodwin talked about the financial results for 2014. The company enjoyed a 15% global growth which is highly satisfactory. The top five product themes of 2014 include LEGO City, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Friends, LEGO Creator, and LEGO DUPLO. TLG launched more than 300 new products in 2014 and was sold in more than 140 countries.
The company had a 33.9% operating profit margin with a 7.9 billion DKK cash flow which resulted in a 7 billion DKK in net profit. There were 14,762 people employed by LEGO with a 6.4% growth in 2014.
Overall, 2014 was the best year for The LEGO Group and they expect to continue the growth in 2015. You can read more about the press conference on their recap post.
Easter is still two months away but Target stores have started to stock their selection of LEGO polybags in the Easter section of the store. The first polybag is the LEGO City Garbage Truck (30313) which has 48 pieces and retails for $3.49. The Garbage Truck has been available at the impulse section of the checkout lanes since January but they decided to use them as Easter polybags as well. The other polybag is one that we’ve seen before in January’s LEGO promotion with the LEGO Friends Mini Golf (30203). It has 26 pieces and goes for $3.99.
A few days ago, the 87th Academy Awards were held and during the “Everything is Awesome” performance, LEGO versions of the Oscar statue were handed out to various celebrities. A few resourceful people over on Reddit studied and reverse engineered Nathan Sawaya’s video of him creating the statue frame by frame and has provided a LDD File for people who are interested in creating their own.
What’s cool about the Reddit thread is that one of the members of the crew who won an Oscar for Best Sound Editing for “American Sniper” also visits /r/LEGO/ and will be creating them for each member of the crew since only the bosses get the real thing.
So if you want to create one of Nathan Sawaya’s LEGO Oscar statues, you can now do that with the instructions provided in the LDD file. Nathan has also posted the Oscar statue on LEGO Ideas if you want support it.
Last week, we reported that exclusive minifigure in the the new LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded will be the White Boba Fett (Proto Fett). Amazon has updated their listing with preview shots of some the minifigures that will be included in the book. Like with the previous Character Encyclopedia, you’ll get lots of details of the minifigures as well as a data file of the set they first appear in. The book has been updated with every LEGO Star Wars minifigure up until this most recent wave of sets. The Updated and Expanded LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia will be available on April 28 but you can pre-order it now.
For our fourth review of the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Avengers: Age of Ultron set, we have the Toys R Us exclusive The Hydra Fortress Smash (76041). The set contains 405 pieces and retails for $49.99 for a $0.12/piece ratio. The contents of the box comprises of four numbered bags, a bagged Hulk figure, two instruction booklets, and a small sticker sheet.
There are five minifigures included in The Hydra Fortress Smash: Captain America, Hulk, Quicksilver, Baron von Strucker, and a Hydra Henchman. Like with many of the Avengers characters who are returning for the sequel, Captain America also has an updated uniform. The colors are still red, white, and blue but has a very accurate look to the movie costume. There is now printing for his shield harness as well as a more prominent printimg for the belt. For his head, he wears a cowl with brown chinstrap printing as well as the letter A. His accessory is his trusty shield which is the same as in the Captain America vs. Hydra (76017) set. What’s interesting about this version of Captain America is a third of him is exclusive to this set and in The Avengers Quinjet Chase (76032). The torso and legs will also be in the The SHIELD Helicarrier (76042) but the head piece is only included in this set and the aforementioned Quinjet set. One interesting note about Captain America is that this is the first set that does not feature him with a motorcycle.
Hulk also makes an appearance in the Age of Ultron sets. The mold is mostly similar to the previous Avengers bigfig but there are some notable changes. The first change is the color scheme. He is now more of a olive green color instead of a bright green one. Also the pants are now a darker purple rather than a tan color. Notice that the pants also has printing of the Avengers insignia on the right leg. Finally, his hair has a little more volume and not as flat as before. Hulk will also be appearing in The Hulk Buster Smash (76031) set.
Quicksilver is one of “The Twins” in the movie with the other being Wanda, aka Scarlet Witch. He was first seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when he was being held prisoner by Baron von Strucker. The Chitauri scepter unlocked his superhuman speed and reflexes. He has a light blue torso with some dark blue on the arms and some on both sides of the torso. If you look closely, the torso has a nice looking shine to it. Quicksilver has a double-sided head with a smirk on one side and an angry expression on the other. Finally, he has the the Surfer’s hair from the Series 2 Collectible Minifigures but I believe this is the first time we have the piece in white. Quicksilver is exclusive to this particular set.
Next up we have one of the villains in the movie with Baron von Strucker. He has sort of a medium blue uniform with some simple detailing on both sides of the torso. The Hydra insignia is also printed on the torso. He is portrayed as bald with the minifigure but he actually has very short hair in the movie. He has an angry expression and there is printing of his monocle over his right eye. His accessory is an ADU gun. Baron von Strucker is also exclusive to this set.
Finally, we have the Hydra Henchman. He’s the same one that we’ve saw in the Avengers Hydra Showdown (76030). He wears a grey Chitauri-looking armor with white legs. He also wears some goggles and the back of his head has some robotic implant. There’s nothing too spectacular about him.
There are two parts to the build of The Hydra Fortress Smash (76041), the Hydra tank and the Hydra fortress itself. The vehicle is mostly white and has a pretty sleek look to it. There is also the red Hydra insignia on the hood as well as a sticker on each side of the tank with the number 318. I’m not sure if there’s any meaning for the number or if it’s just a random number. There are a couple of play features with the Hydra tank. One is the rotating turret that you pinch to launch the blue Zamor Sphere. The other feature is by pushing down on the front bumper area which pops the hood down and breaks turret off its studs. One downside of the tank is that the bottom is a little thin because it only has the the starting chassis piece for the seating area.
The Hydra “fortress” isn’t really a fortress but one of the towers from it. On the exterior, there are some detailing with the grey masonry bricks and the large rock pieces.
The interior is where the interesting stuff is at. There is a chamber that holds Loki’s Chitauri scepter that can be broken open. On top of the tower, there is another rotating turret that is made of two stud shooters. It his held steady by a latch but can be knocked down using the included Super Jumper piece to launch Captain America into it.
Finally there is a tree on the opposite side of the tower as well as a couple of gates that can be broken as well by pressing down on the levers underneath each gate.
My initial thoughts on The Hydra Fortress Smash (76041) is that it is pretty mediocre. The fortress should actually be named a tower since that’s pretty much what it is. I actually like the Hydra tank more than the fortress mainly because of the looks and the features it has. The main draw of the set are the minifigures as Quicksilver and Baron von Strucker are unique to this set. As mentioned before, the set does go for $49.99 which is a little high for what you’ll be getting but if you’re a Marvel fan, you’ll probably end up purchasing it anyways. It will be a Toys R Us exclusive and has started to show up in stores already which is where I purchased it. I recommend picking up the set last out of all the Age of Ultron sets that will be available in this wave.
The LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Avengers: Age of Ultron The Hulk Buster Smash (76031) is now available for purchase from Amazon at retail price of $29.99. The set is also has Amazon Prime shipping available as well. The set is sold by LEGO but it may go out of stock pretty quickly and third-party seller listings may start showing up soon after so if you want to pick it up a little early, now is your chance.
Update: The listing has been taken down.
Hulk has been trapped by the powers of Scarlet Witch and she is ready to fire an electrical bolt if he tries to escape! Place Iron Man in the cockpit of the humongous Hulk Buster suit and rush to the rescue. On the way you must fend off aerial attacks from the flying Ultron.
Adjust the Hulk Busters arms and legs to create fearsome battle poses and grab the villain with the powerful hands. With Ultron safely in the mechs grip, attach Iron Man to his Super Jumper. Then take out Scarlet Witch with an accurate jump and free the imprisoned Hulk!
Includes 3 minifigures with assorted weapons and accessories: Iron Man, Ultron and Scarlet Witch, plus a Hulk figure.
Although The LEGO Movie was snubbed at the 87th Academy Awards, the theme song “Everything is Awesome” was still in the running for Best Original Song which was performed live by Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island. Unfortunately, the song lost to “Glory” from Selma but the best moments were during the performance.
Nathan Sawaya, who created the original Oscar statue that Phil Lord tweeted out last month, created a bunch more and they were handed out to various celebrities during the performance. Oprah Winfrey was one of these celebrities who received one and she was ecstatic to get one when the camera panned to her. Later on the performance, Will Arnett came out wearing the Batman Forever armor and sang a verse from Batman’s Song (Untitled Self Portrait).
Overall, it’s cool to see people getting some recognition for their work for The LEGO Movie as well as Nathan Sawaya for his rendition of the Oscar trophy created out of LEGO bricks.