I've ranted in the past about the Brickmaster Club in the U.S., which is a great way for folks over there to get exclusive sets which the rest of us can't readily lay our hands on (I'm still hoping, incidentally, that someone will be able to get me a Brickmaster Slave 1 set, hint hint.....). Soon I'll complain no more, however, as the Brickmaster Club will thankfully die later this year, to be replaced by something else that the rest of us will apparently be able to participate in. Hallelujah !
The name will live on, however, as the Brickmaster name has also been applied to a series of books published by Dorling Kindersley. These books basically consist of a number of sets of hard-back bound instructions for a number of different models, together with a compartment filled with all the pieces you need to build them and a couple of minifigures. I've picked up a few of these Brickmaster books, each of which are allied to a specific LEGO theme, over the past year or two. Three of the four books I've got - Castle, Pirates and Atlantis - contain around 140 pieces each, while the Star Wars book weighs in at around 240 pieces. All contain 2 themed minifigs.
Predictably, my main focus has been on the Star Wars book. It comes with Clone Trooper and Battle Droid minifigs plus instructions to build 8 different models (although only 2 can be constructed at any one time). The minifigs (below) are far from 'exclusive', having appeared in a multitude of sets previously, but they're welcome all the same.
The 2 'main' models, which are featured on the front of the book, are a Separatist Armoured Assault Tank (AAT) and a Republic Nu-class Attack Shuttle. I have to say that they're both pretty good, particularly the AAT which I think looks great. You can see pics of them both below (click to enlarge). The turret of the AAT rotates, the wings of the Republic Shuttle pivot upwards, and both are eminently swooshable....
|Republic Attack Shuttle (stand not included)|
|Armoured Assault Tank (AAT)|
The whole package, consisting of the models, minifigs and bound instructions, can be seen in the picture below.
The book also includes instructions to build 6 alternative models including a Varied Terrain Speeder, an All Terrain Reconnaissance Transport (AT-RT), an S-Wing Speeder Bike and a Mobile Missile Platform. The print quality of the instructions is high, and each model comes with a brief backstory, tech specs, top tips ("Organise your LEGO pieces in order of size to make them easier to find") and "Did you know?" trivia such as "The battle droids' shape is based on the skeleton of the Neimoidian species from the planet Neimoidia" (I never knew that !). I have to say that the whole package is well thought out and superbly put together. And then there's the price - it cost me a mere £11.27 from Amazon.co.uk with free delivery - an absolute bargain. At the time of writing it's still available from Amazon for £12.34, which is still a steal, to be honest.
I've not yet tackled Brickmaster Pirates, Castle and Atlantis but they look to be up to the same standards as Brickmaster Star Wars, so fans of those themes can buy with confidence. In fact, this might be a good opportunity to acknowledge the high quality LEGO-related publications produced by publisher Dorling Kindersley - as well as the Brickmaster books, amongst other things DK are responsible for the excellent "LEGO Star Wars - the Visual Dictionary" and the even better "The Lego Book", both of which are superb and I can highly recommend.