Sunday, June 22, 2014

New magazines on the shelves

A trip to Smifs this week saw my pocket lightened by the cost of two new magazines. Both interesting and both Issue No.1 so valuable investments for the future. After all, they are bound to rise in value aren't they?

VW Vibe (£3.99) is a mag for those in the VeeDub "scene". There are cars but no tech articles for people who know one end of a spanner from the other. This is a mag for people for whom it's not just a car, it's a lifestyle. While there is a pleasant lack of "I gave the car to X and paid them to do all the work", I'm pretty sure that this will come. Some of the builders are professionals and I wonder how many articles will be showcases for their work. Don't get me wrong, there are some fascinating vehicles in there, I just wonder how many will still be around in 3 years time once they have been sold to people who don't understand the difference between a modern Toyota and and 40 year old bug.

What it does is confirm some of the reasons my campervan is up for sale. I'm no where near cool enough to be part of the "scene" and nowadays that seems to be the main reason for owning an old Volkswagen.

Blocks Magazine (£5.99) is a different beast. For a start, it's so low budget that there isn't even a website. You wouldn't know this from the inside though. Reproduction, print and photography are all top notch. It feels like a quality publication.

I don't really understand the adult Lego market. This is probably jealousy as even I can't see myself playing with a toy that I loved not that many years ago. Yes, I'd relish an opportunity to sit down with a kit and put it together - and if you are reading this so would you - but I can't quite get away from the "grown-ups playing with toys" thing. Looking at some of the sets reviewed though, Lego have spotted the adult market. You don't pay £250 for a Star Wars sand crawler from your pocket money.

This isn't a pure picture-fest. A history of Lego takes up several pages and there is a nod to collecting with a look at the Blacktron sets from the 1980s. There's even some practical stuff with step-by-step articles on building a Minifigure display cabinet and making some Lego valve-caps for your car or bicycle.

I quite like the idea of the 60 minute challenge. Random tubs of bits is handed to two competitors and they have to build a model from these in the time, the results being judged at the end. This isnt' far off the way most people work with Lego, having a pile of bits and using pure imagination to work out what to make.

Towards the back there is a book review and then some glossary terms for newbies to the brick world. I wonder if this is the publishers hedging their bets against a second issue. If it doesn't sell well then the thing works as a standalone publication. That would be a pity as there is obviously a market full of creative people who desperately want others to understand and appreciate their work.

All they need now is for WH Smith to stop putting it in the children's section. Mind you, if I were 7 years old, I would have read it from cover to cover.


Jackofallhobbies said...

Is the BLOCKS magazine only available in Europe? Does anyone know where I could find it in Canada?

Phil Parker said...

Try an e-mail to the editor Mark Guest at

Jackofallhobbies said...

I tried the bookshop today, but despite having several import train and RC magazines, they did not have this one.
I will send this person an email.
Thank you.