On arrival, attendees were ushered into the spacious Shuttle Suite and treated to tea, coffee and pastries. The attendees were I assume journalists and bloggers, accompanied by assorted family members; I didn't recognise anybody there apart from Richard Hayes, fellow AFOL and the webmaster over at Brick Fanatics. As you can see from the picture below (click to enlarge), the Shuttle Suite was set up with a number of circular tables, a couple of large projection screens and a smattering of LEGO banners to brand the event; each table featured a different Galaxy Squad set which someone had already had the pleasure of building.
Elyssa from Norton, LEGO's PR Agency, formally kicked things off at around 10.30 a.m.. She welcomed attendees and told us what was planned for the day prior to showing a brief introductory Galaxy Squad video and then letting us loose on the demo sets. The kids (and a few of the adults) had a great time playing with the sets; I was already pretty familiar with most of the Galaxy Squad sets, but one thing that hadn't really sunk in prior to my extensive play test was how many of the models are designed to be split into a couple of separate and self-contained play elements, generally a flying machine of some description and a land-based vehicle or structure. This alone confers substantial play value, and that's before you consider the variety of other play features built into the sets, be it the excellent motion-induced movement of the legs on Set 70708 Hive Crawler (shown below with Set 70707 CLS-89 Eradicator Mech - click to enlarge), the grasping pincers at the front of Set 70706 Crater Creeper, and the almost ubiquitous opening cockpits, flick-fire missiles and spring-loaded catapult-type weapons. While we were demoing the models a series of brief Galaxy Squad-themed videos were playing in the background on a loop on the projection screens; I subsequently discovered that these videos are all available on the Galaxy Squad micro-site, and you can see them here if you're interested.
On arrival the kids had been given a well-stuffed goody bag containing a couple of Galaxy Squad polys, an NSC-branded soft toy and other bits and pieces. I was pleased to see my youngster immediately dive into the polys and build them unaided, starting with Set 30230 Mini Mech shown below.
Once attendees had had their fill of the demo sets they were free to roam the NSC. In addition to the usual space-related attractions at the venue, a number of Galaxy Squad-related activities had been laid on for NSC visitors, enabling the general public to join in the fun. An area was set aside for free-building with loose elements from Galaxy Squad sets, and some of the best creations were on show. Visitors could also participate in the construction of a Galaxy Squad-related mosaic (below), and DJ's from local radio station GEM 106 were broadcasting live from the venue and ran a "guess the build" competition for kids with Galaxy Squad polys for the winners.
|Galaxy Squad Mosaic - Work in Progress....|
After Duncan's talk, my family and I briefly popped into the NSC shop to grab a few souvenirs (they have some seriously neat holographic postcards in there....), said our goodbyes and then headed off back down South.
|My NSC holographic postcard, except you'll just have to imagine the 3D effect....|
I've not previously attended many of these press events so it was an interesting experience; thanks to Elyssa for the invitation to attend, and thanks also to NSC for being great hosts as usual.