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Blocks Magazine

CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,110
With the release of Blocks magazine at WHSmith stores yesterday in the UK, I was wondering what everybody thinks of it?

I am really enjoying it personally. The variety of articles included makes it particularly interesting to read in my opinion, and there are some really insightful comments made by all the writers, as well as some brilliant photography.
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Comments

  • kyrotekkyrotek Southampton, UKMember Posts: 212
    I haven't found it yet, either sold out or not arrived at the locations I have visited...
  • DanGPDanGP UKMember Posts: 65
    The Paddington and Victoria Smitths both drew a blank last night although it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack given the number of magazines they stock. Better luck this evening at Charing Cross hopefully. Maybe we should have a just for fun competition for the weirdest / most unsuitable group of magazines they stock it with.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,303
    It wasn't at Manchester Picadilly yesterday either, in fact I've only read about it not being at station wh smiths, which makes me think they might not have got it yet/be getting it at all - the travel stores are a separate entity in so much as the items they stock.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,206
    edited June 2014
    DanGP said:

    Maybe we should have a just for fun competition for the weirdest / most unsuitable group of magazines they stock it with.

    This is where we find out about MegaBloks Monthly and Playmobil Weekly.
  • kezkez United KingdomMember Posts: 675
    I bought and read all of mine today, the photography was excellent and the price-expensive but well worth the money. I wonder how often this magazine will be published (monthly?) as I am interested in subscribing. The reviews and articles were rather fun to read and the Lego challenge towards the back of the magazine that consisted of 3 pick a brick cups was a pretty funny addition. :D
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,206
    Comments on the home page suggest it was a one off for now.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 5,666
    As I understand it, the decision whether to produce more issues depends on the success of this one, as you might expect.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,175
    ^ The email I got indicated they were planning a monthly magazine to be launched later in the year. It is likely that is dependent on how this one does though.
  • bluedragonbluedragon United StatesMember Posts: 399
    @graphite did you enquire about US availability?
  • CalvCalv Central EnglandMember Posts: 760
    I couldn't find it in my local WHSmith and I checked all the logical sections - Best try the illogical ones now!
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,175
    Not for the monthly. Just asked about getting the first one sent. No reason they wouldnt do the monthly at least shipped to the US but it would just cost more.
  • suprajamessuprajames UK SussexMember Posts: 365
    I am off to town today to try and see if my local Smiths has a copy, will let you know how I get on.
  • suprajamessuprajames UK SussexMember Posts: 365
    Well got my copy and very suprised when I opened the front cover to discover that I actually know the editor, known him for years when he was editor of a very popular modified car magazine. Mag looks good though, very nicely put together and some great articles.
  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,770
    Managed to get it this week, despite it been rather squirrelled away in some obscure section of the magazines. Quite impressed really.
  • legonickblegonickb Brighton, UKMember Posts: 57
    Found it in the WH Smiths in Brighton, did ask member of staff who was stacking other magazines and had no idea but I found it in the end by the marcel comics / film magazines
  • suprajamessuprajames UK SussexMember Posts: 365
    I had to ask a Smiths member of staff who looked it up on the computer and then we found the mag in the kids magazine/comic section, would have thought it would have been with model/RC mags.
  • PeteMPeteM Gallifrey (near Bristol)Member Posts: 279
    I found my copy in the Culture and Media section. Excellent read so far - and I've skipped ahead a few times just to look at all the marvellous photographs...
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,711
    While it's good to hear that everyone on here who's been looking for it has managed to find a copy it doesn't sound like there'll be many impulse purchases if it's hidden away in a different obscure section in every store...
  • TheOneVeyronianTheOneVeyronian Ye Olde Middlesex, UKMember Posts: 1,316
    I've got my copy now after checking out two very large Smiths stores, the first didn't stock it but wasn't on their system. I found mine in the second store along with the niche performance motoring magazines! Surely that takes the cake for "most illogical place to put LEGO magazine"? :-)

    Oh, and if you think £5.99 is a lot for a magazine, I think it's actually decent value for money. You just need to beware that WH Smith actually tried to charge me 12p for a flimsy plastic bag! That is a ripoff if you ask me ;-)
  • CHERUBboyCHERUBboy Member Posts: 97
    Selfridges, Westfield London, Wood Green, Euston Station... Still looking. Maybe it never got as far as London!
  • CalvCalv Central EnglandMember Posts: 760

    I've got my copy now after checking out two very large Smiths stores, the first didn't stock it but wasn't on their system. I found mine in the second store along with the niche performance motoring magazines! Surely that takes the cake for "most illogical place to put LEGO magazine"? :-)

    Oh, and if you think £5.99 is a lot for a magazine, I think it's actually decent value for money. You just need to beware that WH Smith actually tried to charge me 12p for a flimsy plastic bag! That is a ripoff if you ask me ;-)

    Going price for a WHS carrier bag is normally 1p. I still can't find the mag in my local WH Smith. I'll ask them where they've put it next time I go in.

  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,524
    I don't wish to be the voice of dissent, but I've browsed my copy heavily, read most (but not all) articles (will do), and find myself becoming increasingly disappointed with it - especially so having learned the guy was a professional editor of a national mag for a living.

    I'm not going to list details here as I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but i'll take them up with the editor directly once i've read the whole mag... (assuming he wants critical feedback).
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,110
    ^ I know what you mean to an extent. Personally I really enjoyed the content but having read it cover to cover, the number of typing errors is astonishing! There are four that I counted on the contents page alone.
  • TheOneVeyronianTheOneVeyronian Ye Olde Middlesex, UKMember Posts: 1,316
    ^^^ Oh, I know that it's supposed to be 1p, and was expecting it, just shocked when the man said it was 12p!

    Anyway, after perusing it, I didn't just spot typing errors in mine actually - I also spotted many design and Photoshopping errors (on page 19, Krusty appears to have had a hand amputation, and it still has remnants of background around it... and don't get me started on how many times I saw a picture overlap and partly obscure text...). Okay, I'm not an expert, but having some experience with Photoshop and design work, I can spot design errors from a mile away.

    But still, despite it's teething problems, it's a nice magazine to flick through.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,524
    Oh yes, there are certainly plenty of typos and grammatical errors, agreed. But i'm finding those quite funny now, like an unintentional 'spot the mistake' game on every page :oP (that's getting the most out of my six quid right there! lol) - but I picked up on other, less tangible, issues besides those which the mag could do with addressing (depending on what the creators want from it).
  • monkey_roomonkey_roo Member Posts: 1,187
    I have flicked through mine several times now. Can't say I have jumped on too many of the typo's and wouldn't be overly critical of them anyway. The images for the most part are great and probably the standout attraction, my eye isn't trained enough to see much wrong with them.

    What worries me more is what sort of sustainability is there? As nice as it is, and overall it is a nice magazine, there is nothing in there that I hadn't read or seen before or already owned. And certainly nothing in the way of information and news that isn't free on the interweb. Some of the editorial commentary and insight is nice, but £6 for someone's opinion is a bit much, and that's a free opinion by the way.

    If this is to be monthly then what can they really offer? Without some sort of line into Lego themselves where real news and sneak peaks are offered this could just become a home for glossy set spreads and custom builds, in short, Lego Porn... Not that I have an issue looking at great picture of outstanding lego sets and builds, but I can do that all day for free on the web.

    Maybe as a quartley publication it would have more of an impact?

    For me this is a really nice magazine and I am glad I have bought it but for me to subscribe or be more than a transient customer it needs to offer me something I can't get elsewhere, and in the age of the internet that has to be more than editorial commentry.
  • gifinimgifinim UKMember Posts: 174
    To me it felt like a very well put together advert for the more expensive Lego sets - lots of detailed pictures and descriptions of all the play features but nothing that's not been seen before. Hopefully future editions will focus on some of the more affordable sets.

    Not a bad effort though, and very brave of them to go for a printed magazine rather than another website. As others have said a quarterly publication would be better than a monthly one or they are going to run out of material to cover in any depth very quickly.

    And hopefully they will have learnt how to use the spell checker too :-)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,206
    gifinim said:


    Not a bad effort though, and very brave of them to go for a printed magazine rather than another website. As others have said a quarterly publication would be better than a monthly one or they are going to run out of material to cover in any depth very quickly.

    It seems like their USP is that they are printed, so people can read it without a screen or use it as a coffee table magazine. If it is mainly rehashed articles that have already appeared elsewhere, then another website is not going to be very successful.
  • suprajamessuprajames UK SussexMember Posts: 365
    I agree with @CCC, there is not a huge amount of text or photos you could not find on the internet in the DK Lego books but we still all buy them (yes I know the mini figures are a big selling point), its just nice to have something to hold and flick through at your leisure. The internet is a great tool for reference but a nice collection of Lego books/magazines is hard to beat. It is a new publication so give it a chance I say, anything Lego based is good in my book :) I wish them all the best with it. I chatted to the editor the other day and he also said that most of the Lego used in the mag is from his own collection, which is nice to hear.
  • kempo81kempo81 Wiltshire, UKMember Posts: 957
    edited June 2014
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,065
    ^part of the reason I hate ebay.
    kempo81
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,303
    It's not eBays fault, and I suspect it's someone within the 'lego' community as opposed to a HUKDer type thing given its rather obscure nature.
    andhe
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,065
    I don't blame ebay at all, but when you start seeing loads of stuff like that it's off putting.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,206
    It's understandable given how many foreigners have been asking how to get hold of one. It's been on numerous fan sites too, so if demand outstrips supply, then resellers will supply their "service".
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,065
    edited June 2014
    ^Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Blocks magazine would ship oversea if ordered by calling direct, but most people on here didn't seem that impressed with the price of shipping.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,206
    I think that is correct, but I don't think that many people know that. On other fan sites there have been people asking others to ship them out for them. This is likely to turn into a collectable like Team GB, being location specific and people from all over the world wanting one. It wouldn't surprise me if people are now buying one to read and one to keep mint as a collectable.
  • GreenArrow57GreenArrow57 GBMember Posts: 68
    What price on eBay?! I wouldn't be surprised if it turned up there....
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,206
    Look up the thread a little.
  • msandersmsanders Member Posts: 694
    I think I can only echo what's already been said about the magazine. I really like the idea of having a physical magazine that I can read at my leisure out and about (as well as at home). I've enjoyed reading it despite the spelling and grammar problems (although I can only imagine time constraints may have played a part, and I'm certainly not immune from making mistakes!). I agree that the set reviews are mainly focused on the blockbuster sets and moving forward it would be great to read some reviews of smaller sets - there are some great small sets out there.

    One problem that I find with the reviews is the description of the build is difficult to follow without accompanying photos. Fortunately, for me I've made a number of the sets so I can visualise in my head what the writer is communicating, however with the sets that I haven't built I found it difficult to visualise what was being reported. Did anyone else have this problem?

    I agree that £5.99 quarterly is better than monthly (which would work out at over £70 that I could spend on Lego!).

    Of course, it's great about the initial success of the magazine. I think that some of the draw backs of the magazine are a result of the fact that it's a trial and the main contributor is the editor. I would like to see more guest reviews - may be more than one reviewer for each set so there's a range of opinions?

    @GreenArrows57 - ebay price is £19.99 and it says 1 sold and 1 left!!
  • legoladlegolad Member Posts: 24
    i only heard about this magazine last week and i have tried 4 different stores and cant find it, does anyone know where i could get a copy apart from paying silly money for it on ebay?
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,711
    ^ You can order one by sending £5.99 plus £1.20 UK postage via PayPal to office [at] ppcmag.co.uk.
    Daragh
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 494
    I checked at least 10 WH Smiths stores on my trip to the UK last week, not one of them had it.
  • seannydemseannydem Member Posts: 12
    I gave up looking at whs and ordered direct. They were very good at replying (even on a Sunday) and I received it 2 days later.
    I for one would subscribe to a regular. I love it that much!
  • asksolasksol Member Posts: 101
    WHSmith Wimbledon has lots left if anyone is near that area.
  • elstonmcelstonmc Member Posts: 17
    I was asked by the staff where I had found it on shelves when buying my copy. Someone had phoned the store earlier that day asking if they had a copy - the store had no idea what Blocks was, let alone whether they had a copy or where it was!
  • CHERUBboyCHERUBboy Member Posts: 97
    Finally got a chance to read my copy. A few thoughts:

    1. I ordered direct and received a near instant e-mail response, and the copy within a couple of days. A bit pricy with P&P but better then continuing to hunt through every WHS in London.

    2. The mag has a LOT of content. Some is great, I particularly liked the Blacktron and sets that will grow in value articles, the one about making a minifig stand from a cheap Ikea frame was also good. Less sure about some of the other stuff, like articles on plastic boxes and a really strange, 'Race to build...' article that felt more like it belonged in a Chima comic.

    3. It doesn't feel like a proper magazine. There are no sections such as news etc. This is clearly a shoestring operation. Not much thought seems to have been given to how this would actually work as a regular publication.

    4. The biggest problem for any magazine these days is not to get stuck in the trap of just printiing stuff that appeared on the net weeks before. Without some kind of unique access to Lego group info, designers etc, I think it will struggle to find a voice strong enough for people to continue buying the mag. Basically, the editorial staff need to get the Lego group onboard, without making the magazine some kind of bland Official Lego mag.

    5. I really hope Blocks succeeds. There are long running magazines for Airfix, Hornby and Scalectrix which have a much smaller following than Lego, so there's no reason why it can't. But crucially, those magazines rely on Hornby Group for exclusive content. Those products also have more of an ecosystem around them, with other companies making cars, accessories, etc.
  • VenunderVenunder Nottingham, UK.Member Posts: 1,991
    Sorry Blocks.
    But to be honest, the only reason I would buy a magazine about Lego would be some exclusive Lego brick content. Like Chima Mag and now the Friends Mag.
    Why would I pay £6 for a magazine when I could spend £6 on Lego instead?
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 775
    I liked it. Nice to sit and read. Reviews were meatier than internet ones and images easier to view than on computer or iPad.
    Needs good articles if quarterly and more news if monthly.
    Info on upcoming shows and LUG details would be nice as would write-ups of shows attended.
    andhe
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