Lego 9678 Twin-pod Cloud Car & Bespin and 9679 AT-ST & Endor Mini Planet Sets

Series 2 of the Lego Mini Planets sets have finally hit stores, and today I picked up 9678 Twin-pod Cloud Car & Bespin and 9679 AT-ST & Endor at Toyworld New Plymouth. They usually retail for $19.99, but Toyworld is currently running a buy one, get one 50% off deal, so I managed to pick up the pair for $29.99.

They're another very nice pair of sculpts, with some especially nifty usage of curved bricks on the Cloud Car. As far as I can tell, the AT-ST is (with the exception of new feet) the same model found in 4486 Mini AT-ST and Snowspeeder and later rereleased as 30054 AT-ST. I'd missed out on both of these earlier sets however, so this is a welcome addition to my collection of Lego mini vehicles. 

There is a third set in this wave - 9677 X-Wing Starfighter and Yavin 4. The completist in me was dying to pick it up too, however I already have the X-Wing model from when it was included in Lego Star Wars: The Essential Collection (given to me last Christmas by my partner). The Rebel Pilot minifigure is also common enough in other sets, so it didn't seem to make sense to fork out another $20 for just the planet and plaque.

Lego really is outdoing themselves with these mini sets. I hope we see plenty more!

The End of The Vintage Collection?

According to some reliable sources over at the SWNZ Message Boards, Hasbro representatives at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con have announced that the Star Wars Vintage Collection will be taking an extended leave of absence.

I, for one, will be mourning the loss of this line. Hasbro really seemed to be making an effort with the Vintage Collection, providing us with a number of new and interesting sculpts and releasing a number of less-often seen characters as 3 3/4" figures. While the Movie Heroes line will continue, this tends to focus largely on repacks of standard characters.

It looks like the Vintage Collection figures listed on my last Huntlist will be the last 3 3/4" figures I'll be hunting for for some time.

Main Display Cabinet Lighting

Before I head to the US I've been spending some time with the collection. There's been a bit of reshuffling as well as the addition of a few new displays (all of which you'll be able to see when I upload the new Virtual Tour later on this year). Another project I've been wanting to get around to for some time is adding lighting to the main display cabinet. I've been unsure as to how to go about doing this however. Fluorescent lighting causes UV damage, while the heat created by incandescent lighting in such a small space might cause it's own set of problems.

Fortunately, a solution presented itself in the form of the LED lights pictured above. They used to be fitted as reading lights in my apartment in Wellington, but, having now moved out, they were going spare. They each use three AAA batteries and throw out a surprising amount of light for such small units. Best of all, they give off no UV radiation nor heat. The first step was to adhere 3M strips to the back of each light. I really can't rate these strips highly enough, and I use them for all sorts of displaying purposes. They provide a strong and sturdy adhesion, but come off incredibly cleanly.

I then removed the back plate of each light and fitted these to the cabinet. Once the 3M strips had set (I usually give them around 60 minutes to be on the safe side) the lights were refitted to the back plates.

All in all, I'm really happy with the result!

Fate of the Jedi - Outcast Paperback

Today my in-flight reading for the trip to Houston arrived in the post: Fate of the Jedi - Outcast purchased for $12.99 from Mighty Ape.

The latest I've explored in the EU is the Millennium Falcon novel from 2008, so I'm looking forward to pushing further ahead in the timeline and working my way through the Fate of the Jedi series. Fortunately, I've been able to stay largely spoiler free of this series.

I must admit that there's something rather ominous about the title of the series - something which almost makes me think that this might be the final installment of EU novels based around the characters from the original films. The final book in the series was only just released in March of this year, so I suppose we'll have to wait a while to see what the EU has in store for us yet.

Loose Micro Machine Vehicles

Bazzack from the SWNZ Message Boards has helped me fill a few gaps in my Star Wars Micro Machines collection. A little box of vehicles arrived late last week, including a Rebel Blockade Runner, Rebel Transport, TIE Bomber, Imperial Shuttle Tydirium, Imperial Speeder Bike, and Super Star Destroyer Executor.

A huge thanks goes to Bazzack, who split up his set so I could pick and choose the vehicles I was missing.